WotC Ray Winninger Steps Back From WotC

Former leader of the D&D team Ray Winninger has announced his departure from WotC, having "accomplished the ambitious goals we set". Dan Rawson was announced the new head of D&D earlier this month, leading many to speculate about Winninger's departure.

Ray_Winninger_at_MIX08_(2)_crop.jpg


"Sorry for the radio silence; I'm in the midst of a SORELY needed Long Rest. I have indeed left WotC, having accomplished the ambitious goals we set when I took over the D&D team.

Shepherding D&D was an honor and a privilege, but I'm looking forward to slowing down and getting back to a list of personal design projects. (Gamers, you haven't seen the last of me!) Most of all, I look forward to following D&D as a fan again.

Proud of the team I left behind; D&D is in very good hands: @JeremyECrawford, @ChrisPerkinsDnD, @DroidsForSale, @dtovar77, Liz Schuh, Kate Irwin, Trish Yochum, @aquelajames, @FWesSchneider, @MakenzieLaneDA, @amandahamon, Emi Tanji, Bree Heiss, @doctorcomics. @justicearman

@RPGRonLundeen, @BillBenham2, Rob Hawkey, Ben Petrisor, @Dan_Dillon_1, @EytanBernstein, Adrian Ng, Janica Carter, @chrislindsay, @TrystanFalcone, @mattchucole, Bob Jordan, @christulach, Natalie Egan, Hilary Ross, Carl Sibley. Thanks for being such great adventuring companions."
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
This point was brought up in this thread on twitter. Hard to say for sure but interesting if design decisions are taking into account what will work best on a vtt
Looking at Solasta, and how closely it reflects the rules of 5e, I doubt too much consideration is needed, really. Some, sure, but not anything huge.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Sure. But there's a certain... well, insidiousness is not quite the right word, but close. I don't mean any malice on the part of Wizards, but compare these two situations.

1. You have a moderately complex game like D&D. It's a bit of a pain to keep track of everything with pen and paper and your own brainpower, but since that's what's available that's what you use. If there's something in it you don't like, changing that thing is not a huge additional burden over what you're already doing.

2. You have a moderately complex game like D&D. It's a bit of a pain to keep track of everything with pen and paper and your own brainpower, so you use available software to simplify the process which makes things much easier. But adding a thing is a bit of a hurdle, and changing core parts of the system becomes almost impossible.

It's very easy to fall for option 2 because it's easier in the short run, and thus cut oneself off from the ability to make large-scale house rules.

For example, let's say I'm running Princes of the Apocalypse, and my players manage to defeat the Prophet of Water and take their elemental weapon for themselves. I look at the abilities of the weapon, and see:
  • +1 trident, +1d8 cold damage on a hit.
  • Bearer can speak Aquan.
  • Bearer has resistance to cold.
  • Bearer can cast dominate monster (DC 17) once per day but only on water elementals.
  • If you're in the water node, you can create a water devastation orb 1/day.
  • You get the flaw of covetousness, and barnacles grow on your skin.


That's not exactly the most exciting thing in the world for a level 10+ party. So let's say you want to add some cool abilities, maybe casting tidal wave or something like that. In PnP D&D, you just say it and it is is done, but the process is significantly more involved on a VTT.
I don’t think JC is going to be down to stop prioritizing ease of use and leaving room to tinker anytime soon, nor do I think the “suits” (who are mostly D&D nerds at this point) are going to demand such things.

One positive thing we can learn from video games is that taking away the ability to mod a game people have been modding for years is a bad move.
Quite possible. I haven't used it in a while, and at the time pre-made homebrew material was kind of scarce.
Hopefully the new general features system they’ve been working on will make imputing homebrew easier.
 

Haplo781

Legend
As someone in a Discord channel I frequent put it:

5e chugs along at a steady pace, growing and increasing year over year
wotc announces new edition
couple months pass
wotc mentions digital tools and VTT and other online systems
couple months pass
hasbro makes it public that they're pushing to increase profits by 50% in three years
wotc lets go of d&d team head (with game design history and was a platform strategist for microsoft), hires microsoft digital commerce exec as head of d&d
gee i wonder what all these things might mean
 




We don't know he was let go of.

