OGL I think they got what they wanted

Some assumptions: what Hasbro/wotc wants in revoking OGL 1.0a is not 3p royalties, which wouldn't amount to much, but complete control over Dnd as an intellectual property and to crowd out as much competition as possible in advance of Onednd. Their strategy would be to aggressively license their IP for movies, games, tv shows, etc, and to make playing onednd something that happens only on their platforms with their products, as much as possible.

If those assumptions are true, I think they got what they wanted? Third parties will not be making onednd compatible material, but instead developing their own games/heartbreakers for a fairly niche audience. Meanwhile, they can probably find beyond+vtt subscription tiers that many people will find acceptable. Arguably, 5e is already written in such a way that people find using online tools (character sheets, automation) to be the best way to play the game.

In sum, I think onednd will be broadly acceptable to people looking to get into dnd. The viral backlash is real, and I do think long term wotc is misunderstanding both the function of third parties and the appeal of ttrpgs vs other media. Medium term, it's a viable plan (even if cynical and soulless.)
 

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I actually wonder (tin foil hat on) if they would have gotten here just by the leaks without actual action. They may have been able to do this with less cost. On the other hand maybe they needed the lawyers to come up with "If it doesn't say X" or else it would just be wishful thinking.

I also disagree with you on what they want.
Third parties will not be making onednd compatible material, but instead developing their own games/heartbreakers for a fairly niche audience.
I bet there will still be some small 3pp support, and if they continue (and I bet they will) with the DMs guild there will be that.
I don't think they wanted no one, they just wanted to cut the biggest ones out.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Yep, you’re 100% correct. Even if the OGL 1.0 ends up surviving, it’s likely that most 3rd party publishers won’t want to use it (especially once ORC materializes as an alternative), since WotC has proven willing to pull the rug out from under them. That means WotC will achieve their goal of tighter control over the D&D market either way. The only way WotC can actually lose here is if they do “deauthorize” 1.0, someone tries to use it anyway, WotC takes them to court over it, and loses. That would firmly establish that WotC can’t actually get rid of the OGL, so 3PPs could freely use it without fear.
 


Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I don't think that they got what they wanted- they probably had a lot of different assumptions going in. Like that the 3PPs would be amenable to signing up to something (even if they had to negotiate) and that the NDAs would be respected, for instance. They certainly could not have expected the massive blowback.

But yeah, once everything settles ... this is likely what they want. The royalties don't really matter to them; what matters is the right to exclude - part of the whole need to control the brand and the IP. Whether the long-term plan is successful will depend a lot on the quality of their upcoming products (movie, tv shows, VTT, etc.).
 

Amrûnril

Adventurer
If Wizards wanted their digital tools to be the only ones available, all they needed to do was not renew their contracts with Roll20 and other companies in that space. Maybe someone would try to make compatible tools anyway, but I suspect WotC would be on much stronger legal and PR footing litigating the details of how the OGL applies to digital tools than trying to retract it in its entierty.

If the goal was control over D&D as a multimedia franchise, they largely had that already. The SRD licensed under the OGL contains tabletop mechanics, not the IP that would actually translate into other media.

WotC hasn't gained any meaningful increase in control over the parts of the D&D IP that the corporate leadership actually seems to care about, but they've significantly damaged the brand perception and goodwill that make D&D a valuable IP to control in the first place.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Some assumptions: what Hasbro/wotc wants in revoking OGL 1.0a is not 3p royalties, which wouldn't amount to much, but complete control over Dnd as an intellectual property and to crowd out as much competition as possible in advance of Onednd. Their strategy would be to aggressively license their IP for movies, games, tv shows, etc, and to make playing onednd something that happens only on their platforms with their products, as much as possible.

If those assumptions are true, I think they got what they wanted? Third parties will not be making onednd compatible material, but instead developing their own games/heartbreakers for a fairly niche audience. Meanwhile, they can probably find beyond+vtt subscription tiers that many people will find acceptable. Arguably, 5e is already written in such a way that people find using online tools (character sheets, automation) to be the best way to play the game.

In sum, I think onednd will be broadly acceptable to people looking to get into dnd. The viral backlash is real, and I do think long term wotc is misunderstanding both the function of third parties and the appeal of ttrpgs vs other media. Medium term, it's a viable plan (even if cynical and soulless.)
They could have gotten complete control over OneD&D by just not releasing it under the OGL. They don't have to release it under any license, or they could easily release it under a different license that meats their needs like they did with 4e.

They obviously did not want huge numbers of subscribers dropping from DnDBeyond, so even if they have not yet given up getting what they wanted, they could have accomplished it in a much better way for them. So even if they haven't yet given up on what they want, they got things they did not want, and for all we know they will have to give up on things they do want - the game isn't over yet.
 

Matt Thomason

Adventurer
I don't think that they got what they wanted- they probably had a lot of different assumptions going in. Like that the 3PPs would be amenable to signing up to something (even if they had to negotiate) and that the NDAs would be respected, for instance. They certainly could not have expected the massive blowback.

Yup, I think they wanted the best of both worlds - that the 3PPs would be on board to keep the product support coming, with any big name licensed game returning royalties, while blocking specific things that would compete directly with them (e.g. VTTs against D&D Beyond).

Now, in theory I don't have anything against that as a business plan. That's what corporations do. The bit I object to, probably the only thing, is where they already have a deal in place with everyone and are trying to unilaterally alter the terms of it as if it were a simple license grant and not a bilateral contract.
 

Mercurius

Legend
I don't think that they got what they wanted- they probably had a lot of different assumptions going in. Like that the 3PPs would be amenable to signing up to something (even if they had to negotiate) and that the NDAs would be respected, for instance. They certainly could not have expected the massive blowback.

