The flavor-vs.-crunch balance in online articles—that eternal struggle between introducing a host of new feats, powers, paragon paths, and epic destinies, and focusing on material that enriches the game without raising the rules overhead—continues to be a hotly discussed issue. What's clear from the debate both online and in email to email@example.com is that no matter what balance we strike, there will always be people who want primarily crunch and others who demand primarily story. It's an old tale, but it's true—you can't please all of the people all of the time.
What you can do, if Brother Lydgate is to be trusted, is please all of the people some of the time. Or, if looked at in a different light, you can please some of the people today and some other people tomorrow.
Moving onward into 2011, that will be our guiding principle when selecting articles. People who thrive on lots of crunch will get it—in some articles. People who dig inspiring story elements will get those—in some articles. People who like their chocolate and peanut butter mixed together in a tasty snack will get that, too—in some articles.
This month, for the high-crunch crowd, we offer "Genasi of Athas," a treatment of these elemental souls that presents new manifestations, backgrounds, a racial paragon path, and a few feats. "Hierophant Druids" borrows some ideas from 1st Edition AD&D to introduce a new druidic order, a few epic tier evocations, and an epic destiny for those desiring to reach the pinnacle of primal might.
For those who enjoy delving into the world's history and its effect on the present, we offer "The Last Legion." Later in the month, "Bards of Wolfstone" will present the tale of these accomplished leaders along with a few of the abilities that make them special.
That's a sampling of what's coming up in February. It's not a change in direction, but more like a slight course adjustment. With it, we expect that readers will always find a few articles catering directly to their particular preference every month, whether they lean toward the technical or toward the tasty.
One thing that is absolutely, unquestionably true is that we like getting email. We don't have the time to respond to most of it, but we read everything. The inbox has seen a lot of traffic in recent months, with opinions coloring the full spectrum. We're not shy about asking for opinions, so don't be shy about sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share your thoughts, express your feelings, or propose things you'd like to read in coming months.
While we're on the subject of email—some of what we receive is so insightful and well-expressed that it's a shame we're the only ones who see it. Beginning later this month, we'll gather some of the most thought-provoking "letters to the editor" into an article. We already have a dedicated crowd of opinion-sharers in our forums, and we're all for that. A forum post, however, draws far fewer eyes than an online article. In the interest of stirring active, constructive debate, we're going to try this on for a few months and test the response. So now you have another reason to hit us at email@example.com.