Forum Predictions Fail. Character Builder a Smashing Success.

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No gamers are 100% (or 90%?) happy with the new Character Builder.  Before and after its unveiling on November 16, there were many threats of dropping the Insider subscription and predictions that membership would plummet, if not immediately, then certainly as renewals came up in the months to come. 

Here we are, four months later.  Let's look at the D&D Insider Membership trend to see how the dire prediction played out:

D&D Insider Membership
The red blob shows the CB release, note the underlying membership spike there, followed by nothing but a steady upward trend. 

Guess who IS 100% happy?  Hasbro. 
you didnt know this so i dont fault you for it but thousands of vt testers were given temporary memberships over the last few months. thousands. started in november. im not saying that accounts for all of it

If i am not mistaken, Josh said they were given access to the Tools, but were never given membership that would transpire in those statistics.

    *In the short-term, we will be temporarily be granting access to the online Character Builder to all beta participants.

    * In the short-term, we will be temporarily be granting access to the online Adventure Tools to all beta participants.

well hopefully it isnt that, we could use more players for the vt
Well this tread might prove some interesting entertainment for a while...let me get my list of haters out and keep score as they check in.
What metric are you using to assess DnDinsider-ship? If you're using the number of members in the DnDinsiders group, your chart is flawed, as people aren't automatically removed from that group after they've stopped subscribing. Personally, I am still a member of the DnDinsiders group despite having left back in November.
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.
What metric are you using to assess DnDinsider-ship? If you're using the number of members in the DnDinsiders group, your chart is flawed, as people aren't automatically removed from that group after they've stopped subscribing. Personally, I am still a member of the DnDinsiders group despite having left back in November.



Can you still view the group? Other people have reported that they are in fact removed and can not view the group and it's not listed in their groups on their profile.
Hey froth, you see what i see ?

I see 48,533 potential D&D players
thats a little over 9,000 tpks
That graph is surprisingly smooth.  What is the data?
What metric are you using to assess DnDinsider-ship? If you're using the number of members in the DnDinsiders group, your chart is flawed, as people aren't automatically removed from that group after they've stopped subscribing. Personally, I am still a member of the DnDinsiders group despite having left back in November.



Can you still view the group? Other people have reported that they are in fact removed and can not view the group and it's not listed in their groups on their profile.


I looked at his profile and D&DInsider is not among his "My Groups".
Hm. DnDinsiders has disappeared from my active groups, but I got the email about the new monster builder dedicated to DnDi members, and I can't see the DnDinsiders group of anyone (Such as Plaguescarred) else, either. If I'm still on their email list, I assume I'm still listed in the group.

I want to point out something else about the data: in addition to its lack of source, it has nothing to compare to -- what was the increase in membership compared to last year, for instance.
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.
Hm. DnDinsiders has disappeared from my active groups, but I got the email about the new monster builder dedicated to DnDi members, and I can't see the DnDinsiders group of anyone (Such as Plaguescarred) else, either. If I'm still on their email list, I assume I'm still listed in the group.

I want to point out something else about the data: in addition to its lack of source, it has nothing to compare to -- what was the increase in membership compared to last year, for instance.



There have been broadcasts since then, so possibly you got that during some overlap time.


Receiving Broadcast only mean your Forum Profile as communication opted in. ( wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg...)
If you can't see a Private Group, most likely you're not part of it anymore.

But there might be a delay before loosing your DDi icon and getting booted out of the DDi Group.
Receiving Broadcast only mean your Forum Profile as communication opted in. ( wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg...)
If you can't see a Private Group, most likely you're not part of it anymore.

But there might be a delay before loosing your DDi icon and getting booted out of the DDi Group.



I'm not talking about broadcasts, but actual emails. In addition, I already have forum communication opted out, so there should be *no* reason to recieve emails of any kind of announcements, and yet I am.
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.
Receiving Broadcast only mean your Forum Profile as communication opted in. ( wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg...)
If you can't see a Private Group, most likely you're not part of it anymore.

But there might be a delay before loosing your DDi icon and getting booted out of the DDi Group.



I'm not talking about broadcasts, but actual emails. In addition, I already have forum communication opted out, so there should be *no* reason to recieve emails of any kind of announcements, and yet I am.



Well, you aren't part of the group anymore, and there have been communications since then.

There is an overlap period from when you quite and when you are removed.
Receiving Broadcast only mean your Forum Profile as communication opted in. ( wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg...)
If you can't see a Private Group, most likely you're not part of it anymore.

