OGL Hasbro/WotC has crossed the Trust Thermocline

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yeah. I guess if you can't see the difference in someone making a product for love of the game, sometimes at great financial risk, from a mega billion dollar corporation that wants to sell you microtransactions of barely usable content to appease stockholders, all the while disrespecting you and your hobby behind closed doors, then I guess enjoy your Big Mac D&D.
In terms of their personal life and fulfillment, I'm sure it's a big difference. That doesn't effect whether I want a product or not, and it is not a sufficient consideration to overcome what I want to buy or not.

I do pay a significant markup on my RPG products by buying them from a local business instead of Amazon or Target, but in that case I am on a first name basis with the owner in person.
 

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Even on this board, with everyone reading all these posts, with the assumption of some friendliness with 3PP, we can't even get half the responders to a poll to say they'd consider not playing 5e.
Even most people on here don't care. They're hoping they can keep giving Wizards money, praying things don't change. And most of the people will forget within two weeks or whenever the next book comes out.
"Hey, it stinks that Wizards is going to shutter independent design studios and people are going to lose their jobs to the draconian, backstabbing jerks at Wizards, but I can't live without owning literally everything they make."
The Thermocline isn't one bad decision, one price increase, one loss of service or privilege, one change to a product. It's an aggregate feeling, and it won't hit for everyone all at once. It only seems sudden to those who weren't paying attention to the Check Engine light that's been glowing on the dash for a while now.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
40% no longer playing D&D on this forum is bad. Real bad.

Given how many that will continue but might not buy another thing? Probably not an insignificant number.
True, it is significant, but still: how representative is it? And how will people respond as WotC backpeddles like the corporate weenies they are?

History suggests forgive and forget, even for the third party publishers.
 

@Retreater

Some people will justify their favs doing whatever, man. They just won't be convinced, and you're better off just walking away, if only for your mental health. ;)

40% on this forum is bad. Real bad.

Given how many that will continue might not buy another thing? Probably not an insignificant number.

I mean, given the wording is basically never play an edition that you'd never need to buy stuff for again, it's arguably harsher than it first reads.
 

40% no longer playing D&D on this forum is bad. Real bad.

Considering how many that will continue but might not buy another thing? Probably not an insignificant number.

That poll isn’t a positive thing for WotC in any way.
The fact that we are the target audience for 3pp (long time hardcore fans that are on a site that is from a 3pp) is 40% is bad but not "oh everyone is leaving this game" levels. I wonder if it is a blip on casuals radar.
 

The Scythian

Explorer
Those who responded to the survey was like 60 - 40 I think, the majority buying whatever Wizards puts out.
That's not accurate.

The poll in that thread asked whether or not people plan to continue playing D&D, not if they're going to continue buying stuff from WotC, and certainly not if they're going to continue buying whatever WotC puts out. In fact, if you read the thread itself, there are actually a lot of people who say that they will continue playing D&D, but don't intend to buy anything from WotC going forward, or that they won't buy anything from WotC unless they back down over deauthorizing the OGL. There are also a number of people who say that while they're not boycotting WotC, they haven't bought their products in however long for other reasons.

I'm one of the people who answered that I would continue playing, but I also put up a post clarifying that I wouldn't be buying any WotC products going forward, and that I am currently running B/X (via OSE) and my group is having a good time.
 

The fact that we are the target audience for 3pp (long time hardcore fans that are on a site that is from a 3pp) is 40% is bad but not "oh everyone is leaving this game" levels. I wonder if it is a blip on casuals radar.

It depends on who they lose. They can probably afford to lose casuals more than they can the dedicated players, because the dedicated players are likely the ones running things, buying adventures, monster compendiums, etc. How many GMs share their books/Beyond access with their players?

So if those are the people you are hitting, that's arguably worse since you are basically taking out a load-bearing structure: each one who doesn't want to play may not get replaced, meaning that you are losing several possible customers instead of one. We won't know for a little while, but I'd say this is bad.

I'd also say that I don't think this is ending real soon, because (as the thread and the article note) once you breach the trust thermocline, it's hard to get people back. Big, mask-off moments are not little controversies, and they can have a lasting impact, especially when there are plenty of other options on the market. While corporations aren't your friends, generally-speaking people don't like out-and-out bullies, and this is the sort of move that can change people's standing opinions.
 

