5E Digital tools and false promises.

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3rd ed had the etools/ master tools issue.

4th ed WOTC swore up and down again and again that these awsome digital tools would be out at launch. A few weeks before launch they put a little news story on the site that the tools would not be ready at launch.  with other news stories posted between then and 4e launch, it gets buried.  Then no word about the tools from WOTC until a few weeks after launch.


So what false promises will WOTC make with 5th ed and digital tools? You know they are going to screw it up somehow.

WOTC better know people are watching what they say, and don't say with digital tools and DnD.
So, the last year of dramatic improvements in the tools is...what?  My imagination?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
So, the last year of dramatic improvements in the tools is...what?  My imagination?




I never said that  they never got any tools up and runing. But they did promise that all of them would be up on 4th ed launch day and were not. 

3rd ed had the etools/ master tools issue.

4th ed WOTC swore up and down again and again that these awsome digital tools would be out at launch. A few weeks before launch they put a little news story on the site that the tools would not be ready at launch.  with other news stories posted between then and 4e launch, it gets buried.  Then no word about the tools from WOTC until a few weeks after launch.


So what false promises will WOTC make with 5th ed and digital tools? You know they are going to screw it up somehow.

WOTC better know people are watching what they say, and don't say with digital tools and DnD.


Well the only promise they've made so far was saying that the 4e tools would remain up and running for those that want them.

I doubt they are going to go down the same route again. I think this time whatever they announce will be something that is already finished or at least in a testing phase where they just need to work out a few bugs before release.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
So, the last year of dramatic improvements in the tools is...what?  My imagination?



Whoa whoa whoa.

Let's take a step back there.

The tools are, at best, as good as they were in the Fall of 2010.  The "dramatic imrpovements" only exist in light of what the new tools had been at launch.

That said, I do think 5e will have a better digital rollout.  They'll have a better digital rollout because PW is going to be in charge of their entire digital suite.
Monster Builder alone is vastly superior to the prior offering.

Your assessment is based on outdated information.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Monster Builder alone is vastly superior to the prior offering.

Your assessment is based on outdated information.



I'm a bit confused as to whats changed, I havent used it much, but seems the same as the old monster builder, but with pictures for some monsters. Most of what was bad about the old one is that wizards seemed to "mysteriously" stop support for before announcing the change to online.


That said DDI also has the VT which it didn't in 2010 (not that i use it either).



I think adapting the various tools for 5e is probably being looked in to. The VT should be easily transferable, dice rolls are dice rolls, and squares are squares. The other tools already have frameworks to modify.


That said, I do think 5e will have a better digital rollout.  They'll have a better digital rollout because PW is going to be in charge of their entire digital suite.



WOTC orginally was going  to have a 3rd party do the digital tools for 4th ed, too.  Just saying. 

There were and are bigger problems with DDi then the fact they didn't have them ready at launch. The fact that it's been shown that they announced the delay of the tools in two places on the front page of the website, and that delay would be months, they hardly hide anything.

As for having a third party do the 4E tools, they did have a third party. That third party failed and they took inhouse to try and deliver.

The points you love to stick too, are so minor and unimportant, and you often get them wrong.

It's more important I think that they never delivered the full suite of tools. And of those tools they did get up and running, there are features they have been telling us they would have for years, but still can't deliver.

Chances are, they are really going to make every effort to have the digital aspect of 5E give you more then 4E digital tools, simply to get people to see it as more attractive.
This was posted over on ENWorld by the poster Truename, and I think it is particularly relevant:
Show

This is my field. (Companies hire me to teach them how to organize and manage software development teams.)

The biggest issue is that software is intangible. It's like the proverbial iceberg; for the 10% of the software you can see, there's 90% more required to make that work. And software development is a huge amount of work. Polished, complete products typically take 5 or more people working for months (at least) or years. Big products take much more than that.

But nobody, not even programmers, are good at estimating how much work software development requires. Remember, it's an iceberg. In one study, 90% of projects took longer than the programmers estimated, even though they updated their estimates as work progressed*. Half of them took more than twice as long. These results are typical.

*www.toddlittleweb.com/Papers/...ncertain...

