The Sky is Not Falling




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  1. #1
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    Waghalter (Lvl 7)

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    The Sky is Not Falling

    The recent announcement that Monte Cook has left the design and development team for D&DNext is surprising and disappointing, but I think we need to keep a sense of perspective. Monte and the rest of the team are professionals and I believe they are going to do what is best for their careers and the game - meaning I don't think any of them will intentionally "tank" D&D and while I appreciated Monte's presence on the design team, his leaving 5e can be both good for him and for 5e.

    Responses that 5e is "Doomed" or "5e RIP" are a little over the top. While Monte is a talented and respected designer with strong ties to D&D, he is not D&D. D&D is more than any single designer - even more than Gary (gasp! I know, I know... but it's true).

    With that said, speculation will come and go as to why Monte left and what this will mean for the next iteration of the game, but I believe that the strategy and action plan for the development of 5e, while being largely managed and influenced by Monte, is much larger than Monte and will survive without him. I have faith in Schwalb, Rodney-Thompson, Mearls and the gang, and until I see evidence to suggest otherwise, I am going to maintain my existing level of enthusiasm for 5e and humbly suggest we all do the same.

 

  • #2
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

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    I don't think it dooms 5E; however, it does put D&D in something of a limbo. With it being announced so far in advance already, I can't imagine that is a positive influence on 4E sales. If nothing else, I can only imagine that the lead designer of a product quitting pushes the release of 5E back a little bit. Even if that 'little bit' is only a few weeks, that still hurts -especially since there is currently one company (Paizo) which has a competing product (Pathfinder,) and a possible second competing product (13th Age) on the horizon.

    Speaking of 13th Age, that has me curious about what Monte's big announcement will be. Has he been contacted from their team? What about Paizo; would they rekindle the relationship with Monte to help push their product to the next level while D&D is still looking for a direction. Could he have designs of his own for a 5th Edition?

    I know that not everyone is a Monte Cook fan, but -personally- I'd rather have him working for me than against me. I don't always agree with his mechanical choices for games, but neither has he done anything which kills my enthusiasm in that respect. On the fluff side of the table, I have only good opinions about his work; Ptolus is one of my favorite rpg products.

  • #3
    Well, at least this isnt one of those forums where the response would be

    "Thats Terribad. Lol. Rofl HAX. It all crap and Im never buying from WOTC again!"

    which is why I post here (was reading a post in RPG.net recently and have to say, oh my lord Im glad I dont have to deal with that bunch of twelve-year olds)

    As far as Monte leaving. Really, people come and people go in any organisation. Will it effect 5e's overall success? Who knows, Quite often a companies success is based on a single persons vision (cough...Apple...cough) and often its the group dynamic. You dont know, maybe the group dynamic will change for the better!

    Personally I have learned to have faith in people. They have time, they have resources and they have vision, and that enough for me.

    Any doomsaying at this point is just speculation, and should be treated with the grain of salt it deserves.

  • #4
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    Some people were happy about Monte being involved, others were unhappy with Monte being involved, and still others were indifferent or don't know or care who any of these people are in the first place. The result will be better for some, worse for others, and we'll never really know what his influence would have been, so it ultimately doesn't matter.

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  • #5
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    No, the sky isn't falling. There will be a 5e, it will have the D&D brand name, and it will probably even sell well, at least for its initial run if not longer.

    But I don't care how you spin this for the future product of 5e, THIS IS AN UNMITIGATED PR DISASTER FOR WIZARDS OF THE COAST.

    Really, Wizards? You couldn't see this coming? Monte just woke up this morning, posted to his blog, and then only showed up to collect his last paycheck?

    Your PR team should have been waaaaaaaaaaaay out in front of this. You should have had a classy, prepared statement ready BEFORE Monte's blog showed up on his site. It should have been read by Mike Mearls directly. You should have invited the local and national press that would have had any interest in it. Broadcast it. Even if it's only for a youtube upload / podcast, PUT A FACE ON THIS. Let us SEE a human being.

    You should have sent the content of the release directly to your fans, via RPG.net, ENWorld, and other "fan friendly" sites afterwards.

    If possible, provide at least a general idea of what may have caused the rift, and talk about how the design team is going to continue moving forward, with ALL good ideas, regardless of source. If providing info on the cause is not possible, acknowledge it publicly.

