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 Post subject: I think 4th ed. will flop.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:07 am 
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Well, they're trying to adopt 'video game characteristics' and apply them to an RPG.

Less death -or quick re-starts- video game characters (the cleric who heals others when he scores a 'mighty forward strike', speedier combat at all levels of play ("the sweet zone's now also at level thirty...I hit with my sword for 300 points of damage").

While it's interesting that they adopt similarities to video games in order to hit that younger market, I think that 'something similar' still won't be as attractive as the actual thing.

I think their marketing guys should've looked at whether video gamers were similar to paper rpg gamers...

Why does one play predominantly one style over another?

Do rpgers want their games to be more like PC games in style? (and I'm talking mechanics here, not the computer assisted stuff).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:13 am 
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I don't really get the feel they are trying to make it more video gamish, but really that would be solely in the hands of the DM on how the game actually went. In the end the source books provide us a set of rules for the DM to work into his or her own world/campaign.

I've read all the 4e articles on wizards page so far and none of them seem that way to me. I'm curious what makes you feel it seems video gamish?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:37 pm 
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I don't think it will flop. Sure, some people will stick with 3.5 (many have invested hundreds, if not thousands, into books and content). But there is certainly a market for a hybrid game tapping into the spirit of MMORPGs - a younger audience (with shorter attention spans?) that want immediate RPG crunchiness/gratification.

I think the strongest video game analogies for 4th edition would be:

More monsters, more dynamic combat. Video game MMORPGs feature hordes of creatures and dynamic, mobile combat. You rarely simply rush forward, stand still and swing your sword. You maneuver around, jockeying for position while attacking zillions of foes.

Less prep time. I think many of the rules will endeavor to speed up play and help a GM run adventures with less time invested... so the RPG sessions could be more "pick up and play" affairs (like an MMORPG raid or a boardgame) than RPGs that require hours and hours of planning and prep.

I'm keen to see how the revisions affect gameplay, Roll-vs-Role dynamics and the "feel" of a fantastic, energetic setting.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:55 pm 
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ynnen wrote:
Less prep time. I think many of the rules will endeavor to speed up play and help a GM run adventures with less time invested... so the RPG sessions could be more "pick up and play" affairs (like an MMORPG raid or a boardgame) than RPGs that require hours and hours of planning and prep.


Well, to me, Less Prep Time doesn't mean pick up and play. I think less prep time means the encounters are easier to plan, so you can focus more on plot and story and let the role playing really take off.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:29 pm 
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ynnen wrote:
You rarely simply rush forward, stand still and swing your sword.


Actually, that's exactly how I play MMORPGs. It's worked pretty well for me so far. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:11 pm 
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Regardless of what happens, I hope the advertise the heck out of it. More exposure to RPGs is a good thing, and Wizbro has the $$$ to afford it.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:14 pm 
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I've tried any number of MMORPG's. The only one I really liked was Ultima Online - I played a master craftsman and hung out in town all day making things for people. You can't do that in most MMORPG's for two reasons. First, MMORPG's largely focus on killing monsters. Second, the thirteen year-olds will drive you to drink . . . :x

I prefer tabletop games because I prefer social interaction. It's not about making an uber-killing machine and reaping tons of experience and treasure for me. Nor is it about immersing myself into another persona in another world. I enjoy those things, but the real reason why I game is the simple pleasure of getting together with good friends, hanging out, and having fun. Barring Shadowrun-style datajacks and Matrix games, you can't get that online no matter how spectacular an interface is programmed for it.

4e most certainly will not flop. The brains at Hasbro know a helluva lot more about market positioning than all of us put together. 4e is being designed to and WILL appeal to a new generation of gamers who demand a higher level of faster gratification with less effort. My style of gaming is slowly fading into the minority, which is to be expected. I'm getting older (25 years of gaming under my belt) and the world is moving on. My grandparents used to play canasta with friends over tea. Who do you that does that anymore? No one? Exactly!

