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Layoffs at WotC

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the failed-their-saving-throw dept.

Games 286

Abies writes "During last year or so, quite a lot of people were fired from WotC - current owners of the D&D line. A few days ago, _most_ of big names out there had to quit - including Skip Williams and Jeff Grubb. Official WotC press info, Enworld news about that and a Monte Cook thread contain some more detailed info. Do you think it will spell an end to D&D ? After something which seemed to be a ressurection of old-time RPG, Hasbro seems to kill the biggest RPG company out there. Will OGL and the D20 license be enough to preserve the genre ?"

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286 comments

Layoffs at WTC ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216517)

FP!

Serious Question (-1)

Hemos (editor) (569506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216522)

I heard there are threats of a biological-based terror attack either tomorrow or Tuesday.

Does anyone have any leads?

Re:Serious Question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216578)

Someone here at work ate the entire Taco Bell Family Pack by himself. I think it is safe to say there is going to be a biological-based terror attack soon. (_O_)

Layoffs -- an American sport (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216524)

American executives layoff employees to amuse themsleves and for sport; just to show who the boss is. "Planes just the the world trade center! Quick! Layoff 20% of the employees!" Is it any wonder why America is so hated?

well well well! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216528)

Hey! This article wasn't here, last time I checked, about 3 seconds ago.

It's all in your head (5, Insightful)

Frodo Looijaard (12815) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216533)

Remember folks - roleplaying is about together creating characters and a world. The roleplaying system you use can help you to get there, but it is not the important part. In fact, it is very possible to use a very simple system, or even no system at all. As long as your Game Master is fair, and you players play for the fun of it instead of trying to 'win' somehow, the sky is the limit!

Re:It's all in your head (1)

anarchima (585853) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216541)

Exactly..there are many other great systems with less dice-rolling and fewer concrete rules (I am of course talking about GURPS). Even if the company dies, the RPG rules have already been created for others to play with.

WotC could lay off because the project is done. (4, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216707)

Even if you really like d20 and D&D 3rd edition, this is not really bad news. All of the core rules for 3rd Ed D&D are now released, as well as most of the other books that TSR had planned. Plenty of ongoing expansions are coming out from 3rd party companies, so realistically, WotC doesn't actually need these writers for anything anymore, do they? (At least not until AD&D 4.0 comes out, which won't be for a long, long time.)

The only thing d20 still needs is a good set of software tools for GM's who like to run the game from their laptops, and due to the open nature of d20, I'm sure a lot of amitious hackers are going to fill that void anyway.

As long as WotC offered these guys a nice, fat severence package as a way of saying "thanks" for their efforts, I have no problem with seeing them cut loose.

Online Muds: Free and Non-commercial (3, Insightful)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216535)

RPG's as a genre won't go away, I promise you. There are always MUDs (Multi-user dimension/dungeons) which people can play. Play is free and you make as many characters as you want. Runs on telnet, so you can do it from any OS. My personal favorite is Imperial, at telnet://imperial.modeemi.cs.tut.fi:6969. They also have a web page at that address, minus the port. It is supported by the goodwill of the founders. There are thousands more - www.mudconnector.com. Cheers!

Re:Online Muds: Free and Non-commercial (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216583)

Speaking of MUDs, a shameless plug: Tsunami [thebigwave.net] is a medieval fantasy MUD with an oriental theme, that has been up since 1994. It is written in LPC, an interpreted variant of C with elegant object-oriented extensions. Two most exciting activities on this MUD are player killing, and occasional wars-- periods during which there is no penalty to dying, but there are substantial bonuses for killing. Both require skill on the part of the player, and thus present a fun challenge!

To try it our, telnet to tsunami.thebigwave.net.

And remember, you may check out, but you can never leave.

Re:Online Muds: Free and Non-commercial (4, Interesting)

Rentar (168939) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216666)

MUDs are great, but they are different from Pen & Paper roleplaying games. Of course there are some MUDs (or MOOs, or M**s) that do focus on role-playing, many of them only focus on roll-playing (still lot's of fun, but different).

Personally I've found that sometimes playing a classic Pen & Paper Roleplaying game on IRC is a great, especially if the genre fits (Shadowrun comes to my mind). It allows the GM (or DM or whatever you call it) levels of seperations of the players that are much harder to achieve on the table. For example you can always pass little notes with information only one player knows around, but the note-passing alone will give the other players hints. On IRC, you just open a private channel and write whatever you want, there's more ways for the GM to manipulate the players in the interest of the story. One funny trick is to open private channels to each player and tell each of them that they see something special, and tell each player the same, then look how long it takes them to share this knowledge with each other, this allone can give you great insights into your group.

Re:Online Muds: Free and Non-commercial (2)

M. Silver (141590) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216787)

Personally I've found that sometimes playing a classic Pen & Paper Roleplaying game on IRC is a great, especially if the genre fits (Shadowrun comes to my mind).

Or via email, though I have to admit I'm a bit biased (something about running a PBeM server for, uh, 16 years or so will do that to you).

We've lately been setting up an enCore MOO for realtime (we had an IRC server up, but enCore is cooler). Unless the GM really wants to get into setting up locations for flavor, the MOO itself won't be used for gameplay, just to provide a venue. EnCore seems very well suited for that.

