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WotC James Wyatt is on the Dungeons & Dragons Team Again


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Dausuul

Legend
Honestly, I think James Wyatt returning to D&D is mainly because I don't think he wanted to leave D&D in the first place... but he saw the tea leaves of what happened to all the designers on a new edition once the book got released.

I mean, we all remember the "Christmas releases" that happened pretty frequently prior to 5E. With the exception of Chris Perkins... anyone who had worked on the D&D team for any length of time (and thus had probably a bigger paycheck due to annual salary increases and such)... were either let go or they decided to move on before the could be let go. Monte Cook, Rodney Thompson, Greg Bilsland, Bill Slavicsek so on and so forth. Then the department would bring in newer and less expensive writers and designers to take their place.
My suspicion is along these general lines, but slightly different emphasis.

According to the Scrolls of Dancey, 4E happened because they were trying to meet Hasbro's "core brand" standard, which required that core brands bring in $50 million per year and have a path to $100 million. Failure to do so would mean a massive scaling-back of investment in D&D, the brand being mothballed, and most of the staff getting laid off.

And that's pretty much what happened. In the runup to 5E, it looked quite possible that it would be the "mothball edition," with a skeleton crew keeping the lights on and doing licensing deals. My guess is that Wizards figured, "Okay, Wyatt's too good to lose, but we can't afford to pay him with the 5E budget. So we'll find him a place on the Magic side and keep him around, and maybe if 5E takes off we can bring him back eventually."

Well, 5E took off like a rocket. And now Wyatt is back. :)

(Obviously, this is total speculation about WotC's reasoning. It's just as possible that Wyatt simply wanted a break after working on D&D for more than a decade.)
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
My suspicion is along these general lines, but slightly different emphasis.

According to the Scrolls of Dancey, 4E happened because they were trying to meet Hasbro's "core brand" standard, which required that core brands bring in $50 million per year and have a path to $100 million. Failure to do so would mean a massive scaling-back of investment in D&D, the brand being mothballed, and most of the staff getting laid off.

And that's pretty much what happened. In the runup to 5E, it looked quite possible that it would be the "mothball edition," with a skeleton crew keeping the lights on and doing licensing deals. My guess is that Wizards figured, "Okay, Wyatt's too good to lose, but we can't afford to pay him with the 5E budget. So we'll find him a place on the Magic side and keep him around, and maybe if 5E takes off we can bring him back eventually."

Well, 5E took off like a rocket. And now Wyatt is back. :)

(Obviously, this is total speculation about WotC's reasoning. It's just as possible that Wyatt simply wanted a break after working on D&D for more than a decade.)

See, this actually makes sense!

Very glad he's back, plus they've been working harder to bring in more people (either full or part-time), instead of having Chris Perkins using his vacation time writing books solo (though I'm happy he did, I love Curse of Strahd).
 

Azzy

KMF DM
To be fair about 4e lore and cosmoogy, I did like the Feywild and removing the Great Wheel. However, I have also always ignored the Great Wheel and have included a Faerie realm in many of my campaigns since late 1e or early 2e
Another to be fair about the 4e lore and cosmology... If it had just been presented as its own (even if the default) setting, like Eberron, rather than having it hamfistedly (in some cases) retrofitted into other settings and rewriting a bunch of default monster lore then I would have been much more amenable to it. If 4e had at least presented the Great Wheel cosmology as an option in the DMG and kept it for the Forgotten Realms (and implicitly to the other older settings that didn't get published) and did not blow up the settings just to cram in new lore, it probably would have rubbed some people the wrong way much less. I do like the addition of the Feywild and the Shadowfell to the GW in 5e, so it's not like they couldn't have made any retcon changes, I just believe it was a bridge too far with what they did. That said, I fully support Nentir Vale and its cosmology being released as an independent setting for 5e.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
I'm guessing that, idependent of this, that Dragonlance is one of the two older settings coming back. And I think that Wyatt would be a perfect fit to work on it, given his religious nature.
 


cbwjm

Hero
Honestly, I think James Wyatt returning to D&D is mainly because I don't think he wanted to leave D&D in the first place... but he saw the tea leaves of what happened to all the designers on a new edition once the book got released.

