Unearthed Arcana WotC Removes Latest Unearthed Arcana

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WotC has removed this week's Unearthed Arcana from its website. Not only has the article's web page itself been removed, the actual PDF has been replaced with last month's "Subclasses, Part 1" PDF (although it's URL still reads... /UA2020-Subclasses02.pdf).

The article included three new subclasses, the bardic College of Creation, the cleric's Love Domain, and the sorcerer's Clockwork Soul.

[NOTE - NSFW language follows].

I don't know if it's linked, but WotC came under criticism on Twitter for its treatment of the Love Domain. The main argument isn't that mind-control magic has no place in the game, but rather that coercive powers should not be described as "love", and that the domain might be poorly named.

People like game designer Emmy Allen commented: "It seems WotC have tried to create a 'Love' domain for clerics in 5e. By some sheer coincidence they seem to have accidentally created a 'roofie' domain instead. Nothing says 'love' like overriding your target's free will to bring them under your power."


That domain was introduced as follows: "Love exists in many forms—compassion, infatuation, friendly affection, and passionate love as a few facets. Whatever form these feelings take, the gods of love deepen the bonds between individuals."

The powers were Eboldening Bond, Impulsive Infatuation ("Overwhelm a creature with a flash of short-lived by intense admiration for you, driving them to rash action in your defense”), Protective Bond, and Enduring Unity.

Whether the criticism was a factor in the article's withdrawal, I don't know. It might be that it just wasn't ready for prime-time yet. It seems the domain itself would be better named a "control" or "charm" domain than a "love" domain, which seems to be the main thrust of the criticism on Twitter.

WotC's Jeremy Crawford commented: "The official version of the Unearthed Arcana article “Subclasses, Part 2” is still ahead of us, later this week or sometime next week. Our team will hold off on answering questions until you’ve seen the real deal!"
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
You say "the same level of restraint". Do you think the Storm domain should hold back on the lightning bolts out of restraint and because they wouldn't be spontaneous if a cleric can control them?
okay I don't get the comparison of lightning to love. also the point is not universal for a god to just use their abilities willy nilly or give them out like candy to their followers, and there's precedent for it.
Really now? Ok. Let’s not even talk about surveys in general, but wotc’s dnd surveys. How are they usually like? Are they comprised of single yes like/ no don’t like box?
No, they allow for a wide range of judgement for every single game element included in the playtest, and they even allow you to leave semi-long sentences as feedback!
So you know, once they get our surveys, they get to know what we think about all the mechanics, individually, which means they get to know which mechanics were liked, which mechanics need work, which mechanics are to be scrapped, etc.

Twitter rage doesn’t allow for that granularity and precision. You get hundreds of tweets focusing on the same, divisive elements, and nothing on the rest. It’s not quality feedback!
okay assuming they didn't take anything down and people used the surveys, the only difference would be 1) no statement from WotC, potentially losing customers. 2) if the love domain never made it into an official supplement, well that'd be par for the course, except now there'd constant complaining that they never did anything with it because the "unruly twitter mob" did the surveys and gave the subclass a big fat zero and said it was icky in the comments.

the domain they originally presented was problematic. getting answers to precise questions isn't gonna change that.
 

Mr. Patient

Adventurer
Wanting a Love Domain to have mind control powers is such a weird hill to die on.

Really, this whole fight is just a proxy for other social and political battles. There really are mobs of angry Twitter people who do overreact sometimes, so I understand the impulse to push back against it and man the ramparts. But that's not what happened here. We're talking about a couple of people making critical remarks (not especially vitriolic) and WotC perhaps realizing they hadn't thought this one through. But that stands in for a whole other range of cultural battles that have to be fought against the forces of correctness, and so here we are on page 25 or whatever.
 

Olrox17

Hero
Are you familiar with the term "strawman?"

Multiple avenues of feedback, folks.
I am. If you feel like I’m strawmanning you, it wasn’t my intention.

Multiple avenues of feedback are good. Great, in fact.
Hastily giving in when faced with the slightest controversy, can lead to more controversies in the future, as loud minorities realize you are easily pushed around.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
So you know, once they get our surveys, they get to know what we think about all the mechanics, individually, which means they get to know which mechanics were liked, which mechanics need work, which mechanics are to be scrapped, etc.

Twitter rage doesn’t allow for that granularity and precision. You get hundreds of tweets focusing on the same, divisive elements, and nothing on the rest. It’s not quality feedback!
It's possible that game mechanics are only part of the feedback they are seeking. It's entirely possible that since they are essentially a toy-making company for the public, with a public image to maintain, they would also be looking for feedback from the general public. And that's where social media enters the equation: love it or hate it, but there's no denying that it's the largest and fastest mass-marketing and advertising tool ever invented. To suggest it shouldn't matter is terribly short-sighted.

When people are deciding to buy your product, they aren't going to only look at the game mechanics exclusively, and ignore everything else. They are going to listen to their friends, they are going to listen to reviews, they are going to listen to the people whose opinions matter to them (ie., the people they follow in social media.) Wizards of the Coast (and by extension, Hasbro) doesn't have the luxury of ignoring their customers, even on social media. Especially on social media.
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
Hastily giving in when faced with the slightest controversy
please, explain to me, what is the other option for WotC in this situation? other than replacing something in the subclass itself (also none of this addresses the changes made to College of Creation and Clockwork Soul which you seem perfectly okay with not going through surveys???)
 


okay I don't get the comparison of lightning to love. also the point is not universal for a god to just use their abilities willy nilly or give them out like candy to their followers, and there's precedent for it.
The point is not universal. So some gods do and some gods don't. So what would the domain for a love god who does look like?
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I don't think it's disappointing at all. I would be disappointed only if they noticed the backlash and decided to ignore it.

