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Rule-of-Three: 05/09/2011
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.

1 Will psionics get some Essentials-style lovin’?

We’re pretty happy with the at-will, encounter, daily, and utility set-up for the psionic classes. They're built specifically to appeal to more experienced players, so we don’t really see the need to simplify them or collapse them down to the same level as the slayer or knight.

2 Many new feats introduced in Essentials eliminate combat penalties, such as cover and concealment, and opportunity attacks. For example: Staff Expertise, Crossbow Expertise and Blindfighting Warrior, just to name a few. Is there a design shift to eliminate these penalties imposed upon characters, effectively "dumbing down" combat to make it easier to run?

Here’s a roundabout "no". The thing is, there’s a design challenge to continue to add to the game without stacking too many bonuses and what not on top of each other. For instance, if Weapon Focus provides a bonus to damage, then we have to create other damage-giving feat bonuses as either strictly better or in some way situational. Or, once you have those standard bonuses in place, a logical next step would be to eliminate penalties and other drawbacks. Such an approach then creates situational benefits that play fairly well with other benefits you gain from feats.

For example, a feat that allows you to ignore cover is a lot like an attack bonus. However, since cover isn’t something you always deal with, it doesn’t make your character strictly better. You are better in that situation, but not better in every situation.

3 Will there ever be any support for taking characters higher than 30th level, or is 30th level the maximum characters can ever achieve?

This isn’t something that we’re planning on covering any time soon, but it has come up. Right now, we feel we have enough issues with epic tier support that adding another layer to the game would just exacerbate the problem. When we get to the point that epic tier has enough options and is running smoothly, we might then take a look at expanding the game "upward".

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

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

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