Dragon 402 - Dragon Editorial: Splitting the Treasure

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Dragon 402
Dragon Editorial: Splitting the Treasure

by Steve Winter

With Dragon and Dungeon entirely online, we must ask the question: does splitting articles into two artificial bins labeled “Dragon” and “Dungeon” still make sense? If so, then where should the dividing line be drawn?

Talk about this editorial here.

My choice: "Tear Down the Wall"

With the "magazines" no longer physical objects, nor having an individuality behing the tagging (which now and then has mistakes anyway), lost when the articles stopped being collected, i dont see any reason for that separation; the DM icon is an essential part of this move thought.

One thing i dont understand is the point of the editorials being in pdf format; other columns, such as D&D Alumni, break that standard already, thus fracturing any shred of cohesiveness of the "magazine format" (which is already broken anyway, without the collection of the articles in one single pdf); there is nothing to be gained in having the editorials in pdf format, from the readers standpoint, and some things to lose.
I say tear down the wall and make icon for DM-related materials.

If compilation is out of question, i'd rather have no dinstinction anymore. Players that want to read Dungeon adventures can already do so if they want to. Now that Dragon & Dugeon aren't magazine anymore but some Online article offering, storage would be easier if i only had 1 Folder to store them !


Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

The cynic in me says this article is just to get us ready for when they "tear down the wall", go completely online only, and reduce the content (again).

Thing is PDF's already support hyperlinking, there is no need to go online only to add the new features he's talking about, although I'll admit updating is a little harder. 

I doubt whatever is decided we will see a great improvement in service. 

If the D&D Alumni articles are an indication of how they are going to use hyperlinking, I can't really see the point. 
One thing i dont understand is the point of the editorials being in pdf format; other columns, such as D&D Alumni, break that standard already, thus fracturing any shred of cohesiveness of the "magazine format" (which is already broken anyway, without the collection of the articles in one single pdf); there is nothing to be gained in having the editorials in pdf format, from the readers standpoint, and some things to lose.


Partly it's so you need to be logged in and have an active DDI account to download. Even thought it's lacking the DDI-Exclusive icon, this article is for subscribers only.

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My vote is "Stay the Course" - I think that the shift to the division of content allowed the magazines to really focus on what the players and DMs needed. And, for that matter, represents the period of time when the online magazines really established themselves as something for others to aspire towards. While recent months have shown some improvement, it is hard to deny the magazine has dropped from that standard in the last year and become subject to a lot more criticism. I fear that any attempts to 'tear down the wall' will yield very few benefits - hyperlinking and similar developments are entirely possible within the current system.

Whereas removing the division will make it much less likely to guarantee a certain amount of player/DM content from month to month. It will make it much harder to locate the material someone is looking for, or help direct someone to appropriate content.

Right now, advancements should honestly focus on better integration with the Compendium, Character Builder, Monster Builder, etc. Any other focus should be on returning to the earlier days of DDI when the magazines were at their strongest.

At least, that's my vote, in any case.
Have to agree.

If there's one thing I really dislike about the newer design direction evident in Gloomwrought and the previews for Neverwinter, it's the fact that content isn't delineated by what it is (i.e. Monsters in this chapter, items in that chapter, settings in the other), but by flavour - all the monsters, items, setting details for a given area in one place.

That's fine, if you intend to use that area as written.  But it's unecessarily hampering if you don't.  And official material should be about providing a toolbox for creativity, not a play to be acted out.

Please avoid bringing the same thing to Dragon and Dungeon.  Any more, anyway.
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 love PDF articles so keep those.

If WOTC goes to an all online format I will just be printing the articles to PDF anyway.

I do not see the point in separating the two "magazines" any longer. I have not referred to them in that way in a long time but instead refer to them as DDi articles. In fact, I do not think I have heard anyone in my area call them Dungeon or Dragon articles in a long time.
I think the two magazines is useful so that it makes the writers and contributors think about providing content to both players and DM's.  Without that split I can see that you'll end up with months were either the player's suffer as most of the content is better suited to DM's or DM's suffer as most of the content is directed at players. With the current set up, you are least usually get a roughly even split.
"Stay the course" or even "Return to Roots"


  • Having content broken up into "Dragon" for players, and "Dungeon" for DM's just makes sense to me.  And it's fairly handy.  It's a top-down, broad strokes tier of organization that is just kinda nice to have.

