DDI value rising

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Over the past couple of weeks i have really begun noticing Insider articles that really popped for me, things that made me go, "If only i had subscribed."  Not as many as when i first started, when i got home from school and went to the DND homepage looking for new articles.  But i am seeing more that i am interested in.  @WotC, Keep doing what you're going with more interesting articles and you might have one more DDI customer.  And people out there, tell me what you have seen for better or worse.
really? i have kind of felt the opposite this month. im kind of sick of nothing but heroic tier adventures. theres two articles i look forward to this month. its still worth it, but im not being blown away, certainly not by any of the articles this month
I would agree with the OP.  There are about 6 articles this month that I am interested in spread across both magazines.  That seems to be up from past months.  Honestly though the value of DDi to me is mainly in the CB.  While I don't begrudge the Forgotten Realms (incl Neverwinter), Eberron, and Dark Sun themed articles they tend to be of limited use to me as I don't play in any of those settings.  The crunch of course is useful, but I tend to disallow too strongly themed elements (for instance I don't allow DS masterwork armor materials).  I'd still love more Nentir Vale (and surrounding areas like the Barony of Therund, the Trollhaunt, Vor Rukoth, the Winterbole Forest and the Stonemarch) fluff to expand the world of Nerath.  The articles they are publishing are interesting, but are too far away from the home base of the Nentir Vale to be very useful.  Maybe in another campaign.

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DDI value for me is still in the zone of "reducing a cost", and not in "providing a great service".

$70/year sounds a lot, but if I count the hours it saves me compared to pen&paper for the CB, I'd still rather spend the money. At least while the group is actively playing, and whilst my players want to use the latest core items, feats and powers.

Still I've been doing it through gritted teeth, ever since the superior (and for me, even more cost-effective) offline tools were halted in favour of the new model.
DDI value for me is still in the zone of "reducing a cost", and not in "providing a great service".

$70/year sounds a lot, but if I count the hours it saves me compared to pen&paper for the CB, I'd still rather spend the money. At least while the group is actively playing, and whilst my players want to use the latest core items, feats and powers.

Still I've been doing it through gritted teeth, ever since the superior (and for me, even more cost-effective) offline tools were halted in favour of the new model.



I agree with this. It's worth the money but service is poor and expectation management appalling.

I do, though, agree with the OP that artic le quality (and quantity) across the magazines is much better than it was, say, six months ago. From this month's Dungeon, I will probably use all of it at some point and of Dragon, I will use most. Hope they keep this up.
Marginally better, though still quite variable.  For instance, there were several articles last month that interestedme.  This month, not so much.

And like Frothsof, I have just about had my fill of heroic tier adventures.  Thanks to the Chaos Scar, we have enough of those to last for the remainder of this edition and probably the next two.  I really wish the other tiers would ge some attention, for a change, ESPECIALLY Epic. 
Dragon or Dungeon improving significantly would be a nice bonus, were I convinced it was happening beyond the usual variance one can expect from month to month. But until there's a usable monster builder I still don't see the point of subscribing, for myself at least. Another thing that would interest me - adventures for a wider variety of levels - has been briefly addressed in this thread, that would help but is still utterly eclipsed by the Adventure Tools issue.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
The service is still nowhere near 2009 standards when we had offline char builder that worked in most ways better than the online thingy, an actual monster builder, and a new crunch article nearly every day. I'll resub when I see this kind of service return.



Heh, Jeff has Finnish last name, neat.
I'm a third-generation Canadian and have never been to Finland, but yes, that's where the last name comes from. Most people guess Dutch or German (and I've heard every Heineken gag imaginable), unless they're from Finland themselves (I notice the same "nen" pattern in your username).



Just to add an on-topic observation having nothing in particular to do with the above post, I'm not being totally fair in my previous post - some of the other once-promised tools materializing would make DDI arguably worth it too. I'd still be hesitant to trust WotC based on anything short of a fait accompli, though, given their track record.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
I'm a third-generation Canadian and have never been to Finland, but yes, that's where the last name comes from. Most people guess Dutch or German (and I've heard every Heineken gag imaginable), unless they're from Finland themselves (I notice the same "nen" pattern in your username).




