Has WotC committed to its 4e players for the future?

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Does anyone know if WotC has committed to continued online support of the 4th edition of the game once Next is launched.  As an Insider subscriber I consistely use the "Tools" on the website, and I hope they will still be available once 5e launches.

Have they spoken to this? 

The only word we have is that they have no plans to take down the 4E tool as of yet.  That being said, WotC has something of a poor reputation in the communication of intent to its customers.  While I expect the 4E tools to be available until DDN is ready to launch (a year or so away at this point), I would not be surprised if they quietly drop everything shortly thereafter and replace it with DDN tools without very much fanfare or announcement. 

I'd like to see greater transparency in this and would love to see the 4E tools remain available, even if it never gets another update after DDN launches.  The problem is that WotC may feel that leaving the tools up prevents 4E players from having to follow inertia and make the change over to the new edition.  If they think having the tools up is costing them more money than they'd like, they'll drop it in a heartbeat.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.


The only word we have is that they have no plans to take down the 4E tool as of yet.  That being said, WotC has something of a poor reputation in the communication of intent to its customers.  While I expect the 4E tools to be available until DDN is ready to launch (a year or so away at this point), I would not be surprised if they quietly drop everything shortly thereafter and replace it with DDN tools without very much fanfare or announcement. 

I'd like to see greater transparency in this and would love to see the 4E tools remain available, even if it never gets another update after DDN launches.  The problem is that WotC may feel that leaving the tools up prevents 4E players from having to follow inertia and make the change over to the new edition.  If they think having the tools up is costing them more money than they'd like, they'll drop it in a heartbeat.





Given that they've gone out of their way to placate the 3.5 and older edition players with retail reprints, the least they could do for the 4e folks is maintain these tools...the cost has to be minimal.   

Given that they've gone out of their way to placate the 3.5 and older edition players with retail reprints, the least they could do for the 4e folks is maintain these tools...the cost has to be minimal.

You'd think that, but if you ask around here, some of the older forum members will point you to the 3.5/4E change-over and how ridiculously dumb WotC was about handling that.  Based on how DDN is shaping up right now, they're on track to most likely screw up this change over as well, trading their younger 4E fanbase for what older fans they can maybe steal back from Piazo.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

The smartest option for WoTC would be to hike the price for DDi and include Next and 4e together.  That way 4e players get to see Next (because it's there whether they like it or not) and hopefully begin to enjoy it, since they're already paying for their 4e tools anyway.  Plus they get to keep using their 4e tools that they love and WoTC gets to keep making money off of 4e without publishing anything new for it. 

If they truly want to unite the editions and the community, making DDi a mandatory subscription to all editions will do this.  Heck, maybe someday they'll get around to adding older edition support too.

If support for 4e is dropped from DDi I'll be very, very disappointed.  It would certainly make me less enthusiastic about anything to do with Next.  As opposed to ending production of 3e, something would actually be TAKEN AWAY FROM ME, something I continue to pay for.  That sucks and it's a dumb move for WoTC not to continue to take my money.  When 3e ended, no one came around and took my books away.  If WoTC ends 4e support in DDi, it's basically the electronic equivalent of someone coming around and taking my books away, and that would be very disappointing and create a lot of ill will.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”


Given that they've gone out of their way to placate the 3.5 and older edition players with retail reprints, the least they could do for the 4e folks is maintain these tools...the cost has to be minimal.

You'd think that, but if you ask around here, some of the older forum members will point you to the 3.5/4E change-over and how ridiculously dumb WotC was about handling that.  Based on how DDN is shaping up right now, they're on track to most likely screw up this change over as well, trading their younger 4E fanbase for what older fans they can maybe steal back from Piazo.

At least when they ended 3e, no one came to your door and took your books away.  They just stopped making more.  If they end 4e support in DDi, that pretty much what they'll be doing for many people who rely on DDi to replace some of the books.

The moral of the story ... always buy the books.  ;)  Once you have that paper copy, it's yours forever.

I have all the books, but I don't have the modules, and Dungeon and Dragon magazine paper copies ... not to mention the Compendium.  At least the CB can be replaced by HeroLab, as flawed as that software is, but once again, only if you have a database of all the game elements that you can keep.

My prediction is that 4e support will be retained in DDi until DDi ends completely or changes into some new and different electronic offering (which should still support 4e in some way).  Walking it back would be monumentally bad business, since it makes money every day.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, or, if you like, the customer you have is worth ten customers you have yet to gain.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”


The moral of the story ... always buy the books.  ;)  Once you have that paper copy, it's yours forever.



I have a ton of 4e books but it's hard to beat character builder for putting together a new character.   

Btw, I've been a big fan of your signature since I joined these boards! 


