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Sunday, March 2, 2014

D&D Next Player's Handbook Lists at 50 Bucks at Barnes & Noble - August 19 Release

Looks like D&D Next, or simply "Dungeons & Dragon", is releasing this summer. Well, we knew that, but we didn't know the pricing.

The Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook is listing at $49.95, with Barnes & Noble discounting it to $37.96.

If they keep the pricing across the board with the thee core books, it's going to be $150 just to have what you need to play the new D&D. Assuming you support your "brick & mortar" store. At these prices, where you can save nearly 40 bucks or more ordering from B&N or Amazon, who is going to support their neighborhood store?

Actually, at these prices, D&D is obviously no longer for kids.

Wasn't Next supposed to make D&D simpler and less bloated? Shouldn't that mean less pages and at least keeping the price steady, or near-so, compared to 4e?

At least they are putting out a D&D Starter box in July for $20. The thing is, if it's anything like the 4e starter box, it's totally worthless. If they put out something like the Pathfinder Beginner Box, WotC could redeem themselves. But they won't. A loss leader to bring folks into the hobby? Fugetaboutit

41 comments:

  1. Of COURSE D&D is priced for Kids . . .

    http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Fantasy-Role-Playing-Game/dp/1482355124/ref=la_B00HPBHWWG_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393793171&sr=1-1

    :)

    - Ark

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  2. Strikes me as an attempt to make people pay an "entry fee" to the "D&D community". If your friends are all playing 5.0 (and only 5.0), then you'll probably suck it up and pay.

    The price actually seems like it's targeted directly at the 16-25 crowd; an adult could find much more interesting things to throw 150 bucks at, and probably doesn't have the time to learn a new mega-system.

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  3. "Actually, at these prices, D&D is obviously no longer for kids."

    I don't know. I see plenty of kids walking around with $400 i-gadgets. But your larger point remains. And with all the free OSR stuff out there, there's no reason whatsoever to pay that kind of money to play D&D.

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  4. Priced for kids or not, when you can spend 50 bucks on the Pathfinder and other core books which includes both the Player AND the GM section. Why the hell would you want to pay 50 bucks just for section of core material?

    WotC astounds me. They go, "Okay, let's actually listen to what the PLAYERS want and make the new edition based on that." Then they turn around and say, "Okay we have what you want. Now open your wallet and bend over!"

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    1. Not to mention the Pathfinder sells PDFs of the core rules at $10 each.

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    2. Well, you sort of answered your own question. People will pay for the product they want, even if something resembling the product the way is available for less or for free.

      I haven't formed an opinion of D&D Next yet, but I've paid for several months of D&D Insider, which offers content and services roughly analogous to what's available for free on the Pathfinder SRD and other free tools. I pay because I strongly prefer 4th edition as a system and a product.

      Still, I think Wizards of the Coast could learn some lessons from Paizo. There is a certain degree of sticker shock when a person learns that to play more than a couple sessions of the latest iteration of D&D that they have to shell out upwards of $100. It seems like a short-sighted approach, with all the money they could make from D&DI subscriptions and selling supplements after they get players' foot in the door. That's assuming they intend D&D Next to be an enduring product line and not just a quick, soon-to-be-replaced/abandoned cash grab.

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    3. Well, you sort of answered your own question. People will pay for the product they want, even if something resembling the product the way is available for a lower price or for free.

      I haven't formed an opinion of D&D Next yet, but I've paid for several months of D&D Insider, which offers content and services roughly analogous to what's available for free on the Pathfinder SRD and other free tools. I pay because I strongly prefer 4th edition as a system and a product.

      Still, I think Wizards of the Coast could learn some lessons from Paizo. There is a certain degree of sticker shock when a person learns that to play more than a couple sessions of the latest iteration of D&D that they have to shell out upwards of $100. It seems like a short-sighted approach, considering all the money they could make from D&DI subscriptions and selling supplements if a large player base can be developed. That's assuming they intend D&D Next to be an enduring product line and not just a quick, soon-to-be-abandoned cash grab.

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  5. They couldn't find someone to write up even a simple description of the products?

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  6. Spending $50.00 in 2014 is like spending $15.00 in 1979. That means they pretty much have the same cost of entry AD&D did.

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    1. There were also hardly any alternatives in 1979.

      So you're right that the value adjusted for inflation is accurate, but the market is so rife with alternatives, it makes you wonder if that price point is going to be competitive enough to lure people back into the fold who left in the wake of 4e - beyond the completionist collectors and die-hards who need to see that D&D brand on their RPG books.

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    2. Yeah, but it's not just inflation. If you look at wages, they've pretty much been stagnant since then, at least for most people.

      It's one of the reasons the prices of video games have only increased a little ($60 vs $40 back then), despite not taking 100s of people to make, instead of just one guy.

