No one's even complaining now?

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I guess we're in the acceptance phase now? Looking back through the articles in the last 6 months for Dungeon it really is a confusing mess. I noticed there's even a 152 article mixed in with the 153s, from a date perspective. Also, no PDF compilations for Dungeon at all. Tomorrow is April 1st??

I sort of gave up on the preview thing some time ago, but I still find it odd that Wizards wouldn't think about someone new coming to the site. It's just such a mish-mash of content, and of course, very similar to what you would've seen two years ago. There's no sense at all of a preview, and really not that much of a 4e build-up feel either.

Any predictions about what the actual Dungeon launch will look like? When it will happen? Wolfstar, help me with some optimistic news here!
Heh. I wish I had some magic words here.

I'm sticking with what I've been saying tho.

I'm anticipating them to start gearing up starting in April, and would expect the ship to be running pretty smooth in May - since June is when they're to be running full-tilt with 180 pages of content every month.

So. . . starting tomorrow I'm starting to take careful stock of what they produce and how they produce it.

In other words. . . I'm as nervous as you are. (I'm not looking forward to the "I told-you-so"'s if my predictions of "be patient, it'll get better" go down the tubes, but I'll deserve every single one I get)

(The above all assumes the launch date of DDI doesn't slip and remains on-track to go live with 4E's launch).

As for it being quiet. . . well. . . I think we've all said what can be said for the time being. We've all dug our respective trenches, and all that remains now is to see who's bets come due.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Cool, a well worded, respectful response. See, it is possible on these boards after all.

Yep, the funny thing is I really do want them to succeed and make a very cool product. I very much WANT to be wrong. So, my fingers are crossed for you.

The one thing I think might bite you, and you already alluded to it, is the time slippage thing. I do not believe they ramped up near early enough to be ready for the 4e launch, and in fact, think I saw some obscure reference to this slippage from an official personage (can't remember where though). If they pull off all of the pieces of DDI in June, or even July, and it all works well, I'll be eating someone's hat.

In spite of the fact that they botched their preview, many of us who peruse the boards will come back if they can just give us a good product. Krusty is coming...Krusty is coming...
As one of the frequent "complainers", I can tell you why I'm not complaining. (or at least nearly to the same degree).

1. Constructive criticism has fallen on deaf (or ignoring) ears. The changes that have been suggested have not been implemented (caveat: one--count em, one, has- providing both a high and low res file). These suggestions include things as simple as providing the levels of dungeon adventures prior to download..which the editor agreed to do....but then didn't do.

2. It's just so obvious and "done to death" at this point. My last intensely critical post regarding this was a word count of all of February... it wasn't favorable. But no one cared. It was like I was saying the "sky is blue."

At this point, saying the mags are lackluster, crappy, low on content, poorly formated, or not worth paying for is obvious.

The response tends to be "well, duh." That, or quiet murmurs of agreement.


I hope--no, I have run out of hope. I wish for the magazines to become better, to become fantastic. I have made numerous critical posts to hopefully put pressure on WotC to do just that. It seems more likely that they have done absolutely nothing.

I do hope that if the magazines improve, they extend the free period long enough for us naysayers to get at least a glimpse of the quality they have so long been promising, and so far have not delivered (by this I mean magazine quality, not article quality---most of the articles are well written, and all of the adventures have been great in my opinion).


Early on, people defending the magazines responded to the immense outrage that it was good there were so many people who were arguing...it showed interest in the magazines. I guess the opposite is true now...the mags haven't been improved, but it's gotten quiet. My thoughts are that the defenders have found the mags indefensible at this point, and the naysayers have given up and mostly moved on..perhaps to Kobold Quarterly or Pathfinder, perhaps just away from something we used to enjoy with no real replacement.
In other words. . . I'm as nervous as you are. (I'm not looking forward to the "I told-you-so"'s if my predictions of "be patient, it'll get better" go down the tubes, but I'll deserve every single one I get)

No. You don't deserve it.

You've tried to be reasonable and patient. You should be congratulated for that, not condemned for it.

If it turns out Wizards can't live up to their promises, we'll all be unhappy. And it won't be anyone's fault on this side of the Internet.

Aberzanzorax -- I'm afraid you're right. I suspect many have given up on the magazines, e-zines, whatever you want to call them. All the momentum is gone.
"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking." "The important thing is not to stop questioning." A. Einstein
Well, as someone who's been reading the periodic posts on the frontpage and, exactly as the developers have asked, evaluating that content for its worth to me and my gaming group, and judging its relative entertainment value, I have to say that this free content has really helped me come to a decision about D&D Insider.

There isn't half a snowball's chance in Hell that I'm shelling out for this junk.

