Almost time for the big renewal push - and no new reason to renew?

125 posts / 0 new
Last post

We're coming up on 2 years since paid Insider went live.  Many of us that signed up at the beginning at the introductory rates and renewed before rates increased are going to need to decide whether to continue as members with a 20% cost increase or give up on DDI. 


As we approach that magic renew date, I must admit that I've been disappointed with the direction that DDI has taken:


* The Monster Builder is still in beta and has lots of bugs (such as incorrect calculations, extraneous -1s, etc...)
* We saw no new Adventure Tools products in over a year.
* Articles in Dragon and Dungeon containing 'crunch' seem to be growing shorter and fewer in number (as well as being spread out over more classes/races/etc... meaning a lower percentage is useful for a certain PC).
* I've noticed a higher number of errors, inconsistencies and incomplete material in the Compendium, Character Builder and Monster Builder over the past 6 months.  These problems range from simple editing mistakes to inconsistencies between different authors in how class features are supposed to be interpreted (Battlemind issues, etc...).


When I first signed up, I expected to be getting more for my money.  Features like the game table and visualizer, which were arguably promised features soon to be released, never materialized.  However, I considered the promised features to be worth well more than I was paying, and the actual features to be on the border between a reasonable benefit for the cost. When I renewed, I waffled on whether to do it, but decided that the initial 8 months of content, although less than promised, were worth the cost.  Since I renewed, I've seen a decided decrease in quality and quantity of useful material.  Less useful content, lower quality content, and higher costs.


As of now, I've decided to let my membership lapse.  I turned off the autorenew a long time ago when I noticed a downward trend.  I was really hoping that WotC was going to make an announcement at GenCon that would intrigue me and get me interested in renewing, but that has not occurred. 


I'm not saying that Insider is useless.  In the name of full disclosure, I will likely wait 4 to 12 months and then sign up for 1 month so that I can update the character builder, monster builder, etc...  However, the reduction in quantity and quality of new services provides me with little incentive to renew at a higher cost for a full year of access.  When I look at the most recent version of my PCs, only about 10% of their items, feats, and other options come from Dragon.  The only use I've taken out of Dungeon has been a few maps I'll be using in the next campaign I might run, if I ever run the new campaign.  That doesn't warrant the cost.


Would I reconsider?  If WotC announced the Game Table, showed a plan for improving Dragon/Dungeon content back to acceptable levels, and/or made another step to increase the quality (or lower the price), I'd likely jump back on board.  Compendium, when it is correct, is useful enough to justify some cost all by itself.  However, I have heard no whispers in the wind that make me think any of that will happen in the next month.


Is anyone else in my boat?  Anyone else letting their membership lapse at the magic 2 year renew date in October?
 
We're coming up on 2 years since paid Insider went live.  Many of us that signed up at the beginning at the introductory rates and renewed before rates increased are going to need to decide whether to continue as members with a 20% cost increase or give up on DDI. 


As we approach that magic renew date, I must admit that I've been disappointed with the direction that DDI has taken:


* The Monster Builder is still in beta and has lots of bugs (such as incorrect calculations, extraneous -1s, etc...)
* We saw no new Adventure Tools products in over a year.
* Articles in Dragon and Dungeon containing 'crunch' seem to be growing shorter and fewer in number (as well as being spread out over more classes/races/etc... meaning a lower percentage is useful for a certain PC).
* I've noticed a higher number of errors, inconsistencies and incomplete material in the Compendium, Character Builder and Monster Builder over the past 6 months.  These problems range from simple editing mistakes to inconsistencies between different authors in how class features are supposed to be interpreted (Battlemind issues, etc...).


When I first signed up, I expected to be getting more for my money.  Features like the game table and visualizer, which were arguably promised features soon to be released, never materialized.  However, I considered the promised features to be worth well more than I was paying, and the actual features to be on the border between a reasonable benefit for the cost. When I renewed, I waffled on whether to do it, but decided that the initial 8 months of content, although less than promised, were worth the cost.  Since I renewed, I've seen a decided decrease in quality and quantity of useful material.  Less useful content, lower quality content, and higher costs.


As of now, I've decided to let my membership lapse.  I turned off the autorenew a long time ago when I noticed a downward trend.  I was really hoping that WotC was going to make an announcement at GenCon that would intrigue me and get me interested in renewing, but that has not occurred. 


I'm not saying that Insider is useless.  In the name of full disclosure, I will likely wait 4 to 12 months and then sign up for 1 month so that I can update the character builder, monster builder, etc...  However, the reduction in quantity and quality of new services provides me with little incentive to renew at a higher cost for a full year of access.  When I look at the most recent version of my PCs, only about 10% of their items, feats, and other options come from Dragon.  The only use I've taken out of Dungeon has been a few maps I'll be using in the next campaign I might run, if I ever run the new campaign.  That doesn't warrant the cost.


