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raindog308
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1

Old October 13th, 2010, 11:17 PM
Downloaded the HL demo, fired it up, read some docs, and realized it used Software Activation. Uninstalled.

Sorry guys. Looks like a great product and I would have very likely bought a copy. But I just am not going to buy software that has Software Activation, for several reasons:
  1. I once bought a product that used SA and the company subsequently went out of business. Reinstalled my OS and now that product is sitting on a shelf and it's impossible for me to use.
  2. I am also not a fan of per-node licensing. I am the only one who would ever use this software so it really shouldn't matter if I install it on my PC and laptop and another smaller laptop I take on a plane.
  3. Too many headaches about activation (just a look at your forum confirms this).
  4. Why should I have headaches if I change computers? I upgrade my PC or laptop probably once a year and there's often an OS reinstall or major hardware change...and then I have to sit on the phone or wait on email.

Yes, some of the "big guys" use it, but while I'm forced to use MS Windows, I'm not forced to use Hero Lab.

I realize piracy is a problem, but SA is a bad way to try to solve it. And I say that as someone who publishes electronically.
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Rithralas
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Old October 14th, 2010, 06:34 AM
The activation issue was solely my fault. I clicked on the wrong game, and I had access to that game the entire time. It was my own fault! Likewise, technical support has been outstanding in helping me get the product working like it should. I'm having a blast with this software!
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neowolf
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Old October 14th, 2010, 10:09 AM
You're not forced to use Windows either. There are plenty of alternatives to that. Even then, I use HeroLab on my laptop running Linux via WINE.

If the company disappeared off the face of the Earth, naturally there could be serious problems though if we're lucky they wouldn't try to screw their fans in that scenario. (I actually have more faith in smaller companies over that sort of thing than I do the "big guys.")

Per node licensing is really the norm these days. Not typically seriously enforced though it is more and more. Though considering you get a "free" secondary license right off the bat for another machine you own.. I really see them as being kind personally.

Never had any trouble with activation myself.

I do understand the concerns with swapping out computers or OS reinstalls. Though you get to swap the license to a new machine no questions asked every six months I believe. If you're swapping out computers faster than that or needing to reinstall your OS more often than that, well, you have other issues to worry about if you ask me.

That being said, you're perfectly free to make your own mind up. There are plenty of alternatives to Hero Lab. I happen to use it because I find it to be the best for me. I accept that piracy prevention methods are something to live with in the face of.. pirates. Activation like this is one of the best countermeasures I'm aware of really.
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Meatpuppet
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Old October 14th, 2010, 10:29 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rithralas View Post
technical support has been outstanding in helping me get the product working like it should. I'm having a blast with this software!
Same here

At first I was a bit averse to all this DRM stuff but after seeing how easy it was to install herolab and update it, I can honestly say my fears were unfounded.

And as for Lone Wolf going out of business, its not like it was established yesterday
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rob
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Old October 14th, 2010, 11:42 AM
The other posted above summed up things quite well, although I want to just clarify a few details in regards to each of your points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raindog308 View Post
1. I once bought a product that used SA and the company subsequently went out of business. Reinstalled my OS and now that product is sitting on a shelf and it's impossible for me to use.
I've been burned like this before as well, so I can understand the concern. As some measure of reassurance, Lone Wolf has been in business for 16 years now, and we've been publishing our own software for gamers for 12 of those years. We've always used an activation technology all those 12 years, and we even still actively support the activation mechanism for users who continue to utilize long-outdated versions of our software - such as Army Builder V2 that was last updated 9 years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raindog308 View Post
2. I am also not a fan of per-node licensing. I am the only one who would ever use this software so it really shouldn't matter if I install it on my PC and laptop and another smaller laptop I take on a plane.
The drawback of "trust" licensing like you suggest is that it's probably the worst form of licensing amongst gamers - at least, based on everything we've learned over the past many years. The primary reason is that one member of a gaming group often buys the software and then gives it to everyone else in his group. Heck, we get multiple groups of gamers every year at GenCon pooling their money right in front of us to share a copy amongst them. If that brazen behavior goes on right in front of the company, how often is it happening in the privacy of the gaming group?

