Official posts and explanations

From the Wizards messageboard (click on names for links to posts):

 

Scott Rouse (Questioner in italics)
Ok, for real now: what about buying on Amazon? How this will be random for people who live far from FLGS? How can we know what is the “visible” figure? 

Each pack will have it’s own SKU # so you’ll know you are buying the troll vs the giant.

Scott Rouse
And how very lame by WotC not to announce it by themselfs, but just after somebody posted it earlier.

This was copy and pasted from my article before it went live and was never meant to be a customer service response.

Scott Rouse
Is buying by the case still an option? Also, how many different “visible” creatures will there be per set?

Yes. There will be assortment cases with even dist of visbles and bricks cases with all the same visible so stores can restock.

8 visibles per set.

Andy Collins
So 4th edition killed DDM skirmish

Actually, as Scott mentions in his post, we’ve been seeing drops in skirmish play since 2006–more than a year before 4E and the new D&D Miniatures ruleset were even announced, much less published.

Whether or not the change to a new ruleset hastened or slowed the decline is impossible to know, but I believe that we’d have been in exactly the same situation regardless of that change, whether a few months ago or a few months from now.

Nobody here is happy about having to end skirmish support. We’d far prefer it if the skirmish game were a thriving, growing entity, allowing us to continue to support it with a profitable line of game accessories and events.

But since that’s not the reality we’re living in, we’re just trying to make the best possible decisions from a list of imperfect options.

Andy Collins

I appreciate your frustration.

I’ve been on the other side of these kinds of announcements before–favorite TV shows or comics cancelled, anticipated game products shelved, etc.–and it sucks. In no way do I mean to minimize the anger and disappointment you’re feeling.

That said, I feel it necessary to provide further explanation regarding some of the points you’ve raised.

First of all, please understand that all the anecdotal evidence that you’ve seen about people “warming up” to the game simply has not translated into more players in sanctioned events or more sales–the only two metrics that we can reliably track.

By the time Demonweb comes out in November, we’ll have been publishing and strongly supporting the new game for nearly a full year (remember, the new rules were posted in January), including three expansions and a number of restatted sets plus a raft of online articles supporting the game, all the while watching play and sales numbers continue to dwindle rather than grow.

There were some voices who pushed for us to keep on with business as usual, but we had too many reasons to believe that that choice would simply delay the inevitable rather than result in a miraculous revival.

Ultimately, we believed that the decision came down to “do something different now, or do something different later when the business is in even worse shape than it is now.” Given those options, I feel we made the best call from a number of imperfect options.

WOTC– explain why customers should have faith in your entity in anyway after these actions. Specifically, why should us as customers buy and get involved with this new product line in 2009 after having taken this action with a product (2.0) you just released in 2007?

Y’know, I’ve seen this argument come up a lot over the years, and I just don’t buy it. Exactly what are you supposed to “have faith” in?

That we’ll produce great-looking minis you can use in your RPG, as we’ve announced?

Or that we’ll continue to produce minis in this manner forever and ever, regardless of changing economic realities of the business model?

We took the best swing at the skirmish game that we knew how to take. By all means, be frustrated that the game only lasted 5+ years instead of 10 or 20. We’re frustrated too. But we also know that we can’t keep pushing the rock uphill.

Nothing is forever. Any expectation that the debut of a new game (or TV show, or comic series, or brand of dog food) also includes an implicit promise that it’ll be supported ad infinitum is simply unreasonable.

All we can keep doing is making games & accessories that we believe are worth you, the customer, paying for. Enough folks told us (by their absence) that the current model of D&D Miniatures didn’t meet that criteria that we had to make a change.

Something else I am curious about as well….
How difficult would it be for 
WOTC to stat these minis for 2.0 Skirmish and just post the PDFs for them? Not print actual cards? Was this option ever on the table at all as a means to retain this demographic of players that play Skrimish exclusively?

Yes, it was absolutely discussed. Many times. By many people, myself included.

While the numbers aren’t trivial, it’s not about how many hours or dollars it costs to produce the online stats. Ultimately, this is a simple zero-sum equation.

Every minute that a designer, developer, editor, typesetter, graphic designer, or web specialist spends getting a set of stats to the website is a minute they’re not spending on another product.

If those minis stats are going to make the company more money than that other product, it might well be a good idea.

But if I can use those folks on a different, more profitable project–say, a D&D sourcebook, or an RPG-focused minis product–I’m obligated as a responsible member of WotC management to support their reassignment.

Yup, that’s cold and heartless. But any other decision leads to me AND those folks looking for new jobs when the company’s bad business practices leads to layoffs or bankruptcy. I’m not particularly interested in exploring that eventuality.

I realize there’s going to be a lot of venting on this topic over the coming days, weeks, and months. I’m not trying to stop people from being frustrated. I’m just trying to provide a little more illumination behind the extremely difficult decisions we’ve made about this line over the past few months, and I hope that’s helpful.

One comment

  1. Anonymous

    I understand your (wotc) decision for ending ddm, however how difficult would it be for you to continue sanctioning events through your current setup. If we were able to continue to sanction and have local tourneys maybe in the future numbers could increase and create a viable game. Why couldnt we as a community create stats for new minis created by wotc costing your company nothing? or at least very little.

    Like

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