The Thursday Blog: WotC Jumps in the Cloud Car Edition

Tuesday the 16th of this very month, Wizards of the Coast will be changing the way Character Builder operates. A part of their DDI subscription service, Character Builder has previously been a downloaded program (that updated for new rules once a month) for Windows users which allowed D&D players a super-easy method to create and manage their characters. The character files were application-specific, and while you could print to PDF, the functionality was problematic, and not really built to accommodate it.

Enter the newer, cloudier Character Builder. The app is now entirely browser-based and platform independent. Sort of. It requires Microsoft’s Silverlight plugin, and as far as I know that leaves Linux users out in the cold… though I suppose that’s not exactly news to them. All you will need (other than Silverlight) is internet access and your password. No more worrying about how many installs you’ve made, where your character files are, or even who’s computer you’re using. While the forums are burning up with naysayers and Cassandras predicting the doom of Character Builder, DDI, and Wizards generally, I can remember thinking at the time they released the thing that they ought to have made it browser based to begin with. While I sifted through a virtual ton (pun intended) of whiney cry-geeks declaiming their injury and stating they would never game again, every one I saw was complaining about something that they has either missed or misread in the official announcement. This will make the tool easier to use. Easier, and better.

There is now a built-in for creating PDFs of character sheets, you will be able to import your characters from the old app, it adds Mac users to the party, and it will introduce Dark Sun and D&D Essentials to Builder. Mobile versions are being discussed, and though it will no longer receive any updates, your old download version of Character Builder will continue to work as it always has. In fact, I only see one possible blemish on this shiny new upgrade.

WotC’s servers.

While the old system did not require the internet to work, it did depend on the internet for regular updates. 90% of the time these went just fine, you logged in, got your update, and were on your way. The remaining 10% occurred when the server was down, busy, or otherwise incapacitated and you were forced to come back for the update later. While this wan’t a big deal with the application version… you simply proceeded without the update… it will be a much bigger problem if your access is completely denied. Thus far WotC has proven resistant to serious infrastructural upgrades of the kind they appear (from my armchair) to need. The new product will lengthen the visits and increase the traffic their servers see. I am hoping that they will prove willing to make the needed adjustments.

Overall I am happy about the move. Cloud computing does seem to be the wave of the future, and if it can work the way its advocates claim, it is going to be a huge windfall in cost, power, and flexibility for we users. Apple just released the new MacBook Air without a DVD/CD drive, and you can expect to see that occurring more and more across the board.

The table is being set on the next stage of computing, and amusingly enough WotC is providing appetizers. It’ll be very interesting to see if the main course is something anyone wants to eat.

Below are some screen images of the new D&D Character Builder.

66 Responses to The Thursday Blog: WotC Jumps in the Cloud Car Edition

  1. Considering WotC is a partner with the D&D folks on DDO, no doubt you will be able to preplan DDO characters’ careers ahead of time soon with this thing…

      • Actually, I usually just wing it with MMOs…the classes in DDO aren’t THAT different from classic classes, except for Prestige lines and being able to customize all of your skills and class/race enhancements as you level up…I was just speculating, since I see the WotC logo every time I log into DDO.

  2. Does it, perchance, let you build with older versions? I have no intention of switching over to 4.0 any time soon.

    • I don’t think there are any plans for that. It makes sense, considering they no longer sell any of the older editions, (and that kind of product dilution would really be shooting the company in the foot) but that would be really cool regardless. I’d have used it.

      • I think you’re right, Kevin, about no plans for the app to provide rules for older editions. But I’m not 100% convinced that it would actually be the self-inflicted gunshot to the foot you say.

        I don’t know about other D&D players, but I personally have not bought any D&D books since the DDI program went live. Instead, I pay my annual subscription (last I checked it was, what? ~$70?) and get access to the rules from all 4e products ever published.

        If a significant number of 3.5 and earlier edition players were willing to shell out for that same annual subscription in order to have this convenience, it would cost WotC nothing but their development time to serve them (they don’t have to write and publish new content after all). So I guess it would depend on doing some market research to see if it would actually be worthwhile.

        They may not plan on publishing any more pre-4e content, but if enough people are willing to shell out $70 a year to see it, I know that I would certainly look into it if I were a WotC executive. Granted, the development costs would still be relatively high just because of the amount of older material that would need to be included, and they would need a lot of older edition subscribers to pay for it.

