Does Wizards care about the quality of the user experience?

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Wizards seems to have a persistent issue delivering content in a professional manner.  Articles are regularly published in the RSS feed that don't exist, have bad links, or result in an 500 (server error).  Earlier today "Thormil's Secret" and "House of the Mind" have been advertised but the links result in a 404.  I cannot express how frustrating this is.  Publishing in an accurately, completely, and timely is necessary to be seen by your customers as professional and worthy of our money.  Wizards has issues with all three of these.  Making accurate posts of content availablility is by far the easist thing to get right and has been solved numerous times.  In a serious organization people get fired for failing to ensure that their published content meets the organizations quality standards.  The only conclusion that I can draw from Wizards' inability to maintain quality is that you don't give a crap about the customer's experience with your site.  If you don't care about me, why should I renew my subscription?  I've been subscribed to D&DI from the start, and now I fail to understand why I should renew.
Frustration noted.

WotC is a business, and you can bet the last dollar they will (like any business) keep the best face forward.  IF they have technical issues, they should be trying to rectify them.  It all depends on the expertise of them they've hired, and how intent they are that such rectifications occur.

More than likely, you will get a `We are working on it.'  Are they?..  who knows.  IF they want the business to continue any modicum of success, it would seem they would endeavour(sp) to do so with all due dispatch.

If the rectification does not come?..  does that mean they don't care?  I'm not sure we can say that.  It may be technical ineptitude, which (like any business) will never be admitted do.

After all... best face forward, right?

 


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`We are working on it.' 

Which typically translates to "It's on our 'to do' list," particularly in the software development world.

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.
I'm not sure why these are common, though I note that Paizo has the same problem.

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The user experience?  My god, I've just rejoined after a few years away.  What a mess the site is.  I know you have to sell sell sell every product, but I have just paid you something so ...

Please - PLEASE - do the smallest courtesy to subscribers and when they log in, remove all the annoying, space-filling "JOIN DnDi", and remove the icons indicating subscriber-only.  That, for one, would increase my user experience.

2nd request: up where you login, a button to take the user to their account, so they can go quickly to their emails and read the replies to their posts.  Wink

Thanks!
I can say that the state of DDI is horrible almost a year after going online.  I am so sick of the character builder taking forever to load, having to attempt to print from it ten times before it actually works, and having it repeatedly lock up on me while making or loading a character.  It is complete rubbish, and there is no way I would subscribe again.  If you can't get the program to work reliably enough to be useful, you might as well not even offer it.  I so wish my laptop with the old CB hadn't died.  I would much prefer using it to this pile of garbage that is the online CB.
I can say that the state of DDI is horrible almost a year after going online.  I am so sick of the character builder taking forever to load, having to attempt to print from it ten times before it actually works, and having it repeatedly lock up on me while making or loading a character.  It is complete rubbish, and there is no way I would subscribe again.  If you can't get the program to work reliably enough to be useful, you might as well not even offer it.  I so wish my laptop with the old CB hadn't died.  I would much prefer using it to this pile of garbage that is the online CB.


I've never had the problems you describe.  I suggest you look at your hardware/setup/OS.  The printing issue in Silverlight and large spool files sizes is known, and either doesn't happen (on even moderate hardware Windows machines) or can be worked around by using a PDF printer and setting the resolution to ~150 dpi.

If it's really taking "forever" to load then you have some low end crappy hardware (or some other issue - that you should really look into).
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Please keep your posts polite, respectful, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks.
I occasionally have the issue the OP describes but it's generally when I'm checking the site before I go to work at 5.30-6am GMT/BST (9.30pm - 10pm PST or thereabouts).

Given that the articles linked are generally dated for today's date by my time but a day ahead Seattle time, I'm inclined to forgive them if they got the links up before the articles were attached. Whilst I have often complained about service issues in the past, I'm pleased to say that this isn't one for me.

