Release of 4e PDF's Where's mine?

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This is about 4e PDF news item
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4news/20080709


I've bought the box set of 4e, and i thought that at some point the searchable updated PDF's would become available to me online when i entered some code or other, along with the other 4e tools.
Is this now not the case?
This is about 4e PDF news item
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4news/20080709


I've bought the box set of 4e, and i thought that at some point the searchable updated PDF's would become available to me online when i entered some code or other, along with the other 4e tools.
Is this now not the case?

That plan was scrapped publicly at DDXP back in February.

You'll note that your books don't have any "unlock codes" in them.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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The thing that annoys me is that the PDFs are overpriced. I like the idea of downloading D&D books... having a book is definitely nicer, but getting the downloadable version is more environmentally friendly and faster. However, I'm sure not going to be buying any PDFs as long as they're more expensive than ordering from Amazon. Some of the 3.5 books I want to pick up cost 50% more to download than to buy!
It would be worth it to me if they are fully indexed, searchable, and have free re-downloads to obtain errata updates. I've only heard they are/will be indexed, but not to what amount.
As soon as it's done the Compendium should fit most roles.
This is about 4e PDF news item
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4news/20080709


I've bought the box set of 4e, and i thought that at some point the searchable updated PDF's would become available to me online when i entered some code or other, along with the other 4e tools.
Is this now not the case?

I too was looking forward to these PDFs as part of the insider subscription.

rooster
Yes, I too noticed the high prices for the e-versions of the books. They are basing their prices on the full suggested retail price but pays that?! As it stands, the e-versions are only $5 cheaper than the hardcopy versions from my FLGS.

You'd think it wouldn't be necessary to buy the e-versions with the Compendium coming online. From what I see so far I think the Compendium is pretty useful but it is not a true search engine. It's not a searchable and indexed set of the rules. It is a catalogue of discrete content items such as powers, rituals, and the like.

I think the Compendium is good but a simple online version of the rules a la Amazon.com's "Look Inside" or Google Books is more of what I want. I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind scrapping of the unlock code mechanism.
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While I find the price of the PDFs to be rather high, I would certainly pay it if the PDFs were formatted similar to the online Dragon and Dungeon articles. If I could get access to a Player's Handbook that was formatted to be able to be read on a wide screen monitor without scrolling, I would snap it up in a heartbeat, even at the current PDF price on Drivethru.
Yes, I too noticed the high prices for the e-versions of the books. They are basing their prices on the full suggested retail price but pays that?! As it stands, the e-versions are only $5 cheaper than the hardcopy versions from my FLGS.

You'd think it wouldn't be necessary to buy the e-versions with the Compendium coming online. From what I see so far I think the Compendium is pretty useful but it is not a true search engine. It's not a searchable and indexed set of the rules. It is a catalogue of discrete content items such as powers, rituals, and the like.

I think the Compendium is good but a simple online version of the rules a la Amazon.com's "Look Inside" or Google Books is more of what I want. I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind scrapping of the unlock code mechanism.
.

The reasons were varied. Not the least of them were the logistics of tying accounts to book codes proved far more problematic than they were happy with.

Additionally, issues of how to handle people simply stealing the codes were raised that couldn't be easily addressed (it would have very simple for someone to open a book, take a picture of the code with their cameraphone, and then activate that code). People suggested scratch-off boxes for the codes, but the problem is the same, it just means the retailer is stuck with a book nobody will buy because the code is already scratched.

Others suggested putting the PDF on a CD in the back of the book, alas, I've looked through more than one IT book that's missing the CD when that's been done too. So I have my doubts that that would have helped any either.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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Except that Days of Wonder does it quite successfully for their boardgames such as Memoir 44. Off the top of my head, the books could have been shrinkwrapped. It just takes the one sample copy in a store for players to thumb through. Now, that said, reasons could be thought of countering that as well. Extending that line of thought then the books themselves shouldn't be sold at all as there are people who shoplift.

I'm not convinced that this is so undoable. It seems that there is a pattern developing at WotC where things are too difficult to accomplish. I'm not sure it is the hammer that is broken and that the problem does not reside with the carpenter, if you take my meaning.

