I like many other Pathfinder fans, have expressed my dreamy eyed wish that Paizo would somehow acquire the rights to the D&D brand. We all just "know" that, in our dream world at least, this would bring world peace and a new age of enlightenment. However I have reevaluated my position on this and I hope that the brand either stays where it is or goes to someone other than Paizo.
I was over on the Paizo boards the other night when I came across several posts that expressed just how having the D&D brand would be a burden for Paizo and I couldn't help but agree. I also read the very interesting essays by Ryan Dancey over on EnWorld, which I recommend giving a look. I was actually amazed that the points raised by Mr. Dancey and the posters on the Paizo boards are, for the most part, things that honestly never occurred to me or that I never really gave much thought. I'm generally pretty level headed and reasonable, but I now know that I let my dislike of WotC and my love of most things Pathfinder keep me from really thinking about what I said. Now I feel like a complete dolt.
Why in the hell would Paizo want D&D? Right now, according to some reports, Pathfinder is selling as well as D&D (better if you believe some of the rumors) even though Pathfinder doesn't have the 40 years of name recognition. The more I think about it the more impressed I am that Pathfinder has done as well as it has. Paizo likely wouldn't exist if not for 3rd edition D&D and now they are tying WotC for first place in RPG sales. Going up against the granddaddy of all RPGs and this little company is actually holding their own, and according to some people winning. The irony is that they are using a revised version of older D&D rules to do it.
Another reason Paizo should stay away from D&D is the "baggage", as some on the boards referred to it, of way too many campaign settings. Mostly because us bitchy fans will be outraged if their/our favorite setting doesn't get attention (MAZTICA!!!). Right now Paizo has Golarion which is a kitchen sink setting, but in a good way and one that seems to be as well if not more thought out than some of the stuff put out for actual D&D.
If you want Ravenloft, Greyhawk, FR or even Kalamar it has a passable counterpart in Golarion. They are just tweaked a bit and go by different names. Golarion is nearly every D&D setting on one planet, there really is no need for more settings at this point, if ever. Paizo owning D&D and having to support more setting would probably be a headache and drain on their resources that just isn't worth the benefit of owning a name that really isn't worth what it used to be.
Finally I think that acquiring the D&D brand in the near future would lessen the great work that the Paizo people have done. They were basically the 1st level group who went up against the Ancient Red Dragon and not only survived these first few rounds, but has managed to get in some pretty good hits of their own. Maybe years from now once Pathfinder has established its dominance in the RPG market ;-) , buying the D&D brand might be worth it to them, but not right now.
So I retract any previous mentions I may have made here or on any message boards, I do not want Paizo to acquire D&D at this point. I believe and hope that Paizo can continue being a successful publisher for years to come on their own merit. I want them to be known as the publishers of Pathfinder, the game that showed us all that the name D&D is not all powerful in the RPG world.
** After I finished writing this post I found this really good post over at The Wasted Lands about why the demise of D&D would be a good thing for the RPG industry.
Even though I'd hate to see the brand disappear from the world of TTRPGs, I have to admit there is a part of me that is curious to see what the world would be like if it happened. Unfortunately there wouldn't be a Clarence around to make things right if we didn't like a world without new D&D products, but I would almost be willing to give it a try.
Maybe an actual crash is exactly what the industry needs. A chance to reboot, so to speak. Maybe another company could step up and find a way to make RPGs appealing to the masses or maybe the market would shrink and return to the truly niche hobby it used to be. Then in 20 or 30 years some kids will find their grandparent's old RPG books and strange dice. Maybe they will start a whole new retro-gaming revolution. Kids around the world will unplug from their PS10s and X-box 1800s to gather around an actual table to delve dungeons and slay some dragons. That would be kind of cool.