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WotC to Revise D&D 4th Edition GSL and SRD

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Khairn

First Post
The gamer in me offers a sincere & heart felt "Thank You" to Linae and Scott for pushing through a decision to take another look at the GSL. 3PP's made some of the very best 3E products. Creating the GSL which shackled much of that same creativity for 4E was a mistake from my point of view.

The cynic in me has a couple of thoughts ...

-interesting timing on this announcement, just before Gen Con. Certainly a good way to diffuse criticism and generate buzz without having done much of anything at all.

-the motivation behind this decision is an interesting subject for debate. Are those motivations as altruistic as stated below...
Yet Linea felt it important enough to stress "community" and the health of the "hobby gaming lifestyle". Sounds like it was straight from the Ladies' mouth.:)
... or have there been business reasons which gave leverage to your arguments that they didn't have when the initial decisions on the GSL were made?

-and my last cynical observation is that we haven't actually seen anything yet. We do know that some of the decisions WotC have made to date about the GSL has driven away both customers and 3PP partners. So I hope WotC will understand if many of us remain skeptical on how (or if) this announcement will actually help the 3 PP's or the community.
 
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JVisgaitis

First Post
I am sorry but being a 3rd party publisher, I am even MORE skeptic to the GSL.

How does this make any sense? They are releasing a more relaxed version of the GSL because everyone had issues with it. Why in the nine hells would you be more skeptical?
 


radferth

First Post
My theory (which I can't write enough of) is that WotC wanted to structure to GSL so 3pps could publish modules, but not D&D variants (they don't wand someone to make to 4th edition version of T20). I don't think they intended the OGL to allow them, but no one was thinking about them at the time. They made the GSL so that it would not allow variant, and so they could close any other loopholes at will. They ended up with a license so restrictive lots of folks would not even publish adventured for it. We'll now get to see what they can come up with to allow modules, not variants, and that won't scare off 3pps entirely.
 

Wulf Ratbane

Adventurer
How does this make any sense? They are releasing a more relaxed version of the GSL because everyone had issues with it. Why in the nine hells would you be more skeptical?

It's not as if WotC has made any prior announcements that sounded good, but were light on details, and generated some great buzz... and then failed to deliver when the actual details were revealed.

I think "cautious optimism" is the right approach, and while I certainly wouldn't describe myself as "skeptical," I would say I am "exhausted" by the process.
 

Carnivorous_Bean

First Post
Really? What about those few publishers who were going to use the original GSL, then. Did they make objectively bad decisions?

(I'm assuming all the terms you specified above are in the GSL. I don't know it well enough to say.)

At this point, it's too early to say. If WotC decides to axe them, then yes, they made objectively bad decisions. If they survive and prosper, then no, their decision -- which was, basically, a calculated gamble -- paid off.

Note that I didn't say that WotC would do anything detrimental to 3rd party publishers -- I simply warned against excessive trust in a situation where strangers and money are involved.
 


The Little Raven

First Post
You cannot take the self professed success of a product or line at face value from any company.

Well, with the fact that Amazon is reporting excellent sales, the NYT Bestseller's list is reporting excellent sales, and the fact that a subsidiary of a publicly traded corporation making false statements about their sales or productivity is a legal no-no, I'll take it over any forumite's (admittedly) uninformed opinion any day.
 

GMSkarka

First Post
How does this make any sense? They are releasing a more relaxed version of the GSL because everyone had issues with it. Why in the nine hells would you be more skeptical?

I'll go there.

I'm VERY skeptical.

I've been playing the game of "adjust expectations downward" ever since being on the 10-publisher conference call with WOTC back in January. Every part of this process, from announcement to roll-out, has been a case study of being told one thing, and getting far, far less.

I like Linnae and Scott -- and I really appreciate their efforts... but at this point, WOTC has close to zero credibility with me on issues surrounding the GSL.

I have to admit that my first response to this was to assume that the announcement exists purely to divert the flood of criticism and questions that they'd have to field at GenCon this week.


You all know that I pretty much never agree with Louis Porter. However, in this case, we're totally on the same page.

Skeptical.

....although I'll be very, very happy to be proven wrong.
 

The Little Raven

First Post
I'm VERY skeptical.

That's understandable. However, he said he was now even MORE skeptical, as if he was suggesting that the GSL is going to get even more restrictive (despite Linae openly saying it would be "opener"). I can understand being skeptical that these changes are what you're looking for, but to say that you're even more skeptical of the GSL after these changes just seems kinda silly.
 

Greg K

Hero
nevermind. GMSkarka posted his skepticism here. I was going to reference his and another 3pp's skepticism posted at rpg.net without actually mentioning names.
 
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Filcher

First Post
To assume malice on WotC's part is ludicrous. However, to assume unconditional benevolence their part would be even more ludicrous, because at least assuming malice puts you on your guard, while assuming unconditional benevolence is effectively kneeling and baring your financial neck to them, assuming that they'd never be mean enough to use the enormous axe in their hands on it.

I agree wholeheartedly. Trust is NOT a foundation for good business; if any CEO came to me asking for my money, telling me to "trust him," I'd run like hell.

And yet, the vehemence of the 3pp community doesn't sit well with me. I am the 3pp's target audience --- I will purchase the core books, maybe some minis, but EVERYTHING else I buy (including during this coming Gen Con) will be from 3pp.

But they are playing in the WotC sandbox; WotC was under no obligation to invite them over to play. However many publishers in this thread are bitter about how WotC goes about handling its IP.

Huh? Can I have your IP while we're at it?

Of course the license is restrictive, of course it weighted on the side of the owner. But it is free, and they are willing to change it.

