Dungeon 393 - Ampersand: The Next Wave in Digital Offerings

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Dungeon 393
Ampersand: The Next Wave in Digital Offerings

by Bill Slavicsek

November is filled with exciting developments, from beholders to a new character builder.

Talk about this Editorial here.




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What interested me the most from this article, was the preview of Heroes of Sword and Spell (I've read way too much about the CB change, but its good to see WotC talk about that too). This was the first real information I was able to find about what is supposed to be in that book.
At the same time, I never want to get up in front of you again (live or via this column) and tell you that something is coming and then discover later that we just couldn’t deliver on the promise.

That line has really dissapointed me, if not caused me to lose some respect for Bill.  He's gun-shy over the launch fiasco.  Bill, I want to see you man up, and fix the actual problem.  Get better at setting your deadlines and making realistic promises.  Don't stop giving us information altogether.

Also, his list of reasons he likes the program isn't very compelling.

There are five things I really, really like about the new Character Builder.

  1. It’s ultimately portable. I can use it on any computer or computer-like device, wherever I am.

  2. It’s both PC and Mac friendly. I can access it from either kind of machine.

  3. There are multiple character sheet options. I can pick an Essentials character sheet or a sheet that takes advantage of the digital medium, and we can add other versions of sheets as demand warrants.

  4. The user interface is better. We’ve learned a lot, tested a lot, and made a tool that is easier to navigate and use.

  5. Content filters are better. The D&D game is loaded with content, and the new Character Builder offers lots of ways to filter that content for you. You can make choices up front to limit the amount of information you’re bombarded with, and you can add more elements later as your play style and game mastery demands.


#1 - Its not ultimately portable.  It doesn't work on any computer or computer like device.  It doesn't work on any linux machines.  It doesn't work on any smart phones except maybe a winphone7. No androids.  No iPhones. No iPads.
#2 - Unless you don't have internet access.
#3 - But not the original sheet with all the numbers and math on display.
#4 - Can't comment on this, because no one outside of WotC has seen it in action.
#5 - Really?  Because that's not what I heard.  I seem to recall hearing that you are filtering themes from anything that isn't dark sun.  I also seem to recall (although I can't find the quote) that the filtering in general wasn't as good as the CB Classic.  Offer some more detail on what makes the new filtering better, please.

At least when he finally gets to #6 and 7, as appendixes to his list, he gets those right.

-----------

Class Compendium... The word compendium has come to mean for me a complete collection.  This doesn't give me that. The book itself looks interesting, but I think its poorly named.  I do like the Weaponmaster build though.  That may be the very next fighter I build.
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#1 - Its not ultimately portable.  It doesn't work on any computer or computer like device.  It doesn't work on any linux machines.  It doesn't work on any smart phones except maybe a winphone7. No androids.  No iPhones. No iPads.



Indeed.  I think the question now is whether he is feeding us a marketing lie or just doesn't know the difference.


Class Compendium... The word compendium has come to mean for me a complete collection.  This doesn't give me that. The book itself looks interesting, but I think its poorly named.  I do like the Weaponmaster build though.  That may be the very next fighter I build.



In all seriousness, are you joking?  It is the same exact fighter we get from the PHB.  I actually found this preview to be a relief in its lack of novelty.  There is absolutely nothing there to junk up the Core 4e Fighter, just a different way of presenting the class.
I killed Aleena.
I probably should have clarified.  The build itself does nothing for me.  The text describing the fighter has reminded me about the class, which I have sort of forgotten about with all the other options available.  The reminder about how fun they can be has sparked my desire to play one.
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Its an essentials version of the Fighter, and I think it seems distinct from the knight, so I'm intrigued to see what the others are. The rogue build could be just about anything. I'll be happy to see a nessentials warlord, and as long as the cleric in the Class Compendium has a new domain, and the wizard has a new school, I think I'll be happy with the product.  I would not have been happy if the Class Compendium was a true compendium in the sense that it was jsut a collection of builds I already have from other books.

From that perspective, I think its good news that the builds are new, even if they may just be essentials versions of the original class concepts.

So rather than new build, in the Heroes of Swords and Spell, they're re-packaging existing classes and selling them again...


