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Author Topic: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory  (Read 2903 times)

Steven Mitchell

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2021, 08:53:47 AM »
"Get Woke, Go Broke" is a classic "preference cascade".  Like all preference cascades, it happens "slowly, then all at once".  Slowly can be over years or even decades.  Also like all "preference cascades" there is a lot of inertia that prevents it from really getting rolling.  Basically, it takes a lot to piss people off enough to do anything that is optional, and it takes an immense amount of repeatedly pissing them off in a relatively short time to get them to walk away.  Even after the enjoyment has long been sucked dry out of the thing, people keep doing it out of habit and/or fond memories.  The issue is that by the time people have gotten fed up enough to walk away, there is no going back. 

The question for RPG companies in particular in this situation is are they willing to piss off a huge swath of customers that much?  If they keep doubling down on woke content and frequency and the "in your face" aspect of it, and the preaching--then eventually the built up resentment will bubble over and set off the preference cascade.  Something short of that, they may lose measurable (by them) sales, but from the outside it will be hard to tell. 

And of course it matters if there is an alternative.  It is a lot easier for people to drift away from A because they spend more time with B now, than it is to give up A cold because they are pissed off.

Also note for the SJW, none of this matters, because they are happy with either outcome:  Make the thing switch over to them and slowly lose interest over decades while dominating another slice of the culture, OR kill it dead fast.  Either way, something that didn't bow to them is gone.

Renegade_Productions

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2021, 09:22:50 AM »
-clip-

The 5th reason is WOTC is now owned by Hasbro, themselves woke in many ways. So long as WOTC is pulling in profits from Magic and other sources, D&D can suffer in every way and it won't help correct the brand. (The fact that there's a D&D brand at all is enough of an issue, and a major hurdle.)

So the best we can do is keep highlighting the suicidal direction of WOTC, keep the spirit of D&D alive in ways outside of the IP and brand, and build alternatives for the inevitable moment when D&D has fallen.

"Get Woke, Go Broke" is a classic "preference cascade".  Like all preference cascades, it happens "slowly, then all at once".  Slowly can be over years or even decades.  Also like all "preference cascades" there is a lot of inertia that prevents it from really getting rolling.  Basically, it takes a lot to piss people off enough to do anything that is optional, and it takes an immense amount of repeatedly pissing them off in a relatively short time to get them to walk away.  Even after the enjoyment has long been sucked dry out of the thing, people keep doing it out of habit and/or fond memories.  The issue is that by the time people have gotten fed up enough to walk away, there is no going back. 

The question for RPG companies in particular in this situation is are they willing to piss off a huge swath of customers that much?  If they keep doubling down on woke content and frequency and the "in your face" aspect of it, and the preaching--then eventually the built up resentment will bubble over and set off the preference cascade.  Something short of that, they may lose measurable (by them) sales, but from the outside it will be hard to tell. 

And of course it matters if there is an alternative.  It is a lot easier for people to drift away from A because they spend more time with B now, than it is to give up A cold because they are pissed off.

Also note for the SJW, none of this matters, because they are happy with either outcome:  Make the thing switch over to them and slowly lose interest over decades while dominating another slice of the culture, OR kill it dead fast.  Either way, something that didn't bow to them is gone.

Pretty much. That's why these cadavers are trying to get into the OSR, if not poison the industry as a whole with things like the consent sheet.

(I've given up several dozen gaming companies -- Ubisoft, Activision, Paizo, Evil Hat, Onyx Path, etc. -- cold, so it can be done. It just takes initiative and willpower, hem hem.)

Ghostmaker

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2021, 09:35:01 AM »
Another point to ponder.

RPGs are not like comics. If you have the 2E books, they don't magically go away just because WotC releases Wokeist Compendium VII. You may have a difficult time finding a game, but roleplaying gamers are a lot like foodies; we'll try anything once just to see if we like it.

This is one of the limitations weighing down WotC's attempts to pander to the woke crowd. What happens when they put out said compendium and nobody buys it because they're all playing previous editions?

