D&D Insider

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I've followed numerous threads where software programmers have said exactly the opposite. Check this thread where many chimed in to post the opposite view that you share. Chime in there yourself to counter "those people".

Programmers are notorious for thinking they are the best in the business and whatever language/platform they are using is the best. Most ARE highly intelligent and still you see a raging debate like the one where you posted.

It would have been nice to see a public RFP (Request for Proposals) from WOTC to build the system and that way everyone could see how much additional cost, if any, it would have been to deliver a system that worked equally well on Windows, Mac, Linux, smartphones, etc. Even without a public RFP, I would be highly surprised if WOTC didn't seek quotes from several different companies to build it. If they had quotes to provide the same level of functionality on multiple platforms for the same cost, then I can't see any reason why they wouldn't have taken that route.

I think the fat client is only necessary for the virtual tabletop though. They won't need DirectX capabilities for most of the content and functionality. Those can all run from the browser.
The business model is just like an MMO, it just uses tools and Ezine content instead of quests and graphics. This is why so many people are so mad.

And my phone service is like an mmo with calls and voice mail instead of quests and graphics.

Really DDI is like a magazine subscription that gives access to some other good online tools. Heck, the NAIC uses this exact model. Its nothing like an MMO.
Meepo,

Is DirectX the only engine available for this purpose?
All this talk of Mac vs. PC is great, but I have a question.

Will the DI be available for handheld platforms?

I know barely enough about website design to even kibitz properly, but I will note that anything that's Flash intensive is a no-go on phones. I have no idea if .pdfs are phone-browser capable, but I doubt it. Sites that aren't Flash-centric can be built multi-platform friendly fairly readily by using CSS and being compatible with standards; that's a function of good design, but good design isn't as common as you'd like to think. The real question is, will the DI be Flash and graphics intensive, or will be be something that can be parsed on low-grade web browsers?

I hate to say it, but I'm going to have to bet on the first. Bring your laptop. Don't bet on the phone. And from what I hear, iPhones don't digest Flash too well, either. Sorry.
My two-cents: $5-$7.99 a month is the max I would pay for this. I don't mean GLEEMAX, just D&DI.

However, let me just point a few things out...the whole "e-book" thing is a complete, utter mess that WotC will end up regretting. First off, CHARGING MONEY for a digital version of a book I JUST PAID FOR, is absolutely retarded. It doesn't cost ANYTHING, not a damn DIME, to have PDFs. The books are created and formatted ON A COMPUTER, converting them to PDF is a single-click process, so don't feed us that bull about it "costing" money, because it doesn't. Secondly, people are going to be stealing these "e-codes" left and right at retailers so they can have a free (oops, I mean "coffee" priced) copy of the digital version, screwing honest people out of it.

Seriously, WotC, we're not average consumers- we know when you're trying to milk us, and 4E is the most bold attempt yet.
My two-cents: $5-$7.99 a month is the max I would pay for this. I don't mean GLEEMAX, just D&DI.

However, let me just point a few things out...the whole "e-book" thing is a complete, utter mess that WotC will end up regretting. First off, CHARGING MONEY for a digital version of a book I JUST PAID FOR, is absolutely retarded. It doesn't cost ANYTHING, not a damn DIME, to have PDFs. The books are created and formatted ON A COMPUTER, converting them to PDF is a single-click process, so don't feed us that bull about it "costing" money, because it doesn't. Secondly, people are going to be stealing these "e-codes" left and right at retailers so they can have a free (oops, I mean "coffee" priced) copy of the digital version, screwing honest people out of it.

Seriously, WotC, we're not average consumers- we know when you're trying to milk us, and 4E is the most bold attempt yet.

Name me another company that gives a PDF copy for free after you have bought a hardcopy. The only name I can think of that people utter as if they are martyrs is Paizo and hate to tell you but 20$/book/month tells me the pdf price is built into the sales price, WoTC is giving you the choice.
Meepo,

Is DirectX the only engine available for this purpose?

DirectX and OpenGL are two different application interfaces for dealing with graphics. The relative merits of the two aside (as we're not talking about a fancy 3d FPS here) the big difference is that OpenGL is supported on all computing platforms, whereas DirectX is windows only.

If mac compatibility is planned eventually, the code will have to be rewritten anyway, which is why several of the arguments about cost seem less well founded.
DirectX and OpenGL are two different application interfaces for dealing with graphics. The relative merits of the two aside (as we're not talking about a fancy 3d FPS here) the big difference is that OpenGL is supported on all computing platforms, whereas DirectX is windows only.

