New Character Builder – The Good and The Ugly

The new Character Builder

The new Character Builder

Like everyone else, I received my notification of the new Dungeons & Dragons Insider Character Builder. Busy as I was, I took a few moments to explore what I could about this change and even took a peek at the riot occurring on twitter. I didn’t dare venture onto the community forums, but rumor says it too is full of drama.

I’m sad, for the most part. The changes made will largely hurt my current gaming experience. While I could hope that the demands of the fan base might be heard by WotC and changes made, I’m unusually pessimistic and it was with a heavy heart that I canceled my DDI account.

Now before anyone accuses me of a knee-jerk reaction, let me say this was not entirely unplanned for. You see, I had already made the resolution that if by today Tuesday, November 2, 2o1o there wasn’t a download for the Character Builder and/or Monster Builder containing some if not all Dark Sun content then I would cancel my account until such material was released. I’m DMing a Dark Sun game, DMing a homebrew campaign, and playing in another. Knowing that I had paid my renewing three-month fee and had not received half the content of a three month period was disappointing. Well, today came and went without a download, followed by news that there will be no more downloads forthcoming. Sad SheDM is sad.

Well, enough of that. So what is up with this Character Builder news anyway?

The Good

  • No clunky program to download and install, no problems with patches, everything runs in-browser.
  • Your characters are in ‘the cloud’ now, so you can access them from anywhere.
  • (Supposedly) Updated content will occur more reliably.
  • Import your current characters from old CB into new CB for easy transition.
  • Macs can use the CB now! I don’t have a Mac, but I cheer for them nonetheless!

The Ugly

  • No offline support! No internet, no access.
  • (Currently) No means to export the save files for sharing, using, etc. They say this will come later.
  • No active account, no access. If you can’t afford yet another monthly fee, you’re out of luck.
  • MS Silverlight. I have had problems with Silverlight, and support for Silverlight is waning. So, yeah…

In the meanwhile Adventure Tools, home of the Monster Builder gets no mention in this news. What will become of it? What about other tools that have been hinted at and/or promised and/or dropped quietly from the agenda like a blemished tomato? Who knows. Considering WotC’s track record, I honestly doubt they’ll be consistent even with this new version of the CB.

But to me, the whole matter boils down to money. I can’t keep paying for content I’m not receiving, and I’m not willing to gamble money for a service I can’t access 100% of the time. Maybe in time I may find it worth a monthly fee, maybe not. I’ll wait and find out.

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3 thoughts on “New Character Builder – The Good and The Ugly

  1. I applaud your even mindedness. Many people have shown decorum in these changes, even if they find them unpalatable. However, too many are shouting vitriol from the rooftops for my taste.

  2. On the forums, the WotC staff has suggested that the Adventure ToolsMonster Builder will only be updated when it’s ready to go live as a web app, and no sooner.

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