What Is “The Orr Group Industry Report” and What Does It Tell Us?

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The Orr Group is kind of a restless bunch. That’s why we created Roll20 and continue refining it— we can’t leave well enough alone.

We heard many folks at conventions talk about how “THIS tabletop game is just destroying THAT tabletop game… nobody even plays THAT one anymore” and became a bit flummoxed. We had done surveys over a year ago that indicated a lot of diversity in gameplay via Roll20. The more we began to think about it, the more he figured we had a large enough population that our numbers would paint a complete picture the likes of which only ICv2 was offering. And our numbers would take a step beyond conventional publishing, as gameplay in our interface isn’t tied to books currently being printed.

We published our first findings— Third Quarter of 2014— recently, and we’re really excited about all the discussion they’ve generated. We’re looking forward to more conversations spawned by these figures, but also wanted to give our perspective as to how this data might be viewed.

How’d You Get These Numbers?

Above you saw me reference a survey— our Summer 2013 info survey. We had about 2,500 people respond, and one of the items polled was, “The games that you play in Roll20 include…” to which we gave around a dozen possible answers in addition to leaving an “Other, Please Specify” field. We used those answers to help us launch our “Looking for Group” system. Our plan with the LFG system was that we only wanted to provide games that you could ALWAYS find a group for— meaning there had to be a big enough population of people playing the game on Roll20 that there would always be others seeking a game. We used this list of games to power two parts of our website:

Your personal profile where you can select what you enjoy playing / what you’re seeking a group for:

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And your My Campaigns area, where you can select what game is currently being played, and add it to the LFG section of Roll20:

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It’s from those two places that we made The Orr Group Industry Report. Self-reported use of the Roll20 system. In the report we state we worked from a sample size of 25,000 games and 15,000 players— each one of those campaigns and players were active during Quarter 3, thus being included. That said, many, many users don’t select what games they are playing— in the last 24 hours, for example, over 6,000 games accessed and the vast majority of those have not selected what is being played. Additionally, a Game Master is more likely to indicate what campaign they’re starting than a player is likely to alter their profile as it has no effect on the player simply being able to join the Game Master’s session.

What Were the Results?

Here they are in full:

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Based on a sample size of approximately 25,000 games and 15,000 players.

Notes on how information is gathered:

  • “Games” = % of games where the Game Master said “this is what we’re playing.”

  • “Players” = % of players who were active in the quarter and filled in the “this is what I enjoy playing” field on their profile.

  • Percentages will total more than 100% because each player/game can have more than one game type designated. This is extremely common for players and rare for the games.

  • This only takes into account games/players which were active (e.g. game was played, player played at least one game) during the 3rd Quarter of 2014.

  • This is meant to be a representative sample, as it only takes into account games and players who filled out relevant fields on their game page/profile. There was significantly more than 25k games and 15k players who played in this quarter, but many do not fill out these fields.

  • The list of available games to select were curated by Roll20’s staff based on previous free-form survey results, and will be changing in the future.

What Do These Numbers Mean?

There are a lot of different ways to interpret these results. Starting from the top, it’s wild that nearly 27% of all games on Roll20 are Pathfinder games and nearly 44% of games fall into one of the four main edition categories we gave to Dungeons & Dragons. Turning to the player numbers, there’s absolutely some overlap in the 43% of folks who identify themselves as Pathfinder gamers and the 45% who see themselves as D&D 3.5 players, which is something we might want to examine down the line. It has been amusing (and a little frustrating) on our part to see these results twisted by both Paizo and Wizards of the Coast enthusiasts to mean one system or the other is on top, when to our eyes this shows a complex battle being fought on a few fronts.

In terms of other games being played, we’ve seen some people look at these results and say, “Well, the system is called Roll20, so don’t you EXPECT the majority of gameplay to revolve around 20-sided die games?” and we’re pretty pleased at how this isn’t overwhelmingly the case. The combined showings for games like Dungeon World, Savage Worlds, Shadowrun, and FATE clearly indicate Roll20 is being actively used for all manner of gameplay— which is precisely the type of diversity we hope to see in the community. The similarity of The Orr Group Industry Report’s scale to ICv2 numbers or even a search of Google Trends show that Roll20’s population is at least generally representative of what is happening in the roleplaying industry.