I went online last night and spent $100 rounding out my 3.5 collection. I now have every book I want. I won't spend a penny on 4e, though I'll buy every DCC they publish up to the conversion. I also bought every 3rd Edition Shadowrun book and ignored the 4th edition of that, too. My 3.5 collection will keep me happy for years to come . . .

. . . but 4e isn't going to flop just because I or 10,000 other gamers just like me refuse to buy it. We aren't Hasbro's target demographic.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:26 pm 
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Well, while I wouldn't go so far and call 4th Ed. a flop at this point in time it truly seems to me a lot like slimy described it.

The D&D Insider Initiative is certainly aimed primarily at online players and computer kids who might have an easier time switching to a real rpg. But here the trouble starts: is it still a "real" rpg? Using computers to help in a table-top rpg is old news - I think almost everybody does it one way or the other, even if its just to write down adventure plot hooks and collect the odd info from last evening's gaming session. But this D&D Insider stuff seems to spoon-feed you pre-defined fantasy imagery instead of letting your mind and creativity take over.

That is a point that bugs me mightily, to be honest.

All this talk about "more clearly defined roles" in an adventurer party gives me wrinkled eyebrows. How do they want these roles to be "more clearly defined"? Is it just me or do the roles don't have a clear definition as is? "More clearly defined" sounds to me like "more cut-out, two dimensional cardboard characters who can only do the thing they're supposed to do". And I certainly don't want THAT!

Faster, faster, faster, faster - that's another droning motto of 4th Ed. But it runs the risk of becoming more shallow and superfluous. Sounds a bit like "get it over with more quickly". While I don't mind meaningful streamlining of gameplay, I certainly don't want all the little details about monsters or character simply glossed over. I like my games to be involved, detailed and emotional tales of heroism and fantasy, of triumph and defeat. Something memorable that player enjoy taking time out for.

And so I am skeptical about 4th Ed. Thanks for enduring my ramblings. ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:59 pm 
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Argamae wrote:
All this talk about "more clearly defined roles" in an adventurer party gives me wrinkled eyebrows. How do they want these roles to be "more clearly defined"? Is it just me or do the roles don't have a clear definition as is? "More clearly defined" sounds to me like "more cut-out, two dimensional cardboard characters who can only do the thing they're supposed to do". And I certainly don't want THAT!

Neither do I, but the most recent designer comments indicate that that's not what they mean. As was the case with PHB II and many of the Complete series, they seem to talk a lot about archetypes and the "assumed" duties of that archetype. In the Design & Development column of the D&D site, there's a new article that mentions how in 4e, bard and clerics are considered "Leaders," in that they traditionally encourage the rest of the party and provide support. Yet in a typical v3.5 battle, those characters often can't support the party and mix it up in the fight at the same time. (I don't completely agree with that for clerics, especially if undead are involved, but it's certainly true for bards.) Supposedly, the 4e rules will give these "Leaders" greater leeway to do both.

Obviously, it's way early, so I'm keeping an open mind about this. But I do like that the designers seem to be clearly aware of the flaws in the v3.5 rules.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:16 pm 
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Ken Hart wrote:
Argamae wrote:
All this talk about "more clearly defined roles" in an adventurer party gives me wrinkled eyebrows. How do they want these roles to be "more clearly defined"? Is it just me or do the roles don't have a clear definition as is? "More clearly defined" sounds to me like "more cut-out, two dimensional cardboard characters who can only do the thing they're supposed to do". And I certainly don't want THAT!

Neither do I, but the most recent designer comments indicate that that's not what they mean. As was the case with PHB II and many of the Complete series, they seem to talk a lot about archetypes and the "assumed" duties of that archetype. In the Design & Development column of the D&D site, there's a new article that mentions how in 4e, bard and clerics are considered "Leaders," in that they traditionally encourage the rest of the party and provide support. Yet in a typical v3.5 battle, those characters often can't support the party and mix it up in the fight at the same time. (I don't completely agree with that for clerics, especially if undead are involved, but it's certainly true for bards.) Supposedly, the 4e rules will give these "Leaders" greater leeway to do both.