Even if he was, it had nothing to do with Rawson, Kyle took his job and Kyle has been working in the D&D team for the last two years, including the last four months!

I do miss the transparency of Ray already, the new guy doesn't seem to be on Twitter (worse for us, likely better for his sanity most likely).

It is weird that after making a big dead about Rawson, WotC doesn't bother to mention that someone else is taking over as Executive Producer. Perhaps because Ray was generally well liked for his trancity, even if I disagreed with some choices.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
For what it's worth, the criteria of what's "easy" when it comes to manipulating digital technology has a pretty wide scale, especially across multiple generations of gamers.
Drag and drop..... And I'm 58..... But the point is... You don't need to use the VTT if you don't want. Or, you can use it only for maps. I'd bet my life on those two things. That's what baffles me about people in this thread and online
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Drag and drop..... And I'm 58.....
For what it's worth, I agree that's not very complicated. But I know people not much older than you who've needed me to explain that, when I tell them to "click" something with the mouse, I mean "left-click" (as opposed to right-clicking).
 

Drag and drop..... And I'm 58..... But the point is... You don't need to use the VTT if you don't want. Or, you can use it only for maps. I'd bet my life on those two things. That's what baffles me about people in this thread and online

A series of huge changes in rapid order. First D&D's popularity and profitable. Then OneD&D is announced with playtests.

You have huge changes in the upper hierachy, Chris Cox becomes CEO, Cynthia Williams, becomes the new President of WotC, and Ray Winninger leaves 4 months ago, doesn't tell anybody, get replaced by Kyle Blint who basically keeps this news to himself, until folks stumble onto the new on linked.

They announced what looks like an amazing, super advanced VTT, buy D&D Beyond, have made it clear they are going all in on a D&D cinematic universe, does two extremely profitable D&D MtG sets (and a couple D&D secret lairs and 8 D&D Commander Decks), (and more D&D secret lairs next year), announcing that they are considering merging D&D & MtG's multiverses if they can find a cool way to do it (March of the Machine suggests they found their way), flPhysical & Digital Bundles, indictate they are going to increase the volume of products released and start doing major playtests for a new edition. Oh and according to WotC they plan on making a Billion Dollar Brand. Oh and none Drizzt novels make a return. All in a span of what 2 years?

Don't get me wrong, I largely agree with you, but given all the crazy, none stop news, and extreme change is bound to lead to huge speculation and maybe panic, especially among those comfortable with 5e the way it is.

It's pretty clear WotC has increasingly massive plans for D&D. A lot of folks focus on the digital end of things, but because it's the most visible part, but I believe WotC plans are bigger, more complicated and multi-faceted then that.
 



Zaukrie

New Publisher
For what it's worth, I agree that's not very complicated. But I know people not much older than you who've needed me to explain that, when I tell them to "click" something with the mouse, I mean "left-click" (as opposed to right-clicking).
Truth. I know them also.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
It's pretty clear WotC has increasingly massive plans for D&D. A lot of folks focus on the digital end of things, but because it's the most visible part, but I believe WotC plans are bigger, more complicated and multi-faceted then that.

Hey, I bet if the "D&D" brand explodes in popularity, Hasbro will license out the IP to Modiphius or something to create an RPG!
 


MGibster

Legend
Hasbro wants to monetize D&D as a brand. And subscription revenue is the "holy grail" for companies now- it's the new "pivot-to-video." All the recent announcements - from the purchase of D&D Beyond, to the arrival of Dan Rawson, to the statements to investors regarding the projections ... they all point to increased monetization of the D&D brand, which speaks to locking people into an on-line subscription model.
I can live with a lot of changes. Take away ASI, alignment, use lineage, species, or whatever instead of race, get rid of always evil humanoids, and change the name of Barbarian to be sensitive to, uh, barbarians (I guess), and I'll probably stick with D&D. But if they go to a subscription model they will have lost me. Which is fine, beacuse I can't be that valuable to them.
 

