D&D Beyond, Pricing, and a Glimpse at the Future
It looks like we now know what the pricing structure is going to look like for D&D Beyond. It’s still relatively new information, and I can’t claim to know all of the ins and outs. I’ll be honest–the website, when I was using it, didn’t seem bad, but it also didn’t seem like it was providing anything I couldn’t find elsewhere (such as the rules included with Roll 20). When I played with the character creator, it may have been a massive fail on my part, but I wasn’t quite getting the hang of creating characters.
You might chalk that character creator thing up to me being an old man, but I spent years making characters on Hero Lab for Mutants and Masterminds and Pathfinder, so I’m used to a fairly complex set of features for a character creation program.
Still, it didn’t look bad. It just looked a little limited while still in the test phase. Now, we have a roll out date, and some prices.
- Digital Sourcebooks (such as Volo’s Guide to Monsters or Xanathar’s Guide to Everything): $29.99
- Hardcover Adventure Content: $24.99
- Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Manual (for a limited time): $19.99
- Monthly Hero Tier Subscription: $2.99 (No ads, unlimited characters, can share custom content)
- Monthly Master Tier Subscription: $5.99 (as above, but can share locked content with players in a campaign)
Several things spring to mind. These are just gut level reactions, not well reasoned or thought out analysis.
- I really wish for an ongoing monthly subscription, that the “big three” rulebooks would have been included
- The prices seem a little steeper than what some companies might charge for the PDFs, and this content is locked into a proprietary website/app setup
- It didn’t even occur to me that they were going to supplement free use of the site/tools with ads–this has me a little concerned at how invasive the ads will be
- While this is a little steep compared to some company’s PDF pricing, you could argue that the content being available in digital tools makes up for that, especially if you factor in paying for unlocking content, say, in Hero Lab for Pathfinder, as an example
- That is a big, up front investment, however, even if you are just going Player’s Handbook, DMG, Monster Manual, Sourcebooks, and one adventure–may not be as painful once established, but it’s painful up front
- The pricing model makes me worry about introducing new players into the hobby and keeping them in D&D, by itself (I know, it’s not WOTC or Curse’s job to introduce players to the wider world of RPGs)
- It seems kind of strange that this seems to be directly competing, at least on some level, with both Fantasy Grounds and Roll 20 and their paid digital content–not having an integrated digital plan may be messy for D&D for a while
Again, no deep analysis, just some initial, knee-jerk reactions to reading the most concrete details we have gotten on the pricing plan so far.