D&D 5th Edition Monte Cook Leaves WotC - No Longer working on D&D Next [updated] - Page 11

  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark CMG View Post
    While he might be "no longer working on Dungeons & Dragons" we don't know if he might be finishing out his two week notice sharpening pencils. Still, I am guessing this decision has actually been coming for some time, since the change over in the L&L articles. He came on board last September, IIRC, about six months ago, so a six month contract seems likely. It might also explain why after the L&L articles were shifted away from him he stayed around this long.

    There are obviously different ideas of the way the fifth edition should be built. Anyone reading the WotC articles and blogs can see they haven't (up to this point) settled on one direction. But now they are at a point where they need to build the new edition in a more serious way, with much more direction, for the subsequent playtesting to have any real use for the designers going forward.

    If, as I speculate, he wanted to go with the OGL and make full use of all the great design ideas that has generated over the last decade+, and management was opposed to doing so, then that would be a very good reason to walk. It might even be that they brought Monte on board because they wanted his OGC without having to use the OGL, because that is one way around it as would be buying it outright, and maybe Monte didn't want to give up the IP but would have been fine using it under the OGL and even expanding on it, because it would remain either his or OGC. We may never know but these are certainly plausible scenarios.
    I have found the design process for 5e interesting to say the least.

    In January it was announced that they had been working on a new design and had been hinting at it for almost a year in various articles like L&L and Rule of 3.

    The initial follow on articles suggested that they were far less clear on their mechanics and decisions on what they wanted for the new edition. They started to pose questions on "What should be a Fighter" and "What should be a Cleric".

    The first playtest at DDXP of the Caves of Chaos seemed to be the high water mark of the initial set of ideas.

    Some time after that the articles started to change and seemed to discuss less content in what I would consider absolute terms.

    It now seems that they are re-visiting topics that they did articles on before like Bruce discussing HP today or earlier this week the topic of "Clerics vs Paladins".

    It seems the original plan and material has gone into the can and they are now doing a major re-design of their announced game plan at the start of January.

    It has made me more worried on what is going on inside the design process that PaxE did not offer a new version of rules to playtest or even a new set of classes and play environment. Ideally they should have shown some progress in design and what maybe 3rd level is going to look like after showing off 1st level at DDXP.

    I remember the design process for 4e when the initial announced design seemed to go through a radical change from what was promised with Playtests offered and initial class designs suggested.

    It will be interesting if they leave just 2 desingers on the DnD 5e project or scramble to bring in a 3rd or 4th person to help share up some of the design load.

    Bruce's blog on HP today and mention of Healing Surges suggests that they may be trying to push for a more 4e friendly design/similar design.

    It will be interesting to compare answers to questions on things like how many classes and which classes will be part of 5e from the answers given at DDXP. The same will go for ideas of Themes and Backgrounds which seems to now be coming out that did not seem part of the original idea in January.

    I'm also surprised that WotC did not make the announcement first. If they've known of this possibility for a week or more then they should have had a prepared statement with the usual 'regrets' and 'best wishes' and assurances that 'everything is going ahead'. It is interesting that it is not a Friday before a holiday which seems the normal popular date for Hasbro to release people they do not want.


  • #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark CMG View Post
    Well, that happens to be in error as line-by-line was pointed out earlier in this thread directly to you, though perhaps you haven't read that yet. Nothing he says is speculative or unclear. He is leaving. He says it is not because of Rob Schwalb and Bruce Cordell. He says he has had disagreements with WotC. An NDA prevents him from saying more at this time though he wouldn't probably say anymore anyway because he doesn't like drama. None of this is speculation or in need of verification. None of it requires the other side of the story. Perhaps you didn't read his anouncement very closely?

    The Chapel Perilous - Change of Plans

    Actually, my post that I began this thread in was a bullet point list of the stuff that I had questions or lacked clarity on -after- that line by line thing.

    And we actually have spent a few posts just exploring one detail that I was unclear about, that has had about a dozen perfectly viable explanations.

  • #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by GM Dave View Post
    I'm also surprised that WotC did not make the announcement first. If they've known of this possibility for a week or more then they should have had a prepared statement with the usual 'regrets' and 'best wishes' and assurances that 'everything is going ahead'. It is interesting that it is not a Friday before a holiday which seems the normal popular date for Hasbro to release people they do not want.
    Mearls has an announcement up:

    Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (News on D&D Next)

  • #104
    I'm inclined to use a grandma-unfriendly expletive, like excrement.

    I like Monte, and like his design. Not having him on 5E gives me a very sad face.
    "The Soul of D&D? It's rolling a natural 20 when you're down to 3 hit points and the cleric's on the floor and you're staring that sunnavabitch bugbear right in his bloodshot eye and holding the line just long enough to let the wizard unleash a fireball at the guards who are on their way, because they're all that stands between you, the Foozle and Glory." - WizarDru

  • #105
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    And . . . open playtests on May 24th! That's double the big news in one day!

