Upcoming Changes to DDI

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Hey all.

 

This month we want to share some upcoming changes to the DDI tool set and subscription. As we look to the future launch of D&D Next, we are shifting our focus to the development and support of the new rules set, which will impact the Dungeons & Dragons Insider subscription service.

 

  • DDI will remain available to those who still wish to access all the great 4th Edition Magazines and Tools as part of the DDI subscription. 
  • Starting in March of 2014, the DDI tool set (Character Builder, Adventure Tools and Compendium), will no longer be updated with new 4th Edition game content.
  • Existing issues of Dungeon magazine and Dragon magazine will continue to be offered for viewing.

If you have questions about your DDI subscription, please contact customer service

Trevor Kidd Community Manager

The implication is that the 4th edition tools, while no longer updated (obviously because new material will not be generated), will continue to be accessible after that date.  

 

Can you please state that explicitly?  A statement like "the 4th edition tools will continue to be available online to ddi subscribers even after d&d next is released" would go a long way.

 

Because frankly, when all you do is imply things, many of us conclude "he would tell us these things if he was permitted to.  If he is being cagy, it is because the bosses don't want him to make promises they have no intention to honor."

This is great news; thanks, Trevor, for letting us know.

 

@ Kavannah: I think Trevor's first bullet point states what you want.  (Yes, he didn't add "even after D&D Next is released".)

I too would like to see an official answer to the question if 4ed tools will remain online after the launch of D&D next. Could you please confirm this?

Completely agree. D&D Next didn't really take off with my party and since Wizards no longer offers a downloadable program, I'd still like to use the toolset for 4E shenanigans.

I don't suppose there's any news about when it'll be moved off Silverlight either?

 

It'd be nice if new development happened on an actual portable platform, rather than some dead end proprietary technology.

Thanks for the update, Trevor!

Oh, man. If they moved off of Silverlight I'd be so happy. Maybe I could finally access the site on my tablet!

WotC_Trevor wrote:
Starting in March of 2014, the DDI tool set (Character Builder, Adventure Tools and Compendium), will no longer be updated with new 4th Edition game content.

So... basically business as usual as per the last three years.

Hi Trevor, can you provide information on how the transition will be handled financially for subscribers?  The sub was basically comprised of three pieces - Dragon, Dungeon, and Tools.  Since two out of those three are going away, is there a plan to pro-rate and refund subscribers for the 67% less content we'll be getting?  Just wondering if that will be addressed, as I know many people (myself included) have subs primarily for the magazines, and don't use the tools that much.

 

Thanks for this update, hope there's more info you can share soon!

Folks - don't expect Trevor to reply.  He states quite clearly, if you have questions, contact customer service. 

 

Best to stop relying on the Tools as soon as possible. I still use them, but I tend not to use any features I don't have the books for.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Thanks for the update, Trevor.  It's good to know that my assumptions about the 4e tools continuing to be available were good ones.  Even though I do all own all the books, DDi gets heavy use at this household.  And even though there is no new content coming, I'm kinda used to that, so I'll continue to renew my subscription until the 4e tools are no longer available or I just lose interest in 4e, which probably won't happen any time this decade. 

 

Now, if you hear any information about digital offerings for Next, we'd love to know about that too.  Thanks.

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

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"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.”

So, more ambiguous news is the PR concept from WotC. It's OK if there are no further updates after March 14, but, will all the content be included? Will suscribers finally have access to the items from Cairn of the Winter King? Will paying customers -sweet Kelemvor, what part of paying WotC doesn't get?- who don't wish to switch to 5e keep their 4e concent access when 5e/6e/7e are released in 2014/18/21?

 

We demand a direct, specific answer.

alright

Dont joke around

ShakaUVM wrote:

 

WotC_Trevor wrote:
Starting in March of 2014, the DDI tool set (Character Builder, Adventure Tools and Compendium), will no longer be updated with new 4th Edition game content.

So... basically business as usual as per the last three years.

