So today in the wonderful RPG Bloggersphere, we have a hot new topic to foam at the mouth about: Wizards of the Coast is pulling all digital sales from sites like Paizo.Com, Drivethrurpg.com, and RPGNow.com and others. Not only are they cutting off the digital sales of D&D 4th Edition rule books, they’re cutting off anything that used to bare a TSR logo on it as well. Goodbye, AD&D. Goodbye Darksun.
Why are they doing this? Oh, because a few people stripped the DRM from the PDF’s they purchased from them and shared them on the web. They’re suing 8 individuals for distribution of their products, and in return have decided to punish their entire online customer base.
This rant isn’t going to be over my feelings about their decision to punish everyone in hopes it’ll reduce piracy (read: it won’t.) Instead, this is going to be a rant on my end about how so bad I want to be the “good guy” in this and in the end I come off as a tool.
When the Evil Corporate Bastards Grab You by The Nuts.
Not too long ago, I had purchased a copy of Windows Vista for a PC I was building. Yeah, I know all the kinks with the OS, but I had it on my laptop and running decently and decided “Oh wtf.” I shelled out the cash for Home Premium and felt good because I did the right thing and bought myself a legit copy of the OS. A month later, it was announced that they started Windows 7 Beta. The Blogsphere and the IT news flooded with people raving about “This is what Vista should have been.”
I was pissed. I was beyond pissed. I felt I was cornered in, so to speak, that I bought Vista at a time when a new product was being tested and now, presumably at the end of the year, a brand spanking new OS will come out demanding I pay more money to get a system that runs how it should’ve ran in the first place. Great.
At that point, I decided to dive into Linux. Screw the corporate giant! I’m going to support the work and effort of the open source community! I found a Distro that was friendly for my wet-behind-the-ears Linux knowledge (Linux Mint) and completely overhauled my laptop purely with this new OS.
A couple weeks later I reinstalled Windows on it. As awesome as Linux was, it wasn’t performing right. For starters, my online games ran like ass under Wine with my onboard vidcard, whereas tweaked on Windows it rocked. Other little things annoyed me too…for instance, when I got my MIDI keyboard recognized and setup under Linux finally, I discovered that the way I had to load my virtual instruments in the particular multi-platform software I wanted to use under Linux….involved using Wine. Or a Virtual Box. WTF!?
That and of course I got tired of people saying “You just have to modify this, download and compile that, tweak this.” Eff you. I want my damn computer working, and I don’t have time to twiddle.
I wish I could foam at the mouth and cast out my 4E Books.
But I can’t. You see, my main gaming circle fell in love with 4E. Third Edition/3.5 and earlier never really caught on with them. This is the first time where they really hooked their talons into a D&D product. We’re having fun, and I think at this point proposing going back to 3.5 would piss them off entirely. The characters they made simply wouldn’t be the same in d20, at all. Sure, I could pull it off with “some modifying this, tweak that, house rules this.” But, no, we have a system and a campaign and all of it is working.
I wish I could plead my case to my friends and say “But we’d be doing the right thing!” but, it wouldn’t be. See, the couple’s house we play at don’t have the Internet. The wife works at a local bookstore and actually bought me the majority of my D&D 3E collection, and other books I’ve used in the past. When the husband finds free e-books and fan made supplements, he just prints them off at his job and binds them. They’re very much a “Dead Tree” household. I thought I was going to be cool showing up with my laptop and having my library on there seperate from the books I was passing around….I felt like an idiot. Having to always sit where there’s a power source nearby, lugging this bulky laptop around. I guess “Modern Convience” is also in the eyes of the Beholder.
So, I’ll continue picking up D&D products here and there. It’s not a fanboy love (although I’ve spoken highly of it lately.) It’s just the simple matter of the game works for my gaming group, and things like this won’t really effect anyone in the group except me, but that’s because I’m a big digital freak. Lord knows we’ve played RPG’s a lot longer than we have had high speed net connections and access to digital books. If nothing else, this just means we’ll continue playing with the power’s knocked out and society collapses.
PS — After having played so much 4E, one of my other gamers has now taken interest in d20 again. He bought an interesting historical campaign setting for Dracula/Vlad the Impaler, designed for d20, and he wanted a go at it. Originally he wanted a conversion to 4E…but instead I handed him a copy of Iron Heroes. I think he groks it well enough after playing 4E….so….there is hope right?