This isn't invalidating the original books how? The Compendium will include all to-date errata, I assume, so along with the Rules Compendium, the PHB1 is going to be completely, utterly superseded. Way to waste my money and try to sell me things twice!


Man, I feel good about this... it's like... I can burn my PHB 1 and have that little extra space.


Wolf.

He mentions that it is so very portable and he can use it anywhere.  But earlier he mentions it is some sort of web-based thing.

Do I need an internet connection to run it?   That would definately preclude running the program just anywhere...   (I don' t mind a connection to install & get the thing running, but demanding an internet connection to use the functionality is a significant step backwards from the previous version...  several of the locations I play D&D do not have WiFi access...)
Yes, you need the internet to run it.
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the weaponmaster heroic table is does not identify level 1 encounter power.  this needs to be fixed.
On second read-through, I think I was too hopefull. There doesn't seem to be anything innately "essential" about that fighter, other than the fact that the levelup chart shows ten levels and spells out when you get your feats and everything.



Mark me down for being disappointed if its just a reprint of the PHB classes with seperate levelup tables.
Yes, you need the internet to run it.



Do we know if the old version will still be available for download after the 16th?  I would hate to not have any options left for offline use.  

I don't mind if they quit updating it, but I'd hate for folks to not have any "basic" options to use when constructing characters...
The weaponmaster first appeared in the Player’s Handbook as the fighter.


This should have been my first clue.

As for DLing the CB, I don't know if they announced anything official about how they are going to handle that, but I doubt they're going to maintain a convenient link to an unsupported tool with out of date rules for long after the update.

They wouldn't want new DDI members to come along and accidentally navigate to the obsolete option. They *might* maintain a link to it somewhere (like how you can still find and download 2e material from their site if you dig hard enough), but it'll take some know-how to locate.

Even if you could download it, when you first start it up it needs to get an update, and it won't be able to (unless they also maintain that).
I'm seeing a lot of misleading information about the new Character Builder.

Calling it "web-based" or a "web app" is just wrong. It's a Silverlight app. The primary way of accessing a Silverlight app is via a browser plugin, but certainly not the only way.

It's like calling a PDF that's available online a “web page”. Sure you can view it in a browser with a plugin, but calling a PDF a web page is ridiculous.

And there are HUGE differences between a Silverlight app and a Web app – differences that really matter to users, like accessibility and compatibility.

I think the decision to build a Silverlight app instead of a web app was to serve WotC interests over WotC customer interests, and what we’re seeing is a lot of spin.
I agree, although a better analogy might be "... like calling a Flash application a web-app..." which while more reasonable than calling a PDF a web-app, is still misleading. IIRC, you still can't access flash applications on the iPhone, for example.
Yes, you need the internet to run it.



Do we know if the old version will still be available for download after the 16th?  I would hate to not have any options left for offline use.  

I don't mind if they quit updating it, but I'd hate for folks to not have any "basic" options to use when constructing characters...

It will not.  However, if you have it on your PC, you will be able to continue to use it.

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Also not mentioned: when you stopped subscribing D&DI, or on the other side if Wizards decides to no longer make 4th Edtion, with the "classic" Character Builder, you got something to keep. With the new scheme "a solution that promotes individual account ownership and hinders piracy" also means that as soon as you stop subscribing, or as soon as Wizards takes down the app, you have nothing.

This may be an acceptable tradeoff, but it significantly lowers the value proposition of a D&DI subscription.

And, it's particularly important, because the sheer volume of rules updates makes the printed books basically useless. The Character Builder *is* the core rulebook.

The line about individual account ownership and piracy shows that this is, indeed, an attempt to increase revenue. That's fine -- WotC needs to make money! -- but since it's way less valuable, I'm not going to resubscribe. I hope enough other people are upset too and also cancel their subscriptions. There's more than one side to the economic equation.



So rather than new build, in the Heroes of Swords and Spell, they're re-packaging existing classes and selling them again...

This isn't invalidating the original books how? The Compendium will include all to-date errata, I assume, so along with the Rules Compendium, the PHB1 is going to be completely, utterly superseded. Way to waste my money and try to sell me things twice!




Just to be clear, it doesn't invalidate the original book because it is just a reprint of that content, cleaned up and provided in a new format. If you don't need that, you don't have the buy it.

