Why 5E doesn't matter unless they go back to OGL


4th Edition

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Frog God Games

OK, so....

How is Paizo successful if the OGL is bad for companies again?

I know that they HAVE to use it, but they are more open than they need to be. Obviously using the OGL (or a similar model) is not a losing business practice.

Neither is not using it.

A lack of an OGL didn't cause 5E to come about so soon. WotC made other mistakes - like dragging their feet on the GSL and the first release being so draconian that people who had put their businesses on hold waiting on it were ruined.


If a game system/setting is good, then I will want to play it and I will buy the books from the publisher of it. Having an OGL is nice and all, but not having one will not stop me from buying what I like and enjoy playing. I did not like 4E, so I did not buy any of the books. A lack of an OGL, or the restrictions of the GSL, were not a determining factor in that at all.


One of paizo other strategies seems to be make a lot fo books you could use together that if you have one book another book doesn't make you want this one less.

The Exchange

Chuck Wright wrote:

OK, so....

How is Paizo successful if the OGL is bad for companies again?

I know that they HAVE to use it, but they are more open than they need to be. Obviously using the OGL (or a similar model) is not a losing business practice.

Neither is not using it.

A lack of an OGL didn't cause 5E to come about so soon. WotC made other mistakes - like dragging their feet on the GSL and the first release being so draconian that people who had put their businesses on hold waiting on it were ruined.

The OGL is bad for WotC - it was clearly good for its competitors in that it helped them, that was the problem.

Re Paizo's own situaton, they haven't tried to change edition yet. Plus they have a different model - they effectively tweaked and existing system and then make most of their money selling stuff about a (very much non-OGL) game world. WotC's problem was (and still is) they didn't support their system properly with enough high quality adventures.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

[...]

The OGL is bad for WotC - it was clearly good for its competitors in that it helped them, that was the problem.
[...]

This particular generalization is false.

At this moment, OGL is not affecting WotC directly - they disengaged from manufacturing under this particular license. Their products are not generally compatible with OGL games, and the customers at this stage are unlikely to stampede in either direction.

The question to be put forth, in my not so humble opinion, is what kind of the business plan the Wizards attempt to employ now and for the next 3 years?

Are they going to build a new market, using a new license?
Will they try to rejoin OGL stream?
Perhaps there will be some compromise, allowing for support of different licenses, with Wizard core products competing solely upon merits and marketing?

The option #1 failed along with GSL.
The option #2 goes against corporate style. You play for keeps. Period.
The option #3, with compromise acknowledging third party publishers, yet barring them from competing with WotC brand directly, appears to be most likely.

As I said previously, I believe in Paizo's ingenuity and adaptability. These guys took over mags and turned tables on former master (sorry, could not resist little Star Wars reference). And while I may, or may not, give DnD Next a chance, I am looking forward to the treats coming from Paizo at the end of this year.

A new open playtest?
An advanced alternative to Pathfinder, using evolved Beginner's Box edition?
Or maybe something unexpected? A licensed 5E product line?

This is going to be a year full of surprises.

Regards,
Ruemere


I don't believe that WotC should release 5E under the OGL out of some mis-guided sense of altruism. Nor do I believe the failure to do so would in any way constitute a monopoly.

I believe that WotC should 5E under the OGL as a matter of simple necessity.

Among all the things we don't know, there is one thing we do: That 5E will be released into the market with a strong, vibrant, OGL competitor. Irrespective of whether one believes creating the OGL in the first place was a mistake, WotC must deal with market realities -- however they came to be. IMO the cat is out of the bag, and 4E demonstrated the futility of trying to put it back.


Let's see if a company pops up to entice the disenfranchised 4e people into sticking with their system. If not any many of these people, despite not feeling 4e had played out, end up going with 5e, that will prove the GSL was a good idea.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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bugleyman wrote:

I don't believe that WotC should release 5E under the OGL out of some mis-guided sense of altruism. Nor do I believe the failure to do so would in any way constitute a monopoly.

I believe that WotC should 5E under the OGL as a matter of simple necessity.

Among all the things we don't know, there is one thing we do: That 5E will be released into the market with a strong, vibrant, OGL competitor. Irrespective of whether one believes creating the OGL in the first place was a mistake, WotC must deal with market realities -- however they came to be. IMO the cat is out of the bag, and 4E demonstrated the futility of trying to put it back.

I agree with this. Even a 'hampered' OGL that says you can't make 'pocket PHBs' would be supportive. As was noted in the 3pp thread. There are *still* people running non-PFS games who are less than accepting of non-Paizo stuff. If (for example) 5e comes out with an OGL Duskblade and Mike's Module Makers use it in one of their adventures, GMs are going to want to see the official book, not so much notes cribbed from Mike's Module Makers.

I feel (especially with the monsters, and to a lesser extent classes) Open Content can help the native publisher in the long run. Sure you'll have your d20srd.com type sites, but if Mike's Module Makers use two Monster Manual II monsters in the book, and they're used well, others are going to want to buy the Monster Manual II along the lines of "Well it had these two good critters in it, what else does it have?"

Liberty's Edge

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


My experience of the OGL market has not been positive. WotC's experience of the OGL wasn't positive either, as it fostered competition for them. There may be some licencing deal for some 3PP players but in the end WotC want to protect their IP, market and profits. In the end, I don't think the OGL really did that for them - if it did, why did they change it? They are a profit maximising company in a declining industry - helping other talent will not be a priority for them, especially if it diultes their own brand and bites them on the arse.

But that wasn't the effect. Quite the opposite.

TSR was failing, White Wolf was eating into the market that wasn't dying off...things were bad.

The OGL brought in a lot of people, and with it a lot of revenue. Did you read the article by Monte I posted above?

When you speak about dilution, you are assuming a zero sum game. Entertainment markets need to grow the audience, not control it. One is sustainable, one is a sure fire way to drive customers to other options.

Liberty's Edge

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


A few comments:

Golarion is not OGL, only Pathfinder is OGL. You will not be allowed to release Golarion material on your own and Paizo will not be willing to allow random strangers to create stuff that infringes their own IP, or to incoporate that into their IP. So your City of Psionics will have to be non-Golarion to comply with the OGL and Paizo's own version of it.

Second, you don't understand how competion or innovation works at the company level, nor have you noticed that there is a difference between what is good for consumersand what is good for companies. Competition between companies is an extension of the human urge to gather resources to survive and procreate. It is a fight which continues until the participants are destroyed. This impacts upon profits, and generally the more competion the lower the profits. So companies then have a choice - reduce their costs and continue to compete, or give up. Then there is the issue of how big the market is. Right now, the TTRPG market ain't big - it was much larger in the 1980s, but has declined significantly since then. A smaller market simply supports fewer competitors.

D&D and its competitors are now operating in a much smaller market than their heydey. This, frankly, has impacted significantly on available choice, much more so that anything else including the OGL. There is now much less choice in the brave new world of the OGL than there was in the 1980s, with really only a few systems out there. D&D/d20-based systems are now dominant, much more so than before when you had RQ, Traveller, and so on. They still exist, but barely. The declining market has been much more powerful a factor.

So in a declining market, competition can be bad for companies (though still not necessarily for the consumer) as you are looking at declining profits, which also means decling levels of innovation. It is possible to argue that the OGL has even stifled competion, since it allowed companies to produce (a lot of it dross) products without having the design their own system. On the one hand, it lowered barriers to enrty in the market, increasing output. In others, it probably reduced genuine innovation in RPG design by pushing everyone up the OGL route. What's so special about 3.5e to make it the ultimate RPG? Nothing much. It's really the Windows of RPGs - a dominant product that isn't really all that good and has lots of problems, but has nevertheless succeeded at smothering a lot of the competition by providing the default operating system. But that doesn't make it good, it just makes it popular with publishers and conservative customers who dislike change.