But there might be a delay before loosing your DDi icon and getting booted out of the DDi Group.



I'm not talking about broadcasts, but actual emails. In addition, I already have forum communication opted out, so there should be *no* reason to recieve emails of any kind of announcements, and yet I am.



Well, you aren't part of the group anymore, and there have been communications since then.

There is an overlap period from when you quite and when you are removed.



I quit in *November*, and got an email *yesterday*. I think 4 months is a bit longer than the overlap period.
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.
Receiving Broadcast only mean your Forum Profile as communication opted in. ( wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg...)
If you can't see a Private Group, most likely you're not part of it anymore.

But there might be a delay before loosing your DDi icon and getting booted out of the DDi Group.



I'm not talking about broadcasts, but actual emails. In addition, I already have forum communication opted out, so there should be *no* reason to recieve emails of any kind of announcements, and yet I am.



Well, you aren't part of the group anymore, and there have been communications since then.

There is an overlap period from when you quite and when you are removed.



I quit in *November*, and got an email *yesterday*. I think 4 months is a bit longer than the overlap period.



what exactly did the email say?
It must be:

D&D Insider Announcement: Get Ready for the New D&D Monster Builder Coming Next Week!


I don't know then. But its possible your E-mail went in a database of address to communicate with DDi members that is not disabled upon unsuscribing.

You can notify Customer Services if you want to let them know.
It must be:

D&D Insider Announcement: Get Ready for the New D&D Monster Builder Coming Next Week!


I don't know then. But its possible your E-mail went in a database of address to communicate with DDi members that is not disabled upon unsuscribing.

You can notify Customer Services if you want to let them know.



Sounds like an email to former DDi members to try and get them back.
You didn't received it Dane ?  E-mail says: 



Dear D&D Insider™ Subscriber,

On March 22, Wizards of the Coast will begin rolling out the new web-based Adventure Tools for D&D Insider, starting with the launch of the brand new D&D Monster Builder. Creating new monsters, customizing existing ones and building your adventures will be easier than ever before. On launch day, just log in to your D&D Insider account, click on the Adventure Tools button and give the new Monster Builder a try.


Here are some additional highlights:



  • · New Design: Completely redesigned, the new Monster Builder will debut with 3,700 monsters - including Dark Sun Creature Catalog and Monster Vault entries.

  • · No Download: The Monster Builder is served from the D&D site

  • · PC and Mac Compatible: Requires an Internet connection and Silverlight plug-in

  • · Import Function: You can easily import your content created in the previous version to the new version

  • · Save Functionality: All content you create is saved to our database and is accessible through your D&D Insider account


If you have any questions about the new Character Builder or your subscription, see the FAQ or contact a Game Support Representative.

That graph is surprisingly smooth.  What is the data?



It looks smooth at first glance, but is in fact not a straight line. I would like to know the source of the data as well. Not doubting, but a graph like this has no value without quoting the data source.
My two cents. Buy what you want with them.
It's the number of members in the DDI group. The source is these boards I would assume (he probably compiled the data himself from the number that appears on the board).

Take from that what you will. It's clear that the two numbers are only linked tangentally (it's possible, for instance, to be a member and not have an account on the boards so you will not be represented among the group members. It's also possible that people aren't being removed from the group properly. Who knows?). It also loses meaning by not having much context (year over year would have been better).

But it still has meaning: the "end of the world" never happened. DDI is getting better (even the quality of magazine content is getting better IMO, even if deadlines are being missed) and the number of subscribers are joining at a steady clip. It might even have broader implications for the game itself (Essentials may very well have brought a lot of new players into the game who are now getting DDI memberships).

Of course, like everything else we "discuss" on these boards, reality probably lies between two extremes.
It's the number of members in the DDI group. The source is these boards I would assume (he probably compiled the data himself from the number that appears on the board).

Take from that what you will. It's clear that the two numbers are only linked tangentally (it's possible, for instance, to be a member and not have an account on the boards so you will not be represented among the group members. It's also possible that people aren't being removed from the group properly. Who knows?). It also loses meaning by not having much context (year over year would have been better).

But it still has meaning: the "end of the world" never happened. DDI is getting better (even the quality of magazine content is getting better IMO, even if deadlines are being missed) and the number of subscribers are joining at a steady clip. It might even have broader implications for the game itself (Essentials may very well have brought a lot of new players into the game who are now getting DDI memberships).

Of course, like everything else we "discuss" on these boards, reality probably lies between two extremes.