Re:Online Muds: Free and Non-commercial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216703)

Or you could visit Merentha (www.merentha.com) where the Gods have this attitude:

"i have no patience for people who *think* they have some kind of rights here."

Stale future (2, Insightful)

masterkool (550633) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216537)

D&D and Magic and all the other great games Wizards have brought us are probably going to remain the same games, as both D&D and Magic have fundamental rules and structures. However, we probaly wont see as many new games, or rather as many new GOOD games or new additions to the games we allready love. One guy on the post said:
"Wizards is both saving themselves and shooting themselves in the foot. Their cutting their Operations budget and saving a lot on payroll and benefits but they're losing talent. And now most of this talent will go work for their competition. In truth, if disgruntled employees of Wizards wanted to hurt their former masters the best thing they could do is stop freelancing for them. Leave Wizards no talent to draw from and let them twist in the wind. Of course this kind of solidarity is rare amongst freelancers, especially gamers."
Chances are other companies will begin to produce the new concepts as the people laid off from Wizards join them.

Attention (OT): Mad trolling needed.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216538)

Best troll comments needed for this page: http://jaguars.jacksonville.com/special/mondaymorn ingqb/ [jacksonville.com]

The place is a comment board for football games. The people there are idiots and need some witty insightful trollful comments to brighten their days.

Go get em!!!

Re:Attention (OT): Mad trolling needed.... (-1)

Carp Flounderson (542291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216622)

I widened it for you.

Re:Attention (OT): Mad trolling needed.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216677)

Now that was truly inspired. Well done sir!!!

Re:Attention (OT): Mad trolling needed.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216898)

This is going to end badly... the first goatse.cx link just appeared. So did 'a concerned parents' plea with the admins.

Re:Attention (OT): Mad trolling needed.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4217012)

No one will know to click that link. But what no one knows is that you can embed images in the page. So if someone were to directly link that img... oh my.

Thank Goodness, (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216540)

They didn't get kicked out of their parent's basements. They would be really screwed then.

Hasbro? How about WotC. (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216542)

WotC has been one of the primary examples of how a company can destroy something via greed. They destroyed magic for christ's sake! The most popular, addicting thing until Everquest hit the shelves, and they killed it over greed. Surely you didn't think they could do much better with D&D, something that isn't nearly as popular or addictive?

Re:Hasbro? How about WotC. (1)

Bob Finklestein (583573) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216659)

As I understand it (and this is only what my friends that play Magic say) it was only after Hasbro bought WotC that the game really started to get dumbed down and to go downhill.

Re:Hasbro? How about WotC. (0)

zestymonkey (78271) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216788)

From my understanding, Hasbro saved WotC, at least in the then near-term, because WotC was running out of money quickly.

Nah.. (1)

GuardianAli (552915) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216546)

The name is too popular to kill off. While if every one leaves the company or gets laid off, this is a bad thing, the name and games will live on. it has a strong fallowing.

I think it just means there wont be new rules and systems as much anymore since the main guys are leaving stage left.

WotC killed itself (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216551)

WotC killed itself by trying to force people to keep buying what they already own.

Whether it be for D&D, Magic: The Gather, or one of their other drugs.. er games.

Re:WotC killed itself (2, Interesting)

Burning*Cent (579896) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216637)

Yeah, that's why I stopped playing most card games and RPGs. I wasted so much money on Decipher's Star Wars CCGs trying to get rare cards even though the game was terrible (no where near as good as magic). I stopped buying RPG books when I realized I wasted hundreds of dollars on White Wolf's World of Darkness books just to stay up-to-date on the stories. It might be an effective business model to keep shoveling cards and books down gamers' throats, but it's not an effective consumer model.

Thankfully, there are alternatives. I recommend anything from Looney Labs [looneylabs.com] . I've played Fluxx [wunderland.com] , Chrononauts [wunderland.com] , and Aquarius [wunderland.com] , and each was a fun, elegant, and affordable (no 20 different expansions to milk out more cash) game.

Re:WotC killed itself (1)

zestymonkey (78271) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216780)

Regardless of what anyone might think about Decipher's take on the Star Wars universe, they had a much better, cleaner game than the one WotC has produced. It's a shame we may never get to see a Second Edition of that game, because it might well have resurrected it from the mess it had become since the Dagobah expansion.

WotC has been a one-trick pony since they published Magic. It's the one thing they didn't have to put much effort into because of its momentum, but a jolted economy has made WotC's tentpole vulnerable to woodrot. All other good games they have published has been pre-existing ones.

The inherent problems with card games are (as Burning*Cent has illuminated) the "card chase," the need to buy more and more product which is strictly a luxury to the consumers and the "critical mass," a point in time where a game becomes unweildy under the number of cards. It takes shrewd design and marketing teams to create a card game that can keep existing players happy with each expansion while maintaining an influx of new players who are unafraid of the current inventory of cards against them.

Okay, now I'm rambling...

Re:WotC killed itself (1)

Monte (48723) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216959)

Regardless of what anyone might think about Decipher's take on the Star Wars universe, they had a much better, cleaner game than the one WotC has produced.

It's easy to do it better once someone else has done it first.

That goes for both M:tG and D&D.

