Over the weekend, Wizards of the Coast hosted the D&D Creator Summit. This was an event where notable tabletop developers and content creators were invited for a sneak preview of upcoming projects and books coming to the widely popular fantasy TTRPG. While the event did cover recent developments such as the upcoming OneD&D and the officially announced virtual tabletop, those attending the event managed to hold an open conversation with the developers. That conversation has led to new insights into the future of the RPG and those that create content for it.
The D&D Creator Summit
According to several content creators, the D&D Creator Summit was held both in-person at a physical location as well as several virtual sessions with certain creators attending remotely. According to writer/podcaster Daniel Kwan, the opening hours of the event and the virtual sessions were plagued by technical issues as well as advertising for upcoming D&D products.
The first presentation shown off at the D&D Creator Summit was a pre-alpha build of their D&D VTT. First, the VTT will not be browser-based like Foundry or Roll20, but will be a dedicated desktop app. It was also confirmed that the VTT will be using Epic's Unreal Engine 5 as the foundation for its virtual assets. Those attending the event were able to test out this early build. Nerd Immersion mentioned the wide variety of options as well as the intuitive controls, but he did mention concerns regarding hardware limitations. Unreal 5 is impressive, but it can be taxing on older machines, which can be a barrier to entry for certain players. WOTC has also confirmed that a roadmap is in place for the VTT. For 2023, the developer will focus on core mechanics and player UI. 2024 will introduce character and miniature creation and a "remixable" character library. Finally, 2025 will see some form of official release for the app.
D&D VTT Roadmap and Features
As for concerns regarding the D&D VTT experience, its director, Kale Stutzman did answer some questions. First, she wanted to dash any rumors of aggressive monetization by stating this app is "not a video game." Stutzman reinforced that while the VTT will support D&D rules, they will not be automated, allowing DMs to easily implement homebrew and features for players to do anything involving dice and miniatures. As for how the VTT's marketplace would function or integrate with digital purchases on D&D Beyond, WOTC is still exploring options. WOTC's own Kyle Brink did confirm that they want to marry digital and physical purchases - just buy the product once and get everything - but the challenge lies in logistics.
As for the future of D&D Beyond, The D&D Creator Summit did shed some light. First, the platform will be effectively replacing the official D&D page on WOTC's website. Furthermore, Wizards confirmed that more digital content drops like the Vecna Dossier will be happening in the future. Finally, Jeremy Crawford has confirmed that books and supplements from older editions may be coming to the platform. When it came to addressing marginalized groups as talent or the inclusion of players from different socioeconomic backgrounds, things were more mixed. Nonagon Dice asked if there were plans for regionalized pricing for D&D Beyond. D&D's VP Dan Rawson stated it's something they haven't tackled yet. Other questions were asked as well but were either deflected or shut down at the event, which the Critical Bard spoke out against.
Concerns For The Future and One D&D
These concerns led to an impromptu Q&A session between WOTC's representatives and the creators in attendance. It was at this time that D&D Creator Relations Associate Dixon Dubow Executive Producer Kyle Brink addressed several pain points by the community. These included the rebuilding of trust after the disastrous OGL 1.1 event, as well as more acceptable alternatives to terms like player race. While plenty of questions were asked regarding multiple topics regarding safety, mental health, and financial equity, not all of them were addressed. A more comprehensive breakdown of this Q&A can be found here on Daniel Kwan's site.
The D&D Creator Summit concluded with a glimpse into the future of One D&D. First a new revised Core Rulebook will be coming in 2024. This book will be bigger than the 2014 version of the book, and will include 12 classes, 48 subclasses, 9 races, and a rules glossary for the revised rules. In addition, the book will effectively contain conversion rules, including guidelines on how to interpret retired terms and mechanics. You won't have to replace your D&D 5e books, just re-learn some things. Finally, they announced that the DMG will include a lore glossary, giving new players a chance to learn about the D&D multiverse. Several smaller details were also confirmed such as a complete rework of creatures in the Monster Manual of CR 10 or higher, more dedicated spell options for Warlocks, and the concept of a "graze" property which allows players to deal some damage even if they miss an attack.
Overall, the D&D Creator Summit did provide what it set out to do. It provided new information to a set group about future projects, including tantalizing changes in the newest edition of D&D. But when it came to addressing concerns by the community, it was decidedly mixed.