  • Does merging them really bring anything to the table?  Now I've just got one larger list of articles to sift through.  Ok?  And this is doing what for me; relieving me of the stress of having to either click THIS button to go to "Dragon" or THIS button to go to "Dungeon".  Ya, I guess I don't mind going to two different places.  I think I can handle it.

  • Presumably a certain amount of leg work has to be done to organize things regardless of wether it's one giant digital magazine or two.  In the end, if it's all pretty much a wash, why not just keep them separate?  Which brings me to..

  • It'd break my poor little nerd heart to see "Dragon" or "Dungeon" fail its saving throw vs. Disintigration... just because.  Just because it could all be mushed together, doesn't mean it should.  I guess I just don't see anything too terribly useful in destroying one of two paragons (eh, eh!?) of D&D periodicals.



Keep separate magazines separate.

Mainly cause it keeps you honest.  When everything's a Dungeon article, it lets you know you're probably not doing anything useful for the 4/5s of the audience that are players.  If you don't have to keep those metrics, you may not see the problem.

(This is also why I get annoyed at perfectly good Dungeon material being in Dragon.  I like the Dungeon material, most of it's great.  But it's not really player content, and shouldn't be used to pad the 'player content' page counts.  And just saying "we'll keep those metrics" without marking the articles appropriately won't work either.  Since "Dragon" vs "Dungeon" is subjective, you'll need feedback from the community to keep you honest)

And, if I can only read the articles while I'm a subscriber, I'll be unsubscribing and asking for a refund.  That's just a non-starter for me.  Sorry.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

I agree with DMaple. If they were dedicated to keeping the content values high then I would not care. But I've seen them do everything they can to give us less for the same amount of subscription. I too think combining the mags will just reduce the service yet again. I want to see the word count increased to what it was and I think they should hire more people to do so. I cannot believe that ddi isn't making profits like mad and that should be reinvested to make the service better. Word of mouth is the best advertisement and the better the content the more people will subscribe.
PDF's already support hyperlinking, there is no need to go online only to add the new features he's talking about

PDFs do support hyperlinking; the problem is that those links must be written to work either online or offline; they can't do both unless the folder structure and filenames on your computer exactly match ours. In addition, the real gains could be made in linking to entries in the Compendium, Adventure Tools, and Character Builder, and you'd still need to be connected for those to work. So combining substantial amounts of hyperlinking while still enabling offline reading is a much-less-than-ideal solution.

Let me emphasize that this is not a smokescreen for changes that are already in the works. We want to know how people feel about this subject to help guide our debates. So far, customer opinions seem to be as divided as they are here in Renton.

Steve

If your only tool is a warhammer, every problem looks like a gnoll.

I say that the proper course is to "embrace the Machine" and go whole-hog integration with DDI.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
I dont post very often, and when i do, i probably come across as a troll, but i would like to see them stay seprate. 

Stay the course. 
I'd be more inclined to categorize articles by the general type of content - character-building articles (Winning Races, Channel Divinity, Bazaar of the Bizarre, Class Acts, etc) don't really need to be in the same box (Dragon) as the Editorials/Ampersand/Alumni articles that are about out-of-game issues, and location-description articles (Backdrop, Eye on..., Nerathi Legends, etc) seem to get arbitrarily split between Dragon and Dungeon regardless of their player/DM relevance, as do rules-expansion articles (Jousting, Strongholds, Masquerades, etc). Location-descriptions are an entirely different beast than fully-detailed adventures, so why put them both in the same box (Dungeon) anyway?