  • #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kynn View Post
    Interesting - public playtest starts on May 24th.

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  • #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoboCheney View Post
    Designing D&D 5E is about the most prestigious spot an RPG developer could be in right now. So it must have been something pretty significant, maybe disagreement over the direction or some feature that we won't find out about for months. I could see this relating to the OGL, as keener observers have speculated.

    But we only get a tiny window into the full breadth of WotC's internal going-ons, so who knows . . .
    I doubt OGL would be enough of an issue for a leaving of WotC.

    4e was not OGL and if some one was to hire me to such a position then I doubt that I would count on OGL being a deal breaker.

    I would drop out as it was suggested if the WotC/Hasbro were going to try and touch my IP (like Monte's Ptolus) and claim it for their own without paying for the Goodwill.

    In sales, companies often try to acquire smaller companies just to get their hands on a client list and then dump the rest of the personnel.

    In design, IP is the only real capital and Monte has developed a fair amount of it with a good following. Many people, myself included, paid attention to WotC DnD again because Monte was hired for the project.

    IF you are proposing a big new project that you have to get investors attracted to then it helps to hire a big name to put on the project. The person is often only retained long enough to satisfy the investors and then they are discarded to save costs (and avoid their influence).

    Plenty of deeper reasons than OGL for this situation to occur but as some people have pointed out that it could be something totally unrelated.

    I nearly walked on a contract because my employer suddenly wanted to be rigid on the work hours of a Friday (I was not big on the work environment anyways so the loss of a call centre job was not a priority). A year later, I left the position because they would not allow me to flex my lunch time and work schedule to attend a course 3xweek for an hour.

  • #108
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    I am disappointed that Monte is leaving, but if the silver lining is that if he was unhappy it is good for everyone that he chose to leave early in the process.
    James Garr

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kzach View Post
    Gods yes.

    I've never worked well as an underling but after running my own business, I've found it incredibly difficult to go back to being managed, especially when the managers are incompetent buffoons who don't understand the difference between being a jerk and being a manager.

    Sorry, just had a run-in last night with one of my 'managers'.
    Absolutely. A good manager realizes that a big part of his job is to make sure that those he supervises are able to get their work done. This includes standing up for them when upper management starts applying pressure. I've had more than one manager throw me under the bus in order to take the heat off of himself.

    I think that a lot of us are just not compatible with the modern corporate environment. They demand loyalty of the employees, often expecting great personal sacrifices (such as working unpaid overtime), showing none in return as evidenced by the now-standard cycle of going on a hiring spree when ramping up for a new project followed by rounds of layoffs as the project winds down. Perhaps some of us are just too good at detecting BS to fall for the motivational speakers, customer service seminars, and lip service to "respecting work-life balance."

    Navigating corporate office politics is a skill that not everyone possesses, and it doesn't take much to get on someone's bad side, particularly when they seem to value a "can-do" attitude more than a "can-do" performance. Often, all it seems to take is giving an honest and realistic answer when asked if you can accomplish something on an unreasonable deadline to be labeled as having a bad attitude. Meanwhile, the guy who says "yes" to everything and delivers it both severely reduced in scope and six months behind schedule gets praised and promoted. You'd think that some of us would learn after observing this time and again.

    And of course, once someone in senior management has a negative impression of you, it's very difficult to change and odds are good that you'll be a part of the next "downsizing" when they don't need any justification beyond that.

    I imagine that working for WotC would have a fair bit in common with working in the video games industry. It's a "cool" and "fun" job that a lot of us do for free as a hobby, so there are always far more job-seekers than there are jobs. This can often lead to the situation where employees tolerate low pay, poor working conditions, and ridiculous hours simply because they love what they are doing -- and the executives know that for every employee who burns out and leaves, there are a dozen more applicants who see it as their dream job.

    Ahem, back on topic... so yeah, it is quite possible than Monte's decision to leave had nothing to do with the design of the game and everything to do with the corporate working environment. Judging by the regularity of layoffs and the high turnover, I'd say that the working conditions may not be too far off what they are in the video games industry. I've gone from working in corporate environments, to freelancing, back to corporate environments (pursuing my "dream job" of making video games), and back to freelancing. It's extremely difficult to go back to dealing with the typical corporate BS after being your own boss for a while. Even if you love what you're doing, there's always a point at which it is no longer worth it.

  • #110
    Good riddance.

    Mod Note: And the award for "Most Reported Post in Several Weeks" goes to....

    Ladies and gents, upthread, Piratecat asked for people to hold off on cheap shots. Please allow me to reiterate that. Nobody insists that you have to like a particular designer's work, but they are people, fellow gamers, and we ask you show the persons a modicum of respect. In general, we expect to see people doing their best to remain thoughtful and mature for the remainder of the thread.

    If there's any question about this, please take it to e-mail or PM with one of the mods or admins. Thanks, all! ~Umbran
    Last edited by Piratecat; Friday, 27th April, 2012 at 10:21 PM.

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