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November 16th Release for Web-based Character Builder

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Ross

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I assume this is to stop people from pirating copies of it like we have been doing.

Go to the site to see some screen shots:
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/26182233/November_16th_Release_for_Web-based_Character_Builder

n 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.
If you have any questions about the new Character Builder or your subscription, see the FAQ or contact a Wizards of the Coast Game Support representative.


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude
Hmm so no more importing into IPlay4E then huh? That sucks.

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Ross

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Let's reply to some previously asked questions:

1. Will these tools Replace the existing Character Builder(CB) and Adventure Tools(AT), or will they be a supplement?


Some will replace, some will supplement, some will augment, some will be completely new.


2a. What tools will be included? Virtual Table Top(VTT)?


As of today, I can only talk about the Rules Compendium (released on Oct 12th) and the Character Builder (to be released on Nov 16th).


3. Will they be built on flash, silverlight, or HTML 5?


Depending on their purpose and intended usage, we'll use the technology that better solves the problem. In the case of the Rules Compendium, it was HTML/JavaScript, in the case of Character Builder it was Silverlight 4.


4a. What is the current state of development of the web based tools?


Working on it


4b. Are they basically working and they are just fixing minor bugs?


They are in various states of advancement. Some are even released!


4c. Is there anything working at all?


Magic 8 ball says "Yes"


4d. Can we see some screen shots?


Yes. We posted some today and I plan to post more as appropriate.


5. Can we get regular updates on progress and problems?


That's the plan.


6. When will they be available?


First one was on Oct 12th, 2010. We'll keep releasing tools for quite a while.


7. Will they require an active connection to the internet to use?


Most of them, yes.


8. Will there be a beta-test?


Some tools will have a beta program.


9. Will there be a demo available for non-subscribers?


Depending on the tool.


10a. Will the web-based tools be updated more often?


Now that the studio is not split in two anymore - trying to support legacy and new development - we plan to have an aggressive feature update schedule. I can't promise that updates will be more frequent than monthly, but they won't be purely content.

10b. Will the updates come faster, with less lag between a book/magazine being published and getting updated to the software?


Not for now. The current process we have between R&D and the studio makes quite difficult to release digital information earlier, but we're working on improving this publishing process as well.


11a. Are you prepared for the load this will place on your servers?


We hope so.


11b. Can you ensure they can handle the load?


Nothing can be certain, but we did load tests for the past month with several times the number of current DDi subscribers. Everything should be fine.


11c. What if your servers go down?


Wibbles wooble but... no wait. We have redundant server farms, fully load balanced in all components.


12. When someone's account expires, what access will they retain? Any files they've created? Characters/Monsters they've built?


User created content is kept on WotC servers for at least 12 months after a subscription expires.


13. If it does replace the CB, will it be able to track resources, such as Hit Points, Healing Surges, etc, similar to iPlay4e.com?


The new Character Builder replaces the old one (or, as we call it here, Character Builder Classic) in functionality. The old one didn't track anything at play time, so the new one doesn't either.


14. Will the web tools be included in the standard subscription price, or will there be an additional fee? Will there be an increase in the subscription price?


There is no plan to increase the subscription fee.


15. Will the tools be released as a bundle, or one at a time?


One (or more) at a time.


16. How much access will WotC have to the user data collected by the tools? How will you address privacy concerns?


User generated content will link to the originating user only via a GUID. This GUID is the one provided by the WotC login and membership process that is already compliant with all privacy and security regulations. In other words, if I run queries on the database, I can only figure out WHAT paople are creating, but not WHO is doing that. Speaking of this, we plan to mine the databases constantly, in order to better understand usage patters and the kind of content pleople are most likely to use. For example, if suddenly 90% of new characters are Muls, then R&D may take a look into writing some special Mul content


17. How will data persistence be handled? Will the tools require any data installed on my system? savedata, logintools?


Nothing on the client machine, except for your login token cookie. State and data are all stored in the cloud.


18. Will any of the tools allow for shared use? Such as a VTT allowing the entire party to participate with a single account?


This would go against the Terms of Use.


19. Will it be possible to use the tools with more than one IP at a time? Such as a VTT on the PC and the compendium on the laptop?