That's five general categories right there (I'm sure I've overlooked others) that would probably make for a better sorting arrangement. If a given article has "For the DM's eyes only" content then it could be denoted with the DM icon, separated into a separate article (with the DM icon), or perhaps dealt with using layers (you won't see the DM-related parts unless you switch on that layer) - assuming that it doesn't go webpage only, which would make it even easier to deal with.

Whatever else is done, I'd really prefer that the "monthly issue" approach go the way of the dodo - it's an awkward way to present (and search through) content that isn't actually being released as a once-a-month bundle.
One thing i dont understand is the point of the editorials being in pdf format; other columns, such as D&D Alumni, break that standard already, thus fracturing any shred of cohesiveness of the "magazine format" (which is already broken anyway, without the collection of the articles in one single pdf); there is nothing to be gained in having the editorials in pdf format, from the readers standpoint, and some things to lose.


Partly it's so you need to be logged in and have an active DDI account to download. Even thought it's lacking the DDI-Exclusive icon, this article is for subscribers only.



If so (did not confirm), it makes no sense, that argument. Undecided

Its not like the editorials have exclusive content, or any at all, to be real, they are EDITORIALS; even the aforementioned D&D Alumni has some content (the adaptations from old material that occasionally appear), and they are not in pdf format.
I'd be more inclined to categorize articles by the general type of content - character-building articles (Winning Races, Channel Divinity, Bazaar of the Bizarre, Class Acts, etc) don't really need to be in the same box (Dragon) as the Editorials/Ampersand/Alumni articles that are about out-of-game issues, and location-description articles (Backdrop, Eye on..., Nerathi Legends, etc) seem to get arbitrarily split between Dragon and Dungeon regardless of their player/DM relevance, as do rules-expansion articles (Jousting, Strongholds, Masquerades, etc). Location-descriptions are an entirely different beast than fully-detailed adventures, so why put them both in the same box (Dungeon) anyway? That's five general categories right there (I'm sure I've overlooked others) that would probably make for a better sorting arrangement. If a given article has "For the DM's eyes only" content then it could be denoted with the DM icon, separated into a separate article (with the DM icon), or perhaps dealt with using layers (you won't see the DM-related parts unless you switch on that layer) - assuming that it doesn't go webpage only, which would make it even easier to deal with. Whatever else is done, I'd really prefer that the "monthly issue" approach go the way of the dodo - it's an awkward way to present (and search through) content that isn't actually being released as a once-a-month bundle.


I think you have several very good points, here.

THere's a lot of flexibility in categorisation to be gained from accepting the move to online - but it concerns me that it wouldn't be applied that way.
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.
PDFs do support hyperlinking; the problem is that those links must be written to work either online or offline; they can't do both unless the folder structure and filenames on your computer exactly match ours.



If the link is to the full url, then it should work online or offline. Unless you change the folder structure, which was my point about it being harder to update and move stuff around. As there is software for web editing that if you move something on a site will automatically check for dead links, this obviously isn't true for PDF's especially once someone has downloaded them and has them locally.

In addition, the real gains could be made in linking to entries in the Compendium, Adventure Tools, and Character Builder, and you'd still need to be connected for those to work. So combining substantial amounts of hyperlinking while still enabling offline reading is a much-less-than-ideal solution.



It it actually possible to link into the Adventure Tools or Character Builder, other than the entry page? Compendium entries fine.

Let me emphasize that this is not a smokescreen for changes that are already in the works.



This I am glad to hear.

We want to know how people feel about this subject to help guide our debates. So far, customer opinions seem to be as divided as they are here in Renton.



Not surprising really, I'm kind of glad you aren't of one voice over there either.

I'll start by saying that if there was an option to view content without downloading a pdf, I would never download the pdfs. I appreciate that it's there for the collectors or people who can plunk cash down on a portable reader or whatever but personally I hate having to download it and open it in a seperate viewer that takes time to load (and that I had to download and install from a third party site in the first place). Even navigating pdfs in the Acrobat reader plugin is kind of a pain in the butt with a mouse.

With that in mind: I say go whole hog. I would add the idea that you should have a javascript routine on the site similar to what mapquest or other mapping websites have that formats the article for printing. That way people could print to PDF if they so desired or I could print something out for use at the table if I don't happen to have an internet connection.

