Well, I’m glad they finally got around to letting third party publishers know how they’re going to be able to stay in business. There’s a couple unfortunate things about this, however.
1. The $5000 fee. That’s a lot of money for a RPG publisher. This effectively prices out everyone except the very largest third party companies. I’m not sure why – I can see them wanting to keep it out of the hands of “dude in his garage” but that’s steep. And it’s only for a couple months of lead time, so the publishers would need to be making more than $5k profit on their 4e product(s) in that time to make it worthwhile.
2. The community standards. I worry about this one, especially with some of the frankly candyass things some of the Wizards have said lately, like leaving out half-orcs because of the “disturbing implications of their creation.” Where do they plan to draw the line? Just the Book of Erotic Fantasy (which did lose its d20 license)? How about the d20 version of Macho Women With Guns? Some of the recent Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path episodes have definitely been R rated.
3. The fact that no one can even read the OGL yet. You can’t see it unless you’re one of the companies waving $5k. That just seems suspicious and needlessly closed to me.
4. They’re going to limit the online SRD so it doesn’t have, you know, all the information in it. Are they really losing money for PHBs to the online SRD? I’ve found d20srd.org invaluable to quickly look things up, link to in internet discussions, etc. Oh good, something else to look forward to losing with 4th Edition.
5. All OGL products will require the PHB – so you can’t have a game like Conan where you put all the rules in it. This also means the end of variant OGL products like Mutants & Masterminds, Arcana Unearthed, and Spycraft, which is the single worst thing about all of this. “If you can’t create the game using what’s in the PHB you can’t do it,” was clearly said on the call.