D&D Podcast - November 2010: Monster Vault, Character Builder

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D&D Podcast
November 2010: Monster Vault, Character Builder

by Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford

From the purple worm to the death knight to the Character Builder—sit back, relax, and roll those 20’s!

Talk about this Podcast here.




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"If we picked Flash it wouldn't have worked on an iPad." (Because Silverlight is so much better here?)

Seriously, can these people make a statement about the new Character Builder without having a moment of sounding like they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about?

Hilariously, if they had gone with Flash there is a reasonable chance that they could have used Adobe's tool to recompile for Ios and then it would have worked on an ipad (or possibly even an iphone) - instead they went to Silverlight, which has no plans to create a Ios compiler (big surprise given Microsoft is a direct competitor to Ios)
I don't get why for WotC it's "20 characters" OR "infinite characters".

Why the drastic spread there? You don't need to give us infinite characters. But, 20 is way too low. Way, way too low.
I don't get why for WotC it's "20 characters" OR "infinite characters".

Why the drastic spread there? You don't need to give us infinite characters. But, 20 is way too low. Way, way too low.



They really should up it to a thousand. For reaonable limit for practical purposes (you will barely reach it) but still very maintainable in storage size.


They really should up it to a thousand. For reaonable limit for practical purposes (you will barely reach it) but still very maintainable in storage size.



Or even less. 20 is a miserable amount. I'd be fine with 100, with the option to upgrade your account for more space.
"If we picked Flash it wouldn't have worked on an iPad." (Because Silverlight is so much better here?)

Seriously, can these people make a statement about the new Character Builder without having a moment of sounding like they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about?

Hilariously, if they had gone with Flash there is a reasonable chance that they could have used Adobe's tool to recompile for Ios and then it would have worked on an ipad (or possibly even an iphone) - instead they went to Silverlight, which has no plans to create a Ios compiler (big surprise given Microsoft is a direct competitor to Ios)



Yeah, that one made me lol.  Flash is more widely supported than silverlight, at least, and far more likely to be installed on any given system AFAIK.  And note that he didn't even address the fact that HTML5 is the single most widely supported potential method.  I suspect that the answer is 'we made it in silverlight because we know how' - if that's so, then I wouldn't mind.  But it would be good if they would say so.

There are a lot of things in this podcast about the CB that struck me as... odd... to say the least.

I wonder if anyone could text-to-speech it so that a transcript could be produced.  It would be much easier that way, to work out what's being said, and the things we need to know.

Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Yeah, that one made me lol.  Flash is more widely supported than silverlight, at least, and far more likely to be installed on any given system AFAIK.  And note that he didn't even address the fact that HTML5 is the single most widely supported potential method.  I suspect that the answer is 'we made it in silverlight because we know how' - if that's so, then I wouldn't mind.  But it would be good if they would say so.

There are a lot of things in this podcast about the CB that struck me as... odd... to say the least.

I wonder if anyone could text-to-speech it so that a transcript could be produced.  It would be much easier that way, to work out what's being said, and the things we need to know.



I'm not a web programmer by any means, so I'm going to repeat (and paraphrase) what others who appear to be more knowledgeable have said in these forums.

First off, PaoloM told us that HTML5 wouldn't have worked in the time frame they were given to create the new tool.  Using Silverlight was an option that let them meet the six month timeframe they were given.  (It's been said/suggested that because the old CB was in .net - that Silverlight was also given strong consideration because of the ease or porting bits of code as they saw fit, instead of having to completely re-create the wheel, as it were).

I've also seen it said by several others that HTML5 is a platform that's GOING to be awesome - but that because it isn't fully standardized yet, it's quite likely that an undertaking of this scope (especially starting 6 months ago, with even less of HTML5 ratified and standardized) is simply unrealistic.

Again, I'm not a subject matter expert on the topic, but these sound like very good reasons to have taken the path they did.
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So it's 'we did it this way because we know how to do it quickly enough'?  If that's the case, then I can only guess that poor management decisions have led us to this point (giving your programming team a deadline they can't fulfil effectively).  Somehow, it doesn't surprise me.

