3/22 Adventure Tools Release - Official Discussion Thread

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As can be seen, the Adventure Tools have been updated today. Please use this thread for discussion of the Monster Builder Tool.

Please remember to keep your posts polite, and remember the CoC.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
well, i think its positive that they can now refocus on the vt, its about three or four weeks past when it was supposed to be back up, and i assume that working on this online monster builder has kept them from reopening the vt beta.

i dont really have a use for the new online mb other than the vt, since i use masterplan and that requires an export feature, which this doesnt have.

so i will use the old mb but look forward to the vt being back up as soon as possible
Beyond auto-scaling monster levels and renaming a few pieces of fluff, this is pretty much useless at the moment. I'm kind of surprized WotC decided to post it in this state - but I think I can see where they're going with it, so I'll be patient for the moment and reserve judgement until they either roll out an ability builder, or reject it outright.  
Still waiting to see a monster builder, although the Monster catalog seems to work ok
iPlay4e Character sheets Skadu Bigzy Vincent
i like the way it looks more than the old one

i think it will be better than the old one eventually
Well, to each their own--I like the way the old one looks better. I like pretty much everything about the old one better--including the fact that it actually builds monsters.
The software flat-out does not do what it is supposed to.
love the old one dont get me wrong. i kind of gave up on it though once they never fixed the triggers disappearing after 8 months of it being reported.

the truth is the old monster builder could have been good but they never fixed it, and when they did 'fix' it, they deleted hundreds of monsters from it.

ive lowered my expectations to the bottom, and that bottom is 'export' button.
On the plus side, it makes the online Character Builder look functional by comparison.

On the negative side, everything else about it.
Some of the monster blocks are stretched and I can't see the XP and a few other things on their info blocks before I start customising.  This is an obvious error.  The catalog is nice if I want to customise the names of monsters and powers and for level shifting, but I can't mix and match monster powers, aura, etc.  I might as well just patch things together myself in a word document.   I think I'll keep using the Compendium for my monsters until this is made more useful.


Interestingly, this sets the apparent level cap at 55.  I wonder who might be a 55th-level threat in the game?  The strongest deity?  Something else? 

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

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

Being as polite as possible...

This is a monster catalog, not a monster builder. Honestly, I expected far more, given that the tool was fully realized offline.

This not a dig or a slam, but rather an observation:

WotC seems to have a habit of the initial release being far less spectacular than advertised. It happened with D&D Insider when first announced, it happened with the character generator going to an online-only tool, and now we see it again with the monster builder.

Not a good way to attract new blood to the game, but that's my opinion.

It's great to see the builder finally getting an upgrade, but if this is the extent of the usefulness of the online version, I think I'll stick to the offline.

If you really want to impress me, combine the encounter builder tool into the monster builder and allow me to draw upon that resource (including custom creatures).
love the old one dont get me wrong. i kind of gave up on it though once they never fixed the triggers disappearing after 8 months of it being reported.



So about six months after WotC gave up on it?

ive lowered my expectations to the bottom, and that bottom is 'export' button.



Yeah this is lower than my expectations too, and I saw this in the beta test. It actually worked better in the beta test, because picture wise all I'm seeing is the gnome, and occasionally it suddenly widens the stat block (Abyssal Ghoul as an example) wider than the actual display area, so it cuts of a thin section of the right hand side (something I'm use to with my CB print outs). But at least the annoying gnome disappears.
*constructive post*

you should make it where you can filter by level without having to sort the entire column

also, good job on fixing the bug where it wasnt showing damage on area effects
For a moment, I thought that perhaps Wizards had put up a Monster Builder. Trevor did actually use the term "Monster Builder."

Alas, all I see is the exact same Monster Catalogue that has no use for me whatsoever. Seriously, does any of us have a use for this that isn't subsumed by the Compendium and a good Word program?
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
et tu Caeric?
I'm surprised we haven't seen the "You can just do it by hand instead!" people yet like we did for the CB.

I mean, sure we're paying them, but we can just do it all by hand!

Monsters are simpler than characters after all.
As said, the pre MM2 (and some of those?) need to have their frames correctly fitted, but otherwise I haven't noticed any immediate problems with it.
Interestingly, this sets the apparent level cap at 55.  I wonder who might be a 55th-level threat in the game?  The strongest deity?  Something else? 