I apologize for my frankness, but allow me to elaborate. D&D Insider, even with the core rulebooks out the door, has been producing material at about 1/4 of the rate of Dungeon and Dragon when Paizo was running them. I didn't own a subscription to his stuff either, but I was that guy who would occasionally pick up a copy when it was particularly interesting. Nothing that Wizards has published through D&D Insider even comes close to the stuff that got me to buy Paizo's magazines, when I did. Their "steal this hooks" are utterly uninteresting; I might consider them for backgrounds in a Living Greyhawk (or, now, Forgotten Realms) module, but they're just dumb if they're intended to inserted into a home campaign. The exotic places descriptions are mildly interesting, but nothing of particular interest to me- certainly not enough to get me to pay. In fact, the only things I really care for about D&D Insider at this point are the 4th Edition previews, which would be free promotional content regardless, and the rather amusing flash movies that Wizards makes from time to time.

Seriously, though, for fifteen dollars a month, I expect interesting, dynamic material, well-developed concepts that can be used not for a single adventure but for a whole plot arc, and occasionally interesting mechanical things that I can throw at the PCs. Further, I expect a prompt development and delivery schedule.

Fifteen a month would get me World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, or Eve Online. I have yet to see a single compelling reason to pay an equivalent amount for half-baked plot ideas (Really? Rolling on a table for major plot elements? Seriously?) and semi-interesting locations that I'd have to work to adapt into any homebrewed campaign world that isn't the Realms in the first place.
Another reaons people have given up complaining is the host of "defenders" who descend upon them when doing so.

see this thread:
http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1012165

I, inspired by the OP in the current thread, tried to bring up the point that the magazines had failed to meet expectations, failed beyond their excuses (they're too busy right now, making 4e--but now 4e is done). So rather than changing their position I got the following defense:
"They don't have any topics to post right now, and won't until 4E is released."

Ummm, what?

Now that thread was closed, and I admit regretfully that the tone I set probably had a fair amount to do with that.


Just the same, between being ignored by WotC, and the boards no longer wanting to hear about it (either the magazines are "just fine" from some defenders, or "it's so obvious that they're horrible, why bother posting" from others) resulting in a backlash on anyone who calls attention to the poor state of the mags, really why bother complaining?
At the risk of re-ignighting the flame from that thread, I don't think it's your message (WotC is doing a bad job with the mags) as it is with the fact that it's you beating the same drum over and over.

It's one thing to make your opinion known, and even to reply with your opinion in multiple threads (as I've done).

But if I started at least one thread every month with variances along the theme of "The magazines are GREAT!" people would get sick of me and my threads very quickly.

Does that make sense, or am I just coming off as a jerk?
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

At the risk of re-ignighting the flame from that thread, I don't think it's your message (WotC is doing a bad job with the mags) as it is with the fact that it's you beating the same drum over and over.

It's one thing to make your opinion known, and even to reply with your opinion in multiple threads (as I've done).

But if I started at least one thread every month with variances along the theme of "The magazines are GREAT!" people would get sick of me and my threads very quickly.

Does that make sense, or am I just coming off as a jerk?

You don't sound like a jerk and it sort of makes sense.

But it does leave the people who have legitimate criticism in a hard place.

Their concerns haven't been addressed, responded to, or in any other way rendered obsolete. What is there to do except raise the exact same concern again and again? The alternative is to give in to apathy and the passion felt hasn't sputtered out yet...
You don't sound like a jerk and it sort of makes sense.

--echoed.

That's fair, and I needed to hear an alternate view.

That said, any advice? Is it to sit back now that I've said my peace and let the chips fall where they may?

Or perhaps there's a more constructive way to state things?

Or do you think I should sit back and wait until 4th is released and do a single "wrap up" post.

Basically, I'm looking for your and others constructive thoughts...

Also, what about others posting their complaints for the first time? Should there be a sticky at the top of the forums:

"Yes, we all know the magazines are lackluster and low on content, but it's been done to death. Please wait on your postings until 4e is released"

And do you really believe this?:
...if I started at least one thread every month with variances along the theme of "The magazines are GREAT!"...

Because that is at least half of the reason I bother to post. One of my fears is that WotC won't bother to improve the mags because they don't care what we think. Another is that they won't bother to improve the mags because, despite caring what we think, they believe that there are a number of people who think that the magazines are acceptable.
For free material, the product has been pretty good. It's what I have seen here in the past. For material that I am willing to pay for? Not so much. They could have continued writing up 3.5 material, heck it's not like everyone stopped playing and waiting with baited breath for the 4th ed to come out. Or did they?

I know WotC is gearing up for the new edition coming out, but back in Oct they said they were still going to support 3.5 and hoped people still bought the product coming out in support of that edition. It's definitely been pretty limited here with the support.

