Thursday, January 13, 2011

Product changes at WotC: no more Minis

Well WotC seemed to avoid the pre-Christmas layoffs this year that had plagued them in years past, but the product line did not fare as well.

As reported in Ampersand, there are some product changes on the way.

  • The D&D minis line is now dropped.
  • Three books have been removed from the product schedule, with the Shadow book now coming later in the year.
  • There will be no monthly compendium of Dragon and Dungeon articles, just the same single articles to download when they are ready.

The anti-WotC and anti-D&D4 crowds will find nothing but doom and gloom in this of course.  But even as someone that enjoys D&D4 I find this a bit disheartening.  I like minis. I have no ability what soever to paint metal ones so pre-painted plastic was fantastic for me.  The loss of books is a sign of other issues, even I had no real plans to buy those particular books.

As for Dragon, while I understand how they want to keep the name I miss the Dragon mag of old.  Not just the days when Paizo was publishing but the days when it was a multi-game magazine.  But in a day and age when print periodicals have trouble staying afloat, let alone profitable, then I understand the business decisions.

Anyway here are some other places it is getting talked about.  The reactions vary.
http://cyclopeatron.blogspot.com/2011/01/wotc-to-discontinue-plastic-minis.html
http://spellcard.blogspot.com/2011/01/rip-d-minis-2003-2010.html  (love the header on this blog!)
http://thedumpstat.blogspot.com/2011/01/news-tales-of-wotc-woe.html

14 comments:

Jason said...

DOOOOOM! GLOOOOOM!

...actually, anti-WotC and anti-D&D4 people wouldn't find doom and gloom in the idea of the company's demise. They'd find joy and happiness :p

From where I sit, liking 4e or not is moot...I just think it's the sign of a company whose supposedly lauded new product didn't make nearly the splash that their last edition did, and they are struggling to find an identity for it. Only time will tell what will happen. Essentials was a step in the right direction for them. If they keep the faith in that and push that PI forward, they could make it work.

Kiltedyaksman said...

I realize your appreciation for 4E - and all the power too you. But I agree with you that these aren't good signs if 4E is your bag. Right now a house-ruled labyrinth Lord best mimics my older style of play and the books are cheap, so it works well for us.

I miss the old Dragon too. I'd love to have a monthly subscription appear at my door.

ArmChairGeneral said...

I really enjoyed the mini line. Glad I have lots of them to throw at my party!

Tim Brannan said...

The biggest issue for me is that my boys love those little minis. We don't just use them in D&D (and we play all sorts of versions) we also use them in the old Dungeon game and my oldest even uses them to play chess. And he loves getting the dragons.

Looks like I'll be hitting the game stores.

Tim Brannan said...

And Jason going from "three products and a line were cut" to "the company demise" is the kind of dooming and glooming I was talking about.

ArmChairGeneral said...

I also love collecting the dragons. I have most of the older ones from the line and all the big ones with the exception of the Gigantic Red (party killer) dragon.

Tim Brannan said...

I want one of the newer dragons that came out in the last line and big blue one.

christian said...

Those minis were the only thing I consistently bought from WotC after they deep sixed Dragon and Dungeon.

This is a drag.

Rhonin84 said...

Hmm...this really isn't good at all. We have the Essentials line that was just a re-hash and update of the 4e game and from what I can tell it hasn't done as well as expected.

Paizo is doing better with their Pathfinder line and are putting out fresh material for it.

We have the loss of the mini line and an introduction of more CARDS to 4E. Now I know that Paizo has been using cards for a bit but WOTC is going to be always perceived as the company that gave us MAGIC and they are doing a great Magic act in making DnD disappear. We are also now being asked to look for the new BOARD game coming out...gee now we get HASBRO in the mix. Pretty soon DnD will be the collectible board game.

Doom and Gloom...yea I can see that on the horizon. Liking my Labyrinth Lord and my SnW 3rd printing and heck Pathfinder will keep me happy.

Havard: said...

Wow, the dropping of the minis line is a shock. Really disappointing. :(

Anonymous said...

"Hmm...this really isn't good at all. We have the Essentials line that was just a re-hash and update of the 4e game and from what I can tell it hasn't done as well as expected."

