While most of my recent posts have been recaps of Friday Night Pathfinder fun our Sunday Night DnD group is still going strong (you can read about our current adventures here). However, DnD news has been rather sparse of late. The January update to the DDI online tools was announced this week (here) but given that this was the update that would have occurred from over the end-of-year holiday break there were little if any bug fixes.
But there was big DnD news today - the entire DnD catalog, including all editions and versions of DnD, will be sold in PDF format via dndclassics.com. Not all of the books are available today and more will be added over the upcoming months, with a promise of "hundreds and hundreds" of books to be eventually available. The website debuted today and has apparently crashed already from overuse. Additional details can be found here and here. The website is offering a free download this week only, so get'em while they're hot.
You may remember that when 4E was first released the core books were available on PDF before being summarily pulled by Wizards when they were shocked - shocked! - to find piracy going on around here. Of course that didn't stop anyone from finding PDF versions of almost all the 4E library of they looked hard enough, plus it just kind of rubbed the on-line community the wrong way and gave their competitors one more advantage over them.
I guess my bugaboo here is that if there is enough interest in these older materials (they crashed the servers already for gods sake) then why wasn't this tack tried before - start with the older material only, start slowly, see how the market place worked. Perhaps they could "bundle" the different adventure paths together, perhaps they could have been tweaked and updated, perhaps they could have taken these "greatest hits" and converted those adventures to 4E and then sold them in that format as well. Then perhaps once they were more comfortable with the idea of PDF sales then they could have started making the 4E products available again.
These were are all missed opportunities for Wizards. Or Hasbro. I still think a lot of these decisions were being made by lawyers, not gamers, and now that 4E is damaged to the point that Wizards is moving on from 4E (or back, depending what you think of 5E) then, well, here we are.