D&D 5E New WotC Survey! Learn About A New D&D Product!


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Siriak

Explorer
So I just followed the link and took the survey. I honestly did not see an NDA. Was in the small print or something? I was expecting some sort of big banner. I think I was expecting something like in an adventure where is says, "If you are a player do need read further" or at least a check box to agree to the NDA.
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
So I just followed the link and took the survey. I honestly did not see an NDA. Was in the small print or something? I was expecting some sort of big banner. I think I was expecting something like in an adventure where is says, "If you are a player do need read further" or at least a check box to agree to the NDA.
It's a big full page message like in the screenshot in the article which you have to agree to to continue to watch a video showcasing a new virtual tabletop product. Some people got it and some didn't, presumably based on answers to previous questions.

(I can safely say that as I didn't agree to an NDA, just read the thread; I haven't seen the video myself, but I've heard enough about it now I can pretty much imagine it frame by frame!)
 

no NDA and no video for me... ç_ç
Same. Just a bunch of questions about racial abilities and basic mechanics, either of D&D generally (Initiative rolls, frex) or 5e specifically ("Advantage" as a term of art, what things are part of character creation).

At least I got the chance to tell them how utterly disappointed I am with the Dragonborn race. (I hope that this is taken as "please fix them" rather than "make them go away." Given Dragonborn are like, the fourth or fifth most popular race choice from D&D Beyond, despite their distinct mechanical....paucity, shall we say, I'm not too worried about that. But given the number of people who would absolutely yeet Dragonborn straight out of the game no matter how popular they are, I do feel a little justified in worrying.)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Building a better core system and investing more in it's development (which would still be cheap) would let you exceed their capabilities in short order.

WotC has not shown itself to be competent in the software field where D&D is concerned. I mean... Gleemax?

On top of that, WotC stuff could be guaranteed to be fully functional day 1 of release

Because, as we all know, if you control the property, that means software is always ready on time?

See above note on competency with software development. WotC could guarantee there's no licensing issues preventing features from being fully functional, but that's only one of many possible reasons for delay.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
WotC has not shown itself to be competent in the software field where D&D is concerned. I mean... Gleemax?



Because, as we all know, if you control the property, that means software is always ready on time?

See above note on competency with software development. WotC could guarantee there's no licensing issues preventing features from being fully functional, but that's only one of many possible reasons for delay.
Their recent software endeavors (i.e., Magic Arena), since they brought in a CEO from the tech world, have been ducce. I have no particular interest in digital tools, but WotC has the tools to do more than they did in the Aughts.
 

WotC has not shown itself to be competent in the software field where D&D is concerned. I mean... Gleemax?

Because, as we all know, if you control the property, that means software is always ready on time?

See above note on competency with software development. WotC could guarantee there's no licensing issues preventing features from being fully functional, but that's only one of many possible reasons for delay.
You raise valid points, but I think both are genuinely answerable.

1) Re: competence, I think there's long-term history vs. recent history, and in the long-term, WotC and Hasbro have made constant errors with software/video games and licencing all the way back to like 2000. It's a catalogue of errors. There was also, for a long time, an attitude that software/video games weren't worth investing in, neither when licencing out, nor developing in-house.

However, in the last 2-3 years, even a bit longer than that, we've seen a massive change in WotC's approach, and their general success in this arena.

The first positive sign was with DNDBeyond, when the abandoned working with the previous (incompetent) company trying this and move to the Beyond people, who, despite some concerns about their pricing model, have actually put out a very good product with only a couple of serious issues.

And since then we've seen a lot of successes - BG3 is looking good (the script has Larian issues, but that's par for the course), Dark Alliance is looking surprisingly non-awful (and is developed by a WotC-owned studio), and even if it's a bit mediocre, it'll be a stepping stone. And there's apparently a ton of other D&D game stuff on the way. Furthermore, WotC have opened their own AAA studio, Archetype Entertainment, and whilst obviously it'll be a 2-3 years minimum before we see what they're making, the people they've hired are clearly extremely competent and well-regarded industry veterans with experience in specifically the kind of games they want to make. So the chances are as good as with any new studio.

