D&D will get worse
In a statement to investors, the CEO of Wizards of the Coast said Dungeons and Dragons would be working on video game-style monetization techniques.
A statement made during a webinar for investors suggests that Dungeons & Dragons is about to get worse in the future, as the company that owns DnD apparently intends to add video game-style monetization practices to the world's oldest tabletop role-playing game. Today, investors-targeted announcements can quickly reach consumers, and schemes designed to appeal to shareholders often instill fear in actual fans of the product. Unfortunately, investors are the real target audience in the modern corporate world, so even ideas that clearly threaten to destroy iconic brands like DnD as effectively as possible may still go ahead if they offer the potential to increase profitability go down.
Although DnD is a classic pen and paper RPG, the epidemic has caused more game teams to switch to virtual games. Some players and Dungeon Masters have switched from carrying backpacks full of books to using D&D Beyond for their campaigns, and older DnD out-of-prints can be purchased online in PDF format. It's hard to imagine that recurring spending in video games applies to those who buy physical DnD products, but the concept of D&D Beyond starts with microtransactions and Season tickets now have disturbing possibilities.
Wizards Of The Coast Hopes To Monetize D&D More Than Ever Before
According to Dicebreaker, Wizards of the Coast CEO and President Cynthia Williams admitted, "DnD has never been more popular, and we have a fantastic following and engagement." Despite being aware of this, Williams regrets Going on to add, “But the brand is really under-monetized.” By further investing in “digital assets,” Williams said he hopes to “unlock the types of recurring spend that you see in digital games.” Sadly, these The ambition to please investors reflects a complete lack of understanding of the tabletop RPG hobby.
It is already questionable whether the D&D Beyond Legendary Bundle is worth the high price. Sadly, DnD fans are becoming more and more used to being sold the same books over and over again, often at full price, because they may have a physical copy of the Player's Handbook and need to buy it on D&D Beyond or through tools like Fantasy Grounds or Roll20 set to buy again. The early third edition of the DnD series attempted to increase monetization with a large number of supplementary books. Some focus on new player options, such as classes and feats, while others expand the DM's knowledge of the campaign setting, such as Eberron's supplement focusing on the city of Sharn.
4e DnD Era Witnessed The number of background knowledge books is reduced to a minimum, digital persona builders and initial efforts to access a subscription model. With virtual desktops and D&D Beyond, 5e certainly embraces digital more than any version before it. For each free D&D Beyond product, like Adventures of Spelljammer or Basic Introductory Rules, more paid products are required to access all current rules options in the D&D Beyond character generation or encounter planning framework. The Wizards CEO's vision suggests that fans might see season passes sold as feats as they're added, or individual spells sold as microtransactions.
Tabletop RPGs Like D&D Are Naturally Very Different From Video Games
Tabletop role-playing games have a different paradigm than video games, which often require constant consumption from fans. With most TTRPGs, a group of people can buy a book and a set of dice and enjoy a campaign as long as their imaginations sustain. DnD is more financially demanding than most other RPGs, requiring three core books to play, and expecting a map and miniatures. Players often buy supplements to access new character options, and since DnD has no specific settings, DMs often buy campaign setting books Respectively.
Currently DMs cannot avoid power creep in DnD 5e, as newer additions provide better options than those provided in the original Player's Handbook. This means players are already incentivized to buy supplemental books, and if a team switches from Roll20 to D&D Beyond, they may have to buy them again. DnD has done everything reasonable for a tabletop RPG to generate a profit, and the associated costs are far more than games like Vampire: The Masquerade or Shadowrun, let alone an indie RPG like Into the Odd.
Even at its current popularity and profitability, Dungeons & Dragons is still a tabletop role-playing game, and TTRPG is a niche hobby relative to movies, video games, and music. Awareness of the hobby has grown, and DnD's fanbase has grown significantly, but it's unrealistic to expect any tabletop RPG to behave like a different medium. Whether players prefer D&D Beyond or paper character sheets, the game remains functionally an exercise in imagination and communal storytelling, with rules that provide a sense of fairness and fulfillment for what the heroes achieve in the emerging novel. Trying to turn DnD into something like Fortnite is a misguided goal.
Recurrent Spending In D&D Urges Players To Try Other Quality Tabletop RPGs Instead
D&D Beyond's streamlined character generator provides a step-by-step process for generating a legal character, ready to go into a campaign. However, this handy tool can easily spoil if it turns into a monetization minefield. While Wizards of the Coast's ambitions paint a grim picture for DnD, it probably does no harm to the tabletop RPG hobby as a whole. Players who have been exposed to DnD through programs like Critical Role are likely by now aware of the wealth of options the hobby offers. If DnD becomes another unwelcome mess of unfettered capitalism, other options remain.
Just as a spellcaster uses one of DnD's best reaction spells, players can simply turn to alternatives to fantasy adventure RPGs such as Pathfinder or Warhammer Fantasy. Previous versions of DnD, available as PDFs, were a one-time purchase and never received any new additions or errata, making delving into DnD's past a much more popular option. It could also force some groups to explore more eclectic interests, such as Kult's gnostic horror or the Unknown Armies' gonzo paranoia. Tabletop RPG explores other genres and themes as Legend of the Five Rings moves beyond European-themed fantasy, cyberpunk Explore its nominal types, and more.
The timing of 5e DnD, offering the simplest, most stripped-down version of the rules since the original Basic DnD, and shows like Stranger Things brought attention to the game, leading to its current popularity. This goodwill and momentum can easily be thwarted by anti-consumer business practices. The One D&D playtest is currently underway, and any rule revisions tend to divide fans. However, policymakers have failed to recognize the fundamental difference between tabletop RPGs and video games, and their predatory business practices are sure to unite fans and prompt many tabletop RPG fans old and new to look beyond Dungeons & Dragons less opportunistic alternatives.
More: Useless D&D character builds in combat (but fun nonetheless)