So is Dragon magazine becoming upcoming ads?

JoeGKushner

First Post
And a new announcement that articles are going to be shorter.

That does not seem to be a problem to me. I don't recall people going, "Man, all of these class acts are too long. They need to be chopped down in length."
 

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Dire Bare

Legend
And a new announcement that articles are going to be shorter.

That does not seem to be a problem to me. I don't recall people going, "Man, all of these class acts are too long. They need to be chopped down in length."

Man, you really are the eternal cynic, aren't you! Notice how he didn't say, "Due to all the complaints about long articles, we're going to shorten them." What he did say is that they are experimenting with a format change. It's called innovation. It may work out, it may not.

IMO -- Pros: More articles, new content every day, less bitching about how "empty" DDI seems. Cons: Well, sometimes a particular subject deserves a long article! And maybe, from time to time, we'll get a longer article when appropriate!
 

delericho

Legend
Looking over the last issue and baffled that the three page RPGA is part of Dragon. Part of a monthly magazine I'm paying for. I know, it's a small part and all that right?

Okay... and yet, I keep feeling like I'm paying more and more for future content that I'll be buying again.

I can't comment on the current Dragon, as I'm not a subscriber. However, I will note that around issue #250 (late 2nd Edition) I let my subscription lapse precisely because of this factor - a lot of 'nothing' articles, a lot of adverts dressed as articles, a lot of material that I was going to buy again later in book form.

I came back after the 3e shift, and the magazine was a lot better for a while. Then it started to slip again, such that I was all set to drop it once more. This time, just before I took that step, it moved to Paizo, and the quality went up again.

This may be a cyclic thing - a new team comes in with big ideas of what they want to include, and the quality goes up. Over time, they run out of interesting articles/are dragged off by other deadlines/just plain get lazy, and the quality drops.

It might be worth emailing the editor with your concerns. You never know.
 

delericho

Legend
I seem to recall the second half of the typical print Dragon magazine being dominated by a series of articles, often one or two page spreads, that recurred every month.

This is true. Each issue had "Class Acts", a set of brief articles for each class. Originally, there were eleven single-page articles, but this later became four or five 2-page articles. This should certainly be taken into consideration in any comparison.

I seem to recall a dearth of lengthy articles of a dozen or more pages... I don't recall that sort of thing occuring on a monthly basis in the print magazine. I remember six pages or so as being pretty beefy. Are my recollections wrong?

In this case, I think they are. Most of the last issues of (print) Dragon had either a "Demonomicon", "Core Beliefs" or similar article as one of the featured articles. These were big, meaty articles usually of about 10-14 pages in length. There tended not to be more than one of these a month, but that's hardly surprising when space is at such a premium. They may be more common now, although I'd be surprised if they're much more common, even now?
 

Cadfan

First Post
In this case, I think they are. Most of the last issues of (print) Dragon had either a "Demonomicon", "Core Beliefs" or similar article as one of the featured articles. These were big, meaty articles usually of about 10-14 pages in length. There tended not to be more than one of these a month, but that's hardly surprising when space is at such a premium. They may be more common now, although I'd be surprised if they're much more common, even now?
Huh, I didn't remember those being quite that long.

Last month's Dragon clocked in at:

Domain of Dread: 13 pages
Fighter Essentials: 12 pages
Explore Airspur: 8 pages
Playing Githzerai: 6 pages
Primal Items: 10 pages
Bahamut's Champions: 10 pages
Domain's of Eberron and the Forgotten Realms: 14 pages

Average: 10.4
Median: 10

That's just one month, but the large number of lengthy articles and the absolute dearth of short, two page spread features has really been jumping out at me since the online format began. Now, that isn't everything that was in Dragon. I didn't include Ampersand, the Editorial, Confessions, the RPGA report, and so on, mostly because they don't have page number listings and I'm lazy. And they're shorter. And I haven't got any print Dragon magazines around these days to compare, so I'm just going by my recollection, which was that they tended to feature one large article, generally the one the cover art depicted, several medium sized articles in the 4 to 6 page range, and then a number of smaller 2 to 4 page articles which were generally the ones that contained crunch.

So at least for the moment I'm going to have to stick by my guns and maintain that there's been a format shift away from multiple short, recurring articles, and towards a smaller number of large, feature articles.
 

JoeGKushner

First Post
But the change in format is a huge factor in the page count. Take the FRCS 3e version and hold it up to the 4e version. Harder to read perhaps but easily twice the content. Saying something is now X pages long without taking into account WHY it's the long...

The way powers are laid out for example. Takes up huge amount of space. Easier to read but once again, it's not providing a ton of content.

Just my opinion mind you.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
In my experience, the old 3.x Dragon was useless to players. The stuff had a reputation for being so unbalanced that it never featured in any game in which I participated.

The new 4e Dragon may have less stuff, but from what I've seen, it's mostly good stuff. Not all of it is universally considered balanced (e.g. Grasp of the Grave), but it's no worse than WotC's other published products.

Finally, the previews allow them to (ab)use their paying customers as beta-testers for what goes into the game. You may not like paying to be a beta-tester, but I do very much like them getting feedback and fixing obviously broken stuff before they put it in a book.

Cheers, -- N
 

AllisterH

First Post
Hmm...perhaps a better judge would be the number of distinct entires such as feats and powers (although again, this is hard to judge since while spellcasters spells easily map to the powers, there's no equivalent for the martial classes)


Keep in mind for example, that in 3.x DRAGON would have to use about a quarter of the page to just put the class on a table format since at a glance you needed to know what the F/R/W, spellcasting increase, to hit increase etc... would be. This isn't present for 4e paragon classes/epic destinies.

I pulled out DRAGON 283 to compare and here's what I got.

DO it yourself Deities (8 pages)
- basicaly how to create your own pantheon and what domains are associated with what deity (kind of similar to what we got just in the compiled DRAGON)

Champions of Virtue (8 pages)
- 4 Prestige Classes for divine focused characters (1st appearance of the "why are you remaining a NORMAL cleric" Radiant Servant of Pelor - seriously, even back then, surely someone must have thought, "hmm, this PrC seems to have absolutely no drawbacks and just gives out the beanies, perhaps we need to slap it with only a 8 or 9/10 spellcasting increase?")

Playing the priestly part ( 5 pages)
- Roleplaying advice. No crunch really

Realistic Religion (5 pages)
- Articles on using real-world mythology archtypes to make up your own religion. Like the "Do it yourself deities" article, only crunch is what domains go with what mythical influence such as the Green Man


Foes of Stormweather (6 pages)
- Basically, the characters from the novel, The Shattered Mask are given brief history and writeups. This is a prime example of where the lack of the Compendium is really felt. I always had problems using such writeups but with the compendium and monster builder it makes my life so easy.

VS Treants (1 page)
- article on how to best fight Treants (no actual crunch listed)

Class Act (2 pages)
- Prestige Class (the flame steward). Really, this could be 1 page but thanks to the art and the table it takes up 2 pages.



The rest of the 114 pages is taken up by reviews, scale mail, gary on a soapbox, ads, fiction, comics etc.

YIKES. you know, I never really realized how little crunch there was in DRAGON during this era. A lot of the stuff that we paid for back in the day are now stuff readily available on the web.
 


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