    Then, after the initial shock and disappointment have worn off, invite the press to watch some design sessions. Get ENWorld to cover a "day in the life of a D&D 5e designer" to provide some perspective on what's going on over there.

    You had to know you were going to get negative press from this. Instead of "going silent," be open with it. Let the fan base see that you really care about the future of D&D.

    Instead, what do we get?

    Monte posts the news on his site HOURS before ANY formal response from WotC.

    When the response comes, it's a half-baked Web post from Mearls.

    Oh, and guess what? That D&D 5e playtest we've been totally silent and holding out on you all these weeks about? Yeah, we'll just release the date for that in the same half-baked Web post. You know. Not because it's a totally transparent marketing ploy to downplay the fact that, you know, THE LEAD DESIGNER OF THE WORLD'S FLAGSHIP RPG JUST UP AND WALKED OUT ON US OVER A YEAR PRIOR TO THE PRODUCT'S RELEASE. Or something.

    TL;DR --

    The future of 5e is probably not in doubt; it's going to exist. Whether it's any good or not? TBD.

    Unfortunately, the only other thing we've learned from this fiasco so far is that Wizards of the Coast has unequivocally one of the worst PR and customer relations strategies in recent memory.

    EDIT: If, in fact, Monte Cook walked away with little to no warning, make arrangements for the design team's transition, etc., then it's a totally different ball game. Regardless of how Monte felt about the direction of 5e, at the very least he owed it to WotC to give them a heads up, and let them plan their response in such a way that the fallout could be mitigated. That's just being respectful to your employer.
    Last edited by innerdude; Thursday, 26th April, 2012 at 08:58 PM.
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  • #6
    It seldom helps to lose people during any kind of major project, midstream. OTOH, the sheer ambition of 5E was, and remains, a much higher hurdle than the exact composition of the team. 5E very well may flame out due to shooting for the moon. That's the risk you take when you aim high.

  • #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by innerdude View Post
    THIS IS AN UNMITIGATED PR DISASTER FOR WIZARDS OF THE COAST.

    Really, Wizards? You couldn't see this coming? Monte just woke up this morning, posted to his blog, and then only showed up to collect his last paycheck?

    Your PR team should have been waaaaaaaaaaaay out in front of this. You should have had a classy, prepared statement ready BEFORE Monte's blog showed up on his site. It should have been read by Mike Mearls directly. You should have invited the local and national press that would have had any interest in it. Broadcast it. Even if it's only for a youtube upload / podcast, PUT A FACE ON THIS. Let us SEE a human being.
    Wow. First of all, Monte Cook isn't the be all end all of RPG design. He's done some nice work before (e.g. Ptolus), but thats about it. Arcana Evolved was so-so, and for all the good in 3e, there is bad as well.

    However, Monte does have a history of abandoning projects (e.g. Dungeon-A-Day), so unless I hear otherwise, I can't help but think his leaving isn't a WotC problem, but rather another example of Monte's own inability to commit to a project and see it through.

  • #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonblade View Post
    However, Monte does have a history of abandoning projects (e.g. Dungeon-A-Day), so unless I hear otherwise, I can't help but think his leaving isn't a WotC problem, but rather another example of Monte's own inability to commit to a project and see it through.
    Spin it how you want, I doubt that's the case. But whatever the case is, when a lead designer walks off a project, it's not usually a good sign.
    Bill D

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  • #9
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    I just saw Mearls' response on WotC's site. This bit is interesting (the bold is mine):

    Personally, I cant count how many friends Ive made through D&D, or how many hours Ive spent playing the game, building worlds, or just talking about it with friends. Yet while D&D is an intensely personal game, taken as a whole it cannot afford to become something beholden to one teams vision. D&D is a tool for creativity. The game must embrace the entirety of its past, and the entirety of its fandom, in order to create a compelling future. No one voice can rise above the others, unless it is the voice of D&D fans as a whole.
    Interesting. So it seems like Monte quit because he didn't get his way. That could be good or bad, I guess depending what his way was and what the fan's way was, and which personally fits your preference.

    I consider Monte a solid designer, but for something like D&DN, where inclusivity and fan input is the entire point of the project, then following one designer's vision is the wrong way to go.

    In that case Monte was right to quit if he felt strongly that D&DN should follow only his vision. He'd be happier doing an OGL game that he was completely in charge of.

  • #10
    Then die has not been cast on 5e as of yet. I'll wait until I see the actual game before I assign blame or give credit.
    Haunted by nostalgia

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