D&D Insider: Losing your toys

Irda Ranger

First Post
I've seen lots of "Pro" DDI comments, particularly about the character builder. I get that. I've tried the demo and it's pretty sweet. And the "anti's" seem to be focusing on the missing features and occasional bug. But those are unavoidable in any software I think.

But doesn't it bother anyone else that if you stop subscribing to DDI that your Character Builder and Compendium stop working? It's not that they stop receiving updates, I mean they no longer function. The CB and Compendium revert to the "Demo" versions and any characters you made above 3rd level can no longer be edited (I just got off the phone with Wizards and have confirmed this).

Think about it: You don't own that software. You're committed to paying that recurring cost for as long as you want to use the software, and that's assuming that WotC wants to sell it to you. When 5E comes out (which is inevitable if not soon) I doubt your 4E programs will be continue to be supported.

I dunno. I really, really don't like that kind of loss of control of my software and data. I don't rent CS3 or MS Office, and I expect to be able to edit my documents years from now even if those companies go out of business or move on to new platforms. I don't like being subject to corporate (profit driven) whim or on the hook for "for as long as we like, for as much as we like" fees. Is that just me?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

RefinedBean

First Post
Wow. Really? :erm:

Everything I've heard says that the CB will keep working, but won't receive updates.

I'd posit the opinion that the person you talked to at WotC didn't really know what they were talking about. It's happened before.

If it's TRUE, though...well, that is kinda crappy. But I love DDI so much that if I'm not subscribing to it, I've probably stopped playing 4E completely, so that doesn't bother me all that much. I can see why some people would get pissed, though!
 

Nymrohd

First Post
I see part of the DDI as renting access to the Compendium Database. A massive database that gets updated regularly and contains an expensive ammount of information whose value inflates faster than the money WotC has accrued from my subscriptions should not be something I can buy permanent access to (unless it is for a price far above that of subscription), as is the case with several similar databases. I do think it would be ideal if at the end of the 4E development cycle we could pay a certain fee for continuous access to these utilities with no subscription, but hopefully 4E will have a healthy life:)
 

malraux

First Post
I'm not a huge fan of the subscription model to anything, though I prefer the subscription model over the micro-transaction model. So, yeah, in some ways I'd rather just buy the CB. I suspect that would complicate the business model a good bit though. How do you pay for updates? Do you make bug fixes separate from database updates? Does the magazine and compendium subscription justify free data updates or do you also charge for those? Etc. I would hope that at the end of life of 4e, wotc would offer the CB as a long term download. Along with a complete download of all the magazines, and ideally a stand alone app that has all the compendium data in it.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
But doesn't it bother anyone else that if you stop subscribing to DDI that your Character Builder and Compendium stop working?

Honestly, no.

With a handy ability to export everything to a less nebulous kind of file(even if in some cases it takes a little bit of finagling), I can save everything I need, if I decide to cancel my DDI subscription.

I'm generally not a fan of that kind of business model, but I think it works for what DDI is and what it wants to be. Considering that the main avenue of game release is still books, I feel that if I need it to be more permanent, I can friggin' buy the books. ;)
 

Scribble

First Post
But doesn't it bother anyone else that if you stop subscribing to DDI that your Character Builder and Compendium stop working? It's not that they stop receiving updates, I mean they no longer function. The CB and Compendium revert to the "Demo" versions and any characters you made above 3rd level can no longer be edited (I just got off the phone with Wizards and have confirmed this).

Think about it: You don't own that software. You're committed to paying that recurring cost for as long as you want to use the software, and that's assuming that WotC wants to sell it to you. When 5E comes out (which is inevitable if not soon) I doubt your 4E programs will be continue to be supported.

I dunno. I really, really don't like that kind of loss of control of my software and data. I don't rent CS3 or MS Office, and I expect to be able to edit my documents years from now even if those companies go out of business or move on to new platforms. I don't like being subject to corporate (profit driven) whim or on the hook for "for as long as we like, for as much as we like" fees. Is that just me?

Yeah I think the person you spoke with at WoTC either was wrong, or didn't understand your question. I can disconnect my computer from the net and still use the CB. I think they just meant the updates.

Heh... MS office is moving towards the "cloud computing" model actually. It's the new trend kind of in software. The end user "rents" it and in return doesn't have to worry about upgrading, or their computer crashing and loosing all their data, and they can use it from any computer anywhere.

Some people like it, some don't.

As for 5e? I don't really care. Right now I'm playing 4e, and the programs WoTC offers help me play 4e. I don't NEED them to play the game, they just add support. If they go away, yeah it won't be the best day, but it's not detrimental to my ability to play 4e.

And if 5e ends up being really fun, and they offer support for that I might not even notice! :p
 

Irda Ranger

First Post
Everything I've heard says that the CB will keep working, but won't receive updates.

I'd posit the opinion that the person you talked to at WotC didn't really know what they were talking about. It's happened before.
I'd love to see a correction, but here's the Wizards FAQ:

Wizards FAQ said:
9) Do I need to be online to use the Character Builder?

No, but the Internet is required for several important steps. You will have access to the Character Builder in Demo mode, featuring levels 1 to 3. Subscribers will be able to upgrade their application with the full content for levels 1 to 30 which requires an Internet connection. New content will be updated each month. If you have to re-install the application, you will need to be an active subscriber to upgrade to the full version.
Emphasis mine on the last part. It's pretty obvious that you need to be an active subscriber for full functionality.

The website doesn't say exactly what happens to the software when you cancel, but the phone rep specifically said it was downgraded to the demo version. We exchanged several Q&As on that point and the answers sounded well rehearsed and confident. I did not get the impression that he was uncertain or confused on the matter.
 