Would I reconsider?  If WotC announced the Game Table, showed a plan for improving Dragon/Dungeon content back to acceptable levels, and/or made another step to increase the quality (or lower the price), I'd likely jump back on board.  Compendium, when it is correct, is useful enough to justify some cost all by itself.  However, I have heard no whispers in the wind that make me think any of that will happen in the next month.


Is anyone else in my boat?  Anyone else letting their membership lapse at the magic 2 year renew date in October?

D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
Excellent post.

FWIW. I will be including this post in my weekly report to WotC.

Also, you appear to have it twice...
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
* Articles in Dragon and Dungeon containing 'crunch' seem to be growing shorter and fewer in number (as well as being spread out over more classes/races/etc... meaning a lower percentage is useful for a certain PC).

You don't need to qualify that.  I've proven I have no life over in General Discussion (link may not currently work because of ... another community site issue)

I'll repost that here:

I went through dragon 382 to current.  When counting game elements, I counted powers, feats, PPs, background, items, EDs, and so on.  I didn't "double count", so the 3 powers in a PP are not counted as powers... despite that being a better representation of the work they'd have to do for the builder.

For the first few issues, they included previews of PHB3 classes.  Despite those previews being DDI exclusives, I did NOT count them in the player-content counts or the game element counts.  So these counts are of new, Dragon only, stuff.





























IssuePages Player ContentGame Elements
38269191
38359223
38454176
38576193
38672160
38767195
3884385
3893482
3904475

Link to google doc
Handy Graph

Notice the plummeting level of game elements starting at issue 388.  The total number of pages of player content is also down, but not by as far.

Yes, this is my last month for a while...  I've turned off auto-renew.  I might get another month in December or so ... but I'm not paying full price at the current quality level.  (And for me, the issue is PURELY Dragon.  If it were at the 380-387 level, I'd re-up in a heartbeat.)

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Was issue 388 where they made the split between dungeon/dragon magazines more defined as Dungon masters vs players?

I'd be interested to see where that split happened, as well as combined metrics between the two.

This graph is definitely interesting, and something to be concerned about, but I don't know if I'm ready to jump ship until I know the whole story.
AsmodeusLore D&D Insider News Guide Follow Me


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

Don't think so.  I think it's more of the change in the editor and a change in direction toward more flavor/less crunch.  But ... there hasn't been more flavor, there's just been less crunch.

I don't have an inherent problem with the number of game elements.  I'm actually more concerned with the pages-of-player content bit, which has moved less... but the high in the last 3 months is still lower than the weirdly-low low of the previous several.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

I first got D&Di about 18 months ago. I have never particularly cared about the VTT or visualiser and I thought the CB, Compendium and magazines were good value for money but the lack of content has been annoying me over the last couple of monthl. I used to wait for the end of each month and then download and read the whole magazine, now I hardly bother with a quick look at the articles. Also the updates for the Tool(s) and CB constantly being shunted all over the calendar and D&Di getting the cold shoulder at GenCon all leaves me feeling the whole project is a dead man walking.

Because of this I have also switched off auto renew. My sub doesn't expire until the beginning of December and if WotC make an announcement regarding the future of D&Di sooner rather than later I will probably re-sub, but right now I really don't think it'll happen.

What you see is what you get.  I am just going to try and forget anything that was in marketing. My ears are closed to what "might" happen as well with dndinsider.

I would be concerned if there were more and more player content.  Because eventually it just bloats the system.  I feel that you can expand on Dungeonmaster aspects of the game without bloat much easier.  Things like this new "Curses" article are interesting to me because i see DnDinsider as a good DM tool.  {Some one please make a nice poison article for us DMs?  There aren't enough poisons to hand out as treasure.}

4e is easy to teach.  But for myself it is harder to DM, I just don't feel that all the tools I want are there.  Where is my Treasure Parcel Builder?  Where is my Encounter Builder [A real builder not that slow and incomplete builder that is online, one that lets me use custom monsters]?

My subscription depends on what is actually there. That said i still wanted to renew my subscription but the Account Management is so bad.

I have found that the Account Management page (I have e-mailed wizards through their proper channel already) is very clumsy.  It is buggy and even contains broken links.  It makes it hard for people to change their subscription.  From other E-commerce websites that I have used , dndinsider account management is archaic.  E-commerce design has really evolved in the last 10 years and it feels like its stuck in the year 2000.



 

We're coming up on 2 years since paid Insider went live.  Many of us that signed up at the beginning at the introductory rates and renewed before rates increased are going to need to decide whether to continue as members with a 20% cost increase or give up on DDI.