So even the best-meaning software team has a good chance of taking more than twice as long as their good-faith estimate.

Now for the second-biggest issue. The people hiring software teams don't understand how costly and risky software development is. When they get a schedule estimate, they think of the 10% they can see, and respond, "How it could possibly take so long?" (Remember, this is a reaction to an estimate that's almost certainly too optimistic already.) And then they put pressure on the team to go faster.

Programmers respond to the pressure by cutting corners. Here's the thing, though. The way you cut corners in software development is to be sloppy in the way you design and write source code. But sloppiness creates bugs and makes the source code harder to understand. This is called "technical debt." The net result is that if you do this for more than a handful of weeks, you actually end up taking longer than you would have if you had just tried to keep things clean.

They also respond to the pressure by focusing on the 10% of the code you can see (such as the 3D VTT demo shown when 4e was released) and not the 90% required to make it work for real. This shows progress to the business folks, but creates unrealistic expectations about how long things will actually take.

So here's how honest, well-meaning people create software debacles. This happens all the frikkin' time.

1. Company asks software team for some software, and asks how long it will take, so they can plan their budget, marketing, and so forth.

2. Software team creates an estimate that's 2-4x too low. They think they need 9 months and they actually need 2 years.

3. Company flips out and says 9 months is too long and too expensive. "My nephew could do this in two weeks in his spare time." Demands that the software be done cheaper and quicker.

4. Software team caves and says they'll be done sooner. After all, their estimate is just an educated guess; there's no proof, and maybe they actually will be done sooner.

5. Team works on the 10% people can see first, to establish good will and show progress. It's also the most fun part to write.

6. Company is overjoyed at rapid progress and happily signs checks. "I knew they were sandbagging us with that nine-month estimate."

7. Team starts working on the remaining 90%. Company starts pressuring for more results. "You've already shown us everything working, what's taking so long?" Checks signed less happily.

8. Team takes shortcuts, introduces bugs. Work slows down. Strings company along with increasingly desperate promises of progress.

9. Company gets more and more impatient and eventually demands to see the actual software, not the demo they got over a year ago.

10. Actual software fails in a big, spectacular way. It's riddled with bugs, doesn't work on the public Internet, and completely fails to protect company's IP. Furthermore, the source code is so badly written it's pretty much impossible to recover.

11. Product is cancelled, team fired, and work starts over.

There are ways of preventing this; the set of approaches I use are called "Agile software development," but it's by no means easy and most software teams don't even know they don't know enough.




The set of tools that they are trying to get out under the current edition is, if we are being honest, their first kick at the can. The tools that they will be developping for D&D Next should, assuming they carry over a significant amount of management experience, be significantly better.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Monster Builder alone is vastly superior to the prior offering.



It has pictures.

What else am I missing?  Are pictures in the Monster Builder worth losing houserule support in the CB?

No.
Monster Builder alone is vastly superior to the prior offering.



It has pictures.

What else am I missing?  Are pictures in the Monster Builder worth losing houserule support in the CB?

No.



surely you remember what a buggy piece of crap the old builder became. you couldnt even change some fields, and when you did they changed right back. it was unusable
buggy piece of crap the old builder

pretty much this

also, fyi, there is a fair bit of houserule support in CB now
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I wonder, not with sarcasm or malice, when they are going to stop developing the 4e tools and start working on the 5e tools. Or, alternately,  they keep developing the 4e tools until 5e launches and  create a new team to make the new ones. The latter would be great.
This was posted over on ENWorld by the poster Truename, and I think it is particularly relevant:

The set of tools that they are trying to get out under the current edition is, if we are being honest, their first kick at the can. The tools that they will be developping for D&D Next should, assuming they carry over a significant amount of management experience, be significantly better.



There was meant to be a whole set of tools for 3.5 that they never finished and shelved rather quickly.

So, this would be their third attempt at these kind of products.
This was posted over on ENWorld by the poster Truename, and I think it is particularly relevant:

The set of tools that they are trying to get out under the current edition is, if we are being honest, their first kick at the can. The tools that they will be developping for D&D Next should, assuming they carry over a significant amount of management experience, be significantly better.