I never bought Dungeon before, but I used to read copies my friends bought, so I don't feel the loss there. But I have seen nothing to make me want to pay for something that used to be FREE here.

On a side note, has anyone noticed lately the closing of posts that seem to get critical because of people complaining? Wow, I just don't know what to say about that. I guess some people just can't deal with differing opinions. I'll grant that some of the recent closings got pretty flaming, but in others I saw no sign of flaming and yet they are closed.

Oops sorry, got derailed.
I just plain gave up hope on the Ezines.


I have been buying 3.5 from PAIZO..and will use thier new revitalized 3.5 system
Given the lack of response despite many complaints or of any sign of improvement, its pretty safe to assume that WotC had thrown in the towel and been doing nothing more than going through the motions when it came to doing anything constructive with the e-zines prior to 4E. I suppose if they had announced this plan before hand they would have been lambasted by the many customers they were disappointing. And justifiably so.

Instead, they remained silent, ignored suggestions for improvements, focused their attention elsewhere, and let all those customers who were waiting to see some kind of effort just spend their time tilting at windmills.

And we should be expecting an actual improvement in quality, service and communication from WotC because ... ?

Do you believe these last 9 months of service and communication are an example of WotC at their best ... their worst ... or pretty much what we should anticipate if we don't want to be disappointed?
I guess we're in the acceptance phase now?

Yeah, given in complaining, offering suggestions since they just get ignored, I'm not far off ignoring the website altogether. While they asked for feedback in their initial editorials it is clear that it is now falling on deaf ears.

I like to think the best of people, so I imagine they really wanted feedback initially. In fact a couple of problems I pointed out early on were fixed pretty quick, but after that nothing. So I suspect that Dragon and Dungeon have slipped right down the priority list.

The best I can hope for is they are happy to keep it ticking over until the 4th Dungeon and Dragons version launch, and that most of their focus is on getting those right. Unfortunately because of the response in this area I'm not that hopeful.

Some of the information that has been leaking out has done nothing to encourage me. For example, there was an post or editorial about them planning on buying special software to create the PDF versions of the magazines. This was in January or something something like six months after they knew they needed to be publishing these magazines online.

Sorry but you don't run a company like that. You don't say I'm going to manufacture cars and have them coming of the production line starting in October, but then only actually think of buying the facility in January the following year. Especially if you've known you would need to do this since July.

I'm hopeful they have some great content for the first issue of the 4th Ed Magazines, but I'm far from hopeful on delivery methods, or that they will have any of the promised improvements that going online was meant to offer.

They never actually layout out what any of the improvements that the online medium would allow would be, just that online is cool and better, and while a number of people have suggested some improvements online could offer, they have failed totally to even adopt the most simple of these.

Unfortunately reading a computer screen isn't the same as reading a physical magazine so great content alone isn't going to be enough if the delivery method is a poor as it is currently.
Given the lack of response despite many complaints or of any sign of improvement, its pretty safe to assume that WotC had thrown in the towel and been doing nothing more than going through the motions when it came to doing anything constructive with the e-zines prior to 4E. I suppose if they had announced this plan before hand they would have been lambasted by the many customers they were disappointing. And justifiably so.

Instead, they remained silent, ignored suggestions for improvements, focused their attention elsewhere, and let all those customers who were waiting to see some kind of effort just spend their time tilting at windmills.

And we should be expecting an actual improvement in quality, service and communication from WotC because ... ?

Do you believe these last 9 months of service and communication are an example of WotC at their best ... their worst ... or pretty much what we should anticipate if we don't want to be disappointed?

if they had said in the beginning that things would be as they currently are back when they canceled the magazines to move them online, then i probably wouldn't have bothered showing up and posting at all. instead they said "hang around to be disappointed."

i think the last 9 months of customer service have been horrible. if this is their best, they shouldn't have bothered. early on they made real attempts to try to connect with the community, but that guy didn't stay around. then they hired a guy to try to connect with the community and he wasn't really well received (i am guessing from the way i have seen some people refer to him) and he hasn't posted anything i've read in some time.

at this point i am not interested in any online tools or sad imitations of what were once pretty great magazines. that's what 9 months ofhalf-hearted effort does for the DDI for me. i went from "sure i guess it's all there is" to "gee, i i guess i didn't need them afterall, why do i need DDI?" i don't do pathfinder and i don't do the other mags and stuff that came after the move because the format of Dragon and Dungeon magazines hit the nail on the head for me.
You don't sound like a jerk and it sort of makes sense.

But it does leave the people who have legitimate criticism in a hard place.

