By - June 24, 2008 - 12 Comments

D&D Compendium now online

Search the rules online

The first of the D&D4e online tools by WOTC is now online. Behold the D&D Insider compendium!

Features

The Compendium features keyword-based searches and the search results are grouped by Races, Classes, Feats, Powers, etc. For example a search for “Magic Missile” returns 2 search results: the Wizard class and the Magic Missile power.

First impression

The lack of an index seems odd. I’m used to the good old d20 SRD! The search seems ok for in-game use (at first glance) but it’s not the best tool when it comes to preparing the D&D Sunday morning quiz. Oh well…

It also resizes your browser window so it’s too small for the app (in Firefox).  Since I hate cross-browser testing I’ll give them a break!

Check it out and tell me what you think!

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Written by Expy

Meet Expy The Red Dragon

Expy is the mascot for DungeonMastering.com and the real mastermind behind Expy Games. He likes to hoard treasure, terrorize neighbors, burn down villages, and tell white dragon jokes..

No matter how fearful the legends claim dragons are, they always end up being defeated in 5 rounds by adventuring parties they encounter. That’s what dragons are – experience points for the heroes in your Dungeons & Dragon party. And this mascot is no different, hence the name Expy.

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Leave a comment (12 comments so far) »

  1. Tikanni says:

    The pop up window for it irkes me. If I could open the link to the tool into a tab in Firefox I might be okay with it, but I can’t, so it’s a loser for me.

  2. Micah says:

    Yet another example that WotC has no idea how to make anything electronic. They could have copied the hypertext d20 SRD line for line and hit a home run. Instead, we get something that vaguely reminds me of the Windows help system from the late 90s, lacking an all-important browse feature, however.

    For a specific example of where they missed the boat, try to find condition summaries. Prone? Unconscious? Dying? I have to look that stuff up all the time. Where are the point buy charts? Treasure summaries? Monsters!?!?!?

    And, like Tikanni said, no ability to open in a tab? I like to have several tabs open to all the monsters I’m running at that point. Quickly tabbing back and forth is much easier than paging through the MM.

    My understanding is that with the new GSL, something home-brew like the hypertext SRD is out of the question?

  3. B. says:

    If you use Firefox 3.0, when the pop-up is up, you can click on the star to save the link. Then, open the link from your favorites, and it is now in a tab! I figured this out yesterday and thought it would help.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Agreed on the lame interface…c’mon folks, an index is practically a requirement! Can we say “site map” all together? It’s not like they’re having to (re)invent the wheel here.

    I’m really disappointed with all things DDI save for Dragon/Dungeon so far. Half-formed roll-outs are no good, in my book. I’d rather see a fully functioning product, or at least one that is singificantly close to its final form, rather than the 21st Century equivalent to the busy little “under construction” man gif that people used to put on sites 10 years ago.

    And I’m a Mac user, at that, so DDI is pretty much a dead deal for me at this point.

    Okay, I’ll stop griping now!

  5. Todd Bradley says:

    My opinion is best summed up by the results of the following search:

    http://ww2.wizards.com/dnd/insider/database.aspx?searchterm=gnome

  6. Fishercatt says:

    WOTC didn’t expect anyone to be using Firefox? Of they expected it. They just didn’t care. Why invest in something that’s not going to effect your sales?

  7. Felonius says:

    I’m pretty underwhelmed. The only book they’ve managed to get in there is the PHB, and, as Micah said, there’s not listing for condition summaries. Honestly, I think they’re going for the “You still need the book” angle here, but it’s a bit disappointing. There’s no cross links (Search for “magic missile”, go to the powers, it tells you that it’s a Wizard Level 1 power, but “Wizard” doesn’t link back to the class…).

    I didn’t have a problem with firefox, but them I’m using Tab Mix Plus (not because I’m a huge fan of it, but rather because I like my tabs on the right, and there’s a semi-complicated way to do that using Tab Mix Plus and a few other things) and I have it set to open resized pages in a new window.

    The system also seems a bit confused… A search for “Arcana” reveals three matches under “Skills”, all of which are the “Arcana” Skill, just with a separate entry for each class that it’s a class skill for.

    More than 25 results in a category results in multiple pages of results. There’s no option to change the “Results per page”, and the default window size isn’t long enough to prevent scrolling the page anyway. If I have to scroll, give me all the results. If you’re going to split, make a full page of results fit in a single screen.

    For something which took (nearly) three weeks from book publication to put out, I’m very disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I work with web apps on a daily basis, and I know that they can be a challenge, but this is pretty sad. They clearly didn’t have an interface designer look over it. Or, at least, a usability designer, or do usability testing. Quite frankly, I’m a bit surprised that they think they’ll be able to charge for this. If the rest of the DDI apps aren’t vastly better than this, I don’t see DDI being an overall success.

    I’m also Jeremy in the Mac camp… Sadly, if the only way to get Dragon and Dungeon magazines is through DDI, I may still end up signing up. And at least the Compendium is equally bad across every OS.

  8. Labareda says:

    I want it to be good :0(

  9. Yax says:

    Yeah. I want it to be good too. I like having community tools but the proprietary software has to be good. I’d like WOTC to set the bar higher.

  10. Micah says:

    In my head, I was imagining a fully hyperlinked set of core rulebooks. Instead, it seems that the compendium is just flat text that’s been indexed for searching. Just send me the text files and I can do that on my own computer using Google Desktop :(

  11. Labareda says:

    I was kinda hoping you could have an animated red dragon a huffin and a puffin next to an entry about a freaking red dragon with hyper links to not only that said dragons component stat explanations but also that particular dragons last meal and a couple of references you can call if you feel like hiring him/her.

    You get that kind of detail on game web pages that are trying to get you to sign up.

    Its not too much to ask. I want to like it and i kinda do it just aint useful.

    I also want to know whether my red dragon has a good work ethic and whether the polymetric testing would indicate that said dragon will mesh well with the other uber-villains in my team. I don’t want no uber-sensitive “I have a hands off approach management with cascading system of synergous idea showers” kind of red dragon. I want a ‘brimstone in the morning’ red dragon and his references better check out.

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