        • I’m pretty sure that Paizo bought the rights to 3.5 and is selling it as their Pathfinder system. Now THEY might do it, but I doubt WotC would make it for what is essentially someone else’s product.

          My purchasing habits have pretty much mirrored yours. I think I purchased 2 books after DDI, and stopped when I realized I wasn’t using them. (I’m not quite as smart as you are.)

          • 3.5 was “open-source”, so I don’t think Paizo needed to purchase the rights (I don’t actually care enough about it to look it up). But even if Paizo does own 3.5 now, if the potential for enough profit were there, I’m sure WotC could make arrangements.

  3. I dont D&D but to this video gamer it looks pretty slick

    wounder if Bethsheda helped on that. looks like they may have borrowed a bit from them at least. (note im aware D&D came before oblivion however the pictures of that program look straight out of oblivion)

    • A lot of fantasy artists work freelance, so there could have been people working on both teams. Also, artists tend to borrow whatever look is “hot”, so it could have simply been a matter of influence. I don’t really know.

  4. I know that people have used Netflix under Linux (Netflix uses Silverlight) but I’m not sure if it’s from Microsoft Silverlight or Mono Moonlight (http://www.mono-project.com/Moonlight). Either way, Linux users shouldn’t be excluded from this unless WotC used some of the latest and greatest features of Silverlight that might not be implemented in whichever Linux version there is (and I’m not saying they did, just *if* they did).

    • Yeah, I don’t really know. I DO know, however, that the Linux community tends to include itself into anything that has overlooked it. They’re a pretty clever bunch.

      • We have to be, it was started as a hobby from people looking at ways of using PCs without being chained into Microsoft’s ways of making you do things and suffering their bugs. As Microsoft expands what their OS and programming efforts stretch to we always have to keep going adding our own versions of things in addition to all the work we do leading the way (like, for instance, in inventing practical cloud computing and server virtualization).

        • The thing is, I’m not sure if you yourself, or most other users, actually invented this or that. I mean, it’s like me claiming to be a great programmer, designer and inventor just because I use some program or another.
          I use Firefox these days but I won’t go saying “we FF users are so smart, we always make new applications etc.” because I don’t do anything, I just use the gods-damn program.

          There’s just this smugness about it, you know? People being proud to say “I’m a Linux etc. user, look at me, I’m special and obviously a genius!” like they did something more important than I do when I turn my PC on.

  5. Doesn’t affect me (much). My partner and I have been using a hybrid homebrew for six years now, and really have very little to do with WOTC these days. A big part of that is just that we have never been fans of the whole d20 system. Not claiming it’s bad, just stating that it is not for us. (we are percentile fans)
    What I am concerned with is MS Silverlight. It is showing up more and more places lately. Biggest problem? Even when it is installed, I still can’t watch the content it is needed for. I just get “Loading…” for all eternity…
    Am I opposed to advances in IT software? By the Five Unholy Hells of Aethyrr, NO! What I am opposed to is any more MicroFlaccid D-Baggery continuing to make life difficult *in exchange for very little improvement*.
    Anyway, my .02 credits worth

    • Silverlight has already shown itself to be as buggy as everything else from Microsoft, so hearing it was such an integral part of Character Builder was not exactly welcome news. Perhaps in the next few years WotC will overhaul again and make it HTML5.

      • We can only prey. (spelling intentional). I truly have come to hate MS. If the modeling and rendering software I use worked 100% with Linux, I would probably change. Hells, if I could afford OSX I would build myself a Hackintosh. Without a serious infusion of cash, though…

  6. My two cents: I love the setting and the flavour of the Ars Magica system, and I also like what their rules system can do for fleshing out character change over decades. I don’t play Ars Magica for a lot of reasons however, and one of those is that the character creation pretty much needs this level of statbuilder-assistance program (similar to this) to get you running and to handle maintenance without spending hours on it.
    IMO any game that has rules this complex has passed the threshold of requiring direct computer automation of those stat problems; once it has passed that threshold it’s too complicated for a GM to make proper rule judgments and house-rule alterations like any competent GM should be able to. To summarize this bluntly: If it makes sense to put it into a spreadsheet you’re playing a ruleplaying game, not a roleplaying game. Not my idea of what it should be, it should be about using imagination and wit instead of memorizing feat lists and statbuilding.

