Wizards of the Coast have announced that they have a brand new web version of the D&D Insider Character Builder ready for launch on November 16, 2010.

  • New Design: Completely redesigned from top to bottom in Microsoft Silverlight as a robust character creation wizard.
  • No Download: The Character Builder is served from the D&D site
  • PC and Mac Compatible: Requires an Internet connection and Silverlight plug-in
  • Access is easy: Just enter the D&D site, log in, and launch the Character Builder from the Tool Box or the Character Builder tools page.
  • Characters in the Cloud: All characters you create are saved on our database. No need to save Character Builder files on your hard drive anymore.
  • File Import: You can easily import your character s created in the previous version to the new Character Builder.
  • Previous Data: Includes all character-building data you enjoyed in the previous versions.
  • New Data Releases: Dark Sun and D&D Essentials data will debut with the new version.

When the new version launches, the download version will no longer be updated.

via Wizards of the Coast

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Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

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23 Comments

  1. Trey
    November 3, 2010 at 9:59 am — Reply

    This is, no doubt, their response to pirated versions of the Character Builder.

  2. November 3, 2010 at 10:07 am — Reply

    Congratulations Wizards! You’ve made D&D more like Warcraft! ;p

    I’ll stick to my Pathfinder books and look to Mutants & Masterminds 3rd ed. when it comes out.

  3. TheNewNum.2
    November 3, 2010 at 11:13 am — Reply

    Also of note, non Intel-based Macs are only compatible with Silverlight 1.0, so it’s very likely that the site won’t be as Mac friendly as they are saying it is.

  4. Brian
    November 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm — Reply

    I’ll share my complaint that I found in the WOTC boards:

    My Characters are shared in the cloud. Not on my hard drive or flash drive. So I can’t give my DM an electronic copy. My DM can’t open it up in the builder and verify that it fits within the campaign restrictions.

    An additional complaint that I have with ‘shared in the cloud’ : That’s a disk that I don’t have control over. If that drive crashes and Wizards hasn’t backed it up since my last changes, good bye changes.

    This is a service that will be available for as long as they offer it. When they decide to end it, what are we going to have to show? With the downloaded version, it’s like Quake. I can go and install a program from over a decade ago on my computer. In 2020, will I be able to log on and open my character from 4th edition? Or will 5th edition be out and me out of luck? I’ll bet on out of luck.

    I’ll keep my downloaded version not have Dark Sun and Essentials.

  5. Roosterj
    November 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm — Reply

    It’s a way to keep people from subbing for a month 1-3x a year when each major book comes out (that and as Trey noted, to limit Torrents).

    Has there been a discussion on who legally owns these characters?
    How do you deal with/will there be an issue with site maintenance?
    Are communties with limited/no internet SOL?
    How many computers can access to an account (IE so that DMs can have access to character sheets)?

    Further, the screen shots they show seem very Essentials/red box like in the question they ask (Which is fine for what it is). Will there be interfaces for those that prefer to stick around with the older material?

    In short, I’ve got many questions, and not a lot of answers.

    • Brian
      November 4, 2010 at 6:45 pm — Reply

      OK, dug into the Wizards Terms of Use and under User Content, Wizards states

      “By posting or submitting any User Content to or through the Sites or Services, you hereby irrevocably grant to Wizards, its affiliates and sublicensees, a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive, and fully sub-licensable license, to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such User Content (in whole or in part) in any media and to incorporate the User Content into other works in any format or medium now known or later developed. The foregoing grants shall include the right to exploit any proprietary rights in such User Content, including but not limited to rights under copyright, trademark, service mark or patent laws under any relevant jurisdiction.”

      So if saving your character gives Wizards a right to use that character as they see fit.

      From the forum post on Wizards about the change, Wizards has stated that the site and service has multiple redundancies and any maintenance will not be noticed.

      Limited or no internet connection, SOL.

      And any number of computers will be able to access, but they want each player to have their own account. It’s known that the legally downloaded character builder is shared so that the DM can have an account and the players use it to update. Hence the five update downloads per account per update. But they discourage it and don’t doubt it will be a condition for termination of the account.

      Given the type of people that play D&D, I don’t doubt that a hack is going to be out on the net after the 16th that patches the downloaded builder.

      • Roosterj
        November 4, 2010 at 8:36 pm — Reply

        Thanks for the legwork for my lazy butt. Not too pleased with the answers. WoTC having control over characters might not seem like a big deal, but that’s a bunch of creative content that is now ‘up for grabs’.

        We’ll just have to see how the reviews handle it.

  6. Matthew
    November 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm — Reply

    my group splits on a DDi subscription. will that still be possible?

    why are we on version 2 of the character builder, when we are still at version 0 of the virtual table top. you want to drive subscriptions, why not add some fecking content we dont already own in book form and give us a service that could make any day of the week D&D night. WoTC has its priorities way fucked. sometimes during my D&D games i feel as though im having fun with the game IN SPITE of WOTC, rather than because of them. since my group started subbing for the dark sun content and update 3 months ago, you can imagine how pissed we were when after 1 month of silence they announce this gem.

  7. blue_dragon
    November 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm — Reply

    Yeah this is not as good as it sounds, for example me and my friends share an account that will run out soon enough, we can check each other’s characters in school or anywhere, but now we will probably won’t get access to it, also we are not fans of using laptops/internet as we play, this will hammer our efforts and probably force us to buy another subscription for each one of us

  8. November 3, 2010 at 7:07 pm — Reply

    Yup. Lame. WoTc is crushing the game. Turning more and more people off. Nice work WoTc! Folks do yourself a favor and take my advice, and Matthew’s advice and play AD&D 1E.

