Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

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Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

Post by Big Mac » Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:24 am

This started after DM David posted a blog article called: The Adventurers League Campaign Rules Offered a Game. How Gamers Played to Win and then crossposted a link on Twitter.

First Sly Flourish posted this reply:
Sly Flourish on Twitter wrote:A fantastic article as always on the interesting and controversial changes to the Adventurers League. I, for one, am glad that the designers don’t account for AL when making a hardcover adventure. I think the designers should have as few limitations as possible. #dnd
Then Mike Mearls gave a response:
Mike Mearls on Twitter wrote:Our research has shown that the way RPGs are played in RPGA-style OP programs - or at least how they are perceived to be played - is pretty unpopular with people who want to play RPGs.
I've never been organised enough to join an RPGA campaign and I've only done Organised Play with Pathfinder once, but I think it's a shame that it would come up in surveys as unpopular.

I'm actually interested in learning more about the various RPGA campaigns and have hoped that WotC could put together a contract to allow RPGA adventure designers to put their content up into a special "opt-in" RPGA area on DMs Guild.
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Re: Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

Post by Khedrac » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:01 am

This doesn't surprise me - I think the number of people who want "Organised Play" is actually very small - the twist is they tend to be a very active (and vocal) minority; and as an active minority may spend a lot more than the "average" gamer. That said, because they are a minority the average gamer is the one ticking the box for "not interested in" or "does not want" in the surveys which is then read as unpopular.

As with any survey, it's all in how you ask the question - get it wrong and people won't be asnwering the question that you think you asked.
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Re: Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

Post by shesheyan » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:19 pm

RPGA-OP is probably the best way to learn to play D&D if you can't find a group in your area. Just show up and learn how to play the game just by listening or by participating. Its also an opportunity to connect with other players and become part of a group.

As for not being popular there is a « perception » that those who play OP are more interested in optimisation (min/maxing) then roleplaying. I don't believe that to be true. But because you don't choose who is in your RPGA-OP game its more of a mixed bag in types of players and runs the risk of having more conflicts over the style of play.
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Re: Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

Post by agathokles » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:26 pm

I'm not into organised play myself, as I have my hands full with my home table, and prefer older rules set anyway, but I see that there are successful implementations of the Adventurers' League. The main difference, IMO, is that organised play is more of a sequence of connected one-shots rather than a traditional adventure or campaign. Based on the accounts I'm reading from guys I know here in Italy, it seems that WotC is handling things elegantly, with the AL scenarios being directly related to the hardbound adventures, but not the same, so people get a customised experience that is more likely to work well, while still participating in the "storyline".

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Re: Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

Post by brassdragon » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:21 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:19 pm
But because you don't choose who is in your RPGA-OP game its more of a mixed bag in types of players and runs the risk of having more conflicts over the style of play.
That's been the problem in my (very limited -- a couple of 2e sessions at an RPGA-sanctioned convention, and parts of Murder at Baldur's Gate using 5e playtest rules) experience of OP -- I met some people I really enjoyed gaming with, but also some whose style and preferences just plain clashed with mine. And it really only takes one conflict like that at the table to make me reconsider how I'm spending that part of my leisure time.

I'm not sure what to make of the fact that Mearls points to a different problem:
Mike Mearls on Twitter wrote:The overarching feel is that player actions don't affect the game world and DMs are bound by the rules instead of running a fun game.
Maybe that would have been my main concern if That One Guy hadn't started coming to the 5e playtest? :) But would seem impossible to avoid, if you're trying to design adventures to be played by many groups and with the expectation that players will take their characters to games with different DMs.

In the "everything old is new again" department, I'm reminded of the bits in Playing at the World and Hawk & Moor about what happened in the '70s when people started trying to take characters from one campaign into another. :D

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Re: Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

Post by shesheyan » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:35 pm

brassdragon wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:21 pm
I'm not sure what to make of the fact that Mearls points to a different problem:
Mike Mearls on Twitter wrote:The overarching feel is that player actions don't affect the game world and DMs are bound by the rules instead of running a fun game.
Maybe that would have been my main concern if That One Guy hadn't started coming to the 5e playtest? :) But would seem impossible to avoid, if you're trying to design adventures to be played by many groups and with the expectation that players will take their characters to games with different DMs.

