Ampersand January 2011: Icy Winds of Fortune

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Dragon 395
Ampersand: Icy Winds of Fortune

by Bill Slavicsek

It's a new year, and there's a lot going on in the world of D&D research & development.

Talk about this Editorial here.



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Major points for reference, and my comments:

- New D&D movie: Well, the other ones were SO GOOD, this is bound to be worth seeing... when it comes out on TV in 3 years, just for the lulz

- New tile set: Looks reasonable

- Fortune cards, aren't they awesome: No, not for me.  If I wanted to play a CCG, I'd play one.

- No more minis: Well, crap.  I was planning on starting to pick a few up when I finally come across some money.  Oh well, guess another company/eBay sellers will get my hard-earned.

- Heroes of Shadow pushed back to make it hardcover, and various other books 'removed from the schedule': Wow, that's crappy.

- Dragon no longer releasing as compiled editions: So... when does it become rules-legal?  How will we know when an article has been updated?  Sucks to be playing LFR or any other official-rules campaign.

- D&D Experience coming soon: So what, it's in the USA.

My assessment: Frell, that's a freaking awful month.  Not a lot more to say really.  Sigh.  Swing and a miss yet again, Bill.  At least he's keeping his trap shut about the OCB though.  I don't think another month of praise for it would have gone down well, at all.
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.
Vastly disappointing. Couldn't they have thrown us a bone and revealed something new at least?
Complete Suckage!

This makes me wonder why I started a new campaign. Makes me wonder if Essentials is not going to be supported.

Why I started getting into the mini's with them now being discontinued.

Not making me happy Wizards.
So, no compilations, and the articles don't have any real deadline to be finished, and then give a weekly "deadline", and still fail to meet that, and say it's because they are going through R&D?  Sounds like a great way to get me to re-subscribe...Ugh
You're getting rid of miniatures and adding "fortune" cards!?  This makes no sense except from a profit margin standpoint.

I absolutely hate that they're getting rid of the monthly compiled issues of Dungeon and Dragon.  What a pain for me to have to go through the table of contents and download several files instead of just one.

I also don't like the new calendar.  It makes it harder to find new content.  WotC needs to hire a usability consultant to advise them on why these changes are bad ideas.

I agree with the above poster who said this is a freaking aweful month.  Even the news of the new D&D movie doesn't excite me since the previous D&D movies have all been pretty bad.
I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook - Wiki | Discussion Thread
Getting rid of the compiled issue is a really silly thing to do. Now I'll have about fifty billion PDFs inhabiting my computer and I'll never be able to figure out where anything is. I'm really not impressed by this, especially because I tend to collect the compiled issues every so often. I really don't see why making a compiled issue is a big thing and it really does give me the sense these are no longer "magazines" if they aren't compiled.
I can't take it anymore, I just can't.  The calendar is useless, I can no longer peruse my Dragon/Dungeon articles in a compiled format, the actual content of articles seems to get more sparse every month, the builder is slow as hell and doesn't even work right.  I've always been the one in my gaming group who defended WotC's decisions, trying to rationalize them and telling them to give them a chance.  I can't seem to do it anymore, my optimism has been tapped dry.  My subscription is offially cancelled.

Also, is it just me, or does it seem like D&D as a brand and product line is in serious trouble?
My sig is AWESOME!
To be honest I had the same general attitude/position that you do and I can't help but agree. DnD is rapidly looking like a sinking ship.
So all these people who "consume the articles individually," do they download every article individually?  No, they download the compilation when it can be done in one easy step, not as a big pile of downloads.

Crap move, WotC.
I am linking to this thread as the official discussion thread.

@thespaceinvader:  Thank you for creating this thread.  For future reference, here is the appropriate format.
_________________________________________

Dragon 395
Ampersand: Icy Winds of Fortune

by Bill Slavicsek

It's a new year, and there's a lot going on in the world of D&D research & development.

Talk about this Editorial here.

So all these people who "consume the articles individually," do they download every article individually?  No, they download the compilation when it can be done in one easy step, not as a big pile of downloads.

