PDA

View Full Version : Some Interesting 4ed OGL News



Griogre
January 8th, 2008, 21:01
There is a thread at EN World here (http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=215976) that talks about the 4th ed roll out. Of interested in particular is there is some news about the 4th Ed OGL that came out in the Q&A section of the conferance call:


2. Tell us about the 4e OGL and SRD.

The 4e OGL will contain some aspects of the old d20 license, and is more restrictive in some areas than the prior Open Gaming License. We are tying the OGL more closely to D&D. There is a free registration process, a community standards clause, enforceability clauses, and no expiration date. Phase One publishers who sign a NDA will have the opportunity to read the OGL before they pay the $5000 early licensing fee.

The 4th edition SRD will be much more of a reference document than the 3e SRD. The current edition contains almost all of the rules and allows “copy and paste” publishing. WotC would prefer to see 3rd party publishers to use their creativity and talent instead of reformatting or slightly changing pre-existing rules. As such, the 4e SRD will contain more guidelines and pointers, and less straightforward rules repetition.

The community standards clause will follow the same spirit as the current version. It will lay out in broad brushstrokes what’s appropriate and what isn’t in a D&D-compatible product. If publishers have any questions, they’re always welcome to ask WotC about specifics. This clause applies to content, and wouldn’t apply to (say) a shoddy or ugly cover. (Note that this is a rare occurrence anyways; according to Scott Rouse, there has only been one case in the last two years where the community standards clause came into effect, and that was amicably resolved.)

In any case, material that’s open under the 3.5 OGL remains open, and there will be no language in the 4e OGL to restrict 3.0 or 3.5 products.

The other interesting question was:

7. With the OGL tied more closely to D&D, how would that impact the future impact of games like Spycraft or Mutants and Masterminds – games that in 3e used the core d20 concept but diverged radically from D&D?

The new version of the OGL isn’t as open-ended as the current version. Any 4e OGL product must use the 4e PHB as the basis of their game. If they can’t use the core rule books, it won’t be possible to create the game under this particular version of the OGL.

Future versions of the OGL, including a 4e d20 Modern version, may make certain games possible where they weren’t before.

Thore_Ironrock
January 8th, 2008, 22:45
While I'm still reading through the thread, the important part that applies to FG is here:



4e publisher support will be released in two phases.

Phase One is for publishers who want access to the 4e rules early. Taking a lesson from software publishers, WotC will be making available an OGL Designers Kit. This gives early access to rules and is offered to any publisher, not just the ones on the conference call. Access to the kit requires a legitimate business license, a signed NDA, and a one-time $5000 fee.

This kit will be available within a matter of weeks, as soon as several legal logistics are complete. It provides three hardcopy pre-publication versions of the three core rule books, copies of the OGL and SRD, and a FAQ. Publishers will continue to receive updates to these rules as changes are made, one in the beginning of February and possibly one in March. Publishers will also receive advance copies of the final rule books. Importantly, publishers who purchase the kit may begin selling product on August 1, 2008 – earlier than other publishers.

Phase Two is free and begins on June 6th, when the OGL goes live. Any publisher can then produce D&D supplements under the OGL, but these cannot be published until January 1, 2009.


So, for those that want access ASAP they have to pay 5k. That is a bit cheesy in my world.

More as I read through things. Thanks for the post Griogre. ;)

Thore_Ironrock
January 8th, 2008, 22:50
Hmmmm ...



6. Can 3rd party publishers get involved with Gleemax or DDI?

Publishers are welcome to have a product support page in Gleemax. At this stage, plans to integrate 3rd party publisher support in the DDI have not reached beyond the discussion phase.


That is interesting. I wonder if they'll have a fee for such "integration" and what it might be.

Hmmmm ...

Illrigger
January 8th, 2008, 23:12
I dunno. A $5k fee will probably pay off for the people it's aimed at - namely bigger publishing houses like Mongoose, who have a large presence in stores as well as on the web. You not only get a 6-month head start on the rules, you also get a 5-month head start on sales. If you think you can make the $5k back with profit in the 5-month head start, you end up being one of the "go-to" 4e development houses; I know I bought quite a few off-the-shelf 3rd party books when 3.0 went live in those first few months simply because they were there and they were 3e. Being the only guy on the shelf does have its advantages.

Note that they more or less confirmed in these statements the existence of D20 Modern 4e. That makes a lot of sense, given the limited scope of the product updates for 4e D&D. It fills in the months not used by the PHB, DMG, MM, Tome of Treasures, spell powers and campagn setting series'.

Griogre
January 9th, 2008, 04:38
It also looks like they are allowing teams to pay the 5K. The 1st Phase publishers will they be the only 3rd party publishers to be able to release for Christmas. Still, 5k is pretty big money to most publishers in the industry. They'd have to move about 15K retail before they break even. Still with a team that might be a good bet for a 4 month head start, including GenCon and Christmas.

