WOTC Issues Apology For Divisive OGL 1.1

Published: January 18, 2023 3:22 PM /

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Promotional artwork from D&D Dragonlance Shadow of the Dragon Queen

The entire tabletop industry has been dealing with the fallout of the leak of OGL 1.1. This new license would revoke OGL 1.0a, which allowed publishers to use the core rules of D&D and make their own original material and supplements. It is a foundational license that a large part of the tabletop industry has benefited from for over twenty years. In response, publishers have moved away from D&D content, WOTC's largest competitors have been working on an OGL replacement, and thousands of D&D fans have canceled their D&D Beyond premium subscriptions in protest. Now, Wizards of the Coast has released a formal apology, as well as their intentions for a revised OGL going forward.

Wizards of the Coast's OGL 1.1 Apology

WOTC's latest statement on OGL 1.1 comes from D&D Executive Producer Kyle Brink. In a D&D Beyond post, Brink first issues an apology, stating "We are sorry. We got it wrong." He admits that the language within the OGL was disruptive to creators and that their silence only compounded this disruption.

Brink then states WOTC's plan going forward regarding their new OGL, and it will be similar to how the company gets feedback through their Unearthed Arcana playtest material. On or around January 20th, the company will release proposed parts of OGL documentation to the public. Afterward, a survey will be released where you can ask questions about the documentation as well as include feedback. The survey will remain open for two weeks. Afterward, WOTC will compile, analyze, react, and present back what they have heard from the larger community.

Brink then clarified that changes to the OGL will have no impact on any of the following:

  • Video Content: If you're a commentator, streamer, liveplay member, or podcaster, none of your content will be affected by this OGL.
  • Tabletop Accessories: The ability to produce and sell minis, dice, novels, and other apparel related to your original creations, characters, and worlds.
  • Non-published works ie.Contracted Services: This applies to commissioned work such as paid DM services
  • VTT Content: Creators can still put their content on VTT platforms, and the VTT publishers can still use OGL content on their platform.
  • DMs Guild Content: Making content for DMs Guild is under a Community Content Agreement with WOTC, and as such will not be affected by the new OGL
  • Any OGL 1.0a Content: If you published any material under the original OGL 1.0a, it will not be affected.
  • Revenue: There will be no royalties or financial reporting requirements
  • Ownership of Content: Your content is your own original work; no license-back requirements

 Some of these changes to the new OGL may provide some relief to the tabletop community. Content creators now won't have to worry about paying royalties and their content is now fully theirs for example. As for the publication of OGL 1.0a content, that will only apply to any work that has already been produced. Any brand-new third-party material will have to go through this new OGL. As for whether or not third-party developers are willing to work with WOTC on these new terms, it may be a case of too little too late. In a recent Dicebreaker report, Steamforged Games' own Richard August said the damage has already been done, stating, "Once that trust has gone, it's gone forever, D&D is not gonna have the same feedback loop of high-quality third-party productions to encourage people to go back to those core books, to remain involved. "

 

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