Change Is Coming To The DDI

by Wimwick (Neil Ellis) on May 20, 2009

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, 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.

1 Chase Dagger May 20, 2009 at 8:58 am

IMO – A sneak peak is worthless in the dollar sense. (Like paying for a movie trailer.) I like sneak peaks because it builds suspense, and all the regular reasons people would like them, but I don’t want to pay for a peak.

Maybe if my campaign moved a little more quickly I would care more. To me all the sneak peaks are lame because I’d rather just wait for the entire book.

If I have to pay for DDI, and for the book when it comes out, then I feel I’ve wasted my money on the DDI.

I have never suscribed to DDI, I’ve been on the fence for a while now, one thing is for sure though the only way they will lure me in is with exclusive content that will not be reprinted.

Anyway just an opinion.

2 Wimwick May 20, 2009 at 12:41 pm

@ Chase Dagger
You approach the issue from the opposite direction as me. Because I subsribe to DDI and receive the content through the Character Builder I don’t buy the books. With the exception of campaign source books, which tend to have more flavour information that doesn’t end up in the Character Builder. The way I look at it is $70 CAD for the year equals two books and I know that I receive more than two books worth of updates in a year. Toss in Dungeon, Dragon and the Tools and it’s well worth the money IMO.

3 Steve V May 20, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I’ve really enjoyed my subscription to DDI so far. I originally signed up for the magazines for 1 year in advance, but the character generator- or NPC creator in my case, the compendium, and the encounter builder make it really worth my money spent. I really didn’t think I would ever actually use anything other than the magazines and the compendium on rare occasion, but have found them to be very useful. The compendium is great for looking up some info/rule quick- especially since where I DM has wifi- the encounter builder is awesome for creating a quick combat when time is short, and the character generator is just fun.

I look forward to the PH3 previews, though most likely they won’t be of use in my campaign as of yet. And it is really only useful if you do get the hole build like it has been mentioned. But that is not my reason for wanting to extend my DDI subscription. I look forward to seeing what they will develop for campaign tools. I am not upset that they have not come up with the digital game board and the visualizer. I was never interested in them, though if I could potentially create tiles and print them out, it might make me change my mind on that tool, but I think that is a long way off.

I was planning on renewing my subscription on the 2 magazines, the compendium, the character builder, and the encounter builder. Throw in the fact that I can renew at the current price of $5/month as long as I pay for the year in advance and you got a deal. The fact that I’ll get access to everything that they come out with for another 1.5 years at that price is awesome to me.

4 Wimwick May 21, 2009 at 11:03 am

@ Steve V
Agreed, the fact that we can lock in the price now and extend the subscription was a great jesture by WotC. What I would like to see WotC through the tools is to provide prepared modules through the tabletop. They are already providing this with the Game days, all the characters, minis, tiles, module etc. Everything you need to play live, why not offer this to DDI subscribers through the tools that will be made available.

5 Micah May 26, 2009 at 10:03 am

You want a new, fully-spec’ed class every month? Seriously? If I’m lucky I get to play 3 weeks out of a month, and maybe we see one level gained that whole time. That means I’ll need a new class probably once every 2-3 years.

I just don’t see the need for all the extra classes that they are putting out. I love new monsters and spells (I’m a 3.5 guy), but new classes just seem unnecessary. Then again, I switch characters about once a decade, so maybe that’s part of it.

Also, thanks for the nod to Obsidian Portal. We appreciate it!

6 Wimwick May 26, 2009 at 12:29 pm

@ Micah
No problem with the link love.
Regarding the new classes every month, it’s not so much that I need/want a new class each month. But if the cost of the DDI is going up, then I think we need more than sneak peeks. From WotC perspective I think it’s a good business decision, releasing new classes each month will drive up subscription rates which is money in the bank. Many people who also subscribe to the DDI will still buy the books. That’s my take on it, we’ll have to wait and see.

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