    • I think we are in agreement on this. I was invited to play in an Ars Magica group once about fifteen years ago IIRC. After I took a long look at the CCS, I said “No thanks, folks! I’ll stick with SWRPG!” This was back in the WestEnd days…>nostalgic sigh<

      As far as *our* system, about 10 years ago, I kitbashed togather a hybrid based largely and (loosely) off FASA corps' ST:RPG, with a dash of Ars Magica, SWRPG, CoC, MechWarrior RPG (also FASA) and Rifts, and then proceeded to modify the hell out of that Frankensteinian kludge over the next few years, 'cause MAN was it ever broken…
      Here 10 years later, we've got a system that involves a minimal overhead of in game number crunching , relatively easy character gen, and most important of all, yields fast-paced, semi-accurate, FUN gaming, in almost any genre. Now, we probably could, and (i'm sure some would say) should put the character info on spread sheets. Why don't we? Because I despise MS Excel, and I hate Open Orifice even more. I used to have to use it (MS Excel) for work, (and if you must know, yes my tender little synapses were violated by a spread sheet when I was a child. I have been in therapy for many years) so frankly I just don't find spread sheets all that fun or useful in our kind of gaming.
      I have heard the argument that a skills based game system is by its very nature going to need a spread sheet. I personally don't agree with that perspective. A skills based game does not *necessarily* have to be that complex, in either CharGen, or CharRecord keeping, and especially in play.
      In the system we use, generating a new character requires about an hour, and some number crunching (mainly averaging skill ratings with attributes), and then you're done. After that, the bookkeeping is primarily a matter of keeping track of HP and Ki/MP during gameplay. Neither of us is very interested in RULEplaying, so we have worked to minimize that sort of thing. For us, the game is about ROLEplaying and telling a fast-paced, exciting (or at least dramatic) story.
      Honestly, I could go on for hours about this, because I enjoy fiddling with game systems, as long as I don't have to do it in game. So, as a favor to others, I will stop here for the moment.
      OH, and if anyone asks “Why not GURPS?”
      Tried it.
      HATED it…

      • Please forgive me if I’m misreading but it sounds like you worked backwards to try to invent FUDGE and got only half way. If you’ve never heard of that perhaps you may find it interesting and insightful to see how small a gaming system can be without developing setting-specific thingamabobs. If you have read up on FUDGE I’m interested in how well that worked (or didn’t) for you.
        Doing a quick search for a good version that’s free from later cruft of the idea with unnecessary secondary systems didn’t work so well. The best live link I’ve found for it myself in ten minutes of searching is here: http://www.panix.com/~sos/rpg/csua/fudge-tex.zip

        • I’ve heard of a “TXT” file…WTF is a “TEX” file?

          (Maybe used in a word processor for Texans, that recognises “Yeehaw” as a word?)

          • It’s an ordinary text file with markup for running through a printer. Yeah, I know, I’m sorry. You want I should scrape the Google search some more?

            • Nope. Googled Fudge, found grey ghost press, DL’ed the PDF after the text files turned out to be hashed up with too many word processor control codes.

        • Sounds good Kevin!

          @ AC: Never heard of FUDGE (or FATE, either) before I started following HOLE. I’ll take a look at it, but honestly, what my partner and I use works pretty well for us. As far as only getting halfway, that would presume that my goal was to create FUDGE, or to remove as much nuber crunching as possible from the game system.
          As far as number crunching goes, I set about minimizing it as much as was necessary to streamline resolution and improve gameplay.
          My goal was to create a d100 based system along the lines of FASA ST:RPG, vastly streamlined, and which would be better able to handle melee combat as well as being capable of handling magic. Because I take a somewhat different approach to Magic, Martial Arts, and Psionics from the approaches most people seem to take, I found it necessary to create my own system which reflected my thinking and not the thinking of the published game designers I was familiar with at the time with regard to those things.
          >afk…brb…< ➡
          OK, having taken a look at FUDGE, I can say that the creators of it had some good goals, and put a lot of thought and effort into their system. I can also say that it is not for me. Do I plan to use FUDGE? No. No, I don't. There is a little (alot) too much vagueness in things I prefer to be exact about, and too much exactitude and precision in things I prefer to leave open. I basically feel like they went too far in a direction I do not wish to go.
          Please don't get the wrong impression. I am NOT slamming on, or criticizing FUDGE. To the contrary, I applaud their work. I am just saying, "it's not for this boobie-fetishist." 😉
          If I want FUDGE in the future, I know where the kitchen is.