Their concerns haven't been addressed, responded to, or in any other way rendered obsolete. What is there to do except raise the exact same concern again and again? The alternative is to give in to apathy and the passion felt hasn't sputtered out yet...

That's a tougher spot to be in.

I'd recommend the old-fashioned Customer Service approach ( http://custhelp.wizards.com ). Doesn't help vent the steam nearly as much, but it does let you get your message(s) through in an official capacity.

--echoed.

That's fair, and I needed to hear an alternate view.

That said, any advice? Is it to sit back now that I've said my peace and let the chips fall where they may?

I'm a fan of two-sided conversation and debate (in case you'd not noticed ) so I'd personally recommend adding your constructive criticisms and opinions in existing threads. Most people would agree that you've made a strong and very clear stance, so *new* threads for you are counter productive, as are generic "complaints".

Specific notes of what you don't like (as in your article/word counts) still carry weight, however, as they're (less) objective.

Or perhaps there's a more constructive way to state things?

Or do you think I should sit back and wait until 4th is released and do a single "wrap up" post.

Basically, I'm looking for your and others constructive thoughts...

Largely covered above.

Also, what about others posting their complaints for the first time? Should there be a sticky at the top of the forums:

"Yes, we all know the magazines are lackluster and low on content, but it's been done to death. Please wait on your postings until 4e is released"

Ha! I'm sure that would please many, but no. I still think its valid for people to state their opinions, especially those that haven't given a (strong) voice to them as we've done.

I suppose ultimately, it comes down to how the people posting thinks forums should be used. Personally, I think a new thread should be the start of a new idea or discussion. If new people are just chipping in with "me too!" I'd encourage them to post in an existing thread.

If, however, they have a new take on things, I would encourage a new thread.

That's just me, however, and I'm kinda **** about things like forums.

And do you really believe this?:

Damn you for forcing me to make a clear opinion on the mags!

No, not really. My example there was to try and caricature how your multiple threads *can* start to sound after a while. Not that your opinions aren't valid, but to show how "banging the same drum" can get old when it comes from the same person repeatedly.

However, to be a gentleman, I will admit that the current iteration of the magazine is, at BEST, lackluster. I still expect them to improve greatly or else I doubt anyone will bother with buying the individual PDF versions - much less subscribe to DDI if the mags might have otherwise been their primary reason to do so. (The mags are a "bonus" to me, I like other features of DDI - in theory at least).

Because that is at least half of the reason I bother to post. One of my fears is that WotC won't bother to improve the mags because they don't care what we think. Another is that they won't bother to improve the mags because, despite caring what we think, they believe that there are a number of people who think that the magazines are acceptable.

And to that, I say keep fighting the good fight. They need to know that the mags need work. They need to know that we're looking for things we've been promised (like monthly PDFs; Levels listed in the title, or a column on a table, or otherwise put into a searchable field).

Of course, if I wanted to be snarky, I'd ask why you keep posting if you really believe they don't care? ;) (because this is the Internet and you can't hear my tone I'll point out that's merely a little ribbing).
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

For free material, the product has been pretty good. It's what I have seen here in the past. For material that I am willing to pay for? Not so much. They could have continued writing up 3.5 material, heck it's not like everyone stopped playing and waiting with baited breath for the 4th ed to come out. Or did they?

Wow, I hope everyone has not stopped playing, as you mention. This represents to me the most odd part of this whole transition, and there have to be people at Wizards wondering about their own strategy. Why in the world would you cut support for 3.5 so early when 4e was so far from being released. They really did run the risk of having groups wrap up early, only to have them wander off and find some other hobby outlet. What's to say those folks are going to come back. Really, this is quite and odd strategy. I realize folks could still play without any new material releasing, my group has done just that, but again, why run the risk. They even posted articles discussing campaign wrap up ideas.
Wow, I hope everyone has not stopped playing, as you mention. This represents to me the most odd part of this whole transition, and there have to be people at Wizards wondering about their own strategy. Why in the world would you cut support for 3.5 so early when 4e was so far from being released.

Heh. I'd like to introduce you to the crowd of people that think WotC hasn't spent *enough* time and effort in making 4E all it could be. If you look around long enough you'll find there's no small amount of people who essentially decry "Only two years? (or nine months if they limit to playtesting arguments). Why's WotC trying to rush this out the door!?"

In the end it comes down to limited resources. I'm sure they'd have loved to keep releasing 3.5 books right up to the 4E books coming out in June (thus opening themselves to cries from more people complaining about them trying to sell books that are obsolete before the ink is dry). However, how many customers are going too keep buying those books (see argument, above) and how much is that going to hinder their efforts to get a new version out the door?

They chose to put all of their resources on 4E to try and make the most of their new flagship RPG. I personally can't fault them for that.

