New D&Dragons Character Builder: First Impression

I was a bit surprised when I loaded up the initial screen of the D&D character builder. The load from the website was actually faster than the load from my HD, about 5 seconds or so (I didn’t have a stop watch). At the creation screen I chose custom and was very perturbed to see that I had to select a play style and game setting before I moved on. I knew something like this would be in the quick character creation but not in the custom. I thought by selecting a play style I would be forced to chose from only a few classes that pertain to said style. I was wrong! It really just brings those classes to the top of the list for you and nothing more. Selecting all play styles will get you past this screen in a hurry. Selecting the campaign setting didn’t alter much either, I’m guessing it does more for DarkSun characters than anything else.

I’m a bit sad that I can’t upload a picture of my character. I’m a bit fan of going out and getting some custom art for which ever character I play. I’m sure that will be included in a short time but for now I will miss it.

The creator is responsive and does not have a lot of hang. It did lag a bit when I selected the Raven Queen as my deity, though I’m guessing it will do that on the first day (She is a popular lady for what it’s worth). The pop out screens are nice at first, who knows how I will feel about them in a few week though.

At the ability scores scree I was happy to see an array of options. On the point buy tab it actually highlights your classes main ability score and the two secondaries. This is awesome, I often forget what I really need to beef up so I found my self going back to the class screen at least once  to check my main stats (Goldfish memory). The screen did hang a bit every time I added points, but it’s day one and I know there are tons of people playing with it. I’ll wait to see if that goes away at a later date.

Power selection is straight forward. It’s not much different from the old character builder. Powers are shown off to the side with their description and effects listed on a pseudo power card. The Feats screen is still a bit muddy and hard to wade through. Though they have added some new categories that many options will be hard to sort no matter what. There is a much improved search feature though. The new search actually made my feat selection much faster; if you didn’t know what you were looking for you might not find it helpful. Being able to select the source material for the feat did improve search time; knowing what book I found them in is only useful to those who buy the books though.

The biggest improvement for me so far is the gear selection. They have made it feel much more intuitive and easy to use. People who are very familiar with the old character builder might have a bit of a hard time getting used to it, but once they do I am guessing they will enjoy it. It gives you the option to manage your current inventory or to enter the  market screen where you can buy or add new gear. Sadly my biggest lag spike or hang time was in the new store trying to buy a holy symbol.

Sadly as my character is part of a home brew world with some differences in the rules I was not able to add some of the “extras” my character has come to enjoy. One of these being an extra feat; all I have to do it write it in but I am still hoping that home brew features get added in the next few  updates of the builder.

The character sheet is different. I have spent so much time looking at my old character sheets I’m not sure if it’s an improvement or not. From what I can tell though you can not customize it as you could in the downloadable. I really enjoyed being able to get rid of pictures and redundant information to save on ink. This is another option I really hope they can add quickly.

I have heard grumblings that the import feature isn’t working so hot. I have imported three of my characters with out much fuss. I had to change a few things, but again it mostly had to do with home brew options. I’m not writing off the complaints of others though, I’m just noting that I have not had any issues my self.

The new character builder gives me hope. I like the direction it is going but I hope some of the major issues get fixed soon. I’ll keep using it and I’m sure many other people will too. If you have not given it a try you definitely should then come back here and share your thoughts on the new design.

*Edit* After playing with the character builder for an hour or so it simply stopped working for me. I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt and say it’s due to the strain being placed on the system. I’m not going to rant or blow up until it stops working on me in a few days.

*Update* I gotta stop adding these things but this one is huge! When I say huge I mean the size of the document I just tried to print from the new builder. Right now my poor computer is trying to spool a 545 mb file. That is a three page character clocking in at over 540MB from the web. I’m guessing some of the issues the servers are having would be coming from this. I can’t say for sure because I am not a programmer.

If you have bugs to report Wizards has a page for that here.


Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.


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About Thadeousc

Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.
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