Dragon 394 - Ampersand: What D&D Means to Me

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DnDi_Large.pngDragon 394
Ampersand: What D&D Means to Me

by Bill Slavicsek

It's the season of giving, and Dungeons & Dragons has always had that spirit!

Talk about this Editorial here.
Dragon 394 Ampersand: What D&D Means to Me

D&D Insiders


If you’re already a D&D Insider, then you’ve been enjoying the new web-based D&D Character Builder. If you’re not, watch this video to see what all the fuss is about.




This cracks me up. I read this and almost wondered what world he was living in.



Then I remembered he can not go and say that we are not enjoying the new character builder but the link saying go see what the fuss is all about should point to the forums Then again maybe not if they want to get some sort of new business. Tongue out




Back in November I wrote this to sum up what D&D means to Foggy Bog. It follows the outline in 'Twas the Night Before Christmas': Twas a Night of Adventure.


The room was a temple, of Dungeons & Dragons


From pencils and paper, to the replica Dwarf flagon


Miniatures were painted, and tiles were stacked tall


Rulebooks were thumbed, and artwork on the walls


I was snuggled in my bed, hoping for the day


When word would arrive, I was ready to play


Surrounded by novels, websites and snacks


A large table nearby, magazines in their racks


Out of darkness and dreams, there arose a bright light


It startled me awake, with a lasting fright


I sat up in bed, and looked at the source


The computer was on, knowing the course


It traveled the web wide, filling the room


With photos and videos, and subtle blooms


Finally it stopped, with all the meandering


On a picture of players, only one standing


Imposing and noble, the whole table his domain


I knew Dungeon Master, by word and by fame


His players were raucous, chattering away


He grabbed their attention, and commanded their stay


“Now Gygax! now Molday! now, Arnes and Slavic!


On Wesely! on Wyatt! on, Baker and Cook!


Gather your dice! Your characters and gall!


A game awaits us! An adventure for all!”


One by one, they followed him out


Off of the screen, into my doubts


Then with a start, a thump on the stairs


Footsteps approached, just outside of my lair


I threw myself down, as far as I could


Into the mattress, a bed made of wood


The door burst open, laughter poured in


There they all were, with great girth coming in


Around the table, they all took their places


With sodas and chips, they stuffed their faces


Dice began to clatter, testing their survival


Trusts exchanged, in case need for revival


Dungeon Master stood, setting out his screen


He laid down his notes, looked to his esteem


“Your characters might suffer, they might succumb


But the rewards you garner; will leave your mind numb”


Then all looked to me, as I lay in my bed


Smiles on their faces, excitement in my head


Dungeon Master nodded, with a knowing wink


I grabbed my things, all covered in ink


I introduced my character, bold and brave


Around the table, they all did the same


Dungeon Master spoke; the adventure was on


All through the night, we played until dawn


As the sun drew near, swords and spells fell aside


The players all stood, saying their goodbyes


Each thanked me heartily, and wished me good


Out they went, me where I stood


Dungeon Master turned, last one I saw


Imposing and noble, I stood there enthralled


He laughed once more, and with a tone of delight


“Good adventures to all! And all a good fight!”

And once more dear Mr Slavicesk demonstrates how unutterably out-of-touch he is with (at least a sizeable proportion of) the DDI subscriber base.  I realise that this is probably because marketing concerns prevent him from actually being honest about how much of a cluster-screw the OCB has been.  But it would better to say nothing than to pretend it's going well.  This will just lead people to conclude he is either a liar or a fool.  Other than that, it seems like a reasonable editorial.

Nice poem.  You need to work on your meter a bit more though ;)
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
If you’re already a D&D Insider, then you’ve been enjoying the new web-based D&D Character Builder. If you’re not, watch this video to see what all the fuss is about.

I sure have, I've been enjoying it so much I have yet to be able to make a single character in it. That pleases me so incredibly much!

I was expecting the Ampersand to have some tidbits in it but that was overall rather underwhelming. though I concede I got a laugh out of the implication anyone has been enjoying the online CB.

Also available this month is Dungeon Tiles Master Set: The Wilderness, a box full of tiles that allow you to create encounter areas that take place in the great outdoors. The map for "The Whispering Glade" in this month's issue of Dungeon magazine uses only tiles from this set and Dungeon Tiles Master Set: The Dungeon. Check it for an example of what you can build from these tiles.