They really did run the risk of having groups wrap up early, only to have them wander off and find some other hobby outlet. What's to say those folks are going to come back. Really, this is quite and odd strategy. I realize folks could still play without any new material releasing, my group has done just that, but again, why run the risk. They even posted articles discussing campaign wrap up ideas.

All business is risk. It's at least equally risky to print a bunch of "lame-duck" books that won't get purchased, and sacrificing the potential quality of your new product in the process. ~shrug~
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

I am way past complaining now. I am very reluctant about 4e, because of the effort they spent in their 3rd venue of cash flow (the other being books and minis). As far as I can see, the new miniatures look generally awful (Strike One). The books are at the printer, but no 3rd party publisher has been given a look at the rules (and the GSL is in question) (Strike Two). And the hadnling and continuing no-response-policy in terms of online mags is a really good way to treat your customers (Strike Three).

Three strikes, you're out.

I will still have a look at the rules, but I will not be a faithful customer of WotC... not any more.
I think we should all make an effort to keep up with the criticism.

I would realy like to see DDI be worth a monthly cost, but it is pretty clear that if we do not force the issue it will not be. The quality is poor. Someone needs to impress upon these designers that we are not going to pay for them to blog. If Dungeon and Dragon are going to be online periodicals, then by gods they should be online periodicals. The fact that they are on the Internet is not an excuse for shoddy production quality, particularly not if we are expected to pay. DDI allows Wizards to save on printing costs, not on proofreading and QA costs.
However, how many customers are going too keep buying those books

Enough that Paizo stayed 3.5 in its Pathfinder and Gamemastery Product lines and is comming out with a 3.5 Compatable RPG System and has For gone adopting 4E.

Granted WOTC quit making Moduals along time ago because the General Concenus was that they were not profitable, yet people have been buying them up from 3rd Party Sources and keeping them in business.

I agree with others. If WOTC had told us back when they announced they were ending the Print Copies that they were suspending production and would Re-Introduce the New and Improved Ezines when 4E was launched then it would have been better. If you promise something, especially if you expect to sell it to people then you need to deliver. Many people including myself have posted "proof" of what WOTC has failed to provide based on what they have stated they would deliver. None of the "wait-and-See" crowd has been able to show how these Improved Ezines have delivered anything that warrants "HOPE" that the Magazines will Suddening cause any of Us to bang our heads against the Wall and Say " I was so stupid, I should have listened to everyone who said wait." WOTC has ruined a perfect oppertunity to hold onto the Magazine crowd that was not interested in any of the other Digital Content yet was willing to Plop down a few Bucks to get the Magazines because it was "all-inclusive". I don't trust WOTC to be able to provide any type of Content on time because they have failed to meet deadlines. I don't trust WOTC to provide useful content because they have failed to provide content that "commission" workers have stated they have turned into WOTC for Posting...(Christopher West). I don't trust WOTC to provide a useful preview of adventures before I would have to pay to Look at like they have said they would do. Before I pay to Download an Adventure I need to see if my Characters are in the Appropriate Level Range. Because WOTC won't or Can't do it Now. Just because they are providing the Ezines free does not excuse poor quality, missed Deadlines, substandard content.

WHY, Because WOTC stated that the free preview period would indictate the Level of Quality of the NEW EZINES. What we could expect to see in the subscription issues.

and based on that Promise I have given up hope that the Ezines will be ok, let alone worth paying for.
And as I do EVERY TIME you drag out that argument, I will point out AGAIN that WotC HAS come out and amended their claim that this is really a "gearing-up" period now.

They'd hoped this would go better, it hasn't. They've (essentially) admitted as much.

That may or may not be good enough for you, but no matter how much big red font you use - that statement still exists.

As for Paizo sticking with 3.5 - others have stated it better than I can, but in essence - there's always going to be people who don't convert to a new system. There are still people playing 1E and 2E.

Paizo is a smaller company than WotC and they can easily survive off the "holdouts" that don't convert to 4E. More power to them. If players like 3.5, I'm glad they'll continue to get enjoyment from that game - and that new materials will be available for them.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

They'd hoped this would go better, it hasn't. They've (essentially) admitted as much.

Really, the feeling I got from the statements have been that this release has been going exactly like they planned. I remember the article talking about what would be in the magazines over the pre-4e months, but haven't seen anything mentioning the missed deadlines for the magazine parts.
And as I do EVERY TIME you drag out that argument, I will point out AGAIN that WotC HAS come out and amended their claim that this is really a "gearing-up" period now.

Where?


