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Sep 12, 2007



"It's not clear to me how thoroughly developed this service is going to be. I can imagine a fairly crude set of graphical tools, a random-number generator and some kind of voice-communication tool, or I can see a much more robust platform than that."

So far it doesn't sound very 'robust'. As a result, there is a lot of commentary [mostly negative] about pricing. Especially in contrast to other available virtual tabletops. In my 5 person group, I'm the only one at all interested so far...


I have to say that a fundamental concern with DM control has got to figure into some of this speculation. Sometimes when running a campaign the dice rolls for your NPCs just don't do what you want them to do (e.g. the damn Kobolds keep rolling 20s).

What happens behind the DM screen stays there, but what if those rolls are automated? Will there still be tools for the DM to work around these sorts of issues?


Hey Tim -- Call me cynical, but I think the motivation of WotC here is to rake in the cash, not to offer the solitary table-top gamer added value.

They've gotten used to the profits from the card games like Magic and Pokemon and they've seen how they can use Magic Online to sell ridiculously prices cards --without even selling cards!!!-- and now they've decided that they've found a new way to tap the wallets of their fans, by turning D&D into something like WoW, where you pay to get started and then pay by month to participate.

It's hardly surprising, given what happened with the 3d edition's never-ending series of $25 tomes...

But in answer to your call question, which is whether MMOGs are becoming the new parents of tabletops. Well, it depends on the generation. For those who already know D&D of some stripe at this point, there is no need to rush out for the "new" version, right? So it's not something like Halo 3 where new graphic cards and processors suddenly transform the nature of the game. The old guard doesn't have to pay unless it gets new value, and I doubt there's much value here. So they won't have a new parent in the MMOG.

For kids, though, I don't know. I doubt they'll be grabbing the old books off eBay, so maybe they might get lured into this hybrid form if it gives them something that WoW doesn't. But my sense (totally intuition -- if anyone has market stats, please comment) is that MMOGs, in terms of new converts, are eating the lunch of tabletop RPGs. Recalling Nate's post on Grognards -- I think tabletop RPGs will never go away, but they'll be more and more of a niche thing. So yes, MMOGs will be the new parents because WotC will be doing its best to get its lunch back.


Agree with greglas.

WotC published the 3.5 edition less than 4 years ago, and didnt stop publishing its accessories and stuff, and yet, they choose to publish a 4th edition they say will rely more and more on miniature sets - since you mentioned the miniature background, i guess that this is the central point of the rulebooks now: they wont publish Players Handbook AND Miniatures Handbook, it'll be all one big thing, to generate i-dont-know-how-much money to Hasbro vaults.

About the online tool, i believe it wont look - FOR NOW - like a virtual world. Curious, i discussed this on a Richard Bartle post kinda a month ago, and I just said that i didnt understand WHY hasbro had not a VW running around. I guess D&D insider = the 'online space' - will be the first step towards it.

Coming back to the point, I believe the online tool will be used as a resource to combat moments, but it wont be used 100% of the time, as we tabletop players dont use miniatures 100% of the time. In this sense, i think it should be fine, and not crude at all. But it's just a premise of one who likes the Realms.

Finishing it, this MIGHT be a big change to the tabletop players. Perhaps, if there's enough room to the worldwide players to interact and change the ways of some world, as the Realms, for instance, we can be at the brink of the first globalized rpg experience with real chances to work.

But again - that's just hopes.


There is another connection between virtual worlds and the tabletop: many of the designers either play or used to play tabletop roleplaying games. But, it can also be a two-way street. I'm currently in a game where I am the only person at the table who isn't working on an MMO. Several of the other players have commented that because they spend their work week dealing with complex game mechanics, they favor the simplier mechanics and the focus on play in many contemporary tabletop games.

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