Icy Winds of Fortune

Icy winds of fortune indeed...ugh. A quick summary of this month's Ampersand article:
  • There's a new D&D movie coming out that you already knew about, The Book of Vile Darkness.
  • The new Dungeon Tile set that you already knew about is coming out this month (or might already be out).
  • Blah blah more Fortune Card previews.
  • New D&D Encounters season that you already knew about, March of the Phantom Brigade
  • The D&D Minis line has been completely dropped, so people that bitched about the randomness will have to find something else to bitch about.
  • Heroes of Shadow is being released as a hardcover. Oh, and pushed back until April.
  • Class Compendium: Heroes of Sword and Spell, Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium, and Hero Builder's Handbook have all been cancelled.
  • Speaking of digital offerings, there also won't be any monthly compilations, anymore.
So except for all the product/service cancellations, a bunch of shit we already knew about. I've been really patient with WotC over the past years, but this is ominous to say the least. I mean, they've scrapped three books and their minis line--along with pushing another back--in light of changing their article updates to the "whenever" model (which wouldn't bug me so much if it wasn't a service that I was paying for by the month). However, they promise to give us other stuff aside from D&D books to make up for it. These actions don't exactly strike me with confidence, especially with a company that is notoriously bad for claiming to do one thing and then delaying and/or cancelling it.


  1. If I understand correctly, you pay by the month and they give you the articles by the month. You don't know exactly when in the month will you be getting them. Or am I wrong?

  2. This is not promising. Three books dropped from an already-sparse schedule is not an indicator of good things. Then you look at what else is going on, and it gets worse:
    - A D&D movie, which will almost certainly be awful.
    - Ice Terrain Dungeon tiles. When you get down to Ice Terrain, you can probably say that you're scraping the bottom of the barrel on that product line.
    - Fortune Cards. An accessory with limited appeal.
    - and a new season of D&D Encounters, which seems cool, but I don't have the time to go to stores and play, and the adventures aren't available for purchase.

    Also, I read "No more monthly updates" as "now you can't bitch that your update is late." Anyone agree?

  3. Yeah, I don't see any possible way I can interpret any of this as good news. Scaling back to this degree is unprecedented - I think this is the longest book-free stretch since the early days of 2e (including when TSR was in dire straits).

    I want *books*. I want to take those books with me and read them - in bed, at work, anywhere. I also want the compiled issues; they clutter up my Kindle a lot less.

    I'm guessing those three canceled books will instead have their already-completed content doled out in DDI articles. Sigh.

    And sorry, WotC, but board games and accessories are just not good support for my home games. I am not buying a board game to get minis or as a rules supplement, and I find dungeon tiles fairly useless and cumbersome compared to my chessex mat. Right now, I also don't trust WotC's commitment to digital offerings whatsoever, even though that's being promoted as an alternative support method.

    At any rate, I've been a WotC booster and optimist for almost a decade, and I've been a fan of 4e since the start. It's tough to see this as anything other than a sky-is-falling sort of scenario. I canceled my auto-renewal last night. I'd resubscribed in hope that the online CB would get more functional and less buggy, and that WotC would be improving its digital offerings. I've been pretty well disappointed for the past two months, and the newest news - including the lack of compiled issues - was the last straw for me.

    I'll keep my ear to the ground and resub if the digital offerings actually improve, but I want online content which supports my books - not that replaces them.

  4. Those three books did not look good at all. I think the paperback essential lines should stop with the basics they already have, and they should continue to get me my hardback books like they are doing with the Shadow book. I am very depressed that they are done with the miniatures for now, because those are some of my favorite ways to represent the characters and monsters. Overall, this does not seem too bad. I will likely end up keeping the DDI just because I love my character builder, but I hope we do get some more digital content.

  5. @Moranar: It used to be that you knew what days to expect which articles. The product's goal-posts, as it were, have moved to a model of "we'll get them to you when we feel like it." No warning, and they even missed Monday AND Tuesday. It would be like having an issue of Game Informer shipped with missing pages.

    In wake of cancelled/delayed books and Character Builder updates, this doesn't exactly make me a satisfied (or confident) customer: if WotC cannot even properly manage an online magazine (that they purportedly have months ahead of time), I worry about their ability to deliver on the numerous other promises.

  6. I just canceled my DDI account renewal.

    I'll renew again when they go back to a monthly issue, or they give me the option to pay them whenever and however I feel like it over the course of the month.


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