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Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 06:13 PM #71
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
That's a good start. But what they needed was a "Summon Party!" button on the VTT, that a player could press at any time, whereupon they'd be instantly connected to the other 50 or so other DDI subscribers who were also online and also looking for a party.
Because here's the thing: there are better VTTs out there, but if I want to play a game on Google+, or using Maptools, or Fantasy Grounds, or whatever, then I need to be in touch with the individuals running the game and we need to coordinate a specific start time, then all log on at once. If I find myself with a Wednesday evening unexpectedly free, chances are that I can't game. Provide that "Summon Party!" button, and you close that gap, and potentially provide people with a service that they didn't know they always wanted.
It's not something I've done, but I think something like what you are talking about would be possible on G+, which seems to have a TON of active RPG gaming and gamer activity.
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Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 06:51 PM #72
Novice (Lvl 1)
DDI has to get this ridiculous fiasco sorted out for D&D Next or WOTC and D&D are finished. Yes finished - because they don't exclusively own the product quality space anymore, they don't own the market like they did before, and without digital tools they have one less reason to get picked over anybody else. On top of that they're hamstrung by a ponderous corporate hierarchy that is profit minded with alternatives, so their need to perform is greater still than any of their competition. Lunch money profits aren't going to cut it. I wish them the best. My only tip would be - hire a software team that has experience delivering software and knows what they are doing.
Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 07:08 PM #73
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
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ø Ignore Mark CMG
I don't think the VTT team ever recovered from the tragic events of 2008 and I find it hard to fault WotC for trying to keep things going but not ever quite measuring up.
Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 07:47 PM #74
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
The number of things in the mags is going down. It's not merely 2 game items per topic for 15 topics instead of 10 game items per topic for 3 topics, it's just less game items.
At the one who gave XP with the comment that it's unuseable at the moment, I have playe half a dozen LFR games on it and it works.
Last edited by Mirtek; Tuesday, 10th July, 2012 at 07:54 PM.
Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 09:12 PM #75
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
At some point, you'd think they'd start looking around for working solutions to support, partner, even buy out. I bet if they picked the top two or three after surveying the field, the competition would drive all the picks into the stratosphere.
* To be entirely fair, this started before WotC, as TSR was lousy at anything they tried to control themselves. So it seems that the more the 800 lb gorilla that owns the D&D brand sticks their fingers in software, the worse it gets.
Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 09:17 PM #76
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
Ummm, they did license the VT software from Gametable Online.
In fact, with WotC ending the VT on their site, Gametable Online is taking it over. If you go to url=http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/29226299/The_Virtural_Table_Moving_to_GameTable_Online]Virtual Table moving to GameTable Online[/url] there are instructions on hat to do in order to make sure that your maps, etc on the VT are shifted over to the GameTable Online site.
(Edit to add - You are probably talking about doing the work themselves versus getting *all* of the work done for them. The original set of tools for DDI *were* completely contracted out to an outside company. That ended disastrously for WotC as they produced not a whole hell of a lot.)
Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 09:43 PM #77
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 09:53 PM #78
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
I'm a huge fan of Wizards. Nonetheless, I took this news pretty hard, not because I liked the VTT*, but because it demonstrates systemic problems with project management. I love the vision, but the execution is almost never there.
In the end, I want to see these visions continue, but for future RPG companies to execute well. With Paizo, for example, I see the same concerns. Paizo should not be at the screenshot stage and still be mulling over whether and how to generate revenue from a VTT.
(* = I have at times been a heavy VTT user, playing up to 2-3 games a week on OpenRPG and MapTool. Despite that, I am greatly a fan of face-to-face play and place little priority on a VTT solution for me. I do recognize how important it is for others, and I do think it takes some work to bring in thousands to a single VTT. Most VTTs I know do not see a huge user base and any part of a VTT strategy should include how to do better at stimulating use.)
Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 09:53 PM #79
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
I wasn't entirely plain. I mean the more involved in the decision making process they are, they worse the product. Even outsourcing won't work if they don't know what they are doing and/or can't keep from messing up things they shouldn't touch. (Or rather, outsourcing especially won't work.)
What they need to do is retain some IP and similar rights, but otherwise give someone else the responsibility and authority to make it happen. Naturally, that also means giving this someone else the lion's share of the profits, which is why I think Hasbro will never spring for it. They don't seem to realize that a small slice of a lot, which also happens to enhance their core competency, is a lot more valuable than keeping everything under their own control but continuously screwing it up.
Or if that is unacceptable for some reason (i.e. Hasbro stupidity) then they need to hire an individual inside WotC that knows that they are doing, has experience, and let this person manage it. Of course, given what this would cost, that might not be possible either.
If it were me having to square this circle at WotC, I'd use a small but significant budget to set up a series of "prizes" and "benchmarks" for interested companies to pursue, with some kind of revenue sharing and/or buyout promises on success (and not all one-sided to WotC, either). I'd make it explicit up front that the standards will be multi-tiered and will grow as time passes. There'd be a generous but fixed timeframe, say 7 years plus extensions.
Then see what people do. If some of the existing VTT guys meet the benchmarks and standards (or already have them and don't mind participating), give them the award. If some guy in his garage pulls it off at some level, award him appropriately. Later down the road, there might be someone (or several) worth buying out/standardizing/consolidating. But if not, the investment and risk is rather slight.
On the troubles with the team thing, I've worked on some projects that dealt with almost project-killing blows, that couldn't be expected (though not a murder). I worked 80 hours a week for a year, after a fellow team member ended up in jail. After a year or two, you aren't competely recovered. But you are making progress and starting to come out of it, if managed halfway decent. It's pretty clear to me that the software teams over the last few years have been working with weights strapped around their ankles, and that's on management.
Last edited by Crazy Jerome; Tuesday, 10th July, 2012 at 09:57 PM.
Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 09:56 PM #80
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)