Proposal

KarinsDad

Visitor
With how quickly WotC releases material, I think it doesn't make sense to allow a class like the Assassin one month after it comes out in Dragon and not allow Hybrids for 8 months after they come out in Dragon, just because they have the word "Playtest" attached to them.

Like Errata-ed material, playtest material will generally be released as official material and it may or may not be modified.

So my proposal is that we allow any character building material one month after it becomes official material in either Character Builder or in hardback, not one month after it comes out only in hardback. In other words, once the material is no longer considered by WotC to be playtest anymore. In the case of Hybrids, it showed up as PHB 3 material at the beginning of February (IIRC).

This allows people who have Character Builder to start building a character with Character Builder hardback material and only wait a month to actually play that PC instead of waiting 2 to 3 months until a month after the hardback comes out.

From my perspective, material is material. The door is wide open at this point here, so why close the window when the door is wide open? It seems kind of silly to make such an arbitrary distinction when the material is just going to be allowed anyway.

The idea is to encourage people to have cool new character concepts and join in, not to discourage them with a "you must wait 3 months because this particular set of material has some caveat on it".

Note: I am not saying that we should auto-allow playtest material, I am saying that we should auto-allow Character Builder hardback material before it actually comes out in hardback form.
 

Velmont

Visitor
Assassin is an exception over the general rule, and an exception made by WotC itself.

Assassin is a preview of the PHB3 released for people who have bought D&DI. It was not a playtest. Sure, there will be some errata over time, like all materials, but the change we can expect should be little.

Hybrid, just like Psion, Ardent, Monk, Skill powers, etc... are all playtest materials. That means we can expect to have huge change over time.

Personally, I think it is always hard to remove something people already have than give them after we make sure it good. Let's just see the Minotaur, even if everyone tells it is broken to have them wielding oversized weapon, there is still a few of them in L4W. Now, with PHB3 releasing the Minotaur race with feats and etc... what will happen?

It's not perfect, we just need to look at the Battlerager or more recently at the pacifist healer, who both saw themselves being nerfed more than once because they were too strong compare to others. It is always frustrating for players to get nerfed.

At first sight, I would think Hybrid are not broken, I would say even a bit weak, but I don't like the idea to create exception, neither to give playtesting material. And the problem with playtesting material is WotC will released the correction only with the sourcebook, and that's what happening with the hybrid classes, they were released very early compare to the PHB3.
 

Velmont

Visitor
For your information, if you look inside the Character Generetor (if you have it), Assin Source is listed as Dragon#379 (which is out for longuer than a month), while the Hybrid (as Psion, Ardent, ect...) source is listed as PHB3 (which is not released yet).
 

KarinsDad

Visitor
Assassin is an exception over the general rule, and an exception made by WotC itself.

Assassin is a preview of the PHB3 released for people who have bought D&DI. It was not a playtest.
If it is true that Assassin was a preview, then it should not have been allowed:

Material marked "playtest" or "preview" is not approved.
My point is that I do not see the need for the rule:

Material published online but marked as a "debut" from an upcoming print product is not approved until one month after the print product is published.
The instant it goes online is the instant that it starts getting discussed online and people can start making proposals to ban it. I do not see the need to wait until it comes out in actual print.

No different than Assassin which was allowed.

Where is there a substantial difference V? It's going to be auto-allowed anyway. I'm not asking for it to be approved one month after it comes out in Dragon, I'm merely asking for it to be approved one month after it becomes official WotC content online. In this case, for PHB III which is already in the Compendium and Character Builder. What's so special about waiting for the hardback book?
 

Kalidrev

Visitor
I agree with Velmont completely. The Assassin was never playtest material, will NEVER see publication in hardback form (it is DnDi ONLY), and will get regular updates through DnDi. The Hybrid options, and all other PHB3 material will be published in their most recent form in hardback, which means that there may even be changes between the hardback form and what is in DnDi CB. Because of this, it really is best to just wait until the playtest material is released. I treat playtestmaterial the same way that beta software should be treated: an awesome little peak at what may be to come, but not official. It's there so that players can mess with it, look at it, play around with it, and submit "bugs" to WOTC. After WOTC has had a sufficient amount of playtesters "debug" their playtest material, they look the material over again and then publish it in hardback form, after which they update DnDi CB with what is in the hardback form.

