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The Future is Now
Dragon Editorial
by Chris Youngs

First and foremost, D&D has always been a game about people. Since the dawn of the Interwebs, the game has enjoyed a vocal, enthusiastic, opinionated, and sometimes boisterous group of fans willing to offer feedback on topics as wide-ranging as individual campaigns can be. From bulletin boards to blogs, we've come a long way as a D&D community.

Last week, Wizards of the Coast launched the latest online community offering so far. From straightforward message boards, which had largely been the community experience on our site, we now offer individual profile pages, wikis, blogs, and more. Chat is back (after not working for almost two years in the old system), and you can access a slew of options made popular on the most robust of social networking sites.

Yes, the feature set is not complete. Given more time, we know lots of little fixes or changes we would like to make. But we wanted our forums back online as quickly as possible, and we were immensely satisfied with the new system even if it does have room to grow.

If you haven't checked out the new community yet, you should. It really is something to see. Create a profile, check out the groups that are already there, and start thinking about how you can use this new system to improve your game. That's where we're headed, and we need your feedback and suggestions to make this the best community site that we can.

Some of the things we've been doing with the new site so far:

Building groups for our individual campaigns. You should check out Chris Perkins's public Io'mandra campaign page if you're looking for ideas to kick start your own campaign group. Upload your maps, fill up your calendar, invite your gaming group to join, and you're off! I've been using my own group's blog to post session synopses, and I'll be using the forums soon to discuss the PCs' goals and long-term aspirations as we close in on the paragon tier.

Getting feedback. I keep tabs on the new D&D Insider group on a daily basis. If you haven't already created a profile and you're a subscriber, you should come join up. We're a subscribers-only group, and we have plans in the works to take advantage of this group for community-focused news and announcements. We also plan to start highlighting community member profiles or groups that are particularly interesting or fun, and members of the D&D Insider group will certainly be frequent targets.

Getting feature requests. As I said, this new system isn't yet fully realized. (That's why we're calling it a beta release.) But we have so many plans for this new feature of the site -- well, you'll just have to keep checking back for updates. I'll be sure to make announcements on the D&D Insider group, and I know we'll do the same on the D&D group as we get more information from the community team.

What features would you like to see on the new Wizards Community? What do you miss from the old forums that might not be there? What would you like to be able to do with groups? What sort of information would you like to see posted on our official group pages? Send your feedback to dndinsider@wizards.com. As always, we'd love to hear from you!

Do you know what else we'd like? To be your friends! It's not as if we're competing to sign up more friends than everybody else, but this is the way for you to keep track of what we're up to. So send those friend requests to the D&D Insider team.




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