I won’t put trust in a corporation that makes 1.3B revenue. they won’t come to help if I’m in needs!

I expect that Wotc show a nice public image. Which they fail during the OGL affair, but for now they handle the damage control nicely.

I expect that they manage continuity and improvement over the initial PHB.
For now pretty good with Xanathar, Tasha, and the first drafts of OneDnd.

They failed at the damage control as well, it's a meme now, mocking it and the rage just grows as does the boycott.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
If they had released Planescape and maybe Dark Sun (and psionics) and THEN Ravnica no one would have objected.
Oh good lord.

Not releasing your favorite settings is not an erosion of trust. Publishing Magic/D&D crossovers is not an erosion of trust.

Perhaps YOU didn't want those products, but I did. As did others.

Now WotC trying to de-authorize the OGL in an attempt to increase the monetization of D&D at the expense of the open-gaming community . . . . now that's a huge erosion of trust right there.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Wizards of the Coast isn't our friend...but neither are Kobold Press, Goodman Games, Paizo, Green Ronin, etc. They are all corporate content providers. Paizo was implicat3d in far more problematic practices less than a year ago, and people have moved on...and really, why not...?
WotC, as part of Hasbro, is a publicly-traded company that is beholden to shareholders. And typically, these types of companies prioritize profit over all other considerations. Short-term thinking vs. long-term thinking. You can be friends, or have friendly feelings towards, some of the folks who work for those types of companies . . . but yes, the company itself is not "your friend".

I feel friendly towards many of the "faces" of WotC's D&D team, including Chris Perkins, Greg Tito, Shelly Mazzanoble, and others. But I realize, while they are important, they aren't the decision makers. Not at the top. They aren't driving this, regardless of their personal feelings on the matter, whatever they might be. But yeah, WotC, the company, isn't my friend. They do make products I love though . . .

However, most smaller RPG publishers are not publicly traded companies, and they don't have shareholders to appease. They are usually owned by one or a handful of owners. Profit is certainly a motive for these companies, but it is not always prioritized over people, over communities, as it usually is with publicly traded corporations.

I actually do feel friendly towards Green Ronin, because Green Ronin is Chris Pramas. I'm "friends" with Kobold Press, because Kobold is Wolfgang Bauer. I have mixed feelings towards Paizo, because Paizo is Lisa Stevens . . . whose done a lot of good, but also some shady stuff towards her employees. Whether I'm "friends" with a particular company, depends a lot on WHO the owner is and how they treat their employees, their fans/customers, and the larger RPG community. I'm choosy about friends in my personal life also . . . not much different.

Nothings black-or-white my friend.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
WotC, as part of Hasbro, is a publicly-traded company that is beholden to shareholders. And typically, these types of companies prioritize profit over all other considerations. Short-term thinking vs. long-term thinking. You can be friends, or have friendly feelings towards, some of the folks who work for those types of companies . . . but yes, the company itself is not "your friend".

I feel friendly towards many of the "faces" of WotC's D&D team, including Chris Perkins, Greg Tito, Shelly Mazzanoble, and others. But I realize, while they are important, they aren't the decision makers. Not at the top. They aren't driving this, regardless of their personal feelings on the matter, whatever they might be. But yeah, WotC, the company, isn't my friend. They do make products I love though . . .

However, most smaller RPG publishers are not publicly traded companies, and they don't have shareholders to appease. They are usually owned by one or a handful of owners. Profit is certainly a motive for these companies, but it is not always prioritized over people, over communities, as it usually is with publicly traded corporations.

I actually do feel friendly towards Green Ronin, because Green Ronin is Chris Pramas. I have mixed feelings towards Paizo, because Paizo is Lisa Stevens . . . whose done a lot of good, but also some shady stuff towards her employees. Whether I'm "friends" with a particular company, depends a lot on WHO the owner is and how they treat their employees, their fans/customers, and the larger RPG community. I'm choosy about friends in my personal life also . . . not much different.