Now granted, in this SPECIFIC case, the current revision of Hybrid rules HAS been released for DnDi subscribers in the same form that will be released in the PHB3, HOWEVER, if you remember, there were also 2 other versions of the Hybrid rules as playtest/"debut" material. The same has happened to the Artificer, the Barbarian, and the Monk. They all were included as playtest material, and then had some pretty significant changes before they were released.

I would hate to see people use some playtest material, like it, then get the giant nerf bat when it is released as hardback. What's worse, is that there won't even be an errata listing for it, showing the changes, so we would have to figure all of this out ourselves. Better to just create the character using the official material in the first place.

I'm leaning very heavily towards a no vote on this one, but I'll give you the chance to persuade me otherwise.
 

KarinsDad

Visitor
I'm leaning very heavily towards a no vote on this one, but I'll give you the chance to persuade me otherwise.
Cool. :cool:

I totally understand the playtest idea.

But here's the rub.

Once it goes into Character Builder as PHB III material, it's not going to change. The book has already been sent to the printer.

Can they have a last minute "Hold the Presses" change? Possibly. But the cost to have a print change is huge. It would have to be something monumental and WotC is not going to do that since they have an errata process.

Even if they have errata on it, they already have errata on every approved source.

The Ardent and Hybrid and other PHB III material in Character Builder today is the exact same material that will come out in PHB III with one possible exception. If they have official errata on the material, the errata might actually show up in Character Builder early.


If we were talking material that is malleable (outside of early errata), then I would think that Velmont has a point. We are not. We are talking about material that WotC stamped approval on months ago. WotC is not (significantly) working on PHB III material anymore, they have moved on.


I see playtest material as material of concern. It is no longer playtest material and has not been since WotC put it into the Compendium and Character Builder as PHB III material.

I don't understand the need for the source to be an official book and not official online.
 

Velmont

Visitor
I agree with Velmont completely. The Assassin was never playtest material, will NEVER see publication in hardback form (it is DnDi ONLY), and will get regular updates through DnDi.
For some reason, I always thought we would see them in PHB3, but I knew, from what I had read from the article, that the Assassin was a kind of unique case for D&DI and was a more stable article than playtest.

If we were talking material that is malleable (outside of early errata), then I would think that Velmont has a point. We are not. We are talking about material that WotC stamped approval on months ago. WotC is not (significantly) working on PHB III material anymore, they have moved on.
True, WotC is not working anymore on the PHB3 material. As we speak, the should be printing it to have enough copy for the release next month. But the problem is we don't know what changes they have done to the hybrid rules since they release the rules eight month ago. All the errata they will have created for those material will be show for the first time in the PHB3.

Also, if we accept that, I see no reason to not allow people to create Psion, Seekers, Battlemind or use the skill powers. It will create a precedent that I do not like.

Assassin is a Dragon magazine material while hybrid is a PHB3 material. Dragon have been out for over a month, not PHB3. We are many to wait with impatience (yeah, me too, I want to try the Battlemind as my 3rd PC in L4W), but I prefer the give give candy later philosophy than the take back candy.
 

KarinsDad

Visitor
Also, if we accept that, I see no reason to not allow people to create Psion, Seekers, Battlemind or use the skill powers. It will create a precedent that I do not like.
Why not?

What is your rationale?

There is a player bfiggins who came into the Tavern and wanted to play an Ardent. The Ardent has been out online for close to a month, just like the Assassin was out online for a month before approved.

bfiggins cannot play this PC because of this rule.

Isn't that special?

Assassin is a Dragon magazine material while hybrid is a PHB3 material. Dragon have been out for over a month, not PHB3. We are many to wait with impatience (yeah, me too, I want to try the Battlemind as my 3rd PC in L4W), but I prefer the give give candy later philosophy than the take back candy.
What is the difference Velmont?

Why is an Assassin "stable" and an Ardent "not stable"?

Where are your facts for this difference?


I think the exact opposite is closer to true. Over and over again, Dragon magazine material is less playtested and more prone to problems whereas core material tends to be controlled better. There is more errata for core material, but that's because for the most part, WotC doesn't care about Dragon content. Dragon content is the icing for the cake where it's supposed to be sweet.
 