There was meant to be a whole set of tools for 3.5 that they never finished and shelved rather quickly.

So, this would be their third attempt at these kind of products.



That is true. However, given the time between 3.5 and the start of the programming of the DDI tools, combined with the rapid turnover at WotC in their digital D&D department1 I don't count that attempt at tools to actually have taught them anything. They may have learned something at the time, but not getting the chance to apply it right away means that it probably got lost somewhere. In any case, whether you caount it or not, they don't have a lot of experience in managing software development. Therefore, if the mistake can be made, I think that there is a good chance that they made it.

1 - I think that there is the very real possibility that whatever digital tools department they had for the 3.5 toolset got "future endeavoured" after it didn't work, ans so they were essentially starting from scratch with DDI.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
This was posted over on ENWorld by the poster Truename, and I think it is particularly relevant:

The set of tools that they are trying to get out under the current edition is, if we are being honest, their first kick at the can. The tools that they will be developping for D&D Next should, assuming they carry over a significant amount of management experience, be significantly better.



There was meant to be a whole set of tools for 3.5 that they never finished and shelved rather quickly.

So, this would be their third attempt at these kind of products.



That is true. However, given the time between 3.5 and the start of the programming of the DDI tools, combined with the rapid turnover at WotC in their digital D&D department1 I don't count that attempt at tools to actually have taught them anything. They may have learned something at the time, but not getting the chance to apply it right away means that it probably got lost somewhere. In any case, whether you caount it or not, they don't have a lot of experience in managing software development. Therefore, if the mistake can be made, I think that there is a good chance that they made it.

1 - I think that there is the very real possibility that whatever digital tools department they had for the 3.5 toolset got "future endeavoured" after it didn't work, ans so they were essentially starting from scratch with DDI.



That's just all spin, which means you really aren't being objective about it. Lets be honest, WoTC has been making everyone think they were going to give us the tools they had been saying. That there really was an s on the end of Adventure Tools.

Monster Builder alone is vastly superior to the prior offering.

surely you remember what a buggy piece of crap the old builder became.



There's a key word there.

became



A company breaking its own software to replace it a year later is not progress.

There was meant to be a whole set of tools for 3.5 that they never finished and shelved rather quickly.

So, this would be their third attempt at these kind of products.



That is true. However, given the time between 3.5 and the start of the programming of the DDI tools, combined with the rapid turnover at WotC in their digital D&D department1 I don't count that attempt at tools to actually have taught them anything. They may have learned something at the time, but not getting the chance to apply it right away means that it probably got lost somewhere. In any case, whether you caount it or not, they don't have a lot of experience in managing software development. Therefore, if the mistake can be made, I think that there is a good chance that they made it.


1 - I think that there is the very real possibility that whatever digital tools department they had for the 3.5 toolset got "future endeavoured" after it didn't work, ans so they were essentially starting from scratch with DDI.



What 3.5 tool are we talking about? I only recall the Character Generator demo in my old 3.0 PHB (sort of worked, very limited functionality, only a fraction of the data available) and the Master Tools fiasco: MT has been announced pre-launch of 3.0 with an impressive feature list. It was an outsourced piece of software. The feature list shrank and shrank, until a bare bones character and treasure generator was published under the name of eTools which was buggy as hell and had no way to enter custom data. Finally the fan group responsible of the open sourc tool PCGen took over and made patches to this thing until it was moderatley usefull. But 3.5? I never heard anything of that.

Huldvoll

 

---Baron von Bomberg

 

Former DDI subscriber


There was meant to be a whole set of tools for 3.5 that they never finished and shelved rather quickly.

So, this would be their third attempt at these kind of products.



That is true. However, given the time between 3.5 and the start of the programming of the DDI tools, combined with the rapid turnover at WotC in their digital D&D department1 I don't count that attempt at tools to actually have taught them anything. They may have learned something at the time, but not getting the chance to apply it right away means that it probably got lost somewhere. In any case, whether you caount it or not, they don't have a lot of experience in managing software development. Therefore, if the mistake can be made, I think that there is a good chance that they made it.


1 - I think that there is the very real possibility that whatever digital tools department they had for the 3.5 toolset got "future endeavoured" after it didn't work, ans so they were essentially starting from scratch with DDI.



