Friday, March 21, 2008


I've had the mother of all headaches today. I think I slept wrong, since I could sense it's presence even before I woke up. I get this sort of headache from time to time and I imagine that it's similar to being hung over (it is at least similar to how hang overs are depicted in conventional media). Obviously taking some ibuprofen is a big part of the cure, but what seems even more palliative is to avoid loud noises headphones, and to move very slowly. The fact that this works leads me to believe that some measure of stress is involved, or perhaps it's just that once my upper neck muscles tighten up that there's some kind of positive feedback loop which just makes them more and more clenched, and that only by trying to sort of unclench my whole body do things start to improve.

After four hours of trying to take it easy the headache has mostly receded, though I can tell that it's just lurking at the edge waiting to pounce should I do anything foolish. As usual it's a source of continual frustration that I'm not a robot. Being an automotan that could just be plugged into an AC outlet and didn't require sleep would be super convenient for me right about now. In other news Paizo, one of the largest publishers of D&D adventures announced that they would not be making the move to Fourth edition, but would instead come up with their own rules system that was based on D&D edition 3.5. For those who don't care about D&D (and possibly even those who do should probably just stop reading at this point.

I'm excited about 4E although if you've been following my blog you'll realize that the amount of excitement goes up and down. So I maybe prejudiced, nevertheless I think this is a bad idea. Not just for Paizo, for Wizards and D&D as a whole. For Wizards it's bad because it draws attention to how late the GSL is and of course it cuts into their market share in particular the initial adoption. For D&D it confuses the market and makes it harder to get groups of players together and new people into the game. However I think both Wizards and D&D will survive, I'm less sure about Paizo.

Here's the core problem: Basically Paizo is going to start with, at maximum, the fans they already have. And I don't see how they end up with any more than that. I don't see any mechanism, or any sigificant mechanism for them to grow their customer base above what it is today. Then once you start factoring in the people who leave because they're more interested in 4E and then factor in the people who don't like the way the Pathfinder rules develop. Plus the normal attrition just due to time. Before you know it in a few years they're out of customers... In addition by creating a new ruleset they're losing the hard core "3E ain't broke so don't fix it". Why is the Paizo revision going to be more amenable to them than the WotC revision. Paizo claims complete backwards compatibility but they've already made way more changes than 3.5 vs. 3.0 and most people I know feel the need to fiddle with even that small jump.

I like the open beta test, but I think it's also pretty risky. Particularly the way they're doing it in the open. Imagine that they come upon an issue where their base is split about 50/50. Say for example the skill points change (I don't think the split on that issue is 50/50 but it's not a bad example). So you have long inflammatory debates on the Paizo Messageboards, with each side getting increasingly partisan. Well then when Paizo finally takes the side of one faction over the other, how can the faction who lost out not feel some animosity towards Paizo? Particularly if it's not just one issue, but every issue? (i.e. it's their entire philosophy of the game that loses out?)

Anyway I hope I'm wrong. I actually enjoy having a wide variety of systems to choose from. And I like the people at Paizo, and I've really enjoyed their Pathfinder Adventure Paths. And I was really looking to 4E Adventure Paths from them, so much so that I had just renewed my subscription, but now I'm thinking I may go back and cancel it. It's not that they're not supporting 4E it's that I'm not going to get their new system either until August of 2009... So that's over a year of 3.5 stuff, that I'm almost certainly not going to use...

May you live in interesting times


Blogger aozora said...

I don't understand how Paizo can make their own system that will be backward compatible to a system they don't own without improper use of IP.

2:28 AM  

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