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-   -   HeroLab Classic vs Online (http://forums.wolflair.com/showthread.php?t=63659)

ElterAgo January 9th, 2020 03:55 PM

HeroLab Classic vs Online
 
Ok so I've been hearing some stuff about HeroLab Online. Unfortunately almost all of it has been negative. I want to check my info before making any decisions though.

I have been told that not only will I have to purchase a package for each book I want to add to HL (just like in classic), I will now have to spend another $30 dollars a year just to keep using it. Forever. :eek: That kinda sticks in the craw sideways.

I have also been told that since it is an 'online' program. You have to have web access to use it. Many of the places I go gaming do not necessarily have web access for everyone all the time.
That would mean I'm paying all this money just to have a little nicer looking sheet that I have to print out every time.
Part of the reason I liked HeroLab is that it is up on my laptop and I can look at the feat or spell detail right on my screen. Not needing to go searching through umpteen books for the details.
If true, this will definitely be a deal breaker for me. :mad:

I have been using the HL Classic for years. I am hoping it is not as bad as I'm hearing. What can you folks tell me?

Itzi January 13th, 2020 11:03 AM

It sounds like HeroLab Online won't fit your particular requirements. That hardly qualifies it as 'Bad'.

Yes, just like HL Classic, you'll have to buy data packages for rules or rules supplements that you'd like to use with it. They've been quite clear that when PF1 finally makes its appearance on HL Online, that there will be a small, nominal fee to transfer all the packages you've purchased for HLC over to HLO. So it's not like you have to buy them again.

Yes, there is a small yearly fee of about $25 to continue using the software. Welcome to the modern world of SaS. It is a web application so they have to pay for hosting and the data pipe somehow. In the realm of SaS, $2 a month isn't even a rounding error. This leads to the next item ...

Yes, it's a web application instead of an installed binary. The two items have different strengths and weaknesses. For some people, one works better than the other. In my case, neither of the FtF games I play ever get together without good internet access and I love being able to look at/modify my characters from any device with a connection. If you regularly play in places without connectivity (shudder), then it doesn't seem like it would be the tool for you - that also doesn't qualify it as 'Bad'.

As an interesting note - I'm really, really looking forward to PF1 on HLO. I've noticed that I can load/switch between characters on HLO in a tenth of the amount of time it takes to do the same on HLC. There are some individual actions that take a little longer in HLO, but for the most part, I spend less time doing the same things in HLO.

Don't get me wrong, HLO isn't perfect, but then neither was HLC in its early stages (and still isn't in some cases). I just can't wait till I can make the complete transition. :D

Ualaa January 13th, 2020 01:10 PM

At the moment, the choice is really basic.

If you want to play Starfinder or Pathfinder (2e), they're only available on Hero Lab Online.

If you want to play other systems, such as Pathfinder (1e) or D&D 5e, they're only available with Hero Lab Classic.

They recently launched a new version (Shadowrun I believe), and I'd guess new stuff will be HLO as opposed to classic, but am not really sure.

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The server access for HLO isn't really that expensive.

But a sticking point for a lot of people is that you need online access.

My phone (and basically everyone with a plan [as opposed to pay as you go] in Canada will have) has unlimited data, provided there is cellular coverage.

Requiring online access, for very small amounts of data, isn't a huge deal to me.
But it is to many, apparently.

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Given Paizo is not releasing more Pathfinder (1e) books, and that is the system we're using for the foreseeable (I'd guess two decades to go through un-run adventure paths, many of which are 3pp, plus any campaigns we create ourselves...)...

That indicates the Lone Wolf won't get a lot of my money.

I love the products that Lone Wolf provides, and hope that Pathfinder 1e is added to Hero Lab Online in the future.

$2/mo or $25/yr seems reasonable to me, for the extras that Campaign Theater will provide for my gaming group.

