Wotc Response to CB failure?

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Can we get a WotC response on what is being done for the catastrophic failure that is the CB we were given today? It's no longer a matter of features missing, it simply does not work in any form for any one. Crashes on nearly every selection. 
Over in the Character Builder Feedback forum, which is the location for the discussion of the Character Builder, WotC_Trevor has indicated that server problems have popped up and that they are working on resolving them.

Pay attention that forum, and he will post as soon as they have been fixed.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Thank you mudbunny, i must have missed it there in the confusion of posts. I appreciate it. 
Can we get a WotC response on what is being done for the catastrophic failure that is the CB we were given today? It's no longer a matter of features missing, it simply does not work in any form for any one. Crashes on nearly every selection. 



Note, full of issues and missing features as it is, your sweeping generalisation is overly broad. Ive managed to make and import about a dozen characters so it's not a case of not working 'in any form for any one' (sic).


It is in no way a rash generalization. You have to simply look at any d&d board out there to get a picture of what is going on. For my own experience, I have been unable to load or build any character to completion without crashing. Since your post is nearly the first post of successful use in what accounts for hundreds of pages of posts of crashes, between the major boards, I would say failure is an accurate description. 
Do you think that people who are using it and not having problems are going to make emotional rants stating "Hey, it worked"?

Judging the condition of something by reading forum posts is one of the most extreme examples of selection bias you can find.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
No, it's definitely a generalization. The loudest voice is the one that gets heard and complainers always have the loudest voice. People who aren't having problems (or relatively few problems) aren't posting to forums because: 1. they are happy with what they have, and 2. they are too busy making characters to say anything.

I for one haven't had many problems with the new Character Builder. Sure, there have been some rough spots I'd like to see smoothed out but the very fact that they can fix these problems on the fly without having to wait for a patch lead me to believe that the future is very bright indeed. 
Also, until the server problems get ironed out, it is hard to say how many problems are due to problems with the Character Builder itself and how many are problems due to the servers.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Also, until the server problems get ironed out, it is hard to say how many problems are due to problems with the Character Builder itself and how many are problems due to the servers.



That's no excuse.  We were specifically told that there wouldn't be any server issues.

Two thumbs down.

-Polaris
Since it is server based Character Builder, MB, isn't this all one in the same?
Since it is server based Character Builder, MB, isn't this all one in the same?



Not entirely.  Apparently Wotc's servers can't handle the traffic that a completely inhouse CB implies....just as many of us suspected and just what Wotc explicitly denied.

-
Polaris
I've uploaded one character mostly fine.  It loads a bit slow, and I've had to enter in the human extra at-will for the third or fourth time now, not to mention other options... but it's functional.  I'm disappointed by the lack of options to even enter in Dark Sun themes/theme powers (or at least, I didn't see anything regarding that or any other option).  In other words, I'm disappointed by getting less with the new thing than with the old... but it does function for me, at least.
No, it's definitely a generalization. The loudest voice is the one that gets heard and complainers always have the loudest voice. People who aren't having problems (or relatively few problems) aren't posting to forums because: 1. they are happy with what they have, and 2. they are too busy making characters to say anything.

I for one haven't had many problems with the new Character Builder. Sure, there have been some rough spots I'd like to see smoothed out but the very fact that they can fix these problems on the fly without having to wait for a patch lead me to believe that the future is very bright indeed. 


This is another version of the Silent Majority argument. the problem with this is that not only is there no way to argue, prove or disprove this, but studies have shown that it is generally wrong. Honestly, I think if it were generally working perfect(with reasonable exceptions, such as the known issues) then a lot of people would be posting to say, "Ha! we were right, and it works perfectly! So there, naysayers!" I certainly would have, if for no other reason than to point out that all the people bitching about it were wrong, and try and stop the incessant whining.

Unfortunately, as it stands now, it is horribly, horribly broke. However...

Also, until the server problems get ironed out, it is hard to say how many problems are due to problems with the Character Builder itself and how many are problems due to the servers.


This may be the problem, and if so, When I try again in a few hours, or tomorrow, many, if not all of the issues I have will be fixed.

Unfortunately, I doubt that is the only issue, given that there are some problems I noticed that have nothing to do with servers.
I've uploaded one character mostly fine.  It loads a bit slow, and I've had to enter in the human extra at-will for the third or fourth time now, not to mention other options... but it's functional.  I'm disappointed by the lack of options to even enter in Dark Sun themes/theme powers (or at least, I didn't see anything regarding that or any other option).  In other words, I'm disappointed by getting less with the new thing than with the old... but it does function for me, at least.



