For the longest time, Dungeons & Dragons have always felt like a game created purely out of love and the joy of playing tabletop RPGs. The concept was that you play using your imagination, some paper, and a few dice. Aside from a Player’s Handbook, a Dungeon’s Master Guide, and a Monster Manual, investment was optional.

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Of course, that didn’t stop people from purchasing merchandise. D&D became a lucrative market for miniatures, adventure books, tabletop accessories, and more. The game’s popularity soared when content creators like Critical Role added more visibility.

A Background to the Drama

Fast forward to 2023, arguably the most dramatic year for Dungeons and Dragons so far. Wizards of the Coast is the publisher of D&D, which is under the toy company Hasbro. WotC is also the publisher of the popular trading card game Magic: the Gathering. Under Hasbro’s direction, it has gone through many controversial business decisions in the past five years. Some of these include:

  • Removing the SRP in booster boxes so they can price as high as they see fit
  • Increasing the number of new releases in a year, potentially sacrificing quality
  • Releasing a non-tournament legal “collector’s box” worth $999 with booster packs that don’t guarantee you any value
  • Selling exclusive print editions of cards through the Secret Lair program. This circumvented hobby stores.

These are just a few of the many gripes players begrudgingly accept in MtG. For the most part, D&D has been quiet, left alone for players to enjoy much of the original vision for it. That is until Hasbro decided that 2023 was the year they ruin D&D.

OGL 1.1

Wizards of the Coast has been developing a final version of D&D called the One D&D Edition. Players will finally move on from the 5th edition to a new one that will be the standard for D&D moving forward. Content has slowly released from WotC, covered by many content creators excited about the changes. They then updated their Open Game License (OGL) called OGL 1.1.

The original OGL gives developers and content creators freedom to use D&D. It doesn’t matter if they borrow from D&D directly or put their spin on it. D&D has always been a free game for others.

However, they published an update to the OGL, which will now require content creators to put the OGL badge on their products. Not only that, but they will have to report and pay royalties to Wizards if their annual income exceeds $750,000. Others will have to send reports of their products when they reach $50,000 in revenue.

The community went up in arms, with many content creators condemning the company’s actions. The supportive D&D community followed suit, and soon around half of all D&D Beyond subscriptions cancelled after the announcement.

It led to Hasbro and Wizards backtracking their statements, saying they won’t make modifications. However, the fact that they could still make changes in the future has left a sour taste in many mouths.

The Future of Dungeons & Dragons

We may see a future where massive content creators and video game developers leave D&D for good in favor of other RPG systems. We may see a resurgence of Pathfinder. A good portion of the community believes content creators like Critical Role can create their RPG system for mass adoption.

It will take a lot of work for Wizards to try and pull back disillusioned customers. They can do it if they revert OGL and make clarifications that they will never change it. However, their greed will likely not allow this to happen.

For casual gamers, D&D is still a great game to play at home. However, it may be less popular as content creators may no longer support it.

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Vincent Roy has been writing about gaming, crypto, and geek culture since 2012. He loves staying up-to-date with the latest in board games, collectibles, and video games. During his free time, he is either trading the forex market, or hosting a Dungeons & Dragons game among friends.