Apr 8, 2009

If Webster's adds "Blogtroversy" this year, I am killing all of you, and then myself.

Seems to be in fashion these days! Okay bad joke.

Okay, maybe not all of you. Okay, maybe not myself either - but still.

No really, please don't have me arrested...I'm too young for Sodomy!

Alright. Back on topic BAD CAFFEINE!

Tell you the truth, I'm glad Wizards did the whole "PDF thing" I was getting tired of reading Dave Arneson posts. Too many people in my bubble fighting cancer right now. Hopefully we'll hear Steve Jackson was gang-raped in his hotel by a pack of chinchillas, so we can move on from this one.

In any event, I got nothing else to talk abouton a rainy Wednesday, andI haven't had a good rant in awhile...so here it goes.

To Whom it may concern,
Wizards of the Coast Boardmembers, et al.

Greetings. I am Donny the DM, and I run a little blog called the Fine Art of the TPK (it's awesome - see the actual words are capitalized, but not the little ones?) I would like to write a scathing letter to you that will be posted all over the Internet and make me famous, but I don't have the skill or patience.

Upon consulting FOXnews, I feel I am sufficiently pissed off to forgo skill, and indefinitely postpone patience. I can now continue.

Now, to the point. Could you guys (and gals?) please do your fucking jobs? If any company I have ever worked for had PR issues like your does, head would have fucking rolled several times now. As a fan, watching the edicts of your chicken-innard readers at the street level has left me rather mystified. I mean, we all have these stereotypical head images of stupid corporate hacks elevated by politics over qualifications right? Do you guy's have them too? Never mind, that was rhetorical.

Consider this conundrum. If YOUR decisions are viewed by your fans AND critics as short minded stupidity, are they? If not, why does the perception exist? Are you doing anything about it? Do you care? Why(not)?

I don't even know who most of you are, how many, or even what you really look like, but my mental imagery of your group is not very flattering. You see, all of you are wearing the proverbial ass-hat. There is more than a passing resemblance to a certain stubborn, 4 legged beast of burden as well. Why is this? I am after all a fan.

My issues with you are myriad, the whole 4E release thing (Don't get me wrong, love the system), Free PDF's with book purchase OH WAIT! NM :), the putrid GSL, the long wait for an only slightly less putrid GSL, DDI - speaking of which where is my fucking online tabletop? The word "Facepalm" accurately describes the feeling each of these brings. All together though, they make me want to stab myself in the face with a no.2 pencil.

To make matters worse, you give us fans nothing. I'm not talking about free schwag. I'm talking about some fucking good-will. I mean FUCK! Give me SOMETHING to shut these Pathfinder pricks up with! Would it hurt to get some fucking positive press here? Who the hell is your advertising guy? If he is in arms reach, bitch slap that idiot please. For crying out loud, donate some materials to the the US ARMY. Send a basic set to every library in a state, SOMETHING! Instead, I have to listen to "OGL this" and "Paizo" that, and "true D&D" all over. Do you people even care?

Another conundrum: If you DO care, or do any of these things already, why does the world, much less a group of a hundred or so "geek elite" that watches your every move not know about this?

Caring for your customers/fans involves a lot more than producing product and raising cover prices. It takes more than gouging us for the "privilege" of having non-random minis, or losing our favorite magazines (and no a fucking E-zine doesn't fill the hole). It even takes more than driving away some of our favorite 3PP's or stealing (YES STEALING) the PDF's we have legitimately purchased through your authorized retailers (FYI - I have 2 - You owe me 32 bucks and change).

No. What it has taken for me, was the realization that you have gone from a gaming company that made me feel like a fan, to a corporate subsidiary that treats me like a customer. A meaningless scratch on a quarterly revenues sheet. Have you checked the boardroom closets lately? I'm half convinced Lorraine William's is hiding in it, complete with life support chair, dispensing advice to all comers. Are you too close to see history repeating itself?

