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Wizards of the Coast “sorry” after fans rejected the new Dungeons & Dragons game license

In a nutshell: Wizards of the Coast felt the dragon’s fire after a leaked version of the new Open Game License unleashed a massive backlash from the gaming community. The company backpedaled, promising a license with a more open approach and that it would listen to fan feedback.

Wizards of the Coast was ready to refresh its old Open Game License (OGL) for Dungeons & Dragons-inspired tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPG). However, the updated document leaked and turned the TTRPG world upside down. Gamers, streamers, and creators canceled their game subscriptions en masse and forced WotC to change its plans accordingly.

The new OGL 1.1 document, which leaked at the beginning of the month, was poised to significantly restrict how TTRPG creators and the whole community could adapt the base rules of Dungeons & Dragons in their works. One of the most problematic changes was the required earnings reports of D&D-inspired games to be sent directly to WotC. Furthermore, OGL 1.1 would have made the old license “unauthorized” immediately.

After delaying the release of OGL 1.1 and reassuring fans and creators about the benign intents of the new license, D&D Executive Producer Kyle Brink wrote an apology. Wizards of the Coast is sorry, Brink said, because the language and requirements present in the OGL draft were “disruptive to creators and not in support of our core goals of protecting and cultivating an inclusive play environment.”

Brink stated that more frequent and transparent communication could have prevented so much of the OGL-related mess, but now WotC wants to try things the right way. First, by reassuring fans that the new license is limited strictly to the TTRPG market. Any changes included in OGL 1.1 will not impact “at least” non-tabletop creative efforts such as video content (streaming, podcasts, etc.), self-made accessories, and non-published works.

Open Game License 1.1 will not impact content created under OGL1.0a, and “there will be no royalty or financial reporting requirements.” Additionally, content ownership will not change, with no license-back requirements. From now on, WotC will be more open to community feedback to improve OGL while preserving the traditional D&D community.

The company is now sharing its latest draft of the new OGL (which went from 1.1 to OGL 1.2), waiting for fan review and feedback as they already do with playtest materials. After two weeks, WotC will collect the provided feedback to “compile, analyze, react to, and present back what we heard from you.”

Open Game License 1.2 should still contain the most fundamental changes of the OGL 1.1 leaked draft, including the deauthorization of OGL 1.0a, which is seemingly essential to get the update process done. It will also ban hateful content or conduct and protect D&D’s “inclusive play experience.”

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