I can say that the state of DDI is horrible almost a year after going online.  I am so sick of the character builder taking forever to load, having to attempt to print from it ten times before it actually works, and having it repeatedly lock up on me while making or loading a character.  It is complete rubbish, and there is no way I would subscribe again.  If you can't get the program to work reliably enough to be useful, you might as well not even offer it.  I so wish my laptop with the old CB hadn't died.  I would much prefer using it to this pile of garbage that is the online CB.


I've never had the problems you describe.  I suggest you look at your hardware/setup/OS.  The printing issue in Silverlight and large spool files sizes is known, and either doesn't happen (on even moderate hardware Windows machines) or can be worked around by using a PDF printer and setting the resolution to ~150 dpi.

If it's really taking "forever" to load then you have some low end crappy hardware (or some other issue - that you should really look into).





This is what you get when you go to an online model. Not everyone in the world has the capability to buy a 50m down 5 up connection to the Internet. There are many people and places where their broadband Internet is 1 to 1.5 mb and that is the fastest that is offered, or worse yet, they have to tether to their cellphone or use a dial up connection.
WOTC Podcast: "The web is a shortcut" "Piracy was a big thing"
I can say that the state of DDI is horrible almost a year after going online.  I am so sick of the character builder taking forever to load, having to attempt to print from it ten times before it actually works, and having it repeatedly lock up on me while making or loading a character.  It is complete rubbish, and there is no way I would subscribe again.  If you can't get the program to work reliably enough to be useful, you might as well not even offer it.  I so wish my laptop with the old CB hadn't died.  I would much prefer using it to this pile of garbage that is the online CB.


I've never had the problems you describe.  I suggest you look at your hardware/setup/OS.  The printing issue in Silverlight and large spool files sizes is known, and either doesn't happen (on even moderate hardware Windows machines) or can be worked around by using a PDF printer and setting the resolution to ~150 dpi.

If it's really taking "forever" to load then you have some low end crappy hardware (or some other issue - that you should really look into).



This is what you get when you go to an online model. Not everyone in the world has the capability to buy a 50m down 5 up connection to the Internet. There are many people and places where their broadband Internet is 1 to 1.5 mb and that is the fastest that is offered, or worse yet, they have to tether to their cellphone or use a dial up connection.


If that is indeed his/her issue, then (s)he should be well aware and either accept it as an issue with any web service, or decide that their up/down speed makes the service not worth the price.  Trying to blame WotC for this is utter crap.  They chose a business/financial model that works for them and not every "potential" customer will be thrilled with that.  It is just a fact of doing business.  No product will ever satisfy all customers, nor should it try.
I can say that the state of DDI is horrible almost a year after going online.  I am so sick of the character builder taking forever to load, having to attempt to print from it ten times before it actually works, and having it repeatedly lock up on me while making or loading a character.  It is complete rubbish, and there is no way I would subscribe again.  If you can't get the program to work reliably enough to be useful, you might as well not even offer it.  I so wish my laptop with the old CB hadn't died.  I would much prefer using it to this pile of garbage that is the online CB.


I've never had the problems you describe.  I suggest you look at your hardware/setup/OS.  The printing issue in Silverlight and large spool files sizes is known, and either doesn't happen (on even moderate hardware Windows machines) or can be worked around by using a PDF printer and setting the resolution to ~150 dpi.

If it's really taking "forever" to load then you have some low end crappy hardware (or some other issue - that you should really look into).



This is what you get when you go to an online model. Not everyone in the world has the capability to buy a 50m down 5 up connection to the Internet. There are many people and places where their broadband Internet is 1 to 1.5 mb and that is the fastest that is offered, or worse yet, they have to tether to their cellphone or use a dial up connection.


If that is indeed his/her issue, then (s)he should be well aware and either accept it as an issue with any web service, or decide that their up/down speed makes the service not worth the price.  Trying to blame WotC for this is utter crap.  They chose a business/financial model that works for them and not every "potential" customer will be thrilled with that.  It is just a fact of doing business.  No product will ever satisfy all customers, nor should it try.