To my mind, the choice is 'do it properly, or don't do it at all', particularly when you have a more-or-less functional program already extant.  Clearly, that opinion is not shared by whoever it is makes the decisions.

Sigh.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
So it's 'we did it this way because we know how to do it quickly enough'?  If that's the case, then I can only guess that poor management decisions have led us to this point (giving your programming team a deadline they can't fulfil effectively).  Somehow, it doesn't surprise me.

To my mind, the choice is 'do it properly, or don't do it at all', particularly when you have a more-or-less functional program already extant.  Clearly, that opinion is not shared by whoever it is makes the decisions.

Sigh.



Except, they've also made it pretty clear that the old builder wasn't really capable of supporting Essentials.  While that may not be a problem for some, it WAS a problem for others.

WotC opted to get their content into a working builder, and needed to do so quickly.

The old builder wasn't "doing it right" either, so starting fresh - and doing so in a timely matter, was (as they saw it) a necessary choice. 
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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They had to have it done by the time Essentials/Dark Sun patch was released (they clearly missed that deadline). This way, they could abandon the Classic CB and move forward with the Online CB with the new content from the new direction.

I think that's reasonable.

What I don't find reasonable is only allowing 20 characters. And then giving the excuse that "well, we can't allow infinite characters and we gotta worry about moving data some time in the far future..."

We don't need infinite data. And, clearly you're not going to be worried about data moving if your subscriptions blossom, so why worry about it with your current subscribers? Give us a _reasonable_ amount of storage for a _reasonable_ amount of characters.

Like I said, 100 would do just fine. That's enough for me to run 20 campaigns of 5 characters each with plenty of space for messing around with different builds.
They had to have it done by the time Essentials/Dark Sun patch was released (they clearly missed that deadline). This way, they could abandon the Classic CB and move forward with the Online CB with the new content from the new direction.

I think that's reasonable.

What I don't find reasonable is only allowing 20 characters. And then giving the excuse that "well, we can't allow infinite characters and we gotta worry about moving data some time in the far future..."

We don't need infinite data. And, clearly you're not going to be worried about data moving if your subscriptions blossom, so why worry about it with your current subscribers? Give us a _reasonable_ amount of storage for a _reasonable_ amount of characters.

Like I said, 100 would do just fine. That's enough for me to run 20 campaigns of 5 characters each with plenty of space for messing around with different builds.



It's on the feature request list - and they've already told us this is a starter number, and that as they monitor useage over time it will be adjusted.

I agree it's low, even for a starter - especially given that export isn't a launch feature - but it isn't etched in stone. 
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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WolfStar: TBH at this point it's getting beyond my knowledge to debate.  I could hypothesise a lot about different ways this could have been done, but it would be uninformed and pointless, in the end.

Suffice it to say, I suspect that there would have been a number of different methods to get a working tool in the time frame specified, and in a more widley-compatible form.  But I don't know; and whether or not they would have worked is moot at this point, since what has happened, has happened; so I won't expand any further.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.


It's on the feature request list - and they've already told us this is a starter number, and that as they monitor useage over time it will be adjusted.

I agree it's low, even for a starter - especially given that export isn't a launch feature - but it isn't etched in stone. 



I guess they don't want subscriptions for this "starter CB".

There's a lot of features that haven't been available "at launch" for the old CB and MB. And, months later they _still_ weren't available.

As a consumer, I guess I just have to re-subscribe (my subscription ends Nov. 21) once they've changed that etching.

I just find it odd that they settled on "20" as the starting number. It baffles me.
WolfStar: TBH at this point it's getting beyond my knowledge to debate.  I could hypothesise a lot about different ways this could have been done, but it would be uninformed and pointless, in the end.

Suffice it to say, I suspect that there would have been a number of different methods to get a working tool in the time frame specified, and in a more widley-compatible form.  But I don't know; and whether or not they would have worked is moot at this point, since what has happened, has happened; so I won't expand any further.



I can respect that - as I said above, I'm not very knowledgeable about the technologies that were available, as I'm not a web programmer, I'm just quoting what others have said on the matter.  I think if you look at them with an open mind, you'll find they're fairly reasonable overall.

