|It wasn't long after that my dice collection began to become... an issue.|
Like a lot of gamers who'd gone all-in on 3.5, I hated 4th Edition. I felt the lack of customization was a major flaw, and I disliked how it felt more like an MMO or a minis war game than the sort of RPG I was used to. My group all shared the same opinion, and we decided to stick to 3.5 until we found something we liked better. Which we did when Paizo released Pathfinder. It was everything we liked, plus some extra wooge, and we couldn't have been happier.
I Told You That Story So I Could Tell You This Story...
The reason I told you all of that is to establish that for the first decade or so of my gaming career, I was a gamer who found that most of my wants and needs were in sync with the broader strokes of what was popular in the hobby. I came in when the dominant game design philosophy was to make games that focused on giving players the ability to fully customize their characters, and where the DMs had to do the minimal amount of improvisation regarding common rules (there were charts and scales for falling damage, weather, monsters and traps were fully statted out, skills had specific thresholds and modifier, etc.).
However, over the past several years as both a player and a designer I have noticed that the pendulum is definitely swinging the other way now. 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons came back hard from 4th Edition's failure, and gobbled up a huge amount of the market. Thanks to shows like Stranger Things, simpler editions of DND are coming back in vogue. And, generally speaking, the market is filling up with games that have a lot fewer moving parts, and which require a lot less investment and time on the part of players and storytellers alike.
|Just what the hell is going on here?|
This is a gaming demographic I'm not part of.
This is frustrating both as a gamer, and as a game designer (though in my defense I'm stretching out and following the curve with 5th Edition DND modules like False Valor and The Curse of Sapphire Lake), but meditating on it has lent some clarity. Once upon a time the things I liked in games were popular, and that drove profit margins. Now my style of game is less popular, and as a result there are fewer companies putting out the type of content that I enjoy. That's not a slight against me, that's just how the free market works; if there were more gamers in the hobby who wanted what I want, it's what companies would produce.
And that's fine (at least personally; professionally it's a different kettle of fish). I am under no obligation to buy the games being produced if they're not the sort of things I want to play. No one is going to make me move on to Pathfinder's second edition, or Dungeons and Dragons' fifth, in the same way that no one forced Vampire: The Masquerade players to move onto Requiem when it was released. The games I like still exist, and I have full control over what I play in my own time. We all do.
With That Said... Let People Enjoy Things
Having said all of that, not liking something doesn't mean that you should volunteer your opinion in places where it isn't wanted. If people are talking about their latest campaign, and your only contribution is to disparage the edition or system they're using, just shut up. Move on from that conversation, because it's not for you, and no one is asking for your input.
|"In my day, natural tharks weren't an auto-success!"|
So the next time you get ready to hold forth about something you don't like that's popular in gaming, or how this or that group who's clearly having fun is contributing to the popularity of the "wrong" kinds of games, take a moment and ask if anyone solicited your opinion. If you were specifically asked to share, consider whether what you're about to say will have a positive impact on those who hear your words.
Take my advice on this one; your games of choice will not get more popular if you shout about how they're superior to all the stuff people are playing and enjoying now. Instead, make a pitch for what your games do that other games don't. Put on your salesman's cap, and hold the door open for gamers who may not have heard of your favored system, or preferred edition. Be an ambassador who persuades those watching to give your style of gaming a try.
Because in this instance, you will catch far more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
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That's all for this week's Moon Pope Monday. Hopefully you found this suggestions useful!
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