In the "everything old is new again" department, I'm reminded of the bits in Playing at the World and Hawk & Moor about what happened in the '70s when people started trying to take characters from one campaign into another. :D
I think he means that its not the DM's campaign but rather WoTC's campaign. As such the DM (and players) must follow the scripted story as best they can because they don't know what the next installment will contain and which player will show up next week. Its not the same as a home run campaign were the DM (and players) can take liberties with the story and setting.

It depends on the type of player I guess. Some players like control and certainty. I've met players who were really upset if I changed things in Forgotten Realms and didn't follow exactly what the setting and novels said. That is why I haven't GMed many games with settings players have access to the lore. I prefer when things are less defined and I can adapt to what the players do.
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Re: Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

Post by willpell » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:14 pm

I generally assume that more organization is a bad thing until proven otherwise. Having to keep everything in line with a series of guidelines is likely to stifle creativity and prohibit personalization.

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Re: Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

Post by Big Mac » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:57 am

Khedrac wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:01 am
As with any survey, it's all in how you ask the question - get it wrong and people won't be asnwering the question that you think you asked.
You're right. There is a big difference between people not wanting to play RPGA/organised play games with strangers, not having the time or money to be able to travel to RPGA/organised play events and actively disliking the concept of the RPGA and organised play.

I didn't get the best experience from my one Pathfinder OP game, but I put that down to me being rusty and not prepared. I certainly wouldn't write it off from that game, as the other gamers were friendly and helpful.
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Re: Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

Post by Coronoides » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:24 am

I’ve never been attracted to OP. In my early years it wasn’t available in Australia anyway. However, I had a very strong preference for creating my own worlds, stories, and player options especially races to suit my new world. Frankly, my younger self was a bit of an arse who looked down on anyone using a published world. Now days I’m more time poor and can’t create every damn thing for every session all the time. I have also come to appreciate published settings add to the shared language and make talking and sharing with others more fun.
I also run open house sessions in my local FLGS and enjoy playing with strangers.
However, I’d still balk at joining a OP program as a DM or player, looking through the WOTC materials and restriction for OP they are well, way too restrictive.
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Re: Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

Post by timemrick » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:01 pm

I haven't tried Adventurer's League, mostly because I'm heavily involved in Pathfinder Society and trying to run a home game (or two). (I have, however, run one free AL scenario for my home group as a holiday one-shot, and it went over well.) AL is not nearly as popular at my FLGS as PFS--there seems to be a handful of people who play AL regularly, compared to nearly a dozen of us PFS regulars. (We usually need two tables on Sunday afternoon, but just one on Tuesday nights.)

It took me a little while to get really hooked on PFS, but I greatly enjoy it. It gives me an opportunity to try out more character builds and other crunchy bits than I ever would in a single home campaign. Playing with people other than my regular home group has also been a good experience, because it gives more insight into how other players and GMs interpret the rules, and it keeps me from getting *too* comfortable with my usual ruts.

We do have a few players who are annoying in one way or another (lack of social graces, excessive distractibility, or persistent inability to absorb basic rules) but in general, we have a pretty good group of regulars. My wife and I have made some good friends doing this.
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Re: Mike Mearls says WotC research suggests RPGA/OP unpopular

Post by Dread Delgath » Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:09 am

When I first started 5e, I joined a FLGS group that was supposed to follow AL rules. We didn't because the DM claimed that the store manager didn't send him any AL materials via email. The store manager claimed that the DM got all of it through email, but refused to pony up $$ for any of the hardback adventures on the shelf.

The current DM at the FLGS is receiving AL support from the store, and he has told me anecdotally that neither he as DM nor his group are happy with the changes in rules to AL play.

I could not even begin to list these, because, as I said earlier, our FLGS group DM didn't get any AL materials, so we never did play by AL rules. I have no idea what they are, however, I have access to some through the current FLGS DM; he lets me look at the materials. Most of it are short adventures like Rrakkma, or magic item certificates. :?
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