Some posters (I'm not lumping you into this category) on the other hand, seem to just assume that WotC always nearly-deliberately makes decisions without any thought or analysis, just because WotC does things the way they (the poster) would have done it.

I think that WotC is a company that actually moves VERY carefully and veyr nearly OVER-analizes many decisions it makes - and that we simply don't have all the facts on the outside.  It's easy to second-guess and assume the worst when you only have the results, and not the factors that went into the decision.  

Either way, you're of course welcome to your opinions, I'm just trying to shed some light based on what others have said.



It's on the feature request list - and they've already told us this is a starter number, and that as they monitor useage over time it will be adjusted.

I agree it's low, even for a starter - especially given that export isn't a launch feature - but it isn't etched in stone. 



I guess they don't want subscriptions for this "starter CB".

There's a lot of features that haven't been available "at launch" for the old CB and MB. And, months later they _still_ weren't available.

As a consumer, I guess I just have to re-subscribe (my subscription ends Nov. 21) once they've changed that etching.



Also a fair stance.  If the new CB doesn't offer the features you want in a builder, not subscribing is very reasonable (assuming you don't get enough value from the rest of the DDI suite to make up the difference).

I've heard very good things about the prioritization of the "Export" feature, though that's as much as I dare say due to my NDA.  But if it isn't there when your renewal comes up, me (or anyone else) saying so doesn't help you.

You should absolutely only use the tool if it does what you want.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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As far as it concearns me, this podcast (mainly the 2nd half) contains the most information on WotC´s motivation in running DDI, that i have ever heared.
For the first time since the new online tools were announced, someone is finally giving us some honest answers about the change they decided to make.
The main reason these tools are going online is because:
 "there are alot of reasons, why the current character builder wasn´t working for us"
Finally a honestly egoistic statement with no thoughts on what issues this might cause for the customers.
It is not the answer i wanted to hear, but it is an answer never the less.
They dont want to simply earn money by providing a product to paying customers which are pleased with what they are offered.
They want to get money by providing a product the way it is most comfortable to them; while having assuredness, that there is not a single person out there taking a benefit out of it without paying money. So they simply change it whenever they feel it "doesn´t work for them anymore", hoping the customers accept that decision.
No word about "our fist intention was to improve DDI for the customers", no "we have to make these changes to assure the product pays off". Just a simple "we did this mainly in our own interrests, but dont worry, it might have some positive effect for the customers later on".

This is the communication i desired from the first time, it covers facts and is honest.
D&D Outsider since Nov 18th 2010, if you wonder about the little red dragon, this one is dedicated to the great VT community.


It's on the feature request list - and they've already told us this is a starter number, and that as they monitor useage over time it will be adjusted.

I agree it's low, even for a starter - especially given that export isn't a launch feature - but it isn't etched in stone. 



Unfortunately for WotC, I'm not subscribing for a request list, I subscribe for the actual product.  Also, their stance sounds a lot like "we'll think about raising it sometime later if the numbers work out" when it should have been more like "20 is the starter number, but we'll raise it once we make sure everything is working correctly."  I don't like the hedging of raising the limit in conditional statements.
I got two things about the CB from the podcast from WotC:

  1. They like money. New CB lets them stop piracy (honestly didn't think it was that big, but must have been big enough for WotC). They want to protect their assets.

  2. While they like taking money from us, they want us to be patient and try to assuage us with platitudes.

In the end I can completely understand a company wanting to protect their IP and make money. As a former customer, my subscription lapsed in September, I can understand being upset with all this. Regardless of their intentions its been months that paying customers have received any real value from their CURRENT subscription. Dark Sun has been out for months, Essentials for a little while now and current customers have little to show for it. Even with a new CB coming out it has fewer options, less storage, and missing components.

Customers have every right to complain about the current status of the CB and even into the next few months as they essentially beta test the system out. Paying customers should have received timely updates to their CB and tools. If it was never the intention of the old CB to have Dark Sun and Essentials info then the web CB should have been put on a time table to be released by the end of summer, especially as new products were coming out trying to entice new players to the game.

Sadly WotC's poor planning cost its current customers time and money with shallow promises and begging for patience. It's a company with a history of empty promises and easy to understand why its current customer base is upset.

