How ‘Dungeons And Dragons’ Is Relying On Past Editions To Sell The Next

Since last year, Wizards of the Coast has been revitalising the Dungeons and Dragons brand with a series of reprints and PDF releases, all building toward the upcoming D&D Next.

Anyone that has followed the venerable Dungeons and Dragons tabletop roleplaying game knows that it has a history of progressive versions and editions. The game is currently in its fourth edition, but lately publishers Wizards of the Coast have been taking a look back. This week they released a reprint of the Spell Compendium from the 3.5 edition, featuring over 1000 spells, updated and modified with errata. And just last month they released Dungeons of Dread, a reprint of some of the most famous and dangerous of D&D dungeons.

Laura Tommervik,  Senior Brand Manager of D&D, said, “We know that many of our fans, both current players and people who haven’t played D&D for years, have fond memories of the D&D adventures they played when they were young, but they may not always have access to their original books. We wanted to make sure that the best of that classic content was available for everyone once again.”

This recent strategy of Wizards’s began last summer, with a reprint of the first edition’s Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master Guide’s, and Monster Manual. Then in the fall they reprinted the 3.5 versions of those same books. After releasing a few 1st edition books as PDFs, they announced DnDClassics.com, a web store with electronic copies of D&D books from throughout the game’s 30+ year life. “We’ve seen excitement for both the premium reprint books and for the downloadable content available at DnDClassics.com, and the pace of downloads has exceeded our expectations. Hundreds of fans have reviewed products on the DnDClassics web store, and it is fun to read players’ stories about interacting with these classics once again,” said Tommervik.

This strategy to bring back older editions is the direct result of the tactic they are taking with the new D&D Next . When the new edition was announced early last year, one of the goals was to make the game inclusive of the players who preferred the older editions.  Tommervik said, “It has always been our goal with D&D Next to create a rules set that incorporates the best aspects of every edition and brings players together around the table.” So the company is designing D&D Next with a modularity, groups of rules related to the various editions, that can be used or not used, to support whatever play style you prefer.

So beyond the public playtest for D&D Next  that yields new content every month or so, Wizards of the Coast has begun the process of bringing gamers back to D&D with these reprints and PDF releases. “Many of our players have strong emotional connections to our classic products. These amazing stories have stood the test of time and we want our fans to be able to access them easily,” said Tommervik. “And at the end of the day, we want for people to be able to play D&D using the rules they choose.  After all, it’s all D&D!”

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