Look, people have been actively asking WotC for a reprint of the PHB with errata included - for some time now. I'm pretty sure this is an attempt to satisfy them while also provided an easy stepping on point for new Essentials players, to show them what the rest of the game looks like. It sounds like it will have a bit of new content along those lines (such as how multiclassing interacts with Essentials builds.)

I like the concept of it. I have no plans on buying it. Other people have demanded exactly such a product, and thus likely will buy it - I don't see any reason to try and imply that WotC is trying to scam any money out of anyone. People asked for this product, and that delivered - what is the problem with that?


The line about individual account ownership and piracy shows that this is, indeed, an attempt to increase revenue. That's fine -- WotC needs to make money! -- but since it's way less valuable, I'm not going to resubscribe. I hope enough other people are upset too and also cancel their subscriptions. There's more than one side to the economic equation.




It's just a continuation and reaction to the longstanding industry fallacy of "piracy == lost profits"




Also, re-Weaponmaster: if they're going to repackage the base class like that, how long do you 'spose it will be until they remove the Fighter class alltogether, replacing it with "The Fighter Archetype". You'd get something like...

Fighter Archetype
Knight
Slayer
Weaponmaster

These are three separate classes, but they are all part of the Fighter Archetype. This means that they can take any power, feat, paragon path, or epic destiny (where applicable) that has "Fighter" as a prerequisite.


Essentially, the Fighter as a class is dead. Long live the Weaponmaster.

If you look past the plot and the voice acting, Metroid: Other M was an okay game. Not a great game, but an adequate one. Not using the Metroid item collect jingle though? That, was a mistake.
From the article:

The knight, the slayer, and the weaponmaster are three types of fighters.



That's basically what they're already saying, although they still insist that they are 3 builds rather than 3 distinct classes using two different sets of mechanics.
I'll bite ....

they could not get things working right in the existing format so decided to repackage in a new format and resell it.

less usability , less content , less support , less everything ...

so ... yes , i would gladly purchase a new membrship for the new digital format

suggested MRSP for this ... $1.99/mo

this would be for the builder and the compendium.

please make sure you put in the part about monthly updates. when they will be provided and such. if its not in the purchase agreement (the way things are now). then i wont be going for it.

i am tired of legal loopholes that they put in and would LOVE to see clear clean honesty for a change.

this article so far was just a declaration of follow the same old path.....
I'm not happy about the new builder being a Web App either. I think it's a fantastic piece of kit and get a lot of use out of it in my games, but I really don't see this as the way to go.

What will this mean for saved character files? Will they be stored on a PC or a server? And will they be tied to the account that created them?

Also, is there any word on whether or not the Adventure Tools are going to be continued in their current format?
Here's how I see it. 

There are four levels of options when it comes to class.

There's your Class choice.  This is something like Fighter or Rogue.

Then there's your kit choice.  For Fighters, that's Knight, Slayer, or Weaponmaster.  For Rogue, that's Thief or Scoundrel.

Then there's your build choice.  For Weaponmasters, that's Arena, Battlerager, Brawling, Great Weapon, Guardian, or Tempest Weaponmaster.  For Knight, that's Warhammer or Longsword Knight.  For Slayer, that's Greataxe or Greatsword Slayer.  For Scoundrel, there's Aerialist, Brawny, Cutthroat, Shadowy, or Trickster.  For Thief, that's Str-Thief or Cha-Thief.

Then there's your power choices.  Within each build, you still have a bit of variability in choice, sometimes.  You might also take powers from other builds, but this isn't always possible if you're locked into a power by your build.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

1. It’s ultimately portable. I can use it on any computer or computer-like device, wherever I am.

This line is demonstrably untrue so I don't quite understand why it was said.

What does 'computer-like device' mean? It can't mean tablets because Silverlight doesn't work on tablets. Smart phones? Silverlight isn't universal there, either. What does that leave?

It was a while ago that I told you that we wouldn’t over promise and under deliver anymore for D&D Insider and our digital endeavors.



Just curious, does anyone know when it is?  Announcing the online CB is not over promising as a herald, but for DDi and digital endeavours... I can't help but doubt.



I'm seeing a lot of misleading information about the new Character Builder.