In general, I don't see why not. There may be issues working with the Character Builder on the same character at the same time from multiple locations, so please don't do that.


20. Are there any plans to offer an API?


Plans in that area are being discussed.


21. What Operating Systems and Browsers will be supported? Will the tools be accessible via smartphone browsers? What about tablets/iPads?


See the FAQ for the supported platforms.


22. What export options will there be for characters, monsters, and other items created with these tools? XML files? PDF Files?


At launch, we won't support any kind of export. Of course, you can always use free tools (like PDF Creator), to print your character sheet to PDF.


23. Who is working on this project? Is it the same dev team that created the CB, or are new people being brought in?


The D&D Digital Studio is working on this project. Involved are some members that worked on the legacy tools and some new faces (like me).


24. If the CB is replaced by the web-tools, will a refund be offered for people who wish to cancel their subsciption?


You should discuss this directly with Customer Service.


25. Will Dark Sun support be available with the web-tools?


Yes.


26. If the CB is replaced, will the last updated version still be available for subscribers?


No.


27. How will we be notified about updates to the Web-Based tools? Will the new email system be used, or is there some other process?


The web tools will be automatically updated, so there won't be any need for user initiated actions. Notifications will be handled as usual.


28. Is this the cool thing that the VCLs hinted at before?


Part of it


29. What benefits are you hoping we will enjoy most from the Web Tools?


Cross platfom compatibility, centralized storage, better visuals and user experience, a very solid platform for future development.


30. Will characters created with the Offline Character Builder be usable by the web tools?


Yes. You can import them from the Load screen.


31. If the CB is going web based, will it still have the same filtering abilities as the Desktop version?


If by filtering you mean campaign settings, it will have the capability but not, at launch, the user interface component for changing them.


32. Will we be able to alter magical items?


Not at launch.


33. Will we be able to add House Rule feats and powers, or other elements?


Not at launch.


34. Will we be able to save data(characters, monsters, etc) to your servers, so we can access them from anywhere?


Yes. That's the whole point

Paolo Marcucci
Software Developement Manager
D&D Digital Studio


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude

Ross

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Admin
From the CB FAQ ( wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg... ):
Q: Can I export my character file to share with others?
A: While this feature won’t be available at launch, we understand that this is important to our players and are working on rolling this functionality out soon. For now, you can import your characters into the new tool, modify and save them to your subscription profile.

Some other relevant questions from that FAQ:

Q: Can I use the D&D Character Builder offline?
A: No. This version of the D&D Character Builder requires an active connection to the internet.



Q: If I end my subscription, what happens to the characters I’ve created or imported to the Character Builder?
A: Characters you’ve created on the new version or imported from the older version of the Character Builder will remain in our database for twelve months after the subscription expires. If you renew your subscription within that twelve month period, you will be able to access your characters again.



So no offline use, and if your subscription runs out, it looks like you can't even access the characters you made while your subscription was active, much less update them. Lame and lame. It's enough to make one consider just not buying more new material and sticking with what's in the old builder.


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude
It saves them a lot of money, but really reduces the value of having a Character Builder.

I much prefer the ability to work on my characers offline.

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That really sucks.

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Dwarmaj wrote:I much prefer the ability to work on my characers offline.

Hear, hear! (or is is 'here, here'?)

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...for a non-techie type, how does the new version of the CB save Wizards a lot of money?

Yeah, I like using the CB offline. At my current house, the internet connection with DSL was really dependable. Switched over to Comcast about a year ago and downstairs the connection is fairly reliable but upstairs (both my PC and Kobe's) we can only get service about 70% of the time. Also, during the afternoon, and early evening, the connection is noticably slower than when we had DSL, but a little faster the later it is in the evening.

Maybe at the new house, the internet will be better so having to be on-line to use the CB won't bug me as much.

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Teramotos wrote:...for a non-techie type, how does the new version of the CB save Wizards a lot of money?

Yeah, I like using the CB offline. At my current house, the internet connection with DSL was really dependable. Switched over to Comcast about a year ago and downstairs the connection is fairly reliable but upstairs (both my PC and Kobe's) we can only get service about 70% of the time. Also, during the afternoon, and early evening, the connection is noticably slower than when we had DSL, but a little faster the later it is in the evening.

