WotC With 5E now under Community Commons, WotC is now "just" another 5E publisher -- here's how they can still dominate

Iosue

Legend
Can someone please explain to me how having the srd under a cc-by license makes things any different for Wizards from a competition angle than having it under the ogl did? I don't see it.

Putting things under a cc does remove the restrictions wizards had on pi from the ogl. But beyond that they're in the same position as before - the only source for officially branded Dungeons and Dragons content, the biggest company making ttrpg products, and the company every game store already deals with for Magic the Gathering.

So as far as I can tell nothing has really changed except the alienated some portion if their customer base for no reason. But I might be missing something so if anyone can tell me what that is I'd appreciate it.
Only Sly Flourish could say with certainty what he meant, but if I could take a crack at it: he noted that he had floated the idea that Wizards was one of many "5e publishers" (in lieu of saying "third party publishers) before the whole OGL kerfluffle started. Historically, the perception has been that third-party publishers have been creating content in support of WotC's 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. (I.e., the first party (WotC) creates the game to sell to the second party (the customers), but a third-party creates adventures/supplements.) But now we have 5e-compatible, yet separate and complete, game systems (Level Up! is one example, and presumably Black Flag). And when an adventure or supplement is published for one of these systems, it will be usable by any of them. And when WotC releases 1D&D, that will in effect be the same kind of entity: one of many forks of the 5e system.

His point in his recent podcast was that the release on CC has thrown this into stark relief. Now, the "third party" publishers are not even going to WotC for the license, but going to Creative Commons. And no matter what WotC may ultimately do with D&D, these and other publishers will be able to continue making their 5e products. So it seems only right to refer to these publishers as "5e publishers" rather than "third party publishers," and if you do that, then WotC is just another 5e publisher, rather than the first party of some consumer triangle.

One might look at from the perspective of the OSR (and this is me, not Mike Shea saying this). One might technically call Necrotic Gnome a "third-party publisher", since they use Wizards' (first party) OGL, but since they make products for the OSR market (not Wizards' typical second party!), and are not even compatible with fifth edition D&D, it makes more sense to call them an OSR publisher.
 

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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Cubicle 7 also made it clear yesterday at their C7d20 game (and yikes, what a mouthful) is going to both be fully compatible with 5E but also bring in their innovations from their various 5E games. A system that brings in innovations from Daleks & Doctors and Adventures in Middle Earth is definitely a core book for WotC to be concerned about.

Hence them needing to outcompete by actually outcompeting. They have a number of major advantages, so it's doable, but they need to put in that work.
 

Maybe in the next months or years Hasbro could be acquired by a bigger company, for example Microsoft? Why? Maybe there is a change of owners in that megacorporation, and Hasbro has got good vibes with those new onwers. Of course this is only speculation.

My suggestion is WotC needs a not-fantasy TTRPG, maybe a new edition of Gamma World, but this time as added to D&D multiverse, and based not in our real world but in a no-fantasy fictional world. WotC can publish a new RPG based in the modern age with the system d20, but the hard part in the design is to be totally retrocompatible with the previous D&D. The firearms and high-tech break the power balance too easily. But here D&D-Beyond could be very useful, because this Gamma World could show a "Beta-Demon+Early Access", and the playtesters could all the possible failures in the power balance. Gamma World is also a franchise more open for possible crossovers, not only with other Hasbro's franchises, but also from other companies.

D&D is the number one of the TTRPG industry, but they shouldn't dare to behave as if this was a monopoly, because it isn't. If they test our saint patience they could discover after the time it was cool when it was "new" or relatively unknown for the masses, the fandom could start to would rather other titles, for example Paizo's Starfinder.
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
I think the statement that WotC is just another 5E publisher misses the point. WotC sells a ton of Players Handbooks. When it comes to adventures or other supplements, they sell quite a few, but it's nothing compared to how many PHBs they move. WotC is only another publisher once someone else makes a PHB of their own that is able to compete in any way. The gateway to $1 Billion doesn't run through adventures or supplements, it's that core book that hovers around the top 100 in Amazon sales that's the killer.

For the life of me I can't imagine who it is that's buying PHBs in 2023, but here we are.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
The problem all the clones are going to find is that for a huge swathe of the population, it ain't the game rules they care about, it's the name 'Dungeons & Dragons'. People will want to play D&D, not some other game that has D&D's rules.

People still want Coke, even when RC Cola is cheaper. People want Cheetos, even when Jax is available. Oreos instead of Hydrox. Lego instead of the knock-offs. Transformers over Go-Bots. We can go on and on. Branding matters.

And that's why I hope Kobold and MCDM are being realistic with their expectations. Getting folks to get past the name 'Dungeons & Dragons' and consider the alternatives. It will not be easy, especially now that they won't be able to bang the "They dissolved the OGL!" drum that was the inspiration for making their own clones in the first place. But if they are lucky, they will have just enough required overhead that a smaller pool of devoted fans can keep them going strong.
 

darjr

I crit!
No one is going to blow WotC out of the water. To me the best scenario is an open source one like with software like Linux.

Then again Sun Microsystems vs Linux looked much the same early on and I get a lot of Sun Microsystems vibes from all this now.
 


UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Eh. How clunky it is would be a matter of taste.

1st level: 2 cantrips, 2 short rest spell slots, 1 long rest spell slot. You could either split spells into short vs long rest or just give the long rest spell slot auto upcasting, say level +2 or something.

Make short rests 5 minutes. Then just build all classes on that framework. It wouldn't be hard.
Give the dailies out as prof bonus per long rest and have the spells/powers scale by level. Add in invocation like effects in the level progression that can add special effects to the powers.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Yes. This is part of why I don't think 1dnd will be very different.

And also if Wizards truly is pursuing a digital strategy then the changes have to be within the bounds of what ddb can get online by roll out. And from what folks have told me, ddb is already slow to get existing sourcebook rule changes implemented. Rewriting it for a whole new edition?

And then there's the vtt. They're working on it now based on the existing rules. Having to modify it for different rules will take time and money. The closer the new rules are to the current ones, the more likely they actually have a product that supports them at roll out.

(If Wizards digital strategy works for them, I suspect rules will change even more slowly because the software guys will need to be involved in potentially every rule change...)
This I totally agree with and is the main reason that I have faith in their claims of an evergreen living ruleset approach. The kinds of changes from 3.0 to 3.5 makes life difficult for software people. Even the mathematical equivalent type stuff you see in 4e essentials is enough to give a software developer conniptions. Especially in a fairly mature software environment with a lot of technical debt already accrued.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
No one is going to blow WotC out of the water. To me the best scenario is an open source one like with software like Linux.

Then again Sun Microsystems vs Linux looked much the same early on and I get a lot of Sun Microsystems vibes from all this now.
Suns big problem was Microsoft, WoTC is Microsoft in the current scenario. If anyone is Sun it is Paizo unless Paizo is really Oracle :LOL:
 

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