Hackmaster (2)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216552)

The D&D genre will survive, at the very least because Hackmaster is still out there. Granted, it's extreme power gaming, but it's fun in small doses.

Re:Hackmaster (2)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216781)

I disagree that Hackmaster is about power gaming. In fact, there is a whole lot more honest roleplaying in Hackmaster than any edition of D&D. This is because Hackmaster authors really pay attention to details which create an atmosphere of realism, making genuine roleplaying totally natural. Just one example: How many parties in your campaign were forced by your DM to hire a torchbearer?

About Hackmaster powergaming: The rules authors were clever enough to realize that some campains do as a matter of fact turn towards powergaming, so they made explicit rules so that even a powergaming campaign remains fun. That doesn't take away anything from the other "role-playing" elements of the game. It's just that Hackmaster rules don't wuss out and tacitly say "powergaming--don't go there!" There will always be powerhungry characters, and proper roleplaying requires that they be played so as to use every opportunity to grab more power. If a game does not support this sort of a role for characters, it's an woefully incomplete role-playing game. WotC's edition of D&D is one such game, but that is only one of its many flaws. I thank the gods for Hackmaster!

Jeff left to write books. (2)

User 956 (568564) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216553)

Jeff Grubb has left WotC to focus more on his writing. His story, "Apocalypse Noun," is being included in the upcoming Thieves' World: Turning Points [amazon.com] collection of short stories, due out this November. He is also currently working on the final WARCRAFT novel, The Last Guardian.

Hah! (1)

magnwa (18700) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216560)

Give me a break.. the OGL is not as open as people would think, and the D20 license is worse than an EULA . You know that WOTC has patented "Levelling up" right? They've got freaking patents on character development through levelling.

Levels? (2)

Roadmaster (96317) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216630)

"leveling up" appeals to a certain segment of the RPG community. Yet there are others who prefer emphasizing role-playing, and for whom gaining experience and levels isn't that important. Finally, there are also plenty of games whose main selling point is being "level-less"; character advancement is accomplished through other means, usually gaining distributable ability points according to actions during the game.

Re:Levels? (2)

Rentar (168939) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216651)

Exactly, most not-so-popular systems ( = everything, that's not D20) nowaday don't use levels. Even DSA (the most widely played RPG in Germany) which allways had ... well, let's say beginners-friendly rules and settings stopped using levels in it's most current version (levels still exist, but they have almost no practical effect). Also level-less systems usually allow you much broader development of a character (but also much more specialication, which sometimes results in pure power-gaming).

Re:Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216631)

I doubt they could patent these things. They aren't inventions or processes to produce materials, merely protocol that dictate thought. Please provide the link to the patent information. If there is any legitimacy to your claims, then this chould be a very simple matter. Otherwise, I shall ignore you.

Re:Hah! (2)

Corvaith (538529) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216743)

How specific *is* this patent, though? While a lot of the software patents out there are horrible--boo, hiss, yeah, let's move on--either WotC isn't enforcing theirs very well, or an awful lot of computer gaming companies must be paying them royalties. There are plenty of non-D&D computer games that use levelling... unless they're all paying to license the idea, I think that non-D&D tabletop games aren't in any danger of being prevented from using it.

Which isn't to say that levelling is the most important thing ever. Real people do not have levels.

Re:Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216756)

Read it more carefully people (it is a bit hazy). They haven't "patented leveling up" they've simply said you can't screw with the leveling system if you want to be a d20 product. That's a big difference. You are welcome to write your own system it just can't use the d20 trademark and be "certified".

Re:Hah! (1)

magnwa (18700) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216838)

No.. they own a patent on levelling up, and then disallow use of levelling in the D20 GL.

The idea of leveling up is so old. . . (4, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 11 years ago | (#4217017)

it is literally prehistoric.

You want prior art, centuries old?

*King me!*

KFG

Man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216564)

WotC was the worst movie I've ever seen. Lucas raped my childhood!

This is all kind of old, but it's Hasbro, not WotC (1)

Xeriar (456730) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216565)

WotC has to do what Hasbro tells it, and Hasbro is in its death throes. They're now worth a third of what they once were, and that number isn't going up.

Apparently WotC's art department got gutted like a fish. I don't presume their precious card games are going to recover any faster, at this point.

Why bother with an RPG system? (0)

vranash (594439) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216568)

Seeing as I'm sure I'll piss off one person or another with my views, everything typed below is IMHO, so take it with a grain of salt, or bottle of vodka :)

Just from my own prior experience, the most fun I had roleplaying was from 4th-8th grades, where do to admin policy, even if we had had the money to buy a set of RPG books, we could've gotten suspended (or so I heard) for bringing them on-campus.

Furthermore, the worst cheating I've ever run into roleplaying was OL, because regardless of the rules, the GM can do whatever the hell they want anyhow and trying to argue rules with them will just get you kicked off.

So in conclusion, unless you're doing it for bragging rights or something, RPG systems are like windows.. they're pretty, and helpful for newbies/those without imaginations of their own, but they really just waste time and resources better spent on what you're doing :)

Donut's Law on layoffs... (1)

Donut (128871) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216582)

When layoffs are needed, it is always easier to fire some people across the country than the guy down the hall.

-Donut

an end to D&D (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216589)

PLEASE let it happen. People who play D&D should be ashamed of themselves. Fucking smelly, no life-having, never been laid, pimplefaced dorks. About as worthless as Magic players.

