Mystical Forest

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This will end poorly
Typewriter - Olde
From the outside, this seems like a poor decision:
Wizards of the Coast has ended sales of PDF editions of its products


“Unfortunately, due to recent findings of illegal copying and online distribution (piracy) of our products, Wizards of the Coast has decided to cease the sale of online PDFs.”


“We are exploring other options for digital distribution of our content,”
Full story.

I've said before that I'm moving toward not having any physical RPG books any more. The nail in the coffin for paper books was when I left for the Friday game I play in, and despite being just a player the weight of all those tomes—already so early in the new edition's career—was prohibitive. It was lighter and easier for me to carry and look up information on my laptop. Looking things up in books is roughly as fast as looking it up on a laptop, depending on what you're looking up and your familiarity with the layout of the book.

Because of this I had already made the decision to exclusively get D&D books in electronic format after Player's Handbook 2. I'd rather carry one laptop than all those books. Carrying those books is ridiculous. The first book I would've gotten in this manner would have been Arcane Power.

Oh, but now there aren't any more PDFs.

So I guess I'm not getting Arcane Power or any more D&D books because why would I, if I'm not going to have a practical way of using them in light of what I'm already using now?

Why should I regress?

Good job, WotC.

Finally, two picoseconds after the next D&D book comes out there will be JPG scans of every page available for download—as there has been for every book prior to WotC actually distributing PDFs. Pulling all PDFs from everywhere does three things:

1. It denies WotC and PDF sellers any amount of money at all from electronic sales.
2. Alienates customers because it denies us of what we expressly want—and have paid for in the past and would continue doing so in the future (at an accelerated rate for me personally).
3. Impacts piracy not at all.

It seems this decision is all negative for WotC, for it will go from getting dollars from electronic sales by giving customers what they want to getting zero dollars and denying customers what they want.

And in the meantime WotC comes across as behaving like a petulant asshole.


Just wonderful.

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I don't understand why they seem so hell-bent on pissing off their fans...

It's a shame, too, because the new game is pretty fun.

Being personally uninterested in the piracy debate, I will point out that the Compendium in D&D Insider gives you access to all the information in a given book a week or two after the book hits the brick and mortar stores (and for no additional charge). Granted, it's more split up, takes a little while longer to find things, and you don't get that lovely, reprinted 3rd Edition artwork (*grumble grumble*), but on the other hand, it's paid-for access that, in essence, you've already paid for.

If you have a connection where you game, you don't need any of the books for character information at all.

I love the compendium--my hope is that at some point it will be made available as a stand-alone product I can purchase and upgrade as updates appear.

Never happen, because it would be useful and make sense.

Plus... it's not like someone can't just buy the book and scan them into PDFs.

Our bag is soooooo heavy. There are times when a book is good, but for the most part, Mishka holds all my D&D stuff!

I have mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I really like the feel and usage of actual books when I'm at the table or when I'm brainstorming.

On the other hand, I tend to use things like the Compendium more and more.

The real problem with the dead trees is when the errata comes out, they end up slightly or woefully out of date. As in, if I don't mark up my books in red ink, I might miss the fact that say, pact hammers got nerfed.

What I want is electronic paper, so I still buy a paper book, but it gets magically updated the internet fae.

It always bugged me that WotC does not update their PDFs with errata. The prime advantage of this whole format.

One aggravating example being that they alter the content of Dragon magazine articles (making changes to powers or inserting errata) between the time that they post the individual article and the time that they post the compiled magazine PDF at the end of the month. But they don't change the original article PDF to reflect that.

So there is, available for download, an individual article and the same article in the compiled PDF. But you can't just download the individual article, because it might have incorrect information in it. GRRR!

WotC's decision sounds as sensible as this version:

Sony Music has ended sales of MP3 versions of its music, which had been sold by online retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, and WalMart. A Sony Spokesman told us, “Unfortunately, due to recent findings of illegal copying and online distribution (piracy) of our products, Sony has decided to cease the sale of digital music files.”

Sony is apparently not ruling out digital delivery of its products using a different format or model. “We are exploring other options for digital distribution of our content,” the spokesperson said.

Precisely the analogy I thought of while writing that post.

It made me think of this.

The Impossible DRM
What if they just, you know, came up with a better system that just protects stuff better?

But here is the super-secret truth for all of you armchair cryptographers: It's impossible. You can't do it. I don't care how smart your programmers are or how much money you spend, there is nothing that can prevent people from pirating a game short of never releasing it. I don't mean "impossible" in the sense that we need better computers or more advanced cryptography. I mean that the idea of preventing someone from copying a playable PC game is impossible in the same way that giving yourself a piggyback ride is impossible.

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