      Or hardware, even Sony tried launching the PS3 at $600, which adjusted for inflation wasn't bad, but they lost much of their market share because of it. So they launched the next one at $400, while MS went for $500 and lost out this time.

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  7. I dunno, this is about what I expected. $50 is pretty common for a big-budget, full color game book (Dresden Files runs $40, Deathwatch runs $60). Needing to buy three books for D&D isn't new.
    That said, I don't *like* it that way, and I can't imagine shelling out $150 just to start playing a game, even as an adult. Especially not when I have a whole bunch of OSR books and Pathfinder all lying around.

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    1. It could have been one book for $50, like the Rules Cyclopaedia. The playtest documents were lean and efficient and there's going to be some horrid padding on display to get them to a length to justify $50 a book.

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    2. I'm not saying they have a brilliant business startegy but complaining about the price is silly as it is where the game was once upon a time.

      We do have lot's of alternatives but there is only one Dungeons & Dragoons (well, one new one ;-) ).

      What's a brand new video game going for these days...

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    3. not $150, which is probably what the 3 core books will retail for in total.

      remember, cant run a game with just the PH (but you can play in one)

      still, for 50 bucks it better be as large as the DCC RPG rulebook...

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  8. JDJarvis is correct. If you adjust for inflation, it's as if you were buying three DMGs in 1979.

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  9. Hmmm....I *might* drop the $20 for the starter set but, then again, maybe I won't. If I do then it will probably determine whether or not to continue with Next. Ugh...they need to drop the 3 book buy in model. Prices have gotten too high to stick with it. I hope the starter set is actually useful and not a glorified Choose Your Own Adventure book. Why can't they do a nice all-in-one starter book for say $25 to $30 with only the first 5 levels of information in it? For people that get really interested they could do the specific tomes (PHB, DMG, MM, etc.) to satisfy them and encourage continued play.

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    1. If the starter set is a complete game covering at least the first 3 levels (and preferably more), then I will consider purchasing it for $20. Otherwise...pass.

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  10. Most likely I would never buy it (various reasons)...but I would say it is silly to pass judgement on its value/worth until you actually SEE the book and know what it contains.

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  11. At the launch of 4th edition the original core books MSRP was around $40 each. And you could pickup all 3 for under $100 as a gift box. I got it at my local game shop for around $80 w/ tax to look at ... using store rewards credits I had earned buying other products. $100 I hate to say isn't too bad an entry fee. I know when i was a kid it took me over a year to amass the 3 core books for AD&D from my allowances and extra chores. But, it is pretty early to determine the value vs price at this point. All we have is bare bone entry accidentally published by a retailer. We know the SKU, MSRP, and that it is a PHB.

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  12. I'm actually surprised they aren't more. As far as they aren't priced for kids...like someone mentioned above, I see a lot of kids using $500 iphones, ipads, and all the other i's. If they want to play they game they'll get it. Or they could do what we used to do when I was a kid. None of us could afford all three books, so one would by the DMG, another the PHB and we'd share and figure out the game together.

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  13. I wouldn't have expected anything other than the three book model. Hasbro, WOTC's parent company, will not be happy with a product line that doesn't bring in multi millions. That translates into huge, bloated books followed by tons of splat books. Good for the publisher, bad for the game. I'd be shocked if the intro set isn't cripple ware since a small, reasonably priced boxed set that is all you need to play won't make enough money. That's where the OSR wins, OSR products are a labor of love and Next is a corporate endeavor that must make millions quickly or Hasbro pulls the plug.

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  14. 50 bucks does not strike me as being too much to be honest.
    Its 2014, the books will be big full color deals.

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  15. I liked that they ran that public play test, but that's about it. Like many here I suspect that the books will be intentionally crippled to make sure that they can sell follow-up books that finally give you "all the classes and options" as it were. I wish everybody who gets on this the best of luck. For me, there's so much classic D&D material (rules and settings and modules) that I won't be tempted to buy anything new. Except maybe a PDF here or there when they are "updating" an old module again and maybe (who knows) actually improve on the original in some way. B/X with house rules is good enough for me.

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  16. Yeah, the "kids can't afford it" thing isn't quite on mark as others point out. An AAA video game title is $60 at launch. Plus a kid into card games likely drops this much on boosters at the launch of a new set. A kid/adult into Warhammer 40K spends this much on a single model. And this is a similar purchase. This model seems to be in line with Paizo or Fantasy Filght Game RPG pricing and launch titles. Which is more akin to the WotC demographic and sales target. I think it would be cool if they entry level softbound books like Savage Worlds does - so that everyone doesn't have to buy the deluxe hardcovers at the $50 mark.