Jack99

Adventurer
I am calling BS. From someone.

I can access my CB when offline (I just tested). How on earth would they "revert" anything in that case. Send those all-to-famous WotC-ninjas?

I just don't buy it.
 

I don't see how the Character Builder can stop working after you stop subscribing, not like it doesn't require an active internet connection to use, nor a log-in. That's just for getting updates. This could change later... but, eh, I kinda doubt it.

As for the compendium... you can always just copy and paste everything you think you'll need later into a word document, if you are really bothered about it going away. :p I guess you do lose access to a searchable database, but *shrugs*
 


RefinedBean

First Post
So if Jack99 can access the the full CB from offline, and I can too (just tried it), how does WotC "downgrade" the program? Hrm.

I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, Irda, just FYI. But a CS representative always sounds confident in what they're saying, because they don't care if it's right or wrong. ;)

Now losing the Compendium functionality, I have no problem with that. It's hosted online, after all.
 

Jack99

Adventurer
Emphasis mine on the last part. It's pretty obvious that you need to be an active subscriber for full functionality

Sorry, but the thing you quoted does not say that. It says you need to be a subscriber to download the full program, and to update it. Nowhere (in what you quoted) does it say that you need to be an active subscriber for full functionality. As long as you define full functionality as able to do the same as when you were paying for it.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Do you do anything sexier than print to PDF?

Nope. But I'm also not worried. If I let my DDI subscription lapse, it'll be because I'm not playing D&D 4e anymore, and thus, won't really need the materials anyway. :)
 

malraux

First Post
FWIW, right now my DDI subscription is acting like its expired (i can't get magazine articles, compendium data, etc). If it lasts through tomorrow, I'll worry about it then. Anyway, point being that if CB dropped to the demo version once your subscription were up, then mine should do so right now. It doesn't.

Of course, it might be something that happens only once it detects updated database info, in which case, it wouldn't show up right away.
 


Storminator

First Post
Sorry, but the thing you quoted does not say that. It says you need to be a subscriber to download the full program, and to update it. Nowhere (in what you quoted) does it say that you need to be an active subscriber for full functionality. As long as you define full functionality as able to do the same as when you were paying for it.

The quote says that if you reinstall it you need to be a subscriber to get full functionality... is that really onerous?

PS
 

chriton227

Explorer
This boils down to the whole SaaS (Software as a Service) model vs. traditional software models. Do you want to pay the recurring small subscription payments, but lose access if you cancel your sub, or do you want to pay much more up front for permanent access? In the software business, this debate has been going on for several years. Which is better for a given consumer varies a lot depending on the particulars of the software (initial cost, frequency of updates, etc.) and the needs of the consumer (will they need upgrades, how many copies, etc.)

MS did offer a version of Office as a subscription (MS Equipt). It is $70 for one year for three computers, including their anti-virus and anti-spyware stuff. $70 sounds pretty good considering the full version of office of that edition is $250-300 for a single copy. With a new version of Office coming out every 3-4 years, if you have multiple computers and plan to upgrade to the new versions as they are released the subscription model puts you way ahead cost-wise. If you have a single computer and only upgrade office every couple of versions, you are probably better off just buying it outright.

For the CB, would you be willing to pay $40-50 for the initial program, then pay for repeatedly for upgrades to add new material to it? If you want all the latest material as it is released, the SaaS model is probably a lot less expensive, both in the short run and in the long run as long as updated content is coming out. If you don't care about the new material and don't mind it being core, or core plus a few select upgrades, an outright purchase model would probably be better.

Paying for access to the CB doesn't bother me any more than I was bothered that I could no longer search or set a custom title when my EN World CS sub ran out. I look at DDI as primarily paying for the electronic magazines (buying equivalent content each month at RPG Now would probably cost at least the same as the DDI sub), and the CB, Compendium, and the rest are just a bonus.
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
The only thing I can think might happen is that if the program hasn't been connected to the internet for a full 30 days it might disable itself. It might do a check every time it's opened and has an internet connection. However, I really doubt they've done this. I guess you could check by disconnecting your internet connection and setting your clock on your computer way ahead and open it and see if it reverts back to demo mode.

However, I'm fairly certain it just doesn't get updates if you stop your subscription.

As for the actual question: No, I don't have a problem with it. I've been paying monthly fees to play MMORPGs for years now. I don't own the software, and they stop working as soon as I stop paying for them. If I stopped paying for it, it is because I no longer wanted to play the game. The same thing will apply to DDI.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Sorry, but the thing you quoted does not say that. It says you need to be a subscriber to download the full program, and to update it. Nowhere (in what you quoted) does it say that you need to be an active subscriber for full functionality. As long as you define full functionality as able to do the same as when you were paying for it.
Probably, what happens is that if you cancel your subscription, you can keep using the program without updates, but you can't do a new install.

I guess that it might also be possible that the program wants to be connected at least once per month to confirm your subscription status and it might stop working in case you're no longer subscribed... but that's not what the FAQ is stating.
 

Asmor

First Post
I had a rather large diatribe here, but I decided that I was probably being more snarky than helpful. So let me just say:

1. I'm almost positive you're misinformed about the character builder. You can still use it for the full 30 levels, you just can't update.

2. With respect to the compendium, there's not much to be done about that. It's a members-only website. Theoretically, you're welcome to query it and save every single bit of info in it to your local system, of course.

3. You're able to save the PDFs for Dungeon and Dragon and keep them forever.

4. It does not bother me that service discontinues if I cease paying for a subscription. Shockingly, paying for services rather than products is quite common and accepted in our society. See waitresses, maids, gardeners, repairmen, utilities, etc.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top