To offset this, we provide a free secondary license so everyone can use the product on a second computer. That handles most users. Additional secondary licenses are also available for only $10 apiece to accommodate those users who are the exception and want to run the product on three or more computers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raindog308 View Post
3. Too many headaches about activation (just a look at your forum confirms this).
There are occasional hiccups in the activation process for users. However, it's significantly less than 1% of our overall userbase and always due to either a technical issue with the user's computer configuration (e.g. internet security blocking the product from the internet or something similar) or the user making an inadvertent mistake. In either case, we are pretty good about getting things sorted out for the user as quickly as possible - as Rithralas, our latest user with an activation problem, attests to above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raindog308 View Post
4. Why should I have headaches if I change computers? I upgrade my PC or laptop probably once a year and there's often an OS reinstall or major hardware change...and then I have to sit on the phone or wait on email.
In general, you won't have headaches changing computers. The licensing mechanism is intended to keep one person in a gaming group from sharing their copy with everyone else in the group - not to make everyone's life difficult. When a user activates a license on a new computer (or the first), a clock starts. After 4 months, that license can be moved to a new computer and reactivated automatically. Since the average user typically upgrades or reinstalls his computer every 18-24 months, the four-month waiting period is generally plenty. The only time we need to be contacted is when the reinstall occurs less than 4 months after the last activation, and we can usually get the user up and running again within 24 hours when that happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raindog308 View Post
Yes, some of the "big guys" use it, but while I'm forced to use MS Windows, I'm not forced to use Hero Lab.
No one is forced to buy any product from any company, including Microsoft even. There are alternative tools to Hero Lab available, and they work perfectly well. We believe we offer the best value for the investment of time and money, and the fact that Hero Lab is the favored tool among most gamers bears that out. It's entirely your choice which tools you choose to use for any purpose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raindog308 View Post
I realize piracy is a problem, but SA is a bad way to try to solve it. And I say that as someone who publishes electronically.
Unfortunately, software activation is the only reliable way that we've found. Is it perfect? Not in the least. But piracy is a reality, and it's HUGE amongst gamers, so we need to take the necessary steps to keep the company in business so we can continue producing quality tools.

If someone were to propose an alternate method that will RELIABLY produce equal or better results, we'd love to hear it. Thus far, we haven't seen such an alternative.
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Beardydude
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Join Date: Mar 2016
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Old March 19th, 2016, 06:24 AM
Hmmm. Sorry to revive an old topic here, but I'm feeling exactly the same way.

And I know you've been around for years. I bought Army Builder back in 2005, and some friends did too on my recommendation.

Now I am perpetually stuck on version 3.2d instead of 3.5c unless I want to pay for it again. Had I not been such an early adopter I might have caught the 2012 expiry freeze - I’m not sure why that wasn’t applied backwards to all purchasers.

Your licensing does not encourage me to buy more of your products. I've since started playing pen and paper too, and I would rather like to try out HeroLab. If it was a $20 one off, 'normal' sort of license, I'd snap it up, and I'm sure plenty more would. But it's not.

I'd have to pay $30 to start with, with the associated worry that it'll be rendered irrelevant by future changes, and the headaches of activation.

Then $20 because I play 2 game systems. It's not like I'm using HeroLab twice as much, I just happen to only play 1 game each in 3 different systems (1 of which isn't even supported anyway). Lots of people might play 3 games in 1 system - why do they get it cheaper?

And then I find I have to fork out another $10. Because I have the audacity to want to run it on my desktop, my laptop, and my windows tablet. Then the associated headache of having to transfer licenses around should I want to reinstall or change any of those. And that's not even counting if I wanted to pop it on my work PC too.

Back in 2005, it kind of made sense. But we live in a cloud connected age. I, like lots of other people, have and use a load of devices, in a load of places. You've made some progress - an ipad app is nice, I guess, if I had an ipad or played pathfinder. But not enough.