You're one of the lucky ones.  I had the system freeze no fewer than four times and outright crash at least five more when building (admittedly at 18th level) one of the simpliest characters in DnD...the Archer-Ranger.

EPIC FAIL

-Polaris
Not entirely.  Apparently Wotc's servers can't handle the traffic that a completely inhouse CB implies....just as many of us suspected and just what Wotc explicitly denied.

-
Polaris



Nope.

Server load is not the problem, according to what I have been told.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Since it is server based Character Builder, MB, isn't this all one in the same?



Not entirely.  Apparently Wotc's servers can't handle the traffic that a completely inhouse CB implies....just as many of us suspected and just what Wotc explicitly denied.

-
Polaris



I just wanted to pop in to let people know that while we haven't nailed down the exact server issue yet - we do know it's unlikely that it's due to traffic. We've been monitoring traffic and it's impact all day and it doesn't appear to be the issue.

Trevor Kidd Community Manager

FEER THE NINJABUNNY!!!!
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
I appreciate the update trevor. It looks to be a good program when she actually works. I hope you guys can nail it down soon. 
Since it is server based Character Builder, MB, isn't this all one in the same?



Not entirely.  Apparently Wotc's servers can't handle the traffic that a completely inhouse CB implies....just as many of us suspected and just what Wotc explicitly denied.

-
Polaris



I just wanted to pop in to let people know that while we haven't nailed down the exact server issue yet - we do know it's unlikely that it's due to traffic. We've been monitoring traffic and it's impact all day and it doesn't appear to be the issue.



With all due respect, I am unimpressed.  We were specifically told there wouldn't be server issues.  There are.  As a person on the customer end of things, that's all I care about.

-Polaris
Seems to be working fine for me, or to quote another game, "working as intended"

I have upload a handful of characters and created a few.  Both on my PC and Mac.  I have yet to experience any of the problems stated above.

However, I would like to see more options added and a bit more flexibility.


It's working, it's just not perfect at least for me.
. Now<--------------Very Soon--------Soon--------------->End of Time
While it is very regretable that a statement was made that there would be no server issues  (if it was, I admit to being way too lazy to check and it would not be huge surprise), no displays of customer entitlement will fix that situation. Heck if angry user mutterings could fix bad IT behaviour I would be out of a job  

Take a deep breath, realize that having he CB in fully flawless working order RIGHT NOW is not really mission critical to anyone not working at WotC and let them work out their (wat look like) server resource contention issues. 

Personally I have no real horse in this race and I definately dont believe in not speaking unless you have something nice to say, but I do believe in not saying anything more untill you have something new to say.

Also,demands for WotC responses give me horrible WoW flashbacks and I start worrying this forum will start displaying Trevor posts in bright blue....but thats a personal trauma
To DME, or not to DME: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous powergaming, Or to take arms against a sea of Munchkins, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;No more;
Since it is server based Character Builder, MB, isn't this all one in the same?



Not entirely.  Apparently Wotc's servers can't handle the traffic that a completely inhouse CB implies....just as many of us suspected and just what Wotc explicitly denied.

-
Polaris



I just wanted to pop in to let people know that while we haven't nailed down the exact server issue yet - we do know it's unlikely that it's due to traffic. We've been monitoring traffic and it's impact all day and it doesn't appear to be the issue.



With all due respect, I am unimpressed.  We were specifically told there wouldn't be server issues.  There are.  As a person on the customer end of things, that's all I care about.

-Polaris



Would like to see where they specifically said there would NEVER be ANY server issues.

And again: I've had minimal issues with the CB beyond some feature issues and a few items on the Known Issues list.

Frankly, all the snarky indignant rage isn't going to get you anywhere. I doubt the DDi team is having an office party today. They'll work through this stuff but it's going to take time.
While it is very regretable that a statement was made that there would be no server issues  (if it was, I admit to being way too lazy to check and it would not be huge surprise)



Before this horse gets ridden too far down the garden path, here is Paolo's statement on server loads.

11a. Are you prepared for the load this will place on your servers? 

We hope so.


11b. Can you ensure they can handle the load?


Nothing can be certain, but we did load tests for the past month with several times the number of current DDi subscribers. Everything should be fine.


11c. What if your servers go down?


Wibbles wooble but... no wait. We have redundant server farms, fully load balanced in all components.



