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Updating The Books?

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Werlynn

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« on: (19:33:46/03-09-19) »
Iím new to Shadowrun. Iíve been playing a few months. I purchased several PDFs. I downloaded the PDF that claimed to be the errata that is almost 5 years old. I use the books I have to make characters and play the game. It bothered me a lot to discover there is a tremendous amount of core book errataólargely over a year oldóthat exists only here in forum posts. Why donít the developers spend the resources to at least make updates to the PDFs that are sold so people playing the game can have them available. Forum posts are fine for short term posting of errata but they shouldnít be the long term solution.

Ajax

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« Reply #1 on: (20:16:28/03-09-19) »
I donít work for CGL and wonít pretend to have any first-hand knowledge of their business, but having worked in or around similar industries (and having been a roleplaying hobbyist for decades) I think I can make an educated guess: Thereís just no money in it.

Margins in the publishing industry are thin, margins in the specialty genre industry are razor thin, and margins in the roleplaying hobby are monomolecular.

Updating the book (even the PDFs) isnít as always as simple as doing a cut-n-paste for an errant word or a misplaced comma. Adding a sentence or three to clarify a rule could bump half a paragraph onto the next page. That will bump a chart onto a new page, which means you need to move some art... And so forth. It all snowballs quite quickly and youíll need to re-layout the whole book. Sure, itís not as long a process as the original layout, but itís not nothing.

And the people doing it will want to be paid: They got rent to pay, cats to feed, and children who need their HMHVV vaccinations.

CGLís time and financial resources are finite, they get much better return if they spend them developing new products versus revamping old ones.
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Reaver

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« Reply #2 on: (23:05:05/03-09-19) »
I agree its annoying, but Ajax is probably pretty close to the mark.

I did some research into Catalyst and In Media Res (their parent company) a few years ago. Contrary to what many people seem to think, they are a TINY company!

Due to the fact they are an LLC and not publicly traded, there is a limit to what I could find, but everything I found point to a company with MAYBE a half dozen employees.
Most of the books are created (written) by a team of freelancers (which means they are not actually employees, but people paid on contract for services rendered... which errata and product support would not be part of)

As much as I love SR, and role playing games in general, we have to admit its a small industry with small returns, and that doesn't leave the resources for all the things we would love to have, like constant updated errata.
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Werlynn

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« Reply #3 on: (23:36:12/03-09-19) »
I know that updating the actual book isnít always easy, but the errata PDF hasnít been touched since 2014. To me that level of neglect sends the message ďwe donít care.Ē

Ajax

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« Reply #4 on: (00:03:24/03-10-19) »
I know that updating the actual book isnít always easy, but the errata PDF hasnít been touched since 2014. To me that level of neglect sends the message ďwe donít care.Ē

I have two theories for why CGL might not have updated the Errata document in that time. Neither of these is official, just educated guesswork...

First, it might not be that CGL doesn't care so much as the player base that doesn't. I know, I know, if you're reader/commenter  on these or other Shadowrun-related online communities, regularly play at Missions events, and are otherwise "active" in the hobby it seems like Errata is very important and much in demand... But, well, here's the thing: players like that are a minority of the actual customer base. For every hardcore nerd that's here on the official forum, there's twenty that don't even know there's a forum. For every supplicant geek who makes the Holy Pilgrimage to play D&D GenCon, there's a thousand that wouldn't dream of going to Indianapolis. For every neckbeard that's exploded into NERDRAEG! during your FLGS's Friday Night Magic night, there's ten-thousand ten year olds who bought a Magic the Gathering starter set at Wal-Mart and enjoy fireball'ing their brother's tree-men.

In short, Errata ain't all that important for a large swathe of the people buying Shadowrun books. If they even notice the errors, they just shrug and let their GM make up a ruling.

Now, my second theory is far more speculative and far more unsubstantiated. This is where I move from "educated guess" to "wild ass speculation," but not completely without merit... I think that a Shadowrun Sixth Edition is in the works and due for release sometime before the end of 2020. Sound crazy, I know, but hear me out: the average lifespan of any edition for most roleplaying games is five or six years. SR5 was released in 2013 and is getting a little long in the tooth.