I really do hope the new web tools end up being the next best thing since sliced bread. I just don't have any faith that it will be and await the next big disappointment. 

I can respect that - as I said above, I'm not very knowledgeable about the technologies that were available, as I'm not a web programmer, I'm just quoting what others have said on the matter.  I think if you look at them with an open mind, you'll find they're fairly reasonable overall.

Some posters (I'm not lumping you into this category) on the other hand, seem to just assume that WotC always nearly-deliberately makes decisions without any thought or analysis, just because WotC does things the way they (the poster) would have done it.

I think that WotC is a company that actually moves VERY carefully and veyr nearly OVER-analizes many decisions it makes - and that we simply don't have all the facts on the outside.  It's easy to second-guess and assume the worst when you only have the results, and not the factors that went into the decision.  



I have no doubt that WotC thinks very hard before they act. And they likely have very good reasons for their actions. I don't have a problem with that.

The problem is for whatever reason they don't want to actually tell us the reasons they have for doing something  and try to sell it in terms they have not actually bothered to think through. So while they may have very good reason "X" for doing something they try to sell to us that they did it for reason "Y" which makes no sense.  Unfortunately for them this tends to make them look either deceptive (because it is obvious that they are hiding their real reasons for doing something) or clueless (because what they have stated does not correlate with reality)
I can't help but shake my head at the idea that Piracy caused this shift.

I was behind the change because it meant that more users could use the builder, with macs now being supported, and (hopefully) linux not being far behind.  Now that I hear that its more because of Piracy, I feel rather ripped off.  Sure, we're still getting cross-browser support, but its a hollow victory when the reasons for the change are so bad.
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I can't help but shake my head at the idea that Piracy caused this shift.

I was behind the change because it meant that more users could use the builder, with macs now being supported, and (hopefully) linux not being far behind.  Now that I hear that its more because of Piracy, I feel rather ripped off.  Sure, we're still getting cross-browser support, but its a hollow victory when the reasons for the change are so bad.


Reality is sometimes hard to accept, but they were finally honest with us.
D&D Outsider since Nov 18th 2010, if you wonder about the little red dragon, this one is dedicated to the great VT community.
I can't help but shake my head at the idea that Piracy caused this shift.

I was behind the change because it meant that more users could use the builder, with macs now being supported, and (hopefully) linux not being far behind.  Now that I hear that its more because of Piracy, I feel rather ripped off.  Sure, we're still getting cross-browser support, but its a hollow victory when the reasons for the change are so bad.



This post (coming from you) popped this song into my head: One of us, one of us. Gooble gobble, gooble gobble.
I can't help but shake my head at the idea that Piracy caused this shift.

I was behind the change because it meant that more users could use the builder, with macs now being supported, and (hopefully) linux not being far behind.  Now that I hear that its more because of Piracy, I feel rather ripped off.  Sure, we're still getting cross-browser support, but its a hollow victory when the reasons for the change are so bad.

I'm not offended that they want to combat piracy, but I am *very* offended that they failed to meet deadlines because they took people off of support to work on an anti-piracy tool.


:/

I can't help but shake my head at the idea that Piracy caused this shift.



I'ts not WotC trying to stem piracy that is upsetting, it's the fact that doing so is cripping functionality for paying users.
I can't help but shake my head at the idea that Piracy caused this shift.



Wasn't that obvious? I applaud them because they admit it.

As I said, the "smart" people that take what they don't pay are responsible for this mess.

Let us not mix up cause and effect. If there wheren't no torrents and no people who subscribe for one month every six to get everything, all this wouldn't have happened.

Ceterum censeo capsum rubeum esse delendam

Some posters (I'm not lumping you into this category) on the other hand, seem to just assume that WotC always nearly-deliberately makes decisions without any thought or analysis, just because WotC does things the way they (the poster) would have done it.

I think that WotC is a company that actually moves VERY carefully and veyr nearly OVER-analizes many decisions it makes - and that we simply don't have all the facts on the outside.  It's easy to second-guess and assume the worst when you only have the results, and not the factors that went into the decision.  

My problem is that I frequently can not find any reason for their actions that makes sense.  Especially when I limit my second guessing of their decisions to subjects that I actually have expertise in...