Far be it for me to just shit all over you and not offer a towel. In the last few days, I have heard a lot of talk on the RPGBN regarding how THEY would do it better. A few choice tidbits are:
  1. Include card stock high quality power cards with the purchase of a dead-tree product. Other items included mini's, dice, even card stock character portraits. This gives me a reason to prefer the physical product over the pirated product.
  2. PDF's should be available at an absolute minimum of 50% less than physical books. Why? If you cannot answer that - immediately apologize and shoot yourself. You are officially too stupid to live.
  3. Make ALL legacy D&D products available either free, or at a substantial discount. We're talking 2-5 dollar range. High quality full size scans. You have any idea how much I would pay for digital scan of my Ruins of the Undermountain maps? Trust me, you need the goodwill with the legacy gamers. There are more of them out there than your focus groups are taking into account.
  4. Plastic softcovers instead of cardboard. Trust me, it's cheaper and more durable.
  5. Less art. Even if it affects the page counts (which lowers production costs anyway). Another possibility? A lower cost artless or B&W version.
  6. Stop using Amazon. Yes they are convenient, but they are also killing the book industry. I would buy directly from you or authorized retailers, why stick another finger in the pie?
  7. Errata. You FUCKS did it again with 4E. No sooner do I buy the damn books, an EXTENSIVE errata change is released (2 more since then). It's not open for discussion, at the very fucking least, you owe me an updated PDF. Insult to injury? I bought a second set of core I books that included the new errata, only 3 MONTHS LATER they DIDN'T. I sent them the hell back. Lost sale.
  8. FREE web content. Free add-ons and errata for the books we purchased from you was a GOOD thing.

I doubt any of you will read it. If you do, you'll insult my lineage and intelligence, blah, blah, blah. However. I WILL find a way to procure my PDF's. I will also stop purchasing your products via retail. E-bay or amazon used will be fine. I will tell anyone and everyone I meet while gaming the same. I hold no illusions that this will bring you to your proverbial knees.

Last conundrum: If you have a vocal ex-customer who WANTS to be a customer, but demands that you use your fucking brains before he is willing to continue a relationship you...what do you do?

There are a lot of games out there. I want to know why YOU think I should spend my precious time playing yours.


Donny the DM

PS. Anyone else got anything to add?


kingworks said...

I'll add my signature to that, if you'll have me.

Mad Brew said...

Guess it's time to be a fan of something else... I hear Pathfinder is nice.


Seriously though.

Zachary The First said...

No, no, very nicely done. Excellent point on the fan/customer feeling difference. It has to be cringe-inducing as a fan seeing how they've handled a lot of their fan relations and PR.

Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to talk to you about the relevance and opportunities of the OGL movement and Pathfinder... ;)

Donny said...


I might just have to pass this along.

I hate being a fan of something, and them becoming a guilty-by-association apologist through no fault of my own.

WotC needs to do SOMETHING, as even their fans are starting to get readings from their Douchebag-ometers.

Helmsman said...

This post was 100% WIN from title on down. Fucking brilliant!

Ishmayl said...

Nice post!

I think you stated your opinion well, (mostly) eloquently, and hopefully someone will read it.

greywulf said...

Nothing to add. You've said it all, and more :D

Scott Malthouse said...

Goddammit that's good. I think you covered everything. By the way, the tagline to your blog, did you get that from an issue of Dragon by any chance?

Christopher B said...

Amen. Where do I sign?

Donny said...

Glad you all liked it.

Sure made ME feel better. Reminds me of my uncle ranting about Chevy and their decision to put a 4-Cyl in a vette. The old "Iron Dookie".

People bitched, and the issue was fixed.

Wish I had as much optimism about this :(

Thanks for coming by everyone!

@scott - No, is there a Dragon article by that name? I'd hate to get a C&D for IP infringement :O

Anonymous said...

Send it!

Scott Malthouse said...

@Donny It was a filk song in one of the issues.

"It's my dungeon and you'll die if I want to/ You will die too it will happen to you"

Or something...