"nen" is very common ending in Finnish last names. It means of/from something. In your case it means "of Heikki", and Heikki is a man's first name. In my case it means that I am from the Excalibur roleplaying club (which is often abbreviated as "Exca"). So it's not my real last name.
I'm a third-generation Canadian and have never been to Finland, but yes, that's where the last name comes from. Most people guess Dutch or German (and I've heard every Heineken gag imaginable), unless they're from Finland themselves (I notice the same "nen" pattern in your username).




"nen" is very common ending in Finnish last names. It means of/from something. In your case it means "of Heikki", and Heikki is a man's first name. In my case it means that I am from the Excalibur roleplaying club (which is often abbreviated as "Exca"). So it's not my real last name.



Funny story about finnish names and midwives.

My grandfather comes from a split name Family.  The Byykkonen's and the Pyykkonen's, Half the family was born to Finnish midwives who spelled it right with a P and the other half to american Midwives who spelled the Finnish P with a B. 

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

The service is still nowhere near 2009 standards when we had offline char builder that worked in most ways better than the online thingy, an actual monster builder, and a new crunch article nearly every day. I'll resub when I see this kind of service return.



Heh, Jeff has Finnish last name, neat.

I'm the opposite of you here.  If they went even more with Crunch (and presuming that this meant less of other material) I'd consider the value of my subscription to be dropping.  As it stands there is just not the same kind of need for dozens of more classes, hundreds of more feats etc. as there was in 2009.

Pretty much my view here is that we know have enough material that even if I'm really picky and don't have any interest in playing a character with 95% of what has been put out there are still enough character concepts now on the table that really interest me that I could realize several good characters for each (roughly 2 year) campaign to last for at least the next 30 odd years and I get very significantly less utility out of WotC making it so that I have enough characters to get me through campaigns for the next 36 years instead of 30 years.  Plus they have really hit most of the low hanging fruit.  I won't begrudge filling out some of the holes (be they feats missing for standard builds, or support for some of the less supported classes) still in the system but there is a lot less they can do mechanically to the characters at this point.  In effect there is already some serous bloat in the system and anything new that is added should be sparse and of top quality IMO.  

What I really want to see is well designed adventures and more in the way of stuff that supports playing in a campaign as opposed to stuff that supports realizing more character builds.  Oh and I really want to see more adventure tools - where the heck is my Adventure Design program and my Campaign Manager?

What I really want to see is well designed adventures and more in the way of stuff that supports playing in a campaign as opposed to stuff that supports realizing more character builds.  Oh and I really want to see more adventure tools - where the heck is my Adventure Design program and my Campaign Manager?



Pretty much this.  I'm not opposed (actually would love to see) more themes and backgrounds for characters. But as far as more crunch in the form of feats, classes, odd races, etc.  Not so much. 4e has more than enough. As a DM, make my life easier with quick, easy to use, robust software, interesting adventures and amazing ideas!

-S.

We always should keep in mind that what one person wants is very different from what another wants. Most campaigns are in heroic and a lot of DMs want to see new ideas. A lot of DMs take an adventure and mine it for ideas rather than running it as-is. A good adventure provides a lot more than just something for a specific level range or even tier.

Overall, the value of DDI is already really high compared to offerings from other companies or historically from any RPG company. The quality is really top-notch and paying for that volume would be a lot more than the monthly or yearly fee. The upcoming additions truly increase that value. Sure, that won't be true for everyone's personal assessment, but it is for many gamers.

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Right now the only thing I truly need from DDI is the compendium. This is a massive time saver for me as I am DM'ing several campaigns and it's worth the cost alone. However, the number of bugs and omissions from the compendium I've noticed over the last few months has really ticked me off.

For me personally, here's how I rate DDI...

