OGL WotC Walks Back Some OGL Changes, But Not All

Wizards of the Coast has finally made a statement regarding the OGL. The statement says that the leaked version was a draft designed to solicit feedback and that they are walking back some problematic elements, but don't address others--most notably that the current OGL v1.0a is still being deauthorized.
  • Non-TTRPG mediums such as "educational and charitable campaigns, livestreams, cosplay, VTT-uses" are unaffected by the new license.
  • The 'we can use your content for any reason' provision is going away
  • The royalties aspect is also being removed
  • Content previously released under OGL v1.0a can still be sold, but the statement on that is very short and seems to imply that new content must still use OGL v1.1. This is still a 'de-authorization' of the current OGL.
  • They don't mention the 'reporting revenue' aspect, or the 'we can change this in any way at 30 days notice' provision; of course nobody can sign a contract which can be unilaterally changed by one party.
  • There's still no mention of the 'share-a-like' aspect which defines an 'open' license.
The statement can be read below. While it does roll back some elements, the fact remains that the OGL v1.0a is still being de-authorized.

D&D historian Benn Riggs (author of Slaying the Dragon) made some comments on WotC's declared intentions -- "This is a radical change of the original intention of the OGL. The point of the OGL was to get companies to stop making their own games and start making products for D&D. WoTC execs spent a ton of time convincing companies like White Wolf to make OGL products."

Linda Codega on Gizmodo said "For all intents and purposes, the OGL 1.1 that was leaked to the press was supposed to go forward. Wizards has realized that they made a mistake and they are walking back numerous parts of the leaked OGL 1.1..."

Ryan Dancey, architect of the original OGL commented "They made an announcement today that they're altering their trajectory based on pressure from the community. This is still not what we want. We want Hasbro to agree not to ever attempt to deauthorize v1.0a of the #OGL. Your voices are being heard, and they matter. We're providing visible encouragement and support to everyone inside Wizards of the Coast fighting for v1.0a. It matters. Knowing we're here for them matters. Keep fighting!"


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When we initially conceived of revising the OGL, it was with three major goals in mind. First, we wanted the ability to prevent the use of D&D content from being included in hateful and discriminatory products. Second, we wanted to address those attempting to use D&D in web3, blockchain games, and NFTs by making clear that OGL content is limited to tabletop roleplaying content like campaigns, modules, and supplements. And third, we wanted to ensure that the OGL is for the content creator, the homebrewer, the aspiring designer, our players, and the community—not major corporations to use for their own commercial and promotional purpose.

Driving these goals were two simple principles: (1) Our job is to be good stewards of the game, and (2) the OGL exists for the benefit of the fans. Nothing about those principles has wavered for a second.

That was why our early drafts of the new OGL included the provisions they did. That draft language was provided to content creators and publishers so their feedback could be considered before anything was finalized. In addition to language allowing us to address discriminatory and hateful conduct and clarifying what types of products the OGL covers, our drafts included royalty language designed to apply to large corporations attempting to use OGL content. It was never our intent to impact the vast majority of the community.

However, it’s clear from the reaction that we rolled a 1. It has become clear that it is no longer possible to fully achieve all three goals while still staying true to our principles. So, here is what we are doing.

The next OGL will contain the provisions that allow us to protect and cultivate the inclusive environment we are trying to build and specify that it covers only content for TTRPGs. That means that other expressions, such as educational and charitable campaigns, livestreams, cosplay, VTT-uses, etc., will remain unaffected by any OGL update. Content already released under 1.0a will also remain unaffected.

What it will not contain is any royalty structure. It also will not include the license back provision that some people were afraid was a means for us to steal work. That thought never crossed our minds. Under any new OGL, you will own the content you create. We won’t. Any language we put down will be crystal clear and unequivocal on that point. The license back language was intended to protect us and our partners from creators who incorrectly allege that we steal their work simply because of coincidental similarities . As we continue to invest in the game that we love and move forward with partnerships in film, television, and digital games, that risk is simply too great to ignore. The new OGL will contain provisions to address that risk, but we will do it without a license back and without suggesting we have rights to the content you create. Your ideas and imagination are what makes this game special, and that belongs to you.

A couple of last thoughts. First, we won’t be able to release the new OGL today, because we need to make sure we get it right, but it is coming. Second, you’re going to hear people say that they won, and we lost because making your voices heard forced us to change our plans. Those people will only be half right. They won—and so did we.

Our plan was always to solicit the input of our community before any update to the OGL; the drafts you’ve seen were attempting to do just that. We want to always delight fans and create experiences together that everyone loves. We realize we did not do that this time and we are sorry for that. Our goal was to get exactly the type of feedback on which provisions worked and which did not–which we ultimately got from you. Any change this major could only have been done well if we were willing to take that feedback, no matter how it was provided–so we are. Thank you for caring enough to let us know what works and what doesn’t, what you need and what scares you. Without knowing that, we can’t do our part to make the new OGL match our principles. Finally, we’d appreciate the chance to make this right. We love D&D’s devoted players and the creators who take them on so many incredible adventures. We won’t let you down.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
They pay designers to write the stuff. If the stuff doesn't sell, you change your staff and until you have a team that does write stuff that sells.
You want WOTC to hire and fire large masses of designers left and right?

My hypothesis is that WOTC as the industry leader and owners of so many IP has to print too many books that they don't have the time to reach the level of quality of 3PPPs.