Now, I agree that in general the increased competition is probably a good thing overall for the market. However, this is a declining market. It is perfectly understandable if WotC is not keen to foster competition by giving them free rein over its IP. Paizo was nurtured in WotC's bosom and that has now bitten them - they are therefore highly unlikely to want to repeat the experience. I also agree that the increased competition is probably stimulating WotC to better things than they necessarily might have done without it - I think they got complacent and flabby, and that they are looking much harder at what they are doing.

But WotC is about profits (and indeed so is Paizo). They are not about fostering talent in other companies, they are about killing their competition like every other business. The OGL wasn't even altruistic, it was about saving money and outsourcing support - and it didn't work.

Point by point. I agree with you on the setting not being OGL. The setting should be protected by IP as it is the core business. However it is only viable as a core business if it is used. Which is why the rule set needs to be OGL. Otherwise you are running a business selling the setting, but screening customers before they come through the door.

You want more people in the shop, not less.

Which is where the OGL helped WoTC by expanding the market, rather than shrinking it. All the talk of consolidation at WoTC makes me think they don't get this. You need to bring in new players, not just maximize the profits from the ones currently involved in the hobby.

It isn't about killing competition. It is about making money. A rising tide lifts all ships, particularly in entertainment. We all can spend our entertainment budget in any number of ways. Paizo isn't the real competition. They should be more afraid of Netflix, Blizzard and Bethesda Softworks (It is no coincidence our group has been playing less since Skyrim was released...)

If the entry cost for the hobby are to high, you will not grow the market. Most people I know who play got in through playing OGL games for free, then began to invest money when they became invested emotionally in the game.

But if you can't get new players, and more importantly new GM's, people don't play. And if people don't play, you don't sell product.

Again, it isn't a zero sum game within the industry, it is a competition for the entertainment dollar/time of potential customers. Making access to your system more difficult isn't good business.

Liberty's Edge

Elton wrote:


Things that should not be under the OGL.
* Forgotten Realms
* Eberron (Sad, but true. There is a lot I want to do with the Kalashtar outside of WotC, but it's better for everyone around if it's not)
* Dark Sun
* Ravenloft
* Greyhawk

You amy want to add Dragonlance to that list. As for Eberron and FR imo not going to happen. To popular and will stay inhouse. Since they received some much flak for taking back the Dragonlance and Rqavenloft license I +would be surprised if they do.

Liberty's Edge

With the rpg market as is the OGL would have to guaratee a steady flow if gamers and profit. That's not something no one is sure can and will happen. I would nit be surprised if the market and some of the fanbase are still suffering fron D20 fatigue for lack of a better word. I bought many OGL products myself. Except unlike in 2000 the rpg market is not what it sued to be.


memorax wrote:
With the rpg market as is the OGL would have to guaratee a steady flow if gamers and profit. That's not something no one is sure can and will happen. I would nit be surprised if the market and some of the fanbase are still suffering fron D20 fatigue for lack of a better word. I bought many OGL products myself. Except unlike in 2000 the rpg market is not what it sued to be.

You need to look at this alternative Marketing plan, memorax:

http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/

Now the woman who does this marketing plan has made over 10,000 dollars by following it. If she went through regular circles, she would have only made 2,000. And be about 48,000 dollars in the hole.

Growing the market on a planet with the most powerful and free copying machine in the world probably means a radical departure from doing entertainment business as usual. The OGL essentially follows the above model. And it can still work for WotC.


Here's how much having an OGL will influence me purchasing 5th Ed: None. What. So. Ever.

An OGL doesn't make a game great. Doesn't make it good. Doesn't even make it tolerable.

The setting and the rules are what I care about.

Graphic design, the price point, support of pdfs. These are factors for me to consider, but not any one by itself will make it or break it for me.

OGL? 3PP? Nice to have 'em, but I won't even notice them if they're not around.


If a 5e OGL leads to interesting and innovative settings and games being cancelled in favour of badly done 5e conversions of them, which because they can't match the previous flavour of the setting turn off the fans without grabbing new ones, then I'm going to refuse to buy 5e products out of principal. Of course, it's easy to say that when I don't know if I'll even like the basic 5e system.

The Exchange

ruemere wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

[...]

The OGL is bad for WotC - it was clearly good for its competitors in that it helped them, that was the problem.
[...]
This particular generalization is false.

Er, no, it isn't - it allowed Paizo to set itself up as the "true inheritor" of D&D, and to continue to support 3e after WotC wanted to move on to to 4e. That's had a big impact on WotC.

ruemere wrote:
At this moment, OGL is not affecting WotC directly - they disengaged from manufacturing under this particular license. Their products are not generally compatible with OGL games, and the customers at this stage are unlikely to stampede in either direction.

Define directly. It has fostered competition in WotC home patch - playing D&D. It's not even a rival system - it's their system, which they no longer control. Just because they don't produce OGL compatible stuff doesn't change that - in fact, that's the heart of the matter.

The Exchange

ciretose wrote:

Point by point. I agree with you on the setting not being OGL. The setting should be protected by IP as it is the core business. However it is only viable as a core business if it is used. Which is why the rule set needs to be OGL. Otherwise you are running a business selling the setting, but screening customers before they come through the door.

You want more people in the shop, not less.

Which is where the OGL helped WoTC by expanding the market, rather than shrinking it. All the talk of consolidation at WoTC makes me think they don't get this. You need to bring in new players, not just maximize the profits from the ones currently involved in the hobby.

It isn't about killing competition. It is about making money. A rising tide lifts all ships, particularly in entertainment. We all can spend our entertainment budget in any number of ways. Paizo isn't the real competition. They should be more afraid of Netflix, Blizzard and Bethesda Softworks (It is no coincidence our group has been playing less since Skyrim was released...)

If the entry cost for the hobby are to high, you will not grow the market. Most people I know who play got in through playing OGL games for free, then began to invest money when they became invested emotionally in the game.

But if you can't get new players, and more importantly new GM's, people don't play. And if people don't play, you don't sell product.

Again, it isn't a zero sum game within the industry, it is a competition for the entertainment dollar/time of potential customers. Making access to your system more difficult isn't good business.

Yes, agree that it would be nice if the market was growing, then the competitive threat from other systems is less. And you are right that Paizo is not the only competiton (though saying they are not competition is clearly wrong) - computer games and other forms of entertainment also absorb people's time.

The OGL has nothing to do with the solution to this, though. The OGL only matters if you are already standing in your FLGS. It doesn't help increase the size of the market, it steals market share from other games. No one who wants to play a computer game will say, "Hey, wait, those WotC have go an OGL, I'll not bother with Skyrim and play this 3PP scenarion instead". Especially when the quality of most 3PP stuff is relatively poor.

RPGs are a declining market, probably dying. The only outfit I see genuinely trying to innovate to deal with the threat from other media of WotC, frankly, with the online applications and automated errata they have produced. I'm not sure they have grasped the necessity of supporting their products with decent adventures on an ongoing basis (also key, and where Paizo wins hands-down right now). But other than that the RPG market probably is a zero-sum game - the market isn't growing much if at all, and is much reduced from its heyday. Giving your system away to rivals also doesn't make much business sense either, which is why they have stopped doing it.

I mean, the OGL has probably, on balance, been beneficial to customers - I'm not really denying that. Choice is always a good thing, even if I personally probably woudn't bother to buy the vast majority of the stuff. But I just don't buy this argument that the OGL has been good for WotC. It maybe assisted them a bit in the 3e era when they had the misguided notion that producing adventures was bad business. But that was a fundamentally poor strategy anyway.


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I am sure there are many more business savvy people here, but I think there is a factor that people miss.

Playing RPGs is at its core a creative pastime. The people who are attracted to it are people who are or want to be creative, who value innovation, who follow what is done, who discuss and try to improve theory and implementation of said theory. Most of the RPG-related threads in this forum are my Exhibit A. There are countless threads about how to roleplay, what kind of new rules would be better, and so on.

