Gamegrene Third Edition released, to commemorate D&D's 4th Edition (June 7th, 2008).
What's the exact date it comes out?
Tomorrow, the 7th, but some folks have gotten them early (I received my PHB and MM today from Amazon; some received them a week ago). And nefarious users (or pre-orderers who wanted a digital copy) have been reading them as a PDF for two weeks now.
You could pre-order a digital copy?
Sadly my Amaon pre-order will make its way to me some time in July...
No. Someone, either the person who sent the press-ready version to the printer, or the printers themselves, leaked perfect digital copies about two weeks before they were officially on sale. They've been floating around the various torrent sites, and heavily downloaded. Some folks have justified downloading these digital copies because they've already pre-ordered the physical copies.
Oh, I see.
I got lucky in the fact that my bookstore had all the books on Wednesday... I had days to drool over them before I got paid on friday to make the purchase...
I perused them on Friday. Did anyone else notice that they were written to a Grade 2 or 3 reading level? I'd analyze the writing and compare it to my old style guide to be more exact, but it isn't that important to me. I just found it kind of ... funny.
Yes. The layout is also sub-par and quite amateurish.
Overall I give it a C. This is not what I would have expected from the number 1 company in the industry.
But then, McDonald's is number 1 too and look what they spit out.
Actually, I think the layout is the way it is specifically due to their electronic initiative. It stands to reason that, if you're going to produce PDFs (and then, like me, want to print them out), you should be friendly to a printer's ink. My understanding is that they'll also be no more setting-specific stylings (Core vs. FR vs. Eberron, etc.) - all books will carry the same stylings.
I understand the reasoning behind, for example, dropping the background "parchment" look and feel. My specific gripe is with other elements of design.
I think using the same styling on all books, if true, is just bland (if not lazy).
I reserve further judgment for when I hold the books.
As much as I like the shininess of the books (it's so bad that I regularly take my WoD books, and, for no real reason, run my hands over the covers cause I like the way the shiny parts feel; and now DnD does it too!), I have to agree that the layout is less than spectacular. I'm withholding judgement as for the real game, as I still haven't hit chapter one of the PHB. The Monster Manual in particular has many problems, for instance the bar that tell you you're now looking at Worgs isn't always on the outer edge of the page. On the right side pages it's on the inside, which makes no sense to me. Not to mention the bars barely stand out at all and so aren't so good at pointing out the importance of their subject. So the layout isn't too spectacular, but that has little to do with the final game product and how much fun it will be. So I'm willing to let this one go and wait to see how the game plays out. My only fear is that it will be as sloppy as the layout. But, maybe Wizards layout team sucks while everybody else is amazing!
Only time will tell.
I'll admit that the format and the writing of the books could be better. I have just finished the DM's Guide, and am working on the PHB. I think that the fact that it is written so simply is due in large part to the crowd that WoC is trying to attract. They know that people who have been playing for years will continue to play whether the format sucks or not. We're gamers, its what we do. They're trying to make it easier to understand in order to attract an entirely different group of people. In that regard I believe that they were successful. I have very little experience with GMing, and was trying to set up a game for some friends and I was confused as heck reading the 3.5 DM's Guide. Although it is a bit degrading and sometimes I laughed outright at the way that they explained things in 4e, I understood it all the first time through. From what I can grasp of all the mechanics it also looks to be way more balanced. I'm excited to try it out as soon as the heart of our party gets back home from vacation. I believe it will attract those who have hitherto been uninterested, despite its flaws.
I've actually been meaning to post concerning this discussion for quite a while. I don't think it's as bad as everyone says it is. It's a bit different, but once you begin to grasp it it makes a lot more sense. I remember reading 3.5 for the first time, and being thoroughly confused about what in the nine hells was going on. This time around it was better due to some more time spent introducing the system, so that you understood enough to be useful. Also, I think it's mostly the introduction and the first couple of chapters that are written kiddie style. The writing gets more grown-up later and you can tell that it's a different writer with a different focus, especially when they start trying to explain the mechanics. I think putting class-specific features with those classes was a wise decision and makes for a lot less book-flipping. It's still not perfect, and does have flaws, but I don't think they're as grand as some have made them out to be.