We don't, but we do know that he moved on without an announcement and the position wasn't filled immediately. That's highly unusual for someone stepping down voluntarily.
Is that what happened? Someone here said according to LinkedIn, the guy who replaced him started 4 months ago and Ray's name is still listed as one of the 3 names on the UA OneD&D PDF they released 2 months ago so he was still involved in some capacity then. It sounds more like a planned "I'm burned out, let me train my replacement so I leave this thing I care about in good hands" scenario than him being forced out.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Is that what happened? Someone here said according to LinkedIn, the guy who replaced him started 4 months ago and Ray's name is still listed as one of the 3 names on the UA OneD&D PDF they released 2 months ago so he was still involved in some capacity then. It sounds more like a planned "I'm burned out, let me train my replacement so I leave this thing I care about in good hands" scenario than him being forced out.
That seems to fit the evidence we have right now more than him getting jettisoned.
 

Dr. Bull

Explorer
Howdy gang!

As Zaukrie pointed out, there are literally hundreds of options out there... If you want a "real" table top experience, no one is stopping you from engaging an an old-school game of D&D. Go ahead and purchase a 5e or an OSR game right now (just in case you are worried that the world will end with One D&D). You can buy an old TSR product, a retro-clone, 2 versions of Pathfinder, or a new version that you've created on your own. You and your friends can play that game for the rest of your lives, if you want!

I enjoy 5e, but if One D&D isn't my cup of tea, I'll keep playing 5e, Simply6, AD&D, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, or Call of Cthulhu. No one can stop me.

The corporate folks are engineering the gaming of the future (it's their job), but it doesn't have to be doom and gloom for us all. In the end, profits will be derived from preferences of players. I am betting that WOTC will provide us with multi-platform, multi-device delivery systems. They will produce print products, digital books, virtual adventures, laminated battle mats, dice rollers, character profile apps, and additional products that we didn't expect. They'll even print (gasp!) books for us...

Personally, I prefer the feel of a 32-page, black-and-white interior, color cover (with blue maps on the interior) adventure that provides 20-50 hours of gaming fun...

The VTT and interactive tabletop rpg arenas have barely scratched the surface of possibilities. This (One D&D) is simply an effort to more fully exploit the possibilities. There is money to be made and WOTC intends to make that money. Choose to pay for the next new shiny book, or not (it's up to you). I don't want D&D culture to change, but every generation is different. Right now, the company seems to possess a good blend of accessibility, diversity, and playability. I have very few complaints...

Computer technology sometimes inhibits our own creativity. Other times, computer technology can help us transcend our limitations. I think that WOTC is now exploring its options (especially considering its strong profit margin over the past decade). Some potential markets will fail. Other potential avenues will thrive. Most importantly, it is important to note that corporations will adapt to market demands. If you don't like VTT, please don't buy it. If you love digital content, then feel free to shop in the wonderful world of D&D Beyond! If you want paper, pencils, and dice (like me), then buy an OSR product along with a few old-school adventures and have fun with your friends in your living room?

Better yet, use 5e (or AD&D, or 3e, or 4e, or One D&D), personalize it, and invent your own content. Refine the game to your own tastes. Add some house rules. Be free. Do your own thing. Make your own maps and make your own stories.

<On an important side note, please avoid utilizing "slippery slope" arguments in this thread? Slippery Slope arguments are logical fallacies. Slippery Slope arguments are not valid logic. No one can predict cause-and-effect accurately (especially when addressing culture changes). There are too many variables.>

- Dr. Bull
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I can stick with 5E if 1 DnD isn't my jam or make my own heartbreaker with the OGL.

I'm ready to jump off if the transition to 1DD isn't good. Either staying with pure 5e, or going back to 3.5 core/E6, or just write my own heartbreaker. I'd make homebrew adjustments to 5e, but really, I don't love it that much.
 

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