Legal Eagle has entered the chat, about OGL 1.1

I think many long-time RPG players dramatically underestimate the opportunities in the "digital space." As far as I can tell, we're still really in the first generation of VTTs and good implementation is already a major competitive advantage. For some reason, I've been looking around for other games we could play after our current 5e campaign, and VTT implementation, preferably on Roll20 where we already are, is a major consideration.

As far as microtransactions, I don't play a lot of video games, but when I do, I'm mystified at the things people spend money on. I play a bit of Warzone and I don't understand why anyone buys skins, for example...but they do. Conversely, I've had players commission character art to use in their little 2D character token on Roll20. I've had players buy custom miniatures for their characters for 40 years. Do I think there's a significant market for customizable digital "miniatures" in a 3D VTT? Hell yes, I do.

None of this suggests Wizards is going to do it well--their track record isn't good. But if they can execute, it's a space with transformative business opportunity for the company IMO.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
I think many long-time RPG players dramatically underestimate the opportunities in the "digital space." As far as I can tell, we're still really in the first generation of VTTs and good implementation is already a major competitive advantage. For some reason, I've been looking around for other games we could play after our current 5e campaign, and VTT implementation, preferably on Roll20 where we already are, is a major consideration.

As far as microtransactions, I don't play a lot of video games, but when I do, I'm mystified at the things people spend money on. I play a bit of Warzone and I don't understand why anyone buys skins, for example...but they do. Conversely, I've had players commission character art to use in their little 2D character token on Roll20. I've had players buy custom miniatures for their characters for 40 years. Do I think there's a significant market for customizable digital "miniatures" in a 3D VTT? Hell yes, I do.

None of this suggests Wizards is going to do it well--their track record isn't good. But if they can execute, it's a space with transformative business opportunity for the company IMO.
Maybe I’m old and cranky. Well…I’m definitely old and cranky. But I don’t care about making RPGs into video games. That’s all the 3D VTT looks like to me. It’s a game of imagination. Why is there such a push to stop using the imagination and instead have someone code it for you? I know why WotC wants that, money. I don’t get why players would want that. You already have an unlimited special effects budget in your head. Why down grade to a 3D VTT?
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Maybe I’m old and cranky. Well…I’m definitely old and cranky. But I don’t care about making RPGs into video games. That’s all the 3D VTT looks like to me. It’s a game of imagination. Why is there such a push to stop using the imagination and instead have someone code it for you? I know why WotC wants that, money. I don’t get why players would want that. You already have an unlimited special effects budget in your head. Why down grade to a 3D VTT?

Not everyone can play live D&D/find a group or wants to smell the other players.
 

Clint_L

Legend
I think video games as an analogy for the VTT is limited. A good VTT would be something like 90s simulation games, such as earlier versions of Sim City. However, those were designed to be games in themselves, not supplements to a TTRPG. One thing I do know a lot about is using miniatures and terrain on the physical tabletop. And that is why I think the VTT has a lot of potential.

I have enough Dwarven Forge to cover my tabletop in all their biomes. I am also familiar with and have purchased products from every single major terrain system: Warlock Tiles, Monster Fight Club, Dragonlock, Galladoria Games, etc. etc. And I have been collecting and painting miniatures for decades. I can put a completely furnished city block on my tabletop, or a verdant forest, or a massive volcanic cavern system, or a mountain peak, or a frozen snowscape, and so on. If I need a horde of zombies, and band of ogres, any of the colours and ages of dragons, etc., I've also got it covered.

And it is expensive. I have been in the hobby for ages and have enough disposable income to do it, but for these millions of new players, something like my collection is not a viable option. But a good VTT? They could have the same things at a fraction of the cost.

From my perspective, when pricing out what WotC could charge for a good, 3d VTT, you should be comparing it to buying pre-painted miniatures and Dwarven Forge. A basic, painted DF dungeon starter set is going to cost you $125 or so, but having enough to give you the flexibility you will want will cost you over a thousand. And getting the miniatures to fill it with the kind of variety you will want is thousands of dollars just to start.

