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D&D 5E D&D Beyond No Longer Supporting Unearthed Arcana

Announced on their livestream Dev Update, D&D Beyond will be refocusing development on new features and content, citing an inability to keep up with Unearned Arcana in a timely fashion.


We at D&D Beyond regret to inform you that we will no longer be supporting Unearthed Arcana content on our platform.

While we have loved giving users the opportunity to use new Unearthed Arcana playtest material offered by Wizards of the Coast on D&D Beyond, there are a multitude of factors that have made it difficult for us to do so in a way that presents the content the way it was intended, and in a timely way that does not divert our development resources.




 
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Iry

Hero
I have seen so many projects completely flounder because they tried to build an overly flexible system. We don't know anything concrete about the internals of the system and as a company they need to focus on providing the most benefit for the least investment.

Spending significant resources on a tool that the minority of people use, that only a minority of that minority will raise a stink about is probably simply not good business.
Undoubtedly not. You can hardly afford to front that kind of money unless you're already successful. But I'm sure you've also seen companies who eventually do make it, that need to overhaul their entire system because it was built too limited to start with.
 

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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
You're comparing apples to oranges. Unless you're on the dev team for DndBeyond or know someone who is everything you're posting is simply unfounded and kind of insulting to the team that works on the application.
I think the evidence points to them doing a half-assed job, you're absolutely correct that I'm insulting them. That doesn't bother me in the slightest. People do half-assed jobs all the time! That's just life. Screwing something up doesn't make them bad people.

Fortunately, I never bothered to pay for D&D Beyond because
a) 5e character creation is pretty simple
b) I use a ton of homebrew which D&D Beyond doesn't support.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
To my mind, the evidence points pretty strongly to 2, especially when I see something like Pathbuilder 2 being built by one hobbyist on a much more robust rule set.
So, one really big question - how many concurrent and potentially interacting users does Pathbuilder actually support? I'm going to guess that whatever it is, D&D Beyond supports one or two orders of magnitude more, and scale is a big deal in software.

That said...

"The evidence" being... pretty paltry stuff, to be honest.

I come at this from two perspectives, one professional, the other just a good idea....

1) The vast and overwhelming proportion of the people in software are actually bright, competent, and at any given moment are doing the best they can to make the right decisions with what they know at the time. Unfortunately, what they know is usually minimal, and the world changes around them in quickly in complicated and unpredictable ways.

2) The Golden Rule applies. Whenever you decide that some provider is just an idiot, you are basically asking the world to look at your work from the outside in the same way - so, when you make what seems like a minor, innocuous decision that may disappoint some customers, someone out there is saying you are completely incompetent nincompoops.

For everyone who says, "Well MY work is so much harder, and we do it better," perhaps that is true. But perhaps it is less true than you think, and perhaps it has not always been true. If I were a betting man, a bet that there were some really upset people that could be found looking through the customer contact records would be a pretty solid one to make. And every one of those upset people thinks of your work like you're thinking of D&D Beyond right now.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I won't comment on how complicated adding UA to DD Beyond is from a development perspective (I work with developers but this is not my wheelhouse), but at minimum we should all recognize that a service we once were getting is now being cut, while we pay the same price.

Considering how we should expect our products to improve over time, this is a step back. It doesn't effect me much as a "forever DM" who really only used to purchase statblocks on DDBeyond (I've stopped doing even that), but I get why subscribers would be really annoyed.
 



Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I won't comment on how complicated adding UA to DD Beyond is from a development perspective (I work with developers but this is not my wheelhouse), but at minimum we should all recognize that a service we once were getting is now being cut, while we pay the same price.

Um... that content was available to non-subscribers. It was always a freebie extra. None of the features you actually pay for are being removed at this time.
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Um... that content was available to non-subscribers. It was always a freebie extra. None of the features you actually pay for are being removed at this time.

True, but it's being cut for everyone, including subscribers. They are losing a feature they used to have.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
1) The vast and overwhelming proportion of the people in software are actually bright, competent, and at any given moment are doing the best they can to make the right decisions with what they know at the time. Unfortunately, what they know is usually minimal, and the world changes around them in quickly in complicated and unpredictable ways.
Heh. We have very different experiences in the industry, then.

