Where We Come From and Where We Go


July 9, 2011 by Jeff

Where We Get Class

It’s a new(ish) month and that means it’s time for a new Poll of the Month, wherein I analyze the results of the last poll and then give you the skinny on the new poll. This is, on a note for those interested, squeezing into the spot in the month normally reserved for Tracy Hurley’s Player’s Guide article. She’s swamped with work on other things so I’m giving her some time off. You new players will have to find your way through the woods without a guide for a little while.

For last month’s poll I was curious to find out where people liked to get their classes from. It gives us an idea of which sort of products people use and what they use most often. I know WotC has discussed how much they love the new webapp version of the Character Builder on DDI because it gives them an idea of what actually is and is not being played. But I was a bit curious about gathering some data of my own just to see how others play the game.

I know a lot of people wanted to say “I use anything…everything…whatever works best for my concept…etc.” and they made that known in the “Other” option in the vote. 14% of the vote was for “Other” and all but one of them gave some indication to this effect or close to it. I left it off on purpose, because that wasn’t exactly the sort of data I was looking for…but I know I’d be hearing about it if it wasn’t an option at all, so I allowed the “Others” to fill in that blank.

I was also curious to see if ANY third party products got mentioned at all. It’s been discussed that 4e has killed the third party market for player options, mainly by virtue of the Character Builder and the fact that it’s hard/impossible to customize and add third party support to. I don’t think WotC is to blame for making a product that’s so good and popular that people can’t imagine making a character without it, I was just curious what people were actually doing. Not a single third party product was mentioned, by the way. So that theory seems to hold up.

Most of the results, I guess, aren’t too surprising. One of the things I was curious about was the popularity of Essentials classes. It turns out that they’re pretty popular, getting 15% of the vote, that’s over Player Handbook 2 (which is my personal favorite). Players Handbook 3 was largely unpopular, perhaps people got burned out on the system of a new PH every year. Maybe the mechanics for psionics just isn’t that popular. And it’s little surprise that the setting specific material didn’t make the list since there are very few classes in those books, so even lumped together they have a hard time standing up to the options of the other books.

The big winner in this poll (and this is of little surprise) is Players Handbook 1. It was the first book to come out, it was the book that everyone bought even if they aren’t the sort of person who buys everything, it came in a variety of different printings and versions. One might think it would be the perfect choice for an evergreen product to introduce people to the game…or it seems that it works that way for many people. Maybe I’m interpreting this wrong, leave me a comment and tell me why.

Here are the overall results of the poll:

Con Season

Now it’s time to introduce the next poll of the month. We are in the middle of convention season. Origins, PAX, GenCon…oh my! Many people get to go to game conventions and each convention has a different atmosphere, culture, and strengths. Many websites, blogs, and podcasts cover different cons in different ways. So even if you can’t make it to a con you can still read/hear/experience parts of the con. As I’m getting ready to go to the one con of the year I try to get to (GenCon) I’m curious what your favorite thing about conventions are. If you go, what do you like to do? If you don’t go, what do you like to hear about? I suppose if I was looking for actionable data I’d split this into two polls, but I’m not trying to be scientific, so either way, what do you like about conventions…

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One thought on “Where We Come From and Where We Go

  1. [...] a mainstay of RPGs since the beginning. But where do gamers get their classes from? According to a poll conducted by Jeff Greiner of Temporary Hit Points, you might be surprised. I know many of my characters are still stuck in the same roles I played in [...]

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