Since Brian was so kind as to point out some things I don’t know, it raised some new questions in my mind. (He has a lot more time on his hands apparently than I do.)

If you are reading this, and since I’m a marketing student, I’ve decided to conduct a small survey. Simply click the comment button to give your answer.

A) Would you have liked to see a trade-in/discount program for the 3E books, in order to get 3.5E books for a lower price?

B) What do you think about the plans to produce a free pamphlet for the changes? Would you have paid to get a nice-sized (about as long as the classbooks) book of rule changes?

C) Are you planning on printing out the entire SRD to get the changes to 3.5?

D) Are you going to switch your games to 3.5, or continue playing 3E?

E) Do you have any other comments?

Thanks!

readers – feel free to copy this letter and post it elsewhere or mail it to Hasbro (just remember to add your name to the bottom)

An Open Letter to Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro:

In August 2000, you released the third edition (3E) of the Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) Players Handbook. The next month, you released the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and in November, the Monster Manual was published. I have, over the past few years, enjoyed the game very much.

At that time, all of those books were moderately priced at an introductory price of $19.95, which enabled people to go out and buy all three books. Some time later, the introductory price was removed and the books were put on sale at the retail price of $29.95. I did not believe this was a fair price for the books then, but since I had purchased them at the $19.95 introductory price, I considered myself very lucky to have avoided that enhanced cost.

However, the fact is – in a few days, the 3.5 edition books will be published, some that that I believe is filled with both good and evil, to put it in terms you might be familiar with. I’m pleased to see many of the fixes and changes will make the game smoother and easier to play. I’m thrilled that some of the unbalanced classes were fixed, and that new classes were added.

But I am filled with shock, chagrin, and consternation over the cost of these books – and the fact that there is no discount available for current owners. I refuse to give your company nearly $100 more – no matter that the books contain changes that I’m pleased to see. And don’t take this as outrage at the designers, who I think deserve every cent that they’ll get from the books – those designers who are still around, of course – but rather take it as outrage at a company that appears to think that bilking customers – customers who enjoy the game, who have bought additional products, who like D&D – is the right thing to do. But there’s another thing – those books I own now? The ones that are only going to be “somewhat obsolete, but still playable” in just a few short weeks? There’s something else you could do with them – something that would show goodwill to your customers and the environment.

Here’s my plan, Wizards. Sell the new books for the retail price you want – $29.95. D&D is well worth that – I would probably spend it if I was getting the books for the first time. But then go one step farther. Implement a buyback program or exchange for the old 3E books. It would work like this:

A customer (one of those people, who, like me, buys your products) goes to the bookstore or gaming store to purchase the books. They pay their money for the new books, and take them home, with a receipt.

Next, they take a box, place a copy of the receipt, the old books, and a form that is available on your website (or even at the store) in the box, and they ship them back to you.

Then you take the old books, RECYCLE THEM, and send the loyal customer a check for $10 per book – someone who sends back all three books would get $30 dollars.

Look at how that works. The customer is happy – not only getting all three new books, but money back as well (money that could be spent on such fabulous things as other D&D books…), but both the customer and the company have done something good for the environment – those books would have ended up in the trash rather than being recycled. Oh, and you still get paid.

There’s multiple parts to being a good company – and one of them is showing your customers that you enjoy having them as customers. That’s part of what this is – a sign to all those people who enjoy playing D&D that you appreciate the fact that they’re willing to play this game and spend money on your products. I know that it would make it more attractive to me as a purchase, and I’m sure most other customers would be for it.

Very truly yours,

Jerry Levine

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