Hero Lab Online FAQ
Q: Has my current Hero Lab changed its name and become Hero Lab Online?
A: Not at all! Your Hero Lab is the same as it’s always been, it just has a new sibling.
Q: How do we differentiate the “old” Hero lab from the new Hero Lab?
A: Hero Lab still has plenty of life left and will continue to evolve in various ways. To distinguish the two, we’ll be referring to the “old”, desktop incarnation as Hero Lab Classic and the new one as Hero Lab Online.
Q: Why are you having an Open Beta for Hero Lab Online?
A: Since Hero Lab Online is an entirely new product, an Open Beta allows us to solicit feedback and make adjustments where needed, plus this lets everyone test drive the system before making any decisions on purchase or migration.
Q: How do I sign up for the Open Beta?
A: Sign-ups for participation in the Open Beta will begin at some point in September. They will be posted prior to the sign-up period and will appear in our newsletter, on our support forums, and across our social media feeds.
Q: Do I have to migrate form Hero Lab Classic to Hero Lab Online?
A: Not at all, it’s completely optional!
Q: Will Hero Lab Classic cease to exist?
A: Nope! We know many of our users love Hero Lab Classic just as much as we do, and we will continue to actively support and enhance the program.
Q: Will you continue to release content for game systems on Hero Lab Classic once the game system is released in Hero Lab online?
A: If the game system already exists within Hero Lab Classic, then yes, future content will be made available in both environments and at roughly the same time within each.
Q: After I migrate, will my purchases show up in both Hero Lab Online and Hero Lab Classic.
A: So long as your purchase is available in both versions of the program, they sure will!
Q: Who will be able to use Hero Lab Online?
A: Everyone’s welcome at the party! Hero Lab Online is a browser based solution that’s been specifically designed for all common devices. We will support all the major browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and IE. Users will have character creation at their fingertips from a wide range of devices, including PCs, Macs, Linux, smartphones, iPads, and yes even Android tablets.
Q: How much will Hero Lab Online cost?
A: Hero Lab Online prices won’t be much different than Hero Lab Classic and, in most cases, you’ll even be able to use your purchases in both Classic and Online! The cost of game systems and packages will remain the same across the two environments, and there will be a nominal fee of roughly $2 a month (US) for using the online service so we can keep the lights on for you.
Q: What happens if I stop paying the monthly fee for Hero Lab Online?
A: If your payment lapses, character creation will no longer be possible. But don’t worry, all your purchased content will be there waiting to resume use when you renew your account! And you’ll always be able to get your characters out, even with a lapsed account.
Q: How much data will Hero Lab Online consume? How will I use it at conventions and game stores?
A: Hero Lab Online caches everything locally and only transmits the data that has changed, allowing us to be very conservative in how much data we’re actually consuming. Use of Hero Lab Online will typically consume less data over the course of a game than browsing your favorite websites for a few minutes, making it extremely realistic to use via mobile connections.
Q: Why go online?
A: Bringing Hero Lab to an online environment allows us to support a diverse range of devices all over the world! It also has a plethora of added benefits that we simply cannot provide in desktop software. We love Hero Lab Classic just as much as you do, but to provide many of the awesome features our consumers want, we must be in a connected environment with a central server to manage things.
Most of the new capabilities we’ll be pursuing with Hero Lab Online are simply not possible in Hero Lab Classic. Starship combat involving the whole party, for example, would be impossible to manage in the current incarnation of Hero Lab.
Additionally, party loot management, interaction between players and GMs, and player-to-player collaboration are not possible in Hero Lab Classic (e.g. applying buffs, damage, effects, conditions etc.). Hero Lab Online will provide a robust, interactive experience, centered around these capabilities, that everyone can enjoy!
Will Hero Lab Online support group play?
That’s a core objective for Hero Lab Online. Having a central server orchestrate everything means that every device can “talk” to each other. Not like a chat system but items like the GM assigning damage for a fireball to four of the five PCs caught within it, with one taking half damage (save made) and another taking none (save made with Evasion). Or a player hitting an Orc that’s run by the GM and assigning 8 damage to it. With the fireball, the player simply acknowledges the damage received. With the Orc, the GM acknowledges the damage. [Note: Examples use Pathfinder, as that game system is by far the most popular among our users, but the concepts apply to any game system.]