As an example, this whole bit of of D&D4 being released across half a year, I find painful. D&D4 comes out in June but if you have a mind to play in FR4 then you better wait until September. And, what's this with the DM's screen coming out in August. I'm only guessing, but I think that it might have something to do with capitalization; that WotC depends on sales of the core books to finance other printings.
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The reasons were varied. Not the least of them were the logistics of tying accounts to book codes proved far more problematic than they were happy with.

Additionally, issues of how to handle people simply stealing the codes were raised that couldn't be easily addressed (it would have very simple for someone to open a book, take a picture of the code with their cameraphone, and then activate that code). People suggested scratch-off boxes for the codes, but the problem is the same, it just means the retailer is stuck with a book nobody will buy because the code is already scratched.

Others suggested putting the PDF on a CD in the back of the book, alas, I've looked through more than one IT book that's missing the CD when that's been done too. So I have my doubts that that would have helped any either.

Except that Days of Wonder does it quite successfully for their boardgames such as Memoir 44. Off the top of my head, the books could have been shrinkwrapped. It just takes the one sample copy in a store for players to thumb through. Now, that said, reasons could be thought of countering that as well. Extending that line of thought then the books themselves shouldn't be sold at all as there are people who shoplift.

There's a world of difference between cracking the shrinkwrap on a book, and flipping to the last page, and cracking open a board game, digging around in the components and finding the instruction booklet to get the code. One is far simpler than the other, especially in a world of books sold en masse at places like Borders - especially as these locations aren't going to take the time to shrink-wrap the books in the first place.

Days of Wonder games are sold largely at smaller stores. They aren't nearly as likely to go unnoticed while someone breaks the shrinkwrap, and goes digging around.

Furthermore, it then becomes an issue for WotC to deal with if a code doesn't work because its already been registered.

As an example, this whole bit of of D&D4 being released across half a year, I find painful. D&D4 comes out in June but if you have a mind to play in FR4 then you better wait until September. And, what's this with the DM's screen coming out in August. I'm only guessing, but I think that it might have something to do with capitalization; that WotC depends on sales of the core books to finance other printings.

Or it might simply be that they have limited resources to work on a limited amount of content at a given time. Writing, playtesting, modifying, editing, typesetting all takes time.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

As an example, this whole bit of of D&D4 being released across half a year, I find painful. D&D4 comes out in June but if you have a mind to play in FR4 then you better wait until September. And, what's this with the DM's screen coming out in August. I'm only guessing, but I think that it might have something to do with capitalization; that WotC depends on sales of the core books to finance other printings.
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WOTC is owned by Hasbro, they don't have any capitalization issues.

However, a staged release along with regular "updates" in the form of splat books is the best way to keep interest high and revenues consistent over a period of time. No one wants to sell 90% of their product in one month and then have nothing further to sell going forward.
No searchable online version + Watermark = Lower Value

DRM-free with watermark is the same to me as having it with DRM. Don't mess with what I'm legally getting. A hardcover book doesn't have watermarks, don't make the .pdf have them either. You are lowering the value of what you sell.
I am feeling cynical today, so I imagine that the PDF were priced to not sell. They have DRM + Watermarks to not sell. They have no bookmarks to not sell. And then, when WOTC discontinues them and we ask why? Well 'cause they didn't sell.
I am feeling cynical today, so I imagine that the PDF were priced to not sell. They have DRM + Watermarks to not sell. They have no bookmarks to not sell. And then, when WOTC discontinues them and we ask why? Well 'cause they didn't sell.

. . . mine has bookmarks?
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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I am feeling cynical today, so I imagine that the PDF were priced to not sell. They have DRM + Watermarks to not sell. They have no bookmarks to not sell. And then, when WOTC discontinues them and we ask why? Well 'cause they didn't sell.

While I don't have a problem with watermarks in pdfs, I agree that pricing the pdfs at US$24.95 when the print versions can be ordered from Amazon for US$23.07 is setting the pdf versions up for EPIC FAIL.
While I don't have a problem with watermarks in pdfs, I agree that pricing the pdfs at US$24.95 when the print versions can be ordered from Amazon for US$23.07 is setting the pdf versions up for EPIC FAIL.

HINT
Maybe WOTC should follow PAIZO's lead and offer the PDFs cheaper or offer a subscription that offers a Free PDF to people who subscribe each month.
The thing that annoys me is that the PDFs are overpriced.