Calling it "web-based" or a "web app" is just wrong. It's a Silverlight app. The primary way of accessing a Silverlight app is via a browser plugin, but certainly not the only way.



In the general sense that both its content and stored data are in the cloud over the web, or in the even more general sense that it's used from the browser, it is web-based.  Ordinary users won't care as long as it is usable.

Unfortunately I see that many of users are being or would be forced to know the difference.  But Silverlight doesn't make it less web, just make it less portable then others web app.


He mentions that it is so very portable and he can use it anywhere.  But earlier he mentions it is some sort of web-based thing.

Do I need an internet connection to run it?   That would definately preclude running the program just anywhere...   (I don' t mind a connection to install & get the thing running, but demanding an internet connection to use the functionality is a significant step backwards from the previous version...  several of the locations I play D&D do not have WiFi access...)



Portable means a number of things.  Just like Dexterity means both reaction speed and motor control, portable can be across devices of different hardware config, or across different similiar devices, or other combinations.

Both CB works with the same device at different location (e.g. laptop) as long as you fullfill the requirments.  The only change here is in the requirments.

For different hardware, that it's usable on mobile decives sounds like a flat out spin/lie or at least a very very misaligned view of reality (or the word 'mobile devices') with many of us.  I think tablet is still reasonable at this moment... but I'm seeing more and more android-based tablets now, and Chrome OS is comming.

For similiar hardware, like your friend's Mac or the PC in another office, he's right that online CB is more portable.  Of course there are many many strings attached on what is a similiar device - Mac or PC Windows, browser, silverlight, and a consistent+reliable connection.

So the new CB is both more portable and less portable, and the author is speaking a partial truth. Which I believe he is paid to do, though perhaps not as far as this time.

Either way, if the change is not what you want you always have the option to unsubscribe like I decided.  Just waiting for a first hand experience on the online CB so that I really know what I'm giving up.
So rather than new build, in the Heroes of Swords and Spell, they're re-packaging existing classes and selling them again...

This isn't invalidating the original books how? The Compendium will include all to-date errata, I assume, so along with the Rules Compendium, the PHB1 is going to be completely, utterly superseded. Way to waste my money and try to sell me things twice!




Just to be clear, it doesn't invalidate the original book because it is just a reprint of that content, cleaned up and provided in a new format. If you don't need that, you don't have the buy it.

Look, people have been actively asking WotC for a reprint of the PHB with errata included - for some time now. I'm pretty sure this is an attempt to satisfy them while also provided an easy stepping on point for new Essentials players, to show them what the rest of the game looks like. It sounds like it will have a bit of new content along those lines (such as how multiclassing interacts with Essentials builds.)

I like the concept of it. I have no plans on buying it. Other people have demanded exactly such a product, and thus likely will buy it - I don't see any reason to try and imply that WotC is trying to scam any money out of anyone. People asked for this product, and that delivered - what is the problem with that?



 


The problem? I own every 4th edition book. Presumably they will do this for them all in some way. Will I get a free copy of each, given the fact that the only reason they need to do this in a separate book is because they have f****d around with it so much that the original is useless?


The answer is no.


My copy of the PHB1 is useless, it has now been entirely replaced by the Rules Compendium and the Class Compendium.


How hasn't the book been superseded? If you bought a car that worked fine, and the manufacturer kept recalling it and "fixing" it to the point that you can only really turn left without constant maintenance and then announced they were going to release the exact same car but without the needed maintenance, has not the original been superseded?


I couldn't care less what people have been asking for - I've paid money for a product - something that supposedly should be useful for years - which has been actively invalidated and made usless by the company that produced it.


They told us that with the release of Essentials, the original core rule books would not become useless - well, they lied - that's my problem.


 


I can already hear your response, "you can just ignore errata, you don't have to follow it." This is true, provided I don't play with a group that actively follow errata, or if I play with a different group that use a different set of errata then the original PHB.


This has me far more outraged than the changes to the CB.


If they hadn't re-printed.I'd be fine - everyone would basically be in the same boat - but I now have the choice of either caving in and buying the same material twice or run the risk of falling behind the current rule-set, isolating myself from the rest of the community who went ahead and bought it.


