What’s that saying? “Knee me in the groin once shame on you, knee me in the groin twice shame on me”. Well shame on me indeed. This all started a couple of weeks ago when I received an e-mail from Wizards notifying me that in 2 weeks time the new online monster builder would be officially launched, which was followed by me prancing around my living room, flapping my hands, and squealing multiple “OMG’s” as if the captain of the football team had just asked me to the summer sock hop. I have been patiently waiting for this thing to drop for a while. This a big deal for me as a DM, because I pretty much try and stick to using monsters with the newer design principles, most of which are not in the older offline monster builder, thus regulating me to altering, leveling, re-skinning by hand and needing to sort through multiple books.
I even prepared myself mentally after the fiasco of the online character builder with helpful soothing coping thoughts such as “it’s not the end of the world if it isn’t perfect, nothing is ever perfect and expecting perfection is setting yourself up for disappointment”, “having something is better than nothing”, “this isn’t personal, they can’t possibly be doing this just to spite you, they don’t even know you” etc….
So as the 22nd approached I eagerly awaited the opportunity to pimp a run of the mill Minotaur Charger from the Monster Vault into an Elite badass mofo with a new “skewering” power to surprise the smug and to big for his britches charge-happy Scout in my online game. On the day of the release, after a couple of deep, centering breaths I nervously loaded up the program. It didn’t falter or freeze up and was surprisingly quick. The layout is similar to the character builder and I was easily able to bring up the Minotaur Charger stat block complete with picture (which was pretty cool). I then excitedly clicked the “customize” tab and…..well I don’t really no how to describe it, but there was just nothing. I am not talking like full of bugs freezing and crashing, just nothing, no functions. There was just the stat block, you couldn’t change or customize anything. There was a slide bar that changed the level but it didn’t’ correctly level the monster. So essentially this thing wasn’t really a monster builder per say, but was really more of a monster viewer, which for the record it was awesome at.
To be clear this is part of the e-mail Wizards sent out:
“On March 22, Wizards of the Coast will begin rolling out the new web-based Adventure Tools for D&D Insider, starting with the launch of the brand new D&D Monster Builder. Creating new monsters, customizing existing ones and building your adventures will be easier than ever before. On launch day, just log in to your D&D Insider account, click on the Adventure Tools button and give the new Monster Builder a try
I have to say that I honestly never saw this coming, well played Wizards well played indeed. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they did this. It’s like they want people to be angry or frustrated with them. There was no reason to do this, just release it when it is ready to go. After what happened with the online character builder I was content with them taking as much time as they needed on the monster builder so I wouldn’t want to, you know, put my fist through my computer screen….well fingers crossed on the release of the virtual table, because there is no way they can go 3 for 3 right?