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Hzurr
2010-11-02, 01:02 PM
On November 16, Wizards of the Coast will launch a brand new web-based version of the D&D Insider Character Builder. The current downloadable version will remain functional, but will no longer be available for download or updated with content after the new version goes live. Here are the highlights of the new Character Builder:

New Design: Completely redesigned from top to bottom in Microsoft Silverlight as a robust character creation wizard.

No Download: The Character Builder is served from the D&D site

PC and Mac Compatible: Requires an Internet connection and Silverlight plug-in

Access is easy: Just enter the D&D site, log in, and launch the Character Builder from the Tool Box or the Character Builder tools page.

Characters in the Cloud: All characters you create are saved on our database. No need to save Character Builder files on your hard drive anymore.

File Import: You can easily import your character s created in the previous version to the new Character Builder.

Previous Data: Includes all character-building data you enjoyed in the previous versions.

New Data Releases: Dark Sun and D&D Essentials data will debut with the new version


None of this really surprises me. There have been hints of this, and it seems to be the way they're going to address the ipad/Linux/Mac questions, as well as the inevitable Android/Windows tablets that will be coming out. The cloud is nice, but it does mean that there could be issues if the WotC servers go down, or when I travel somewhere without internet access.

Screenshots can be seen here (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/26182233/November_16th_Release_for_Web-based_Character_Builder)

Kurald Galain
2010-11-02, 01:07 PM
Yeah, I'm not surprised. The meme of "just pay $10 once and you'll have access to all the current books forever" never struck me as either good marketing or WOTC's goal.

Dragosai
2010-11-02, 01:15 PM
Damnit now I have to pay AT&T more money since now I have to get an iPad and I already have an iPhone. Damn you AT&T and your double dipping data plans, damn you all to hell!

Prime32
2010-11-02, 01:17 PM
Companies other than Microsoft use Silverlight? :smallconfused:

Reverent-One
2010-11-02, 01:20 PM
:smallfrown: For shame, it was fun while it lasted. The online only part of this is going to be a major pain for users.

senrath
2010-11-02, 01:22 PM
I'm honestly not too happy about this. Now I won't be able to use it in any of the many places I go where internet access is not available. Thanks, WotC.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-02, 01:25 PM
Companies other than Microsoft use Silverlight? :smallconfused:
Yeah, considering it doesn't work with several major platforms of the moment, that doesn't strike me as such a great idea. I'm sure some kind of sponsoring was involved.

Reverent-One
2010-11-02, 01:29 PM
Yeah, considering it doesn't work with several major platforms of the moment, that doesn't strike me as such a great idea.

For a given definition of major platform, yes. But since it'll work on both Windows and Mac, I doubt they'll lose much, if any, business because of it.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-02, 01:31 PM
Yeah, I'm not surprised. The meme of "just pay $10 once and you'll have access to all the current books forever" never struck me as either good marketing or WOTC's goal.
RESPONSE
(1) Meme (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MemeticMutation)? You keep using that word (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/YouKeepUsingThatWord). I do not think it means what you think it means.

(2) The $10 model was an excellent idea in terms of marketing. It allowed for low switching costs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switching_barriers) from 3.5 to 4 and made piracy less attractive in general. Plus, it allowed the patch-model of Errata to be applied to Pen & Paper RPGs for the first time (IIRC) allowing for the fine-tuning of rules post-release.

(3) The $10 model was also sustainable. First of all, it provided a steady revenue stream for WotC to supplement their one-off gains from book sales. Secondly, it lowered the barrier for entry for the game without being a good substitute (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Substitution): people with a desire for hardcover books, illustration, or flavor text would buy the more expensive books either as a substitute for the $10 CB or in addition to it. Finally, the once-per-month patch made having a live DDI account attractive; at the very least it caused people to throw another $10/year at WotC to keep up to date.
That said...
The move-to-net was probably inevitable but, IMHO, a poor decision. Aside from the fact that nobody likes always-on products that shouldn't require constant internet access, this is bothersome for otherwise untethered gamers who would otherwise use the CB as a quick-reference for items and powers. Yeah, you'll still be able to PDF or print paper copies of sheets, but this change in model is like taking an axe to the golden goose :smallfrown:

Sipex
2010-11-02, 01:32 PM
The good news? It'll actually work for me now.

The bad news? I'm not willing to shell out $10 a month for a character builder.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-02, 01:37 PM
I'm not surprised by this in the slightest, and have forcasted as much to my friends. Once you focus on downloadable content, the next step is generally finding ways to keep people paying. Plus, online only makes piracy a bit more difficult, and wotc worries greatly about that.

For my part, I'm happy to have never subscribed to it at all.

Edit: its not just non win/mac folks that have issues with silverlight. Plenty of people use older oses, browsers, or different browsers altogether. I'm posting here from my droid, which uses flash and such, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't use silverlight.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-02, 01:41 PM
I'm not surprised by this in the slightest, and have forcasted as much to my friends. Once you focus on downloadable content, the next step is generally finding ways to keep people paying. Plus, online only makes piracy a bit more difficult, and wotc worries greatly about that.

For my part, I'm happy to have never subscribed to it at all.
Piracy is no more difficult - people pirate the books (which they'll still sell) not the CB.

By jacking up the real cost of CB, WotC will encourage more people to seek pirated copies of the books even though the PDFs are less useful and moderately harder to find (no links please!).

Also: you missed out on not trying out the full CB. It was an excellent deal and vastly useful for playing in and running a 4e game.

Tengu_temp
2010-11-02, 01:42 PM
Meme (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MemeticMutation)? You keep using that word (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/YouKeepUsingThatWord). I do not think it means what you think it means.


Oh, I think he knows. A meme (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme) is, to put it simply, a piece of information circulating in the culture. Not a silly phrase or image from the net. Those are memes too, but not the only kind.

Kylarra
2010-11-02, 01:43 PM
I will miss the character builder. :( Not hugely surprised by this move, but I don't think it'll help fight piracy much.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-02, 01:44 PM
RESPONSE
OH, the word "meme" does not mean "memetic mutation". Try Wikipedia instead of TVtropes. (edit) Thank you, Tengu :)



(2) The $10 model was an excellent idea in terms of marketing.
The low entry costs, certainly. However, I believe WOTC intended for people to keep a continuous subscription, not to pay only once. Hence their new model where people who pay only once will lose access.

It's similar to SRD: it was a very good idea for the RPG, but not so much for the business. That's why they came up with the "you must burn all your books if we tell you to" clause for the (first draft of the) 4E license.

Person_Man
2010-11-02, 01:45 PM
Here's the bigger question:

Why isn't there a 4E video game? 4E absolutely screams out for a 20ish hour single player game, with the ability to create maps and play online with friends via some sort of Skype system. For that they could charge $60 up front (for the first few months, at least) plus $20ish a piece for expansion packs. It wouldn't even have to be a great game, because fan communities would end up modding it until it was.

CakeTown
2010-11-02, 01:45 PM
I don't really like this. The screenshots look nice, but the fact that you have to be connected to the internet bothers me. Occasionally, when I'm bored, I enjoy opening up my character builder and just experimenting, seeing the various options for each class, trying to figure out how to best advance my current character, stuff like that. With the web builder, I can't do this anymore if I can't get an internet connection.

Our D&D group also has a bit of an issue with using the internet. Certain members of the group are talking to friends on MSN or looking at funny pictures online. This tends to create a distraction, so we usually don't allow internet usage during our sessions. If we switched over to the web based builder, we'd need to be connected to the internet, meaning more distractions.

I can kind of understand the switch though. As others have mentioned, its easier for people to use on tablets, and it certainly cuts down on piracy. I still don't like it though.

Sipex
2010-11-02, 01:46 PM
OH, the word "meme" does not mean "memetic mutation". Try Wikipedia instead of TVtropes. (edit) Thank you, Tengu :)


The low entry costs, certainly. However, I believe WOTC intended for people to keep a continuous subscription, not to pay only once. Hence their new model where people who pay only once will lose access.

It's similar to SRD: it was a very good idea for the RPG, but not so much for the business. That's why they came up with the "you must burn all your books if we tell you to" clause for the (first draft of the) 4E license.

I missed this clause. What exactly did it say?

Kurald Galain
2010-11-02, 01:55 PM
Here's the bigger question:

Why isn't there a 4E video game?
Probably because, while 4E players would be very much interested in this, the much larger demographic of video game players would not be.


I missed this clause. What exactly did it say?
Ah, a bit of history here. When 4E was first announced, WOTC assured the world that they would have a public license "similar to" the OGL. Then, this was leaked by one of the third-party publishers, and the terms were nothing short of draconian. I don't have the exact text but I'm sure you could google it; it did really include terms like "you cannot continue to support 3E if you publish for 4E", and "at our discretion, we can force you to stop selling your product and print our own books with the same content".

Anyway, it was a major public relations disaster, and while the terms were softened later, this was a major cause of (1) the low amount of third-party books for 4E, and (2) Pathfinder.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-11-02, 01:57 PM
ya this is a dumb idea. There already loosing subscriptions because they arn't updating the CB or compendium. ITs a dumb move if you ask me, Supporting both would be the smarter one. But it is what it is.

It will just encourage people to split accounts. Me and my friends do that for the updates. When we would see CB updates, we would all pitch in about 2 dollars and activate the account and download the updates.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-02, 01:59 PM
ya this is a dumb idea. There already loosing subscriptions because they arn't updating the CB or compendium. ITs a dumb move if you ask me, Supporting both would be the smarter one.
Competing with yourself is not generally the smarter move, I'd say.


It will just encourage people to split accounts.
It wouldn't surprise me if an account were locked to an IP address, though. Makes it a bit harder to split.

Blackfang108
2010-11-02, 02:01 PM
Probably because, while 4E players would be very much interested in this, the much larger demographic of video game players would not be.

*points to the large amount of video game players who like Tactical rpgs*

You mean like them?

Reverent-One
2010-11-02, 02:01 PM
Ah, a bit of history here. When 4E was first announced, WOTC assured the world that they would have a public license "similar to" the OGL. Then, this was leaked by one of the third-party publishers, and the terms were nothing short of draconian. I don't have the exact text but I'm sure you could google it; it did really include terms like "you cannot continue to support 3E if you publish for 4E", and "at our discretion, we can force you to stop selling your product and print our own books with the same content".


Ah, business people, when will they learn that old quote "The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems customers will slip through your fingers"?

shadowmage
2010-11-02, 02:05 PM
Here's the bigger question:

Why isn't there a 4E video game? 4E absolutely screams out for a 20ish hour single player game, with the ability to create maps and play online with friends via some sort of Skype system. For that they could charge $60 up front (for the first few months, at least) plus $20ish a piece for expansion packs. It wouldn't even have to be a great game, because fan communities would end up modding it until it was.

*In best yoda voice* There will be. There.... will.... be....

Cryptic has the D&D 4e license under the new Never Winter Nights game they are making. It is suppose to be MMO-ish, in that there will be a large hub world that you can find a group in then go off and adventure with in your own instance. There is talk that they will have Mod tools and and maybe have a door in there world that will let you go off into user created mods. It is all still very early on and about the only thing confirmed is it will be using 4e rules.

I really feel this is what the Wizards table top that promised in the beginning is turning into.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-02, 02:07 PM
*points to the large amount of video game players who like Tactical rpgs*

You mean like them?
Oh, there is very much a market for tactical RPGs, yes. But there's no particular reason to use D&D 4E rules for those. If you're a software company who develops RPGs, then using 4E rules would require dealing with (1) license costs and lawyerwork involved, (2) possibly executive meddling by Hasbro, (3) the fact that those rules fit a computer game less well than you'd think at first glance, and (4) potential internet backlash from 4E fans who think you're "doing it wrong".

Or you could avoid the headache and design your own system. For a competent software company, that isn't all that hard.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-11-02, 02:07 PM
Competing with yourself is not generally the smarter move, I'd say.


It wouldn't surprise me if an account were locked to an IP address, though. Makes it a bit harder to split.

Well I'd assume that if you had access to the CB you would have access to the Online CB... so no real competition there. It would be different if they made you pay for each individually which would be equally as dumb.


If they did lock it to an IP address then it would truly defeat the purpose of it being in the Cloud now wouldn't it? The whole point is that I can access it on my Ipad at the table and my home computer. If they did do this I have a feeling even less people would subscribe.

Skorj
2010-11-02, 02:07 PM
Our D&D group also has a bit of an issue with using the internet. Certain members of the group are talking to friends on MSN or looking at funny pictures online. This tends to create a distraction, so we usually don't allow internet usage during our sessions. If we switched over to the web based builder, we'd need to be connected to the internet, meaning more distractions.


This would seem to me to be the biggest problem. It's not so much that we don't have internet access at the gaming table: we don't want internet access at the gaming table. :smallmad:

Worira
2010-11-02, 02:08 PM
Competing with yourself is not generally the smarter move, I'd say.


It wouldn't surprise me if an account were locked to an IP address, though. Makes it a bit harder to split.

One person in a gaming group has an account, everyone prints out their sheets at that person's house. After all, you generally are all in the same place when you're playing anyway.

Second, I don't think even WoTC would be stupid enough to IP-lock the character builder. That would be pretty much the best possible way to ensure that absolutely no one subscribes. What they might do is allow an account to be logged in to only one computer at a time.

valadil
2010-11-02, 02:08 PM
Meh. I'm one of those users who paid once and wasn't impressed with the service enough to keep paying (I found 90+ errors in the compendium and filed bug reports. No response or fixes so far!). I'd consider paying $10 a month if that would let me use CB in linux. But no, there's Silverlight involved.

Maybe this version will be able to print to PDF correctly at least.

Upon further reflection, I'm liking the idea even less. I don't think an online CB is a bad thing. I like the cloud storage idea (I currently keep my characters and their PDFs in Dropbox). But I game at FLGS. FLGS doesn't have wireless. And if it did, I sure as hell wouldn't trust it. I'm fine with WotC encouraging people to incorporate their computers into gaming, but they need to consider use cases like this.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-02, 02:09 PM
Oh, I think he knows. A meme (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme) is, to put it simply, a piece of information circulating in the culture. Not a silly phrase or image from the net. Those are memes too, but not the only kind.
Then everything in the world is a meme, since pretty much everything is on the Internet :smallsigh:

MINI-RANT
The ironic thing is that the original definition of meme was appropriated and "mutated" on the Internet to mean:

Sociologists notwithstanding, on the Internet, a "meme" (pronounced "meem") is usually described as a catchy derivative of some aspect of pop culture, parodied and repeated to the point that its origins and original meaning become muddled and completely mutilated beyond any point of recognition or humor.
Few people use the sociological definition of "meme" when discussing terminology on the Internet; the TV Tropes definition is the more common usage. Heck, I bet most people on the internet are entirely ignorant of its origin!

Basically, I get irritated when people use unusual definitions of terms while attempting to communicate ideas. I sympathize with Black Hat Guy here (http://xkcd.com/169/) :smallannoyed:

Kurald Galain
2010-11-02, 02:16 PM
Then everything in the world is a meme, since pretty much everything is on the Internet :smallsigh:
So you're saying that it upsets you when people use the correct meaning of a word instead of the memetically-mutated meaning thereof? :smalleek: It moggles the bind!

Tyndmyr
2010-11-02, 02:21 PM
Piracy is no more difficult - people pirate the books (which they'll still sell) not the CB.

By jacking up the real cost of CB, WotC will encourage more people to seek pirated copies of the books even though the PDFs are less useful and moderately harder to find (no links please!).

Also: you missed out on not trying out the full CB. It was an excellent deal and vastly useful for playing in and running a 4e game.

People don't pirate the char builder? Google metrics says your not only. Wrong on this, you're very wrong, with top search terms related to the character builder linked to obvious piracy keyword, and dated by month and year. I won't link to the torrents cause it'd violate the rules, but they are trivial to find, and many people evidently do.

While online only may make it somewhat more annoying to pirate, I have no doubt that it will still happen. Only, the pirated versions won't be online only. Anyone care to bet against me?

Dragosai
2010-11-02, 02:25 PM
Here's the bigger question:

Why isn't there a 4E video game? 4E absolutely screams out for a 20ish hour single player game, with the ability to create maps and play online with friends via some sort of Skype system. For that they could charge $60 up front (for the first few months, at least) plus $20ish a piece for expansion packs. It wouldn't even have to be a great game, because fan communities would end up modding it until it was.

Atari ownes the IP for video games until 2017. There is much legal action going on now to try and get this changed and then you will see D&D
game(s). The even bigger question is can a GOOD, for the current market business, and game quality wise be made? My guess is no, only because like the last failed D&D MMO no one does it right for two reasons 1) not enough funds, which is kind of tough to fix.
2) The people makig these games never listen to fans and do the simple thing and give them what they want, they try to do something new and creative and they fail. The reason is there already is enough creativity behind the D&D IP, run with it give people a FR MMO and do it right, people will trample each other at the Walmarts to get it.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-02, 02:30 PM
People don't pirate the char builder? Google metrics says your not only. Wrong on this, you're very wrong, with top search terms related to the character builder linked to obvious piracy keyword, and dated by month and year. I won't link to the torrents cause it'd violate the rules, but they are trivial to find, and many people evidently do.

While online only may make it somewhat more annoying to pirate, I have no doubt that it will still happen. Only, the pirated versions won't be online only. Anyone care to bet against me?
People pirate CB? :smallconfused:

That just seems so....weird.

Well, if that's the case then that's the case; WotC has a better justification for killing the downloadable CB and I can shift the object of my sadness to Humanity for not responding to reasonable accomodation :smallsigh:

@Kurald Galain - Using jargon when it provides no greater information than plain English always bothers me. Using "meme" as a sociological term is bad enough; using it as a sociological term when not speaking of sociology is worse.

Again, it is a pet peeve of mine. If you knew what you were doing, then there was no call for me to try to correct you. I apologize.

Susano-wo
2010-11-02, 02:30 PM
not to mention that the riddle, for being a supposed logic puzzle, is illogical. It uses an equivocation error to create a false answer :smallbiggrin:

But yeah, this sucks.