Highest value:  Compendium (and hopefully the new MB coming out this week)

High value: art galleries, map galleries, adventures, Dungeon magazine in general

Moderate value: Dragon magazine in general, online CB (need HR options), virtual table

Low Value: Current online MB (which doesn't build monsters)

No Value: Name generator (joke)


What would boost the value of my DDI subscription?
- searchable index for Dragon + Dungeon
- HR options for CB including custom items/feats/powers
- Campaign organizer including encounter builder synched with CB and MB (standalone software separate from the VT)
- Dungeon tile software that would allow me to print customs maps (again, separate from VT)
this month ive felt underwhelmed in the last 2 months i was pretty satisfied. 

next month is the oriential themes, race and runepriest stuff so thats what im REALLY looking foward to 
My sub is up as of 3 days ago because of the lack of useful, high quality, content.  This month was a pretty big deal sealer for me.  The builder and the compedium are worthwhile but not at current cost and set up.  The only real use I have for it right now is to submit dragon articles and I can do that without those (mostly).
Value is in the eye of the beholder  (.. or is that `eye's' ..  go ahead, shoot me for the bad pun.)

Is their value here in the $70 a year?  For me personally, yes.  THE CB is quick, has worked flawlessly for me, and I like getting the printed cards.

The compendium is also great to have, though I firmly agree (and beg on pleading and bended knee) it needs a bolean search. 

The Dragon/Dungeon magazine articles/mods:  OK..  some I use, some I don't.  A good and robust search engine is also a must here. 

The MB:  Useful to me as I'm able to create/modify beasties for my homebrew.

Encounter builder:  a bit plain jane, and definitely needs some love, but get you going in the right direction.

The VT:  I've been able to play once, and I love it.  It is a bit cumbersome, and I wouldn't suggest new players dive in there straight away.  The players in there know their stuff, and I was overwhelmed myself.  (Keep in mind, I'm only 6-7 weeks out of Red Box. (I'm a previous 2e player from years back.) 

So..  is their value here?..  for some yes, for some no.  Will it become more valuable?..  worth the $$$?..  thats up to WotC.


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FWIW, I've renewed my DDI subscription. There are still some issues I have with the service, but I have to admit that it makes planning games easier for me.

 
Glad to have you back, Newbie!

I am curious how the Kara-Tur month will be received by everyone content-wise. I'm really excited by it. I loved the recent 0-level rules and I've really seen an increase in article quality. Yeah, there are fewer PC options/article, but that isn't a problem for me. I find I have tons of PC options.

I really dig the improvements to the Monster Builder. If they improve export and monster math a bit... that should be really compelling for DMs. An Encounter Builder would likely seal the deal for just about any DM that can afford a subscription.

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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).

im looking forward to kara-tur but really could do without getting more level 0 support than epic
We always should keep in mind that what one person wants is very different from what another wants. Most campaigns are in heroic and a lot of DMs want to see new ideas. A lot of DMs take an adventure and mine it for ideas rather than running it as-is. A good adventure provides a lot more than just something for a specific level range or even tier.

Overall, the value of DDI is already really high compared to offerings from other companies or historically from any RPG company. The quality is really top-notch and paying for that volume would be a lot more than the monthly or yearly fee. The upcoming additions truly increase that value. Sure, that won't be true for everyone's personal assessment, but it is for many gamers.


We should also keep in mind that what one person defines as value is very different from another.  For me, I haven't seen enough value in DDI to re-subscribe.  The current state of the tools haven't progressed to a level to make them invaluable to me.  Saying that the quality is "top-notch" is very subjective.

For me, DDI still has a hill to climb before I can consider it a value for my hard-worked cash.  I don't dissuade others from having their own value-judgements when it comes to DDI; everyone has to make their own choices.

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Agreed, though in this case I feel good making the statements I made in light of the industry standard. If I look at similar offerings, the quality is no better and is often significantly lower. Blog stuff, Paizo, KQ, magazine-style freebies from other RPG companies, historical offerings for D&D... WotC is as good as any of those in terms of writing quality, freelancer pedigree, innovation, breadth of offering, etc.

Sure, it will always be subjective. If you only play Mutants and Masterminds there is no reason to subscribe. If you play a mix of 3.5 and 4E, KQ might be a better value. But, overall for the industry, the quality of DDI is very high.

The same is true of tools. Yeah, there are some good ones out there. But, fans tend to forget how often a third-party free solution breaks down or is behind in content/function. Most efforts start really strong and then die down as the workload becomes significant and the enthusiasm diminishes. We forgive these people (as we should), but then tend to re-arrange our brains to think that only DDI has issues.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

+1 to all of these sentiments...

