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The Mercer Effect and How it Affects Expectations for DMs

The Mercer Effect is known as players and DMs having extremely high expectations for what to expect from a D&D game. Do you think the Mercer Effect has become prevalent in the last 12 months, increasing with Critical Role’s popularity? Or do you think that it has grown with the knowledge of more D&D shows and an expectation that all DMs should be up to this level. Or – does it not exist at all?

  • Maybe it's because I'm not super familiar with Critical Role, but is the name "Mercer Effect" based on the DM? To pursue this topic, I think it might help to explain the cultural significance of Critical Role and its players/DM, and how D&D in Critical Role is played differently than the average game. I really like the idea of analyzing the rise of D&D shows and how that might impact expectations for new players! – Eden 3 years ago
  • Sounds like a great topic, I would include how to set expectations for your players and foster a fun environment without expecting the polish of an expert I will say that Critical Role and D&D media are increasingly becoming peoples first contact with RPG's rather than playing them witch does change the expectations of a new player. – cjpetersen123 3 years ago
  • As a long time DM who does not listen to Critical Role, this topic seems worth pursuing. However, you would need to describe (as another poster mentioned) why Critical Role is so popular. My question is: is the Mercer Effect a product of those who get into D&D because of Critical Role, or has it "spread" to longtime players who are beginning to expect something different from standard play? – Derek 3 years ago

The revival of Dungeons and Dragons due to Geek & Sundry's 'Critical Role' series.

Dungeons and Dragons has been a long established franchise that has experienced noticeable rise and falls of popularity structured around changing cultural interests. With the mainstream appeal of fantasy films and "soft fantasy" programming on television there has been a slow interest arising around the old RPG paper and pen games. However, it was not until the occurrence of the show ‘Critical Role’ by Geek & Sundry, as streamed by Twitch, that a noticeable and traceable resurgence has occurred. The popularity of a show about watching voice actors play DnD live has lead to a release of new manuals, gaming equipment and surge of fan material. Is this the start of the mainstreaming of DnD?

  • This would make a great article. It might also be good to talk about Felicia Day and her contributions to geek culture; both before and after the creation of geek and sundry. Also the show Community lured a few people into the game. – AGMacdonald 5 years ago
  • I've heard multiple sides to this. On the one hand, a fun hobby is regaining popularity. On the other hand, Critical Role and shows like it (Acquisitions Incorporated, for example) may give people the wrong idea, because not all games have a Game Master as skilled as Matthew Mercer, let alone a cast of that caliber (they're professional voice actors who have been doing this together for years). So a possible question is, should shows like Critical Role be the motivator for the mainstream resurgence of DnD? – noahspud 5 years ago
  • I am interested in how you might prove Critical Role as the source of this resurgence, as I think you might need to look at cultural trends that come before the first episode of critical role even airs. The 2011 new york-times best seller Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and, even, the wild success of Felicia Day's own "The Guild," seems to be a strong indication that this resurgence touches on a significantly wider interest in the production of the fantasy world. Rather than asking is DnD now mainstream, I think I am more inerested in why is DnD mainstream: why are we once again interested in the creating the fantasy world? What about the world we live in now encourages us to be interested in this kind of table top gaming? – Dethlefs 5 years ago