And as far as comepeting against yourself, it can be good or bad...basically, if you cost yourself money, that's bad(if you are advertising for one product over the other, for instance). But if the customer has to choose between buying product a and product b...Where both products are yours, how does it cost you money? [I feel the same way about giving minor 3.5 support. They could have still made money off of it by, at the very least, releasing compendiums of feats, classes, etc, for those of us who hate digging through 15 books to make a character, but still like options :smallyuk: Really doesnt seem like a big problem. Though I understand the need to put a big focus on your new product]

Hzurr
2010-11-02, 02:30 PM
As far as silverlight goes, it'll be easier for people to deal with silverlight than it was to download and install the .net version of the CB. If you want an example of a program built with silverlight, look at Netflix.

While I understand the anger of "always on" internet, I feel that this is outweighed by the lack of needing to update, characters stored in the cloud, and increased potential user base. After all, how many millions of iPads were sold in the last year? Plus the gazillion iphones/Mac desktops; as well as Linux users who have Moonlight(?)

there are good things and bad things, but overall I'm satisfied

valadil
2010-11-02, 02:36 PM
While online only may make it somewhat more annoying to pirate, I have no doubt that it will still happen. Only, the pirated versions won't be online only. Anyone care to bet against me?

Sounds like a good bet to me. Not because I don't think you're right. But because if I lose, I get a free version of the updated CB that runs without an internet connection. Sign me up!

In all seriousness, WotC is not a software company. You'd think they'd have learned this by now. I really hope they're outsourcing and not trying to do any of this in house.

On another note, does anyone know if there will be any option for importing current CB files? They're just XML, so it shouldn't be that hard to support.

valadil
2010-11-02, 02:39 PM
as well as Linux users who have Moonlight(?)


I have yet to encounter a Silverlight application that works in Moonlight. Granted I haven't looked for a lot of Silverlight applications and I'm hopeful that CB will be the first. Linux support is not a high priority for WotC.

Sipex
2010-11-02, 02:43 PM
2) The people makig these games never listen to fans and do the simple thing and give them what they want, they try to do something new and creative and they fail. The reason is there already is enough creativity behind the D&D IP, run with it give people a FR MMO and do it right, people will trample each other at the Walmarts to get it.

The thing is, this is HARD to do. Each fan has their own definition of what they want the game to be. Listening to the fans usually ends up in a product which pleases nobody anyways.

Reverent-One
2010-11-02, 02:49 PM
People pirate CB? :smallconfused:

That just seems so....weird.

Well, if that's the case then that's the case; WotC has a better justification for killing the downloadable CB and I can shift the object of my sadness to Humanity for not responding to reasonable accomodation :smallsigh:

Well, just because people pirated it doesn't mean that it's wise for WotC to use stringent anti-piracy measures, like having to connect to the internet to use the product. I believe Spore had DRM like that, and it ended up being one of the most pirated games out there AFAIK.

Person_Man
2010-11-02, 02:54 PM
Atari ownes the IP for video games until 2017. There is much legal action going on now to try and get this changed and then you will see D&D
game(s). The even bigger question is can a GOOD, for the current market business, and game quality wise be made? My guess is no, only because like the last failed D&D MMO no one does it right for two reasons 1) not enough funds, which is kind of tough to fix.
2) The people makig these games never listen to fans and do the simple thing and give them what they want, they try to do something new and creative and they fail. The reason is there already is enough creativity behind the D&D IP, run with it give people a FR MMO and do it right, people will trample each other at the Walmarts to get it.

Interesting.

Of course, I have no interest in a D&D MMORPG, and I don't understand why Atari et al keep tried to make one.

There's already a 100+ fantasy themed MMORPG out there. I just want someone to code 4E into a database, make a dirt simple hex and grid map maker, and have a server where I can meet with my friends and play 4E while talking into a headset and a chat box. I'd even be fine with iPhone level graphics and sound (and now that I think about it, low-tech graphics would be a plus, since it would allow "play by post" style gamplay like Carcassonne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carcassonne_%28board_game%29) and dozens of other apps).


Why is that so difficult? I have a feeling that if the legal stuff was not an issue, a group of college students could do it in one weekend.

valadil
2010-11-02, 02:58 PM
Of course, I have no interest in a D&D MMORPG, and I don't understand why Atari et al keep tried to make one.


It was actually a pretty decent game. The only MMO I ever liked.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-11-02, 02:59 PM
Interesting.

Of course, I have no interest in a D&D MMORPG, and I don't understand why Atari et al keep tried to make one.

There's already a 100+ fantasy themed MMORPG out there. I just want someone to code 4E into a database, make a dirt simple hex and grid map maker, and have a server where I can meet with my friends and play 4E while talking into a headset and a chat box. I'd even be fine with iPhone level graphics and sound (and now that I think about it, low-tech graphics would be a plus, since it would allow "play by post" style gamplay like Carcassonne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carcassonne_%28board_game%29) and dozens of other apps).

Why is that so difficult? I have a feeling that if the legal stuff was not an issue, a group of college students could do it in one weekend.


Well there are sort of things like that out there.
OpenRPG is one of them though not to the level you are talking about, they are quiet primitive if you ask me.


Edit: Actualy it took us 6 months to do a 3.5 database.(there was 3 of us, but we all hate data entry). Which was awsome untill my friends server burned down, along with his back ups.

Blackfang108
2010-11-02, 02:59 PM
Interesting.

Of course, I have no interest in a D&D MMORPG, and I don't understand why Atari et al keep tried to make one.

There's already a 100+ fantasy themed MMORPG out there. I just want someone to code 4E into a database, make a dirt simple hex and grid map maker, and have a server where I can meet with my friends and play 4E while talking into a headset and a chat box. I'd even be fine with iPhone level graphics and sound (and now that I think about it, low-tech graphics would be a plus, since it would allow "play by post" style gamplay like Carcassonne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carcassonne_%28board_game%29) and dozens of other apps).

Why is that so difficult? I have a feeling that if the legal stuff was not an issue, a group of college students could do it in one weekend.


I second this wish. 4e is PERFECT for this style of program.

Prime32
2010-11-02, 03:01 PM
There was supposed to be a program like that on launch day, they showed demos and talked about how central it was to everything.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aLXuMb6WWw

...Wizards don't talk about it much any more.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-02, 03:01 PM
Well, just because people pirated it doesn't mean that it's wise for WotC to use stringent anti-piracy measures, like having to connect to the internet to use the product. I believe Spore had DRM like that, and it ended up being one of the most pirated games out there AFAIK.
The difference here is that WotC will be using an entirely web-based product (AFAIK) as opposed to "always on" DRM for downloaded programs. In the latter case you can spoof it; in the former, there is nothing to spoof - the program does not exist on your computer.

The "cloud solution" should make piracy impossible without somehow being able to yank the entire CB program off of the WotC servers.

Disclaimer: I am not a hacker, let alone a programmer. AFAIK, you couldn't pirate a web-only program as you don't actually have access to the code on your computer.

senrath
2010-11-02, 03:06 PM
Sounds like a good bet to me. Not because I don't think you're right. But because if I lose, I get a free version of the updated CB that runs without an internet connection. Sign me up!

In all seriousness, WotC is not a software company. You'd think they'd have learned this by now. I really hope they're outsourcing and not trying to do any of this in house.

On another note, does anyone know if there will be any option for importing current CB files? They're just XML, so it shouldn't be that hard to support.
I'm pretty sure they're doing it entirely in house.

valadil
2010-11-02, 03:07 PM
Disclaimer: I am not a hacker, let alone a programmer. AFAIK, you couldn't pirate a web-only program as you don't actually have access to the code on your computer.

I can tell you that it was possible for the entirety of the compendium to be grabbed from their servers and that the character builder text was based on the compendium entries (although that may have been bundled with the CB). If WotC takes a similar approach, it wouldn't be hard for someone to leech the compendium and spoof the server. They'd still have to program the game rules logic most likely, unless the silverlight app is downloadable.

Sipex
2010-11-02, 03:10 PM
The difference here is that WotC will be using an entirely web-based product (AFAIK) as opposed to "always on" DRM for downloaded programs. In the latter case you can spoof it; in the former, there is nothing to spoof - the program does not exist on your computer.

The "cloud solution" should make piracy impossible without somehow being able to yank the entire CB program off of the WotC servers.

Disclaimer: I am not a hacker, let alone a programmer. AFAIK, you couldn't pirate a web-only program as you don't actually have access to the code on your computer.

This is true. The program is being made nearly pirate proof. There would have to be extreme dedication on the pirate side to make an app (update the current offline char builder app?) to draw the updates off the new system and it would be a convoluted solution at best.

Reverent-One
2010-11-02, 03:11 PM
The difference here is that WotC will be using an entirely web-based product (AFAIK) as opposed to "always on" DRM for downloaded programs. In the latter case you can spoof it; in the former, there is nothing to spoof - the program does not exist on your computer.

The "cloud solution" should make piracy impossible without somehow being able to yank the entire CB program off of the WotC servers.

Disclaimer: I am not a hacker, let alone a programmer. AFAIK, you couldn't pirate a web-only program as you don't actually have access to the code on your computer.

My point mainly was that people generally don't like such restrictions on the programs/apps they use, so by doing this, WotC could easily be alienating potential customers (like say...me).

RagnaroksChosen
2010-11-02, 03:13 PM
My point mainly was that people generally don't like such restrictions on the programs/apps they use, so by doing this, WotC could easily be alienating potential customers (like say...me).

Ya i won't be using any only web program it irritates me the compendium is online,
I'd rather it be a download-able DB that i can write an interface too or searches...

Susano-wo
2010-11-02, 03:14 PM
RE hacking: would it be feasible to hack the formatting of the charbuilder, and essentially create a hacked, supported offlineCB?
(not advocating this, just seems like it would be pretty feasible, so I would excpet that's what will happen)

(also, I would love an easy access online RPG facilitator...IIRC someone made one a while back...can't rememebr what it was called, or if it was generic or dnd specific...)

kyoryu
2010-11-02, 03:14 PM
Why is that so difficult? I have a feeling that if the legal stuff was not an issue, a group of college students could do it in one weekend.

It would be significantly more difficult than that, sorry.

Thajocoth
2010-11-02, 03:18 PM
There are way too many problems with this.

#1 - What about when they eventually discontinue 4e? I want to keep a full version of the builder when that happens.

#2 - What about when their site goes down, or is slow? They're site is slow a lot. This is gonna make it worse.

#3 - What about when MY internet goes down. My access to a service I'm paying for shouldn't be dependent on my access to another service.

Kesnit
2010-11-02, 03:26 PM
Maybe I missed something, but why are a few people saying they'd have to have to have Internet at the gaming table? I'd think there would be a print option to allow players to print their character sheet at a location with Internet and take the sheet to the table.

Skorj
2010-11-02, 03:30 PM
Atari ownes the IP for video games until 2017. There is much legal action going on now to try and get this changed and then you will see D&D
game(s). The even bigger question is can a GOOD, for the current market business, and game quality wise be made? My guess is no, only because like the last failed D&D MMO no one does it right for two reasons 1) not enough funds, which is kind of tough to fix.
2) The people makig these games never listen to fans and do the simple thing and give them what they want, they try to do something new and creative and they fail. The reason is there already is enough creativity behind the D&D IP, run with it give people a FR MMO and do it right, people will trample each other at the Walmarts to get it.

I played D&D Online today, and it's still going strong - best 3.5 homebrew rules set I've ever seen, and still my favorite MMO. Atari's logo appears on the startup screen, so presumably it's licensedin some way.

I'd love to see a 4e MMO along similar lines - 4e seems like you'd get a lot more colorful powers across all classes. Or any edition not set in Eberron. :smallsigh:

RagnaroksChosen
2010-11-02, 03:31 PM
Maybe I missed something, but why are a few people saying they'd have to have to have Internet at the gaming table? I'd think there would be a print option to allow players to print their character sheet at a location with Internet and take the sheet to the table.

Few reasons:
1. I don't want to waste paper.
2. I like being able to keep track of my HP, AC, and any modifiers(like penalties) all in one spot.
3. I'd rather have it all in one spot.

Right now i can have my netbook/ipad/laptop/pc at the game table( or mobile game table). I hate paying for ink, And with my 3+ games where we level relatively quickly, im printing a ton of pages. Why pay for something that inconveniences me so?

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-02, 03:42 PM
Right now i can have my netbook/ipad/laptop/pc at the game table( or mobile game table). I hate paying for ink, And with my 3+ games where we level relatively quickly, im printing a ton of pages. Why pay for something that inconveniences me so?
Note that you can Print to PDF to keep an electronic copy of your character sheet with you.

CutePDF (http://www.cutepdf.com/) is the program I use. The free version works fine with CB and Monster Builder ("MB").

Truth be told, I use CB more as a DMing tool; it lets me quickly look up Classes, Feats, Powers and Magic Items without having to yank someone's sheet. Also, the character sheets CB produces sometimes leave out important information about Rituals and the like. Being tethered to the Internet is going to be annoying but, personally, non-fatal.

We'll see if the updates post-Cloud CB are going to be worth getting a subscription for. I'm pretty happy with what I have now and when my current subscription lapses I'll likely let it stay dead.

N.B. the "what if they stop supporting it" problem is a serious one and one which will become increasingly relevant as more content moves to cloud systems. I suspect that, if WotC doesn't drop a free Ultimate CB when it ditches 4E, the Internet will build one rather than let it all die.

Of course, that's just a wild prediction - take it as you will :smallsmile:

RagnaroksChosen
2010-11-02, 03:45 PM
Note that you can Print to PDF to keep an electronic copy of your character sheet with you.

CutePDF (http://www.cutepdf.com/) is the program I use. The free version works fine with CB and Monster Builder ("MB").

Truth be told, I use CB more as a DMing tool; it lets me quickly look up Classes, Feats, Powers and Magic Items without having to yank someone's sheet. Also, the character sheets CB produces sometimes leave out important information about Rituals and the like. Being tethered to the Internet is going to be annoying but, personally, non-fatal.

We'll see if the updates post-Cloud CB are going to be worth getting a subscription for. I'm pretty happy with what I have now and when my current subscription lapses I'll likely let it stay dead.



I know i use cutepdf when i need to print a character sheet at work. (or when i need to transfer a character from my home pc to my work pc via email.

But like you said I don't want to keep a pdf copy of my character i want the cb so the important infromation isn't dropped.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-02, 03:56 PM
Well, just because people pirated it doesn't mean that it's wise for WotC to use stringent anti-piracy measures, like having to connect to the internet to use the product. I believe Spore had DRM like that, and it ended up being one of the most pirated games out there AFAIK.

Well, yeah. EVERYTHING gets pirated. The thing is, if you crank up the DRM too restrictively, then legitimate customers get annoyed at the hoops they have to jump through to play. Some of them just don't play at all(what I did for spore), and some of them opt to download the pirated version. Because, the pirated version doesnt HAVE drm.

So, counter-piracy measures can actually increase piracy. There's no real way to reduce it to zero except for producing something that nobody actually wants.

Dragosai
2010-11-02, 03:58 PM
The thing is, this is HARD to do. Each fan has their own definition of what they want the game to be. Listening to the fans usually ends up in a product which pleases nobody anyways.

Not saying you are wrong, but I was using the "listen to the fans" in a very broad sense. Let me provide an example of what I mean;

There are a lot of great examples but of course my mind is failing me at the moment. I will use Superman as it's not the best but still a good example.

OK so after the last Chris Reeves Superman movie there was script after script of Superman movie idea presented to WB. At one point a rough draft of a combo of scripts made its way to the internet and it was so awful that I feel bad for bringing it back up. Anyway the script had a Superman that did not fly, the villain was going to be Brainiac but Brainiac would be female and be a villain/love interest of Superman....yeah it went on like this. The reasons this script was almost made? Because hey it's different then your Dad's Superman so people will like it. WRONG! People like things they way they are you have several 1000 issues of Superman stories to pull from that people like grab one or ten and boom movie is done.

The 2 X-men movies did a good job with this, yeah they changed something’s and fan boys will cry themselves to sleep about them but overall it was the X-men we all know and love, no drastic changes to "make it new and better".

So that is what I mean by listen to the fans (the normal ones), you don't need to create a whole new world, or all new systems for RPG/MMO type games that has already been done and you have the proof in numbers on how much people like these things via R.A. Salvatore and his endless best sellers. So what I am saying is (to WOTC) don't make some random game and throw a D&D IP on it like they have done in the past. I feel if they got the right people and budget they could make one hell of a great MMO, but history says this is unlikely to happen.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-02, 04:09 PM
Well, yeah. EVERYTHING gets pirated. The thing is, if you crank up the DRM too restrictively, then legitimate customers get annoyed at the hoops they have to jump through to play. Some of them just don't play at all(what I did for spore), and some of them opt to download the pirated version. Because, the pirated version doesnt HAVE drm.

So, counter-piracy measures can actually increase piracy. There's no real way to reduce it to zero except for producing something that nobody actually wants.
...or making the copying more expensive (i.e. time & money) than purchasing a legitimate copy. For example, music piracy didn't really pick up until cassette tapes became a viable technology; forging copies of records with record-stamping gear is neither easy nor cheap.

In the cloud case, piracy is difficult because (in a competently designed system) there is no easy way to get access to the source code. At worst, you could reverse engineer it from the outputs but you cannot create a good copy like you could by scanning books into PDFs or hacking a program resident on your personal computer.

I had believed that $10 was a low enough price to make hacking & distributing the CB less attractive than making PDFs of $40 books or hacking a legit version for distribution. Apparently I was wrong :smallfrown:

senrath
2010-11-02, 04:12 PM
Yeah. Some people will pirate things just to see if they can, regardless of expense/ease of it.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-02, 04:21 PM
...or making the copying more expensive (i.e. time & money) than purchasing a legitimate copy. For example, music piracy didn't really pick up until cassette tapes became a viable technology; forging copies of records with record-stamping gear is neither easy nor cheap.

