Friday, December 14, 2007

The Paizo Bubble

This was originally a message board post but people seemed to like it, so I thought I'd share it here.

First, let me say I don't dislike Paizo, they make good products. The Shackled City and Savage Tide adventure paths? Awesome. Their Greyhawk love? *Awesome*

But their current status as the "cool company that looks out for the little guys abandoned in the wake of big bad Wizards" is a bubble that's destined to burst.

Nerds love to stick up for the underdog, especially when they perceive that underdog as being bullied in some way. They also tend to dislike corporations.

Paizo, by having the license recalled, suddenly became that Jeff Gerstmann-esque figure, done wrong by the big bad company in the name of corporate greed.

They went overnight from being a nice company who made great products to THE GREATEST RPG COMPANY OF ALL TIME! THE MAGAZINE WAS NEVER BETTER THEN! ITS GOLDEN AGE HAD JUST TRULY BEGUN!

And when 4e hit, that following just grew, because now a lot of gamers felt wronged by Wizards, and turned to that perky little company that was done just as wrong as they were.

You can see this syndrome in the way people reflexively criticize DI articles. "Bad articles". When you point out that Wizards is, in fact, still working through Paizo's submissions, you get told that "oh it's not the articles, it's the editing, editing is everything".

When you point out that Chris Thomasson *was* a Paizo editor, both on Dungeon, Dragon and the adventure paths, you get told that he's not the RIGHT Paizo editor.

In other words, this amazing, stupendous company, really only amounts to the two personalities that these people have attached themselves to: Erik Mona and James Jacobs.

If your name isn't either one of those, you just get "Chris Thoma-who?"

So clearly, for a lot of these folks, it's not Paizo the company that they have latched onto. It's a couple of their personalities, and the IDEA of Paizo as the little company that could.

When these people realize that Paizo is every bit the business Wizards is, and that their corporate best interests are at the center of their world, rather than the feelings of some dispossessed gamers, they're going to lash out with every bit of nerd-rage they can muster.

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