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D&D General Adam Bradford, Lauren Urban, Todd Kenrick Leave D&D Beyond

They join lead writer James Haeck, who left a couple of weeks ago. Adam Bradford is the D&D Beyond co-founder, and VP of Tabletop Gaming at its owner, Fandom. Lauren Urban is DDB's Community Manager. Todd Kenrick is the company's Creative Manager.

D&D Beyond, launched in 2017, is currently owned by Fandom (previously known as Wikia), after it acquired the company in 2018 from previous owner Curse, a Twitch subsidiary.

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According to Cam Banks, creator of DDB owner Fandom's Cortex, all three received offers elsewhere which they could not turn down.


 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Marandahir

Crown-Forester
There's a lot of Chicken Little's claiming the sky is about to fall with D&D Beyond in this thread (likely elsewhere on the intertubes as well).

Relax.

The D&D Beyond team IS losing some good people . . . but we have zero evidence that this is anything to be concerned about. People change jobs all the time. Sometimes, coincidentally, a bunch of folks do it all at once.

If D&D Beyond starts to experience problems rolling out new features, maintaining the site, or anything like that . . . then I'll start to worry.
Just the other week Lauren Urban downplayed Todd Kenrick's comment that the new UA would get into DDB soon. I imagine she did so out of concern that things wouldn't move so quickly at least in the short term when all three of them were leaving (and so quickly after James did).
 
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RSIxidor

Adventurer
Fandom is a pretty major entity. DDB is one of the jewels in its crown, but it has a pretty big crown.
I somehow didn't realize this was the same Fandom that does the fan wikis. That makes sense. Still, I have to imagine D&DB is a strong revenue source.
 




Azzy

KMF DM
Regardless of the actual reasons for them leaving (and I think Mistwell theory may be correct of all the speculation here), they really need to get some serious PR bandaids on this. As this thread provides ample evidence, people tend to jump to the worst conclusions first.

Still, it sucks. They were cool people.
 


Just the other week Lauren Urban downplayed Todd Kenrick's comment that the new UA would get into DDB soon. I imagine she did so out of concern that things wouldn't move so quickly at least in the short term when all three of them were leaving (and so quickly after James did).
Three of the people they lost had little to nothing to do with product development and integration. Todd was the head of creative (a marketing role), not the guy who makes certain the tools work.

If Tesla (for example) lost their PR staff that's not an indication that the engineers stopped working on cars and batteries
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I am not at all surprised to hear this, but not for any of the reasons you folks seem to be considering.

For the past year, it has been hard to hire tech and tech-adjacent people. But, starting in January, I've seen people swapping jobs. Here's the dynamic:

Covid-19 hits. People are filled with anxiety. If they are in a job that is likely to weather the economic downturn, they stay the heck where they are. In the middle of a pandemic, you don't move from a place of economic security. That led to it being hard to hire - nobody was taking chances.

Now, things have been going on for a while, and there's a vaccine and new government policies - an end in sight. Meanwhile, companies have been sitting trying to hire for nearly a year. With the added confidence in the final outcome, employers are wiling to make better offers. And, with that same increased confidence, for greater reward, folks are willing to change jobs again.

Thus, it probably has nothing at all to do with anything wrong at Fandom, or other behind the gaming company scenes skullduggery or shenanigans. Just job market dynamics.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I had a vague worry in the back of my mind about DDB and WOTC, due to the fact that wotc staff haven’t appeared in a video about new options in a quite a while, and this definitely doesn’t help.
 

Cistern

Villager
I am not at all surprised to hear this, but not for any of the reasons you folks seem to be considering.

For the past year, it has been hard to hire tech and tech-adjacent people. But, starting in January, I've seen people swapping jobs. Here's the dynamic:

Covid-19 hits. People are filled with anxiety. If they are in a job that is likely to weather the economic downturn, they stay the heck where they are. In the middle of a pandemic, you don't move from a place of economic security. That led to it being hard to hire - nobody was taking chances.

Now, things have been going on for a while, and there's a vaccine and new government policies - an end in sight. Meanwhile, companies have been sitting trying to hire for nearly a year. With the added confidence in the final outcome, employers are wiling to make better offers. And, with that same increased confidence, for greater reward, folks are willing to change jobs again.

Thus, it probably has nothing at all to do with anything wrong at Fandom, or other behind the gaming company scenes skullduggery or shenanigans. Just job market dynamics.
Man, I hope you're right because I felt gut-punched earlier today. DDB has completely re-configured how I play the game and when three key people all bail at the same time, it feels strange and many get cagey and worried for the future of the platform. While all the beavers might be busy behind the scenes, we users only see what's in front of the curtain and without an MC the show has a hard time getting to the second act. Dunno, just feeling fuzzy over the whole thing and feel like something I normally rely on to always be there when I need a break from everything else might be put at risk for what might be a bad reason (of course we don't know). The mind will naturally want to envision the worst scenarios as to why they all left and that's why a lot of us are just staring at the screen wondering, "Huh?".
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Man, I hope you're right because I felt gut-punched earlier today.

Yeah, I know - news of major changes is almost always scary. I don't know anything. However, it is consistent with things I've seen in my extended social and professional circles that have squat-all to do with gaming.

Doesn't mean that it won't be a hiccup for Fandom - losing top people can create challenges. But at this moment, people moving jobs isn't necessarily a sign of any particular issues at the companies they leave.
 

But if they all/mostly turn up as WotC I don't for a second believe we're not getting at least a 5.5E, and quite possibly a 6E, in the next year or two.
I find it hard to believe that WotC would want to come out with a new edition of the game in 2023 and then turn around and have a big anniversary edition in 2024. For one thing, there's a lot of people who wouldn't repurchase the three core books twice in two years.

They can release 6E in 2024 with a special "limited edition" cover, sewn in bookmarks, all that good stuff, and get aaaaaall the money, and then release an "unlimited" edition for the regular price in 2025 instead.

A year or two just doesn't make any sense, especially since WotC's development style throughout the lifespan of 5E has been to do lots of public testing. If 6E was coming out in late 2022, there would be a lot of signs of that in the public testing realm and there's not.
 

I find it hard to believe that WotC would want to come out with a new edition of the game in 2023 and then turn around and have a big anniversary edition in 2024. For one thing, there's a lot of people who wouldn't repurchase the three core books twice in two years.

They can release 6E in 2024 with a special "limited edition" cover, sewn in bookmarks, all that good stuff, and get aaaaaall the money, and then release an "unlimited" edition for the regular price in 2025 instead.

A year or two just doesn't make any sense, especially since WotC's development style throughout the lifespan of 5E has been to do lots of public testing. If 6E was coming out in late 2022, there would be a lot of signs of that in the public testing realm and there's not.
It also doesn't make sense that this is a WotC new edition move because these were marketing people, not rules people (exception for Haeck).

When a pitcher leaves a baseball team that's not evidence that their hitting is going to change (I'll keep switching the analogy until people understand the roles that were lost weren't devs/rules people)
 




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