Thore_Ironrock
January 9th, 2008, 04:53
It also looks like they are allowing teams to pay the 5K. The 1st Phase publishers will they be the only 3rd party publishers to be able to release for Christmas. Still, 5k is pretty big money to most publishers in the industry. They'd have to move about 15K retail before they break even. Still with a team that might be a good bet for a 4 month head start, including GenCon and Christmas.

That money will easily be made up at Gen Con. For those that have the cash to spend and a large fanbase that will benefit from 4E products, it is actually a good deal.

Griogre
January 9th, 2008, 05:20
More as I read through things. Thanks for the post Griogre. ;)
You're welcome. The answer about the fees for 3rd parties on DDI will tell a lot about just how serious WotC is about online and how they view it.

sloejack
January 9th, 2008, 17:23
Actually, I think the thing that has the biggest impact on FG is this bit from the WOTC forums (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=975808):


The 4e SRD will be a "reference document" for publishers working under the 4e OGL to know what content can be used in their own products. It will reference sections and passages from 4e D&D books and will also contain table/formating guidelines like the monster stat block to allow for consistency among products.

It will not be a stripped down core rulebook (PHB) that largely allows you to play D&D.


So, no 4th Ed SRD as we know it today in 3.5 land.

Dachannien
January 9th, 2008, 18:09
Ah, well. As long as I can still go to http://www.d20srd.org/ , I'm happy.

sloejack
January 9th, 2008, 19:01
Ah, well. As long as I can still go to http://www.d20srd.org/ , I'm happy.
From what I've read all the 3.5 stuff will be left as is, they're introducing new licensing regarding 4th Ed so you should be good there.

Illrigger
January 9th, 2008, 19:18
Actually, I think the thing that has the biggest impact on FG is this bit from the WOTC forums (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=975808):



So, no 4th Ed SRD as we know it today in 3.5 land.
Yep, it all makes perfect sense from a business standpoint. Why give away a free copy of your books when all you really need to do is have a document that defines what you can or can't use from them in your third party product? How many copies of the PHB and MM did WotC miss out on selling because of how they did the SRD? I'm betting a lot.

Basically, WotC is correcting the business mistakes they made when they did the first OGL. It may not go over that well with some, but you can't argue with the logic.

Griogre
January 9th, 2008, 19:47
The important thing I also thought important to FG was there was no sign they would pull or change the current OGL, in fact they said they wouldn't.

I admit I was shocked they released most rules verbatim in the SRD. I agree it didn't necessary make much business sense. At the time I thought it meant that Hasbro was throwing in the RPG towel to concentrate on making D&D minis and only highest profit making D&D products.

They may have corrected a business mistake with the upcoming OGL. However, others have raised a valid point that by prohibiting the cutting and pasting of core rules: Will this mean that you are going to have to paraphrase the “core” rules in each product a way that does not violate the OGL? If so, this will lead to every OGL product potentially being "different" from the core D&D rules. This seems counter intuitive to a initiative to *standardize* products.

Illrigger
January 9th, 2008, 23:38
Good point. We'll have to wait until June and see what they do exactly, but I'm betting what they do is define things you can use, like the short spell descriptions and stat blocks, but not allow full spell and rule descriptions. In other words, you'll be able to use the content, but you'll have to refer to it in the books rather than use the full text.

Tailz Silver Paws
January 10th, 2008, 02:40
$5000 early licensing fee
Heh... heh... heheheee.... Hahahahaaa!!

Tailz Silver Paws
January 10th, 2008, 04:29
They may have corrected a business mistake with the upcoming OGL. However, others have raised a valid point that by prohibiting the cutting and pasting of core rules: Will this mean that you are going to have to paraphrase the “core” rules in each product a way that does not violate the OGL? If so, this will lead to every OGL product potentially being "different" from the core D&D rules. This seems counter intuitive to a initiative to *standardize* products.
Can you imagin the horror with so many different "paraphrased" versions of the core rules!?

joshuha
January 10th, 2008, 04:34
Paraphrase may not be the right words. They may have certain language you have to use.

"Standard classes can be found in the D&D 4E rulebook, chapter 3."

Then your book has a section on "Classes for XYZ setting". I am thinking the new OGL will be all about HOW to reference the material and what parts of it are ok to use in your material (like stat blocks, class "templates", etc.)

sloejack
January 10th, 2008, 15:23
$5000 early licensing feeHeh... heh... heheheee.... Hahahahaaa!!
Not sure why this is funny. Mind/Market share for products is a pretty big deal, any opportunity you have to get the jump on your competition, especially if you release similar products, things like $5k for licensing is a drop in the bucket and basically becomes a valuable/necessary investment.

Illrigger
January 10th, 2008, 18:14
And Kevin made a HUGE point - that $5000 inventment gets your 4e products to GenCon '08, where most of the big companies make a substantial amount of their profits for the year. Assuming 4e sells (and there's no reason to assume it won't), people will be mighty thirsty for support material at GenCon, especially those who come out of the "first play" events there.