So let's say the WotC VTT starter set is something like: the terrain tiles and miniatures needed to run "Lost Mine of Phandelver," for $50-100. That would be amazingly affordable compared to buying the physical terrain and miniatures. Less than 10% of the price. I think a lot of folks would really be tempted, especially if it is integrated with DnDBeyond.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Not everyone can play live D&D/find a group or wants to smell the other players.
Trust me, I get normal VTTs and playing online. 100%. I don’t get the Extra Fancy video game WotC wants to push, besides from the more money angle. I don’t get the draw of that nonsense for the players.

1. Here’s a free VTT we can use along with our imaginations to play this game remotely.

2. Here’s an expensive 3D VTT with recent video game system requirements that is on a subscription model to play this game remotely.

Why on Earth would anyone pick option two? What’s the draw?
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I just wish the VTT makers would leverage the tools for more than making gridded combat easy. I would be very surprised if making an overland hex map with fog of war for long journeys and sandbox play was something harder to make than line of sight and lighting on a battlegrid, just as an example of something missing that absolutely frustrates me.
 

Maybe I’m old and cranky. Well…I’m definitely old and cranky. But I don’t care about making RPGs into video games. That’s all the 3D VTT looks like to me. It’s a game of imagination. Why is there such a push to stop using the imagination and instead have someone code it for you? I know why WotC wants that, money. I don’t get why players would want that. You already have an unlimited special effects budget in your head. Why down grade to a 3D VTT?
I'm old and cranky too! :D

In any case, I'm not interested in "making RPGs into video games" or replacing my imagination with someone's code. I'm interested in using the internet to play with people all over the world and using the software to replace a wooden table and chairs in my dining room. And in many ways, the internet and software does it better than I'm able to at my table. A Mike Schley map with dynamic lighting instead of me drawing on a battle mat? Yes, please. Tokens with character art the players have commissioned instead of a Monopoly shoe? Sounds good. Hundreds of monster tokens with art right out of the book linked to stat block sheets that pop up when I click the token? Whoa! No agonized waiting for the math-challenged to total up their attacks/damage and instead letting the computer do it in a nanosecond? Winner.

And again, this is just first generation. I use all that stuff today. None of it turns the RPG into a video game or substitutes code for imagination. We're all still there doing exactly the same roleplaying (and joking, and punning) that we'd do around my dining room table. It's everything else that gets replaced, usually with something much better.

It's cool with me if you don't like it. But I think you can dislike it while still recognizing its appeal to a large segment of the gamer population.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I'm old and cranky too! :D

In any case, I'm not interested in "making RPGs into video games" or replacing my imagination with someone's code. I'm interested in using the internet to play with people all over the world and using the software to replace a wooden table and chairs in my dining room. And in many ways, the internet and software does it better than I'm able to at my table. A Mike Schley map with dynamic lighting instead of me drawing on a battle mat? Yes, please. Tokens with character art the players have commissioned instead of a Monopoly shoe? Sounds good. Hundreds of monster tokens with art right out of the book linked to stat block sheets that pop up when I click the token? Whoa! No agonized waiting for the math-challenged to total up their attacks/damage and instead letting the computer do it in a nanosecond? Winner.

And again, this is just first generation. I use all that stuff today. None of it turns the RPG into a video game or substitutes code for imagination. We're all still there doing exactly the same roleplaying (and joking, and punning) that we'd do around my dining room table. It's everything else that gets replaced, usually with something much better.

It's cool with me if you don't like it. But I think you can dislike it while still recognizing its appeal to a large segment of the gamer population.
And again…I’m not talking about normal VTTs. I’m talking about WotC’s 3D VTT that looks explicitly like it’s turning into a video game…complete with the Unreal Engine.
 


tomBitonti

Adventurer
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?
But they did comment as legal experts. Presenting one’s self as a legal expert, one avoids looking dumb by actually being an expert. When there is doubt, there are ways to express that while providing concrete advice.

It seems a very strange plan to destroy one’s own reputation as part of the plan.

TomB
 

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