 

This made me laugh. A little unfair but still funny.

OCAMPO wrote:

So, more ambiguous news is the PR concept from WotC. It's OK if there are no further updates after March 14, but, will all the content be included? Will suscribers finally have access to the items from Cairn of the Winter King? Will paying customers -sweet Kelemvor, what part of paying WotC doesn't get?- who don't wish to switch to 5e keep their 4e concent access when 5e/6e/7e are released in 2014/18/21?

 

We demand a direct, specific answer.

Centauri wrote:

Best to stop relying on the Tools as soon as possible. I still use them, but I tend not to use any features I don't have the books for.

Kavannah wrote:

The implication is that the 4th edition tools, while no longer updated (obviously because new material will not be generated), will continue to be accessible after that date.  

 

Can you please state that explicitly?  A statement like "the 4th edition tools will continue to be available online to ddi subscribers even after d&d next is released" would go a long way.

 

Because frankly, when all you do is imply things, many of us conclude "he would tell us these things if he was permitted to.  If he is being cagy, it is because the bosses don't want him to make promises they have no intention to honor."

 

And this is why I canceled the auto-renewal to my D&DI sub with no intention of starting it back up.

 

As soon as DDN hits, it's bound to be a matter of time before the 4e content goes offline.

Luckily, I finally managed to nab all the offline tools I'll ever need to run any 4e adventure from here on. There's already a wealth of material for both players and DMs to work with.

Just how 3.5 had more books than you could shake a stick at, 4e has lots of material that should hold us over for a long time.

Is there any word, rumor. Anything at all that suggests a move away from silverlight? the inability to access the character builder from my tablet is the big thing keeping me from investing more then the current subscription cost into this game. As it stands a rather arbitrary program limitation is not going to make me invest several hundred dollars into a ruleset that’s quickly going to be phased out of existence. The ease of having every little piece of information related to your character, automatic stat allocation and a complete battery of options at my fingertips, on the other hand. Is something I would pay a larger sub for, provided it at least ran on flash

Any more info on this? Is it all going kablooey in March 2014?

They will leave the subscription service in place after that date. You will be able to use everything in it afterwards. They will be adding no more content to it. They have not anounced and end date for it.

 

They have not anounced what they plan for electonic support for DnD Next. We don't know if it will be added to DDI or not if they do it.

Silverlight is dead ergo D&D Insider 4e tools are doomed. It's only a matter of time before browsers have changed enough that Silverlight won't work in them. Chrome already has that problem. Sadly, DDI tools were what made the complexity of 4e manageable (IMHO).

 

WotC, if you happen to read this, for 5e, *please* don't go with some doomed tech like Silverlight again. Look to more open standards like an HTML5-based web app.

Silverlight was a bad choice right from the beggining. I use chrome (on a mac) for everything else and firefox just for the tools. The reason is simple. I cannot write text with chrome. So I cannot name my characters, use the filters etc. Needless to say that I am using the latest version of chrome and silverlight. 
However, I do understand that the tools are already built in that platform and that they are not going to build them again. It's ok for me to use another browser just for the tools since I can't do otherwise. My main concern is, for how long they are going to keep the tools alive. For all I know it could be for three months or three years. What I would like to hear is something like "The tools will be online till (lets say) January 2015 and then we 'll see". That would help me program my games, Knowing at least the last date that I can upgrade my pcs. 
I was lucky enough to buy the books that I liked, so even after the tools are dead I will continue using their content. However, all the changes (offline tools / online tools - 3d virtual table / 2d vt / none etc) made me promise to myself that I am not going to subscribe again, even if "next" is the most amazing edition of the game ever. I don't regret the money I paid for my subscription but I don't like their way of changing directions so often, either.
On the other hand, fans that don't get paid for their work and do it just for having fun, create programs like "masterplan", with a quality and usability thousand times superior to any wotc tool. I just don't understand why they don't buy such apps the same way that apple or any other company buys technologies in order to offer a great final product. 
So, for every edition that I am going to play in the future, I prefer to donate money to the funs than pay for something that will eventually disapoint me... 

