With two hours until the official announcement, there’s a thread over at EN World cataloguing a lot of what’s been let slip ahead of time. Meanwhile, a couple of hours ago Wizard Entertainment put up some official information from Bill Slavicsek.
It seems that my theory in April was spot-on: Wizards’ digital initiative is going to be a subscription-based service, to bring in the sort of continuous revenue that World of Warcraft has enjoyed but D&D, which sells the core books once only, has sorely lacked. I’m guessing $5 or $10 per month. Hopefully, this will put an end to the mentality of rushing out splatbooks and new editions just to keep afloat, and the game can progress at its natural pace. Downloadable content and stronger RPGA involvement also seem to be on the cards, along with a move to make it easier to meet up and form groups in real life.
Just as expected, 4e will be released under a version of the OGL, with the difference that a licensing fee will be charged to publishers. I actually consider this a good thing - it should split the current miasma of unpredictable-quality third party material into two distinct categories: professionally produced sourcebooks, and freely-distributable fan material (distributed free via Gleemax).
Over to Mr Slavicsek’s announcement at Wizard Entertainment’s site, and there are a lot of things that I like the sound of. Sleeping every two encounters in dungeons is being solved. Overcomplicated guff like grappling is being simplified. Fighters get more options along the lines of Tome of Battle or Book of Iron Heroes - a sure sign that our favourite Mr Mearls is having his hand in the game.
Quite surprisingly, it seems that tiefling has been promoted to a core race, at the cost of one of the less popular races - my guess is half-elf. It should be interesting to see what the final game manages.