But yeah, once everything settles ... this is likely what they want. The royalties don't really matter to them; what matters is the right to exclude - part of the whole need to control the brand and the IP. Whether the long-term plan is successful will depend a lot on the quality of their upcoming products (movie, tv shows, VTT, etc.).
I think this is where there's no monolithic "they." If we mean the creative team at WotC--the D&D department--I'm sure "they" knew the new OGL wouldn't go over well, and probably warned higher-ups. If we mean the corporate suits at Hasbro, then "they" only care insofar as the money keeps rolling in; they've probably experienced backlash before, and just see it as another obstacle to overcome on the road to profit.

What we're really experiencing is the curtain being pulled back, and the revelation of most of us knew, but also probably were in denial about: in the end, WotC is a corporation, run by a larger corporation, and to the people that ultimately make decisions, stuff like "creative diversity and freedom" and "community cohesion" is only relevant insofar as it impacts profit.
 

ilgatto

How inconvenient
Some assumptions: what Hasbro/wotc wants in revoking OGL 1.0a is not 3p royalties, which wouldn't amount to much, but complete control over Dnd as an intellectual property and to crowd out as much competition as possible in advance of Onednd. Their strategy would be to aggressively license their IP for movies, games, tv shows, etc, and to make playing onednd something that happens only on their platforms with their products, as much as possible.

If those assumptions are true, I think they got what they wanted? Third parties will not be making onednd compatible material, but instead developing their own games/heartbreakers for a fairly niche audience. Meanwhile, they can probably find beyond+vtt subscription tiers that many people will find acceptable. Arguably, 5e is already written in such a way that people find using online tools (character sheets, automation) to be the best way to play the game.

In sum, I think onednd will be broadly acceptable to people looking to get into dnd. The viral backlash is real, and I do think long term wotc is misunderstanding both the function of third parties and the appeal of ttrpgs vs other media. Medium term, it's a viable plan (even if cynical and soulless.)
Well, for one thing, they'd certainly be "monetizing" the naughty word lamp out of D&D.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
They could have gotten complete control over OneD&D by just not releasing it under the OGL. They don't have to release it under any license, or they could easily release it under a different license that meats their needs like they did with 4e.
Well, theoretically yes, but if 1D&D is in fact fully compatible with 5e, then nothing would stop people from cloning it under OGL1.0 using the 5.1 SRD.
 

They could have gotten complete control over OneD&D by just not releasing it under the OGL. They don't have to release it under any license, or they could easily release it under a different license that meats their needs like they did with 4e.
That would have been a smart and rational approach. But the one flaw is that people will still mark their products as compatible with "5e" or "The world's most whatever role playing game." Now, those same products will be marked as compatible with Black Flag and ORC etc. In fact, the more 3p emphasize the uniqueness of their products, the better for wotc (under this strategy, which again is an assumption).

Again they are probably underestimating the role that influencer types play in helping the game, especially when it comes to big name actual plays.
 

Enrahim2

Explorer
I think they they wanted to chase away those too strong for them to control (this succeded), while retaining the hobbyists willing to provide free labor for D&D.

It is the later point they now likely are afraid they might not acheive. A platform without creators is doomed, and they know it. They also might have failed to fully account for the huge overlap between creators and promoters in this particular ecosystem (in software eco-systems, thest tend to be quite separate). Devestating their promoter segment as well I believe almost certainly wasn't part of their plan.
 

Matt Thomason

Adventurer
I think this is where there's no monolithic "they." If we mean the creative team at WotC--the D&D department--I'm sure "they" knew the new OGL wouldn't go over well, and probably warned higher-ups. If we mean the corporate suits at Hasbro, then "they" only care insofar as the money keeps rolling in; they've probably experienced backlash before, and just see it as another obstacle to overcome on the road to profit.

What we're really experiencing is the curtain being pulled back, and the revelation of most of us knew, but also probably were in denial about: in the end, WotC is a corporation, run by a larger corporation, and to the people that ultimately make decisions, stuff like "creative diversity and freedom" and "community cohesion" is only relevant insofar as it impacts profit.
Oh, I've stopped giving any weight whatsoever to the creative team in all of this. "They" is Hasbro/WotC corporate, and they view the D&D team as a factory they own that outputs stuff.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
If those assumptions are true, I think they got what they wanted? Third parties will not be making onednd compatible material, but instead developing their own games/heartbreakers for a fairly niche audience.
Except one of the biggest third party publishers, Kobold Press is making the "Black Flag" game. And it is going to be compatible with 5E. How do we know?

Because they published this a few hours ago on their Deep Magic 2 Kickstarter campaign FAQ:
How does Project Black Flag affect Deep Magic?
https://www.kickstarter.com/project...for-5th-edition-games/faqs#project_faq_418429
For those who don’t know, Kobold Press is creating a new core fantasy rule system codenamed “Project Black Flag.” Deep Magic (both volumes) will be forward-compatible with the Project Black Flag rule system.
That means Black Flag appears to be using Vancian magic, subclasses, 5E PHB classes, 5E energy types and more.

Even if Black Flag is only an SRD (and it's not clear to me whether it'll be a full game beyond that, since a 5E-compatible SRD would allow Kobold Press to keep chugging along in perpetuity), that means WotC won't be able to stop 5E-compatible content from coming out without risking a very bad court decision.

My group is already talking about switching to the Black Flag SRD when it comes out and homebrewing our own system from there. I cannot imagine we will be alone or that some of the stuff built on the BFSRD won't be made publicly available for others to do the same.
 

Dustin_00

Explorer
The path they've now created, though, is: drive everybody to 3rd party games and VTTs, release OneDnD, everybody keeps playing on the VTTs they moved to.

This path severely cranks up the difficulty of drawing the crowds back to the new product.
 

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