Addendum: I cast magic missile on the darkness

Since I had a family get together this weekend I took the opportunity of a long drive to listen to Ricker’s forementioned Penny Arcade/PVP/Wizards of the Coast podcast.  For fans any of the three contributing parties it certainly worth a listen.  For those of us from the D&D crowd it is almost like listening in to one of your own sessions, calling up fond memories of games and campaigns past.  At the same time fans of Penny Arcade and PVP will find the trademark humor of both comics present and accounted for.

The podcast manages to give you a sampling of some of the changes WotC has made in the game without going into intense details.   While at the same time reinforcing that the way you play the game has changed not at all.  Having worked some ways through Keep on the Shadowfell (the adventure used here, though modified from the recommended 5 players to 3, and seemingly shortened) I can attest that Wizards has managed to hone combat to a razor fine edge that makes even 1st level characters, formally fodder for wayward kobolds, a blast to play.  That’s all I have to say on 4e for now, expect more post June 6th, when I’ve had a chance to really sink my teeth into everything.  Needless to say if you’re interested in D&D, Penny Arcade, or PVP it is definitely worth a listen.

If you’re too lazy to subscribe (you’ll miss out on panels depicted some of the action) check out these instructions here:

  1. Go to http://www.apple.com/podcasting/
  2. Download iTunes version 6
  3. Launch iTunes.
  4. From the dropdown menus, select Advanced — Subscribe to Podcast
  5. When prompted for a URL, enter http://www.wizards.com/dnd/rsspodcast.xml and click OK

For the not-quite-lazy sign-ups for Gleemax (the WotC forum community and by extension the D&D website) are here. Once signed up you can check out the excerpts archive to view the 4e contents WotC has revealed to date on their site.

I cast magic missile on the darkness

So as all true nerds know, 4th Edition for D&D is on the horizon.  I’m not precisely sure what all of the new features and changes will be.  (I do know that grappling is on the list though.  Presumably the changes will make is so that grappling is no longer the equivalent of a cleveland steamer in both enjoyment and usefulness.  This might be achieved by limiting the amount of dice rolls needed to less than the current number, which gets dangerously close to that of Amedeo Avogadro.)  Regardless, those changes are probably best covered by other, more knowledgeable, people on this site.  I’m just here to talk about the advertising.

Wizards of the Coast apparently approached the guys from PvP and Penny Arcade and asked them to do something cool to advertise the game.   Being webcomics, the fact that comic strips/panels were part of the end product isn’t particularly suprising.  But the comics are really just supplementing a pretty interesting advertising campaign.  They just played the game.  Wizards literally just provided a DM and everyone played 4th edition while a camera was recording the action.  The podcasts are being put up on the Wizards site each week and apparently it covers a lot of the new changes in the gameplay.  I haven’t gotten a chance to check it out yet so I don’t know if the result is something enjoyable or tediously boring.  But any attempt to sell a product by actually showing the audience the product in question rather than through the gaming industry’s normal smoke and mirrors routine is worthwhile endeavor.