No Monster Builder update again!?!

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I had finally decided to go and renew my subscription (for another year) because I figured that between Steve Winter taking over the content, and the MM3 update to the Monster Builder, I'd be willing to wait out the month for some news at Gen Con on new tools coming down the pike.

Before doing it though, I glanced over the Content Calendar for July. On Tuesday, July 6, 2010, there is a scheduled update for the Character Builder listed. There is nothing listed for the entire month for the Monster Builder.

Again.

I'm stunned and embarassed. I've been telling everyone around the web for weeks that they will get their MM3 update on the first Tuesday of July. Granted, I'm not a representative of WotC, and nothing I say should be taken as fact, but they weren't my words. There is a thread in this very forum saying that we'd be getting that update. Here is the opening post from that thread:

59556916 wrote:

June 2010 Character Builder and Adventure Tool News


 No Monster Builder Update This Month:


We’re implementing the new Monster statistics block in our database, and we need to do more testing to make sure all the monsters get converted over properly from previous sources. This month’s upload was less than 30 creatures from HS1 – The Slaying Stone adventure and Dungeon® Issue 177.  So get ready for the new stat block when we update with Monster Manual III creatures in the July 6th update. (Apologies for the delay, and we’ll keep you posted on our progress before next update.)


Here’s a summary of the new data and features for Character Builder.


Data Update:


Data from the following published materials are new this month:


  • Books
    • Player’s Strategy Guide

    • Dungeon Magazine Annual

    • HS1 The Slaying Stone


  • Online Magazines
    • Dragon® Issue 386

    • Dungeon® Issue 177


  • RPGA Adventures

Plus we’re doing the normal monthly errata, and some RPGA Adventure data.


Remember: you need an active D&D Insider subscription to update your Character Builder with the new data and features. Each account is limited to 5 updates, per application. Every month, when a new data set is released, this limit will be reset for each application.


Check the Character Builder FAQ [wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg...] for additional information.


Studio:


This week marks my first full year at WotC.  I can safely say we’ve never been busier since I joined.  Summer/Fall content is looking great as we get ready for Dark Sun and the Essentials.  The changes for MM3 with the new stat block are pretty universal to our foundational database structure, and conversion was a tad harder than we thought to program. Our QA team wanted a bit more time to ensure we’re 100% for July. 


Community feedback:


I get emails and posts all the time around iPhone apps, iPad apps, Facebook apps, etc.  Yes, while my main team is focused on the DDI Tools, if it is digital and D&D, ultimately it’s a D&D Studio thing.  We’re very excited about all these platforms and modalities, but have to be careful around previous licensing deals, exclusives some distribution networks require, etc.  It often translates to delays to market for certain things as we get plans, budgets and projects together.  So, yes, we know these things exist, but we don’t talk about development until there’s something to talk about. (I know that can be frustrating.)  Just know we’re working hard every day trying to deliver the best D&D digital experience we can, and we appreciate the continued insight and feedback from fans. 


Game On!
Chris


About the Author


Chris Champagne is the Studio Director of the D&DI Digital Studio.  He first rolled for initiative in the summer of 1978, and has been a life long fan of D&D ever since.




I guess one could say I don't have a "right" to be angry, since I'm not currently actively paying for subscription. I'd counter-argue that I didn't even get an update of the measly "less than 30 creatures" that I did pay for in June. Plus, all that this unannounced unexpected delay did was prevent me from re-subscribing when I fully intended to.

I don't want to sit here and use words like "disgusted" and "infuriated" and such because things like that are said so often on the internet that when someone uses them, they don't convey anything but overboard blind hatred. The problem is, right now, that is exactly how I feel (not the blind hatred, but the others.) That, and embarassed that I've told so many people to be patient and just wait for this awesome update this month to get all of those great monsters into the Builder.