Renegade_Productions

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2021, 09:52:26 AM »
Another point to ponder.

RPGs are not like comics. If you have the 2E books, they don't magically go away just because WotC releases Wokeist Compendium VII. You may have a difficult time finding a game, but roleplaying gamers are a lot like foodies; we'll try anything once just to see if we like it.

This is one of the limitations weighing down WotC's attempts to pander to the woke crowd. What happens when they put out said compendium and nobody buys it because they're all playing previous editions?

A point in our favor at least, and PDFs are cheap, though folks should get into the habit of buying the dead tree versions if they're available, if not archiving the versions they get in case of a file update.

RandyB

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2021, 10:04:39 AM »
Another point to ponder.

RPGs are not like comics. If you have the 2E books, they don't magically go away just because WotC releases Wokeist Compendium VII. You may have a difficult time finding a game, but roleplaying gamers are a lot like foodies; we'll try anything once just to see if we like it.

This is one of the limitations weighing down WotC's attempts to pander to the woke crowd. What happens when they put out said compendium and nobody buys it because they're all playing previous editions?

A point in our favor at least, and PDFs are cheap, though folks should get into the habit of buying the dead tree versions if they're available, if not archiving the versions they get in case of a file update.

"And". Print and archived PDF. No room for half-measures.  8)

Valatar

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2021, 10:09:43 AM »
D&D is not going broke.  Not with Hasbro money and marketing behind it.  There would need to be an absolute, unmitigated bloodbath financially before Hasbro would pull the plug on a brand with that much name recognition.  Let's go all-in here, imagine if the next D&D sourcebook is all about characters wearing leather puppy suits and hanging out with children at the local daycare.  Right off the bat, there are at least a dozen media outlets ready to put out, "New D&D Puppy Paladins Are What The Hobby Has Needed Forever" articles, and a dozen more with, "Alt-Right Nerd Gamergate Bigots Furious About New 'Child Molesting' Themes In Our Hobby" articles the moment five people complain on twitter.  This is all without Hasbro spending a dime.  Now throw in all the Youtube people hawking it for their streamed games.  And a hefty ad campaign.  I guarantee you that book would sell.  Maybe not fantastically, but it would sell.

Omega

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2021, 10:46:19 AM »
D&D is not going broke.  Not with Hasbro money and marketing behind it.

Ohhhh WOTC wishes so. Hasbro has them on a tight leash and during 4e tightened that leash even more and put them on a severe budget after multiple screwups. This I know from one of the designers during 4e. 5e has, so far, had more leeway. But Hasbro still has them on a leash, just not as tight. For now.

5e has gotten just about no marketing in the advertisement side far as know. I am not even sure WOTCs card games have gotten much any more, if any. Last I saw was for the Kaijudo CCG which seems to be the last WOTC product to get a cartoon. And that didnt last more than a season think?

Jaeger

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2021, 02:10:54 PM »

Except for the fact that, as of April, 2021, the Top 20 adult graphic novels sold in the USA (a genre, to be clear, that includes "Watchmen", "The Killing Joke", "Hellboy" etc.) were all manga.

https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/48284/april-2021-npd-bookscan-top-20-adult-graphic-novels

And as of May 2021 Marvel still has more comics in the top 50 of comics than any other publisher:
https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/48475/top-50-comics-may-2021

With nary a Japanese comic in sight…  Apples and oranges man.


Maybe the argument should be that if a company goes woke and alienates its primary income stream, then it most certainly will 'go broke'.

Keep in mind that large corporations have considerable reserves and assets as well as alternate income streams to deflect the losses they take. Hence why movie companies can afford to put out some real stinkers and 'woke' bombs and not collapse.

Yes, exactly – far more succinct than my ramblings!



Who comprises WotC's primary income stream? From their own figures, it's not people aged 40+ and I'd guess isn't likely composed of people who care one bit about older D&D. For their targeted income stream, they are happy to alienate the old guard because it might actually make their product more attractive.

