As those of you who know me can surely attest, I am not shy with my opinions, though I am careful about what I say in public. Experience has proven that it’s not worth the trouble to comment on certain topics or engage with certain people. I am, however, often solicited for my opinion on goings-on at WotC because I worked there for four years and have some insights into what the place is like. As time marches on though, my experience becomes more remote. Next March it’ll be four years since I left WotC and I know the company as it stands today isn’t the same one I worked at. So what do I think I still know about WotC?
First, I think I general corporate environment is quite similar. Last week’s Christmas layoffs were certainly nothing new. I’ve also heard that many of those laid off were blindsided by the loss of their jobs. Sounds like all too familiar corporate politics to me. Second, I know some key folks still working there and know the sorts of decisions they are likely to make. Third, I know the R&D; culture and how that affects everything from design decisions to release plans.
What I don’t know is anything specific about WotC’s plans or long-term goals, or what the state of the WotC/Hasbro relationship is currently. Since I have ties with Games Workshop, it’s not like anyone is going to let me in on that info. So I can comment based on my experience, but much of what I say boils down to simple observation and what I hear from other sources. It’s obvious, for example, that miniatures are taken much more seriously now than when I was there. When we were trying to launch Chainmail, none of the other departments wanted anything to do with miniatures. Now minis have clearly become a central part of the overall D&D; strategy. There are also some clear implications to the yearly increase in the number of D&D; products released.
If you ask me when 4th edition is coming out and whether or not the new rules will be released under the OGL though, I can’t tell you. If you ask me if d20 Spectaculars is a deliberate assault on what Green Ronin has built with Mutants & Masterminds, I can only speculate (and for the record, my speculation is that no, M&M; had nothing to do with their decision to do that book). If you ask me why people of proven incompetence still have jobs and decent, hard working folks do not, I can only wonder.
For the record.