Who knows? Maybe this will once again lead to Wizards banning any information leakage and we will never get word of planned updates again. As I wrote about on my off-site blog, that's unacceptable. You have paying customers under the DDi system. You are responsible to those paying customers. It's not like selling a book, which is a tangible item. When you exchange tangible goods there is an implication that the buyer accepts that good as-is outside of any return policy you choose to institute. A subscription to something implies that an expected product will be delivered at expected intervals. We're not even talking about an expectation of more than was already available. We're now talking about a failure to deliver content already part of the package for two straight months.

I'm a programmer during business hours myself. I understand projects don't always go as planned. I also understand the meaning of deadlines and sometimes you have to put in more effort than should even be humanly expected of you to meet those deadlines. Silence isn't acceptable. Promises of deadlines need to be both made and adhered to. I'm not holding Wizards' DDi team to any standard I'm not held to myself.

EDIT: July 7, 2010: Mudbunny posted the following yesterday, which can be found later in this thread.
56269566 wrote:
Trevor posted this earlier today, and I have heard from WotC that there will more on the situation soon. I understand that it is due to it being more work than they expected to convert all the monsters to the MM3 statblock.

Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
It'll be cool when you get it all done.

Software ain't baking a cake -- stick to your guns and take id Software's approach: it's done when it's done. Solid software is soooo worth the wait.
July 6th is in 2 days.  This post would be more appropriate for July 7th, not July 4th. The lack of calendar update may just have been a procedural oversight since they pushed back the MM3 update. 

Let's see if they fulfill their statement before taking up the pitchforks and torches.
July 6th is in 2 days.  This post would be more appropriate for July 7th, not July 4th. The lack of calendar update may just have been a procedural oversight since they pushed back the MM3 update. 

Let's see if they fulfill their statement before taking up the pitchforks and torches.



Normally I would agree with this. However, there are online communities where making a post concerning a deadline would garner attention from developers / representatives and merit some response, such as "No, we decided not to include it," or "It will be there, it's just a typo." I would use this community more and feel more satisfied with my DDI subscription if there were more communication related to the services we pay for.

FWIW, I don't even care about the monster builder. But I know lots of people do, and I really don't understand why, in the age of the internet, there isn't more open communication between customers and developers - even if bad news is involved. Some people are going to whine no matter what, but I think a majority of us just want to be kept in the loop about the services we pay for.
July 6th is in 2 days.  This post would be more appropriate for July 7th, not July 4th. The lack of calendar update may just have been a procedural oversight since they pushed back the MM3 update. 

Let's see if they fulfill their statement before taking up the pitchforks and torches.



Normally I would agree with this. However, there are online communities where making a post concerning a deadline would garner attention from developers / representatives and merit some response, such as "No, we decided not to include it," or "It will be there, it's just a typo." I would use this community more and feel more satisfied with my DDI subscription if there were more communication related to the services we pay for.

FWIW, I don't even care about the monster builder. But I know lots of people do, and I really don't understand why, in the age of the internet, there isn't more open communication between customers and developers - even if bad news is involved. Some people are going to whine no matter what, but I think a majority of us just want to be kept in the loop about the services we pay for.



I'll admit, I would  complain about the lack of an update whether they said something or not because Monster Builder is important to me. It's part of the package being paid for (though at the moment I'm not paying for anything at all.

I glossed over it above, and spoke about it on my blog, but this "we won't say anything and then we're not breaking promises" thing is tired and old now. They are collecting money from the user base for every month the person is subscribed. That comes with the implied understanding that there will be at least the same content as the previous month. Instead, there is less. Two months in a row. That, to me, is unacceptable and the sole reason I didn't renew my subscription that just lapsed last week.

If the update comes out tomorrow, I'll happily eat my words. Believe me, nothing would make me happier in terms of DDi than to come back to this thread and say "Sorry Wizards, I spoke too soon and I apologize for my lack of faith." I highly doubt that'll happen though.
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
This came up in another thread (though I don't remember where) in which it was mentioned that Jul 6 did originally list a Monster Builder update, but it subsequently got pushed off the bottom due to other entries being added on the same day.
July 6th is in 2 days.  This post would be more appropriate for July 7th, not July 4th. The lack of calendar update may just have been a procedural oversight since they pushed back the MM3 update. 