If mac compatibility is planned eventually, the code will have to be rewritten anyway, which is why several of the arguments about cost seem less well founded.

Then Wizards can use OpenGL and save themselves the hassle.

BTW, 90% of porting to the Mac consists of copy editing the code.
However, let me just point a few things out...the whole "e-book" thing is a complete, utter mess that WotC will end up regretting. First off, CHARGING MONEY for a digital version of a book I JUST PAID FOR, is absolutely retarded.

First of all, posting in all bold is tacky.

This would make sense if including a PDF for free were standard, but I can't think of another company that does it on a routine basis. With any other company, you'd have to pay just as much if not more if you had the option at all. I don't recall anyone refusing to buy 3E, or any other book for that matter, over not getting a free PDF copy along with it - and I heard some pretty damn silly reasons for refusing 3E. Why is it different for 4E?

Let's put the point another way. You're a VP of a company that makes widgets, doodads, and various other products, and a new line of widgets is on the way. It has recently come to your attention that doodads and widgets can be designed so as to work especially well together, in ways that would be very useful to some of your customers (but that others don't care about). The time has come to decide among the three following pricing models for the new line; which one gets your vote?

1. For X dollars, you get a widget. You just ignore the doodad-related possibilities.

2. For X dollars, you get the same widget plus the option of getting, for an additional Y dollars, a doodad designed to work especially well with the widget.

3. For X+Y dollars, you get the widget and the doodad. There is no option to just get the widget.

All else being equal - and right now, we have no reason to assume it's not - it seems to me it's irrational to vote for any option but #2. First consider the choice betwen 1 and 2. People who want the doodad will obviously prefer 2, and people who don't have no good reason to care whether option 1 or option 2 is implemented. (Which is the point many people here seem to be missing.) Similar comments apply to 2 versus 3; people who don't want the doodad will obviously prefer model 2, and those who want the doodad shouldn't care which of those is implemented (actually, they might prefer 2 as well, since it means not having to pay for everything at once, which is handy sometimes).

Model 2 is just obviously better than either of the realistic alternatives, which are 1 and 3. The whining it's producing honestly comes across to me as some kind of mass hysteria.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
First off, CHARGING MONEY for a digital version of a book I JUST PAID FOR, is absolutely retarded. It doesn't cost ANYTHING, not a damn DIME, to have PDFs. The books are created and formatted ON A COMPUTER, converting them to PDF is a single-click process, so don't feed us that bull about it "costing" money, because it doesn't.

Well, implementing all the content in the databases and tools does cost extra time and money above and beyond producing the book.

Secondly, people are going to be stealing these "e-codes" left and right at retailers so they can have a free (oops, I mean "coffee" priced) copy of the digital version, screwing honest people out of it.

Not if its shrink-wrapped. If it isn't, don't buy it.


Shane
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." - Robert J. Hanlon ...so if I post something that offends or annoys you, it's probably not because I meant to, but simply because I'm dumb - point it out and I can sort it out.
One thing that occurs to me is that many people (across many forums, so I am not pointing at anyone individually) have an unrealistic sense of entitlement where the new edition is concerned. WotC are a business and are in business to make money. If the product they are putting out, or the manner of delivery, is not to your standards/tastes then vote with your dollars by going elsewhere for your gaming (and if enough people do, things will change). But please, don't think for a minute that you are entitled to anything from Wizards - you will get what you pay for and rightly so - its business after all*.

*- To clarify, many of the people of Wizards are motivated by 'make a cool game' and that is great - its why we see the quality and great support they give. But the company as a whole needs to make money to keep doing things.

Shane
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." - Robert J. Hanlon ...so if I post something that offends or annoys you, it's probably not because I meant to, but simply because I'm dumb - point it out and I can sort it out.
I have a couple of random thoughts/questions about the way D&D Insider will operate.

1. We've all heard about how the "D&D Game Table" handles VoIP. I was wondering however, if there was an option to use text as well or instead? I have a rather pronounced accent, which can cause trouble when I'm trying to be understood. I also know of a few deaf and/or mute D&D players who could also benefit from such an option being included.