Remember that this isn't targetted at you and me, it's aimed at the largest publishers only. Included in the call were: Adamant Entertainment, EN Publishing, Expeditious Retreat Press, Fantasy Flight Games, Goodman Games, Green Ronin Publishing, Mongoose Publishing, Necromancer Games, Paizo Publishing, Paradigm Concepts and Privateer Press. Goodman has already not only announced they're doing it, but that they will have the first DCC for 4e at GenCon, as well as updating the look of them.

Tailz Silver Paws
January 10th, 2008, 22:26
Not sure why this is funny. Mind/Market share for products is a pretty big deal, any opportunity you have to get the jump on your competition, especially if you release similar products, things like $5k for licensing is a drop in the bucket and basically becomes a valuable/necessary investment.
I just have this feeling the more I read about 4th edition D&D that everything is going to have a fee, it will be turned into a giant pay-per-everything game. Now I don't mind paying for a nice rule book, but the online stuff is sounding to be like Hasbro is trying to squese every squirt from this cash cow. Online Membership fees, Community developer fees, store your game online fee, online tools fee, updates fee, etc...

Maybe I am over reacting.

I can understand the fee for developers to get in early, but it does kind of screw the pooch for the little indy developers. Maybe I am thinking too much in the line of the old Open Source software days when everyone wanted to share and be free.

Thore_Ironrock
January 10th, 2008, 22:27
Thanks Jeremy. Remember too that this isn't just Gen Con, but is also the five months after the show where just those publishers get to put out 4E products. A large bulk of a publisher's income comes from after the convention when people are still juiced about everything they've seen at the show, or if they don't have the money or did not attend can pick up shortly after. If you have the money and the fanbase, it is worth it in return sales.

This assumes that 4E isn't a steaming pant-load though. :)

Thore_Ironrock
January 10th, 2008, 22:45
I just have this feeling the more I read about 4th edition D&D that everything is going to have a fee, it will be turned into a giant pay-per-everything game. Now I don't mind paying for a nice rule book, but the online stuff is sounding to be like Hasbro is trying to squese every squirt from this cash cow. Online Membership fees, Community developer fees, store your game online fee, online tools fee, updates fee, etc...

Maybe I am over reacting.

You're probably right if you're talking about getting in on the ground floor of the DDI project. If you play every week in your basement it's just the cost of the books. The online stuff is going to be pricey, make no mistake. However, there are people willing to pay it.

As for 4E and Fantasy Grounds, I don't have any official word yet -- but if you ask me it isn't looking very good for something like a 4E SRD. The problem is that this new OGL is not a document, but a reference guide for the PHB; which to me means those rules cannot be duplicated verbatim and could only used to translate gaming material (stats, skills, rules, etc) into published material where applicable. On the other hand I don't believe they are going to let you "translate" the rules into another form of written text either, as that is a derivative of the copyrighted work. However, they might let you do an adventure that references 4E material, you just would not be able to have the 4E/OGL-ish rules "built" into the interface. Say if we converted a 4E Goodman Games adventure to Fantasy Grounds, it just would not be associated with module information in the way we do it with d20. The only way you're going to be able to reference 4E rules directly online it sounds is if you're subscribed to DDI.

This is conjecture on my part at the moment, I'm hoping to find out more soon. Justing sharing my current thoughts for those who have been asking. :)

kalmarjan
January 11th, 2008, 01:38
steaming pant-load though

Oh, that one just took the cake. Another one to add to my repertoire of great sayings.

As for the pay to play... Notice that in the preview boards/Dragon/Dungeon online WOTC is talking about making the cost of a subscription "about the amount of a subscription for a MMORG".

That is what scares me, the mind set that D&D can become akin to a MMORG. You see, aside from the core books, everything that was D&D for me is now gone. Dragon and Dungeon now require a monthly online subscription for content that so far has mirrored what I would have received online before the supposed "online" magazine came to be.

What bothers me about this is that I no longer have the option of going to the magazine store (okay, the cigarette store) that carries my magazines. I cannot browse through them to decide if I want to buy them. I now have to rely on the old "trust" that the magazines will be good. At a cost that saves me nothing from getting a yearly subscription.

All in all, paying the 5000$ is a bad business move in my books. Then again, I am not a RPG developer. I would not be justified spending the amount of money to get a jump from the competition of a few months.

A few people have stated that it would be easy to get your money back from Gen Con. I know nothing about how the whole RPG publishing scene works, but I do know a LOT about recovering your costs from the revenue generated from a finished product. In a restaurant, an item that cost you 5000$ would need to generate about 16000$ worth of revenue so the owner of the restaurant would not fire your butt. The economy could be different, but I do not think that it would be that much by far.

So, judging a supplement/rule system based on the OGL selling for a 30$-40$ price tag, (lets assume the latter, for conservative basis, and for the "deal" for Gen Con) you would need to sell out 533 units to make up your costs.

The above assumes that the 5000$ price tag represents a healthy 30% cost of your final ticket.

Now, if you do not buy the kit, you are limited to selling your item AFTER Gen Con. The OGL goes live Jan 1st, 2009. So, if a company waits, announces at Gen Con that they are working on a 4E release, they not only save that 5000$ price tag, but they also run the risk of losing out to their customers who may go to the others.

