New changes may be coming soon to D&D Beyond. Wizards of the Coast's digital tabletop service has been central to their recent marketing of D&D 5e. They have used the platform to give away free digital books, as well as digital compendiums,infamous villain statblocks, and sourcebook previews in the past. Now, according to a number of leaks, it seems more changes will be coming to the platform, some of which may be connected to the upcoming OneD&D and the implementation of the (now walked back) OGL 1.1.
The D&D Beyond Leak
As mentioned before, D&D Beyond provides a digital service for those who want to play the popular TTRPG. In addition to buying digital versions of vital books, the service also provides a character creator and a digital dice roller; vital services for players at virtual tables. In addition, there are subscription services. For $3 or $6 a month, you gain access to an encounter creator, the ability to make an unlimited number of characters on your account, monthly perks, and the ability to share any books you've bought with other players in your campaigns.
Now according to this D&D Beyond leak, those services will change. TTRPG content creator Dungeon Scribe, aka Hos, tweeted that WOTC has plans to change the premium subscription tiers of D&D Beyond. According to the tweet, the changes would include the following:
- A new premium subscription tier at $30 a month. The benefits would include monthly content drops
- The deauthorization of OGL 1.0a
- Banning the use of homebrew material for Base Tier users
- Stripped down gameplay for AI-DMs.
As for what these changes to D&D Beyond mean, there is a bit to unpack. First, a $30 tier is a massive increase in payment, five times as high as the $6 Master tier. As for those who use the service for free, the restriction of homebrew material on character sheets is particularly of note. Right now, D&D Beyond users can create homebrew for their own personal use. In addition, they can use any homebrew material made publicly available on the platform. Now, it seems that creativity may be getting paywalled.
As for the deauthorization of OGL 1.0a, it means that the foundational license cannot be used to develop future content. But there's a chance that WOTC cannot legally do this. In a recent Gizmodo report, former WOTC VP Ryan Dancey, who helped write OGL 1.0a, stated, "I do not believe that the OGL v1.0a can be deauthorized, there’s no mechanism in the license for deauthorization.” As for the idea of stripped down gameplay for AI-DMs, this may hint at a planned feature for the platform: modules run by digital dungeon masters.
The reasons why these changes may be coming to D&D Beyond is found within that same Gizmodo article. In a fan-led protest campaign, over 40,000 players cancelled their premium subscriptions to the service. This led to a "provable impact" on WOTC's bottom line. In that context, the $30 tier is the company attempting to recoup their losses with the consumer base they have. As for the massive jump in price, Hos confirmed that this was an executive decision. Hos tweeted, "If these don't seem like changes rational minds would put forward, it's because they aren't. Hasbro
execs have reportedly handed this down, ignoring suggestions or input from their own staff."