Monday, February 25, 2008

"D&D Insider" Screenshots...

via Boing Boing Gadgets.
Spoiler - They look shockingly bad.


Pete said...

Chad and Jason were showing me this in Chicago. It is an intriguing idea. I need to read up on this to seriously criticize it, but here are my initial impressions.

*puts on curmudgeon hat*

Matt and I talked a few years ago about making an online Battleboard and Dice Roller to run games over the internet with voice-over-IP. What kept me from committing to that project was that I could imagine that silence on the VOIP channel could be stiflingly boring. When one is DM'ing the primary rule is to "keep things moving". I always relied on visual cues to see who was involved with the game, and who I needed to engage more. With VOIP, you could not hear from someone and just not know if they were having fun or not.

* My hunch is that the immediate and easy application of the rules in game will make the game seem much more arbitrary. Rolling dice is a signifying act that ties the player to the risks they are taking in the game.

* I understand the use of 3-D to make the kids happy, and it is kind of a hand-me-down from miniature gaming; however 2-D graphics would be far more extensible and useful. Abstraction in service of brevity is at the heart of paper-and-pencil gaming. It's a game, not a diorama. And a tiddly wink makes for a fine orc on the battle matt.

* D&D's success wasn't tied to game mechanics; it was successful in so far as it reflected the fireside storytelling that gave birth to myths and folklore.


That said, I will follow this with great interest.

Don Jason said...

From what I have seen so far I think this INSIDER program is going to be a flop. One of the comments on BoingBoing pointed out,

"Clearly, with the new D&D, WOTC is aiming to go after the WoW-playing folks and lure them into PnP RP with this sort of client-based system, electronic versions of the rulebooks, etc.

Frankly, I think it's going to end in failure. The PnP folks don't want to play WoW (or they already are, and they're going to play WoW for that experience) . . .

Yes, there's a market for people who used to play PnP but can't anymore because of geographical issues, but there are already 4-5 different very nice programs in that space already and none of them have exactly set the world on fire."

I am intrigued by the shift in content and style that they are pitching the 4th edition game with, but I am ever wary of radical rule overhauls from the MAGIC folks and how much they will capitulate to the hardcore playtesting GenCon freaks that we witnessed in Indianopolis.

Third edition was well thought out and streamlined the game in a positive way (except for the horrible fantasy art), but the later release of 3.5, Eragon, and D&D Online did not exactly impress me for where the kids in Renton (Wizards of the Coast) are trying to take fantasy role-playing.

Pete said...

Matt was telling me about other horrendous things they are doing, like taking away the standard classes, and gnomes.

Mr. Alex said...

What are they doing instead of the standard classes? No gnomes? WTF?

Pete said...

Rumors really. We'll see.