And if I can't figure out what they were thinking when it's something I know about ... that doesn't lead me to a warm fuzzy about their thinking about things I don't know about.  So either I go with the reasons they suggest or are obvious (and thus have to conclude idiocy), or I have to assume they are lying to me.

So ... that leads me to a conclusion I shouldn't write down in this forum.

For example, the 20 character limit.

The official reason is to prevent DDOS attacks, and there has to be a limit.  I've done the math: a limit of 3000 characters would cost WotC fifteen centers per subscriber per month.  If they are just trying to do it as a single huge database, it's still less than fifty cents per subscriber per month.  100 would be plausible, 20 is just silly.

The official reason for moving to the online builder is to stop piracy.  The official reason for stopping selling PDFs was to stop piracy.  I don't think I need to reopen that one to make my point.

"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 can't help but shake my head at the idea that Piracy caused this shift.



I'ts not WotC trying to stem piracy that is upsetting, it's the fact that doing so is cripping functionality for paying users.

Yes, that's why I shared the thread about "what is the unambiguous benefit, for us, for us the existing users."

If the online character builder expanded the feature set and increased the speed at which new content got in, but with the cost of online only access. My reaction would be "that's great!"

If the online character builder met feature parity at the cost of online access my reaction would be "well, that's kind of a waste taking so long, but at least things should be good from now on."

If the online character builder was two months late and was missing several features (which is the reality in our universe) then my reaction would be what it is: "What's going on with DDI? Why is the project being mismanaged? Who is making these decisions? I can't really expect any timely updates anymore, can I?"

The official reason for moving to the online builder is to stop piracy.  The official reason for stopping selling PDFs was to stop piracy.  I don't think I need to reopen that one to make my point.




And again, if there where no torrents, we could still buy PDFs.

I can't understand why people always think that stealing has no consequences, just because its "just a couple of bytes" Tongue out


Ceterum censeo capsum rubeum esse delendam

*sigh*.  Don't go there.  Enough threads have been closed over that discussion already

"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 can't help but shake my head at the idea that Piracy caused this shift.

I was behind the change because it meant that more users could use the builder, with macs now being supported, and (hopefully) linux not being far behind.  Now that I hear that its more because of Piracy, I feel rather ripped off.  Sure, we're still getting cross-browser support, but its a hollow victory when the reasons for the change are so bad.



Actually, it is unlikely that Linux will be anytime soon. Silverlight 4 (which is reportedly what the character builder is written in) is only in planning stages for the Linux project - we are likely looking at at least a year before the project will be ready to use (assuming that the project keeps going with even Microsoft backing off support for Silverlight)

I can't help but shake my head at the idea that Piracy caused this shift.

I was behind the change because it meant that more users could use the builder, with macs now being supported, and (hopefully) linux not being far behind.  Now that I hear that its more because of Piracy, I feel rather ripped off.  Sure, we're still getting cross-browser support, but its a hollow victory when the reasons for the change are so bad.


Reality is sometimes hard to accept, but they were finally honest with us.

When will they be honest with themselves?
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[When will they be honest with themselves?

Noooo....

I'm supposed to be the bitter one, you're supposed to be the voice of moderation.  What will I do now???

(insert smily here)

"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 can't help but shake my head at the idea that Piracy caused this shift.

I was behind the change because it meant that more users could use the builder, with macs now being supported, and (hopefully) linux not being far behind.  Now that I hear that its more because of Piracy, I feel rather ripped off.  Sure, we're still getting cross-browser support, but its a hollow victory when the reasons for the change are so bad.

I'm not offended that they want to combat piracy, but I am *very* offended that they failed to meet deadlines because they took people off of support to work on an anti-piracy tool.


:/


I'm more offended about them wanting to combat piracy.  Its a fools game.  Its pointless.  I'm so very dissapointed that they choose to pursue this unattainable goal.
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@kiltpads - If you want to switch for a day, i'm more than happy to take a break from being level-headed.

(bad spelling of name is intentional, and meant in jest)
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@kiltpads - If you want to switch for a day, i'm more than happy to take a break from being level-headed.