Yeah, those prices are way too high. They should be $15 at the most, maybe even $12. I'm not gonna buy them at those prces, and I'm not gonna suggest that any does. And, they should have them broken them up by chapter, like Paizo's Pathfinder Adventure Paths are. Another lesson they should take from Paizo is tying these core rule book pdfs to individual D&DI subscription/account (if that system ever works). Further, Paizo also fixes goof-ups and reposts a new pdf to your account - for free! They even send a friendly e-mail notice/reminder.

Didn't Wizards of the Coast watch Monte Cook when he pioneered the sale of pdfs years ago with his Malhavoc Press line of products? I don't think he had anything over ten or twelve dollars.

Makes me glad that "a friend of mine" got the pdfs of these books that were sent to WotC's printer, leaked and subsequently torrented around the world for a few days.

-------- Don (Greyson) --------

Non-smoker, White, Non-golfer, U.S.-American

HINT
Maybe WOTC should follow PAIZO's lead and offer the PDFs cheaper or offer a subscription that offers a Free PDF to people who subscribe each month.

Nah....instead they'll just offer a subscription service that provides next to nothing for content and tools and fall short of every grand boast they've made so far, and laugh their you know whats off to the bank.

At least thats what I would do
D&D-OUTSIDER Since 3/1/2011
I returned my 3 books to amazon as soon as I find out they had no electronic support. That was a big advantage of going with Amazon, my local store would never have let me return them.

Anyways, I found another way to get the PDF's and since I DM with a projector and a laptop, I find that much easier then actually owning the books
So you ended up buying the pdfs??
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
So you ended up buying the pdfs??

At that price? never, I convinced 4 players to buy the books. I consider that fair for a 5 person group.
I've been very disappointed to learn that the e-versions of the books will not be available or included in D&DI. That was one of the things I thought added value to D&DI...

rooster
My problem is WoTC should have known from the beginning that the pdfs might present a problem. Yet they said they would offer them as part of buying the core books, sure they said something in February I missed it but I guess they did, but they should have been honest from the beginning IMO. Stop promising all this stuff and then changing your stance halfway through, either do it or don't. Stop messing with us and be honest, well as honest as a company can be nowadays. I am not a huge pdf fan, sure it's great if you have access to a printer that doesn't eat all your ink etc. but not all of us have that luxury and some of us like to lay down and read, or curl up in a chair and read so IMO the price needs to be much lower, cause in the long run why pay so much for a pdf when you can buy the hardcovers cheaper? I mean a guy like me who likes to print off his pdfs is looking at a lot of ink between dragon, dungeon, and pdf core books, it's insane and pushes a large part of a companies overhead onto it's customer base, and it seems kind of counterproductive to spend 50USD a month on ink just to play a game. The whole thing is a mess IMO, gee let me pay 25USD for the pdfs and then pay for all the ink to print them...cha ching. I didn't want to believe all the haters but I tend to agree with them now, 4e is a cash cow for WoTC if we all continue to support the system. When I told my group about DDI and the price they all freaked, but that's a different thread all together.
I've been very disappointed to earn that the e-versions of the books will not be available or included in D&DI. That was one of the things I thought added value to D&DI...

rooster

To offset the lack of inexpensive e-books tied to the purchase of a physical book, the Rules Compendium has rules ELEMENTS, and is available to all D&Di subscribers. Non-subscribers will be able to use it to find what book and page a particular element come from.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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To offset the lack of inexpensive e-books tied to the purchase of a physical book, the Rules Compendium has rules ELEMENTS, and is available to all D&Di subscribers. Non-subscribers will be able to use it to find what book and page a particular element come from.

So the rules are actually going to be in the compendium now?

rooster
My problem is WoTC should have known from the beginning that the pdfs might present a problem. Yet they said they would offer them as part of buying the core books, sure they said something in February I missed it but I guess they did, but they should have been honest from the beginning IMO. Stop promising all this stuff and then changing your stance halfway through, either do it or don't. Stop messing with us and be honest, well as honest as a company can be nowadays.

Sometimes plans change due to problems with a plan. They did make an anouncement about 4 months before the release of the books. That was as honest as they could be.

