Twitter Buffs

Get off my lawn you damn kids!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, WotC gives us Twitter Buffs:

Every week, Dungeons & Dragons Encounters™ brings new adventure. And every hour, D&D’s @Wizards_DnD Twitter Channel brings you a new way to interact with your game.

Get your D&D Fortune Cards ready and watch for tweets that will bring the two together.

So now you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t have an internet connection at the table to make the maximum use of the cards you had to purchase so you weren’t at a disadvantage there.

Sure, none of it’s mandatory. Just like it’s not mandatory for a modern army to use tanks and machine guns.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

22 thoughts on “Twitter Buffs

  1. I got off the WoTC train in 2008 and haven't looked back since. At this point I honestly think that DDI is the only thing keeping D&D afloat for them… hence their move to more and more online content.


  2. Having been a part of D&D Encounters, I can tell you that your analogy is lacking. The buffs are not essential like tanks to a modern army. Most of the tables I played at did not bother with them, as they did not add much to the experience, and encounters did not appear to be designed with the expectation of the buff.

  3. So then tell us, morgan, why is WotC doing this? Desperation? I can't imagine they'd roll out those fortune cards and now twitter buffs without some solid market research behind them.

  4. Why does it have to be desperation? It's not like they are making money off twitter. Maybe someone thought it would be a fun idea.

    My guess is there was a meeting about what to do with their social networking and the idea got shot off. Seeing as it would require very little investment they ran with it.

    I prefer it over yet another splat book, myself. It's defiantly not my cup of tea, but I can see where some might enjoy the bit of randomness.

  5. This is problem we have in the gaming community. We spend the weekend getting blasted that RPGs are not creative enough and then when a company tries to do something new and different and dare I say it, maybe even a little fun, they get blasted for that as well.

    I can say that even where I work I have been to meetings where the topic was "how do we leverage Twitter to our needs?" keeping in mind that the target audience for my job is the 30+ year old working professional wanting to go back to school.

    I saw WotC is trying something new to get the word out about their games. What is wrong with that?

  6. I'm guessing the twitter buffs are a mix of a company trying to leverage social networking and a company trying to build enthusiasm for both D&D Encounters and their Fortune Cards.

    I further suspect the Fortune Cards are a bone thrown to gaming stores hosting D&D Encounters. D&DE probably does more to advertise WotC than to drive sales to new gamers in the short term, and the Fortune Cards are an easy, low-risk sale for the game store which can get people to leave having bought SOMETHING rather than this being a total loss for the store.

    Whether bungled or not, all I see in the Fortune Cards are a perhaps not fully thought out attempt to make stores running D&DE feel taken care monetarily while falling short of requiring purchases or pay for play schemes that many probably would like to push.

  7. One of the chief issues for me (other than the "new for the sake of being new" thing) is that these are meta-game things that have an in-game effect.

    If you have enough money and an obsessive enough personality type, you will be able to blow hundreds if not thousands of dollars on cards in order to track down the rare ones with really cool powers.

    If you have a smart phone, or a laptop, you can then leverage those cards into even more special zip-zap powers for your character. At least a single splat-book has a defined end. This is a never-ending font of munchkinism.

    This trend embodies the absolute worst elements of the 4E desgin philosophy, to my mind, and the antithesis of the old school play ethic. Characters are all-powerful, death is rarely to be expected because of the careful balancing of factors, and "everything is super-duper" without having to actually do anything in the game to get it.

    In a nutshell, this trend promotes lazy playing, and rewards people for showing up. Thus my dislike.

  8. New fangled technology to support an unpopular edition or a conspiracy to vex DM's all over with 'twitter tweeks'?
    To paraphrase 'He is really not so ugly after all, provided, of course, that one shuts one's eyes, and does not look at him' could easily sum up the latest round of WotC's decisions. My FLGS owner, had some not so kind words over the latest news of cancellations of various D&D products that had been good sellers. Taking a long look at it for sometime now, I used to think WotC was out to fire the customer. Now I see it is also the retailer and distributor. Just a nother way to cut costs and put the FLGS on the unemployment line.
    Anyone who thinks the WotC and 4e is good for the hobby might want to look at where the chain of dominoes falls.

  9. I can't imagine liking or wanting this. However, I think I'm not a part of the customer demographic that WOTC is chasing. I don't think I have been for quite some time.

  10. @Everyone else who claims they don't break the game or alter balance:

    They do. Incontrovertible fact. They change rolls, give buffs, they're not "just for show". They take the ability of the DM to actually *GASP* DM something to his liking and his own ideal of balance and ream it even harder than the 4e rules did in the first place.

    These cards belong in a board game and D&D really hasn't ever been a board game. What's even worse about the whole affair is that 4e would have played better if they'd outright admitted it's not D&D and IS a glorified board game.