I am blaming no one, however, lots of customers may not know the details. It happens every day in everything that people do. The service they are buying gets blamed. Go read about Netflix sometimes. This is one of the pitfalls of having an always online solution. You are reliant upon much more than the customers computer and a lot of customers either do not care or do not understand how it works. WotC knew this going in.

Heck, this same thing happens with cable, telephone and electricity when it is not their fault that a storm or a drunk driver damaged their equipment.

You can't just assume it is under someone's control that their experience is not like yours, that is the online life.

I would alsopoint out that the design of the program makes a slow Internet connection behave much worse than it has to. It is clearly not designed for a slow Internet connection and it was it was decided that it was not a priority to have a good user experience as such.
WOTC Podcast: "The web is a shortcut" "Piracy was a big thing"
It is clearly not designed for a slow Internet connection and it was it was decided that it was not a priority to have a good user experience as such.


From my POV I don't think [any] web development is aimed at the shinking minority of people on slow connections.  Any web development that restricts itself to a low bandwidth user will have a much less rich experience.  This is not intended to be a judgement one way or the other, but I don't think a company selling a product is going to try to sell a product that looks like crap because they chose to reduce their bandwidth requirements.
It is clearly not designed for a slow Internet connection and it was it was decided that it was not a priority to have a good user experience as such.


From my POV I don't think [any] web development is aimed at the shinking minority of people on slow connections.  Any web development that restricts itself to a low bandwidth user will have a much less rich experience.  This is not intended to be a judgement one way or the other, but I don't think a company selling a product is going to try to sell a product that looks like crap because they chose to reduce their bandwidth requirements.





I am in agreement with you, however they should also not sell a program where every click needs to go back to home base and be verified. Just a little clean up in how the client/server communications is handled can have a huge benefit on any type of connection - fast or slow.

There are best practices that I believe they did not really follow to get the product out. One day, maybe these things can be worked out.
WOTC Podcast: "The web is a shortcut" "Piracy was a big thing"
I am in agreement with you, however they should also not sell a program where every click needs to go back to home base and be verified. Just a little clean up in how the client/server communications is handled can have a huge benefit on any type of connection - fast or slow. There are best practices that I believe they did not really follow to get the product out. One day, maybe these things can be worked out.


Since I have not done any programming in Silverlight I'm not in a position to know if there are any inherent limitations.  I agree each click should not require a round trip to the server and back, but that's just a generic assessment.  I think the most painful part is the stats adjustment.  I can see not wanting to download the entire DB to each new connection as that will substantially slow the initial load time.  I can agree with (when selecting powers or feats) requesting a list of "valid options" or phrased differently, just requesting the data you need "right now".
I'm a software developer on an online application and designing with low bandwith (and also intermittent connections)  in mind is one of the ways to make your web app perform better for everyone.
I'm a software developer on an online application and designing with low bandwith (and also intermittent connections)  in mind is one of the ways to make your web app perform better for everyone.



This unfortunately is a very situation statement.  While this is good logic, it will not, nor can, apply to all things.  This application (the CB) having all it's data on Wizard's servers, and run over Silverlight, is a perfect example of a product that likely cannot be developed for 28k over a poor phone line. 

I had 256k till 4 months ago when I was finally able to move to fiber.  It ran just fine for me, took longer to load, and a little sluggish, but worked exactly as I expected it to on my connection.  I was never under any assumption that if the VT went live, it would work for me.  Most online games with a latency indicator gave me an easy 800, and XBox multiplayer deathmatch was free points for eveyone else on the team!

The truth is, what Wizards needs is:

1. people who are aware of their hardware limitations.
2. a minimum system requirements(including internet connection speed) for the DDi applications to assist people with #1



"The turning of the tide always begins with one soldier's decision to head back into the fray"

I have a couple of questions that I have always wondered about for the Character builder?