DDI value for me is still in the zone of "reducing a cost", and not in "providing a great service".

$70/year sounds a lot, but if I count the hours it saves me compared to pen&paper for the CB, I'd still rather spend the money. At least while the group is actively playing, and whilst my players want to use the latest core items, feats and powers.

Still I've been doing it through gritted teeth, ever since the superior (and for me, even more cost-effective) offline tools were halted in favour of the new model.



DDI value for me is still in the zone of "reducing a cost", and not in "providing a great service".

$70/year sounds a lot, but if I count the hours it saves me compared to pen&paper for the CB, I'd still rather spend the money. At least while the group is actively playing, and whilst my players want to use the latest core items, feats and powers.

Still I've been doing it through gritted teeth, ever since the superior (and for me, even more cost-effective) offline tools were halted in favour of the new model.



I agree with this. It's worth the money but service is poor and expectation management appalling.

I do, though, agree with the OP that artic le quality (and quantity) across the magazines is much better than it was, say, six months ago. From this month's Dungeon, I will probably use all of it at some point and of Dragon, I will use most. Hope they keep this up.



The service is still nowhere near 2009 standards when we had offline char builder that worked in most ways better than the online thingy, an actual monster builder, and a new crunch article nearly every day. I'll resub when I see this kind of service return.



Heh, Jeff has Finnish last name, neat.



I'm a third-generation Canadian and have never been to Finland, but yes, that's where the last name comes from. Most people guess Dutch or German (and I've heard every Heineken gag imaginable), unless they're from Finland themselves (I notice the same "nen" pattern in your username).



Just to add an on-topic observation having nothing in particular to do with the above post, I'm not being totally fair in my previous post - some of the other once-promised tools materializing would make DDI arguably worth it too. I'd still be hesitant to trust WotC based on anything short of a fait accompli, though, given their track record.




What I really want to see is well designed adventures and more in the way of stuff that supports playing in a campaign as opposed to stuff that supports realizing more character builds.  Oh and I really want to see more adventure tools - where the heck is my Adventure Design program and my Campaign Manager?



Pretty much this.  I'm not opposed (actually would love to see) more themes and backgrounds for characters. But as far as more crunch in the form of feats, classes, odd races, etc.  Not so much. 4e has more than enough. As a DM, make my life easier with quick, easy to use, robust software, interesting adventures and amazing ideas!

-S.




My sub is up as of 3 days ago because of the lack of useful, high quality, content.  This month was a pretty big deal sealer for me.  The builder and the compedium are worthwhile but not at current cost and set up.  The only real use I have for it right now is to submit dragon articles and I can do that without those (mostly).



"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.
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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.
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I for one am very happy with the work being done on Adventure Tools and the Character Builder and DDI certainly feels worth the price of again even if I think it took far too long for Wotc to fix what they broke more then a year ago. Can´t really speak much about Dungeon or Dragon content. I only pay for the programs and they are starting to shape up nicely. Still things to do, but I feel that the latest update provided solid improvement all around.
I just think that it's sad that amateur 3rd party developers can do far far better than WotC, and yet rather than embrace those tools, integrate them, and use them as selling points for DDI, WotC keeps failing with its own tools.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
I just think that it's sad that amateur 3rd party developers can do far far better than WotC, and yet rather than embrace those tools, integrate them, and use them as selling points for DDI, WotC keeps failing with its own tools.


Anyone can say "WotC keeps failing".  It's the cheap easy shot and without specifics it looks more true than it actually is.  I challenge you to say WHY WotC is failing.  I'll bet money that you either don't, or it will turn out that some of "WotC's failures" aren't really "failures", but just your opinion.
Anyone can say "WotC keeps failing".  It's the cheap easy shot and without specifics it looks more true than it actually is.  I challenge you to say WHY WotC is failing.  I'll bet money that you either don't, or it will turn out that some of "WotC's failures" aren't really "failures", but just your opinion.


