Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kickstarter: Potential and Problems

Tavis asked an interesting question last time around. So interesting I thought it would make an interesting post.

"For my own education, Joe, what's the benefit to you of picking things up through Kickstarter rather than waiting until they're at Games Plus and you can be sure they suit your interest at that moment? There might not be one overarching answer to that, but I'd find your roundups even more useful if you made this explicit in each case."

Maybe next month, when going over what's late and what's here, I'll talk about the specifics but here are a few things that get me personally interested in a Kickstarter.

1. Price Point: While its great that several Kickstarters have some sort of retail program, that aspect will continue to fall under scrutiny I'm sure. Especially as Kickstarters are late. It's one thing to tag a person for $100, it's another to tag a store for $1,000.

But in speaking of Price point, the consumer usually gets a decent discount, or at the least, gets a PDF copy of the book. In some instances, that PDF copy may cover multiple systems. These are value added things. In other cases, shipping is free. Even if the item may not be stocked in a FLSG, like Games Plus, and I order directly from the company, I'd pay shipping fees. Some Kickstarters take that fee onto themselves. Again, value added.

But, and here's the dreaded but, time is money. If your project is going to be six months late, saving 10%-30% really isn't saving anything as I could have used that money somewhere else.

2. It's Not Going To Be Available. Tavis mentions Games Plus. This is one of the best hobby stores, if not the best, I've ever been to. Fairly knowledgeable staff. Friendly, gaming space, special orders, massively wide selection. But they still can't stock everything and somethings they can't get hold of. 1650, a miniature Kickstarter I mentioned, would be a good example of something they don't normally stock. One Kickstarter I was thinking of backing, Spherewars, falls into the same category. Red Box Games comes and goes.

When speaking of Red Box Games, his distribution is not consistent throughout the 'Net. In some places, it's strong. In others, sell offs have already occurred. When popularity hits, they stock again.

Doing a Kickstarter allows one to get in on the ground floor of a thing and to purchase items that may not be available.

For me, those are the two primary things.

3. Exclusive Items: Way down on the list, the exclusive item! For miniatures, this is especially true. Sculpts that you're just not going to get anywhere else hit my 'collector' brain.

Now I know that isn't what other people do though. From my experience in talking with people who back projects, they tend to fall into a more 'community' style backing.

For example, King For A Day and Midgard Tales, both allow a fair amount of user interaction with the content. For some people, this is immense value added. They get to be a part of something. They get to work with professional designers. They get to feel that they've added to the material and that other members of the community can enjoy that. Same is true of Dwimmermount for a long time. James was running actual adventurers for people with the material. That's a hell of a community!

Time for the ass hat.

I don't care about that. I want the final finished product as polished as if it were coming out of a professional game company. Yeah, I'm leaving myself wide open to failure there as lord knows my bookshelves are packed with "see page XX." Thank you White Wolf and AEG for the memories.

In terms of potential problems, for me, that part is about the money. Eden, Otherworld Adventurers, Freebooter, and other companies have done successful Kickstarters and I didn't back them because my funds were tied up in other Kickstarters. So for backing Red Box and getting nothing, I could've backed Eden and received my rule books and miniatures. For backing It Came From the Stars and having no book on that end, I could have backed Spears of the Dawn.

Remember Kickstarter makers, when you're late, you've not only delaying the fulfillment of your initial obligations, you've potentially taken money from someone else whose better than you and whose next Kickstarter may get that money you got first time around. Why back a company again that failed to deliver when hey, here's another company with a similar niche product that did meet their goals?

And in terms of that money, let's say I didn't back other Kickstarters with those funds. The amount of projects I've backed is probably in the thousands of dollars. Way too much in a more serious tone he said but at the same time, those are all dollars I'm not spending on existing products and not spending in a local game store.

As a company, I guess I'd ask Tavis, and other publishers, when people raise the red flag about the FLSG situation, which is already under assault from Amazon, which is already under assault from electronic books, both PDF and now e-books, and under assault from a still, at least in America, fairly weak economy, by, for the most part, taking the FLSG out of the distribution chain, how much are you effecting the gaming industry as opposed to the gaming community? Every physical product sold outside the distribution chain is one less purchase from the FLSG.

