Friday, June 26, 2009

Wizard’s Sell Your Sole competition an attempt at Mainstreaming DnD?

If you haven’t seen the news you haven’t heard that Wizards has posted up a new competition on their website, which I can only be disturbed and intrigued by. They are asking people to design a pair of shoes which are Dungeons and Dragons themed…

Here are some links to this so you know I’m not crazy…

Link to the competition at wizards:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4news/20090625

Link to the competition at RYZ wear:
http://www.ryzwear.com/blog/233/sell-your-sole-dungeons-and-dragons

What does this say? Well, for a long time I have been under the impression that Wizards of the Coast is doing everything they can to mainstream Dungeons and Dragons and make it “cool.” It makes sense from a business perspective to make the game more appealing to the masses by getting rid of the nerdy pen and paper elements and making the game as electronic and consumer friendly as possible. D&Di is a big part of this; adding revenants back into the game and making the Raven Queen more important, while having basis in prior editions, seem to be an attempt at piggy-backing off the success of Blizzard with The Scourge in World of Warcraft. If Wizards saw the kind of user numbers and money that Blizzard was seeing they would never have a money problem. Ever. What do shoes have to do with this then? Well, how many gamers care what they are wearing. I’m not saying that gamers don’t usually have good style sense…wait, I am. Designing a pair of custom kicks seems like something that wouldn’t be something a pen and paper RPG company like this would do; if you’re going to make something for Nerds T-Shirts and Sweat-shirts like those sold by JINX are the way to go. Very few gamers realistically want to spend over a hundred dollars on a pair of shoes when they could easily spend that money on new books for their games, it just isn’t practical for appealing to this group, in my opinion.

I guess I myself don’t fall into this category because I consider shoe fashion to be one of the things I pride myself on. I have well over twenty pairs. I have been called a girl on many an occasion for it. I have custom sets of converse weapons. I have custom Nike’s and I have custom slip-ons from Vans of every color and variety. Maybe I am just the type of person that Wizards is trying to appeal to… perhaps they are being very successful in this new marketing, but the reason that they are successful is because I am highly susceptible to fashion and trying to look cool, call me a lemming if you will, but I live in a city where 50% of the women riding a given train at one time are all carrying Luis Vitton bags, regardless of whether or not they had to mortgage their tiny house to get them. If Wizards of the Coast is trying to make Dungeons and Dragons fashionable and cool, where will it take them in the actual game department? Will they make an attempt at doing nerd makeovers? Where will the madness stop?

Will you be designing a pair of sneaks for the competition? I would love to give it a try, but my tragic lack of any artistic skills or media to work with on this would probably be a big problem.

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