Liked that they made an adventure that makes use of the new tiles (although i suspect they may not be that new, just using the ones reprinted from Sinister Woods, but may be wrong); since they also release the maps for the adventures seperately, it is very useful for other encounters as well.

Unfortunately the adventure itself odly does not refer this fact; most adventures refer the tileset used.

Also available this month is Dungeon Tiles Master Set: The Wilderness, a box full of tiles that allow you to create encounter areas that take place in the great outdoors. The map for "The Whispering Glade" in this month's issue of Dungeon magazine uses only tiles from this set and Dungeon Tiles Master Set: The Dungeon. Check it for an example of what you can build from these tiles.


Liked that they made an adventure that makes use of the new tiles (although i suspect they may not be that new, just using the ones reprinted from Sinister Woods, but may be wrong); since they also release the maps for the adventures seperately, it is very useful for other encounters as well.

Unfortunately the adventure itself odly does not refer this fact; most adventures refer the tileset used.



You should comment on this in the discussion section for the adventure. The articles are not finalized until the end of the month and it would be easy for Steve Winters to add in the reference by the end of the month.



Liked that they made an adventure ["The Whispering Glade"] that makes use of the new tiles (although i suspect they may not be that new, just using the ones reprinted from Sinister Woods, but may be wrong); since they also release the maps for the adventures seperately, it is very useful for other encounters as well.

Unfortunately the adventure itself odly does not refer this fact; most adventures refer the tileset used.



You should comment on this in the discussion section for the adventure. The articles are not finalized until the end of the month and it would be easy for Steve Winters to add in the reference by the end of the month.


Ok, will do, thanks for the tip.
Yes.... "enjoying" is the word I'd use.  4 out of 5 in my group cannot effectively new CB, and the other continually finds so many errors in their powers and equipment that its barely usable... so yay!

I can totally understand that you cannot be in Bill's position and say "the new CB is garbage, so suck it!" but would a nod to honesty kill him?  Even if he added something along the lines of "there are still a few bugs we are working through" it would have at least respected his audience a bit. 

This dishonest, everything is great attitude is (at best) poor business practice, or (at worst) delusional. 

Now I'm off to "enjoy" a trip to the dentist.  Maybe I'll ask him to skip the novacaine so I can "enjoy" it a little more.

I love D&D more than I could ever love a human child.

I appreciate Bill's enthusiasm for D&D, and though sappy, his celebrations of what it means to him are a good attitude.

Somewhat undercut, of course, by his comments on the new D&D Character Builder. Look, I'm someone who is still a subscriber, who has used the new CB, and who is confident that (in time) it will be an improvement on the old one.

But right now, it isn't, and has many significant bugs and design flaws and limitations compared to the old one. Now, I understand that, and am accepting of it, but this complete disregard for people's frustrations with it - not even acknowledging the issue - is honestly less acceptable to me than the actual flaws themselves.

Open and honest communication. That's what people want. And WotC have, largely, been making efforts along those lines. But comments like this, from "one of the driving forces behind the D&D Insider project" show an unwillingness to acknowledge your customer's feelings or engage in discussion with them. And that, I'm afraid, is neither in the spirit of D&D or the holidays.

Also - as far as I can tell, the holiday contest ended last week. So... yeah.
The article implies that the release of the online character builder has generally been well-received by customers.  While the forum is not necessarily a good snapshot of the total customer base, it's also clear that the reaction on the forum has been dramatically negative, for reasons that aren't worth repeating here again.  By completely denying or ignoring this reaction, Bill appears out of touch, dishonest, or both. 

To Wizards: I beg you, please change the way you communicate with your fans.  Stop insulting our intelligence with articles like this.  Instead, give us a sense of what you're working on for DDI, what your plans are for the magazines, and so forth.  In an earlier article, Bill mentioned that Wizards took a lot of flack for promising so many DDI tools in 2008 and failing to deliver, and therefore they've decided not to pre-announce anything anymore.  I would recommend that you revisit this policy, and start out by giving us a sense of what you're planning for the next 3 months, a short enough time that you have a good chance of being right and avoiding any huge disappointments.  Getting this information will let us feel like we're really D&D Insiders again.

