Through the crystal ball to 2012

2011 is slowly drawing to a close so it’s time to dust off the old crystal ball and predict what 2012 will bring to the role-playing hobby. Some, none or all of these predictions may or may not come true. Sorry, there are no refunds.

A new edition of D&D will be announced

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. I expect the nice people at Wizards of the Coast will officially announce mid-late 2012 that a new version of D&D is ‘in the works’ and will be launched at the end of 2013. Of course, they’ve been busy working on it for a while already, but that’s the point where they will begin to spoonfeed information to we hungry gamers.

What I would love to see happen is an open playtest for at least six months with draft documents posted up for all to see, review and give feedback. This would prevent the shambolic way that 4e D&D was launched in a clearly insufficiently playtested form from happening again, as well as garner an awful lot of buzz and gamer love.

Will that happen? Not a snow-covered cat in hell’s chance.

D&D Insider will go free to play. -ish.

In these times when getting people to part with their hard-earned cash on a regular basis is an Epic-level battle, D&D Insider subscriptions are going to be a casualty of war. More people are going to cancel their subscription if the choice is that, or heat and food. Role-playing games, by definition, need nothing more than a rulebook, dice and paper to play, and D&D Insider must adapt in order to survive.

MMORPGs are learning that free-to-play and micro-transactions are the route to success, and the subscription model is dead. Wizards need to learnthis and adapt if they want D&D Insider to grow its user-base.

Wizards need to offer the core rules and access to the character generator (with a subset of Races and Classes) for free. Offer each article for 99c, or a months’ worth of player or DM content (I balk at calling them Dungeon and Dragon, ‘cos they’re not) for three bucks. Sell unlock codes for other Races, Classes and book content for similar amounts.

While they’re at it, bring bloody PDF sales back but this time sell them directly from your own site. Sell rules, supplements and adventures for all editions of the game and win back that love. Piracy happens, and is still happening. Live with it, chalk it up as free marketing and stop being dicks. Isn’t it better to take a slice of the pie than have no pie at all? Other games (*cough* Pathfinder *cough*) sell pdfs of their products and are going rather well. Why not do the same?

Yeah. Like that’ll ever happen.

Pathfinder Online will be a big hit

Talking of which, Pathfinder Online will go live, and exceed all expectations with its popularity. Sure, there’ll be teething trouble and problems post-launch, but that’s pretty much to be expected with today’s high-complexity games. Patches will iron out the worst problems though, and the game will go from strength to strength.

Why will it succeed where so many other WoW clones fade into obscurity? This

Pathfinder Online’s robust trading system puts players in control of the world’s economy with player-created items, consumables, fortifications, and settlements. Character-controlled settlements can grow into full-fledged kingdoms that compete for resources as they seek to become the dominant force in the land, raising vast armies to hold their territory against the depredations of monstrous creatures, NPC factions, and other player characters.

Oh gods in heaven YES.

While I’m personally not  fan of the Pathfinder rules, Paizo can do no wrong.

That’s three from me, and they’re nothing more than a bland mix of the bloody obvious and wishful thinking.

What are your predictions for 2012?

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3 Responses

  1. JourneymanGM says:

    Totally agree with a new edition of D&D. If you’re interested, I posted a whole slew of predictions of what components an upcoming D&D 5e will have on this post of my blog. I didn’t say much about D&D Insider though, so I enjoy reading your take on that.

  2. Geoff Smith says:

    I’m kind of hoping we’ll get the Heroic tier of Old School Hack (http://www.oldschoolhack.net/). I kind of love that system.

  3. Interesting. If the Pathfinder MMO can pull that off, I think it’s the kind of computer game we’ve all been waiting for. However, Eve had that kind of potential too (and some of the Eve guys are working on Pathfinder), and it doesn’t really live up to it.

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