D&D 5E D&D Beyond Confirms Monsters of the Multiverse's May Standalone Release

Monsters of the Multiverse comes out this month as part of a gift set along with Tasha's Cauldron of Everything and Xanathar's Guide to Everything. However, if you don't need those older books, D&D Beyond has confirmed that Monsters of the Multiverse will be available separately on May 17th.

DDB's entry refers to the digital release, but these are typically timed to match the hardcovers. You can preorder the digital version from DDB now.

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The book compiles monsters from Volo's Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, and updates them to match WotC's current format; additionally it tweaks stats where needed to ensure monsters are worthy of their Challenge Rating, as some D&D monsters have been felt to be underpowered. In addition, it compiles over 30 races previously published in 5E D&D books, also updated to the current formats.


Update! WotC has confirmed the standalone hardcover release date is May 17th.

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darjr

I crit!
Oooof let's hope they don't GSL themselves in their privates again like they did with 4E. That was a serious error of judgement.

I was thinking about this a bit in the shower, and I think obviously I don't pre-order things I don't know the content of, so I'm not too vulnerable here, and it's not really "the principle of the thing" that is issue for me either.

It's more that this approach - pushing it out for preorder without being able to answer questions, indeed implying they literally don't know what they'll be, that signals Beyond/DDB/DNDBeyond is its "final phase", where monetization like the ridiculous dice and so on has failed to produce as much cash as the owners want, so now they're just in that "screw it!" phase of grab everything you can. Which bodes extremely ill for the future of DDB.

And to be fair, maybe that was a big problem since WotC basically said they were doing their own DDB with hookers and blackjack, or I guess in Realmsfarian terms, turncoins and talis, thus potentially limiting DDB's future. Sad to see more evidence of the lack of care though.

@darjr Really interested in hearing what the discount amount you were shown was. I checked again just now, still not showing any discount, one click away from finalizing the sale. Are you sure you didn't just confuse the "all in" discount for this? You were saying "double" so that suggests not, but what was the percentage discount?
I was wrong.

It’s complicated.
 

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lkj

Hero
Them putting it on sale before they can answer this is outright dishonest.

So we have two scenarios here:

1) They know the answer, and haven't bothered to communicate it, but are acting in approximate good faith by starting non-refundable pre-orders (which, btw, are actually outright illegal in the EU, so if anyone takes them to court, they're in a lot of trouble). This is mildly dishonest but it's not very bad.

2) They don't know the answer, and the answer could be absolutely anything, in which case, they're being outright dishonest, and it's ethically and even morally unacceptable (and probably illegal in the EU, again, as noted) for them to be doing non-refundable pre-orders.


Then they shouldn't be selling it until then. This isn't complicated. It's dishonest to sell non-refundable pre-orders if you don't even know what you're selling. There's not really any grey area there. WotC may well be "hanging them out to dry", but that doesn't make them any less dishonest for starting to sell it.


It's not discounted for me, and I'm fully logged in and own both the books it updates on DNDBeyond. How much was yours discounted for owning both? (I never bought the "all in" discount because I don't use WotC adventures if I can avoid it).

It's hard to understand how they could discount it correctly if they genuinely don't know what's happening with it though.

They put it up for pre-order on the date it became available for pre-order across digital platforms, as it's likely they are obligated to do. They are likely not authorized to announce how they are handling the updates. So they haven't announced how they are handling the updates.

They know exactly what they are selling. A digital version of the book (that's true regardless of how it shows up in their rules listings). The rules for that book will show up in the listings. It's the same for all DDB books. What a customer who owns the previous products doesn't know is how valuable that book will be because your earlier purchases might result in still getting the updated copies in the listings. But apparently not this magical new dolphin if I'm reading right? Sounds like there's a little bit of new material? (way too little to justify a new purchase just to get it though, obviously, so irrelevant to the point)

Dishonest? Seems like dishonest would be telling you it's the only way to get the info and that not being true. Ideally they'd be able to tell you what's going on and put it on the product page. I wish they were able to do that. But since they probably can't, I'm not paying for the pre-order till I know. Which is pretty easy.

