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?


  1. Why would someone clone a currently published game? There aren't any 4E clones, so why would there necessarily have to be a 5E clone?

    Besides, when they did 4E, they created an entirely different legal agreement for the purposes of edition compatibility. I would wager they'd do the same thing again for 5E, or just do away with any type of license altogether.

    Aside from Pathfinder, I don't know if any of the clones/pesudo-clones are worth WotC's time.

    ...this is, of course, all rampant speculation from the comfort of my armchair, located in the middle of the peanut gallery.

  2. I heard they are developing time-traveling robot assassins to go back and take out Ryan Dancey while he's still a baby, that's what I heard.

  3. "Are you Sarah Con- I mean, Dancey?"

    I wonder if there's more money in going old school, or more money in trying to reclaim 3.x?

    Oh, well. WotC lost me as a customer long ago. The only way I'd buy from them again is if they started reprinting pre-3.x stuff... and that ain't likely.

  4. Do we want them playing in our sandbox again?

    I don't. Their brand name is just a couple of words and an ampersand. The only thing they have that I want is the broader player base. But we managed to achieve a critical mass of players back in the day without them.

  5. I want to see WotC continue to develop 4e, make their current players happy and Stay the Hell of My Lawn! :)

  6. To be horribly honest, I want them to go away. I agree with James, continue to produce 4e or Boardgames or MtG or whatever the Hasbro Overlords demand. Just leave the rest of us alone.

    I won't play with their toys if they don't play with mine.


  7. Given that Mearls has said some stuff which *sounds* like a 5e proposal (or, at least, some people are interpreting it that way,) what if someone pre-clones 5e?

  8. @Talysman - Ha! That would be funny!

  9. Yeah, at this point, I don't need them. They don't sell the pdfs I want, and I don't trust them. I also don't think they are any longer capable of producing a game in the style of AD&D 1e, Rules Cyclopedia, or Moldvay/Cook. Too much of their fanbase wants feats, powers, and min/maxing. And that's fine, but I've already got the games and people I trust. That's not WotC.

  10. Regardless of what Mearls is talking about now, I'd expect that between now and it hitting the streets, various levels of management would end up shoving cards and figures and gewgaws and Warcraft-esque things and online-only subscription-required mandatory aspects into it, and it ending up having little in common with Old School D&D.

  11. I hope they don't make 5e any time soon. They have a loyal following that would be screwed over by another edition. Those of us who have been weaned from WotC wouldn't be affected. We'd keep playing our clones and home-brews.

    What I want is for WotC to bring more people into the hobby. Sure, some of the new kids in the sandbox would only play with WotC's toys, but some would see that there are other cool toys out there, try them, and like them.

  12. Wow,Joe and Oz! Just when I'd given up hope that anyone around the RPG blogs and fora had a clue what the term "sandbox" actually meant, I find this literate oasis. A rare and pleasant moment indeed!


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