          • As far as simple, yet versitile, gaming systems, GURPS was a pretty good setup…if you didn’t have the skill to do something, you could always roll against default skill, and it let you have a middle ages campaign, and toss in a crashed flying saucer, complete with a few Greys, without having to pull out rules from another gaming system.

            • GURPS is FUDGE for people that are addicted to confusing dice mechanics and unnecessary rules from what I’ve seen. I admit I am not an expert in it at all and people could have been pulling my leg about that weird 3d6 mechanic.

              • It’s not “weird” it’s 3D6 so that it’s a bell curve…makes critical successes and critical failures rarer, and 3D6 averages out at 10.5, which is just a little bit higher than the average stat score.

                  • I like GURPS, but it is not “simple”. A large combat could easily take two full gaming sessions to resolve, and that is too damn long. I am aiming for <30 minute combats myself. I like the fighting part, but it gets bogged down WAY too easily, and I'd rather have more, exciting and shorter combats than fewer drawn-out and boring ones.

          • Heh, go ahead and be brutal if you think that FUDGE is really just some loose rule-manufacture scaffolding you’re supposed to hang around your story and hope it doesn’t explode.
            The early versions were loose about everything aside from inventing the notion that you can make any stat or skill you want and using a couple scales and a mildly innovative 2d6 mechanic (later borked to 4dfudge) to handle all the checks. Then they started encrufting when someone asked the sensible question, “Well, what about magic? That’s complicated!” and then they started inventing ever more needlessly complicated systems for that which smeared shit all over the whole thing IMO.
            In general I take the notion that number crunching isn’t what you’re there to do at all and the most complicated system I ever used was Cyberpunk 2020 (second edition) with some of the ridiculous crap taken out. That at least had all number crunching be straight-up addition and subtraction.

            • “if you think that FUDGE is really just some loose rule-manufacture scaffolding you’re supposed to hang around your story and hope it doesn’t explode.”
              AC, That was not at all what I was trying to communicate. Now, if I accidentally turned one of your sacred cows into Whoppers, by disagreeing about FUDGE, my sincerest apologies. I have had a cursory (10-15 minute) scan through the rules. I was simply stating my initial opinion and reaction. Admittedly I should have made that a little more clear. I did not want to immediately get into a point by point dissertation on the merits / flaws of a system I have had merely a glance at.
              The overall concept is a good idea. The execution leaves something to be desired In My Opinion .
              The FUDGE dice thing leaves me absolutely underWHELMED (unlike a certain cartoon hammer).
              Having any skill you want is good, within reason. Having any stat, not so good. @ the very least, everyone in a campaign needs to have the same kind of stats, i.e. STR, END, DEX, WIS, INT, CHA, and so forth, reworded in whatever wording or acronyms the hypothetical group uses, otherwise you are comparing apples and oranges. STRength and BRawN are not necessarily the same thing.
              Also, I prefer to have finer hairsplitting potential for comparing characters than just seven levels. Like, maybe, I dunno, 100 different levels? :mrgreen: That is the reason why I use d100 after all.
              As I said previously, When I started work on the Hybrew system I currently use, I had not heard of FUDGE. I will add that I was distinctly unimpressed with a lot of the CanisLupusArcticus crap that was on the market at the time, and I will admit I was feeling VERY pissy at that time about gamebook prices, as well as d20 taking over damned near everything, but that is a seperate rant for another day…
              The fine folks at FUDGE did not create something awful, or unworkable. I just feel that they went in a different direction than I want to;

              i.e.

              ME—————————————————————————>

              FUDGE
              \
              \
              \
              \
              *
              In the end there can be only FUN!
              We just get there by different routes, and the destination has the same name but different GPS coordinates.

                • Don’t worry, I make a point of eating sacred veal before it has a chance to grow into a full-grown sacred cow. I’m just puzzled how anybody could say that a d100 system is simplified enough but I haven’t read yours yet now have I?
                  Every character in the setting having a basic set of general attributes unless they specifically don’t need some of them is something I tend to do as well, the point about stat flexibility is to consider how in some settings a sanity, a pretty and a bullshitting stat matter more than the venerable five -> six of D&D.

