Author Topic: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder  (Read 14595 times)

FuzzyDan

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So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« on: November 02, 2010, 04:44:25 PM »
And I'm really not a fan.  So now we will have supplements that will focus on fluff, and you need to keep an active subscription to have all of the crunch in one easy to access program.

This isn't trying to be a "Essentials if breaking D&D because the game changes are dumb," complaint.  I'm just really unhappy with the model that 4th has taken to promote the Essentials line.  I like my $30-45 hardcover books, and my $70 yearly subscription for DDI (*Ahem Character Builder*), I shop smart, get books when they are on sale when I can, and rely on the sub to fill in gaps until I can get the book.  However, I know that some people enjoy the cheaper $20 softcovers, and there are people that would only pay for the Sub when CB updated with something they liked or wold use.

So the lower cost to entry has been replaced by a higher cost of convenience for a web-based tool.  More profit for the company, I guess?

Also, I would like to see some confirmation that Essentials is either just a ten-month offshoot product, or will Martial Power 3 only have new builds for fighters without daily powers.

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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2010, 06:54:27 PM »
I just buy the books I want. I go to Borders, flip through them, and if they are what I think they are and I want that, I buy them.

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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2010, 07:35:26 PM »
My group has just started playing 4E, and I'm the only one with a subscription, but I'm the one running things. I only own like three of the books, the PHB and both Dark Sun books, and I shelled out for the essentials rules handbook and player book, but I don't really plan to buy more. The character builder costs enough each month as it is, and I shelled out more than I'd like to spend again on 3.5 books. The existing services of the character builder and the Monster Builder have been more than enough.

Are they planning on changing the way the subscription works? I checked the Wizards home page, but I didn't see anything new. I have noticed that they keep skipping updates but continuing to bill - that's beginning to wear on me a great deal.

Dom

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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2010, 07:43:18 PM »
I was especially annoyed when the October update didn't bring Dark Sun character builder options. It's not like they could have coded all the info in before the rulebooks were even released, what with being part of the same branch of the company and all.

clockworkjoe

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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2010, 08:32:18 PM »
And I'm really not a fan.  So now we will have supplements that will focus on fluff, and you need to keep an active subscription to have all of the crunch in one easy to access program.

This isn't trying to be a "Essentials if breaking D&D because the game changes are dumb," complaint.  I'm just really unhappy with the model that 4th has taken to promote the Essentials line.  I like my $30-45 hardcover books, and my $70 yearly subscription for DDI (*Ahem Character Builder*), I shop smart, get books when they are on sale when I can, and rely on the sub to fill in gaps until I can get the book.  However, I know that some people enjoy the cheaper $20 softcovers, and there are people that would only pay for the Sub when CB updated with something they liked or wold use.

So the lower cost to entry has been replaced by a higher cost of convenience for a web-based tool.  More profit for the company, I guess?

Also, I would like to see some confirmation that Essentials is either just a ten-month offshoot product, or will Martial Power 3 only have new builds for fighters without daily powers.



I don't understand your complaint. I haven't been keeping up with 4E in the last few weeks so run your math by me.

It seems that it's only more expensive if you were the kind of person that didn't get the yearlong subscription to DDI before and will now need it for the new program.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 09:33:18 PM by clockworkjoe »

Mckma

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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2010, 09:31:37 PM »
Yeah, what exactly is going on?  I don't really feel that the DDI subscription offers me anything I would need, the character builder being the one nice thing (but I've found supplements to replace that).  I'm not quite sure what you are saying (other than the bit about supplements mainly adding powers, which I have mixed feelings about)...

ristarr

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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2010, 10:57:21 PM »
I have been on the WoTC forums for the last couple of days.  We had a TPK on Sunday and decided to ( finally ) move to Dark Sun.  So when I get home I boot up character builder and start playing around to create some DS characters.  Low and behold, the newest update does not have any dark sun content.  I jumped online and found all the drama that has been going on with the recent delayed releases and missing content.

Personally, I buy the new Monster books, Campaign Settings ( Dark Sun and Eberron, but not forgotten realms ) and new PHBs that come out.  I don't get martial/arcane/etc power books since that is really just character specific content that can be found in the character builder.

I think one of the main reasons for the online CB is to increase DDI subscriptions.  They were losing a lot of potential money with the one month subscriber, the 5 users for one subscription and just plain copying of the CB software.  A lot of people on the WoTC forums are frothing at the mouth, but it seems to be people that are not the yearly subscription customers ( that I am sure wizards cares about ) are the ones complaining the loudest. 