This is an excellent reminder. It's very easy to forget that people re-subscribed before the rate increase and have been very used to the current content for the introductory rate. While it can be argued you've been paying a discounted rate for a year it certainly won't feel like that when you re-subscribe.


* The Monster Builder is still in beta and has lots of bugs (such as incorrect calculations, extraneous -1s, etc...)


This is the big one for me. The MB came and was left un-updated for almost a year, save the content updates. Really, the minimum amount of effort and the most minor of bug fixes. Then the MM3 update came (late) and broke what was a working program. It's one 'upgrade' caused a tonne of problems. Not exactly reassuring...


* We saw no new Adventure Tools products in over a year.


I'm willing to let this one pass. GenCon was a huge event and if they could have premiered the next tool they would have. Too few people, even with staff dedicated to new programming. Just too much gaming content is coming down the pipe, so too many man-hours are likely being spent just keeping-up.


* Articles in Dragon and Dungeon containing 'crunch' seem to be growing shorter and fewer in number (as well as being spread out over more classes/races/etc... meaning a lower percentage is useful for a certain PC).


I'm okay with less crunch. Dragon crunch was *great* early in the game when options were so limited, but now most of the classes and races have seen a couple books of content. You justify this when you comment that only 10% of your PCs' content comes from online. Ramping-up the Dragon crunch likely won't change that ratio, unless the new content succumbs to power creep or really meshes with a concept.


There's still room for new Dragon crunch. A few classes (seeker, runepriest, assassin) and races (the Dragon races and PHB3 races) need some love, we need generic themes, and the equivalent of psionic wild talents for other power sources/ worlds. But having the bulk of Dragon devoted to crunch is excessive.


* I've noticed a higher number of errors, inconsistencies and incomplete material in the Compendium, Character Builder and Monster Builder over the past 6 months.  These problems range from simple editing mistakes to inconsistencies between different authors in how class features are supposed to be interpreted (Battlemind issues, etc...).


A result of the unending tide of content. They finish Monster Manual 3 and Demonomicon drops. They finish that and they're looking at Gamma World and the Monster Vault.


The Character Builder is where I wince. New feats and powers tend to be only partially integrated. And there are some bugs that have been known and unfixed for almost half a year.


I'm not saying that Insider is useless.  In the name of full disclosure, I will likely wait 4 to 12 months and then sign up for 1 month so that I can update the character builder, monster builder, etc...  However, the reduction in quantity and quality of new services provides me with little incentive to renew at a higher cost for a full year of access.  When I look at the most recent version of my PCs, only about 10% of their items, feats, and other options come from Dragon.  The only use I've taken out of Dungeon has been a few maps I'll be using in the next campaign I might run, if I ever run the new campaign.  That doesn't warrant the cost.


I think alot of people – except those with lots of disposable income – will take the rotating subscription approach. It'll be interesting to watch the DDI subscription numbers for the next while.


Would I reconsider?  If WotC announced the Game Table, showed a plan for improving Dragon/Dungeon content back to acceptable levels, and/or made another step to increase the quality (or lower the price), I'd likely jump back on board.  Compendium, when it is correct, is useful enough to justify some cost all by itself.  However, I have heard no whispers in the wind that make me think any of that will happen in the next month.


I expect when the next tool does drop we'll see a flood of re-submissions. Hopefully sooner rather than later.


Don't think so.  I think it's more of the change in the editor and a change in direction toward more flavor/less crunch.  But ... there hasn't been more flavor, there's just been less crunch.


If the page count has been more or less constant, but crunch has dropped so significantly, wouldn't something have to have increased? They're filling the pages with something.


I don't have an inherent problem with the number of game elements.  I'm actually more concerned with the pages-of-player content bit, which has moved less... but the high in the last 3 months is still lower than the weirdly-low low of the previous several.


An editorial change is hard. People got used to the former style of the magazine, and most of the submissions were probably aimed at the old crunch-heavy yet ignorable content. Especially with the old "sends us crunch!!" submission guidelines.


It'll take a while for articles matching the new direction to be written and hit the magazine. The last time we had a content change they just cut-up articles into smaller segments. This time, that approach doesn't work.


Although, a new submission guide would probably be a good idea...



5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

i just renewed for a full year and am hopeful for the future
If the page count has been more or less constant, but crunch has dropped so significantly, wouldn't something have to have increased? They're filling the pages with something.

Fiction, and previews of books due out later in the month, mostly.  The number of pages of player content has dropped.  The average for 382 through 387 was 66 pages of player content.  From 388 to 390 it's 40.  That's 20 pages, or 5 of the smaller articles.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

One of the bigger disappointments that I've noticed, is in Dungeon.  It's almost been a year, and there really hasn't been much progress made in the Chaos Scar.  I was hoping that it would be almost to paragon at this point.  I would also like to see some more setting specific adventures (FR, EB, DS, PoL) possibly put on a rotating schedule.

