• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

WotC Ex D&D Beyond Staffers Criticize Relationship With WotC

Ex D&D Beyond Product Manager Andrew Searls and co-founder Adam Bradford have both publicly denounced a detetoriation in the platform's relationship with Wizards of the Coast. Searles, who left DDB in December tweeted publicly, seemingly in support of the OGC community, following the recent Open Gaming License news, that "IMHO, D&D is successul because of the entire community not just...

Ex D&D Beyond Product Manager Andrew Searls and co-founder Adam Bradford have both publicly denounced a detetoriation in the platform's relationship with Wizards of the Coast.

8eD9GGqRbU5-ucGZeg0xzdbyEW49b5VhU5zn6uwJTkeF9AAvdRohptJ0MkZiREZK=w720-h310-1697045735.jpg

Searles, who left DDB in December tweeted publicly, seemingly in support of the OGC community, following the recent Open Gaming License news, that "IMHO, D&D is successul because of the entire community not just because of those that legally own it."


Speaking of his departure, he said "December 16th of 2022 was my last day at Wizards of the Coast and working on D&D Beyond. This was a change for the better. It is hard to describe the feeling of working your dream job and being crushed by it at the same time. But, it is bittersweet. I will miss the people I have worked with day-in and day-out. Despite what it may seem like at times there are really good people at Wizard of the Coast that are working on D&D and D&D Beyond that love the game and the community. For my next adventure, all I can say now is that I’m more excited than I’ve ever been and I’ve wanted to work with these folks for a LONG time. One thing I know for certain, for the rest of my career, I will use technology to make ALL tabletop roleplaying games easier to play. I love this industry and I love these games."

He later went on to comment on WotC itself -- "Quick story. When DDB was first acquired by WotC, I had a conversation with someone on the WotC side. They told me that DDB was only successful because of the D&D logo and not the work we had put into it for 5 years. It’s a culture of arrogance."

He also revealed that many of WotC's staff are against the current OGL situation. In reponse to a tweet which suggested that, Searles responded "I know must of them and I can tell you everything in this statement is true."

D&D Beyond co-founder Adam Bradford, who now works for the Demiplane online tools suite, responded "This was starkly evident well before the acquisition. In the early days of the partnership, things went about as well as you could imagine, and something truly special was created as a result of that. Some top level leadership changes later, and it all took an abrupt nosedive."


D&D Beyond was launched in 2017, and was acquired by WotC in 2022 for $146M. Bradford left DDB in February 2021, along with various other staff including lead writer James Haeck, Community Manager Lauren Urban, and Creative Manager and co-founder Todd Kenrick (who now works for WotC).

 

log in or register to remove this ad

Oofta

Legend
That he said it was a conversation with one person, rather than the initial meeting of the two teams, when the most high-ranking people in the room announced they were a bunch of worthless codemonkeys.

What he recounts is not great, but let's not make it more than one conversation with one person.

In addition, the simple truth is that many management types don't understand the complexity of software. They see someone throw together a non-functional UI that looks pretty and think it's easy. It can't be any more difficult than putting together an excel spreadsheet, can it?

Doesn't excuse anything, but also not surprising.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

darjr

I crit!
In addition, the simple truth is that many management types don't understand the complexity of software. They see someone throw together a non-functional UI that looks pretty and think it's easy. It can't be any more difficult than putting together an excel spreadsheet, can it?

Doesn't excuse anything, but also not surprising.
Oh this very thing happened to me. Show a mock-up in jpg and next thing I know the managers want to know why it doesn’t work as advertised.

One of them called me while clicking buttons in a jpg.
 

Clint_L

Hero
I think it is fair to say that communications between management and tech have a reputation for being notoriously problematic.
 

In addition, the simple truth is that many management types don't understand the complexity of software. They see someone throw together a non-functional UI that looks pretty and think it's easy. It can't be any more difficult than putting together an excel spreadsheet, can it?

Doesn't excuse anything, but also not surprising.
Absolutely. Never let anyone senior, unless they're very technically knowledgeable and level-head, get a hold of any kind of app prototyping software, I can tell you that much. We had an unfortunate incident a few years back where a couple of fairly senior but non-technical people used it (or rather stood around and instructed someone else to use it) to create pretty-but-non-functional "apps", and then basically said "Make it work! How hard can it be?".

1673214104761.png

That he said it was a conversation with one person, rather than the initial meeting of the two teams, when the most high-ranking people in the room announced they were a bunch of worthless codemonkeys.
I mean, not even codemonkeys, like just plain monkeys, because codemonkeys might get some respect for the coding they'd done, if nothing else.
Separation agreements vary. Some include not discussing the reasons for the separation for a period of time. Some include agreements tying some separation payments or retirement type bonuses to agreements not to disparage the company, which can keep former employees quiet on certain things. Some companies require signing onto these types of agreements as a condition of being hired so that it is not an extra to negotiate at the end.
Indeed. It's really variable. Condition of being hired stuff isn't as common as one might expect, too, I think because it can spook people (perhaps rightly in some cases).
Yeah. It's successful for two reasons:

1) It is for D&D
2) It is very good

Both of those things needed to be true for it to be a success. Many things which are for D&D are not a success.
I'd agree.

I think DDB faltered as time went on, particularly after they got sold to Fandom in 2018 and later as they seemed to start losing people, but the basic core product they had was a very solid and importantly - attractive and largely pleasant-to-use product. Their app was surprisingly not bad either, even the books-only version of it. I have plenty of criticisms, but they all boil down to "They stopped meaningfully improving the product in late 2018", which seems to be due a combo of factors not worth addressing here.

It's very easy to imagine a conceptually-similar product that wasn't as well-produced or conceptually sound. If they hadn't basically made the product I was looking for, I don't know if I'd even have DM'd 5E much and I'm sure my groups would have played it less.
Oh this very thing happened to me. Show a mock-up in jpg and next thing I know the managers want to know why it doesn’t work as advertised.

One of them called me while clicking buttons in a jpg.
Been there lol.
 



overgeeked

B/X Known World
Wait, what? You mean after being the industry leader from the inception of the hobby until today (with the exception of maybe a few months) and more than two decades of practically the entire mainstream RPG industry kissing their butts and kowtowing to them…they got all egotistical about it? Nah.
 



Remathilis

Legend
I really feel this is the last days of this brand as it gets squeezed for all the money they can then maybe sold off like an old used car they don't want to fix.
That's all these brands are now. Star Wars, D&D, Magic, Marvel, Etc. Perpetual cash machines betting on nostalgia and inertia until the next "It" thing comes along. To say it's discouraging to see my favorite things turned into cash-grabs is an understatement.
 

Remove ads

Remove ads

Top