The moral of the story ... always buy the books.  ;)  Once you have that paper copy, it's yours forever.


I have a ton of 4e books but it's hard to beat character builder for putting together a new character.   


Which is why I've done the unthinkable and looked into alternatives to the online builder.
There do exist some very good alternatives. (in varying degrees of shadiness). 
If you look hard enough, you'll find them.

This is very likely the last year I keep my D&DI account. Sadly, for me, I only found a fully viable alternative until after I had done the yearly renewal.
Btw, I've been a big fan of your signature since I joined these boards!

Thanks!  While the first part was inspired by someone I can't remember, but rephrased by me, the second part is from "That Mitchell and Webb Look."  Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit are my favorite superheroes, even if BMX Bandit is a bit ... redundant.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit are my favorite superheroes, even if BMX Bandit is a bit ... redundant.


I've always wondered if that sketch was intended to be a satire on the LFQW issue or if that's just how we all interpret it because we're D&D fans. I mean, the sketch works on its own merits even if you've never heard of D&D, but it's just such a perfect summation of LFQW that I find it hard to think it's just a coincidence.

EDIT: For anyone who's not seen it yet: "Angelic hordes, come forth!"
"There's an old saying that all it takes for evil to triumph is that good people do nothing. I've always had a problem with that. If you do nothing to oppose evil, then how are you 'good'? To turn aside and allow evil to flourish is to collaborate with it. You ask for mercy. You claim you have done nothing. That 'nothing' is why you deserve no mercy." - Lorian Karthfaerr, drow paladin of Avandra Robin Laws says I'm a Storyteller:
Show
You're more inclined toward the role playing side of the equation and less interested in numbers or experience points. You're quick to compromise if you can help move the story forward, and get bored when the game slows down for a long planning session. You want to play out a story that moves like it's orchestrated by a skilled novelist or film director. Storyteller 92% Tactician 83% Method Actor 75% Butt-Kicker 67% Power Gamer 67% Specialist 58% Casual Gamer 8%

Which is why I've done the unthinkable and looked into alternatives to the online builder.
There do exist some very good alternatives. (in varying degrees of shadiness). 
If you look hard enough, you'll find them.



I've look a LOT for sometihng but have yet to find any viable alternatives.

Well, I've found one, but it requires me to have a Windows install on my Mac so it is less that optimal for me. And I don't like how it formats the character sheets... 
Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit are my favorite superheroes, even if BMX Bandit is a bit ... redundant.


I've always wondered if that sketch was intended to be a satire on the LFQW issue or if that's just how we all interpret it because we're D&D fans. I mean, the sketch works on its own merits even if you've never heard of D&D, but it's just such a perfect summation of LFQW that I find it hard to think it's just a coincidence.

EDIT: For anyone who's not seen it yet: "Angelic hordes, come forth!"


You wondered about that?  I always basically took it as read that it was a satire on that problem.  Both as presented in D&D, and as presented in comics with the 'well why doesn't Superman just win for them' problem.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
If support for 4e is dropped from DDi I'll be very, very disappointed.  It would certainly make me less enthusiastic about anything to do with Next.  As opposed to ending production of 3e, something would actually be TAKEN AWAY FROM ME, something I continue to pay for.  That sucks and it's a dumb move for WoTC not to continue to take my money.  When 3e ended, no one came around and took my books away.  If WoTC ends 4e support in DDi, it's basically the electronic equivalent of someone coming around and taking my books away, and that would be very disappointing and create a lot of ill will.



Which is exactly what WotC did at the end of 3E. They killed the 3E character builder ("revoked the licence") and support for it and tried to force everyone to move to 4E.

I still have all my 3E books, but they're a lot less useful without the character builder being supported. Fortunately it was a stand alone program, so as long as I can run the old version on WindowsXP, I can still use it.

It made me never trust WotC again and is the main reason why I didn't invest a lot into 4E and DDI.

WotC might have changed but don't count on it, they're more likely to repeat things when 5E shows up, they don't want to be competing against themselves.

5e should strongly stay away from "I don't like it, so you can't have it either."

 

I once asked the question (in D&D 3.5) "Does a Druid4/Wizard3/ArcaneHierophant1 have Wildshape?". Jesse Decker and Andy Collins: Yes and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Rich Redman and Ed Stark: No and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Skip Williams: Lol, it's worded ambiguously and entirely not how I intended it. (Cust. Serv. Reference# 050815-000323)

The smartest option for WoTC would be to hike the price for DDi and include Next and 4e together.  That way 4e players get to see Next (because it's there whether they like it or not) and hopefully begin to enjoy it, since they're already paying for their 4e tools anyway.  Plus they get to keep using their 4e tools that they love and WoTC gets to keep making money off of 4e without publishing anything new for it. 