As an example, they've even re-named one of the original classes - I can see a time when somebody asks me what I'm playing and I say a Fighter and they ask which and I say a Fighter and eventually they say "Ooooh, you mean a Weaponmaster." And then I kill them. (Exaggeration)(But seriously, I've been called a sociopath, I might.)(But hopefully not.)


But if you can't see my reasoning then it doesn't matter - needless to say I'm p****d, but I have no expectation that anyone else will feel my anger even if I think they should.


I understand that they won't ever be able to satisfy everyone, but I do believe the motivation behind this was less to appease the people who wanted it and more to double dip on the profits.


Wolf.


P.S.. One possible solution would be to provide anyone who can produce a unique SN or whatever from the relevant book with a PDF of the updated material - but that won't happen; money talks.

I'm seeing a lot of misleading information about the new Character Builder.

Calling it "web-based" or a "web app" is just wrong. It's a Silverlight app. The primary way of accessing a Silverlight app is via a browser plugin, but certainly not the only way.

It's like calling a PDF that's available online a “web page”. Sure you can view it in a browser with a plugin, but calling a PDF a web page is ridiculous.

And there are HUGE differences between a Silverlight app and a Web app – differences that really matter to users, like accessibility and compatibility.

I think the decision to build a Silverlight app instead of a web app was to serve WotC interests over WotC customer interests, and what we’re seeing is a lot of spin.



OK, so now I'm confused again.  I can download a PDF and use it when I'm not online.  I can even download and use some Flash applications (I'm savvy enough to do so.) when I'm not online.

Will I be able to download and use the new character builder when I'm on an airplane, in the car, at a friend's house without wifi, etc...?
I'm seeing a lot of misleading information about the new Character Builder.

Calling it "web-based" or a "web app" is just wrong. It's a Silverlight app. The primary way of accessing a Silverlight app is via a browser plugin, but certainly not the only way.

It's like calling a PDF that's available online a “web page”. Sure you can view it in a browser with a plugin, but calling a PDF a web page is ridiculous.

And there are HUGE differences between a Silverlight app and a Web app – differences that really matter to users, like accessibility and compatibility.

I think the decision to build a Silverlight app instead of a web app was to serve WotC interests over WotC customer interests, and what we’re seeing is a lot of spin.



OK, so now I'm confused again.  I can download a PDF and use it when I'm not online.  I can even download and use some Flash applications (I'm savvy enough to do so.) when I'm not online.

Will I be able to download and use the new character builder when I'm on an airplane, in the car, at a friend's house without wifi, etc...?



We have been told that there will be no offline usability.  Just because Silverlight can be used to make apps that run offline doesn't mean they all can.  Especially since it will need the internet connection to access the database.

#1 - Its not ultimately portable.  It doesn't work on any computer or computer like device.  It doesn't work on any linux machines.  It doesn't work on any smart phones except maybe a winphone7. No androids.  No iPhones. No iPads.



The fact he's implying it does work on those devices is very misleading, I feel sorry for Mac users that might be signing up now expecting it to work on their iPad's come November 16th.

Over 100 new subscribers since they announced going "Web-based", I wonder how many of those....

a) Have only looked at the Insider front page, and other advertings which still mentions nothing about the new builder and still talks about the old offline one.
b) Are Mac users and have heard about web-based tools but not looked too deeply and expect it to run on "any computer-like device" like their iPad.


It may be worth mentioning that there are at least a couple of 3rd parties working on porting Silverlight to the iPad and the iPhone.

So while owners of such devices might not be able to use the new character builder when it's first released, there is hope for the (hopefully near) future.

(Also, given the insane popularity of the Apple devices, I can very well imagine that a version of the character builder is also in development for the Apple Store, but WotC are unable to publicly announce it yet due to ongoing legal negotiations with Apple.)
I for one really like the idea of the online version of the Character builder, trust me as a developer they will be able to do so much more and deliver over a broader range of devices with very little effort which is all win for us gamers. They can also leverage their other resources such as the compendium meaning they can focus on more important things like new features.