Ramius

58074418 wrote:
I strive for the freedom from expectations so many enjoy here; I fear I have a long journey to that level of spiritual creaminess.
I paid for the initial year with the hopes of seeing all of th emarketing come to pass (VTT especially).  I dropped out after that due in part to the rate increase and the lack of delivery for what I considered (IMO) to be key elements of DDI.  A year later and things still haven't been finished that looked promising when I left (DM tools) so if I do any renewal at all it will likely be a single month to update the CB after the essentials launch.
IMAGE(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y239/SoulCatcher78/techdevil78.jpg)
My DDI subsription expires this month.  While I definitely feel like I got a lot of bang for the buck in terms of content updates the first 9 months or so, the last three months have been disappointing, including the regularity of Compendium and Character Builder updates, which were skipped or delayed.  You can no longer seem to plan for these updates.  I turned off auto-renewal from the get-go intending to give this a trial one-year subscription first and see how I liked it.  Given the current trend, there is no compelling reason for me to renew at this time.  

The Compendium also has a lot of typos and editing mistakes, formatting issues (not using a consistent font style/bold schema) along with gaps in content (up until now, no backgrounds, race updates (dragonfear, abyssal genasi), item/group set bonuses, familiars, or even simple rules elements (like reagents)).

Now if WotC intended to update ALL the monster stat blocks MM3 style with updated damage statistics in the compendium/adventure builder among other things, that would probably peak my interest.  A more balanced (less one-sided) game is a good thing imo!

I'm going to wait to see what news/updates come on 9/21.
At that point I going to decide whether or not to renew for a 3rd year. However I'm leaning to let it go and force my players to go back to good-ole pen and paper.


Come on WotC! Your customers are crying for information. You say you're "listening" to us. Prove it.

While this is mostly a sentimental argument, with no actual 'crunch'  to back it up, I really get the feeling that the old Paizo Dungeon and Dragon magazines are more fun to read and richer in content than what we currently get for DDI. I'm not sure whether this is due to a different presentation or content on a day-by-day basis, but I still get it for the combined issues each month. It's a shame, because if DDI Dungeon and Dragon were as fun as Paizo's, I'd find it worth DDI's fee by itself.

I'm aware "fun" is an enormously biased and subjective term and forms no actual constructive criticism, I still experience a lack of it while I'm very open minded to the digital format of the current magazines.

In addition, I fully agree with OP, and I'm mostly upset with the lack of new tools. I think even moreso than with the magazines.
I'm really having to think this over, too.  My subscription is good until October, but I'm already really weighing if I want to put that money somewhere else.

And I'm not a sour-grapes VTT person.  I've used MapTool for more than a year and I really don't need anything else on that front.  I think the Character Builder is very solid.  The Monster Builder has some warts, but does a reasonable job.  I do feel that Dungeon and Dragon have been sliding a bit.

So, where's the beef?

1.  No map builder / dungeon tile browser.  It seems like a tool that's not more than an overblown photo editor, pre-loaded with the dungeon tiles and maps that appear in products wouldn't be tough to get going. 

2.  No pdf / ebook / reading room thingy.  The whole pdf issue was dealt with poorly from beginning to end.  "More news soon" isn't cutting it.  If the fluff text and some actual rules info (monster templates, fantastic terriain) don't appear in the Compendium, you have to address this.

3.  Poor communication.  I completly understand not wanting to set deadlines you might miss.  Really.  But if I'm paying for a little "insider" information, could I have some?  "More news soon" on pdf/ebooks?  Is that 3 months?  6?  A year?  Is that how long until we hear a solution or how long until we get a new deadline?   That's just one example, but it's not the only one.
One last thing on communication.  This is on the DDI front page:

"One of the most exciting aspects of the D&D magazines is the opportunity to playtest new D&D rules and content before it goes off to the printer—you’ll have the ability to impact the game as it’s being created. You also get access to upcoming D&D releases in the form of debut articles, with insider links to new races, classes, feats, powers, and other options available only to subscribers in the D&D Compendium and the D&D Character Builder."

If they had actually followed this with Essentials (a product line I'm totally cool with) it may have helped abate the PR crapstorm that followed.  Just a thought.
One last thing on communication.  This is on the DDI front page:

"One of the most exciting aspects of the D&D magazines is the opportunity to playtest new D&D rules and content before it goes off to the printer—you’ll have the ability to impact the game as it’s being created. You also get access to upcoming D&D releases in the form of debut articles, with insider links to new races, classes, feats, powers, and other options available only to subscribers in the D&D Compendium and the D&D Character Builder."