In the cloud case, piracy is difficult because (in a competently designed system) there is no easy way to get access to the source code. At worst, you could reverse engineer it from the outputs but you cannot create a good copy like you could by scanning books into PDFs or hacking a program resident on your personal computer.

I had believed that $10 was a low enough price to make hacking & distributing the CB less attractive than making PDFs of $40 books or hacking a legit version for distribution. Apparently I was wrong :smallfrown:

Copying is always less expensive, save for the initial crack author.

Reverse engineering from outputs is surprisingly easy, when you consider the rules behind the outputs are themselves published and pirated. The consistant formatting even makes it likely to be scripted, in a way that say, 3.5 couldn't have been easily done.

Someone will do it. Its a ton easier than glider, etc after all.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-02, 04:23 PM
Yeah. Some people will pirate things just to see if they can, regardless of expense/ease of it.
Of course they will.

The surprise was that so many people decided to distribute it. It's one thing to throw a hobby-hack on a torrent; it's another to find enough people to download & distribute it.

ANECDOTE
It's like D&D PDFs : early in D&D4's life-cycle, lots of my friends had the Core PDFs and used them for their games. As time went by, more and more of them used the CB instead - and even bought hardcovers that they liked. I started off leeching from a group's CB but when I started up my own campaign, I got a year's license to share with my 3 roommates. At around $20 per person it was a good deal and got all of us CB, MB, and all the updates as they came. Now the only people I know who don't use CB just borrow the books from their friends who just liked having the books around -- nobody uses any PDFs aside from PHB I + the Errata.
I mean, we're not talking about $20 CDs here - we're talking about a really useful program which can be had for as little as $2.50 per person split 4 ways. Heck, at those prices I figured even teenagers would pay for it, rather than grab PDFs off a torrent.

Color me unpleasantly surprised :smallfrown:

kyoryu
2010-11-02, 04:27 PM
Of course they will.

The surprise was that so many people decided to distribute it. It's one thing to throw a hobby-hack on a torrent; it's another to find enough people to download & distribute it.

Color me unpleasantly surprised :smallfrown:

It's been that way for years. For many pirates, the "fame" from distribution is the most important thing, and many pirates will collect things just to have them, with no intent of ever using them.

Assuming that the utility of the pirated material is the motivation for piracy is a bad idea.

Reverent-One
2010-11-02, 04:29 PM
Color me unpleasantly surprised :smallfrown:

Perhaps I shouldn't link to this then. (http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/05/why-are-people-pirating-a-charity-game/)

Kurald Galain
2010-11-02, 04:31 PM
Color me unpleasantly surprised :smallfrown:
Yes, but it's not just that. Yes, there are people who pirate books because it's cheaper than buying them. But there's also

(1) People who own the books, but find a PDF more convenient (easier to carry, searchable, etc).
(2) People who grab a PDF to check if they like it, and based on that either buy the book or discard the PDF.
(3) People who never would have bought the books anyway, and either borrow them from friends or use a PDF.
(4) People who don't play D&D in the first place but just have PDFs lying around for whatever reason.

I'm not trying to morally or legally justify any of these, I'm just pointing out that piracy is nowhere near as black-and-white as the big corporations would like you to believe.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-02, 04:41 PM
I'm not trying to morally or legally justify any of these, I'm just pointing out that piracy is nowhere near as black-and-white as the big corporations would like you to believe.
You don't have to tell me that; IP happens to be a hobby of mine. But this isn't a "what the Man wants you to believe" situation - this is a "the little guys are JERKS!" one.

RANT
C'mon, look at those arguments:
(1) People who own the books, but find a PDF more convenient (easier to carry, searchable, etc).
The CB was a more convenient form of the Books in question!

(2) People who grab a PDF to check if they like it, and based on that either buy the book or discard the PDF.
The CB gave you every book WotC produced for a small fixed cost!

(3) People who never would have bought the books anyway, and either borrow them from friends or use a PDF.
A single DDI license can be shared with at least 3 other people, if not more!

(4) People who don't play D&D in the first place but just have PDFs lying around for whatever reason.
...OK, there's no accounting for The Insane :smalltongue:
I have long used DDI as a good example of "how companies should adapt to digital piracy" since its design deftly countered the most common "piracy is legit" arguments. Little did I realize that people were still mass-pirating this excellent program when there is no legitimate reason to do so. This is like the "charity game piracy" link above - the only reason people would do it is because they're entitled jerks or ignorant :smallfurious:
I'm just angry that digital piracy couldn't be solved by accomodation. I only hope WotC made enough money off of DDI to "break even" with that little experiment and that their Cloud System doesn't end poorly :smallsigh:

EDIT: A funnier link (http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=1899) that sums up my current frustration :smallsmile:

OracleofWuffing
2010-11-02, 04:47 PM
CB for Mac? As a mac user, that's awesome!

... Using Silverlight?

As someone that uses Flash, I extend a rude gesture. I'll stick to my outdated CB on a virtualized XP machine. I'm finicky like that.

As far as piracy of the online-only character builder goes, at the lowest level, you have account sharing. Bam, the character builder's "pirated." My two cents are in with the sponsorship thing involved. Or, possibly, someone's offspring got a degree in programming silverlight and shifted a few paradigms. Which isn't too far of a toss, given how they're advertising Cloud Computing as a feature to save disk space. :smallsigh: Yes, that's what the cloud DOES, but that's not what it's supposed to be used for!

Katana_Geldar
2010-11-02, 04:52 PM
As of today, I will no longer be renewing my subscription with DDI. I liked character builder as a program as it gave me a great way to manage my campaigns. Thanks very much Wizards of the Coast, you no longer have my money. :smallmad:

shadowmage
2010-11-02, 05:24 PM
Atari ownes the IP for video games until 2017. There is much legal action going on now to try and get this changed and then you will see D&D
game(s). The even bigger question is can a GOOD, for the current market business, and game quality wise be made? My guess is no, only because like the last failed D&D MMO no one does it right for two reasons 1) not enough funds, which is kind of tough to fix.
2) The people makig these games never listen to fans and do the simple thing and give them what they want, they try to do something new and creative and they fail. The reason is there already is enough creativity behind the D&D IP, run with it give people a FR MMO and do it right, people will trample each other at the Walmarts to get it.

That would explain why Cryptic/Atari is doing the 4e NeverWinter Nights then.

The New Bruceski
2010-11-02, 05:54 PM
I'm glad they announced this change. My account was going to auto-renew on the 5th.

Emphasis on WAS.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-03, 03:50 AM
Well, there's a 100+ page flame war about this on the WOTC forums, in case anyone cares: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/26182237/November_16th_Release_for_Web-based_Character_Builder_-_Discussion

Several things will not be available from launch, but at some unspecified point in the future. These include,

The monster builder
Exporting characters
Sharing characters with e.g. your DM, other than by printing them out
HOFK
Homebrew characters


The new app cannot be used offline (you have to be logged in to DDI to use it), and you won't be able to download the old character builder for much longer. The app starts with a screen that lets you pick the type of campaign, the default choice being "4.4 only". It has other options for e.g. "Dark Sun" or "FR" and "everything", but apparently won't have one for "RPGA".

ghost_warlock
2010-11-03, 04:29 AM
Let's hope the dang thing works better than the rest of their site tends to. :smallsigh:

Wonder how bandwidth-greedy it's going to be. Granted, lots of people have unlimited internet at home, but some of us have caps on how much we can download in a given month.

Personally, I think I prefer the download version so I don't have to go online and deal with Wizard's terribad website just to make minor changes to my character(s). :smallannoyed:

valadil
2010-11-03, 10:00 AM
Have they announced if there will be any changes to the compendium? That's the only part of DDI I ever really liked.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-03, 10:09 AM
Several things will not be available from launch, but at some unspecified point in the future. These include,

Exporting characters
Sharing characters with e.g. your DM, other than by printing them out



Well, that's unfortunate for pbp games. I mean, sure, you can do screenshots, or transcribe manually, but that's a bit of a pain. The entire value of a character builder is that it makes things easier to do.

The entire attitude of WoTC towards their customers is troubling.

TBH, I use chrome almost exclusively as a browser. Heck, only about 46% of browsing is done with ANY version of IE anymore. A fair number of those can be assumed to be older version of IE as well. So, there's actually a LOT of people out there for whom a silverlight app is a pita, and means doing something differently than usual and/or installing new stuff.

Sure, chrome might possibly work if they stick exclusively to the silverlight 4 standard, but Im not aware of any silverlight apps that actually do support chrome. Netflix certainly doesn't last time I checked.

Sipex
2010-11-03, 10:31 AM
While I'm not in support of this app (it's not interesting to me, I prefer books and pencils) I'm curious if there's actually anyone that is.

So far we just seem to be perpetuating the idea that D&D fans are impossible to please.

valadil
2010-11-03, 10:36 AM
So far we just seem to be perpetuating the idea that D&D fans are impossible to please.

TBH, I'd consider paying for it if it ran in linux without effort. The current CB doesn't (and can't be emulated due to a bizarre dependence in .NET that isn't supported in mono yet) so I canceled my subscription after a month. I don't think that moving to an online platform is an inherently bad idea, even if it means I'll lose access to the CB in some situations. As long as it can produce PDFs of my characters and I can save those to disk, it's good enough for my uses.

I think part of why we're so negative about it is that they haven't earned much good will so far with the platform. Before DDI came out, it was supposed to be a 3d online game table. That never saw the light of day. Even the Adventure Tools advertise features that aren't implemented yet. As far as I can tell, Monster Tool is the only usable part of it. Furthermore, some of us resent being asked to pay twice for content. I'd rather use books. But I know my books are going out of date. I feel like it's necessary to pay for the subscription if I'm going to keep up with the game. But I also don't want to lose out on 4e if WotC ever goes out of business, so I want to have the books around since they'll live longer than DDI. In summary, short term I want books. Medium term I want DDI. Long term I want books again. Buying one or the other isn't enough. I really wish they'd give a month of DDI with each book purchase, but that doesn't seem likely.

tcrudisi
2010-11-03, 10:39 AM
As of today, I will no longer be renewing my subscription with DDI. I liked character builder as a program as it gave me a great way to manage my campaigns. Thanks very much Wizards of the Coast, you no longer have my money. :smallmad:

And this is the reaction that so many people are giving. It was certainly my first reaction. Then I realized: "But why am I reacting this way?"

I believe that it is because it is change and very few people really like change.

So now I'm going to go into the new online character builder with an open mind. It certainly has some advantages for me: in one of the places I play, they do not have a character builder. I have to take my laptop (which is slow) to access it. With this, I won't have to do that any more. And, who knows, I might just end up liking the fact it's online.

My point is: you might too. There's no reason not to at least try it before subscriptions get cancelled. It could end up being a net gain for us.

Also, count me as someone who has pirated the CB before. When all my downloads got used up on downloading errors really late at night once, I just downloaded it via unscrupulous methods rather than waiting to contact WotC.

Aotrs Commander
2010-11-03, 10:42 AM
Perhaps I shouldn't link to this then. (http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/05/why-are-people-pirating-a-charity-game/)

I would like to say I'm surprised by this but I'm really not. Ther really are no dpeths to which humans will not merely sink, but excavate with industrial machinery.

And people wonder why I became a Lich. At least I have the high ground now.

And by "high ground", I of course mean "place which I can stand upon to rain entirely justified screaming bloody death and fire upon humanity, while laughing."



WotC's decision doesn't affect me at all (since I didn't adopt 4E), but I do wonder how they think steadily increasing the number of customers they frack off as time goes on will ultimately help them. Mind you, I ask the same question of Activision and EA, among others. Sadly it seems everything is getting over commercialised.



We really could use a change of management. Y'know, on a global and cultural scale. Perhaps some sort of nonhuman would be better to lead everyone. Y'know, with extensive experience in...managing... people. A Lich maybe. Probably one in a Army Of A Red Spear-related nature. That'd totally solve all the world's ills1. You should all spread the word to everyone you know to rsie up and unilaterally declare m- erm, I mean, such an individual as your new leader. It'd totally work. Honest.



1Over population, for a start...

Blackfang108
2010-11-03, 10:51 AM
I would like to say I'm surprised by this but I'm really not. Ther really are no dpeths to which humans will not merely sink, but excavate with industrial machinery.

And people wonder why I became a Lich. At least I have the high ground now.

And by "high ground", I of course mean "place which I can stand upon to rain entirely justified screaming bloody death and fire upon humanity, while laughing."
.

Just a thought...

You may want to find some Moral High Ground that is outside of the artillery range.

Aotrs Commander
2010-11-03, 10:54 AM
Just a thought...

You may want to find some Moral High Ground that is outside of the artillery range.

I have access to orbital bombardment.

There's nothing quite like standing OUTSIDE your starship while raining mass death on a planet that can't fight back...

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-03, 10:58 AM
And this is the reaction that so many people are giving. It was certainly my first reaction. Then I realized: "But why am I reacting this way?"

I believe that it is because it is change and very few people really like change.
Yeah, lots of people make angry exits whenever things change; it's not the majority.

Which is important.

RANT
Yesterday, I was in quite the funk because CB was being pirated for no good reason; people were presented with an excellent compromise by a major corporation and rather than shake hands with The Man, they bit it. So now, rather than having an elegant bit of differential pricing we're stuck with a one-size-fits all pricing scheme and yet another locked-down utility. That hurt; it makes Humanity seem less jerk-neutral and more jerk-loving - instead of tending towards being jerks when there's no reason to act otherwise, Humanity seems to enjoy being a bunch of jerks even when there is good reason to act otherwise!

But even the world of torrents doesn't explain everything. Plenty of people purchased CB legally even though it could be had easily for free; people use the iTunes store even though it is even easier to get music for free. Even if a large portion of the world is filled with jerks, so long as they can't ruin the rest of the world with their random acts of jerkiness, we're still OK.

Maybe the Iterative Prisoner's Dilemma doesn't work as a general solution IRL. Fine! As long as we keep those jerks out of positions of responsibility, we'll be OK.

kyoryu
2010-11-03, 11:27 AM
Sure, chrome might possibly work if they stick exclusively to the silverlight 4 standard, but Im not aware of any silverlight apps that actually do support chrome. Netflix certainly doesn't last time I checked.

Huh? I use Netflix on Chrome all the time. What doesn't work?


While I'm not in support of this app (it's not interesting to me, I prefer books and pencils) I'm curious if there's actually anyone that is.

I like the Character Builder. So...


And this is the reaction that so many people are giving. It was certainly my first reaction. Then I realized: "But why am I reacting this way?"

Pretty much the same here. I thought about how many times I've actually used the CB while *not* connected to the 'net, and realized it's about 0, +/-0.

Of course I'm old enough that $10/mo isn't that big of a deal to me. So that's probably a factor.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-03, 11:36 AM
Huh? I use Netflix on Chrome all the time. What doesn't work?


Just tried it again, works now. Hadn't attempted for a while, using the PS3 to access it instead, but it used to throw a browser unsupported error.

Personally, I wish they'd make a good character builder for 3.5. Yes, I know it's an old version, but there's lots of potential customers out there, and I don't recall the version that came with...what was it, a phb...anyhow, I don't recall it being terribly useful.

Hzurr
2010-11-03, 11:52 AM
And this is the reaction that so many people are giving. It was certainly my first reaction. Then I realized: "But why am I reacting this way?"

I believe that it is because it is change and very few people really like change.

So now I'm going to go into the new online character builder with an open mind. It certainly has some advantages for me: in one of the places I play, they do not have a character builder. I have to take my laptop (which is slow) to access it. With this, I won't have to do that any more. And, who knows, I might just end up liking the fact it's online.

My point is: you might too. There's no reason not to at least try it before subscriptions get cancelled. It could end up being a net gain for us.



*slow clap*

Hooray for rational people!

Tyndmyr
2010-11-03, 11:59 AM
*slow clap*

Hooray for rational people!

Being unhappy over having to pay more for a more limited product is irrational?:smallconfused:

ninja_penguin
2010-11-03, 12:31 PM
Yeah, I canceled my subscription over this. Our group generally shares monthly costs and we all use character builder. With this version, I'm not a fan, and the group decided to cancel. I guess this means I'll be the 4e library again. Glad I snapped up some of the books for cheap when the others sold theirs in favor of the character builder.

Susano-wo
2010-11-03, 12:36 PM
THis doesn't have anything to do with DnD fans being impossible to please. They (the ones unhappy with it) just don't like this change.

Wizards seems to be looking at all the people who buy months of DDI when they want the new content that the updates provide as 'doin it wrong.' vInstead of looking at it as"they don't want to pay, all the time at least, for what we are providing. In other words its "how can we get them to do what we want," not"how can we get them enough content, etc to make them pay every month. maybe they" [obligatory microsoft jab here :smallwink:]

(maybe they should offer a play interface using dungeon tile graphics etc and online rolling support...or mapmaking/campaign organizing software. holy crap! all in one! make maps, with hyperlinks on he 'world' map to the various locations, with files and notes on what is in the locations, you could 'populate' shops with items, dungeons with monesters...you could create a world, one that the players access when they come to it, but one with consistency, and without the need for excess paperwork./end sidetrack)

RE priracy arguments: yes, there will always be people who DL something even if it can be bought for cheap/free [or its for charity:smallfurious:]. This does not mean that all people do so. Given its illicit nature, its pretty hard to track down all the causes of piracy. Cause its not just people pirate because of X. Its people pirate beacuse X,Y,Z, and maybe even Q, and all in different amounts.

really, they sold the books for the char generator?!:smalleek:...I can't imagine doing that (well, I don't own any 4E books, but I can't imagine doing that with my 3E ones...). Then again, most of the books with character stuff is the power lists and class features, right? I guess that makes it make more sense. >.>

Tyndmyr
2010-11-03, 12:39 PM
TBH, while some people will pirate anything, even free stuff, they are best ignored entirely by businesses. After all, they will never actually pay for your products. Therefore, they are of no importance whatsoever to you.