Now, even reading in the most permissive form, there is nothing in his statements that even comes close to guaranteeing that their servers will handle the load (which is currently, according to what I have been told, well within the load that they had previously tested) and that there will never, ever be server load problems.

From what we have been told by Trevor, this is not a problem due to server load, but a problem with the servers themselves.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Thank you mudbunny. And agreed, reading that as a guarantee there would be no server issues takes some mighty creative interpretation. Of course creativity is at the core of D&D so I guess it does not really surprise me much

As for the server issues.. *leans back, waits and wishes the admins luck, wisdom and access to a good log reader*..  
To DME, or not to DME: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous powergaming, Or to take arms against a sea of Munchkins, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;No more;
Not working for me.
While it is very regretable that a statement was made that there would be no server issues  (if it was, I admit to being way too lazy to check and it would not be huge surprise)



Before this horse gets ridden too far down the garden path, here is Paolo's statement on server loads.

11a. Are you prepared for the load this will place on your servers? 

We hope so.


11b. Can you ensure they can handle the load?


Nothing can be certain, but we did load tests for the past month with several times the number of current DDi subscribers. Everything should be fine.


11c. What if your servers go down?


Wibbles wooble but... no wait. We have redundant server farms, fully load balanced in all components.



Now, even reading in the most permissive form, there is nothing in his statements that even comes close to guaranteeing that their servers will handle the load (which is currently, according to what I have been told, well within the load that they had previously tested) and that there will never, ever be server load problems.

From what we have been told by Trevor, this is not a problem due to server load, but a problem with the servers themselves.



While all that is true MB, but their testing was inadequate.  Testing for 120,000 (or whatever) level 30 character imports (for an example of a server intensive task) at once, isn't the same as as testing 120,000 connections of varying quality and through a battery of (for example) regression tests.  I'm a huge fan of automated regression testing for this amongst other reasons.  You can both make sure your code hasn't been broken by new updates, but it also works great as a comprehensive set of weird load tests.  Well as part of comprehensive load tests at any rate!

Server load testing is about much more than can it count to 1 billion while balancing and egg on its nose!  And sure, its tough to simulate people with 500ms ping times, and high packet loss.  But for a user base of 10s of thousands, I'd have expected it to be done!
From what I have been told, the server problems are not due to server load. It is something else in the server that is causing the problem.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
From what I have been told, the server problems are not due to server load. It is something else in the server that is causing the problem.



It's probably people using any of the various Silverlight hacking tools to download the application for use on their own PCs/private servers.  I'm willing to bet they didn't include those attempts in their stress testing.
users typically crash your servers. hackers don't.

thats because the first ones can be trusted to not know what they're doing, while, well, the others should know what they're doing. 

aside from that, the performance right now is like hell. if i ever delivered a product as sloppy as that, even on day one, i'd be fired. (and probably would go for myself, head low in shame.) 
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
The CB worked flawlessly for me.  Unfortunately, it's a disappointment for me.  A highly anticlimatic moment; one of the rare one's presented to me in my D&D lifetime.

Celebrate our differences.

my experiences so far:
silverlight installation - easy enough.
cb loads  up first time in about 90s. slow, but i can dig.
try to import  my lvl 5 hobgoblin pally. => greyout - crash, probably due to some houseruling i was not aware of.
reload cb - faster load time, good at least its cached.
message whether i want to recover the paladin. hey, sounds good. => same behaviour, still crashes.
ok, lets try my lvl 11 swordmage. no luck importing. grey out again.
some lvl 1 chars imported just fine.

then, make a new character. seems fine so far, but various mishaps:
ability score selection takes aeons, as everything is sent back to the server and hampers further use until the message is through.  
make my character. level it up to lvl 10 i believe. then: auto choose various stuff, just for testing.
chosing dex+str for ability score increase on staff wizard. (wtf?)
 need to hit choose all for me four times due to various feats and the simple spellbook on powers. 
try to autochoose equipment. greyout, nothing happens, end of testing.

it might have gained some features. but the UI definitely is something i'd not even consider ready for beta. 
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
this is my experience

1)  Silverlight was easy and quick to install (excellent)
2)  New CB starts faster than the old (nice)
3)  New CB is MUCH slower while in use (very bad)
4)  New search function is nice and may be neccessary (see below)
5)  I do not know exactly why yet but I find this new CB harder to use to pick feats and such.  The search engine helps but only if I have an idea to search. 
6)  Making characters is more painful and if it does not improve I will go back to P&P for essential and DS characters.  Considering how much I enjoyed making new characters in the old builder this is a problem.
7)  Both builders were having problems if I try to do anything else while I am using the builder.
8)  New builder is "not responding" a lot.  This ends up crashing ire Fox.  This causes a further problem because when you restart FF it brings back the builder leading to another "not resonding" if I do not react qucikly.
9)  I have tried many times and have thus been unable to finish my level 30 slayer.  I will keep trying.