But without the context of numbers in the months before the announcement, the graph (pretty as it may seem) is useless. If the rate of new DnDi subscribers has halved since the anouncement, this graph wouldn't show that. (And by my quick math, the gain over the past 5 months is less than the past 2 years on a per month basis)
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.
OP: Hasbro is 100% happy. So they arent bothered by anything else like perhaps book cancellations and delays in magazine articles?
Its a "smashing success"? Ok put some effort into your troll and bait and I might bite.

Well this tread might prove some interesting entertainment for a while...let me get my list of haters out and keep score as they check in.



Reporting for duty as requested. You can mark me off your list lol.

It's the number of members in the DDI group. The source is these boards I would assume (he probably compiled the data himself from the number that appears on the board).

Take from that what you will. It's clear that the two numbers are only linked tangentally (it's possible, for instance, to be a member and not have an account on the boards so you will not be represented among the group members. It's also possible that people aren't being removed from the group properly. Who knows?). It also loses meaning by not having much context (year over year would have been better).

But it still has meaning: the "end of the world" never happened. DDI is getting better (even the quality of magazine content is getting better IMO, even if deadlines are being missed) and the number of subscribers are joining at a steady clip. It might even have broader implications for the game itself (Essentials may very well have brought a lot of new players into the game who are now getting DDI memberships).

Of course, like everything else we "discuss" on these boards, reality probably lies between two extremes.



But without the context of numbers in the months before the announcement, the graph (pretty as it may seem) is useless. If the rate of new DnDi subscribers has halved since the anouncement, this graph wouldn't show that. (And by my quick math, the gain over the past 5 months is less than the past 2 years on a per month basis)




DDi has shown an increase in subscriptions steadily since they started taking money. There has never been a noticable dip do to people leaving.
You didn't received it Dane ?  E-mail says: 



Dear D&D Insider™ Subscriber,

On March 22, Wizards of the Coast will begin rolling out the new web-based Adventure Tools for D&D Insider, starting with the launch of the brand new D&D Monster Builder. Creating new monsters, customizing existing ones and building your adventures will be easier than ever before. On launch day, just log in to your D&D Insider account, click on the Adventure Tools button and give the new Monster Builder a try.


Here are some additional highlights:



  • · New Design: Completely redesigned, the new Monster Builder will debut with 3,700 monsters - including Dark Sun Creature Catalog and Monster Vault entries.

  • · No Download: The Monster Builder is served from the D&D site

  • · PC and Mac Compatible: Requires an Internet connection and Silverlight plug-in

  • · Import Function: You can easily import your content created in the previous version to the new version

  • · Save Functionality: All content you create is saved to our database and is accessible through your D&D Insider account


If you have any questions about the new Character Builder or your subscription, see the FAQ or contact a Game Support Representative.




It could be in my mailbox, I don't check that one a lot.

DDi has shown an increase in subscriptions steadily since they started taking money. There has never been a noticable dip do to people leaving.



Yeah, Wizards has nothing to fear - they couldn't make people quit if they tried. 

@Veok: the numbers in September, before the announcement, are consistent with the graph (September 15th, for instance, was 39,566). 

I'm pretty sure they don't have 7,000 people in the VT beta.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
no it was like 3000
Well this tread might prove some interesting entertainment for a while...let me get my list of haters out and keep score as they check in.




I was thinking the same thing.

Not that I'm co-signing the op's graph - I'm not sure where those numbers could even be found.
Well this tread might prove some interesting entertainment for a while...let me get my list of haters out and keep score as they check in.




I was thinking the same thing.

Not that I'm co-signing the op's graph - I'm not sure where those numbers could even be found.




Group membership numbers are listed on the group page for DDI. Whether they're entirely accurate is another question, given the variable delays in being removed from the group when a subscription lapses, but you can see the membership count for any group by going to the group page.  
The F&F BETA had 3,800+ Participants and a dozen or so sexy voiced Sages before the blackout.

Pardon me ? I know, frothsof is a Sage you'll say. Well, he has it all for himself pretty boy
economics aside.....can you call it a success when after 2 and a half months they finally put in the Eladrin knight and still managed to get it wrong and leave out important pieces.

Can you call it a success when we read posts from Jan that we will see content each day and yet until a couple of days ago there was only one dragon article up and it was a short editorial.

Subscriptions may be up however by almost any measure quality is down. Is that a success?

Fewer articles, long waits for material to migrate to the CB, MIgrated material in the CB incomplete and the compendium not updating.