I remember post year 2000 there were a ton of new game companies doing PDF and other formats. I remember 'professionals' moaning and weeping bitter black tears about the "lower cost of entry" to the "business."

What the hell happened to those innovators eh? They discovered Kickstarter and realized that money does help eh?

Anyway, my primary reasons for doing Kickstarters are pretty base and simple and when they're late, they are sucking the air out of the room. In this case, my wallet. Hard to make an impulse purchase if you've backed something else that you 'hope' will show up.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pre Feb Kickstarter Bitching

Okay let's see how things are progressing eh?


1650 Rulebook: I am a sucker for miniature games. This one was due in September. Looks like, if we're lucky, Feb is when it will hit. The miniatures are looking fantastic. Communication on actual progress could be better.

Dwimmtermount:I'll take flack for it but James and Tavis screwed this one up enormously. Due last August, the project took hits because James wasn't done and what's worse, wasn't providing updates or communicating to the backers even as he was updating his own blog (which is a great read most of the time) and doing paid work for Wizards of the Coast. Then Tavis took over the updating. Made a lot of people happy.

But James dad became sick and he dropped off the face of the earth. People take family illness different. When my own father died not from the lung cancer but from the chemo, I was so devastated I lost my job. In James case, his method involves not talking to his business partner but allowing someone else to post an update a month after ignoring requests for information from his backers. This has lead some to feel James is being picked on.

Again, not what actually happened in most instances.

There are multiple problems here. Tavis has the legal responsibilities but none of the money or IP. James has the money and IP but is still out of touch.

Who could have predicted something terrible could happen? Here's the thing, James isn't the first person this has happened to on a KS project. He won't be the last. This tragedy couped with his already late project has showcased that if you do not have realistic goals at the start of your campaign that your grand vision is going to come to a screeching halt and while people are going to give him a huge pass, rightly so at this time, it's late not just BECAUSE of his personal issues. It was late prior to them. The perfect storm of late products.

It Came From the Stars: Due last June. No tragedy that I'm aware of here just someone who apparently didn't know how long it was actually going to take. Another instance where a "nice" guy isn't able to complete the project. At least he hasn't started another Kickstarter while this one is so overdue. I'll be eager to see something in the updates outside of, "No guys, I'm serious, this time I'm getting almost finished with a section of the book!"

King For A Day: Due last September. On one hand, the PDF, the draft of it anyway, has been sent out. On the other, man, I love Jim but seriously, his issues in getting this one done showcase, again, how even the "nice" guys don't really understand what they're getting into. I've read only a tiny bit of the PDF so far because it's been so long I've lost a bit of interest and will wait for my physical copy before going back to the book. Jim has also learned, the hard way, that asking for support on a new Kickstarter project while you haven't delivered on the previous one, is a long, arduous climb to the top.

Midgard Tales: An example of even the best may fall eh? The guy behind this has been doing this sort of project before there was a Kickstarter and I didn't pay attention to what was going on until I realized that it was just past due, in this case, December. Looks like March I believe it will be ready. On the other hand, other people working on this project are doing new Kickstarters. I wish them luck. Again, these are all "nice" people. They're great on the various social networks. If I funded every project by a nice person, I'd be out on the street looking for cat food and STILL have no finished projects at home.

Pirate Goblins Box Set: Material was supposed to be here already. Guy doing the project seems to be a nice guy but many backers feel that his story doesn't add up. He had plans to do some follow up miniatures including a Dwarf Pirate Box Set but his failure to get this one done in a timely fashion and keep the people who made the project possible seem to indicate that it may not happen now.

Player's Companion: When I came home today, this book was waiting for me. It's a solid looking book. With my squirrel like attention span, this book, which was due in May of 2012, went straight to the bookshelf. Tavis, another "nice" guy, and I'm not putting these "nice" around like I'm being sarcastic, he's a stand up guy, already has another Kickstarter in mind. As I'm probably never going to play this game due to my wandering eye, the chances of me backing another Kickstarter of his, especially while there is another project under his company banner overdue, are exactly zero. Again, not because he isn't a nice guy, not because I don't think he's learned from these experienced, but my faith in his ability to deliver in a timely fashion, especially while the other project is outside of his direct ability to actually finish, remains minimal.

