The Matt Mercer effect refers to the phenomenon, fresh Dungeons and Dragons players experience, when starting roleplaying games after watching the show Critical Role, where professional artists and experienced role players participate.
The show is narrated by Matt Mercer, who – along with his costars – creates a professional and highly immersive environment for the games; something that may produce overly high expectations in new players.
The roleplaying show Critical Role started on March 12th, 2015, raising the expectations of those interested in DnD games up into the sky.
The professional work Matt Mercer does as a Dungeon Master in the show, had raised the bar for Dungeon Masters all across the globe.
Since 2015, discussions about overly high expectations keep reoccurring on DnD related Reddit threads or forums, where new players complain about the quality of their first game not being like in Critical Role.
“Matt Mercer effect” was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2019.