Sure, D&D is and has been a game about archetypes to a certain extent. It's the whole point with character classes, anyway: to present a "role model" a player can take advantage of. BUT: I do not see the wisdom in slapping a label called "LEADER" to certain character classes! It is a player's perogative to create his personal role within the character class frame. If your players create a party where the thief is the leader, then so be it. If they decide the clever mage should lead, so be it, too.
I do not see clerics and bards in need of fixing.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:47 pm 
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Argamae wrote:
The D&D Insider Initiative is certainly aimed primarily at online players and computer kids who might have an easier time switching to a real rpg. But here the trouble starts: is it still a "real" rpg? Using computers to help in a table-top rpg is old news - I think almost everybody does it one way or the other, even if its just to write down adventure plot hooks and collect the odd info from last evening's gaming session. But this D&D Insider stuff seems to spoon-feed you pre-defined fantasy imagery instead of letting your mind and creativity take over.


Even though the target audience for this stuff seems to be the younger video-game generation, I've heard several older players I know excited about it because it will let them more easily play with their "old college group" or other old group that has scattered to the four winds. I think whether or not it is still a "real" rpg depends on how you play it. I don't think that the online tools they are providing will by themselves prevent people from roleplaying, having in-character interactions, or telling good stories...but I totally agree with you about the pre-defined fantasy imagery. It forces people who want to use the tools to play in one of WotC's official settings or a totally generic setting. There is no room for home-brewed settings or third party settings.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:20 pm 
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Oh no, I wasn't refering to the online tools at all.

Rather, the style of the game mechanics are video gamish.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:49 pm 
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slimykuotoan wrote:
Oh no, I wasn't refering to the online tools at all.

Rather, the style of the game mechanics are video gamish.

Would you care to elaborate? Anything specific that struck you?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:28 pm 
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Less death -or quick re-starts- video game characters (the cleric who heals others when he scores a 'mighty forward strike', speedier combat at all levels of play ("the sweet zone's now also at level thirty...I hit with my sword for 300 points of damage").


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:52 pm 
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I'm just grinning ear-to-ear as I'm not fretting about the new edition one bit.

I'm having a blast with Castles & Crusades and as long as Goodman Games continues to publish good adventures, in any edition, I'm happy (although I enjoy the C&C releases the best!).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:45 pm 
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JediOre wrote:
I'm just grinning ear-to-ear as I'm not fretting about the new edition one bit.

I'm having a blast with Castles & Crusades and as long as Goodman Games continues to publish good adventures, in any edition, I'm happy (although I enjoy the C&C releases the best!).



Amen to that!

As for 4E, I think 3E is going to have the largest percentage of gamers ever to stay with the "old edition", or go to another system.

4E flop? No. I doubt it will be the success 3E was, though.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:30 pm 
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Argamae wrote:
Sure, D&D is and has been a game about archetypes to a certain extent. It's the whole point with character classes, anyway: to present a "role model" a player can take advantage of. BUT: I do not see the wisdom in slapping a label called "LEADER" to certain character classes! It is a player's perogative to create his personal role within the character class frame. If your players create a party where the thief is the leader, then so be it. If they decide the clever mage should lead, so be it, too.
I do not see clerics and bards in need of fixing.


Completely agree with you that any character class can be a leader. In one of my group's rotating campaigns (set in the Realms), somehow my psion/rogue has become the de facto leader -- and he's a LN worshiper of Loviatar! Go figure. But I don't take the "Leader" label in the new 4e discussions as literal (that is, a character of that role doesn't have to be the group's leader) ... and yes, to avoid confusion, they should choose another name for this than "Leader" before things become final. ("Inspirer"? Nah, not a word...) Based on the discussions, it sounds like this indicates a class that provides inspiration or support, and that does sound like the primary role of bards and clerics.

As for whether they need fixing, I'm happy with the cleric as is. The bard, though, currently offers a +1 or +2 bonus to some rolls, a few support spells, and a chance for the DM to toss in plot hooks with bardic knowledge checks. I'd like to see him on a par with the fighter, wizard, and cleric.