Swaying those that might pirate is important, but probably less so than satisfying those customers who don't really consider piracy at all. They're buying, and if unhappy, they stop.

Hzurr
2010-11-03, 04:22 PM
Being unhappy over having to pay more for a more limited product is irrational?:smallconfused:

Being willing to consider something with an open mind before making judgement is rational. A lot of people are freaking out and acting like it's "OMG TEH WORST THING EVERS!!!11!!", when we really haven't had a chance to see it in action. I just liked his approach of saying "well, let's see how it is, and then I'll decide if I should cancel my account or not"


--edit--

And depending on who you are, this could be considered a much more available product, rather than a more limited (consider the Mac users, for example)

OracleofWuffing
2010-11-03, 04:50 PM
Personally, I wish they'd make a good character builder for 3.5. Yes, I know it's an old version, but there's lots of potential customers out there, and I don't recall the version that came with...what was it, a phb...anyhow, I don't recall it being terribly useful.
Actually, they did make a character builder for 3.5, called eTools. Wizards licensed the product to be supported by Code Monkey Publishing. Somewhere around 2006, Wizards stopped renewing CMP's contract on that regards, so no new "official" updates could be made or sold. Then some people from CMP made PCGen.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-03, 04:52 PM
You do not need to sample everything to know if it's an improvement or not. That's what press releases and previews are FOR. Judging them on the basis of what they claim it will and wont do is quite rational, not freaking out. If they tell me it won't support sharing and exporting character sheets, I believe them. And then I wonder if they have considered the possibility that not every game takes place face to face.

Granted, it might be a good thing for Mac users. *looks around at his players* Oh hey, you with the mac. Yes, you, you're the only one. Don't act innocent, you KNOW you were just preaching to us about the glories of apple yesterday. How you feel about an online character builder? What? You want 4e to die in a fire, and have vowed to never buy anything from WoTC after they published that?

No, I don't think it being available on mac matters in the slightest to me or any gamers I know in RL. And that's a lot of gamers. On the other hand, essentially all of us have laptops or flash drives, so portability of non-online data has never been an issue.

The New Bruceski
2010-11-03, 11:10 PM
I should clarify why I stopped paying for DDI, since my last post just sounds like sour grapes. First off, I don't like programs that require an internet connection when they don't actually need to do so. Steam, various other games, my internet's spotty so I like to know I can do stuff without it.

The second reason is because when I looked up info it seemed that printing out character sheets would be "implemented later". Now since Kurald would have pounced on something like that I don't know if it was quickly added or a misunderstanding, but that rendered the entire thing pointless to me because I don't have a laptop, iPhone, or anything to access an online sheet at games.

Gralamin
2010-11-03, 11:14 PM
All I have to say is: I better get Dark Sun into the Character builder before the 16th. It's been overdue for months.

kyoryu
2010-11-03, 11:27 PM
The second reason is because when I looked up info it seemed that printing out character sheets would be "implemented later". Now since Kurald would have pounced on something like that I don't know if it was quickly added or a misunderstanding, but that rendered the entire thing pointless to me because I don't have a laptop, iPhone, or anything to access an online sheet at games.

If you can't actually print, that really sucks. I'm not really sure how you'd use it then. Do they expect every player to have a laptop at a game? Or to not have a character sheet? Or for DMs to manually copy the sheets? Or?

Gralamin
2010-11-03, 11:31 PM
If you can't actually print, that really sucks. I'm not really sure how you'd use it then. Do they expect every player to have a laptop at a game? Or to not have a character sheet? Or for DMs to manually copy the sheets? Or?

Presumably someone in the group has a printer. And if all else fails, there is paper.

kyoryu
2010-11-03, 11:35 PM
Presumably someone in the group has a printer. And if all else fails, there is paper.

The New Bruceski posted that you couldn't print. So I checked the wotc forums, and it appears that you can.

So, yeah, not a big deal.

senrath
2010-11-03, 11:46 PM
All I have to say is: I better get Dark Sun into the Character builder before the 16th. It's been overdue for months.

You won't. I'm pretty sure there are to be no more updates for the current CB.

WitchSlayer
2010-11-04, 12:29 AM
You know, a Final Fantasy Tactics style game for 4th Edition would be pretty awesome.

Amiel
2010-11-04, 12:56 AM
Unfortunately, Wizards doesn't have the best track-record when it comes to proprietary software. The majority of their technological initiatives failed due to some reason or another.

What would've been more appealing and palatable for and to their fanbase would be to keep the database online, but also allow for offline character creation, customisation, updating et al. The database should also fulfill what it intends to be, being a database of supplements allowing for individuality in character design.

Thurbane
2010-11-04, 01:00 AM
A lot of people are freaking out and acting like it's "OMG TEH WORST THING EVERS!!!11!!", when we really haven't had a chance to see it in action.
No no no...we all know the worst thing ever was the announcement of 4E! :smalltongue:

DragonOfUndeath
2010-11-04, 01:15 AM
No no no...we all know the worst thing ever was the announcement of 4E! :smalltongue:

3.5 IS TEH ROXXORZ!11! :smalltongue:

tcrudisi
2010-11-04, 02:00 AM
If they tell me it won't support sharing and exporting character sheets, I believe them.

You shouldn't; they are lying to you. There's a very easy solution to this: Novapdf or cutepdf. It allows you to "print to pdf" instead of printing to paper. It's a very handy program that I find myself using quite a bit anyway.

I want to be able to view my D&D characters on any computer? When viewing it on the character builder, I tell it to print to pdf and then I e-mail myself the character sheet.

I want to be able to upload a document to my classmates in a format everyone can open? I print it to pdf and e-mail it out. (Note: I don't have MS Word.)

I find something online that I want to save and send out to others. (For example, earlier today I needed to send out a copy of my unofficial academic transcript, so I opened it up online and did not have the option to save it. So I told the page to print to pdf and voila! I had a copy of it which I promptly then uploaded to the application I was filling out.)

It's a handy program and I already use it with the character builder to have the ease of transporting around my characters. In fact, by making it pdf, it actually makes it to where I can take it to any computer, instead of just those that have the character builder on them. So when it goes to online only? There's no difference. I'll still "print to pdf" and carry it around with me on my jump drive or e-mail it to myself, either one.

And, I know some people will complain about having to install another program. It's ridiculously small (I think less than 1mb), though. Anyway -- my point is that you will immediately be able to have the functionality that WotC claims would not be available yet. :smallsmile:

Kurald Galain
2010-11-04, 03:43 AM
You shouldn't; they are lying to you. There's a very easy solution to this: Novapdf or cutepdf. It allows you to "print to pdf" instead of printing to paper. It's a very handy program that I find myself using quite a bit anyway.
Let me clarify this... by "export", people don't refer to "print to PDF", but instead to export to the textual format used by the old character builder (and several other programs). The problem with PDF is that you cannot import it into either the old or the new character builder; so while you can show your character to others, you can't have them modify it and change it back. This is a loss in functionality compared to the old character builder.

WitchSlayer
2010-11-04, 04:30 AM
Also, forgot to give my thoughts on the online character builder: I'm fine with it, my friend is reacting badly but he'll probably calm down. Seriously. I view this as an advantage as when I access a computer at my parents house for example, I can't really install anything, so having an online character builder makes it a LOT more simple, although I was fond of the UI of the old character builder, we'll see how this one works out.

panaikhan
2010-11-04, 08:38 AM
When our group decided to try 4e, the only things we had were the starter box (DMG / PHB / MM1), the character builder (free version to level 3) and the free downloadable module (whichever that was).

So far, we haven't played enough sessions to finish that first module.
Yes, as a collective, our group is that unimpressed with the system.

Out of our group of 8, one has landline broadband. Myself and one other have 'pay and go' mobile internet. Our interest in the character builder has now moved from "it's a nice idea" to "no thanks".

At least one member (our best DM, and the one with a landline as it happens) refuses to play 4e at all, and is trying to convert us all to Pathfinder.

Yakk
2010-11-04, 08:59 AM
Let me clarify this... by "export", people don't refer to "print to PDF", but instead to export to the textual format used by the old character builder (and several other programs). The problem with PDF is that you cannot import it into either the old or the new character builder; so while you can show your character to others, you can't have them modify it and change it back. This is a loss in functionality compared to the old character builder.
The old character builder will not support the things that the new character builder uses.

Being able to export it so other players can import the character is useful: being able to export to the old character builder is of limited use, as the characters will have features that the old builder doesn't recognize.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-04, 09:07 AM
Being able to export it so other players can import the character is useful: being able to export to the old character builder is of limited use, as the characters will have features that the old builder doesn't recognize.
Why exactly would characters have features that the old builder doesn't recognize? The core rules haven't changed, those features are still primarily items, powers, and feats.

Anyway, it's not primarily about exporting to the old character builder, but to a textual format that can be copy/pasted into forums and e-mails, as well as to a format read by several third-party utilities, such as virtual gametables.

Of course, WOTC has an incentive to disallow exporting to third-party tools, as well as to the old charbuilder.

valadil
2010-11-04, 09:47 AM
You shouldn't; they are lying to you. There's a very easy solution to this: Novapdf or cutepdf. It allows you to "print to pdf" instead of printing to paper. It's a very handy program that I find myself using quite a bit anyway.


Yes, but what happens when you try and print a Silverlight application to PDF? I honestly don't know, since I can't get Silverlight or Moonlight working anywhere. I suspect it would be no better than printing an image. ie, you'd get a rasterized image of your character sheet instead of actual font and text data.

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-04, 09:53 AM
I think one of the most insulting parts of this whole mess is the accusatory, You're all Pirates and this is Your Fault subtext behind a large portion of the changes.

The other worrying thing is how much more they seem to be focusing on prettifying things over functionality, as well as the sneaking suspicion I have that the project manager in part might just want to move away from the old builder because it's from before his time and he can't really claim full credit for it.

The latter-most is almost entirely hunch, flavoured by bitterness of course, but it's a suspicion I cannot currently shake.

valadil
2010-11-04, 09:59 AM
... the project manager in part might just want to move away from the old builder because it's from before his time and he can't really claim full credit for it.


That's an option. I was thinking it was more likely that the current CB is an unmaintainable mess and they'd rather start anew than fix the old one's problems.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-04, 10:11 AM
I think one of the most insulting parts of this whole mess is the accusatory, You're all Pirates and this is Your Fault subtext behind a large portion of the changes.
Well... to an extent, they are right. CB was the sort of scheme that pro-digital distribution types had been talking about: differential pricing, enhanced utility, minimal DRM. And yet, people pirated the crap out of it :smallsigh:

However, the ability of Cloud CB to work across all platforms should not be downplayed. Being available for only one of the many OSs on the market today was a problem that needed to be resolved; Cloud CB does that.

All in all, there's not a whole lot to get mad at WotC about. You can still make digital copies of character sheets and (AFAIK) they're not changing the pricing structure. Pretty much all you've lost the ability to updating character sheets & access the D&D4 rules without an internet connection.

It's annoying, but non-fatal.

Dragosai
2010-11-04, 10:28 AM
Yes, but it's not just that. Yes, there are people who pirate books because it's cheaper than buying them. But there's also

(1) People who own the books, but find a PDF more convenient (easier to carry, searchable, etc).
(2) People who grab a PDF to check if they like it, and based on that either buy the book or discard the PDF.
(3) People who never would have bought the books anyway, and either borrow them from friends or use a PDF.
(4) People who don't play D&D in the first place but just have PDFs lying around for whatever reason.

I'm not trying to morally or legally justify any of these, I'm just pointing out that piracy is nowhere near as black-and-white as the big corporations would like you to believe.

Yes, yes it is black and white. It is copy protected item, service, app, software, book, music, movie etc. There are laws saying you cannot steal this and they are very clear. There is no grey area in piracy, it is illegal I is theft and people that do so are douche bags and should be punished to the letter of the law every time.
This is piracy, not “I am stealing bread to feed my family”.

Erom
2010-11-04, 10:36 AM
Yes, yes it is black and white. It is copy protected item, service, app, software, book, music, movie etc. There are laws saying you cannot steal this and they are very clear. There is no grey area in piracy, it is illegal I is theft and people that do so are douche bags and should be punished to the letter of the law every time.
This is piracy, not “I am stealing bread to feed my family”.
Copyright violation =/= theft, legally or morally. It's a different, still illegal, crime. I too am opposed to it, but equating the two is incorrect and leads to ridiculous outcomes.

On topic: I am sad they are closing the "pay when you want to update, but keep using it even when your sub expires" loophole, since that made the product worth it to me. Previously, they got a month subscription out of me once every 3 months or so. Now they will get nothing, as a service I can not use unless I am paying every month is not good enough to warrant my money.

I imagine this change will finally force the community to generate their own tools, since up to now the very-usable character builder has stifled a lot of hobbyist work in that direction.

I suspect that ultimately less people will use the official character builder, but they'll still make more money since the users they do retain will be paying every month, instead of some users paying only occasionally, and some paying nothing and pirating.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-04, 10:40 AM
On topic: I am sad they are closing the "pay when you want to update, but keep using it even when your sub expires" loophole, since that made the product worth it to me. Previously, they got a month subscription out of me once every 3 months or so. Now they will get nothing, as a service I can not use unless I am paying every month is not good enough to warrant my money.
...I dunno. Split 4 ways, it's hard to argue that $2.50/mo is too much for the utility of CB.

Heck, split 4 ways, a year's subscription is under $20 per person - that's less than a single gaming book a year!

I mean, it's not quite as good as it was before, but it's hardly highway robbery.

Also: no legal discussions on the board. It just gets the thread shut down. I should know - I love discussing legals issues in re Gaming & IP law! :smallbiggrin:

Grogmir
2010-11-04, 10:51 AM
...I dunno. Split 4 ways, it's hard to argue that $2.50/mo is too much for the utility of CB.

Heck, split 4 ways, a year's subscription is under $20 per person - that's less than a single gaming book a year!

.....

Also: no legal discussions on the board. It just gets the thread shut down. I should know - I love discussing legals issues in re Gaming & IP law! :smallbiggrin:

You love discussing legal issues yet what you suggest is illegal?

You are not allowed to share subs.

Erom
2010-11-04, 10:52 AM
...I dunno. Split 4 ways, it's hard to argue that $2.50/mo is too much for the utility of CB.

Heck, split 4 ways, a year's subscription is under $20 per person - that's less than a single gaming book a year!

I mean, it's not quite as good as it was before, but it's hardly highway robbery.

Also: no legal discussions on the board. It just gets the thread shut down. I should know - I love discussing legals issues in re Gaming & IP law! :smallbiggrin:
Agreed, but you sort of have to have a regular and dependable group before folks are willing to split the CB. If the price was lower (that $20 a year is something I would be happy to pay) I would bite on it, but as it is none of my players would split it with me, and I'm not willing to eat full price. I agree though, serious groups shouldn't find it a difficulty to keep up a group sub.

Susano-wo
2010-11-04, 11:03 AM
Yes, yes it is black and white. It is copy protected item, service, app, software, book, music, movie etc. There are laws saying you cannot steal this and they are very clear. There is no grey area in piracy, it is illegal I is theft and people that do so are douche bags and should be punished to the letter of the law every time.
This is piracy, not “I am stealing bread to feed my family”.

...
He is saying that the causes are not black and white. Sheesh


And about sharing subs, I was under the impression that you could use the program on something like 5 different computers, so you could install and allow it to update on all five of them?

Yakk
2010-11-04, 11:04 AM
Why exactly would characters have features that the old builder doesn't recognize? The core rules haven't changed, those features are still primarily items, powers, and feats.
Powers that aren't in the old builder's database.
Equipment that aren't in the old builder's database.
Class features that aren't in the old builder's database.

I have no reason to believe that the save-game files contain 'scripted' instructions on how a given feature works, and even if they did I'd expect the 'scripted' instructions to be fundamentally different in the new character builder than the old.

Anyway, it's not primarily about exporting to the old character builder, but to a textual format that can be copy/pasted into forums and e-mails, as well as to a format read by several third-party utilities, such as virtual gametables.
You mean, the text-based "copy to/from clipboard" one?

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-04, 11:11 AM
You love discussing legal issues yet what you suggest is illegal?

You are not allowed to share subs.
LEGALISTIC DIGRESSION
Reading over the TOU (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Blank.aspx?x=wz/company/about/termsofuse), I actually don't see anything saying you can't share subscriptions.

The most relevant portion I found (on an admittedly cursory scan) is this:

When you sign up for each of your Accounts, you will also be asked to choose a password. You are entirely responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of each of your passwords, and you agree to maintain the security of your passwords. You agree not to use the account, screen name, or password of another Member at any time, and agree to notify Wizards immediately if you suspect any unauthorized use of your Accounts or access to your password. You are solely responsible for any and all use of your Accounts.
The relevant passage is highlighted.

Being a matter of contract, a non-party cannot breach the clause about using other member's accounts (presumably for downloading updates). Likewise, is the account holder authorizes someone to use their account to download an update, there is no unauthorized access.
That said, this question is largely irrelevant. WotC wisely learned to not rely on contract clauses that are difficult, if not impossible, to monitor; it is exceedingly difficult for WotC to determine who, exactly, is downloading a particular update without also crippling the ability of users with multiple computers to use CB. Yes, it can be done but it is more annoying than it is worth.

Instead, WotC limits the number of updates a given account can download per month. The number is set sufficiently high that the limit is unlikely to burden individual account holders but is still low enough that you don't end up sharing a $10 account with an entire RPGA region. Conveniently, the number is high enough that a single gaming group can share it - much as gaming groups traditionally shared the hard-copy books.

It would not be out of the question to think that WotC selected this particular mechanism by accident :smallamused:

Mark Hall
2010-11-04, 11:16 AM
The Mod Wonder: This thread is veering dangerously close to legal discussions. While interesting, I must draw upon my ancient vernacular and say "You better check yourself before you wreck yourself."

