Matt Colville weighs in.

mamba

Legend
For those who know about video game development:
I don't know much about that industry and I don't recall exactly when WotC hired all those devs. But it seems like their timeline would be rushed even for an experienced studio.
Is it realistic that WotC could have their new VTT up and solidly running - worth paying a sub for - by the end of 2024?
I’d say they can. They have a ton of developers and not much need to develop a lot of features (they use an existing 3d engine, they need no world, etc. like regular RPGs). What they do need is a ton of assets (models, animations, textures, …), but you can churn those out in parallel, that is where having 300 people creating them can really shine
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Dausuul

Legend
I’d say they can. They have a ton of developers and not much need to develop a lot of features (they use an existing 3d engine, they need no world, etc. like regular RPGs). What they do need is a ton of assets (models, animations, textures, …), but you can churn those out in parallel, that is where having 300 people creating them can really shine
As long as all they want to do is serve up prepackaged adventures and encounters... sure. Which may well be the only thing they care about.

However, if they want to support homebrew campaigns, then users need to be able to create their own maps, encounters, and so forth. That is a significant UI design challenge and also requires a whole lot more development work on the back end.
 

As long as all they want to do is serve up prepackaged adventures and encounters... sure. Which may well be the only thing they care about.

However, if they want to support homebrew campaigns, then users need to be able to create their own maps, encounters, and so forth. That is a significant UI design challenge and also requires a whole lot more development work on the back end.

Yeah, the problem for WotC's VTT is going to be actually doing things, not looks. It's easy to find good looking stuff. But if you want a map-builder, want to include spell effects, want to allow people to modify the map, make sure live line-of-sight works... it's all sorts of stuff. Honestly I feel like it'd have been easier to make things 2D, but I suppose if you want people to subscribe for big money, fancy aesthetics are a thing.

If I had a worry, though, it'd be how you run the thing. Is it going to be in-browser? I assume so because you don't want to limit people by their hardware.
 

TheSword

Legend
The person who made the fake slide thought it would be obviously absurd, wildly over-the-top, and therefore hilarious. That it also happens to be the exact number picked by WotC for their top-tier subscription to their VTT is a cosmic irony to be sure.
There is an interesting impact of the expectations game though.

If the subscription is $19 people will think it’s a lot less than $30. “Well it could have been worse”.

If one was releasing a branded platform one would want rumours that it was going to be pricey so when it’s actually released the price is in the direction people want - rather than lowballing it and the high price being all people talk about…

… I’ve been reading my Machiavelli!
 

mamba

Legend
As long as all they want to do is serve up prepackaged adventures and encounters... sure. Which may well be the only thing they care about.

However, if they want to support homebrew campaigns, then users need to be able to create their own maps, encounters, and so forth. That is a significant UI design challenge and also requires a whole lot more development work on the back end.
They still have 50 people left over for that ;) Or my split is off… Also, someone already has to use the tools to turn existing adventures into scenes. Granted, paid devs put up with a lot more crappy tools than end users, but I still do not see that as much of a hurdle.

Either way they have plenty of people working on it, so that is not the limitation.
 


I'm not sure the primary issue in the OP is the use of technology per se. Colville himself uses Fantasy Grounds and has said that he misses using it while at the table, and in fact his ideal set up is to still use the VTT for its automation and maps even while playing in person. I think it more has to do with this distinction between "folk" and "official" dnd. This split--or rather spectrum--already exists and has existed from the 1974 publication, where the "$10 price of the original box struck many gamers as outrageous."

So it's less about technology than about who owns and controls the necessary infrastructure and at what point that becomes a monopoly; whatever Hasbro is doing now is thus a small microcosm or example of larger trends. From a folk dnd perspective, the concern is that activities that were once part of a commons become the purview and ownership of a corporate entity (i.e. "monetization"). From a more consumerist perspective, the main freedom people have is the freedom to buy or not buy. So if you don't like it, don't buy it. Consumer boycotts and letters are very much a part of this perspective, though apparently too radical for some.

To be clear, people worry about microtransactions because they've led to real financial hardship, whether that be individuals spending thousands of $ on microtransactions or that 9% of all UK children/teenagers borrow, in some cases secretly, money they cannot repay to purchase loot boxes. Again, in the West at least, most of the culpability for debt or purchases is seen to lie with the debtor/consumer, even as the corporations boast massive profits, so calls to regulate this activity are usually limited in effect. The small scale ttrpg version of this is kickstarter and crowdfunding, which is unregulated and available to bad actors, where neither kickstarter nor those bad actors suffer any real consequences for failed kickstarters.



Key points
• Nearly one in four (23%) 11 to 16-year old gamers said they had paid money to open loot boxes
• One third (31%) of young gamers said they struggled to keep track of how much they spent on loot boxes and one third (33%) said they did not feel in control of their spending on loot boxes
• One in four gamers spend over £100 on loot boxes on average over the course of a game
• One in six (15%) had taken money from their parents without permission to buy a loot box; and one in ten (9%) had borrowed money they couldn’t repay, while one in ten (11%) had either used their parent’s credit or debit card, or borrowed money from friends or family to do so
• Nearly a quarter (24%) of gamers said they felt addicted to loot boxes and, because of the feeling of being cheated or ripped off by loot boxes, over one third (44%) said they experienced feelings of frustration and anger more often than they otherwise would have
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I have more faith in WotC than that.

I think they will try and put out a great product for DMs and players because that’s what their business is. I have no reason to think they would sacrifice a good product for a lousy product that costs more. I really don’t mind paying more for 3d tokens if I can switch it to regular uploadable 2D token mode as well.

Aside from some editorial choices about product in the last two years, I’m pretty supportive of what WotC has done product wise in the last 10 years. I think they’ve been overwhelming trying to make the best game they can. (Even when it’s not been to my taste)

One D&D seems to be trying to continue in the same vein. I don’t have a reason to think they would do differently with their VTT. So because Im a glass half full kind of guy I’m gonna go with that until I can see some actual stuff that says otherwise.
When they did the reveal on the VTT there was a lot of headscratching over the failure to make any effort at selling features other than 3d & unreal engine. The silence was so glaring that it could have doubled as a marketing clip for the unreal engine rather than a d&d VTT. The leaks shedding light on cao's plans for it however explain the silence too neatly to ignore.
 


Haplo781

Legend
I feel like all of this was their plan with 4e all along, and that that edition would have been much better suited for it. Since they failed then, they are now trying again with 5e, despite it being much less suitable.

I guess we will see what 6e looks like (and that could be the edition after 1DD rather than 1DD itself, and show up 4-5 years down the line)
They would literally be better off reviving 4e for this digital scheme and leaving 5e and the OGL alone.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top