D&D General Here we are again

Negflar2099

Explorer
As someone who's old enough to have been with this hobby since the very start it really pains me to see this all happening yet again. Since they first bought D&D from TSR in 97 WoTC has been the subject of a ton of hate, some of it deserved, some of it not so much. It look WoTC a long, long time to build up this level of trust they had with the community, especially after the fiasco with 4th edition. To see them piss it all away is heartbreaking. Especially since I really feel that this is probably mostly coming from Hasbro. Like the idiot who poisons their golden goose in a pitiful attempt to get it to lay more of those sweet sweet gilded eggs, Hasbro has forced this situation and ruined a good thing.

I can't help but feel their using Wizards as a human shield, letting them get all the (very justified) hate and take all that flack while they hide away in the shadows blameless. Not that WoTC is innocent in all of this. To borrow someone's analogy it's like WotC is the evil wizard bringing ruin to the vibrant community. Sure everybody hates the wizard, for good reason, but all the while he serves a great, and greedy demon. The wizard is wicked for sure, but lets not forget the demon in all this.

I just wish companies would stop doing this. They're doing it to video games, they're doing it to movies and now they're doing it to my favorite hobby of all. My one silver lining is seeing how everyone is standing up to them. It might not seem like much but getting them to even do the pitiful backpedaling they did is still a victory. We just need to keep the pressure on and if the hobby fractures as a result that's probably a good thing. D&D isn't a single game and it can't be owned by any one company. Those days are past. It's our culture now, our history. In other words ours. I'm so happy to see us fight back and to know that so many of these smaller publishers have our backs and we have theirs. Wizards doesn't own D&D and they don't own us. Love you all.
 

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They do it because short-term, it's more profitable to milk a few whales for everything they got than it is to sell a decent game to a large number of people. It's true in video games, board games, and ttrpgs. After all, even if you run the IP into the ground, you can just sit on it for a few years (or a decade) and start over. Nostalgia will overcome the sour memories of what killed it in the first place.

It'll only stop working when the market decides to just not touch any game that does this sort of thing - which doesn't seem to be happening. Diablo Immortal made over $100 million while being a complete case-study in how to include the most predatory monetization in one game.

But maybe ttrpgs are different... I mean they definitely are, but are they different enough that people just won't subscribe to Dungeons & Dragons when they could*own* Pathfinder 2e?
 

IMO, the WotC execs in charge of DnD brand and licensing would be the adversary for this particular conflict, not the Hasbro overlords. The Hasbro overlords are the ones who can replace and/or fire the WotC execs in charge of DnD brand and licensing.

The Hasbro overlords care about profit margins, and delegate the decision-making on how to reach said profit margins.

The WotC execs in charge of DnD brand and licensing care about keeping their jobs, and are the ones deciding how to reach their revenue quotas, pressured on them by Hasbro.

Attacking both together, or the wrong one, is moving backwards if one wants to actually make anything improve for the future of the DnD brand.

The objective of boycotters should be to grab Hasbro's attention and focus it towards the WotC execs in charge of the DnD brand and licensing. That does NOT require reducing revenue to zero. It just requires making sure that WotC does not meet its revenue quota from Hasbro. Taking hits on DnD Beyond, cards, toys, and 1st party supplements is more than enough to achieve that objective. The desired result (at least for anyone who still enjoys DnD) should be imo the next version of OGL being palatable to 3rd party publishers, and a statement agreeing that OGL 1.0a is irrevocable.

It's also important to separate the WotC execs in charge of DnD brand and licensing from the employees who have nothing to do with the decision-making, otherwise it's easier for responsible parties to paint the boycotters in a poor light if they need to deflect blame away from decisions that may have reduced earnings (and their audience for those meetings is not the consumers, but their bosses at Hasbro).

My suggestion would also be to wait and see for now in the wake of WotC's response to the DnD Beyond boycott, but keep the discussion alive so that more are aware of the situation, and try not to go overboard as more than a few may be doing.
 

IMO, the WotC execs in charge of DnD brand and licensing would be the adversary for this particular conflict, not the Hasbro overlords. The Hasbro overlords are the ones who can replace and/or fire the WotC execs in charge of DnD brand and licensing.

We can quite certainly lay all the blame on the CEO of Hasbro, as until 12 months ago, he was President of WotC.