  9. November 3, 2010 at 10:18 pm — Reply

    This sucks since it’s Silverlight based and has no file export. It cannot run on mobile devs and no file means it breaks all kinds of third party coolness like iplay4e.com.

    Fail Wizards.

    • November 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm — Reply

      No export – yet. The company did say they are working on it for a future release.

  10. Sam
    November 4, 2010 at 12:34 am — Reply

    Let’s watch them ignore any public reaction and continue to produce a service that will go down as soon as 4.5 or 5e comes out. Then where will all our characters be? Meanwhile, nothing has come down the pipeline for the adventure tools- wait, I bet they’re going to shove those up into the cloud also!
    Looks like October 2010 just became the definitive DDI set for my entire party, forever.

  11. Lex
    November 4, 2010 at 6:39 am — Reply

    This new tool replaces the existing character build, adding the onlinefunctions. On the other hand it will:
    – no longer allow the users to build characters offline;
    – will require permanent subscribtion, or otherwise you wont be able to use it nor access any of the charcters you have created, for they will be saved online;
    – The company will have full access to any data you store in the builder, usable for marketing analyses as they please;
    – not be available once the servers are maintained/offline/shut down;

    Just to add some info on the old charecter builder: They will not only stop supporting it, they will also remove the option to download it, once the new builder goes online.

    For me as a customer, this is rather a downgrade than anything else. It reduces the options you have, addes some minor boni and replaces a tool that proved its value with one that has to show its worth in the future and allready misses functions like an offline mode, that will never be added.
    It whould have been a nice addition to the existing tools, but it is not an equal replacement.

  12. November 4, 2010 at 3:16 pm — Reply

    As a huge supporter of CB…this version peeves me off. I want to access it anywhere. I build characters on the bus. When the power outages hit.
    I want to be able to build and go!
    No export, ruins millions of Iplay4e games.
    Also annoying that it reliant on their servers.

    It is annoying. A downgrade for sure.

    • November 4, 2010 at 3:16 pm — Reply

      They should have polled all subscribers!

    • November 4, 2010 at 4:52 pm — Reply

      Do people not create characters the old fashioned way? With pen, paper, and their handbooks?

      • November 4, 2010 at 5:14 pm — Reply

        Yeah, but who can carry 20 books with them to reference whenever they need to.

      • Brian
        November 4, 2010 at 7:05 pm — Reply

        The current builder allows for campaign restrictions. Wizards has stated that the online version will not.

        Second edition had a builder towards to the end, and my DM made everyone use it. Why? It told how the stats were rolled: Method, number of times, and if they were modified. Some of the methods were going to get you awesome stats. And even if you used the basic 3d6 six times, if you roll 37 times you’ll get a good set. Of course I was also a bit brash and sometimes needed a new character rolled up quick.

        And sitting down to make a character with pen and paper, it’s easy for new (and experienced) players to miss something. You forget to add a bonus from something and two sessions later you realize that the near TPK would have actually been a breeze.

      • November 4, 2010 at 7:50 pm — Reply

        Far far too many sources now with Dragon magazine articles, adventures, and LFR all adding new options every month. PnP is only possible if you limit sources and what fun is that.

        This is a giant mistake on Wizard’s part and the reaction online is proof of that.IMO.

  13. Brutus Elam
    November 4, 2010 at 5:07 pm — Reply

    For the campaign I am running, I use paper, books, (and pdfs), while one player is using i4e on his iPad.

    For the campaign in which I’ve been playing a PC for a year, we’ve done it with paper, sometimes by candlelight or out in the forest. The dual GMs cook medieval style food, too.

    I’ve never found a DDI subscription to be needed for anything I wanted to do. I would probably subscribe if I could still get the magazines mailed to me in paper form.

    This new character creator would actually be good if Wizards finally made their own iphone/ipod/android apps to work with a DDI online game system. What they need are a critical mass of people are carrying around 4G devices.

  14. Tecrogue
    November 25, 2010 at 2:02 am — Reply

    well…. I guess I’m done with 4ed, possibly DnD completely.

    I’ve been playing for years, and running official events, but with this on top of how organized play and certified DMs have been getting the shaft I just don’t care. It used to be I was playing at least once a week, if not upwards of 3 times a week, but I’ve become so dissatisfied with how the game has been handled and the directions WoTC has been taking with it. While I was glad to hear they were trying to get new players playing, how they have been doing it at the expense of veteran players has just turned me off from it completely. I may end up playing a game or two based on the system, but at this point I am done.

    • Damascus
      November 29, 2010 at 9:39 am — Reply

      The only thing here though is that true “veteran” players probably know how to make up character sheets without the use of a computer and have been doing so for many years so if they don’t particularly care for this then they can go back to the way they had been doing it for a long time. I do think that the DDi Downloadable character Builder is a cool and useful feature, and that making the changes does really diminish the product, but people don’t have to use it and can still play the game to their hearts content. If one of the players in a game want to use some new rules that not everyone or the DM have copies of, just make that player bring in proof of the new rule or update and go from there. Or you can really get on Rodrigo about giving his reviews of the new Errata as they come out. ;) Ha, that wouldn’t get old.

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