    There's also a huge difference between 'exploring fun ideas' and 'further encouraging powergaming and a must-have ethos'. Like it or not, these bonus power packs or whatever the hell they're called ARE essential to any player who plays 4e. Anybody who says otherwise is still laboring under the false assumption that 4e has anything whatsoever to do with Dungeons and Dragons besides a name.

    Anyone claiming that these new products are good for the health of the hobby as a whole should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

  11. Why does 4e even need a DM? WotC could simply Bot-Call encounters through various social networking sites or you could draw cards from pre-designed encounter decks.

    Players could keep each other honest and rewards could be Bot-Called at the end of the session.

    No need for a Dm anymore, Seems to be the going direction according to some 4e blogs anyways.

    Why even waste time "roleplaying" its not pushed in MMO's nor in traditional Boardgames, and 4e has no real mechanic for it, and it seems to slow down the encounters anyway.

    Ah the future of gaming…

  12. I am inclined to agree with the last post, there may come a time soon when DMs are not needed. Alot of the formerly DM only info has gradually shifted to players hands over the last couple editions.

  13. Twitters & Trolls! A great new game that's fun and exc…

    Oh hell, who am I kidding? I gave 4E a chance, and its Essentials. I can understand games evolving. But this? No, sir. I don't like it.

    When I want a game that involves internet interaction, I play an internet game. When I want a D&D RPG, THAT's what I want to play. I refuse to play under the guiding light of some internet Big Brother DM telling my gaming table how things should roll.

    Where's my stick? I think I hear some kids on my lawn…


  14. (Sarcasm on)Look at these game breaking tweets! (Sarcasm off)

    # #dndenc Your time in the Great Hall earlier in the day grants you advantage of knowing how to move about the room. Gain a +3 to speed. 6:37 PM Feb 2nd via web

    # #dndenc Your drive to avenge Benwick's betrayal runs white-hot. Gain a +2 on all attacks against the treacherous villain. 5:37 PM Feb 2nd via web

    # #dndenc Lord Drysdale's imminent death spurs you to act quickly. Gain 1 action point. (You may spend two during this encounter, 1/round.) 4:37 PM Feb 2nd via web

    # #dndenc Anticipation for March of the Phantom Brigade has filled you with inspiration! PCs may choose to re-roll any die roll 1/encounter

    I don't know. I mean, it seems like a fun silly thing to me. It's not like it really is going to negatively impact my home game. OMG, a character rerolled. Oh dear, they moved forward a little more then normal. Ooo. They got their action point back. They can kill a monster faster.

    This isn't the death of games or encounters. It's not even close. At worse, what it will do is make organized play use higher level encounters, more interesting monsters, and make more people happy while at them.

    Sure, it changes 'balance' somewhat, but what is wrong with changing balance towards the players anyway? Isn't their success suppose to be a key part of the fantasy?

    This isn't taking away *my* ability to DM. It's just giving people who come to a event something neat. The only problem I have is that it'll increase stupid iphone use at the table of organized events. That just annoys me.

  15. No one said it was 'game breaking'. It has been said in many different ways that it's one step where the interaction between the players and DM at the table is the victim, not the game balance. It also tweeks the rules and adds to game bloat. In my book a step in the wrong direction when players are using an iPhone and not the dice and game books.

  16. Sure, it changes 'balance' somewhat, but what is wrong with changing balance towards the players anyway? Isn't their success suppose to be a key part of the fantasy?

    No, no, no, and no again!

    The fantasy does not depend on their success. It depends on their being challenged, and succeeding despite those challenges! When you keep making things too easy for the players, it gets to the point where there's no reason to bother to play at all. After all, the players have to win in order to fulfill the "key part of the fantasy," right?

    Yuck. That's exactly the attitude that 4E embodies, and why I dislike 4E so much.

  17. "At worse, what it will do is make organized play use higher level encounters, more interesting monsters, and make more people happy while at them."

    So you admit that it changes the game because it forces higher level encounters. Okay.

    So what of the people who want to play casually, or maybe just joined a group as a side-line to some other game? That's right folks, they'll be disadvantaged UNLESS THEY BUY THE PRODUCT.

    I think that's kinda the definition of a must-have right there. Especially so in a game that claims to put every player as an equal opportunity winner.

    Feh, I say. 4e continues to detrimentally grow further and further away from Dungeons & Dragons. Sad times.

    Oh, and Joe? My fantasy hinges only upon amassing enough wealth to build that statue of Zagyg and forcing you to redraw your courtyard. 😀

  18. My problem with it — and it's not a big problem, as I don't play D&D4 — is that it's such a limp idea. You'd think a bunch of professional games designers would be able to come up with something better than tweeting "blah blah blah +2" wouldn't you?

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