I mean, we all remember the "Christmas releases" that happened pretty frequently prior to 5E. With the exception of Chris Perkins... anyone who had worked on the D&D team for any length of time (and thus had probably a bigger paycheck due to annual salary increases and such)... were either let go or they decided to move on before the could be let go. Monte Cook, Rodney Thompson, Greg Bilsland, Bill Slavicsek so on and so forth. Then the department would bring in newer and less expensive writers and designers to take their place.

James Wyatt had been with the D&D department from at least 3.5 (and the Eberron stuff) up through 5E's release... so knowing what usually would happen around that time for an employee like him, he got ahead of things and was able to facilitate a transfer over in Magic: The Gathering, which at least allowed him to stay employed with Wizards of the Coast. But he NEVER lost his desire to work on D&D, which is why he had been writing and releasing all those Plane Shift articles in his spare time over the years in and around his Magic work.

So perhaps with this new Wizards & Digital re-org there was a growth of salary availability within the D&D department that gave him the opportunity to now come back over at whatever pay scale he's currently at.
Could be it. I think also that sometimes people just want a change, and considering the work he did on MtG I wouldn't be surprised if he just wanted a chance to exercise his creativity a bit more. Doesn't mean he doesn't love working on DnD and perhaps with DnD being expanded (didn't someone say they will be releasing a bunch of settings?) he's going to be able to come back and still have creative input.
 

I would love to see 6e.

It is not something to fear if you do it at your peak. Other companies do it. Magic does it. Imagine mobile phone companies just said: ok, our customers are used to their phone. It has some flaws, but we should really not improve it, so everyone can use their old phone forever.

RPGs are constantly evolving. It is dangerous to not do some kind of overhaul as is doing it too fast.

5e has been very stable for years. Tasha is experimental in some ways. Such books often were test drives for concelts of the new edition. I would really ne surprised if 23 does not give us 6e.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Wyatt may have had good ideas for a "here's the basics" type campaign, but I hated his story ideas for 4e where a lot of things that made D&D it's unique complicated self story-wise, got thrown out in favour of points of light.
And yet for everyone who didn't like them, there's another (like myself) who thought those ideas were great.

I have a strong dislike of comic-book style continuity and canon, and would love to see D&D periodically reinvent itself into something not dependent on lore found in decades-old supplements and magazine articles.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Another to be fair about the 4e lore and cosmology... If it had just been presented as its own (even if the default) setting, like Eberron, rather than having it hamfistedly (in some cases) retrofitted into other settings and rewriting a bunch of default monster lore then I would have been much more amenable to it. If 4e had at least presented the Great Wheel cosmology as an option in the DMG and kept it for the Forgotten Realms (and implicitly to the other older settings that didn't get published) and did not blow up the settings just to cram in new lore, it probably would have rubbed some people the wrong way much less.
I'd agree with that. 4e's core presentation problem (and I'm saying this as a 4e fan) was that it took some of its core ideas and got a little too aggressive in pushing them everywhere, which was what caused the feelings of excessive homogenization.

I feel like that's probably not what James Wyatt is working on, though. More Magic-D&D synergy is much more likely, maybe even a full on card game/setting dual release.
 

Scribe

Hero
I've long said the 4e fluff books are some of the best D&D books. I feel like a lot of people focus on the mechanics of 4e, and that's fair. But, if that's all the every focus on, the miss out on some truly superb story elements.
I have very little love for 4e after what they did to Tieflings.

Any recommendations on which books I should check out?
 


darjr

I crit!
Oh and how could I forget the Ethereal.

“The Ethereal Plane is a misty, fog-bound dimension”

huh? Sounds familiar.
 

Sonny

Adventurer
I’ve got a grognards love for the wheel. I did also love 4es cosmology. Especially the Astral Sea.
I'm glad some of the ideas in the 4e Cosmology made it to 5e. Sounds like it had some effect on 5e Ravenloft was well.

From what I can recall, the 4e Domains of Dread were all separate lands found in The Mists (as opposed to one large landmass), as the new 5e Ravenloft presents them. Though my memory is definitely off today... :oops:
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yea, they were made a top tier devision of WoTC. And are making more books or releases. Box sets too. And apparently licensed games. A position they only dreamed about pre-4e.

seems like a bad time to drop a new version.

Hold up a minute...box sets??
 



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