Susano-wo
2010-11-04, 11:17 AM
@ Oracle Hunter--yeah, that's waht it was! My DM did that for us, since we didn't own any 4th ed books, and this was largely to try out 4E for the two of us who had not yet

kyoryu
2010-11-04, 11:21 AM
The other worrying thing is how much more they seem to be focusing on prettifying things over functionality, as well as the sneaking suspicion I have that the project manager in part might just want to move away from the old builder because it's from before his time and he can't really claim full credit for it.


You know how I know you're in the software industry?

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-04, 11:23 AM
@ Oracle Hunter--yeah, that's waht it was! My DM did that for us, since we didn't own any 4th ed books, and this was largely to try out 4E for the two of us who had not yet
Which was exactly how WotC's model was supposed to work! It was brilliant!

...and now we're going back to the boring ol' "flat subscription for Cloud access" model :smallfrown:

Also: Has WotC said anything about how they're handling Cloud access? That is to say, how are they going to regulate group accounts? It seems likely that they'll go with the "one login at a time" approach that companies like Westlaw use - but they could just as easily not bother and eat the loss of subscriptions when campus groups start sharing licenses.

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-04, 11:25 AM
You know how I know you're in the software industry?

No, I don't know, but I'd be interested in hearing it. :smallsmile:

Also, discussion about the number of updates and sharing the 'Classic' character builder are pretty irrelevant, as that won't even be possible with the new one.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-04, 11:27 AM
Also, discussion about the number of updates and sharing the 'Classic' character builder are pretty irrelevant, as that won't even be possible with the new one.
How do you figure? :smallconfused:

Keeping everything on the Cloud makes it easier, not harder, to "share" access to a single subscription.

valadil
2010-11-04, 11:39 AM
Keeping everything on the Cloud makes it easier, not harder, to "share" access to a single subscription.

Unless they restrict logins. I'd hate to get kicked off because the paladin decided to log in. Or I'd hate to be unable to access the CB because the sorcerer forgot to log out and left his browser running, again. One login at a time per account would not be an unreasonable measure for them to take and it would restrict use.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-04, 11:46 AM
Unless they restrict logins. I'd hate to get kicked off because the paladin decided to log in. Or I'd hate to be unable to access the CB because the sorcerer forgot to log out and left his browser running, again. One login at a time per account would not be an unreasonable measure for them to take and it would restrict use.
This falls into the "annoying but non-fatal" category.

Sure, it restricts use, but it hardly makes "sharing" impossible as Tiki Snakes stated. A reasonably managed group can simply divide "login days" amongst the individuals involved if they're in the habit of constantly fiddling with their characters. From personal experience, I can attest that such an approach is quite doable even when the individuals in question aren't the best at talking to each other.

Leon
2010-11-04, 11:50 AM
People pirate CB? :smallconfused:


People will pirate anything.

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-04, 11:52 AM
Perhaps impossible is the wrong word, but there's a very strong shift from the implication that you totally should share with the others in your group, what with the 5 updates thing, and the concept of it being tied to your personal subscription (and credit/debit card, at that).

Perhaps it will be easy to still share, but it will be harder to do so with any real legitimacy, as far as I can see. Essentially, what I was trying to say was that reguardless of whether you were supposed to share, you are no longer supposed to share.

The ability to do so anyway is slightly beside the point.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-04, 11:56 AM
Perhaps impossible is the wrong word, but there's a very strong shift from the implication that you totally should share with the others in your group, what with the 5 updates thing, and the concept of it being tied to your personal subscription (and credit/debit card, at that).

Perhaps it will be easy to still share, but it will be harder to do so with any real legitimacy, as far as I can see. Essentially, what I was trying to say was that reguardless of whether you were supposed to share, you are no longer supposed to share.

The ability to do so anyway is slightly beside the point.
I still don't see the removal of this perceived license.

Even with Classic CB you still needed to log in to someone's personal subscription every time you updated. The change in perceived license from doing that once per month to every time you access it is slight at worst.

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-04, 12:07 PM
Given that they haven't released the innevitably updated eula, or really told us anything on this subject at all, this is all really just speculation, of course.

I have my guess, and you have yours. We'll find out exactly how it all is going to work soon enough.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-04, 12:13 PM
Given that they haven't released the innevitably updated eula, or really told us anything on this subject at all, this is all really just speculation, of course.
Hence my objection to your DOOOOMful, absolutist tone :smalltongue:

Anyhoo, I don't see WotC engaging in draconian attempts to limit subscription "sharing" - it's expensive to do well, and annoying to customers to boot. Plus, it's completely at odds with their behavior in regards to online services to date.

In short: I'm not happy about Cloud CB but it's hardly the end of the world :smallsmile:

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-04, 12:24 PM
Hence my objection to your DOOOOMful, absolutist tone :smalltongue:

Anyhoo, I don't see WotC engaging in draconian attempts to limit subscription "sharing" - it's expensive to do well, and annoying to customers to boot. Plus, it's completely at odds with their behavior in regards to online services to date.

In short: I'm not happy about Cloud CB but it's hardly the end of the world :smallsmile:

I'm not sure I'd agree it's at odds with their behaviour in reguards to online services, personally. It seems to me to be a large part of the reason behind Cloud CB.

Over on their forums, there's a thread debating exactly this issue, and the two sides are quite at odds. There is apparently a strong argument that sharing the subscription on the old builder was badwrong/illegal/against the EULA. If that is infact the case, I cannot see them willingly allowing any kind of ease of sharing account now they are bringing things even closer under their control.

If you are interested in hashing out the particulars, I understand that there is no 'legal talk is bad talk' kind of moderation over there, far as I can see. Thread can be found Here (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/26191577/Can_multiple_people_still_use_the_new_CB?pg=1).

Admittedly, partially my tone is due to my being unhappy with the over-all situation, coupled with the fact that I don't even have a very easy way out, as my subscription renewed not that long ago. With the difficulty that would be presented in trying to cancel part-way-through the year, I'm just going to have to wait a while and hope the new builder doesn't turn out like I half expect it to. It would help if it's first / December update brings it to the point where it once again at least has as much functionality as the current one, given that they've been working on it for six months or more.

ShaggyMarco
2010-11-04, 01:12 PM
I am not happy with this, but I see why they did it.

Currently, my group renews our account whenever a new book comes out that we are interested in, or there is significant errata that affects our characters. We get our 1/person Character Builder update, the DM and dm-curious players get the AT update, and we go along, playing merrily.

If we have to each maintaining our own accounts...I don't know that we can all afford it. I certainly can't. Ten dollars a month is a way bigger commitment than glorified pocket change every so often.

If we can still somehow share a log-in, we'll probably be happy to shift to a monthly payment rather than a whenever we feel like it payment.

If we can't? We'll probably find a way to be happy with the 4th edition books that are out, keep using the offline version we have, and avoid buying any more 4ed because they won't come with the convenience of the character builder we have on our computers now--also, we'll probably ignore future errata. We've gotten hooked on the character builder, and I don't expect we'll want to do 4ed without it. We're busy people juggling jobs, kids, wives, and other commitments, not full-time gamers like we were in college.

Solution: They should offer "Group Accounts." Make them, like 50% more expensive. For $15 a month you get a set of 6 log-ins. The primary log-in is the only one that has access to the credit card account info, but the other 5 log-ins all can access the features. This way, you can still boot Log-ins that log-in from multiple computers, protect credit card privacy, but support the small, tight-knit gaming group that, I imagine, is the core of their business. I bet my group might even consider paying up to $20 a month for a group account.

Erom
2010-11-04, 01:17 PM
If we can't? We'll probably find a way to be happy with the 4th edition books that are out, keep using the offline version we have, and avoid buying any more 4ed because they won't come with the convenience of the character builder we have on our computers now--also, we'll probably ignore future errata. We've gotten hooked on the character builder, and I don't expect we'll want to do 4ed without it. We're busy people juggling jobs, kids, wives, and other commitments, not full-time gamers like we were in college.

This will certainly be my solution - sorry, if the char builder on my computer doesn't support it, it doesn't exist for me (and by extension my group, since I am the DM / Only person with the books / only person who even knows what errata is)

senrath
2010-11-04, 01:55 PM
I still don't see the removal of this perceived license.

Even with Classic CB you still needed to log in to someone's personal subscription every time you updated. The change in perceived license from doing that once per month to every time you access it is slight at worst.

All I know is that someone from WotC explicitly said that you never were supposed to be able to share subscriptions.

Grogmir
2010-11-04, 02:18 PM
If we can't? We'll probably find a way to be happy with the 4th edition books that are out, keep using the offline version we have, and avoid buying any more 4ed because they won't come with the convenience of the character builder we have on our computers now--also, we'll probably ignore future errata. We've gotten hooked on the character builder, and I don't expect we'll want to do 4ed without it. We're busy people juggling jobs, kids, wives, and other commitments, not full-time gamers like we were in college.

This is exactly the decision our group has come too today.

Here's a few things how it effects me and a few things I dont like about this.

We paids our subs for two years - we've seen no development in that time - now the CB is taking a step backwards - ALthough I understand it'll make it easier to launch the developments they promised in the first place. Its also ruined all the hard work the community has put into tools such as Maptool 1play4e, which will have to wait for the export function to start adapting.

I've created 4 characters in the last two years - two for me, and two for my wife. Okay I mess about with the CB - but i've played 4 characters.

I have an ethical problem with paying ongoing for online games - you are in effect renting the game - if they decide to turn if off you have nothing.
Only with constant ongoing developments is it worth it - and we haven't had that with DDi. (I would pay for a complete MM, Battlemap generator using official dnd tiles! Sell the img files and bam!)

There's load of other reasons why i don't like it - Strung along for regards to the 'update', complete removal of CB so if you want to get it in future you have to pirate, Switch in formats that effects some of their fanbase but gains others Macs users - a big rule in business is NEVER TAKE STUFF AWAY.
Silverlight, cloud (I can handle 4 characters just fine)

I understand why they've done it - they should just be honest - say they made a mistake 2 years ago and that the pirates are killing them and get on with it.

Finally lets never forget this is just a character building - which could cost as much as $10 a month.

As one brilliant post put it.


So I can pay a monthly subscription fee for access to an application that builds and stores my characters, or I can pay a comparable amount for access to a game, in which I can build and store my characters, and then, you know, play them.

So it's like a MMORPG, only without the game. Teehee!

In fact i'm sig that :smalltongue:

Happy Rollin' all - here's to 4.0 - cause thats where DnD 4th will end for me, after I convinced my group to switch to.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-04, 02:34 PM
All I know is that someone from WotC explicitly said that you never were supposed to be able to share subscriptions.
I'd love to see someone actually provide evidence of this statement at some point.

In any case, if they were serious about it they'd have limited the Updates Per Month to 2 or 3 instead of 5. I don't think WotC is stupid; they chose the mechanisms for CB deliberately and their decision not to alter this particular mechanism after over a year of use speaks volumes.

IMHO, of course :smalltongue:

EDIT: I think the MMO comparison above is silly :smallsigh:

$10/mo for a subscription does give you the game! It gives you access to all the rules, a fine utility for building characters and one for building monsters. WoW gives you a single world with a limited number of "adventures;" D&D4 gives you the ability to create an arbitrarially large number of worlds and adventures to run in them.

OracleofWuffing
2010-11-04, 02:49 PM
I'd love to see someone actually provide evidence of this statement at some point.
The first sentence under "Grant of License; Intellectual Property Rights" in the service agreement (If you have the character builder, there's an RTF of it typically in C:/Program Files/Wizards of the Coast/Character Builder/ServiceAgreement.rtf) may or may not be the evidence you're looking for. Of course, discussing any more than that group of word's existence is going off the deep end into legal territory, so all bets are off after that.

senrath
2010-11-04, 02:49 PM
I'd love to see someone actually provide evidence of this statement at some point.

In any case, if they were serious about it they'd have limited the Updates Per Month to 2 or 3 instead of 5. I don't think WotC is stupid; they chose the mechanisms for CB deliberately and their decision not to alter this particular mechanism after over a year of use speaks volumes.

IMHO, of course :smalltongue:


Right here:
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/26182237/November_16th_Release_for_Web-based_Character_Builder_-_Discussion&post_num=123#472657245

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-04, 03:24 PM
Right here:
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/26182237/November_16th_Release_for_Web-based_Character_Builder_-_Discussion&post_num=123#472657245
Thank you :smallsmile:

I mean, it's unsurprising that WotC's official line was "no sharing" but - as I said before - if they actually wanted to enforce that as a Rule they could have simply reduced the number of downloads/mo to less than the "standard" playgroup (Leader, Striker, Defender, Controller + DM).

Still, it's good to have a citation for a change.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-05, 10:07 AM
Hm, it has been stated on the DDI forums that this new charbuilder comes with a limit of twenty saved characters per account. That's... not good.

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-05, 10:11 AM
Hm, it has been stated on the DDI forums that this new charbuilder comes with a limit of twenty saved characters per account. That's... not good.

Wait, wait. I thought that was apocryphal? Do we have official confirmation of this?

valadil
2010-11-05, 10:12 AM
Hm, it has been stated on the DDI forums that this new charbuilder comes with a limit of twenty saved characters per account. That's... not good.

That seems like an effective way to cripple groups who share accounts :-\ I really hope they have an export function for offline storage.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-05, 10:19 AM
That seems like an effective way to cripple groups who share accounts :-\ I really hope they have an export function for offline storage.
It's still not that bad - provided there is a delete function. If true, this would still permit each member of a five man party to have 4 characters at a time. Since you should still be able to print to PDF, anyone interested in archiving their old characters can just save those PDFs and delete the old CB files.

Sure, it's annoying but hardly crippling.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-05, 10:33 AM
It's still not that bad - provided there is a delete function. If true, this would still permit each member of a five man party to have 4 characters at a time. Since you should still be able to print to PDF, anyone interested in archiving their old characters can just save those PDFs and delete the old CB files.

And then you want to level up your character and have to enter all the data again...

RagnaroksChosen
2010-11-05, 10:40 AM
Copying is always less expensive, save for the initial crack author.

Reverse engineering from outputs is surprisingly easy, when you consider the rules behind the outputs are themselves published and pirated. The consistant formatting even makes it likely to be scripted, in a way that say, 3.5 couldn't have been easily done.

Someone will do it. Its a ton easier than glider, etc after all.

3.5 could be scripted. Well at least coded.

I think WOTC went off the deep end the Discussion over at the WOTC forms is a perfect example. With 4.5 out/coming out and now this i have a feeling history will repeat it self. though they make so much on magic i imagine they could keep going with d&d regardless of what happens.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-05, 10:45 AM
And then you want to level up your character and have to enter all the data again...
Yeah, if you're going to start playing a dead campaign again.

Perhaps y'all have different playstyles than I, but I don't think I've ever had more than 4 "live" characters at a time. Campaigns usually end or go on infinite hiatus and then new ones take their places; I certainly don't have time to play in 5 D&D campaigns at once!

Besides, the amount of time it takes to re-enter the information on an archived character isn't going to kill you. Unless you regularly swap through characters you'll just have to reconstruct him once and then use the CB utility as normal.

And all this assumes that you have 5 people equally sharing an account. I'm the most active player in my group and none of the others have more than 2 current characters.

Blackfang108
2010-11-05, 10:46 AM
3.5 could be scripted. Well at least coded.

I think WOTC went off the deep end the Discussion over at the WOTC forms is a perfect example. With 4.5 out/coming out and now this i have a feeling history will repeat it self. though they make so much on magic i imagine they could keep going with d&d regardless of what happens.

Essentials is not 4.5. There aren't anywhere NEAR enough changes to justify a whole .5. It's not different enough to warrant even .3.

It's 4.25 at highest. A service pack upgrade.

3.0 was almost completely revamped, and didn't work all that well with 3.5.

4e integrates completely with essentials, and does it well.

Psyren
2010-11-05, 10:53 AM
Companies other than Microsoft use Silverlight? :smallconfused:

Well, Lionhead used it for Fab-

Ohhhh, I see. Clever!


Here's the bigger question:

Why isn't there a 4E video game? 4E absolutely screams out for a 20ish hour single player game, with the ability to create maps and play online with friends via some sort of Skype system. For that they could charge $60 up front (for the first few months, at least) plus $20ish a piece for expansion packs. It wouldn't even have to be a great game, because fan communities would end up modding it until it was.

Neverwinter (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/102961-Atari-and-Cryptic-Head-Back-to-Neverwinter) is coming soon and uses 4e rules.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-11-05, 10:57 AM
Essentials is not 4.5. There aren't anywhere NEAR enough changes to justify a whole .5. It's not different enough to warrant even .3.

It's 4.25 at highest. A service pack upgrade.

3.0 was almost completely revamped, and didn't work all that well with 3.5.

4e integrates completely with essentials, and does it well.

Meh i guess. Though some of the core rules are staying the same a majority of the classes, some feats, items, and some other rules are getting overhauled. As well as a change in conceptual design of classes/feats/items. Though i agree 3.0-3.5 was drastic i feel 4e and 4eE is a similar in feeling if not similar change. The Essential charactes even play different, they run off of BA's.
But thats not what the descussion is about i was just bringing up the dismay regarding the essentials stuff didn't meen to derail the discussion.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-05, 11:23 AM
Essentials is not 4.5. There aren't anywhere NEAR enough changes to justify a whole .5.
Ah, and where is officially defined what percentage of the rules needs to be changed to be a "whole .5"?


3.0 was almost completely revamped, and didn't work all that well with 3.5.
This is incorrect: you overestimate how much 3E has changed.


4e integrates completely with essentials, and does it well.This is also incorrect: you underestimate how much 4E has changed.

valadil
2010-11-05, 11:30 AM
Perhaps y'all have different playstyles than I, but I don't think I've ever had more than 4 "live" characters at a time.

Unless I'm doing RPGA I don't have that many. However I do make a lot of builds when I'm trying out ideas for a new character. I like to compare them. It's not uncommon for me to have 5-10 files for a single character. You could not have people doing that simultaneously on a shared account.

kyoryu
2010-11-05, 11:31 AM
Essentials is not 4.5. There aren't anywhere NEAR enough changes to justify a whole .5. It's not different enough to warrant even .3.