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  17. 10 Guys want to play "Blow everything Up 4" on Xbox, they prepay $60.00 a pop, 3 months later they all cough up $25.00 each for the advanced tactics campaign add-on.com All 10 are into the game for $950.00, most of them will drop playing the game in a year or less, 10 guys can have one DMG, one MM, and 5 PHB for $350.00 as msrp and if its good they'll play for 2 to 30 years.

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    1. I assume your "10 Guy" argument was just to make your numbers work, though I can't say any GM would want to manage a game with 9 players.

      With a more realistic team size, a 5-man group of D&D Next would need:

      1 DM Guide, 1 Monster Manual, and 5 Player Guides. That's $350 buy in.

      The same 5 guys would need $300 to play the video game -- 5 copies of the game.

      You can't add in "expansion packs" just because it suits your argument. Most FPS "expansion packs" add new maps, new classes, and new weapons. In order to do the same in D&D, you'd need to buy extra books and tile sets, which means the "expansion pack" argument is a wash -- you'd need the same thing for both games.

      As for longevity, I know people who still play Counterstrike using the original Half Life engine (released in 1998, 16 years ago). I just recently replayed Might and Magic 6 which I bought for $5 from GOG.com.

      And if you want longevity in RPGs, why wouldn't you just play with the stuff you already have? As a hobby, RPG'ing is one of the overall most cost-effective, because the hobby doesn't really change -- you can pretend just as much using D&D 2ed as you can with whatever they're foisting on us now. So arguing "you can play it for 30 years then" isn't a great argument... I can play any RPG I already have for 30 years without shelling out $150.

      Anyway, you can look forward to D&D Next all you want. I'm happy for you. I'm curious about it, as well. But trying to argue that it's cost-effective compared to other hobbies (or even other RPGs) is just plain silly.

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  18. For something that gives so many hours of entertainment, $150 doesn't seem like a lot of money. I'm not a kid anymore and the pennies I have aren't spread quite so thin; even so I tend to do a cost/benefit on most game stuff I buy. $30-50 for a book spread out over 40-50 4 hour games sessions a year is a deal. I tend to agree with the others who've done the comparisons to video games/phones/other electronics; pencil and paper gaming is cheap. However much the books sell for is a moot point; I already have the books I'm going to be using.

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    1. For folks invested in the hobby for years there isn't much incentive to buy anything new really outside of compulsive collecting.

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    2. Very true, I am a sucker for adventures and clever supplements, fortunately I can get most of the stuff as a pdf so the 'back room' isn't busting at the seams anymore. I think the hardest mindset for me to over come is that I do not need to buy a copy of every new set of rules that is released. I have Tenkar to point me to the cream of the crop these days. Those D6 rules look interesting...

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  19. Honestly, who cares about DnD? Do any of you really want to get back on the corporate splat treadmill that has defined every edition of Dnd for the past 30 years? I stuck with DnD from 1979 through four years back. But enough is enough. The value (in my opinion) just isn't there anymore.

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    1. Mel that sounds a bit sour grapish to me..

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  20. For a big color book of about 356 pages (I guess), $50,- is very expensive. A 612 page art book costs $35,-. And that contains good art.

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  21. $50 for a D&D Next PH or $50 for the Premium AD&D PH. A new system or a system proven to be enjoyed by lots of people.

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  22. These D&D books are actually in competition with all those free and cheap clone versions of the game. In order to justify asking people to pay for their game, they have the enhanced production values and large numbers of spells and skills and such (not to mention a player network and a standard rules set). With the high production value and the need for a large volume to fit in all the options, that's part of the reason why it's $50 per book.

    You're not necessarily paying for better rules that are better playtested, or even better settings just because you're paying for it. In the case of 5e, the fans did the playtesting, the more options, more complexity and the more chance of the rules being broken, and the art isn't game-able.

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  23. Why buy D&D at 150 bucks when I can get OSR my way at a staggering price of "free", and if not "free" a fraction of this cost in hardback.

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  24. It's apples and oranges to compare the price of new D&D books with the OSR. How many people in the OSR make a living writing rulebooks? I can't really criticize WotC for trying to stay in business.

    The D&D 3.0 PHB was $30, which adjusted for inflation would be $40 now. And I'm sure printing costs have increased above the rate of inflation. I'm going to adopt a wait-and-see approach. If I like the rules, then I'll pay for the books. To me at least, $50 seems reasonable, especially since D&D is the market leader and not a clone. Of course, if the system doesn't have what I want, or doesn't offer much that OSR or Pathfinder doesn't offer, then I doubt I'll get the books.

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  25. I'm sure many of you know this already, but the placeholder at Barnes & Noble has been removed. "Can't find what you're looking for"

    Let the speculation begin!

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