Some people are in it to be players, to be entertained. Nothing wrong with that... but they are not the people who are going to invest heavily into a game. They will buy the basic rules, and often object to people using more than that. The people who buy and invest are, as above, the creative ones. In general, of course.

Creative people do not like to be told "you play this way or no way", or "what you used to play was boring, play this instead", or anything else the 4th edition launch stated. They want to tinker with things, they consider themselves the best judge of what is fun to them, and they want as free a system as they can get. Part of that, and I seriously doubt I am mistaken, is to someday get published in one form or another.

THAT is why the OGL mattered. You can use it to publish things yourself, and have some sort of chance to get attention for it. THAT was why having a chance to get published in Dragon and Dungeon magazine mattered. Both of these were wiped by WotC. From being a participant in the RPG scene, even if you never did submit anything or publish anything, you were expected to be a spectator.

Now, this is not a new problem. Gary Gygax himself wrote in Dragon editorials that you should only ever use TSR adventures. There was a reason TSR was said to be an acronym for They Sue Regularly. Even so, the culture and the expectations of that culture were different, and the simple lack of official material back then made homebrew a vital part of gaming despite this attitude.

And, ultimately, what will matter is if WotC manages to convince us gamers that we are welcome as participants, or if they want us to be consumers. If it's the latter, it will not matter much what they do with 5th edition, and they can save themselves the effort. The ones willing to be consumers will not save them.

The Exchange

Sissyl wrote:

I am sure there are many more business savvy people here, but I think there is a factor that people miss.

Playing RPGs is at its core a creative pastime. The people who are attracted to it are people who are or want to be creative, who value innovation, who follow what is done, who discuss and try to improve theory and implementation of said theory. Most of the RPG-related threads in this forum are my Exhibit A. There are countless threads about how to roleplay, what kind of new rules would be better, and so on.

Some people are in it to be players, to be entertained. Nothing wrong with that... but they are not the people who are going to invest heavily into a game. They will buy the basic rules, and often object to people using more than that. The people who buy and invest are, as above, the creative ones. In general, of course.

Creative people do not like to be told "you play this way or no way", or "what you used to play was boring, play this instead", or anything else the 4th edition launch stated. They want to tinker with things, they consider themselves the best judge of what is fun to them, and they want as free a system as they can get. Part of that, and I seriously doubt I am mistaken, is to someday get published in one form or another. It was like that pre-OGL, which included the heyday of RPG publishing.

THAT is why the OGL mattered. You can use it to publish things yourself, and have some sort of chance to get attention for it. THAT was why having a chance to get published in Dragon and Dungeon magazine mattered. Both of these were wiped by WotC. From being a participant in the RPG scene, even if you never did submit anything or publish anything, you were expected to be a spectator.

Now, this is not a new problem. Gary Gygax himself wrote in Dragon editorials that you should only ever use TSR adventures. There was a reason TSR was said to be an acronym for They Sue Regularly. Even so, the culture and the expectations of that culture were different, and the simple lack of official material back then made homebrew a vital part of gaming despite this attitude....

I don't think this a very convincing argument. Nothing about the post-OGL stance of WotC seems to be about "Do it this way", it seems more "Don't steal our IP", which is reasonable given it is the approach of every other RPG company.

And nothing in the post-OGL world prevents either (a) ceative house-ruling or (b) creative campaign world(s) design. It prevents you from publishing it without the consent of WotC. Again, the same situation as with every other publisher.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

memorax wrote:
Elton wrote:


Things that should not be under the OGL.
* Forgotten Realms
* Eberron (Sad, but true. There is a lot I want to do with the Kalashtar outside of WotC, but it's better for everyone around if it's not)
* Dark Sun
* Ravenloft
* Greyhawk
You may want to add Dragonlance to that list. As for Eberron and FR imo not going to happen. To popular and will stay inhouse. Since they received some much flak for taking back the Dragonlance and Rqavenloft license I +would be surprised if they do.

I agree on the IP thing with one caveat...

Certain components of those settings can be carved into 'open content'.

Take Eberron for example. Riedra, Cyre and the Silver Flame can be IP. As can how the Kalishtar are born/made.

But if you strip the cmapaign setting away from the Kalishtar, you get 'psionically gifted humans' from the Warforged you get 'living constructs' Heck WotC did the example themselves, compare Elan fluff in the XPH ("You have been chosen, prepare for reformatting") to Eberron Fluff. ("You have been a bad Quor'i. Prepare to be stuck for at least decades in this human host we're sticking you in.") Mechanically the same, fluff is much different. By making the mechanics open content, you allow others to do your advertising for you.

"Wow, these Shifters are cool."
"Yeah, they're originally from WotC's Eberron setting."
"Really? I wonder if they have any cool feats for 'em."
"Well, there's that 'Races of Eberron' book...."

Along those lines, can't you make a 'delayed blast OGL'? Say Eberron comes out, and it's closed content. 6 months or a year (depending on sales models) later, you add Warforged, Kalishtar and Changelings to the OGL. You still have the IP of Xen'drik, Eberron Warforged origins, etc in your possession, but the bare mechanics are out there. If you can require an inclusion of where they came from in the stat block. (so instead of Warforged fighter 1 it reads "Warforged fighter 1 (Eberron campaign setting, pg XX)" you've not only increased the universe of open content, you've given yourself free advertising.


Matthew Morris wrote:
memorax wrote:
Elton wrote:


Things that should not be under the OGL.
* Forgotten Realms
* Eberron (Sad, but true. There is a lot I want to do with the Kalashtar outside of WotC, but it's better for everyone around if it's not)
* Dark Sun
* Ravenloft
* Greyhawk
You may want to add Dragonlance to that list. As for Eberron and FR imo not going to happen. To popular and will stay inhouse. Since they received some much flak for taking back the Dragonlance and Rqavenloft license I +would be surprised if they do.

I agree on the IP thing with one caveat...

Certain components of those settings can be carved into 'open content'.

Take Eberron for example. Riedra, Cyre and the Silver Flame can be IP. As can how the Kalishtar are born/made.

But if you strip the cmapaign setting away from the Kalishtar, you get 'psionically gifted humans' from the Warforged you get 'living constructs' Heck WotC did the example themselves, compare Elan fluff in the XPH ("You have been chosen, prepare for reformatting") to Eberron Fluff. ("You have been a bad Quor'i. Prepare to be stuck for at least decades in this human host we're sticking you in.") Mechanically the same, fluff is much different. By making the mechanics open content, you allow others to do your advertising for you.

"Wow, these Shifters are cool."
"Yeah, they're originally from WotC's Eberron setting."
"Really? I wonder if they have any cool feats for 'em."
"Well, there's that 'Races of Eberron' book...."

Along those lines, can't you make a 'delayed blast OGL'? Say Eberron comes out, and it's closed content. 6 months or a year (depending on sales models) later, you add Warforged, Kalishtar and Changelings to the OGL. You still have the IP of Xen'drik, Eberron Warforged origins, etc in your possession, but the bare mechanics are out there. If you can require an inclusion of where they came from in the stat block. (so instead of Warforged fighter 1 it reads "Warforged fighter 1 (Eberron campaign setting, pg...

Thanks for expanding my mind on this, Morris! Awesome come back post! It does make me feel a little bad, but you know what? You're right. The rules defining Kalashtar are part of a game's rules.

:)


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

I don't think this a very convincing argument. Nothing about the post-OGL stance of WotC seems to be about "Do it this way", it seems more "Don't steal our IP", which is reasonable given it is the approach of every other RPG company.

And nothing in the post-OGL world prevents either (a) ceative house-ruling or (b) creative campaign world(s) design. It prevents you from publishing it without the consent of WotC. Again, the same situation as with every other publisher.

Not really.

http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/

Granted the only reason why Nina makes more is that she does public speaking on her marketing strategy, Nina Paley has chosen to make the audience her distribution and marketing point.

The major difference between Nina's model and the traditional model is that Nina embraces the idea that culture belongs to all of us. Her model works off the Law of Gratitude. She graciously gives Sita Sings the Blues to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. The public distributes her movie for her.