If it is Silverlight based although similar to flash is a very good platform to develop on (I develop using silverlight myself) and lends itself to much better ongoing maintenance  and improvement than flash.  However silverlight doesn't work on iphones and ipads so I hope that has been taken into consideration if that was their direction. Focusing on the new mobile devices will be a very good move as this market has recently exploded and being able to do things while I'm out and about and freeing myself from the dektop will be awesome. Although you can go offline with silverlight I think its far more likely (and less headaches for the developer) to have the character builder online only, character sheets obviously the exception.

I especially like this statement
"We’ll launch the new Character Builder with a known issues list and FAQ"
I work with a lot of people who don't understand this about solutions and technology. No matter how good your team or how much time you invest in the project, there will always be bugs and improvements that need to be made going forward. Great Job Bill. I always say release ealry then evolve and improve the system based on feedback. Key thing is communication.

Hopefully sometime soon we will hear about an online DMing plateform (much like fantasy grounds). That would definitely be something I would subscribe to DDI for (although I'm already a subscriber).
 
BTW read the responses above, man there are some negative and unrealistic people out there. This is a great game and the dnd team are doing a fantastic job supporting it, keep it up guys.
About the Weaponmaster, I'm still wondering what the hell Brute Strike is doing there and unchanged!

This power was owned long ago by Lasting Threat (MP), but WotC seems to ignore this fact and keep it the way it is.

There are five things I really, really like about the new Character Builder.




  1. It’s ultimately portable. I can use it on any computer or computer-like device, wherever I am.



#1 - Complete and utter BS. The statement SHOULD read:
I can use it on any Mac or Windows PC with Silverlight installed while there is an internet connection available. I cannot use it on any other type of device nor in any situation where internet is not available. 

I don't know if this is an intentional lie or if Wizards simply doesn't comprehend the consequences of the choice they have made in not using standards and instead going with the most limited proprietary platform with the smallest install base of any web technology.

They COULD have chosen a standards based solution that would have made this statement true, but they didn't, thus this is an outright lie and heavily misleading.
My copy of the PHB1 is useless, it has now been entirely replaced by the Rules Compendium and the Class Compendium.

Useless? Really?

Yes, some content has changed. Maybe... 5% of the book? Perhaps 10% if you count simple clarifications and fixes for typos?

How hasn't the book been superseded? If you bought a car that worked fine, and the manufacturer kept recalling it and "fixing" it to the point that you can only really turn left without constant maintenance and then announced they were going to release the exact same car but without the needed maintenance, has not the original been superseded?

Interesting analogy. I do currently own a car, and it works fine. Newer versions of the same car have been released in the last five years, and they do have a variety of new features that I do not have. Additionally, my current car isn't in the perfect shape it was when I bought it - and yet, it does function. It gets me where I need to go and provides all the comforts I desire along the way. I don't feel any need to buy a new one. My car has not, in fact, been superseded.

Now, the analogy does eventually break down - eventually the car will cease working, whereas my PHB will remain functional pretty much indefinitely.

I couldn't care less what people have been asking for - I've paid money for a product - something that supposedly should be useful for years - which has been actively invalidated and made usless by the company that produced it.

They told us that with the release of Essentials, the original core rule books would not become useless - well, they lied - that's my problem.


Except it isn't a lie. And not because "you can just ignore the errata" - I agree that argument isn't always fruitful. But 'useless' implies that the vast majority of the book has been rendered obsolete - and that hasn't happened.

Of course, everyone might have a different threshold for that. And if, for you, 5% of a book being inaccurate is enough to make it useless... well, I suppose you are entitled to your opinion.

Of course, I don't see how this new book release affects that - I don't believe it is adding any more errata to the PHB. Simply compiling some of the existing changes, while providing the existing content in the new Essentials format, and providing some new content to help interweave Essentials content more closely with other options.

None of that should have any impact at all on your concerns.

If they hadn't re-printed.I'd be fine - everyone would basically be in the same boat - but I now have the choice of either caving in and buying the same material twice or run the risk of falling behind the current rule-set, isolating myself from the rest of the community who went ahead and bought it.

Again, this is what puzzles me. If they didn't have this new book coming out, you'd be fine with the current situation. But because they've provided something others have asked for... you are upset?

Not buying the book doesn't leave you 'behind' - all the errata is available for free, online. There is basically no loss to you if you don't buy that book - all you miss out on, perhaps, are the rules for how multiclassing interacts with Essentials. And that might show up for free online as well.