Let’s take this a step further. The bard buffs the entire party (e.g. Inspire Courage) and applies that buff to everyone. There’s no need for each player to individually add and configure the buff on their PC. The wizard buffs a few members of the party (e.g. Haste) and chooses which PCs gain that buff. Again, there’s no need to individually add and configure the buff on each PC. Now the bard switches to a different song. Everybody gets swapped over with the new buff instantly. No need for each player to reconfigure things.
The same logic applies to conditions and effects. The wizard casts a spell that causes a group of creatures to be Dazed, so he designates them appropriately and the GM simply confirms them. Another PC uses an ability to trip a creature, assigning it the Prone condition. The GM has a creature use an ability to Stun a PC. It all works smoothly and streamlines the experience for all involved, letting everyone focus more on the game than the fiddly details.
Party loot is another great opportunity here. How does your group currently manage all the extra stuff they’ve acquired? Imagine having a simple repository where that’s all tracked. All the players/PCs can view it. At the end of an encounter, everything the party finds goes into the “stash”. Gear can then be assigned from the stash to individual PCs, and PCs can put stuff back into the stash. Let’s say the party finds a +2 Longsword that gets assigned to the Fighter. Now the +1 Longsword that the Fighter used to have can be assigned to a different PC that is still using a non-magical weapon. With a non-online version of Hero Lab, the stash has to be managed by a single person, and each assignment of gear must be manually handled by each player or the GM. That’s all readily doable for a simple +1 weapon. But what if the gear involved is more complex and needs to be constructed properly by each user? That gets to be quite a hassle. And what if the gear is such that only certain aspects of the item have been revealed by the GM? That’s entirely possible with the online model and utterly impossible without the central server.
Starfinder introduces the concept of a communal starship for the party. That can be easily shared with an online model. And Starfinder combat has different PCs taking on different roles on the ship. With the online model, there are many opportunities to do things that simply can’t be done with a disconnected desktop model.
We have a variety of other new features planned as well, but this should give you a sense of the opportunities that exist with Hero Lab Online and that we’re planning to bring to life within the product.
Q: Will there be some form of “offline mode” for just-in-case a user loses internet access (signal dropped, power outage, etc.)?
A: Our plan is to provide an offline view of your character for just such occasions. It won’t support modifications to your character, but it will work in signal loss situations to allow you to keep playing.
Q: Will there be a fully functional offline option for Hero Lab Online?
A: Not initially. Offline options are being explored, but it will be some time before we can truly focus on working that out. We have to bring you all the rules first!
Q: Will there be Starfinder support at launch?
A: Yes! Starfinder will be the very first system supported in Hero lab Online.
Q: Will Hero Lab Classic support Starfinder.
A: Starfinder is a unique system with various aspects that are much better suited to Hero Lab Online. Heck, that’s why we’re focusing on Starfinder first! Consequently, we will not be offering Starfinder in Hero Lab Classic, at least initially, as it wouldn’t be as powerful or enjoyable to use.
Q: Will other game systems like Pathfinder and Shadowrun be supported in Hero Lab Online?
A: Absolutely! Once we conquer space, we’ll get to work on bringing the other systems online as well.
Q: Will all the features of Hero Lab Classic be present in Hero Lab Online?
A: The end goal is for Hero Lab Online to have all the core Hero Lab Classic features plus an impressive array of new abilities. You won’t see everything in place on day one, but they’re on their way!
Q: I have already purchased Hero Lab Classic. Will I have to purchase Hero Lab Online separately?
A: You’ll need to purchase Starfinder (Hero Lab Online) separately at first. However, if you subsequently choose to migrate from Classic to Online (once the existing Classic game systems become available on Online), we’ll credit you the difference at that time.
Q: I already own Hero Lab Classic. Will I have to repurchase all my content for Hero Lab Online?