                  • Ok. With that being your point about stat flexibility, I can agree.
                    As far as a d100 system being simplified enough? For me it is. This is one of those things that involves personal preference Not saying it would be simple enough for everyone else, or anyone else, however it is simple enough for me to be happy with it.
                    Just because skills, stats etc are d100 does not necessarily mean the system has to be complicated. For me personally, a d100 system for stats, skills, etc. means that calculating odds of success / failure, i.e difficulty codes is very simple. To Hit #’s are just weapon skill or combat skill averaged with the relevant stat. Weapon pluses modify your target # upwards. Target dodge abilities / qualities modify your target # downwards. Same thing for success / failure skill tests. With 10 different Primary attributes, pretty much every area we may conceivably need is covered.
                    Anyway, as I said previously this is a matter of personal preference, and I have not been, and will not be trying to get other people to try my Hybrew system. I originally only mentioned it as explanation of why I have not had much to do with WOTC, or any of their D20 products. Well, aside from playing DDO.
                    I’m Lysthaaniia cel Mohrvannyn, on Thelanis server, about once a week. Mostly I game solo.

        • Try Unknown Armies? (the rules, not the world setting fluff)
          Admittedly, it’s a game specifically geared towards Psychological Horror genre gaming, not towards dungeon crawling and strategic team combat.

          But I frankly doubt that any game focussed on strategic team combat (large scale or otherwise) with combat feats, special moves and positioning rules, like Battletech or D&D, can be done without a large rules framework.

          • Nope, have not tried it (UA). Most of what we do is individual / very small group covert ops / special-ops type gaming, and I have not been in a gaming store since three years before my divorce, so I guess nine years ago would be the last time. My ex husband was prone to blacking my eye if I went to the game store. That’s why he’s my ex. After the divorce, I wound up living in a county with no gaming store, and even had to endure a few years with no internet other than the crappy 30 minutes a day library connection (oh the horrors). So, I have really not kept up with the field, of what’s new and different in gaming. At this point in my life, I find I am no longer really passionate about it either. For me, I have found someone to game with, and we have a system that works. As Stan Lee used to say “’nuff said..”

  7. GURPS was a nice attempt and a great set of sourcebooks. I just never cared much for point allocation systems. Of course, one other point does come to mind. It does not matter how good the system if G.O.D. (Game Operations Director) blows goats. So my bad experiences with GURPS may have something to do with an asshat of a GM at the time…
    Conversely, I have seen good GM’s take a perma-B0rk3d system and make it playable and moderately enjoyable.

    • Always, I agree that what’s important in gaming is people over systems. All my old players moving away or getting jobs/wives/etc is why I don’t game since trying to find a fresh batch that isn’t a waste of time is pretty hard in a big city where folks have plenty of other options for entertainment.

      • People are definitely the most important element (or aliment, or even ailment in some groups) inthe equation. There’s a group (Shadowrun) here where I live that wants me to join. One of the players is a good friend of mine, but the GM is a complete RULEplaying asshat. The rest of the group is composed of the clueless leading the blind and does not seem to mind wasting two hours blathering overBritney Spears latest antics, (in true Flouride drinker fashion) while the GM and my friend argue over some element of how the system works. She, like me is a fan of a common sense cinematic style, tempered with more common sense. He on the other hand, seems to believe that you can do all that bullshit from the Matrix IRL’z, LOL, and seems to have learned about things like the katana from the internetz, LOL
        “It can cut through a tank! No, Rly! I swa it on the internet!”
        Needless to say, I have better things (and people) to do on Friday night…

  8. F*ck Cloud Computing! If I wanted that I’d watch Ghost in the Shell SAC.
    Sorry, had to get that off my chest first.

    Am I the only one who remember who pen-and-paper RPGs, in contrast to computer RPGs, were once called, well, PEN-AND-PAPER?? Because not everyone owns a laptop or drags that laptop to every game, or wants to own some goddamn internet cell phone/MDA/iPhone or whatever latest gadget to carry character sheet around. And even if you use a laptop for gaming (which I only do when I’m the GM), you know, some places, like conventions, do not have a LAN for internet access, not to mention finding a wall socket to plug you laptop in. A pencil doesn’t need electricity.

    Now, I know games rules systems were you desperately do want a spreadsheet for character creation and management, i.e. Spacemaster Privateers, or Perry Rhodan RPG, and yes it does help with d20 D&D… but if I understood you correctly, Kevin, with the WotC character builders, you could chose between either a character sheet that you cannot properpy print out, or the latest version which you can print as PDF but the character builder and all the characters stay on WotC’s servers?? Ahahahaha.