This is all assuming that we run under the same paradigm as 3E. Assuming that WOTC does not hack off the movement at the knees.

Man, I am glad I am going SW.

Sandeman

Oberoten
January 11th, 2008, 02:45
** Puts on the Cynic-Cap **

Perhaps they sell the $5000 package as a "Make some money on selling it to the rubes before we show them what a bum deal it is?" Aka... "Better get it ready before Gen-Con because after nobody will buy it."

Tailz Silver Paws
January 11th, 2008, 02:50
As for the pay to play... Notice that in the preview boards/Dragon/Dungeon online WOTC is talking about making the cost of a subscription "about the amount of a subscription for a MMORG".
I would find more value in paying for say, WOW, far more interaction and action. If it WAS an actual game, maybe the same price as a MMORG would do it - but users would want so much content from it. But so far I don't know if you can run a game by it like how we do with Fantasy Grounds - maybe you can?

joshuha
January 11th, 2008, 03:16
Well its still early and we don't have all the details but in short it will be a VTT like Fantasy Grounds. However, you will pay out the nose for it.

It appears you are locked down to their content and cannot import things from the outside.

Want a new tileset for maps, thats a package you have to buy.
Want some new monsters to put on the map, have to buy the token pack (and I hope they don't randomize like DDM).
Want to have a reference to that feat in Complete Mage, have to buy the book and pay to unlock it in the DDI.
Etc.


They are going to bleed the gamers dry to get that content into their version of the digital table. Now all that could change, maybe pay a higher subscription fee or something to get more of that stuff unlocked but even at say $9.99 a month you are talking $120 per year per player plus all the books? It certainly will be a cash cow for them but from what I have seen so far the value isn't there. But who knows, that may all change before it goes live.

Kilahm
January 11th, 2008, 05:49
Forgive me if this sounds too simplistic, but I think you are all being way too negative as to what you can and can't do with the online tools associated with DDI and the new OGL.

From what I've seen (http://www.enworld.org/index.php?page=4e#insider) you won't have to pay to unlock complete mage to use a feat out of the book. Rather the full description won't be accessible in the character generator. You'll just have to look in the book, and manually adjust other parts of the character sheet as required. As for minis, they'll have generic markers, just like my home games! (I've only purchased one booster pack of minis. The rest of them are hand-me-down warhammer minis, pente stones, and bottle caps.)

The way I understand the description of the new OGL it just means that people will have to buy the core books to play 4E with FG. I'm sure the character sheet will be freely distributable, or at least 3rd party publishers will be able to make their own. Perhaps much of the built in automation (such as when you put in an ability score, the modifier is automatically calculated) will be off limits, but individual users of FG can cope with this in many ways.

Personally I'm not sure if I'll be subscribing to DDI. I've never subscribed to Dungeon or Dragon, and I don't buy minis (though I have been buying their tile sets). However, the character generator and DM kit sound interesting... *shrug*

kalmarjan
January 11th, 2008, 06:30
D&D Insider – DRM, Downloadable vs. view online. "We are still investigating, digital issues will be usable without being connected. Books – You will need to be logged in to use them. Still working out how to make this work for you and for us."


The nominal fee to access the electronic version of a book you already own on D&D Insider will be in the region of $1-$2.


We already have mentioned that owning the E-version of a published book will allow to see the details of the book content within the D&DI applications, if you are a D&DI subscriber.

Now you will still be able to build a character using features from a published book even if you do not own the E-Version of that published book. You will not be able to see the detailed descriptions of the resources you have used from that published book, though.


You will be able to use the published material to create your character from the character sheet application regardless of your ownership of any particular E-Book.

If you are a D&DI subscriber, the ownership of an E-book allows you to consult the details of a feat (for example) from your computer screen. Without this E-Book, you will simply know the name of the feat and will have to use the physical book to see what this feat does. You can use this feat when creating your character from the character sheet application, even if you do not own the E-book where that feat was published.

So, what this all boils down to is that yes, you could use the feat for example, you just would not know what it would do, you would have to make all adjustments yourself, making the point of having an automated character/tabletop useless.

Also, paying another 1$ to 2$ per book may seem like a nominal fee, but if history shows us what will happen, that could run anywhere to an extra 10$ and upwards for the serious gamer. Gouge anyone? At least with FG, you pay once, maybe have to buy a ruleset... but that is it.

Is anyone out there in marketing land paying attention to the last statement? I am handing you a catch line for the marketing of FG for FREE. :D

Sandeman

joshuha
January 11th, 2008, 12:48
Yeah thats why I said reference to the feat. I know they will allow a text description where you can just type it in but if you want a referenced link to the description you will have have to have paid to unlock the book in DDI.