Re:an end to D&D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216601)

Bitter?

Re:an end to D&D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216738)

now, you're only saying that because you haven't met the Star Wars dorks yet. If you think D&D players are smelly and have no life then you have definitely not had the unfortunately opportunity to gag on the rancid stench of Star Wars fanboys. thier feotid odor is magnified by thier habit of gobbling up whatever pap gets farted out of the ass of GL, because to a rancid fanboy GL's crap is divinely imbued and can lead you to greater understanding of the dumbed-down California Orientalism known as the "force" (much like aum shinrikyu nutballs gobbled up bits of thier guru's bathwater for the same reason)
If you should find yourself in unfortunate situation of "roleplaying" with creepy SW cretins, remember that everyone should feel honoured to line up to suck the cock of the jedi, because jedi are just sooooo cool and every stupid thing is sanctioned because well, they are jedi.

They can Coast a long for quite a while... (3, Insightful)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216593)

Apparently the Epic (levels higher than 20) rules D&D are already designed so they have their next cash cow in the bag already. Licensing for D&D and continuing Magic sales will keep them profitable for quite some time, given they don't have any expensive employees anymore.

Its just business. Short-sited myopic business maybe, but not surprising at all. Hasbro is still in business while the much of the competition isnt. The employees can always invent a new game, become hugely popular, and sell out to Hasbro again.

Re:They can Coast a long for quite a while... (2, Informative)

dorward (129628) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216720)

Apparently the Epic (levels higher than 20) rules D&D are already designed so they have their next cash cow in the bag already.

Designed? The Epic level rules are published [wizards.com]

WotC = Soul Sucking Coperation. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216610)

I used to work at a WotC store... and let me tell you... we saw this from the inside out... Sure magic used to be fun but when it changed into having to buy 200 dollars worth of cards every 6 months or less it was less fun and more painful. and the ONLY way to keep up was to buy new cards.. WotC ensured that by removing older cards from the game. atleast with D&D you could buy the basic books and go from there. I have a feeling Hasbro is collectivly crapping them selves right now seeing their 'Wunderkind' failing... I think its that people don't want to spend 200 bucks when ever a new set comes out so they can have the latest uber card so they can win in a tournament.

Selling Cards isn't profitable enough? (0, Redundant)

TechGeek911 (558080) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216613)

I see the amount of money people of all ages spend on Magic - the Gathering and other WotC Gaming supplies. I've watched 12 year olds drop 200 bucks buying boxes of the newest sets. The interest in these games seems to grow and grow. I wonder where all losses are that provoke the company to lay off the lifeblood of thier industry, the artists who conceptualize these ideas that millions of people catch onto!

Preserve the genre? Is my old copy of Chainmail. . (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216615)

going to go up in a puff of smoke or something?

An RPG is nothing but a set of rules, a framework, around which a campaign is built. The rules have already been published. If people wish to play D&D they will continue to play D&D no matter what the hell happens at or to WotC.

Hey, remember the days when a single human being could carry all the rules to D&D without the aid of a forklift? In his *pocket?* Go get a copy of those rules somewhere, Xerox them if you have to, it'll just make them look more authentic anyway, and then find come creative type with a good *imagination* to run the show. All the players need are some pencils and graph paper.

Does the genre need to be preserved? Only if we've sunk so low in our society that college kids these days can't have fun sitting around the commons and * making cool shit up!*

KFG

Fresh blood is important (2, Insightful)

abies (607076) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216746)

No, your Chainmail rules will not dissapear. I will continue to play D&D with my friends. But if it will stop to be marketed this year, then in few years people will not understand what you are talking about when you will say AC.

Of course, some people don't care. If they can play with their old time friends, it's ok. But from my experience (not much, I do NOT have original chainmail on my shelf - I play RPGs for only 15 years), fresh blood is very refreshing experience (not Vampire pun intended ;). To really develop you need a fresh look. And I doubt you can expect thousands of teenagers to look into archives for back issues of not-longer-developer games. These thousands are not important, but some of them will turn into really good GMs and players.

Now, it is not so grim - there will be other RPGs out there. If somebody would be a good D&D DM, he will also probably make good DM in other games. But certain genre of RPG - high heroic, strict rules for even very powerful characters, etc, is for me tightly tied to D&D. Even if I sometimes prefer 'deeper' sessions, I and my friends really enjoy being able to developer a HERO from 1st level up to ultimate dragon-slaying king. And I'm afraid, that with D&D demise (which is not yet sure of course), this type of RPG would die.

Re:Fresh blood is important (2)

phong3d (61297) | more than 11 years ago | (#4217020)

But if it will stop to be marketed this year, then in few years people will not understand what you are talking about when you will say AC.

I think you're wrong there. I picked up on D&D when I was 10 or 11 years old (nearly 20 years ago now) with no prodding from a multi-million dollar ad campaign or product tie-ins. The RPG community has existed quite well without large corporate sponsorship for a long time, and if there were to be some massive hemorrhaging at WotC, would continue just fine if there were some interruption with D&D's publishing schedule.

