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D&D 5E The OGL -- A Lesson for 5E

Nahat Anoj

First Post
IMO WotC should adopt an app-store style model. They should charge a subscription to all the content, then open things up to allow people to program their own monsters, rules hacks, adventures, etc. Heck, they could let people build their own character builders if those people were so inclined. Subscribers could pay to get these new rules bits, with WotC taking a little cut for each sale.

Just like their are free apps, there could still be free things, but they'd come with strings attached (like whatever they do with free smart phone apps - track your data or something?).
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
More likely, I see them keeping the core proprietary, but loosening up the GSL to encourage 3rd party involvement in making supplements and splats.
Honestly? This is what I think they will have to do, as well. But where do they draw the line? If they want 3PPs to make splatbooks for, say, new monsters, then they have to release enough of the core rules to make that possible. Which would be all of the combat mechanics at least, and possibly even the spell mechanics, equipment, and character classes (depending on how monsters are built in 5E.) If this new GSL is too restrictive, it will be useless. So I am holding out hope for a complete OGL for the system, to ensure the maximum participation from 3PPs. At this point, they need all the help they can get.

5E is not only make-or-break for WotC, but for Paizo as well. If 5E is a colossal flop and there is no more 4E material and no 4E OGL, then I can see Pathfinder taking an even larger market share. On the other hand, if 5E is a success, Paizo is kinda painted into a corner because there are limitations to how much they can change a game using the OGL. To compete with 5E, they'd have to make a new game with NONE of the IP from D&D.
Why would Paizo "have to" make a new game? From what I can tell, they are perfectly content with publishing their brand of 3.5 rules, and their product sales are steadily climbing. I don't see them needing to change anything anytime soon. "If it ain't broke..."

But if 5E is a runaway success, and if it somehow achieves this without an OGL, Paizo would probably just publish a conversion manual under the 3.5 OGL and keep doing what they have always been doing: catering to the 3.5E fans and dissatisfied Wizards customer base. Like the cycle of the tides and the phases of the moon, these things will always be.
 

Number48

First Post
You seem to misunderstand. Paizo is currently the top-selling RPG. If 5E is a huge success, they just lost their customer base. They could go back to being the small, 3rd-party company they were before Pathfinder, but that's not a decision made easily. The definition of 5E being a huge success is that they pull in a majority of pre-4E players, including Pathfinder.
 

Piratecat

Sesquipedalian
You seem to misunderstand. Paizo is currently the top-selling RPG. If 5E is a huge success, they just lost their customer base. They could go back to being the small, 3rd-party company they were before Pathfinder, but that's not a decision made easily. The definition of 5E being a huge success is that they pull in a majority of pre-4E players, including Pathfinder.

Not necessarily. There's reason to believe that a rising tide lifts all the boats; a successful new edition of D&D should also bring in many new and lapsed gamers, just as 3e did. Pathfinder also has the advantage that their setting materials are just plain amazing. Those are useful no matter what edition you're playing. I think Paizo is going to continue to be a major force in the industry regardless of how 5e does.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
You seem to misunderstand. Paizo is currently the top-selling RPG. If 5E is a huge success, they just lost their customer base. They could go back to being the small, 3rd-party company they were before Pathfinder, but that's not a decision made easily. The definition of 5E being a huge success is that they pull in a majority of pre-4E players, including Pathfinder.


I don't know that I see that scenario playing out as you envision it. I think with each new edition WotC has made attempts to recapture lapsed D&D players and with limited success. 3.XE seemed to bring a lot of D&Ders back but it's hard to say since it was much harder to gauge the varying communites pre-Internet.

Plus, it sure seems that people tend to either be casual gamers who play from time to time and don't purchase much, staunch gamers who follow a single system, or multi-system gamers.

I think WotC hopes to capture the casual crowd and maybe find ways to increase their involvement by leveraging technology in ways previously unavailable. I think they hope to draw some new gamers to D&D. I think WotC hopes that many of the multi-system crowd will at least check out 5E and add it to their rotation. I also think they hope to keep the WotC 4E D&D loyalists on board while also snagging the WotC 3.0 and 3.5 D&D loyalists who didn't move on to 4E D&D or to Pathfinder.