Ha ha ha. The cap isn't actually 55. Just set a monster to 99999 using the input field. :D
I'm looking for literally any reason to post this song around. Thank god for signatures: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P5fkw10OkE
This monster "builder" is an insult to paying customers.  I don't see how anyone can put this out and still sleep at night.

In the interest of being constructive in the face of this hate crime of a tool, here are the features that absolutely MUST be corrected, I order of importance (to me):

  1. Ability to export as RTF

  2. Ability to edit all aspects of the monster (not just the names) - damage in particular

  3. Ability to apply templates and alternate powers (something the old one could never do)

D&D Next... waiting and seeing...

so if im reading you correctly youre saying you dont like it
Wow, thats awesome, I set it to 9999999 to generate a brood swarm with 210000024 hp and an AC of 10000013 

When I tried 8 9's, it caused the MB to crash 
iPlay4e Character sheets Skadu Bigzy Vincent
I tried 999 million, just for kicks. Just barely made it through. I'm scared to try a billion.

EDIT: +1,000,000,004 vs AC - 22727273d10+250000002 damage. Better hope it rolls a 1.
I'm looking for literally any reason to post this song around. Thank god for signatures: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P5fkw10OkE
So are you folks why it isn't loading for me anymore and says it in the error message "down for maintenace" oh and the whole D&D website was dead for awhile as well?
they are working on it apparently, i got this message. the message was also strange, see below

System.ServiceModel.FaultException: The application is temporarily down for maintenance.
   at System.ServiceModel.Channels.ServiceChannel.HandleReply(ProxyOperationRuntime operation, ProxyRpc& rpc)
   at System.ServiceModel.Channels.ServiceChannel.EndCall(String action, Object[] outs, IAsyncResult result)
   at System.ServiceModel.ClientBase`1.ChannelBase`1.EndInvoke(String methodName, Object[] args, IAsyncResult result)
   at WotC.ContentManagement.ContentVaultService.ContentVaultServiceClient.ContentVaultServiceClientChannel.EndGetAvailableContent(IAsyncResult result)
   at WotC.ContentManagement.ContentVaultService.ContentVaultServiceClient.WotC.ContentManagement.ContentVaultService.IContentVaultService.EndGetAvailableContent(IAsyncResult result-turn on vt now, engage)
   at WotC.XAMLUtilities.GeneralHelpers.<>c__DisplayClass14`2.b__13(IAsyncResult ar-engage vt now)
   at WotC.XAMLUtilities.GeneralHelpers.<>c__DisplayClassd`1.<>c__DisplayClassf.b__b()



 
another positive, if their goal is to eventually have pictures for more creatures, that would be very cool. i always wanted the old one to have pictures
So are you folks why it isn't loading for me anymore and says it in the error message "down for maintenace" oh and the whole D&D website was dead for awhile as well?



If entering high levels in the builder managed to crash their whole website, WOTC deserves what they got. 

Is it wrong I find that totally hilarious?
 
iPlay4e Character sheets Skadu Bigzy Vincent
So are you folks why it isn't loading for me anymore and says it in the error message "down for maintenace" oh and the whole D&D website was dead for awhile as well?

I wish we broke it by making a monster too powerful. That's not how this works (I know, having built a bare bones monster builder myself once), but wouldn't it be great?

Also I noticed that it gives different values for changed damage expressions. Is this random? I'm asking because several times taking the level slider down to 1 gave me a result of 0 damage. You should probably fix that.

EDIT: You can also do negative level monsters. You should NOT fix this. I like it. 
I'm looking for literally any reason to post this song around. Thank god for signatures: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P5fkw10OkE
Hey all. The fix is up now and you should be able to save monsters that you've leveled and import and save custom monsters from the classic Monster Builder. It looks like some of you bumped into some issues while we were pushing the fix, but hopefully all those are over.

Now on to the topic of "why did you release something that wasn't feature complete?" questions/complaints. Main reasons, short and sweet -  we wanted to give all the DDI members a chance to check out what we're working on, and we wanted to make sure that all DDI members had the chance to use the MB to import monsters into their VT games during the next step of the VT beta.

