I understand that WOTC needs to make money (because you know, they don't have any /sarcasm), and the collecting that is required to make a game financially successful is what drives that portion of the industry, but I find it difficult to believe that older (and now out of print) sets can't see anniversary collection releases or that Wizards can't just offer more Icon sets that include a variety of different monsters.
I have a homebrewed campaign world that I use when I DM, and it includes societies of samurai kobolds, philanthropist undead, xenophobic halflings, totalitarian mind flayers and sagely giants. Now over the last few years I've looked at the sets of D&D miniatures that have been released and I've often toyed with purchasing boosters. In a few cases I have purchased boosters, never managing to get all of the miniatures I want, but still attaining a sizable collection. However, its difficult to justify purchasing boosters for a set where I might only want a handful of miniatures. And I'm looking at pictures of the most recent release, Dungeon of Dread, on the wizards website and thinking, "Wow, I would really like a dozen of those mind flayers. But I really don't want to have to pay $150 just for the CHANCE to get one or two of them."
I'm guessing that my style of play, where I design an adventure and then I look for the resources to make that adventure work at the gaming table, has gone out of fashion. I've discussed this problem with other gamers at conventions and at my local game store, and I've noticed that people don't really plan adventures anymore, they take the stuff that they have and create something from that, sometimes repeating themes and monsters if they haven't managed to broaden their collection of miniatures or can't afford to collect the next set.
I think fondly back to when I was younger and I would see the blister packs for metal miniatures that needed to be hand-painted and I wonder if I'll ever be able to go into a gaming store again and say "I need twelve mind flayer miniatures for a game I'm planning." and be able to find them or, at the very least, order them. (I know there's always eBay, but paying $10 to 20 dollars for a single figure that has been labelled as a 'rare' is absurdly ridiculous to me.)
So here is my suggestion: The D&D Miniatures game has been in production for about 5 years now. Many of the past sets are now out of print. So why doesn't Wizards re-release the collections as Icon sets? Or call them Vanguard to distinguish the reprints from the Icon series? Something where a person could pay a flat amount of money and receive one of every miniature from those sets?
Or why not re-release some of the staples of those collections in Icon boxes? Small collections of figures that represent the whole collection, just from looking at the Harbinger set I could see a Cleric box that includes one of every out-of-print cleric figure, or perhaps an Elemental box that includes one of every medium-sized elemental?
Or they could re-release older sets, or release new sets, with the rare figure visible and the uncommon and common figures hidden behind cardboard packaging? It would certainly change the way boosters are purchased. (In fact, if the new set of Dungeons of Dread were released like that I would be guaranteed to purchase at least 16 boosters because, as I mentioned, I use a lot of mind flayers in my game.)
As a friend of mine likes to say "They'll never do that because that actually makes sense."
I'm guessing he's right, they'll never release these figures in single blister packs, or with any kind of visibility as to whats inside, because there are some figures that probably just wouldn't sell (Ettin Jack-of-Irons sticks out), but there's always the idea of re-releasing the older sets in Anniversary boxes.
With the release of this new set I am toying with the idea of investing some money into it, but I also feel like it could be a waste of time and money because there are only a handful of rares that I am interested in. So for now I spend my time scouring ebay for the miniatures I want, which are usually older metal miniatures - and this does Wizards no good.
What are your thoughts?