I've stated my thoughts many times in this forum, but if you really want to know why:

-Failure to provide pdfs or other digital books as promised
-Failure to launch the 3d VTT that was promised
-Failure to launch any VTT within the timeframe that was promised
-Failure to deliver online tools on par with the offline tools
-Failure to match the capabilities and speed of amateur developers. For example, Masterplan has an incredible Monster Builder that is far superior to WotC's, not to mention a great Encounter Builder, and a Skill Challenge Builder (which I don't from WotC at all), and maybe I'm wrong, but I don't believe they have a Trap/Hazard Builder either, which it does. And its been doing all of those for some time. Or how the internet community gave the offline CB more functionality than it had when it was officially supported by WotC. Or comparing what Maptool has provided absolutely free for years before WotC even got a VTT into beta. Really the only thing WotC has going for it is database of DDI data.

That's just off the top of my head.

And I'll bet money that you just don't like what I've had to say so you'll either ignore my points, try to spin and downplay them without seriously addressing them, or say that they're my opinion, since apparently opinions don't matter.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
I just think that it's sad that amateur 3rd party developers can do far far better than WotC, and yet rather than embrace those tools, integrate them, and use them as selling points for DDI, WotC keeps failing with its own tools.



To be honest I'd have to agree, as a 3rd party developer, that WotC certainly hasn't made my life any easier. In fact the only time they've ever reached out to me was to make my life more difficult.
Anyone can say "WotC keeps failing".  It's the cheap easy shot and without specifics it looks more true than it actually is.  I challenge you to say WHY WotC is failing.  I'll bet money that you either don't, or it will turn out that some of "WotC's failures" aren't really "failures", but just your opinion.


I've stated my thoughts many times in this forum, but if you really want to know why:

-Failure to provide pdfs or other digital books as promised
-Failure to launch the 3d VTT that was promised
-Failure to launch any VTT within the timeframe that was promised
-Failure to deliver online tools on par with the offline tools
-Failure to match the capabilities and speed of amateur developers. For example, Masterplan has an incredible Monster Builder that is far superior to WotC's, not to mention a great Encounter Builder, and a Skill Challenge Builder (which I don't from WotC at all), and maybe I'm wrong, but I don't believe they have a Trap/Hazard Builder either, which it does. And its been doing all of those for some time. Or how the internet community gave the offline CB more functionality than it had when it was officially supported by WotC. Or comparing what Maptool has provided absolutely free for years before WotC even got a VTT into beta. Really the only thing WotC has going for it is database of DDI data.

That's just off the top of my head.

And I'll bet money that you just don't like what I've had to say so you'll either ignore my points, try to spin and downplay them without seriously addressing them, or say that they're my opinion, since apparently opinions don't matter.


And, yet, that's still opinion as to whether or not it's a failure.  My opinion, should you care:

-Failure to provide pdfs or other digital books as promised

They tried, ran into piracy roadblocks and decided against it.  Making a choice not to pursue something is not the same as failure.

-Failure to launch the 3d VTT that was promised

The company they had subcontracted to produce it went out of business.  What do you expect them to do about it, exactly?  They're not a software development house, they never had the capability to do it themselves.

-Failure to launch any VTT within the timeframe that was promised

Again with the not being a software development house and the company that went out of business.  Your biased viewpoint conveniently ignores the reality of the situation that happened.

-Failure to deliver online tools on par with the offline tools

They...did?  I'm sorry, you could have made this point as recently as a week ago, but the online CB is now better than the offline CB, at least the version that's not a violation of intellectual property laws.  They also completely revamped the Monster Builder, and it's much improved.  Though, since I note that you're not actually a DDI subscriber, I'm not sure how you'd have access to this information to avoid being wrong out of sheer ignorance.  I can't comment on the one from Masterplan, but I do know that the current Monster Builder does everything I need it to.

-Failure to match the capabilities and speed of amateur developers.

Again, they're not a real software development house.  You're comparing a team of probably half a dozen at most who probably have other tasks as well to the distributed development team of the internet, where you can find a large number of volunteers with an enormous amount of time on their hands.  Sure, you can say "well they should just use that volunteer work!" but unfortunately the laws don't work like that.  They'd have to pay royalties for the intellectual property, and that's not something they as a company can feasibly do.

