Wizards of the Coast has announced changes to the Dungeons & Dragons Insider starting with an increase to the price of your subscription. The good news is that this price hike is accompanied by improvements to DDI and a slew of new content. I don’t think any of us expected the prices to remain the same forever, and it was really only a matter of time before we were asked to pay more money. But in light of all the materials Wizards is promising over the next year, the price increase seems justified and fair. And hopefully the revenue generated from increasing the price of DDI will be put towards the release of the online tools that WotC has been promising us since day one.
The new pricing will take effect on July 2, so I encourage you to either extend your existing subscription or sign up soon if you’ve been holding off. Doing so now will ensurer you get all the upcoming goodies at the lower price.
The other piece of exciting news is that starting in July subscribers will begin receiving monthly updates through Dragon Magazine and the Character Builder for the Players Handbook 3.
My initial reaction is somewhat subdued and until I see the offerings from WotC it will remain that way. As a DDI subscriber I already get a sneak peek at future content and updates to the Character Builder. What is interesting here is that WotC is offering nine months of new content and feature articles on the PHB3, totalling 103 pages of material. This has the potential to be very cool if you are a DDI subscriber. However, it also has the potential to be very lame.
Let me be clear, if WotC is going to offer me a complete class to work with every month for nine months then I’m very excited! However, if we are going to receive three levels of a class each month then I won’t be nearly as impressed. As 4e approaches its first anniversary and most people have advanced to paragon tier we need more than three levels.
I also hope we get more than one build of a character to work with. As a paying subscriber I would love to see WotC release a fully functional class each month and then release the book for non-subscribers and completists. As paying subscribers we deserve this type of content roll out. The tools themselves aren’t enough. We’re already seeing many high-quality, third party products available; from excel sheets to RPTools.net, Fantasy Grounds, Obsidian Portal and others that offer similar content to what WotC is offering through the DDI. The D&D blogs on the RPG Bloggers Network bring you the same sort of information that is found in Dungeon & Dragon Magazines. The only thing you can’t get through third party providers is the information in the Compendium which the GSL prohibits.
If WotC can offer nine months of new classes, feats, rituals and weapons they will have come close to achieving the goals I slammed them for not providing when I suggested that Wizards missed the boat with the DDI. For now I’m content to wait and see what Bill Slavicsek’s Ampersand column has to say about the issue. I just hope it doesn’t disappoint. DDI subscribers deserve more than a sneak peek.