It's 4.25 at highest. A service pack upgrade.


4eSP1?

Heh. I like it.

Blackfang108
2010-11-05, 11:43 AM
This is also incorrect: you underestimate how much 4E has changed.

As loath as I am to use anecdotal evidence: the games I've played that include a mix of Essentials and Basic characters didn't seem to look different than the games I've played with just basic characters.

I've read through HoFL. It really isn't THAT different.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-05, 11:45 AM
Unless I'm doing RPGA I don't have that many. However I do make a lot of builds when I'm trying out ideas for a new character. I like to compare them. It's not uncommon for me to have 5-10 files for a single character. You could not have people doing that simultaneously on a shared account.
Well, for those sort of people it probably makes sense for them to purchase an additional account. Or you can delete those "extra" builds you're not happy with after you select one; or just PDF the various builds for comparison if they're really extensive.

For me (and, I'd imagine, most others) 20 character per account is going to be a little tight but non-fatal.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-11-05, 11:45 AM
As loath as I am to use anecdotal evidence: the games I've played that include a mix of Essentials and Basic characters didn't seem to look different than the games I've played with just basic characters.

I've read through HoFL. It really isn't THAT different.

It was different enough to require errata to make the old game similar to the new game.

I can't remember but i belive there was even multiple months of it, and its still being updated.


Edit:
Oracle_hunter, Currently in my CB I have 50 builds of which 40 or so i would be annoyed if i had to loose.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-05, 11:50 AM
As loath as I am to use anecdotal evidence: the games I've played that include a mix of Essentials and Basic characters didn't seem to look different than the games I've played with just basic characters.
Sure. But you can also mix 3.0 and 3.5 books with little or no problems. In both cases, there are many instances of small errata that aren't usually all that noticeable in regular gameplay.


It was different enough to require errata to make the old game similar to the new game.

I can't remember but i belive there was even multiple months of it, and its still being updated.
Yep. The most recent set came out today. The most prominent ability of half-elves and paladins has been changed, among others.

Reverent-One
2010-11-05, 11:53 AM
Yep. The most recent set came out today. The most prominent ability of half-elves and paladins has been changed, among others.

This is new to Essentials how? The most prominent ability of teiflings and Battlerager fighters (for example) changed well before it came out.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-05, 11:55 AM
Edit:
Oracle_hunter, Currently in my CB I have 50 builds of which 40 or so i would be annoyed if i had to loose.
Are you currently using them? Do you update them?

The point here is that you can still preserve "neat builds" as PDFs. In the event you actually get around to using one in a game you can simply use the PDF as a guide to building your actual character for play.

Heck, I love playing around with CB and I'm sad that there's a limit on Cloud CB but I can adapt. You don't really need a live CB file for the various TO Builds you dream up in your free time; once you're done fiddling with one it's just going to sit around until there's a game for it to be used in - and by then, you'll probably want to tweak it for the game in question anyways!

I know that if I went home and looked over my CB files, I could delete 75% of them without a second thought and of the remainder I'd probably only PDF the final sheets for some of my old characters.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-05, 11:55 AM
4eSP1?
If you want to get technical, the first set of errata was SP1, and we're now on SP12 or something :smallbiggrin:

At any rate, two-numbers-and-a-dot are not worth flame warring over. I really don't get why some people get angry or upset over some simple shorthand.

Reverent-One
2010-11-05, 12:05 PM
At any rate, two-numbers-and-a-dot are not worth flame warring over. I really don't get why some people get angry or upset over some simple shorthand.

I agree. That said, I also wonder why some people are so insistent on using a specific shorthand that obviously does frustrate other people, it's just seems to be asking for trouble.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-05, 12:15 PM
I agree. That said, I also wonder why some people are so insistent on using a specific shorthand that obviously does frustrate other people, it's just seems to be asking for trouble.
Veiled insult is veiled :smalltongue:

But everyone uses Insistent Terminology (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/InsistentTerminology) when framing debates. When it comes to D&D, all terminology seems to be vulnerable to this sort of usage.

Me, I say go with DDE for Essentials - because that's the term I came up with :smallbiggrin:

RagnaroksChosen
2010-11-05, 12:27 PM
Are you currently using them? Do you update them?

The point here is that you can still preserve "neat builds" as PDFs. In the event you actually get around to using one in a game you can simply use the PDF as a guide to building your actual character for play.

Heck, I love playing around with CB and I'm sad that there's a limit on Cloud CB but I can adapt. You don't really need a live CB file for the various TO Builds you dream up in your free time; once you're done fiddling with one it's just going to sit around until there's a game for it to be used in - and by then, you'll probably want to tweak it for the game in question anyways!

I know that if I went home and looked over my CB files, I could delete 75% of them without a second thought and of the remainder I'd probably only PDF the final sheets for some of my old characters.

Activly have 5 games 15 characters active. though to be fair 10 are the same game we jump between bodies so theres some wierness with that. Not regular, im just saying there are times when it being annoying to only have 20

Erom
2010-11-05, 12:30 PM
Me, I say go with DDE for Essentials - because that's the term I came up with :smallbiggrin:
As has been mentioned though, DDE was already in wide use for D+D Encounters.

Reverent-One
2010-11-05, 12:32 PM
As has been mentioned though, DDE was already in wide use for D+D Encounters.

Though given that pretty much the only times D&D encounters is mentioned on this site are when someone points that out like you did, there's not really much chance for confusion.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-05, 12:34 PM
As has been mentioned though, DDE was already in wide use for D+D Encounters.
Feh, if you're speaking about rules systems nobody is going to confuse D&D Encounters (an event, not a rules set) with D&D Essentials.

Also: I prefer "treasure hunter" :smallbiggrin:

EDIT: Damn you, Shadow! :smallannoyed:

Reverent-One
2010-11-05, 12:37 PM
EDIT: Damn you, Shadow! :smallannoyed:

*looks around for anyone named Shadow in the thread*

You ok there, Oracle?

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-05, 12:50 PM
*looks around for anyone named Shadow in the thread*

You ok there, Oracle?
Oh, just a little reference (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FinalFantasyVI) is all. I was only trying to keep the theme going (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0724.html).

WitchSlayer
2010-11-06, 05:19 AM
With all the errata and balancing they've done, you might as well call 4e 4.5, as it did basically the same thing in the change.

shadowmage
2010-11-07, 10:08 AM
Sure. But you can also mix 3.0 and 3.5 books with little or no problems. In both cases, there are many instances of small errata that aren't usually all that noticeable in regular gameplay..

Kurald I think I think i figured out your stand on the 3.0/3.5 change vs the 4e/4ee changes. You used combine, myself and i would guess others when straight 3.5. My group did not do any kind of combining. We may have altered a few thing from 3.5 but we never took anything as is from 3.0 for 3.5. aybe that will explain why some of do not see things how you do for 4ee.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-07, 11:13 AM
KMy group did not do any kind of combining. We may have altered a few thing from 3.5 but we never took anything as is from 3.0 for 3.5.
Would it surprise you that there are also groups that play 4.4 without combining it with the earlier books, and that never take anything as-is from 4.0 books? In fact, doing so is required for D&D Encounters.

(edit) my point is that 4.4 is not a big deal, and that 3.5 was also really not a big deal. Sure, some people were upset about it, but ultimately they just combined both in their running campaigns. Any new book by WOTC will get reactions of "They Changed It Now It Sucks (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheyChangedItNowItSucks)" or "It's The Same Now It Sucks (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ItIsTheSameNowItSucks)" or in some cases both.

shadowmage
2010-11-07, 01:40 PM
No. No less then some one not using PHB3. I think for me at least and I would assume others. It feel like they are pushing 4e &4ee as being compatible where 3.0 and 3.5 was pushed as a new system where their was not as much compatibility, and for me and my group as no compatibility. Do not get me wrong, i am not trying to force you to my view just offer an idea why some of do not see it so much as a 4.5 conversion of the system. I agree that it is a system upgrade, I do not not agree that is as much as some people want to think. But I did not want to start another conversion high-jack, just more of a "I see where you may be coming from better kind of comment."

Iceforge
2010-11-07, 08:25 PM
There was supposed to be a program like that on launch day, they showed demos and talked about how central it was to everything.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aLXuMb6WWw

...Wizards don't talk about it much any more.

So if I understand you right, then the part with the online gaming table, where you can play online with voice chat, move miniatures and show handsouts, was never actually done?

Whew, I suddenly feel extremely glad that I did not make a move away from 3.5, as THAT was the only thing that made me sort of consider making the move

OracleofWuffing
2010-11-07, 10:08 PM
So, according to PR, they switched to cloud computing so they could "save their customers' disk space." And they limit the amount of characters made on the cloud.

Okay everyone, new rule, instating it now, we're no longer calling it cloud computing. It's called Clown Computing until a company incorporates it in a way that isn't a complete joke. Not just Wizards, they're just the straw that broke the camel's back, long line of this stuff going on, I'm drawing the line here.

*Wham!* *Wham!* *Wham!* *Wham!* *Wham!* *Wham!* *Wham!*

Every time we make something nice, someone has to go and miss the point! Every time!

*Wham!*

Kylarra
2010-11-07, 10:22 PM
So, according to PR, they switched to cloud computing so they could "save their customers' disk space." And they limit the amount of characters made on the cloud.
Source for this?

I will say my 77 megs + 4 megs of characters aren't really all that appreciative. :smalltongue:

OracleofWuffing
2010-11-07, 10:24 PM
Right here (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/26182233/November_16th_Release_for_Web-based_Character_Builder&post_num=1#472649809).

Characters in the Cloud: All characters you create are saved on our database. No need to save Character Builder files on your hard drive anymore.

Emphasis added. Then I'm just going off of what's already been discussed as far as the character sheet limit per account.

kyoryu
2010-11-07, 10:50 PM
So, according to PR, they switched to cloud computing so they could "save their customers' disk space." And they limit the amount of characters made on the cloud.


I love the smell of spin in the morning.

It doesn't really make sense, either. The cost of cloud-based storage is low enough that that low of a limit is really extreme.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-08, 03:49 AM
I love the smell of spin in the morning.
Yeah.

RPGA is pulling something similar. They are setting up an epic-level campaign for the next few years where basically every adventure gains you a level. There's some good reasons for that and nothing really wrong with it... but they chose to market it as "Good news everyone, you don't have to tally up your XP any more! Because that was totally hard and stuff."

shadowmage
2010-11-09, 03:14 PM
Just thought of another issue with this cloud thing. How are all the programs people have created to import Character gen data into them are suppose to work now? I think that is another reason to go this was is to control or prevent 3rd party app.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-11-09, 03:22 PM
Just thought of another issue with this cloud thing. How are all the programs people have created to import Character gen data into them are suppose to work now? I think that is another reason to go this was is to control or prevent 3rd party app.

thats kinda one of the things people are bitching about. is that they can't.

Hzurr
2010-11-09, 03:28 PM
thats kinda one of the things people are bitching about. is that they can't.

The ability to export characters is one of the things that is supposed to be added. They've said that it's coming, just not at release.

Blackfang108
2010-11-09, 06:06 PM
The ability to export characters is one of the things that is supposed to be added. They've said that it's coming, just not at release.

We've heard that before from WotC.

Callista
2010-11-11, 04:12 PM
Yeah.

RPGA is pulling something similar. They are setting up an epic-level campaign for the next few years where basically every adventure gains you a level. There's some good reasons for that and nothing really wrong with it... but they chose to market it as "Good news everyone, you don't have to tally up your XP any more! Because that was totally hard and stuff."Yuk. What in the world was their marketing department thinking?! "Oh, let's tell these nerds (many of whom probably do calculus for fun) that Math Is Hard and they shouldn't worry their pretty little heads about it"?

Kurald Galain
2010-11-12, 09:09 AM
I love the smell of spin in the morning.

WOTC has now admitted in a recent podcast that the primary reason for developing a new character builder was piracy.

Seems to me that Hasbro is not very good at this "on line" thing.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-12, 10:24 AM
WOTC has now admitted in a recent podcast that the primary reason for developing a new character builder was piracy.

Seems to me that Hasbro is not very good at this "on line" thing.
Damnit, they did a fine job! They just underestimated how many people are jerks :smallannoyed:

Seriously, the Classic CB implementation was a perfect example of adapting a product for digital consumers. I don't necessarially mean as a technology product, but in terms of pricing and content distribution. And still it was pirated; and pirated widely.

Sipex
2010-11-12, 10:28 AM
I wonder if they'll post stats, I'd like to have some hard evidence on whether or not anti-piracy tactics increase sales.

Spore doesn't count, it lost a lot of sales because it was pirated early and the pirates leaked the secret "Spore sucks, don't buy it."

Reverent-One
2010-11-12, 10:40 AM
Damnit, they did a fine job! They just underestimated how many people are jerks :smallannoyed:

Seriously, the Classic CB implementation was a perfect example of adapting a product for digital consumers. I don't necessarially mean as a technology product, but in terms of pricing and content distribution. And still it was pirated; and pirated widely.

That doesn't mean this is a good move. Restrictive anti-piracy measures can hurt your acutal customers as much as, if not more, than pirates. Which then hurts your own sales.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-12, 10:56 AM
That doesn't mean this is a good move. Restrictive anti-piracy measures can hurt your acutal customers as much as, if not more, than pirates. Which then hurts your own sales.
There is a difference between DRM "screwin' up your software" anti-piracy and "Lock Down" anti-piracy.
The Classic Piracy Justification (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/2/19/) deals with anti-piracy measures that are added as extra baggage on the software in question. This can be anything from EA's intrusive measures (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/5/9/) to a simple "authentication" protocol on install. Since they're not actually part of the game they seem like excess baggage on the part of the user - and rightfully so. Since they're not designed to enhance play experience, these anti-piracy programs often interfere with the base play experience for legitimate users.

"Lock Down" anti-piracy is a horse of a different color. Now, instead of adding code to try to restrain user activity, the company simply design their programs to be harder to pirate. A classic example is Cloud Computing: you can't pirate something you can't download. For things like You Tube videos there are workarounds - that's just pure streaming content - but for functional programs this is harder to the point of impossibility; if Google ever wanted to charge for Gmail, you would have a hard time "pirating" it short of hacking yourself an account on their servers. While "lock down" anti-piracy does necessarially reduce the utility of a service it is less likely to interfere with legitimate user's experiences in the same way that the more well-known DRM does. As a result, the traditional argument against anti-piracy measures simply does not apply.

Classic CB had very light DRM and a generous (implied) user license. Cloud CB has no DRM but is mostly-to-fully locked down inside its Cloud. In terms of anti-piracy effectiveness, it should be pretty solid; but as a result of the switch we lose some functionality.

IMHO, this switch is a case of This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things rather than Damn The Man. And that's terrible :smallfrown:

Kurald Galain
2010-11-12, 11:00 AM
I wonder if they'll post stats,
Of course they won't.

What they seem to be telling themselves is "it got pirated, so we'll stop distributing it, that'll show them!" whereas what they should be asking themselves is "did it make enough profit?" Now they're just trying to reinvent the wheel on DRM, and I doubt that a boardgame company has the mad skillz to make that fly. For comparison, distributing PDF rulebooks doesn't seem to be hurting Paizo any.

Sipex
2010-11-12, 11:13 AM
Cloud computing is the easiest way for them to add any sort of anti-piracy measure, there's no complicated DRM service to create.

We have to have confidence in the company, it's made up of a bunch of people who are probably A LOT like us and have a lot more experience. It's easy to take the route of "They're obviously stupid/narrow sighted/etc" but in truth these are people who understand their business much more than any of us do and are much more intelligent than we give them credit for.

This probably wasn't an easy decision and they probably knew it wasn't going to make everyone happy but it's probably the best decision based on whatever requirements they're trying to fullfill (anti-piracy which I'm guessing means they're not making enough profit).

It's also very easy to go "Oh, they're just being greedy and alienating their customers." but we honestly have NO IDEA. It's just easy to say that because they're the big bad corporation and we're just lowly gamers trying to get by in life (when in truth they're the same as us. A bunch of shmucks trying to do a job and get by in life).

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-12, 11:15 AM
Of course they won't.

What they seem to be telling themselves is "it got pirated, so we'll stop distributing it, that'll show them!" whereas what they should be asking themselves is "did it make enough profit?" Now they're just trying to reinvent the wheel on DRM, and I doubt that a boardgame company has the mad skillz to make that fly. For comparison, distributing PDF rulebooks doesn't seem to be hurting Paizo any.
How would you know? Does Paizo post its piracy rates?

No, WotC isn't reinventing the wheel - it's trying to make it run.
Digital distribution is a constant headache for content producers; moreso for folks who produce very little content at a time. What WotC is doing here is looking at the Accepted Wisdom regarding anti-piracy and trying it out.

First it tried low-cost PDF distribution for 3.5 material. Massive piracy, so they quit it. This reduced the piracy a bit, but people were still making scans of books and distributing them.

So they looked at what pro-digital distribution types recommended and used it. They utilized digital distribution to deliver a product superior (in some ways) to physical books at a lower cost, leaving the book sales to subsudize folks who just wanted a stripped-down product. They used light DRM and (implicitly) allowed people to share their products between a limited number of friends. They moved to a "buffet-style" method of content delivery to encourage people "trying out" their system. And yet people hacked their program and torrented their updates.

Now they're taking the Apple approach - Lock Down the tech. This isn't a novel method of anti-piracy but it is a newer one: companies increasingly offer tethered content delivery (e.g. XBox Live) which is easier for the average user to consume but is also harder for "remixers" to play with.

Kurald Galain
2010-11-12, 11:18 AM
We have to have confidence in the company, it's made up of a bunch of people who are probably A LOT like us and have a lot more experience. ... It's also very easy to go "Oh, they're just being greedy and alienating their customers."
I think that WOTC is a bunch of people like us with more XP, whereas Hasbro is more greedy and uncaring about their customers. At least, about D&D customers, since they're way bigger than that.

