[Dragon & Dungeon] Drastic Magazine Quality Decline

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Okay, I know there are a lot of threads here and there about this, but I thought I'd make a thread to outline all the things I have noticed lately with the magazines. I have seen various WotC reps say that they like seeing well-structured, organized and pointed feedback, so that's what I hope to get to someone who can do something. Probably, I'm just wasting my time, but I'll do it for my own benefit anyway.

1. Articles are almost always mostly fluff.
I like stories. I like interesting flavour, and I like the fantasy world in which we play D&D. However, I can buy a book if I want a story. I make up most of my own flavour, no matter what world I am gaming in. I don't need an article on Thief Linguistics, playing Liar's Dice with different sized dice or rich genies with agendas. Or an article on how to tactfully weave love stories into D&D. However, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy them; the Talk the Talk article was entertaining, the dice games were neat and the elemental patrons article was really well written. They have a place in the magazines. But they are not the focus of the magazines, at least as I see them. We've got Dragon and Dungeon at monthly half capacity from where they not so long ago. Its basically been downhill since the Oriental Adventures month (which was still less content than some months previous to it). If we're going to get articles like these, one or two a month spread through real meaty articles should be the norm.

2. Setting-specific material is taking over.
In Dragon 407, we got 8 subscriber articles. One of them was about D&D Love Stories. THe rest were setting specific articles that I didn't care about. Especially the one about Cormyrean titles. The "Eye on..." articles have taken over Dragon, and are almost never crunch articles. These articles absolutely belong in Dungeon; they are not helpful to players, to building characters or to roleplay. They are helpful to setting building, plot planning, occasionally to treasure stocking and to other things the DM does. I would argue that at least half of all D&D games take place in a setting other than FR, Eberron or Dark Sun. As much as I love each of these settings, the tyranny of the "Eye on..." articles and the other setting-specific articles has to end.

3. Missed opportunities for crunch replaced by unwanted fluff.
This is an extension on the previous two issues I have. Basically, articles are being published that either a) are not conducive to the inclusion of crunch elements or b) could have really nice crunch elements, but don't. I miss Winning Races, Channel Divinity, Class Acts and Class Basics; these articles were always full of things that got me interested in the mechanics of things, trying out new characters and builds. We need a new build for Seekers, more powers for Seekers, Runepriests, Artificers and Assassins. I'd even love to see more alternate class features for essentials classes, like the Summon Celestial Steed article (great crunch article) and the article(s) about integrating Vanilla classes with their Essentials counterparts. An article with more Martial Barbarian powers for use with the Berzerker would be great. An article with class-race combo feats for Pixies, Hamadryads and Satyrs would also be welcome. New paragon path options that mesh with the class features of Skalds, Protectors and Berzerkers would not be out of place, given their limited option in that regard. And these things could be integrated into articles I have thought were lame; make the Purple Dragons or Cormyrean Titles article include new alt class features for Knights and Cavaliers. Make a new Warlock Pact to go with the Genie Patrons article so that a Warlock can make a bargain with them as the fluff suggests they might. Hell, just include a few columns discussing how to repurpose the other pacts to reflect a Genie patronage. In the article on "The Trust' of Eberron, include feats and powers for Gnome Assassins and Executioners, for Rogues and Thieves. In the article on Corellon and Gruumsh, maybe include some crunch that worshippers of the two gods can use? Like artifacts that resulted from the battle, or feats or something.

I like playing D&D. I love the Character Builder tool (would like it better if it wasn't a web app, but that's alright). I practically couldn't live without the Compendium. But the subscription isn't worth it for these things alone. If article quality doesn't go up in the next few months, I will most likely be cancelling my subscription renewal. It'll make running my game and participating in PbP harder, certainly, but it isn't worth it to me to pay the annual subscriber fee for just the Compendium and the Character Builder (especially since I have to transfer info from the latter to Myth-Weavers anyway to make it useful). And I can still read Confessions and the other columns I enjoy without my subscription.

Regardless of who you are, thanks for reading this. If you're part of the WotC staff, thanks doubly so, especially if you pass this on to someone that matters. I don't know how many subscribers feel the same way I do, but I don't think I'm alone.

Cheers,
Could not agree more. If it wasn't for the character builder, I would have unsubbed ages ago. I'm sick to the eye teeth of articles about up coming products, D&D Next and the Forgotten Realms. I wouldn't actually mind the latter if there were some new monster, spells, items or powers, but there isn't...there's just fluff.

I'm sure a million Realms fans will disagree, but I share your pain. :D
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I'm mostly just subbed for the adventures and the maps at this point. The mags provide so little if you use your own setting now its laughable. The new monster builder is more enjoyable than its offline counterpart, though I can't say the same for the CB.


I remember coming to this website excitedly every night of the week to see what was new. At worst it was stuff for a class/race I was unlikely to use. Now its just walls of text my group will probably never, ever, use.
It has gotten to the point where I hardly ever read the articles.  If they are going to be fluff articles, just label them as such.  I'd rather not waste my time withcrappy fan fiction.