Let's see if they fulfill their statement before taking up the pitchforks and torches.



Normally I would agree with this. However, there are online communities where making a post concerning a deadline would garner attention from developers / representatives and merit some response, such as "No, we decided not to include it," or "It will be there, it's just a typo." I would use this community more and feel more satisfied with my DDI subscription if there were more communication related to the services we pay for.

FWIW, I don't even care about the monster builder. But I know lots of people do, and I really don't understand why, in the age of the internet, there isn't more open communication between customers and developers - even if bad news is involved. Some people are going to whine no matter what, but I think a majority of us just want to be kept in the loop about the services we pay for.


I do like to call WotC on their silence and poke them for their mistakes, but I can't fault this silence. They're really not likely to reply on a three-day weekend. They should have replied yesterday unless it was the day off in lieu (Canadian speaking, no idea how that holiday is being done). 

Still, if the Monster Builder was bumped again someone should have been on the boards the day that was decided letting us know. Like last time. That was good and I gave kudos.
While I understand updating all the monsters is alot of work they new format isn't something out of the blue and we've seen previews of it for four months. If they were going to do that they had ample warning for the stylistic change. And even if the Monster Builder isn't quite at 100% they could release the MM3 monsters into the Compendium.

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

Also check out my books at 5mwd.com/publishingIncluding Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuildinga compilation of my blog series on Worldbuilding.

 

Though I don't know about the Monster Builder, yesterday was a holiday day off for the fourth of july, celebrating the declaration of independence, but since it was on a sunday, they gave the next day off.

I have started poking people at WotC to find out about the status of a Monster byuilder update, and will let people know what I find out.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Mine just updated, yet I am unable to update the CB yet, may still be a little early for that one.

Joe
Mine just updated, yet I am unable to update the CB yet, may still be a little early for that one.

Joe




Beautiful. I'm at work so I'm always checking the boards to know if I have something waiting for me when I get home. Thanks for the update.
No problem, I work from home so it's nice and easy.

Joe
Mine just updated, yet I am unable to update the CB yet, may still be a little early for that one.

Joe


Great news.  Patience pays off sometimes. 

If the update comes out tomorrow, I'll happily eat my words. Believe me, nothing would make me happier in terms of DDi than to come back to this thread and say "Sorry Wizards, I spoke too soon and I apologize for my lack of faith." I highly doubt that'll happen though.


How do you want those cooked? 
Thats strange, mine says that my version is up-to date.  Are you sure you didn't maybe miss a previous update?  (Edit: Although, on a recheck it is now saying the update server is down, so they may be loading it right now)
Mine just updated, yet I am unable to update the CB yet, may still be a little early for that one.

Joe


Great news.  Patience pays off sometimes. 

If the update comes out tomorrow, I'll happily eat my words. Believe me, nothing would make me happier in terms of DDi than to come back to this thread and say "Sorry Wizards, I spoke too soon and I apologize for my lack of faith." I highly doubt that'll happen though.


How do you want those cooked? 



As I said, I would no doubt come in and eat my words, and I fully intend to if the changes are in there (happily too, as I will immediately re-subscribe to DDi when I see confirmation that the app is, in fact, updated.)

Honestly, after reading the great news (at least to me) about the Essentials products this morning, I am more excited than ever about fourth edition, so I hope Monster Builder doesn't let me down!
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
The update server is back up now, and still says I have the current version.  So I have to think whoever was saying they updated their version today was just working off an old version and not aware of it.  But will continue checking throughout the day.
Yep I must confess I must have been one update behind.  I'm on my laptop and am showing that I have the current version and no update.  Haven't tried the CB on my desktop yet.

Joe

Which is strange as the CB update showed MM3 for AT and Compendium only in the list of updates this time around.
Quick check of the calendar reveals they pushed the Compendium update to the 20th and I don't see a listing for Adventure Tools listed anymore.
One can hope that the Compendium update and the Adventure Tools update are one and the same, no? ::hopes::
Quick check of the calendar reveals they pushed the Compendium update to the 20th and I don't see a listing for Adventure Tools listed anymore.


