WotC Third party, DNDBeyond and potential bad side effects.

pogre

Legend
Who is this @SlyFlourish guy anyway?

Just kidding. I own tons of his books - great stuff that I can highly recommend.

The OGL disaster sent my sons and I down the path of writing our own game. We're playing it now and having a great time.

Even so, I suspect we will return to D&D at some point. At some point, we will need a new player and it is so much easier to find players by running a D&D game. Once the player fits in with our group's chemistry and likes how we play - we can switch systems again. The alternative is to bring in people who are new to gaming, which we have done, but it is less reliable.

That is why I stay on top of developments in D&D and the direction it is going. I don't use the DNDBeyond, but it's likely anyone I recruit will. My somewhat recent experience with this tells me the platform builds expectations for players. They will bristle at limitations placed on character building.

Those who say that is a YOU problem and not a WOTC problem are 100% correct.

Just making an observation that it does affect me.

Finally, I wanted to say I appreciate SlyFlourish taking the time to interact in the forums. I know he prefers Discord and other avenues of discussion, but for this dinosaur I like good old forums.
 

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Oofta

Legend
or as amazon has been accused of many times, squeeze players that don't accept thier deals out by making sure that thier content rarely get'
s viewed. digital licensing is to take Snarf's analogy even further, like buying the car but the dealer can turn it off permanently because you used it wrong, or it's simply end of life and time for a new one. And since most digital licenses have a clause that they can be modified at any time by the licensee, it gives the licensee a Lot of power to do a lot of bad things.
Is Amazon "squeezing out players" really anything new? Publishers have always done that with authors, distribution chains and retailers to producers. I grew up on a farm, big ag makes most of the profit on what you eat.

If you don't want to use a subscription service you can still buy the books. Nothing stops you from purchasing 3PP just like you always have. This just gives more visibility to 3PP materials, something a lot of people likely don't even know is a thing.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
There may very well come a point where there's so many other products on there that the market is flooded. I recently took some of my work and paid to convert it to Roll 20. In months, it hasn't paid the cost back. All these people complaining that I don't have material for their VTT of choice and it made $12 last month.
Ya, I don't think people realize what a risk some of this work is....and how low the payoff is (and you're big time....now imagine people saying someone like me, who makes about 50 dollars a month total should do this.....and they have....).
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
This is a great take.

It's also worth noting that the Chrome plugin Beyond20 does this right now. It lets you use your D&D Beyond character in Roll 20. It probably drives Roll20 bananas but I bet WOTC doesn't care. It's a benefit to them.
I mean, without this, I can't imagine using a VTT.....and now I can use Foundry, Maps, Roll20 all from one source .....
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
It's certainly true that the barriers to entry came down dramatically over the last 20 years--open licensing, DTRPG, Kickstarter, etc., all made the industry more accessible to more people.

As the hobby shifts towards VTTs and online tools suites like DDB, the barriers to entry are rising again. They can make a book, but no small 3PP has the resources to make something even approximating a $160M platform like DDB.

Something like Demiplane is the closest, but they also are selective about who they include on the platform.

What that means long-term, I don't know. Certainly books and PDFs still have their place, so 3PPs as they currently exist are still very viable. But the barriers to entry look set to increase, and making a DDB is a LOT harder and more expensive than making a book.

So we'll see I guess. I stand by my stance that a robust 3PP market is very much in the hobby's interests, and if the hobby's interests and WotC's interests conflict (and I'm not saying they do--I feel those stridently declaring that WotC doesn't or shouldn't care about 3PPs are incorrect, for many of the reasons I've espoused already), I think we'd find ourselves in an awkwardly fitting situation.
this is a great point, Morrus.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
Relevant to the conversation:


This problem is also the case with any platform where you can't download your products. We each have to recognize that, when we're paying for a product on a platform like D&D Beyond, Demiplane, or Roll 20 – it's a temporary license we pay for, not a product. I'm not sure that's the same with Foundry or Fantasy Grounds – someone will have to clarify that for me.

If you can't download it, put it on a USB drive, and stick it in a safe deposit box, you don't own it.
well, you can download the text very easily. The stat blocks and a few other things? The formatting breaks badly....but I can promise you I've downloaded everything I've licensed there.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
"The medium is the message."

- Not @Snarf Zagyg, but someone I can imagine Snarf quoting. :ROFLMAO: ;)

Weirdly, I've touched upon this issue before.

Wait, did I say weirdly? I guess, given that I normally measure my verbiage by weight, and not by character, it's not that weird.

Anyway, I have serious concerns about the move to a more standardized use of DDB and associated VTT. I'm not going to go into it too much, at this point, but this change will effect how we play the game. Simple things like "defaults" and "ease of use" will quickly become norms.

To take an easy example- if the VTT takes off, and becomes a standard option, then what does that do for theater of the mind?

Or here's another one- imagine that there is great integration with WoTC and (certain) 3PP. And that there is the ability, with some difficulty, to customize it for homebrew and non-supported 3PP. That's not bad, per se, but that will immeasurably change things in terms of how people start to view DIY.

These aren't normative judgments; the sun will rise, the sun will set, and I'll still have books (and the ability to create my own games). Life and technology move on. But I think that it is certainly true that this will have an effect on the ways that people play, and on the game itself.

(As an aside, I am reasonably confident that a lot of the smaller tweaks to OneD&D are being put in place to make the game more easy to run in terms of VTT. Because yes, the medium is the message.)
 

Hussar

Legend
But hasn’t that always been the issue? At least for 5e?

3pp who put out some additional material for a WotC adventure path are going to be getting a huge leg up over another publisher who puts out a similar product but isn’t linked.

Which of course influences what gets produced and promoted. Being able to buy a book of add-on side adventures for Undermountain (as an example) that are already set up for Fantasy Grounds exist right now. How is this hugely different? Is it simply the issue of scale? WotC doing it directly is the problem?
 

Weirdly, I've touched upon this issue before.

Wait, did I say weirdly? I guess, given that I normally measure my verbiage by weight, and not by character, it's not that weird.

Anyway, I have serious concerns about the move to a more standardized use of DDB and associated VTT. I'm not going to go into it too much, at this point, but this change will effect how we play the game. Simple things like "defaults" and "ease of use" will quickly become norms.

To take an easy example- if the VTT takes off, and becomes a standard option, then what does that do for theater of the mind?

Or here's another one- imagine that there is great integration with WoTC and (certain) 3PP. And that there is the ability, with some difficulty, to customize it for homebrew and non-supported 3PP. That's not bad, per se, but that will immeasurably change things in terms of how people start to view DIY.

These aren't normative judgments; the sun will rise, the sun will set, and I'll still have books (and the ability to create my own games). Life and technology move on. But I think that it is certainly true that this will have an effect on the ways that people play, and on the game itself.

(As an aside, I am reasonably confident that a lot of the smaller tweaks to OneD&D are being put in place to make the game more easy to run in terms of VTT. Because yes, the medium is the message.)
Playing with people in physical space will relate to the VVT in the same way vinyl relates to MP3.
 

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