Red Box Game's: Due last October. Lot of the blame so far has been falling on the Trollcast with some shrinkage and other quality assurance issues. Tre already has another kickstarter going to make more products with the guy who hasn't been able to finish everything already. I'll keep an eye on that. Tre's mentioned that he'll be sending out a partial shipment even though it's going to cost him in terms of shipping funds. Good. Again, Tre seems like a nice guy but people using Kickstarter as a funding process either need to understand that it's a business and that sacrifices may be necessary for the short term finances in order to attract people to future Kickstarters. If I receive my goods and if I'm happy with the quality there are a few things in his new Kickstarter I'll order if they become unlocked.

Sedition Wars: Due last November.If you appreciate large savings from using China, you have to appreciate that its out of your control when there are issues and the boat is late. Seeing a lot of unboxing videos so I'm sure mines on the way. Looking forward to seeing the quality up close and personal.

Steampunk Musha: Was due in October 2012. I'll be honest. This one pisses me off a little. If you have a company involved, and in this case, supposedly under the banner of Fat Goblin Games, and they don't know what's going on with the project, that's never a good sign. Turns out the guy doing the writing, another decent guy, has had hell of issues. I'm not going into those here because if he wants them shown to the world, he can do those updates himself. Another classic example of the RPG industry one man standing business model being a terrible model. Updates have been very bad due to creator's issues and the fact that the game company itself didnt' step in and provide any updates does not fill me with warm fuzzy feelings. Not saying they're a bad company but why does the guy have an association with the company if that association is basically "Yeah, I work for them." or something along those lines?

Tectonic Craft Studios: Due last June. Yeah, over six months late. What's worse, as I've been playing with some of the material I've bought separately, it appears to be overpriced compared to the Warhammer Fantasy scenic material. Not good for the guy here. Not sure how the prices compare on the 40K stuff which tends to be more expensive. Updates have been hit or miss. Would not back again at this point. Again, another "nice" guy but six months late and not willing to take it on the chin to ship material out because of the financial issues it would cause? I can appreciate that. I hope he can appreciate me not backing him via a Kickstarter again and just using his store or, you know, buying terrain from another party. The stuff isn't bad to put together but some stuff it just doesn't work for. The Chaos Gate for example? The Trenches? Hope the buildings and other material works out better and that he keeps updating the instructions and shows some more videos.

Tentacles and Eyeballs:  On one hand, he got hit by Wizards of the Coast with a cease and desist due to the use of WoTC intellectual property. On the other, well, it was due in October and it's almost Febuary. Still, he has been in communication with the backers, has shown painted models, has shown alternatives to the stuff we are no longer getting and been rather 'cool' about it.

Not Due Yet:

28mm Demons and Devils Already some drama in terms of metal and resin as people are thinking that the reason resin is getting ready to be dropped from the line up is a quality issue. No opinion. I'll start worrying about it when it's late.

A Gallery of Rogues: Despite the fact that Jim's last project was late, I do enjoy his work and his project isn't some massive $100+ dollar tome. In addition, I like the art by Eric Lofgren. Unsure if this one will get funded. People are still waiting for the physical copies of Jim's last project even though the PDF was sent out.

Assimilation Alien Host The master behind this project is involved with "Troll Cast", a new material that's not quite resin or plastic or something along those lines. Thanks to various molding issues, Red Box Games is well behind it's initial goals and I keep seeing people reference his material in their own Kick Starters. I will be VERY curious to see if he can get his own project out on time but it's not due till May so even though the surveys themselves haven't been sent out yet, I'm not too worried about it.

Blackwater Gulch Rebels and Reinforcements: First one was very late. Supposedly they've got a new partner now. Looking at that partner though, they have several late projects already. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Cthulhu, Mythos Foundry Style: This one is ongoing. The 'green' they have of the Big C is impressive. He's not a big fat guy looking upset that adventurers have come to his lair and killed his dog or something as several other miniatures of the Big C seem to make him with some fat gut.Way too early on this one but I'll be curious to see where it goes.

Gnomish Adventurers Box Set: Stonehaven miniatures is a top notch Kickstarter success. While the initial project, a dwarf adventurers boxed set was late, they kept everyone in the loop and it was a great Kickstarter with a lot of neat stuff that came out. This one appears to be following in a very similiar pattern and I'll be looking forward to seeing what end materials I'll wind up getting.

