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Rule-of-Three: 02/21/2011
R&D Staff

You’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 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.

Last week, we answered a question regarding Heroes of Shadow’s vampire—why it was a class and not a race. In the feedback for that column, it was further asked why it was a class and not a theme. Which leads us to the first question for this week….

1. Why have themes (the most innovative new mechanic in 4th Edition since its launch) not been implemented everywhere?

With something like themes, it takes us time to gauge the reaction, and then commission the work. Themes will appear in the Neverwinter Campaign Setting due out in August. In addition, we had worked on some themes for core D&D in Hero Builder’s Handbook. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t roll out core themes via Dragon. Start a thread with your ideas for themes and we’ll start taking notes.

You can find out more about Heroes of Shadow and the Neverwinter Campaign Setting in the product catalog.

2. Where did those scheduled products disappear?

The prior answer touched upon the Hero Builder’s Handbook. That book, along with Class Compendium: Heroes of Sword and Spell and Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium, were removed from the schedule for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, though, their material isn’t "disappearing". We’re looking at a few options regarding the best way to get it to you. More importantly, this change represents an important shift in our approach to product design. We’ve seen complaints about errors and rules updates. We’re taking steps to ensure that our work process eliminates mistakes and delivers to you the absolute highest quality product possible. Dragon and Dungeon have undergone a similar shift. Such a change takes time as we reorganize and retool how we do things.

We’d much rather release the absolutely highest quality expansions rather than release something for the sake of releasing it.

3. Dragon and Dungeon no longer offer monthly compilations. What are you doing to improve the experience with their updates and with individual PDFs?

We’re paraphrasing a few issues we’ve seen come up regarding Dragon and Dungeon. As Steve Winter mentioned in a recent blog post:

“In the past, compilations were where you'd go to get corrected versions of articles. From this month onward, articles will instead be corrected individually as the need arises. A note will be inserted into the article's online page, near the "Download" button, to indicate whether that article has been updated. An identical notation will be added to the last page of an updated PDF to make it easy to determine which of two files is the most recent. The original version will have no date other than what's normally in the page folios.”

In addition, we recognize that users must now track down PDFs for each article on each individual article’s page. To help improve this experience, we’re looking at adding download options alongside each article in the Dragon and Dungeon table of contents pages, as they’re made available or at the end the month. Let us know what you think of this option.

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

Instead of a single venue to submit questions, our Community Manager Trevor Kidd 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!

And now, a final question for you:

Elf or Dwarf?
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