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.

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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).

 

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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."
I was reading (still am) Ben Rigg's Slaying the Dragon when all of this exploded last week, and I still can't believe that the same corporate attitudes from the eighties and nineties are being repeated 30+ years later. Talk about history repeating itself...
 




EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Core Rules 1.0 (2e). Weak and not customizable.

Core Rules 2.0 + Expansion (2e). Probably their best early attempt. Fairly customizable, uses PHB or PO options.

Master Tools. (3e) Demo came with 3.0 PHB. Project bogged down with feature creep. Never released.

E-Tools (3e) an attempt by another company to get Master Tools finished. Did a decent job of salvaging bad software.

DDI - exe version (4e) after the original 4e tools project suffered a horrendous setback, the first 4e tools were rather lackluster.

DDI - web version (4e). A decent redo of the 4e tools. Probably came too late in 4e's lifespan.

Project: Morningstar (5e). A nice idea from a sham company that couldn't deliver.

D&D Beyond (5e). What we got currently.
Yeah. A lot of people don't realize that 4e was almost irreparably marred by a literal murder-suicide in its digital tools team, which demolished any hope of improving the downloadable version of the digital tools. Then, when they finally got a new team together, they adopted Silverlight...which got axed by Microsoft a few months later.

4e's run is a study in Murphy's Law. It's hard to imagine how a TTRPG launch and run could have gone more poorly, both in the unforced errors WotC themselves made and in the back to back to back unforeseeable problems and tragedies they faced. That it was still financially successful (just not hitting the incredibly lofty "core brand" targets WotC sold Hasbro on) despite all of that is a friggin miracle.
 

Would the DnD logo, any online platform would be a success... if it worked.

4e never got one and 5e was supposed to get projet Morningstar and others. They didn't work. For that you need a good team of programmers. Which Beyond had. The DnD brand brings the fans, but you still need to sell them a product.
I think that is the right way to say it... D&D brings the customers, but if what your selling doesn't work they aren't staying... the exact same hard work and great system for Rifts, or TORG, or Vampire just doesn't get the same start up...

Having said that I HAVE fan made TORG and Vampire character creators that work amazing.
 

Core Rules 1.0 (2e). Weak and not customizable.

Core Rules 2.0 + Expansion (2e). Probably their best early attempt. Fairly customizable, uses PHB or PO options.

Master Tools. (3e) Demo came with 3.0 PHB. Project bogged down with feature creep. Never released.

E-Tools (3e) an attempt by another company to get Master Tools finished. Did a decent job of salvaging bad software.

DDI - exe version (4e) after the original 4e tools project suffered a horrendous setback, the first 4e tools were rather lackluster.

DDI - web version (4e). A decent redo of the 4e tools. Probably came too late in 4e's lifespan.

Project: Morningstar (5e). A nice idea from a sham company that couldn't deliver.

D&D Beyond (5e). What we got currently.
and this is NOT all of the failures they had with electronic stuff... this is just character things. Gleemax isn't on there at all...
 


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