The d20 SRD was distributed to the public, and it's distributed *by* the public. The same with the PRD. As a result, Wizards of the Coast pre-2005 benefited. However, as they moved from the OGL, WotC lost the benefits.

When you keep your IP to yourself, you are violating the Law of Gratitude. Sure, George Lucas has more than a billion dollars (according to SuperShadow, his best friend) by carefully managing Star Wars. But he's an exception. Most every other Author or person in the Content Industry has less than he does.

However, Nina prospers more than George because her work has more value. The rules in the d20 SRD is much more valuable to WotC than the rules in 4e because they were shared. the rules in 4e have almost no value to WotC because they aren't shared. 5e's rules would have much more value to WotC and Hasbro if they were freely shared and worked with.


Matthew Morris wrote:
Along those lines, can't you make a 'delayed blast OGL'? Say Eberron comes out, and it's closed content. 6 months or a year (depending on sales models) later, you add Warforged, Kalishtar and Changelings to the OGL. You still have the IP of Xen'drik, Eberron Warforged origins, etc in your possession, but the bare mechanics are out there. If you can require an inclusion of where they came from in the stat block. (so instead of Warforged fighter 1 it reads "Warforged fighter 1 (Eberron campaign setting, pg...

From a legal standpoint that is no problem at all. You can make anything free at any time you want, simply declaring "This stuff now also falls under the same conditions as the SRD".


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The OGL system wise has nothing do with my purchases from Paizo. I am only interested in the Golarion world. I would of preferred they used the 4ed ruleset, but they decided to stay with 3.5. Its not to hard to transfer Golarion to 4ed, and if I like 5ed I figure it won't be to hard to make Golarion 5ed useful. I really don't see how a 5th edition OGL would make 5th more successful, but then I really don't know how well 3rd party supporters of Pathfinder do since I am not interested in their products since they can't be Golarion based.

Liberty's Edge

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

Yes, agree that it would be nice if the market was growing, then the competitive threat from other systems is less. And you are right that Paizo is not the only competiton (though saying they are not competition is clearly wrong) - computer games and other forms of entertainment also absorb people's time.

The OGL has nothing to do with the solution to this, though. The OGL only matters if you are already standing in your FLGS. It doesn't help increase the size of the market, it steals market share from other games. No one who wants to play a computer game will say, "Hey, wait, those WotC have go an OGL, I'll not bother with Skyrim and play this 3PP scenarion instead". Especially when the quality of most 3PP stuff is relatively poor.

RPGs are a declining market, probably dying. The only outfit I see genuinely trying to innovate to deal with the threat from other media of WotC, frankly, with the online applications and automated errata they have produced. I'm not sure they have grasped the necessity of supporting their products with decent adventures on an ongoing basis (also key, and where Paizo wins hands-down right now). But other than that the RPG market probably is a zero-sum game - the market isn't growing much if at all, and is much reduced from its heyday. Giving your system away to rivals also doesn't make much business sense either, which is why they have stopped doing it.

I mean, the OGL has probably, on balance, been beneficial to customers - I'm not really denying that. Choice is always a good thing, even if I personally probably woudn't bother to buy the vast majority of the stuff. But I just don't buy this argument that the OGL has been good for WotC. It maybe assisted them a bit in the 3e era when they had the misguided notion that producing adventures was bad business. But that was a fundamentally poor strategy anyway.

I don’t think you are looking at the current model when you are talking about the FLGS being a source of entry into gaming.

New players don’t generally start at the local gaming store. They generally meet a friend who is already playing, who needs other players to game with.
When this happens, for an OGL game you can send them to a fully functional SRD with all of the rules they need. For a closed content game, they need to buy or borrow the book. If you want more new gamers, you have to give them a taste for free.
Getting people to try is hard enough without adding a financial threshold.
The FLGS is for hardcore gamers, because in this day and age it is cheaper to order books online. You go to the FLGS when you are already a gamer and you are looking for other gamers to get new ideas, systems, etc…
Few people woke up one day and said “I want to play a table top role playing game”. Most meet peers who bring them into existing group, who then over time become interested in the game and game systems and buy product.
Paizo isn’t the competition WoTC should be worried about. Has Paizo taken market share? Yes, because WoTC closed their market and Paizo didn’t. But if they would focus on growing the market instead of trying to milk more out of existing players, market share wouldn’t be relevant.
Part of the effort of 4E was to do this, by making the game more “friendly” to gamers and making it simpler to run to get more GMs. Unfortunately they combined this with making it harder to get new players to learn the game.
The second benefit that WoTC got was that regardless of point of entry, if it was d20 OGL you learned the same basic rule set. So if you started with Mutants and Masterminds, that was fine as if they got you into gaming you were going to eventually play the “World’s most popular roleplaying game”
But they had to get you to start playing.
Every time you change rules, you leave some players behind. And every time you make it harder for new players to start out, you miss out on some opportunities.
Is the RPG market shrinking as a percentage of the population? I don’t know. But I do know it is much easier to find a game in the internet age than it was even in the 80's. I do know the number of markets available is growing, and so the number of potential customers is growing. Based on conventions alone, it seems clear that the death of the RPG industry has been greatly exaggerated. Sure FLGS are in trouble, but so is Barnes and Noble. The fact you don't need to go to a bookstore to buy a game isn't a problem for the market as a whole, it is a problem for the FLGS.
They got this with 3.0, which is why it was successful and profitable. Paizo got this, which is why they are growing. WoTC didn’t, which is why they are in decline. We will see if they get it going forward.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Yora wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Along those lines, can't you make a 'delayed blast OGL'? Say Eberron comes out, and it's closed content. 6 months or a year (depending on sales models) later, you add Warforged, Kalishtar and Changelings to the OGL. You still have the IP of Xen'drik, Eberron Warforged origins, etc in your possession, but the bare mechanics are out there. If you can require an inclusion of where they came from in the stat block. (so instead of Warforged fighter 1 it reads "Warforged fighter 1 (Eberron campaign setting, pg...
From a legal standpoint that is no problem at all. You can make anything free at any time you want, simply declaring "This stuff now also falls under the same conditions as the SRD".

So then it becomes an issue of getting the bean counters and IP lawyers to let go. ;-)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Elton wrote:

Thanks for expanding my mind on this, Morris! Awesome come back post! It does make me feel a little bad, but you know what? You're right. The rules defining Kalashtar are part of a game's rules.

*nods* and by all means keep "Kalashtar are imbued with the shard of a Quor'i from the last cycle." in Eberron. But by making their 'stat block' OGL. I can make 'my' Kalashtar look and sound different, referencing the stat block.

"Matthew's Kalashtar are rare births, often from people who grew in areas of psionic activity. They have the following stats. <insert book stats>." And reference the ECS.

As it is now, I have to tapdance around the mechanics for things like changelings. I want to use them in my stuff, but I have to independently create something similar. That's life, but it would make it easier for me to just say "Look at the Eberron book, that's where I'm getting them from." and if someone likes my take on the Changelings, WotC just got another sale.

But then I'm not a businessman. I'm a guy with an itchy pen finger.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
I don't think this a very convincing argument. Nothing about the post-OGL stance of WotC seems to be about "Do it this way",

Agreed. Many of the qualities being attributed to "creative" people strike me as far more attributable to self-important people.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Starglyte wrote:
The OGL system wise has nothing do with my purchases from Paizo.

Presumably you mean other than the fact that the products you purchase wouldn't exist without the OGL?


bugleyman wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
The OGL system wise has nothing do with my purchases from Paizo.

Presumably you mean other than the fact that the products you purchase wouldn't exist without the OGL?

True. If there was no OGL, Paizo would have to develop an independent RPG system from D&D. And the landscape of the posts on this board would be very different. "I don't like D&D and what it does," would be the hallmark of the posts here.