It sounds like you have an axe to grind with Twitter and/or social media, and not with Wizards of the Coast.

There are so many unknowns. By appearance, they changed only the elements in the domain specifically called out on social media.

If they did the changes for that reason, then I am disappointed in their disingenuous tweet about it "not being ready yet", and then changing it. Because then it's blatantly an attempt to avoid bad PR.

If they saw the backlash and agreed with it and then changed it, I would have preferred that they address it head-on. "Hey, we heard you guys. We didn't think about it like that. We agree too, and we're going to update it."

I have no problem with social media. I'm on all the platforms.

I have a problem with hyperbolic backlash on social media causing knee jerk reaction decisions from companies (specifically WotC in this instance), whether from fear of PR issues or whatever.

Even if it was an oversight, or they had this new version already in the pocket to publish and the wrong one slipped out, it was handled poorly by them.

Taking it down so quickly and only issuing a tweet as to why hours and hours later, seems to imply that PR and Legal stepped in to craft and vet a response.

They could have just said "Oops, sorry, we'll fix that." or "Oops, sorry, we agree, we'll fix that." or even "Oops, sorry, we agree, that is why we have this other version we've been working on called 'Unity' that isn't quite ready but will be soon. This was a first draft that we didn't mean to publish."
 
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Olrox17

Hero
please, explain to me, what is the other option for WotC in this situation? other than replacing something in the subclass itself (also none of this addresses the changes made to College of Creation and Clockwork Soul which you seem perfectly okay with not going through surveys???)
I am not perfectly ok with the other changes, they’re just much less relevant. Biggest fish to fry, and all that.

Other option for WoTC off the top of my head: issuing a friendly statement where they explain that UAs are not finished content, that they’re aware of the negative feedback on certain parts of the latest UA and they’re listening, and they invite people to leave feedback in soon to come surveys.

I understand that everyone who shares the (honest and legit) opinion that love domain was incredibly offensive is happy about its swift deletion. If I shared such a strong opinion on the matter, I might have been, as well.
But I don’t, and I think this whole thing was blown way out of proportion. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Sure. Why not? We have far more depraved domains than that really. Myself and other people like their good and evil to be rich and complex. ESPECIALLY their evil. What i find more bizarre, personally, is that there are many people at all that DONT want one. Granted i understand why. Doesnt change that its bizarre. It's like not wanting a corruption domain. Or not wanting the various domains of sin thay archdukes reign over. Its weird to me.
Everyone who doesn’t want an enchanter Cleric domain ever, raise your hand!

What? Nobody? Huh, what do you know.
 

Undrave

Hero
Sure. Why not? We have far more depraved domains than that really. Myself and other people like their good and evil to be rich and complex. ESPECIALLY their evil. What i find more bizarre, personally, is that there are many people at all that DONT want one. Granted i understand why. Doesnt change that its bizarre. It's like not wanting a corruption domain. Or not wanting the various domains of sin thay archdukes reign over. Its weird to me.

It's a labelling issue. If it had been called the 'Domination Domain' it probably wouldn't have been a problem.
 

cbwjm

Legend
We use a UA spell (Healing Elixir) in our game to balance out the fact that we don't have a traditional healer in our tabletop game.

So far, knock on wood, WotC's stormtroopers haven't kicked down the door and told us we're not allowed to use this content.

People who are are, dare I say it, in looove with the Love Domain can find a copy of it out there and use it. You will be lower on the list for the WotC stormtroopers than my group is.
I loved that healing elixir spell and was hoping to have them expand on it with more spells like it, maybe even an alchemist subclass for the wizard. I think I started making a subclass and additional alchemy spells but as with most of things I start creating for DnD I didn't really finish it.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
@Panda-s1 : Your wow reaction to my “raise your hand” comment gives me the impression that I may not have communicated my intent very effectively. Or maybe I’m misinterpreting your intent in the wow reaction. What I was trying to express is that I doubt many people would object to an enchanter Cleric being released at some point down the line, provided it wasn’t framed as “love.” Am I mistaken?
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
The point is not universal. So some gods do and some gods don't. So what would the domain for a love god who does look like?
idk, gives you powers to be "desirable", or make others desirable. which isn't the same as mind control? there can be a separate enchantment domain for that sort of thing, like others have said.
@Panda-s1 : Your wow reaction to my “raise your hand” comment gives me the impression that I may not have communicated my intent very effectively. Or maybe I’m misinterpreting your intent in the wow reaction. What I was trying to express is that I doubt many people would object to an enchanter Cleric being released at some point down the line, provided it wasn’t framed as “love.” Am I mistaken?
oh, no, I'm just trying to go along with the joke.
 



idk, gives you powers to be "desirable", or make others desirable. which isn't the same as mind control? there can be a separate enchantment domain for that sort of thing, like others have said.
Okay. For me, the first game mechanic that springs to mind to represent "being desirable" would be advantage on Charisma checks.

Which is literally the effect of the charmed condition. The swashbuckler rogue charms people with Panache, to give a concrete example.
 

Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
The fact that it's so unbelievable to some that quite a few people have an issue with giving a "Love" Domain the ability to mentally dominate others is basically the reason why we need to have this conversation in the first place.

In a 3.x homebrew campaign setting I ran I had a God of Peace whose priests specialized in mental domination and removing free will because they thought it was the only way to create actual world peace. A cleric domain that focuses on enchantment/domination would be an interesting trope to play with.

Introducing mental domination to the concept of "love" raises all kinds of unfortunate implications and aspersions to serious real world issues that I can't imagine WotC would want being raised intentionally.
 

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