I admit that I really liked 5E when it first came out but slowly I’ve grown less interested in it for a variety of reasons. So some may say that I don’t have a dog in this fight. Yeah, sure. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have an opinion. And why the heck not? All the cool kids are doing it.
I do want to pat myself on the back about being correct on 5E ending up with an “App Store”. Say hello DM’s Guild. But with recent acquisition of D&D Beyond, I think there’s a lot more crazy ahead.
I’m pretty sure most folks agree that WOTC will have a VTT as part of D&D Beyond. There’s conjecture that they may attempt to buy Roll20. I dunno. I bet that price tag would be pretty high. Astral would be cheap since development has been abandon on it. Or they could make their own. So on this one, I got no idea. But they will add a VTT.
So what’s that mean? Here’s where things start get “interesting”. With a VTT, D&D Beyond becomes a one stop shop and WOTC will push it hard on fans. Here’s where I think things start to get crazy. Sure lots of folks have free accounts but if you want those extras, you’ll need a paid account. They will want fans to flock to it. I’m betting that there will exclusive D&D Beyond content. I’m also guessing that the license that DrivethruRPG has for DM’s Guild is going to come up for renegotiation pretty soon. I’m guessing that what is now DM’s Guild will get rolled into D&D Beyond. Pretty soon, it will feel more like an MMO with DLC rather than a table top RPG.
D&D Beyond also hosts forums. So we stack with fan created content that may not be to liking of all. I’ll bet there will some out there who are going to get really butt hurt. In the end, some one will get a time out or an outright ban from those forums. I betting that it will follow the same pattern as many video game publishers where the form is linked to your account. Get banned or a time out, loose access to all that digital content that you paid for.
WOTC has already started to distance itself from the rest of the RPG industry. They don’t even attend Gencon. So with that and the above in mind, I predict that D&D Beyond will end up being the equivalent of a gated and curated community with all us unwashed barbarians at the gate. Plus even less support for your FLGS.
There’s another thing I want to bring up in this post. D&D made big bucks last year. I attribute much of this to the COVID lock downs. What else are people going to do with their friends? Plus, look around. The economy sucks right now. People have a lot less disposable income. One of the first things that people cut out of their budgets is entertainment. So maybe not so many folks will be buying that cool set of virtual dice?
Just thoughts, folks. Don’t get to hung up in everything. Sit back and roll some dice.