Saturday, July 9, 2011

If 5e is More Old School, How Long Before Someone Retro-Clones It? Does WOTC Then Have to Sue All Clones?

That seems to be where Mearls is heading with 5e, with all his koombaya posts on how all editions are the same at their core.  It seems to be the most long-winded sales job/market research project of all time though.  What if, after all the blather, they actually put out an edition of D&D which is familiar to players of older editions?  Does it fall under the OGL?  In whole or in part?  How much I guess would depend on how many new terms they invent just for the sole purpose of making sure it doesn't fall under the OGL, like dailies, powers, healing surges, etc.

Let's say that for the most part, it does fall under the OGL.  How long before someone tries to clone it?

The bigger question, what would WOTC do?  Would they go after them?

I can't see how they wouldn't be forced to.

Executive who doesn't know what a d20 is:  "Hows sales of the new edition going after we sunk a million bucks into its development?"

Mearls: "Well, it was good the first couple days, we made $50,000, but then someone cloned it and is giving it away for nothing."

Executive:  "You're fired, you're whole team is fired--(oh, you have no team left?), and the remaining 2 people at the company who know what those funky dice are--- they're fired too--- and we're suing!"

Would they then be forced to go after the other clone publishers? 

Note:  I'm not saying they have good legal ground to stand on---but we all know that just the cost of defending a lawsuit would halt production of many clones and force a "I won't do it anymore, I promise, just drop the lawsuit" type of agreement.

So, the question is, are we better off letting WOTC go down the path of developing one wretched abomination of D&D after another, so they aren't forced to recognize what we are doing with clones?

Do we want them playing in our sandbox again?