Here?
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dued/20070816a
Where Chris Thompson states

"In the meantime, we want to start showing you the type of editorial content you’ll get for your money, and help you understand what constitutes subscription-level content (that is, something you need an account to access). And that’s where the current log-in system fits in.

and

At the same time, Dragon will continue to bring you favorites such as Ecology articles, campaign setting support, and other great content written, as always, by members of the D&D community.

and

Then there’s the comics, the free maps, Sage Advice, and all the stuff Bart already talked about. Every Monday we’ll have a weekly update to tell you what’s in store for D&D Insider in the coming week, as well as new editorial content every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We’ll also use these newfangled tubes we call the “Interweb” to bring a new spin to classic D&D content. We’re looking at more innovative ways to leverage the technology at our disposal and bring your game to new heights of cool.



Or MAybe this Article

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dued/20071012

Where Chris States

We're going to be relying on you heavily to give us your feedback on everything from the specific types of content you want to see (specific being the operative word here) to the layout of our pdfs. We're going to be changing things on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. It's not often that a magazine gets to completely re-envision itself like this, but that's what we're looking to do with both Dungeon and Dragon. Heck, that's one of the main reasons why the magazines are free during this period.

As for Dungeon, we're still going to be giving you new adventures every month, because, after all, you're still playing the game. That said, our focus in the coming months will be on giving you adventures that will help you either transition your game to the new edition, or end your 3E campaign with a magnificent flourish just in time for the new core books to hit the shelves.



Post a link to where they say otherwise
I'm leaving work for the day and (probably) won't get a chance to find the link tonight, but I'll look for it tomorrow.

Of course, it would help if I had a better recollection who said it.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

They'd hoped this would go better, it hasn't. They've (essentially) admitted as much.

Whether such a quote exists or not, it does indicate one undeniable truth: Hasbro and WotC have botched this portion of the re-launch through simple incompetence.

This kind of track record does not make me want to go and shell out $104 for what they "promise" is a great new system.
Whether such a quote exists or not, it does indicate one undeniable truth: Hasbro and WotC have botched this portion of the re-launch through simple incompetence.

This kind of track record does not make me want to go and shell out $104 for what they "promise" is a great new system.

Mmmnnn. No. That's a bit strident. Overstretching your boundaries and failing to meet a minor goal because you are too busy focusing on a major goal is a far cry from incompetence. Wizards' only mistake in this is not making it clear to us loudly that they are not meeting their own expectations for the DDI rollout. One quote from a dev blog is not sufficient.

If we are not supposed to be accepting the current quality of Dungeon and Dragon articles as standard -- in direct contravention of previous statements made by the development team -- Wizards needs to make that crystal clear, or they are going to lose a lot of folks' money before their horse is out of the gate.
I'm leaving work for the day and (probably) won't get a chance to find the link tonight, but I'll look for it tomorrow.

Of course, it would help if I had a better recollection who said it.

I think this link is what you were talking about.
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dred/20071221

It talks about why they chose to not put more 3.5 content in the magazines, but it doesn't address the missing articles and non-responsiveness to suggestions really for me.
Nor does it say..we screwed up by stating that the free issues will be an indicator of the Quality EZines you will pay for..when we should have said, we will try to throw you a few bones once in awhile when we can get away from our Priority 4E
I don't want to sounds like a corporate shill or fanboy apologist (I am neither) but my name was mentioned above so I felt I should chime in.

While I don't know any more of WotC's current ambitions for the site than you folks do (I'm in independent contractor, not an employee), I know that new content is still being produced and things are moving along behind the scenes. Beyond that I can only tell you what I think happened with the online magazine launch/preview period and what I think is happening now:

I think that the negative reaction from fans to the end of the print version of the magazines prompted WotC to try to get the online content for Dragon and Dungeon rolling out onto the site before they were really ready to sustain it. When publishing periodical content, a publisher typically works well in advance: they're already working on later issues and have material contracted and flowing in for those issues before the current issue even hits newsstands. This allows a bit of a buffer against missed deadlines on the part of contractors (a category in which I must regrettably include myself) and other production hiccups. In this case, though, WotC didn't have a slush pile built up in advance from which to launch, so they were probably still contracting work, receiving work, and assembling new content even as readers were clamoring for it.

I know I was suddenly swamped with work and unable at the time to produce new Maps of Mystery as quickly as I (and WotC) planned, and I think it's safe to assume that other artists and writers were in a similar boat. That adds up to a production shortfall compared to the expectations of fans and projections of those planning the launch.

If your content for a printed magazine isn't all ready to go to the printer on time, it goes out late--late, but complete. In this online initiative, however, a publisher can release articles as they come in. A hungry public expects the content immediately, and my guess is that WotC wanted to satisfy that hunger ASAP.