Where things get really interesting to us are the disparities between Game and Player percentages. 10% of people identify as Warhammer 40k gamers, but less than 2% of all games fall into that category? That seems odd for a game where our logic of generally 1v1 combat should translate into similar game-to-player representation. Is there an interest in Warhammer 40k that our interface isn’t allowing to be capitalized upon?

What Happens Next?

The fourth quarter should be very interesting from the start, as we watch if the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons moves up towards the wildly popular 3.5 realm or settles closer to the use of 4th Edition.

Beyond that, now that our players know we’re watching this data, will more take the time to indicate what they’re using Roll20 for?

Further, what additions or subtractions do we as curators make? Do we add something like Stars Without Number due to its increased popularity in the wake of Rollplay? What about newer games now available on our own Marketplace like Simple System and The Quiet Year?

It’s our hope that others reading these numbers WILL seek to change them or simply take advantage of them. We don’t view these numbers as locked, but instead as opportunities. As Roll20 grows by approximately 1,000 users every day, we know that game masters and players are seeking new and exciting content to experience, and we’ll be exploring how to best meet their expectations with publishers big and small.

All of these are exciting conversations to have as we look to the future— we hope you’ll join in the discussion by having your group report what you’re playing and by helping us to better understand what trends develop in the years to come!

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We’re Hiring

We’re proud to announce that we’re expanding our team with two new positions:

Developer

Roll20 is seeking to expand our development resources by engaging a Developer as a full-time independent contractor. We work mainly in the browser and mobile (iOS/Android) space, with a heavy focus on Javascript and HTML5. We use bleeding-edge web technology as an integral part of our service, including Canvas, WebGL, and WebRTC.

Contractor will work with our in-house Lead Developer to expand Roll20 by polishing our existing features and by creating new ways for our players to participate in amazing gaming experiences. They will also communicate directly with our players on a daily basis to assist them with technical issues and gather their feedback to improve the service. Bonus points for avid tabletop gamers and previous experience in the tabletop gaming industry.

Work is done remotely, meaning you may contract with us from anywhere in the United States.

Contract qualifications include:

  • Portfolio of existing work showcasing experience with related technologies

  • Strong skills in Javascript (the Good Parts), HTML/CSS, and Ruby

  • Familiarity with managing Linux servers

  • Strong communication and writing skills

In addition to the requirements above, we will prioritize contractors who:

  • Have a strong portfolio of existing work on a site such as Github

  • Have experience with Firebase

  • Have experience with MediaWiki

  • Have experience with WebGL, Canvas, and/or NodeJS

  • Have experience working with PostgreSQL

  • Have experience playing in Roll20 on a regular basis, including advanced features such as the Roll20 API.

To apply, submit a PDF resumé/portfolio along with your proposal including hourly rate to jobs@roll20.net. Please also include a brief introduction of yourself telling us why you would be an asset to our growing team. We’d also love to see a Github profile showing off previous projects, or another form of portfolio (previous web applications, open source projects you have contributed to, etc.)

Roll20 is an online platform for tabletop gaming with a worldwide audience. Since its inception in 2012, it has grown to more than 600,000 players with more than 20 million hours of games played.


Community Manager

Roll20 is looking to better respond to the needs of our rapidly growing population by engaging a Community Manager as a full-time independent contractor. We welcome over new 1,000 tabletop gamers across a wide spectrum of interests to our program per day. The ideal candidate for this position will have a strong history in high-volume customer service and social media interactions, along with extraordinary written and verbal communication skills.

Your contract with us will be purposed towards welcoming and managing the influx of players utilizing the Roll20 interface via email, message boards, social media, blogs, and other places as we are discussed there. You will create original content to engage, educate, and entertain the community.

Work is done remotely, meaning you may contract with us from anywhere in the United States.

Contract qualifications include:

  • 2 years experience in a public relations or customer service environment.

  • Current, well-received social news, crowdfunding, and/or media content that demonstrates an ability to make ongoing interaction with an audience in excess of 1,000 people (can be a personal Twitter, Tumblr, etc. account).

  • A social media presence in line with our company values.

  • The ability to collaborate, self-motivate, and work on tight timelines are musts.

In addition to the requirements above, we will prioritize candidates who:

  • Are proficient in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

  • Are experienced in broadcasting and editing audio/video content.

  • Have experience with Wiki applications.

  • Have previously drafted any form of community rules and/or organization.

