Please allow me to better clarify my position on this.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with WotC calling a Creator Summit. There’s no grudge or beef with the attendees of said event. Actually, I’m wicked jealous, to be honest. But, good for them. I’ve made it a point since starting this site to praise the success of others as long as no harm was done.
I admire a lot of folx in the YouTube arena. I could list probably twenty people who I respect and admire greatly. I’m not going to single anyone out, however.
I admire a lot of people, but I don’t always agree with them.
Someone pointed out on Twitter that a lot of the “Content Creators” being invited to the summit don’t actually write much of anything, with a few exceptions. I see a lot of endorsements and sponsors on the channels of various Content Creators. Again, all good.
They all work very hard at what they do. I’m not sure how “Influencer” became sort of a negative term, but it describes what they do so much better. YouTube videos, social media posts, liaising with various other writers, creators and corporate types are just part of their daily agenda. Anyone who has ever edited a YouTube video can probably tell you it’s not as easy as it sounds.
So, yes. Great for the people going to get wined and dined by Wizards of the Coast. Is it the best approach by WotC? That remains to be seen. Make no mistake, this is a (smart) Public Relations move. WotC isn’t paying for good previews/reviews. However, I kinda suspect that’s what the corporate overlords are expecting out of all this.
Here comes one of my theories.
What if, maybe, just possibly, this has been planned all along? It’s almost Machiavellian in its conception. IF/F the OGL debacle was manufactured, then some of the subsequent PR maneuvering would be intended to build more support for the new video game, err…Virtual TableTop using the Unreal Engine. (Just like Fortnite, *cough.*) Even if the OGL disaster hadn’t occurred, my educated guess is this was already in the works.
Wizards’ various teams have been plotting and scheming. Sometimes Team A has no idea (supposedly) what Team B is doing. The Hasbro overlords’ teams sometimes do things the WotC teams have no idea are happening. It’s all about the franchise, the lifestyle brand, these days.
Content? Not in the gaming sense of the word. Mark my words- what goes into the books is tertiary or even irrelevant to selling the brand. Advertising, promotion, and selling merchandise are super important to WotC. Books? Pfft! “Do we sell those?” they ask. They need “Content Creators” to promote the brand. They don’t need actual game content.
Remember, One D&D was already pretty much in the bag before they even announced it. WotC’s focus has nothing to do with the game itself at this point. They’re entire effort is going into marketing, merchandising, and virtual space. Screw the game. They just want money because they own the name and they have a dim view of the fans.
Someone highly respected by the community mentioned “gatekeeping.”
In my heart of hearts, I almost wish Linda Codega was wrong about gatekeeping, but I know they’re right. That snarky comment Kyle Brink made about “old white guys (like him) can’t flee the hobby fast enough” might be the new standard in gatekeeping for D&D. The new “cool kids” are turning away the section of the fanbase that launched the entire TTRPG industry.
As others have commented, WotC “left us” the SRD 5.1 and the OGL. WotC doesn’t see editions. They see dollar signs. All of us old codgers and Grognards can play the older editions of the game or pretty much do anything we want in the old sandbox. The new faces of D&D are coming, and chances are there won’t be one old white guy with a bald head and a long beard anywhere among them.
Hasbro/WotC want tons of sales of merchandise, action figures, D&D lamps and gimmicky transformable d20s. They’re banking on the Honor Among Thieves sales and views to propel D&D into the future much the same way Star Wars took off back in the 1970s. Getting a bunch of YouTubers onboard with the new VTT and kicking all of the old white guys to the curb are just another phase of the marketing plan.
The way I see it…
We’re headed into a new era. This new era will be pretty much free of official WotC publications. There plenty of companies out there in the #TTRPGIndustry who will take our money. If WotC wants to blow a pile of money on bringing a bunch of YouTubers in to try to coax more people back over to One D&D, and the video game masquerading as a VTT, good for them.
The brain trust at Hasbro/WotC has forgotten the hundreds of YouTubers they didn’t invite. The old guys like Erik Tenkar and The Dungeon Delver probably never make the list. Why? WotC doesn’t want honest opinions. They want public relations.
WotC wants YouTubers to go on the air and sing the praises of One D&D and the shiny new VTT. They want the microtransactions that work so well for video game companies. They weren’t lying when they said they want to monetize the players. Remember, we’re dealing with WotC execs that think D&D is a video game and nothing more.
Again, there’s really nothing terribly wrong about what WotC is doing. Yeah, they want to make money. I think other TTRPG fans and I would rather they went about things differently, but we’re not their crowd any more.
I can name dozens of other fantasy TTRPGs that can easily be mistaken for D&D. These other titles are eventually going to completely replace D&D. Let WotC do whatever the heck they want to do. Good luck with One D&D.
I’m sure a speak for a large crowd of gamers who didn’t need an all-expenses-paid trip to my living room to figure it out. We don’t need WotC or their take on D&D any more. I’ve pretty much given up on Wizards of the Coast. They can go rot with whatever official titles come next. There are very few things they will ever do or say to win my trust back.
Update: As of March 10, I have not received any word from Wizards of the Coast on the best way to contact them. Obviously they want the fans’ opinions so badly that there’s no way to contact them. I call bullsh🦆t on their whole operation at this point. I really get the impression no one in those offices wants to be my friend.
Thanks for reading this far. You rock. I appreciate you. I like having online friends. Keep on gaming your way.