As a result, I speculate that they never really got a chance to find a rhythm to their production, and soon found themselves without enough material ready to publish...which is probably when they tried to go bi-monthly. I think the slow start to the launch of the online versions of Dungeon and Dragon are symptomatic of the above problems, combined with a company-wide push to get 4e ready and out the door to the printer on time.

Now, with that in mind, here's what I would do to solve the problem and what I *think* they're doing right now:

• Stop promising to publish material at a specific time until you have that content in house and ready to roll. If your projections assume that everything will go smoothly in production, and then someone misses a deadline or an article/adventure needs more editing or rewriting than you planned, you look worse than you would be if you waited to set the release date. (The software publishing industry is plagued by this, which is why most video game publishers rarely make early projections for new game releases anymore.)

•*Start stockpiling finished content until you have a whole issue or two ready to publish and the content for later issues already rolling in. This buffer allows you the breathing room to make sure later issues will continue to come out on time.

• Take stock of the situation, fully recover from the burnout you experienced while trying to meet previous expectations before you were prepared for it, and then make the new launch of your product as noteworthy as possible when it is finally ready to go.

Assuming I'm right (and I always think I am), my guess is that WotC can't fully disclose circumstances such as those suggested above for business reasons, so instead they're putting their energy into making the full premium release of the online magazines as awesome as possible in order to draw back some of the folks who gave up on it lately and make sure that it is a product worth buying.

The next time WotC says the magazines are ready to get into full swing, I would bet that they truly are.

My two cents.
Christopher West, Cartographer Maps of Mastery
I'm leaving work for the day and (probably) won't get a chance to find the link tonight, but I'll look for it tomorrow.

Of course, it would help if I had a better recollection who said it.

I can't find the exact quote I originally had in mind, but I did find another one that is on a similar track. . .

As I said in the #151 editorial, not only is this a free preview period, of sorts (I mean, how preview can it be when it's 3.5 content and we're headed toward the 4th Edition release?), but it's a transition period. We're trying to get our launch in May ironed out, while getting everyone ready for the 4th Edition release.

The quote does go on to show where they were still planning on having new content at that stage, but it does show this to be a transition *and* a preview. It also explains that the main launch is to be in May (next month).

That, to me, is a re-statement of goals (the launch in May) and, while not an *explicit* explanation that this preview isn't the "real deal," the "transition period" shows that work is being done to convert from where they were to where they want to be.

Again, this still isn't the quote I wanted, but it's a start. I'll keep looking as time permits today.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Christopher thats not being a "shill" thats an Honest up front statement and accessment of the situation.

Many of us Wonder why WOTC can't or won't do that.

Too Many people are making excuses for WOTC.

I understand that your busy with other projects and other companies. We know you do great work and anxiously await the Next Map. We know its not you holding up the "Monthly " Map. We know you have given WOTC Maps to post. Personally Knowing your swamped means we can look forward to more Maps and not worry that you have had to take a job at night in a Quikie Mart somewhere to help pay the Bills.

My Beef is not with any contributor. Its with WOTC, because they keep breaking Promises. Just admit you have failed and will stop and try again later when you can do it right.
I can't find the exact quote I originally had in mind, but I did find another one that is on a similar track. . .



The quote does go on to show where they were still planning on having new content at that stage, but it does show this to be a transition *and* a preview. It also explains that the main launch is to be in May (next month).

That, to me, is a re-statement of goals (the launch in May) and, while not an *explicit* explanation that this preview isn't the "real deal," the "transition period" shows that work is being done to convert from where they were to where they want to be.

Again, this still isn't the quote I wanted, but it's a start. I'll keep looking as time permits today.

The preview is of the Quality of the Ezines not the Future Version of D&D.
Regardless of feelings of mine on the Edition it has nothing to do with the Ezines. Is the Quality of the Content in Question, No. Is the Quality of the Ezines in Question, Yes. Even if the Ezines were 100% 3.5 or 100% 4E, they have failed.

Missed Deadlines
Undelivered Content
Lack of Communication
One of the saddest parts of this is that WotC themselves are so unclear. Why can't anyone seem to find this link? Because it wasn't very clearly stated, that's why.

On top of that, check out the editorials sections of the magazines. You'll find Dungeon had two so far. Yes, just two.

If they've had such an admission that we shouldn't be expecting much, the ONLY place that would truly be suitable for such information would be in an editorial for the relevant magazines (or both if it is relevant to both).

So I went through and read all of the editorials again.. I skimmed, because as I read, I became more and more frustrated and upset. Read them yourselves and see if you come away with a feeling of anything more than promises of greatness and a total denial of the shambles we are actually given.
Assuming I'm right (and I always think I am), my guess is that WotC can't fully disclose circumstances such as those suggested above for business reasons, so instead they're putting their energy into making the full premium release of the online magazines as awesome as possible in order to draw back some of the folks who gave up on it lately and make sure that it is a product worth buying.

