WotC's Chris Perkins Talks About... Everything! Upcoming Storylines, Products, Staffing, Other World

WotC's Chris Perkins, Principal Designer for Dungeons & Dragons, was at Gamehole Con a couple of weeks ago. He took part in a panel there in which he covered a lot of things - product schedules, partnerships, other worlds, story flavours, staffing, upcoming storylines, Greyhawk, and so much more. You can listen to the whole (90-minute) audio recording here, but for those who prefer to read it I've quoted the highlights below. It's well worth the read, but if you have the time I strongly recommend you listen to the whole thing.

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[h=4]On Products & Schedules[/h]
My job, and the job of our team going forward, is to try to make sure that anything that we do that ties to D&D is firmly rooted in story first. If we don't have a story to tell, we're not going to release any products to support it. Gone are the days, in 3rd and 4th Edition, when we were bound by the model of having to release a book a month or two books a month, or three books a month. We have no commitment or desire to do that going forward.


And part of that is just driven by business realities, part of it is driven by our knowledge of certain facts that we've obtained through surveys, through talking to people at shows, that there is kind of a certain amount of material that people can actually absorb before the stuff that we're releasing no longer has any value and is no longer serving anybody. A lot of 3rd Edition products, I'm sure, and 4th Edition products, I'm sure, that maybe you've bought or your players have bought are sitting on shelves having never been used, or used precious little. We don't sell products so that 5% of our audience can use 5% of it. We're now trying to sell products that 100% of our audience might use, and they'll use all of it.

The perceived value of D&D goes up, people actually having common shared experiences that they can talk about at cons, with their friends, and our stories actually get out there.

In the olden days when you had the early adventures TSR put out, everybody played Tomb of Horrors, and everybody played Keep on the Borderlands. Everybody played Temple of Elemental Evil. And those stories have transcended the game experience to the point now where people go to a convention and a 13 year old and a 40 year old and a 65 year old can all talk about Tomb of Horrors and know what they're all talking about.

[h=4]On Partnerships[/h]
Our first story that we launched with 5th Edition was Tyranny of Dragons, and we partnered with a number of different companies to tell that story. We partnered with Wolfgang Baur's company, Kobold Press to do a pair of TRPG products, we partnered with Gale Force 9, we partnered with WizKids, we partnered with our folks, Cryptic, the company which produces the Neverwinter MMO; we set up all these partners to tell that story.

[lq]One of the things we are going to be doing in the future is looking out at some of our other worlds[/lq]

[h=4]On Other Worlds[/h]
All these different elements [setting info in the core rulebooks] are contained there so that in future stories we don't have to limit ourselves to one world. And so while Tyranny of Dragons, and Elemental Evil, and Rage of Demons, have all fundamentally been Forgotten Realms based, one of the things we are going to be doing in the future is looking out at some of our other worlds. That doesn't mean we won't come back to the Realms, or have adventures that visit multiple different locations, start in one place and end in another... one of the goals with our stories is to go beyond Forgotten Realms, safe to say.

The other thing that we're driving to with our stories is to, whenever possible, draw upon the past, key elements from the history of the game that have not seen a lot of attention lately.

Sadly we won't be doing any stories round the D&D cartoon, and that's because we don't own the characters! CBS does!


[h=4]On Story Flavours[/h]
The story that follows Rage of Demons is not going to be anywhere near the Underdark, and it will have its own feel, its own flavour, its own atmosphere, its own thing. The story that follows that is going to be very different. It allows us to do things like ... Princes of the Apocalypse and the Elemental Evil story was very dungeon driven; it was a dungeon-based story... in the future we want to maybe do intrigue. What story would we have to tell in D&D that is fundamentally an intrigue story. Would it be like city based? Would it be planar based, where you're basically on some sort of planar hunt for something? And then maybe the story after that is ... [audience member suggests "horror"] ... horror, or something more light-hearted and flaky, or a little off-track, or like Eberron, a little more steampunkish, or Victorian pulpy... making sure every story has a different feel, flavour, making sure we get to visit some of our other worlds, and making sure that we're always going back to the source material and picking the best things out of the last and bringing them forward.

[h=4]On Staffing[/h]
The size of the D&D team at Wizards has changed over the years. I've been there since the TSR acquisition... when we first came to Wizards of the Coast with all the TSR folks, the D&D team numbered just under 50 people. And they were supporting a number of campaign settings that had held over from 2nd Edition, there was a Dragonlance team, there was a Forgotten Realms team, there was a Greyhawk team, every world still had its own team.... now there isn't dedicated teams for worlds, because there just aren't that many worlds that are actively supported any more. And so our team now numbers 15, and not only do we work on TRPG stuff, but we also support our novelists, we also provide support to our business partners working on digital games, miniatures, and game accessories. And we've also got part of our team whose brain space is dedicated to coming up with new ideas, new ways of getting D&D out there in the world. Loot Crate partnerships, for instance. Very, very beneficial for us, because they give us enormous exposure.

My story team consists of me, I have an art director named Richard Witters who I stole from the Magic team, who's brilliant... and I've got a storywriter named Adam Lee, who I also stole from Magic... and we're in the process of hiring a new concept artist.

