DDI - Get it right vs Get it done... FIGHT!


4th Edition


Ok... this is ostensibly a foregone conclusion but the delay in the DDI tools has made me wonder.

Computer game company Blizzard has always maintained that they'd rather release a game when it's at the right point (mostly bug free) and by so doing, the user experience is great.

That being said, they are notoriously late or their release dates slip.

What do you think? Should the DDI be released as soon as they can get a stable/useable build or should they wait until it shines to go beyond expectations?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Get it right, D&D will always have a following and many will wait the extra chunk of time if they can be assured of a quality product. Rushing something through, well... that hasn't worked so far, has it?

The Exchange

I am squarely in the do it right camp. The iPod was not the first MP3 player to hit the market. Apple waited until the product was ready and it pushed the competition aside. The same with the iPhone. It is now the dominant smartphone even though it arrived very late in the game.

When a site, app, or electronic game is launched before it is ready it may gain a negative reputation that cannot be shaken no matter how much it may improve over time. Look at Vista as a prime example. Microsoft has basically fixed it and it still has a horrific reputation.

WotC should not be in a rush to get to market - they should get it done right the first time.

Dark Archive

I agree- get it done right, or as right as possible, then release it. Seems to be the current plan.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Definitely get it right. And not just ddi - 4e itself should've had more development time before being released.

The Exchange

Sebastian wrote:
Definitely get it right. And not just ddi - 4e itself should've had more development time before being released.

Agreed.

Scarab Sages

Sebastian wrote:
Definitely get it right. And not just ddi - 4e itself should've had more development time before being released.

Definitely, on both counts.


So Get it right is the way to go, no matter the extra cost of development?

Not that this will increase the monthly price of DDI, just that it might slow down the release of other things.


Sorry to double post, but there's another complexity to this. A lot of current software is released in "Beta" form so they can do a wider playtest.

Any chance of this happening? Probably not. Should it be the way DDI approached the market?

Scarab Sages

Get it done. Sorry, folks, but it has to be said...

I barely see the point in a virtual tabletop, since there are already others out on the market. If Wizards had hired a good development company to do this project, then a centralized server might have been a sufficient draw to let them compete in this market. As it is, they're building up to a failure.

DDI is probably vaporware. If it's not, then release it, and develop in place.

If they haven't architected with patch streams in mind - well, I wouldn't be overly surprised. But they can at least stop pretending...

The Exchange

veector wrote:

So Get it right is the way to go, no matter the extra cost of development?

Not that this will increase the monthly price of DDI, just that it might slow down the release of other things.

There is a myth that delays will raise costs and therefore lower the return on investment. The fact is that a quickly launched piece of crap will never have the adoption rate as a late to the game gem of a product.


crosswiredmind wrote:
veector wrote:

So Get it right is the way to go, no matter the extra cost of development?

Not that this will increase the monthly price of DDI, just that it might slow down the release of other things.

There is a myth that delays will raise costs and therefore lower the return on investment.

Well, that's not exactly what I'm saying. If they use freelancers for D&D content, then maybe a shifting of resources to the DDI tools will leave less budget for content. I'm just thinking out loud here.

The Exchange

veector wrote:
crosswiredmind wrote:
veector wrote:

So Get it right is the way to go, no matter the extra cost of development?

Not that this will increase the monthly price of DDI, just that it might slow down the release of other things.

There is a myth that delays will raise costs and therefore lower the return on investment.
Well, that's not exactly what I'm saying. If they use freelancers for D&D content, then maybe a shifting of resources to the DDI tools will leave less budget for content. I'm just thinking out loud here.

Sure - that could happen. It may slow other projects. But it seems to me that the DDI is a vital part of their long-term strategy and they need it to be done right. That IMO trumps other less critical projects.

Dark Archive

crosswiredmind wrote:
veector wrote:

So Get it right is the way to go, no matter the extra cost of development?

Not that this will increase the monthly price of DDI, just that it might slow down the release of other things.

There is a myth that delays will raise costs and therefore lower the return on investment. The fact is that a quickly launched piece of crap will never have the adoption rate as a late to the game gem of a product.

Mind much less that it costs far more to fix bugs and other errors later in the development cycle, with the cost being the highest once the software/device is in use by the end-user vs fixing it while in the testing stages (or even earlier preferably).


This is often a matter of wait vs. hate. If you make them wait, they may hate you for a little while for pushing release schedules back, but fans forgive quickly once the product is released virtually bug free and fun to use.

Conversely, fans will hate you if you release a product on time, yet full of bugs and horrible to play, because not only have you wasted their time playtesting what YOU (the company) should have tested and got right in the first place (regardless of the complaints as to time), you wasted their money purchasing it too! How companies stay in business using the second SOP is beyond me.


As a customer, "get it done right."

As somebody who's often thrashed with the "get it done now so we can start making money on this project that's changed direction three times this week and will change at least three more times today because we're having a 'meeting' which is really just three marketing guys and some schlub we pulled off the floor so we can go around repeating the same stuff we did three months ago," I can see why the DDI might be in the "get it done" position.

Liberty's Edge

At this point I think consumer, and even designer, preference is rapidly disappearing in relevance against the need to start showing a major improvement in the bottom line. I suspect that had a lot more to do with the two tier subscription arrangement than customer feedback.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

There is a 3rd option. Cancel the project entirely, since it's passed the point where it can be salvaged, and now we're just throwing good money after bad. It's rarely used in the corporate world, unfortunately. I'm not saying that DDI is at this point or not, since I honestly wouldn't know. But, IF DDI is at a point where competing products are on the market for free or a substantially lower cost than what WOTC is willing to charge, and/or the development is simply not producing a product that will ever live up to customer expectations, the best business decision would be to kill the project now, and stop increasing your costs on something that won't ever make money.


If we have to wait for them to get it right, DDI won't be out before the D&D 5th edition core rules.

Contributor

Honestly I'd love to know the behind the scenes drama between WotC and the original Gleemax/DDI developers with Radiant Machine. After WotC did their "transition to in-house" development, that probably marked a point at which they completely scrapped the original code and started over. I strongly suspect that WotC originally went with the lowest bidder for Gleemax and the DDI, and now 1+ years later, with virtually nothing to show for the investment, people are looking at the whole thing as likely vaporware.

They still have a number of major jobs open for hire that are the sort of positions that you fill at the beginning of a major software project, not when you're almost ready to release it. Again I have to wonder if they're just not willing to shell out the money to hire the best developers for the project, rather than try to code on the cheap. And only hiring local applicants, with no relocation aid, probably isn't the best way to attract top flight talent.

Reading the resumes of some of the previous developers on gleemax and DDI is... enlightening and scary at the same time. WotC really could have done something awesome with this, but they either mangled it via mismanagement, or they tried to get good coding at the lowest possible price, and ended up biting off more than they could chew.

Except for me, my entire gaming group is composed of software engineers and web developers (and an ex-WizO who was there when Gleemax started up before they resigned). The entire affair has them absolutely flabbergasted and slack jawed about how it has proceeded since day one. Literally they view it as a case study in how not to develop a product for market.

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