"Failure" is a bit of a strong word given your wildly unrealistic expectations.  And yes, it is just your opinion.  Opinions based on incorrect facts in several places, at that.
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Anyone can say "WotC keeps failing".  It's the cheap easy shot and without specifics it looks more true than it actually is.  I challenge you to say WHY WotC is failing.  I'll bet money that you either don't, or it will turn out that some of "WotC's failures" aren't really "failures", but just your opinion.


I've stated my thoughts many times in this forum, but if you really want to know why:

-Failure to provide pdfs or other digital books as promised
-Failure to launch the 3d VTT that was promised
-Failure to launch any VTT within the timeframe that was promised
-Failure to deliver online tools on par with the offline tools
-Failure to match the capabilities and speed of amateur developers. For example, Masterplan has an incredible Monster Builder that is far superior to WotC's, not to mention a great Encounter Builder, and a Skill Challenge Builder (which I don't from WotC at all), and maybe I'm wrong, but I don't believe they have a Trap/Hazard Builder either, which it does. And its been doing all of those for some time. Or how the internet community gave the offline CB more functionality than it had when it was officially supported by WotC. Or comparing what Maptool has provided absolutely free for years before WotC even got a VTT into beta. Really the only thing WotC has going for it is database of DDI data.

That's just off the top of my head.

And I'll bet money that you just don't like what I've had to say so you'll either ignore my points, try to spin and downplay them without seriously addressing them, or say that they're my opinion, since apparently opinions don't matter.



You're right. The thing is, when I pay for DDI, I'm paying for the database. I don't expect Wizards of the Coast to be a top notch software team. I expect them to be a top notch RPG publishing house and they really are.  I guess ymmv but I'm willing to pay so that I a) don't have to  buy every book in order to get all the options and b) can access this information on the fly without having to remember which book it's in, going to my library (which is only at home I don't lug all those things around with me), finding the book, looking in the index, getting frustrated by the index, looking in the table of contents finding an approximate page, and then flipping through until I find exactly what I'm looking for.

The extra tools? They're icing. And even then they're so much better than what any RPG publishing house is putting out right now.
You're right. The thing is, when I pay for DDI, I'm paying for the database. I don't expect Wizards of the Coast to be a top notch software team.


Exactly! I agree 100%. That's why I'm saying they should be embracing other developers that are doing a better job than they are, and working to integrate them into DDI.

Just when I was going to subscribe so that I could have Masterplan (which I use extensively) tap into DDI and have updated monster databases for encounter building, WotC issued a C&D against it instead. I certainly am not interested in the online-only tools, I want stuff that I can access offline.

I expect them to be a top notch RPG publishing house and they really are.


And my issues with them have nothing to do with the quality of their games.

The extra tools? They're icing. And even then they're so much better than what any RPG publishing house is putting out right now.


But not better than what random people are doing on their free time and offering for free.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
And, yet, that's still opinion as to whether or not it's a failure.  My opinion, should you care:


Of course it's an opinion. There's no universal standard I can pull out and point to.

-Failure to provide pdfs or other digital books as promised

They tried, ran into piracy roadblocks and decided against it.  Making a choice not to pursue something is not the same as failure.


I call BS. Every book from OD&D through 3e could be found online before they started selling pdfs and even after they pulled them every 4e book could still be found online. Heck, you can find the CB, MB, and Compendium on torrent sites.

Personally, I think that it didn't actually have anything to do with piracy. I think it had to do with trying to push DDI, of which they later chose to push the offline tools to online only. Can I prove it? No, but it makes more sense than any mention of piracy.

-Failure to launch the 3d VTT that was promised

The company they had subcontracted to produce it went out of business.  What do you expect them to do about it, exactly?  They're not a software development house, they never had the capability to do it themselves.

-Failure to launch any VTT within the timeframe that was promised

Again with the not being a software development house and the company that went out of business.  Your biased viewpoint conveniently ignores the reality of the situation that happened.


Well that would still be a failure wouldn't it? They promised something and didn't deliver. If it was developed in house and their servers crashed and lost a lot of data, that would still be a failure to deliver. If their programming team all quit at once and a new one had to start from scratch, that would be a failure.

Now in reality, I don't care. The VTT they had planned looked cool, but right now I'm happy with Maptool and their new VTT isn't enough to pull me into a subscription. I only mentioned it because I was told I could not pull out any examples of WotC failing at something. Promising something and not delivering it is a failure.