Nothings black-or-white my friend.
Absolutely, mostly it's a Grey muddle. And mostly that particular muddlehas little to with whether DCC books often make me happy, while Paizo books leave me cold in general. If it were the other way around, so would my purchasing decisions. Nothing to do with the people, but the products.
 

kigmatzomat

Adventurer
The Thermocline isn't one bad decision, one price increase, one loss of service or privilege, one change to a product. It's an aggregate feeling, and it won't hit for everyone all at once. It only seems sudden to those who weren't paying attention to the Check Engine light that's been glowing on the dash for a while now.

Agreed. 4e had several issues, from a product that was not really well received and the GSL fallout. 5e was better but lots of GMs find it lacking in game-running tools (hence many 3pp like Tome of Heroes), the setting books have not received critical acclaim, and D&D Beyond has stagnated under WotC/Hasbro with no real features released in more than a year.

All of this meant the d&d "trust level" was on shaky ground prior to the OGL dust up.

Happening over the holidays was exceptionally bad as it meant lots of people had a ton of free time to troll the internet for rumors. This meant far more people were aware than on another date.

Then when the rumors were confirmed and had a couple of extra twists of the screws, it blew up within the community that was primed for the worst, and got it.

it was still in the slow news window so outlets that might have made a small mention about d&d made it a headline story.

Wotc/Hasbro's continued fumbles and flailing, inconsistencies and has done nothing but show the doomsayers were more accurate than the optimists, further eroding trust.

This is going to be a case study in corporate mismanagement alongside Twitter in MBA courses in the near future.
 

So if those are the people you are hitting, that's arguably worse since you are basically taking out a load-bearing structure: each one who doesn't want to play may not get replaced, meaning that you are losing several possible customers instead of one. We won't know for a little while, but I'd say this is bad.
WotC claimed recently that about 20% of the user base for D&D are DMs - losing 10% of your player base is bad but not a death blow I’d say; losing half of the 5e DMs would be a sea change.

Edit: And that’s aside from the posts I’ve started seeing on Reddit that essentially read, “…so, D&D sucks now, I guess?”
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Absolutely, mostly it's a Grey muddle. And mostly that particular muddlehas little to with whether DCC books often make me happy, while Paizo books leave me cold in general. If it were the other way around, so would my purchasing decisions. Nothing to do with the people, but the products.
You (the general "you") are more likely to be "friends" with a company that publishes products you enjoy. You're likely not to pay much attention to those who don't. Sure.

But that's a separate issue over how companies treat their employees, their fans and customers, and their larger community.

I don't know a lot about the folks who run Goodman Games, because I'm not a fan of their products. Not for any negative reason, I'm just not their audience is all. So, I'm not "friends" with Goodman, but if someone in the know tells me about the folks who own the company, I might give them my respect.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Agreed. 4e had several issues, from a product that was not really well received and the GSL fallout. 5e was better but lots of GMs find it lacking in game-running tools (hence many 3pp like Tome of Heroes), the setting books have not received critical acclaim, and D&D Beyond has stagnated under WotC/Hasbro with no real features released in more than a year.

All of this meant the d&d "trust level" was on shaky ground prior to the OGL dust up.

Happening over the holidays was exceptionally bad as it meant lots of people had a ton of free time to troll the internet for rumors. This meant far more people were aware than on another date.

Then when the rumors were confirmed and had a couple of extra twists of the screws, it blew up within the community that was primed for the worst, and got it.

it was still in the slow news window so outlets that might have made a small mention about d&d made it a headline story.

Wotc/Hasbro's continued fumbles and flailing, inconsistencies and has done nothing but show the doomsayers were more accurate than the optimists, further eroding trust.

This is going to be a case study in corporate mismanagement alongside Twitter in MBA courses in the near future.
A company putting out products that are not the best quality . . . not really an erosion of trust, bringing them closer to the "thermocline".

And quality is subjective. There were folks complaining about the setting revivals published so far, Eberron, Ravenloft, Dragonlance, Spelljammer . . . . but a lot of us enjoyed those products. And when not, we don't all conflate "I didn't like this" or "I would have done this differently" with an actual erosion of trust. Or lack of quality.

WotC not putting enough resources into D&D Beyond isn't a new problem. It existed prior to their acquisition of the service, when it was a licensed product. However, this is part of that trust erosion . . . not egregious enough on it's own, but adding to folks disquiet. Finding out they down-sized the support staff is not a good look either.

