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Digital Insider: Where We Are

How time flies! It was three years ago that we merged our plans for the 4th Edition of the Dungeons & Dragons game with a new digital initiative. It was two years ago that we announced these plans to the public, and then last year we launched the new game and laid the groundwork for D&D Insider. Now, the subscription service is live, bringing you new Dragon and Dungeon Magazine content every month, access to a continuously updated D&D Compendium, Bonus Tools, and the amazing D&D Character Builder—the single best, most-useful, most-comprehensive, player-focused tool we’ve ever created for the D&D game in any medium. What a great set of features for a great value, and it’s all yours as a D&D Insider.

We’ve learned a lot over the past twelve months. Now we need to take a moment, evaluate where we are and where we want to go next. To do that, we want to fully engage you in the process. We’re ramping up the polls and surveys we host on the free portion of the website as well as within the D&D Insider space, so that we can find out what you want to see moving forward. D&D Insider, like the D&D brand itself, is a living, growing, ever-expanding experience. It expands every month as we update the Compendium and Character Builder, and as we release new content via the online magazines. And it will expand beyond that, eventually adding new features and functionality. We won’t release any component, however, until it hits or exceeds the level of quality we’ve established with the Character Builder.

When this column began, information was streaming at an amazing rate. It was a time of constant change and constant growth, and we had a lot to let you know about. That’s no longer the case, and as many of you have recognized, I don’t have a ton of new information to pass along on a weekly basis. So, this will be the last regularly scheduled installment of Digital Insider. We will stay in touch, just not on a weekly basis. When we have something new or exciting to say, you’ll see it as a news item, or on the message boards, or in an editorial or column. In most cases, we’ll use a combination of these methods to best get the word out.

So, whether you answer a survey or take a poll or post to the message boards, please talk to us. Digital Insider is ending, but the conversation is just beginning.

News Flash!

Hey, I wrote this whole column and then realized it didn’t contain any real Insider information. Typical, right? Well, I’m going to end my run on this column with a couple of sneak peeks of upcoming Dragon Magazine content.

In March, look for the assassin! In the tradition of the gladiator article we'll feature feats, backgrounds, and paragon paths devoted to the fine art of the assassin.

In April, we provide a bag of holding full of new familiars for arcane characters.

In May, come aboard to help playtest a class from Player’s Handbook 3… the monk!

More details on these and other surprises soon.

Whew! Now I feel better…

Bill Slavicsek
R&D Director

In Case You Don’t Know Him

Bill Slavicsek’s gaming life was forever changed when he discovered Dungeons & Dragons in 1976. He became a gaming professional in 1986 when he was hired by West End Games as an editor. He quickly added developer, designer, and creative manager to his resume, and his work helped shape the Paranoia, Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and Torg roleplaying games. He even found some time during that period to do freelance work for D&D 1st Edition. In 1993, Bill joined the staff of TSR, Inc. as a designer/editor. He worked on a bunch of 2nd Edition material, including products for Core D&D, Dark Sun, Ravenloft, and Planescape. In 1997, he was part of the TSR crowd that moved to Seattle to join Wizards of the Coast, and in that year he was promoted to R&D Director for D&D. In that position, Bill oversaw the creation of both the 3rd Edition and 4th Edition of the D&D Roleplaying Game. He was one of the driving forces behind the D&D Insider project, and he continues to oversee and lead the creative strategy and effort for Dungeons & Dragons.

Bill’s enormous list of credits includes Alternity, d20 Modern, d20 Star Wars, Pokemon Jr., Eberron Campaign Setting, the D&D For Dummies books, and his monthly Ampersand (&) column for Dragon Magazine.

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