I am not a huge pdf fan, sure it's great if you have access to a printer that doesn't eat all your ink etc. but not all of us have that luxury and some of us like to lay down and read, or curl up in a chair and read so IMO the price needs to be much lower, cause in the long run why pay so much for a pdf when you can buy the hardcovers cheaper? I mean a guy like me who likes to print off his pdfs is looking at a lot of ink between dragon, dungeon, and pdf core books, it's insane and pushes a large part of a companies overhead onto it's customer base, and it seems kind of counterproductive to spend 50USD a month on ink just to play a game.

There's no requirement to print a PDF, however. If you choose to do so, that's your option. Yes, it's a costly option, but it isn't required (and one could even argue it isn't even *intended*) for the enjoyment of the PDF. You're right, however, not to buy a PDF version of the books if your enjoyment of the product is decreased by not having a physical book to "curl up with". That's what options are all about.

Personally, I bought a PDF of the PHB so that I could have it on my laptop and my PDA when I'm gaming for quick reference. Plus, as a GM there's usually someone at my table who forgets their book, so I end up loaning mine out. Having a PDF on my PDA still lets me lookup things as needed.

The whole thing is a mess IMO, gee let me pay 25USD for the pdfs and then pay for all the ink to print them...cha ching. I didn't want to believe all the haters but I tend to agree with them now, 4e is a cash cow for WoTC if we all continue to support the system. When I told my group about DDI and the price they all freaked, but that's a different thread all together.

Keep in mind with DDI - the current indication is that only one person in your typical group will need to be a monthly subscriber, thanks to the main subscriber getting "a number" of 24-hour guest passes, and the option to purchase additional guest passes on an as-needed basis.

So one person (the GM of your group) gets a monthly sub, the rest of the group chips in to cover guest passes, and everyone gets all the features on an "on demand" basis. Really not so bad that way.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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So the rules are actually going to be in the compendium now?

rooster

I very specifically said rules elements. That would be things like powers, conditions, classes, etc.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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I very specifically said rules elements. That would be things like powers, conditions, classes, etc.

This is part I don't get. If by "elements" you mean "not all the rules you would need" then it doesn't help me with a quick reference for rules questions. After reading your earlier post I tried to look up "combat advantage" but didn't find the entires I would want to have access to from the PHB. That's exactly the kind of information I was hoping to get from the available pdfs and why I am disappointed in its loss. For me, having the pdfs was one of the more believable selling points of the D&DI subscription. Without it I find it harder to justify the cost.

rooster
There's a world of difference between cracking the shrinkwrap on a book, and flipping to the last page, and cracking open a board game, digging around in the components and finding the instruction booklet to get the code. One is far simpler than the other, especially in a world of books sold en masse at places like Borders - especially as these locations aren't going to take the time to shrink-wrap the books in the first place.

Days of Wonder games are sold largely at smaller stores. They aren't nearly as likely to go unnoticed while someone breaks the shrinkwrap, and goes digging around.

Furthermore, it then becomes an issue for WotC to deal with if a code doesn't work because its already been registered.

Or it might simply be that they have limited resources to work on a limited amount of content at a given time. Writing, playtesting, modifying, editing, typesetting all takes time.

There's an easy solution. They should offer them on the honor system: $5/each if you've bought the books. $20 or whatever if you haven't.

This might sound crazy, but given the reality of the pirated versions, that's exactly how it already is, except we don't have the option of chipping a reasonable amount for a legit digital version of something we already own.
Ok, i was in the process of posting a huge rant about this last week,
but just as i posted it, the wizard up for maintenance screen came up
and i lost it all. I was annoyed, but undeterred. Here it is again, with extra observations.

I missed that announcement of the change. To be honest i would
probably not have been so excited with 4e if i had known. I was
looking forward to having a legal, up-to-the-minute pdf available to
me so that i could use it offline, or when i don't have my books with
me.

The *only* reason i was interested in 4e is that i was promised:
- an availabe up to date PDF version of the books i bought.
- online character generating and visualising tool.
- DM helper tools. IIRC: 'to make the DM's Job easier and less time consuming'
- Tools to help me play online with friends abroad.

What have they produced of this? Nothing. Well something. The Compendium.

The Compendium. The first DDI product - Its practically useless for at
the table work and as a reference material for anyone who is not WoTC.

  • It cannot be used off-line!

