Witness the Future
13, Jan, 23

Wizards’ D&D Disaster Reveals Worrying Future for MTG

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Article at a Glance

As MTG grows and adapts to suit its growing audience, the brand has experienced significant changes recently. In recent years, for instance, we’ve seen the rise of new formats and products such as Alchemy and Universes Beyond. Additionally, Wizards has been printing more MTG products than ever before in order to tap into the growing player base. This has caused immense controversy throughout the past year. However, recently it’s not MTG that’s getting Wizards into trouble. Instead, thanks to proposed changes to the open Game Licence (OGL), Wizards is facing controversy from Dungeons & Dragons players. While not extensively affecting the MTG brand, a new statement from a whistleblower has revealed worrying prospects for MTG’s future. 

Debacle & Dragons

The Ur-Dragon
The Ur-Dragon | Commander 2017

In case you missed our story a few days ago detailing the D&D debacle, here’s a quick rundown to get you up to speed. Since 2002 Dungeons & Dragons have had an Open Gaming Licence, allowing fans and creators to freely license the brand. This allowed players and companies to produce high-quality supplemental stories, miniatures, and products, dramatically accelerating the brand’s growth. A recently leaked document for an “OGL 1.1”, however, threatens to upend that longstanding agreement, forcing royalties upon creators. Alongside this, OGL 1.1 gives Wizards a “nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, sub-licensable, royalty-free license” to use player and creator-made content freely. As you might imagine, this didn’t go down well in the D&D community. 

Following the mass outrage online, Wizards briefly delayed their impending announcement for OGL 1.1, giving players some hope. Thankfully, this glimmer of hope has since proven to be more than just wistful thinking, as Wizards has finally released a statement. Writing on the D&D Beyond website, Wizards spoke out to state they’re re-overhauling the OGL once again to appease players. This update will reportedly remove many of the controversial provisions from the leaked OGL 1.1 document, such as royalties and the license to player/creator work. Announcing these changes, Wizards expects that “you’re going to hear people say that they won, and we lost because making your voices heard forced us to change our plans. Those people will only be half right. They won—and so did we.” 

Despite the recently released positive statement from D&D Beyond staff, players aren’t entirely happy with Wizards of the Coast. This is thanks to a recent email from a whistleblower at Wizards who shared a shocking view from inside the company. 

Whistleblower of the Coast

Wizards of the ________
Wizards of the ________ | Unfinity

Posted to Twitter by @DnD_Shorts, who would go on to verify the email’s legitimacy, an unnamed Wizards employee recently spoke out against the company. In their email, the employee stated they’re writing “because I fear for the health of a community I love.” Written before the recent statement from Wizards above, the employee claimed Wizards was seemingly apathetic to the concerns of players. Rather than focusing on player concerns, the email claims Wizards “are still hoping the community forgets, moves on, and they can still push this [OGL 1.1] through.” Following the positive player-concern-addressing statement from Wizards today, thankfully, it seems Wizards really were listening and paying attention all along. 

Despite some of the email’s concerns having been rectified by the recent statement, the sender’s statements still worried the community. Specifically, when explaining their reason for reaching out, the Wizards employee suggested that Wizards/Hasbro don’t care for their customers. Instead, according to the employee, players are simply “obstacles between them and their money.” 

“I have decided to reach out because at my time in WotC, I have never once heard management refer to customers in a positive manner. Their communication gives me the impression they see customers as obstacles between them and their money. The [D&D Beyond] steam was first told to prepare to support the new OGL changes and online portal when they got back from the holidays, and leadership doesn’t take any responsibility for the pain and stress they cause others. Leadership’s first communication to the rank and file on the OGL was 30 minutes on 1/11/23. This was the first time they even tried to communicate their intentions about the OGL to employees, and even this morning they blamed the community for over-reacting.”

Unnamed Wizards of the Coast employee

As you might expect, upon hearing this damning view of Wizards from the inside, D&D players weren’t too happy. This time, however, it wasn’t just D&D players voicing their concerns, as MTG players were also up in arms. Following 30th Anniversary Edition and the refusal to heed overprinting concerns, MTG players have been feeling dejected by Wizards for some time. Subsequently, this cause and message was one that players’ were keen to rally around. Taking to Reddit, players such as u/TFinito, for instance, reiterated the sentiment that people should “vote with your money/time!” Similarly tapping into the raging concerns, u/Imaginary-Not-Friend warned players that more monetization of MTG could be on the way. 

“Buyer Beware: WOTC is constantly looking for new and different ways to part you with your money if you’re into MTG or D&D.

I get they’re a business, but at least before it wasn’t so blatant and in your face as it is now. WOTC is aware of the feedback and backlash and no matter how much they tell you they care, they’re listening and taking it into account, they aren’t based on their actions. Vote with your wallet as always. Just sucks this is happening with the games we love.”


A Glimmer of Hope

Glimmer of Genius
Glimmer of Genius | Kaladesh

While there’s no understating the controversy that Wizards have caused, thankfully, following the recent statement, there is hope for the future. Within this statement, Wizards decisively addresses the community’s concerns, seemingly making real changes as a result. It’s not ideal that so much backlash was needed to force a change, but the changes are nevertheless welcome. In any case, following this intense controversy, we can only hope that Wizards will be more receptive to player feedback in the future to allow MTG and D&D to flourish rather than falter. 

Read More: MTG’s True 30th Anniversary Set Doesn’t Cost $999

*MTG Rocks is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more