What 3.5 tool are we talking about? I only recall the Character Generator demo in my old 3.0 PHB (sort of worked, very limited functionality, only a fraction of the data available) and the Master Tools fiasco: MT has been announced pre-launch of 3.0 with an impressive feature list. It was an outsourced piece of software. The feature list shrank and shrank, until a bare bones character and treasure generator was published under the name of eTools which was buggy as hell and had no way to enter custom data. Finally the fan group responsible of the open sourc tool PCGen took over and made patches to this thing until it was moderatley usefull. But 3.5? I never heard anything of that.




Wasn't it CMP (Code Monkey Publishing) that took over Etools.

That's just all spin, which means you really aren't being objective about it. Lets be honest, WoTC has been making everyone think they were going to give us the tools they had been saying. That there really was an s on the end of Adventure Tools.


So when exactly is the last time that WotC made such a claim*, or are you being just as "dishonest" as mudbunny only with the opposite spin?

*Your word does not suffice for this.  Proof requires a link to a blog, post or other official statement from someone at WotC.  Otherwise it's just your opinion.
That's just all spin, which means you really aren't being objective about it. Lets be honest, WoTC has been making everyone think they were going to give us the tools they had been saying. That there really was an s on the end of Adventure Tools.



I am really not sure what you are accusing me of being not objective about.

If it is about how well WotC managed the release and programming of the DDI tools, I have said that they made mistakes, and that most of the problems that we have seen are a result of inexperience in the management and supervision of the programming team. To be blunt, the bit off more than they could chew and they got screwed by the inability of an outside company to present what had been promised.

If it is about whether they are going to be rolling out more tools, well, I am not sure how you found *anything* in my post which made any sort of comment on whether I think that they are going to be rolling out more tools or not.

Personally, I think that they are going to be rolling out more tools.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
That's just all spin, which means you really aren't being objective about it. Lets be honest, WoTC has been making everyone think they were going to give us the tools they had been saying. That there really was an s on the end of Adventure Tools.



I am really not sure what you are accusing me of being not objective about.

If it is about how well WotC managed the release and programming of the DDI tools, I have said that they made mistakes, and that most of the problems that we have seen are a result of inexperience in the management and supervision of the programming team. To be blunt, the bit off more than they could chew and they got screwed by the inability of an outside company to present what had been promised.

If it is about whether they are going to be rolling out more tools, well, I am not sure how you found *anything* in my post which made any sort of comment on whether I think that they are going to be rolling out more tools or not.

Personally, I think that they are going to be rolling out more tools.



More spin. Now it's accusing me of stuff I never even came close to saying. Thanks. Lovely.

Personally, you probably know something you can't say because of NDA. Because I can't see you making a statement about more tools rolling out, where there's a chance you would have to come back and admit you were wrong.

Or is it going to be the kind of spin where you can say, I never said 4E tools.
More spin. Now it's accusing me of stuff I never even came close to saying. Thanks. Lovely.



*snicker*

Where am I accusing you of anything. You were the one who started with the accusations of me not being objective and spinning things.

That's just all spin, which means you really aren't being objective about it. Lets be honest, WoTC has been making everyone think they were going to give us the tools they had been saying. That there really was an s on the end of Adventure Tools.



To which I responded the following:

I am really not sure what you are accusing me of being not objective about.

If it is about how well WotC managed the release and programming of the DDI tools, I have said that they made mistakes, and that most of the problems that we have seen are a result of inexperience in the management and supervision of the programming team. To be blunt, the bit off more than they could chew and they got screwed by the inability of an outside company to present what had been promised.

If it is about whether they are going to be rolling out more tools, well, I am not sure how you found *anything* in my post which made any sort of comment on whether I think that they are going to be rolling out more tools or not.

Personally, I think that they are going to be rolling out more tools.



I haven't accused you of anything in my above post. The parts I have bolded make that abundantly clear.

Personally, you probably know something you can't say because of NDA. Because I can't see you making a statement about more tools rolling out, where there's a chance you would have to come back and admit you were wrong.

Or is it going to be the kind of spin where you can say, I never said 4E tools.



