Legal Eagle has entered the chat, about OGL 1.1

Hex08

Hero
A VTT does not reproduce the copyrighted expression of the rules of a game. It uses non-copyrightable rules and processes. VTTs are safe.
My concern, even before this whole OGL kerfuffle, is that because D&D is the largest TTRPG enough people will gravitate to One D&D for their VTT experience that it will severely hurt the competition.
 

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Clint_L

Legend
So, my big takeaway from the video is that he doesn't even think the OGL is particularly necessary and WotC probably couldn't enforce it anyway, in any version of it. As he sees it, the only reason to use it is if you need or want to extensively quote from the SRD.
 


Clint_L

Legend
Until WotC goes to court.
Except Wizkids likely wouldn't go to court over it. They'll go to court in a heartbeat if you violate their copyrights or trademarks. But the OGL is primarily about letting you use the rules - you still can't use the name "Beholder," for example, without WotC's express written consent. And he emphasizes that game rules cannot be copyrighted.

As many lawyers here have pointed out, the line between a creative expression, which can be copyrighted, and game mechanics, which can't, might get pretty hazy in a game as complicated as D&D. But I think that's exactly why WotC would be very reluctant to ever try the issue, because there's a good chance they wouldn't like the result. The OGL seems to be more about convincing people that there might be a IP issue with the rules, so better safe than sorry since it is free to print the OGL anyway. Or it might be more convenient to be able to copy directly from the SRD.

What he's suggesting is that the emperor (WotC) never had any clothes when it came to owning the rules of D&D.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Except Wizkids likely wouldn't go to court over it. They'll go to court in a heartbeat if you violate their copyrights or trademarks. But the OGL is primarily about letting you use the rules - you still can't use the name "Beholder," for example, without WotC's express written consent. And he emphasizes that game rules cannot be copyrighted.

As many lawyers here have pointed out, the line between a creative expression, which can be copyrighted, and game mechanics, which can't, might get pretty hazy in a game as complicated as D&D. But I think that's exactly why WotC would be very reluctant to ever try the issue, because there's a good chance they wouldn't like the result. The OGL seems to be more about convincing people that there might be a IP issue with the rules, so better safe than sorry since it is free to print the OGL anyway. Or it might be more convenient to be able to copy directly from the SRD.

What he's suggesting is that the emperor (WotC) never had any clothes when it came to owning the rules of D&D.

Maybe but notice what happened bwith TSR (they won some cases) and theoretically you can clone 4E which no one has to any great extent.
 

Maybe but notice what happened bwith TSR (they won some cases)
Which cases, specifically?

I'm not aware of TSR winning any cases except ones where people did dumbass idiot stuff like literally putting the TSR logo/trademark on their product. That's not remotely comparable to anything here.

theoretically you can clone 4E which no one has to any great extent.
Much as I love 4E, this is more down to 4E just not being that popular than anything else. Its real successor-games are stuff like Lancer and the upcoming ICONS.

I mean put it like this - I loved 4E, would I clone it, if I was making an RPG?

HELL NO. Not even back in 2012 or whenever. It had too many flaws and was too flabby in certain ways.
 

Branduil

Hero
Maybe but notice what happened bwith TSR (they won some cases) and theoretically you can clone 4E which no one has to any great extent.
I'm admittedly not a D&D history expert, but I seem to recall how TSR's era of "let's sue everyone and fail to produce sufficient content" went.
 

My concern, even before this whole OGL kerfuffle, is that because D&D is the largest TTRPG enough people will gravitate to One D&D for their VTT experience that it will severely hurt the competition.
That's absolutely WotC's goal, but there's a huge question mark over whether they can achieve it.

WotC is investing extremely hard in the 3D VTT. It's never invested in any D&D project like this - 350 employees, I suspect that's far more than WotC has ever had on D&D. It's as many as an AAA videogame.

But AAA projects go wrong all the time, and indie projects are often massive successes.

So will WotC manage to make the 3D VTT so good that people won't even want to play other RPGs, or use other VTTs? Colour me skeptical. The problem for WotC is that there's no "standard" way of doing VTTs that they can just improve on. To make a truly accessible, mainstream VTT, they're going to have to do something new, and that's risky, and with 350 people? It's far riskier than with, say, 5.

On top of them having to do something new, they have a bunch of pressures on them, including some which conflict with making the best possible VTT experience. For example, one of the main goals of the VTT is to sell microtransaction minis (literally stated in WotC's reveal of the 3D VTT concept). A lot of AAA games fall down because of that sort of monetization leading to them compromising the base experience. Especially as WotC also expressed the desire to sell dungeon tiles, which rather strongly implies a compromised base experience, one that'll be intentionally incomplete (otherwise why would you need separately-purchased tiles?). And historically, this sort of microtransaction-heavy approach hasn't played very well with also requiring a subscription and content purchases. It looks to me like WotC are envisioning quadruple dipping here, which is nearly unprecedented.

I mean, what it sounds like what WotC want to do with the VTT is:

1) Make the person launching the session have subscription to Beyond (probably Master tier). They might go as far as making everyone, even the players require a subscription, but that seems bold even for them. +$$

2) Still charge you individually for each sourcebook, adventure, etc. (rather than including them in a sub). This is a bit like an MMO charging you both a subscription AND asking you to buy every expansion separately - a business model that basically died in the '00s because people weren't feeling the value. Still, might work. +$$

3) Charge you for the minis. They definitely want to do this, and it's unclear if they'll have just crummy minis/tokens if you don't pay for them or what. You too can look forward to the day one of your players turns up with a branded and official Minsc mini, complete with automatically playing a "Go for the eyes, Boo!" sound effect every time they hit in combat. +$$

4) Charge you for the dungeon tiles. Presumably you'll get a fairly limited/plain tileset to start with, with very limited decorations, and that looks kind of bleh, then WotC will be able to sell you stuff that doesn't suck. They sort of implied bundling this with the adventures - i.e. buy Strahd 2, get the "vampire castle" tileset - but I'm sure they'll sell you the vampire castle tileset at some extortionate price if you don't buy Stradh 2 as well. +$$

You can see why they're so psycho about this. They think they're going to launch WoW 2, only WAY more monetized.

More likely they manage to "do an Anthem", given their total and utter lack of understanding of their audience.

Also, however well-designed the 3D VTT is, I guarantee you an indie/small dev makes a multi-game VTT that works better within 3 years of it releasing, and WotC won't be willing/able to capture the innovations made there.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I'm admittedly not a D&D history expert, but I seem to recall how TSR's era of "let's sue everyone and fail to produce sufficient content" went.
What time period is this? Because one of the things that killed TSR was the glut of products. You could argue that was from ’81 until the end. So that only leaves ’74 through ’80.
 


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