Magic money is still the top earner for WOTC.



..
This scenario has been playing out in real time in comics. The ComicsGate guys are regularly outselling Marvel, and are growing in an industry that's otherwise shrinking. (It also helps that there's Manga to look at as a point of comparison.) Before ComicsGate guys, I hadn't bought comics in over a decade -- Now I'm actually back into comics again. I just am not buying anything Marvel or DC.

The hurdles are pretty big, admittedly. Media that reports on comics is regularly and blatantly biased against ComicsGate (e.g. characterizing it as a "harassment campaign"). I'm not even sure if they have penetration into comics stores, although I know that was a big push for awhile. Either way, the infrastructure to support their work didn't exist, and yet they are still succeeding.

I like to imagine a similar thing is possible for RPGs. I know I've got a monthly RPG budget burning a hole in my wallet for their products.

As a point of comparison it will be very interesting to see how things like Comicsgate and Arktoons play out over time.

And although they ran things into the ground, it will take years for other IP to take hold and rise in popularity to challenge the institutional wokasauruses.



The question for RPG companies in particular in this situation is are they willing to piss off a huge swath of customers that much?  If they keep doubling down on woke content and frequency and the "in your face" aspect of it, and the preaching--then eventually the built up resentment will bubble over and set off the preference cascade.  Something short of that, they may lose measurable (by them) sales, but from the outside it will be hard to tell. 

Personally I think the current guys in charge of D&D would do far more than they are if they were really let loose.

It’s not pissing off huge swaths of customers, it’s leaving behind toxic fandom…

And sales losses 7-10 years into an edition cycle can be spun so many ways…

IMHO, when the executive team changes at WOTC is when we will see a much bigger shift in the woke.



Also note for the SJW, none of this matters, because they are happy with either outcome:  Make the thing switch over to them and slowly lose interest over decades while dominating another slice of the culture, OR kill it dead fast.  Either way, something that didn't bow to them is gone.

Truth. From their perspective either result is a victory.

Next year we will see how the D&D movie and Tv series initiatives do. I think that it will be interesting to see how they might affect 5e’s future sales.
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Ghostmaker

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2021, 03:29:05 PM »
The problem for those woke companies propped up with other money is two fold.

One, if they are publicly traded, then the officers of said company have a fiduciary duty to not make bad business decisions. If you waste too much money, and cause the stock value to drop, then all sorts of entertaining shit can go down.

Two, even if they're not publicly traded, things can get more than a little tense if your accountants or CFO start asking why you're spending all this money on products that aren't making it back.


Jaeger

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2021, 04:25:02 PM »
The problem for those woke companies propped up with other money is two fold.

One, if they are publicly traded, then the officers of said company have a fiduciary duty to not make bad business decisions. If you waste too much money, and cause the stock value to drop, then all sorts of entertaining shit can go down.

Two, even if they're not publicly traded, things can get more than a little tense if your accountants or CFO start asking why you're spending all this money on products that aren't making it back.

Ideally yes, but real world politics can extend this process for years...

The rumor mill is only now going strong on Kathleen Kennedy leaving Lucasfilm:
https://www.piratesandprincesses.net/kathleen-kennedys-tenure-as-the-head-of-lucasfilm-may-be-coming-to-a-close/

And it has been known for years by everyone how badly she fucked up the golden goose IP that Stars Wars should have been.

Woke companies propped up by larger corporations and/or other revenue streams can stay irrational longer than most people can stay solvent! And there are a million ways to mask things before they get so bad that they become impossible to ignore.

One of the big bellwether moments for D&D as an RPG will be if HASBRO's movie, tv, videogame, and other lifestyle branding takes off.

If the money coming in from those initiatives is orders of magnitude bigger than the rpg - then HASBRO could give a fuck what woke shit goes on in the RPG.

We see this effect with the Marvel and DC comics division; even after running themselves into the ground their corporate overlords have done nothing to fundamentally change what they are doing at all...