Pencil-and-paper roleplaying - I feel - isn't about having the latest rules or newest sub-class guide. It's about friendship and camaraderie and enjoying yourself in a pastime that requires a quick wit, a reasonable level of intelligence and a vivid imagination. That's enough to keep people playing, as I see it, for a long time coming. That said - you still play D&D? REAL gamers play Hackmaster [taloncomics.com]

Good (1)

pympdaddyc (586298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216627)

DnD's going downhill anyway. It's time for newer, hungrier developers and game companies (like White Wolf) to shine.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216765)

White Wolf is good at the Role-Playing and horrible at the mechanics, both are important.

Re:Good (2)

analog_line (465182) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216895)

Newer? Hungrier?

How long do you think White Wolf has been publishing, eh? You been living under a rock? White Wolf is fat and happy draining all the tragically living of their money with Vampire and all hte rest of their crap from the World of Darkness, and bringing out new game after new game. No, they're not the biggest dog on the block, but they sure aren't a scrappy upstart, nor are they wondering where their next meal will come from.

Re:Good (2)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216966)

Not everything White Wolf puts out is World of Darkness. I'm blase' about the whole WoD thing, but I'm really fond of Adventure!, their AEonverse pulp roleplaying setting.

Re:Good (2)

analog_line (465182) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216985)

Didn't mean to imply that. The main point being, the WoD is their cash cow. Yeah, they do other stuff, but they can because Vampire and everything is spawned made them a whole lot of cash.

Roll your saving throw... (4, Funny)

Bitter Cup O Joe (146008) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216653)

... or immediately lose your job. On the other hand, if the rumors I've heard in the industry about WotC's downhill slide are true, it's good that a bunch of talented designers are now free to look for positions elsewhere. These are all good folks, and I'm sure they'll land on their feet elsewhere.

One Question.... (0, Offtopic)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216654)

Does anyone have another quarter? Otherwise i have to get funions...

Re:One Question.... (0, Offtopic)

swb (14022) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216668)

Funyuns rock. I have a hard time understanding why they still make them, since I'm the only person I know that likes them and eats them with any regularity.

More News... (5, Interesting)

Dracos (107777) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216660)

If WoTC's plans are to get all these people to come back as freelancers, they're screwed. Microsoft caused a law in Washington to be enacted where dismissed employees cannot freelance for the same department for 1 year. Art department: gutted. RPG R&D: gutted.

I also read last night that WoTC's entire RPG operation may be for sale, with one interested party being Jordan Weisman [wizkidsgames.com] . See this thread [rpg.net] on the RPG.net [rpg.net] message boards.

Re:More News... (1)

Erik Fish (106896) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216757)

I think Weisman would make an excellent owner for the RPG parts of WoTC. WizKids seems to be doing fine with Shadowrun -- having the good sense to farm it out to Fantasy Productions which in turn had the good sense to create a US subsidiary (FanPro LLC) and hire back some of the people who were working on it at FASA. WizKid's Classic Battletech miniatures seem to be widely appreciated as well.

On the other hand, Ryan Dancey is the last person I would want to see owning D&D. As someone posted above, the OGL is a real mess.

Re:More News... (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216803)

Wizkids would be great to own D&D, but there are more than a few people who think Wizkids has stretched themselves too thin already. Many retailers are upset about the kind of support they get from Wizkids and some of the decisions they make (my local retailer [fantasyshoponline.com] was pissed about Mechwarrior and DC Heroclix being for sale at GenCon when I talked to him there).

I have to agree the OGL and d20 licenses are a joke, and Ryan Dancey is an idiot. There are many people in the industry who have been predicting the death of d20 for over a year, some since 3E was released.

Re:More News... (1)

quistas (137309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216998)

Microsoft caused a law in Washington to be enacted where dismissed employees cannot freelance for the same department for 1 year.

I believe you're confusing Microsoft policy with Washington law. Microsoft has any number of policies designed to protect them from lawsuits regarding contractors, and this may well be one of them.

But this isn't law. Do you think the Department of Labor enforces a regulation that specifies *department*? As if there's a legal distinction between working for a company's marketing or IT departments -- and then the DoL would have to get involved with writing standards for what constitutes a department and a division... no.

-- q

We Saw This Coming... (4, Interesting)

GearheadX (414240) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216662)

WotC announced its big contest for a new gaming world months ago. This isn't surprising. They fired the original game world owners to make room for new staff and a new setting that they can make pure profit on without coughing up cash to the original setting creators.

Re:We Saw This Coming... (1)

vrykolaka (521411) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216712)

I think they finally plan to create the meta-world of <strong>Dominia</strong> (and its main world of Dominaria) wich is the original setting for _Magic: the Gathering_.

I wondered why they stucked with Krynn(DragonLance), OErth (Greyhawk, the old timer) and Albeir Toril (Forgotten Realms), now I come to understand...

Personally, I don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216674)

I grew up playing Basic D&D (the 1981 Basic & Expert sets, then the 5 boxed sets, then the Rules Cyclopedia), but this new edition feels radically different, and I wouldn't call it D&D. It has too much rules minutia, and the game has left its roots of wonder and fantasy to become bogged down in rules. As far as I'm concerned, D&D died in 1996 when they cancelled the Rules Cyclopedia.

SHAD0W's Law (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216691)

SHAD0W's Law of determining the outcome of a Magic game:

The winner will be the person with the most disposable income.