Like I said, it could all change by the time it goes live but not being able to import outside tilesets and what not seems like a deal breaker to me.

richvalle
January 11th, 2008, 14:13
So, what this all boils down to is that yes, you could use the feat for example, you just would not know what it would do, you would have to make all adjustments yourself, making the point of having an automated character/tabletop useless.
Sandeman

Well, lets be fair. FG is pretty much in the same boat. You can add whatever feat you want (to the base D20 ruleset) and nothing will change on your character sheet.

rv

richvalle
January 11th, 2008, 14:17
As for 4E and Fantasy Grounds, I don't have any official word yet -- but if you ask me it isn't looking very good for something like a 4E SRD. The problem is that this new OGL is not a document, but a reference guide for the PHB; which to me means those rules cannot be duplicated verbatim and could only used to translate gaming material (stats, skills, rules, etc) into published material where applicable. On the other hand I don't believe they are going to let you "translate" the rules into another form of written text either, as that is a derivative of the copyrighted work. However, they might let you do an adventure that references 4E material, you just would not be able to have the 4E/OGL-ish rules "built" into the interface. Say if we converted a 4E Goodman Games adventure to Fantasy Grounds, it just would not be associated with module information in the way we do it with d20. The only way you're going to be able to reference 4E rules directly online it sounds is if you're subscribed to DDI.

This is conjecture on my part at the moment, I'm hoping to find out more soon. Justing sharing my current thoughts for those who have been asking. :)

Honestly, we never use the built in rules for D20 currently in FG. Though we DO use the D20srd.org one a lot.

The real question is, I think, will FG (and others) be able to create something that will be USEABLE with 4.0. Can they create a version of FG that has a 4.0 compatable characters sheet without the rules?

Yes, this will remove some of the functionality of being able to drag and drop spells to the character sheet, but as long as we could use it to play it would be a viable option and one I would take before going to DDI.

rv

kalmarjan
January 11th, 2008, 17:20
Well, lets be fair. FG is pretty much in the same boat. You can add whatever feat you want (to the base D20 ruleset) and nothing will change on your character sheet.

rv

Yes, but FG does not advertise the functionality either. FG is what it is, a tabletop emulator.

Whereas the DDi is promising to be all that and a cookie. But only if you purchase ALL of their products. Twice in some cases. That would be the deal breaker for me.

Sandeman

Illrigger
January 11th, 2008, 17:54
Calm down, all. Remember that NONE of this is "fact", and that WotC hasn't even decided on a lot of it. Before anyone gets too riled up or opinionated about this, you should stop listening to rumor and wait for the real facts to come to light, which should be in a couple months.

A few things to remember about 4e:
1. There won't be as many books per year, because the Hasbro pressure for D&D to make money will be allayed by the subscription fees. So, one book every two months is likely. If you buy those books at a good discount seller like buy.com or overstock.com you can pay 60% cover price. These two facts make the fee to use them online (if there even is one) a lot less hard to swallow.
2. Nobody is requiring you to pay for and use DDI, and even if 4e can't be shipped in FG doesn't mean the logic to support it can't be, and that you can't write your own ruleset for it. You might not be able to legally distribute it, but even that doesn't stop you from being able to work together on the pieces in the support forums, as is done for many "unsupported" games now.
3. On Dragon and Dungeon dying: so is every other print magazine, and print books. And DVDs. And CDs. And every other entertainment medium that relies on physical distribution. Electronic distribution and subscriptions are the way of the future; it's far more profitable, and Hasbro knows it. Yeah, it's sad to see them go, but it was just a matter of time, even if Paizo had kept the license and there was no 4e.
4. Nobody is forcing you to use 4e at all. I know it's been said, but it needs to be said, again and again. This isn't the dark days when M:TG killed all the RPGs and 3e was the light at the end of the tunnel. There are LOTS of good, affordable game systems out there again, if 4e doesn't appeal to you, go use one. Or keep using 3.5e. Vote with your feet.

There's no reason to get upset, it's just a game, and it's not the only game in town.

kalmarjan
January 11th, 2008, 18:53
Calm down, all. Remember that NONE of this is "fact", and that WotC hasn't even decided on a lot of it. Before anyone gets too riled up or opinionated about this, you should stop listening to rumor and wait for the real facts to come to light, which should be in a couple months.

Facts are out right now. Read the WOTC boards, and their FAQs. All the answers are right there. The only thing up in the air right now is what the SRD will be and how the OGL will impact 3rd party publishers.

The dates represented in above posts are all real.


A few things to remember about 4e:
1. There won't be as many books per year, because the Hasbro pressure for D&D to make money will be allayed by the subscription fees. So, one book every two months is likely. If you buy those books at a good discount seller like buy.com or overstock.com you can pay 60% cover price. These two facts make the fee to use them online (if there even is one) a lot less hard to swallow.

Past predicts the future they say. The same was for 3E when it first came out. The idea was to not have a "complete" handbook for every single class like in 2E. Well, somewhere along the lines, that paradigm changed. We now have "splat books" which are basically the same thing as the whole "complete" series.

At first, I agree with the statement that there will not be that many books. Time passes though, and I will see a whole bunch of books coming out. The past tells us this, so the future looks to be the same.