Was it built with user demographics considered? It's easier to build a better customer experience if you know who your customers are. To me it looks like Wotc has just built for the North American Market. Now I have no objection to that if it is their largest customer base. But is it?

I know that I pay for a DDI subscription because getting the actual rule books over here is usually a 2-3 month wait. Compendium (and sometimes even Character builder) get the information before we see it on shelves.

What is the geographic spead of DDI's customer base? Are they actually designing to that customer base?

As for the having to download Character builder eachtime ... why did they not make it so I can cache the application locally and rerun it without needing to download?
I'm a software developer on an online application and designing with low bandwith (and also intermittent connections)  in mind is one of the ways to make your web app perform better for everyone.



This unfortunately is a very situation statement.  While this is good logic, it will not, nor can, apply to all things.  This application (the CB) having all it's data on Wizard's servers, and run over Silverlight, is a perfect example of a product that likely cannot be developed for 28k over a poor phone line. 

I had 256k till 4 months ago when I was finally able to move to fiber.  It ran just fine for me, took longer to load, and a little sluggish, but worked exactly as I expected it to on my connection.  I was never under any assumption that if the VT went live, it would work for me.  Most online games with a latency indicator gave me an easy 800, and XBox multiplayer deathmatch was free points for eveyone else on the team!

The truth is, what Wizards needs is:

1. people who are aware of their hardware limitations.
2. a minimum system requirements(including internet connection speed) for the DDi applications to assist people with #1








The problem is that your evaluation of the program is wrong at this point. Take a look around, what you describe above is not how it works. Most of the data is kept locally, the rules engine exists online. The content is in an XML file that is downloaded locally at load time.
WOTC Podcast: "The web is a shortcut" "Piracy was a big thing"
It is clearly not designed for a slow Internet connection and it was it was decided that it was not a priority to have a good user experience as such.


From my POV I don't think [any] web development is aimed at the shinking minority of people on slow connections.  Any web development that restricts itself to a low bandwidth user will have a much less rich experience.  This is not intended to be a judgement one way or the other, but I don't think a company selling a product is going to try to sell a product that looks like crap because they chose to reduce their bandwidth requirements.



I am in agreement with you, however they should also not sell a program where every click needs to go back to home base and be verified. Just a little clean up in how the client/server communications is handled can have a huge benefit on any type of connection - fast or slow. There are best practices that I believe they did not really follow to get the product out. One day, maybe these things can be worked out.



Now, this I can believe.  There is a better way to do it, and WotC chose the inferior way to get the product out faster.  That is so typically WotC.
It is clearly not designed for a slow Internet connection and it was it was decided that it was not a priority to have a good user experience as such.


From my POV I don't think [any] web development is aimed at the shinking minority of people on slow connections.  Any web development that restricts itself to a low bandwidth user will have a much less rich experience.  This is not intended to be a judgement one way or the other, but I don't think a company selling a product is going to try to sell a product that looks like crap because they chose to reduce their bandwidth requirements.



I am in agreement with you, however they should also not sell a program where every click needs to go back to home base and be verified. Just a little clean up in how the client/server communications is handled can have a huge benefit on any type of connection - fast or slow. There are best practices that I believe they did not really follow to get the product out. One day, maybe these things can be worked out.



Now, this I can believe.  There is a better way to do it, and WotC chose the inferior way to get the product out faster.  That is so typically WotC.


Some people (like you) act as if there is some magic bullet...some "best" way to implement something.  ALL software development suffers from design choices, both good and bad.  You are attempting to imply that there was some "other" design choice that WotC could have made that would eliminate all the current issues without introducing other downsides/issues and that therefore "...WotC chose the inferior way..."  As a "truism" this can only be false.  Every development choice has both pros and cons to it.