    It is not portable or readable on the move, or anywhere without
    internet access. When almost everyone that WoTC is trying to reach
    out to will soon have, or already have, a device like the EEE-PC,
    this is an immediate Fail.

    I have seen, like so many others, the searchable PDF's available at
    the many p2p sites. I plan on acquiring them at my convenience. I own
    all the books, as far as I'm concerned someone has saved me the
    trouble of scanning them.


  • You cannot search by context.

    When i'm looking for something in a book and i cannot remember the
    exact page or name of something, i search for a word that might
    appear in the description, or for something i know to be next to it
    on the page. The Compendium has no direct mapping onto the original
    books, and so unlike a PDF you cannot search by context.


  • It does not search very well, and expects you to be able to spell.

    In a world where you can google for something, its a pretty poor
    search tool. I, for one could not spell Dilettante first time:
    Fail:
    http://ww2.wizards.com/dnd/insider/race.aspx?id=6&searchterm=Dilletant
    After i spell checked:
    http://ww2.wizards.com/dnd/insider/race.aspx?id=6&searchterm=Dilettante


  • Its designed for Players not DM's.

    This has to be the biggest pain as far as i can see. There is no
    mention of any DMG stuff in this. Ask the Compendium about
    Confluence. Confluence? What is that? Go search your paper DMG
    and don't bother me again.


  • Its useless for Players too.

    The other boneheaded thing about it is, when errata data comes out,
    the compendium is updated. Fine. But no mention is made in the
    compendium about that change. When they check it in their PHB its
    different. WTF?

    Check out Dilettante in the PHB Errata:
    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/updates
    Compendium:
    http://ww2.wizards.com/dnd/insider/race.aspx?id=6&searchterm=Dilettante

    For a DM its a nightmare waiting to happen. I can hear cries of "But
    it says so in the WoTC Compendium!" already.


  • Its designed for People who have editable PDF's (like WoTC) not us shmucks.

    Because there is no versioning information in the Compendium, it
    only functions for people who can keep their books up to date.

    I remember listening to the hype about the new books. All of the
    playtesters and WoTC guys had a 3 ring binder for each of the DMG,
    PHB and MM. In fact you can see that they have designed the print
    books around the pull out page(s) put in page(s) concept. The MM is
    a fine example of that.

    As a side Rant WTF are WoTC playing at with updating the core rules
    in the second errata? Is it only (as i suspect) to differentiate
    their material from the leaked PDF's? As i don't own a 3 ring binder
    copy i cannot just replace the affected pages.

    I makes my *Brand New* DMG Screen obsolete. That is something that
    never happened in all of the time i owned 3.5.

    Also The errata reads like what programmers call a Diff. Remove this
    text, add that text, update something else, and there you go.



To sum up, best stick to the books.

That is my rant kind of over for the moment. I cannot evaluate the
outcome of the other DDI promises because they have not materialised

I have to say that the Compendium (and to some extent the leaked
PDF's) have one saving grace. They have allowed the community to
innovate around them very very quickly. Already there are power,
item, condition, etc cards available.

This helps spread the word, and get the game into the hands of those
that would not normally have the money to spend, or consider it money well spent.

What i am hoping (and its probably a vain hope) is that the subscription
holders will have access to up to date watermarked PDF's.
Very well said, Gotan. I hope someone is listening.
I can't agree with you wholeheartedly gotan; I think there is some merit and use to the existing products, however, I do believe that much has to be improved upon in order for D&DI to be worth its salt and its subscription costs. (we definitely need editing and errata of the Dungeon and Dragon magazines before they are compiled into the monthly issues.)

rooster
Or how about a little bit of editing and error checking before they go up on the website in the first place?
D&D-OUTSIDER Since 3/1/2011
Or how about a little bit of editing and error checking before they go up on the website in the first place?

Yeah, now that's a little disappointing, given claims like "We’re using in-house design and development resources to make sure every article is worthy of being an official part of D&D and we feel really good about the quality of the product that we’re publishing."
Yeah, now that's a little disappointing, given claims like "We’re using in-house design and development resources to make sure every article is worthy of being an official part of D&D and we feel really good about the quality of the product that we’re publishing."

Agreed. If the in house design team is making these magazines better then thay should be more error free and updated as problems are found.

rooster