Heh, I guess they were worried that the chronic history of failure surrounding the D&D Digital Initiative was starting to fade. So guess what! The one usable piece of the DDI, the Character Builder, is being converted over into a Web app so that you can’t use it without still having a subscription.
The old one was a desktop app, so if you stopped paying WotC you could still use it and your old characters, just not get new rules updates and whatnot. Well, that’s not a hardcore enough revenue stream. So the new one is in Silverlight, is only delivered as a Web app, and will only save your characters to the cloud – NOT to your PC. And of course they plan to “mine your data continuously.”
That’s some bullshit right there. And funnily enough it’s quite relevant to my real world life – this week, my company’s rolling out a Silverlight application people use to write code in. But since we don’t hate our customers, we allow it to be installed out of browser, and also allow code to be saved to the cloud or to the user’s desktop. It’s trivial to do – the only reason NOT to do it is if you want the people using your app to be completely dependent on you, and not be able to use it unless they keep paying you money. Which is obviously the case. Oh, and to prevent people from sharing it; I’m sure the plan is to force more people to buy subscriptions.
Fans are sad. But they keep playing 4e! Joke’s on you! You’re the enabler in this abusive relationship. From the GSL to pulling all PDFs to the DDI, WotC has shown its clear disregard for its customers as anything other than a source of money to squeeze. One might think that would backfire at some point. But some people like being dependent I guess…