Imagining a post-OGL world

Mercurius

Legend
Forgive me if this has been discussed already - I imagine it has, if only scattered throughout the hundreds of threads on the larger subject - but I'm a bit of a johnny-come-lately to the discussion. I wanted to start a thread that considers a post-OGL world, namely the RPG community, and what that might look like.

The obvious caveat: As of this writing, WotC hasn't really communicated, and they may do so even before I'm done writing this. But three things make this discussion worth having:

1) As I and others have said, enormous damage to community cohesion has already been done, and some publishers are already moving on. Even if ultimately only a small percentage moves on boycotts WotC, it might be large enough to see significant changes in the community.

2) Even if WotC back-pedals, chance are they'll circle back, perhaps in a way that looks like they're relenting, but they're not really...just taking a more strategic route to their goal.

3) Related to both of the above, no matter what happens, the ghost of this debacle will haunt the community - and especially third party publishers.

The three combined, and change is afoot - the gaming world will change. So the question for the thread is: How so? And perhaps I should emphasize an element that maybe should be brought forward: What positive developments might occur because of this? This is not to justify in any way the actions of WotC, which I find to be gross in a rather typical mega-corporation sort of way, but more a nod to the people of the community: that there are a lot of good and creative people who love the hobby with such a passion, that they'll (we'll) find a way to alchemically transform this lead into gold (or manure into a garden).

My initial thoughts run like this: This could lead to a renaissance of truly gamer-run companies and games. To a large extend that has been happening for years, decades even, in a variety o ways. The rpg industry is one that, by its very nature, tends to be led by those who love the game -- and perhaps this is why the OGL situation is so onerous: it is so clearly a decisions made by "suits" for suits (so they can buy nicer suits), which contrasts so sharply with especially the longer-term player base.

Presumably WotC will plug along and recover. There are enough new and/or indifferent (or oblivious) players that they'll have plenty of capital to work with. Furthermore, if they pull off a VTT platform and all the other bells and whistles they have planned, it could be hard to refuse for many of those on the fence.

So we might see a bit of a split in the RPG player base, between WotC folks and everyone else. Hopefully this won't lead to further conflicts, and that there will still be interchange between the two "tribes." And furthermore, hopefully it will be an opportunity for the various "indie factions" to emphasize their commonalities and not their differences.

I'm also very curious as to whether or not we'll see another Pathfinder emerge. It seems that several game companies are developing and will publish their own (truly OGL) systems that will be advertised as alternatives to official WotC D&D. But I'm guessing there will be more than the market can bear, and one or several leaders will emerge. So we might have several smaller Pathfinders, but larger than most other fantasy games that we've seen before.

I'm just riffing, and still trying to get a grasp on the full situation, so forgive me if some of the above seems ill-considered. What about you? What do you think the post-OGL RPG eco-system might look like?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
My initial thoughts run like this: This could lead to a renaissance of truly gamer-run companies and games.
...
I'm just riffing, and still trying to get a grasp on the full situation, so forgive me if some of the above seems ill-considered. What about you? What do you think the post-OGL RPG eco-system might look like?

So, you might well be correct with that sentence, but...
...there's always a but...
... I think that the Open WotC created a central focus around which the other games could congregate. EN World is an example - mostly D&D talk, but lots of people have heard of other games through this place. D&D generates a larger community whose side-chat is very valuable to smaller games.

The weakening of that community-focusing influence may lead to a bunch of gamer-run companies that have a lot of trouble getting attention paid to their games.
 

Mercurius

Legend
So, you might well be correct with that sentence, but...
...there's always a but...
... I think that the Open WotC created a central focus around which the other games could congregate. EN World is an example - mostly D&D talk, but lots of people have heard of other games through this place. D&D generates a larger community whose side-chat is very valuable to smaller games.

The weakening of that community-focusing influence may lead to a bunch of gamer-run companies that have a lot of trouble getting attention paid to their games.
Yeah, that's kind of what I was getting at with "more than the market can bear" and smaller Pathfinders emerging (and most dwindling away). But the community focus is key, yet I remain agnostic if whether this breaking up a bit would be a good or bad thing. On one hand, it is nice in that there's a sense of being part of a large, shared conversation; on the other, it might lead to stronger, if smaller, communities, with a greater degree of diversity of popular D&D-esque games.

Over the last 45+ years there have been countless fantasy alternatives to D&D, but really only one (Pathfinder) which has established itself with a significant community over more than just a short period. The vast majority get relegated to the dusty gaming shelf of history, or, at best, some kind of cult status with a dedicated but tiny fan-base (nothing wrong with that, of course). It would be nice to see several fantasy games thriving for longer periods of time, with large-enough communities to sustain continual development.
 

I think it will look like the late 90s. Except D&D will be never-could-have-imagined-it popular instead of on the verge of becoming an asset in a bankruptcy proceeding.
 


Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top