Re:SHAD0W's Law (1)

Suicide (45320) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216811)

You don't play very competetively do you? Go play a few draft and sealed tournaments, where you only have a limited card selection to work from, and spend the exact same amount as everyone else in the tournament, and realise just how wrong you are.

Re:SHAD0W's Law (3, Interesting)

Karma Sink (229208) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216832)

Almost everyone I see who has this opinion was never a very good magic player.

True Story: A friend of mine had a dream deck. He saved up so that he could spend almost $500 in order to get all of the rares for this deck, including some cards that weren't even legal anymore, such as some Arabian nights.

He came to my house, and I didn't have any decks built. In about 20 minutes, and using a grand total of one rare card worth about five bucks, I built a tournament legal deck that beat him ten games in a row, six with his new deck, and four with an older deck he'd built.

This friend had a deck published in the Duelist, so it's not like he didn't know what he was doing... but it proves that it's quite possible to be a dominating Magic player with less than $20.

Very off-topic question (2)

psicE (126646) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216699)

I remember back when Wizards announced the D20 system. They had an "interview" or something like that on their site, describing it. And one of the points they made on their site was that D20 could be used to design a system that was completely level-free.

Is anyone here (well, duh, of course :D) sufficiently advanced in D&D that they know how to adapt D20 to be level-free? Or do you know someone else that already did that?

Re:Very off-topic question (1)

Xeriar (456730) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216779)

If you go to the forums on the ENWorld site mentioned, you can find the project for it. Never looked at it, myself - I prefer other systems to go for realism.

Level-Free D&D (1)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216891)

All you have to do is come up with a system to buy skill points and attribute points directly with a certain amount of experience instead of buying a level with experience. (Some D20 games like Spycraft already allow trading in experience points for other things, like emergency cash while on a mission.) Probably would take less than half an hour to sit down and work something out.

I don't need no stinkin' Wizards!!!! (3, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216701)

Do you think it will spell an end to D&D ?
You mean, will somebody go out and burn all the DM guides and monster manuals? Doesn't seem likely.

Oh, you mean will D&D software survive. That has nothing to do WotC. They only control things that are called D&D. Example:

A long time ago a undergrad name Michael Toy used the D&D fighting system and monster stats to create a Curses game called Rogue [www.hut.fi] , the predecessor to NetHack [nethack.org] . (Ignore Glenn Wichmann -- he's a legend in his own mind.) TSR [wizards.com] didn't care for this, of course, and sicced their lawyers on him. The only result was that all the names got changed to non-D&D things. Which was actually an improvement -- there's no place in the D&D universe for my own favorite player character, the Tourist [flash.net]

Bottom line -- you don't need the media monopolies to play games, any more than you need them to make music. Pity about Farscape though.

Re:I don't need no stinkin' Wizards!!!! (1)

darkbabbit (172002) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216773)

The hobby does need WoTC to survive and grow.

WoTC and White Wolf are the only two game companies that actively recruit new people to the tabletop RPG hobby. All the other RPG companies cater to established gamers. WoTC far outpaces even White Wolf with D&D controlling over 90% of the marketplace (in terms of sales).

db

Don't need no stinkin' recruiters! (2)

fm6 (162816) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216840)

Well, if DnD needs recruiters to survive, it's in trouble with or without WoTC! When was the last time you saw a recuirter for Monopoly? How about checkers?

Re:Don't need no stinkin' recruiters! (1)

darkbabbit (172002) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216972)


WoTC actively recruits new players into the hobby by working to get D&D into the mass market stores as well as taking steps to increase brand awareness.

Parker Brothers does the same thing with Monopoly. Copies of Monopoly can be found damn near everywhere in the US due to PBs work at getting into the mass market. PB also aggressively promotes Monopoly. The annual McDonald's contest and the limited editions of the game are two examples.

How popular would Monopoly be if people could only buy it in specialty stores?

db

Nethack RULES THE WORLD (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216842)

Okay. Here's the deal. If you have never played Nethack before, you must now IMMEDIATELY go to www.nethack.org and download the binaries for your system (source weenies can get source too). If you played any Nethack before 3.0, you STILL must go get the latest and see just how AMAZING a game Nethack is. Go get falcon's eye too if you want, but we're talking NETHACK. If you play D&D, and you have a good imagination, you will absolutely love Nethack.

And the biggest bonus, if you learn to play nethack, you'll be an expert at navigation in VI (it uses the same keys, but you don't have to).

News Flash (1)

pheared (446683) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216727)

With the disruption of WotC, D&D nerds have been spotted in the sunlight in hundreds of locations across the globe. Doctors have been asked if this sudden exposure to sunlight will be detrimental to the health of the former D&D players. One Doctor replied, "Well, at least they aren't vampire worshipping goths." The reporters nodded in agreement.

/me sheds a tear for this tragic, tragic news on slashdot.

WotC were and are lame; Long live REAL roleplaying (1, Flamebait)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216734)

I'm sure Jeff Grub et. al. are great guys, but I won't cry a tear at WotC's demise. As far as I'm concerned, their perversion of the D&D system could not die soon enough. The people who really know how to have fun roleplaying still have Hackmaster [kenzerco.com] and that's all we need. WotC's edition of D&D was written by a corporate board to appeal to "market demographics" (mainly young children). Hackmaster was written by a bunch of very smart, experienced and fun roleplayers for brilliant campaigns, in the style of Gary Gygax's old work for TSR. If there is real talent at WotC, I suggest they join the Hackmaster team. The lusers should to home.