A: Absolutely not! Once we bring the other game systems online, Classic users will have the option to migrate all their content over to Hero Lab Online. Migration will incur a nominal, flat charge, to set up your account with the appropriate content, which we anticipate will be less than $20 dollars. This amount will be the same, regardless of how many game systems and add-ons you own. It will also include 6 months of server access ($14.99 value) as a thank you for supporting us in the past .
Q: Will Hero Lab Online be moving to an account system instead of a license system?
A: Technically, yes. But the reality is that there’s no practical difference between a Classic “license” and an Online “account”. You’ll have a login and password instead of using a license number and email address, thereby making your account more secure. You’ll login to your Online account to access everything instead of Classic verifying your license and key file when you launch it. You’ll similarly login to your Online account to purchase add-ons instead of using the license number and email address. All in all, the basic principles will be the same.
Q: How will my Hero Lab Classic secondary licenses transfer to Hero Lab Online?
A: In Hero Lab Classic, secondary licenses allow users to access their content on multiple devices. Hero Lab Online will employ a similar concept, allowing simultaneous access to your account from multiple devices (e.g. multiple family members). Migration from Classic to Online will convert your secondary licenses to simultaneous devices in the new environment.
Q: Will I need to pay a migration charge per license?
A: No, one migration fee covers the entirety of everything associated with a Hero Lab primary license.
Q: Has Rob slept yet?
A: Rob sleeps?!
Q: Will I be able to print my character?
A: Yes, you will to be able to print your characters in the near future.
Q: If I migrate to Hero Lab Online, can I come back to Hero Lab Classic?
A: You won’t have to leave at all! Even if you migrate to Hero Lab Online, you’ll be able to continue using everything you have in Hero Lab Classic.
Q: Will there be official Wizards of the Coast content in the future?
A: The honest answer is we don’t know. We’re absolutely looking into the possibility but can’t say anything for certain at this time.
Q: Is Rob an android in disguise?!
A: We have our suspicions. That whole “never sleeps” thing sure makes it seem likely!
Q: Will Characters from Hero Lab Classic work in Hero Lab Online?
A: Our goal is for characters from Hero Lab Online to also work with Hero Lab Classic, and vice versa, provided they are created for a game system that both products offer. Thus far, that appears to be achievable. Transferring characters will be a multi-step process, serving well in situations where you need an alternative, offline solution.
Q: Is BJ the one in charge at LWD?
A: We can neither confirm nor deny… Rob actually owns the company, but that doesn’t mean he makes all the decisions.
Q: Will Hero Lab Online support d20Pro and other VTT software the way Hero Lab Classic does?
A: Yes! With Classic, the only integration option for VTTs was to import the Hero Lab portfolio, with no ability to get anything back out and into Hero Lab. This approach will still be supported with Hero Lab Online. However, Hero Lab Online also provides a RESTful API that VTTs (and other tools) will be able to leverage for direct access to and manipulation of characters that persist on the Hero Lab Online servers.
Q: Will the text in Hero Lab Online be re sizable and does the window scale for different sizes?
A: Hero Lab Online is device aware. As such, the interface will be tailored to the device being used, including appropriate scaling of text and the layout of elements on the screen.
Q: Will all characters be hosted on the server?
Q: Is Rob still alive?
A: Yes. Reports of his demise are greatly exaggerated. In fact, rumors abound that he was actually seen at GenCon. Of course, he then disappeared again…
Q: What sort of functionality will there be for the creation of custom content and will this impact the community packs?
A: Our intention is that you will be able to add your own custom content. Support for user-created data files to augment existing game systems has been designed into everything, as that capability is critical to the success of various game systems we currently support. That said, the details of exactly how and when that will be made available within Hero Lab Online are still being worked out. This primarily impacts the existing game systems in Hero Lab Classic, so we’ll address this topic in detail when we migrate those game systems to Hero Lab Online.
Q: What sort of functionality will exist between Realm Works and Hero Lab Online?
A: Characters and encounters will be defined as URLs in Hero Lab Online, which Realm Works handles smoothly, and there is already a “Hero Lab Link” snippet type built into Realm Works for just this purpose.
Q: Do you have plans to support organized play?
A: We sure do! But that’s top secret right now while we work out the details.