I can see a lot of value, personally, in better organization of DDI content in general. The ability to tag articles and do advanced searches would be a serious boon. The artificial segregation of content into monthly issues has always been annoying to me. (Where do I find info about gnolls? Dragon #133, DUH). Hotlinking to the compendium or the builder or whatever would be icing on the organizational cake.

As someone that works on software and content projects, I'm not sure there is great value in asking customers... especially when the customer base is so often easily angered be changes not being what they "voted for". Compiled issues, anyone?

In a vacuum, sure, you can ask and as we see here, for various reasons a majority prefers the current situation versus something new. That is a typical response because there is nostalgia, a fear of change, and a valid suspicion that any new change will result in a lack of functionality or otherwise have a downside. (Compiled issues, online MB, online CB, etc.)

My suggestion is this:

1) Stick to the current format and focus on enhancing that format/experience.


  • Enhance searching and tagging within the system. The easy test is to envision any half-remembered article from a few months back and be able to easily find it. Other tests: can you find a monster within an article, such as "the adventure that had monster x"? Can you find all the adventures in a certain level range? Can you find all issues dealing with gladiatorial combat? Can you find all articles in a certain column (such as Perkins' column) or by a certain author? Can you find all articles that have player content, or something specific like feats or rules for Eladrin?

  • Find ways to please both people that want to store an "issue" and people that want to store by topic.

  • Ensure that all articles (such as those by Mearls and Perkins) can be stored/saved by a user and associated with an issue. People want to store things because editions go away and content/value can be lost if the company retires that content. Not being able to store and find what you want is a significant loss to the value of the offering for many users.

  • Use hyperlinks more often in articles so that you are keeping older content alive, adding value, and providing additional resources. Hyperlinks can greatly increase value. It is ok for hyperlinks to be online only, though listing the article number/source is helpful if the user is offline and still wants to find the linked material offline.


2) Once that is done, consider the technology/resources you have available and look to how you could link fully within articles to other DDI content/tools. How could an adventure go straight from the article to being run in the VTT, or a DM printing the DM's map in 1" scale? How could a player read an article on a PC class variant and go straight to building a PC using those rules? Create a vision around this, and then slowly build it internally. Don't deploy it until there is something actually there and make sure that new vision doesn't erode value for most users. The previous visions around online CB and online MB came with too many "steps backward" compared to the advantages. Doing that with your core content will have a significant negative impact on your user base.

3) It is generally easier for users to accept gradual changes than abrupt complete changes. Updating the old MB might have, in retrospect, been far better for WotC revenue and goodwill-wise than the path that was chosen. At the same time, some visions require full deployment. Sometimes you can only deploy a vision fully - a partial deployment will result in users not buying in and seeing the full value. The decision around the approach needs to be made by people qualified to make those decisions (accomplished project managers and subject experts that have a good grasp for the results) and with a full understanding of what will be deployed and by when. Not updating the old MB would have been fine if the new MB had delivered on new functionality. Turning off compiled issues might have been fine if there had been new search functionality. The online CB would have been accepted much more readily if 2-3 of the eventual updates had been part of the initial offering. The wrong deployment around Dragon and Dungeon "magazines" could be disastrous.

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why the pretense of caring what subscribers say? the long, seemingly endless thread of subscribers asking for compiled magazines is a testament to the fact you dont care what we want. otherwise how can one explain that you would actually dare suggesting not giving pdfs at all? unbelievable

 

you have been given the great honor of having stewardship over two of the most famous and most loved publications in gaming history, dungeon and dragon, and your bright idea is to throw them together in a hodge podge of non-pdf web posts. its honestly hard to believe. your team has not shown itself capable of managing a searchable website, and now you want to 'embrace the machine?'. please.

 

if this is a ploy to cut your subscriber content...that is, if you are buckling under the workload, you only have yourself to thank. switching the magazines mid-edition from the traditional adventure-only dungeon and everything-else dragon inevitably led to this sad and sorry 'editorial'.