Guess which of the two is calling the shots now?

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-12, 11:24 AM
I think that WOTC is a bunch of people like us with more XP, whereas Hasbro is more greedy and uncaring about their customers. At least, about D&D customers, since they're way bigger than that.

Guess which of the two is calling the shots now?

:sigh:

I just don't see the point in arguing that one megacorp is sweetness-and-light while the other megacorp is pure poison. They're both big faceless corporations interested in making money from their customers.

I say judge the products as they come, not based on their imagined sire.

ShaggyMarco
2010-11-12, 11:31 AM
IMHO, this switch is a case of This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things rather than Damn The Man. And that's terrible :smallfrown:


This is exactly it.

I am angry with stupid pirates who can't be bothered to pay 2 bucks a month split with 4 of their friends for the CB. It was cheap, easy, and something I would have happily paid for until 5th edition came out.

I guess all pirates are either:
A. Morally bankrupt individuals who like to steal just because they can
or
B. Poor and friendless.

Either way, pathetic losers.

Sipex
2010-11-12, 11:33 AM
Again, easy to judge, but who's to say you're not completely off base?

We don't know what kind of hand Hasbro had in the decision. Heck, my bet is Wizards went to them and asked for some project time to redesign their product, Hasbro said yes but stipulated they'd like to see some methods in place to help reduce piracy.

Really, the people at Hasbro are ALSO normal people doing work. The people in charge are normal people who know the business very well. And they're still around so it's safe to assume they don't completely suck.

kyoryu
2010-11-12, 12:53 PM
:sigh:

I just don't see the point in arguing that one megacorp is sweetness-and-light while the other megacorp is pure poison. They're both big faceless corporations interested in making money from their customers.

I say judge the products as they come, not based on their imagined sire.

I don't know about Hasbro, but I'm pretty sure that WotC does not work for a megacorp. And I'd know, I *do* work for a megacorp.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-12, 01:11 PM
I don't know about Hasbro, but I'm pretty sure that WotC does not work for a megacorp. And I'd know, I *do* work for a megacorp.
OK, technically neither Hasbro nor WotC are megacorps - or at least they haven't been willing to hire my 'running services :smalltongue:

Hasbro bought WotC a while back and - for some reason - this triggered cries of "The Man Ruins Everything" from certain quarters. My point was that WotC was already The Man when they bought TSR and that they made many questionable decisions vis-a-vis customer relations long before Hasbro picked them up.

And, of course, later-day TSR did the same thing before WotC bought them.

Companies are companies; they try to make money by selling products to consumers. They do this in different ways and at varying levels of effectiveness, but none of them explicitly go out of their way to ruin everything for the folks that are buying their stuff.

Reverent-One
2010-11-12, 02:38 PM
Classic CB had very light DRM and a generous (implied) user license. Cloud CB has no DRM but is mostly-to-fully locked down inside its Cloud. In terms of anti-piracy effectiveness, it should be pretty solid; but as a result of the switch we lose some functionality.

It may be pretty solid anti-priacy if WoTC upgrades their web security. Several people brought up the fact that their login security is not especially tight in the huge thread about this change and I didn't see any response from WoTC on the matter (though it is possible that I missed it as that's a HUGE thread).


IMHO, this switch is a case of This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things rather than Damn The Man. And that's terrible :smallfrown:

Any company should realize that if the opportunity exists there WILL be priacy, that's merely a fact in this day and age. Assuming that the priacy actually cut into their profits enough that couldn't afford to support the old CB (which may or may not be the case), then taking some form of anti-piracy measure makes sense. However, that doesn't change that their execution of this change was handled very poorly, with CB updates delayed and then cancelled in spite of what was told to the customers, all to release a tool that will be less functional than the old one with no news for an update for a potentially buggy tool (Monster builder), or the creation of a much desired tool (campaign builder).

Sipex
2010-11-12, 02:45 PM
Monster builder is a bit of a sore spot but it sounds like WoTC has two choices. Make character builder work right or update monster builder so it's just a conflict of priorities.

Campaign Builder, however, is not something we should expect soon if ever. We're not private investors who have paid for this product to be developed so we have no right to be upset because this hasn't been developed yet.

I find it interesting. I work in the IT world where we build software for bigger companies and they're far more patient and forgiving than the average consumer yet they actively pay us to create the software we make (in advance) and they pay a whole ton more than the average consumer does. Society is funny that way.

Reverent-One
2010-11-12, 02:49 PM
Monster builder is a bit of a sore spot but it sounds like WoTC has two choices. Make character builder work right or update monster builder so it's just a conflict of priorities.

Campaign Builder, however, is not something we should expect soon if ever. We're not private investors who have paid for this product to be developed so we have no right to be upset because this hasn't been developed yet.


I didn't say they owed us either of those things, just that if they had paired up the bad news of the CB with good news of some sort (for example, news on MB or a potential Campaign Builder), this change would have been taken far better.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-12, 02:54 PM
It may be pretty solid anti-priacy if WoTC upgrades their web security. Several people brought up the fact that their login security is not especially tight in the huge thread about this change and I didn't see any response from WoTC on the matter (though it is possible that I missed it as that's a HUGE thread).
Dunno how they're handling the login security. I imagine they'll follow the "Westlaw" style "one login at a time + boot" procedure. It's not perfect, but it's a cost-effective way to handle it.

Plus, you'll only have 20 characters per account, so there's that.


Any company should realize that if the opportunity exists there WILL be priacy, that's merely a fact in this day and age. Assuming that the priacy actually cut into their profits enough that couldn't afford to support the old CB (which may or may not be the case), then taking some form of anti-piracy measure makes sense. However, that doesn't change that their execution of this change was handled very poorly, with CB updates delayed and then cancelled in spite of what was told to the customers, all to release a tool that will be less functional than the old one with no news for an update for a potentially buggy tool (Monster builder), or the creation of a much desired tool (campaign builder).
Gah!

WotC did realize that piracy always happens but they thought that if they provided minimal reasons to pirate then most people would actual get Classic CB legitimately. Anecdotally, it looks like massive amounts of people pirated all the same!

This is what infuriates me. Unlike practically every other content company in existence, WotC acted like they actually understood digital distribution. Ask any IP lawyer you'd like and they will rattle off the same list of "problems with digital distribution" - each of which WotC took into account when making CB. And yet the piracy continued apace.

It seems likely that a few months back they did a review of CB and decided they needed a change. In the meantime projects were put on hold, certain programs needed to be scrapped in order to be refit onto the new platform, etc. - pretty much what always happens when a new product is being developed. Tell me the last time any company released something digital that was on time, bug-free, and did everything it had been hyped to do.

Remember: WotC doesn't owe you, or me, or anybody digital distribution. They only produce products to get money from consumers; you don't get to be a company the size of WotC by selling things which are only marginally profitable. We were fortunate that WotC decided to experiment with this consumer-surplus-enhancing model but we have only ourselves to blame about this change.

Sipex
2010-11-12, 03:09 PM
I didn't say they owed us either of those things, just that if they had paired up the bad news of the CB with good news of some sort (for example, news on MB or a potential Campaign Builder), this change would have been taken far better.

Ah, that was unclear.

My second point still stands but wasn't directed at you, just a general thing.

Reverent-One
2010-11-12, 03:09 PM
Dunno how they're handling the login security. I imagine they'll follow the "Westlaw" style "one login at a time + boot" procedure. It's not perfect, but it's a cost-effective way to handle it.

Plus, you'll only have 20 characters per account, so there's that.


I was referring to the security from people stealing your login information due to a the (alleged) lack of secure connection during the login process and hacking into your account.


Gah!

WotC did realize that piracy always happens but they thought that if they provided minimal reasons to pirate then most people would actual get Classic CB legitimately. Anecdotally, it looks like massive amounts of people pirated all the same!

This is what infuriates me. Unlike practically every other content company in existence, WotC acted like they actually understood digital distribution. Ask any IP lawyer you'd like and they will rattle off the same list of "problems with digital distribution" - each of which WotC took into account when making CB. And yet the piracy continued apace.

Of course it did. Like I said, it's going to happen, so no surprise there.


It seems likely that a few months back they did a review of CB and decided they needed a change. In the meantime projects were put on hold, certain programs needed to be scrapped in order to be refit onto the new platform, etc. - pretty much what always happens when a new product is being developed. Tell me the last time any company released something digital that was on time, bug-free, and did everything it had been hyped to do.

Still, they announced on the forums that the updates were back on schedule going forward into november, and then we find out the Dark Sun and Essential's update isn't actually coming out at all for the old CB as the old CB is going to ceased to be supported. Anyone who kept their subscribtion up waiting for those updates obviously isn't going to be too happy about that.


Remember: WotC doesn't owe you, or me, or anybody digital distribution. They only produce products to get money from consumers; you don't get to be a company the size of WotC by selling things which are only marginally profitable. We were fortunate that WotC decided to experiment with this consumer-surplus-enhancing model but we have only ourselves to blame about this change.

Ourselves? Even those who didn't pirate? We're all to blame too?

And just like they don't owe anyone digital distribution, consumers don't owe them money for a service that isn't just not advancing, but actually taking steps backwards. Again, it's not that this change is inherently bad, but it was poorly executed and so it's understandable that some people are unhappy about it.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-12, 03:42 PM
Ourselves? Even those who didn't pirate? We're all to blame too?

And just like they don't owe anyone digital distribution, consumers don't owe them money for a service that isn't just not advancing, but actually taking steps backwards. Again, it's not that this change is inherently bad, but it was poorly executed and so it's understandable that some people are unhappy about it.
While strictly speaking "ourselves" can't mean the people who legally got CB, but it does refer to gamers as a whole - and possibly The Youth (of which I am a member). As members of these groups, our tacit (or possibly vocal)support of piracy (even in a limited scope) has helped to build a cultural understanding that this piracy is not only somewhat legitimate but even desirable. The piracy we see today is not just "human nature" - it is encouraged by the mores of these social groups; if we do not denounce it, we are part of the problem.

And while no, we don't owe WotC money if we don't like a change in their product, that does mean we shouldn't consume the product illicitly. I worry that the common response will be an increased consumption of illegal PDF scans of sourcebooks rather than a decline in the usage of new material. While that is certainly a problem that WotC needs to resolve, it is indicative of a problem within our own culture as well :smallfrown:

Reverent-One
2010-11-12, 03:50 PM
While strictly speaking "ourselves" can't mean the people who legally got CB, but it does refer to gamers as a whole - and possibly The Youth (of which I am a member). As members of these groups, our tacit (or possibly vocal)support of piracy (even in a limited scope) has helped to build a cultural understanding that this piracy is not only somewhat legitimate but even desirable. The piracy we see today is not just "human nature" - it is encouraged by the mores of these social groups; if we do not denounce it, we are part of the problem.

Even without that "tacit (or possibly vocal)support of piracy " there would still be piracy. People have been stealing stuff since the dawn of time, no reason to think illegal digital downloading wouldn't happen once it's possible.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-12, 04:10 PM
Even without that "tacit (or possibly vocal)support of piracy " there would still be piracy. People have been stealing stuff since the dawn of time, no reason to think illegal digital downloading wouldn't happen once it's possible.
No, it's the rate of theft that is problematic.

People like getting something for nothing - that's an axiom of human nature. However, there are always barriers to stealing things that means, usually, when you steal something the real "cost" is not nothing. Aside from real world costs (e.g. shoe leather costs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoe_leather_cost), punishment if cost, etc.) there are psychic "costs" as well; namely, the guilt you feel for having violated the law, deprived someone else of something, etc. So long as the costs are less than the benefits gained from an act, a person will refrain from that act; the gross amount of an activity depends a lot on how each individual values these costs & benefits.

Online, and particularly in the case of IP goods, most of these costs are negligible. This means the dominant factor balancing the benefits for stealing something has to come from that sense of Guilt. At the base, there is the Guilt of Breaking the Law - most people will obey a "don't walk on the grass" sign out of a resect for rules. Beyond that, certain acts can carry a seperate "guilt payload" than others - people feel worse about pirating books from authors they like rather than books they need for class.

Currently, the cultural bias towards piracy alters the rate of actual piracy in two ways:

(1) By giving it broad tacit support, there is little "guilt payload" for engaging in it.

(2) Those that give vocal support actually provide an additonal benefit for pirates; pride at "hacking" DRM and pride at possessing a trove of information.

If we, as a society, condemned piracy - treating it more like watching pornography (i.e. an unsavory but common act) rather than an everyday activity - then the rate of piracy would go down. If the natural rate of piracy is sufficiently low, then companies will not need to spend so much time and effort safeguarding their products; time and effort they can instead spend on creating better products for the consumers.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-12, 04:20 PM
I wonder if they'll post stats, I'd like to have some hard evidence on whether or not anti-piracy tactics increase sales.

Spore doesn't count, it lost a lot of sales because it was pirated early and the pirates leaked the secret "Spore sucks, don't buy it."

There is a lack of evidence for anti-piracy tactics beyond the most trivial being helpful at all.

There are basically three levels of sophistication for copying.

1. Stick CD in the drive, install. Repeat on friends computer, or copy him a disk. IE, your generic person who isn't really thinking about it. You can defeat this with a license key or similar. Or rather, you make it difficult enough that these sorts of people don't bother.

2. Someone goes to google and searches for a torrent. Still pretty low on the sophistication level. Is rapidly becoming the default, as it's remarkably easy to do. Cannot be stopped once there's a torrent out.

3. The actual crackers. The basic rule of all encryption and electronic security is using a key so that the recipient can use the info, but that interceptors cannot. However, when the person attempting to break the crack IS the recipient, then you cannot ever secure it from them, any more than 2+2 = 47. It's a logical impossibility. You can attempt to obfuscate and delay, but this has not been historically proven, as almost everything is cracked the same day it's released. The rest are generally cracked pre-release. All you ever need for this is for one single person to do this and release it, then everyone else torrents it.

Therefore, you cannot possibly secure any software from piracy by technological means. There is no possible security you can add to it that will keep it safe from the average person torrenting it in short order, and the pirated version will lack any protection added. Therefore, anything beyond the most minimal protection adds no additional sales from piracy.

However, purchase vs piracy is not a decision made entirely based on "can I pirate this". A great many customers do not check if something is pirated at all before purchasing. These customers only really care about how well it works. If you add any security systems that inconvenience these customers, it's a negative effect on sales.

This is why you have popular games with a wide range of anti-piracy...because it doesn't really matter. Those who pirate pirate anyways, and those who don't, don't.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-12, 04:24 PM
No, it's the rate of theft that is problematic.

Piracy is not theft, and it's a bit sloppy to equate it with that.

Theft is the act of taking something from another. There's two parts to this...first, the you getting it without payment. Secondly, the other person losing it. Piracy has the first part, but not the second.

It's still illegal*, but it's not theft at all. It's an IP violation.

*in some areas. Check local laws and such. Im not a lawyer.


If we, as a society, condemned piracy - treating it more like watching pornography (i.e. an unsavory but common act) rather than an everyday activity - then the rate of piracy would go down. If the natural rate of piracy is sufficiently low, then companies will not need to spend so much time and effort safeguarding their products; time and effort they can instead spend on creating better products for the consumers.

What, you're saying that treating it like porn would make the problem go away? Why? It doesn't make porn go away.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-12, 04:39 PM
Piracy is not theft, and it's a bit sloppy to equate it with that.
Piracy is theft in the sense that you are taking property that does not belong to you and enjoying its possession. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theft)

No, it's not like stealing a car or like stealing a loaf of bread, but it is still theft. I'm not going to argue technicalities here; those sorts of justifications are really part of the problem.

Also: please re-read my previous post. I'm not saying we'll be eliminating piracy, but by raising and maintaining the social stigma for piracy we will reduce the overall rate of piracy. The pornography analogy is simple - having a massive collection of pornography is not something (most) people are proud to announce; the collection and distribution of it is considered unseemly. If the act of piracy were treated as pornography then fewer people would be so proud to collect stashes of it or maintain troves for distribution.

In plainer language: raising the social stigma of engaging in an activity reduces the flagrancy of its conduct. Done correctly, of course - merely saying "piracy isn't cool" will not reduce piracy (it may increase it!); but if folks start telling each other "man, piracy is lame" then social coercion will kick in.

Sipex
2010-11-12, 04:42 PM
While I agree with you I must chime in that your argument is going to be completely ignored if you equate piracy to theft.

The idea is somewhat the same, yes, but the technical definition is not. If you go to court for it you're not charged with theft.

People tend to get miffed about that and I'd really hate for the rest of your arguement to get skimmed over because of a technicality.

Reverent-One
2010-11-12, 04:46 PM
In plainer language: raising the social stigma of engaging in an activity reduces the flagrancy of its conduct. Done correctly, of course - merely saying "piracy isn't cool" will not reduce piracy (it may increase it!); but if folks start telling each other "man, piracy is lame" then social coercion will kick in.

Maybe. You think it will at least. Doesn't mean it actually will, or that piracy will reduce by a substancial measure even if it does. To continue the pornography example, porn is a massively successful business that makes lots of money, despite any stigma attached to purchasing the material.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-12, 04:51 PM
Piracy is theft in the sense that you are taking property that does not belong to you and enjoying its possession. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theft)

No, it's not like stealing a car or like stealing a loaf of bread, but it is still theft. I'm not going to argue technicalities here; those sorts of justifications are really part of the problem.

Negative. It is not at all like theft. Legal definitions are not wikipedia definitions, and so far as I am aware, it is treated as different in every country in which it is even treated as a crime. Note that this does not mean a less severe crime. In many cases, an IP suit for downloading a song will cost you far, far more than being caught stealing the CD.

They are different. You have copied without permission, not taken from them.


