Web-Based Character Builder

Note: There's apparently some confusion about my stance on the whole web-based direction that Wizards of the Coast is taking Character Builder. First, I don't mind if it requires internet access. That's a perfectly acceptable response to some fans' stance of picking up a month of DDI a year, or every so often, to get a shitload of content for an incredibly low price. Second, I like the fact that my character is saved server side, as it means that I can access it from anywhere instead of having to transfer character files back and forth between PCs, and I don't have to worry about losing my data.

You can read up on what details are revealed here, and bitch about it here. Since it's web-based you'll need an internet connection and Silverlight to use it (they're also pulling Character Builder from the site when it rolls out, so no more offline support, period). On the plus side, there will be immediate support for both Dark Sun and Essentials, and character files will be stored server side. Oh, and all previous content will be there, including the option to import older characters.

The new design looks a bit friendlier, though I've never under understood their obsession with "jagged" graphics, which contrasts with the smoothed borders that the buttons use. I just wish they'd pick a style and stick with it. Something actually fantasy would also be great. There's not a lot shown, but picking from styles would probably be handy to help narrow things down for new people.


  1. I am looking forward to this to be honest.

    Looks awesome.

  2. I think its going to be a good thing, if it works all the time.

  3. It just sounded the death knell for my DDI subscription: I'm not paying for a shitty web app that wants me to choose my playstyle and holds me hostage to eternally renewing my subscription in order to have access to my character files or to make a Dark Sun character. They should have spent the time and money developing a replacement for a working tool providing some of the other promised tools instead. :o(

  4. I have to admit that I see this as primarily negative. I'm already on PC, and already keep my subscription active, but I'm not thrilled about...

    (1) How this hamstrings my ability to prepare during lunch at work. I have an 8-month-old at home, and most of my prep is done at lunch.

    (2) How all the characters are stored in a place out of my control. I'd rather have a locally-saveable file that I can send to someone.

    (3) How outages at the server could hamper my prep time.

    With that said, I'm glad that my sub isn't renewing automatically until after this is unveiled. I'd like to see it in action and get a feel for it before making a decision. It's a predominantly negative change for me, but it still may be worth the monthly price.

  5. @MJ Harnish: re "shitty web app" - FWIW, the old app is built in WPF and the new in Silverlight. As a result, they may feel pretty similar.

    Hopefully down the road they'll provide an out-of-browser experience (which is possible in Silverlight, and should allow offline use on more than just Windows).

  6. I am deeply concerned about privacy. I want none of my stuff available for anyone at all but me, to read. Period. Anything short of that is unacceptable.

  7. Finally I can subscribe to DDI. As a Mac user, having all the DDI programs as web apps is a huge win.

  8. There are a few things I don't like about this setup.

    1. It pretty much forces you to have a DDi subscription if you want to play D&D. Let's face it - 4e characters are generally too complex to do by hand. Thus, if you want to make characters, you need a subscription. By announcing that Essentials and Dark Sun stuff will only be on the new system, they pretty much force all new players to subscribe. Additionally, since the characters aren't stored locally, if your subscription lapses, you no longer have the ability to update your character.

    2. WotC has a terrible track record when it comes to digital implementation, especially online stuff. Can't wait for a server issue to wreak my game night.

  9. I don't know if it "forces" anyone at all.

    I have been making Essentials characters since Sept. and never needed the character builder for it.

  10. I think Essentials is very easy to tackle IF you aren't crossing content streams. If your group likes to mix things up, then it could get hairy with the thousands of powers and feats already out there. That being said, I've always had a DDI subscription.


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