We're hoping this column becomes your window into roleplaying design and development—or at least the way we approach these things here at Wizards of the Coast. We'll handle a wide range of topics in weeks to come, from frank discussions about over- or underpowered material, to the design goals of a certain supplement, to what we think are the next big ideas for the Dungeons & Dragons game. All of this comes bundled with a healthy look at the people and events that are roleplaying R&D.
And the winner is...
On behalf of the D&D website team (a small but bloodthirsty group), we’d like to wish everyone a very happy holidays!
Here we’ve come to the end of 2006—a good opportunity to look back at this year’s website. Obviously it’s invaluable for us to take stock of what articles you’re reading, what tools you’re using, and what art galleries you’re browsing, since this allows us to plan future content that better meets your interests and needs.
This time, we also thought to share this information with you. Curious about what your fellow gamers have been reading? Here’s a rundown of the website’s hits of 2006:
Most Popular New Feature
Of all the new articles and additions this year, Ask Wizards has generated—by far—more interest than anything else. Modeled after magicthegathering.com’s Ask Wizards, folks have bombarded our inbox with all manner of questions (and we love them!), with over 6000 still waiting answers. So if we field one question/day, we’ll finally get through the current backlog in, oh, 16 years.
What did this tell us? That our players have questions. Lots of them. And that they need to be answered accurately (which is why the bulk of these questions have since been turned over to Sage Advice veteran Andy Collins).
The top three most-viewed questions of the year:
Longest Message Board Thread
Melanie Creel, Online Community Manager, perused her records and found 2006’s longest message board thread: Best Lines Ever. No, not those lines used at your local tavern, but ones delivered in the game and forever remembered by your fellow players; this thread generated over 50 pages of responses and several hundred thousand views.
What other threads gained huge attention? Here’s a roundup:
What's a DM to Do?
Most Visited Art Galleries
When it comes to individual pages, nothing beats the Art and Map Galleries for traffic… but which galleries have been the most visited throughout the year?
Most Visited D&D Minis Galleries
The same holds true for D&D Minis (the website produced by industry vet Steve Winter)—everyone loves to browse these galleries. The top sets viewed in 2006:
Most Popular Epic Stat Card
In addition to releasing godbooks of all past sets, this year the D&D Minis site continued to release epic stat cards for select miniatures. Which miniature garnered the most interest in its epic version? Three hints: he’s drow, he wields twin scimitars, and he often duels Artemis Entreri’s miniature: Drizzt.
Most Accessed Downloads
After the art galleries, the downloads are the website’s most heavily trafficked feature. Of these, folks head first to PC Portraits. As such, we’ve added a new PC Portrait gallery this year, another early next year, and have plans to continue adding them going forward. Perhaps it would also help to offer a character sheet (third most popular download, after adventures) with a space to add in these portraits. Hmm…
Which portraits generated the most visitors? It’s bad guys 2-1 over the goody-two-shoes (well, perhaps it’s 1-1-1, considering third place went to “dark heroes”).
Most Downloaded Adventures
After PC Portraits, adventures are the next most popular download. Instead of just those published in 2006, we looked at the downloads of all adventures, past and present. Tomb of Horrors we could understand. But the top choice did surprise us.
The popularity of this section is pretty straightforward: DMs come to the website looking for adventures to run. We’ve always known that, and so we’ll also aim to increase the adventures the website provides; there should always be a healthy variety for you to run your game at any party level.
Most Popular Tool
Beyond art and adventures, the website hosts a variety of online tools, the vast majority of which are authored by website developer Mark Jindra. Of these tools, most people went to the Character Name Generator. Most popular name for 2006? Sadly, that information we don’t have. (My own meager offering: Sir Lacher, gnome paladin, to rhyme with Chicago Bears’ Urlacher. He’s survived so far in Mike Mearls’ Against the Giants campaign.)
Most Popular List
With all the new gameplay material being added in the library of sourcebooks, the website took it upon itself to organize this information into consolidated lists. This year, the most popular list was for prestige classes, followed by those for feats, monsters, and spells.
Most Widely Read Article Series
Throughout the year, we look to distribute our daily selection of articles across all levels of interest: new and experienced players, DMs, Forgotten Realms, Eberron, D&D Minis… with most articles categorized into weekly or monthly series. For 2006, the most popular series were the following:
Fight Club Critters
Cousin to Elite Opponents, Fight Club presents a single opponent across different Challenge Ratings. This year, the top opponents were:
When it comes to new releases, the website looks to support the sourcebooks through galleries, interviews—and in some cases, with web enhancements to expand their playability. This past year, the following were the most popular enhancements:
Skip Williams has covered the core classes in this series, but recent sourcebooks introduced yet more classes to try. Players sought the most advice on how to run the following:
At this point there are far more prestige classes than classes, and so we chose to expand the tutorial series to cover them as well. For 2006, the vengeance knight won as most popular PrC; counterpart to the PHB II’s knight, this entry from Champions of Ruin included notes from its original designer, Wil Upchurch.
This column provides a wealth of strategic advice for players, in recent days with author Eric Cagle expanding the knowledge checks to learn more about the creatures you’re facing. The most viewed article concerned the first in his series of facing dragons: Bigger, Tougher and Meaner Than You, part 1 (Black Dragons).
For players and DMs alike, this column helps cut through the often complex collection of rules. For 2006, folks wanted to learn most about Two-Handed Fighting, part 1.
Offering ready to play encounters, which one did most DMs schedule for their games? Apparently their players are heading to the Courthouse.
Looking to get your players involved in the storyline? This series provides the hooks to snag their interest. The sharpest hooks were found in: Dungeoneering Dilemmas.
Dave Noonan’s weekly series allows his former journalism experience to play out in the Eberron campaign setting. The most widely read Eberron news article this year: Flamewind Issues Annual Riddle of the Three Stars.
While Dave covers Eberron, who else but Ed Greenwood covers events of the Forgotten Realms? This year’s most read FR news article: Treasure Found in Sea Ward Well.
A new series, also authored by Realms’ authority Ed Greenwood, covers each area of the Border Kingdoms, expanding coverage from Power of Faerun. The kingdom most visited by players: Adaerglast: The Land of Mages.
Another new series this year, taking a look back at the past editions of the game, for all their quirks and charms. With the release of the PHB II, the most nostalgia was garnered for our Look Back at the Player’s Handbook. Curious about the idol on the PHB and PHB II’s cover? That question we submitted to players, with our favorite reply published in a later Design & Development article: Tales of Summoning, Idols, and Dice.
And there you have it! Our thanks for visiting the D&D website. Knowing your preferences helps us better tailor the website to your interests—and, as always, you can send us your thoughts and opinions directly to email@example.com. Also be sure to check out the companion piece, 10 Features You Might Have Missed, for a second look at some of the website team’s favorite features throughout the year.
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