Rejig and reinvigorate. You're still on top, with no direct competition, and the actual product is sound. If you want to keep that advantage and be around another decade, you need to revise a lot of things. Cloud storage, either host it yourselves or support more than just drop box (google drive would suit me!), needs to be integrated into the app seamlessly - so you can look at the same sheets / rosters / campaigns / decks on every device. Android apps, for phone as well as tablet. A web interface tapping into the same database would be a great perk. And of course... a reformed licensing model.

Some recognition of geeky people wanting more than 1 of your products might be nice too - where's the bundle deals or existing customer discounts?

Get it all right, and I think I, and many other people, might even buy into an annual subscription - something like $50 annually for the use of all your products. I think that might actually net you a lot more in the long run than the current model!

In the meantime, I'm off to go and choose between Roll20, Obsidian Portal and BeyondTabletop instead!
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EightBitz
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Old March 28th, 2016, 11:51 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beardydude View Post
In the meantime, I'm off to go and choose between Roll20, Obsidian Portal and BeyondTabletop instead!
That's kind of like saying, "I don't like the way you build your cars. I want a better one. So I'm going to buy a Sopwith Camel instead."

HeroLab is character creation and management. Roll20, Obsidian Portal and BeyondTabletop are VTTs or campaign management. They're both aspects of gaming, but separate aspects.

I've used HeroLab for many years. I've reinstalled my entire OS, or migrated to a different system many times. I think I've only had maybe two reactivation issues. Otherwise, it's been seamless. I hate anti-piracy measures that get in my way. Hero Lab's doesn't. It just simply doesn't.

And when I have had those two reactivation issues, it was solved with a simple email. Just one. I never had to send a second one. I never had to answer any questions or show proof of purchase or prove or justify anything.

Granted, I was using the email address I registered with, and that is an important aspect. But all I had to do was just say, "hey, it's me. I'm reinstalling. Please reset." And within 24 hours, it was done. That easy. That simple. That friendly.

My experience as a Hero Lab customer has been vastly different than your perceptions as a prospective purchaser. I will stand by them 100% on this.
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dafrca
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Burbank, CA
Posts: 121

Old March 28th, 2016, 02:15 PM
I have been using Hero Lab for some time. First bought it for use with Pathfinder, then moved to D&D 5.0 now. I have never had any issues with the software. I think the fear of what could be is greater than the reality of what is.

In our group several of us use it (and yes we all paid for it rob ) and it has been a God Send for me. I admit I wish all the game systems I play were supported by Hero Lab, I just realize some are not large enough to pull in the support.

Just my .02

Last edited by dafrca; March 28th, 2016 at 02:15 PM. Reason: Because I can't type. :-(
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ShadowChemosh
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Old March 28th, 2016, 02:50 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by EightBitz View Post
I've used HeroLab for many years. I've reinstalled my entire OS, or migrated to a different system many times. I think I've only had maybe two reactivation issues. Otherwise, it's been seamless. I hate anti-piracy measures that get in my way. Hero Lab's doesn't. It just simply doesn't.
Yeah I have done the same and never even had a single issue actually. I have it running on 5 devices currently and have upgraded them. I have changed iPad's several times. Moving to a new device is simple and seamless as I just remove the software from old iPad and reinstall HL on the new iPad and license auto-transferred.

That is the sweet thing of the license. The ability to transfer computers tablets every 120 days is really nice.

Hero Lab Resources:
Pathfinder - d20pfsrd and Pathfinder Pack Setup
3.5 D&D (d20) - Community Server Setup
5E D&D - Community Server Setup
Hero Lab Help - Hero Lab FAQ, Editor Tutorials and Videos, Editor & Scripting Resources.
Created by the community for the community
- Realm Works kickstarter backer (Alpha Wolf) and Beta tester.
- d20 HL package volunteer editor.
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charlieluce
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,240

Old March 28th, 2016, 03:14 PM
It's not like Microsoft will give you Gears of War just because you bought Windows and Halo, is it?

Every game system is a separate game license for Lone Wolf and requires a different effort to code and maintain.

Currently Running: Pathfinder Second Edition
Currently Playing:
Pathfinder First Edition
Former Games: D&D (4e & 5e), Mutants & Masterminds (2E & 3E), Savage Worlds
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