Which would suggest they're silently pushing-back the MM3 Compendium update (to the 20th) and MM3 to an undisclosed date, likely next month.

Oh well, I hadn't gotten around to re-upping my subscription yet so I can wait a month. Heck, since I'm waiting this also means Demonomicon's, HS2, and Vor Rukoth when I re-up. Bonus! 

Still, this is the kind of overly silent crud I don't like from WotC. 

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

Also check out my books at 5mwd.com/publishingIncluding Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuildinga compilation of my blog series on Worldbuilding.

 

The other hope is, since they've updated the monster rules in today's rules update, perhaps they're going to change the damage output of MM1 and MM2 monsters? Then again, that'd probably have to be a rule update in and of itself.....
The other hope is, since they've updated the monster rules in today's rules update, perhaps they're going to change the damage output of MM1 and MM2 monsters? Then again, that'd probably have to be a rule update in and of itself.....


They didn't update the MM1 monsters after the changes in MM2, so I doubt that. But it would be good.

On a side-note, that would make a kick-ass series of Dungeon articles updating MM1 and 2 solos and elites to better reflect the MM3 designs, especially the original chromatic dragons and hydras. 

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

Also check out my books at 5mwd.com/publishingIncluding Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuildinga compilation of my blog series on Worldbuilding.

 

I have to say, that as much I whole heartedley support the D&D Insider initiative, its starts to get to be somewhat useless as a DM when the Compendium (let alone Adventure Tools) is let slide to be 3 months out if date.  Last update was April 5th, which in itself was out of date by a few weeks (normal lag on release cycle), and now no update until 20th?

I mean, I'm sure the answer will be 'well the new encounter block format is tough to do'.  And I'm sure that that is right.  But... we've known about the new format for 6 months now guys.  Bill previewed it waaaay back.  And its been in released products for more than two months now (didn't something before MM3 have that stat block, an adventure?  I forget).

As a DM I'm happy my players have access to the latest and greatest, but, y'know, without us DMs there's nothing for the players to do.  How about giving us some love too (and by that, push your resources on the problem)?

And yes, I've notified customer support and gotten the useless auto response back (twice now) about lack of update information, let alone new tools.  And no, I'm not going to cancel my subscription... Compendium and Monster Builder are too invaluable to me.  But geez, get a grip and do some subscriber glad handing and let us know something about a tool we're ALREADY using.  See?  Not asking about what's to come, just about stuff we're already paying for.  Get that? ALREADY paying for.  Yes I bought the actual MM3 book, and its awesome.  But that's hardly the point.  You really entering the region of failing to meet contracts here.  This ain't some friendly 'sure guys, we'll get some stuff out sometime'.  This is paid product.
Exactly. And is it now okay to resume my previous ranting? 2 months, no update, not a word spoken about it.
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
Exactly. And is it now okay to resume my previous ranting? 2 months, no update, not a word spoken about it.



Sure, it's not going to change anything, is it, but go ahead.
What we could be seeing is just an end of life for the D&D Insider product and a scaling back of D&D.
Maybe D&D is just not profitable. Certainly the fact that the company has been busy doing endless layoffs and that we never ever hear any news from the team is a bad sign.

Lance 
What we could be seeing is just an end of life for the D&D Insider product and a scaling back of D&D.
Maybe D&D is just not profitable. Certainly the fact that the company has been busy doing endless layoffs and that we never ever hear any news from the team is a bad sign.

Lance 



To say that they do endless layoffs is silly.  They do annual layoffs (Late November) but recently just reshuffled the company and promoted some people to new jobs.  If D&D wasn't profittable, Wizards would have stopped production before the Essential lines to be sure.

Not hearing any news from the D&D team is pretty much Wizard's M.O.  We hear much more now than we did during 3.X and the fact that there is any news at all is better than even 10 years ago.  To say there not being an update is a result of D&D dying is just silly.

The reason for no update most likely results from being bogged down.  Not only do they have to add all the monsters from MM3, but update each previous monster to the new stat blocks.  We also do not know what other changes they have in store and the fact that a new tool is on the precipice, and it is easy to see why their could be delays.