D and D sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216740)

It does...get a life.

Freeform rules! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216741)

Sweden has always been a big RPG country per capita which has allowed enough space on market for usually one big Swedish producer along-side foreign producers. As soon as one falls (lack of inspiration it seems) another one takes its place. We've seen two or three such shifts during the past 20 years. I would suspect that the American market would be similar, the fall of WotC just denotes it's time to dig out Shadowrun, Runemaster, Ars Magica etc. and enjoy the wait for the next big inspiration. Btw, anyone spot the oxymoron? ;)

How is Magic On-line doing? (4, Insightful)

Aexia (517457) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216770)

Is that failing as well? It seems to be me they went about it completely the wrong way.

Magic is a fun challenging game... if you can afford to spend at least $300-$600 a year on it or can bargain like a madman. People stop playing because they got tired of the upgrade treadmill and seeing their old cards more or less become useless.

So, for the on-line version, what do they do? They make an even worse version of that flaw! You have to pay full retail for virtual cards. I never paid that much even with the real ones. I would buy by the box at a substantial discount. That's how I stayed in it for so long. This just ensures people burn out sooner.

I think if they had merely charged $10/month for access to all the cards, they would've done insanely well. Over a year, it probably adds up to about the same as the booster approach for many people, but that whole year I would've been able to build any deck I wanted.

As it is, I'm staying the fuck away from it. It's a pity. I really liked the first computer version of Magic the Gathering.

Re:How is Magic On-line doing? (1)

Suicide (45320) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216878)

If they charged $10 a month, they would have to end printing real cards. If they charged less than retain, they would completely destroy the value of the printed cards, which they need to preserve to keep the store owners happy.

Second of all, if you don't want to have magic continually changing, play a format that doesn't continually change. I don't bargain like a madman, and I cetainly don't spend $300-$600 a year on it either. But I do play alot, both online and offline. And I do attend sactioned tournaments. And I have a blast with it.

You complain about the "upgrade treadmill", but most players I know think its the best thing to happen to it. Magic, like all games similar to it, gets stale. There are only so many cards, and with enough players, the most powerful decks come out after so much time. Then, there is no inventiveness left (exceptions always happen, but its pretty rare), and no suprises. You play one of the 2 or 3 decks that have been discovered to be the most popular, or you can't play. Then, along comes a new set, new rules, new cards, and a time of discovery. That is when Magic is the most fun. When a little intelligence and a willingness to try something new will carry you alot farther than a fat wallet, and time to read the net.

Are Magic cards overpriced? Thats arguable. As long as I, and many others are willing to pay it, they can continue to charge what they do. Its only overpriced when it doesn't sell because its too expensive. Just because you choose to not pay what they want does not make something's price structure "flawed".

Right... (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216776)

michael, learning to write/edit headlines/blurbs that are more appropriate for Weekly World News?

Ever heard of GURPS? White Dwarf? Hell, I go to the local comic book shop, look at their collection of RPG stuff, and see shelf after shelf after shelf of stuff I've never heard of. And the owner claims she sells at least a little bit of it. So someone is playing it.

The only RPG I've ever played is D&D. But such is not the case for many gamers. D&D is a subset of RPG's, not the other way around.

Newsflash: slashdot fires michael! Will slashdot cease to exist? Is this the end of crappy headline sites?

No. It's a chance to get rid of the trash.

The card artists don't get anything. (1)

bigredorb (154214) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216812)

I have a good friend who was commissioned to do a 'magic: the gathering' card for WotC. When he told me about it I thought he'd get some big bucks for it, but he didn't. He got about $4,000. I'm not an artist and I don't buy or sell art. It's just my opinion as an independent contractor that that was pretty cheap.

It took him about 2 months to finish the work. He had to research former art and make sure his phyrexians (sp?) looked right and such. My point here being it took some effort to meet the standards. It's not like he just whipped out some cool fantasy art and they bought it.

I guess the pay is good considering he's an unknown and the original work was only 8"x10"ish; But, this all happened just about at the peak of Magic and I know I spent way more money on cards then I should have. How much can cards cost to print?

Anyway, it must be a great portfolio peace but $4,000 doesn't go real far in Seattle. Where did the money go exactly? To only a very few people I guess.

while (Hasbro == Disney) { creativity = 0; } (1)

zestymonkey (78271) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216825)

Following the Disney model of creating "intellectual property jerky," Hasbro could simply coast on the names of WotC's Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering properties for some time.

WTF is WotC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216852)

Whores of the Church? Friggin assholes who assume everybody will know what their lame-ass acronyms are all about need beaten severly with a clue-stick.

The RPG is dead! LONG LIVE MMORPG! (1)

JonathanTWilson (588645) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216894)

RPG is not dieing, its just ascending to it new plane! Computer Games! What made great RPG gaming sessions now makes greater LAN parties! What was once brain rendered, now the latest and greatest GFX's cards make real before our eyes. Its just natural that PnP RPG declines, they will become the poor mans "computer games."

