White Wolf wants you to trade up

White Wolf is making a more agressive play to bring converts from D&D to Exalted in a new promotion. The Graduate Your Game promotion will provide 2,500 copies of the Exalted: 2nd Edition rulebook in exchange for a D&D 3.5 Player’s Handbook. Consumers can either contact White Wolf directly with an and a book, or bring a to a local retailer. Here’s where it gets amusing: participating retailers must “take all D&D 3.5 Player’s Handbooks that are exchanged, tear out the pages, and return the full cover with the consumer forms”. Destroy those books! As if that weren’t enough, gamers can download a diploma “for graduation from the Third Edition Fantasy Game”. Those who want to take advantage of the trade-in offer should make arrangements soon, as retailer promo kits get mailed next week, and White Wolf anticipates a good chance that all book preorders will be spoken for well ahead of the April 28th deadline.

14 comments

  1. According to the website and the order form, you need to supply a credit card for the $5 shipping. $5 shipping isn’t a big deal, but why not allow at least money orders too? I’m not too keen on mailing out my credit card info. I’d gladly participate if they allowed checks and/or money orders.

  2. As a user of snail mail payment, it is sad that many online businesses have turned to only credit card payment. Who could blame them? For the plastic users, it’s fast and convenient.

    Which is why I’m hoping that those Prepaid Credit Cards I’ve seen out there would be a viable alternative to money order for doing online transaction.

  3. Is it just me, or does this seem silly in light of the fact that some people will be replacing their 3.5 books with 4.0 anyway? If your 3.5 PH is just going to collect dust, you might as well take WW up on the offer (even if you won’t use the Exalted book).

    I do agree with Mark that destroying the book seems a little extreme, especially when they could be donated to a worthy cause.

  4. Corphus, the whole thought behind your first statement isn’t silly at all. That’s exactly why they’re offering this at this time — your 3.5 books are going to be useless, so why not get rid of them and get a free game? The type of person that is going to stick with 3.5 is not interested in Exalted anyway. It’s a win for gamers going for the upgrade.

    Bookstores strip covers for credit and pulp books all the time; this is the same practice yet nobody complains that stripped books would be donated to “poor kids”. Don’t fool yourself — there never were 2500 used PHBs destined for the Make-A-Wish Foundation before White Wolf decided to crush dying children’s hopes and dreams for a quick buck. They’d be going to your local half-price book store.

  5. Who says 3.Xe books are going to be useless?

    I can understand 2e, but I still occasionally play 1e (once in a while I dust them when not in use), when I reunite with my old childhood gaming group.

  6. Thomas, I understand your point but it still seems odd to me. From that perspective, people who are upgrading to 4e aren’t really looking for a new system either. I can see the marketing perspective (people are more likely to play something if they actually own a copy), but a lot of people will likely turn around and sell/give the book to someone who would otherwise have bought it at retail.

  7. Bookstores strip covers for credit and pulp books all the time; this is the same practice yet nobody complains that stripped books would be donated to “poor kids”. Don’t fool yourself — there never were 2500 used PHBs destined for the Make-A-Wish Foundation before White Wolf decided to crush dying children’s hopes and dreams for a quick buck. They’d be going to your local half-price book store.

    Actually, many folks complain about the book and magazine stripping system the book trade uses. It is reprehensible, especially in this day and age. And books going to a half-price book store are an excellent way of supporting gamers with low budgets; it supports local stores and gaming at the same time.

    There were many other ways to get these books in the hands of D&D players without requiring the destruction of those books. At Gen Con and Origins, they could have given away a copy to any gamer who came to the booth with a ticket for a D&D game. They could have asked people to send in pictures of the players dropping their books off at Half-Price Books or Goodwill. They could have given away the books to the first 2500 people who simply asked. Many different ways were posible, but instead, they purposefully went for a way that removed competitor’s books from the general stock of games in the most wasteful manner possible.

    As to why a credit card, apparently, the interesting thing is that if the customer who sends in the book covers doesn’t do it correctly by the written terms, they get charged $20 for the Exalted book on top of the shipping. That’s why they can’t take money orders… If you get even a 10% screw-up rate on the 2500 that means $5000 cash for White Wolf…

  8. The cover return is WW’s way of making sure that the game stores are actually participating in the promotion rather than stocking their game shelves with new product and selling at cover price.

    Regarding other ways of distribution: If they waited until GenCon, they’re missing out on a window of opportunity — if gamers think that their 3.5 books are going to be useless because 4th edition is coming out, the time to get new gamers hooked on Exalted is right now, before 4th edition comes out. They’re also getting people coming to local game stores all across the nation.

    You’re misreading the credit card information. The $5 credit card charge is there as an incentive to go to a local game store. The additional $20 charge is not for you, the mail-in customer. It’s to the game store if they fail to turn in covers. You, the mail-in customer, are only charged $5.

    Honestly, if I were running a business, I would have no problem removing a competitor’s product completely from the market when replacing it with one of my products. What I wouldn’t want to do is then turn that competitor’s product out into the market again, which has the potential to drive sales away from my business.

  9. I’m not really sure the logic works. If you were already so sold on D&D 4.0 that you were willing to get rid of your D&D 3.5 books right now, would you really be that interested in Exalted?

    Anyway, given the state of the tabletop RPG market, I can’t help feel that it would have been better for WW to spend their marketing dollars on a promotion that tried to expand the market, rather than simply try to grab a bigger slice of the pie at the expense of their biggest competitor. Could they not have come up with something more creative?

  10. “I’m not really sure the logic works. If you were already so sold on D&D 4.0 that you were willing to get rid of your D&D 3.5 books right now, would you really be that interested in Exalted?”John H
    If you’re more of a RPG hobbyist than just at D&D gamer, you might.

    “Could they not have come up with something more creative?”John H
    Like “Trade in your 4e for EXALTED” promotion? Any other idea?

  11. Dai, I’m guessing RPG hobbyists want to see what the finished D&D 4.0 looks like before getting rid of D&D 3.5, or maybe won’t want to get rid of D&D 3.5 at all. I could be totally wrong though.

    As for other ideas, how about “trade in your Yu-Gi-Oh cards for Exalted”, or “trade in your computer game for Exalted”? At least that’s not cannibalising the RPG market. Or how about a “win a free copy of Exalted” competition promoted to anime and manga fans?

  12. “As for other ideas, how about “trade in your Yu-Gi-Oh cards for Exalted”, or “trade in your computer game for Exalted”? At least that’s not cannibalising the RPG market.”John H

    Because that’s not their competition.

    You don’t see Pepsi folks promote a blind taste test with Budweiser when their strong competitor in the soft drink market is Coca-Cola.

  13. “Bookstores strip covers for credit and pulp books all the time”

    Hardcovers generally get remaindered. And last I checked, White Wolf refuses to allow stripped returns on their fiction. It’s wasteful, and White Wolf used to be a company that at least paid lip service to things like reducing waste. I’m not saying people were going to donate their books rather than sell them, I’m saying that White Wolf could have taken the full books back and donated them to any number of organizations that give things to underprivileged kids.

    And furthermore, it fails to grow the market. Every stripped PH is a PH that doesn’t go to a potential future player that may eventually trade their PH in for Exalted.

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