Can Wizards turn around their D&D support?


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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Oh, I see. Well, that's useless to me. I already have all the first edition releases. Why would I wanna pay for something I already have?

Speaking as one who has those books: wear & tear. Several of my old books have seen better days, and I'm not alone in that. It WOULD be cool to be able to reference older material without taking a badly worn, much beloved book off the shelf.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Merric, I love it when you kick ass ;).

Aside from that, further analysis of the current situation with D&D leads me to believe that Wizards now think that D&D is unsustainable as a purely printed game. It needs the Virtual Table (and mostly online support) to survive.

I don't take issue with that view; I can well see where it comes from.

I just wish they were more competent at supporting the new direction.

Tell that to the people at Paizo - they seem to be doing just fine with sticking to print. I have to say that if WotC is going in a print-light, digital-heavy direction I will feel rather disappointed, even to the point of "Why bother? There are plenty of great RPGs out there and I've always wanted to make my own fantasy heartbreaker."

Actually, I am almost certain that is the case but I'm a bit old-fashioned. I like my books. In fact, I like a ton of books to choose from. I liked the amount of hardbacks that came out for 3.x - I didn't buy them all but I liked having options.

But I hear you about DDI - I haven't been a subscriber for quite some time and I don't plan on re-subscribing in the near future. What I would subscribe to is a premium version of DDI that included a print version of Dragon.

In some ways I think they shot themselves in
the foot in terms of printed books....SNIP

Your post gets at why I think WotC suffers from a dearth of creative energy and (seemingly) designers. They realize that they can't just do the same old edition cycle endlessly and need to try something new. But rather than being daring and coming up with - gasp! - New Ideas, they look to find new ways to package old ideas (DDI, Essentials).

It may be that the current group of designers are creative and wanting to try new things but are constantly being snubbed by the powers-that-be at Hasbro/WotC whenever they try to get too "Incarnumescent" (how's that for a new word?).

DDI could be a great boon to the creative juices at WotC because it allows them to focus their print products on fluff - theme books, campaign settings, adventures. All the crunch can be had in one place, one "book" - DDI.

But we're not seeing it. Who knows, maybe Shadowfell will be revolutionary. Maybe The Madness of Gardmore Abbey will usher in a new era of inspiring D&D adventures. I can hope but am not hopeful.

I also continue to maintain that it is a huge mistake to not only not have a print version of Dragon as a loss leader and community focus, but also not have a living, growing main (and new) fantasy setting that brings the published material alive in a perceivable form. I don't know for sure but I imagine Paizo doesn't make a huge amount of dough on the Golarion supplements - they probably sell decently well but their main impact (in my wildly speculative opinion) is the secondary effect it has on the line as a whole. Even if you don't play in Golarion it is nice to see how Paizo embodies their game in a world.

From a cynical point of view, perhaps this is intentional (especially with the change to the web only DDI character builder).

A possible underlying motivation is when a 5E comes along, they can remove the web only 4E DDI character builder immediately and replace it with a new web only 5E version. Anybody who still wants to play 4E, will have to resort to using either the unsupported "ancient" offline 4E DDI character builder or go back to doing character creation by "hand" from the 4E rulebooks.

If what you say is true then it exemplifies what I detest in businesses and what essentially separates "Evil Corporations" from businesses of a more wholesome variety ("Mom & Pop stores"). The former are only interested in making money, no matter how they do it - and they're happy to take your money now even if it lessens the chance of a sustained relationship; the latter actually love their product. I'm not convinced that we don't have that kind of split with WotC and Paizo. I'd love to be wrong, though. However, the proof is in the pudding, as they say.
 

TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
Yeah, to clarify, I didn't mean new content (outside of the current edition). Just coding the old content into a digital reservoir with monthly pay access.

I would pay (well, keep paying) for a CB with all the 2e kits and Skills and Powers option in one place. That would be awesome.
 

Crazy Jerome

First Post
Having been on the inside of several successful and not so successful software development efforts, I can state categorically that the symptoms of the DDI problems indicate that that senior management has failed utterly. I'll bet y'all a case of Krispy Kreme doughnuts that I'm right. :lol:

That doesn't mean that middle management, PR, liasons with the non-software folks, developers, testers, etc. have been blameless. You get this kind of slow motion, digging out ahead of what is almost a train wreck, then there are multiple dropped balls*. But the main reason those guys are dropping balls is because senior management is micro managing (poorly), making bad budget decisions (cutting wrong here and bloat over there), and then compounding the problem by not taking responsibility.