Kalidrev

Visitor
The difference, KD, is that the Assassin, from the get, was labeled as OFFICIAL material once it was released in DnDi, and is one of the few "goodies" that only DnDi subscribers would get (since it will not appear in any other publication other than DnDi). It was fully fleshed out and was never released as playtest material. It's as official as is possible for it to be, since the class itself will never be featured in hardback form.

The others are still not official material yet since they have not been officially published, and even the RPGA will not allow them yet.

Here's another way to look at this:

Look inside of the Character Builder in the Clas "tab": Each of the Player's Handbooks have their own section when they are official material. Currently, the PHB and the PHB2 have their own section, while all of the PHB3 material is still listed with the Artificer, the Assassin, and the Swordmage. When it becomes official material, all of the PHB3 items will fall under its own category, much like the PHB and the PHB2. Until we see that, I don't see it as being official. Until we get the whole kit'n'kaboodle (ie, both builds of a given class), I don't see it as official material. Though I could see an argument for why the one build could be official material without the other build needing to be present, it's just not my opinion.
 

renau1g

Visitor
Now, I do think there's a difference between playtest and debut material. Ardent is debut, same as assassin. Now this is different than monster PC's (which there was a nice warning about in the MM about not balanced as PC races). I'm leaning towards yes on this. Allowing Debut material, with the caveat that the final hardcover rules will trump/update the article.

Also, with Hybrids we are allegedly seeing the final rules in Dragon 383 "you’ve seen playtest versions of the hybrid rules, but now we can present the final version slated for inclusion in Player’s Handbook 3. These rules incorporate feedback from readers just like you. This debut content also presents the hybrid artificer class for the first time ever. We haven’t forgotten about the assassin; that class will get its own special hybrid treatment right here in the pages of Dragon magazine before long!"

Oh, and ardents are also available for RPGA play as they are debut
 

Velmont

Visitor
I'm thinking like Kalidrev on that one.

Anyway, I'm not a judge, so it isn't me you have to convince. I think I made my opinion and I will tell it is an shy no I would give on that proposal.
 

Kalidrev

Visitor
The Assassin was never "debut" material. It was official from the time it was released on DnDi. It never had a "debut" article where it showcased ONE build. When it came out, both builds were shown immediately just like any other class has been published in hardback. The psionic classes that are debut material have only been showcased. We're still missing some important pieces of the puzzle, and while, sure, you could create a character from the options showcased in the debut material, you're really limited. But maybe that is more of a personal preference situation and not so much a "this is not official material", so I guess I'll concede there.

And now that I think back on it... all of the articles (such as the artificer, barbarian, invoker, etc) that were not the official material WERE labeled as playtest, weren't they?

Here's what will seal a YES from me:

Answer the following:
Is there at least a single case where material that has been inside of the character builder, and labeled as "debut", has ended up different than what was published in hardcover?

If the answer is NO, then I would agree to allow debut material. If it is a YES, then I would have to say that it should not be allowed.
 

renau1g

Visitor
Found this on the WOTC website. Have there been any debut material released before these articles for PHB3?

Player's Handbook 3 Debut Content

We recently announced that debut content was coming to D&D Insider. As a D&D Insider, you're going to start receiving fully developed and edited, ready-to-publish material from key 2010 titles way ahead of their official publication dates. This isn't playtest material. It isn't half-finished, partially formed, sneak peeks. Nope. It's just like what appears in every physical product we produce. What's the difference? The difference is that, because you're a D&D Insider, we want you to be able to start playing with this material right now. That's the same kind of access to new stuff that we get here in R&D. What could be more Insider than that?

This debut content, which becomes available on D&D Insider up to a year before it sees physical publication, populates the D&D Character Builder and the D&D Compendium, making it immediately useful in play. That's huge. We're starting out by debuting key material from next year's biggest physical product, Player's Handbook 3. As a D&D Insider, you're going to get to start playing with the psionic power source way earlier than the rest of the D&D gaming world. In July, the psion player character class debuts, complete and fully loaded in theD&D Character Builder so you can dive right in and start making psion characters for your next game session.

Starting in July and continuing each month until the release of the physical book next March, we'll roll out distinct and complete chunks of the book. By the time the book sees print, D&D Insiders will have gotten over 100 pages of material early. That's about 50 percent of the book. You're going to see one build from up to five new classes, a few new races, feats, and other surprises from Player's Handbook 3. And that's only the beginning. Later this summer, we'll start rolling out debut content from a second key 2010 title, continually building and expanding the program as the year progresses. This is exciting stuff, and almost instant gratification for the creative teams here at D&D R&D. After all, in the Old Days, stuff we worked on wouldn't see the light of day for months if not years after we finished working on it. Now, for this debut content, that delay will be much, much less.
 