Thanks,
Chowder

I have a problem with the sweepstakes mentioned.  This article came out today (15th).  According to the pdf file, the sweepstakes ended on the 11th.  Also, the promotions page doesn't even mention it at all.  Question:  How can we enter a sweepstakes that is gone by and never advertised?

You have the free will to agree or disagree.
You have the ability to act freely on the above choice regardless of the consequences.

I can't access the article.  I get the usual "Article or Content Not Found".
Ampersand mention holiday contest. Ampersand dated December 15th but contest ended the 11th? Someone didn't review their dates/promotions! :p

Have a jolly good holidays!

Edit: woops! didn't see Astromath's post...so, yeah, you're not alone ;)
... I didn't even notice the contest (I got too irritated reading how great the OCB is).  That's some proper $#%!ing style you've got going there, announcing it four days after it closed.  Was it actually announced anywhere else, or would I have had to magically know about the promotions page in advance?!
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
I just stopped by here to inquire about/complain about the contest being out of sync.
I'm pretty sure this article was scheduled for last week and then got - for whatever strange reason - bumped to this week. Hence the odd timing with the dates.
I'm pretty sure this article was scheduled for last week and then got - for whatever strange reason - bumped to this week. Hence the odd timing with the dates.



Which shows obvious issues with Wizards.

Holiday Contest


Want to win every item listed in the new D&D Holiday Gift Guide? Take a look at the Great D&D Gift Giveaway sweepstakes!



 


This contest? This contest that's just being advertised today? It ended three days ago.


 


QUICK, TO THE TIME MACHINE!

Oh Content, where art thou?
Actually, that quote puts things in context. He didn't say "Enter the Great D&D Gift Giveaway" - he said to take a look at it. Take a look, and stare mournfully at all the gifts you can no longer win...
Dear Bill,

Your customer base is currently clamouring for the DDi e-tools to actually work. Of course, we also realise that WotC has never delivered a D&D e-product on-time, on-spec or on-budget but that's beside the point. (So, yes, that does mean that the name "e-turd" is much more accurate than "e-tool", but that's another issue.)

Your customer base would also like to see an increase in content in Dungeon and Dragon. We will probably understand if you can't produce as much as Paizo did but you could explain what you're doing and why.

You had a wonderful opportunity with your latest Ampersand column to address the concerns of your customer base and to tell us what's actually happening. We're not asking for a peak into the internal politics, just a simple acknowledgement of the problems and what is being done to resolve them. Even a padded-out timeline would help.

That, of course, is not the Ampersand column you wrote. What we got was a messageboard post by a fan who happens to be an employee. DDi has little enough content without you wasting an Ampersand column with a fanboy's post. If you actually address the DDi problems I'm sure your customer base will write a lot of "Thanks, D&D!"-posts for you... and a fanboy post always reads better when it's written by a fan rather than by an employee.

So, Bill, are you ready to display some leadership to your customer base or is this head-in-the-sand Ampersand all we are going to see?

Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
Dragon 394 Ampersand: What D&D Means to Me

D&D Insiders


If you’re already a D&D Insider, then you’ve been enjoying the new web-based D&D Character Builder. If you’re not, watch this video to see what all the fuss is about.




This cracks me up. I read this and almost wondered what world he was living in.




I read this and thought: Wow, I have to look at the forums to look what is going on there. And I must say the reaction is much more civil than I expected...

I really don't know what he wanted to say with this. I can't imagine that he has no idea how this new and improved character builder was received by most people in the (forum posting) community.

Maybe he was a little sarcastic?


Ceterum censeo capsum rubeum esse delendam

Holiday Contest


Want to win every item listed in the new D&D Holiday Gift Guide? Take a look at the Great D&D Gift Giveaway sweepstakes!



This contest? This contest that's just being advertised today? It ended three days ago.


QUICK, TO THE TIME MACHINE!



Looks like they removed that. I remember looking for details last week on the promotions section (after clicking a link on the big banner ad) and seeing nothing. 
Looks like someone goofed with that sweepstakes. 

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The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

The only thing I use the OCB for is to upload my pre-essentials characters from the REAL character builder so they can datamine them.
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