If they had actually followed this with Essentials (a product line I'm totally cool with) it may have helped abate the PR crapstorm that followed.  Just a thought.



   People will say the only reason I am saying this is Paizo is telling me to. But Paizo has been letting the public in on Pathfinder stuff for years.  When they were deveoping Pathfinder, they let anyone download the Alpha and Beta rules PDF and playtest it with there own groups. They got feedback from players on how to make the game better. Paizo also did this with the classes they put into the new Pathfinder Advanced players guide.   
   I have not seen that with WOTC and 4th ed. IIRC WOTC did everything in private and put out 4th ed assuming everyone would think its the best RPG since sliced bread.
 

I'm STILL searching for official word on the virtual game table/visualizer/dungeon builder programs and whether they were canceled/delayed/whatever.

The simple lack of information is my gripe.

This thread has been up for a few days, and is front page. The fact a moderator hasn't responded with anything is upsetting.
I'm STILL searching for official word on the virtual game table/visualizer/dungeon builder programs and whether they were canceled/delayed/whatever.

The simple lack of information is my gripe.

This thread has been up for a few days, and is front page. The fact a moderator hasn't responded with anything is upsetting.



Isn't that why mudbunny is around? PR management/mob control? Sort off like a innocent wall between the devs and the community. Since he (she?) is not a developer, we won't expect any information from mudbunny (thus not ask for it or blame anything on him), while still being able to reach the community via the 'mudbunny portal'.

No blaim to you, mudbunny. I've seen your claims to gain more information for the community and you respond plenty and adequately. Unfortunately, that doesn't actually provide any satisfaction, imho.


This thread has been up for a few days, and is front page. The fact a moderator hasn't responded with anything is upsetting.




Well to be fair, it is a long holiday weekend in the US. I would not expect to hear from WOTC until tomorrow.

OP here.

RE: Information...

There is a tendency for companies to play it safe by revealing less information.  That leaves less promises unfulfilled, and less room to hang yourself with your own words.

Unfortunately, it also leaves people frustrated constantly by the lack of simple information that should be no more than a quick answer away.  It is a short trip from conservative infomation management to paranoid silence.  At times, I feel WotC is in the paranoid silence zone.

Regardless, my main reasons for subscribing to Insider were the ongoing and regularly accessed benefits originally described:  Access to an updated compendium and the VTT.  The VTT never materialized, and it was only the high level of useful game material in the early going that made me renew for a second year.  The CB and MB are nice, but I really don't need every last little thing updated to be happy.  When my subscription runs out, I'm going to wait until the end of April to resubscribe for a month unless there is something released that I really want to use regularly.
D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
There is a tendency for companies to play it safe by revealing less information.  That leaves less promises unfulfilled, and less room to hang yourself with your own words.

Unfortunately, it also leaves people frustrated constantly by the lack of simple information that should be no more than a quick answer away.  It is a short trip from conservative infomation management to paranoid silence.  At times, I feel WotC is in the paranoid silence zone.



And like I said, I'm completely on board with not wanting to set deadlines that don't get met.  But any kind of update would be good.  Even if someone could pop in once a quarter and say "things are moving along, but X isn't working like we want, so we're addressing that before we go on."

There is a tendency for companies to play it safe by revealing less information.  That leaves less promises unfulfilled, and less room to hang yourself with your own words.

Unfortunately, it also leaves people frustrated constantly by the lack of simple information that should be no more than a quick answer away.  It is a short trip from conservative infomation management to paranoid silence.  At times, I feel WotC is in the paranoid silence zone.



And like I said, I'm completely on board with not wanting to set deadlines that don't get met.  But any kind of update would be good.  Even if someone could pop in once a quarter and say "things are moving along, but X isn't working like we want, so we're addressing that before we go on."


This is nothing new. WOTC simply does not care. They have little interest in listening to the community.


This sums up most of it here.


community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

Eventually someone will come and wipe the floor with wotc until then we have this disaster to hold us over.
One last thing on communication.  This is on the DDI front page:

"One of the most exciting aspects of the D&D magazines is the opportunity to playtest new D&D rules and content before it goes off to the printer—you’ll have the ability to impact the game as it’s being created. You also get access to upcoming D&D releases in the form of debut articles, with insider links to new races, classes, feats, powers, and other options available only to subscribers in the D&D Compendium and the D&D Character Builder."

If they had actually followed this with Essentials (a product line I'm totally cool with) it may have helped abate the PR crapstorm that followed.  Just a thought.


I didn't realize they were still promoting D&DI on the grounds of early access to content.  That's quite a significant oversight.  I do suspect that it is just a simple oversight, but if it's intentional, it's blatantly deceptive false advertising.  PHB3 was the last book for which we received any "Debut" articles.  PHB3 came out in March, and I think (according to the content calendar) that the last PHB3 debut article was in January.  Debut articles and playtest material is, quite simply, no longer part of D&DI.

