Every now and then Wizards of the Coast does these little surveys, just a few questions to get feedback from the audience. I could go on about poor survey design, as someone who studies qualitative research, I don’t really like their surveys very much, but that is not the issue here.
This time around I actually took advantage of the option at the end to write a little narrative answer concerning D&D events, organized play, etc. And this is the crux of what I said… “you suck.” To be fair, those aren’t the words I used, but it came down to that when I thought about it later. Specifically, my complaints were twofold.
1. And this is not really WotC’s fault, but is a part of the problem. I would love to have participated in D&D Encounters. I think that would have been stellar. I would love to have done the PH3 Game Day. I had to answer that I did not participate in these events on their survey but not because I didn’t want to… I didn’t because my LGS did not support them. I’ve run the Game Day events at my local store before, because no one else would. But this time the option wasn’t even presented. I recognize that the point of these events is promotional, and that the events are linked to the retail stores for business reasons, but I think they are missing out on a bigger audience: Non-retail organizations. Which is gripe number two.
2. I consider myself fairly web savvy. I am not a designer or a coder by trade, but I run a blog, maintain multiple wikis and a convention website, work with computers every day in my classes (actually working on a hypertext theory project as we speak), and my search-fu isn’t all that bad… The point of that little look-at-me session was not to say “I’m awesome at the web” but simply to illustrate that I have a basic comfort level with working with information on the web. The problem is, when I try to find ANYTHING (yes all caps) about signing up for, working with or even appropriately contacting the RPGA or Living Forgotten Realms, I actually just want to throw my keyboard out the window. The usability of the RPGA/Organized Play web presence is practically non-existent. As far as I can tell, if you aren’t a retailer, don’t apply… Actually, even if you are retailer, don’t apply, it’s too much damn work.
But what I’m missing is this… What if you are a student organization at a University who wants to organize LFR events? What if you are a convention that wants to organize events (not through a vendor)? Are you just out of luck? I’m not advocating for every Johnny and Suzy who want to order organized play events to be able to have them sent to their house, but it’d be nice to have any option to get them as an organization that’s not a store.
To further complicate the issue… I have contacted the owner of the LFR Group on the Wizards Community site, posted in LFR forums, searched the Organized Play pages and even tried Customer Service. And I still have no idea how to even set up a single LFR event in my area.
If anyone out there reading this has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I’m tapped out and highly annoyed. Maybe I’ve missed something obvious. I don’t think so, but I’m not gonna say it couldn’t happen… But, yeah.