Imbrian Arts Miniatures: This one will be interesting. Like Reaper, he offered a package where you get miniatures throughout the year. The first batch is not quite due but almost. Hope he makes it.

Kingdom Death: So far off in the future I'm not worried about it.

Pathfinder Online: Don't care about the computer game. Wanted the freebies, the miniatures, the PDF's, and the exclusive modules. A while before it's due.

Reaper: I'm one of the people who did the metal for a year and have been happy with it so far. The stuff I don't personally want I'll probably wind up giving away as presents or something along those lines.

Relic Knights: Still some time to go on this one. The previews have continued to pop up so I'm happy with hos the company is keeping us all in the loop.

Stuff I haven't Decided On:

Darklands:It's more than made it's goal but with so many miniature KS already late I'm only thinking about it thus far. Still some time on it so...

Games and Gears Pro Studio Brushes: Double headed brushes that should be ideal for wet blending with acrylic paints. I'll probably pop down for his one but funds are always in motion so we'll see.

Discover the Painting Pyramid: I have several painting DVDs. They are entertaining and get me motivated. Here they almost seems too much for the compleatist in me and that holds me back a little. I'll review it before it ends.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ichor Greenblood the Vampire King: 2nd Edition Deity

As I've grown older, I've come to hate the names that are descriptive like Stoneheart, Anvil Fist, or other things that look like they belong in a super hero setting. However, when I was a young teen, I thought this was awesome!

I can't remember the full details but the deity was based on part on a character I played that used the Compleate Spellcaster by Bard Games and was... yes, a Necromancer! The summoning spells back in those days eh? Of course most of them weren't useful immediately but they could be given the proper time, funds, and methods.

Anyway, another one from the continuous sheet feed paper.

Ichor Greenblood the Vampire King
Lord of the Undead
Lesser God

Ichor Greenblood has only recently become a god. His base of power is the location where the negative energy flowing from the Dark Domains and the World of Atroy are strongest, Draxcon's Ruins. As for Ichor himself, many say that he actually thrives on the power of his worshippers which include all the undead, and mortals thirsting for the power of the undead.

Ichor, unlike many gods, actively involves himself in the affairs of the mortals seeing hyow powerful they have gornw of late. He insures that none can ever effect him in his place of power and has been known to actively attack mortal wizard's whose power and pride have grown too great.

If there is one known thing that Ichor fears, it is having Karak released. If that ever happened, Ichor would loss much of his power, perhaps even his godhood. The location of Karak is so well kept that many simply think the former lord of the Dark Domain is dead.

Alignment: Ichor Greenblood himself is Chaotic Evil. His priests are usually chaotic evil with the lawful evil leading while the rest are neutral evil.

Requirements: Wis 9
Symbol: A black hand clutching the moon.
Colors: Dark green and black.
Special Abilities: 1) May command undead at two levels higher 2)+1 to save vs death magic for every five levels of the priest 5)May chose spells from the magic users school of necromancy as full strength spheres.

Spheres: Major spheres, Combat, Healing (Reversible only unless the priest uses it to heal himself), Necromantic and Summoning. Minor spheres Elemental and Protection.

Weapon Proficiencies: Must take greatmace. Afterward may spend proficiencies as the priest sees fit.

Non Weapon Proficiencies: Religion and Blind Fighting.

Recommended: Armorer, Weaponsmothing, Engineering, and Herbalism.

Armor: May wear any but upon becoming an official high priest must find and slay a black dragon and skin it, proving the power of death over life in even its mightiest forms. Many priests also do not use shields since they could not use their tow handed weapons, but those that take small weapons may use them. Special Note: Due to the undead nature of their god, the priests take on some of his weakness. In the daylight, any dexterity bonus they may have is cancelled. In addition, also in daylight, they have a -2 to hit and initiative.

The priests of Ichor Greenblood worship their god with intense devotion. Many believe this is because their god actually walks the world and attacks his foes openly and with no reluctance. Others think that since Ichor was once a mortal, that they too may become godlike.

Ichor's priests usually garb themselves in dark metallic plate mail and wield great maces after their own lord. In combat, they can be deadly as they known that their souls do not go to join any god save theirs and shall then become powerful undead minions to join in future battle against all that lives.