I think they'd like to recapture some (O)D&D, Basic D&D, 1E and 2E D&D loyalists but this seems like a bigger struggle. They've simply been away too long. Many didn't move forward before, not only because they have in hand the game they love but also, because spending a bunch of money on a new game that won't likely continue being supported beyond a handful of years is one of the reasons they didn't move on in the past. That hasn't changed.

But it seems the majority of Pathfinder gamers are Pathfinder loyalists and likely the toughest sell for 5E. They've got some of the best and the brightest of game design, as ordained by WotC, working on a game they love. They've got a network of 3PP using the OGL to broaden support for their system and probably many still use a number of OGL books from the 3.XE era. I dont think many of them are jumping ship any time soon. There might be a shake up when Paizo finally gets around to revising Pathfinder but that largely depends on the tack that is taken and what is produced. I don't see Paizo as a company that will take their loyalists for granted or, through lack of communication, will take the game in directions that their fanbase will bolt over.

One of the few arrows in WotC's quiver (beyond the brand name) that could help in bringing PF gamers back toward D&D is the OGL. It allows for the possibility that, even if those gamers aren't one hundred percent sold on 5E as it is presented on release, some OGL supplements designed to make the game more suited to their tastes can come from outside. This is why I think it is unlkely that a half-measure like the GSL wouldn't be enough to make a difference. Sure, it could help 3PP sell some adventures and whatnot to 5E gamers, but it isn't going to draw people to 5E in the first place. That's what a full-fledged OGL 5E has a shot at doing.

But they're already messing up. They should have made up their minds regarding the OGL before the announcement. It may well be that they have and are squeemish about saying they have no intention of using the OGL for fear of a backlash. They may believe that by putting off the rejection of the OGL they keep some people on board that would have already written off 5E. But I have to say that, if this is the case, I think this would prove to have been an error much in the same way that dragging out the GSL before 4E was an error. Only time will tell.
 

Yora

Legend
An OGL is a benefit to consumers and to preserving D&D forever. When WotC purchased D&D from TSR, the huge mismanagement and colossal hole in accounts threatened to take D&D to the dust bin of history. I think that fear over seeing warehouses of rotting unsold Buck Rogers stuff is the only reason we saw an OGL and especially the gentlemen's agreement. If 3E failed, D&D was done.
3e was huge. The hobby was vibrant again. But the majority of the chaff has been cut from the field since 3.5e. There are very few pubs using d20 anymore.

Sounds a lot like the situation now. We don't get the new edition this early because Wizards thinks it's a great time to sell a new set of core rulebooks. As lots of discussions over the last year have shows, there was a widespread feeling that 4th Edition was a dead end that would slowly whither away without many people noticing unless Wizards made some very drastic changes.
5th Edition has to be a success, or the brand name looses all the value it has. 4th Edition damaged it but people are still willing to give Wizards a second chance. But if this one fails as well, I think the brand is done for and we won't see a 6th Edition.
 

Grazzt

Demon Lord
5th Edition has to be a success, or the brand name looses all the value it has. 4th Edition damaged it but people are still willing to give Wizards a second chance. But if this one fails as well, I think the brand is done for and we won't see a 6th Edition.

Oh- I'd say we'll see 6E even if 5E fails, but it would be quite a number of years down the road, and probably by whomever picks up the license from Hasbro ('picks up' meaning licensing the brand or buying it outright).
 

pauljathome

First Post
But they're already messing up. They should have made up their minds regarding the OGL before the announcement. It may well be that they have and are squeemish about saying they have no intention of using the OGL for fear of a backlash. They may believe that by putting off the rejection of the OGL they keep some people on board that would have already written off 5E. But I have to say that, if this is the case, I think this would prove to have been an error much in the same way that dragging out the GSL before 4E was an error. Only time will tell.

My guess (based on absolutely no knowledge) is that there are various factions within WOTC/Hasbro fighting over exactly what the license will be. And no one faction has yet won that fight.

Combine that with lawyers being slower than gamers would like and you have the current situation where only vague announcements are being made.
 

Cadfan

First Post
If you're right and the OGL means that all future editions of D&D need to be compatible with the 3e OGL material, then I hope the OGL dies in a fire before it murders Dungeons and Dragons forever. Stagnation is death.
 

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