Thursday, December 04, 2008

WotC Layoffs

Aozora requested a blog about the Wizards of the Coast layoffs. It is an interesting situation. They're infamous for their pre-christmas layoffs so it shouldn't be too surprising. What is surprising is some of the people they laid off. Jonathan Tweet was probably the biggest name. He was the only person left at WotC from the core design team and he was the lead designer for DreamBlade. I assume they were paying him a pretty penny at this point, but I have a hard time understanding even then why they'd let him go. I mean you can build a whole company around someone as talented as that, and I'm guessing someone will, and when they do, my prediction will be that WotC will have a pretty serious competitor on it's hands, which can't be very good business. But perhaps I'll be wrong and Tweet will become a political pundit, the guy has some interesting and unique opinions.

The other big name, at least for me, was Dave Noonan. I remember meeting him right when 3E was launched. For me that was when Wizards become a company I could actually like rather than a faceless giant that had taken over for TSR. I saw him at every GenCon after that, sometime he'd be DMing a Dungeon Delve, or sitting on a panel, a couple of times I talked to him at some length. I know he's married with kids, and I know how big of a difference that makes when you're laid off as opposed to being single. In any case hopefully he'll land on his feet with some high paying video game gig. Based on the economic conditions, I'm guessing that's unlikely, but I'll keep hoping...

The final name on the list that jumped out at me was Randy Buehler. I've never met him (not like the other two) and I have no particular affection for him. He was the VP of Digital Gaming, and if anyone deserved to be laid off I think it was him. The whole Gleemax thing was a fiasco from the beginning. The whole digital initiative has been a joke. I'm still cautiously optimistic about D&D online, but as a whole their online and digital strategy has been appalling. An appalling over reach which is different from the vast majority of people who half-ass it, but still appalling. I'm still trying to decide whether to signup for DDI. It's less than what I was paying for a paper version of DUNGEON and DRAGON back in the day, but I'm still on the fence...

I know I didn't warn you it was a gaming post... sorry


Blogger aozora said...

Sorry for the game topic request.

What amazes me is the degree edition-4 moved toward digital gaming structure and then they let go the VP of Digital Gaming? It is akin to screaming "We don't know what we are doing!"

4:53 PM  

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