For example:
When WotC decided that their offline builders were not working for them (the financial model) they decided to move the builders online.  Once that decision was made, they then made the choice of implementation.  Silverlight allowed them to reuse much of their .NET code where some other choice would have meant many extra months of extra development.  If you stop there you could assume that Silverlight is a "best" choice, but let's discuss what it's like to print your character from Silverlight shall we?  Or what about the round trip back and forth to the WotC servers for each click?

This is the same phenomenan as "The grass is always greener..."

As a side note I don't think it would have mattered what they chose for the development (.NET, Java, C/C++, etc.), part of the decision to move the tools online meant that every click was going to require a round trip server request regardless.  Otherwise they'd be right back where they were with the offline tools where you don't need to keep your subscription once you have your "download".
I have a couple of questions that I have always wondered about for the Character builder?

Was it built with user demographics considered? It's easier to build a better customer experience if you know who your customers are. To me it looks like Wotc has just built for the North American Market. Now I have no objection to that if it is their largest customer base. But is it?

I know that I pay for a DDI subscription because getting the actual rule books over here is usually a 2-3 month wait. Compendium (and sometimes even Character builder) get the information before we see it on shelves.

What is the geographic spead of DDI's customer base? Are they actually designing to that customer base?

As for the having to download Character builder eachtime ... why did they not make it so I can cache the application locally and rerun it without needing to download?


I think they built with the choice that would get them the earliest release date.  Silverlight allowed them to reuse much of their .NET code (the rules engine) and probably took several months off the development time.  Demographics such as North America vs anywhere else were most likely secondary (if even that).  Somehow I'm pretty sure the issue you raise wasn't even discussed, but that's just my opinion.
I have a couple of questions that I have always wondered about for the Character builder?

Was it built with user demographics considered? It's easier to build a better customer experience if you know who your customers are. To me it looks like Wotc has just built for the North American Market. Now I have no objection to that if it is their largest customer base. But is it?

I know that I pay for a DDI subscription because getting the actual rule books over here is usually a 2-3 month wait. Compendium (and sometimes even Character builder) get the information before we see it on shelves.

What is the geographic spead of DDI's customer base? Are they actually designing to that customer base?

As for the having to download Character builder eachtime ... why did they not make it so I can cache the application locally and rerun it without needing to download?


I think they built with the choice that would get them the earliest release date.  Silverlight allowed them to reuse much of their .NET code (the rules engine) and probably took several months off the development time.  Demographics such as North America vs anywhere else were most likely secondary (if even that).  Somehow I'm pretty sure the issue you raise wasn't even discussed, but that's just my opinion.



Yeah, I think I have to agree with your assessment there, things like the Letter page size printing point it in that direction.

It's a shame really. All they do with that sort of thinking is annoy their customer base.

I would also be interested in what development methodologies they are using (I am picking Waterfall) to develop and release the software. Not really the best for the short timeframes that they are trying to deliver too.

Ahh well ... each company has their own learning curve.




I have a couple of questions that I have always wondered about for the Character builder?

Was it built with user demographics considered? It's easier to build a better customer experience if you know who your customers are. To me it looks like Wotc has just built for the North American Market. Now I have no objection to that if it is their largest customer base. But is it?

I know that I pay for a DDI subscription because getting the actual rule books over here is usually a 2-3 month wait. Compendium (and sometimes even Character builder) get the information before we see it on shelves.

What is the geographic spead of DDI's customer base? Are they actually designing to that customer base?

As for the having to download Character builder eachtime ... why did they not make it so I can cache the application locally and rerun it without needing to download?


I think they built with the choice that would get them the earliest release date.  Silverlight allowed them to reuse much of their .NET code (the rules engine) and probably took several months off the development time.  Demographics such as North America vs anywhere else were most likely secondary (if even that).  Somehow I'm pretty sure the issue you raise wasn't even discussed, but that's just my opinion.





The rules engine is not built in .net from what I remember.
WOTC Podcast: "The web is a shortcut" "Piracy was a big thing"
I have a couple of questions that I have always wondered about for the Character builder?

