Business of RPGs
Role of Computers in RPGs
Business Manager, Roleplaying Games
lived in the worlds of our characters, the game designing wizards here
at Wizards of the Coast would use psionic abilities to know exactly what
customers want, employ spellcasting powers to create perfect products
overnight, and teleport the games directly to players who want them. But
until "game designer" becomes a new prestige class (hey, we're
working on it!), the process of planning, developing, marketing, and distributing
roleplaying products remains a little more complicated. This regular feature
offers insight into the business side of fun and games.
of Pen and Paper is here and now.
at the global RPG headquarters of Wizards of the Coast, we have planned
and developed for the future of roleplaying. And what we see for the future
is the increased use of computer aids to enhance your tabletop gaming
experience -- but not a digital doppelganger impersonating your Dungeon
consumers primarily want to play in a prefabricated campaign that requires
little or no preparation on their part. One type of computer product that
fulfills this wish is the massively multiplayer online roleplaying game
(MMORPG), in which an efficient computer DM weaves the story, moderates
the rolls, and presents the fantasy realm in rich graphics. MMORPGs
are being refined and enhanced daily, and are multiplying like dice in
a gamer's bag. Many believe these games are the natural state of evolution
for RPGs: using computers and the Internet as a communications medium
and arbiter for decisions, calculations, and statistical functions.
great advantages reaped by playing MMORPGs are countered by their limitations.
There is no ability to quickly expand or upgrade the system to allow for
rules expansions or source material implementations. Such changes instead
become a lengthy process of coding and upgrading. The MMORPG is a great
addition to the gaming experience but doesn't replace its core game, the
tabletop RPG. The core game has always been about expressing your infinite
choices and solving problems from new angles.
enthusiastic consumers use available tools and examples to craft their
own stories and worlds. Neverwinter Nights, for example, is a fantastic
computer game product that gives you the power to DM. It allows you to
create your own modules and implement your unique ideas. Set in the Forgotten
Realms, meaning any module you create will have a distinctively Realms
flavor, this game comes closest to allowing you to replicate your tabletop
gaming experience. However, Neverwinter Nights is bound by the
power and scope of its software. While still a powerful digital expression
of the D&D game, its format limits your creative expression
and negates the need to gather and interact with your team in person.
Social interaction, we believe, is a core benefit of the tabletop game.
RPGs have always encouraged players to use their imaginations and artistic
skills. From creating your own campaign world to acting in character,
RPGs are always best played using your own mind and feeding off of the
energy created by your group. That statement might raise images of a horde
of mindflayers, but it's true: A prime benefit of participating in RPGs
is the experience you garner from playing with other gamers.
to enrich your gaming experience by producing high-quality traditional
RPG products and innovative aids. We believe the current RPG experience
can be made more efficient and satisfying by using aids such as Master
Tools to help you create and shape your own game. Fans of tabletop RPGs
have also toiled long hours to create many useful shareware programs that
track items, characters, and encounters. These are just the beginning
of the vast accessories we believe will keep RPGs at the tabletop for
years to come -- enabling you to forge new worlds with tools that help
you map it out, stat out the inhabitants, and keep track of the spells
and magic that bring them to life.
you catch the previous Business of RPGs article? Learn about the upcoming
live-action Forgotten Realms television series and other exciting
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