If I was a game retailer, I’d sure be pissed this week. Not only have some book trade accounts broken the 4th edition D&D; street date by nearly two weeks, but also pirated electronic versions of all three core books have appeared on file sharing networks. Even worse, they seem to be from production PDFs, which probably means they were leaked internally or from the printer. Bad news for WotC and for retailers.
Having seen the books (and no, not pirated PDFs), I was most surprised by one thing. While art is quite good overall, the graphic design is really mediocre. I expected something better out of a flagship product from the biggest company in the industry. The best thing I can say about it is that at least the layout errs on the side of readability.
I’m glad the new books have a clean layout. The underlined pages in the 3/3.5 core books bordered on the illegible.
In a way, the emphasis on splash pages seems to fit the BIG ACTION gameplay style.
I am a retailer and while I am pissed you pretty much have to come to terms with this kind of thing or else you go nuts. I mean, in the end we have no control over it so what good does it do us to raise or blood pressure thinking about how screwed we got?
What this does is lower our overall expectations for how well this is going to perform for us in the short run. In the long run it’ll probably do just fine. Especially considering the fact that we continue to do better with 3.5 stuff today that we do with most RPGs. I mean, how much of THAT stuff is available cheaply through eBay, Amazon or free on Torrent sites (answer: a LOT of it).
It is sad that this won’t make as much of an impact on our sales this year as we might have hoped but one doesn’t bet the farm on any one product if one doesn’t want to go out of business.
I can agree that game retailers might be ticked, especially since the PDF’s have hit the internet.
I’ve seen a few copies myself from friends who own it, and I agree on the layout concerns. My biggest beef while flipping through the PHB was the fact that I noticed several bland pages lacking any art. Kind of saddening for such a big product.
The page design is lacking and uninspired at best. Sure, its simple and easy to read in much the same way as plain, dry white bread toast is fun to eat. With the few remaining talented designers left at WotC, I’m disappointed that more couldn’t have been done. Maybe the Marketing folks veto’ed anything with flavor pandering to the lowest common denominator to squeeze every sale possible. Or maybe the hacks have finally taken over. Either way, it’s a shame they couldn’t have created something with a personality. Or at least a bit of butter and jam.