IAs an example, they've even re-named one of the original classes - I can see a time when somebody asks me what I'm playing and I say a Fighter and they ask which and I say a Fighter and eventually they say "Ooooh, you mean a Weaponmaster."

I saw the same argument with Essentials itself. I just... don't see the confusion. How is this any different than it has been since Martial Power? ("What are you playing?" "A Battlerager!" "A what?" "A fighter build from Martial Power") vs ("What are you playing?" "A Fighter!" "What type?" "The PHB version.")

I mean, maybe once in a blue moon, someone will get confused by this. But it takes, like, 20 seconds to explain. I expect to waste hours of a gaming session on random tangets and joking and debates over minutiae of the game and rules system. This sort of confusion doesn't even register to me.

P.S.. One possible solution would be to provide anyone who can produce a unique SN or whatever from the relevant book with a PDF of the updated material - but that won't happen; money talks.

That's actually an interesting suggestion - I recall it was something they discussed before 4E came out, that one would be able to input the Serial Number and get a PDF of the book. But they realized that people would just wander into a store, copy down all the SN, and then snag everything for free online, and they couldn't figure out any easy way to get around that without taking cost-increasing measures (adding more verification, codes written inside the book, requiring it be seal-wrapped while displayed on the shelf, etc).

Of course... again, the Errata is all available for free, online, for everyone. That is "a PDF of the updated material". That's why I'm confused by your anger over this new book.

If you are upset about the Errata itself... ok, fair enough. I don't agree, myself - I like having them actively working to keep the game balanced, and don't think the amount of Errata has been overwhelming. But I can understand those who feel otherwise, and why it might bother some people.

But this concern over, not the Errata itself, but that they are providing it in a format that some gamers have been specifically asking for? Releasing it in a book that you, yourself, have no need to actually buy? I just can't see any legitimate reason to be upset over that. I don't forsee them making any substantial new changes with it, and any minor changes they do make, I expect to see also freely posted online.

If that isn't the case - if they do completely overhaul the original Fighter and render the PHB obsolete, and don't publish free copies of those changes online - then, yeah, I will be right there with you in calling BS on that behavior.

But I don't see any indication that something like that is likely to happen. Heck, the preview shows Brute Strike in the same form it has always had, and if any power was desperately in need of Errata, that is it!
I'm not happy about the new builder being a Web App either. I think it's a fantastic piece of kit and get a lot of use out of it in my games, but I really don't see this as the way to go.

What will this mean for saved character files? Will they be stored on a PC or a server? And will they be tied to the account that created them?

Also, is there any word on whether or not the Adventure Tools are going to be continued in their current format?

You will be able to import any character files you have created from the CB Classic, as long as they aren't house-ruled. Keep in mind that there will be a 20 character limit at time of launch.

Any Imported or newly created characters will be stored on a server.

They will be tied to the account that created them.  However, sharing characters between accounts is something that WotC is looking to add in the future.

Adventure Tools will not be updated again until it goes web-based, barring some catastrophe that requires it to be.
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Just curious, does anyone know when it is?  Announcing the online CB is not over promising as a herald, but for DDi and digital endeavours... I can't help but doubt.

The web-based Char Builder will be released on Nov. 16th.
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Keep in mind that there will be a 20 character limit at time of launch.


to be clear, does this limit refer to the total number of characters creatable or importable?  in other words, could i import 20 characters and also create additional, new characters?
Yes, its the total combined as far as I know.  I'll double-check to be sure.
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Yes, you need the internet to run it.



Do we know if the old version will still be available for download after the 16th?  I would hate to not have any options left for offline use.  

I don't mind if they quit updating it, but I'd hate for folks to not have any "basic" options to use when constructing characters...

It will not.  However, if you have it on your PC, you will be able to continue to use it.




Supposedly, I've been trying to update it for the last 3 days to no avail. It downloads most of the update, and then stops when the bar is full, and just sits there.
Yes, its the total combined as far as I know.  I'll double-check to be sure.


thanks 
@vanya - uninstall the char builder and the .net framework. reinstall the char builder and let it install the .net framework for you as part of the install.that should let you install and update to the latest version without fail.
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