Character Builder in the future...

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Basically, I am wondering about the continued viability of the character builder as D&D Next looms on the horizon. I doubt they will abandon it until Next officially drops, but their sudden abandonment of the VT (again) leaves me questioning the statement earlier that they planned to continue supporting 4e through the online tools.

My group and I enjoy 4e tremendously, many of us having played D&D from the real AD&D on up to the modern iteration. The problem with 4e is similar to the problem 3e ran into at the end, in that the feat/power bloat is difficult to shift through in dead tree format.

How likely is the continued use of the current CB after the switch?
So many PCs, so little time...
Honestly? I'm not sure it will last as long as you think it will. Then again, it may last as long as it's profitable. I'm not sure, because I'm not sure what angle WotC is playing here. If it's straight-up profits, they'll keep DDI 4ed compliant for a while (and try to use it as a transition vehicle to 5ed, advertising new things and giving free demos to the game material). If it's edition hegemony, they'll definately close it up by the time 5ed releases.

My best guess comes from WotC's hedging and hemming-and-hawing about the future of D&D. I imagine that they want everyone to use 5ed, but they're very afraid of the perception that they're pushing anyone into it. So 4ed DDI could suffer a slow death of a thousand cuts rather than an abrupt end. 

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

I doubt they are going to do anything to fix the problems it currently has.  Maybe minor tweaks like fixing typos and easily correctable errors, but that is about it.

I wouldn't bet money on it still being available one year from now. 

Keeping current 4E players happy obviously isn't a top priority for Wotc.  It is trying to get them exited about the next edition while desperately trying to bring back older edition fans and some new players. 
i agree with gelatinous unfortunately

i dont think they will fix anything. i dont think they will support anything. i dont think they care at all about their current customers except to make them buy 5e (and they are in for a rude awakening in my case). 

i think they will screw us over and cut the tools out first chance they get, which will be sooner rather than later. then they will blame us for this, claiming there wasnt enough support for them. similar to how they handled the vt and the compiled mags and the old downloadable tools (remember how they left the old mb broken for a year, and kept 'fixing' bugs nobody had ever even heard or seen? and lets not talk about when they took all the lfr monsters out just before they discontinued it and basically tricked you into dling it)

i dont trust them at all. whatever they say, ill believe it when i see it, no sooner. thats just what experience teaches you when you deal with them
I agree with them. As soon as its discontinued, in a year probably, ill drop my DDI subscription. Unless they do something even dumber (not unlikely).
The ****ed up part is, Wizards knows that, and doesn't care at all. What other business hears its customers say "do this, and I'm done" and shrugs it off? Other than giants corps that are evil anyhow.

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

I doubt they are going to do anything to fix the problems it currently has.  Maybe minor tweaks like fixing typos and easily correctable errors, but that is about it.

I wouldn't bet money on it still being available one year from now. 

Keeping current 4E players happy obviously isn't a top priority for Wotc.  It is trying to get them exited about the next edition while desperately trying to bring back older edition fans and some new players. 



I'd be surprised if it went away before the actual launch of 5e, honestly. They have to know that it's one of the primary reasons they have DDI subscribers.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
nothing surprises me with them anymore. you cant assume anything. yes what youre saying is rational but keep in mind, these are the nincompoops who couldnt figure out how to market the vt. they are morons, but more than that, they would sell their mother out for a thin dime. so they are unpredictable in a sense but predictable in another: they dont give a damn about 4e players and will ALWAYS screw them over in the end. ALWAYS.
How likely is the continued use of the current CB after the switch?


Less likely than a bus full of supermodels stopping at your door to argue over your affections, I'd think.  I'd much rather that didn't look to be the case, but it does.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
nothing surprises me with them anymore. you cant assume anything. yes what youre saying is rational but keep in mind, these are the nincompoops who couldnt figure out how to market the vt. they are morons, but more than that, they would sell their mother out for a thin dime. so they are unpredictable in a sense but predictable in another: they dont give a damn about 4e players and will ALWAYS screw them over in the end. ALWAYS.



You do realize that both optimism and pessimism are unrealistic and somewhat irrational, right?
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
nothing surprises me with them anymore. you cant assume anything. yes what youre saying is rational but keep in mind, these are the nincompoops who couldnt figure out how to market the vt. they are morons, but more than that, they would sell their mother out for a thin dime. so they are unpredictable in a sense but predictable in another: they dont give a damn about 4e players and will ALWAYS screw them over in the end. ALWAYS.



You do realize that both optimism and pessimism are unrealistic and somewhat irrational, right?



i didnt think i was being pessimistic. those are plain facts imo, sterile as an auto manual.
nothing surprises me with them anymore. you cant assume anything. yes what youre saying is rational but keep in mind, these are the nincompoops who couldnt figure out how to market the vt. they are morons, but more than that, they would sell their mother out for a thin dime. so they are unpredictable in a sense but predictable in another: they dont give a damn about 4e players and will ALWAYS screw them over in the end. ALWAYS.