Do you have a link to the page you quoted this from?  I'd like to mention this directly to customer service, as it's completely misleading and, honestly, unethical.
I'm STILL searching for official word on the virtual game table/visualizer/dungeon builder programs and whether they were canceled/delayed/whatever.

The simple lack of information is my gripe.

This thread has been up for a few days, and is front page. The fact a moderator hasn't responded with anything is upsetting.


The OFFICIAL answer is that they are delayed.
AsmodeusLore D&D Insider News Guide Follow Me


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

I'm STILL searching for official word on the virtual game table/visualizer/dungeon builder programs and whether they were canceled/delayed/whatever... 


The OFFICIAL answer is that they are delayed.

When I was in college I knew a beautiful young woman that caught the eye of pretty much every guy she knew.  She turned down pretty much everyone that asked her out - flat - by saying, "I'm not dating these days.  I want to focus on my school work.  I'm here to learn.  Sorry."

However, when I asked her out, she sad, "Yes... but not right now.  I really need to stay focused on my studies.  I'm really struggling, and I really need to do well so I don't lose my scholarships.  I know myself and if I start spending serious time with you, I'm going to let my grades slip.  Maybe this summer?"

As I'm sure you guessed, that summer never happened.  Neither did the winter break, her easy spring courseload, or anything else.  We remained flirty friends, but nothing ever happened.  I carried a torch for her for a few years.  Eventually, though, I settled into a relationship elsewhere that lasted well beyond the end of college.  By that time that ended I'd lost track of her.  I didn't give her a second thought for many years. 

When we reconnected over Facebook (many years later), she was still single.  I was surprised initially, but then it became very clear when I saw that her profile was focused entirely on her job: She was still, after all of those years, putting other things before her dating life. 

A small part of me had always wondered, "What if?"  At that moment,  I knew: It was never going to happen.  There would always have been some excuse.  I should have known that the second she said, "Maybe this summer?"  Since that day, whenever I hear somebody tell me that 'maybe' they'll do something, I consider that to be a no until they prove otherwise.
D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
A little long and OT Myztek, but very well put.  I did not learn the lesson in the same way, but learned it here after 4e.  After I had promoted the VTT and pdfs of books to my friends for the year leading up to 4e and nothing materializing, I decided that "soon", "maybe" and "when it's done" mean never until proven otherwise.  It doesn't make me happy, but at least it allows me to make other arrangements.

Kilpatds' analysis is dead on in my opinion.  The last few months have really bothered me, because we are receiving partial preview content for products to be released in the next 10 to 50 days.  All those pages are useless once the product is released (and are typically useless before as well).  I enjoyed the PH3 previews for the most part, because they were well in advance and actually usable.

The Assassin (A DDI exclusive that convinced me to subscribe) has yet to receive a 3rd build or any tweaks to bring it more in line with other strikers beyond Heroic Tier.  Much newer classes, from the PH3, have already received more Dragon support than the Assassin.

Last winter, during the holidays, WotC delayed updates to the Compendium and CB for a month each.  Those 3 months alone were a full 25% of my subscription.  I had to wait 70 days for a Rogue article's content to make it into the CB.  Without that material even in the Compendium, it makes it very difficult to incorporate into a character.

There have been many other delays, not just the 3 months last winter.  I don't feel that the content has been on track enough for my taste.  It should be day and date with the street release.  I am done killing trees and only wish to consume products digitally.  As DDI does not offer me that option in an acceptable manner, my subscription ran out, unrenewed, this month.

Very bitter-sweet, real, and true. Nicely said Myztek.

Sadly, this is doubly so in computing. No work is being done on the VTT or Visualizer. They're working on the next of the adventure tools and it is taking-up all their time and has for a year. So much so that progress on the two existing tools has ground to a halt. 
There is just no way they'll every be able to work on the VTT (more intensive that any tool released yet) and work on other tools. They just do not have enough man power. 

Let's play the hypothetical game. 
Let's same they're really close to finishing the current tool, and say it's done in 3 months. And that the other following tools are each half as ambitious and complex, each requiring nine months. That'll take us to May 2012. Then the they have the VTT, which should likely take two years at the current rate. May 2014. BUT with four adventure tools and the character builder, the maintenance of the existing tools will sky-rocket. It's been cutback about as far as possible with quarterly delays. The needed man hours for that might easily add and delay an ambitious project by as much as half a year. 
November 2014. Ballpark figure.
Does 4e really have four full years left? Will people wait another four years (six total) for a product promised on launch?

Just cancel it already. 