2. Nobody is requiring you to pay for and use DDI, and even if 4e can't be shipped in FG doesn't mean the logic to support it can't be, and that you can't write your own ruleset for it. You might not be able to legally distribute it, but even that doesn't stop you from being able to work together on the pieces in the support forums, as is done for many "unsupported" games now.

If that was absolutely true, then we would have about a thousand rulesets floating around. Yes, a person could go in and create the logic to create their own ruleset. Problem is, they would not be able to share their work legally. It may come down to watchdog groups looking out for anything posted that would directly compete with DDi and threaten to shut it down. Note that this is not rumor or fact. It is simply how things have been and continue to be today.

Besides, do you think a lot of people have the time devoted to create a ruleset from scratch? Do they have the LUA know-how? How about the graphics?



3. On Dragon and Dungeon dying: so is every other print magazine, and print books. And DVDs. And CDs. And every other entertainment medium that relies on physical distribution. Electronic distribution and subscriptions are the way of the future; it's far more profitable, and Hasbro knows it. Yeah, it's sad to see them go, but it was just a matter of time, even if Paizo had kept the license and there was no 4e.

Sure, it may be the wave of the future. I have no problem with electronic distribution. What I have a problem with is the cost to obtain said distribution. Look at it this way. With electronic distribution, Hasbro no longer needs to worry about the layout of the PDF for CMYK print. They now transfer the printing costs (assuming there is no DRM) to the user. There is a hard copy of the core books, but for magazines, there is now no way for the user to judge what they are buying before actually paying out a huge sum. If the cost represented the savings from the print press, I would more for it. Right now they are charging more for the two than what I would pay by subscription.

That is wrong in my books.


4. Nobody is forcing you to use 4e at all. I know it's been said, but it needs to be said, again and again. This isn't the dark days when M:TG killed all the RPGs and 3e was the light at the end of the tunnel. There are LOTS of good, affordable game systems out there again, if 4e doesn't appeal to you, go use one. Or keep using 3.5e. Vote with your feet.

This is kind of like saying that no one is forcing you to purchase gasoline if you want to drive. Driving is a luxury, and the producers know you will pay for it (*some people have no choice) so they charge you through the nose.

Same can be said for D&D. There are a lot of people that will not go to another system because they like D&D, and what it represents. So a statement like "play 3.5" amounts to the same thing as back when 3E came out. How long would you continue to play a system that has absolutely no support.

Sure, 2E has it's die-hard fans, but can you see a huge list of them by googling. Not likely. Know any real good advenentures that have come out for 2E lately? Didn't think so.

I realize that a switch to the new edition is a good thing. All I want is some VALUE for my cash, that's all. The whole "take it or leave it" steaming load in the pants (I got to use it Kevin!!!!) has to go though.


There's no reason to get upset, it's just a game, and it's not the only game in town.
True that. SW is looking VERY good right now. Very good indeed.

Griogre
January 11th, 2008, 19:49
Frankly we don't know what WotC is going to do with DDI. I doubt they really know - they have hopes and plans - all of which are subject to change based on business viability and maybe "strategic planning". I have subcribed to Dungeon since issue 1 and Dragon before that. I have played in MORPGs. If content is there, I have no problem with 10 bucks a month - the cost of a mag or movie.

Given WotC's track record as a publisher of D&D software, I expect them to botch DDI - *at first*. How they respond to their initial misstep will tell us how serious they are about online. If they don't botch DDI initially that will tell us about their commitment too. If they botch it initially, as I expect, and then fold it - well that will tell us about their commitment too. We can't know how this will play out until about 6 months or so after is starts though.

If I was Smiteworks, I would take DDI very, very seriously. The silver lining in the current set of announcements is that no matter what happens WotC is not thinking about pulling the old OGL out from under them.

Kalmarjan, you come across as more against change than anything, else even if you really aren't. If the cost to the consumer is the same or less and from my viewpoint it appears to be - then I think WotC will do well and have largely satisfied customers.

My reasoning is:
4th Ed Book cost will be the same as 3rd Ed.

4th Book PDFs will be very cheap for book owners (2 bucks in unheard of for a WotC PDF) and very expensive for non book owners about the same as now. Right now, WotC's book PDF's are very expensive, with no break for the owners of the book.

Subscribing to one magazine Dragon or Dungeon was cheaper than DDI. DDI will be cheaper than two magazine subscriptions and, if similar to most MORGPs, they give you a break for paying for 12 months at a time the cost may be the same as a one magazine subscription.

DDI is really the only really area where a consumer may feel screwed and as it is entirely optional if someone feels that way they don't have to use it. There seems to be little benefit to the player, while there is plenty of benefit potentially to the DM.

DDI also has the most upside potential from the consumer already connected to the web. Much of how satisfied these people will feel about DDI will depend on quality of content, tools and if DDI is able to offer the player enough to justify 10 bucks a month.

I don't really see why take it or leave it is a problem. Ultimately everyone has to either take or leave 4th Ed anyway. Most will end up taking it barring it being a horrible update.