Let me make it perfectly clear. I have not heard anything about additional tools coming out, nor have I tested any tools that are not already available to DDI subscribers. I am making a *guess* based on the fact that there is about 18 months between now and when I am guessing the next edition will be coming out (my guess is GenCon 2013).
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Honestly i'm very upset with DDI Tools, there are simple and stupid fails like:

Tools in general: they are only in english.

Character Builder: a great tool, but for the god sake, the OLD CB let to navigate with cursors through powers, feats, class, races, etc., a much better than now than you have to click every feat with the mouse. Yeah, it's very simple but this lost feature let the players a fast and confortable method of reading powers and feats.

Monster Builder: no thematic encounters or classifications (only for type if i remember well), no encounter generation.

Compendium: a good tool,  ok with this.

Well, i want to comment VT but, belive me, i was expecting it for so long time than i saw it the other day i almost shout of angry, i let you know my opinion of it in the specific post.

Bye

I wonder why everyone says they WILL support the 4e tools. Perhaps I missed a post, but what I read was, that the "Techies" WANT to support the 4e tools - that doesn't mean the company line will be we DO support them.
More spin. Now it's accusing me of stuff I never even came close to saying. Thanks. Lovely.



*snicker*

Where am I accusing you of anything. You were the one who started with the accusations of me not being objective and spinning things.

That's just all spin, which means you really aren't being objective about it. Lets be honest, WoTC has been making everyone think they were going to give us the tools they had been saying. That there really was an s on the end of Adventure Tools.



To which I responded the following:

I am really not sure what you are accusing me of being not objective about.

If it is about how well WotC managed the release and programming of the DDI tools, I have said that they made mistakes, and that most of the problems that we have seen are a result of inexperience in the management and supervision of the programming team. To be blunt, the bit off more than they could chew and they got screwed by the inability of an outside company to present what had been promised.

If it is about whether they are going to be rolling out more tools, well, I am not sure how you found *anything* in my post which made any sort of comment on whether I think that they are going to be rolling out more tools or not.

Personally, I think that they are going to be rolling out more tools.



I haven't accused you of anything in my above post. The parts I have bolded make that abundantly clear.

Personally, you probably know something you can't say because of NDA. Because I can't see you making a statement about more tools rolling out, where there's a chance you would have to come back and admit you were wrong.

Or is it going to be the kind of spin where you can say, I never said 4E tools.




UM...
well, I am not sure how you found *anything* in my post which made any sort of comment on whether I think that they are going to be rolling out more tools or not.



I never suggested you said they were going to roll out more tools in my post.

I said "Lets be honest, WoTC has been making everyone think they were going to give us the tools they had been saying."

Nothing in that sentence says anything about you saying they are going to be rolling out more tools or not. So why are you saying I found anything in your post about new tools?

Do I say, Mudbunny, you aren't being honest about more tools for DDi? Nope.

I said it was WOTC not Mudbunny. How come when I saw WoTC, you assume I'm talking about you?

Let me make it perfectly clear. I have not heard anything about additional tools coming out, nor have I tested any tools that are not already available to DDI subscribers. I am making a *guess* based on the fact that there is about 18 months between now and when I am guessing the next edition will be coming out (my guess is GenCon 2013).



Ok, fine if your *guess* is wrong, are you going to come back and say that? And by tools, it can't be something like a name generator for places or anything on that level. A tool like they have been saying they would have. You know, to actually make the Adventure Tools just that. T-O-O-L-S.
I said it was WOTC not Mudbunny. How come when I saw WoTC, you assume I'm talking about you?



Because you didn't say WotC. You replied to me, and in that reply, you said:

Personally, you probably know something you can't say because of NDA. Because I can't see you making a statement about more tools rolling out, where there's a chance you would have to come back and admit you were wrong.



That is why I got the impression that you were talking about me. In addition, in the *prior* post you made, you also used "you" when replying directly to me.

That's just all spin, which means you really aren't being objective about it.



(you use WotC in another phrase in that same post, which make it pretty clear that the you above refers to the person you are replying to (me) and not WotC.