You need a certain amount of morale to program well, and the above environment is not conducive to getting it.

* If the worker bees were completely responsible, we wouldn't have something that mostly works now, and getting better all the time. Classic example of heroic effort bailing out a project late despite the environment.

So no, Merric, I think you aimed too low with your firing suggestion. :mad:
 


Incenjucar

Legend
While they need to focus on getting 4E's data up to snuff, it wouldn't be a terrible idea to do some back support, especially since doing so could undermine Pathfinder and get older-edition players looking at their new material again. Indeed, since the magazines are digital now, they don't have to worry about wasting space or material, so they could make new older-edition material available through freelancers. The main problem here is that WotC is visibly understaffed already, and doesn't have anyone they can devote to reviewing older-edition material. If they had a fuller staff, having someone devote one day a week to old-edition material might be viable.
 

Kirnon_Bhale

Explorer
Wow! So much anger. I am a fully paid up DDi guy and have virtually every book and boxed set brought out by Wizards for 4e. I have noticed a reduction in content coming out with the online mags but I have also seen an increase in options with the new VTT coming out which I have tried with some success.

I have seen the Darksun stuff come out and it has been Amazing. Essentials was a step in the dark for me. Initially I was wary of it but after purchase I am so glad that I did.

I have seen a change in their release schedule (much to my groaning wallets relief) and again like many have been sceptical of this but - if it increases the value of my DDi sub and at the same time saves me money by slowing the pace of release then I am all for it. I love this game.

I feel the need to remind others that the CB is now working just fine. Soon the MB will be too. On top of this we have the Compendium and all the wonderful articles (albeit fewer in number than at the start of DDi) in Dungeon and Dragon. All these things even if there are fewer articles. Even if the OMB isn't fully functional yet are still EXCELLENT value for money when I look at the cost of my sub, I find it hard to complain.

I value everything that gets put out and too be honest I look at my shelf and at the VAST array of options available online and I really have nothing to complain about.

Am I dissappointed that WoTC have stuggled to keep up the pace of their DDi offerings? Yes. Am I dissappointed with their DDi Offerings? No.

It saddens me to see so many rally round negativity. I seem to be finding it more and more often here on EnWorld - It isn't the place it was just a short time ago. I hope that others can be reminded of the good value of the products we currently receive, even if that value has lowered I feel that all that we purchase remains worthwhile.
 

Solvarn

First Post
They really, really are. They're a lot easier when things are going right, and they get so much harder where things are going wrong. Unfortunately, Wizards - despite some great releases - still has enough going wrong for trouble to set in.

Cheers!

I'm a fledgling business analyst and don't have any particular insight into the goings on of WotC.

Growing Pains

Publishing books and creating software are different types of businesses. While the people that create content can do so it needs to be converted in a way that is accessible and relevant to the consumers or users of the product. WotC has some really good creative minds at work but based on what we have seen with DDI I do not feel like they have a real clue about how to publish software. This can change, but until it does they will continue to alienate their subscriber base with substandard offerings.

Money

WotC is supposed to use the D&D brand to deliver a profit to Hasbro shareholders. I don't think that the DDI offerings will ever be as good as they could be for the same reason that has always hampered the D&D brand, it is a niche market. This plan with the DDI is never going to work because they lack the subscriber base in order to justify the required development budget and residual subscription fees to put out a product of a quality that today's gamers expect. For the brand to explode digitally they need to bring something that can simulate the tabletop experience and add animation, voiceovers, and any other number of features that make the digital experience superior to regular tabletop play.

Solution

WotC should have made an effort to include other companies in their electronic offerings. They should have made a platform that independent artists and developers could contribute content and get paid for it. This allows them to artificially boost the level of content without having to front the bill upfront for the costs of said development. All risk is being taken by potential developers. WotC collects the subscription fee and offers their own products to compete in this marketplace. They might even take a little piece of the developers profit. If they set themselves up like Apple then they could put out guidelines and have the final say on what is included so the marketplace isn't cluttered with crap.

Unfortunately until something like the above solution is presented or a massive influx of capital is invested in the DDI project I think that situations like the Monster Builder will be par for the course.
 

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