 

in a perfect world you would use this moment to provide an adventure creation tool that would allow subscribers to do your work for you and write in adventures like the old days. this would kill two birds with one stone, lightening your unsustainable workload and actually providing promised tools. i dare say we could do better than another month of nothing but heroic tier yawners

 

id love to threaten to cancel but the truth is, i wont cancel. i get enough value out of it to keep it. what i do want you to know is that i am ashamed of you. i am ashamed that given such an incredible opportunity and responsibility of running dnds legendary magazines, you actually have paid staff that would suggest throwing them together into an incomprehensible mass of non downloadable web posts. even if i thought it was a good idea, it is still obvious you would be incapable of managing such an affair

 

if you REALLY care what subscribers think, you should actually bother to read the endless posts of subscribers wanting their complied magazines back. for you to say its 50/50 right now shows how tone deaf you really are.

 

i truly hope you do not throw these legendary magazines in the trash dump, but i must admit i have no faith that you will listen to your customers. otherwise, you would have already brought complied issues back. i also dont have faith that you could accomplish 'embracing the machine'; your track record with digital tools and media really speaks for itself

the good news is it sounds like some of the folks in the room still want to preserve dungeon magazine. keep up the good fight. please keep fighting to provide pdfs and the two magazines


Keep them seperate. Putting them together is an excuse to limit even more content
Thank you for getting that off my chest, frothsof.  Really ;).

/\ Art

 3) It is generally easier for users to accept gradual changes than abrupt complete changes. Updating the old MB might have, in retrospect, been far better for WotC revenue and goodwill-wise than the path that was chosen. At the same time, some visions require full deployment. Sometimes you can only deploy a vision fully - a partial deployment will result in users not buying in and seeing the full value. The decision around the approach needs to be made by people qualified to make those decisions (accomplished project managers and subject experts that have a good grasp for the results) and with a full understanding of what will be deployed and by when. Not updating the old MB would have been fine if the new MB had delivered on new functionality. Turning off compiled issues might have been fine if there had been new search functionality. The online CB would have been accepted much more readily if 2-3 of the eventual updates had been part of the initial offering. The wrong deployment around Dragon and Dungeon "magazines" could be disastrous.



+1 this, main reason I'm no longer a subscriber, also frothsof

1. Keep them separate. Bring back compiled magazines. 

2. Make customers happy.

3. Profit!



why the pretense of caring what subscribers say? the long, seemingly endless thread of subscribers asking for compiled magazines is a testament to the fact you dont care what we want. otherwise how can one explain that you would actually dare suggesting not giving pdfs at all? unbelievable

 

you have been given the great honor of having stewardship over two of the most famous and most loved publications in gaming history, dungeon and dragon, and your bright idea is to throw them together in a hodge podge of non-pdf web posts. its honestly hard to believe. your team has not shown itself capable of managing a searchable website, and now you want to 'embrace the machine?'. please.

 

if this is a ploy to cut your subscriber content...that is, if you are buckling under the workload, you only have yourself to thank. switching the magazines mid-edition from the traditional adventure-only dungeon and everything-else dragon inevitably led to this sad and sorry 'editorial'.

 

in a perfect world you would use this moment to provide an adventure creation tool that would allow subscribers to do your work for you and write in adventures like the old days. this would kill two birds with one stone, lightening your unsustainable workload and actually providing promised tools. i dare say we could do better than another month of nothing but heroic tier yawners

 

id love to threaten to cancel but the truth is, i wont cancel. i get enough value out of it to keep it. what i do want you to know is that i am ashamed of you. i am ashamed that given such an incredible opportunity and responsibility of running dnds legendary magazines, you actually have paid staff that would suggest throwing them together into an incomprehensible mass of non downloadable web posts. even if i thought it was a good idea, it is still obvious you would be incapable of managing such an affair

 

if you REALLY care what subscribers think, you should actually bother to read the endless posts of subscribers wanting their complied magazines back. for you to say its 50/50 right now shows how tone deaf you really are.