You may be making lots of money, however I don't think you are successful at anything else.

I too would like to see the source of that data, even if we can't see all the datapoints.

In the meantime I'll give the OP the benefit of the doubt.  Otherwise, the only response would be DENY DENY DENY DENY LALALALALA IS NOT HAPPENING LALALALALA

OP:  where did you get that data from?

But it still has meaning: the "end of the world" never happened. DDI is getting better (even the quality of magazine content is getting better IMO, even if deadlines are being missed) and the number of subscribers are joining at a steady clip. It might even have broader implications for the game itself (Essentials may very well have brought a lot of new players into the game who are now getting DDI memberships).

Of course, like everything else we "discuss" on these boards, reality probably lies between two extremes.



This ... +100

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

I've been trying to keep similar data.

spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AkIQHt2...

There are your data points that I've collected.  I didn't bother including the time of day when i got the data point.

Basically, I'm seeing a steady 40% annualized growth rate here.  which amazes me, cause I think the "product" is junk. (The builder, Dragon, etc).  But I'm obviously in the wrong business, because that's a great growth rate...

"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've been trying to keep similar data.

spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AkIQHt2...

There are your data points that I've collected.  I didn't bother including the time of day when i got the data point.

Basically, I'm seeing a steady 40% annualized growth rate here.  which amazes me, cause I think the "product" is junk. (The builder, Dragon, etc).  But I'm obviously in the wrong business, because that's a great growth rate...



I bet it never crossed anyone mind that because they reveal the numbers it might be in WotC favor to 'pad' the numbers a bit? You know to look successful and not scare Hasbro off or potential customers. I'm still waiting for all those people with their subscriptions set to not autorenew to hit. That's where you'll see a drop...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
But without the context of numbers in the months before the announcement, the graph (pretty as it may seem) is useless. If the rate of new DnDi subscribers has halved since the anouncement, this graph wouldn't show that. (And by my quick math, the gain over the past 5 months is less than the past 2 years on a per month basis)



The graph doesn't have anything to do with the pigeon hole you are trying to squeeze it into.  The haters said total subscriptions would fall.  They haven't.  End of story.

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.

I've been trying to keep similar data.

spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AkIQHt2...

There are your data points that I've collected.  I didn't bother including the time of day when i got the data point.

Basically, I'm seeing a steady 40% annualized growth rate here.  which amazes me, cause I think the "product" is junk. (The builder, Dragon, etc).  But I'm obviously in the wrong business, because that's a great growth rate...



I bet it never crossed anyone mind that because they reveal the numbers it might be in WotC favor to 'pad' the numbers a bit? You know to look successful and not scare Hasbro off or potential customers. I'm still waiting for all those people with their subscriptions set to not autorenew to hit. That's where you'll see a drop...



If we were going to see a drop, we would have.

Either we are staggeringly incorrect or the data is wildly inaccurate.  If the data is wrong and the number does reduce as people leave the group, then nothing will ever cause a drop in membership.

The graphs validity is mostly in question because it doesn't ever drop, even by a little.  That's just not realistic for this type of service.  If you take a look at the subscription rates for popular MMOS they rise and fall all the time, for example.  Further, it doesn't make sense with what we've been told: if WotC has been doing this kind of business with DDI, why in the world would they have made such a radical shift away from a business model that was growing at such an impressive rate?  Where are the losses due to piracy?  Where are the guys that subscribe for a month then quit?

Kilpatds is right, the growth rate just isn't realistic, even for a service that's a smashing success.  40% growth per year requires a massive direction shift?  What?

By contrast, the group "Dungeons and Dragons" has 4431 members.  Wouldn't we expect this number to be higher?  I never joined this group btw, I was assigned to it automatically when I got my DDI membership, so under the assumption that all past-and-current DDI forum goers are members of this group but are automatically removed from the DDI group when they let their subscription lapse, but not D&D, then the D&D group should never be lower than DDI, unless for some reason DDI group members feel the need to delete themselves from the D&D group for some reason.

So there's definitely something wrong with this data.

Project for someone who has the time and inclination:  discover who is in the DDI group but not the D&D group and find out why.  Should hopefully provide some answers as to why this data isn't making sense.
Sorry Damon_Tor.  I am a DDi Member, but not a Dungeons & Dragons member.  There seems to be no automatic join to D&D for DDi members.

And Veok is not a member of DDi, so people are removed from the group.

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.

it made me an automatic member without me joining
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