Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dungeons and Dragons Virtual Table!?

With the continuation of BETA testing of the Virtual Table, I wanted to take a few moments to go and review what we know about it so far and what this system can do for gamers like us.

----original article----

One of my good buddies posted this on our forum.  The D&D Virtual Table.  WotC_Trevor talks a little about the tool that DMs and players can use to participate virtually.  Now, the article does not go into much detail, but they do talk about the graphics, sets of tokens and dungeon tiles from the new Essentials line being included with the product. The VT BETA FAQ also mentions the product will be able to connect friends with the help of voice chat and text.

The VT is currently in BETA testing mode for friends and family. This BETA testing commenced on the 18th of November, 2010.   WotC_Trevor does state that the product should be available to DDI subscribers for testing and feedback shortly before the official release (not known as of yet). There is a VT BETA FAQ for those who are interested to follow the progress of this product.

 Sometimes it blows my mind the way the way people think at Wizards.  Now don’t get me wrong the little post and the picture of the virtual table is really cool and neat looking, but are they serious about possibly wanting to charge DDI subscribers for this tool?  If you are any serious kind of gamer, you would already know that there are a plethora of FREE tools out there to use, and to modify according to your gaming needs.  The crazy things about these FREE tools, is that the not only support Dungeons & Dragons, but most even support the other types of RPG games out there such as Warhammer, Gamma World, and many others. 

Most of these tools are programmer havens.  These sites tend to be run by communities of programmers, who develop the tool to test their knowledge and to help gamers and programmers from around the world.  Right now my group is using RPTools, a very versatile programme, supported by a community of programmers.  Our current DM has built his adventure framework from scratch and is able to basically do anything he wants with the campaigns.  We have monster stats, HP tracking, interactive powers (don’t know how to explain).  Even a rookie like myself has designed campaigns with the basic properties MapTool offers and had a grand time DMing with the product.

----added on later----

There are good things about the VT.  Fortunately, this tool is extremely robust and have tried to crash it on a few occasions.  I love the way rooms can be designed at the drop of a hat by dragging and repositioning the available tiles; I was able to build a room in no time at all.  Once WotC drop all the tiles into the VT is will be incredible to use.  The integrated chat and character voice options are cool also.  If only the VT would customize for everyone and if it could only be automated to attack and remove hit points from targets.  It seems to me a lot of work to have to design your character online, instead of being able to import it from the CB.  Same goes for the monsters with the Monster Builder.

I am not one to criticize WotC, and will never be.  I love the game and the product, and just like I said for the CB, WotC will continue to add to the VT and make it into something great.  Unfortunately, it is not there yet, but I hope with the feedback from the playtesters, the release will take some of those suggestions into consideration.