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Branduil

Hero
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.
You're right, it was overprinting and too much unsold stock which helped kill them. I guess we'll see if investing massive money in a VTT ends up being a similar waste.
 

You're right, it was overprinting and too much unsold stock which helped kill them. I guess we'll see if investing massive money in a VTT ends up being a similar waste.

I'll be honest: them going for a 3D VTT specifically feels like it's going to end in tears. By being graphically-intensive compared to classic VTTs, there's just so much more that can go wrong, along with the fact that it starts putting requirements on the computers people are using.
 

Aldarc

Legend
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.
Yeah, we are now in an era where TTRPG designers are openly citing 4e D&D as an influence: e.g., ICONS, Fabula Ultima, Gubat Ganwa, etc. However, 4e mainly served as an inspiration in how it made many designers aware of an itch that needed to be scratched for more tactical TTRPGs. These games go about that differently than 4e.

Again, I like to point out that these games often don't cite WoW as an outside influence, but, rather, JRPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I'll be honest: them going for a 3D VTT specifically feels like it's going to end in tears. By being graphically-intensive compared to classic VTTs, there's just so much more that can go wrong, along with the fact that it starts putting requirements on the computers people are using.
I think these are rather small concerns for WotC if I had to guess. For the former... they as a company can afford to pay for more IT and QA people than folks at like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds, so they'll have an easier time keeping their 3DVTT up and running than other groups could... and for the latter, World of Warcraft have been running their game up and down the graphical intensity line since the beginning-- I'd be mightily surprised if the 3DVTT did not have the same series of sliders allowing for every player to select just how much detail (and thus speed) their computer could handle.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
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.

Except it is necessary if (or I think it would be, IANAL), for example you want to use their stat block format or make a reference to the "Toughness" feat unless you want to go through the trouble of renaming it "Grit" and changing the explanation of what it does to be in your own words every time. It does allow for a shorthand that made printing compatible stuff a lot easier. In theory anyone can print a book that said, "see WotC's D&D PHB p. XYZ" when referring to a certain rule (it is not a copyright violation to reference a work) but that is exactly the kind of thing TSR would use to bully people with lawyers until they quit or settled because actually going to court was expensive and potentially risky.
 

tomBitonti

Adventurer
Until WotC goes to court.
I was off put by that attitude in his presentation. Saying that the the OGL isn’t necessary anyways, so nothing to worry about here, failed to re-assure me. I felt pushed to deeper concern. I really wish these presentations adhered much more to specific issues. What really does it mean for WotC to de-authorize 1.1a? Are terms of either of the new licenses unacceptable as given? Can new products be sold under 1.1a using the previously available SRDs? Given the apparently aggressive posture taken initially but WotC, has WotC lost the presumption of acting in good faith, and can any contract be considered with them?

TomB
 

I really wish these presentations adhered much more to specific issues. What really does it mean for WotC to de-authorize 1.1a? Are terms of either of the new licenses unacceptable as given? Can new products be sold under 1.1a using the previously available SRDs?
the problem is no one knows, so the only responsible thing is to come out and say you can't comment on things that no one can be sure of.
IF he came out and said "This is bad law and isn't getting by anyone" then wotc took piazo to court and won he looks dumb. If he said "This is what they can do and it's underhanded but they can get away with it" and the judge ruled for piazo he looks dumb...
Given the apparently aggressive posture taken initially but WotC, has WotC lost the presumption of acting in good faith, and can any contract be considered with them?
I asked in another thread but if they just said this was the plan would that alone of killed the 3pp feeling of safty and not needed lawyers to redo anything?
 

Zardnaar

Legend
the problem is no one knows, so the only responsible thing is to come out and say you can't comment on things that no one can be sure of.
IF he came out and said "This is bad law and isn't getting by anyone" then wotc took piazo to court and won he looks dumb. If he said "This is what they can do and it's underhanded but they can get away with it" and the judge ruled for piazo he looks dumb...

I asked in another thread but if they just said this was the plan would that alone of killed the 3pp feeling of safty and not needed lawyers to redo anything?

He did say things were murky but came down on the side of mechanics can't be copyrighted but their expressions can be.
 

Hex08

Hero
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.
I don't necessarily disagree with the points you make but as a society we are getting far more used to microtransactions and not actually owning our media so if WotC can build a good VTT I think modern attitudes, especially among the younger generations, will help this business model succeed. Remember owning movies, tv shows and music on physical media? Now we pay a service to access that stuff and if a license switches hands we may lose access to a movie or song we love. I love to read but I do it all on my Nook and B&N (like has happened to owners of Kindles) can pull books from me. People are already used to not owning what they buy and possibly losing access to content they paid for. That being the case I don't think the model you present is all that problematic.

What percentage of the gaming community plays games other than D&D? Will they care about One D&D not supporting other games? Even those who play other games may sign up for One D&D to use their VTT and cancel or suspend their account when they move on to another game and then come back when they play D&D again. When a new gamer gets their physical copy of one of the core rules books and there is a full-page ad at the front for WotC's VTT are they even going to bother to look for alternatives?

As I said, I don't disagree with what you are saying. There are defiantly hurdles to overcome but if the VTT is good I don't see them being insurmountable and the trend of people no longer owning what they buy leans in it's favor.
 

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