Was it built with user demographics considered? It's easier to build a better customer experience if you know who your customers are. To me it looks like Wotc has just built for the North American Market. Now I have no objection to that if it is their largest customer base. But is it?

I know that I pay for a DDI subscription because getting the actual rule books over here is usually a 2-3 month wait. Compendium (and sometimes even Character builder) get the information before we see it on shelves.

What is the geographic spead of DDI's customer base? Are they actually designing to that customer base?

As for the having to download Character builder eachtime ... why did they not make it so I can cache the application locally and rerun it without needing to download?


I think they built with the choice that would get them the earliest release date.  Silverlight allowed them to reuse much of their .NET code (the rules engine) and probably took several months off the development time.  Demographics such as North America vs anywhere else were most likely secondary (if even that).  Somehow I'm pretty sure the issue you raise wasn't even discussed, but that's just my opinion.



The rules engine is not built in .net from what I remember.


Yeah, I'm not sure why I picked that other than they are keeping the rules engine on their servers.  It is likely in C/C++ in a DLL.
I have a couple of questions that I have always wondered about for the Character builder?

Was it built with user demographics considered? It's easier to build a better customer experience if you know who your customers are. To me it looks like Wotc has just built for the North American Market. Now I have no objection to that if it is their largest customer base. But is it?

I know that I pay for a DDI subscription because getting the actual rule books over here is usually a 2-3 month wait. Compendium (and sometimes even Character builder) get the information before we see it on shelves.

What is the geographic spead of DDI's customer base? Are they actually designing to that customer base?

As for the having to download Character builder eachtime ... why did they not make it so I can cache the application locally and rerun it without needing to download?


I think they built with the choice that would get them the earliest release date.  Silverlight allowed them to reuse much of their .NET code (the rules engine) and probably took several months off the development time.  Demographics such as North America vs anywhere else were most likely secondary (if even that).  Somehow I'm pretty sure the issue you raise wasn't even discussed, but that's just my opinion.



The rules engine is not built in .net from what I remember.


Yeah, I'm not sure why I picked that other than they are keeping the rules engine on their servers.  It is likely in C/C++ in a DLL.





That is the exact way I remember it.
WOTC Podcast: "The web is a shortcut" "Piracy was a big thing"
I'm a software developer on an online application and designing with low bandwith (and also intermittent connections)  in mind is one of the ways to make your web app perform better for everyone.



This unfortunately is a very situation statement.  While this is good logic, it will not, nor can, apply to all things.  This application (the CB) having all it's data on Wizard's servers, and run over Silverlight, is a perfect example of a product that likely cannot be developed for 28k over a poor phone line. 

I had 256k till 4 months ago when I was finally able to move to fiber.  It ran just fine for me, took longer to load, and a little sluggish, but worked exactly as I expected it to on my connection.  I was never under any assumption that if the VT went live, it would work for me.  Most online games with a latency indicator gave me an easy 800, and XBox multiplayer deathmatch was free points for eveyone else on the team!

The truth is, what Wizards needs is:

1. people who are aware of their hardware limitations.
2. a minimum system requirements(including internet connection speed) for the DDi applications to assist people with #1






If we were talking about some huge fast 3D game maybe. What I'm seeing is pure incompetence. The program does nothing more than a few easy quick arithmetic calculations and some fancy animations. With the proper design model this thing should fly even on a slow dial-up connection. Really some people are giving WotC more credit than they deserve. I remember playing the first 3D MMOs on dial-up like speeds, its really not that hard and shouldn't even be a factor for something like this that simply downloads text files (other than the character images and the one time per update UI graphics). To put it in perspective you can download an encyclopedia of text on a 1.5 connections in less than a minute (probably less then 30 seconds) there is absolutely no reason why the Online Character Builder should run slow on any connection...
"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.
If we were talking about some huge fast 3D game maybe. What I'm seeing is pure incompetence. The program does nothing more than a few easy quick arithmetic calculations and some fancy animations. With the proper design model this thing should fly even on a slow dial-up connection. Really some people are giving WotC more credit than they deserve. I remember playing the first 3D MMOs on dial-up like speeds, its really not that hard and shouldn't even be a factor for something like this that simply downloads text files (other than the character images and the one time per update UI graphics). To put it in perspective you can download an encyclopedia of text on a 1.5 connections in less than a minute (probably less then 30 seconds) there is absolutely no reason why the Online Character Builder should run slow on any connection...