To me the the biggest drawbacks of the new CB are
1) the use of Silverlight as the base of the software.  This is not going to work ( well ) on Linux boxes or a lot of mobile devices ( iPad /iPhone being the biggest ).  I imagine this was done to reuse the current CB application software as much as possible.  But still not a very forward thinking outlook.
2) Unless they enable .dnd4e file export, a lot of 3rd party tools will not work.  Right now, the only export capabilities are printing and print-to-a-pdf.  The head of the development team said that export capabilities will be the first enhancement released.  So this may not be a long lasting downside.

The other potential drawbacks won't really bother me.  I plan on keeping a DDI subscription while I am playing 4e.  I don't use CB while playing, I print out and use paper.  When the export capabilities arrive, I will be able to keep soft copies of my character local on my laptop ( and theoretically viewable in the CB unupdated app on my machine ), so I don't have to worry about wizards "losing" my character.

I agree with Dan with the concern at the direction that WoTC is taking with the Essentials line and soft cover books.  I am not sure how they will be able to keep two "different" products going in the same space.  There will have to be a convergence at some point.  I imagine WoTC has already decided when this will be.

One of the upsides the developers was speaking of was the ability to do data mining on the characters in the database.  They will be able to see what people are creating.  This may guide future content to the characters/races/campaign settings that are most in use by the players.  There will be other positives that we will have to wait and see about.

It will be interesting to see how well the webapps work and what else is in the pipeline.

Mckma

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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2010, 11:11:18 PM »
Oh, I think I see the issue.  So the CB is going to be only online from now on?  So before you could subscribe for a month, grab the software and be good to go?  In that case, it's really no different for me because I had it in my mind I would be continually subscribing to get the content...

FuzzyDan

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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2010, 01:42:28 AM »
For me it goes a little it beyond that.  I was unable to buy Dark Sun when it launched.  However, I've had a DDI sub for two years now, and every month there's been an update with current content, so I knew I was going to get at least SOME of it, since regular monthly CB/Compendium updates is part of what I was told I would get when I first payed.  When September rolled out, no Dark Sun.  October rolls around, no Dark Sun, and no Essentials support.  No response from Customer Service, but the forums recommend you can call Customer Service and get your refund for September.  What little the community has is something about a new web tool, and something about Essentials having difficulty working with the old school Character Builder, and how the Dark Sun update was somehow tied to the Essentials-friendly CB build.

And today I get an email titled "D&D Insider Announcement:  New Web Tool to be Released."  What's this?  The new web tool is rolling out, this is promising when it comes to CB.  However, the "New" tool is Character Builder.  On top of that, the offline builder will no longer be supported, nor will it be available when the Web Builder launches on 11/16. 

For me as one of the people that has defended WotC about the shift to 4th ed, trying to be sympathetic and understanding to the fact that they are, in fact, a business that needs to turn a profit, it was disappointing.  It goes a bit beyond Online vs Offline utility.  Needing an active subscription to access the program, any character you have built in that program, and at this time the shutdown of 3rd party support for the program (iplay4e looked like a really amazing program, sad to see it go, even more sad I didn't get to use it) really puts a sour taste in my mouth after two years of having it another way.

One of the simple advantages of tabletop gaming is that you do not need to pay every single month in order to enjoy the game.  If you do, you get more fun things.  The one-time subscriber made sense to what gaming is to me.  Additionally, when one account gets 5 downloads per month, when it fits the desired number, and now you are told that sharing your account is Technically against the terms of service, it just feels like a total shift in the paradigm that was 4E.  Even if it is not intended to come across that way, that's how it is being perceived, as least from my perspective.

Which is why I'm worried about Essentials and the future of 4th.  Essentials was originally brought to the public attention as a 10-month production line of "Repackaging" D&D for the purpose of reaching a larger audience.  That's fine. 

Oh, now the classes will have new builds that are new-player friendly, that's cool, at least it's not repackaging the same stuff. 

What? Now Essentials is changing classes enough that they are separate, but comparable, and will somehow use the already-printed material as well.

Oh.  So "New Player Friendly" means cutting out daily powers for martial classes, wizard specializations, auto-hitting magic missile, item rarity, and Paladins only being Lawful Good.  How does that draw new players?

Oh.  Essentials is not only trying to get D&D in the mainstream market, but it is also an olive branch to the 3.5 loyalists.  Now it makes sense.  Man, I wish they would have said something from the beginning.  At least we'll be back to business as usual after this is all over...

