This latest version, in addition to major changes in the source material, pivots on an interactive component, which automates many of the tasks which players were required to do themselves, such as dungeon mapping, character creation, and others.
New screenshots of the interface were released yesterday: the character creation and the "tabletop" interface. One new feature is the ability to access the "tabletop" via the internet allowing players to join games from anywhere they have web access.
The distibutor for the new game, Norton & Co. released the following details about the upcoming release.....
- Two online magazines (Dragon and Dungeon), which have been published as paper magazines for 30 years but are now moving online. Dragon has traditionally been focused on the game and the players, while Dungeon is focused on dungeons, adventures, and being a Dungeon Master (DM).
A rules database that allows you to look up rules, powers, classes, creatures, and so on, to be updated with the release of each new supplement.
- Dungeons & Dragons Interactive Character Sheet
A character generator that allows you to build, advance, manage, and maintain your character. It autofills character features from the rules database, and you can print out your character as a conventional character sheet.
- A digital tabletop that allows the DM to build a dungeon or other environment and then control the movement of virtual miniatures on it. Along with voice chat and other features, it allows players to play the game over the Internet, as well as share their dungeons and adventures with other gamers.
- A very sophisticated character visualizer that allows you to create 3D models of your characters. These can then be used as illustrations on your character sheet, exported if you just want a cool picture, or converted into a custom virtual mini of your character for use on the digital tabletop.
The game will most likely add support at some point for a VoIP application which will allow players to interact in ways other than the text message built in. In the short term fellow RPG Geeks can make do with Skype, or GTalk, or the VoIP program of their choosing.
While this is certainly a major upgrade it marks a sad moment in Geek history. Weekends and evenings playing D&D face to face were some of the best times I spent as a youth, and for some of my Uber-Geeky friends the ONLY human interaction they enjoyed. I guess everything has to evolve but doesn't this make RPG Geeks just LMORPG's (Limited Multiplayer Online Role Playing Gamers) as opposed to their MMORPG cousins?