WotC Guessing as to WotC's VTT plans

Steel_Wind

Legend
The concern would be, they release a Temple and Cavern set. So the only limit is your imagination...as long as it's a temple or cavern. But my adventure features a crypt! Well, the Crypt Expansion for the Temple Pack is coming in 2026.

As it stands, I can grab any one of thousands of 2D maps online and use them. Hell, I never have to leave the Dyson Logos site if I like his style. But maybe they'll give the community tools to create these assets, and we'll have thousands of community-made 3D environments to choose from. I'll be surprised, but that would be nice.
That's true.

But if I am planning on finally leveraging the D&D Brand to make World of Warcraft money, I need to sell subscriptions to not just DMs, but players, too.

They want to bill every member of every gaming group monthly. Make no mistake, that's the plan.

MMO money. That's the goal. It always should have been, to be perfectly honest. I know that may be a dirty idea here, but if I own the D&D brand? I'd be demanding to know why these other companies are taking what should always have been my money.

Properly exploited, the D&D Brand should make money at a scale which makes M:TG look like its poor cousin. This has been true for 20+ years.
 

log in or register to remove this ad




Steel_Wind

Legend
I doubt this. The current sub allows a DM to share their content. I could easily see the VTT added onto it.
The number of employees and sheer cost it takes to create sharing rules text is minor.

And to be blunt, those employees don't cost NEARLY as much as competent programmers, environmental & texture artists, 3d creature artists and technical artists and tech designers. On average, those employees will cost 3x as much as one designer for 5e - at least. And the numbers required exceed the numbers required to work on rules and adventure design for 5e by an order of magnitude.

They are not giving that away for free.
 

The number of employees and sheer cost it takes to create sharing rules text is minor.

And to be blunt, those employees don't cost NEARLY as much as competent programmers, environmental & texture artists, 3d creature artists and technical artists and tech designers. On average, those employees will cost 3x as much as one designer for 5e - at least. And the numbers required exceed the numbers required to work on rules and adventure design for 5e by an order of magnitude.

They are not giving that away for free.
Of course not, the sub costs money after all.
 

I don't know why it would do this, given that people use minis and boards.
And they'll keep doing so. My concern is that those who come to the hobby playing within a 3d vtt paradigm will not appreciate how it is constraining their creativity and options, in part because it will be constraints fundamentally familiar to many of them from the video games it looks like, of only being able to do what someone has pre-programmed in and made assets for.
 

And they'll keep doing so. My concern is that those who come to the hobby playing within a 3d vtt paradigm will not appreciate how it is constraining their creativity and options, in part because it will be constraints fundamentally familiar to many of them from the video games it looks like, of only being able to do what someone has pre-programmed in and made assets for.
I see it as no different than using minis and boards.
 

Hussar

Legend
And they'll keep doing so. My concern is that those who come to the hobby playing within a 3d vtt paradigm will not appreciate how it is constraining their creativity and options, in part because it will be constraints fundamentally familiar to many of them from the video games it looks like, of only being able to do what someone has pre-programmed in and made assets for.
And, as someone who has been using other peoples maps for a lot of years, I really don't think it's too much of an issue. There's just so bloody much of it. I don't spend two hours making a half-assed map that I could do myself. I spend five hours modifying someone else's half assed map. :D

Jokes aside though, I could really see, if they do it right, being able to just draw a 2d line map and then the program turns it into a 3d set. Or randomly generated maps as well - Hey, I need a crypt, click, click, click. Done. We've had random dungeon generators around for decades. One tied to a decent graphical system would be pretty cool.

But as far as things like "skins", I really don't see that. You don't play with strangers, by and large. Most people are playing with people they know. And, unlike Fortnight, you're playing with these same people, week after week, for many, many hours. Someone coming in with their latest cat skin for their toon just isn't going to fly in most groups.
 

I have said it in other place and I am going to say it here again: Hasbro could enjoy a special advantage over its competitors thanks the licences: One-D&D could sell packs based in no-Hasbro franchises: Conan, Willow, the Witcher, Final Fantasy, Warhammer, Assasin's Creed.. Other ace up the sleeve could be modules about optional rules, for example managing a domain for Birthirt, or ruling a mercenary squad for a batlefield war game.

Other idea is selling "multicompatible DLCs", for example a pack of cosmetic elements could be used in different titles, and even in off-line videogames. The pack "creatures of Witchlight" could be used in game B, game C and game D even when there are created by different companies.

Other of the possible next steps is using the same graphic motor for other games with more-arcade style.

