Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition is going the way of the Internet when it launches June 7, and although it won’t exactly be competing with World of Warcraft in terms of functionality, the online tools are definitely a new step for Wizard of the Coast’s franchise.
D&D 4E will roll out alongside D&D Interactive (DDI), a suite of tools designed to make managing the game a bit easier and allow fans to play with one another remotely. The service includes some free elements as well as some subscription-based paid ones.
The online tools will include a rules database that allows you to look up rules, powers, classes, creatures, etc. to be updated with the release of each new supplement; as well as a digital tabletop that allows the DM (dungeon master, for those not in the know…) to build a dungeon or other environment and then control the movement of virtual miniatures on it.
The digital tabletop will also support voice chat and other features so people can play the game over the Internet, and it will let players share their dungeons and adventures remotely as well.
The digital moves will also include two character tools that should be nice for people who like to visualize their ideal character. The first is a character generator that allows people to build, advance, manage and maintain their character. This tool will autofill character features from the rules database and lets players print their character as a conventional character sheet.
The second character-minded tool is a character visualizer that allows players to create 3D models of their characters to illustrate their character sheet, create a custom virtual mini of their character for the digital tabletop, or even just export the image if they want a neat picture.