2. Also, as we all know, when you purchase a 4E book you get an included code that allows you to pay a nominal fee to download an EBook version and add the included rules to the various DDI databases for use with the Character Creator, Dungeon Master’s Kit, etc. What if I'm only interested in the database update and don't want the download at the time (perhaps later or perhaps never)? Am I going to be forced to pay the same as a person who wants the full monty, or is it possible to get it at a lesser cost/free (after all, I'll already be paying a monthly fee for the DDI account and paid full price for the book, it seems a little much to have to pay an additional cost every time I want to add a few new feats or skill or classes from the book I just bought to the Character Creator produced by the same company).

3. Will there be a way to export a DDI created item so another DDI user can use it (like share a Game Table dungeon with another DM or pass your player an updated Character Sheet, for example)?
OMG a business using tactics to try and improve their capital gain...who has ever heard of anything like that? OMG a business that realizes that MANY of it's fans and customers do NOT buy it's books but instead share or pirate them so they try to add incentives to buy said books. I mean...how heartless can you get, that's just ridiculous.

PDF's should be free eh? Name me one company that gives PDF's for free, just one. The only company I am aware of that gives PDF's for free when you buy the hardcopy is Paizo and their PDF cost is built into their magazine price of "19.95" per copy whether or not you take advantage of the pdf. Wizards is at least giving you the choice.

You mean like Mongoose games? They release 2 free PDFs, one for their wargames, one for their roleplaying games and they release the pair every month. As they are not even in the same league as WotC being much smaller yet they still do it.



Sorry I thought this was in relation to e-mags.



With paying a "nominal" fee to get a PDF copy of a book purchased. I would not pay any more that 10% of the retail cost of the hardcopy.
Well, implementing all the content in the databases and tools does cost extra time and money above and beyond producing the book.

I think everyone harping on jangadance needs to read around/past all the yelling (CAPS) and bold and anger.

It looks like he's saying that the material is produced on a computer within the WotC offices during production. Then it's a damn simple matter of converting to pdf.

So, two questions I guess.

1. Does WotC make the books in a virtual environment -- like on their computers at the office -- before they're ever sent to the printer? (You know, adding graphics, typesetting, tables, appendices, etc., etc., basically everything.)

Or...

2. When WotC makes a PDF of a book, do they have to take all that material and recreate it just so they can convert it to pdf? (You know, like doubling the work, but reducing the cost of printing, shipping, storing, etc.)

I'm pretty sure it's #1.



Note that this doesn't mean I think they won't/shouldn't charge for the pdfs. Just what I read in that bold, CAPS LOCKED, angry, ranty post.
First of all, posting in all bold is tacky.

This would make sense if including a PDF for free were standard, but I can't think of another company that does it on a routine basis. With any other company, you'd have to pay just as much if not more if you had the option at all. I don't recall anyone refusing to buy 3E, or any other book for that matter, over not getting a free PDF copy along with it - and I heard some pretty damn silly reasons for refusing 3E. Why is it different for 4E?

Let's put the point another way. You're a VP of a company that makes widgets, doodads, and various other products, and a new line of widgets is on the way. It has recently come to your attention that doodads and widgets can be designed so as to work especially well together, in ways that would be very useful to some of your customers (but that others don't care about). The time has come to decide among the three following pricing models for the new line; which one gets your vote?

1. For X dollars, you get a widget. You just ignore the doodad-related possibilities.

2. For X dollars, you get the same widget plus the option of getting, for an additional Y dollars, a doodad designed to work especially well with the widget.

3. For X+Y dollars, you get the widget and the doodad. There is no option to just get the widget.

All else being equal - and right now, we have no reason to assume it's not - it seems to me it's irrational to vote for any option but #2. First consider the choice betwen 1 and 2. People who want the doodad will obviously prefer 2, and people who don't have no good reason to care whether option 1 or option 2 is implemented. (Which is the point many people here seem to be missing.) Similar comments apply to 2 versus 3; people who don't want the doodad will obviously prefer model 2, and those who want the doodad shouldn't care which of those is implemented (actually, they might prefer 2 as well, since it means not having to pay for everything at once, which is handy sometimes).

Model 2 is just obviously better than either of the realistic alternatives, which are 1 and 3. The whining it's producing honestly comes across to me as some kind of mass hysteria.

Just for the record, I'll post in whatever manner I damn well please, because I could hardly give a rat's ass what you think is 'tacky'.

Please explain to me how it costs Wizards anything but a few clicks of a mouse to make PDFs available. I don't care what the standard is for other companies. It doesn't cost them anything to put those PDFs up...what, maybe some bandwidth? If anything, PDF-versions of books you've bought should be included in the D&D "Insider" package...which sounds like enough of a rip-off, not even mentioning the whole pay-per-play crap they're going for with the game table AND Gleemax if you're not a subscriber.