Crap move, WotC.



Exactly. I /view/ the articles invididually, at least those that catch my eye when I'm checking the site. I /download/ the actual issues so I don't miss an article along the way, and now I have to worry about waiting for articles to be updated and need to download each one, assuming I can find it in the mess of the 'General Archive'. I'm calling this decision a Critical Miss.
So all these people who "consume the articles individually," do they download every article individually?  No, they download the compilation when it can be done in one easy step, not as a big pile of downloads.

Crap move, WotC.



I think they download them individually, but even they want them as a compliation for the end result. Otherwise, it's difficult to peruse them all without using the Compendium/Character Builder.

But, honestly. 1 book? That's all I have to look forward to. Just one book. That really sucks. And it's not even the one that I honestly was looking forward to.

That's just shameful. I don't just play 4e for 4e. I play 4e for 4e and what 4e is going to be tomorrow.

I feel that the booster packs are silly.  This isn't Magic.  You don't have state championships for D&D, there is no regionals, nationals, or worlds -  there is not going to be a need to buy cards in volume (or at all).

As DM I'm not going to want them in my game because it will make it harder to know if I"m building a balanced encounter.  As a player I'm not going to want to go out and spend money on something that might not be useful. 

Getting rid of the minis kinda sucks, thankfully there are plenty of other companies like Reaper that still make minis that I can use in games. 

One book this year, well I'll pick it up.  I refuse to resubscribe to DDi, the content hasn't been quite as good lately, I don't like having to be online to use the CB, and not having compalation issues just further makes me say no.

If books come out as ebooks I'll consider it, but only if I can get it for my nook. 


Welcome to ZomboniLand - My D&D Blog http://zomboniland.blogspot.com/
I am very disappointed to see Dragon & Dungeon Magazine compile going away Cry
I'm afraid I have to agree, this is a very disappointing Ampersand.  Cancellation of the Mini's (which I've been buying since the first releases).  Cancelling 3 announced books, and pushing the 1 remaining book back a month. No monthly compilation of Dungeon and Dragon articles. Two new columns announced, but no new products.

Looking at the product calendar, there is literally only one release of new D&D material before April.    That's when the Fortune Cards (meh), new DM screen (meh), new Gamma World and new Boardgame come out.  Nothing with rules information, no campaign guides, no modules until April. Literally nothing.

I was really excited with the release of the Essentials products, especially the two Heroes books and the Rules compendium.  I thought the softcover digest format was really good, a lot handier to transport and reference than the larger hardbacks.  The three Dungeon Tile Master Set releases, that would be kept in print, wonderful idea.  The Red Box and Dungeon Master's Guide, great.

To go from all that, and then have the first Ampersand of 2011 announcing multiple product cancellations, and no information about the new plans but a vague statement about delivering more great content thru other formats. "Icy Winds of Fortune" was a very apropo title indeed.
I like the compiled version, it is nice and tidy.

Now I have to have a folder for each magazine? Why?
Also, i see one D&D product that I will be buying (Two if you count Gamma World).  So, why the cancellations?
While I don't concur with those posts that suggest that D&D is "in trouble", I do agree that Wizards is not yet doing their best job of articulating an overall strategy for the game.  We can agree or disagree with each change; but to see so many changes that feel so dramatic without any feel of a broader plan...wow.  I'm counting up the bucks I've spent so far, and I'm thinking I need to scale back until I can see where this is all going.

I play a D&D game where we use miniatures (and tiles) extensively.  We refer to books often (as well as the Compendium, which still has basic errors like an inability to list all artifacts).  We use the power cards off of the Character Builder (though we find we have to correct several errors, like basic melee attacks that use Strength even when you take a feat to base melee basic attacks off, say, Charisma).  The game is comfortably complicated as it stands...adding random cards in there would only turn off any new players who have a hard enough time figuring out the difference between a "feat" and a "power", so as a GM I won't allow them.

