Keep Calm, the Great Wheel is back

So for all you Dungeons & Dragons fans out there you probably caught wind of the whole hoopla concerning the cosmology. They decided to bring back the great wheel with some modifications here and there. I don’t see this as a bad thing honestly however I have some reservations against it as well.

I grew up with the great wheel concept as I have played mostly in second edition. Planescape was around and I have to be honest that it is one of the best settings that is probably misunderstood and under rated. Planescape helped make a center point for campaigning in the multiverse. It unified most settings by providing that focal point however it fleshed out so many details about the plains themselves and how they worked not to mention subjects like religion and death..

A common complaint people have is they want their own cosmology and that’s ok. I think the point is generally missed in that D&D is your game. You can make it however you want and it’s totally cool. You can even equally pretend planescape just never existed in which case you go by your setting like before. Either way a few settings just didn’t meld in very well anyways such as Ravenloft and Dark Sun. One had the dark powers which prevented travel and the other was in a crystal sphere.

Really what is the big deal right? My problem though is settings like Eberron and Nentir Vale that was conceived with it’s own cosmology in mind. It’s assumed now they will share this new standard cosmology for the sake of conformity. I get D&D Next is supposed to be super inclusive however I think shoe horning other settings to conform is not the best way to approach this. I don’t get why a setting can be conceived and not have it’s own cosmology seperate from the others. I can see the arguements for it but I can see also why creatively that sucks.

If D&D Next is as modular as expected we probably don’t even need to worry. Actually we shouldn’t even be worrying because like any RPG out there and since the dawn of the industry, if you don’t like it then feel free to change it to what works best with you. As for me I cannot wait go go hopping around the multiverse and please let there be a resurgence of the factions. They were so freaking cool!!

Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition now available…again

Well a resurrection spell later and boom! Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition is now available in your local gaming stores. I am most likely going to pick these up at some point as my players handbook is rather worn down and I would definitely like a refresh.

I have a special place for 2nd edition as this is the edition I started with and probably have the most fond gaming memories concerning games played on the system. Good times indeed.

XBOX One and the end of freedom!

Well today, for video gamers everywhere, was the day Microsoft showed XBOX One to the world. Usually, every time a system goes into next gen it stirs up tons of rumors, anticipation, and even fears. The Wii U has been out for awhile now to tepid sales and worries, Sony announced the PS4 and seems to be on the right track, and today was Microsoft’s big day.

Being a big fan of the XBox 360 as my platform of choice last generation, I had some optimism going into today. Though it was peppered with some worries. There have been these persistent rumors of always online connected system with a type of digital rights management scheme built in to prevent piracy. It’s all the rage these days. Ask EA all about it. But it was so over the top that it almost seemed unbelievable. Talking to friends there would be laughs at how crazy any of these big brother type schemes would be if it happened. Well… Microsoft is going in that direction.

During the unveiling today we got a glimpse of the system. It’s not awesome looking, to be sure. It’s not ugly either. Really, it looks to me like a giant PVR as when the PVR was first invented. Granted, the system might find some alterations to its look by the time it rolls out but suffice it to say many people are not thrilled. But that is cosmetics and not the heart of the issue.

It was said that if you tried to have an always online system you would be basically shooting your company in the head. The argument is that not everyone has the same type of service: there are download caps, bandwidth issues, and outages to take into consideration. Well, Microsoft says to hell with all your fears and yeah the system is always connected. There is some contention as to what consists of always online. Even Microsoft themselves seem uncertain. The general idea is that every 24 hours, your system checks if it’s online. If it isn’t then too bad, you can no longer play your games. So it’s not “always online” but you better have a connection at some point during the day.

This day and age I see less of a probability of being connected online at some point, however the implementation of a system where I cannot play a game on my $400-$500 device because I have no internet connection is mind boggling. It’s actually pretty offensive to consumers, really. It’s not the end all be all, however I see the inherent dangers of such a structure for it to fail.

Speaking of games, another point of contention has been the used game market. Companies seem to be really bothered that when you buy a game, you might want to sell it. God forbid you get some money back and get another game with it. Game Stop or EB  Games have been the hub of all used game activity and it’s really their bread and butter. Well, as a giant  middle finger to them and consumers, you can trade your games… online via a Microsoft concocted service to be announced and further detailed. Even lending a game to a friend seems to be out of the question. Well, I say out of the question but you can lend the game. However Microsoft wants your friend who borrowed your game to actually pay the MSRP to play it. So that means purchase it right.

All of this early information is quite scary and definitely not the Hello World for a new product you want. In fact, this type of marketing is probably the polar opposite to what any sane company should be doing. However, that being said, I should stress that this is very very early news that is coming out and communication on Microsoft’s side from what I have been reading is out of whack with conflicting statements. It will probably take a week to get everything somewhat clarified but if this is indeed all factual then this generation of gaming seems to be in quite some trouble.

I wrote an entry on digital rights mismanagement around the time the Sim City fiasco was going strong but I think the idea applies to this. At what point as a consumer who purchases games do we lose the right to that game. Do we even have rights when we buy the game? Technically you buy a game and it should be yours right? I should be able to give that game I spent my hard earned money on to a friend or family member, right? And what about your system? Isn’t that the same concept? Very troubling indeed if all these measures come into effect.

Kotaku article on your ability to trade your XBOX One games

Kotaku article on requiring an internet connection for XBOX One

 

 

Margaret Weis Productions not producing any more Marvel

Having just run a game of the incredible Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game on the weekend, I’m saddened to learn today that while it and the recent Civil War event books have performed well, it hasn’t performed well enough for them to produce more content for the license, and it will expire very shortly.

You can get the PDFs from DriveThruRPG until they disappear on Tuesday, April 30th.