Also: please re-read my previous post. I'm not saying we'll be eliminating piracy, but by raising and maintaining the social stigma for piracy we will reduce the overall rate of piracy. The pornography analogy is simple - having a massive collection of pornography is not something (most) people are proud to announce; the collection and distribution of it is considered unseemly. If the act of piracy were treated as pornography then fewer people would be so proud to collect stashes of it or maintain troves for distribution.

Porn on the internet is not rare whatsoever. Neither is piracy. To prove that treating piracy like porn is helpful, you first need to show that how society treats porn is helpful.

Of special note is that this IS the internet. Social stigmas there don't really work the same way as at a dinner party.


In plainer language: raising the social stigma of engaging in an activity reduces the flagrancy of its conduct. Done correctly, of course - merely saying "piracy isn't cool" will not reduce piracy (it may increase it!); but if folks start telling each other "man, piracy is lame" then social coercion will kick in.

What, you think the RIAA "would you steal a car" advertising is effective? Thats roughly the practical limit for a company describing piracy as "bad" is, and Im not aware of any significant public opinion shift in that regard.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-12, 04:57 PM
While I agree with you I must chime in that your argument is going to be completely ignored if you equate piracy to theft.

The idea is somewhat the same, yes, but the technical definition is not. If you go to court for it you're not charged with theft.

People tend to get miffed about that and I'd really hate for the rest of your arguement to get skimmed over because of a technicality.
Feh, I'm sick of equivocating on this issue :smallyuk:

RANT
While I can appreciate that so-called "IP violations" are distinct from the common-law theft of physical objects I dislike the moral cover that it gives to folks who engage in piracy. This is a question of self-serving framing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_(social_sciences)); theft, after all, is not always morally wrong. Few say that a starving man who steals a loaf of bread has acted immorally - yet few deny that this is theft. Practically no-one who steals IP has as much of a moral justification as the starving man and so, to make themselves feel better, they give it a different name.

Feh, says I. Call it theft and then justify your theft. There are fine reasons - the current IP regime unduly restricts the access of artists to their shared cultural heritage, for example. Less noble ones are "it was too hard to get legally" or "the legal version is crippled with DRM" but they are reasons and they show that the speaker takes responsibility for their actions.

Yes, I've pirated in the past and may again in the future. My reasons were not always good or pure or noble but I never doubted that it was stealing. At the very least it made me conscious as to the flaws of our current system and cognizant of the issues surrounding it.
In short - I don't expect to "convince" anyone of my positions; I merely hope to raise awareness that piracy is theft and that it has consequences. Like I said before, I now believe that the tacit support for piracy in many communities is part of the problem; by speaking out against it I am trying to do my part to be part of the solution.

EDIT: To the above responses - I feel like my arguments are being misrepresented but I don't care to respond in order to clarify. I doubt that I could present my points much clearer and I think people who are receptive to them probably got what I was saying.

I would, however, like to make a special note about Strawmanning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man)
Tyndmyr's link of the RIAA's "Steal a Car" advertisement to my arguments is a textbook example of strawmanning. Not only have I never made that argument, but I explicitly said that stealing a song is not like stealing a car in the very post he cited.

I point this out because I seldom see evidence of an actual Straw Man Argument on the Internet, so it'll be good to have a reference :smallsmile:

Esser-Z
2010-11-12, 05:18 PM
I would totally pirate a car, because that would indicate we have the technology to electronically transmit matter, and that'd be AWESOME.

You may return to your discussion which is pretty much the same as every piracy argument ever. :smalltongue:

Kurald Galain
2010-11-12, 05:28 PM
your argument is going to be completely ignored if you equate piracy to theft.

I concur. I find it hard to hold an ethical discussion on the subject without first getting the fundamental difference straight. Wasn't it just pointed out earlier this week that people should use the correct meaning for a term like "social contract" in order to discuss it?

Even the term "piracy" is really incorrect; the proper term here is "copyright violation". If that sounds a lot less impressive than "piracy" or "theft", that's because it is. Big companies have a vested interest to make copyright violation sound worse than it really is; that doesn't mean that the public should fall for it.

(edit) "piracy", to a company, seems to have the image of plundering the coastline on a boat; to a consumer, it seems to have the image of Johnny Depp going "yarrr". Neither image is helpful here.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-12, 05:55 PM
I concur. I find it hard to hold an ethical discussion on the subject without first getting the fundamental difference straight. Wasn't it just pointed out earlier this week that people should use the correct meaning for a term like "social contract" in order to discuss it?

Even the term "piracy" is really incorrect; the proper term here is "copyright violation". If that sounds a lot less impressive than "piracy" or "theft", that's because it is. Big companies have a vested interest to make copyright violation sound worse than it really is; that doesn't mean that the public should fall for it.
"Copyright violations" have been called piracy since 1603 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement#.22Piracy.22) - I think we can call that common usage by now, eh? :smalltongue:

Seriously, my point here is that, too often, violating copyright is seen as lacking a moral dimension. If I need to label it as "theft" or "piracy" to force people to consider ithese moral dimensions, then so be it.

Theft of intellectual property is an important issue in the 21st Century and one that practically everyone on the Internet is guilty of. On one hand it is a response to overly restrictive IP laws drawn up by the Power Elite; on the other hand it is a Bootlegger's Rebellion - a flaunting of unjust laws for selfish ends. A purely hedonistic approach to piracy is going to result in more This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things situations.

Dr.Gunsforhands
2010-11-12, 05:56 PM
I have a question! I guess it's a sort of discussion question, since I'm not sure if it's common knowledge or a subject of research or what. I admit to being relatively clueless about the economics over here.

The main concern about piracy is that it reduces the actual sales of a product, right? I've noticed that the concern is somewhat loaded with the idea that, were it not for the option to steal it, people who pirate software would actually go out and purchase it instead. I don't think that anybody claims that there's a one-to-one relationship here, but it occurs to me that if I want to play a game or read a book or something, my first instinct would be to go get it legitimately. I wouldn't even consider piracy as an option unless I was somehow prevented from getting it by normal means. I imagine that some people might try to get it for free by default, but at what point do they give up on that? Do they go to the trouble of saving up to buy the thing then, or do they just forget it altogether?

Would it be reasonable to say that a good deal of pirates would not have bothered with the product at all if the option to steal it weren't available?

Kurald Galain
2010-11-12, 05:58 PM
"Copyright violations" have been called piracy since 1603 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement#.22Piracy.22) - I think we can call that common usage by now, eh? :smalltongue:

Yes, and the earth has been called flat since 8203 BC [citation needed]. Being in common use doesn't make it right.

Mordokai
2010-11-12, 06:02 PM
Would it be reasonable to say that a good deal of pirates would not have bothered with the product at all if the option to steal it weren't available?

No. Half of the lure of pirating is to be the one who makes the thing available. Granted, that option is only given to a relatively small percentage of pirates(namely, the ones with the knowledge of how to break the protections), but as long as that option is there, somebody will take it and break the protection. From there on, it's only a step towards the distribution of the cracked product. It's all about the prestige. The more games/programs you crack, the better you are. And the ones who profit from the cracked products generally aren't worried about how it was cracked. They want the product for free and here they have it. What more could you ask for.

kyoryu
2010-11-12, 06:04 PM
Would it be reasonable to say that a good deal of pirates would not have bothered with the product at all if the option to steal it weren't available?

Some would, some wouldn't. Hard to say "most". People will generally acquire things at the lowest "cost" they can, assuming that the value they receive from the item is greater than the cost. In this case, I'm including lots of things (guilt, etc.) as part of the cost.

If the cost of the legitimately purchased product (dollars + hassle) is greater than the value received by an individual, they will certainly not purchase it if the legal option is the only one available.

What reducing the availability of pirated copies does is impact the decisions of those people who *would* buy the full version, but don't because their personal cost (acquisition time + legal risk + guilt + fear of system risk, etc.) is lower than the dollar cost of the legitimate version.

We could also get into things like marginal utility, which can help explain why someone that makes good money is probably less likely to pirate software (especially relatively inexpensive software - vs. things like Photoshop) than someone on a more restricted budget who actually uses the software far, far more... the marginal utility of that $20 or whatever is very low in one case, while the costs of piracy actually increase (people with higher incomes usually have jobs, and often have more to lose if they get sued).

Mark Hall
2010-11-12, 06:38 PM
The Mod Wonder: Beware giving legal advice or bringing politics... including IP law... into the discussion.

WitchSlayer
2010-11-12, 08:46 PM
... So! Online character builder.

Can't wait to see the Dark Sun themes eh? Eh?

Dr.Gunsforhands
2010-11-13, 03:36 AM
I am actually looking forward to the new character builder. The old one was pretty buggy, even with all of the patches and everything. It looked like it was built by someone who was just learning Microsoft Visual Basic.

Mordokai
2010-11-13, 03:38 AM
You do realize that the same person who built the old character builder is likely to at least have the hand in the new one, if not outright doing all the work himself, right? :smalltongue:

Well, the same group of people, at least.

Innis Cabal
2010-11-13, 03:58 AM
There are way too many problems with this.


#1 - What about when they eventually discontinue 4e? I want to keep a full version of the builder when that happens.

They don't care, and they don't have to supply you with it unless you pay for the permanent copy.


#2 - What about when their site goes down, or is slow? They're site is slow a lot. This is gonna make it worse.

They don't care. They're getting your money.


#3 - What about when MY internet goes down. My access to a service I'm paying for shouldn't be dependent on my access to another service.

There are plenty of other things that run off the internet as the only means of payment far more important this. They, like WoTC, don't care if you lose the internet either.

Also, this is a personal problem, not a problem with the service their offering.



Lets be fair here people. The internet and access to it via various means are growing at an exponential rate. Where are you playing D&D that doesn't have a Wi-Fi hotspot or some other manner of internet service. If you've got an I-Pad or some other thing, chances are you've got access to the internet more often then not. This is just good business on their end.

Mystic Muse
2010-11-13, 04:40 AM
Here's my reaction.
1. I don't like the idea of this. I like my character builder just fine because I don't have to have internet access and I don't always have internet access.
2. I'm not paying for the new service and with the exception of a book or two, they probably aren't going to get any more of my money any time soon since I don't have to pay to get the books. No, I'm not talking about piracy, I have a public library that stocks them.:smallbiggrin:

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-13, 07:12 AM
You do realize that the same person who built the old character builder is likely to at least have the hand in the new one, if not outright doing all the work himself, right? :smalltongue:

Well, the same group of people, at least.

nope.

PauloM the current DDI project manager was hired, what, a year ago? The 'Classic' Character Builder was originally built by a third party, an outside company. It wasn't finished on time, so Wizards brought it in-house to finish it off for launch.

Reverent-One
2010-11-13, 01:10 PM
Lets be fair here people. The internet and access to it via various means are growing at an exponential rate. Where are you playing D&D that doesn't have a Wi-Fi hotspot or some other manner of internet service. If you've got an I-Pad or some other thing, chances are you've got access to the internet more often then not. This is just good business on their end.

Hobby/Gaming shops and Cons. Both are places people would want to use the CB, but both are places where I would not assume has Wi-fi. They could have it, but it's not nearly a guarantee. And just because it's good business on their end doesn't mean it's good for the customer.

Elfin
2010-11-13, 02:26 PM
Surprised I didn't see this earlier. Pretty disappointing, honestly, but at least the 'Cloud' sounds useful.
I wanted to make some sort of joke about the Cloud and silver linings, but decided that would be pathetic.

Dragosai
2010-11-13, 02:39 PM
Piracy is not theft, and it's a bit sloppy to equate it with that.

Theft is the act of taking something from another. There's two parts to this...first, the you getting it without payment. Secondly, the other person losing it. Piracy has the first part, but not the second.

It's still illegal*, but it's not theft at all. It's an IP violation.

*in some areas. Check local laws and such. Im not a lawyer.



What, you're saying that treating it like porn would make the problem go away? Why? It doesn't make porn go away.

The piracy is not theft line is just another way for people to try and justify it. It is theft:

Definition of THEFT
A: the act of stealing; specifically: the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it
B: an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property

Unlawful taking - online piracy is the unlawful taking of intellectual property.
See people keep trying to make piracy into a gray area issue, it is not at all. It is 100% black and white every time all the time. If you download something that someone else had to pay for it is theft, said person would be a thief and should be punished to the full extent of the law.

Dragosai
2010-11-13, 02:47 PM
Yes, and the earth has been called flat since 8203 BC [citation needed]. Being in common use doesn't make it right.

Actually it does make it right, the idiocy of arguing over a term is only found in discussions were the real argument is moot.

Piracy is theft, they are stealing period.

Prime32
2010-11-13, 02:55 PM
The piracy is not theft line is just another way for people to try and justify it. It is theft:

Definition of THEFT
A: the act of stealing; specifically: the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it
B: an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property

Unlawful taking - online piracy is the unlawful taking of intellectual property.
See people keep trying to make piracy into a gray area issue, it is not at all. It is 100% black and white every time all the time. If you download something that someone else had to pay for it is theft, said person would be a thief and should be punished to the full extent of the law.Piracy does not "deprive the rightful owner of it".

Mystic Muse
2010-11-13, 02:56 PM
Piracy does not "deprive the rightful owner of it".

You could argue that you're depriving the owner of the money they would otherwise get but I think we should just drop this line of discussion.

Dragosai
2010-11-13, 03:27 PM
Piracy does not "deprive the rightful owner of it".

And quoting only part of definition that does not jive with your view point still does not make you right.

huttj509
2010-11-13, 03:56 PM
Actually it does make it right, the idiocy of arguing over a term is only found in discussions were the real argument is moot.

Piracy is theft, they are stealing period.

Ethically, perhaps.

But legally it really is a different beast, with separate definitions, penalties, and terms involved.

Piracy is NOT theft, but it can easily be considered to be very close to it.

I must admit to having torrented some TV episodes rather than watching them online with commercials. Though that was because the network's webplayer tended to lock up in the middle of the show.

I have since discovered Hulu, which consistently behaves well when I use it :-)

Erom
2010-11-13, 03:58 PM
Actually it does make it right
Earth's flat then, huh?

looooooooool

Edit: Actually, I thought of something on topic- I'm just really sad the permanent character builder is never going to get the much-delayed september update or november update, since I was really looking forward to the contents. Makes me sad :(

I seriously think it's time the community start generating 3rd party alternatives, but I am worried they'll be a lot more litigious this time around and go after any hobbyist / community efforts to build an alternative. Which also makes me sad :(

Kurald Galain
2010-11-13, 04:16 PM
I seriously think it's time the community start generating 3rd party alternatives, but I am worried they'll be a lot more litigious this time around and go after any hobbyist / community efforts to build an alternative. Which also makes me sad :(

Aaah, remember the good ol' T$R days where you couldn't use the term "THAC0" on a website without getting a cease-and-desist order? :smallbiggrin:

Dragosai
2010-11-13, 04:57 PM
Aaah, remember the good ol' T$R days where you couldn't use the term "THAC0" on a website without getting a cease-and-desist order? :smallbiggrin:

Dear Mr./Mrs. or Miss Kurald Galain,

Please desist any and all use of the term THAC0 in any form in any medium. Please do not make us send zombie Gygax after you to eat your delicious brain.

sincerely,
the ghosts of TSR

WitchSlayer
2010-11-13, 08:02 PM
There are 3rd party alternative character creators for 4e

But they're not that good.

Teq Sun
2010-11-13, 08:11 PM
I don't understand all this hullaballoo. Have gamers really become so dependent on the CB? Does nobody use a good ol' pencil and notebook anymore?

If character creation is such a hassle without software help, it's too complicated.

Hm, I may be turning grognard.

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-13, 08:18 PM
I don't understand all this hullaballoo. Have gamers really become so dependent on the CB? Does nobody use a good ol' pencil and notebook anymore?

If character creation is such a hassle without software help, it's too complicated.

Hm, I may be turning grognard.

Eh, perhaps it would be wrong to outright call it a hassle without, but it is significantly better, easier, more reliable and so on with. Not to mention that the builder having all of the dragon material and so on rolled in means that you get all the suggestions that could actually help, without having to trawl dozens of magazines on the off chance of there being something helpfull (or start a 'build me an X' thread on the forums, for example).

I'd certainly say that it's complicated enough, however. Possibly the main nuisance being getting your power cards all written out. I also find it reassuring to have the relatively reliable builder doing the math when feats and so on affect things, because that's the kind of stuff that I tend to lose track of on my own time.

[edit] Note - Some of my players have done their characters up the old fashioned way (once or twice without a real sheet to start with even, just lined paper). This is usually for computer-reasons, though, and they invariably put it through the builder later, when they have a chance.

Callista
2010-11-13, 08:30 PM
Creating a character with paper and pencil means you can look at more things simultaneously. Just picking one thing at a time makes things a lot more difficult; I really like to have everything spread out in front of me so I can weigh all the factors that play into the creation of a character.

I play 3.5 but I've looked at screenshots of the character builder, and I'd find it horribly clunky to use, very much like creating a character in a computer game where your options are quite limited.

Maybe it would be attractive to people who have only ever played computer and video games, though.

DogbertLinc
2010-11-13, 10:50 PM
Creating a character with paper and pencil means you can look at more things simultaneously. Just picking one thing at a time makes things a lot more difficult; I really like to have everything spread out in front of me so I can weigh all the factors that play into the creation of a character.

I play 3.5 but I've looked at screenshots of the character builder, and I'd find it horribly clunky to use, very much like creating a character in a computer game where your options are quite limited.

Maybe it would be attractive to people who have only ever played computer and video games, though.

The builder is good for making characters, since you have all the options in front of you. I usually have a piece of paper with all my stuff next to me, when playing (it has the bonus of not crashing on my turn).

Chainsaw Hobbit
2010-11-13, 11:18 PM
I'm very happy about the online CB.
I was thinking about canceling my DDI subscription but now I won't.

Esser-Z
2010-11-13, 11:33 PM
I tend to use the Myth-Weavers sheet and books/compendium, myself. No need for the builder.

Cealocanth
2010-11-13, 11:38 PM
Hmmm. I like the way they suggest builds based on play style, but I much prefer the handy shortcut I have right on my desktop.