Hm...  No announcements about DMG3, DP2, PrP2, or PsyP2, or PHB4...

I suppose by late February we will know which direction WotC will go, but after this CB business, forgive me for being suspicious and skeptical.

TLDR version:  Wizards needs to be more upfront with its customers, so people know what to expect and what to buy.  This staying silent until the last minute stuff has got to go

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Charlie72

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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2010, 02:51:54 AM »
I think this is the reaction to the whole "Subscribe, Get Character Builder, DOWNLOAD EVERTHINGY, Unsubcribe" thing.

Well, it was good while it lasted.

Ryo

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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2010, 07:30:16 AM »
I think this is the reaction to the whole "Subscribe, Get Character Builder, DOWNLOAD EVERTHINGY, Unsubcribe" thing.

Well, it was good while it lasted.

Why is that a problem? I bought a program and I got to use all of it. If they didn't like selling it at $10 then charged more. If I wanted an update to the program (that I had all ready paid for) then I had to buy it again, but at least it was my choice. Plus I could use the older version as much as I wanted. Now they hold the characters I make hostage, forcing me to pay a monthly free.
Its a character builder, most companies give them for free. This isn't an mmo. It doesn't offer other usefule this for the price (like online table top gaming).

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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2010, 09:05:39 AM »
Or look at how GURPS does it. They're character builder costs $30 last time I checked, and once you pay that you get all the updates for free. Although a couple of the expansions were pretty sub par, like High Tech, and you still need to books to make sense of any of it. You can even buy it as a CD.
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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2010, 11:23:56 AM »
Lol, I stopped relying on Character Builders since E-Tools for 3.5 ed. Heard about the 4e character builder and loled, but didn't bother buying it.
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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2010, 02:31:22 PM »
Wizards rescinding on their promise of little-to-no guaranteed damage stings me the most. They promised one would no longer be able to point one's finger at a group of enemies and kill them with no dice roll. Daily Powers have guaranteed effects, but they are few and far between. But now there's Magic Missile auto-hit and half-damage-on-miss/effect line encounter powers. Some of the Wizard powers don't even have attack rolls. It is simply, "Effect: The target is restrained/dominated/stunned until some arbitrary point in time."

I suppose it's just my personal preference, but I like having the element of chance in attacks. Being able to score critical hits on a roll of 10 to 20 and reach an attack bonus so high that you COULD NOT MISS was completely devoid of fun for me. It is the primary differentiating factor between RPGs and video games - one mitigates chance in video games, but one copes with chance in RPGs. Maybe it's that I feel attacking should be a burden on the attacker, not the attacked (that statement sounded much more coherent in my head, but I will attempt to explain). The attacker should have to try their hardest to hit the target - the attacked should not need ridiculously high defenses or health to compensate for the attacker's guaranteed hits.

Essentials is definitely an appeasement of 3E/3.5E players. The similarities between Essentials classes and their older edition counterparts are so blatant as to be infuriating. People complain about martial classes being too "Caster-like", so we have a non-daily Power Strike-type set up. People feel Wizards are not magical enough, so Magic Missile is once again an auto-hit and has powers that still deal damage on a miss. I was under the impression 4E would attempt to find its own direction and create a unique RPG, not rehash mechanics and concepts of yesteryear.

Wizards has done some things well with Essentials, such as re-emphasizing story-based decisions for character creation and play. Few would oppose the notion of game mechanics needing a pretense in the story to justify their existence. WotC definitely strayed from that, and the new class entries, skills and feats are great steps in reinforcing role-playing in D&D's mechanics. Unfortunately, Essentials seems more like an attempt to relaunch the game, rather than correct mistakes and create beginner-friendly classes.
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Re: So... 4E will have a Web based Character Builder
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2010, 02:46:40 PM »
I suppose it's just my personal preference, but I like having the element of chance in attacks. Being able to score critical hits on a roll of 10 to 20 and reach an attack bonus so high that you COULD NOT MISS was completely devoid of fun for me. It is the primary differentiating factor between RPGs and video games - one mitigates chance in video games, but one copes with chance in RPGs. Maybe it's that I feel attacking should be a burden on the attacker, not the attacked (that statement sounded much more coherent in my head, but I will attempt to explain). The attacker should have to try their hardest to hit the target - the attacked should not need ridiculously high defenses or health to compensate for the attacker's guaranteed hits.

My personal favorite game break were the feats and abilities that gave you automatic sneak attack damage. Nothing like a rogue that could do 15d6 damage per attack or more...
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