I have to comment that SW is a decent system particularly for pulp and low magic settings, but I think it has a poorly flavored and very generic magic system and not really acceptable for any "high fantasy" campaign of mid to upper levels. I would play Ars Magica, C&C or Microlite before I ran a SW high fantasy campaign. However, everyones likes and dislikes are different for RP systems.

Griogre
January 11th, 2008, 20:18
But only if you purchase ALL of their products. Twice in some cases.
What are they asking you to buy twice?

kalmarjan
January 12th, 2008, 00:34
Let's set the record straight. I do not mind change. I like change. I even think that the 4E rules will give D&D what it really needs... a streamlined rule system.

What I have a problem with is value for my dollars spent. What they are promising sounds good. Time will tell whether it is worth the investment or not.

As for paying for electronic MMORG style play, meh. Not for me. I would like the opportunity to use material that other gamers get, and not have to pay for the DDi (Which I probably would not use too much.) I do not mind that Dragon and Dungeon are in PDF format now. I actually welcome that. (Searchable indexes, bookmarks, less space in the house, etc.)

The problem is, again, where my money is going. The price of subscription rose through the years... (I subscribed to both as well, up until about 2 years ago.) The explanation was the cost of printing, distribution, send backs etc.

With a digital format, that is now gone. Really, they have even more room to work with now that they do not have to pay for their ink. They can have better graphics, better maps... etc. So, is it a good thing that they are charging me "the equivilent" for a subscription when it is me who will have to pay the cost of the printer ink? Or better yet, the cost of a laptop to save on printer ink?

As for the question of what are we buying twice....


* The nominal fee to access the electronic version of a book you already own on D&D Insider will be in the region of $1-$2.
* You do not need to be a D&D Insider subscriber to access the elctronic versions of these books. Each individual copy of a book will have a unique code used to access the electornic version.
* The electronic versions [are likely to be] PDF documents which you download to your hard drive. If you also happen to be a D&D Insider subscriber, that code will also automatically update your database for online tool content.
* Also worth checking out is former D&D Brand Manager Charles Ryan's comments on the reasoning behind the nominal fee.


So I would buy the book, get a code, and have to pay ANOTHER 1-2$ to access it online. That is where I get the pay for it twice comment.

Sandeman

Griogre
January 12th, 2008, 02:47
Ah. I see. I now understand your viewpoint. I don't agree because I see the $2 fee as a cheap, hopefully searchable, PDF of the book that is optional. I could see that if you feel the PDF is required then you might think you are being charged twice, though.

sloejack
January 13th, 2008, 22:05
All in all, paying the 5000$ is a bad business move in my books. Then again, I am not a RPG developer. I would not be justified spending the amount of money to get a jump from the competition of a few months.

A few people have stated that it would be easy to get your money back from Gen Con. I know nothing about how the whole RPG publishing scene works, but I do know a LOT about recovering your costs from the revenue generated from a finished product. In a restaurant, an item that cost you 5000$ would need to generate about 16000$ worth of revenue so the owner of the restaurant would not fire your butt. The economy could be different, but I do not think that it would be that much by far.

So, judging a supplement/rule system based on the OGL selling for a 30$-40$ price tag, (lets assume the latter, for conservative basis, and for the "deal" for Gen Con) you would need to sell out 533 units to make up your costs.

The above assumes that the 5000$ price tag represents a healthy 30% cost of your final ticket.

I saw this bit from a Mongoose press quote that similarly covered what you were referencing Jason, though their cost recovery projects are about 10x what you figured. So, I guess that's our game industry economics lesson for today. :)


The charge for the early adopters' route is $5,000. On the face of it, that is fair enough (and, indeed, there is some argument that WotC could have gone further in this direction, perhaps upping the charge to $15,000 or so, and extending the grace period for a year, two years, or longer). $5,000 is not an unsurmountable amount, but is it worth it?

Under a 'typical' licence agreement, with royalties (which this deal is not), that $5,000 might be matched against 10% wholesale royalties, which is effectively claimed off each book sold. If you assume a $24.95 book has a 60% discount in the trade, you get $9.98 for each book sold - thus you need to sell $50,000 worth of books, or 5,000 $24.95 books if this deal is to match a 10% licensed arrangement with, say, Warner Brothers or Sony. Sell 10,000 such books, and the equivalent royalty rate is 5%, which is by no means a bad deal. Sell 20,000 and it becomes 2.5%, and so on.

So, the question becomes, can we sell the minimum 5,000-odd books to make this worthwhile?

Foen
January 13th, 2008, 22:54
Well, lets be fair. FG is pretty much in the same boat. You can add whatever feat you want (to the base D20 ruleset) and nothing will change on your character sheet.

Hmm, not quite: with FG I can build a ruleset to use with the host and client, pass it to my friends and have it do what I want. Doesn't sound the same as DDI to me.

Stuart

Griogre
January 13th, 2008, 23:58
I saw this bit from a Mongoose press quote that similarly covered what you were referencing Jason, though their cost recovery projects are about 10x what you figured. So, I guess that's our game industry economics lesson for today. :)
True, except when the company sells *directly* to the public (cutting out the middlemen). The profit then is much higher as the producer gets the distributer's and retailer's profit - Hence Kevin's comment about GenCon where the companies typically *are* selling directly to the public. Thus GenCon offers a real chance to recover the initial buy in, especially if teamed and paying only half the buy in cost.