In addition the priests often seek to men the wound between the god Death and Ichor by forging alliances with the priests of Death and gathering to attack small villages and manors that have no protection. Toward all other religions, they laugh.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gromass the Earth Lady: 2nd Ed Deity

Going through the continuous sheet feed paper. Inspired directly by Grome from the old Elric series. That series probably had the biggest effect on my 80's gaming. The below is done without any changes to the original text outside of correcting some spelling errors. Looking through it, I can see many bits where I threw some lore into the setting. Strangely enough, I didn't really go into the god's apperance, powers, etc... I was rarely one of those who wanted to stat out a deity for the party to whomp on.

Gromass the Earth Lady
Goddess of Earth and Strength
Lesser God

Like a few of the other gods, Gromass took no initial interest in the world of Scarlore. Eventualy however, as the other gods grew more amused in their games and even managed to defeat the avatars of the God-Slayer using mortal pawns, Gromass grew more and more interested in the affairs of the world.

Seeking a domain to make her own, she found only the cold and powerful earth lain unclaimed to. Using the earth elementals and the other beings who relied upon the earth for strength and protection, Gromass soon created an empire which she has used to join in the gods games.

Gromass is unlike many of the gods in that she does not actively seek to engage her priests with those of the other gods, but allows the other gods to attack and test her strength. Then she allows her own might to be demonstrated by declaring total war on the faction that has dared to attack the very earth itself.

In today's world, Gromass still seeks to win the game of the gods by having the next mortal worshipper to slay the godlsyaer. Thus far she is doing poorly in her efforts to produce a champion and this has merely lead to earthquakes which rage across the entire planet. Her domain gives even Death and Atroy cause to fear for while Death is eternal and Atroy is patience itself, if her anger remains unchecked, Gromass could destroy Scarlore itself without meaning to.

Alignment: Gromass is true neutral and merely concerns herself with the building and crushing of her enemies. Her worshippers must also be true neutral and must do her goals by whatever means possible.

Requirements: Con 9, Wis 9
Symbol: Mountain
Colors: All hues of brown.
Special Abilities: 1)Due to dense and hard earth like skin, +1 to ac but -1 to CHA due to the skin's denser and more condensed appearance. 5)Avoid the effects of earthquake spells by making a saving throw vs. death magic. 7)Track any creature that has crossed the ground by making a successful intelligence check with no penalties as the earth itself tells the caster. 15)Gain stone giant strength for 1 turn once per day. 20)Cast earthquake spell once a day with no loss of spellpower.

Spheres: Major Access to Astral, Combat, Divination, Elemental and Summoning. Minor Access to Charm, Creation, Guardian and Weather.

Weapons: All blunt weapons. Non-Weapon Proficiencies: Survival, mountains. Recommended: Riding land based, animal handling, animal training, religion and herbalism. Armor Allowed: May wear any but prefer the most heaviest and strongest armor available to represent their strength. May also use shields.

Priest of Gromass tend to be violent and dangerous when spoken to. They have the tendency to see everything as a deadly challenge and attack it with a strength and unknown strength which seems to develop from the very ground they stand upon. Priests of Gromass wear earth tone colors and paint their armor to resemble their surroundings. Priests of Gromass work well in groups as long as all within it know who the leader is and that the leader is the strongest member of the church.

To these priests, strength is everything and they use their abilities to further the will of their god by seeking out a new champion to crusade their cause. Many belief that only one chosen by the god Wrath can truly slay the avatar of the God-Slayer and so they await with eager anticipation the next champion of Wrath's to step forth.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Filarsis the Forger: 2nd edition AD&D Deity

Way back in the day I designed my own campaign world. I mean like in the late 80's or so. It was based on the 2nd edition rule set of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, heavily modified with Arduin and Role Aids and house rules. Stuff was printed out on sheets of continuous feed paper! That cracked me up. I haven't seen that sort of paper in many years.

While cleaning I recently came across some of the gods of the setting. I figured some people may get a kick out of it. I haven't cleaned it up or revisited it so it's done as a straight out retyping from some 20+ year old creation. It's done up, I believe in the full 2nd edition methodology with Spheres and weapon and non-weapon proficiencies.