(bad spelling of name is intential, and meant in jest)

That's what alts are for AL ;)
I've done my share of alts in the past.  I'm pretty happy with just being me, these days.
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I can't help but shake my head at the idea that Piracy caused this shift.

I was behind the change because it meant that more users could use the builder, with macs now being supported, and (hopefully) linux not being far behind.  Now that I hear that its more because of Piracy, I feel rather ripped off.  Sure, we're still getting cross-browser support, but its a hollow victory when the reasons for the change are so bad.



I'm puzzled by how many seem to believe that there can only be one ultimate reason for the change. For me, it seems much more likely that it was the result of many factors. Piracy was a big one, yes, but I think cross-browser support was also in there. I don't think they felt '1 month' subscribers were abusing their current system, but I imagine moving to a format that encouraged longer term subscriptions was seen as a good thing. And, ultimately, I think (hope) that the ability to rework the CB from the ground up, alongside a more robust framework that could be expanded into more tools, was a big part of it as well.

I do think that the concern over piracy motivated a large portion of the shift, and its a shame - as with any real attempt at DRM, it is usually the paying customers who get hurt the most. But I hardly think that was the only reason, nor than the shift will be entirely lacking in benefits. Sure, initially, it will lack existing functionality. I do think that was a bad call - they should have focused on getting the classic Character Builder up to date, and held off on the launch of the web tool until early 2011, when they would have been able to much more easily focus on it.

But all that aside, I think it too simplistic to say that, 'If piracy didn't exist, an online CB would never happen.' I'm not so sure about that, myself.
When will they be honest with themselves?


On a personal level, i think they allready are, atleast those in charge.
I cant tell how many of those people involved with the company, were actually honest to as far as they either could or thought.
Management rarely tells its motives to those that can simply be ordered to do what it expects them to do. As a result there might be some announcements by those employees, which include some of their own thoughts based on what information they were given.
This management often seems to hide behind their representatives, using their innocence as a shield to legitimate their actions. The fact that people like you are shocked by their statements, proves this. You tend to put your hopes and belives in those you trust. As a matter of fact, that trust is not allways rewarded.
D&D Outsider since Nov 18th 2010, if you wonder about the little red dragon, this one is dedicated to the great VT community.
@Kartesh - I think they are deceiving themselves into thinking that 1) Piracy is somehow destroying their profits and 2) that this will do anything at all to restore them.
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@MrMyth - True, there are a multitude of reasons behind any decision, but I think its safe to say that Piracy was the spearhead in this decision.  I'm still glad that the change is happening.  I am just worried that if Piracy is the issue that causes decisions to be made, what bad decisions will result from that in the future.  They got lucky this time.
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In today's role as the levelheaded one, let's be sure to not let this go the way of most piracy discussions, toward directions on how to do so.  That will get the thread locked and posts deleted.

(@AL: how'd they get lucky?  From what I can tell, what they're releasing on the 16th is completely unusable for me because of the lack of house rules.  Not that I can be bothered to subscribe again to find out...)

"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

@Kartesh - I think they are deceiving themselves into thinking that 1) Piracy is somehow destroying their profits and 2) that this will do anything at all to restore them.


Just as you seem to be, i dont belive that piracy of a digital tool like the CB actually lowers their profit, nor will switching to a new format of tools change this.
To be totally honest, i dont even think that changing to online tools was mainly done to stop piracy rather than trying to earn more money; but lets be fair here, every company wants to earn as much money as possible, but very few whould tell us they actually change something for that single reason.
The new system has the potential to accomplish this by forcing more people to permanently subscribe, but it forces its customers closer to the line where it isnt worth paying anymore. Who knows, maybe in a few month they might announce to be forced making DDI a pre paid system in which you buy minutes of usage, in order to prevent piracy (and to maximise profit).
I for myself doubt the new system is much better than the old one and it is certainly worse than a combination of both systems (offline+online). Maybe WotC will realise at some point, that there is a limit to prevention of piracy and that it will actually be much better to focus on improving the service to make up for any loss they experience.
D&D Outsider since Nov 18th 2010, if you wonder about the little red dragon, this one is dedicated to the great VT community.