It is a starter box and an intro product. Why don't you think it is? It's a rulebook, an adventure, a set of pregenerated characters, and a set of dice. Anyone can buy the Starter Set and play a game of D&D with a group of friends, just like buying any board game. The only difference is that in a board game you have a board and playing pieces, and in D&D someone has to /be/ the board and the playing pieces. That's why the Starter Set is aimed at the "dungeon master" -- he's the one who needs the most support. The players are just following his lead.
I don't think we're really prepared for how things are going to be laid out. The DMG is going to be much more about options and additional content and much less about how to manage a group of friends who want to pretend to be elves.
[MENTION=77]Talath[/MENTION] will post about this in a few hours.
I'm confused by what product is being marketed to what group.
How can the starter set be marketed to DMs primarily? What is the intro product for players?
So the DMs guide will be for expereinced DMs only and assume that they bought the starter? That doesn't make any sense at all.
Shouldn't the DMs guide be written for BOTH experienced Dms and new ones?
The Starter Set is to introduce a new would-be DM to the game.
The introduction for a new would-be player to the game is: go to wizards.com/dnd/players (this is a made-up URL as an example, by the way) and create a character.
The Starter Set owner must find players to DM. The character creators who've gone to the website must find a DM to guide them. That's it, really.
Basically, the introduction for players is free and you can download those rules online. The introduction to actually running the game as a DM is that Starter Set.
I think it's a good that there might be less, "Here's how you DM" entries for new DMs in the DMG, those can fill books. Some advice is helpful, but I'm not the biggest fan about reading such things every edition.
Just a few weeks ago Mearls was asking us what we wanted to see in the book. It made me think they hadn't even started on the book past the tables needed to build encounters.
I really do not want to have whole sections on what kind of players I might have in my group. I want advice on World Building, monster creation, magic item creation, and how to deal with PCs that have other jobs like merchants, shop owners, or nobility. I want to know about followers. What kind of hierarchy makes up a typical kingdom. What are the responsibilities of a knight of the kingdom? Almost all of my questions are outside of the dungeon. Inside of the dungeon stuff should already be in the book since it's called Dungeon Master's Guide.
I used to think that the great GM guides had great GM advice. But, man, I have read so much of the same thing over and over and over again... This is how to start a group, these are the different kinds of players, these are the different styles of games, this is how to deal with problem players...it's almost getting as bad as opening a book and reading, "What is an RPG? Well, have a seat, Timmy, and let me tell you..."
So, while I think GMing advice is useful to those that haven't roleplayed a lot in their lives, and a good campaign requires a lot more than knowing what crunch to use where, I just skim over those pages now, and look forward to a DMG that has less advice and more system.