Shadowrun: First Edition, 3 years; Second Edition, 6 years; Third Edition, 7 years; Fourth Edition, 7 years; Fifth Edition, 6 years and counting...
(Advanced) Dungeons & Dragons: Original Edition, 3 years; AD&D First Edition, 3 years; AD&D Second Edition, 11 years; Third Edition (3.0 and 3.5), 8 years; Fourth Edition, 6 years; Fifth Edition, 5 years and counting...
Warhammer Fantasy Battle First Edition, 1 year; Second Edition, 3 years; Third Edition, 4 years; Fourth Edition, 4 years; Fifth Edition, 4 years; Sixth Edition, 6 years; Seventh Edition, 4 years; Eighth Edition, 5 years; Age of Sigmar First Edition, 3 years; AoS Second Edition, 2 years and counting...
Pathfinder First Edition, 9 years; Second Edition, 1 year and counting...
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Reaver

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« Reply #5 on: (00:57:36/03-10-19) »

Shadowrun: First Edition, 3 years; Second Edition, 6 years; Third Edition, 7 years; Fourth Edition, 7 years; Fifth Edition, 6 years and counting...
(Advanced) Dungeons & Dragons: Original Edition, 3 years; AD&D First Edition, 3 years; AD&D Second Edition, 11 years; Third Edition (3.0 and 3.5), 8 years; Fourth Edition, 6 years; Fifth Edition, 5 years and counting...
Warhammer Fantasy Battle First Edition, 1 year; Second Edition, 3 years; Third Edition, 4 years; Fourth Edition, 4 years; Fifth Edition, 4 years; Sixth Edition, 6 years; Seventh Edition, 4 years; Eighth Edition, 5 years; Age of Sigmar First Edition, 3 years; AoS Second Edition, 2 years and counting...
Pathfinder First Edition, 9 years; Second Edition, 1 year and counting...


Most editions change when the ideas run out....

If this was a normal run of shadowrun, I would say you were correct when they announced the release of a Rigger book :P  (inside joke for long time edition players). But they intentionally broke that trope this edition..
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

Ajax

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« Reply #6 on: (01:14:30/03-10-19) »
Itís either the Rigger book or a bankruptcy...
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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #7 on: (05:46:57/03-11-19) »
I know that updating the actual book isnít always easy, but the errata PDF hasnít been touched since 2014. To me that level of neglect sends the message ďwe donít care.Ē

I have two theories for why CGL might not have updated the Errata document in that time. Neither of these is official, just educated guesswork...
Don't forget that there were two attempts to deal with errata, which collapsed at some point. Each of them dealing with it being a big thing, then failing before reaching the finish line. That significantly impacted things. So I wouldn't take the failure as a sign of not caring.
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Marcus

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« Reply #8 on: (08:28:27/03-11-19) »
We are something like a year from PF 2.0. D&D 5 dosent seem like it's in a big hurry book wise. But the industry usually updates around the time everyone else updates give or take a year. OP, is cycling 2nd editions on some of their products. I would guess we are seeing the early stages of an update cycle, but if that's 5.0 revised or 6.0 I would not be prepared to guess. The Errata thing isn't a huge deal, it not keeping the average player from gaming , and still easier to understand SR errata then pathfinder errata.
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JudgeMonroe

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« Reply #9 on: (10:32:20/03-11-19) »
We are something like a year from PF 2.0. D&D 5 dosent seem like it's in a big hurry book wise. But the industry usually updates around the time everyone else updates give or take a year. OP, is cycling 2nd editions on some of their products. I would guess we are seeing the early stages of an update cycle, but if that's 5.0 revised or 6.0 I would not be prepared to guess. The Errata thing isn't a huge deal, it not keeping the average player from gaming , and still easier to understand SR errata then pathfinder errata.

PF2 is only about 4.5 months away from release (August 1, 2019), and D&D5 seems to want to ride a comfortable groove and be a perennial product, and it has the pop culture clout now to do it.