--Ken

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:27 am 
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i don't want D&D to flop, but I fear that WotC are taking the game in the wrong direction. From everything I have read, both on the WotC and ENWorld forums, they are essentially removing the aspects that make D&D D&D. That IMO is a seriosuly bad move. Sacred cows are sacred cows for a reason.

I won't be touching 4E at all. I love 3.5 and have £££'s wrapped up in a game that no where near needed a new edition of the rules.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:55 am 
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mythfish wrote:
Argamae wrote:
The D&D Insider Initiative is certainly aimed primarily at online players and computer kids who might have an easier time switching to a real rpg. But here the trouble starts: is it still a "real" rpg? Using computers to help in a table-top rpg is old news - I think almost everybody does it one way or the other, even if its just to write down adventure plot hooks and collect the odd info from last evening's gaming session. But this D&D Insider stuff seems to spoon-feed you pre-defined fantasy imagery instead of letting your mind and creativity take over.


Even though the target audience for this stuff seems to be the younger video-game generation, I've heard several older players I know excited about it because it will let them more easily play with their "old college group" or other old group that has scattered to the four winds.


I'm not sure that this will work in practice, though. As Sean K Reynolds pointed out, groups like this are not going to want to each sit at home with their PC and play D&D - they will each sit around their PC and play World of Warcraft. Now certainly some will use the new tools to play D&D, but playing D&D online already exists with Fantasy Grounds and similar products.

As for 4e, I agree with Treebore - this will probably be the edition that has the most players stay behind with the old edition.

I like some of the ideas I'm hearing with 4e, but there's so much in 3e I still want to try that I won't be ready for a new edition for at least 8-10 more years. (Which is probably when 5e will come out if the pen-and-paper RPG hobby is still viable at that point.)

I'm going to port over the 4e elements I like into my 3.5 game as house rules. I'm am SO not interested in buying yet another Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:26 pm 
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I do a LOT of online gaming with SKYPE on top of my home face to face game. I/we use Gametable for mapping purposes.

I like online voice playing about as well as face to face. We talk, we BS, we do everything we would do at a table except see facial expressions and body language.

I can live with that for the benefits. Which is getting to play with many of the people I have known on messageboards for years. There is no commute time. No hauling of books. No questions about hygiene. If one of them ends up being a jerk its easy to kick them out. If you have kids you don't need to worry about accidentally inviting freaks over to your house so they know where you live.

Plus you still get to know the people about as well as you do in face to face. ITs as good as a long distance phone call, with map drawing.

So I will definitely be keeping an eye on WOTC's digitial initiative. If its cheap enough that people are willing to use it, I'll use it.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 1:21 pm 
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Argamae wrote:
Sure, D&D is and has been a game about archetypes to a certain extent. It's the whole point with character classes, anyway: to present a "role model" a player can take advantage of. BUT: I do not see the wisdom in slapping a label called "LEADER" to certain character classes! It is a player's perogative to create his personal role within the character class frame. If your players create a party where the thief is the leader, then so be it. If they decide the clever mage should lead, so be it, too.
I do not see clerics and bards in need of fixing.

From what I can tell, the "Leader" role is just a name for those classes who tend to heal and/or augment other party members in combat. I don't think the term has anything to do with the group dynamics of who actually leads the party.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 1:45 pm 
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Given what I've heard so far about 4e, I think it has the potential to be the best version of D&D to date. It will combine the tactical combat and daring exploration of previous editions with some of the best advances in modern gaming. This may include some concepts introduced in MMORPGs (which do a lot of things right IMO), but I think most of the general concepts will come from tabletop RPG products. Products like Iron Heroes, the Book of Nine Swords, True20, and Castles & Crusades, which strive to streamline the experience of play while still offering a variety of options.

I have little to go on regarding details, so perhaps my optimism is misplaced. But, given that this is the company that brought us 3e, I can't imagine they'll drop the ball with 4e. All the changes I've read suggest to me that they are streamlining and simplifying how the game plays without dumbing it down. In particular, the encounter-based model of resource management that 4e will adopt should facilitate play on many levels. For starters, there will be less need to halt play by going back to town and recharge. Additionally, all characters will have a variety of interesting abilities to choose from and a number of interesting tactical options at their disposal. And perhaps most importantly, adventure prep sounds like it will be reduced without sacrificing playability, a much needed boon to DMs who between family, work, and other responsibilities can't find the time.