I would bet one of the Hasbro's goals is to own their own game creation system/game-maker-software, created by them or by means of acquisitions. Wouldn't you do the same?




But here the handicap is 5ed to be limited until now to the fantasy genre, nothing of modern age or sci-fi yet.

* I suggest WotC allowing a fandom web, out of official channels, for fanfiction. Here the risk is smaller about troubles with possible NSFW content.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
See, I just don't see what the big issues are with a 3D VTT... because it seems like the arguments regarding it are no different than the discussions that used to be made about Dwarven Forge? Dwarven Forge cost a ton, you were only able to make dungeons based on what pieces you had access to, it was too much of a hassle to put dungeons together, dry and wet-erase grid sheets let you make whatever you needed in the moment, and so forth.

And yet DF has been able to flourish over the past several decades despite all these arguments against it. Apparently those 3D environments look cool enough to more than justify all the strikes against it for enough people and those players are all fine with working with that type of 3D terrain. So why there wouldn't be similar people who will work with and enjoy using virtual 3D terrain seems to me to be an odd argument?

Sure, there will be plenty of people who won't engage with it, just like there are people who don't use Dwarven Forge or miniatures themselves and instead just use paper maps and tokens... but I have no doubt enough other people certainly will. Because if DF can stay in business... I don't see why WotC's 3D VTT wouldn't too.
 

Hussar

Legend
Let's not forget too, that there are lots of people out there that game primarily through the modules. I'm kinda sorta on the fence here - I start with the modules typically, but, expand signficantly from there. But, the game I have been playing (instead of running) has a DM that is running straight from the book without any extra stuff.

Now, again, that's the kind of DM that the 3D VTT will absolutely appeal to. If you want to run, and I'm picking a random example, Tyranny of Dragons, and you don't want to do a bunch of add on stuff, then being able to buy a DDB sub that comes packaged with the module (which you will have to buy) and the 3D VTT all wrapped up in a nice, neat bow is totally going to appeal to a lot of people.

Look, what people tend to forget is that there are lots and lots of gamers out there that wouldn't mind running games but, they aren't wedded to the idea of taking on a bloody part time job just to run the game. I spend a bunch of hours getting my game running, but, that's my choice. I want to do that. I enjoy the prep and stuff away from the table.

But, there is a LOT of appeal to being able to sit down at a very pretty VTT where most of the mechanics will be automated - click the button to roll the dice and all the actual rules stuff (as much as can be) is handled by the VTT itself. MASSIVELY lowers the bar to running games and makes getting a group that you want to actually spend time with pretty easy.

I've always been absolutely baffled why none of the bigger RPG companies haven't done this before.
 

First of all,it's guaranteed to be easy and modular.
Huh? Why? Maybe you have a different definition of "guaranteed" than I do? It probably shoudl be modular and is should be easy. But guaranteed? Nope.
if WotC is smart they will make it easy for folks to share and even sell their stuff.
Hopefully they see it the same way. I do, but they might not :(
If you can't use the poorly though out winged cat race you found on reddit, that might hurt them.
Yep :)
Is this a deal breaker for anyone?
Yea... subscription required for every player? Probably not for my current group, but depending on the details it could be. It would certainly put a damper of my willingness to support online cons and such where they are trying to encourage new players to game. Cost is a gatekeeper. Just look at Roll20's "success". imo it was never due to technology or community, but rather because they had a "free" entry option.
Because if DF can stay in business... I don't see why WotC's 3D VTT wouldn't too.
Business they have difference business models? Different scale of operations, personnel, legal requirements etc.
 

Now, again, that's the kind of DM that the 3D VTT will absolutely appeal to. If you want to run, and I'm picking a random example, Tyranny of Dragons, and you don't want to do a bunch of add on stuff, then being able to buy a DDB sub that comes packaged with the module (which you will have to buy) and the 3D VTT all wrapped up in a nice, neat bow is totally going to appeal to a lot of people.
It would make sense for them to start writing modules with the idea that they should be optimized for such play. Wotc modules are already fairly linear, but when you are spending a lot of money developing assets for specific locations/scenes, there's more of a necessity to make sure those scenes take place in the module, regardless of what the players actually do.
 

Hussar

Legend
It would make sense for them to start writing modules with the idea that they should be optimized for such play. Wotc modules are already fairly linear, but when you are spending a lot of money developing assets for specific locations/scenes, there's more of a necessity to make sure those scenes take place in the module, regardless of what the players actually do.
Meh, I don't think it's that much of a stretch really. Even if you do something like Undermountain - which is about as non-linear as you can make it - you're still going to hit most of the highlights anyway.