Has-Bro CEO is named Chris Cocks, he came from Microsoft as a sales VP to be President and COO of WotC in 2014. When the CEO of Hasbro died in late 2021, Cocks was promoted to Hasbro CEO in January 2022.

He came to WotC after 5e was already done, so he has literally zero experience launching an RPG edition, has no visceral knowledge of the 4e backlash, and essentially arrived in a boom period.

He has increased revenue but has done it as an operations person, not a creative, with cost cutting measures on many fronts, including DDB customer service staff as well as the traditional WotC Christmas layoffs as well as mid-year layoffs.

It is a certainty that what is going on now is based on long term plans Cocks developed while WotC president, but now comes with the greater authority of Hasbro CEO.

Cocks does not seem to have had any positions pre-WotC that involved PR or was consumer facing, meaning this is probably the first time his screw-ups have been in the public light. (My Google fu is less clear on his pre-Microsoft roles so maybe I am wrong)
 
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Stormonu

Legend
This behavior isn't anything new. TSR was even worse, they would have NEVER considered even sharing the game to others and even viciously attacked their own fans for attempting to share or produce content.

Corporations simply cycle greed, acting in a fawning manner to get people in their grip and then squeeze them for every drop of coin they can muster. They only slow down when the community reacts in a manner that causes them to lose money. And even then, they just slightly loosen their grip until they can squeeze again. They never fully open their grasp.
 



It is a certainty that what is going on now is based on long term plans Cocks developed while WotC president, but now comes with the greater authority of Hasbro CEO.

Based on what evidence?

Has there been any leaked directive specifically authored by Chris Cocks from 12+ months ago?

Chris Cocks may have agreed with Cynthia Williams that DnD was "under-monetized", but that can mean any number of things not having to do with the OGL, including Mr. Cocks' discussions not so long ago for expansion of DnD into more brands and IP, with mention of MtG as an example.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I just wish companies would stop doing this.
The problem is, you are (essentially) asking that corporations develop an inherent internal pressure toward (a) behaving ethically regardless of the (temporary or ongoing) costs, (b) prioritizing long-term success over short-term profits, and (c) rewarding effective stewardship that builds symbolic/infrastructural/non-pecuniary strength instead of rewarding cunning ploys that prioritize squeezing out every dollar no matter what.

This won't happen. The motive to do these things can only arise in three ways. The first is for it to be there from the beginning, a desire that preceded the desire to make money. The second is for it to arise in response to the objective failure and breakdown that results from "selling tomorrow to buy today"--when the corporation's leadership can no longer deny or deflect or "re-orient" or whatever, and must actually take responsibility for their unwise, short-sighted decisions and thus actually improve. And the third, of course, is external pressure from force, sometimes soft force like customer advocacy, but much more commonly the force of law because corporations tend to be good at dodging soft force efforts.

Unfortunately, the first way tends to disappear as companies age, because the people who had that internalized attitude promote out or retire. The second way only happens after the problem has become so bad it can't be ignored anymore, and that carries an extreme risk of the company simply going under. Even if it doesn't, you basically just get the same problem as before, albeit more slowly because it's not localized to a few founders, it's an internal-culture change. Such things linger. And the third way, in a very meaningful sense, never actually achieves the goal at all--because it does so by making an external pressure that the corporate entities will almost certainly resent and resist as much as they are able. (It's related to the problem of teaching: how do you get someone to want to learn? How do you actually transmit knowledge and not simply information?)

It's an inherent problem of allowing people to do what they wish to do, rather than forcing them to fall in line: there will always be the temptation to exploit. And, of course, the inherent problems of forcing people to fall in line are well-known.

How do we make humans who desire to be moral, not because they are forced to, but because they choose to? Unless you find an answer to this question, corporations (and all sorts of other human organizational groups, corporations aren't special) will continue to do crappy, stupid, self-destructive things in the name of maximal exploitation for minimal investment.
 

bostonmyk

Explorer
Based on what evidence?

Has there been any leaked directive specifically authored by Chris Cocks from 12+ months ago?

Chris Cocks may have agreed with Cynthia Williams that DnD was "under-monetized", but that can mean any number of things not having to do with the OGL, including Mr. Cocks' discussions not so long ago for expansion of DnD into more brands and IP, with mention of MtG as an example.
It really doesn't matter. They all own the decisions they collectively make.

Mike
 

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