Things done well:
- Incorporation of dungeon tiles is great! Being able to build a huge map out of tiles is something I only get to do so often. Most of the time my players only get to see one room or so of tiles since my table is only so big and it take a bit more time that I usually have to put together multiple maps.
- Creating the rooms with the tiles was quick and easy. The selection was not huge but it’s beta so I wasn’t expecting them to include every published set. With in 15 minutes I had a decent sized map with some interesting terrain whipped up and ready to go.
- Blasts/Bursts/Zones could all be made by players in their own colors. They can last until the players or the DM delete them. Notes can be added to the game map so players and the DM can tell what the blast or zone is.
- The initiative tracker is easy to use and self sorting. Adding and removing entries was quick and easy.
- There is a journal tool included, possibly one of my favorite tools.
- Voice Fonts! Voice filters each player or DM can add to change the way they sound. For a DM like me who sucks at voices these are gonna be fun and get some mileage in my games.
- Monster tracking was simple with the ability to add marks, bloodied status and free spaces for any other conditions powers might cause.
- Everyone is thinking it and some people have said it and so will I: Character & Monster imports.
- The line of sight tool should be visible to the DM and players. This would allow discussion about LOS issues and rules to take place with everyone on the same page.
- Character exporting is functional but not very intuitive, placing it on the navigation bar might help solve this issue.
- Including the ability to create custom tokens or import tokens could really help the over all experience.
- The blast/burst/zone creator could use visible tags, and the colors could be a bit darker. Mouse over information would be really useful; including the creators name and the effect would be nice.
- Allowing customization of the lay out would also be nice. It’s a really functional setup but I know people love to set their own design. I like having a chat panel on the left side of my screen and so on. Being able to set up my desktop as I wish would be fun.
- Being able to set up cover and line of sight restrictions before the battle and letting the map calculate the effect would be nice.
- A sound or alarm on critical rolls would be nice. I often found my self looking at the sum of the rolls and the modifiers and not the actual dice rolls so I missed it almost every time the players rolled a crit.
All in all this looks like a seriously good map tool. To think it’s all hosted online is freaken awesome! I can’t wait to see how it all links up with the other tools they have built and are building. I’m even considering bringing the virtual table into my home game.
DreadGazebo – Well Thadeous it looks like you’ve really about covered it but I’ll quickly add my two cents by just saying even though entering your PC’s in by hand is a bit arduous it was really rewarding to actually get to play, I had a blast! Once this goes live, the fact that all the monster/PC files are exportable and there is a “template” feature I’m sure the community will have things covered in no time and setup times will probably be reduced considerably, perhaps even WotC would release some for us, or include the files with the adventure articles they publish in DDI.
I also think you’ve covered most of the points brought up in my notes, except for it would be nice if you could change your token icon mid stream, but I think the easy fix for that would be to create a new character and import its crunch from your already existing one and then just swap the icon. Dice roll sounds would be cool too but thats a minimal thing that may annoy some people, but it could always be a toggled option, as would an on/off for the language filter in chat. I was also curious if the random number generator was on the server side or client side after Thadeous rolled 3 1’s in a row and Psychopez managed to score 2 or 3 crits in a row, lol.
Overall I was really pleased with what I’ve seen so far, being able to customize the UI a bit more would be nice (undockable panels, adjusting the size of frames/windows, color schemes) but it was really solid otherwise. I think WotC is definitely on the right track here and I can’t wait to use the VT more and see what develops in the coming weeks/months. And once again I’d like to give huge thanks to Trevor and anyone else from WotC who contributed to making it possible!
I’m currently putting together a tutorial video for release later today that will go over the tables features and capabilities for everyone to take a glimpse of as well, stay tuned 🙂
DeadOrcs – I won’t have a whole lot to say here. Thadeous & DreadGazebo seem to have covered most of the things that I noted during my experience. I want to echo Thadeous’ thanks to Trevor Kidd & Mike Robles for allowing us Beta invites on such short notice. Trevor & Mike? Make Thadeous bring you an expensive bottle of wine or something.
For a closed Beta, I was pretty impressed with what had been accomplished so far with the tool. Game play was actually smooth, with very little lag. I was most impressed with the voice handling. Audio takes a bunch of bandwidth, and (at least for the beta) the servers on WotC’s side seem to handle it in stride.
Things I’d like to see? Well, to echo the now LOUD & CLEAR message, the tool should have an import. I know parsing whatever text comes out the Character Builder (and/or Monster Builder) won’t be a glamorous job, but if you make it work, the tool will be head & shoulders over it’s competitors. One final request? Let us customize the tokens. Even if you can’t keep them on the server, allow us access to the file type, so that we can upload our own. It’ll go a long way to prevent the appearance of the tool from becoming “generic-looking”.
I look forward to testing out the DM side of the tool in the upcoming weeks. Thanks again, to everyone that helped us with the VT test!
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.