Community Question: Rollout

OK, now that we have all had some time to play with the new rules and mechanics of Next, one aspect that I would personally like to see addressed is rollout strategy.

How would you like to see class and race expanisons handled in D&D next? (In full disclosure I do not work for WoTC).

The reason I ask is that it seems the theory behind the entire D&D Next package as per D&D Next goals part 2, seems to indicate a sort of 4E Essentials roll out from the outset, to engage the beginners. Additionally after going back and re-reading a lot of the core content from 4E, as well as the expansion books and numerous Dungeons magazine issues, it seems that the truly best mechanism for rollout is through the DDI tools, in a slow release fashion. Granted these are my opinions, but in light of this I ask:

1. Does it make sense to release hard cover books any more, or are we better suited through DDI?

2. At what point in the life-span of an edition does it make sense to initiate the relase of the expansion classes and races, above and beyond the core material.

We now have a good taste of the options in D&D Next, but I am hoping we get a decent amount of the finalized content right off the bat, or at least have a mechanism to convert our favorite powers from 4E to Next. Also it may be cool in the initial transition phases to still have access to both 4E and next in the character builder and compendium.

What do you think?

Remember: We may have the potential to not only guide the development of the content, but the way it is presented / released, or at least I hope we do.

Thanks for your feedback.

-Tim 
I don't want to pay a monthly subscription to something to have access to the material, I'd much rather have a shelf of sourcebooks.
I don't want to pay a monthly subscription to something to have access to the material, I'd much rather have a shelf of sourcebooks.



I completely agree with this.
I don't want to pay a monthly subscription to something to have access to the material, I'd much rather have a shelf of sourcebooks.

Change "shelf of sourcebooks" with "file of PDF's" and I'd agree.

I don't want to pay a monthly subscription to something to have access to the material, I'd much rather have a shelf of sourcebooks.

Change "shelf of sourcebooks" with "file of PDF's" and I'd agree.




A virtual shelf.
Thanks everyone. It seems by removing powers from Next, and thus a ton of modication and optimization, we wont need a lot of follow-on material anyway.

 
I really liked the character creator, but the more important tool was the DM monster designer.  It seems like, at least at first, there will be fewer character options so it will be reasonable for players to create their characters without needing the generator, but the monster designer was a huge deal in getting your modificatiosn into the stat blocks so everything made sense together and could be recorded correctly.

As a consumer, I would probably buy the original offering, if there is a set similar to PHB, DMG, MM, or whatever.  I think it might be nice if those books came with online codes that activated that content for your subscription - so, once I've bought PHB, my Caralon account has access to the PHB in whatever kind of character generation tool.  Then, when books come out later I can choose to buy them or not - if you buy them, you access the content on the builder.  They could even present all the options on the character builder to show what buying a new book would look like.  This system would also work well with electronic format - people can buy the physical book and get an online code, or they can buy an electronic format book and get the online code.  I think it's a mistake to gate any online tools behind a monthly fee, and that they should try and tie the money necessary to run the tools to sales of the product itself.

That said, I do think that some kind of online toolset is a necessary component of Next.  It's 2013, and the world is on the internet.  It's not a reasonable option to stay off-line.
I would still like hard cover books, but they should totally also release PDFs.  Being that WotC tried saying we can't play Next over Skype for about 10 minutes, I'm not optimistic about this one.

I think the focus for the first year should be on releasing adventures or campaign settings that support the Launch content.  There should be a number of races and classes at launch in line with 3rd and 4th Edition.  I think 4E got wacky with the number of releases and any subsequent books should be subjected to the same standard of playtesting we're seeing now.  I've watched the Rogue grow and sprout I'm not about to suffer some damn halfassed assassin or avenger be invalidated 2 months after the $30 book comes out.

I think that part of what really burned about 4E.  The Player's Handbook I have is basically useless given the amount of Errata.  Get it right the first time or embrace the brokenness.  This is kind of the worst thing and best thing to come out of technology and gaming.  If something is poorly written or doesn't survive contact with the public, there's a means to fix it.  But every thing that gets changed me regret my purchase more.  Personally?  I say embrace the brokenness because its not such a tactical balance oriented game as 4E.  If something makes it past what needs to be the incredibly important playtest, too damn bad.  Broken combat makes for better stories, at least that was my experience with 4E.

Vampire Class/Feat in 2013!

I prefer Next because 4E players and CharOpers can't find their ass without a grid and a power called "Find Ass."

Hardcover books alongside .pdf downloads, and a monthly subscription to use online tools like character / monster creator.
A set of virtual books would be best for me.

There aren't many places to get DnD books etc from in the north of England; Travelling Man and Forbidden Planet have some, but it's hit and miss as to what they get in at any one time. Ordering online would work, but I don't feel confident doing that and it is often unreliable (I ordered a monster manual once from America and had to get my money back, as it didn't arrive).

Please, WOTC, release PDF books as well!
Hardback and PDF versions would be good, you can put security information on PDF files now days to keep copyright etc.

I don't want subscriptions, I want to be able to choose exactly what I buy. 

