Random Ramblings: The OGL Shenanigans and Sensationalism

This is the first Random Ramblings piece I didn’t want to write.

TLDR; Whether it is Wizards of the Coast or some random influencer giving you information, think about what you are given and think again before acting based on said information.

Before we begin

Hi, I’m Chris. I started this blog around 2015, a few months after I started playing D&D because I really like the hobby and wanted to somewhat contribute to it. What does that make me? A random guy on the internet with an opinion(TM). What does it not make me? Well, I am not a journalist, I am not a lawyer, and I am not an employee of Wizards of the Coast or any other company in the industry.

Do I support Wizards of the Coast? After how they have handled what has been going on for the last month I can’t say I have a lot of faith in them. But I am still waiting to see what’s going to happen. And that’s from the standpoint of someone whose livelihood doesn’t depend on it.

Then why am I writing this? Because I like this hobby, I like this game, and I like this community. And during the last month, I have been seeing patterns that have caused a lot of worry for me and, eventually, something happened that is dangerous for the whole community at this point in time.

But let’s start from somewhat the beginning

I will not do a recap of what’s going on. The internet is already full of recaps, analyses, rumor engines, etc, so you who are reading this know what’s been going on regarding the OGL. However, I want to say that I am so happy the community banded in such a way. You mobilised and reacted, not just by sharing your opinions but also by talking through your wallets. And that has been crucial.

But, as they say, where there’s light there’s also shadow. And, oh, I am so dramatic right now but it’s okay because this is the fifth paragraph and the article doesn’t have a clickbait title so I deserve a treat. Anyway, while I am proud of what the majority of the community has managed to achieve, I kinda feel a little bit ashamed as well due to what a tiny group of people has been doing because it may have caused some damage and has the potential to cause even more.

I’m talking about “influencers” and the way they are exploiting this really important point in the history of D&D.

It’s fair not to believe anything Wizards of the Coast is saying. They have earned this “achievement” through their actions over the last month. But you can’t just believe anyone saying “trust me, bro. I have sources”.

If I go to Twitter and say the new OGL says that Third Party Publishers can publish for 6e if they give their firstborn to Wizards of the Coast, would you believe me? No, that would be silly, right?

But what if I go to Twitter and say the new OGL says Third Party Publishers can publish for 6e if they give 20% of the sales each product makes during the first quarter of their release? Oh, now that is starting to sound a bit more convincing. Especially since what we’ve seen from Wizards of the Coast so far. The royalty part rings a bell, the percentage is around the various numbers we have heard from rumors. The quarter part hasn’t been heard anywhere yet but, usually, most of the money from a publication comes around the first months. Trust me, bro, I have sources. What sources? My brain, mostly, but I also can’t reveal my sources because I’m protecting them. And if I really do have a source other than the weird piece of meat in my head then I should be protecting them, because this is the correct thing to do. I’m not arguing that. I’m arguing the integrity, the morals, and the reason behind making, sometimes multiple per day, videos that just happen to be a little bit above 10 minutes long (because, you know, that’s the sweet spot for the good revenue) with an obviously clickbait title and my face on the thumbnail either looking angry or facepalming.

You don’t believe me? I am very happy you don’t because that’s the whole point of me doing this. Good. Try to filter the information I just gave you. Go to YouTube and search for the term OGL. It will probably take you less time to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy than to watch all of the videos that were uploaded during the past 30 days.

Wizards of the Coast made 3 statements in the span of a month. The amount of videos with speculations, leaks, “watch parties until there is a new update” and so on is disgustingly high. Why? But for the good of the community, right? Right? Well yeah…probably…but also for what the younglings call clout. And clout also comes with money.

Sensationalism is a thing.

So what?

Okay yeah. People are probably doing this. So what? Good question. Allow me to explain.

The internet is not a bad nor a good thing. It is a tool, but a weird one. It has the ability to alter the state of things. For example, it has the ability to bring out the good or the bad side of someone and amplify it. And it can also do that for other tools.

Let’s have an example. I can have a talk about all that I am saying here with my close friends and they can repeat what I’ve said to their friends, and those friends can repeat that to their friends. No matter how popular we are, the word won’t go very far. But what if I write an article or shoot a video and upload it on the internet? Then the scope changes. A few hundred maybe? Or a few thousand. But what if I already have people following me? What if I’m a “content creator influencer” and other buzzwords like that? A video can end up being watched by hundreds of thousands, or even millions. And what if there are some falsities in it? They will propagate along with everything else. Am I saying that would be done on purpose? No. In my life, I prefer giving the benefit of the doubt. But that doesn’t change the fact that people then act based on misinformation. Oh well, I’ll just issue a half-assed apology. On my main platform, right? Right? Sure…

And even if I do, it appears not as many people will see it and still continue acting based on misinformation. This is a thing. The correction of a news piece doesn’t get as much reach as the incorrect news got in the first place. Unless the correction itself causes another wave of sensationalism, that is. It’s part of human nature. We like watching things blow up, but not the part where people have to clean up afterward.

People have been hyping what’s going on with the OGL so much and presenting so many leaks and rumors that things are getting out of hand. Designers at Wizards of the Coast are getting attacked. Do you think they have anything to do with the decision to update the OGL? If yes, think again. Can I say for sure that the attacks are a direct result of the overhyping and the misinformation? No, I can’t. But I would be a fool if I said they haven’t contributed to enraging the community even more and pushing people over the line.

And what can I do about it?

Yesterday, Wizards of the Coast made a new statement about the OGL. They said that some things were misinformation and also they heard the community’s voice and want to make things better etc etc. Do you believe them completely? I bet you don’t. Then why should you believe random people on the internet?

Think about what you hear. Try to digest them from an objective standpoint. Try to find reasonings from various viewpoints. Can you find more credible sources? Even better. Don’t even take what I’m writing here for granted. I may just be insane and these are my random ramblings (pun intended). Use your brain and think if I am making sense and also go out there and check if what I am saying is true. But do it calmly and do not attack people.

Then think again before you act. What are you going to do? Shout at people who have zero say in how a corporation is managed. Will that help? I bet you my book collection that it won’t. However, you should be vocal. But be vocal towards the correct people, with a polite attitude, and for the right reasons.

Oh but that sounds hard. Yes, because it is! But this way you are getting informed more correctly and don’t put the community in danger. So far the community has managed to band together. From the Old-School folks with decades of experience on their backs, to the people who started playing last year and are so excited they are trying something new. And it has been awesome. So don’t go acting without any logic and also try to let others know, very politely, when they overstep the boundaries. It would be sad to see cracks in the community and it would be sadder if Wizards of the Coast exploited this.

You talk too much

As a matter of fact, I only talk too much when it comes to stuff I really really like. D&D is a thing I really really like but it’s in danger. And what I want to say is; please, just let it be in danger from just the corporation trying to make money out of it and not the community itself.

P.S: Even though I have already said it a couple of times I will say it again. Please, do not attack other people. Do not attack people working for Wizards of the Coast. Do not attack other members of the community. Do not attack creators. If there is something wrong with what someone is saying you can politely give them your opinion on why you think they are wrong and leave it at that.

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