I might be the only one who runs a game (three games, actually) like this, but that seems unlikely.  In any case, the more I see Wizards back off products that support the way we play, and the less I see them care about basic mistakes in the databases I *think* they want us to use...well, the less likely I am to invest further.  If you don't print books, and you don't fix mistakes in your online tools...um, what exactly am I using for reference again?

Ampersand, please be clear:  what are the positive moves Wizards is taking to SUPPORT Fourth Edition into the foreseeable future?  What have you learned from the extensive research you've done, besides all the stuff you'll STOP doing?  What do you HOPE your customers will LIKE?  What are you doing to increase the chances we do?

Please, take a look at how your colleagues at the Magic: the Gathering site approach product roll-out and customer communications.  No one's perfect...but they are really, really good.  Sure, they face a "sky is falling" crowd every time they bring on a new card artist; but that's just gamers being gamers.  You'll never see Mark Rosewater say, "we're going to stop printing Auras and Equipment, and creature tokens are gone...also, we're only producing two expansions next year...we hope to look at other ways to make exciting Magic cards in the near future.  End article."  For every thing they do differently, there's a positive message ("this is what we're doing that's new, and here's why") right alongside the challenging change.  This is what builds faith.  This is what inspires overall confidence, so that board posters who dislike the change(s) look more like whining teenagers who don't understand basic concepts of corporate strategy, instead of deeply concerned core customers who are dying for something they can understand from the company they love.

Help us love you again.          Thanks for your hard work.

AA
That's a damn shame. I was actually looking forward to buying Class Compendium: Heroes of Sword and Spell and its updates to the PHB1. I was also planning pairing it with my two Essentials player books as my standard D&D set. Don't get me wrong, PHB2 is my favorite 4e product and I like Psionics, but it would have been a tidy package for running games for newer players.

Put it back on the schedule. It'll sell. 
Aww, class Compendium and Heroes of Heroic Tier looked good, too...

Also, I REALLY dislike the move away from compiled issues. Material is downloaded over the coarse of the month so people can get a look at it. Of course there'll be more hits on it! IME, I download each article at least once to get a look at it, but only saved the compilation. This'll just make archiving issues that much more difficult for me.
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I am really disappointed in the direction of DDI. What's the point of the calendar or home page now? Having to hunt through the site for the new articles, twice to get an updated download since the compilation is scrapped! I agree that without the compilation there is no more Dungeon or Dragon Magazines.

Not having any idea of what articles are coming out since the calendar is also broken in it's current format, takes away from the joy of waiting for each day to come along. I really don't think anyone minds having articles updated after they come out or moved back a day to be completed, but now the quality and quantity of articles has vastly diminished! And won't even be compiled into a finished product!

Hey, we even had a weekday (01/11/11), which wasn't a holiday or other understandable event, in which there was NO content! We Pay for This?

it's really sad that all these changes are taking place. By the responses I've read online, no one is happy that the quality service Wizards has produced over the last two years could make such a dramatic, devastating wrong turn!

Please Wizards, if you read your own message boards, restore the site to the way we, your customers and now wavering fans, desire and respect!
Please Wizards, if you read your own message boards, restore the site to the way we, your customers and now wavering fans, desire and respect!



They read, they just don't care. Nothing the fans have ever said in protest on these forums has ever made a difference. They announce their changes, wait for the rage to die down, then post another crappy announcement.

I wish Paizo had bought into 4th edition when it first came out. They are amazing at customer service and produce amazing products, I just hate 3rd edition.

I dont mind separate articles. It gives a chance to organize all the articles by topic.

Instead of monthly compilations, they can still publish annual compilations as hardbacks.
"So, starting this month, we’re just providing the articles."

Ridiculous.
I download every article that seems to interest me, which is most, and then at the end of the month, I download the full editted magazines.
Now, I have to download an article wait 2 weeks, maybe, and then redownload and save it to a folder so all monthly articles are together, PLUS take a screen cap of the TOC so I know what the articles are about.

Whatever.
I've been buying nearly all D&D products since '88 and up until PHB2 (when you stopped selling PDFs) and I'm sure I'm not renewing my subscription after this article.
I have a week left on my account. That's just enough for me.

