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Rule-of-Three: 05/08/2012
Rodney Thompson

Y ou've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will be scouring all available sources to find whatever questions you're asking. We'll pick three of them for R&D to answer, whether about the about the making of the game, the technical workings of our DDI studio, or anything else you care to know about... with some caveats.

There are certain business and legal questions we can't answer (for business and legal reasons). And if you have a specific rules question, we'd rather point you to Customer Service, where representatives are ready and waiting to help guide you through the rules of the game. That said, our goal is provide you with as much information we can—in this and other venues.

1 Will any products for D&D Next release this year (2012)?

No. We have no products planned in 2012 for the next iteration of the game. First of all, that would make it completely impossible for us to integrate feedback gathered from the playtesting process, something I want to reiterate is a significant priority for us. Second, we want to make sure that the game doesn't release until it's ready to release, and that means that we want to give ourselves plenty of time when working on everything from the game's design to art to layout and beyond before releasing the product.

As an aside, I'd like to note that we won't be able to talk about products related to D&D Next (in Rule-of-Three, or elsewhere) until the game is ready, so it may be a while before we start dealing with product specifics.

2 Whatever happened to the idea of the priest, or a cleric who doesn't wear armor and smites enemies with holy power from a distance (aka laser cleric)?

Right now, we're looking at ways to let players make that decision within a class. Choices made during character building and play should allow you to choose one type of cleric or another. An easy way to handle this is spell choice; do I choose spells that make my melee attacks better, or spells that let me zap from a distance? Beyond that, we'll want some class mechanics to speak to one type of cleric or another. For example, we're tinkering with the idea that a cleric's domain choice might steer play style slightly. Take the healing domain, be the best healer. Take the war domain, be a great melee cleric. Take the sun domain, be a great laser cleric. It's still in process, but that's one line of thought.

3 What are you doing to make sure that the cleric and other magic users don't step on the toes of the other classes? If a cleric can be sneaky and use a bow, what place does the ranger or rogue have?

It's important to remember when talking about competence in particular areas that there is a distinction between being good at something and being the best at something. We want to make sure that each character class shines in certain arenas, and as a result while you might build a cleric who can sneak and use a bow (to use your example), and your cleric might be very good at those things, the ranger or rogue will probably still be better. We want to give plenty of flexibility for people to be able to build the characters they want to build, that are good at the things they want them to be good at, while still providing ways for all the classes to have certain realms in which they are the best.

How can I submit a question to the Rule-of-Three?

Instead of a single venue to submit questions, our Community Manager will be selecting questions from our message boards, Twitter feed, and Facebook account. You can also submit questions directly to So, if you'd like to have your question answered in the Rule-of-Three, just continue to participate in our online community—and we may select yours!

Rodney Thompson
Rodney Thompson began freelancing in the RPG industry in 2001 before graduating from the University of Tennessee. In 2007 he joined the Wizards of the Coast staff as the lead designer and developer for the new Star Wars RPG product line. Rodney is the co-designer of Lords of Waterdeep and is currently a designer for Dungeons & Dragons.
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