A little Friendly Advice (My own open letter to the Wizards of the Coast DDI team)

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To Whom it May Concern (most probably D&D brand management):

It has become clear to me through various commentaries by Steve Winters (among others) as well as recent P.R. snafus that the digital magazine content is not currently part of the standard development workflow for Dungeons and Dragons brand products.

Now I understand that each book has it's own writing and development team and I understand that it must be a monumental task to take these products from a patchwork of different concepts and ideas and put them into a coherent framework but you guys really need to iron out your workflow for development vis a vis the digital initiatives.

Let me be frank, I understand that you're in a transition right now but a whole host of the problems you guys are having could be resolved by fully integrating ddi into the development process.

For a few concrete expamples: the recent miscommunication with the assassin could have been avoided all together if you guys had a plan in place for the essentials assassin ahead of time. You could then have released the dragon article with clear "playtest" demarkation. Additionally, the quality of the content released in the magazines could be improved dramatically if they were taken into consideration in the larger framework of 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons and not shunted off to the side (as it were).

Anywho, thanks for making games that I love and I'm looking forward to you guys learning from your mistakes and improving the quality of your product.

Sincerely,

Nick

P.S. Feel free to ignore Lokaire's reply below. He's just bitter sometimes.


EDIT: Darn it. Not sure who to contact about moving a thread. This is clearly in the wrong place.
Wherever it belongs I like it.
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."-Douglas Adams
I'll get it moved to DDI General later on tonight.

(PS, to get something moved, you also contact me.)

(PPS, I will be including this in the weekly report.)

(PPPS, they are integrating Dungeon and Dragon into the R&D pipeline.)
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
I'll get it moved to DDI General later on tonight.

(PS, to get something moved, you also contact me.)

(PPS, I will be including this in the weekly report.)

(PPPS, they are integrating Dungeon and Dragon into the R&D pipeline.)



{just bitter}
I thought they were done integrating it. They said February should see the magazines back on track with 120 pages of quality content with equal fluff and crunch...
{/just bitter}
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
(PPPS, they are integrating Dungeon and Dragon into the R&D pipeline.)



Is this because the errata team got layed off? 

Ask them if their policy on errata has changed at all.  Do they still plan to release free errata?  If not, will things remain as-printed, or will we see more "in book" rules changes, perhaps some sort of annual Rules Compendium series?
PPPS, they are integrating Dungeon and Dragon into the R&D pipeline.



Yeah, I read that. And my response is "Sorta, I guess?"

It sounds to me like development is still shunted off to the side and that they are throwing it into R&D's lap after the fact for QA. I guess what I'm proposing is for Magazine material to be part of the bigger D&D strategy and to be considered along with book releases at the beginning stages of development.