To boot, some companies are coming out with material, which I will buy, and for that I am thankful.

Just my opinion. Feel free to disagree. :)
 

Scott_Rouse

Explorer
I'll chime in with a few things.

Q) Is the timing of this announcement in any way related to GenCon happening later this week?

A) Why yes. Linae and I wanted to actually release the changes to the license prior to the show but when it became clear that wasn't going to happen we decided to make the announcement of our intentions to stem off questions regarding the license.

Q) Is the GSL going to have significant changes?

A) We hope so. If the changes we recommended go through they will be significant.

Q) Am I going to like the changes?

A) I think many people will be happy. It probably won't please everyone but if the changes we recommended go through the license we appeal to a lot more people.

Q) Why should we trust you?

A) You probably shouldn't. As the saying goes "seeing is believing" but know that our intentions are to make the license more user friendly. The proof of our efforts will be in the final output so I would hope for the best but maintain a certain level of skepticism.

Q) Is Clark Peterson a payed shill or something?

A) No, but we value Clark's insight and opinion and want to see publishers like Necromancer make 4th edition compatible supplements.

Q) Is this going to take 6 months (or longer) to release like the last time?

A) I sure hope not. Our legal team has told us they will work on it next week but we are not committing to a time line as those things often shift.
 
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Fifth Element

First Post
At this point, it's too early to say. If WotC decides to axe them, then yes, they made objectively bad decisions. If they survive and prosper, then no, their decision -- which was, basically, a calculated gamble -- paid off.
So in a hypothetical world where we have perfect knowledge of the future before we make a business decision, we can call a decision objectively bad. I'll grant you that one.

But I think I'll stick to the real world where you can only make decisions based on the best knowledge and analysis at the time the decision is made.

Edit: Your reply also contradicts your earlier post, where you asserted it is objectively bad to enter into such a license. If it's too early to say, then you can't call it objectively bad.
 
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lmpjr007

Explorer
I'll chime in with a few things.
Please allow me to retort..

Q) Is the timing of this announcement in any way related to GenCon happening later this week?

A) Why yes. Linae and I wanted to actually release the changes to the license prior to the show but when it became clear that wasn't going to happen we decided to make the announcement of our intentions to stem off questions regarding the license.
That is a smart business decision to handle the problems of the GSL. No one wants to spend an entire con hearing complainsts for customer, so that was an excellent marketing plan.

Q) Is the GSL going to have significant changes?

A) We hope so. If the changes we recommended go through they will be significant.
As you stated you hope so, but you really don't know if it will at this time. So right now, anything good or bad is possible.

Q) Am I going to like the changes?

A) I think many people will be happy. It probably won't please everyone but if the changes we recommended go through the license we appeal to a lot more people.
I for one can't wait to see the changes but I wish you might have done this earlier with the first release of the GSL. It could have saved you a lot of time, money and embarresment to your company.

Q) Why should we trust you?

A) You probably shouldn't. As the saying goes "seeing is believing" but know that our intentions are to make the license more user friendly. The proof of our efforts will be in the final output so I would hope for the best but maintain a certain level of skepticism.
I will not make a comment on this until I see and review the revised GSL.

Q) Is Clark Peterson a payed shill or something?

A) No, but we value Clark's insight and opinion and want to see publishers like Necromancer make 4th edition compatible supplements.
Clark is a business man making the best business releationship he can. SO I hope out no matter what happens it works out well for him.

Q) Is this going to take 6 months (or longer) to release like the last time?

A) I sure hope not. Our legal team has told us they will work on it next week but we are not committing to a time line as those things often shift.
But in reality you don't know and that is understandable. But to me it seems if you had waited to do all this BEFORE releasing the GSL you would not have to go back and change it. The business model of "Ready, Shoot, Aim" instead of "Ready, Aim, Shoot" would have saved WOTC from all this that is going on.
 

HalWhitewyrm

First Post
Thanks for the reply, Scott. Personally, I am excited that the very first change to the GSL will be for the betterment of the situation, so I'm optimistic (cautiously, yes, but optimistic).
 

Scott_Rouse

Explorer
Please allow me to retort..


That is a smart business decision to handle the problems of the GSL. No one wants to spend an entire con hearing complainsts for customer, so that was an excellent marketing plan.

Thanks, I think so too.


As you stated you hope so, but you really don't know if it will at this time. So right now, anything good or bad is possible.
I can assure you it can't get worse so the options seem to be neutral and positive.


I for one can't wait to see the changes but I wish you might have done this earlier with the first release of the GSL. It could have saved you a lot of time, money and embarresment to your company.
Sure, who likes to do work twice? but, it is was it is, so until they make that time machine I'll just keep on truckin'.


I will not make a comment on this until I see and review the revised GSL.
Good policy

Clark is a business man making the best business releationship he can. SO I hope out no matter what happens it works out well for him.
and a nice guy


But in reality you don't know and that is understandable. But to me it seems if you had waited to do all this BEFORE releasing the GSL you would not have to go back and change it. The business model of "Ready, Shoot, Aim" instead of "Ready, Aim, Shoot" would have saved WOTC from all this that is going on.
It's easy to arm chair quarterback the game too. Wanna trade jobs for the day? It's one thing to run your own company where you are the boss and make all the decisions. It's another when you have multiple stake holders and decision makers to answer too. Being "a wheel in the cog" and being "the wheel "each have their own set of unique challenges. You are entitled to your opinion and I don't necessarily disagree with you but as they say "easier said than done".
 

GMSkarka

First Post
Thanks for the candor, Scott.

I'd *love* to hear what your and Linnae's recommended changes are, but I expect that's probably a big no-no as far as Legal is concerned.
 



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