English is not my native language, so I ask for your patience...

The reality is that the TOOLS WILL STOP WORKING one day for technical reasons completely beyond WoTC's control.  Silverlight was a bad choice.  Microsoft is absolutely INFAMOUS from declaring and pushing lots of stuff at developers to get some new whiz-bang that they think is going to revolutionize computers out, then abandoning it and screwing all the programmers and customers that invested in it. Silverlight was a daliance for Microsoft.  They probably bought some company with a good idea, and the world watched it wither under the gorilla of Redmond's watch.

 

Funny, on my Mac, it only works in Chrome and Safari.  Firefox can't recognize the Silverlight. Others have different experiences. Oh, but I'm 10.6 OSX.

 

As an old school player, you play from the books you own, what you can reference.  While PDFs are nice for searching for something, I still like having books to flip through for inspiration. I would be uncomfortable playing only using a subscription.  But It is no different than playing Wofarcraft online, or hundreds of other online games.  My beef is that having bought the Player's Handbook, I now realize I shouldn't have.  I should have only bought Essentials books (not crazy about paperbacks.  Maybe I can find just the books cheap on Ebay.  The DDI makes it obvious that the Essentials and later overwrote content of the PH, invalidating it--from the perspective of using DDI tools.  Monster Manual probably will be the same if online tools use tweaked MM1 content to scale them better.  Havent' investigated that yet.

 

Character and monster generation are nice. I particularly liked the Power Cards. With some additions, you could actually use just the powercard sheets throughout combat without every looking at the three pages of character sheets. It definitely made the tactical load of a 4E character a bit more manageable. Although at higher levels cards might get numerous, but at that point you're so accustomed to many of the powers that they are less needed--which is good.

 

Unfortunately I missed the playtests of Next, so I'm still curious how 53 will play out.  I enjoy the 4E tactical moves for martial players. It provided a complexity that made them interesting.  Unfortunately it also made them as complex as a spellcaster for first time players.  The first combat for my first group of three uber-novices was painful. They were clueless.  I'm not certain of the refocusing of spells to combat and not the more diverse nature from earlier revisions.  But I get it.

Anyone else finding that the character builder is now completed busted?  Any new character created or any old one loaded becomes broken, crashes on some changes, and the name is lost on save?

The chances of them removing the Silverlight dependency when they are basically ending DDI support is practically non-existent. It's not that it's impossible, but it would require a lot of reworks.

 

I am more in worry how long it will remain along in the first place!

This is one of those deals where we are basically screwed. The edition is going away, there is not going to be any new content, and someday the DDI tools will stop working. I don't see my group wanting to deal with 4e without the Character Builder, but I'm not enamored of Wizards right now. The solution may be to move to something else, but that's pretty painful transition.

 

However, for the next year, it may be worth paying the ransom to keep using it, even without updates. But we need a plan to move on.

For the love of all that is holy, if you are going to remove 4e content eventually, please make an offline version available.  

Given all the recent news about 5E development, and given that like the first five threads in this forum are about the future of 4E online tools, I thought that this thread is worth a bump.  See the first post.

 

Also see this Mike Mearls tweet from two days ago, about the 4E online tools:

 

Mike_Mearls wrote:
character builder will remain running as long as enough people subscribe

CUBPHILDND wrote:

Given all the recent news about 5E development, and given that like the first five threads in this forum are about the future of 4E online tools, I thought that this thread is worth a bump.  See the first post.

 

Also see this Mike Mearls tweet from two days ago, about the 4E online tools:

 

 

Mike_Mearls wrote:
character builder will remain running as long as enough people subscribe

 

Now the question is what is "enough"?