-Failure to deliver online tools on par with the offline tools

They...did?  I'm sorry, you could have made this point as recently as a week ago, but the online CB is now better than the offline CB, at least the version that's not a violation of intellectual property laws. 


Well gee, I do most graciously apologize that I wasn't updated on something that changed less than a week ago. I should be so ashamed.

Anyway, I notice you mention the "other" CB, and it sounds to me like that one is still better. Besides, care to explain how that's in violation of IP laws? All it does is allow you to add new data. Sharing data that belongs to WotC is one thing, but if you enter it yourself or use it to add houseruled data, nothing wrong with that AFAIK.

Also, the new one still online-only. Which means that for what I need, it is not as good as the old CB. So yeah, that's an opinion. But it's my opinion, and that's what I'm going to go off of when deciding whether or not to subscribe. I don't care how awesome DDI is for you because I'm not paying WotC for your enjoyment.

They also completely revamped the Monster Builder, and it's much improved.  Though, since I note that you're not actually a DDI subscriber, I'm not sure how you'd have access to this information to avoid being wrong out of sheer ignorance. 


You are absolutely right. How could I possibly know anything about DDI without being a subscriber. There's no other way whatsoever that I could have any idea what DDI offers. Just like I've never read any books that I don't own, or watched any movies that aren't sitting on my DVD shelf, and every single player at the table has their own PHB.

I can't comment on the one from Masterplan, but I do know that the current Monster Builder does everything I need it to.


And if it does what you need it to do, great. Obviously that's all that's going to be important for you. It does not do what I need it to do. I don't have anything against you for paying for a service that works for you, I take issue when people get upset that I say it doesn't work for me and suggest what they should do, since the answer always seems to be something along the lines of how dare I challenge the almight WotC that does such great and awesome things.

Now admittedly the tone of my earlier post was pretty negative, but there were other times when I've said things more politely and I get a bunch of apologists jumping down my throat over. So yeah, I get a little jaded, but I'm not going to let a bunch of people I don't know stop my from popping in once in a while to voice my opinion.

-Failure to match the capabilities and speed of amateur developers.

Again, they're not a real software development house.  You're comparing a team of probably half a dozen at most who probably have other tasks as well to the distributed development team of the internet, where you can find a large number of volunteers with an enormous amount of time on their hands.  Sure, you can say "well they should just use that volunteer work!" but unfortunately the laws don't work like that.  They'd have to pay royalties for the intellectual property, and that's not something they as a company can feasibly do.


Well fortunately I didn't say "they can just use volunteer work". I said they could offer better integration of DDI with 3rd party programs. Like Dr Nick was saying, you would basically pay for the database and then there would be all these other programs that can access it. There wouldn't be any royalties involved because the data would be coming from WotC and it would be data you had purchased. If they did this, I would gladly subscribe, just for Masterplan alone, not to mention all the other potential programs that might emerge if there was better support for them.

"Failure" is a bit of a strong word given your wildly unrealistic expectations.  And yes, it is just your opinion.  Opinions based on incorrect facts in several places, at that.


I really don't think my expectations are very unrealistic. If you don't have a lot of talent yourself, make use of someone else's. And what "several places" were they based on incorrect facts. The only thing you said that might be news to me is changes to DDI from a few days ago, but as I've said, the changes aren't enough for what I need.

And yes, of course it's my opinion. You've already said that, and I don't know why you need to. That was established before you even hit the reply button.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
Well gee, I do most graciously apologize that I wasn't updated on something that changed less than a week ago. I should be so ashamed.


You are absolutely right. How could I possibly know anything about DDI without being a subscriber. There's no other way whatsoever that I could have any idea what DDI offers. Just like I've never read any books that I don't own, or watched any movies that aren't sitting on my DVD shelf, and every single player at the table has their own PHB.


If you're going to be wholly negative, sarcastic, and unconstructive, you could at least try to be consistent.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

-Failure to match the capabilities and speed of amateur developers.

