Making Dragon and Dungeon Worth Paying For

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There seems to be a lot of complaining about what subscribers will be paying and the content they'll be receiving for what they pay. Perhaps it would be more productive to suggest further ways for WOTC to "sweeten" the deal in a realistic fashion that most everyone able yet hesitant to subscribe can be be happy with.
Barnes and Noble (bookstore chain) for example gives its members coupons and special discounts on products sold online and in-store. I'm not sure if subscribers will already be getting the same or similar benefit but if a subscriber could gain savings on WOTC products, at least enough that the cost of subscribing is equal to or less than the amount discounted on products, then subscribing would be greatly encouraged.
In fact, sales of WOTC products, encouraged by subscriber perks, should increase enough to compensate any loss of revenue from giving coupons and special deals to subscribers.
I haven't read everything about what is being offered to subscribers though so this may be a pointless rant.
The thing to remember is that the e-zines are not being sold in a vacuum, but as part of the DDI package which includes ...

the e-zines
D&D database
onlime gaming table
online character generator
online GM's kit

So as a package, is it worth paying for?

IMO that really comes down to the type of gamer you are. If online gaming appeals to you and you use a computer at your gaming table, then the DDI does have some appeal.

But if like me, you game face to face, don't have computers at your gaming table, and like to work from actual books and not content you only have access to when connected to the WotC site ... then the DDI has a lot less appeal and usefulness.
There seems to be a lot of complaining about what subscribers will be paying and the content they'll be receiving for what they pay. Perhaps it would be more productive to suggest further ways for WOTC to "sweeten" the deal in a realistic fashion that most everyone able yet hesitant to subscribe can be be happy with.
Barnes and Noble (bookstore chain) for example gives its members coupons and special discounts on products sold online and in-store. I'm not sure if subscribers will already be getting the same or similar benefit but if a subscriber could gain savings on WOTC products, at least enough that the cost of subscribing is equal to or less than the amount discounted on products, then subscribing would be greatly encouraged.
In fact, sales of WOTC products, encouraged by subscriber perks, should increase enough to compensate any loss of revenue from giving coupons and special deals to subscribers.
I haven't read everything about what is being offered to subscribers though so this may be a pointless rant.

Well there have been ideas offered in many threads.

Sell parts al carte', this has recently been refused except for sale of the ezines possible.
Provide content in the ezines, we are promised once all is being fee charged in will get better, like a map a month. Though WotC recently announced they do not want any fan submissions of content.
Talk/communicate with us, a drive by post by a WotC_foo is seen.
Provide more in Tools/Game Table or charge less for it.
One thing that appears to have been offered by WotC are Charator creator and DM map making for no fee, prehaps bait to try to get a subscription.
Plans are always subject to change.
Other suggestions that have been made....

*bookmarks in the PDFs: Wizards has put a hold on compiling new issues until they can get new PDF software. (what were they using before that does not include the ability to add bookmarks?)

*levels listed in blurbs so we can tell if an adventure is apropriate for our groups BEFORE downloading them: This has been promised, but not delivered on so far.

*actually making deadlines / stockpiling articles so an entire issue is available before the date it is due to come out: ....
The thing to remember is that the e-zines are not being sold in a vacuum, but as part of the DDI package which includes ...

the e-zines
D&D database
onlime gaming table
online character generator
online GM's kit

So as a package, is it worth paying for?

Depends. How much of that requires I use Windows?
In order to get the most out of the D&DI, I'm going to need to buy a better computer. For now, I get by with what I have; a no-thrills, run-of-the-mill PC, I even manage on dial-up. With the advent of the D&DI however, its looking more and more archaic. For instance, the PDF files for some of the Dungeon adventures are huge (especially the hi-rez versions, too big for dial-up).

If I really wanted it, I could update my system easily enough. Unfortunately, I wanted a Playstation 3 more. Why a PS 3? Well, I've discovered the enjoyment of High Definition and the PS 3 plays blu ray discs. The cost of a PS3 and a HD TV to support it, is substantial, so I wont be updating my PC anytime soon. Expendable income I may have, but I still have to set priorities even in that regard.

Also, an online service will require that I update often. Just like the home video market expects that I will eventually upgrade from VHS tapes, to DVD, to blu ray discs. I'm willing for it when it comes to movies and TV, not so much when it comes to D&D (a pen and paper game ;)). Maybe I'm old-fashioned.

As far as the productive suggestions that the OP asks for: I've mentioned elsewere that perhaps they could offer a print collection of the online material, to be published three or four times a year. Similar to how trade paperbacks of comics are currently being published by Marvel and DC.

I prefer print because it never requires that you upgrade anything (except maybe your eyeglasses ;)). A trade paperback collection would sweeten the deal considerably, and might even convince me to upgrade so I could enjoy the material "first-hand".
/\ Art
With the release of it less than 2 months away. One would believe we should see the almost finish product soon.

With that said, they have not put the pdfs for the last 2 dragons together or the dungeons and they have plenty of time to do so.

I see no reason to give them anything for this quality that I receive.
Aye. What they have given us so far has been priced appropriately. It has been free. If they expect people to pay for it, they better start showing a better level of quality and dependability.

