Let's reply to some previously asked questions:
1. Will these tools Replace the existing Character Builder(CB) and Adventure Tools(AT), or will they be a supplement?
Some will replace, some will supplement, some will augment, some will be completely new.
2a. What tools will be included? Virtual Table Top(VTT)?
As of today, I can only talk about the Rules Compendium (released on Oct 12th) and the Character Builder (to be released on Nov 16th).
3. Will they be built on flash, silverlight, or HTML 5?
4a. What is the current state of development of the web based tools?
Working on it
4b. Are they basically working and they are just fixing minor bugs?
They are in various states of advancement. Some are even released!
4c. Is there anything working at all?
Magic 8 ball says "Yes"
4d. Can we see some screen shots?
Yes. We posted some today and I plan to post more as appropriate.
5. Can we get regular updates on progress and problems?
That's the plan.
6. When will they be available?
First one was on Oct 12th, 2010. We'll keep releasing tools for quite a while.
7. Will they require an active connection to the internet to use?
Most of them, yes.
8. Will there be a beta-test?
Some tools will have a beta program.
9. Will there be a demo available for non-subscribers?
Depending on the tool.
10a. Will the web-based tools be updated more often?
Now that the studio is not split in two anymore - trying to support legacy and new development - we plan to have an aggressive feature update schedule. I can't promise that updates will be more frequent than monthly, but they won't be purely content.
10b. Will the updates come faster, with less lag between a book/magazine being published and getting updated to the software?
Not for now. The current process we have between R&D and the studio makes quite difficult to release digital information earlier, but we're working on improving this publishing process as well.
11a. Are you prepared for the load this will place on your servers?
We hope so.
11b. Can you ensure they can handle the load?
Nothing can be certain, but we did load tests for the past month with several times the number of current DDi subscribers. Everything should be fine.
11c. What if your servers go down?
Wibbles wooble but... no wait. We have redundant server farms, fully load balanced in all components.
12. When someone's account expires, what access will they retain? Any files they've created? Characters/Monsters they've built?
User created content is kept on WotC servers for at least 12 months after a subscription expires.
13. If it does replace the CB, will it be able to track resources, such as Hit Points, Healing Surges, etc, similar to iPlay4e.com?
The new Character Builder replaces the old one (or, as we call it here, Character Builder Classic) in functionality. The old one didn't track anything at play time, so the new one doesn't either.
14. Will the web tools be included in the standard subscription price, or will there be an additional fee? Will there be an increase in the subscription price?
There is no plan to increase the subscription fee.
15. Will the tools be released as a bundle, or one at a time?
One (or more) at a time.
16. How much access will WotC have to the user data collected by the tools? How will you address privacy concerns?
User generated content will link to the originating user only via a GUID. This GUID is the one provided by the WotC login and membership process that is already compliant with all privacy and security regulations. In other words, if I run queries on the database, I can only figure out WHAT paople are creating, but not WHO is doing that. Speaking of this, we plan to mine the databases constantly, in order to better understand usage patters and the kind of content pleople are most likely to use. For example, if suddenly 90% of new characters are Muls, then R&D may take a look into writing some special Mul content
17. How will data persistence be handled? Will the tools require any data installed on my system? savedata, logintools?
Nothing on the client machine, except for your login token cookie. State and data are all stored in the cloud.
18. Will any of the tools allow for shared use? Such as a VTT allowing the entire party to participate with a single account?
19. Will it be possible to use the tools with more than one IP at a time? Such as a VTT on the PC and the compendium on the laptop?
In general, I don't see why not. There may be issues working with the Character Builder on the same character at the same time from multiple locations, so please don't do that.
20. Are there any plans to offer an API?
Plans in that area are being discussed.
21. What Operating Systems and Browsers will be supported? Will the tools be accessible via smartphone browsers? What about tablets/iPads?
See the FAQ for the supported platforms.
22. What export options will there be for characters, monsters, and other items created with these tools? XML files? PDF Files?
At launch, we won't support any kind of export. Of course, you can always use free tools (like PDF Creator), to print your character sheet to PDF.
23. Who is working on this project? Is it the same dev team that created the CB, or are new people being brought in?
The D&D Digital Studio is working on this project. Involved are some members that worked on the legacy tools and some new faces (like me).
24. If the CB is replaced by the web-tools, will a refund be offered for people who wish to cancel their subsciption?
You should discuss this directly with Customer Service.
25. Will Dark Sun support be available with the web-tools?
26. If the CB is replaced, will the last updated version still be available for subscribers?
27. How will we be notified about updates to the Web-Based tools? Will the new email system be used, or is there some other process?
The web tools will be automatically updated, so there won't be any need for user initiated actions. Notifications will be handled as usual.
28. Is this the cool thing that the VCLs hinted at before?
Part of it
29. What benefits are you hoping we will enjoy most from the Web Tools?
Cross platfom compatibility, centralized storage, better visuals and user experience, a very solid platform for future development.
30. Will characters created with the Offline Character Builder be usable by the web tools?
Yes. You can import them from the Load screen.
31. If the CB is going web based, will it still have the same filtering abilities as the Desktop version?
If by filtering you mean campaign settings, it will have the capability but not, at launch, the user interface component for changing them.
32. Will we be able to alter magical items?
Not at launch.
33. Will we be able to add House Rule feats and powers, or other elements?
Not at launch.
34. Will we be able to save data(characters, monsters, etc) to your servers, so we can access them from anywhere?
Yes. That's the whole point