And since you seem to be an ardent WotC defender, why don't you explain to me how, assuming I don't subscribe to D&DI, it's acceptable for them to charge pay-per-play on programs that have no real upkeep to them? I make this point especially towards Gleemax, where they expect people to pay money for a single board game session. It's pure profit, all they do is provide a static program. That's like asking someone to pay a fee every single time you want to play Solitaire or Minesweeper.
Name me another company that gives a PDF copy for free after you have bought a hardcopy. The only name I can think of that people utter as if they are martyrs is Paizo and hate to tell you but 20$/book/month tells me the pdf price is built into the sales price, WoTC is giving you the choice.

I'm not sure if this has been addressed, but how can Paizo--a much smaller company--able to afford giving away a PDF with a $20 book, but WoTC with all of its resources has to charge a "nominal" fee for a PDF of a $30 - $40 book?
Jangadance,

In this forum you don't need to shout.

On PDF Prices,

The value people place on an item is a function of how much it cost them to obtain it.
Ok, I'm largely ignoring many of the points made so far in this thread, but I read the FAQ (it's very good, isn't it?) so I will probably offend less people than I usually do in everyday conversation.

I like the idea of D&D Insider overall. It gives extra content for the price of a couple of magazines. But it has two things I don't like.

Web Creep
I am an avid web user. I like the variuos options it gives. But the fact is, I will never rely on it. I won't rely on computers, connected to the internet or not. Computers crash, fail, all these variuos things. Power cuts happen. But writing things on a bit of paper or printing it in a book reduces error to you losing stuff. I'm OK with that stipulation, it's my own stupid fault. I don't like the idea of extra content being online, and not released in magazines, like Dungeon and Dragon were. I never read them, but if I want computer game reviews of a certain quality, I'll usually buy a magazine to read on the 20-minute bus journey home. I won't use a laptop with a charged battery and sit typing and clicking to annoy people around me on the bus.

'Tossing them a bone'
This is largely speculation. I, along with the community, cannot say how much of the content will be open to all. But many supposedly 'free' online games, websites, etc with exclusive subscruber areas give you practically nothing. They'll 'toss you a bone' every so often so you won't leave completely. If the amount of free articles we get nowadays is released, I'll be happy. Some of the stuff is fairly useful. Any real in-depth things, I prefer a discussion on the forums. But if we get less content, with lots of stuff being in the 'shiny Insider section', as I would cynically call it in this situation, then that is plain rubbish. I just hope it's the former possiblity, and not the latter.
I know barely enough about website design to even kibitz properly, but I will note that anything that's Flash intensive is a no-go on phones.

Yup - the WOTC site on my phone right now is a big no-go. And this is a problem, I think.

I have no idea if .pdfs are phone-browser capable, but I doubt it.

Its doable, but it is better if you download the pdf then convert it to a "phone compatible" pdf. (Basically it renders the pdf for screen size limitations.)

Sites that aren't Flash-centric can be built multi-platform friendly fairly readily by using CSS and being compatible with standards; that's a function of good design, but good design isn't as common as you'd like to think. The real question is, will the DI be Flash and graphics intensive, or will be be something that can be parsed on low-grade web browsers?

Yup - some of the basics of cutting edge good design can allow you to have your flash cake and eat it too. A simple browser detect, followed by a redirect to a less "plug-in intensive", toned down site works well. For that matter, not everyone who can use Flash want to deal with it. So the option to navigate to a non flash site should be there (in my humble opinion.)

Anyhoo. I just wanted to throw this out there in the hope that it will get heard.


Please, please make as much as you can available via handheld devices.


Again, I KNOW that a full function set is unrealistic - but certainly the site can be made much more handheld friendly.

Thanks for listening.
Just for the record, I'll post in whatever manner I damn well please, because I could hardly give a rat's a** what you think is 'tacky'.

Well, golly gee willikers, I'm certain that your average reader finds comments that are ALL IN BOLD AND FULL OF PROFANITY to be well-reasoned, insightful, and worth responding to. Especially when they respond to other people's requests with that degree of "civility".

Or maybe we just think people who write like that to be ill-bred louts who aren't worth the time of day.