If they truly want to unite the editions and the community, making DDi a mandatory subscription to all editions will do this.  Heck, maybe someday they'll get around to adding older edition support too.

If support for 4e is dropped from DDi I'll be very, very disappointed.  It would certainly make me less enthusiastic about anything to do with Next.  As opposed to ending production of 3e, something would actually be TAKEN AWAY FROM ME, something I continue to pay for.  That sucks and it's a dumb move for WoTC not to continue to take my money.  When 3e ended, no one came around and took my books away.  If WoTC ends 4e support in DDi, it's basically the electronic equivalent of someone coming around and taking my books away, and that would be very disappointing and create a lot of ill will.

Even smarter, hike the price and allow the user/subscriber to CHOOSE the version of D&D they want. 1st through Next.  EVERYone's happy, they get money, all versions are viable.

I have a group of old school guys who love 2e, my grandkids began playing 4e...  my new group is testing Next with me.  One stop shopping for a DM in need! 


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The smartest option for WoTC would be to hike the price for DDi and include Next and 4e together.  That way 4e players get to see Next (because it's there whether they like it or not) and hopefully begin to enjoy it, since they're already paying for their 4e tools anyway.  Plus they get to keep using their 4e tools that they love and WoTC gets to keep making money off of 4e without publishing anything new for it. 



The smartest idea would be to leave the price as it is, and include multiple editions - but your core concept is absolutely spot on.

Why does anyone here presume to know what's smartest for WotC?  Making and then supporting online resources for old editions means diverting resources in that direction from something else: that's an opportunity cost.  Only people inside or very close to WotC can know whether the benefits of doing that outwiegh those costs.  Anything we say is just speculation.

EDIT:  And to answer the original poster's question, WotC has not spoken to the fate of DDI once 5E comes out.  Anything we say here is also just speculation, though we can make some educated guesses given WotC's track record.  Given that track record, I expect them to drop 4E online support by the time 5E comes out.   But, again, this is mere speculation; WotC hasn't said anything official.
@CUBPHILDND a fair challenge sir, but it's basic marketing theory that customer retention is far more lucrative than acquiring new customers,. The logic therefore runs that since the character builder etc. Already exist, the marginal cost is just server space - it's a cash cow if nothing else. I'm not suggesting they do more 4e development, but since DnDI is a subscription service it is largely going to fund Dragon and Dungeon, which they will continue anyway... there are only income and customer retention downsides to dumping support for 4e. Support is not development. So... I'm pretty confident in my basic marketing logic.
Support is not development.


So, they'd have to fire a 5E developer to hire a 4E supporter?  Again, anything we say is speculative, as we don't even know the costs, let alone the benefits, that WotC stands to pay / gain by making one choice over the other.
Support is not development.


So, they'd have to fire a 5E developer to hire a 4E supporter?  Again, anything we say is speculative, as we don't even know the costs, let alone the benefits, that WotC stands to pay / gain by making one choice over the other.



Again, your comment about speculation is entirely valid. . . but support for me means holding existing information on a server - like a library.  A lot of the comments here are 'don't take away my character builder'.  There is no need for a human being to be involved holding a single small piece of software on a server.  One commentator here said something to the effect of 'if they take away my access to the data here, it's like they're taking away my game books'.  In the electronic age the cost of leaving a single piece of software on a server is microscopic.  Sure, if folk who play 4e want there to be new material released, in hard copy, for 4e, that is completely novel, that takes writers, developers etc.  That's not what I'm suggesting - I'm suggesting the cost of leaving the books on the shelves of the library is tiny compared to the cost of losing loyal players who pay their subs.

And of course if you tell your customers that their product is changing, people will speculate.  Better they do so, and do so here publicly where WotC can read and response to the comments than they privately decide 'WotC will screw me, I'm off to play Tunnels and Trolls instead'.  So, I think the speculation is entirely healthy.  But for sure, it is only speculation, I grant you that. 
support for me means holding existing information on a server - like a library.  A lot of the comments here are 'don't take away my character builder'.  There is no need for a human being to be involved holding a single small piece of software on a server.



Sure, but my general point is that this is still a cost, and we have no idea whether that cost is worth it.  I didn't mean to say that the only resource they have to budget is man-hours.  One more server dedicated to old editions is one less server dedicated to the new edition.

EDIT: Also, there's nothing wrong with speculation.  It's just overstating such speculation to couch it as what it would be smart for WotC to do.
@CUBPHILDND - fair points. I confess there is a bit of marketing in my wording, in that I would like to persuade WotC to be loyal to the people that pay their wages...
@CUBPHILDND - fair points. I confess there is a bit of marketing in my wording, in that I would like to persuade WotC to be loyal to the people that pay their wages...