Okay, to head someone off at the past. Yes, it would be okay for Paizo to develop an independent RPG system in order to stay alive. And yes, most people here would play 4th Edition D&D or continue to play 3rd. It might work okay, it might be very unique in how it handled things.

However, Pathfinder sans D&D rules would become another obscure RPG without using 3.x as it's base. Pathfinder is pretty much unique in the way that it came out of D&D. Everyone here likes D&D for some reason or another. I don't like D&D, though, I like Rolemaster. However, I can't find anyone willing to play. D&D players are much easier to find and it's much easier to set up a game for D&D. Add in the OGL, and it's a thousand times easier to find players of D&D than for GURPS or other systems.

What most people argue on this thread is that the OGL is a bad thing. They say it made D&D compete with itself. From a certain point of view, it's true. The player base is split, and D&D is literally competing with itself.

However, the opposite is also true. The community on these boards are more or less united in their like of D&D. D&D's value has increased exponentially by the OGL. D&D is more valuable thanks to the OGL than say . . . Pendragon. This is because of the OGL, you can find players of D&D anywhere.

The OGL saved D&D. It saved D&D from becoming another obscure RPG back in the '90s.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
ruemere wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

[...]

The OGL is bad for WotC - it was clearly good for its competitors in that it helped them, that was the problem.
[...]
This particular generalization is false.
Er, no, it isn't - it allowed Paizo to set itself up as the "true inheritor" of D&D, and to continue to support 3e after WotC wanted to move on to to 4e. That's had a big impact on WotC.

You have used present tense. We've had three years since the market split, and more since the WotC decided to divorce itself from OGL.

Additionally, since we're talking about the past, the OGL was vital to the success of d20, and subsequently success of the d20 and DnD brands, thus making OGL good for WotC.

Your statement is false. If you've said something along the lines "OGL would be bad for 5E" it would be neither true nor false - it would be a prediction. The original statement is untrue and misleading... WotC are not playing in OGL sandbox at this moment, and so claiming that OGL is in any way bad for them is wrong.

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
ruemere wrote:
At this moment, OGL is not affecting WotC directly - they disengaged from manufacturing under this particular license. Their products are not generally compatible with OGL games, and the customers at this stage are unlikely to stampede in either direction.
Define directly. It has fostered competition in WotC home patch - playing D&D. It's not even a rival system - it's their system, which they no longer control. Just because they don't produce OGL compatible stuff doesn't change that - in fact, that's the heart of the matter.

(the "directly" bit comes further below)

What's past, is past. This is no longer WotC home patch. Just like it's no longer TSR's. If you insist on referring to past events, please use correct tense.

What we have now are several different RPG markets, one of them composed of common standards (OGL), another one monopolized by WotC (and GSL). At some point in the future Wizards will invoke 10.1 section GSL killing competing products (just like they closed D20 STL, though D20 STL licensees had the benefit of OGL safe harbor) and WotC-monopolized market based on 4E will cease to exist.

WotC new product is marketed as brand-uniting product, and the word of folks is charge is that they "we're exploring options for third party publishers" (Mike Mearls).

Consequently, all we can say at this point is that WotC recognizes existence of OGL. Nothing else.
Since they lack a competing product, OGL is not affecting WotC directly.

Let me rephrase:
4E is not competing with OGL games at this moment - we have had 3 years since the market split, and customers are not going to suddenly stampede to Pathfinder or to 4E. At best, some guys are going to spent their income on both, and a few groups are going to change systems, but this is unlikely to be a massive event.

Of course, by announcing advent of 5E, WotC are shooting themselves in the foot, telling all their loyal fans that their cherished game is going into forced obsolescence - with official support dwindling to nothingness, and 3rd party folk (if any remain by that point) being cut off.
The new game is unlikely to be here before Christmas (metaphorically).

Note: To anyone who've heard, read or as told that WotC promised to keep selling stuff for 4E after coming of 5E - I'm sure that they will have something to sell you. Just don't expect to be allowed to compete with their new baby.

As an armchair marketing specialist, repeat - I'm not a professional, and I am not a telepath, I would start 5E campaign with something much more substantial than just an announcement and promises. For example:
- simple, free, "playtest yourself" kits,
- a promise, nay, a pledge, to allow freelancers to contribute to the market.

Because now... 4E is about to be abandoned, with hardly any WotC-owned alternative in sight.

In conclusion, I would like to say that OGL is not bad for WotC directly - WotC do not have an OGL product to compete. And OGL market has proved to be healthy and quite probably stable.
However, indirectly, with WotC about to drop 4E, OGL market is quite likely to eat up 4E (retro-clones, anyone?), especially if 4E loyal fans decide to keep playing their game.

Would OGL be good for WotC? Yes, definitely. Without competition everything goes stale. If I were to compare WotC support for their 3.x products and 4E supplements, I would say that 3.x era books, especially the settings, Tome of Battle and adventures, were of superior quality.
Whereas 4E products stagnated into generic and bland plug-ins, not enough oomph.

Regards,
Ruemere


Matthew Morris wrote:
Yora wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Along those lines, can't you make a 'delayed blast OGL'? Say Eberron comes out, and it's closed content. 6 months or a year (depending on sales models) later, you add Warforged, Kalishtar and Changelings to the OGL. You still have the IP of Xen'drik, Eberron Warforged origins, etc in your possession, but the bare mechanics are out there. If you can require an inclusion of where they came from in the stat block. (so instead of Warforged fighter 1 it reads "Warforged fighter 1 (Eberron campaign setting, pg...
From a legal standpoint that is no problem at all. You can make anything free at any time you want, simply declaring "This stuff now also falls under the same conditions as the SRD".
So then it becomes an issue of getting the bean counters and IP lawyers to let go. ;-)

They won't let go until they die. There is absolutely no way you can convince a bunch of Hasbroic bean counters and IP lawyers to embrace the idea that sharing that "IP" will bring them prosperity. They are too set in their ways and will always support stupid legislation like the Mickey Mouse Law because it's more profitable for them. It's more profitable for them to bully the consumer with a lawsuit and threat of lawsuit than it is to share.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
bugleyman wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
The OGL system wise has nothing do with my purchases from Paizo.

Presumably you mean other than the fact that the products you purchase wouldn't exist without the OGL?

Hence, why I said system wise. I have no interest in the 3.5 ruleset. If Golarion was published under any other ruleset ( with exceptions, like FATAL), I would buy those Paizo products. If Paizo decided to make a new ruleset that was completely in house and did not use the OGL, I would still purchase the Golarion fluff books. I like Golarion, just not a fan of 3.5/OGL.


Matthew Morris wrote:

As it is now, I have to tapdance around the mechanics for things like changelings. I want to use them in my stuff, but I have to independently create something similar. That's life, but it would make it easier for me to just say "Look at the Eberron book, that's where I'm getting them from." and if someone likes my take on the Changelings, WotC just got another sale.

But then I'm not a businessman. I'm a guy with an itchy pen finger.

That's exactly my situation. And now that I am putting more and more of my stuff online, it would nice to have the legal security of an OGL on my side without having to worry which how much I can write down or not.

Elton wrote:
They are too set in their ways and will always support stupid legislation like the Mickey Mouse Law because it's more profitable for them. It's more profitable for them to bully the consumer with a lawsuit and threat of lawsuit than it is to share.

In Germany we have some law firms who have specialized in doing nothing but sending threats to small businesses to drag them to court for minor breaches of regulations. If you win, you can go free, but if you lose you have pay a fine, your own lawyer, and the lawyer of the other party. However, they are mercyful and let you of easy, if you swear to never break the regulation again. And pay the cost for the lawyer, who was hired to write and send you this friendly letter.

It was intended to allow people to stop their competitors from cheating without need to involve the courts, but some lawyers have turned it into a 100% legal extortion racket. Pay the frivolous lawyers costs, or be bancrupted by a lengthy court battle.

Liberty's Edge

Starglyte wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
The OGL system wise has nothing do with my purchases from Paizo.

Presumably you mean other than the fact that the products you purchase wouldn't exist without the OGL?

