Thursday, November 15, 2012

"They're just trying to make more money!"

Heaven forbid somebody earning a living in this post-agricultural society where most people must earn a wage. Of course they, [Insert gaming company here], are trying to make more money, aren't most of us.

The other day I heard this argument while at my local gaming store. We were talking about Warhammer and how Games Workshop annually jacks up the prices every year. And I've read it before on online messageboards. And I've heard it come from the lips of gamers whenever another edition of D&D looms on the horizon. I know I've said it, but I'm not sure when.

I think what a person really means by "They're just trying to make more money" is "I'm not going to get a good return on my investment, somehow my enjoyment in the game will be diminished." This is understandable. With every new edition of D&D comes the trepidation that will not be as good as the one that came before it. (Oddly enough, I've yet to see this happen with other games. Was there an uproar over say a new edition of GURPs or RIFTs? I do recall some skepticism over the new World of Darkness line, but that was, wow, over ten years ago.) But it goes beyond just the rules.

Who will play the game with me? That's the real question. Because not everybody will buy into the newest edition.

I've known people who've clung to AD&D and refused to even try another edition. The same goes with AD&D 2e. At the dawn of 3e, a harried Dungeon Master of 2e asked me to run a game to siphon off his 15-20 players that would pack into meeting room at a college gaming club. All of the players refused. "They're just trying to make more money!" many of them said, though a handful said that they didn't want to leave a great DM. He had to be a great DM, or at least the endurance to run sessions with 15-20 players.

What good is a game if nobody around you plays it? Yeah, you can mine it for ideas. Still, I've got RPGs books on my shelves being unused, unplayed. I've got a box of Star Wars d6 books stored away--I tried to run a one-shot awhile back but only one person showed up. I have bunch of Middle Earth Role Playing books, but I haven't played MERPs since high school. I've bought Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, but have yet to find anybody who plays it (but would love to).

I guess I'm digressing. But, for me, the argument "They're just trying to make more money!" is mostly bunk. It covers up deeper anxieties. I say, at least try it. You and your friends can decide whether you like the latest edition or not. Then vote with your dollars by not buying anymore books for said edition.

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