You do realize that both optimism and pessimism are unrealistic and somewhat irrational, right?



i didnt think i was being pessimistic. those are plain facts imo, sterile as an auto manual.



They seem facts to you because you are being a pessimist.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
The cancellation of the VTT ruined all hope I had of a continually supported online builder.

I am very glad I've been relying on my "loaded" offline one.

-O
How likely is the continued use of the current CB after the switch?


Less likely than a bus full of supermodels stopping at your door to argue over your affections, I'd think.  I'd much rather that didn't look to be the case, but it does.



Oh, good! Dude, that happens ALL the time, to me! Makes my wife all kinds of mad!
So many PCs, so little time...
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Optimism & pessimism may be irrational, but cynicism is based on bitter experience. Wotan screwed over 3e fans for 4e. They don't seem to be doing anything differently this time around
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56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
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Calm down folks. The online builder is going to stay around for a while. If it is essential to your game then I would advise you make sure you wrap up your current campaigns sometime this year. It would make no sense for WotC to remove it until the launch of fifth edition.

What I expect to happen is that sometime later this year the Insider membership will either become free to all or just go away and the online tools will become free to use for a while. Then at the launch of fifth edition or shortly thereafter they will simply be gone. The "Online" component of DDI is a big turn-off to many of the fans that aren't playing the current game. I fully expect that there will be no comparable character builder for fifth edition at the time of the game launch. For the "old school feel" marketing element and just because it will be cheaper for them it makes total sense to not have the builder. They didn't have the builder at the launch of 4E and they are still missing many of the promised elements of DDI that we have all paid for during the entire run of fourth edition. It may be pessimism but DDI has largely failed for WotC and for us, the customers. I will miss the Compendium more-so than the builder.

Once it becomes free to use it will be a lot easier for them to throw it out. Expect it.
I haven't paid a penny for missing features. I've paid for things that are there, that I use all the time.


Further, the statement that DDI has been a failure is a controversial statement. Please back it up with proof or retract.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
DDi could be an even better money making machine if they want to.

Keep the current offering. Add new Tools for 5E in DDi. 

You keep your current customers wether they play 5E or not, all while gaining new 5E customers.  
Sales increase and everyone is happy.

Who'd want to drop a $200K/month revenue ? I doubt operational cost render DDi not profitable. I could be wrong but i think they will keep DDi running.    

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Yeah, seriously. Even if we assume that there's fewer people with DDI subs than are in the DDI community group, say, 50k, and that all of them are being frugal and doing a year at a time for 80/year, that's $4,000,000 a year.

If we consider the fact that many are probably doing 3 months at a time, and a few are even paying month to month, and that the numbers were almost certainly higher than they are before 5e was announced, then the idea that DDI isn't profitable is completely absurd.

I rather doubt we'll see a lack of online tools and services for 5e.



Hell, I think they've even said that they're going to be doing some kind of digital stuff, but haven't decided what it's all going to look like yet. 
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
It would be absolutely moronic for WotC to fully eliminate the 4E DDI support. Regardless of what people think, it IS a profitable, or necessary to keep total profits high. In the Hay-day of 3.5, D&D was worth just 30 million a year. Since that time, we have seen a marked decline in sales with Pathfinder swooping in taking a lot of potential business away from WotC. WotC needs a way to make good, honest, consistent money in a revenue stream that does not involve selling books. DDI is perfect for that! You rope people into paying X amount of money every month. It may not be much on an individual basis but over the course of the year, it really adds up. Bare bones, WotC is probably making 3 million a year off the DDI after you factor in full time tech/employee salaries and Freelancer fees (the main staff has to write content for the DDI, so their salaries are covered else where). 3 million a year could easily cover the loses WotC has seen to Paizo (especially once you factor in all the cuts the D&D staff has seen over the last few years).

There's no way WotC is going to abandon that revenue stream on the off chance a horde of new people will join up for the 5E content.  I fully expect WotC to maintain the 4E tools as they stand today and grant access to them if you are a DDI subscriber. The only difference is that the links to the tools will be shoved off in some odd corner of the web site, far away from where the 5E players' prying eyes. That's not the worst thing in the world, really.

What this solution allows is for WotC to continue to tap the old revenue stream of 4E players while forcing them to pay for all the new 5E content. Not a bad plan, is it? 
It's a logical plan, and makes perfect sense in terms of making profit and supporting customers.

However, based on WotC's track record, I'm afraid that since they still don't seem to be willing to confirm confirm that they intend something of the sort, they're going to dump the 4E tools to encourage a shift to Next. There's no reason I can see not to go ahead and reassure their current customers unless they actually are planning to dump the 4E tools.
First thing for people working on providing new features should remember: People hate change for the sake of change. They usually don't mind genuine improvements, but change just because it's change and therefore cool tends to get hackles raised. Second thing for people working on providing new 'improved' features should remember: It shouldn't be hard for users to figure out how to turn them off if they don't like them. Just because the programmer thinks he's had a great idea doesn't mean everyone else is going to agree with them.
dump the 4E tools to encourage a shift to Next.


If they think that will work, then they are utter morons.
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