While it was a while ago, the whole 4th Edition and GSL mess was the beginning of the erosion, for me at least. 5th Edition returning us to a more classic D&D and to the original OGL started to heal that trust. Now, we are back where we were back in 2008, and it somehow feels way worse than it did back then.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
You (the general "you") are more likely to be "friends" with a company that publishes products you enjoy. You're likely not to pay much attention to those who don't. Sure.

But that's a separate issue over how companies treat their employees, their fans and customers, and their larger community.

I don't know a lot about the folks who run Goodman Games, because I'm not a fan of their products. Not for any negative reason, I'm just not their audience is all. So, I'm not "friends" with Goodman, but if someone in the know tells me about the folks who own the company, I might give them my respect.
They seem like decent people, but their products are what I pay for, not their being nice people who like similar cheezy books to my own interests.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
They seem like decent people, but their products are what I pay for, not their being nice people who like similar cheezy books to my own interests.
Sure.

But if you found out that the company owners and management of your favorite company are total bastards, who treat their employees terribly, disrespect the RPG community, and only see you, the fan, as an "obstacle to their money" . . . . you might be less inclined to purchase their products, even if you LOVE those products.

That's the place many of us are in with WotC and D&D. I've purchased every 5th Edition book published so far, and I've enjoyed them all. I genuinely like many of the faces of WotC on the D&D Team. WotC has, up until recently, has seemed to be trying to be a good corporate citizen. I felt good being their loyal customer.

But now . . . . I'm soured on official D&D and WotC. I'm not excited to purchase their next D&D releases, and probably won't. I will probably stop using D&D Beyond to build my characters. However, I'm pretty sure the next couple of D&D books are going to be awesome, and I already like the D&D Beyond service.

Can WotC regain my trust, and regain me as a loyal customer and fan? Yes, but . . . . it's not likely seeing how the wind seems to be blowing right now. And even if they walked back the OGL 2.0 entirely, and added the word "irrevocable" to the OGL 1.0 . . . . I'm going to be wary for a while.
 

A company putting out products that are not the best quality . . . not really an erosion of trust, bringing them closer to the "thermocline".

And quality is subjective. There were folks complaining about the setting revivals published so far, Eberron, Ravenloft, Dragonlance, Spelljammer . . . . but a lot of us enjoyed those products. And when not, we don't all conflate "I didn't like this" or "I would have done this differently" with an actual erosion of trust. Or lack of quality.

WotC not putting enough resources into D&D Beyond isn't a new problem. It existed prior to their acquisition of the service, when it was a licensed product. However, this is part of that trust erosion . . . not egregious enough on it's own, but adding to folks disquiet. Finding out they down-sized the support staff is not a good look either.

While it was a while ago, the whole 4th Edition and GSL mess was the beginning of the erosion, for me at least. 5th Edition returning us to a more classic D&D and to the original OGL started to heal that trust. Now, we are back where we were back in 2008, and it somehow feels way worse than it did back then.

I mean, I'd say all those could contribute to the trust thermocline, especially the first one: putting out bad products consistently can absolutely lead to the erosion of trust. Has DnD been doing that? I know I heard a lot of disappointment around Strixhaven and Spelljammer, but generally it has to be a more consistent thing. I'd probably say that their actions on the MTG side has probably contributed more recently.

But while I think Wizards has probably had a more middling reputation as of late, this action is at such a different level that they might have been able to get to the trust thermocline if they hadn't done anything wrong. This is just such an insane move to make given how well they are doing.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I mean, I'd say all those could contribute to the trust thermocline, especially the first one: putting out bad products consistently can absolutely lead to the erosion of trust. Has DnD been doing that? I know I heard a lot of disappointment around Strixhaven and Spelljammer, but generally it has to be a more consistent thing. I'd probably say that their actions on the MTG side has probably contributed more recently.

But while I think Wizards has probably had a more middling reputation as of late, this action is at such a different level that they might have been able to get to the trust thermocline if they hadn't done anything wrong. This is just such an insane move to make given how well they are doing.
For me . . . WotC hasn't put out any "bad" products. Not everything has been knocked out of the park for me, but nothing is "bad" or of poor quality.