Viva La "what ever version of D&D you are playing right now!"
Is there a great cost for WotC to compile the articles? I thought it was the compiled version that allows them to present the final version of the article. Plus, why wouldn't one download the compilation? It's basically less clutter in one's folder compared to a whole bunch of individual issues.

What is happening at WotC that they're coming up with these ideas?
I like the compiled version, it is nice and tidy.

Now I have to have a folder for each magazine? Why?

Because they don't want you to actually download the magazines.  They would prefer you to go to the website every single time you want to read an article, requiring you to have a DDI subscription as long you want to be able to use Dragon/Dungeon material.

Compilations are too easy to download and archive, which is antithetical to WOTC's new business model.
Wow. So, much, complete, suckage. I click the articles over and over again for ease of reading. However, I never save them. That is why I keep clicking on those articles (and I guess downloading them to my temporary cache) over and over again. I click each compiled article only once. However, each time I do I save a copy to my portable hard drive. The ability to save the Dungeon and Dragon as compiled magazines on my portable hard drive was one of the big selling points of DDi to me. Removing that feature is a HUGE loss to me. One that is seriously making me consider whether I want to cancel my DDi subscription (something I never thought I would say, and something I didn't even say during the switch to the online character builder). I will now have to create a separate folder for each magazine issue and download each article separately. That is a HUGE pain the backside compared to simply downloading each compiled issue and saving it. Couple that with the complete lack of answers in regards to why so many products were canceled (because, what we got was an attempt to avoid answering that question), and what is actually happening with the 4e D&D product line, and I have to say I am one unhappy camper. As a customer I am actually starting to seriously get paranoid that WotC might be about to put D&D in stasis, or, even worse, announce 5e. I guess in my case it isn't that big a deal. Since I like 4e so much it just means that I am about to rush out to buy the few 4e books I have not had a chance to purchase as of yet. But, the atmosphere these decisions are creating can't be good in terms of trying to bring new blood into the consumer base. And, isn't that what Essentials was just trying to do? Seems that goal is being poached right now...

I don't know. I love every 4e product released so far. But, recent events are making me very pessimistic about the support this game will receive in the future.
I am linking to this thread as the official discussion thread.

@thespaceinvader:  Thank you for creating this thread.  For future reference, here is the appropriate format.


No worries.  I've edited my OP to take this into account.

I think that the Dragon decision is the one that bothers me most, mainly because I suspect they're misreading their stats.  Sure, most of us will read the preview articles more often than the compiled edition.  But we won't download them permanently, we'll read them online, potentially several times, to comment on and suggest alterations before the compiled edition is released.

Then, we'll DOWNLOAD the compiled edition once and read it as much as we need to ON OUR COMPUTERS. 

It would shock me if the number of unique-IP-address downloads of individual articles was vastly greater than the number of unique-IP-address downloads of the compiled edition.  And even if it is, if even a significant minority of your customer base are using the compiled edition, taking it away is going to piss them off.  There is next-to-no cost for producing a compiled edition, it should not be taken away because not enough people download it.  It should be taken away if, and only if, NO people download it.

This is why, DDI, you need CUSTOMER FREAKING RESEARCH you unmitigated... *sentence not completed because I don't want to be ORCed*  Unless this isn't remotely about your customers at all.

Personally, I think this is just marketing-speak for 'people have been putting up the compiled edition on file-sharing sites, we want to make it more awkward for them, the pirating swines'.  Just like with the OCB.
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.
....wait, what just happened here!?

I mean the minis I can understand, they are expensive to make and once a certain saturation is reached, they are a lot harder to sell.

Ditto for HoS becoming a hardcover. I like the digest-sized Essentials, but well, if people are hardcover fans, so it be.

I can even understand shuffling around books to fit schedules... but outright cancelling them? Uh. Not even telling us what is going to happen to them? Uh. That leaves me... rather unhappy, especially since it leaves HoS as the only player-centric (and crunchy) book this year.

As non-DDI subscriber, that's rather unfortunate and leaves me pretty miffed. 
So all these people who "consume the articles individually," do they download every article individually?  No, they download the compilation when it can be done in one easy step, not as a big pile of downloads.

