D&D 5E D&D Beyond: No More À La Carte Purchases But US Customers Can Buy Physical Books

Plus UI changes and more product information in listings.

Screenshot 2024-05-02 at 17.52.09.png


WotC has announced some changes to D&D Beyond's marketplace. These include physical products (for US customers), the removal of à la carte purchases, and various navigational changes.

You can no longer buy individual feats, subclasses, etc. -- you'll need to buy the whole book. The full list of changes includes:
  • US shoppers can now buy physical books
  • More info on product listings, including previews
  • UI improvements to makee finding your purchased content and redeeming keys easier
  • No more à la carte purchases (though your previous ones still count)
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
The cost of doing that is negligible, however. How do I know that? Because I did something similar to this for a job unrelated to gaming. I made a generic template and then created a macro to extract the information from a document.

With respect, that you did a thing that sounds like it does not automatically mean that every case you may see in the entire world will be just as easy as the case you dealt with.

If nothing else, you seem to have only solved one step in a process - there's a lot more to having a product than having the content extracted from a document.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Apologies. Broad statements IMO often lead to confusion, as there are always exceptions that can be avoided (at least somewhat) with more precision.

We often work under the self-deception that we have enough information to deal with exceptions and precision.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
2) they test the waters by not releasing BoMT in parts and get little to no negative reaction
That is definitely true. I had numerous people here on ENWorld surreally telling me it wasn't happening when I pointed out that one couldn't buy pieces of Book of Many Things a la carte for months. Not only was there little negative reaction (just me!), people literally denied it was happening at all, which has to be the absolute dream scenario for the marketing department.
The existence of 2) pretty much ensures that it was not just some gut reaction
This would be a much stronger argument if we hadn't watched WotC repeatedly shoot itself in the foot throughout 2022 and 2023. I think assuming they're rational actors requires ignoring a lot of recent evidence to the contrary.

as to a lawyer telling you it is impossible / possible, you can find one for either position, plenty of posts from lawyers here ended up on both sides of this
If you ask your lawyers whether you can do something and they look worried and perplexed, it's not a slam dunk. WotC proceeded as if it was. My hypothesis is that the OGL decision was made without consulting with a lawyer or after explicitly ignoring their advice. But I don't think we're likely to know the truth of that for at least 10 years, when former employees finally begin speaking out or providing anonymous information to whatever the gaming journalism ecosystem looks like in 2034, when WotC is rolling out TwoD&D.
 
Last edited:

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
We often work under the self-deception that we have enough information to deal with exceptions and precision.
What does that mean exactly? Precision in our statements should be avoided? Exceptions should be ignored because we can't account for them all? I don't like letting the perfect become the enemy of the good.
 

mamba

Legend
That is definitely true. I had numerous people here on ENWorld surreally telling me it wasn't happening when I pointed out that one couldn't buy pieces of Book of Many Things a la carte for months. Not only was there little negative reaction (just me!), people literally denied it was happening at all, which has to be the absolute dream scenario for the marketing department.
yep, not sure why it would be denied, it is very easy to verify

This would be a much stronger argument if we hadn't watched WotC repeatedly shoot itself in the foot throughout 2022 and 2023. I think assuming they're rational actors requires ignoring a lot of recent evidence to the contrary.
I am sure they discussed those scenarios too and had their reasons, and quite frankly outside the OGL I do not think anything made much of a difference - and even the OGL they probably could have sat out if they would have been stubborn / convinced enough

If you ask your lawyers whether you can do something and they look worried and perplexed, it's not a slam dunk. WotC proceeded as if it was. My hypothesis is that the OGL decision was made without consulting with a lawyer or after explicitly ignoring their advice.
I am pretty sure they consulted lawyers beforehand, and they will find ones that will say that it is not impossible to revoke.

I also believe they expected a better response to their proposed OGL 1.1. I am curious where we would have ended up if this story had not leaked, just on an intellectual level, I am sure we ended up in a better spot than this would have.

But I don't think we're likely to know the truth of that for at least 10 years
agreed, we know as much as we will for the foreseeable future.

There is a lot less solid data around what the OGL does for them and the risks it poses than there is about how well parts sell on DDB however, and secrecy is a lot easier to maintain until you have all the data you need for your decision, so I would not jump from ‘they made the OGL decision based on little data because there is little data’ to ‘they make every decision without considering data, even when it is easily available’
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
With respect, that you did a thing that sounds like it does not automatically mean that every case you may see in the entire world will be just as easy as the case you dealt with.

If nothing else, you seem to have only solved one step in a process - there's a lot more to having a product than having the content extracted from a document.
I was merely responding to the notion that it couldn't be done without a lot of cost and time. Yes, it can. But is it worth that time? Is it going against what someone is telling them about sales? Don't know. Was the a la carte sales even doing much? Don't know.

But I do know that you can automate the process and do so efficiently. As Aristotle said about doing a thing, though: is the thing worthy of even attempting? I suppose that's going to be the ultimate question. The only reason I'm even commenting on this is because I know someone who used the service and bought stuff. And that's all I have to say about that.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
What does that mean exactly? Precision in our statements should be avoided?

No.

Do you know the difference between precision and accuracy?

To say that the value of Pi is "about 3" is accurate. But it is imprecise.
To say that the value of Pi is "3.2527037..." is precise, but inaccurate.

False precision can be misleading, and lead us to passing judgements that are inaccurate. Sometimes, admitting and accepting a bit of fuzziness is a better option.

The a la carte purchases thing is a fine example - we do not know the details around the sales/profit of those products, their product content management process, or D&DB's software development in the product delivery feature areas. Those are the things upon which the decisions should ultimately revolve.

Being largely ignorant of the details, some of us who have experience with software development or business decision processes have spoken to how their general principles apply.

Exceptions should be ignored because we can't account for them all? I don't like letting the perfect become the enemy of the good.

We cannot say with any certainty that an exception applies in this case, and if one does apply, what it actually is.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Question, are we sure that granular buying of elements requires more resources? I mean I'm not a professional, but I have done some programming and work with databases and I think individual elements still have to be indexed and tagged to make them work with the builders. Giving each an individual key is trivial, and even desirable since content is rehused by other books all of the time. I'm not convinced this would be that costly in a way that could be quantified and given a price tag.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Question, are we sure that granular buying of elements requires more resources? I mean I'm not a professional, but I have done some programming and work with databases and I think individual elements still have to be indexed and tagged to make them work with the builders. Giving each an individual key is trivial, and even desirable since content is rehused by other books all of the time. I'm not convinced this would be that costly in a way that could be quantified and given a price tag.
Well, it requires X amount of manhours. X could be "10 minutes," but it's not zero. Unless someone here worked or works for DDB, it's all speculation.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
But I do know that you can automate the process and do so efficiently.

With all due respect, you have asserted that you know how to extract content from a file. You have not demonstrated that you know what the WotC/D&DB full process for standing up an a la carte product is, end to end.

I am sure I don't know that process. Admitting it isn't hard or damaging.

As Aristotle said about doing a thing, though: is the thing worthy of even attempting?

Is the (questionable) assertion of the costs being low the meaningful bit when admitting that we don't even know if those supposedly low costs are worth attempting?
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top