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

Thanks for the reminder.  My subscription was due to renew on Oct 29, 2010 and completely slipped my mind.  Probably due to that two year thingy I got sucked into.  I thought it a good deal to keep the subscription for another year at a lower rate.  I have to agree with most everyone here about the status of the "promised" tools.  So I make a promise to WotC, give us some firm dates on a release of the old promised tools and I will promise to renew my sub.

Your Dungeons & Dragons Insider subscription has recently ended. This could be because your billing information failed to process successfully as an Auto-Renew or because your Manual Renew subscription lapsed. Either way, we wanted to invite you back.

Also thank you for the reminder.  I was set to renew in November.

I have been deeply disappointed by the level of content coming out of Dungeon/Dragon lately.  Last month was horrendous.  I'm not paying to get a magazine that is mostly filled with teaser advertisements of your newest product line.  If you want to give us some of that content as an actual "usable" preview like advertised, that's different, but none of the articles contained anything that could actually be folded into a game without the full product.


Additionally, the Character Builder is a mess.  There are so many added elements such as feats that don’t work properly, have missing or inaccurate text, etc.  Not to mention how hard it is to add new elements to it.  At least the buggy monster builder has been constructed with the idea that people are going to want to plug in their own content.  They make it very hard to do that with the Character Builder.  Also, why do they bother to ask you to report bugs.  I reported one 7 months ago that is still there…

I removed the auto-renew from my account.  DDi needs to be more of a priority for WotC.  There's a huge market out there that they are just letting go by.  The economy is tough right now, there's a ton of out-of-work programmers.  They should try hiring some of them.

@shryke - what was the bug you reported so many months ago that didn't get fixed?

And why haven't you been reporting all the others that you have found?
AsmodeusLore D&D Insider News Guide Follow Me


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

Given that I think the magazines are utterly terrible right now, the only thing I'm paying for is monthly CB updates.  At that rate, I've decided it will be more economical to simply update for $15 or whatever if a book comes out I'm interested in, rather than pay $60 a year for monthly updates.

So in short, three things:
1) no online component (VTT, etc.) that I would use constantly that would require an active subscription
2) no desire to read magazines
3) general dearth of crunchy books that I would want in the character builder / monster tools.

Well, my sub autorenewed in July, so I've got quite a while left to see if they pull the nose up, so to speak. I probably should have switched to dipping in here or there (I actually forgot it was renewing). 

As it stands, I also consider myself to effectively be paying for the CB and Monster Builder; I barely read the mags at all. Actually, I only really liked 'em when they provided solid preview material of upcoming books (like, the barbarian, monk, or even the bard; the sketchy Essentials previews were unsatisfying). 

Seriously?  Okay, well the bug of the system not calculating the offhand weapon for powers that specifically use the offhand weapon has been officially deamed an "issue" now and has been for months.  In fact most of the "issues" on the Known Issues List have been there for months. 

Many many feats do not have the effect that they state on the feat within the math of the program.  Such as the feat Dual Mind Strength that is a Kalashar racial feat that is supposed to add a +2 feat bonus to the damage rolls of psychic powers, but, which in fact, does nothing.  I reported that in April and it hasn't even shown up as an "issue".  That was six months ago not seven (I thought seven because PH3 came out in March, but I forgot that the update wasn't till April, but still, you get the point).

Not to mention that if I use practically any newish feat or racial feature or class/path/destiny feature I need to manually put in what the desciption of the feat or feature is beacuse its lacking or so poorly worded that you can't understand what it does.  Do the folks who update these things have a cut and paste feature?  Because that's what I do. 

I used to report bugs when I came across them, I don't bother anymore, because no one is listening or actually doing anything to fix them.  Look I'm sure it's because they're understaffed, so it's probably not the fault of the guys doing the updates, but it sure is the fault of the company as a whole for making the digital side such a low priorety.  I've been a loyal customer, I've been paying for this service from the beginning, but just like an abused spouse, eventually, if you keep telling me things are going to change and they don't, I'm going to leave...
Seriously?  Okay, well the bug of the system not calculating the offhand weapon for powers that specifically use the offhand weapon has been officially deamed an "issue" now and has been for months.  In fact most of the "issues" on the Known Issues List have been there for months. 

Many many feats do not have the effect that they state on the feat within the math of the program.  Such as the feat Dual Mind Strength that is a Kalashar racial feat that is supposed to add a +2 feat bonus to the damage rolls of psychic powers, but, which in fact, does nothing.  I reported that in April and it hasn't even shown up as an "issue".  That was six months ago not seven (I thought seven because PH3 came out in March, but I forgot that the update wasn't till April, but still, you get the point).

