Nerd Rage on DDI: I Will Survive

At first I was angry. I was hurt. But I’m accepting it: WoTC is going to end the Character Builder application for a web-based app using Silverlight.

That’s fine; that’s WoTC’s prerogative and I bet it’ll be a platform that’s a 1000x better and easier to update than their current software.

But, lightly put, it officially kills off the last tool that justified my subscription to the service. I know, my situations are very, well, situational and not all (hell, probably hardly any at all) will actually be handicapped by this announcement. But as I’ve bitched about on here before: My regular gaming hang outs don’t have reliable WiFi or internet. On top of that, we don’t really keep up with the Errata, and I’m not about to tell my players that all the books they slowly acquired to have a collection on par with mine is now obsolete.

I was at least hoping for some Dark Sun material, and the Essentials Builds, for later campaigns. But now those won’t be coming to me, except online.
So now I’m stuck with half a year left on a useless service to me, which I reluctantly resubscribed to for some feint hopes and false promises that tools related to my interests were in the works.

The Silver Lining

But in many ways, the decision to cut my cord with the DDI service completely is rather, well, liberating. Keeping up with the errata and constantly shifting directions of new content like the sands of Arthas has done nothing but burdened me and my interest in the game my group enjoyed playing. The game they love, they one that they’re eager to keep playing, isn’t found in the new Red Box or soft bound books of recycled classes and rules….it’s in the books we already own. The books that I myself seem to be the only one who can find fault in. My group doesn’t care about balance, RPGA “Legal” Characters, optimal stat crunched builds or the rarity of magical items….they care about motherfucking playing the damn thing!

I’ve seen many folks shriek out in horror, because to them the Character Builder was “the only way to make a correct character.” Jesus fuck guys, wake up! Not too long ago, I was fighting to get the Character Builder working correctly on my laptop at a char gen night. By the time it was up and running, my players had filled out their sheets (correctly) and were copying their powers down. Did we seriously become a crowd of players who forgot how to use dead trees?

And even for a digital assistance, I’m not lost. Hero Lab still works for 4E, and in the mean time appears to still support downloading data from the DDI compendium. But even if it loses that, you can still input your own stuff. Yes, there is actually software out there that will *gasp* allow you to setup 3rd party or homebrewed 4E material. It’s a shame WoTC never caught on to that (despite every other forum thread appearing to beg for it.)

The Dice will Still Roll

What can I say? I fucking hate the company these days but I still love the game. It’s impossible for me to defend them, especially since I’m not impressed with essentials at all. Perhaps I’m joining the new niche bastard community of “4E Grognards”? Hard to say. I hate spilling nerd rage and bile all over the bloggosphere; but it’s tough to keep a 100% positive tone when it seems the company in charge of one of your favorite game franchises wants to keep marching backwards, and a lot of times seems to keeps its ears plugged and eyes covered from the community.

Still, the only reason I get upset is because I do love the piss out of the game. I’m even prepping some stuff for this weekend as we speak. But D&D has always been a sort of notorious game in that regards. As long as I’ve been networking with gamers, it’s the one franchise that spawns the most debate and debacle. It’s the game we hate to love, love to hate etc. Compare it to WoW, compare it to an iPhone, a Ford Mustang or Microsoft. We can bitch all day about how evil these fucks are. But yet we either keep playing the games because, damn it, it’s just fun (or, we refuse to touch it, and come off sounding like a smug fucktard.)

To those who are mad about all of this: I understand. Breathe; it doesn’t cheapen or ruin our games any more than we make them. The glory of RPGs….we can play with pencil and paper, with the lights of candles and our collective imaginations. To those who can’t understand why everyone is so upset: It’s because certain features appealed to us, and many (like in my case) paid for an annual subscription of said features and services. Now, the little things that mattered to us have been taken out, scrapped and denied. So, we’re gonna be vocal. I don’t feel entitled, I just feel ripped off. I’m not going to demand a refund…I’m just not planning on giving any more cash towards a service that becomes more and more useless to me every passing month.

2 thoughts on “Nerd Rage on DDI: I Will Survive”

  1. Well, I guess I’m the only one happy to see this change. As a Mac user, having all the DDI software as web apps is a huge win. I can finally justify a DDI subscription.

  2. I guess the simplified version is: Why can’t we have both? Silverlight can be made into an offline platform. The net connection requirement, as basic as it is, is big enough for many of us to be a deal breaker.

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