2) The Golden Rule applies. Whenever you decide that some provider is just an idiot, you are basically asking the world to look at your work from the outside in the same way - so, when you make what seems like a minor, innocuous decision that may disappoint some customers, someone out there is saying you are completely incompetent nincompoops.

For everyone who says, "Well MY work is so much harder, and we do it better," perhaps that is true. But perhaps it is less true than you think, and perhaps it has not always been true. If I were a betting man, a bet that there were some really upset people that could be found looking through the customer contact records would be a pretty solid one to make. And every one of those upset people thinks of your work like you're thinking of D&D Beyond right now.
Oh, I know for a fact there are. But I'm perfectly aware of being a just-competent-enough coaster whose primary skill is knowing what project to get on to avoid actual problems.

Why do you think I identified D&D Beyond as being a problem so quickly? Game recognizes game. :)
 



Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Same. I looked into it, but once I saw it didn't support homebrew design, I dropped it.
The 4e offline Character builder didnt get to be an awesome tool for me until a third party enabled me to put my custom content into it.

I have been considering building a gui for that so that others less technical might enjoy it and allow sharing of your custom ideas too.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I was just making a joke at my own expense. You see, when I first started buying products at D&DBeyond, I was incredibly confused because I couldn't find the option to download the PDF of what I bought.
Ah, I see. Yeah. I don't really get the appeal of PDFs compared to the format of a database that includes all the content I own, but yeah a lot of folks were confused by that.
I think the evidence points to them doing a half-assed job, you're absolutely correct that I'm insulting them. That doesn't bother me in the slightest. People do half-assed jobs all the time! That's just life. Screwing something up doesn't make them bad people.

Fortunately, I never bothered to pay for D&D Beyond because
a) 5e character creation is pretty simple
b) I use a ton of homebrew which D&D Beyond doesn't support.
DnD Beyond supports literally everything but homebrew full classes. Every one of the PCs I run the game for has homebrew items, feats, spells, often races and subclasses.
Heh. We have very different experiences in the industry, then.
Or very different outlooks toward other people.
Oh, I know for a fact there are. But I'm perfectly aware of being a just-competent-enough coaster whose primary skill is knowing what project to get on to avoid actual problems.

Why do you think I identified D&D Beyond as being a problem so quickly? Game recognizes game. :)
It isn't a problem, though.
For me that is a rather vital component
Me too. That's why I use DDB.
Same. I looked into it, but once I saw it didn't support homebrew design, I dropped it.
I adopted pretty early and I can't recall it ever not supporting homebrew design.
 



TwoSix

Unserious gamer
If you're creating classes from scratch you are a tiny market niche for a niche application.

I find DndBeyond incredibly useful and PC maintenance is just one piece. To each their own.
Fortunately, I've never asserted my preferences as anything other than my own.
 


Dausuul

Legend
I'm not surprised they quit supporting UA. A week's notice to turn those things around is a rough deadline to hit, and it's not like they were getting paid for it.

That said... you can get a (small, dim) window into the underlying structure of D&D Beyond by using their homebrew content creator, which lets you get a sense of how they are representing all this stuff behind the scenes. Monsters aren't too bad, but races, feats, and subclasses are a hideous mess. It's very clear that they just kept bolting on new options as the need arose, without ever stepping back to consider the larger design. Sometimes I think I can actually hear it screaming "Refactor me! For the love of God, refactor me!"

This does not mean the DDB developers were or are bad at their jobs. They could not possibly have accounted for all the interactions when they were building the data layer, and the market won't wait around for you to design the perfect product. Comes a point when you've just got to slap duct tape on the broken bits and ship the damn thing. Technical debt is like financial debt; you often need to take on a bunch of it to get a project off the ground.

But if you don't pay down your tech debt eventually, the interest will slowly crush you. And I think that's happening to DDB. So many of their features remain in a half-assed state, years after release, while new half-assed features get cranked out.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Well that is a surprising turn of events. :(

But I think DDB still has all of the tools necessary for adding your own house rules and custom content. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) It's a little more work to set up, but at least people who currently use the UA content (or plan to do so in the future) will have a work-around.

EDIT: What @Dausuul said.
 

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