I've got news for you. Posts like yours will never, ever, ever get a response from WoTC. They get glanced at and deleted before a word is read, unless they're so spit-flecked and hysteria-ridden that they get passed around the office and laughed at. Try talking civilly if you want a reasoned response.

If you can't manage that, plase sit down and hush. The adults are talking.
I think that the PC vs. Mac debate needs its own thread. Preferably one that is locked. The only meaningful point of discussion is actual demographic data. Anything else amounts to arguing politics, abortion, or religion and serves no purpose but to bog down this thread with stuff most of us don't want to read.

Heck, you can buy a brand new Dell PC for like $300 now. I'm sure you could get a used PC that is sufficient to run the tools for quite a bit less. (But this isn't about finding solutions, is it? It's about "principle.")

My guess is that there will be plenty of content on DDI that does not require the PC platform, in terms of feature articles, etc. Perhaps, if asked nicely by the masses (instead of the unhelpful apoplectic rage that some of you seem prone to), WotC would consider a two-tier DDI subscription, one that includes the graphical tools, and the other that unlocks only the platform-independent content.

As for paying to unlock DDI content: The "key" that you need to unlock will CERTAINLY be under a "scratch-off" cover or inside a sealed envelope (or both) in the back of the book. This makes it difficult for anyone to steal a code without getting caught tampering with the book, and any attentive consumer (or shopkeeper) will know to double-check the key safeguards before buying (or selling) the book.

As for having to pay for a "free to produce" PDF of something you just bought, that's NOT what you're paying for. (Of course it costs virtually nothing to create a PDF of a finished book.) You are paying for BONUS online-only CONTENT that for whatever reason isn't in the book. As they've said before, the online content is like the "Extras DVD" that comes in the special edition of a movie. If you don't want the extras, then don't pay to cash in the key. You still get the book.

And you'll still have the 4e SRD to refer to. They have committed to both OGL and the SRD for 4e, so no worries there.

You might lend a book or CD or a DVD to a friend, but you can't possibly suggest that buying a movie and actually burning five copies for friends is in any way ethical or legal. Sharing books around a table is fine, as is borrowing them from the local library. But there's no illusion of ownership there, nor entitlement.

While I sympathize to a point with the Mac and Linux users (but grow SO tired of them complaining about how many games are PC-only), most of the other discussions about getting free PDFs, being able to share books and codes, etc., getting stuff for free, just sounds like trying to justify stealing to me.

It's also a shame that fear and anger motivates people more than happiness, so it skews the perceptions on a discussion board like this. (It's also the reason the Republicans often do better than Democrats, but I digress.) Most people who are happy about 4e aren't going to bother to post about it, especially not when it would risk getting into an argument with an apoplectic poster. The doomsday thread is much longer than the hallelujah thread mostly for that reason and because there are some evangelists in the doomsday thread trying to win converts.

Me? I'm happy with most everything I've seen about 4e and DDI so far.
If you want to know why the current website doesn't work too well with "dumb" browsers (like your phone), go to this website:

http://validator.w3.org/

...and plug in the current D&D home page's address. The result is depressing.

(And watch the web designers of the world tremble, as I give end users a tool to judge their work with... mwahahaha...)

Now, to be realistic, it's extremely unlikely that a lot of DCI material (like the character viewer or the table) could possibly be CSS compliant. But there's no reason the front page can't or shouldn't be.

Perhaps more to the point, a non-compliant page like this is hard for someone who, say, is visually impaired to use. Blind people use broswers that read the content of webpages to you... if they're laid out in a way that makes it viable. This one doesn't.

Web standards are good, WotC! Please use them!
I think that the PC vs. Mac debate needs its own thread. Preferably one that is locked. The only meaningful point of discussion is actual demographic data. Anything else amounts to arguing politics, abortion, or religion and serves no purpose but to bog down this thread with stuff most of us don't want to read.

Agreed.
As for paying to unlock DDI content: The "key" that you need to unlock will CERTAINLY be under a "scratch-off" cover or inside a sealed envelope (or both) in the back of the book. This makes it difficult for anyone to steal a code without getting caught tampering with the book, and any attentive consumer (or shopkeeper) will know to double-check the key safeguards before buying (or selling) the book.