In brighter news, they talk about the Firefly and Leverage licenses as well as the upcoming Cortex Plus.

MWP detailed this in a sort of “state of the union” post that you can read here.

d20 Epic Engagement Ring

This falls into a bit of random news territory but awesome nonetheless. Babelglyph proposed to her girlfriend but this was no ordinary ring. No this was a special ring made of pure awesome. Head on over to the link below to view the ring, a video of the proposal and a look at the chainmail box it came in. Oh yes, I said chainmail box.

D20 Engagement ring a critical success via IO9

Ni no Kuni is now in stores!

For those fans of animation and video games, Studio Ghibli teamed up with the developer Level 5 for this truly unique RPG called Ni no Kuni. It has been getting rave reviews from gaming sites but unfortunately I have personally not go my hands on it yet. Damn you gaming backlog!! But for those looking for an awesome RPG experience, I hear this is a great one.

Advertise your event!

If you head on over the events section you will see it’s had some changes to it. For one we now have a more clean layout. Also we have a lot more functionality going on. By default you will see all events in list format however you can switch to a monthly calendar view. Also by clicking on an event you can find all sorts of details from site address to cost (if any) right down to a google map of the location.

We are trying to make an interesting resource for getting the word out there and having a one stop place for checking out what is going on in conventions or similar rpg / comic / gaming events. This initial list will grow as we come across information however feel free to send an e-mail to carl@rpghub.com to make it even faster.

Happy New Year and More

Well happy new year everyone. It’s been a good year for us here at the RPG Hub. It’s been a lot more active for one. Not so much this past november and december as it was previous months but that is just the adventure of life responsible for that.

At the RPG Hub we are only two main contributing gamers with the occasional post by others in our group. My profession in real life is in auto mechanics and being the winter season, things pick up tremendously so doing absurd 50+ hours per week at times. That is why posts tend to go down.

That said the year has been great. More notice on this little corner of the web and were getting diversity in topics which while on the outside may not seem RPG related in it’s entirety can sometimes at it’s core be inspiration or influential to generating ideas.

2013 will be no different and would like to say this place will grow more and expand in good ways. One of my particular resolutions this year is to run some games. I did some playing again this year which I was very happy to do however schedule wise things went wonky with work, events, etc. I had a game plan but with the former being an issue it hasn’t developed further. So this year for my friends I would like to get that Call of Cthulhu game off the ground. I have some other game ideas I want to do. One is running Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd edition for my friends. I read the rules, read some supplements, have an adventure but for those who have played the game know that it’s not online friendly due to the many fiddly bits to it. However I found a base module for Fantasy Grounds and have slowly been plugging in all the needed information. It’s just a long process. But in the end it is something that will be probably a lot of fun.

The industry has seem some interesting goings on last year. 4th Edition at Wizards of the Coast is essentially dead and 5th edition is on the rise however it could be till next year that we see it. They seem to have a “when it’s ready’ approach. We have also been seeing reprints of 1st, 2nd (coming this year) and 3rd editions. What does it all mean though? Seeing what works? Is the new edition that unifying that we can literally convert from any edition? Lot’s of questions, little answers but a lot of hope for a landmark name that is loosing it’s luster.

Paizo seem’s to be doing great. New material an online game even in the works. They seem to be the mega titan slowly gaining it’s strength and wrecking havok.

But the rest of the industry has been pretty quiet. We have had great games like Marvel Heroic Roleplaying which took more shape and some indie titles which got lots of support. There is new stuff to play that’s for sure but it’s feel’s in my humble opinion that nothing huge has come out. While Paizo has done great the industry as a whole seem’s rather gloomy.

PDF seem’s to be the elephant in the room which finally spoke up and said it now owns how books are distributed. With the internet and more gaming online going on PDF are the wave of the future. Brick and mortar stores are dying off or having to diversify. Mainly into board gaming which in itself has gained a lot of momentum in it’s own right. But printed material is heading more towards the limited print and the print on demand method. That’s a good method but for traditional book lovers like myself it can be a bit of a pain. I still have problems focusing on a book on a screen.

I mentioned board games being more prominent in stores and it’s true. There are a lot of diverse board games being released. Wizards of the Coast even has charged into it with quality products. I think this is a good thing as board games can be wicked and having challenging pick up games can make a weekend fantastic and give the DM a break from running games.

2013 will hopefully be promising. I hope there is some more games that show up. Kickstarter seems to be the new kid on the block helping anyone with a worthwhile idea try to fund his product. This is good but sometimes might not turn out as expected. It can be good and bad. I am not sure if this will last but game companies like White Wolf have used it successfuly to get their new lines going or updates to their old products. For companies who struggle it’s a worthwhile method not to get sucked down but having an abundance of warehouse stock or simply gauging interest.

But I would like  some products that take me by surprise. In the D20 days we have a ton of companies spring up and bring some terrific settings to the table based around a ruleset. Now most of these companies and products have dissapeared. It’s terribly odd that so many just vanished. I am not sure if it was simply financial or one hit wonders but I would really like to see more genres and settings being put out there.

I would also like to see companies focus more on their websites in terms of connecting with the audience while also maintaining social media. Now facebook and twitter have taken the world in a stranglehold much like PDF for the RPG market, companies tend to provide more communication about products and updates via twitter and facebook rather then their sites. Sometimes you can visit a website and almost believe the company is dead but their twitter is extremely active. It is odd because their site is the hub of their activity for not only loyal followers but new clients as well. I think companies as a whole are still trying to figure out this whole social media trend, trying to find that balance where they can easily connect.

In all I hope 2013 will be a resurgence in the RPG market because another slow year would be sad indeed.