Hence, why I said system wise. I have no interest in the 3.5 ruleset. If Golarion was published under any other ruleset ( with exceptions, like FATAL), I would buy those Paizo products. If Paizo decided to make a new ruleset that was completely in house and did not use the OGL, I would still purchase the Golarion fluff books. I like Golarion, just not a fan of 3.5/OGL.

However because of the GSL, Paizo can't. The GSL requires exclusivity of publication. The OGL doesn't.

That is the point.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ciretose wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
The OGL system wise has nothing do with my purchases from Paizo.

Presumably you mean other than the fact that the products you purchase wouldn't exist without the OGL?

Hence, why I said system wise. I have no interest in the 3.5 ruleset. If Golarion was published under any other ruleset ( with exceptions, like FATAL), I would buy those Paizo products. If Paizo decided to make a new ruleset that was completely in house and did not use the OGL, I would still purchase the Golarion fluff books. I like Golarion, just not a fan of 3.5/OGL.

However because of the GSL, Paizo can't. The GSL requires exclusivity of publication. The OGL doesn't.

That is the point.

A point that has no bearing on me, like I said. They could publish in Savage Worlds or rule system neutral for all I care. They would still get my gaming dollar for the Golarion fluff.

Liberty's Edge

Starglyte wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
The OGL system wise has nothing do with my purchases from Paizo.

Presumably you mean other than the fact that the products you purchase wouldn't exist without the OGL?

Hence, why I said system wise. I have no interest in the 3.5 ruleset. If Golarion was published under any other ruleset ( with exceptions, like FATAL), I would buy those Paizo products. If Paizo decided to make a new ruleset that was completely in house and did not use the OGL, I would still purchase the Golarion fluff books. I like Golarion, just not a fan of 3.5/OGL.

However because of the GSL, Paizo can't. The GSL requires exclusivity of publication. The OGL doesn't.

That is the point.

A point that has no bearing on me, like I said. They could publish in Savage Worlds or rule system neutral for all I care. They would still get my gaming dollar for the Golarion fluff.

You are the exception, not the rule. A setting without a rule set is a novel.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ciretose wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
Starglyte wrote:
The OGL system wise has nothing do with my purchases from Paizo.

Presumably you mean other than the fact that the products you purchase wouldn't exist without the OGL?

Hence, why I said system wise. I have no interest in the 3.5 ruleset. If Golarion was published under any other ruleset ( with exceptions, like FATAL), I would buy those Paizo products. If Paizo decided to make a new ruleset that was completely in house and did not use the OGL, I would still purchase the Golarion fluff books. I like Golarion, just not a fan of 3.5/OGL.

However because of the GSL, Paizo can't. The GSL requires exclusivity of publication. The OGL doesn't.

That is the point.

A point that has no bearing on me, like I said. They could publish in Savage Worlds or rule system neutral for all I care. They would still get my gaming dollar for the Golarion fluff.
You are the exception, not the rule. A setting without a rule set is a novel.

I beg to differ. You can make a setting rules neutral and it not be a novel. Green Ronin's Freeport had a neutral system book (with different separate books for the more common fantasy systems, including 4ed). The Guide Book to Taladas was also system neutral, with the crunch located in another separate book to make it easier to use the box set with either 1st or 2nd edition AD&D.

Now whether I am the exception to the rule, I can't argue since I know only my buying habits. I am sure you have more info on what others are buying since you are making that claim.

Liberty's Edge

Starglyte wrote:

I beg to differ. You can make a setting rules neutral and it not be a novel. Green Ronin's Freeport had a neutral system book (with different separate books for the more common fantasy systems, including 4ed). The Guide Book to Taladas was also system neutral, with the crunch located in another separate book to make it easier to use the box set with either 1st or 2nd edition AD&D.

Now whether I am the exception to the rule, I can't argue since I know only my buying habits. I am sure you have more info on what others are buying since you are making that claim.

And Freeport is a city, not a setting. Same with Taladas. And neither is selling anywhere near as well as Golarion, Forgotten Realms, etc...if you have any information showing otherwise, feel free to post it.

Paizo created Golarion in large part because they were no longer able to work in the Forgotten Realms. They "fixed" 3.5 because the new GSL made it nearly impossible for a 3PP to write for 4E.

Read the articles on the GSL vs OGL posted on the first page, they explain the issues very clearly.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ciretose wrote:
Starglyte wrote:

I beg to differ. You can make a setting rules neutral and it not be a novel. Green Ronin's Freeport had a neutral system book (with different separate books for the more common fantasy systems, including 4ed). The Guide Book to Taladas was also system neutral, with the crunch located in another separate book to make it easier to use the box set with either 1st or 2nd edition AD&D.

Now whether I am the exception to the rule, I can't argue since I know only my buying habits. I am sure you have more info on what others are buying since you are making that claim.

And Freeport is a city, not a setting. Same with Taladas. And neither is selling anywhere near as well as Golarion, Forgotten Realms, etc...if you have any information showing otherwise, feel free to post it.

Paizo created Golarion in large part because they were no longer able to work in the Forgotten Realms. They "fixed" 3.5 because the new GSL made it nearly impossible for a 3PP to write for 4E.

Read the articles on the GSL vs OGL posted on the first page, they explain the issues very clearly.

Actually, Freeport is both (and has some information of the "mainland" to boot). Taladas is not a city, but a rather large landmass. Where did I claim that either was selling as well Forgotten Realms, Golarion, etc? Besides, I thought Paizo set their Dungeon APs in Greyhawk, not Forgotten Realms.

Most importantly, I don't see what the GSL has anything to do with this. I understand that you can't do OGL if you want to do GSL (how Freeport got both is rather sneaky and nifty). But that has nothing to do with me buying Golarion products to use in my system of choice (in this instance fourth edition).


Starglyte wrote:


Most importantly, I don't see what the GSL has anything to do with this. I understand that you can't do OGL if you want to do GSL (how Freeport got both is rather sneaky and nifty). But that has nothing to do with me buying Golarion products to use in my system of choice (in this instance fourth edition).

Oh, I see how we attracted your statement to this forum thread. This forum thread is about how the OGL can benefit Wizards of the Coast a second time.

Liberty's Edge

I still think some posters in this thread are being way too overly optimistic about the OGL just being good for 5E. We have no way of knowing. Just like I have no way of knowing if it will be bad. I do know that in ym neck of the woods the store owners want nothing to do with an OGL 5E. They all jumped on the D20 bandwagon and ended up with way too many OGL products that ended up and are still on their shevles. Even some distributers apparently are not looking forward to a 5E OGL. I agree it's nice to take those who want to write for an 5E OGL into account yet it seems everyone else is being ignored. As one of them told me "carrying OGL products does not always guarantee sales". So expect to see less profit imo with a 5E OGL to be made imo.

Liberty's Edge

memorax wrote:
I still think some posters in this thread are being way too overly optimistic about the OGL just being good for 5E. We have no way of knowing. Just like I have no way of knowing if it will be bad. I do know that in ym neck of the woods the store owners want nothing to do with an OGL 5E. They all jumped on the D20 bandwagon and ended up with way too many OGL products that ended up and are still on their shevles. Even some distributers apparently are not looking forward to a 5E OGL. I agree it's nice to take those who want to write for an 5E OGL into account yet it seems everyone else is being ignored. As one of them told me "carrying OGL products does not always guarantee sales". So expect to see less profit imo with a 5E OGL to be made imo.

We have history and evidence.

We know that TSR was bankrupt, and that 3.0 was release with the OGL and was very successful.

We know that 4E was released with every brand advantage, but a very limiting GSL and it has been declining while Pathfinder, released at a HUGE brand (among other) disadvantages has been growing to the point it has outsold 4E the last two quarters.

FLGS aren't the market anymore. Internet sales are.

The Exchange

ruemere wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
ruemere wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

[...]