You still have access to the classic MB (you can download it right now). We won't be doing any more updates to it, but it's still there and still usable. Yes it has issues, but I'm hopefully most people understand that we won't be working on the old tools while adding features to the new tool. With the web-based MB, we have something that gives very basic functionality and is usable with the VT that we wanted to get into everybody hands, not just the small group of testers that we had before.

The VT point is a bit more tangible - Having the web-based MB out, even in this limited form, makes imputing monsters into the VT 1000% (statistic completely made up) better for DMs. So getting this out to DDI subscribers who will very soon be testing out the VT seemed a pretty important thing.

I am definitely sorry that I haven't given you more news on what to expect with this AT release these last few weeks. I'm also sorry if I led you to believe that the AT would be more robust than what the closed beta testers had access to. We did add a couple features, but the biggest changes are on their way. I will be back in the coming days with more information on the features we'll be implementing, focusing on whatever the next big thing is.
Trevor Kidd Community Manager
another positive, if their goal is to eventually have pictures for more creatures, that would be very cool. i always wanted the old one to have pictures



Rargh! I'm spamming sorry

The idea of having art in the MB was definitely a good one and we want to do that as well. For now we've implemented a lot of the art that was in the Monster Vault along with some additions, and we definitely want to get more art in there. I personally would love to have some contests for people to submit some art for those creatures that don't have any, and then use the winners as our official pieces of art in the MB. We'll see how things work out as we get more features/content.
Trevor Kidd Community Manager
thanks trevor

yeah the monster vault art is sweet


FORUM GET READY FOR A KUMBAHYAH MOMENT WHEN THE VT IS RELEASED

PREPARE FOR A TPK AT THE HANDS OF YOURS TRULY
Layout is cool - I like where it's going.

The "Monster" tab makes me think it will also have other tabs, perhaps traps and hazards?  That would be great - something the old MB was lacking for full encounter design.

I wasn't expecting this to be out for a while, so I don't really mind it's not completely functional.  I look forward to upgrades though as I edit/build just about all of the monsters I use and would get a lot of use out of an updated builder.

There is a skip in the record and the dance goes on.
Hey all. The fix is up now and you should be able to save monsters that you've leveled and import and save custom monsters from the classic Monster Builder. It looks like some of you bumped into some issues while we were pushing the fix, but hopefully all those are over.

Now on to the topic of "why did you release something that wasn't feature complete?" questions/complaints. Main reasons, short and sweet -  we wanted to give all the DDI members a chance to check out what we're working on, and we wanted to make sure that all DDI members had the chance to use the MB to import monsters into their VT games during the next step of the VT beta.

You still have access to the classic MB (you can download it right now). We won't be doing any more updates to it, but it's still there and still usable. Yes it has issues, but I'm hopefully most people understand that we won't be working on the old tools while adding features to the new tool. With the web-based MB, we have something that gives very basic functionality and is usable with the VT that we wanted to get into everybody hands, not just the small group of testers that we had before.

The VT point is a bit more tangible - Having the web-based MB out, even in this limited form, makes imputing monsters into the VT 1000% (statistic completely made up) better for DMs. So getting this out to DDI subscribers who will very soon be testing out the VT seemed a pretty important thing.

I am definitely sorry that I haven't given you more news on what to expect with this AT release these last few weeks. I'm also sorry if I led you to believe that the AT would be more robust than what the closed beta testers had access to. We did add a couple features, but the biggest changes are on their way. I will be back in the coming days with more information on the features we'll be implementing, focusing on whatever the next big thing is.

That clears a lot up for me.  With regards to using this as a ready and mildly tweakable catalogue for the VTT, it makes a lot more sense.

Thanks for countering the melodrama with  good data.  It always makes me feel better to hear that there is a rational reason for a choice and that our concerns are still being addressed.
thanks trevor

yeah the monster vault art is sweet


FORUM GET READY FOR A KUMBAHYAH MOMENT WHEN THE VT IS RELEASED

PREPARE FOR A TPK AT THE HANDS OF YOURS TRULY



Great, add another hour...
Unfortunately, I am not surprised.  In all honesty, like many others, I think my expectations were pretty low before I even looked at the product. So, in that regard, it didn't disappoint.

If only to echo the feelings of others here...