Crap move, WotC.





actually I did download the monthly articles both as individual downloads as well as the monthly compilations; I would download individual articles if they appeared to have immediate benefit for my gaming group knowing that I would still be to have the monthly compilation to scoop up any offerings that did not have immediate use benefit

now then, I would have preferred a short statement as to why 'Class Compendium', 'Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium' and 'Hero Builder's Handbook' were being delayed because the Class Compendium had been originally billed as an integration of the Custom Built character with the Player Essential character, Magnificent Emporium (I thought) was supposed to be a better explanation of the rather arbitary redefinition of magic items as Common, Uncommon and Rare (the gold piece cost of a Level 30 item was usually enough to make that item a rarity!) while Hero Builder's Handbook (from the title) looked like an updating of the 3rd edition Hero Builder's Guidebook

as for the discontinuation of the prepainted plastic minis, now that decision hurts! as nice as my gaming group's pewter and lead minis are, they still have to be touched up every so often while the prepainted plastic minis could absorb a fair amount of handling (as well as inadvertent dropping onto the floor) and still be usable and presentable
I like the compiled version, it is nice and tidy.

Now I have to have a folder for each magazine? Why?

Because they don't want you to actually download the magazines.  They would prefer you to go to the website every single time you want to read an article, requiring you to have a DDI subscription as long you want to be able to use Dragon/Dungeon material.

Compilations are too easy to download and archive, which is antithetical to WOTC's new business model.



actually, I do not mind having a folder for every monthly issue or a folder for every year that contains twelve monthly folders but then again, I am a slightly demented retired cyber geek who gained a new gray hour each time I nested a DO Loop in Fortran.
 
I am officially scared of the future of 4th edition.
Heroes of shadow hardcover will be a whorty addition to my shelve, but everything else is shocking.
I can't care less for fortune cards, was an avid minis collector and used to download the final compilations of Dragon every month.

Icy winds of fortune indeed... 
I am not happy about the minis line being cancelled but my money is still going to be spent. It's going to end up in other company's hands now though.

*shrug*

As for the articles I officially mark this day as the end of the magazines once and for all. The compilations was the last thing that allowed them to resemble the magazines they used to be and now that is gone. They can call put Dragon and Dungeon magazine borders on the articles now but there is nothing about them that resembles a "magazine" anymore.

The books was a bad move. At this point WOTC is releasing fewer books than White Wolf which is a company that caters to a much, much smaller audience.

Something bad is happening here, I can feel it.
i think that the vt eventually--and i do mean eventually--will obviate the need for minis for most gaming tables.  and this is a good thing, imo.

i feel the same way about tiles.  my two cents. 
Vastly disappointing. Couldn't they have thrown us a bone and revealed something new at least?



They did, in another article: weekly columns.


But, honestly. 1 book? That's all I have to look forward to. Just one book. That really sucks. And it's not even the one that I honestly was looking forward to.


Actually its one book and a box set, but if you arent into shadow stuff, ya, you got nothing on print.

This really annoys me.  I'll need to check the Content Calendar each day (otherwise I might miss something). Wouldn't be so bad but i want all of what I'm paying for (don't wanna miss articles here and there).

Also, the Content Calendar has changed to a more 'floating' format (rather than the dated format I'm used to).  Guess I'll check in on Monday, see what's up, then pop in a few minutes each day to snag whatever's released.

I think I know why they decided to do this:  To close the back issue loophole.  It's a lazy solution though and the customer gets the short end of the stick.  In that regard, it could have been handled better.

Dragon had a 30 plus legacy with D&D but ending the compilations is the death blow.  Rather than go out with a bang, it just fades away with a whimper.  Kinda sad .

/\ Art 

/\ Art
i think that the vt eventually--and i do mean eventually--will obviate the need for minis for most gaming tables.  and this is a good thing, imo.

i feel the same way about tiles.  my two cents. 


