Over at ENWorld, MerricB talks about Gleemax, the new Wizards of the Coast social software endeavor, and how bad it is, all its promises having become a gaping hole of suck.
The new “D&D Insider” is clearly heading the same way. This was supposed to be a lynchpin of D&D 4e, combining character builder, online reference library, online play, Dungeon Magazine, and Dragon Magazine for the not-so-low price of $14.95/month. I find it entertaining that if you google for D&D Insider you get a link to a page that just throws a 500 error. Oh, that looks like it’s all of Wizards’ site right now. Sigh. Anyway, in short they haven’t delivered on any of it yet, and only those unfamiliar with TSR/Wizards’ history with electronic products for D&D could ever think they would – they’ve screwed up every stab at it, ever. The previews of online play have been uninspiring, their character builder looks awful, and their licensing etc. schemes are all half-baked and annoying.
I’m not quite ready to write off Insider just yet. Both Dungeon and Dragon are doing better, and if you play 4e, they might be worth the expense. Of course, both of those were clearly the low-hanging fruit. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out as August approaches.
It’s almost as though proprietary technology developed by a lowest-bidder dev team isn’t as good as anything put together by fans working on an open-source model.
I will be surprised if Insider, as advertised, ever ships; I will be shocked if it’s worth $15/mo; I will be flabbergasted if more than a handful of people pay for it.
I will gladly pay 40 – 60 bucks for a collection of software that does what they are doing, but they our out of the gourds if they think I am paying 14.95 a month for this option. I don’t play D&D enough to warrant the cost, and I would rather pay one time fees for expansions and new data. If they think they can get off charging 14.95 a month for this, then it better have very regular updates.
Really though, this per month fee stuff is getting out of hand. Produce a product, make me want it, and I will buy it. With this, they are just being lazy. Their game is not an MMO. They simply don’t have enough content to justify that cost.
Man, I’m still feeling the burn from Master Tools, E-Tools, whatever the hell it’s called now.
My big concern isn’t whether it fails or not, but how WotC lashes out at independent developers who produce freeware tools, like they did ages ago when they ruined PCGen. Will they get even more draconian considering the stake they’re placing in Gleemax?
Meh. I play C&C now and while the online tabletop might have been a fun thing to use for that, I’m not willing to pay 14.95 just for that. Not that it matters, as based on my past experience with WotC, I have no confidence that they’ll ever finish it…
Oh, and for the record, there is a great online tabletop system for free, including a token maker and dice roller, at rptools.net. So there’s even less reason to go Gleemax…
The idea that me and my five players would all pay for a subscription (that’s 90 bucks a month) to play online was ridiculous from the start.
As for the tools – as a web based service for 5 dollars a month, zillions of people would have subscribed. But the pricetag is insane.