Dungeons & Dragons sees only growth despite pandemic

By Erika Coffey

Dungeons & Dragons, the titular RPG created in 1974, has seen a recent uptick in players thanks to its ability to be played online. Originally a tabletop game rife with rules and heavily male-dominated, Wizards of the Coast, the creators of the game, have made a number of changes to encourage new players, make gameplay easier, and diversify its accessibility for those who cannot play in person. This is especially helpful in wake of COVID-19. 

The Dungeons & Dragons website has introduced many helpful resources for players looking to get into the role-playing game, including virtual play weekends, free play resources, and even resources for parents to teach their children. 

Curious about D&D resources? Check out the gallery below for a step by step!

Citing their hope that their players remain safe, Wizards of the Coast writes on their website, “We believe the social connection playing games, including D&D, can continue to be helpful for those of us who feel isolated or alone in our homes in order to stay safe from transmission. As social distancing impacts our ability to get together in person, we wanted to offer resources and advice for more remote play.”

Wizards of the Coast are not the only ones revolutionizing the way Dungeons & Dragons can be played. Players use a multitude of resources in order to play while quarantined: Skype, Discord, and Roll20 are all popular options for parties who meet completely digitally. Skype and Discord provide audio and visual access to the other players, while sites like Roll20 keeps track of maps, player sheets, movement, and spells. 

Roll20 reports in their ORR that 50% of campaigns on their site are Dungeons & Dragons based, while 55% of their total user accounts play Dungeons & Dragons as of 2020.

Parties who really enjoy Dungeons & Dragons may even move to Twitch, a streaming website where anyone can watch them play. Statistics include 4.3 billion minutes of gameplay viewed on Twitch.

Listen here to an interview I conducted with a virtual DM, Corey Abate, to get an insider’s look at DM’ing during a pandemic.

Erika Coffey is an English major and aspiring editor, who graduates from Texas State University in December 2020.

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