Right now I am not pleased overall. 
working and pleased. 
So much for the scalablity of the cloud.

Server problems = bad code
Server problems = bad code

The server problems (I haven't had any) can be more than just bad code, but based upon the Character Builder itself, I wouldn't be surprised at anything at this point.

The new CB has only succeeded in proving to me that Wizards just does not have the talent pool to provide us with a quality digital solution.  I'm a novice to intermediate programmer.  I feel that I could even provide a better utility and experience than Wizards has provided, especially in the time that this took to develop.  If I could dedicate myself full time to the task and had direct access to the raw data, I know that I could.

Celebrate our differences.

Also, until the server problems get ironed out, it is hard to say how many problems are due to problems with the Character Builder itself and how many are problems due to the servers.



That's no excuse.  We were specifically told that there wouldn't be any server issues.

Two thumbs down.

-Polaris



Link please?

That's like your doctor telling you that you will never get cancer.  I don't think anyone at WotC was stupid enough to make a promise like that. 

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

So much for the scalablity of the cloud.

Server problems = bad code



agreed on #1
not necessarily on #2.

If they have problems with the server farm now, they'll have it in two weeks or three months as well.
since the CB took all around 80MB download to my system just for the pleasure of making some characters... it's easy to see why there are lags all around.
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
No, it's definitely a generalization. The loudest voice is the one that gets heard and complainers always have the loudest voice. People who aren't having problems (or relatively few problems) aren't posting to forums because: 1. they are happy with what they have, and 2. they are too busy making characters to say anything.

I for one haven't had many problems with the new Character Builder. Sure, there have been some rough spots I'd like to see smoothed out but the very fact that they can fix these problems on the fly without having to wait for a patch lead me to believe that the future is very bright indeed. 


This is another version of the Silent Majority argument. the problem with this is that not only is there no way to argue, prove or disprove this, but studies have shown that it is generally wrong. Honestly, I think if it were generally working perfect(with reasonable exceptions, such as the known issues) then a lot of people would be posting to say, "Ha! we were right, and it works perfectly! So there, naysayers!" I certainly would have, if for no other reason than to point out that all the people bitching about it were wrong, and try and stop the incessant whining.

Unfortunately, as it stands now, it is horribly, horribly broke. However...

Also, until the server problems get ironed out, it is hard to say how many problems are due to problems with the Character Builder itself and how many are problems due to the servers.


This may be the problem, and if so, When I try again in a few hours, or tomorrow, many, if not all of the issues I have will be fixed.

Unfortunately, I doubt that is the only issue, given that there are some problems I noticed that have nothing to do with servers.




  1. The Silent Majority argument is 100% rooted in fact.  I have seen corporate studies that time after time conclude that satisfied customers are quiet customers.

  2. I have had zero problem with the new CB.  I haven't posted an "I told you so," because I believe that would be a COC violation, and I bet a lot of the others who might have had that urge were polite enough not to as well.

  3. It is not horribly broke.  Works just fine for me.  In six characters entered I found exactly 1 error and it is a listed known issue now.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

while silent majority IS a fact, I believe it does not apply here. if the few score hundred people posting here are such a small minority, DDI would have subscribers in the millions. we all know that this is not true. thus, one can deduct from the simple amount of threads and posts towards the effects of "slow", "crash" and "bad UI" that the CB screwup is a lot worse, and considered by many subscribers to be worse, than say for example the "not having tools at start"-debacle.
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
It is not horribly broke.  Works just fine for me.  In six characters entered I found exactly 1 error and it is a listed known issue now.



Hey Kalex - how do you find the speed?   Is your experience horribly slow like (most?) others are finding?
Nope.  Pretty speedy, but I have a big pipe with my DSL.  Longest pause I had was around 2 seconds.  I'm trying to remember when that was.  I think it had to be 1PM EST about an hour after the app went live.  I assumed that probably 10,000 people were all creating characters at the same time, so I wasn't bothered.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.