Why I’m Disappointed about Murder in Baldur’s Gate
Okay, I might take some flame for this, but I can’t stay silent on the matter – I am disappointed. This is shocking because I was so excited when Wizards of the Coast announced that they were making the upcoming D&D encounters season (Murder in Baldur’s Gate) a pay product that will be marketed and placed on the shelves of game stores (and Amazon). Unable to get to a store on Wednesdays and participate in the D&D Encounters program, I have been clamoring for WotC to sell their encounters kits for several years now. Though there was a bit of controversy about the pay-for-product aspect, I was one of the people who was happy about the opportunity to pick up the product. I thought, $35 isn’t a bad deal if you get a whole campaign (season) of encounters adventure in the package!
I’m not as happy after reading this preview over at DungeonsMaster.com.
One of the reasons that I often lobbied for WotC selling the encounters packets to the public market is that we would then have the maps and tokens available to people who could not, for whatever reason, make it to the encounters night – I wasn’t the only one asking. So now they are addressing the issue and have created a product to sell – YAY! But now I find out that the packet itself doesn’t come with playing maps or tokens or even player handouts? And the stats have to be downloaded and printed elsewhere?
*sigh* Thanks for failing at this one WotC – I thought you were giving me what I was clamoring for, but instead, you gave me a shallow husk of it. To be clear, I don;t care about downloading the stats elsewhere and not printing them in the book – I was wondering how they were going to make a reasonably sized product that contain monster stats for all three systems, so downloading them from the website seems a good way to get the information out there.
To clarify, yes, there is a map of Baldur’s gate on the screen, but it doesn’t do anything to help the DM adjudicate the combat sequences. This package is meant to be played with either 3.5, 4, or next, and the last time I looked, both 3.5 and 4e used tactical combat with miniatures and battle maps. The fact that this new encounters packet is missing those items makes it that much more difficult for a DM to run the module in those two systems, even though the marketing says it can be played in any of the 3 systems. Maps and tokens have been standard with every other encounters season packet, so it was reasonable to expect them to be included with this one as well, especially since they have moved to a pay system to get the product.
Oh, but they are making maps for this product? Yes, they are – but guess what – you can’t buy them. According to this post over at the Wizards Play Network they are in the encounters Launch Weekend Kit that the store gets. Now, to clarify once again, so that I am not misleading anyone, if you read the post at the play network you find out that they aren’t actually making maps and tokens for this adventure. The maps are actually player maps: “The player maps give an image of the city of Baldur’s Gate, with key locations called out, beckoning to be visited by curious adventures.” So, still no help running the game for those of us that want to use tactical battle maps in 3.5 and 4e.
So I am now a lot less interested in buying this package. I don’t play in the Forgotten Realms, and am not interested in the Sundering Event. I don’t need any more adventures, really, because I have so many that I could never play them all. So why was I going to purchase this product? Because I wanted to support WotC for doing something cool – for making an encounters season that can be played in 3.5, 4, or next. I wanted to support WotC for releasing a new product while in development of the new system (and therefore, let’s face it, not having a big sales year). I wanted to support WotC for listening to the fans who wanted to buy the encounters seasons from Wizards of the Coast (and not the ridiculously inflated ebay prices that those kits go for). But now… the lack of maps and token, and without the ability to get the in-store kit (which has the first session adventure, by the way – “Inside the Launch Weekend kit (which we’ll describe below) will be an introductory adventure experience, but that will only cover the very first session of play”) and any playing aids at all, really, have removed all of my reasons to buy it, and I am left with more reasons to be not interested.
Does it make a difference to you? Will you still buy it? Were you angered at them charging for it? Are you excited despite having to maps or tokens? Let me know, I would like to hear everyone’s opinions on this.
Even through my disappointment, I, as always, wish you good gaming.