If people want to subscribe that's cool, but it should be an Option not mandatory because sometimes people get busy, sometimes they don't have the cash, and sometimes they just want a decent tome instead of a collection of magazines.

Online tools are good, but not mandatory for initial release, the core game should require 3 books only. Not an internet connection or a library of books. After that, well release stuff in a logical fashion. Sure some of us have internet and smart phones and hobby tables, but some gamers have none of this stuff, just paper and dice, old style. They should not be excluded.

Key things for D&D - Where is the character from and why do they do what they do? / Recurring NPCs - allies and enemies / Plot, World and Personal Events.

I think that some 4e Dragon Magazine articles made their way into books as appendices. Something similar might be a good idea for DDN as well. Release the classes in Dragon Magazine, collect them and sell as a book for those who prefer that. Include some further options in the books to add value. Other than that, use books mainly for new rule modules. Given that rules modules might be short they could either be sold with two or three modules in the same book, or preferably as different books lowering the price on each of them. Thus you would only buy what you want to use, and it would be affordable to expand your options each time.
Here is how I feel.

1. Hard Cover books. - Full price with a reedemable coupon or code for a DDI discount.

2. Digitial Copies - Cheaper than  the Hard Cover but designed to be less "pretty" Scaled down picutres and maybe remove some the fluff.

3. DDI Subscription - The subscription while active gives you the ability to read and use core and splat books for free. However if you subscription lapses you lose access to any material you haven't purchased.

Their will always been folks who by hard copies. As someone with an immense digitial library when researching for a game I still go to the foot locker and boxes and pull out the physical copy. It feels more natural. The DDI sub will help those who can't keep up with book releases plus give folks a chance to try products they normally pass on. 15 dollars a month is a small price to pay to access all the material. Of course I would like to see the DDI tool expanded to allow for custom modules and rules similar to the orignal Core Rules Tool Set from 2nd. 
Here is how I feel.

1. Hard Cover books. - Full price with a reedemable coupon or code for a DDI discount.

2. Digitial Copies - Cheaper than  the Hard Cover but designed to be less "pretty" Scaled down picutres and maybe remove some the fluff.

3. DDI Subscription - The subscription while active gives you the ability to read and use core and splat books for free. However if you subscription lapses you lose access to any material you haven't purchased.

Their will always been folks who by hard copies. As someone with an immense digitial library when researching for a game I still go to the foot locker and boxes and pull out the physical copy. It feels more natural. The DDI sub will help those who can't keep up with book releases plus give folks a chance to try products they normally pass on. 15 dollars a month is a small price to pay to access all the material. Of course I would like to see the DDI tool expanded to allow for custom modules and rules similar to the orignal Core Rules Tool Set from 2nd. 



The PDF copies should be the exact same thing as the books, not scaled down and with less fluff. They don't have to print a book for that sale so it's already cheaper on their end, and they'd have to spend more money creating a different version of the book that way, so it makes no sense, it's an artificial limitation.


The PDF copies should be the exact same thing as the books, not scaled down and with less fluff. They don't have to print a book for that sale so it's already cheaper on their end, and they'd have to spend more money creating a different version of the book that way, so it makes no sense, it's an artificial limitation.




They wouldn't have to spend any additional money. Scaled down books are simply the design documentation sans the pretty picture and fluff. Besides that point having scaled down PDFs is to allow for printing of the documentation. With Core Rules 2.0 They had the Core 2nd books scaled down into word format allowing owners to print he sections they wanted. 

The PDF copies should be the exact same thing as the books, not scaled down and with less fluff. They don't have to print a book for that sale so it's already cheaper on their end, and they'd have to spend more money creating a different version of the book that way, so it makes no sense, it's an artificial limitation.




They wouldn't have to spend any additional money. Scaled down books are simply the design documentation sans the pretty picture and fluff. Besides that point having scaled down PDFs is to allow for printing of the documentation. With Core Rules 2.0 They had the Core 2nd books scaled down into word format allowing owners to print he sections they wanted. 



Well okay, I can see that now, but you should get both versions with the download.
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I have only one answer to this: I mainly buy the books. I've bought oter stuff, like PDFs for convenience, but only if I already had the book.

I've used an original Fiend Folio from 1981 in our game last Friday. I find being able to do that essential which gives me two reasons not to trust digital options:
- Wizards of the Coast has at best a spotty track record for supporting digital tools and content for more than a few years.
- Even things like PDFs are only good for a limited amount of time, computer formats change. I think you'd find it very hard to open a computer file from 1981 today, but a 30 year old book is no problem.

I trust in dead trees for things like this.

5e should strongly stay away from "I don't like it, so you can't have it either."

 

I once asked the question (in D&D 3.5) "Does a Druid4/Wizard3/ArcaneHierophant1 have Wildshape?". Jesse Decker and Andy Collins: Yes and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Rich Redman and Ed Stark: No and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Skip Williams: Lol, it's worded ambiguously and entirely not how I intended it. (Cust. Serv. Reference# 050815-000323)

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