Let’s not mince words. When we gather around the table with our friends to play D&D (or any other tabletop RPG), we’re playing with toys. 99% of those toys might be in our imagination — but that isn’t what this post is about.

Wizards of the Coast makes toys. So does Paizo and the rest — but I’m going to focus on D&D and Wizards of the Coast, because they’re the reason most of the rest of them are around — there would be no Pathfinder without 3e D&D.

I’ve read several posts over the years about the money and the industry and why money causes one trend or another — the only reason why I care about any of this at all is if it’s true, and it means that the product that I WANT from WotC stops.

Let’s make this a Dune thing. “The loots must flow.”

I liked 3e D&D. I was upset when it stopped but in retrospect, I’m glad for 4e because my game got better. Not 4e — no, my game got better. I tried new stuff, learned new tricks, and became a better player for my troubles. Good deal.

So I get the need for new things. New product, whatever. It keeps you from getting jaded on whatever you’re playing, and helps you develop as a player.

But it seems like there’s a difference between good product and bad product. What’s good? What’s bad? Well — I imagine that shaking things up with a new edition of the game is a capital-B Bad idea. One that WotC is about to make again. But let’s look at another product of theirs… Magic: the Gathering.

Magic puts out new product all the time — every four months. They have video games and books and other stuff too, but that’s gotta be a distant second place.

Magic has also seen several major rules changes over the years, many of which served as significant milestones in the game’s development, and also as base-breakers. When I’m alone, I sometimes weep over the loss of Mana Burn.

What do they do differently? I’m sure Magic makes a lot more money than D&D, and I don’t know that it has so much to do with the product — CCG or RPG.

With Magic, you know there’s pretty much going to be a new “core set” once a year, plus two or three expansions developing a new plane — I realize this is a fairly recent development in the world of Magic, but it represents what they’ve been doing for the last six years: five editions and fifteen expansions.

So how do you get the slow drip of loots from D&D like you get from Magic?
We all want more of what we already like, but I think people like to like new things too. Especially if it makes them like something they already like more.

I want new toys but I don’t want to throw away my old ones. I don’t want to play with the old toys forever, that’s no way to make new friends.

So what has to change? What do YOU want from a toy maker?