You don't have any actual evidence for this. You're making guesses at what might be the case from a small collection of events (ignoring the ones that indicate a healthy product line, of course).

"Paizo is doing better with their Pathfinder line and are putting out fresh material for it."

Again, you have no evidence for Paizo doing better, either. Both WotC and Paizo are putting out fresh material for their product lines. WotC is putting out far more of it.

"We have the loss of the mini line and an introduction of more CARDS to 4E. Now I know that Paizo has been using cards for a bit but WOTC is going to be always perceived as the company that gave us MAGIC and they are doing a great Magic act in making DnD disappear."

D&D isn't going anywhere. They're experimenting with new, optional mechanics. That's what they're supposed to do. They're the industry leader.

"We are also now being asked to look for the new BOARD game coming out...gee now we get HASBRO in the mix. Pretty soon DnD will be the collectible board game."

The board game (Castle Ravenloft) is already out. The world didn't end. It's actually pretty fun.

"Doom and Gloom...yea I can see that on the horizon. Liking my Labyrinth Lord and my SnW 3rd printing and heck Pathfinder will keep me happy."

Someone who doesn't care about 4e (and apparently isn't all that knowledgeable on the products that surround it) professing doom and gloom for the company that makes it? Color me surprised. People have been making declarations of death like yours for many years now. Welcome to the hater bandwagon.

Tim Brannan said...

@Anon

While I appreciate the point you are making I do want to shed some light on a few things.

Rhonin84 is my regular DM. Between the two of us there is absolutely no game we have not tried and played.

We have played a lot of Pathfinder, 3x and 4e/4eE together.

I can say that doing all this shuffling in their business doesn't bode well. I have seen it, too many times.

To the point of Paizo vs. D&D4; well at the moment they seem to be neck and neck. Which is great, if this was any other game OTHER than D&D. D&D should be doing 4 times the business as Paizo and that's what Hasbro expects it to do.

I don't know. While I never really have to buy another game ever again, there is a still something about this all I don't like.

Rhonin84 said...

"The Hater Bandwagon..."

Sounds like a fun group, in all seriousness though, I don't hate WOTC at all nor do I HATE 4E.

I am running 4E Essentials with my kids right now and three of their friends, they enjoy the Essentials line and I enjoy them being happy.

Anonymous, I appreciate your opinion and I won't go through your post as you went through mine, all I ask is get out to the local hobby shops, talk to the owners and managers and see what is selling and not.

I know the owners and managers of two different stores, one is close to closing right now and has HUGE stockpiles of DnD 4E stock and very little stock in the Pathfinder Product. These owners are the ones who are telling me that Pathfinder is selling better in their stores. I have no reason to make that up or as you say hate.

Castle Ravenloft is out and I have heard some fun things about it, but it is a board game and not a RPG. HASBRO has been involved in making board games for a long time and sounds like this one was done right. For my likes...probably not but who knows I will take a look at the one Tim has. :)

D+D not going anywhere...this one I found interesting...I'm not sure, again in my opinion if 4E was DnD. I believe it was an effort to bring in the younger computer generation, giving us a different game really. The 4E rules were given to us in 2008, we had the Essentials line in 2010 one of the shortest runs since the Edition Wars began.

Again though Anonymous thanks for taking the time to add your opinion and input.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, I appreciate your opinion and I won't go through your post as you went through mine, all I ask is get out to the local hobby shops, talk to the owners and managers and see what is selling and not."

Local hobby shops stopped being a decent indicator of brand strength a LONG time ago. Not only are they a dying breed to begin with, but the people who shop there are going to be the ones who are more strongly invested in the hobby. Your typical casual D&D player/DM gets his material through a major book retailer (Borders, Barnes & Noble) or through Amazon or an equivalent online service. I don't know anyone who shops at hobby stores anymore.

Of course Pathfinder is going to sell better there than everywhere else. Pathfinder is still a relative unknown outside the more hardcore tabletop circles (your typical D&D player wouldn't even be able to explain to you what Pathfinder is). The sort of person who buys from hobby shops will be aware of the brand, and the sort of person who doesn't probably won't.

It's unfortunate that hobby stores have been unable to find a way to "keep up" over the last decade or so, but by-and-large the idea of having a physical location for buying niche hobby materials in the age of 40% Amazon discounts is sorely outdated.

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