The OGL is bad for WotC - it was clearly good for its competitors in that it helped them, that was the problem.
[...]
This particular generalization is false.
Er, no, it isn't - it allowed Paizo to set itself up as the "true inheritor" of D&D, and to continue to support 3e after WotC wanted to move on to to 4e. That's had a big impact on WotC.

You have used present tense. We've had three years since the market split, and more since the WotC decided to divorce itself from OGL.

Additionally, since we're talking about the past, the OGL was vital to the success of d20, and subsequently success of the d20 and DnD brands, thus making OGL good for WotC.

Your statement is false. If you've said something along the lines "OGL would be bad for 5E" it would be neither true nor false - it would be a prediction. The original statement is untrue and misleading... WotC are not playing in OGL sandbox at this moment, and so claiming that OGL is in any way bad for them is wrong.

The OGL IS (yes, right now, in the present) bad for WotC because it has allowed a competitor to continue to support an old version of the game and steal market share from the old version. I'm failing to see how this is good. The OGL may once have been good for WotC in that it allowed third party publishers to effectively promoted the 3e ruleset (though I really question that too) but in case you haven't noticed the fact that they are still able to do so when WotC has produced 4e and announced 5e clearly can't be good. To suggest that "WotC are not playing in OGL sandbox at this moment, and so claiming that OGL is in any way bad for them is wrong" and therefore unaffected by the OGL simply fails to notice that Paizo would not have been able to create PF without the OGL, and PF is a stongly competitive product against WotC. These products do not operate separately in a vacuum, they compete for attention, time and dollars (or pounds). My statement isn't false.

Quote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
ruemere wrote:
At this moment, OGL is not affecting WotC directly - they disengaged from manufacturing under this particular license. Their products are not generally compatible with OGL games, and the customers at this stage are unlikely to stampede in either direction.
Define directly. It has fostered competition in WotC home patch - playing D&D. It's not even a rival system - it's their system, which they no longer control. Just because they don't produce OGL compatible stuff doesn't change that - in fact, that's the heart of the matter.

(the "directly" bit comes further below)

What's past, is past. This is no longer WotC home patch. Just like it's no longer TSR's. If you insist on referring to past events, please use correct tense.

What we have now are several different RPG markets, one of them composed of common standards (OGL), another one monopolized by WotC (and GSL). At some point in the future Wizards will invoke 10.1 section GSL killing competing products (just like they closed D20 STL, though D20 STL licensees had the benefit of OGL safe harbor) and WotC-monopolized market based on 4E will cease to exist.

WotC new product is marketed as brand-uniting product, and the word of folks is charge is that they "we're exploring options for third party publishers" (Mike Mearls).

Consequently, all we can say at this point is that WotC recognizes existence of OGL. Nothing else.
Since they lack a competing product, OGL is not affecting WotC directly.

Let me rephrase:
4E is not competing with OGL games at this moment - we have had 3 years since the market split, and customers are not going to suddenly stampede to Pathfinder or to 4E. At best, some guys are going to spent their income on both, and a few groups are going to change systems, but this is unlikely to be a massive event.

No, what's past isn't past if it affects the present. See my comments above. You seem to have this curious notion that WotC and Paizo operate in parallel universes because they are peddling different gaming systems. That notion is certainly false. Your understanding of how markets work (i.e. basic economics) is a bit lacking.

Quote:
Of course, by announcing advent of 5E, WotC are shooting themselves in the foot, telling all their loyal fans that their cherished game is going into forced obsolescence - with official support dwindling to nothingness, and 3rd party folk (if any remain by that point) being cut off. The new game is unlikely to be here before Christmas (metaphorically).

That's not the reaction I've seen so far from 4e people. Anyway, it is probably a while off yet anyway - 18 months to two years. My personal reaction is that I think it is a bit soon, but I'll see what they come up with and make a decision when I have some information.

Quote:

In conclusion, I would like to say that OGL is not bad for WotC directly - WotC do not have an OGL product to compete. And OGL market has proved to be healthy and quite probably stable.

However, indirectly, with WotC about to drop 4E, OGL market is quite likely to eat up 4E (retro-clones, anyone?), especially if 4E loyal fans decide to keep playing their game.

Which would be what WotC want, after all - they don't want long term ongoing support for a system they no longer sell.

Quote:

Would OGL be good for WotC? Yes, definitely. Without competition everything goes stale. If I were to compare WotC support for their 3.x products and 4E supplements, I would say that 3.x era books, especially the settings, Tome of Battle and adventures, were of superior quality.

Whereas 4E products stagnated into generic and bland plug-ins, not enough oomph.

Regards,
Ruemere

I've already made the point elsewhere that competition is good for consumers, not companies. Companies exist to make money and generate profits, and competition (a) puts them in danger and (b) generally reduces their margins. That's not good for the company. I'm all for competitive markets, because then companies have to innovate to survive and that generally means better products and services. Just don't pretend it is what companies actually want.

Liberty's Edge

ciretose wrote:


We know that TSR was bankrupt, and that 3.0 was release with the OGL and was very successful.

It was succcessful because until then many rpg were closed as oppposed to open source. Given that freedom at that time with a more stroger rpg market in gneral it worked. Now with a shrinking rpg market with less and less fans getting into the hobby well I'm not so sure. This is what bothers me most about OGL supporters. They act like the consitions for the OGL to be successful will be present at all times and that they market can support it all times. anything negative about the OGL and yes it has some negatives gets conviently forgotten or ignored.

If it was so successful why did it not become an industry standard. For the simple reason that in a market with a lot of competiiton encouraging it is not a smart move imo. I liked the OGL yet I think that the current market cannot support it nor do a majority of the fans want it. There is a reason why in may PF it's PF and no 3PP support. If it was so successful why did the company that created it abandon it. It's easy to say "well it's good thing ti encourage competition" when it's not using your own money and someone else pays the bill. Nor does every company want competition.

ciretose wrote:


We know that 4E was released with every brand advantage, but a very limiting GSL and it has been declining while Pathfinder, released at a HUGE brand (among other) disadvantages has been growing to the point it has outsold 4E the last two quarters.

I don't pay attention to the ICV2 rankings. First Wotc stopped producing as much product as it used to. Second they did not at all take into account the profit Wotc made with their DDI subscriptions. Which always somehow seems forgotten when people bring this subject up. I'm not saying that PF would not still be in 1st place just that not all the data was used by ICV2.

ciretose wrote:


FLGS aren't the market anymore. Internet sales are.

True yet interent or not too many Dms got burned with buyying too many books for 3.5 that they never used. Profits can be made with a new OGL. Just not to the overly optimistc levels that some posters in this thread think they will. Back when the OGL was released no one knew that the quality of many 3pp would be so different. Speaking for myself I no longer but any 3pp without asking for reviews and feedback. Buyers are going to be more careful on what they purchase in terms of 3pp. They days where you can just cobble and 3pp book throw it into the rpg market and expect it to be an instant hot are over.

The Exchange

ciretose wrote:

We have history and evidence.

We know that TSR was bankrupt, and that 3.0 was release with the OGL and was very successful.

Well, TSR didn't go bust because there was no OGL. It went bust because it was very badly managed. I've still yet to see evidence that the OGL really benefitted WotC other than this comment of "Well, 3e came out, and the OGL came out at the same time, and 3e was successful, so it must be the OGL". My experience tells me differently. You can have correlation without causation.

Quote:

We know that 4E was released with every brand advantage, but a very limiting GSL and it has been declining while Pathfinder, released at a HUGE brand (among other) disadvantages has been growing to the point it has outsold 4E the last two quarters.

FLGS aren't the market anymore. Internet sales are.

Well, there may be something to that, in that the GSL was a turn-off to previous publishers who had been using the OGL. That said, I don't think Paizo's disadvantage was that huge - in fact, I'd say it made its name off the back of Dungeon and Dragon, and anyone aware of those magazines (which would have been most D&D players) will have heard of Paizo. And we don't know what would have happened if the GSL had been less restrictive - would Paizo have thrown its lot in with 4e as opposed to 3e? And even then, what impact would this have had on 4e - would 4e have been a raging success with Paizo? Or would someone else have released a 3e derivative for disgruntled 3e fans, and done over both Paizo and WotC?