I'm most interested in being able to apply group buffs/debuffs to everyone, rather than doing an adjustment for each of the 7 PCs, and numerous pets or NPCs guiding them somewhere etc; dump everyone into a group, and be able to AoE buff (or debuff) them.

Combine that feature with a live URL of the character, that the VTT points to. Then I can have a Transfiguration (Spheres of Power, Life Sphere) applied to four characters in the party... which increases (at our Caster Level) current and maximum health by +75.

Being able to do the buffs, class features, and such, within Hero Lab... where everything (both beneficial and harmful) stacks correctly, and without needing to adjust anything within our VTT, but having it accurately reflect current stats for everything.

That is worth $2 per month to me easily.

Plus, (picking a number out of the hat here) if I am one of say 500 people who are playing and sticking with Pathfinder (1e)... and who feel that $2 per month is reasonable for that service, then that's an extra $1000/mo to keep Lone Wolf in business, over and above whatever they're making selling new content for more recent game systems.

Joe January 13th, 2020 01:29 PM

Thanks for the rousing (but respectful) defense, everyone.

@ElterAgo As others have said, it may be that HLO is just not a good fit for what you/your group needs. We are a small company and cannot cover everything like the big corps (Apple, Google, etc) do. We've chosen to make HLO an online web application because it its the best compromise of use of our limited resources (mostly dev staff) and platform coverage (device types, screen sizes, operating systems, etc).

FWIW, no one is currently paying any service fee for HLO, and no one has for the years that it has been out. We won't be requiring that until after we make the Campaigns beta available in the near future, which we think adds loads of new features and functionality worth paying a few dollars a month for. Obviously you'll have to take a look and see if it is worth it for your case.

As for the offline use case, we have some ideas in the planning stages that will make HLO more useful in low/no connectivity cases. We don't have a timeline for these yet, but keep checking back to see how the product evolves (the newsletter is a good way to do that).

flyteach January 20th, 2020 02:28 PM

Joe, I sincerely and respectfully hope that you're NOT going to charge until beta is finished. That seems rather unreasonable given the current pace of development and bug fixes.

Krothos January 20th, 2020 04:34 PM

Are there plans to allow the community created stuff currently available with HLC (i.e. SC's Pathfinder Community Packs) with HLO once it's been updated with PF1? This pack alone has been invaluable to my use with HLC with all the options it provides. I know that HLO currently doesn't allow for any community created stuff or was this made available and I missed the announcement?.

Dami January 20th, 2020 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Krothos (Post 285089)
Are there plans to allow the community created stuff currently available with HLC (i.e. SC's Pathfinder Community Packs) with HLO once it's been updated with PF1? This pack alone has been invaluable to my use with HLC with all the options it provides. I know that HLO currently doesn't allow for any community created stuff or was this made available and I missed the announcement?.

You haven't missed anything - there's still no editor or conversion (or PF1 for HLO) - so no Community Packs, etc.

kaintheseeker January 21st, 2020 07:33 AM

My big(ish) issue is that I’ve been hearing that offline mode ISNT going to happen. Too many cons I’ve been to are hard to keep a stable WiFi/hotspot connection to. And some of the places have OUTRAGEOUS rates for their convention center WiFi. Like one, granted I have not been there in a year or so, wanted 50 bucks for a weekend.

Farling January 21st, 2020 08:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by flyteach (Post 285086)
Joe, I sincerely and respectfully hope that you're NOT going to charge until beta is finished.

Beta finished a long time ago.

flyteach January 22nd, 2020 10:01 AM

@Farling,
From above: "FWIW, no one is currently paying any service fee for HLO, and no one has for the years that it has been out. We won't be requiring that until after we make the Campaigns beta available in the near future"
The way I read it as that they will start charging when the Campaigns beta is available. Since it's available today, I'm hoping it's not immediately followed by "here's your bill". Campaigns is an essential part of the whole and paying while it's in beta is not palatable for me. In addition, I just saw that Starships won't be included for a while yet and the PDFs are still incomplete. So, functionality for my group continues to be delayed.


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