Why We Should Work With WotC


Who is the "we" of the thread's title? As a player and DM, I don't "work with" WotC, I buy from them if I think the product is good value. The vast majority of my RPG dollars go to 3PP, mostly for miniatures and terrain.

As sponsor of my school's D&D Club, I do kind of work with them, and they have been fantastic, with their educational programme that gifted us every source and adventure book up to Rime of the Frost Maiden, which I am then able to share with all of the students via DnDBeyond. DDB is itself an extremely valuable tool for running multiple campaigns with beginners as it allows them to be up and playing very quickly. I have no intention of dropping D&D, since doing so would hurt a lot of kids.

As for 3PP, I presume they should work with WotC if it makes good business sense. Obviously, the past few weeks have changed that equation, but ultimately most 3PP are trying to make ends meet, and if they can do a bit better through working with WotC, at least some of the time, who am I to judge?

My final point is that I think we need to keep our eyes on the prize. For fans, I think that means keeping as many viable options as possible - for us, variety is a good thing. But the main casualties (potentially) of the current situation are 3PP, and a lot of them rely on working with WotC to a significant degree. We have to make sure that whatever we do moving forward, we don't inadvertently hurt all those guys.

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Argyle King

They are terrified at the prospect of an edition change, when they are factually intellectually bankrupt, and the 'biggest edition ever' is in the 1.0 OGL via the 5.0 SRD, which could be supported by 3PP, even to the degree of a new "Pathfinder" like product.

They dug a hole, by simply being a subpar publisher, for their own damn game, while simultaneously making their products more and more generic, half-hearted, or incomplete.

Its actually delicious.

From a psy-ops perspective, the groundwork has already been established to have an edition change be accepted without calling it one.

It wasn't long ago that there were threads discussion why "edition" was used incorrectly in regards to D&D.

🤷‍♂️ Make a 6E without actually calling it 6E, and it probably wouldn't be that hard to get people to buy it.


Not enough for the shareholders.
If you budgeted to make a 2 mil profit and you make 1 mil profit, you didn't make a profit in the corporate world.
It's all about the VTT, baby.
The VTT gives sustainable growth in profits. Corebooks don't. Adventure books don't. Monster manuals and Player options books might.

OneDND will bring growing profits year after year with
  1. Player Options
  2. Monster and Trap Books
  3. Translating 1 and 2 to DDB
  4. Subscription to the VTT
  5. Microtransactions of 1, 2and cosmetics
And the OGL1.0a stands in the way of this somehow. So WOTC is adamant of a new OGL that lets them create a VTT with the best integration between it and the TT game.
Core books are always the top sellers. The PHB is the money maker among books.


A better word for this is Symbiotic. The key is ‘mutual’ benefit. We can see how 3pp benefit from D&D marketing, growth and brand recognition. Not so clear the extent to which WotC benefit.
I still maintain the OGL was never designed to make direct competition to WotC's game, it was designed to supplement it. WotC assumed people wouldn't reinvent the wheel and make a SRD PHB (they even suggest trying to convince someone to buy it in the old FAQ) until someone did and it sold. To them, Mongoose (and later Paizo) basically made free money reselling D&D in their own name. It was a lesson that spawned the GSL. They only went back to the OGL with 5e, a hail Mary considering where D&D was, as an insurance policy that if Hasbro pulled the plug on D&D, something would survive. .Obviously, the opposite happened and now WotC thinks it can close the loophole.


I still maintain the OGL was never designed to make direct competition to WotC's game, it was designed to supplement it.
Well, yes and no. The thing with open source/open licenses is that they assume duplication. That's kind of the whole point, and why commercial enterprises generally don't release their products like Wizards did. If you're a commercial company dealing with open source, what you're selling are the ancillaries that add value to your distribution. Wizards (Dancey) assumed that no one would compete with them by duplicating the rules because no one would be able to compete with their trade dress and brand recognition. Which is true insofar as that goes, but that is reliant on D&D staying in the open market. If Wizards is no longer selling and supporting a particular iteration of the rules, then 3rd party duplicates of that iteration suddenly increase in value. (OTOH, Dancey was right in as much as Wizards could switch over to a completely new and even controversial system, and still maintain its top dog status.)

I think this is a key point to understanding why Wizards is so concerned about VTTs. Because trade dress and brand recognition don't mean as much in that realm. If Group A has their D&D books, and Group B has their D&D-clone books, their home game experience is essentially the same, and the question is what motivates them to buy which is answered by who has the better distribution, marketing, and branding. Which is probably going to be D&D. But if we're talking VTTs, then while the rules remain the same, the experience becomes wildly different, and Wizards inherent advantages are not so salient.




WotC/Hasbro benefit enormously. The reasons why you can find here, in an interview with Dancey where he lays out the theory behind it: Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition News
WOTC benefits but I believe it waxes and wanes heavily and cant be relied on unless you reset the system (new edition) every 10 years.

Once an edition get long in the tooth, WOTC runs out of widely marketable product. WOTC can't compete with 3PPs for niche products.

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