Making something "difficult" to steal is more often then not making it more difficult to purchase (I can no longer flip through the book before buying is a good example of what happens when you shrink wrap books). As for protecting the information by covering/shrink wrapping, I have worked in a retail enviornment for over 10 years and if there's one thing I have learned it's that no matter how good a job you think your doing watching the shoppers, you're going to miss a lot. Included in this equation needs to be the reality of employee theft/apathy/etc that makes it even harder to make sure that your product is in pristine shape for a customer. I hope they give a lot of thought to how the product will be shown/stored in a book or gaming store before going to these legnths.

The nightmare scenario for wrapped books starts with a group of people entering the location during a low staff period. Distract the sales clerk while your thief quietly cuts the shrink wrap and uncovers the code. With the ability of take a quick (and better every day) photo of the code with his/her cell phone and place to book back on the shelf, the thief then casually walks to the counter with what they are willing to pay for or just out the front door. Granted it's not rocket science but you're dealing with imaginative people who will find a way around whatever safety measures you put in place.

As for having to pay for a "free to produce" PDF of something you just bought, that's NOT what you're paying for. (Of course it costs virtually nothing to create a PDF of a finished book.) You are paying for BONUS online-only CONTENT that for whatever reason isn't in the book. As they've said before, the online content is like the "Extras DVD" that comes in the special edition of a movie. If you don't want the extras, then don't pay to cash in the key. You still get the book.

I'm still looking for confirmation that the E version of the material will be a "take with you" file (.pdf) or something locked into the D&DI subscription. If you could point me in the direction of that info I would appreciate it.
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There has been no confirmation of the .pdf format being used. From all of the statements I have seen thus far, it is all online ONLY content. Unable to be printed (thus to help stop piracy). They may have chosen to go the route of .pdf but they haven't mentioned that format specifically yet.
There has been no confirmation of the .pdf format being used. From all of the statements I have seen thus far, it is all online ONLY content. Unable to be printed (thus to help stop piracy). They may have chosen to go the route of .pdf but they haven't mentioned that format specifically yet.

Thank you. With all the "hopeful" stuff floating around, it's hard to seperate fact from fiction. I can't stay away from this trainwreck though, lol. *Shakes Fist* Damn you for creating an intrest in this Wizards! :D
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Glad to be of help. It seems that just about anytime here that someone posts:

A friend of a friend of my cousins third wife's step-daughters' niece told me

all of a sudden that is now confirmed info. I like to see sources or at the very least that the person acknowledges that they could be wrong with the information they are presenting. I try to do that. Sometimes I fail, but I do try.:D
Something that was brought up in one of the other threads that bears bringing up here as well is the concept of the group account. A higher per month cost for a set number of people. This would allow them to pool resources (do we all really need a copy of FRCS 4e so that we have access to race/feat info that is specific to the Realms?) but possibly limit access to the other tools (only 1 person gets the DM toolkit doodads for instance). Would it be difficult to allow someone to load their book code onto a personal and *as yet non-existant*a group account? If you can track a code for activation, you can track it twice with a minor (maybe?)tweak of the code. Besides, it presents another revenue stream for those inidividuals who consider the going (individual) monthly cost to be to high.

All of this is pure blue sky brainstorming for us ATM since there's very little hard data but it never hurts to promote or share a good idea.
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So that's where we're at right now. If I were in your shoes, I'd sure want to know as much as possible, right away, proverbial elephants be damned. But May 2008 is a ways off. Just check in with us, volunteer to playtest, and eventually you'll see for yourself, long before the book is on the shelves.

--David Noonan, game designer, Wizards of the Coast.

David..

How would we go about volunteering to playtest? I helped playtest the original FR book way back as well as some of the builder books.

And, not to toot our horn down in Miami, ;) but if there is a way to crack the game, we will find it... We enjoy making game systems bow before us and say uncle.
Agreed.
The nightmare scenario for wrapped books starts with a group of people entering the location during a low staff period. Distract the sales clerk while your thief quietly cuts the shrink wrap and uncovers the code. With the ability of take a quick (and better every day) photo of the code with his/her cell phone and place to book back on the shelf, the thief then casually walks to the counter with what they are willing to pay for or just out the front door. Granted it's not rocket science but you're dealing with imaginative people who will find a way around whatever safety measures you put in place.

You don't shrink-wrap the book. You seal the keycode in an envelope in the back of the book. If you have to unseal an envelope and scratch off a code, then it makes it very risky to attempt this in broad daylight.

Let's suppose someone pulls it off without being detected.

Someone else goes to buy the book and the consumer or the clerk checks the back of the book for the code (unless they're both idiots).

