Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WotC: Plastic Minis to be Discontinued

I'm sure as soon as Christian over at Destination Unknown reads this, he is either going to scream or run out and buy more minis before they become scarce, or maybe both. Just joking Christian. ;)

It was announced that Wizards will no longer be making plastic minis. This is a bit disappointing. Apparently the plastic minis did not meet "internal goals". Is that to be translated as "did not make sufficient profit"? Knowing how WotC has been acting lately, I'm sure it didn't mean "quality standards". Some of the minis were better than others in design and painting quality. Rest assured, the chinese factory workers can rest their eyes now from trying to dab the paint on those tiny minis.

Anyway, below is a repost of the text from the official announcement:

D&D RPG Product Release Updates
Despite the best laid plans, sometimes we make changes to the D&D product release schedule. Usually this happens well before we’ve communicated our plans, but sometimes we must make changes to schedules that have already been announced. That happens to be the case we have here.

We have made the decision to depart from prepainted plastic miniatures sets. Lords of Madness stands as the final release under that model. We will continue to release special collector’s sets (such as the Beholder Collector’s Set we released last fall), as well as make use of plastic figures in other product offerings. Check out the Wrath of Ashardalon board game next month for the latest example of this. Moving forward, we will continue to explore more options for players to represent characters and monsters on the tabletop, including Monster Vault and other D&D products that feature monster and character tokens.

The Heroes of Shadow product, originally scheduled for March and presented in digest-sized, paperback format, is moving to April to accommodate a change to hardcover format. Additionally, three D&D RPG products have been removed from the 2011 release schedule—Class Compendium: Heroes of Sword and Spell, Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium, and Hero Builder’s Handbook. While this means fewer books, we plan to deliver just as much great content for players this year through other formats, including board games, accessories, and digital offerings. I’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest releases each month as we go along.

Finally, I wanted to let you know that we’re making a change to the way we handle D&D Insider content. Subscriber data informs us that the vast majority of you consume our articles individually, when they are posted, as opposed to downloading the monthly compilations. So, starting this month, we’re just providing the articles. There won’t be any more monthly downloadable compilations. This is not a reduction in content, just a clarification of presentation and putting the emphasis where the majority of you are using it. Corrections and updates to articles which used to appear only in the compilations will now be made to the individual articles a few weeks after the original posting.


  1. Well, this suck. Pre-painted plastic minis were the only thing I used to like in the post 2nd-edition age.

  2. I love watching the evolution of businesses. I imagine it's what it would be like to view a time-condensed film showing the evolution of the indigenous life of Australia: full of weird, seemingly arbitrary mutations; chock full of strangeness; and even a little scary at times.

    I may not have been privy to the conversations, but I can bet that the success of the DDM series was brought up more than once when 4E was being pitched. Something like "and the two products will help sell one another" was more than likely used as a selling point. (I can't imagine that the synergy between the miniatures and the RPG was accidental.)

    So, profits on the pre-paints slip (which, as Greg points out, phrases like "did not meet internal goals" usually mean) and what does Wizards do? Pull out the .44, aim squarely at foot, and pull trigger. LOL. (Yes, I LOLled - just couldn't help myself here.) Guess the pre-paints won't be helping sales of 4E any more. ("But that's okay - we'll replace them with tokens." BAM! There goes the other foot. Hehehe)


    Great. The only WotC product I consistently bought and enjoyed.

  4. Yeah, I find the tokens underwhelming. It will probably be more profitable since its just card-board and the cost of production should be lower. I recall several years back when gas prices were hitting near the $5.00/gallon mark that it was having an impact on the cost of minis as well (since plastic is a petroleum-based product). I know that I won't be purchasing an tokens. From a visual perspective, how are tokens better than minis? The 3-D aspect of minis makes it easier to see whats on the board and what type of monster or character it is. I'm sure one has to stand up and hover over a token to see the artwork to find out what it is. Sorry, I'll stick with my minis.

  5. Sorry, Wizards, but your "other content" excuse is complete and utter Bull Shiatt. It is NOT the total volume of content that people care about, it is the actual products. Most of the people who were waiting for those books want those books. They do not want some board game or another non-related product.