Ok, fine if your *guess* is wrong, are you going to come back and say that? And by tools, it can't be something like a name generator for places or anything on that level. A tool like they have been saying they would have. You know, to actually make the Adventure Tools just that. T-O-O-L-S.



Yeah. I have no problem admitting if my guess is wrong. I *do* find it interesting how much importance it appears that you are placing on my guess on whether they will put out more tools or not.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
I said it was WOTC not Mudbunny. How come when I saw WoTC, you assume I'm talking about you?



Because you didn't say WotC. You replied to me, and in that reply, you said:



Um, go back and read the flow of the conversation.

You repied to this:

That's just all spin, which means you really aren't being objective about it. Lets be honest, WoTC has been making everyone think they were going to give us the tools they had been saying. That there really was an s on the end of Adventure Tools.



By saying:

well, I am not sure how you found *anything* in my post which made any sort of comment on whether I think that they are going to be rolling out more tools or not.



If you are replying to my post above, but are actually talking about a previous post, how am I supposed to read your mind through the internet and know you are actually talking about a completely different post then the one you replied to?

Because in the post you replied to, I am clearly pointing out WoTC, not you.

See, that's how conversations work. They move along. And if you suddenly start talking about something that was said earlier in the conversation, you need to acknowledge you are doing that.

And for the record, I started out by saying you were putting spin on the fact of how many times WoTC has tried to bring us digital tools to help play the game.

If they have 5E tools, it's going to be their 3 third try, with the first two failures to deliver what they said. It doesn't matter if it was being developed via third party or internally. Either way, they still have to manage the project, and a failure to deliver, is still a failure of management.

And if you are going to keep putting forth the impression that there could still be more tools for 4e, well, you either know something, because you've said in the past you've gotten advanced look at things, under a NDA. But maybe you don't.

Or are you just trying to play PR for WoTC by saying you think that more tools will come out? Because that's something you often do.

History shows how WoTC works. 18 months till 5e? With as limited staff and resources they have, and the amount of ramp up time it takes to come out with a new edition, I think it's a safe to say 4e has run it's course.

They had been working on 4e for at least 2 years before they announced it. So, chances are, they have been working on 5e for around a year, laying the ground work.

And they HAVE to have a digital component to the game. To not have that, will kill 5E. It's an aspect of every day life, and customers demand it. It's what killed newspapers and magazines, hurt large educational publishing companies that refused to get on bored, and why companies like Borders and Barns and Nobels are CLOSING stores.

Considering they failed to bring out DDi at the launch of 4e, and for many months after, and it's still hanging around their neck, I'm pretty sure they are going to chain the digital people to thier desks to make sure that there is at least a Character Builder for 5E ready to go at launch.

WoTC has told us they couldn't work on multiple tools for 4E because of limited staff and resources. If they couldn't work on multiple tools for 4E, then I doubt they can work on tools for 4E and 5E at the same time.

Which version is WoTC focused on right now? Why, 5E of course. Because that's were all their profits are going to come from.

So yeah, DDi 4e is pretty much done. That's been my whole point. Anyone associated with WoTC coming to the forums, talking up DDi, is just spin on what happened.

I wonder why everyone says they WILL support the 4e tools. Perhaps I missed a post, but what I read was, that the "Techies" WANT to support the 4e tools - that doesn't mean the company line will be we DO support them.

They say that because WotC already announced that they will support them even after 5e is released.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
What it comes down to is the following:

WotC has given no indication as to whether they will be putting out additional tools or not. Some people think that there will be additional tools coming out, some people think that there won't be additional tools coming out. Neither side has any sort of evidence backing them up. They are both WAGs.

As for continued support of 4E DDI when the next edition cmes out, WotC has stated that they want to continue to support the 4E tools once the Next Edition is out.  However (cue people whining and complaining about how I am now "waffling"), that is a plan, and plans change. It is a reality of business. Deal with it.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
I wonder why everyone says they WILL support the 4e tools. Perhaps I missed a post, but what I read was, that the "Techies" WANT to support the 4e tools - that doesn't mean the company line will be we DO support them.

They say that because WotC already announced that they will support them even after 5e is released.


