An Open letter to Dragon and Dungeon Magazine ReadersSince the launch of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, fans of Dragon and Dungeon magazines have rolled with a lot of changes. Absorbing the rules shock that came with the new edition of D&D occurred simultaneously with an all-new look and format for the magazines. Add on top of that the changes that came as Paizo Publishing, LLC took over the development and sales of the magazines, and you're talking about one wild ride!
Change can be very difficult to go through—especially if it involves something for which you have a deep passion. Looking beyond the tumult of the past two years, however, I believe that the company has managed to continually improve the overall quality of Dragon and Dungeon magazines. Though they might be a little uncomfortable with my sharing this, the editorial staff of Dragon and Dungeon go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the best RPG magazines possible—often working late nights and weekends to do so.
Over these years, we have learned a lot about our business, ourselves, and you, our customers. We've had successes . . . and failures—both of which you've been eager to let us know about.
And we've been listening.
You see, Paizo Publishing has recently gone through its own set of changes. Old friends have left the company and new ones have joined. At heart, we're still all gamers (just ask Dungeon Associate Editor James Jacobs about how the Australian funnel web spider became a fearsome D&D creature known as the Viper Spider). But, we're gamers with a mission. It's our responsibility to plan and build for the long-term health of both Paizo Publishing and the Dragon and Dungeon brands. At the end of the day, we have a business to run. We've done some exceptional things in the past, but we're simply not content to be exceptional. We want to be the best, and the only way we can do that is by delivering magazines that meet or exceed the needs and value expectations of the largest segments of our audience.
So, we've spent the last 6 months listening to you. Whether it's been Letters to the Editor, threads on Internet newsgroups and forums, private emails, or Customer Service calls, we've sifted through your opinions and feedback, pored over our market research, and debated both our strategies and the fundamental ways in which we do business. During this process, we rebuilt the magazines from the ground up to make them useful and exciting to the widest segment of our audience. Our goal during this time was not simply to make a better Dragon magazine or an improved Dungeon. Ultimately, we labored to create the best two magazines devoted to Dungeons & Dragons that we possibly could. This was the same philosophy that I used as Brand Manager for D&D under Ryan Dancey during the launch of 3rd Edition.
The results of our efforts will appear this August when we release the new Dragon (with issue #323) and Dungeon (with issue #114) magazines. By now, I'm sure you've read the cryptic hints left by the editors in response to letters, email, and forum responses. Rather than continue to tease you about what the future holds, I think it's important to share with you some of the details of the new Dragon and Dungeon magazines—after all, you've helped shape what these two magazines have become:
The New Dragon
Starting with Issue #323, Dragon Magazine opens its pages to a new era of utility and excitement. In addition to its usual complement of material that provides D&D players with the tools they need to raise the level of their play experience, the new Dragon provides more information about all aspects of the D&D brand. Whether you knock down dungeon doors in the tabletop RPG, command warbands with the D&D Miniatures game, invade the Underdark online with your closest friends, or enjoy reading about the exploits of your favorite characters, the new Dragon is THE source for information about and content for Dungeons & Dragons. Also, starting with issue #323, the new Dragon presents a bonus quarterly catalog giving you the scoop on upcoming D&D releases from Wizards of the Coast, all gathered in one place.
And lest you think we're skimping on RPG content, our plans for the new Dragon include having articles that present new spells, feats, magic items, rules advice, player tactics, a single prestige class, a new PC race, and an ecology of a monster in every issue--something for everyone, no matter what character they play! With features like the new Class Acts—which provides content for each of the eleven Player's Handbook classes—and Coup de Grace—the last word in gaming, this column lets you hear from the people behind every aspect of D&D, from designers and developers to members of the marketing team—Dragon continues its tradition of providing the best D&D RPG content to its readers.
The New Dungeon
Beginning with issue #114, Dungeon magazine becomes the ultimate resource for Dungeon Masters. Each issue will contain three adventures, one each for low-, medium-, and high-level play. So, no matter the experience level of your party, Dungeon's got you covered every single month. In addition to the high-quality adventures you've come to expect from the magazine, Dungeon will expand its offerings to include articles and other content written specifically to help DMs take their game to the next level. From old favorites like the ever-popular Dungeoncraft by Monte Cook, to new features like the Campaign Workbook—a section devoted to providing tools specifically designed to enhance a DM's ability to create lively and adventurous campaigns—the new Dungeon offers experienced DMs and players interested in taking up the reigns of Dungeon Mastering everything they need to be successful.
In order to provide this in-depth offering, Dungeon will now focus exclusively on Dungeons & Dragons—delivering even more high-quality D&D coverage. We listened to your feedback, and it was clear that by trying to serve D&D fans, the d20 market, Star Wars fans, and the RPGA, our magazine wasn't completely succeeding at delivering the highest quality experience for any of those groups. We know that many of you subscribed to Dungeon for the complete mini-games and articles about Star Wars d20 and D&D Modern. Unfortunately, there weren't enough of you to offset those who left the magazine due to the decrease in the D&D content each issue. The D&D players felt we weren't giving them enough D&D content, and the Polyhedron readers felt that we shorted the d20 stuff. For this reason, after careful thought and some soul searching, we've decided to end the long run of Polyhedron Magazine and focus on being the best resource for Dungeon Masters. Regular RPGA updates will transfer to Dragon magazine to reach the largest number of D&D gamers around the world, and we'll continue to include RPGA Player Reward adventure codes for each Dungeon adventure. With Network material in both magazines, Dragon and Dungeon will support the RPGA like never before.
Finally, each issue of the magazine will feature Wil Save, a regular column of gaming observations penned by none other than Wil Wheaton of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame.
Being a part of the D&D 3rd Edition launch, I know firsthand the depth of passion and commitment our audience has toward both D&D and our magazines (I share that commitment, as does Lisa Stevens, our CEO and another member of the 3rd Edition team). We'll be reading and responding to Internet discussions, and if anyone would like to discuss the relaunch further, you can reach me at Keith@paizo.com.
I also know that many of you have experienced frustration over the years regarding subscription fulfillment. As many of you know, we recently moved our fulfillment of subscriptions in-house. Although we have had more than our share of logistics hiccups along the way, I want you all to know that we, as a company, find such hiccups unacceptable. We are already at work on building better internal processes to insure that subscription fulfillment runs more smoothly. However, I want you to know that I will be working personally on this issue until it is resolved.
Finally, I want to thank all of our readers who have helped make Dragon and Dungeon magazines so successful throughout the years. Without you, and your input, the future success of these magazines would not be possible. And, if you haven't taken a look at Dragon and Dungeon in a while, I encourage you to pick up Dragon issue #323 and Dungeon issue #114. I know the experience will be a positive one.
Paizo Publishing, LLC