  • Not a monster "Builder", it is simply a monster "Catalog" and "Leveler". Other than level adjustment, you can't make any substantive changes to the monsters.

  • No Export feature. We're told it is a top priority, but I am surprised that after the response to the Character Builder, that they didn't make sure to include this with the initial release. Hopefully they will include the RTF Export that I find so useful.

  • Images of monsters are nice; would be even better if they were (optionally) included in the print.

  • No ability to add/edit/delete monster powers or adjust damage values.

  • No "Reference Lists" to draw other powers and creature components from.

  • No modification of defenses, abilities, skill trainings, etc.No tactics or notes.


Don't get me wrong, I think it has a lot of potential. I had just hoped that more of that potential had be realized before its release. In the meantime, they should have been spending at least a minimal effort at bug fixes and updates to the current "Beta" Monster Builder.

I had low expectations and Wizards still managed to disappoint me.
Yes, nothing like setting the bar so extremely low so as not to disappoint.  That's a company credo to aspire to, most assuredly.  One worthy of a dedicated subscription.


Come on people.  This is Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast.  We should be receiving the ultimate in quality on a consistent basis.  They are the alpha and the omega when it comes to D&D.  Instead, we get continuous beta.
Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept. Default module =/= Core mechanic.
we wanted to make sure that all DDI members had the chance to use the MB to import monsters into their VT games during the next step of the VT beta.


Hi Trevor, thanks for the communications. They are appreciated.

I do want to underscore that while providing monsters for the VT is critical to the VT, the ability to have a monster generator is critical to a large part of the community. I don't see enough to know how the numbers compare, but they are probably similar. I really hope we don't cut off the MB to support the VT.

The current offering for Adventure Tools is not a monster builder/generator. It really is just a small step beyond the compendium. I know software design is hard (I work in the field often), but we need some love. The VT has seen a lot of love and the MB very little.

You still have access to the classic MB


My sincere thanks for keeping that available. The classic MB is an indispensable tool for many DMs and the online MB does not replace the classic's functionality at this time.

I'm also sorry if I led you to believe that the AT would be more robust than what the closed beta testers had access to.


As a beta tester, I would have liked an opportunity to hear this up front. As beta testers I think we often felt like we had been called to action... and then quickly had nothing to do beyond say "this is Alpha, it is fine, but it needs a ton more." We were all waiting to test more. Then the beta group was suddenly shut down without any communication. The VT Sages group was a step, but led nowhere. To have virtually the same version come out stings, to be honest. For some, it induces a fair amount of rage.

The decision to use beta testers comes with a responsibility to make their participation and contributions worthwhile. 

We did add a couple features, but the biggest changes are on their way. I will be back in the coming days with more information on the features we'll be implementing, focusing on whatever the next big thing is.


Can we have a listing of new features and any fixes?

Thanks!

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Honestly I renewed my subscription because I was interested in the new monster builder, but I am disappointed that I can't actually build monsters in it yet.  The email I received suggested that it would have this functionality.  I feel betrayed and as if I've been lied to.

Is it possible to cancel my subscription and get a refund?
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Honestly I renewed my subscription because I was interested in the new monster builder, but I am disappointed that I can't actually build monsters in it yet.  The email I received suggested that it would have this functionality.  I feel betrayed and as if I've been lied to.

Is it possible to cancel my subscription and get a refund?


Yes. You can also ask for a refund for the month and cite your reason.

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Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

as a mac user i couldn't be happier, thanks guys and keep up the good work. i know this is a sign of bigger and better things to come! now let me introduce you to my ipad...
Alas, all I see is the exact same Monster Catalogue that has no use for me whatsoever. Seriously, does any of us have a use for this that isn't subsumed by the Compendium and a good Word program?



I am actually getting some nice use out of it by scaling monsters.  Level 9's to level 11 or so, for export to the VT... VT, I miss my VT.  Where are you?

But yes.  They are planning a lot more for this.  Not sure why they released it as is, but they have been saying that they mainly wanted to make sure it was stable, and worked with the VT, and THEN they would start working on the features of it.  So, not sure how long it will take, but..  well, there you go.
"Five million Cybermen, easy. One Doctor? NOW you're scared!" - Rose Tyler