Fairly linear adventures is a pretty fair description of most modules.
 

Steel_Wind

Legend
I don't think this is going to happen at all the way most here are hoping. There is a pretty hardcore homebrew crowd on ENWorld and they see the world through those lenses.

Nope. They will support it, sure, but that's not the focus.

When you think back to the original Neverwinter Nights 1, they weren't looking at providing you with infinite terrain, or every monster in the book. That's not their approach and it is cost prohibitive. What they did provide was pretty useful though - and you could do a lot with it. And expansions followed, 2 in physical form and the last as DLC -- which had more new assets than both prior expansions combined. That was done over 5 years.

This will be more rapid than that as gameplay issues and AI don't dominate. But it should provide us with clues.

They will create a campaign, like we have seen with Strahd, or SotDQ, or RotFM. And they will create maps for that in the book, like they always have. There will be encounters specified -- like there always are.

And for those who want to pay extra on DDB, there will be 3d VTT Assets to tell the story in the Adventure source book, as written. The maps will be pre-done, the monsters specified in that adventure will be available. And it should take you a good long time to play it.

And whatever editor they have will allow you to reconfigure those assets they made for that campaign, using the assets in the campaign, to tell other stories.

And as new campaign adventure books are released, there will be more maps, more assets and more possibilities.

That is how I see this being created through a game dev's eyes. Maybe WotC will go further with monsters (because they are not animated), but beyond that? I doubt it.

This is a thing which will do the campaign it is designed for very well. Beyond that? Expectations will need to be managed -- and lowered.
 
Last edited:

Hussar

Legend
Steel_Wind - I can totally see it working like that. The base VTT will have some stock tiles - dungeon, town, outdoor - the sort of stuff that comes pre-packaged with pretty much any program like this. As you buy different adventures though, those adventures will likely have custom tiles and whatnot for that adventure. So a Curse of Strahd will have "Gothic Fantasy" tiles - and you will likely be able to buy those separately from the adventure as well. Ghosts of Saltmarsh will have your nautical tiles and maybe some underwater stuff - again which will come both with the module already preset and then as a tile pack you could buy.

Will you get 100% of everything on the first day? Not a chance. Not going to happen.

But, I look at the Fantasy Grounds modules I've bought over the years - Saltmarsh, Dragonheist, Candlekeep Mysteries, Spelljammer - and those would likely come with a naval pack, a city pack, a weird space pack, and a ... library pack? Whatever. The maps can pretty easily be repurposed and modified, just like I do now.

One big difference though will be the print books might still keep the clean lines of a Dyson Logos map - easy to reproduce on a dry erase board - but the VTT will likely have the tilesets.

I wonder if that will bump the price of online modules vs print ones. No idea. Currently, the VTT modules are the same price as the print ones - but, then you get Dyson Logos maps with LOS functions. Very functional, but, not the prettiest things in the world.
 
Last edited:

nevin

Hero
WotC have hired literally hundreds of developers for D&D beyond and boasted of a 3d virtual tabletop. I'm unclear that a 3d VTT would be my first choice for D&D - but I can see why it's the first choice for Hasbro. If WotC make one with a decent library of 3d art assets it's going to make every single other VTT out there look like retro gaming. Which means that WotC's VTT will be the first choice for any new group that wants to use a virtual tabletop. It will also look awesome which means that it will be the first choice for most streaming sessions that use a VTT at all (no, Son of a Dungeon doesn't count).

So what I'm expecting is a wide array of customisable options, with limited (Pokemon-level) animation; a couple of animations per weapon/attack and a lot of art and animation reuse. They'll put out art for SRD monsters and basics for free to get you hooked and then want you to both buy and subscribe. And to do it they will offer you things that no one else has the money to be able to compete with as a package.

As I say, I think this is terrible for Roll20 and Foundry because it's basically impossible to compete without a Hasbro sized budget. I also think that I don't trust WotC to be able to pull this off - but I'm going to find what they do interesting.


If they are smart They'll buy Roll10 and use it as the base.
 

Hussar

Legend
If they are smart They'll buy Roll10 and use it as the base.
Well, the problem with something like that is that you are inheriting a bunch of pretty old code. Roll 20 has been around now for what, almost ten years? That's quite a while and things do change.

And, I don't think that Roll 20 would be able to handle 3d or animation, which are two things they are apparently headed towards.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Thx. That huge. Just ROM is $25 million a year in labor/salary, plus facility costs etc.

Still not AAA budget.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey which I play had 7 studios working in it at once took around 2 years iirc 100 million.

Throwing money at something doesn't make it AAA you have to also make a smash hit.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top