I think this whole problem is latency, not speed.  And since WotC is probably hosting their own server farm, the further away from WotC HQ (Washington) you are, the slower the tools will be for you (each data round trip to the server will take longer).  Blizzard (WoW) manages this by having servers all over the world.  WotC most likely can't afford to do this.

Satellite ISP connections are notorius for their high latency.


Loki, you're back! I haven't seen you on here for like months.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
If we were talking about some huge fast 3D game maybe. What I'm seeing is pure incompetence. The program does nothing more than a few easy quick arithmetic calculations and some fancy animations. With the proper design model this thing should fly even on a slow dial-up connection. Really some people are giving WotC more credit than they deserve. I remember playing the first 3D MMOs on dial-up like speeds, its really not that hard and shouldn't even be a factor for something like this that simply downloads text files (other than the character images and the one time per update UI graphics). To put it in perspective you can download an encyclopedia of text on a 1.5 connections in less than a minute (probably less then 30 seconds) there is absolutely no reason why the Online Character Builder should run slow on any connection...


I think this whole problem is latency, not speed.  And since WotC is probably hosting their own server farm, the further away from WotC HQ (Washington) you are, the slower the tools will be for you (each data round trip to the server will take longer).  Blizzard (WoW) manages this by having servers all over the world.  WotC most likely can't afford to do this.

Satellite ISP connections are notorius for their high latency.



To put this in perspective go play the facebook "D&D:Heroes of neverwinter" game and create a character. In their cheap crappy flash game there is literally no delay when clicking buttons. This is becaue they didn't decide to save every click to the server and instead simply validate the character on their end which takes about 3 miliseconds. Bad design is bad. Its pretty simple.



Loki, you're back! I haven't seen you on here for like months.



Yeah, i was too caught up in the economic collapse, trying to scrape a living while unemployed, tired of getting temp bans everytime I posted, the illegal wars, the fall of Rome(US) and the gladiatorial arena distraction (Sports, TV, games, D&D). I only came back for a bit because I said I'd check back in and see if WotC got better, which so far I haven't seen anything that is different. Same incompetence, same desire to fail as an industry...
"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.
If we were talking about some huge fast 3D game maybe. What I'm seeing is pure incompetence. The program does nothing more than a few easy quick arithmetic calculations and some fancy animations. With the proper design model this thing should fly even on a slow dial-up connection. Really some people are giving WotC more credit than they deserve. I remember playing the first 3D MMOs on dial-up like speeds, its really not that hard and shouldn't even be a factor for something like this that simply downloads text files (other than the character images and the one time per update UI graphics). To put it in perspective you can download an encyclopedia of text on a 1.5 connections in less than a minute (probably less then 30 seconds) there is absolutely no reason why the Online Character Builder should run slow on any connection...


I think this whole problem is latency, not speed.  And since WotC is probably hosting their own server farm, the further away from WotC HQ (Washington) you are, the slower the tools will be for you (each data round trip to the server will take longer).  Blizzard (WoW) manages this by having servers all over the world.  WotC most likely can't afford to do this.

Satellite ISP connections are notorius for their high latency.



To put this in perspective go play the facebook "D&D:Heroes of neverwinter" game and create a character. In their cheap crappy flash game there is literally no delay when clicking buttons. This is becaue they didn't decide to save every click to the server and instead simply validate the character on their end which takes about 3 miliseconds. Bad design is bad. Its pretty simple.