Filarsis the Forger
God of Armor and Weapons
Greater God

When the gods began their wars, they found that their weapons were weak. They approached Filarsis, the master forger, the one god who used his skills in the chaos of the world to create and forge. It was Filarsis who showed men the secret of making metal arms and armor. It was Filarsis who the Dwarves turned to in times of need.

Filarsis is the Forger of all things. Not only weapons and armor, but buildings and worlds themselves. Filarsis has the keen insight of a skilled architect which sees everything he does as a failure which must be surpassed by something even greater.

It is his duty to make the magical items that are found in the world. His most powerful one thus far some would say is the Black Blade. As the ages continued, Filarsis saw that some used his gifts to the point of abuse. It was these gods whose priests are limited to using certain armor and shields. It has nothing to do with the mortals, but the gods themselves.

Filarsis allows certain gods to advance their worshippers and increase their weapon skills or armor, but not often. It is Filarsis that the mortals curse when something breaks but it is also Filarsis that the mortals cheer when something is discovered.

Alignment: Filarsis is Lawful Neutral and his priests must be of any neutral alignment.
Requirements: Str 9, Wis 10
Symbol: Two hammers crossing behind an anvil.
Colors: Steel and grey.
Special Abilities: 1)Gain the Weaponsmithing, Armoring, Blacksmithing and Leatherworking proficiencies at +2 to all checks.
4)Discover basic purpose of any weapon and its basic powers.
6)Make quality weapons or armor that will not break unless struck by a magic artifice or other harsh treatment.
10)Make magical items +1 for every four levels of the priest up to a maximum of +5.
15)Forge Armor from unusual materials such as adamant, dragonskin or others.
Spheres: Major Access to All, Creation, Divination, Guardian, Numbers, Protection and Summoning.
Minor Access to Combat, Law and Wards.
Weapons: May use all weapons and make new ones.
Non Weapon: Bonus Armoring, Blacksmithing, Weapon Smithing and Leatherworking. Recommended: Bowyer/Fletcher, Local History, Religion, Smelting, Stone Masonry.
Armor Allowed: May use all armors.

The priests of Filarsis are inventors and warriors. They spend their days fighting and their nights designing. Their weapons that they create are theirs and theirs only. If any dare touch them, they will be cursed.

These priests are often sought out by other sects as they are potentially one of the mightiest of all. They are found in every climate from sandy desert to arctic snows. They are adept at either city of wilderness survival as they can build their own small civilization if the need arises.

All Filarsis priests are aloof and independent. They enjoy the sense of power that their lord has given them, although they acknowledge that there are greater gods than their own. They admire the strengths of the other gods, but find that there are too often too many flaws with them as well.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Forgotten Realms Kindle Books $2.99 Sale?

Elaine Cunningham, author of several Forgotten Realms novels, twitted that while organizing links to her material, that Evermet was $2.99 in Kindle Format. For those who know me, $2.99 is my 'sweet spot' as a purchaser. I have a few used book stores around me and while I can't always select what they have, there are enough books on the dollar spinner racks to keep me busy, well, forever. These are all 'luxury' purchases if you will.

So I went to check it out. While I've read several of Elaine's books, that one I had never gotten to. Sure enough, $2.99. I also picked up some others.

Prince of Ravens: I like Richard Baker's work. Not too crazy about taking a character from one era of the Forgotten Realms to another, but I'll give it a try. Odd how that happens eh? Drizzt, Elminster and Jack too? Wonder if maybe they shouldn't have split their reader base? Ah, what do I know.

The Masked Witches: Alright, I liked the book description. I figure for the price I'll give it a shot.

Charon's Claw: I think the last R A Salvatore book I read was The Orc King and I read it at Borders while waiting for my girlfriend. I suppose I could go to the library for some of this material but again for the price...

Shadowbane: Eye of Justice: Magic swords and vigilante killers? Okay, I'll try it out.

Mind you, they had more than these but I figured that was enough for me. Good hunting!   

Monday, January 7, 2013

Random Observations on 4e

Over on RPG.net, there's some talk about Paizo Pathfinder and WoTC 4e.

Here's what I posted there and my take on it.

Why 4e 'failed'? Well, it failed WoTC that's for sure. For anyone else it would probably have been like Nirvana but here's my 'gamer' theories.