I didn't enjoy Strixhaven, but . . . it just wasn't my cuppa tea. That's okay. I was very happy with the other MtG/D&D crossovers, and I was very happy with the setting revivals for Eberron, Ravenloft, and even Dragonlance. Spelljammer I have issues with, but that's with the format rather than the actual writing and design.

If a company does consistently put out products you don't personally care for . . . . because they suck, or because they just don't do it for you, or do it your way . . . . that is an "erosion" of sorts, but more of an erosion of enjoyment. Not of trust.

But we're fans . . . . it's easy for us to conflate, "WhAt dID thEY do To drAgOnlaNCe!" with the OGL shenanigans going on right now.

For me, some of the smaller issues that had begun eroding MY trust with WotC . . .
  • 4E/GSL way back in 2008.
  • How Orion Black, a WotC designer-of-color, was treated.
  • How WotC quietly put Mearls on the back-burner when he got mixed up with Zak S. Instead of dealing with that head-on.
  • The "two steps forward, one step back" progress on racial issues within D&D. Hadozee?
  • D&D Beyond being under-resourced.
  • The three-book slipcase format of Spelljammer, an admitted way to charge more for less.
  • Learning that freelancers and license partners view WotC as a "culture of arrogance" with accusations of veiled harassment from some.
  • I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting . . . .
WotC hasn't put out any products that I felt were of terrible quality. If I felt they had been, consistently over time, I would have stopped being their customer. But not due to an "erosion of trust". However, those two things can work together!

If you are already not a fan of WotC's current direction with official D&D . . . . you're closer to dropping them as a patron over the current mess than others might be. Sure.
 

For me . . . WotC hasn't put out any "bad" products. Not everything has been knocked out of the park for me, but nothing is "bad" or of poor quality.

I didn't enjoy Strixhaven, but . . . it just wasn't my cuppa tea. That's okay. I was very happy with the other MtG/D&D crossovers, and I was very happy with the setting revivals for Eberron, Ravenloft, and even Dragonlance. Spelljammer I have issues with, but that's with the format rather than the actual writing and design.

If a company does consistently put out products you don't personally care for . . . . because they suck, or because they just don't do it for you, or do it your way . . . . that is an "erosion" of sorts, but more of an erosion of enjoyment. Not of trust.

But we're fans . . . . it's easy for us to conflate, "WhAt dID thEY do To drAgOnlaNCe!" with the OGL shenanigans going on right now.

There have been products I didn't like (HotDQ stands out as an early adventure I remember playing and disliking, SCAG as a player supplement just had bad classes), some good ones (XGtE is legit one of their best), and the rest kind of okay. I would largely agree that I don't think their output is a good reason for a decline in trust, though I'd also say it probably hasn't inspired extra trust with them.

For me, some of the smaller issues that had begun eroding MY trust with WotC . . .
  • 4E/GSL way back in 2008.
  • How Orion Black, a WotC designer-of-color, was treated.
  • How WotC quietly put Mearls on the back-burner when he got mixed up with Zak S. Instead of dealing with that head-on.
  • The "two steps forward, one step back" progress on racial issues within D&D. Hadozee?
  • D&D Beyond being under-resourced.
  • The three-book slipcase format of Spelljammer, an admitted way to charge more for less.
  • Learning that freelancers and license partners view WotC as a "culture of arrogance" with accusations of veiled harassment from some.
  • I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting . . . .
WotC hasn't put out any products that I felt were of terrible quality. If I felt they had been, consistently over time, I would have stopped being their customer. But not due to an "erosion of trust". However, those two things can work together!

If you are already not a fan of WotC's current direction with official D&D . . . . you're closer to dropping them as a patron over the current mess than others might be. Sure.

Ah, we are pretty similar in this regard. The bolded ones for me are very much big factors for me moving away, as well as my own personal frustration with the system. I don't buy as much as I used to, but I did have a quiet DDB sub that I used because people in my group still run D&D. I exported my characters, cancelled my sub, and I'm probably going to say that after my current campaign I don't want to play D&D anymore. Certainly never going to run it again, either.
 

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