 

i truly hope you do not throw these legendary magazines in the trash dump, but i must admit i have no faith that you will listen to your customers. otherwise, you would have already brought complied issues back. i also dont have faith that you could accomplish 'embracing the machine'; your track record with digital tools and media really speaks for itself

the good news is it sounds like some of the folks in the room still want to preserve dungeon magazine. keep up the good fight. please keep fighting to provide pdfs and the two magazines





+1

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why the pretense of caring what subscribers say? the long, seemingly endless thread of subscribers asking for compiled magazines is a testament to the fact you dont care what we want. otherwise how can one explain that you would actually dare suggesting not giving pdfs at all? unbelievable





+1 to the whole post. Of course I shouldn't really get a vote, my DDI subscription runs out this month and I don't plan to renew and the only thing they can do with the magazines that would even begin to make me reconsider would be compiling the issues. Which isn't on the table.

But if I were considering re-upping that they're seriously considering this would be another nail in the coffin. I have no objection to a selection of articles not being labelled as two non-existent magazines. But if I pay for a document I want to be able to download it, and WotC has convinced me to not trust them to keep content up. They have done too many things over the last year that show contempt for the customer and a willingness to cut services and eliminate capabilities.
The cynic in me says this article is just to get us ready for when they "tear down the wall", go completely online only, and reduce the content (again).

Thing is PDF's already support hyperlinking, there is no need to go online only to add the new features he's talking about, although I'll admit updating is a little harder. 

I doubt whatever is decided we will see a great improvement in service. 

If the D&D Alumni articles are an indication of how they are going to use hyperlinking, I can't really see the point. 



+1.

They know they can only pull the "Lets just do it, and hopefully no one will notice, and if they do, then we will say something" so many times.

It's a move towards providing less content.
I say that the proper course is to "embrace the Machine" and go whole-hog integration with DDI.



Of course you do.



why the pretense of caring what subscribers say? the long, seemingly endless thread of subscribers asking for compiled magazines is a testament to the fact you dont care what we want. otherwise how can one explain that you would actually dare suggesting not giving pdfs at all? unbelievable

 

you have been given the great honor of having stewardship over two of the most famous and most loved publications in gaming history, dungeon and dragon, and your bright idea is to throw them together in a hodge podge of non-pdf web posts. its honestly hard to believe. your team has not shown itself capable of managing a searchable website, and now you want to 'embrace the machine?'. please.

 

if this is a ploy to cut your subscriber content...that is, if you are buckling under the workload, you only have yourself to thank. switching the magazines mid-edition from the traditional adventure-only dungeon and everything-else dragon inevitably led to this sad and sorry 'editorial'.

 

in a perfect world you would use this moment to provide an adventure creation tool that would allow subscribers to do your work for you and write in adventures like the old days. this would kill two birds with one stone, lightening your unsustainable workload and actually providing promised tools. i dare say we could do better than another month of nothing but heroic tier yawners

 

id love to threaten to cancel but the truth is, i wont cancel. i get enough value out of it to keep it. what i do want you to know is that i am ashamed of you. i am ashamed that given such an incredible opportunity and responsibility of running dnds legendary magazines, you actually have paid staff that would suggest throwing them together into an incomprehensible mass of non downloadable web posts. even if i thought it was a good idea, it is still obvious you would be incapable of managing such an affair

 

if you REALLY care what subscribers think, you should actually bother to read the endless posts of subscribers wanting their complied magazines back. for you to say its 50/50 right now shows how tone deaf you really are.

 

i truly hope you do not throw these legendary magazines in the trash dump, but i must admit i have no faith that you will listen to your customers. otherwise, you would have already brought complied issues back. i also dont have faith that you could accomplish 'embracing the machine'; your track record with digital tools and media really speaks for itself

the good news is it sounds like some of the folks in the room still want to preserve dungeon magazine. keep up the good fight. please keep fighting to provide pdfs and the two magazines





While I agree, I'm also seeing this as hilarious.