That said, I'd be interested to see how the licencing works for 3PP in 5e. My hunch is they will probably sign up a few on specific licences, so the 5e IP isn't open source but a reasonable number of 3PPs will be invited to participate. (I have nothing to back that up, and probably the devil is in the detail anyway, but it would seem a reasonable half-way house for WotC. AND it might help address the OGL quality issue.)


memorax wrote:
Back when the OGL was released no one knew that the quality of many 3pp would be so different. Speaking for myself I no longer but any 3pp without asking for reviews and feedback. Buyers are going to be more careful on what they purchase in terms of 3pp. They days where you can just cobble and 3pp book throw it into the rpg market and expect it to be an instant hot are over.

Actually, Ryan Dancey only thought that existing, established companies would dare use the OGL and the poor people wouldn't attempt to make money and just use the OGL for their websites.

The Explosion of content and varying quality items was unforeseen but had to happen. Now that we have peer reviewed OGL content for Pathfinder, and that the Pathfinder guys pick and choose what they think is the best, we have probably two yardsticks as to what we can buy.

Aubrey wrote:
That said, I'd be interested to see how the licencing works for 3PP in 5e. My hunch is they will probably sign up a few on specific licences, so the 5e IP isn't open source but a reasonable number of 3PPs will be invited to participate. (I have nothing to back that up, and probably the devil is in the detail anyway, but it would seem a reasonable half-way house for WotC. AND it might help address the OGL quality issue.)

It's scary, but yeah, you finally said something I'll agree with. I prefer Wizards to be laissez-faire with their rules and make adventure paths -- and go the same route Paizo did and compete with the APs and not with the rules. However, given how the bean counters and present Legal Team at Wizards think, I'll probably think that 3.x will still be the flagship of a unified D&D community of both players and creatives.

Remember, the OGL was met with extreme shock and hatred by a majority of the people over at Wizards of the Coast. Ryan Dancey managed to convert only a significant few to his way of thinking and Wizards got rid of most of them. The bean counters and present Legal Team over there are not the best Advocates of an OGL. They love their jobs. I think the Legal Team sometimes take pride in sending out C&D letters to those who dared to improve 4e on their own. Although, I sure there was one or two lawyers over there who probably felt bad that they had to do it.

5e's rules should be open and released to the World for free. Wizards should make money off of their Campaign Settings and Adventure Paths. However, Wizards of the Coast think their cash cow is rules and therefore the Licensing Option will still be limited.

What most of us on the OGL side are arguing is that 5e will benefit from the OGL immensely and that Wizards of the Coast should be more concerned with releasing Adventure Paths than with keeping their toys to themselves. Aubrey, you and memorax side with WotC's current marketing Paradigm, but you don't see how the OGL will make 5e much more valuable to WotC.

You just see the OGL as a problem. It's not a problem. It never has been. It's Wizards of the Coast's Marketing strategy as it applies to D&D that is killing D&D.

The Exchange

Elton wrote:
It's scary, but yeah, you finally said something I'll agree with.

I'm obviously wrong, then.

Liberty's Edge

memorax wrote:
ciretose wrote:


We know that TSR was bankrupt, and that 3.0 was release with the OGL and was very successful.

It was succcessful because until then many rpg were closed as oppposed to open source. Given that freedom at that time with a more stroger rpg market in gneral it worked. Now with a shrinking rpg market with less and less fans getting into the hobby well I'm not so sure. This is what bothers me most about OGL supporters. They act like the consitions for the OGL to be successful will be present at all times and that they market can support it all times. anything negative about the OGL and yes it has some negatives gets conviently forgotten or ignored.

If it was so successful why did it not become an industry standard. For the simple reason that in a market with a lot of competiiton encouraging it is not a smart move imo. I liked the OGL yet I think that the current market cannot support it nor do a majority of the fans want it. There is a reason why in may PF it's PF and no 3PP support. If it was so successful why did the company that created it abandon it. It's easy to say "well it's good thing ti encourage competition" when it's not using your own money and someone else pays the bill. Nor does every company want competition.

It did become industry standard, if you define that as between 80% and 90% of the market was OGL. Even the primary rival of the time, White Wolf, put out d20 OGL books.

As to industry in decline, that was exactly what was the general consensus said about why TSR went bankrupt. The reasons the industry was "in decline" then are the same as you claim now.

But the table top RPG gaming industry isn't in decline. Just the booksellers.

The company that created it abandoned it because they had a 90% market share and thought they could create a monopoly if not for that pesky OGL.

Oops on them.

You are making the mistake of thinking I want the OGL to help 3PP. 3PP generally fail, and those that don't are generally bought by the big boys (see Mike Mearls). But the 3PP is a free minor league to test out ideas for the big boys. It is the unpaid R&D for the industry.

Without it, you have stagnation. With stagnation, people stop playing.

The fact is WoTC introduced 4E when they had no real competition and are leave 4E badly wounded as a brand because they tried to go it alone.

If they keep doing that, they will continue to fall farther behind.

Liberty's Edge

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
ciretose wrote:

We have history and evidence.

We know that TSR was bankrupt, and that 3.0 was release with the OGL and was very successful.

Well, TSR didn't go bust because there was no OGL. It went bust because it was very badly managed. I've still yet to see evidence that the OGL really benefitted WotC other than this comment of "Well, 3e came out, and the OGL came out at the same time, and 3e was successful, so it must be the OGL". My experience tells me differently. You can have correlation without causation.

Quote:

We know that 4E was released with every brand advantage, but a very limiting GSL and it has been declining while Pathfinder, released at a HUGE brand (among other) disadvantages has been growing to the point it has outsold 4E the last two quarters.

FLGS aren't the market anymore. Internet sales are.

Well, there may be something to that, in that the GSL was a turn-off to previous publishers who had been using the OGL. That said, I don't think Paizo's disadvantage was that huge - in fact, I'd say it made its name off the back of Dungeon and Dragon, and anyone aware of those magazines (which would have been most D&D players) will have heard of Paizo. And we don't know what would have happened if the GSL had been less restrictive - would Paizo have thrown its lot in with 4e as opposed to 3e? And even then, what impact would this have had on 4e - would 4e have been a raging success with Paizo? Or would someone else have released a 3e derivative for disgruntled 3e fans, and done over both Paizo and WotC?

That said, I'd be interested to see how the licencing works for 3PP in 5e. My hunch is they will probably sign up a few on specific licences, so the 5e IP isn't open source but a reasonable number of 3PPs will be invited to participate. (I have nothing to back that up, and probably the devil is in the detail anyway, but it would seem a reasonable half-way house for WotC. AND it might help address the OGL quality issue.)

No one outside of hardcore gamers knew who Paizo was. We knew about Dragon and Dungeon Magazines, but we never really made the connection between them and Paizo when WoTC sold them off.

I was in a weekly game with a rotating group of 10 players and I was the first to hear about it a few months before they released the core rulebook. I couldn't get anyone in our group to try it until after we tried 4E a few times and agreed we hated it.

The staff at my FLGS didn't know what Pathfinder was when I went by a few months AFTER the core rulebook was released, and they didn't stock it until about 6 months later.

Now they have more or less equal shelf space.

It is ridiculous to say Paizo had anything near the brand recognition of D&D. They weren't even as well known as Green Ronin at that point. And yet now...

Did you read the article I posted by Monte Cook on how the OGL helped 3.0? Same thing he described that helped 3.0 happened to Paizo.

Killing the OGL was part of Wizard's failed marketing strategy. They were trying to make a simpler more user friendly game that would be something more recognizable to computer RPG gamers...and then they made it less accessible than prior versions and competitors versions.

That is why it didn't work,most of the staff was fired, and they are now putting out 5E.

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