My guess is WOTC is expected to do so much that they can't keep the quality up.
 

mamba

Hero
Because they can't make product.
Not matching the biggest 3pps anyways.

You saw it in 3e, 4e, 5e, and will see it in 6e.

I don't know if they don't have enough skilled designers or that they don't have enough time in their schedule or budget. But WOTC can't make better significantly product without damaging their budgets.
yeah, the guys who are 100 times bigger than the competition and make record profits cannot make better adventures. Well, there is always incompetence I guess
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
yeah, the guys who are 100 times bigger than the competition and make record profits cannot make better adventures. Well, there is always incompetence I guess

I'm worked for the industry leader in another industry that is 100 times bigger than their competitor and keeping quality up was hard and the stress keeping the mediocre quality up is large.

Ugh working in corporate can be so frustrating at times.
 

print does not need design, they release maybe 4 books per year and that is too much for them? Cry me a river

Yeah, I was going to say this. Paizo manages to keep a pretty solid quality to their works despite how many they put out, and 5E is not the content conveyor belt that 3.E or even 4E was. In fact, I remember that being touted (by myself, even) as an advantage, because with fewer books they could do a better job.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
print does not need design, they release maybe 4 books per year and that is too much for them? Cry me a river

Yeah, I was going to say this. Paizo manages to keep a pretty solid quality to their works despite how many they put out, and 5E is not the content conveyor belt that 3.E or even 4E was. In fact, I remember that being touted (by myself, even) as an advantage, because with fewer books they could do a better job.
So why is WOTC's product's lower quality?

If they can do better product, why aren't they?
 

rgard

Adventurer
You want WOTC to hire and fire large masses of designers left and right?

Reality is businesses remove underperforming staff all the time. They backfill those positions with new staff they think will do a better job based on previous work and the interview process.
 

So why is WOTC's product's lower quality?

If they can do better product, why aren't they?

Maybe they don't need to? When you are the industry leader and have most of the audience captured, you don't have to stand out as much to get your product out. You can cut corners and make something less interesting, less fancy because your audience is more solid. I suppose it comes down to "How many more people do you think we could get with better quality stuff versus the cost it would take to get us there?"
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Maybe they don't need to? When you are the industry leader and have most of the audience captured, you don't have to stand out as much to get your product out. You can cut corners and make something less interesting, less fancy because your audience is more solid. I suppose it comes down to "How many more people do you think we could get with better quality stuff versus the cost it would take to get us there?"
AKA They can't make better content because doing so in their schedule would need a major increase of budget.
 



My experience in corporate is everything quality wise eveually gets to cost vs benefits at some level.

And I agree, but I think our dispute is that you think it will cost too much to bring up the quality, while I think they'll see it as not gaining much even if it didn't cost too much. But either way, yes, it's absolutely about the bottom line.
 

I am pretty sure they vastly outsell any competition even with their more poorly received products. It may be lower than their internal expectations but they still sell a lot.

And they own the core rulebook market. Players Handbook is needed by everyone.
 


mamba

Hero
I'm worked for the industry leader in another industry that is 100 times bigger than their competitor and keeping quality up was hard and the stress keeping the mediocre quality up is large.
I am not saying quality is easy, but if your concern is that a company 1/100th your size is beating you at that and because of that you need to ‘take them out’ is far fetched to me. That was the argument here, that somehow all these small ones keep beating them on that
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I am not saying quality is easy, but if your concern is that a company 1/100th your size is beating you at that and because of that you need to ‘take them out’ is far fetched to me. That was the argument here, that somehow all these small ones keep beating them on that
Because I experienced it working in another industry.

All the power.
All the money
Can't do squat right.
Can't get budgets increased to make product/service better.
 

mamba

Hero
So why is WOTC's product's lower quality?

If they can do better product, why aren't they?
costs more money to create better products, and they sell enough as is to not bother.

Don’t get me wrong, they do deliver a certain level of quality, art is decent, stuff like that, but the actual adventure / setting definitely can be improved imo.
I am not saying they are the bottom of the pile.

Their stuff is very bland and generic however and often badly structured when it comes to providing the players the plot / direction to go in to get to the next part of the adventure. There are a lot of articles out there about those flaws and how to fix them, and most of that stuff should be obvious and not even have made it that far in that state.

The answer to the generic part could also boil down to taste, or the fact that they go for mass appeal, but taking out those that provide more exotic locations etc. does not really help them sell more books to me that I am not interested in. It just means I have fewer to choose from / more to do myself. Worst case (for them) it means I switch away from their system to one that better supports me, and stop buying any of their stuff as a result.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
So why is WOTC's product's lower quality?

If they can do better product, why aren't they?
I don't know, but to be perfectly honest I don't think it matters. What matters is that they think attacking other companies' ability to make competing (superior) products is a viable way to address the poor reception that their own lower-quality products are receiving (i.e. making them seem better via reducing the number of alternatives available).

That is not okay.
 

Scribe

Legend
Because they can't make product.
Not matching the biggest 3pps anyways.

You saw it in 3e, 4e, 5e, and will see it in 6e.

I don't know if they don't have enough skilled designers or that they don't have enough time in their schedule or budget. But WOTC can't make better significantly product without damaging their budgets.
That, is comical.

Not wrong, but I find it hard to accept.
 

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