1. Keep them separate. Bring back compiled magazines. 

2. Make customers happy.

3. Profit!


+1
What Slaadron wrote.  I'll repeat:

1. Keep them separate. Bring back compiled magazines. 

2. Make customers happy.

3. Profit

The end of PDF downloads means the end of my subscription. I dont rent rules content.
I say that the proper course is to "embrace the Machine" and go whole-hog integration with DDI.



Naturally. Its the anti-consumer, pro-wotc stance. They should probably raise prices while they're at it...
The end of PDF downloads means the end of my subscription. I dont rent rules content.



I'm not sure what this means. Every time you donwload a webpage it downloads to your machine. It's just as simple to save that as it is to save a pdf. More, in my opinion, since I don't need 3rd party software to do it. Maybe I'm wrong?

vLaughing

100% agreement with Frothsof


My pick is Stay the Course; however, I default in favor of the DM.  Player add-ons (Feats, Powers, Themes, Backgrounds, et al) will be available in the CB and this will limit player knowledge of the DM information.  This is in affect a "Return to Roots", but does not require an article to be written for both the DM and the PC.


Re Dungeon for players:  My players are not allowed access to any Dungeon articles.  If a player is caught using knowledge the group’s PCs loose XP – this has only happened twice and the sneak has been so thoroughly chastise by the other members because of it that it has not happened again.
Tear Down the Wall, and I wouldn't balk at Embracing the Machine either. Adding a DMs Icon would be a good idea, although any other easy method to search the various articles would be a good idea as well.
I think integration is fine as long as the articles ARE NOT silverlight so we can save them somehow, and that we get articles in a timely matter.
Characters currently: Abscense makes the heart grow fonder but the characters disappear.
The end of PDF downloads means the end of my subscription. I dont rent rules content.

Online CB was the end of my subscription (no high speed internet makes it useless to me). No compiled magazines was almost the end of several of my friends subscriptions. Ending PDF's would see them leaving too I'm afraid.

Embrace the Machine Steve, there is so much more that WoTC could achieve if only they'd take their collective eye-stalks out of the sand.

The amount of content and its quality I think is a serious issue, we used to grab a Dragon Magazine to inspire players and show off shiny things, read crazy articles, get an in-depth look at aspects of the various campaign worlds (which you should be using to develop them) or even those crafted by non-professionals.

Coming up to a weekend, we'd grab a Dungeon magazine and flip through the adventures for ideas, maybe run one or mash one up with an existing campaign or 'what if' idea.

We don't do that anymore, the online versions just aren't up to scratch.

Dungeon and Dragon live in a tiny, tiny niche on a corner of the enromous WoTC website, locked down by the requirement for a subscription - they're the one way that casual gamers and people only casually interested in DnD used to have to be inspired, get a quick "what is roleplaying / DnD all about"

People who don't, but might want to play DnD don't give a rats ar$ how easy or wonderful the rules are - they'll want a crafted experience that they can contribute to and participate in, ideally run by competent and worldly DM's.

The printed magazines were a great place for other game companies to advertise, an entire ecology of roleplaying. Just because they were other companies does not mean they were a threat; restricting your communications - and the very best communications the game has to offer, to the faithful few is simply shooting yourself (and us) in the proverbial.

The "game industry" is the computer game industry. DnD could have been an industry leader, there's still a lot of good-will.
Where is DnD's involvement with developer magazines & resources like Gamasutra, interviews & features from professional novellists (of all genres) & professional writers and game designers, Universities and professors who lecture in game design and various kinds of writing?
In fact while on that tangent, why is there no site like Deviant.art for DnD to encourage involvemet from the art industry?

If anything, Wizards should be creating the best Dungeon & Dragon PDF's possible and getting them distributed as widely as possible - they are by far the best possible correspondence and advertising DnD has with the world.

Ultimately the format is almost inconsequential when you put it in perspective - Wizards need to take a long hard look at what they're creating, packaging and delivering and just as importantly how they're telling the world about it.

I find it absolutely staggering that WoTC don't get this.