I know we are all pretty jaded about ddi considering all the things they promised 2 years ago, but give the company some slack, they are trying to please us (the customer) and make money, not an easy thing to do these days.
Mine also says there's no update available, which I'm a little disappointed about.  I was hoping we'd see the MM3 stuff this month.  Oh well.

Whenever it comes, it comes.  I'm happy to recreate their creations in the Monster Builder myself, and I'd suggest everybody do the same.  It's really not that difficult to open the book and copy down all the info into your own custom-but-official monsters. 
Trevor posted this earlier today, and I have heard from WotC that there will more on the situation soon. I understand that it is due to it being more work than they expected to convert all the monsters to the MM3 statblock.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Sure, it's not going to change anything, is it, but go ahead.



Right. You know, except that Mudbunny went and got more information and posted a link to it here. But sure, it doesn't do anything and we all know WotC doesn't listen to customers.

To say that they do endless layoffs is silly.  They do annual layoffs (Late November) but recently just reshuffled the company and promoted some people to new jobs.  If D&D wasn't profittable, Wizards would have stopped production before the Essential lines to be sure.

Not hearing any news from the D&D team is pretty much Wizard's M.O.  We hear much more now than we did during 3.X and the fact that there is any news at all is better than even 10 years ago.  To say there not being an update is a result of D&D dying is just silly.

The reason for no update most likely results from being bogged down.  Not only do they have to add all the monsters from MM3, but update each previous monster to the new stat blocks.  We also do not know what other changes they have in store and the fact that a new tool is on the precipice, and it is easy to see why their could be delays.

I know we are all pretty jaded about ddi considering all the things they promised 2 years ago, but give the company some slack, they are trying to please us (the customer) and make money, not an easy thing to do these days.



In fairness, they recently did another layoff on the D&D side, and just did an author layoff in the past month.

The lack of information is unacceptable. This is a digital product, and therefore it is not just possible, but critical to digitally transmit information. Being more information than was available in previous editions is irrelevant. No one was paying for a digital subscription back then.

Clearly they're bogged down. Personally, I don't like the excuse. I'm a programmer and I could never miss a deadline by two months. Again, I don't advocate anyone getting in trouble for missing deadlines here, but I'd never get away with these misses myself. As I've said, I don't hold WotC to standards I'm not held to myself.

I cut them slack for the original tools. This is stuff that has been paid for and remains undelivered though. There's the old saying about "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me."

Mine also says there's no update available, which I'm a little disappointed about.  I was hoping we'd see the MM3 stuff this month.  Oh well.

Whenever it comes, it comes.  I'm happy to recreate their creations in the Monster Builder myself, and I'd suggest everybody do the same.  It's really not that difficult to open the book and copy down all the info into your own custom-but-official monsters. 



That's not an acceptable solution when the product is being paid for. It's cool if you don't mind doing it (and I've done it a couple times when I wanted to digitially run a Dungeon adventure before it was updated) but it's not a solution to me.

Trevor posted this earlier today, and I have heard from WotC that there will more on the situation soon. I understand that it is due to it being more work than they expected to convert all the monsters to the MM3 statblock.



Thanks for the link man. While it's not exactly "optimal" it is still this month, so my complaint is less valid. I just don't get it. Masterplan had the updated format not even a month after it was previewed. How is it taking so long to implement it in the originating tool itself? It just makes no sense.
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!


Right. You know, except that Mudbunny went and got more information and posted a link to it here. But sure, it doesn't do anything and we all know WotC doesn't listen to customers.



I'm sure mudbunny would have done that, rant or not.

Hey and thanks for calling me silly--thanks for making the internet all that it is! 


Right. You know, except that Mudbunny went and got more information and posted a link to it here. But sure, it doesn't do anything and we all know WotC doesn't listen to customers.



I'm sure mudbunny would have done that, rant or not.




