I wish another company would release marketing information like WotC did back in the day. I imagine that they thought people would take their new version of D&D more seriously if they showed how seriously they were looking at their possible customers. Companies still do this sort of thing, but they keep the results close and don't talk about them in public.
So until one does, one is left with data that's more than a decade old. A lot can change in a decade. Even so, one of the most interesting things in the old WotC release was average time for a campaign reset (i.e. everyone rolls new characters and a new campaign is started).
Players who have gamed longer than five years have the longest campaigns, but they're only 19.6 sessions. And they play *a lot*, an average of 5.9 games per month. So basically a campaign lasts all of 3 months.
This is one of the things that make me feel greatly out of step with the typical gamer. My shortest campaigns tend to be at least 2 years long, but I play around twice a month. Even with the lower frequency, that's still almost five times as long as the average. And I often return to a previous campaign adding a another few years to the same setting and characters.
For myself, that fast turnover would turn me off the hobby. It's takes me that 19.6 sessions just to get a good investment going.
But beyond my reaction there is another interesting question, knowing those values- what kind of game would you design to meet them?
I'm not sure I would have gone the path of 3.x, for such a short experience why use a complex character generation? My first reaction would be that the characters were expendable and short lived. Thus they should be easy to create, and just as fast to get rid of.
Instead WotC went with a very detailed character generation, and they might have been right- assuming that many groups didn't start over with 1st level characters but started at higher level. A major part of the game in that case would be generating the character, testing it for a while, and then trying something new.
It does however seem to explain why they wanted to farm out adventure modules. It would take too much to keep up with that frequency of play and campaign turnover. They needed third parties to keep up.
I'd love to see what the current numbers are after the balkanization of the hobby between 4th edition, 3e edition clones, OSR clones, and the also ran games out there. My guess is that the session number has declined on average.
Way of the Wicked
15 hours ago