WotC Third party, DNDBeyond and potential bad side effects.

Kurotowa

Legend
"Oh no! WotC will provide a better customer experience and help promote high quality 3PP releases! Whatever will we do?! Surely, this is the next step in their insidious scheme to seize control of the TTRPG market and then do dark and horrible things to us all."

Look. I know we've all got some PTSD from the regular cycle of enshittification, where tech companies lure you in with Too Good To Be True offers and then slowly dial up the rent seeking once they've captured a large audience. But WotC is not a tech company or disruptor startup, riding a flood of venture capital funds to try to corner the market before they jack up their rates. They're not trying to knife all their competitors in the back before they turn everything into a subscription service that can delete the books you've "bought" at will.

Are they saints? No, they're part of Hasbro, a large capitalist corporation that has unreasonable growth expectations. But they're not part of the enshittification wave, and the actual employees at D&D headquarters love the hobby. So when they do something that makes things better, I'm not going to twist it around into a sign of how they're trying to destroy D&D.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


SlyFlourish

SlyFlourish.com
Supporter
Also, Mike, love your books, I own almost all of them.....hope you are taking this in the spirit of we just likely won't fully agree on this.

My experienced players loved Grendleroot, I just got burned out before we finished (we're playing Gloomhaven on line while we all recharge our batteries to DM).
Thank you so much!
 

SlyFlourish

SlyFlourish.com
Supporter
I also will note both of these are "mature, dark, themed" and were likely chosen partly for that reason. It is an area that WotC doesn't touch on much (I made the mistake of buying the book of vile darkness......).
Did you miss the creepy incest stuff in Rime of the Frostmaiden?
 


SlyFlourish

SlyFlourish.com
Supporter
Maybe I'm being a Pollyanna. I admit I could be. But my feeling is that, going forward, WotC won't try any shenanigans like the OGL debacle again -- at least not for many years.

First, it backfired very badly for them. Community outrage usually means very little to lawyers and beancounters, but if it blows up into a full-scale movement that damages their bottom line, eventually even the suits notice. I'm pretty sure everyone at Hasbro is clear that attempting to revoke the OGL was a Very Bad Idea.

Second, I have a hunch that the real target of OGL change was Paizo. Pathfinder has to stick in the craw of folks at WotC, right? For years they've watched money go to another company publishing a version of thier own game with the serial numbers filed off. Since Paizo backed down earlier this year by leaving the OGL entirely and re-writing all their core books, I don't see a motive for another OGL stunt. D&D's owners made their biggest rivals retreat and no one else in the industry is worth that much fuss.

Mind you, it's not that I trust WotC, because of course I don't. And even if I did, I don't trust Hasbro. What they tried to do with the OGL was downright scummy. But even corporations will do the right thing when it benefits them to do so.
My point is they don't have to do the OGL thing and never did. They have a strong monopoly on D&D and that's through D&D Beyond. They could easily strengthen it in ways where many people would say "well, that's an obvious business advantage" like stopping the publication of material on other platforms, not releasing anything else into the CC so no one can use the 2024 new D&D tech outside of Beyond, releasing more and more stuff as digital only on Beyond (my friend noted that they put out three digital only products in three weeks). They could start releasing subclasses exclusively to D&D Beyond. There's so much they could do to lock down D&D 5e content going forward to just D&D Beyond and it would give them almost exactly what they wanted out of their OGL move without having to revoke the OGL.

If a significant percentage of D&D players and DMs become dependent on D&D Beyond, it won't matter if people are publishing awesome material using the CC-released 5.1 SRD. Those products could lose a significant marketshare by not being on Beyond at all.

Boy, I'd love to be wrong about all of this, and there's a good chance I am. But, in the meantime, how does it hurt us to strengthen up our own hold on the hobby and ask for things from WOTC that would genuinely improve our experience with the game?

  • Give us PDFs.
  • Give us a D&D Beyond API.
  • Keep supporting other platforms and expand to even more.
 


We love it until it no longer serves us the way we want.

As an example, not being able to filter out particular source material from the character builder is a constant problem for my groups. Are they assigning resources to fix that? It's a particular problem now that they're including more and more stuff but it's been a problem for a long time. No, thank you, I don't want to include Strixhaven material into my dark fantasy game.

When they prioritize development around growth instead of bolstering up features to support their existing customers, that's a problem for us.

And the bigger they get, the fewer options we have if we want to leave and go somewhere else.

Shard, for example, lets you filter out source material, but it doesn't have the D&D core books there.
As a 3rd party publisher, I think my main concern would be this: WotC threatening to remove my content from DnD Beyond if I don't censor content I release seperately from it. Let's say I get an adventure put on DnD Beyond, and then I come out with one on Kickstarter for my own site, and this Kickstarter has content in it WotC doesn't like (slavery, too much violence, or generally more mature content). If WotC uses my content on DnD Beyond as leverage, that'd put me in a bad situation.

However, beyond this, I really don't think there's enough success to be had in the third party realm to justify not trying to get content on DnD Beyond. It's just such a massive increase in customers that it outweighs a lot of the cons mentioned throughout this thread. That is, if you're thinking from a purely financial standpoint.
 

SlyFlourish

SlyFlourish.com
Supporter
But WotC is not a tech company or disruptor startup, riding a flood of venture capital funds to try to corner the market before they jack up their rates.
You do understand that the VP of WOTC and the VP of D&D are both former Amazon executives, right? One of them used to work for Microsoft on the "Gaming Ecosystem Commercial Team".
They spent $146 million dollars to buy D&D Beyond. Do you think they spent $146 million making the new core books? They're absolutely a tech company now.
They're not trying to knife all their competitors in the back before they turn everything into a subscription service that can delete the books you've "bought" at will.
Where were you a year ago? How much more knife-in-the-back do you need to be to violate the intention of your own license to stop other publishers from making 5e products?
So when they do something that makes things better, I'm not going to twist it around into a sign of how they're trying to destroy D&D.
Ahh.. words in my mouth...
the actual employees at D&D headquarters love the hobby.
The VP in charge said he played it with his grandkids once.
 

SlyFlourish

SlyFlourish.com
Supporter
As a 3rd party publisher, I think my main concern would be this: WotC threatening to remove my content from DnD Beyond if I don't censor content I release seperately from it. Let's say I get an adventure put on DnD Beyond, and then I come out with one on Kickstarter for my own site, and this Kickstarter has content in it WotC doesn't like (slavery, too much violence, or generally more mature content). If WotC uses my content on DnD Beyond as leverage, that'd put me in a bad situation.

However, beyond this, I really don't think there's enough success to be had in the third party realm to justify not trying to get content on DnD Beyond. It's just such a massive increase in customers that it outweighs a lot of the cons mentioned throughout this thread. That is, if you're thinking from a purely financial standpoint.
I do wonder how massive it would be by the time we all get to publish our material there. Every product pushes down every other product any of us produces.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see very few publishers actually allowed to publish products there.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top