Pathfinder and D&D Tied for First!

I thought this was an incredibly interesting little factoid:

In Q3 of 2010, Dungeons and Dragons was tied in sales with Pathfinder.

I’m not sure where ICv2 gets their information from, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to suspect their numbers are in error. Pathfinder and D&D (that’s 4th edition) tied for first place in sales? It sure looks like there’s a lot of interest for 3.x out there. One wonders what would have happened if WotC had cleaved closer to 3.x in their design…

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Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

3 thoughts on “Pathfinder and D&D Tied for First!

  1. If WoTC had stayed closer to 3.x they would have been in much closer competition to Pathfinder and others which they, themselves, effectively created. Truth told, the only way for them to remain truly relevant and in charge was to back away from the OGL and 3.x and find a way to differentiate themselves on some level other than simply production quality. Perhaps Pathfinder would have overtaken them by now…

  2. The biggest issue WotC has in staying relevant in the tabletop market is that they're trying to be a tabletop MMO, and appeal to MMO players. Problem is, as I've heard others say as well, that MMOs do the 4e ruleset and risk-reward-victory cycle so much more smoothly, accessibly and with less required commitment.

    The success of other tabletop games over WotC's offerings are partly, indeed if not primarily, because of their differentiation away from the tried and tested MMO pattern into something richer and altogether deeper and more interactive.

  3. While I'm liking 4e Essentials as a tool to teach younger players, it just isn't as fun to play as Pathfinder, IMO. I'm enjoying the games I'm running, but man I wish I was playing Pathfinder.
    I started playing in AD&D, but 3e ended up being the edition I liked the best. So my preference for Pathfinder may be simple bias and I can't deny that.
    That being said Essentials has some good qualities and the DM prep is nice, but overall 4e just feels like it lacks options. I do like reading the Essentials books much more than the original 4e and the builds are "easier" to manage but over all it plays too "stiff" for my taste.
    WotC did a good thing with Essentials, IMO, but I think that Pathfinder is here to stay. Paizo consistently put out better 3e material than WotC and I feel they continue to do so. They have a much better customer service program and even the higher ups spend a substantial amount of time on the messageboards interacting with customers/fans. There is a real sense that they are at least trying to give fans a game they want to play, rather than telling them what they want to play.
    I understand WotC's decisions with 4e and in their shoes I may have made similar choices (game design, not PR), but the game feels like it had too much corporate influence. It doesn't feel like a game designed by gamers for gamers. It is D&D and so I really do want to like it, but it just feels wrong to me somehow.
    Things may change when 5e comes out, but the best thing that could ever happen to D&D is for Hasbro to sell the IP, at least the rpg department, to someone else. Though I think Mearls is doing his best to get D&D back on track, he has suits to answer to.

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