It doesn't mesh with reality.  WotC does not have spare staff sitting around they can put on projects that don't create revenue.  They won't support the old tools, and I don't blame them for it.  I also don't blame them for witholding the Dark Sun content from the old CB.  Both are good business decisions.  (I do, however, blame them for being dishonest with us, in both cases.)
That is true. However, given the time between 3.5 and the start of the programming of the DDI tools, combined with the rapid turnover at WotC in their digital D&D department1 I don't count that attempt at tools to actually have taught them anything. They may have learned something at the time, but not getting the chance to apply it right away means that it probably got lost somewhere. In any case, whether you caount it or not, they don't have a lot of experience in managing software development. Therefore, if the mistake can be made, I think that there is a good chance that they made it.

1 - I think that there is the very real possibility that whatever digital tools department they had for the 3.5 toolset got "future endeavoured" after it didn't work, ans so they were essentially starting from scratch with DDI.


If it is about how well WotC managed the release and programming of the DDI tools, I have said that they made mistakes, and that most of the problems that we have seen are a result of inexperience in the management and supervision of the programming team. To be blunt, the bit off more than they could chew and they got screwed by the inability of an outside company to present what had been promised.


MB, attempting to redirect here.  As someone who hasn't seen much of DDI from a subscriber perspective, and I'll admit I haven't been paying as close attention lately, most of the problems that I've observed in the past with DDI have been issues that (IMO) stem from poor management.  Given that WotC's inexperience with software development has caused a pattern of failures in the past, I'm concerned about their ability to succeed in the future - especially with a 3rd party involved.  Is there anything you'd like to point out that suggests an optimistic view for DDI in the future?
"Man is made God's plaything, and that is the best part of him. Therefore every man and woman should live life accordingly, and play the noblest games... Life must be lived as play, playing certain games, making sacrifices, singing and dancing..." Plato, The Laws.
Now, keeping in mind that this is my opinion:

No one will deny that there were numerous problems with the initial roll-out of the DDI tools. However, since they replaced the upper management of DDI (about 18 months ago IIRC), the project management has gotten better. The CB works extremely well, as does the Monster Builder. In addition, with them grabbing the base for the VT from a 3pp (I think that they do the mods in-house, not via the 3pp), there have been regular upgrades to the VT, and there is a fair amount of communication between WotC and the community.

Finally, I refuse to believe that the upper management at WotC are morons. What with the numerous stumbles and missteps that have happened over the past couple of years, the management of WotC has gained a significant amount of experience and knowledge in the management of a software project. I think that, as a result, we will see markedly fewer errors in the programming of the tools.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Regardless of the change in upper management of DDi tools, WoTC has yet to come and change any standing statement about what tools will be in 4E. It has been more tools are coming.

Which conflicts with, The last thing we will bring out for DDi is a VT (if we do a VT). That's what WoTC told us. They needed to make all the other tools first, before they could have a VT, because they needed them in place first. Anyone disagree with that?

So here we are with a VT. And yet at no point has there been a statement from WoTC saying, We changed tracks again, and decided to come out with the VT before the other tools? Or Don't worry, we are still working on the other tools, we just decided to give you a VT now, because we could make it work with what we have. When the other tools are ready, they will be integrated into the VT as well.

No, WoTC hasn't.

Yes plans change.

Guess what, Companies can also lie and misdirect as well. DEAL WITH IT. You can't prove they aren't lying anymore then I can prove they are. And as cynical as that may seem, history and many examples shows us that WoTC does in fact misdirect and play spin.

Just because the CB and MB work extremely well, doesn't mean it's better then what the offline versions did. Working well isn't the same as better.

I mean, why haven't they added new character sheets? I loved being able to have a campaign filter for my players. The item customization on the offline one was more robust.

It doesn't matter if the online CB works, if it lacks features to make it a really useful tool. I mean, rather then being able to send my friends my campaign settings so they can work out their characters themselves, I have to stand there and approve their choices.

It's ridiculous in this age with what software can do, that I can't have those settings, and that I have to watch over my players shoulders. More so because I already had that ability.

I mean after all, isn't that something WoTC tells us is a great thing about all the options they offer? That a group or a DM can decide what they want and don't want in a game? Don't want a particular race for some reason, you can do it!