They discover that the code has been stolen, so they (a) tell the customer to go grab one that isn't hacked, and (b) they contact WotC to report the stolen code. WotC then (a) bans the code, (b) bans the thief who used the stolen code, and (c) voids all of the previously validated codes entered by the thief. They might even prosecute the thief, though I doubt they'd bother.

If WotC allowed them to recreate their account (generous, imho), then they'd have to repurchase ALL of their books. I'd call that a good deterrent.

The store returns the book to WotC who replaces the keycode envelope, or better yet WotC just mails the store a replacement key envelope.

(If you're familiar with Steam and Counter-Strike online, anyone caught hacking/cheating has their Steam account banned and forfeits all content they have purchased on that account, which can amount to hundreds of dollars of software. That's a pretty good deterrent, if you ask me.)
Something that was brought up in one of the other threads that bears bringing up here as well is the concept of the group account. A higher per month cost for a set number of people. This would allow them to pool resources (do we all really need a copy of FRCS 4e so that we have access to race/feat info that is specific to the Realms?) but possibly limit access to the other tools (only 1 person gets the DM toolkit doodads for instance). Would it be difficult to allow someone to load their book code onto a personal and *as yet non-existant*a group account? If you can track a code for activation, you can track it twice with a minor (maybe?)tweak of the code. Besides, it presents another revenue stream for those inidividuals who consider the going (individual) monthly cost to be to high.

All of this is pure blue sky brainstorming for us ATM since there's very little hard data but it never hurts to promote or share a good idea.

This would be a legal nightmare. Who owns the group? The DM? The player who created it? Who owns the individual books? What if one person wants to leave the group? What if someone wants to join the group? Even if they donate their keys to the group account, what if the group disbands? Who owns the keys then?

Look, all of this just boils down to: "I want to use material in books without having to actually pay the producers of the book for their work." You're trying to rationalize stealing, as far as I can tell.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but that's really what it boils down to. You may be accustomed to sharing books around the gaming table, loaning books, CDs, or DVDs to friends, but none of that actually meant that you OWNED that material, or entitled you to any benefits of ownership, such as the right to deface, destroy, sell, or give it away (imagine telling your friend that you did any of the above to something they loaned you...).

In the end, people are resisting having to pay for something that they want. Unfortunately, capitalism killed communism and took its stuff.
Actually his post states clearly that he is willing to pay extra for an account type like that so it hardly compares to stealing
Some people have been expressing annoyance that they may have to pay extra just to unlock a pdf version of the book they just bought at the store.

I for one am seriously hoping (nay, expecting) that they are not going to give us PDFs. Who wants PDFs?! They're a pain to read! If that's all we're getting, then I'd be indignant about paying extra, but I seriously hope we'll be getting more than that - specifically, something along the lines of www.d20srd.org on crack - completely cross-referenced, with easy-to-access lists and ways of sorting data (grabbing spell lists by school, or type, for example), and with all those annoying things like conditions and whatnot automatically tagged and linked.

Not only would that merit a small additional fee, it would make the digital form of your book totally worth it.
Unfortunately, capitalism killed communism and took its stuff.

Guess you've got a point there. Still seems like a problem for 5 kids to come up with $600 plus books. Adults, not so much of a problem (but still a steep investment, I get more use out of my Tivo for $120/year sadly than I will probably get out of D&DI so if it's a question of which doodad do I want, looks like Tivo will do my marriage better) in most cases.

Maybe the naysayers have a point. If they aren't willing to make some concessions to their model (cost vs utility), I get a bad feeling about this whole thing that will likely keep me from using the digital side of 4E.

I am so stealing your quote for my sig though :D
IMAGE(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y239/SoulCatcher78/techdevil78.jpg)
Actually his post states clearly that he is willing to pay extra for an account type like that so it hardly compares to stealing

I admit to missing that detail, but my position stands. The goal of his line of questioning is to say that if he has five people in his gaming group and they want to play in FR, he doesn't want everyone to have to buy the FRCS. He wants some way for one person to buy it and everyone to be able to use it.

One person pays for the book, and the other people get to use the book without paying for it. Paying a small fee to share an expensive book among others amounts to essentially the same thing.

If you go to a nicer restaurant, often they will charge a "plate fee" to split a meal (unless the menu item in question is specifically "for two"). That plate fee is generally large enough to discourage people from doing it, but not quite the full cost of an entree.

