Well, the Lords of Tyr game was last night, and I have finally had an opportunity to use the reworked D&D Compendium under actual game conditions. I had read some reviews about how much better it is since the recent update, so I figured I would give it another chance.
I was horribly disappointed. Our party's warlord used Wolf Pack Tactics and wanted to give the free shift to a character who was prone. So obviously, the question came up whether or not you could shift while prone. I figured this would be a good opportunity to use the D&D Compendium to find the answer!
So I brought up the compendium and typed in "Prone". I hit clicked search and looked down at the results. The first answer was "Elephant".
Obviously this was not looking good so far.
Looking up at the categories I realized that the D&D Compendium had defaulted to the "Creatures" category since it had 329 results. Well, easy enough to fix. I looked for a "Rules" category, or a "Conditions" category, or something else appropriate.
Well, apparently there are categories for Races, Classes, Items, Creatures, Epic Destinies, Paragon Paths, Rituals, Feats, Powers, and Skills. Well, those are nice categories, but none of them were helpful right now.
No problem. Obviously I just need to run a search without applying one of the categories. That should be simple enough, right? Apparently not. After looking all over the interface I realized that there was no way to search the database without choosing one of the categories.
This was frustrating. It's not like I was making a search for an obscure term or corner case scenario. Conditions like "Prone", actions like "Shift", or attacks like "Grab" seem like obvious things a DM or player should be able to look up during a game with the D&D Compendium. In reality, it is impossible to look up any of these.
This wouldn't be so frustrating if I hadn't already seen free resources like The Hypertext d20 SRD implemented so well for 3E D&D. You would think that with the resources available to them, that Wizards of the Coast could implement a database that worked half as well for their paying customers.