For those who are worried that 4e will be more like a videogame, I think the chase mechanics and social mechanics should assuage those fears. Some may argue that social encounters don't need "mechanics", but, whatever the case, in my experience chases and social interaction are things that videogames don't do very well. I think the inclusion of these mechanics shows WotC's commitment to tabletop roleplaying.

I also like what I hear regarding the "assumed" setting for 4e. It sounds a lot like what Goodman Games has been doing for years. Given that WotC is greenlighting a 4e OGL, Goodman Games is therefore well-positioned to take advantage of WotC's current direction.

I believe that some 3e players will be hesitant to make the change. But, given what I'm hearing, I think 4e will play better than 3e, and most of the "holdouts" will make the change. I think there will always be at least a few 3e players out there, and, if so, good for them. They have found a past time that makes them happy, and that's all that anyone could ask for in life.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:41 pm 
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Treebore wrote:
As for 4E, I think 3E is going to have the largest percentage of gamers ever to stay with the "old edition", or go to another system.

4E flop? No. I doubt it will be the success 3E was, though.


You see... I think that's part of their strategy!

Step One: Garner a bunch of new players with the release of 4E and get them hooked.

Step Two: Realize the "mistake" of 4E and the hordes of 3.x players 'left behind'

Step Three: Release 4.5 (or 5E) in 4 years to bring the 3.x players back into the fold while having the 'new generation' of gamers upgrading the same way the last generation went from 3.0 to 3.5! This new version will have a greater compatibility with 3.x and will provide various 'options' refined from 4E.

They'll make a KILLING !!

;)

Seriously though... I'm a C&C man through and through but I'm curious about the new edition. I can see adopting some of the refinements from the new edition to spice up a 3.x game or even adapt certain things for my C&C game.

Moriarty the Red


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:15 pm 
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Regardless of whether the new rules will be better or worse than 3.5--which remains to be seen, after all--I am still furious about paying a monthly fee to get additional material. Since they likened it to buying "a special edition DVD" over an "ordinary one" of your favourite movie, I am anxious about how much better the "special edition" will be over the normal rules. If it contains only a few "teasers", "trailers" and other lame stuff, I can't be bothered. But if it's the real deal with copious amounts of "extra footage" and in-depth "behind the scenes" material I will feel cheated. It might build a tiered gamer structure, with 2nd class citizens left out of the interesting stuff.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:32 am 
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Argamae wrote:
Regardless of whether the new rules will be better or worse than 3.5--which remains to be seen, after all--I am still furious about paying a monthly fee to get additional material. Since they likened it to buying "a special edition DVD" over an "ordinary one" of your favourite movie, I am anxious about how much better the "special edition" will be over the normal rules. If it contains only a few "teasers", "trailers" and other lame stuff, I can't be bothered. But if it's the real deal with copious amounts of "extra footage" and in-depth "behind the scenes" material I will feel cheated. It might build a tiered gamer structure, with 2nd class citizens left out of the interesting stuff.

From what I understand, the online content will consist of three main things. The first is the content that both Dragon and Dungeon magazine used to have. The second is a virtual tabletop for gaming with people. This virtual tabletop will consist of dungeon mapping features, the ability to share maps/dungeons, and a way to make virtual minis. Third, you'll get access to online versions of the books you own that are updated automatically as errata comes in.

I think the current plan is to have much of the D&D Insider content collected into physical products. For example, the "best" of the new classes, races, monsters, and rules will probably be included in the yearly installments of the PHB, MM, or DMG (for example, gnomes or goblins will probably first appear as PC races in D&D Insider, then be published in the PHB 2). So even if you don't subscribe to D&D Insider I think you'll be able to get some of it eventually. But you'll have to wait for the book to be published.

WotC has also said they will continue to have free sections of their website, much like the previews and "Characters with Class" articles they have now.


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