All that said, I see where you are coming from. I can wrap my mind around how you think that selling it without a disclaimer is tricking you into buying something you don't need. That seems like a stretch to me, but that's open to interpretation. Fair enough.

In other words, I don't agree with your interpretation. I also have a very different opinion of the folks running DDB than you and how they've handled their business. But I'm obviously not going to change your mind. That's fine. But that's my two cents.

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lkj

Hero
I will say, the fact that they haven't said, does make me wonder whether WotC want them not to update the old listings. If they are truly updates and not just alternate versions that would be a bummer. I hope that's not the case.

Edit-- Though I suppose a case could be made that the changes are substantial enough that they feel folks who own the original books should be allowed to keep accessing the original versions. I'm not sure where I fall on that.

Edit-- In fact, if they were simply updates, wouldn't new printings of the old books have the updates? I bet not. Because the changes are too substantial. If that's the case, then I can see the conundrum.

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yeah, if they do deviate from the pattern, it's going to be in the name of selling more books (which they get a cut of), so that would make sense. But they may well consider the monsters in the book already reason enough (there are new monsters in the book, right? I didn't check). I suspect minimum viable effort will win over even profit motive though.
There is at least one new monster, the Doliphin Delighter, but it is almost entirely just redos of Volo's and Mordenkainen's stat blocks.
 
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I will say, the fact that they haven't said, does make me wonder whether WotC want them not to update the old listings. If they are truly updates and not just alternate versions that would be a bummer. I hope that's not the case.
The only "evidence" we have here is that the WotC devs allegedly said the SRD would not be updated with the new monster changes.

If so, that would support the "alternate versions" interpretation. Which would be more in-line with charging full-price for the product and so on. That'll be messy and annoying, but I think it's ultimately the approach least likely to feel like a rip-off, and most likely to please the largest percentage of customers.

Re: Beyond's actions.

I maintain that it's dishonest to pre-sell a product to customers on a non-refundable basis if you are unwilling or unable to admit what that product contains/how it operates. I think the main difference here is US vs. European/British attitudes - US customers are infinitely more willing to defend and tolerate terrible business practices (though most still oppose them - but where 19 out of 20 European/UK customers might say bad practices are wrong, with the US it's more like 4 out of 5 with a lot of people invoking Caveat Emptor and so on). Non-refundable pre-orders are basically illegal here - the non-refundable being the issue (Kickstarter etc. isn't a pre-order so sidesteps this, but I think even that might have got in trouble if most KS people weren't quite refund-friendly). Whilst small deposits can be taken and retained (but aren't, generally), if you haven't delivered something digital, it needs to be possible to cancel it, as Nintendo found out to their chagrin (even delivering an encrypted prepack isn't good enough). As for "It's just the contract", IANAL but I was a legal researcher, work at a big law firm, and deal with contracts in my job a lot, some with requirements like this (and actually work with products not fundamentally dissimilar to Beyond, but that's a whole other story), and I'm sorry but I don't buy that excuse. That's unlikely to a hard requirement, and companies politely push back on such requirements, even clear contractual ones, all the time.

If they did push back, and WotC responded saying "Losers, you need to put it up for pre-sale even though we're not letting you tell your customers what is in it!", well, that's a pretty big black mark for WotC rather than Beyond, but I'm skeptical that that happened. It seems a lot more likely that they just didn't. Mild support for my belief comes from the language the Beyond staff have used to defend this, which has been essentially libertarian in tone - i.e. "customers can make their own decisions about their own money", and that whilst they've now repeatedly suggested they're prevented from revealing their approach (indeed suggested they didn't know what approach they'd be taking because of this), they've not suggested they were forced to put it up for pre-order, despite that being the main bone of contention.
 

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