Again, they're not a real software development house.  You're comparing a team of probably half a dozen at most who probably have other tasks as well to the distributed development team of the internet, where you can find a large number of volunteers with an enormous amount of time on their hands.  Sure, you can say "well they should just use that volunteer work!" but unfortunately the laws don't work like that.  They'd have to pay royalties for the intellectual property, and that's not something they as a company can feasibly do.


Well fortunately I didn't say "they can just use volunteer work". I said they could offer better integration of DDI with 3rd party programs.


No they can't (see below explanation).
Like Dr Nick was saying, you would basically pay for the database and then there would be all these other programs that can access it. There wouldn't be any royalties involved because the data would be coming from WotC and it would be data you had purchased. If they did this, I would gladly subscribe, just for Masterplan alone, not to mention all the other potential programs that might emerge if there was better support for them.



Your definition of "better integration" isn't integration at all.  You want them to "sell" their data.  That puts them right back where they were with the offline tools where you got what you wanted and now there is no way for them to enforce their EULA (paraphrased - you may no longer have access to our data if you are no longer subscribing).  You're suggesting that WotC slit it's own throat.

Whether or not you like it, WotC has made their (business) decision about this.  If offline is your thing, then DDI will never be for you.

failure
nonperformance of something due, required, or expected: afailure to do what one has promised; a failure to appear.

 
A general observation:  I can make up any expectation I want such as "I expect WtoC to make the sun to rise in the west" and then talk about how "WotC failed".  It would be true that they did indeed "fail", but that doesn't make my expectation reasonable by any stretch of the imagination.  Based on this I'm going to limit "failures" to only things that they promised. 


Anyone can say "WotC keeps failing".  It's the cheap easy shot and without specifics it looks more true than it actually is.  I challenge you to say WHY WotC is failing.  I'll bet money that you either don't, or it will turn out that some of "WotC's failures" aren't really "failures", but just your opinion.

 
I've stated my thoughts many times in this forum, but if you really want to know why:

-Failure to provide pdfs or other digital books as promised


False.  They had PDF's and pulled them.  They have not since "promised" to bring them back.

-Failure to launch the 3d VTT that was promised
-Failure to launch any VTT within the timeframe that was promised


True.  But your assertion was that "WotC keeps failing" not "WotC failed once...a long time ago".  In order to support your assertion you need to show things that they promised and didn't do over a period of time and specifically you need some things that are really recent or they can be described as "no longer failing to deliever their promises".

-Failure to deliver online tools on par with the offline tools
-Failure to match the capabilities and speed of amateur developers. For example, Masterplan has an incredible Monster Builder that is far superior to WotC's, not to mention a great Encounter Builder, and a Skill Challenge Builder (which I don't from WotC at all), and maybe I'm wrong, but I don't believe they have a Trap/Hazard Builder either, which it does. And its been doing all of those for some time. Or how the internet community gave the offline CB more functionality than it had when it was officially supported by WotC. Or comparing what Maptool has provided absolutely free for years before WotC even got a VTT into beta. Really the only thing WotC has going for it is database of DDI data.

That's just off the top of my head.

And I'll bet money that you just don't like what I've had to say so you'll either ignore my points, try to spin and downplay them without seriously addressing them, or say that they're my opinion, since apparently opinions don't matter.


False.  None of these things were ever promised.  Businesses use terms like "we intend" or "we would like to" when talking about future features or new projects specifically because of the points you bring up.  To use a phrase I'm fond of "Underpromise and overdeliver".  You of course are free to use these reasons as criteria for not using their service, but you can't claim that WotC failed at something they never said they would do.

At current you have one WotC failure from 3 years ago.  As for a single data point being used to prove your assertion "WotC keeps failing" I'd say you completely and utterly failed.
adding my 2cp, i've finally decided to let my DDI subscription lapse.  i've been a subscriber since the beginning, and of dragon and dungeon magazine for a long time before that.

for me, it comes down to this.  DDI is a poor replacement for dragon and dungeon.  the online character builder still isn't as functional as the character builder which came before it, and is useless to me personally.  and i've realized that most of the subscriber-only content in the last year or so has been filed away on my computer, uninteresting and unread.  it certainly doesn't get used in my campaign.

i'll be back when there's a real magazine on the shelf, maybe.  until then, still a fan of 4e, still a fan of wizards.  best of luck, guys.
>>< drow ><<