I can't see that happening in the near future.  It's much more difficult for a group to cluster around a laptop screen to see what's going on that a nice big table with nice big minis (or tokens) - and to keep their charsheets organised, roll dice etc.

Unless you're expecting everyone to bring their own laptop and log into VT separately, which is even more unrealistic IMO - not everyone has one, and those who do are not likely to want to bring it to their games.  I know I wouldn't.

I could see using a projector to shoot the game table onto the wall or whatever, but again, few groups will have access to that technology.  Or wall space.

I can foresee a time in the future when tablet and touchscreen tech has progressed to the stage when we'll all be able to use computerised table tops and just have a literal virtual table, character sheets and dice rolling on tablets etc etc.  BUt it's several editions in the future, at least, and planning for it now seems premature.
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.
Idle speculations and conspiratorial ramblings ahead:

D&D Movie: Shows WotC's lack of focus (along with the current card & fiction fetish). "D&D isn't a game... it's a BRAND!" Hey Bill! D&D might have brand recognition, but people won't care about buying D&D stuff if the D&D game isn't seen as fun or supported anymore. Good Game --> More Brand Recognition. Scattershot pasting of brand on bunch of products <> recipe for success.

Fortune Cards: Desperate evidence of card fetish. I can't imagine that most home games would want them, as they will either be always useful/mandatory (because the player constructed the deck that way) or often useless (random pack opening). DMs won't like the former and players won't like the latter. Will probably be seen only in Encounters or specific events... heck, you supposedly can't even get them elsewhere through the primary market. Maybe it will be high-margin per pack, but I suspect they will be dust magnets. There was no need for this product, and even so, it could have been done better. But... how else could you monetize WPN without true pay-for-play?! WotC has made a big push to help brick-and-mortar stores, but offering an exclusive product that won't move (except for MAYBE singles resale) isn't the way to do it.

Minis: [Shrug] WotC is not a miniatures company, which I think they would have figured out by now. License it to someone else and let it be their problem.

Cancelled Stuff: Honestly, I bet it all shows up in DDI/Dragon. Seriously. It means WotC don't have to worry about a print word-count and it allows them will beef up the online pamphlets (er, magazines). And hey! Haven't we been clamoring for good DDI content? Why else would R&D be vetting Dragon/Dungeon stuff more? It's because they are moving from print products to electronic in a controlled fashion... in the same way that some countries are moving away from the dictatorship of the proletariat towards true Communism in a controlled way. [Cough] Anyway, We've seen some of the previews. The stuff exists. We'll see it in some form or another.

DDI: It's no longer a magazine. It's a weekly [loose] schedule of blog posts and articles, and should be formatted that way, instead of the goofy monthly/weekly hybrid we have now. The "Dragon" and "Dungeon" monikers should be retired. It's about time. Then there will be no arguments about whether an article with Rare items should be one or the other. Flavor and Player crunch and Monster stats could live in one article. Yay. That said, I feel sorry for those who miss the compiled version. I think WotC missed the boat on that usability data. I don't download the compiled issue because most of it is stuff I couldn't care less about (bad articles... can see crunch in Compendium), not because I find the format bad. My big fear is that this will serve as an excuse to go from PDF to HTML. I mean, every article is self-contained, and it seems like it would be better to automate content release in HTML. Why wouldn't they switch other than user preference? And it would be harder to pirate! WotC must lose _trillions_ of Zimbabwean dollars in such transactions.

Summary/Synthesis: We can't see more than a few weeks forward (if that!) to know what WotC is doing. A lack of focus on the core game is not good... after giving birth to Essentials, it almost seems like post-partum depression. The fact that the current/future products seem to be things like board games with cards, card games with boards, RPG suppliments with cards, card games with RPG-like framing devices, fiction tie-ins, computer game tie-ins, web-based products [as opposed to the previous web-assisted products], stuff with tenuous nostalgia tie-ins, stuff with irrelevant "geek culture" tie-ins, tedious fiction, and stuff that's all NOT core D&D stuff.