Maybe at the new house, the internet will be better so having to be on-line to use the CB won't bug me as much.


They are basicly pushing the app to the "cloud". It's a lot cheaper to run a hosted server(s) in a server farm and push updates to it than the "think clients" (stand alone) apps that we have.

Web based programming is usually cheaper/easier as well.


As far as your internet speed...
Cable is faster but you share your connection with your neighbors. The more neighbors online, the slower the connection is for everyone.

DSL is a dedicated connection between you and your provider.

Are you getting your WiFi signal from your cable box or do you have a router?

Either way your wireless signal will be slower the farther you are from the source.

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Teramotos wrote:...for a non-techie type, how does the new version of the CB save Wizards a lot of money?

Online, Wizards only has to update their own servers when they do upgrades etc. Offline, they have to post patches for customers to download, advertise the patches so they get used, deal with some on old versions during the transition, all the tech support issues from clients not realizing they have an old version... much more involved than quietly correcting a bug in 1 place.

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Ross

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Admin
So far it's working...Been getting lots of errors while creating my Drow Assassin, Blade, but I can still push through it.


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude
Ross wrote:So far it's working...Been getting lots of errors while creating my Drow Assassin, Blade, but I can still push through it.

I wonder if using a house-ruled campaign is part of the problem? The 'legal' builds might be more proofed for glitches. I don't know. Glad Blade is still working. Sounds like a lot of fun PC builds.

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Ross

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I imported him from the old CB just fine. It failed when I tried to pick Drow as a Race and add the Luskan Background. So had nothing to do with the 20's in all ability scores. It also failed when I tried to add Falcion. It didn't fail all the time, it was kind of sporadic. It also might be because so many people are on right now. The App just went live a little while ago. I'm importing my other characters into it now.

FYI: they have a separate section for Essential PC's.


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude
Ibuki just called on the phone to rant for 15 minutes on how much he dislikes the new CB...just fyi.

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Teramotos wrote:Ibuki just called on the phone to rant for 15 minutes on how much he dislikes the new CB...just fyi.

That's almost longer than he spent this year playing...

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Brad wrote: That's almost longer than he spent this year playing...

Hmmm...here's the adventure logs from the WAR! series...Ibuki has made every single adventure so far except one in that series. In the BoM, didn't he make every single adventure from the 5th Level one on? His thief basically replaced Kazoo when Ross switched to his Warlock.

By Character:
Cedarick (Ross) - 4
Walster (Ibuki) - 4
Hayden (Brad) - 3
Kara (Ken) - 3
Kebru (Kevin) - 3
Hunter (Trevor) - 2
Akiro (Mick) - 1
Davy (Chris) - 1
Tabi (Mick) - 1
Talon (Ken) - 1

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Ibuki played that much? I only remember playing with him a couple times... we must have been on opposite schedules.

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Just 'cause you haven't seen me doesn't mean I haven't been playing. You just haven't been around as much till lately. Razz

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jibuki wrote:Just 'cause you haven't seen me doesn't mean I haven't been playing. You just haven't been around as much till lately. Razz

I guess so. I did have a rare 2 month hiatus in there...

Are you planning on playing online with us? (You'll want to check the boards 1x/day if you do), or are you just planning on playing in-person once we settle into Paragon?

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Ross

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I just found the beta for the exporter for the Character Builder. It worked for me, but others have reported that it doesn't work on massively house ruled characters.


_________________
CHARACTERS:
Morbius Von Kas - Vryloka/Blackguard [4e-Rainbow Warriors Campaign]
Man'Tis Man'Todea - Thri-Kreen/Berserker [4e-Slave Lords Campaign]
Danilo Rand - Monk/Human [5e-Princes of the Apocalypse Campaign]
Nathan Grey - Ardent (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Walt Dixon - Bladesinger (4e-Terran One Campaign)
Battlefield 4 Soldier: Saturnicus
Diablo III Battletag: Saturnus#1572
Neverwinter: @bobpatrick.com
XBox GamerTag: Drizityn


Kazoo the Kender: "Hmm, I'll take....the Wand of Wonder." The rest of the party regretted giving Kazoo the first treasure pick.
View user profile http://twitter.com/NWGamerDude
planning on playing online also.

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