On top of that, D&D has gone from being a second-line brand for WotC/Hasbro after MtG, to the main earner, and investment has obviously become pretty important. The most recent MtG digital offering is pretty high-quality, I note, and even re-converted some long-quit MtG players I know.

Nothing in the world is certain, but the whole "WotC always screws up digital", which I used to subscribe to until 2-3 years ago no longer looks to be the case.

2) The product DNDBeyond is putting out is actually surprisingly close to a lot of stuff I work with, in that it's essentially a big-ass database which has to be very user-friendly and accessible, is commercial in nature, and has users viewing stuff as well as inputting different stuff, and so on.

Fundamentally nothing that they're doing there is hard or complex to do, nor is it expensive to run something like that.

DNDBeyond's issue appears to be that it keeps getting sold to people who just want to extract profit from it, and not to really develop it. That seems to be particularly bad now, as even stuff they'd been managing to keep up to date, and to handle well, for years, they're beginning to fail at (all of which would make a modicum of sense if there was some warning WotC were entering the sphere).

The reason that they've specifically stated that they're having difficulty implementing certain things is that they have no pre-warning of, nor influence over, the decisions WotC makes re: development and new systems and so on (they do get the rulebooks early, but only, seemingly, after they've gone to print). They've been very clear on that, and it appears to be true, because everything they've not implemented, pretty much, is a system introduced in a rulebook or UA, more or less out-of-the-blue. Anything that doesn't need this, they tend to be able to implement shockingly fast.

On top of that, they have to go with WotC's release dates. You seem to be thinking of this like the WotC D&D devs will just go on their merry way, like the digital offering doesn't exist, that they won't give long-range heads-ups on systems, or even change systems, to make them work in digital. I find that to be extremely unlikely. Release dates might be harder because of physical books, but even then so long as the team are internal, communication should be both better and earlier.

Given the relative simplicity of what they're doing (and it really is pretty straightforward stuff), combined with internal communication, preferably with teams working together properly, there's absolutely no reason they should see issues like Beyond is. Especially if WotC invests at all in this, and given the potential $$$ to be made, I don't see why 2021 WotC wouldn't invest. They're not 2015 WotC.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
You can bet there will be microtransactions. Let's pray their hypothetical service won't have loot boxes.
funny enough, that was my #1 "does not appeal" to me I listed.

Also, I kept waiting to rate dissatisfied for halfling darkvision like every other race gave an option for, but never got that question for the halfling. Figures.
 

ZeshinX

Adventurer
WotC seems to be much improved in the area of digital offerings, though they still don't appeal (to me, I prefer my TTRPG'ing to be in-person and with printed material...I'd prefer not to play if it can't be in-person).

Their past digital failures were little more than amusing to me, as I don't care for technology at the table (beyond that of a mechanical pencil...and a calculator if playing 3.x/PF lol).

I do have great interest in the video games. More specifically, the single-player PC-based RPGs (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, etc). Baldur's Gate 3 has my attention, though I'm uncertain about it at this point. I don't pay for early access nonsense, so I haven't played it yet, but two things concern me; Larian and the visual aesthetic of the game.

As far as Larian goes, I have no doubt they will make a very technically proficient game and will support it well. I have absolutely NO confidence in their ability to write a compelling narrative or to balance their overly ridiculous sense of humor however. The BG games have plenty of room for humor and moments of meta silliness, but Larian has shown in their past games they don't know when (or even, seemingly, how) to scale that back or balance it with a serious narrative (not a severe one mind, just one that doesn't undermine itself constantly with wildly out of place moments of humor).