Are they running out of good ideas, or just desperate to make money by throwing a bunch of [stuff] to the way to see what sticks? If people like Future World: The Game of Wacky Combat, Jaunt to 2-D Castle with 3-D People, or holding thin strips of paper in their hands, be my guests. You're entitled to have fun. For my part, I don't think those things are good for the D&D game in the long run because the core D&D game is about NONE of those things.
D&DNext: HTFU Edition

Well, I suspect that nobody at Wizards of the Coast cares, but I think that the decision to abandon compiled versions of Dungeon and Dragon is a really bad idea. I stopped downloading individual articles a long time ago. I wait for the compiled version, load it onto my iPad and read it later. I don't want to search through bunches of articles or worry about missing one here or there. I'm one of those oldtimers with virtually every issue of Dragon going back to the very beginning (and every issue of Dungeon). You made a bad decision to cancel the magazines and now you're essentially doing it again. Those magazines have been the lifeblood of the game for literally decades. And now, once again, they're gone.

I suspect, in the end, it's just a cost-savings measure. Somebody had to spend a few hours each month compiling the articles. Now that person can be assigned to do something else.


I just renewed my DDI subscription. Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.

Vastly disappointing. Couldn't they have thrown us a bone and revealed something new at least?



They did, in another article: weekly columns.



Yeah, I was really amused that the once piece of decent news didn't even show up in Ampersand. I do think those new free articles do sound pretty cool - hopefully they won't come at the cost of DDI content.

Anyway, I don't think D&D is 'in trouble', but I am disappointed in some of these changes.

As others have mentioned, removing the compilation is a shame. Like most people, I read the articles as they come out, but that doesn't mean I didn't want to be able to download the compiled issue at the end of the month. I've spent the last few weeks defending WotC's 'schedule shifting' on the basis that the compilation is the only real deadline they owe us - having it yanked away just seems silly. Bill and Steve, I hope you guys are listening - the compilation does a lot of good for many people, even if it isn't 'the primary method of accessing the articles'. Those who want to download each issue for storage, those who prefer to print out each issue to read it, etc. I hope you'll reconsider removing it.

Heroes of Shadow shifting to a hardcover doesn't really bother me, but I am also very disappointed to hear about the removal of Mordenkainen's Magical Emporium, Heroes of Sword and Spell, and Heroes Builder's Handbook. The last of those was one of the books I was most looking forward to in a long while. And the others seem to fill very specific needs - fleshing out the new magic rarity system, and offering rules for using multiclassing and the like with Essentials classes.

Will that content appear anywhere? Is there a reason these books have been removed?

And, once again, this strikes me as an example of how terrible Bill is at communicating. "While this means fewer books, we plan to deliver just as much great content for players this year through other formats, including board games, accessories, and digital offerings."

Look, I totally like Castle Ravenloft. And accessories like Dungeon Tiles can be a useful tool for the game. But they are not in any way an acceptable replacement as 'content for players'.

If you guys have a reason for removing these books, that's fine. Just let us know - "We're directing resources for other areas; we don't think these books would have been profitable products; we are reworking some of the content in them for other projects."

But saying, "Hey, we're removing these books, but you can buy board games instead!" That's the sort of reason people constantly harp on these Ampersand articles. There is this huge disconnect between you and the audience, and rather than trying to honestly address people's concerns, it always feels like there is a sales pitch.

And that isn't always a bad thing, but it should at least be kept on topic. Telling us to buy a completely different game since we aren't getting any actual D&D content - who is that going to make happy? Instead, tell us that more books will be coming down the line, or give us some other explanation.

Look, I've been excited about D&D expanding its brand with the board games and other content. I am eager to finally see some 4E CRPGs, even if they don't look like they'll be on par with Neverwinter Nights and the like. Hearing that resources had been split to focus on those elements was, in my mind, a good thing.

But seeing the actual D&D content end of things completely gutted like this... well, I can accept you guys have a reason for it. I just wish, again, we had more communication. Will we be seeing more books down the line? Why the recall on these products, many of which were highly anticipated? Are any replacements planned? Will this content show up somewhere else?

I know there are limitations on what you can and can't tell us. But a bit more information would be really welcome at this time.
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