  • Have familiarity with five or more tabletop gaming rulesets.

  • Has familiarity with the Roll20 interface.

To apply, submit a PDF resumé/portfolio along with your proposal and rates to jobs@roll20.net. Please also include a brief introduction of yourself telling us why you would be an asset to our growing team.

Roll20 is an online platform for tabletop gaming with a worldwide audience. Since its inception in 2012, it has grown to more than 600,000 players with more than 12 million hours of games played. 

Thank you to the community for helping Roll20 to grow to the point that we need more help… and for bringing us to the point that we have the resources to do it. We’re excited to start meeting with qualified applicants as soon as possible, but if applying be advised that we may be unable to respond to you specifically.

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New Update: Card Deck Improvements!

There’s a new update out on the server today for everyone to use. It adds some fun new card-related features. In particular:

Choose to Deal a Specific Card

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You now have the option to enable choosing a specific card to deal from the deck. Useful for lots of games, and really useful for combining all your “infinite decks” into a single deck, which you can then choose the specific type of “piece” to play/hand out from. To enable, just check the new setting in the Deck Settings for your deck.

Cards as Tokens, Plus Storing Values

You now have the option to have cards played from a deck played as tokens rather than drawings, which means all token-related features such as the bubbles and Character linking are enabled. In addition, now when you put a card into your hand, if the card was a token and had values stored in the bars those values will be retained the next time it’s played to the tabletop. Great for keeping track of round-counts and other things like that.

In addition, if there is a value in Bar 1 (the middle bubble) when the card is placed into your hand, we’ll show that value on top of the card when you see it in your hand. For example:

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Press ‘z’ to Zoom

You can now press the ‘z’ hotkey when you have anything on the table selected (e.g. a token, a card, etc.) and a zoomed-in version of that item will appear allowing you to see what it looks like in its full-resolution glory. Super useful for things like cards or even to get an up-close look at that beautiful token artwork!

There’s a lot more features as well, including standardizing the size of the cards when they’re played to the tabletop, and even the ability to change the size of the decks themselves for yourself and your players. Check out the full changelog here for all the details!

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Gen Con 2014 Wrapup + ENnies 2014

We’ve returned from Gen Con 2014 relatively unscathed. Thanks to everyone who came out for our two panels and made them both a great time. We always enjoy meeting our Roll20 players in person and chatting with you about the past, present, and future of the platform.

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We were also fortunate enough to win another Gold ENnie for Roll20, again in the Best Software Category. Thanks to you all for voting for us; this award may be called “Best Software” but it should really be named “Best Community”! You can view a full list of all the award winners here.

Who knows what amazing things we’ll do together before Gen Con 2015? I can’t wait to find out!

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GEN CON is fast approaching (August 14-17), and we’ll be there!

On Friday all three developers will be running a panel about Online Tabletop Gaming via Roll20. We’ll be spending two full hours talking with attendees about how to best use Roll20, and what we hope to do with the platform in the coming months. This panel was a lot of fun last year, and we’re excited to be doing it again!

Worth mentioning that Friday night we’re expecting to attend the ENnies, and enjoy company! Win or lose, we’ll no doubt be heading out into the night afterwards to toast to our efforts.

Saturday Nolan will be hosting “From the Table to the Panel: How RPG’s Influence Comics.” He’ll be talking about his experiences from the vantage point of writing House of ORR and be joined by an all-star list of fantasy roleplaying comics creators including Scott Kurtz of Table Titans, Ryan Sohmer of Looking for Group, and Brian Patterson of d20monkey. This panel was named one of the hottest free events of the weekend by the organizers of Gen Con, and we’re really excited about it.

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ONLY TWO MORE DAYS TO VOTE!

We’ve been nominated for an ENnie for Best Software, to be handed out next month at Gen Con. Being honored in this way helps us continue to be seen as an important part of the roleplaying game industry, and a chance at winning only increases that impact.

Please take a moment to cast a vote for us!

Also, check out this recent interview about our nomination

Thank you so much for any signal boost you can spare!

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Rite Publishing’s “Adventure Quarterly #5”

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Are you a GM looking for some new ideas? Now available on Roll20 is Adventure Quarterly #5. Included in one purchase are four Pathfinder-compatible modules for 3rd, 9th, 18th and 8th level PCs. Brought to you by Rite Publishing, the the same publisher behind “The Breaking of Forstor Nagar.”

