WotC’s strategy concerning D&D 4 was subject to many discussions, few of them with a positive regard. The relaunch of the Character Builder and the Monster Builder using Microsoft Silverlight have also been subject to much criticism. Now it may be time for those people to say “I told you so.” I also joined that chorus. And now Mary-Jo Foley reports on ZDNet Microsoft may only be releasing one further version of Silverlight and that maybe only for the Internet Explorer.
Surely the current version will still be available using current Silverlight players, but there will be a point in the future, when the last bugfix to patch a security issue and the last new feature has been released. And WotC sooner or later has to move away from Silverlight. Up to today the online CB has matured to a quite usable but not perfect tool (armor bonuses were recently broken, but else it’s working good), but eventually they have to start all over again.
Even though I regarded using Silverlight, a Microsoft-supported but never widespread technology, as a mistake, I never imaged it to be this drastically. WotC has proved that their are barely able to manage a substitution of the old offline CB and MB with their online successors, which lets me doubt very much that they will do it much better the next time. Digital tools for rpgs are a fine thing to have, but being dependent on a company that has not much manpower for such things and not much experience with software development seems to prove fatal.
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