To paraphrase Tom Petty: How much will you pay for what you used to get for free?
The thing to remember is that the e-zines are not being sold in a vacuum, but as part of the DDI package which includes ...

the e-zines
D&D database
online gaming table
online character generator
online GM's kit

...with the caveat that just because it is packaged with the other materials is no excuse to release substandard material.

While we have yet to see what we should be expecting under the "pay to play" program, I think the premise and the promise have fallen short of ideal.

[INDENT]1) I start off by giving Kim Mohan and team the easy out: They never actively defined WHAT the new magazines would be, or WHEN they would be ramping up the content, just that it would be ramped up ...

2) As a prior monthly release, and using October as the starting date as per Kim Mohan's editorial How Did We Get into This ... (Dragon Editorial, 10/3/07) we have received 4 issues of Dragon (call it Oct-Jan) when we should have received 7 (Feb-Apr.) Since April is still in play, I'll give them the free month and that means that they're only 2 issues behind.

3) Content has been hit-or-miss. I don't really see them as having gone "magazine" as much as having continued with what they've done in the past as free material and pretending that is good enough for a future pay model. Again, yes, its been free, but the PREMISE AND THE PROMISE was that they'd step up to the production plate and produce the magazines, not just bundle what they've been doing as the magazines. While I love the "Confessions ..." articles and I think that Shelly Mazzanoble is a brilliant author, I think it is a shame that its been the pinnacle of Dragon magazine material so far. Still, I really like that column (and it is new content ...)

4) Chris Thomasson makes some pretty bold promises about how great the magazines are going to be in Welcome to Dragon (Dragon Editorial, 8/16/07), and how dedicated they are to it, and then tells us later in forum (paraphrased, and I'll edit in the link when I find it) "We're busy producing the rules - we'll get to the magazine when we have time" and pretty much the same again in Where's the Beef? (Dragon Editorial, 12/21/07). Again, as far as I am concerned, they have failed the premise and the promise of the magazines. Again, I give them the "out" that they didn't specifically state WHEN the magazines were going to be great, and the end of December editorial pretty much states "no time soon", but ... [/INDENT]
At this moment, I'm under the opinion that most of WotC's focus of Dragon and Dungeon magazine is the online tools. That's fine, I guess, but I don't feel that having "dress up pretty princess" utilities really quantify as magazine content, and I don't feel that having "dress up pretty princess" utilities in June justifies poor magazine management from the transition to now, and I don't accept the argument that "it's free now so be happy you're getting anything."

I do believe, however, is that WotC is just not seeing it from that perspective. "What about the blogs?" they've asked. "What about the cartoons? Those are really time-consuming to create and such!" Gotcha, but I won't accept blogs as content. I also don't think that the cartoons excuse them from having done an excellent job of putting 3.5 to bed. There were so many missed opportunities - they could have done a 3-issue "end of the world" story arc a la Elder Evils for 3.5 in Dungeon, supported with pregen PCs, lore and monster write-ups in Dragon, a Christmas issue would have been nice, everything that they could have done to end the 3.5E line with style they let drain out the door under the "too busy doing 4th". If they're honestly that busy now, how are they NOT going to be that busy in the future? The production lifecycle DIDN'T end with 4E going to the printers ...

So - long and short of it - I have questions that they're going to be able to do the magazines justice, because to me it looks like they've gotten so distracted with the garnish they forgot to cook a meal.

...and that is why I am a tad ruffled, to get back to the OP's original question.
So - long and short of it - I have questions that they're going to be able to do the magazines justice, because to me it looks like they've gotten so distracted with the garnish they forgot to cook a meal.

...and that is why I am a tad ruffled, to get back to the OP's original question.

Great post, sums up most of my angst that I had over the last disappointing months. The chance really is gone now, and it's clear they have no intent a short month before the real show begins of doing pdf compilations, etc...

It really is a shame from a marketing/PR standpoint.
The thing to remember is that the e-zines are not being sold in a vacuum, but as part of the DDI package which includes ...

the e-zines
D&D database
online gaming table
online character generator
online GM's kit

If any one of these products was worth it's salt they wouldn't need to be sold as part of a package. I suspect the 'a la carte' options have been discarded because WotC knows that none of these products could make it on their own...
So cynic.

Package deals are common. Don't mean bad or good.
So cynic.

Package deals are common. Don't mean bad or good.

Agreed.

I'd *still* like to see an a la carte option, even if the individual pieces cost more than they would as a bundle, however. (for others. I intend to subscribe to the kit 'n' kaboodle unless the services are TRULY atrocious).

I suspect part of why they're not going that way, however, is because of the integration of all the various parts of DDI - especially as they all (seem to be) Rules Database-centric.

People may opt-out of the mags, but could still get the "crunchy bits" from the Rules Databse, for example.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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So cynic.

Package deals are common. Don't mean bad or good.

True they don't necessarily mean good or bad, but it doesn't inspire confidence. Why not sell items individually if they can stand on their own? If the D&DI is the wave of the future why not let is and published Dragon and Dungeon go head to head and see who comes out on top?

To me it sounds like they got rid of the competition.
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