Physical to digital content

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    Mark McCollum

    I understand your plight, but honestly this is ridiculous.

    D&D Beyond is a separate company from WotC, and they license the content from WotC, who has to approve the terms under which it can be distributed. The digital books are a separate product from the physical ones, and just because you buy one doesn't mean you automatically get the other. Demanding a digital product from a wholly separate organization just because you purchased another product from a different company that is associated with that product is not something that works in the real world.

    Think of it like this, would you demand that Gale Force 9 give you free copies of the class spell cards because you bought a physical copy of the Player's Handbook?

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    EBongo

    I agree with Mark.  It is a bit of a good news bad news situation.

    Good News - We get an awesome tool, that is being actively maintained and improved, and is a game changer literally and figuratively.

    Bad News - Our previous investments don't usually transfer (see starter kit detail below), and we have to navigate new concepts like bulk discounts, subscription models, and content sharing.

    A few things I would point out, that leave me in the camp of liking the new system:

    • If you look back far enough, there has always been a shelf life to all previous books too.  When editions change, you eventual need the new core books if you want to play new adventures/campaigns in the new rule set.  Conceiveably there will some day be a 6th edition, and I expect the "digital strategy" to be much smoother by that point (see below).
    • With the new starter set, WotC included codes for digital content versions, and a coupon for the PHB digital version.  This is a model akin to what many new video game releases use.  It undercuts the 2nd hand resale and pirated PDF markets, because the codes are one time use.  It seems fairly win-win to me, and while it wouldn't help you for past purchases, it would if they go to this model on all future products.
    • In general WotC and Curse could do much more to extort the DnDB community for more money, and *knock on wood* they so far have kept things pretty simple.  You can use the character builder, and the basic rules for free.  You can buy individual items a la carte, or buy source books if you choose.  You can homebrew your own items, even direct copies of items in source material, and as long as it is for your personal use it is allowed.  Moreover, they allow you to share these homebrews with a campaign, again with no subscription. 

    When you consider how much they are giving away for free and their business model in general, it seems to me that they are more focused on creating real value for their customers and maintaining good will, then cashing in.  It seems like you acknowledge the value in the tool and that it deserves to be paid for, but you just can't afford so many books at once.  Why not pick up the PHB, and then homebrew onesy twosy content from other books until you can afford to/decide to purchase others.  If your player group pools money for Master Tier, you can also take turns buying books and share, so that one person doesn't bear the full financial burden.  For the record, my group originally did the former and then later did the latter.

     

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