    Thanks for the screen shots provided, Kevin. That character builder does look an awful lot like a computer game. What kills me is the “Chose Play Style” window, offering the four basic roles of 4E I had already heard about that correspond to certain classes. (Although it talks about “strikers, defenders, controllers and leaders” but then gives “healer” instead of leader. Oh well.) But right below the four pictures, it says, “Choose for Me.” Wow. 😡 Just… wow. And here I thought the point about roleplaying was starting with a character concept, some idea who and what you want to play. No? 😐
    “Hey, it’s fine, just gimme a random character, whatever.”

    • Actually, Christina, in my long and storied gaming career, I have been the guy who was late to the session where the group was trying a new system and I didn’t have a character sheet. In those situations, a button that magically produced a completed character sheet would have been enormously helpful. It really wouldn’t have been much different than the DM handing me a pre-generated character and just rolling with it. Roleplaying is what you make it, and I can roleplay a pre-gen just as well as something I came up with on my own.

      So why not have the option?

      And the current character generator [i]does[/i] create printed character sheets just fine – Kevin was merely saying he had problems printing it to PDF. Big difference.

      You don’t need to drag a laptop to your game to use these tools. I bring my printed character sheet and my core rulebooks, and my dice. Just like I have for the last 20 years.

      Let me repeat, this tool does not prevent you, in any way, from bringing a printed character sheet to your game.

      I guess I don’t understand all the nerd-rage over D&D taking advantage of technological advancements. It seems completely irrational, especially coming from someone who likes to write long, well-researched posts on other topics.

    • I intend to use the new Character Builder exactly the way I used the old one. On my own time I will manage my character, print out my sheet, and then carry my sheet to the game. The only possible difference is that it will now be easier for me to access, since I can get to my characters from any computer, including my Mac.

      As far as I can actually tell, the only thing that has changed between now and the “Bad Old Days” is that I’m typing my character instead of writing it. But all of that happens outside of the actual play time, to which I bring a paper character sheet and my pencil. (I’ve never used a pen to game with.) It IS a bit more convenient, since I no longer have to cross-reference half a dozen rule books. All the relevant rules are provided to me via the app as I need them. I would stick this in the win column for both me and WotC.

      Forgive me if I am speaking out of turn, but it seems like you have misunderstood what this tool actually does.

    • No, you’re not the only one who remembers pencil and paper gaming. My partner and I still do things that way. It’s less hassle, and more portable. For us.

    • Having briefly played 4e(probably longer than I’ve played anything else, but then I never got to play much) and having used(enthusiastically) the Char’ Builder(with torrent-supplied updates: WoTC are greedy thieves!), I can say all it does is help you calculate all your points, bonuses, minuses etc. and choose everything from easy to find, centralized charts.
      It doesn’t make you choose anything. It has suggestions, mainly in the “fluff” material, like the usual stuff with “humans are jack-of-all-trades” and “half-orcs would make for terrible wizards”(which Enkidu obviously ignored).
      Those “choose style” buttons are there for novices who don’t know what exactly everything is for. You choose “Masochistic Meat Shield” and it probably tells you there are so and so classes that specialize in getting smacked in close-quarters, and what each of them further specializes in. At least that’s the logical use for such selection buttons(And the short description for each category supports it).

      The whole thing about the play-style categories is to clearly define, for everyone to understand, what each class actually does best. Despite how that sounds, this isn’t about narrowing down and limiting your choices, it just to help novices to quickly understand what a class is about, and helps in making a well a balanced party, because now you can say you need this or that specific role(Which frankly, the classes mostly already had beforehand) to fill a gap in your party, but it doesn’t say you have to choose a Cleric for the leader spot instead of a Shaman or Bard(Those suck though, I’d choose a Cleric every time!), for instance.

  9. Woops. I just reveiwed my posts, and realized I starting to sound really defensive.
    AC, Christina, anyone else I may have gotten defensive sounding with, my sincere apologies.
    No qualifiers, no excuses, just an apology, and a promise to try not to be so defensive in the future.

    • I’m not bothered but it’s good you recognize that. Other people may decide that personal preferences are something that must be defended but in case that’s unclear I understand that some people just like blue, or lots of arithmetic during the gaming session.