Friday, August 8, 2008

The silence (15-ft r) has been broken

A few news items: Cats and dogs are living together, Brett Favre is a New York Jet, and Wizards of the Coasts has released some information on their digital initiative.

Wait, information on DDI?  Can that be right?

Indeed it is true believer!  About time too.  Prior to the launch of 4th Edition, WOTC would take every opportunity possible to hype how the digital initiative would revolutionize gameplay.  Since launch, the silence has been deafening.  Some of my friends in the Lords of Tyr game group speculated that DDI would be stillborn, especially when the death of Gleemax was announced.  I held out hope, and that hope has been rewarded.  Well at least sort of.

A few thoughts on what the article has to say:

I am very happy at the announcement that WOTC staffer Randy Buehler is going to be providing weekly updates on DDI.  Early in the article he says "I’m just going to focus on facts since I know you guys are starved for information right now".  He is absolutely right and it is encouraging that WOTC realizes this.

As for the status of the digital tools, the news is not as encouraging.  While they will be debuting the Character Builder and Visualizer in kiosks at GenCon next week, it sounds like their actual release of these tools on the website is still a ways off.  From the wording, I would guess that the absolute soonest these will be released is 4th Quarter of this year.  The Game Table seems even further off, probably sometime in 2009. 

They also announced a few minor tools like an ability generator and an encounter generator that will be debuting soon.  I personally don't expect much from these, as they sound like the kind of thing that they used to provide on the site for free. 

The big news was the announcement of DDI's pricing structure.  Only $7.95 a month, or $4.95 for 12 month.  That sounds good, but the caveat is that this price only includes Dragon and Dungeon Magazine, the Rules Compendium, and the bonus ability and encounter generator tools.  So we can expect the price to go up as the rest of DDI is rolled out.

Still, they probably got me as a subscriber, at least on the short term.  Five dollars per month is the equivalent of skipping a meal at McDonalds, so its definitely something I can budget.  As for the rest, well I guess I will wait and see.

But at least they are telling us something now.

3 comments:

Bronz said...

Unfortunately I have to disagree, especially on the subscription. As it stands, I cannot even come close to saying that just $5/mo is worth the content they have right now. Dungeon is alright, Dragon has very good ideas but is absolutely full of holes, and the Rules Compendium doesn't even hold up to it's name, let alone be a functioning and intuitive search tool. If they are charging just so they can "stealth" more rules in, and only subscribers get to know about it, well that's not going to fly with me.

It's a good thing that I really love WotC's published products, and will probably forever support them by buying said products. This is good because if I was judging the quality of WotC based on what they do digitally they'd be back to the TSR days, filing for bankruptcy, and likely not to find a buyer for that mess.

Rob said...

Well, I will be the first to admit that Wizards has been fumbling the ball when it comes to their Digital Initiative.

I actually see enough value in Dragon and Dungeon to pay $5 a month for them. Probably not too surprising since I used to subscribe to them.

I will say that the two magazines are what is carrying DDI for me personally. If DDI was just the Rules Compendium and the "Bonus Tools"... well I think any number greater than $0 would be too much to pay month.

That said, I am still very glad we will be getting more information on the status of DDI. The information blackout that we had before was simply unacceptable.

Bronz said...

I'll give you that. As it was supposed to be done by 4e launch, not knowing any of it was fairly painful. I enjoy a lot of what the magazines have, but I don't feel as though they are polished enough to warrant paying for them just yet.

I guess we'll just have to see how it goes.

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