1. Reputation. Firings every X-Mas. Taking down the DDI and claiming about 6 different reasons why but boiling it down to "thieves in the temple!", calling your consumers thieves on the PDF front and taking your toys and going home with them. Minor things but...

2. PDF Consumption. While we can say that the DDI takes the place of PDF that's not quite true. After WoTC sold out of PHB2 they claimed to have suffered damages by PDF files that were released into the wild that were legally bought and cancelled that line of revenue NEVER to replace it directly.

3. Adventure Support. There was one print adventure path and it was not viewed well. There was Dungeon online and it's one adventure path... also not viewed well. In print adventurers, especially towards the tail end?

4. OGL. While Paizo is the big dog, they've done a lot of enhance the OGL and have been very friendly towards 3rd party publishers. This includes putting their products on the front page of their own web site and talking them up. WoTC took interest in the GLS out back and shot it in the face. When Necromancer Games goes, "I will support 4e or nothing at all" and it turns out to be nothing at all? You know WoTC done fucked up.

5. Setting Support: That solution they had of fire and forget wasn't going to make a lot of people happy.

6. Setting Support 2: Trashing the Forgotten Realms YET AGAIN did nothing to help convince older players that may be coming back that this is what was needed.

7. Rule Mastery Failure. The first printings of the first few books are compatible with later books but there are a ton of errata's and updates and the monster math changed greatly from the original MM to MM2 to MM3. People felt robbed. It's been a while but I also believe there was some flubbing with the new introductory boxed set with the Larry Elmore cover of classic days.

8. Essentials or "Which way am I walking?" Initially announced the changing of product lines to smaller books that lasted for about ten seconds.

9. Release Schedule Panic: People like some steady releases and like to know when they're coming out. Cancelling books left and right and reshuffling them looks like something a small third party company would do, not the leader of the pack.

10. Novel/Tie in Support. The comics weren't bad but not huge sellers. Their book selection has bounced a bit and while there were a few series set after the Spellplauge, it was nothing like it was when it was at its peak.

11. Dungeon and Dragon Utility = m'eh: When they took the DDI off the download, I still had like two months on it. I was NOT impressed with it as it lost a lot of utility it used to have. I understand that came back but in the meanwhile, for a while Dragon and Dungeon were simply put, not good values in and of themselves. The adventurers were okay, the format kept changing, the focus keept changing, the magazines had articles late, and hey by the way, for "your convenience" we've gotten rid of the compiled issue and you have to download articles individual one by one. I think they've back pedaled on that one too.

12. DDI Misses: I went to an interview with the guys doing the DDI before 4e launched. You can read about it on EN World from back in the day. But there were a ton of things that were supposed to be there at ground zero that I think are only NOW starting to pop up like the VTT.

13. Miniature Mishaps: Hey, we're going to introduce two brand new races to the game and make almost all the miniatures for at least one of them super hard to get. Sure, you can sub for them but really, is that what the consumer wants to do? What? They don't want to pay inflated prices for repaints? What? They're not happy with the massive drop in quality that accompanied several price increases? They want to know why the adventurers never have miniatures to go with them and that those miniatures come out months or years later? Foolish mortals! It's hard keeping communication lines open in a big company. We have no idea what games are being written or what core races are in the book.

14. Holding back material to boost further sales. In the 3.5 era, the PHB2 was a massive seller. MM2 and others... not quite so much. In order to boost sales of future core books, Gnomes, barbarians, frost giants, and a host of other material was deliberately split from the 'normal' core material and put into future volumes. Nothing like forcing people to pay for a few monsters more eh? Anyone remember the old 1st edition Monster Manual where you had Orcus and Asmoedus? Dispather and Demogorgon? Stop holding back the goodies dudes.

WoTC as a company has been handicapped in competitng in what is a niche industry. Their main benefits are useless when the main competition has access to all the same resources as you. Wayne Reynods? Monte Cook? Other fan favorites? Being the people who saved D&D only gets you so far when you showcase that hey, you're not a niche industry provider, you're a corporate entity that must met X, Y, and Z goals and your lengths gone to to protect your IP are hurting you among the people in the niche fandom. You know, the very same people you're trying to sell to? Yeah, them!

But again, those are gut shots from a fan, nothing more.