Whether he would or wouldn't isn't the point of the thread. It simply illustrated a relevant reason for starting the thread, but was by no means all-inclusive.
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
and Wizards failed yet another month.

 
Hey and thanks for calling me silly--thanks for making the internet all that it is! 



To be fair, I didn't call you silly, I called your points silly.  I have no idea whether you are silly or not.
Hey and thanks for calling me silly--thanks for making the internet all that it is! 


I think the proper, mature response would have been to say, "Yeah?  Well your face is silly!"

Learn to respect etiquette and protocol, man!
The masterplan comment is a great example of something that probably should have been done.  I was plesently surprised when I updated MP and found that out and im disappointed in how long its taking the official source.

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.



Right. You know, except that Mudbunny went and got more information and posted a link to it here. But sure, it doesn't do anything and we all know WotC doesn't listen to customers.



I'm sure mudbunny would have done that, rant or not.




Whether he would or wouldn't isn't the point of the thread. It simply illustrated a relevant reason for starting the thread, but was by no means all-inclusive.



But I bet he would have still responded if it wasn't a rant. He's really good at that.

Also, the rants, mild or wild, are just getting old. It would be nice if people had better control of their panties getting in a bunch over what is just a game of entertainment.
All they had to do was release the updated monster builder and ask for submissions of MM1 and MM2 monsters updated to MM3 statblock and design standards and they'd have it done in a week.
But I bet he would have still responded if it wasn't a rant. He's really good at that.

Also, the rants, mild or wild, are just getting old. It would be nice if people had better control of their panties getting in a bunch over what is just a game of entertainment.



First of all, I allow you to go on your little "I schill for WotC no matter what" excursions generally unmolested. If you'd like that to continue, I'd suggest you refrain from lame attempts to insult me and my bunched up "panties."

Second of all, I don't really care if you're tired of rants. You don't like what I have to say, click the little red X in the top right hand corner of your screen.

Lastly, I'm all but certain that my particular "rants" have been heard at WotC. I'm not some clown who just runs around these forums spewing hate against Wizards and everything they do. I always attempt to make reasonable, logical arguments, even if they're not exactly what WotC would like to hear.

The fact is, what I said isn't wrong. It may not be what people want to hear, and really, it's nothing I want to actually write but it is what it is. I hope at this point that people at Wizards who've been exposed to me know that I have nothing but admiration and adoration for them. I love what they've done with my favorite game. At the same time, I'm not going to sit back and swallow the bitter pill when things don't go right.

Fortunately, it looks like they'll be putting out an update later this month. As I've said, it's not ideal, but I'll take it. It will still be July. I won't re-subscribe until I see the download is live, but at least I won't actually miss any months of the magazine in the end.
Long Live the Lance! Give us 4e DL!
But I bet he would have still responded if it wasn't a rant. He's really good at that.

Also, the rants, mild or wild, are just getting old. It would be nice if people had better control of their panties getting in a bunch over what is just a game of entertainment.



First of all, I allow you to go on your little "I schill for WotC no matter what" excursions generally unmolested. If you'd like that to continue, I'd suggest you refrain from lame attempts to insult me and my bunched up "panties."

Second of all, I don't really care if you're tired of rants. You don't like what I have to say, click the little red X in the top right hand corner of your screen.

Lastly, I'm all but certain that my particular "rants" have been heard at WotC. I'm not some clown who just runs around these forums spewing hate against Wizards and everything they do. I always attempt to make reasonable, logical arguments, even if they're not exactly what WotC would like to hear.

The fact is, what I said isn't wrong. It may not be what people want to hear, and really, it's nothing I want to actually write but it is what it is. I hope at this point that people at Wizards who've been exposed to me know that I have nothing but admiration and adoration for them. I love what they've done with my favorite game. At the same time, I'm not going to sit back and swallow the bitter pill when things don't go right.

Fortunately, it looks like they'll be putting out an update later this month. As I've said, it's not ideal, but I'll take it. It will still be July. I won't re-subscribe until I see the download is live, but at least I won't actually miss any months of the magazine in the end.



Everything you said, apply to yourself first, and lead by example.