D&D denies rumors of $30 subs and accusations that it ignores surveys

D&D Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen
(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

Those behind D&D have gone on record to dispel rumors surrounding subscription fees, the removal of homebrew content, replacing Dungeon Masters with AI equivalents, and suggestions that they disregard playtest feedback.

Coming in the wake of the D&D licensing controversy, there have been claims from numerous parties on social media that the D&D Beyond service (a digital library of Dungeons and Dragons books that also allows users to create characters, campaigns, and encounters online) would be getting a paid $30 per-month tier. According to these reports, those who didn't pay wouldn't be able to access content like user-created homebrew. However, the official Twitter account notes that (opens in new tab) "rumors of a $30 subscription fee are false." What's more, "homebrewing is core to D&D Beyond. It's not going away, and we're not going to charge you for it. Your homebrew is, and always will be, yours."

In addition, the account hits back at claims that D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast ignores feedback from its playtests. (The implication being that the surveys promised for the D&D OGL update would fall on deaf ears.) More specifically, it says that there are "designers whose core job it is to compile, analyze, and then act upon your feedback. Your feedback has made the game better over the past decade, and your feedback is central to D&D’s future."

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Multiple current and former staff-members have come out to dispel these reports as well. For example, D&D game designer Makenzie De Armas says (opens in new tab) that there are "team members who have dedicated WEEKS to diligently reading through feedback." This is backed up by former studio head Ray Winninger, who stated (opens in new tab) that the suggestions were "simply false. Before I left WotC, I personally read [Unearthed Arcana] feedback. So did several others. Many, many changes were made based on UA feedback, both quantitative and written. The entire OneD&D design schedule was built around how and when we could collect feedback."

Along with its other clarifications, the D&D Beyond thread also reassures followers that "no one at Wizards is working on AI DMs. We love our human DMs too much."

This open conversation is a marked change to Wizards' approach earlier in January. As its post (opens in new tab) this week says, "we compounded things by being silent for too long. We hurt fans and creators, when more frequent and clear communications could have prevented so much of this."

Indeed, things are very different now to that initial uproar. Wizards has since announced that the D&D OGL won't be changing after all, and it's thanks to an overwhelming public response.

It's been a full-on month for the best tabletop RPGs so far; hot on the heels of this turmoil, D&D rival Paizo announced its own license that was so popular it crashed the website. What's more, so many fans canceled their online D&D subscription that it crashed the page.

Benjamin Abbott
Tabletop & Merch Editor

As the site's Tabletop & Merch Editor, you'll find my grubby paws on everything from board game reviews to Lego buying guides. I have been writing about games in one form or another since 2012 and can normally be found cackling over some evil plan I've cooked up for my group's next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.