The fact is, the Character Builder doesn't all represent the spirit of the game in allowing you to make it your own. Which is the very central heart and soul of what DnD is.

As for the upper management being morons. I never said that. I must have missed who did say that.

All support for 4E DDi means is they will keep the tools up and running so long as it makes enough profit. They aren't going to keep making 4E material to add to it, and at best, bugs will be fixed from time to time. Until they "Change plans" to stop doing that.
I wonder why everyone says they WILL support the 4e tools. Perhaps I missed a post, but what I read was, that the "Techies" WANT to support the 4e tools - that doesn't mean the company line will be we DO support them.

They say that because WotC already announced that they will support them even after 5e is released.


It doesn't mesh with reality.  WotC does not have spare staff sitting around they can put on projects that don't create revenue.  They won't support the old tools, and I don't blame them for it.  I also don't blame them for witholding the Dark Sun content from the old CB.  Both are good business decisions.  (I do, however, blame them for being dishonest with us, in both cases.)



Doesn't it really come down to what they mean by support? What it means to players and what it means to WoTC are going to end up being two different things.

Just try and get WoTC to define what they mean by support. Just letting the tools stay up and run maintenance on them from time to time counts as support doesn't it? But don't you think customers are going to want more then just that?

Doesn't it really come down to what they mean by support? What it means to players and what it means to WoTC are going to end up being two different things.

Just try and get WoTC to define what they mean by support. Just letting the tools stay up and run maintenance on them from time to time counts as support doesn't it? But don't you think customers are going to want more then just that?



I'm not sure it matters as much as you might think - Wizards knows that DDI subscribers will stick around when no content is being delivered, because it's happened before. Now, perhaps without the benefit of "soon," people will be less likely to hang on just one more month hoping for that article on Ambidextrous Paladins or whatever, but most subscribers will probably let autorenew just tick along. 

My bet is just making sure the server stays up will be enough for a lot of people.  
So, the last year of dramatic improvements in the tools is...what?  My imagination?



Whoa whoa whoa.

Let's take a step back there.

The tools are, at best, as good as they were in the Fall of 2010.  The "dramatic imrpovements" only exist in light of what the new tools had been at launch.

That said, I do think 5e will have a better digital rollout.  They'll have a better digital rollout because PW is going to be in charge of their entire digital suite.

That said, I do think 5e will have a better digital rollout.  They'll have a better digital rollout because PW is going to be in charge of their entire digital suite. What is PW????

Thanks~


Doesn't it really come down to what they mean by support? What it means to players and what it means to WoTC are going to end up being two different things.

Just try and get WoTC to define what they mean by support. Just letting the tools stay up and run maintenance on them from time to time counts as support doesn't it? But don't you think customers are going to want more then just that?



I'm not sure it matters as much as you might think - Wizards knows that DDI subscribers will stick around when no content is being delivered, because it's happened before. Now, perhaps without the benefit of "soon," people will be less likely to hang on just one more month hoping for that article on Ambidextrous Paladins or whatever, but most subscribers will probably let autorenew just tick along. 

My bet is just making sure the server stays up will be enough for a lot of people.  


Well considering how there are plenty of of people that are still upset that earlier editions aren't supported with new material anymore, I think we are going to see a lot of posts asking for new material simply because they are paying for 4E DDi.
So, the last year of dramatic improvements in the tools is...what?  My imagination?



Whoa whoa whoa.

Let's take a step back there.

The tools are, at best, as good as they were in the Fall of 2010.  The "dramatic imrpovements" only exist in light of what the new tools had been at launch.

That said, I do think 5e will have a better digital rollout.  They'll have a better digital rollout because PW is going to be in charge of their entire digital suite.

That said, I do think 5e will have a better digital rollout.  They'll have a better digital rollout because PW is going to be in charge of their entire digital suite. What is PW????

Thanks~




Perfect World, the Chinese game developer that bought Cryptic and told them to start Neverwinter from scratch.  Supposedly Neverwinter and the 5e digital suite will be intimately connected, and PW is in charge of both.
WOTC said the 4th Ed tools would have a smooth roll out,too. They were going to be handled by a 3rd parttopology. We all know how well that went.
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