Wizards of the Coast’s Hot Garbage Fire Continues to Burn.

Disclaimer: All of the opinions expressed in this article are my own. Sorry if you don’t agree. Please use your own discernment. Here’s the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF7j8lyqiNM

First Impressions:

I was expecting a 30 minute long commercial, and I was not disappointed on that front. The hosts of this thing sounded so badly scripted and insincere. Gina Darling and Ify Nwadiwe are professional actors. My guess is neither has much actual D&D experience, but I could be wrong. They were so busy pretending to be overly excited about the whole thing, I find it hard to believe they were doing anything other than sticking strictly to the script.

Bad hackting and fake enthusiasm aside, this whole thing was carefully orchestrated by the PR and Advertising people at WotC right down to last word. Everything is just dripping with McCorporate cultural vitriol. Everything in this showcase comes off as being about as plastic as their action figures. I’ve seen better commercials. This review isn’t all bad news, but *spoilers* I’m not blowing smoke up any corporate butts, either.

Rewinding for a quick second.

I should have started off with Minecraft D&D. It’s not even 2024 yet and we’re already seeing the first of what will undoubtedly be many franchise collaborations with D&D. This time it’s Minecraft. Somewhere in their search for a Virtual TableTop, the developers at WotC must’ve stumbled across this kooky idea.

If I wasn’t already irritated with WotC, I’d almost want to play Minecraft again. BUT, because this is part of the plan to “monetize the players” and make D&D a “lifestyle brand.” The Minecraft end of the deal looks pretty good for that game. Minecraft Beholders and Gelatinous Cubes are pretty nifty. I’ve thought more D&D stuff would be cool in Minecraft ever since Dungeon came out.

I downloaded the new monster PDF for Minecraft. They could have done more. They could have done better. It’s the kind of lackluster performance we’ve grown to expect from WotC as of late. I feel like they kinda phoned in the monster stats and only for five creatures? One of which was a wolf… I’m disappointed.

I won’t bore anyone with the details from here.

We knew this was coming. I’m sure pushing the movie was half the reason they did this whole thing. The other half, of course, is the new VTT. There were a couple of toy commercials, a new intro to D&D portal and news about the 50th Anniversary documentary. Sorry, I just couldn’t get excited about any of it. Obviously, Hasbro being a toy company means we’re going to hear about all the D&D action figures and transforming d20s.

Uh. Yay? Maybe? Meh. Oh, and we can go online and play the movie characters. Good into stuff. Next.

The animation from JoCat was a really great surprise. I’ve been watching JoCat’s videos for a few years and I love the Crap Guides. The D&D animation for the showcase was very well done and a good way to draw in new players. A+ on that one. What a pleasant surprise!

Aside from the cool animated segment, the last 5 minutes were the “best” part.

I swear WotC and/or their PR people could screw up a wet dream. Even Chris Perkins and Jeremy Crawford sounded stiffly scripted. Let’s just say I suffered through the rest of this thing just to get to the part that I was actually interested in, and it was sad sauce. We knew this was going to be a downer year for D&D because they announced One D&D too soon.

We knew about the heist thing because it’s already out. It’s so memorable that there are almost no reviews so far. Wonder why. My guess would be that it’s mediocre at best compared to Third Party Published content for 5E. If the Minecraft monsters are an indication of writing talent, Keys to the Something-or-other Vault must be pretty unmemorable. Not to mention the last two or three abject failures WotC has released. Even the Dragonlance revival was pretty “meh.”

That’s why I wasn’t holding my breath for anything spectacular. WotC is literally putting everything into the new VTT/”digital experience.” Honestly, shiny as the VTT preview was? It seems like a money trap. I’m not interested at all in anything but the actual books at this point. If it weren’t for the last 5 minutes of the showcase, I wouldn’t have cared.  

Planescape would have been more exciting except we’ve known about it since Spelljammer and Dragonlance were announced. If they’re gonna bring back old settings, could they at least try to maybe put some quality into them? #Hadozee aside, Spelljammer pretty much sucked. No space combat or ship rules? 64 page hardcovers for around $90? Dragonlance was so “awesome” I’ve only seen a couple of very mediocre reviews. Yay, Lord Soth is back.

Planescape is looking kinda bleak at this point given WotC’s track record with revivals. It makes me glad they didn’t bring back Kara Tur to compete with Pathfinder’s upcoming Xian Tia expansion.

Vecna is the next most significant event on the horizon. If it’s a 5E book, I’ll check it out. If not? That’s too bad. If One D&D is involved, I’ll likely be skipping it. It’s never too late to change my mind. Otherwise, I can pull a lich similar to Vecna together for a Pathfinder 2E BBEG. It wouldn’t take long.

The one thing that stood out to me is they’re bringing the iconic 80s D&D cartoon bad guy Venger back in his own module. Again, I can always convert something from the 3E material into another game. They’re not selling me anything yet. If you watched the images in the background closely, they also hinted at Warduke possibly making an appearance in an upcoming adventure. That’d be very cool. Still not holding my breath.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it. Sorry I can’t get more excited about WotC news.

A couple of things I think WotC needs to learn.

They’re still talking down at the fans and not to us. It’s sad. If that’s all the more respect they have for us, they don’t deserve us as fans. They’re not trying very hard to keep us. The fake plastic enthusiasm didn’t sell me on anything. I don’t know about anyone else. Apparently, we’re still just walking dollar signs to WotC.

Second, I get the whole dumb “lifestyle brand” thing, but does anyone recognize the game of D&D that’s been around for 50 years in this video? For crying out loud. They barely paid it lip service. The upcoming product releases are so flimsy it’s not even funny. It’s like they’ve completely forgotten how to write actual game content.

Last, don’t announce a new edition almost two years ahead of its release. Way to kill the sales on just about everything WotC could put out for D&D in the meantime. Maybe that’s why the product has been weak as of late? They can do better. The fans know they can do better. Third Party Publishers and other companies ARE doing better.

Let’s hope the thing I shan’t name on April 3 is more productive or even meaningful than their PR package on the 28th was. Personally, I’m looking more to other game companies and other game systems. I’ve got some pretty cool setting info from various third party 5E books that’ll go really well into Pathfinder 2E.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it. Sorry I can’t get more excited about WotC news.