Not to mention that if I use practically any newish feat or racial feature or class/path/destiny feature I need to manually put in what the desciption of the feat or feature is beacuse its lacking or so poorly worded that you can't understand what it does.  Do the folks who update these things have a cut and paste feature?  Because that's what I do. 

I used to report bugs when I came across them, I don't bother anymore, because no one is listening or actually doing anything to fix them.  Look I'm sure it's because they're understaffed, so it's probably not the fault of the guys doing the updates, but it sure is the fault of the company as a whole for making the digital side such a low priorety.  I've been a loyal customer, I've been paying for this service from the beginning, but just like an abused spouse, eventually, if you keep telling me things are going to change and they don't, I'm going to leave...

@Shryke - When you sent in the bug, what was the response you got?

Re: Off-hand Weapons, I just built a ranger, and gave him the Off-Hand Strike as his level 1 encounter power.  I opened the character sheet, and right-clicked on the power card, clicked 'customize' and selected the appropriate weapon (the main-hand weapon was selected by default, as is standard) and the proper attack and damage modifiers were displayed.  Perhaps you were not aware of the ability to customize which weapon the card displayed?  Or perhaps its a different class/build/power/weapon combination?  Please provide details.

Re: Kalashtar Dual Mind Strength, I just loaded up my level 1 kalasthar psion.  I replaced the group mindlink feat with Dual Mind Strength and checked my powers.  Each had its damage increased by 2.  I see this happening for Mind Thrust and Memory Hole.  Are you still seeing this bug in your current version? Is it only happening for a specific power?  Perhaps you need to apply an update?

Re: Descriptive Text - Are you talking about the flavor text on the power cards?  I'm looking at the psion again, which I consider a newish class, and I see the full text for flavor text  on the power cards, after I uncheck the 'hide flavor text' item in the Options menu.  I don't think that is what you are referring to though. Can you direct me more clearly to where you are seeing the error?

What am I doing differently than you? Do you have specific examples that you can point out?  Is this the same level of detail that you supplied to Customer Support?
AsmodeusLore D&D Insider News Guide Follow Me


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

I'm close to not re-upping. Very disappointed in the magazines lately. Thinning content. Short adventures. Little progress in the Chaos Scar (no overally themes updated, nothing to help a DM understand what might be coming). Lack of consistent Deity, Demon Lord, and Archfey articles. It just feels thin. Without the character builder, I'm certain I'd stop for a year at least.
The magazines have become frustratingly thin on useful content lately. I am honestly not interested in a million previews of something we are going to be getting in a few weeks time (or something we just don't care about), and I really don't care about the fiction. I would rather have articles in Dungeon with new monsters, traps or hazards, than more low level adventures I won't use, or the endless pointless columns where we are told about folks nostalgic memories. I have loved Dungeon and Dragon since the 80's and have seen them dip severely in quality before. I only hope that like in the past, they will swoop back to their former awesomeness - or even better, to greater heights of awesome!

As for the apps, I love both of them, but rip my hair out every time I copy a monster to create a variant and all the recharge values, movement types, resistances etc get screwed up. I report all bugs I come across through the link, and have about a 50% rate of seeing them managed.

Personally, a VTT is the only thing I totally and utterly do not care about. It would be useless to me. I would love an app to let me properly create custom items, and import them into the character builder...or a trap / hazard editor...or anything that will make writing my adventures that wee bit easier.

I'm paid up until October 2011, but man, I hope I will be getting more bang for my buck (well pound), as these are lean times, and I need to make sure I am getting my monies worth Tongue out
(My campaigns log blog) http://sefotron.blogspot.com/ I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
And why haven't you been reporting all the others that you have found?


I know why I don't report bugs - too much of a hassel to do it.

Seriously why isn't there a "report a bug" tab right there on the working pane of both tools? Why do I need to jump most of the way out of the program, then come to the web site, then do a little jig... ah you get the point.
And why haven't you been reporting all the others that you have found?


I know why I don't report bugs - too much of a hassel to do it.

Seriously why isn't there a "report a bug" tab right there on the working pane of both tools? Why do I need to jump most of the way out of the program, then come to the web site, then do a little jig... ah you get the point.

That sounds to me like a good suggestion to be made through the feedback system.
AsmodeusLore D&D Insider News Guide Follow Me


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

And why haven't you been reporting all the others that you have found?


I know why I don't report bugs - too much of a hassel to do it.

Seriously why isn't there a "report a bug" tab right there on the working pane of both tools? Why do I need to jump most of the way out of the program, then come to the web site, then do a little jig... ah you get the point.

That sounds to me like a good suggestion to be made through the feedback system.




summed up everything right here for me .....

instead of "good suggestion i will go ahead and put that in the feedback system for you" , you  got ... go ahead and do it yourself because i dont have the time or energy to  do it myself in a way that provides good customer support