The other is the aesthetic. WotC/D&D seems to be leaning very hard into a Renaissance-era visual aesthetic. Outside of architecture, it's probably the most visually hideous era this planet has to offer in terms of the style of attire (clothes, armor, weapons, etc)...well, okay, it can't beat the true awfulness that is the 70's, but still. Renaissance attire is ugly, over-designed wretchedness. Seriously, collar and wrist frills are utterly the most dopey looking style, especially when paired with a suit of armor. Obviously nothing can be done about it as far as BG3 is concerned, but I seriously hope they drop that gawd awful design in favor of something a little less....over done.
 




darjr

I crit!
I also fought the good fight against darkvision. The scourge of 5e.

I would houserule it out of my campaign but over 100 sessions in its too late.
Have a world shattering event! A THIRD kind of darkness that only appears in dim light and picks and chooses those it afflicts. The god of “no you can’t see in the dark”

Or a half failed plot of shar or father llymic
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
What do you mean? Are you referring to the fact that it might be a subscription-based service?
Look to the survey if you want details, because the video goes into some interesting things.

On another topic, Wizard's of the Coast has a Magic client, Magic Arena, that uses a Freemium model, where you don't need to buy anything to play, and actually play a lot.
 


jgsugden

Legend
I also fought the good fight against darkvision. The scourge of 5e.

I would houserule it out of my campaign but over 100 sessions in its too late.
In my homebrew I have Darkvision, Low Light Vision (treat dim as bright, and create a wider 'sub dim zone' that low light treats as dim), Ultravision (primarily used in the Underdark and by arcane spellcasters), Infravision (you switch it on, like putting on night vision goggles) that a PC can take as an alternative to Darkvision. Certain races default to these other visions (like orcs, who have Infravision). You can work things like this in easily, even in established campaigns.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I also fought the good fight against darkvision. The scourge of 5e.

I would houserule it out of my campaign but over 100 sessions in its too late.
Do you use the rule that visual perception checks made while using darkvision are made with disadvantage? As soon as I started enforcing that rule, the players started lighting torches and using light spells again.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
You raise valid points, but I think both are genuinely answerable.

Yes, they are answerable. But until they demonstrate that they've answered it, there's no reason for confidence.

1)...

The first positive sign was with DNDBeyond, when the abandoned working with the previous (incompetent) company trying this and move to the Beyond people, who, despite some concerns about their pricing model, have actually put out a very good product with only a couple of serious issues.

If we had evidence that choice came from understanding the domain, instead of just luck, that would be a good sign.

And since then we've seen a lot of successes - BG3 is looking good (the script has Larian issues, but that's par for the course), Dark Alliance is looking surprisingly non-awful (and is developed by a WotC-owned studio), and even if it's a bit mediocre, it'll be a stepping stone.

None of these are actual successes yet. They are projects that haven't yet failed. There's a difference. A success is good code that ships, not things that are not-awful in previews.

2) The product DNDBeyond is putting out is actually surprisingly close to a lot of stuff I work with, in that it's essentially a big-ass database which has to be very user-friendly and accessible, is commercial in nature, and has users viewing stuff as well as inputting different stuff, and so on.

Fundamentally nothing that they're doing there is hard or complex to do, nor is it expensive to run something like that.

So, you're not the only one who works in software around here, so I'm going to push back a bit on that - it is complicated and complex. Yes, many companies do similar work, but also many fail to do it. Moderate data complexity plus moderate customization per user, millions of users, three-nines uptime and a reasonable UX design is not a cakewalk of a project.

The number one way to make sure a project blunders is to be overconfident about it.

On top of that, they have to go with WotC's release dates. You seem to be thinking of this like the WotC D&D devs will just go on their merry way, like the digital offering doesn't exist, that they won't give long-range heads-ups on systems, or even change systems, to make them work in digital.

As soon as you have two systems in active development become dependent on each other, things start to suck, fast. "You can't release that physical book that you've already sent off to the printer because we've got persistent issues implementing a class on the software side," is NOT a conversation we want them to have to have.

I think I would prefer to not see the software side have a lick of input into the RPG game development. I am still more than willing to use paper and pencil, so I want game developers to go with whatever works for the game, without concern of how hard it may be on the software side. As soon as they are linked, you're apt to see game design hobbled to the digital implementation.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member

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