Actually I am a little surprised WotC didn't structure the deal a little differently. I think their goal was more to make sure the inital products were from the the more successful d20 publishers (since they are the ones likely to have the cash laying around) rather than actually pocket the cash. I think the 5k is a little high, really.

The real lesson is that companies don't make nearly as much from licensed products, unless the sales are huge.

kalmarjan
January 14th, 2008, 06:02
I saw this bit from a Mongoose press quote that similarly covered what you were referencing Jason, though their cost recovery projects are about 10x what you figured. So, I guess that's our game industry economics lesson for today. :)

You see, this is where it shows that I am better in the kitchen managing costs as opposed to trying to manage the cost of publishing. Heck, if I had to pay a royalty for every dish that I put out, that would significantly up the costs. Meaning, if I wanted to run a healthy 30% cost from revenue with a conservative 10% royalty (If I ran it at the aforementioned 40% cost, it would be my shirt. LOL) I would be looking at having to sell the book for a lot higher... more into close to the 100 000$ range in sales.

Mind you, the formula for food costing probably does not translate well into the cost of producing a published item.

All in all, it would seem to be too much of a chance for me anyway. It seems that WOTC is banking on their system to really crack the bank. It could be so, OTOH, there are still a lot of people who painfully remember the "upgrade" to 3.5.

It would make more sense to me to wait and see what the system was all about before I blindly dropped 5000$ on a unseen teaser product. Call me conservative, but I would not purchase produce from a supplier that I did not know. Certainly would not make a contract for big bucks (well, 5000$ is about a third of what I spend a week, but let's not go there. LOL) without first having something hard and fast to make a decision on.

Time will tell I guess.

Sandeman

Griogre
January 14th, 2008, 06:28
*shrug* It's just numbers. What you think your sales are going to be. It's not *that* big a shot in the dark, many of the bigger companies know what their sales on new books are. They know what they sold in the Transition to 3.5. The D&D market is bigger now, a bit. Whoever does the CFO function will make the call at each company. Its really all about expected volume. Teaming reduces the risk. There are also marketing considerations on the early jump.

richvalle
January 14th, 2008, 15:59
Hmm, not quite: with FG I can build a ruleset to use with the host and client, pass it to my friends and have it do what I want. Doesn't sound the same as DDI to me.

Stuart


Ahh, I just meant in terms of what adding Feats to a character sheet would do for you. Not FG vs DDI as a products.

rv

Illrigger
January 14th, 2008, 19:19
The mongoose post is interesting, but they are only speaking to distribution AFTER GenCon. Gencon (actually any con, but GenCon is like every other con with 500x the people) is a unique marketting environment. Alomost none of the things mentioned in that article apply. The largest aspect is that there's no retail discount; you're selling directly, and you're selling at full cover price. The only costs you incur are the printer, shipping, booth, and personnel fees. Thing is, a company like Mongoose is already going to be PAYING those fees, because they'll already be planning a presence at GenCon anyway. So that's all moot.

The ONLY risk here is whether 4e will be a big enough hit at GenCon that they can sell the 3000 or so books they need to break the fee overhead. I've never been a vendor there, so I don't know if that's probable or not. If they can pull it off, though, then everything they make in the remaining portion of the year is gravy. If they can make products that generate a good buzz, and 4e takes off, then it could be a very good year for a company.

ShaneB
January 15th, 2008, 08:06
Well to be honest I dont think you will find that core of FG will change much if at all with 4e. From what I have read to date the new SRD will be a reference guide to the core rulebooks. Which means that the representation of this within FG will be as a name, probably a brief description (with a format dictated by the SRD) and a book/page/table/paragraph number to show where the full details are. So the character sheet will mostly stay the same.

What wont be possible is the actual RULES behind said reference wont be able to be stored within FG, hence auto calculation of modifiers, etc probably wont be able to be done.

What is more interesting is WOTC have yet to disclose what the 'OGL' rules are. Which are completely separate to the SRD. These two items are NOT interchangable. I wonder what rules they will dictate in the OGL around electronic versions of copyrighted material. Ie if publisher X wants to get in bed with the DDI they can release an electronic version of their classes, but what if they just want to enable free access to their material, or in the case of a Digital Adventures who ONLY release electronic copies, and in fact want to be able to develop game extensions that are ONLY released as FG rulesets will WOTC/Hasbro wave the cease and desist at them??

I think that THAT is a bigger issue when it comes to 3rd party developers of material... atm Mongoose, Green Ronin, et al must be crapping themselves over the potential catastrophe that is 4e, so I can guarantee that they will be forking over the $5k to see what the OGL will actually mean for the viability of their business, and if it is no longer viable will be either yelling and screaming to Hasbro/WOTC to fix it, or to jump to True20 (which is now OGL)