Kalidrev

Visitor
Well, I think that sufficiently answers my question ;)

In light of r1's informative post, I vote YES to allowing DEBUT material to be auto-accepted 1 month from the day it is put into DnDi Compendium/Character Builder.
 

stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
I think we're all in agreement that on no playtest material.

My concern is that the stuff marked "debut" aren't really. Yes, the final version that's on paper right now is fixed (where ever it is in the printing process); but that not necessarily what is online right now (regardless of what the DDI says). I'm not convinced right now that the monk that is "debut" will be the same as the monk that's going to be printed (regardless of what WotC says, as the debut material is a marketing move, not a Design/Dev move).

Of course, the proof of that statement won't be for another month, and the proposal is now. I'll ponder a bit more before voting.
 

Velmont

Visitor
Just a thought.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think there was two reasons why we are waiting 1 month after the release.

1) To see if there is anything broken and have time to say No to it.
2) Allow anyone without a D&DI account to have a chance to buy the material.

In the case of 1), it's easy for debut material to do the same.
In the case of 2), it become a bit more problematic... but we could also argue that the Assassin is not available to those people too (and will never be).
 

renau1g

Visitor
Well technically by waiting a month they can buy the material, just need to subscribe for 1 month at a price less than any book and they can right? I know some people had major issues with WoTC (elec) and losing passwords, but at the same time it's really no different than allowing PHB2 as if someone doesn't want to buy DDI then that's fine but they don't get to use that source, same as if someone doesn't buy PHB2 they can't play a barbarian.
 

KarinsDad

Visitor
I think we're all in agreement that on no playtest material.

My concern is that the stuff marked "debut" aren't really. Yes, the final version that's on paper right now is fixed (where ever it is in the printing process); but that not necessarily what is online right now (regardless of what the DDI says). I'm not convinced right now that the monk that is "debut" will be the same as the monk that's going to be printed (regardless of what WotC says, as the debut material is a marketing move, not a Design/Dev move).
Although I consider this a valid point, I'm not sure that it is a major concern.

There are two possibilities:

1) WotC gets it right. In that case, no worries.

2) WotC gets it wrong. In that case, it's very possible that nobody will catch the error in a reasonable time frame anyway.

As a judge, when you check someone's PC, do you open up 5 books to ensure that everything they wrote is correct? Or do you click on their feat and item links and check their powers via Compendium? Obviously, the second way is much faster.

So the chances of you catching a mistake in Compendium / Character Builder is slim. In order for such an error to get caught, someone in the gaming community at large would typically have to find it. Then, it would still be some time before WotC fixes the problem online.

So even if #2 were to occur pre-this proposal, it is likely that a PC would get approved with the mistake anyway in our current system. The only time it would not get approved is if a) someone in the community found the mistake after the book came out and b) one of the judges found out about it. The likelihood of this occuring right away is probably fairly slim and of course, the same problem could occur anyway without voting in this new proposal.

Invalid online material could always creep into a PC here if WotC does not have good processes for keeping their online material up to date.
 

renau1g

Visitor
As a judge, when you check someone's PC, do you open up 5 books to ensure that everything they wrote is correct? Or do you click on their feat and item links and check their powers via Compendium? Obviously, the second way is much faster.
Well I know that I really don't use physical books for a variety of reasons, including the fact that there's been so much errata to them I find the books fairly out of date. I review using the CB, often creating the PC myself and checking that way. Helps with the wording of the powers, etc.
 

stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
There are two possibilities:

1) WotC gets it right. In that case, no worries.

2) WotC gets it wrong. In that case, it's very possible that nobody will catch the error in a reasonable time frame anyway.
The problem w/ approach 2 is that debut material hasn't been errata'd before the book comes out. So, since we get material 6+ mo before the book comes out (as we did w/ PHIII), we won't see any errata until then. So, while WotC does generally get to fixing, debut material seems to have a much larger lead in to such fixes.

The counter to my counter, of course, is that its taken WotC 6+ mo before to get to errata'ing printed material. They do seem to getting better at this, though.
 

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