I would be more inclined to support an SR6 release if CGL/Topps were more enthusiastic about the brand. Is a slightly revised rule set worth the damage to your wallet when they start cranking out the same set of supplements and splatbooks? Have you read Forbidden Arcana and Kill Code and thought to yourself, "yep, these guys can crack the code for a 6th edition?"

I'd like to see a well-edited revision to the game. I have the latest fifth printing of the Master Index edition and it still has glaring omissions (the unconsciousness rules from the Quick Start Rules for instance), lacks retcon errata from other books, contains obvious errors and typos, and is still more updated than the current PDF release!

These aren't the guys I want releasing a 6th edition.
« Last Edit: (10:34:24/03-11-19) by JudgeMonroe »

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #10 on: (10:50:45/03-11-19) »
I hope CGL gets some processes in order. If they aren't yet able to errata 5e, I don't want a 6e yet. 5e can be solidified first.
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adzling

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« Reply #11 on: (12:43:43/03-11-19) »
I'm part of the errata team so about as knowledgable on errata as anyone is.

1). Catalyst only cares about errata because the playerbase threw a fit and a freelancer with some connection to the tiny management pointed out that not at least attempting to fix the broken drek is a pretty bad look for Catalyst. The same freelancer (god bless him) took on the first mantle of "errata coordinator" and built the first errata team drawing from the freelancers, french and german publishers (who actually do care about getting right and make far less money than catalyst) and the playerbase (where I was pulled in from).

2). We're onto our 3rd errata coordinator now, previous coordinators had to drop out for personal reasons (totally reasonable personal reasons).

3). I like the new coordinator, he's knowledgeable and involved, time will tell if he's effective.

4). The main problem with getting errata officially published is not the errata team. We have tons of errata for all the various books just "sitting on the shelf". The main problem is Catalyst. They have no internal dedication to reviewing and publishing the errata we compile and put forth. So it just sits in our private forum here moldering away.

5). About a month ago I (and other members of the team) threatened to quit if Jason did not re-engage. He put the new errata coordinator in place (see my comment #3 above). Time will tell if Catalyst actually directs Jason to spend an hour or two a month reviewing and publishing the errata we pass to him. Personally I'm dubious given his past track record.

there's the whole story as I see it. Others may have different things to say.

JudgeMonroe

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« Reply #12 on: (13:42:25/03-11-19) »
if Jason did not re-engage

I think this is the money quote. As a fan and consumer of SR since the first edition, the game has wilted under Jason's direction. There probably isn't malicious intent but I can only really comment from my perception as an outsider. CGL is small and Jason is probably spread too thin, but look: the problem with Shadowrun isn't even "attention to detail," it's just plain-old "attention." The website? Garbage, out of date. The errata? Slow, spotty, spread out. Organized Play? Relegated to a Facebook ghetto. Release schedule? Here's a new release you didn't know was coming.

I don't know Jason's schedule or workload. I don't know what management pressures steer his attention. But there is some low-hanging fruit that anyone can see needs picking, and that's without even cracking a book and seeing the horror show on the inside. No 6th edition is going to fix any of this if the same names are going to be on the credits page.

adzling

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« Reply #13 on: (14:55:52/03-11-19) »
The inescapable data point is that both the German publisher (Pegasus) and the French publisher (sorry name escapes me) that are *much* smaller than Catalyst BOTH have better errata and a better errata process than Catalyst.

So the old trope about "Catalyst not being big enough for errata" is not relevant nor accurate (sorry Reaver, you know I love you).

The real issue is poor management at Catalyst.

This is how they got defrauded by their (ex?) business partner, total lack of any management.

This is how the first handful of books for 5e were so horrifically mangled editorially.

This is how all of the 5e books are comprised of small elements of use an 70% bloatware of crap-fluff that has little relevance to the game and almost no internal consistency.

To me it looks as though they just are constantly throwing things (board games mostly) at the wall and seeing if something sticks.

TL:DR If you look at the 5e books it reads more like a frustrated novelist got his random friends together to shovel as much poor fiction into the books as possible with little care for the fact they are meant to be publishing a game with mechanical rules that make sense and work.