I'm sorry that you apparently still have no clue that there are always trade offs in development.  Make choice A and you get these perks, and these downsides.  If you make choice B you get a different set of perks and downsides, but the fact of the matter is no matter what development choice you make there are always downsides.  That and there are business decisions that are driving some of these development choices.  Whether or not you'll ever admit it here Loki, you know that the old offline tools were unsustainable from a business financial perspective.  No matter how good they were for the end user, if the company can't make money on them the product will be dropped.  I'm not shocked by what they did because I saw early on what an awesome deal the offline tools where and I knew it couldn't last.  Customers were more than likely using their 5 downloads to install the tools on everyone's PC in their group for the cost of ONE membership every 6 months or so (for updates).

As for comparing a flash game to a DB driven Client/Server piece of software...maybe you're suggesting they should have done the CB in flash???  I mean really...it's not even a valid comparison.  It's like comparing Excel to Oracle or SQL Server.

...and what hard facts do you have? I've seen nothing here but anecdotal speculation. 

The fact here is that WotC is offering a paid service that doesn't always work. If it can't work 99% of the time for most of their paying customers then they need to either stop offering the service or fix the service.

The latter would be more doable if they'd stop treating DDI like a suppliment  and more like a service. What they're putting out is not hard in terms of design and production -a three person development team could make a working compendium in a month (assuming the data was already digital - which it should be or WotC is run by chimps) and a CB in three.

You screaming up and down that WotC is 'doing the best they can' and 'you must suck if you have a problem' is the worst sort of trolling...at least trolls who complain are contributing to a solution, if only to help build gravtias for a negative customer outlook on a service they're marketing fairly heavily for a D&D product.

Still think it's a shining example of design and deployment...go Search 'Items' in the compendium and apply a filter for 'Magic Weapons'

There is a fact for you.
If we were talking about some huge fast 3D game maybe. What I'm seeing is pure incompetence. The program does nothing more than a few easy quick arithmetic calculations and some fancy animations. With the proper design model this thing should fly even on a slow dial-up connection. Really some people are giving WotC more credit than they deserve. I remember playing the first 3D MMOs on dial-up like speeds, its really not that hard and shouldn't even be a factor for something like this that simply downloads text files (other than the character images and the one time per update UI graphics). To put it in perspective you can download an encyclopedia of text on a 1.5 connections in less than a minute (probably less then 30 seconds) there is absolutely no reason why the Online Character Builder should run slow on any connection...


I think this whole problem is latency, not speed.  And since WotC is probably hosting their own server farm, the further away from WotC HQ (Washington) you are, the slower the tools will be for you (each data round trip to the server will take longer).  Blizzard (WoW) manages this by having servers all over the world.  WotC most likely can't afford to do this.

Satellite ISP connections are notorius for their high latency.



I am in canada, the WoW server I play on in is most likely in the US as I encounter exceedingly few canadians on WoW (I could probably count them with 1 hand).

I can do 10 man raids on dialup with less latency than it takes to increase an ability score by 1 point.

Oddly enough this moves just as slowly if im on my home's highspeed, or my university highspeed, which both produce less latency on WoW. Though there is substantially increased initial load time on dialup (for obvious reasons).
By the way, that "crappy little facebook app", which I have become addicted to, has become horrendously unreliable over the last 2 weeks.  Because of timeouts, I can never (that's NEVER) complete an adventure in one sitting anymore.  It takes at least 3-4 goes, with massive delays to reload the half-finished adventure (and always in an earlier state where I lose the treasue I already looted).

Soon as I hit L10 with my 2nd character, I'm planning to get help and kick the habit. 
I've had it with the online character builder.  It's far too slow and unreliable to be my preferred tool for builing characters.  I plan on swithcing to Hero Lab soon.  As a bonus, I'll get to own my program and PC's instead of renting them.