Software RPGs are so powerful that most of what was only possible in the human mind is now being done in games like Neverwinter Nights, War Craft 3, and Ever Quest. While the software versions of RPGs still haven't been made easy enough to run a campaign, its getting easier with each new version of the software. And also the people who play the games are becoming more computer literate. Plus with all the online games it becomes much easier to play when you want to play, and not have to convince all your usual gamming buddies that going out to score with some chicks on a Friday night is stupid as you're running a great AD&D campaign.

It mightn't be long before you see things like GURP RPG PC software where the basic rules system can be tweak for each module, and the importation of graphics can come from 3d software packs like Milkshake and other 3D software. It would be amazing to see a GPL'ed RPG game where all the rules and graphics could be imported and the community builds the game. It's already happened with games like: Half-Life and all versions of Quake. NWN is trying to be the RPG version of Quake, and it might just get there.

But for PnP diehards it is a sad time. Soon the Pens will run dry and the paper recycled, but the computer RPG will keep the flame burning in living memory of all those great times had.

Re:The RPG is dead! LONG LIVE MMORPG! (1)

Eol1 (208982) | more than 11 years ago | (#4217040)

Bah ...

MMORPG will NEVER in the short-run (>10 years) come close to the complexity or enjoyment of PnP RPG's .

Reasoning:

In a PnP RPG, you don't have to pay monthly. Buy in once and you can enjoy it for years (you don't HAVE to buy all those expansions)

People care about their characters, you can actually do anything you want. I played in a couple PnP campaigns and you know what, when my characters died, they died. No resurection, no reloading, no paltry penality, etc etc. Plus you actually interact with real people. You don't do stupid stuff like screw your party because a) you see your friend in RL b) he will prob smack you in the face and ban you from the playing anymore. MMORPG don't have this because their primary concern is making more $$$ every month. You die, you get a paltry penality, you screw people, so what..they can't physically or socially harm you (turn computer off, go back to RL). In PnP RPG people (believe it or not) ACTUALLY RUN from encounters they might die in and use social engineering and charisma for encounters sometimes (not just fight, damn i died, guess I have to reload). And yes there were monsters do powerful regardless of your / group strenght..you just couldn't win.

Also for shits and giggle, you can't do ANYTHING you want in current MMORPG's (unlike PnP RPG) ... for example (using DnD) ... try using your wish spell and wishing something palty and pointless, like you character now has a pocket full of cotten candy, or the oak tree over there turns pink ..... this isn't going to happen in a MMORPG. Just do many variables in RL PnP RPG that MMORPG can't compensate for ... so instead of making a more complex game, they cut out stuff. The secret to an amazing PnP RPG is the DETAILS, something MMORPG just gloss over. In NWM ... ever tried to dig a whole with your sword for no damn reason in the middle of a path ... you can't .. why not?

I could ramble on for pages on this but those our my two biggies and why MMORPG will never replace PnP RGP (though might but them out of biz) ... MMORPG can't match the complexities and people play stupidly because it doesn't matter in RL.

Remeber, PnP RPG takes a big investment of TIME and was a niche market, the niche drove the designers and they usually tried to make a good product.

MMORPG doesn't care about these because they are meant for the masses and monthly subscriptions ... if they fail, move on and create another ... computer companies don't get a rats ass about there customers. The niche is FPS -v RPG.

The devil is in the details.

Hasbro wants all profit, all the time (2)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216931)

I think the reason we're seeing these layoffs is that Hasbro wants a profit margin similar to the one they had when Pokemon and MTG were at their prime, when D&D3 was first released and selling like mad. But Pokemon's popularity is waning, and just about everyone who wants D&D3 has it by now...so they're not making as much money, and something has to go.

Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast ("Hazards of the Coast"?) already sold GenCon to Peter Adkinson [ezboard.com] , the ousted ex-President of WotC. Perhaps before long they'll sell the RPG stuff to him, too.

Movie Attempt etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4216937)

Hey that D&D movie was a winner!

Too bad you didnt choose a good story and good actors. You could have been the Spiderman.

WTC you suck! Your like what is happening to baseball. Ignore the fans and eventually you are left with a bunch of overpaid players.

Roleplaying lives on (1)

acid-reflex (540889) | more than 11 years ago | (#4216942)

WotC's having a hard time of it, but it's been indicated that they plan to just use more freelancers - they've already done this with some people they laid off, like Monte Cook [montecook.com] . Between this and the Open Gaming License, support for D&D will always be available.

That said, the biggest progress in RPG's lately has been from smaller, independent creators. Check out The Forge [indie-rpgs.com] - tons of people all working on their own creator-owned games.

Anybody know anything about the rumor... (2)

freeBill (3843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4217014)

...Hasbro faked the accounting irregularities because WotC was meeting their financial projections? It's being suggested there was a contract which said Hasbro couldn't meddle inside the company unless they missed certain numbers.

Hasbro's quarterly reports seem to indicate that Wizards were hitting their numbers, keeping their parent afloat, but not turning in big enough profits (Pokemon or Magic levels) to pull Hasbro out of its disastrous tailspin.

Looks pretty suspicious: Layoffs at the profitable division.

Anyone know the scoop? Surely someone recently laid off can post anonymously.
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