Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Product Plug and Random Musings

New Kickstarter Project:
First off, Christopher West of Maps of Mystery fame and the maker of many excellent maps used in the Star Wars Miniatures Game has a new Kickstarter map-set called Deep Vistas. If you have seen his work, or are a fan you should seriously consider helping fund this project. The project has three maps all double-sided featuring a 1" battle-grid. Whether you play a sci-fi or fantasy game these maps look great. Take a peak and consider helping fund this project!

Future of D&D:

Recently the community over at WotC has been speculating about the disappearance of several books from the product catalog and release schedule, and what this could mean about the future of D&D. I am not going to go over this missing products again, but lets say I was looking forward to them all.

Now members of DDI (Dungeons and Dragons Insider for those who might not know) get a subscription to the online magazines Dungeon and Dragon. Bill Slavicsek "treats" us every month to an article called Ampersand. It is basically the grandstand and product spotlight for the coming months where he teases us with new things just out of on the horizon. He gets a lot of heat from the community for these articles, because its all positive of course, and it usually where he gives the great news that Wizards has gone in a new direction with D&D once again.

This time, those books missing from the schedule are indeed gone but that they are going to be delivered in some other form. Also that the magazines, which at the end of the month used to get compiled into a single issue for each mag, will no longer be done. Instead "data" shows we as subscribers just download the articles as we get them (usually released daily) and we rarely download the whole issue.

So what does all this mean? Well I have read some really great thoughts on this in several forums on the official site, ENWorld, other blogs and Twitter of course. Thoughts range from everything going Digital and no more print products to the extreme that the books are done for but the game is going pure collectible card game.

D&D The CCG
I just do not see this happening, Magic the Gathering is still a strong selling IP and making D&D into a CCG would just kill the game no mater what some believe. Though the idea does have some merit. A starter deck for each player class comes with a set of dice and all the basic cards you need to make your character. Booster Packs and gear spice things up and the DM throws encounters at you. If you are one of those gamers that needs to own everything WotC would love you.

Card elements have become a staple of some of the games out there today. Warhammer Fantasy RPG from Fantasy Flight Games uses it for its characters from the character template sheet to the skills, powers and mental condition of the players. D&D Fourth Edition uses it for the powers and magic items, and soon fortune cards.

Say what you will I find the mechanic useful. In my 4e Games my players do not worry about cutting their powers out into cards they mark the sheets as they use the powers in some form or the other. In WHFRP the game pretty much requires that you have a copy of these cards and originally the game only allowed for a group of 4 to play. At a cost of $99 USD this got prohibitive if you wanted more to play.

I so hope they were not the ones to get their hands on the Star Wars game license.

D&D as pure Digital?
This one has been talked about the most. Right now with the Magazine content no longer being compiled on a monthly basis everyone is calling this ONLINE only, and crying foul it is behind the DDI Paywall. Hello? They already were online only, we can still download them we just need to download a whole lot more files than before.

WotC claims that "data" shows we download these articles more individually than the single download of the compiled issue. My viewing habit is that I "download" the issue and view it in my browser, I do this many times in the month depending on if I need it or not. I then wait to see if I want the whole issue. In a feedback email to WotC/DDI I equated it like this,
It is like an appetizer tray, you sample the items you might want, and if it is all good then you take it all.
Anyway that is the best I could come up with in my feedback. I tried not to rant and rave.

What do I see?
Someone on the forums posted an interesting thought. The books now gone will be presented digitally as articles to the online Magazines. We can then use these articles, critique them and find all the flaws. Errata is found and then more focused books can be produced as a result. The errata is one big issue the player base has with WotC. No product stands the test of the players, once we get it we find all the broken bits and complain and exploit the holes in the rules.

WotC has been on top of their game with errata but the result is a Players Handbook in the stores that is not even usable with all the errata it possesses. 

I see a mix of this missing content, and new content into DDI. I see a whole new host of online tools for us to use. I see that some of this content will make its way into some sort of best of book or a focused book of content in the future.

I know they have the best intentions for the game, they just are poor at execution and informing the public what it is they are doing. Especially to us insiders who pay for a product to be delivered and right now people are really pissed we are not getting our moneys worth.

Thoughts?

2 comments:

  1. 1. Take the time and review what WFRP looks like now. They have taken some gamer feedback and it looks a little more conventional now.

    2. I was far more interested in the fact that they are ramping down the DnD minis? It would seem that they are going back to pogs - how odd? Guessing the bean counters needed a sacrifice...?

    http://www.purplepawn.com/2011/01/wizards-of-the-coast-ends-miniatures-line/

    3. As for pure digital? I am not ready. Even being a digital publisher - I still liked stopping at B&N and picking up a Dragon and Dungeon to read. Oh well...

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  2. Art

    as for the killing of the mini's line outright, it sucks many think it is because of the saturation in the secondary market.

    As far as WFRP I have the core set and the first players pack. I do like it, played it at Gencon last year.

    I love buying books from Brick and Mortar stores. Games Plus gets a good portion of my free cash. But I do like stopping in at Borders to use those 33% coupons.

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I am Regional Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region for D&D Adventurers League. Worked for Best Buy as a Project Team Specialist were I did store remodels, support Vendor displays and set merchandising standards for the stores in the Chicago market. He also enjoys playing games (PC, Console, Board Games, RPGs and Miniature Skirmish Games), reading, watching movies and listening to music.