D&D Beyond Brings Tabletop Gaming Into Digital Age

March’s PAX East saw Wizards of the Coast announce a new digital tool for fans of “Dungeons & Dragons” in “D&D Beyond.” Described as a digital toolset co-created by Twitch-affiliate Curse, D&D Beyond will offer a searchable rules database, mechanisms for character and monster generation and easy inventory-tracking for players’ treasure. Adam Bradford, Curse’s lead producer, commented that while many players already use several home-made digital components in their gaming activities, D&D Beyond is a fully integrated digital product containing the entire 5th Edition library of Dungeons & Dragons.

Tabletop gaming has gone through several incarnations since D&D’s introduction in 1974. The proliferation of console and PC gaming fractured tabletop gaming into a variety of sub-genres, forcing WotC to respond by updating its core RPG, introducing the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons; an edition notable for how much it seemed designed to court players of MMORPGs. Compared to 4th Edition, 5th Edition was better received by players, encouraging a focus on gameplay over mechanical familiarity.

Bradford commented that D&D Beyond is the end result of extensive playtesting on the part of WotC; the initial playtest consisted of 160,000 individuals. The product’s Beta release will be free product and consists of the Basic Rules, a “Standard Reference Document” and the “Elemental Evil Player’s Companion.” Players interested in other material will have to pay. Digital sourcebooks will be priced at $29.99 and digital adventures will be priced at $24.99. Bradford noted that the core trinity of texts: “Player’s Handbook,” “Dungeon Master’s Guide” and “Monster Manual,” will be discounted at $19.99.

Regarding subscriptions, D&D Beyond will offer two tiers. “Hero” removes advertisements, allows unlimited character creation and access to home-brewed material. “Master” includes all Hero Tier content but also allows Dungeon Masters to share their purchased content with players within their campaign.

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