Here's a similar, and better, solution, imho: Allow people to buy ONLY the digital versions of the books at half price. So, one person in your group can buy the book in print (which you can share around the table), and everyone else pays the 50% "digital only" fee to access the content online and use the tools. Hell, WotC could even give you a PDF to take to kinkos and print if you want. They still make their profit (probably more, in fact) without having to print and ship a book to a bookseller, and you get access to what you want at half the price of buying the book (that you already admit you don't really want).

Sounds like "win-win," rather than "steal-lose," if you ask me.
Here's a similar, and better, solution, imho: Allow people to buy ONLY the digital versions of the books at half price. So, one person in your group can buy the book in print (which you can share around the table), and everyone else pays the 50% "digital only" fee to access the content online and use the tools. Hell, WotC could even give you a PDF to take to kinkos and print if you want. They still make their profit (probably more, in fact) without having to print and ship a book to a bookseller, and you get access to what you want at half the price of buying the book (that you already admit you don't really want).

Sounds like "win-win," rather than "steal-lose," if you ask me.

I like the sound of that one. Given the lack of downside (watermarked .pdf maybe), maybe it would be less than 50%. Digital launch would be better held until a couple of weeks or a month after hardcopy launch to keep the booksellers happy (live movie releases to purchase before release to rental stores).
IMAGE(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y239/SoulCatcher78/techdevil78.jpg)
It depends a little bit on what the "bonus content" is like. They've compared this online content that comes with the books to the "Director's Cut with Extra Footage" DVDs... if that content isn't useful without access to the books, it's not worth the money.

If, on the other hand, A DCI subscription allows access to (non-printable) online copies of the rules, then that $5-6 a month is much more worth it. (I've heard at least one source say that the cost will be "about a cup of coffee" - whether that's McDonalds coffee or a venti white mocha latte, the interviewer himself confesses he doesn't know.)
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meh... I don't like open ended commitments, so My $9.95 per month stays in the bank. My only concern is the section in blue. Does this mean the forums will become pay per use in 2008?
People prefer the system they learned computing on. Simply fact of life. Demanding somebody switch to a platform he's not comfortable with is discourteous at the least.

I'm not comfortable with Windows or Linux. I'm comfortable with Mac. I'm not the only one. Using a utility like DirectX means suhtting out a good part of the customer base, or forcing people to purchase either a machine they have no real use for, or a clunky and buggy port of an OS they have no real use for.

What it comes down to is, some people are insisting that a lot of people switch platform/OS so Wizards won't have to switch from one bit of software to another bit of software that does the same job, and is cross platform capable. That is, Linux and Mac users are being asked, as a whole, to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (guestimate) so Wizards won't have to spend a few hundred to make the switch. That is plain rude.

I have some news for certain folks, it doesn't hurt you for Wizards of the Coast to change one small thing, and by that change open up a feature to more customers.
Reading the comments I thought of one other feature I would love to see. Often we have old players / good friends who couldn't make this whole campaign, but often want to show up and see everyone, and play a little.

Tradition is that we let them play the BBEG for that night, and take some of the work off the DMs plate. This always go over well, and is a great way to wedge in friends with busy schedules, new babies, whatever.....

So I wanted to ask this.

For a completely on-line game, will a multiple DM option be available in DI? Can we invite players to control the monsters? Can / would you consider such a function?

Again, thanks for listening.
Look, all of this just boils down to: "I want to use material in books without having to actually pay the producers of the book for their work." You're trying to rationalize stealing, as far as I can tell.

That's not true. Copyright certainly allows you to share one book and use it around a table. More importantly, though, the hobby has always worked this way, because it helps bring in new players.

Most people I know who have gotten into gaming have first sat in on a game run by someone else. "Hey, try this out, here's a character sheet." Someone bought the books, got excited, and got their friends to try things out. Eventually, it gets a lot easier for each of the friends to buy the books than it is to keep passing it around the table, but that first bit of sharing lowers the barrier to entry and gets more people to play.

It should be easy to continue that. At least the character generator should have flexible licensing around content, so if you have a new player you can get them hooked before making them shell out cash.

Even if that weren't the case, some of the products Wizards releases aren't intended to be purchased by everyone at the table. Some are intended to be bought only by the DM but still have player content. I don't know about the FRCS, but some campaign settings have "secrets" for the players to discover during play. Also, a bunch of adventures have items, spells, feats and PrCs for the players. But I wouldn't want my players to all buy a copy of Expedition to the Demonweb Pits so they could use the PrCs while I'm running the adventure!
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