A while back I let my DDI subscription expire. I simply found I wasn’t utilizing it as much. I enjoyed reading the content in Dragon and Dungeon, but wasn’t really using it in my game. I found much of the online tools lacking compared to other offline programs (like.. cough… Masterplan… cough.. or power2ool).
There has been some improvement. I tooled around with the monster builder and liked that. The compendium was neat. The few times I used the character builder I found it pretty useful. So there are some promising tools there with DDI, just not quite something I am using in my game to maintain a subscription for.
The big thing that I do see becoming a problem is player errata. Granted aside from Dungeon and Dragon online mags, I think the character builder is almost an essential tool now. Despite what people say about the powers and feats available, once you start parsing down what race/class you are playing, choices start to limit a bit. Stick to particular campaign settings and you get even more limited options. You can build a character without DDI.
However without DDI you cannot build a PC that is using the current character rules. It seems that WotC is making a complete pass through the old classes in the PHB. October errata rolled out another list of changes, this time for the rogue. Granted if you are maintaining your character via the character builder, this is no big deal. If not, you have to print out those changes and keep em handy, likely also highlighting powers/abilities in the PHB to remind you they’ve changed. It’s getting unmanageable.
Now for the regular gamer Joe that plays with his buddies every once in a while. The whole falling behind in errata is simply not a big deal. They can play D&D to their heart’s content with all the books they bought and have a grand time. But sitting down with another group. Bringing a character into organized play. Suddenly that could become a problem if they aren’t rolling up the PCs using the latest iteration of the the character builder.
I’m glad WotC is continually going through material and making sure stuff that is broke gets fixed. But at the same time I’ve realized that so much has changed from the original core books, you are being pushed into maintaining a subscription service to keep up with the rules.
Now, you don’t have to do that. You can simply hole up in your basement with your buddies and have a ton of fun playing 4E. But if you want to play with other folks, things can get a little bumpy. I am seeing things parsing out even more between folks that’ll be using DDI to make up their PCs, and the poor sods using the printed rulebooks.
I think I’ve become that crusty old gamer sticking fervently to his worn books, muttering about past days where they didn’t have to keep a subscription to a database to roll up characters. Others will roll their eyes at me, gently pat my hand and tell me to go sit in the corner quietly, while they continue their conversations about the new Magic Missle Mk III. Yeah, I think throwing in the towel with keeping up on the errata and letting my DDI subscription lapse has turned me into that old hermit gamer. I just hope I don’t become too out of the loop that I have no idea what is happening new with D&D, but I think this blog has all ready starting to become obsolete.