Because all the big money from the IP is being made in the films, tv, and videogame markets. And the ROI on those have so far been mighty.




« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 04:27:17 PM by Jaeger »
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hedgehobbit

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2021, 07:53:01 PM »
And as of May 2021 Marvel still has more comics in the top 50 of comics than any other publisher:
https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/48475/top-50-comics-may-2021

With nary a Japanese comic in sight…  Apples and oranges man.

That list was created by interviewing a non-random sample of comic shops. So, of course manga isn't there. Although the biggest comic shop in Dallas, Madness Games and Comics, has reduced the size of their new comics section by half, reduced their graphic novel section by a third, and added a manga section just in the last six months.

What's happened to comics is similar to what I see happening to RPGs. I don't think a new RPG will overtake D&D. Just that the RPG market will slowly and gradually shrink as people walk away or, like me, just stop buying anything new.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 08:09:14 PM by hedgehobbit »

Zelen

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2021, 08:41:28 PM »
And as of May 2021 Marvel still has more comics in the top 50 of comics than any other publisher:
https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/48475/top-50-comics-may-2021

With nary a Japanese comic in sight…  Apples and oranges man.

FWIW this data set explicitly excludes Manga.

Quote
As this is a small, non-random sample of over 3,000 stores selling American comics worldwide, these rankings may not be typical for all stores, but do represent a variety of locations and store emphases.

Jame Rowe

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2021, 08:43:57 PM »
Who comprises WotC's primary income stream? From their own figures, it's not people aged 40+ and I'd guess isn't likely composed of people who care one bit about older D&D. For their targeted income stream, they are happy to alienate the old guard because it might actually make their product more attractive.

While I'm an old fart, I have three teenage kids. They and their friends treat all this "inclusion" stuff as a joke. It's a very similar reaction to how my generation viewed the conservative Christian dogma that was prevalent in the 80s. Basically, they laugh at all the woke boomer preaching.

My group and I view it much the same way. We understand about making sure to welcome others to the table - it's how well they interact with the rest of us, not their more personal things, which we expect them to have the maturity to handle their own way.

Though I'll point out that I'm the oldest at 40, and we all buy and play D&D 5e because it's the most common RPG available (and we don't really have the time or money to expand our gaming libraries).
« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 08:46:03 PM by Jame Rowe »
Here for the games, not for it being woke or not.

Tantavalist

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2021, 09:15:43 PM »
My take on the heavy-handed Wokeness of many media types these days comes down to the idea that big corporations haven't actually changed at all. They're still soulless machines that only care about money, but have an insular management culture that in reality isn't half as good at making money as they like to think and just keeps going by crushing competition rather than their own merits.

These companies are getting Woke in the same way that they jumped on any other cultural bandwagon. They have the vague idea that this is "What the kids are into these days!" and want to take advantage of it. So we see Wokeness coming into the media for two reasons that aren't mutually exclusive.

One, they think it'll boost sales. But as with so many other cultural trends the execs don't really get what the target demographic wants and so they create some laughable version that's almost a parody of it.

Two, they see that even the most bumbling attempts to add Wokeness means that an screeching twitter mob will leap to defend whatever the Woke was in from any form of criticism, no matter how justified. So they start painting WOKE onto every generic garbage pile the company churns out knowing full well that reviewers will praise it just for that and criticism can be branded as bigotry and ignored.


If you look at some things that have appeared in recent years, they're technically Woke as fuck but still entertaining to watch. This is because they're made by people who actually hold to these values rather than using them as a shield from criticism or an excuse for a Two Minute Hate.

(As an example of this, look up Hazbin Hotel on YouTube. Angel Dust, for instance, is a gay sex worker- and apparently designed to be as offensive to SJW sensibilities as possible.)

Zelen

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Re: Woke D&D = Broke D&D: Is a Lunatic Conspiracy Theory
« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2021, 09:45:02 PM »
I find incompetence wholly incapable of explaining things. Malice is a much better fit.