 

Because I'm having a hard time justifying maintaining a ddi subscription with zero support for it (magazines and builder) for the last several months, but still needing it for my 4e campaigns that I DM.  If they shut down the 4e tools I'm pretty sure I'll be moving over to pathfinder...

randomvirus wrote:

 

CUBPHILDND wrote:

Given all the recent news about 5E development, and given that like the first five threads in this forum are about the future of 4E online tools, I thought that this thread is worth a bump.  See the first post.

 

Also see this Mike Mearls tweet from two days ago, about the 4E online tools:

 

 

Mike_Mearls wrote:
character builder will remain running as long as enough people subscribe

 

 

Now the question is what is "enough"?

 

Because I'm having a hard time justifying maintaining a ddi subscription with zero support for it (magazines and builder) for the last several months, but still needing it for my 4e campaigns that I DM.  If they shut down the 4e tools I'm pretty sure I'll be moving over to pathfinder...

 

And therein lies the conundrum. Do I cancel my subscription, lose out on the tools while they're still there, and hasten the inevitable demise of these 4E tools, or do I try to wait it out with some possibly vain hope that the tools will remain available as long as I need them? WotC has been purposefully vague, I think, just to be able to close the doors on their timetable, trying to lose as few paying subscribers as possible before the inevitable death of the 4E tools.

 

Myself, I think I'll be one of the holdouts. I still need these tools for now.

Skedrix wrote:

 

randomvirus wrote:

 

CUBPHILDND wrote:

Given all the recent news about 5E development, and given that like the first five threads in this forum are about the future of 4E online tools, I thought that this thread is worth a bump.  See the first post.

 

Also see this Mike Mearls tweet from two days ago, about the 4E online tools:

 

 

Mike_Mearls wrote:
character builder will remain running as long as enough people subscribe

 

 

Now the question is what is "enough"?

 

Because I'm having a hard time justifying maintaining a ddi subscription with zero support for it (magazines and builder) for the last several months, but still needing it for my 4e campaigns that I DM.  If they shut down the 4e tools I'm pretty sure I'll be moving over to pathfinder...

 

 

And therein lies the conundrum. Do I cancel my subscription, lose out on the tools while they're still there, and hasten the inevitable demise of these 4E tools, or do I try to wait it out with some possibly vain hope that the tools will remain available as long as I need them? WotC has been purposefully vague, I think, just to be able to close the doors on their timetable, trying to lose as few paying subscribers as possible before the inevitable death of the 4E tools.

 

Myself, I think I'll be one of the holdouts. I still need these tools for now.

This actually ticks me off. WotC has been nothing but vague on what the hell is going to happen with the tools. They have said that they are going to remove it from Silverlight and nothing... To me WotC really NEEDS to learn some good customer service skills.It is sad when they do not reply to ANY questions at all about this or many other things. Sad indeed.

TSRO_Kip wrote:
They have said that they are going to remove it from Silverlight and nothing...  

 

I don't remember them saying this. However, it's annoying not knowing for how long the tools are going to stay online. I would really like to know. It could be as simple as "till december 2014 and then we'll see". Right now, for all I know, they could stay online for a month, a year or a decade... 

English is not my native language, so I ask for your patience...

fantasmamore wrote:

 

TSRO_Kip wrote:
They have said that they are going to remove it from Silverlight and nothing...  

 

I don't remember them saying this. However, it's annoying not knowing for how long the tools are going to stay online. I would really like to know. It could be as simple as "till december 2014 and then we'll see". Right now, for all I know, they could stay online for a month, a year or a decade... 

 

That is basically right.  They have said it will be available as long as enough people subscribe, basically meaning as long as it is economically viable.  its like asking how long a book will be in print: answer- until people stop buying it.  Or another anaology: how long will a MMO game be available- as long as it can make a reasonable amount of money.

The only reason I have a subscription is for the magazines. I do not like this hiatus. While I understand not wanting to publish anymore 4E material, I do believe that WotC has a stack of unpublished artwork, fiction, and other non 4E specific material that could have been published until the first DnD next editions of the magazine come out. 

 

Needless to say I hope very lengthly magazines  appear when the DnD next starter set is released.