The only thing I can say is that their track record on that, as far as D&D goes, isn't very good. Some of their other francises it's a different story.

I've payed certainly over a month in average wages to WotC for D&D products alone but I stopped doing that after the way they ended 3E as I think money is the only message they get.

5e should strongly stay away from "I don't like it, so you can't have it either."

 

I once asked the question (in D&D 3.5) "Does a Druid4/Wizard3/ArcaneHierophant1 have Wildshape?". Jesse Decker and Andy Collins: Yes and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Rich Redman and Ed Stark: No and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Skip Williams: Lol, it's worded ambiguously and entirely not how I intended it. (Cust. Serv. Reference# 050815-000323)

support for me means holding existing information on a server - like a library.  A lot of the comments here are 'don't take away my character builder'.  There is no need for a human being to be involved holding a single small piece of software on a server.



Sure, but my general point is that this is still a cost, and we have no idea whether that cost is worth it.  I didn't mean to say that the only resource they have to budget is man-hours.  One more server dedicated to old editions is one less server dedicated to the new edition.

EDIT: Also, there's nothing wrong with speculation.  It's just overstating such speculation to couch it as what it would be smart for WotC to do.


Even then, running a server isn't as cheap as most people think. Costs vary a lot depending on what you do exactly, but just security maintenance, changes in operating systems and browsers, bandwidth and keeping the hardware working do add up.
There are many cases where people have shut down services for paying customers numbering in the tens or hundreds of thousands because of cost reasons.

5e should strongly stay away from "I don't like it, so you can't have it either."

 

I once asked the question (in D&D 3.5) "Does a Druid4/Wizard3/ArcaneHierophant1 have Wildshape?". Jesse Decker and Andy Collins: Yes and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Rich Redman and Ed Stark: No and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Skip Williams: Lol, it's worded ambiguously and entirely not how I intended it. (Cust. Serv. Reference# 050815-000323)

One way they could do it is dust off the old offline version of the character builder and make it available again, apply the patches that came after that old version to it and forget about it. They also could make offline version for the other tools. That way, there would be no server cost (or only minimal because it would be only one file to be downloaded...)

Anyway, just my 2c....
One way they could do it is dust off the old offline version of the character builder and make it available again, apply the patches that came after that old version to it and forget about it. They also could make offline version for the other tools. That way, there would be no server cost (or only minimal because it would be only one file to be downloaded...)

Anyway, just my 2c....



. . . or your $5.95 per month!

Lloth may be Queen, but Customer is King - I have faith!

One way they could do it is dust off the old offline version of the character builder and make it available again, apply the patches that came after that old version to it and forget about it. They also could make offline version for the other tools. That way, there would be no server cost (or only minimal because it would be only one file to be downloaded...)

Anyway, just my 2c....


The entire reason (I believe) that they dropped support for the offline tools was because there was no incentive for the subscriber t okeep paying after a large update/patch.

With the offline char builder, a lot of people would just pay for a month two or three times a year, get all the updates, and continue on.
With the online builder, you need to keep paying continually or you loose access to the tools themselves.

And well, it should come as no surprise that a group of dedicated people managed to revive and update the old builder.
Now if only I could have an offline Compendium and I'd be set.

Anyways, I started looking for alternatives to the D&DI subscription ever since development and support for 4e started to diminish. I have every reasonable expectation that the 4e tools will go offline shortly after the release of Next. And when (if) that happens, I will be pretty much ready. 
Just wanted to thank everyone who has replied to this thread...I hope WotC is listening.  I know there are 1,000's(as I understand it 10's of thousands) of current 4e players who are subscribers...I hope WotC wants to keep their business. 
They are exactly this commited:

@pfresh85 Maybe this has been answered but what happens to all the 4E digital tools (DDI) once Next comes out?
@mikemearls ideally, we'll keep them up as long as there is sufficient interest

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

They are exactly this commited:

@pfresh85 Maybe this has been answered but what happens to all the 4E digital tools (DDI) once Next comes out?
@mikemearls ideally, we'll keep them up as long as there is sufficient interest




Ah that's good. I'd hate to lose them.
They are exactly this commited:

@pfresh85 Maybe this has been answered but what happens to all the 4E digital tools (DDI) once Next comes out?
@mikemearls ideally, we'll keep them up as long as there is sufficient interest




Ah that's good. I'd hate to lose them.

To be honest, that's still pretty non-commital.  They could pull the plug at any time citing "low numbers of users" and nobody would be able to dispute them.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Also tweeted today;

@sirgourls
 I don't know if you've answered this already, sorry if its a repeat. What will happen to all the 4E tools on DDI when DDN hits?
@mikemearls My hope is that we can keep them up and running.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Good to know; thanks for the updates.