As we all know Randy Buehler is no longer working for Wizards of the Coast, so this column is taken over by Bill Slaviseck, who has a regular column in Dragon.
This week's address covers almost every aspect and achievements of the Digital Initiative from the character builder, compendium, magazines and Tiny Adventures so far. Hopefully this is going to be how things are done for future Digital Insider.
Bill mentions some details about the layoff in his Ampersand in this month's Dragon but was kind enough to give a excerpt of he had written to non-subscribers.
On Tuesday, Wizards of the Coast consolidated its digital game organizations, and made a few adjustments in other areas of the company. This resulted in the elimination of certain jobs around the company, including a number of names you may know.
What does this mean for D&D? While the loss of people we’ve known and worked with for a long time is sad, Wizards continues to be an innovator and leader in hobby games, and our vision for D&D remains the same. We’re committed to the growth and success of our core brands. We’re committed to D&D 4th Edition, and our slate of roleplaying game products, miniatures, and novels. We’re committed to D&D Insider, and to constantly improving and increasing the number of digital offerings, including Dragon Magazine, Dungeon Magazine, the D&D Compendium, and the D&D Character Builder. Our products, whether digital or physical, will continue to be the best in the industry.
While we’ll miss those who have left the company, and we wish them well, I continue to lead the most talented team of game designers, game developers, game editors, and book editors ever assembled. James Wyatt oversees the design team, which includes veteran staff such as Rich Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, Rob Heinsoo, and Mike Mearls. Andy Collins oversees the development and editing teams. Chris Perkins oversees the D&D Insider magazine team. Kim Mohan continues to serve as Managing Editor. All told, I have 30 people working in the building every day to bring you the best D&D RPGs, miniatures, novels, and magazines, and I’m very proud of each and every one of them.
Ken Troop, Didier Monin, and others still keep the technical aspects of D&D Insider on track and rolling along. And there’s a host of other Brand, Marketing, Sales, Art, Production, and Logistics staff that provide the behind-the-scenes support necessary to bring each product—whether physical or digital—to you each and every month.
That’s all still in place. That’s all still here. In these challenging times, D&D continues to perform well. From the amazing launch to the release of the latest products, the D&D audience grows and thrives.
As far as 4th Edition and D&D Insider is concerned, we’re just getting started.
The D&D Character Builder Open Beta would probably be released during the later half of this week (most probably Friday) and we can be expecting an announcement soon.
As for the full 30 levels version, an ETA is scheduled after the first few weeks of 2009. There's a sneak peek screenshot of a 30 level ranger character sheet and power cards.
Another interesting tidbit that Bill shared is about the Invoker playtest that will be appearing next monday. It will be a Divine Controller and would introduce summoning mechanics for 4E!
Subscribers are also informed that the Compendium has been upgraded with a few extra features and information for their searches such as source and XP value for monsters.