The next time WotC says the magazines are ready to get into full swing, I would bet that they truly are.

My two cents.

Thanks for the thoughtful summation. I agree with you that Wizards is likely prepping to make sure they don't drop the ball again, but in light of their new paradigm for 4e/DDI of being able to better communicate with their base (through the tubes) it really is a shame that they can't summarize, as you've done, now that we're close to mid-April. Chris T.'s comments look a bit condescending and self-serving when you look back at them now, and it would go over hugely with the "disappointed" crowd if he'd come back and sum up the problems, and cheer us again with "things are going to be great with 4e's launch". I don't mean that sarcastically; Wizards still has the opportunity to reconnect with its ezine base, but they've got to do it, not just think it. I also think it would be worth their time, and a strong good-will gesture, to revisit the existing material and compile into PDFs. It's really that lack of effort on their part, especially now that the core books are off to print, that still ticks many of us off.
One of the saddest parts of this is that WotC themselves are so unclear. Why can't anyone seem to find this link? Because it wasn't very clearly stated, that's why.

Now *this* I'll agree with.

It's no secret that WotC hasn't had a great history of keeping in touch with their player base at large (they listen, but they respond so little you'd hardly believe it unless you've met them at cons in person).

I wish they'd hire a REAL PR person (I know, I know, Gamer_Zero is supposed to be that person. . . but. . . I dunno, while his podcasts and videos are nice, it still falls short), who will interact with us the way we WANT to be interacted with.

Here, in these forums. Someone who's "one of us."

Maybe I should apply for the job. :P Will you support me, Aber? *hides*
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Will I? I'll write you a letter of recommendation.

You seem really fair. In fact, you've been able to give me some helpful (somewhat negative) criticism that I've taken to heart, which I think will improve my future posts.
The preview is of the Quality of the Ezines not the Future Version of D&D.

Don't believe I said it was.

Regardless of feelings of mine on the Edition it has nothing to do with the Ezines.

Correct, though, if you have a negative opinion of 4E, you won't be the target audience of the mags (when they DO launch), so I'd be surprised if you like them when they launch.

Is the Quality of the Content in Question, No. Is the Quality of the Ezines in Question, Yes. Even if the Ezines were 100% 3.5 or 100% 4E, they have failed.

Have they? I mean, they're off to a horribly rocky start, but they've only failed if they don't turn a profit. How that will be measured (since you can't subscribe to them separately from the rest of DDI) I'm not entirely sure.

They've lost you and others, to be sure - but if you're sticking to 3.5 and Paizo, they'd have lost you anyhow.

Missed Deadlines
Undelivered Content
Lack of Communication

The first two points I'm still willing to forgive - especially in light of May being their official launch (see quote, above). That's what happens in a major transitionary period.

The last point I'll give you (as much as I might wish otherwise), but for better or worse, that isn't a *new* problem with WotC. It's something I can only continue to hope improves, however.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Will I? I'll write you a letter of recommendation.

You seem really fair. In fact, you've been able to give me some helpful (somewhat negative) criticism that I've taken to heart, which I think will improve my future posts.

As someone with (almost) diametrically different views from my own, that really means quite a bit.

Thank you.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Will I? I'll write you a letter of recommendation.

You seem really fair. In fact, you've been able to give me some helpful (somewhat negative) criticism that I've taken to heart, which I think will improve my future posts.

I too would recommend you for the job - although I suspect you'd hate it if you tried it for even a few days. And who cares if we agree or disagree generally, as long as we have a good discussion everyone wins. That's the biggest drag about Wizards retreat from their claims last summer about discovering the electronic nirvana that is the internet, they just haven't followed through on the communication piece. Great idea, truly minimal execution. And you know what, blogging about cool 4e stuff just isn't the same thing as having a true communication with your customer base.

So, votes for Wolf as "New and Improved WoTC Communication Guy"?

edit: Oops, I'm assuming you're a guy. Sexist comment on my part...
The next time WotC says the magazines are ready to get into full swing, I would bet that they truly are.

As someone who was producing content for the magazines, you've got a lot of credibility. But the problem is, WotC doesn't right now. They've said they'd be offering a full monthly preview. Then, a bimonthly preview. Now, one issue to stretch over three months.

What that says to me is that they really have no experience running a periodical and they've got no idea what they got into or how to dig themselves out of the hole. (Not surprisingly, since they haven't run one in years, and spun off the people who had.) While that's understandable, it doesn't give me any reason to believe them when they say "Really, this time is different!"
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