This periodical contains multiple modules as well as GM advice columns designed for the Pathfinder RPG ruleset. Purchasing Adventure Quarterly Issue #5 from the Roll20 Marketplace will provide you with ALL of the following modules:

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Deep within a subterranean lair resides a dragon named Carcera. Her domain, the Ruins Perilous, is a vast multi-floor dungeon with each level featuring nastier traps and more terrible enemies than the level above it. This place serves as the proving ground for young adventurers. Either survive long enough to descend to the next level below or die trying!

The Ruins Perilous - Level 3, written by Michael Welham, is a romp around the third floor of The Ruins Perilous that Carcera has coined as “The Sensodrome”. This module is designed for 3rd level PCs and promises confounding traps, pernicious ratfolk, creatures that embody one of the five senses and perhaps a ghost or two to get in the party’s way.

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Legends say that every five hundred years a mythical salmon re-spawns and takes its perpetual voyage up stream. This is no ordinary fish. Imbued in its flesh is all of the world’s knowledge. Anyone brave enough to reach the creature’s lair and catch it would be blessed by its magic once consumed. Our adventurers take up the quest to seek out the Salmon of Wisdom and claim its bounty before any other rivals can.

Written by Michael Allen, Legacy of the Fishermage is a multiple-encounter adventure for four to five 9th level characters that will test your PCs’ endurance. The Salmon of Wisdom’s life and power is fleetingly short, so a party will have no time to rest if they wish to catch their prize.

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The fate of the universe literally rests in the hands of our intrepid adventurers! A meddling wizard dabbled with time magic far beyond his understanding and created a chain reaction that is swiftly unraveling the fabric of reality. In a desperate attempt to prevent oblivion, Time itself whisks the party back several hundred years into the past to correct the course of history. The PCs must navigate through a nexus of planes where demons, angels, dragons, and futuristic robotic killing machines clash with humdrum mortals. Armageddon has begun and each new magic spell tears new holes in the pattern of the universe with wildly unpredictable consequences. This is Paradox.

Written by Bret Boyd, Paradox is an adventure for 18th level characters and is meant to be the final event of a long running campaign. This adventure is purposely loosely designed to allow the GM to pull memorable places, events and characters from the entirety of the group’s campaign to throw the best cathartic punch possible. To bid everyone’s PCs a proper farewell, this adventure is bursting with legendary monsters that are ready to render the party into ashen mincemeat.

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In addition to the above three modules is Sleep, Interrupted, a single site encounter for 8th level characters written by Creighton Broadhurst. It offers the GM a little something special to throw at your party when the PCs turn in for the night.

And lastly, is Wide Open Sandboxing II - Instant NPCs. This is a step-by-step tutorial written by Steven D. Russell on how to construct memorable NPCs when you don’t have much time do it. His example, Cytherea the Guileful, is recreated in Roll20 to plug into your own campaigns.

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We’ve got a brand new set of short, focused videos to help players get into Roll20. This is a really great resource for folks of a variety of experience levels, including brand-new players… so please share the set!

Big thanks to Kristin Carlson for all her work on these.

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Introducing the Character Vault

Today we’ve rolled out a new premium feature to the Dev Server for Mentors to begin testing, and we wanted to give the whole community a quick preview of it. We’re calling it the “Character Vault”.

The main purpose of the Vault is to allow you to bring your Characters with you between games. Both players and GMs alike will be able to “store” Characters from their existing games inside their Vault, and then later export those Characters exactly as they were (including all notes, attributes, character sheet, etc.) into another game.

For players, this is great for both one-shots where you already have a Character ready to go, and for society-style organized play where you keep the same Character between each game session, improving it as the season goes on. It’s also great for GMs, giving them a central place to begin storing pieces of their games that they may want to re-use (such as an interesting NPC or monster type). 

In the future, our plan is to support storing many different types of Roll20 Campaign objects in the Vault (such as decks, pages, handouts, etc.) But for now we’re focusing on Characters because we know this is the most-requested feature for the new sheets system.

If you’re a Mentor, you can begin testing this new feature today and giving us feedback. If you’re not a Mentor, consider upgrading to get in on the action. Thanks!

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Tell your friends (and your favorite publishers) to get in on the excitement.

Roll20.net

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