[h=4]On Upcoming Storylines[/h]
I can't talk about specific storylines that we're working on presently, and at this time we're working on four. We've got two stories to tell next year, and then we've got two more stories in fairly developed states, and we don't even know necessarily when they're going to appear yet.

On the next storyline -- That's a tough one to answer. To a certain extent, obtusely, I've already answered it with the three things I called attention to. Once could speculate based on what I've told you what might happen.... we do have an upcoming story that does go back to a past adventure... doesn't feature dragons, so it won't be anything from the Dragonlance saga... I think it's safe to say if you look at the things we haven't played with yet which are fairly intrinsic to D&D [he asked the audience to suggest D&D monsters, and the vampire is shouted out] ... the vampire has been around in D&D, it's not a unique D&D monster by any stretch, but we would be remiss if we didn't do something with vampires at some point. I can almost assure you that we will get around to doing that. Certainly gothic ... and Victorian, and that sort of feel.. the question is all about timing. When is the time to do it? When is it going to surprise and delight the most people?

[lq]Turns out we can't keep folks excited for a year. There are too many other distractions in the world today.[/lq]

That's another thing about our stories, is that we don't want to be predictable. In fact, we've even changed out release plans so we don't even tell people. Five years ago, Wizards would tell people a year in advance what products we were releasing. Now we don't do it until literally months before it comes out. Part of that is simply Shock and Awe. And because we've evaluated how long we can keep peoples' excitement. Turns out we can't keep folks excited for a year. There are too many other distractions in the world today. Too many entertainment properties competing for peoples' attention. 3, 4 months, perfect window. People can remember and stay excited for 3-4 months about something.

So, yeah, vampire, classic monster, yeah, we'll do a story with vampires... [more classic monster suggestions].. yeah, we'll do a story with giants.

[lq]Yeah, we'll do a story with vampires[/lq]

On codenames -- I'm doing two playtests here at the show. One is for a story codenamed Cloak, and one is for a story codenamed Dagger. All of our stories now have codenames ... it's necessary because we have to submit all of our story names for trademark search... there are a lot of titles in the world out there today, and we often have a title that we like that gets rejected .. because it was the name of a video game that was made in 1979 ... it's getting harder and harder and harder to come up with names. So until we have a name that is actually trademarked, we go with codenames.

Cloak -- ... they were going up into the icy mountains, and this temple under a mountain that's basically become a repository of evil. There was this sect of good-aligned wizards and paladins who were keeping this temple, and all of the evil within it, trapped there, to keep the world from going, you know, crazy. Keep the world safe. But that was 400, 500 years ago. What's in there enow? Well, maybe the wizards have all died off. Maybe they sort of succumbed to the evil there. Who knows? But it's an interesting story, and that's a piece, or a fragment, of a story that is going to be important in the future.

Dagger -- Dagger is a story in which you're going around and pillaging the ancestral mounds of barbarian tribes. And that has a slightly different feel, don't you think? It feels a bit more pulpy, and oh, you're got an airship! Great!

Now, by telling you that, I haven't actually given anything away about the main plots of those stories, I assure you. But it's tantalising...

[h=4]On shorter modular adventures[/h]
We are doing that, but we're doing it now though Adventurer's League. So our shorter module adventures are all Adventurer's League adventures, you can play many of them here, you can also download them. Because we've discovered that because now here stories are these experiences that are meant to last a period of time, our typical stories usually have a marketing plan associated with them that runs for about 4-6 months, we'e discovered that that's actually good for us because it goes enough people the chance to discover it and experience it and then talk about it before they get taken off on the new thing. And part of the goal with the stories is to bring people together with common experiences, and the shorter, more modular things tend to be fleeting, and don't get that resonance The other challenge with them is when it comes to actually selling modules. Their presence on the shelf is significantly less. When they're shelved in, they don't have spines, they disappear and get lost more quickly, the stores that buy them don't give them as much credence or as much weight, whereas when we release a bigger book, or a box or something, that has a little bit of "oomph" behind it, it tends to get the stores and the distributors more excited, and it tends to give us a bigger buildup. People get more energised, they start saving money for it, they know that they won't have to buy six things from us, they can just buy one..and a lot of that is driven by, just like a World of Warcraft model. You can't imagine Blizzard releasing six expansions a year. They don't ... they want to release a mammoth, not a bunch of mice.

[lq]You can't imagine Blizzard releasing six expansions a year. They don't ... they want to release a mammoth, not a bunch of mice.[/lq]


[h=4]Other Assorted Items[/h]
Home-brew vs. published -- A great bulk of those who play D&D run homebrew settings. But of those home-brew campaigns, over half of those homebrewers do pillage from other settings ... 15% or 50% of the world they've created has hawked stuff from other worlds. They're comfortable pillaging our products for ideas. That homebrew number, I can't remember the exact percentage, but I think it's like 55% homebrew. And then it's like 35% Forgotten Realms, and then everything else ... Very few people right now, turns out, running Dark Sun campaigns. A sliver of a sliver. Very few people running Hollow World campaigns. Very few people are running Mystara campaigns. It pretty much goes Homebrew, Forgotten Realms, I think Greyhawk's at 5% ands then everybody else is at 2% or 1%.

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Consultants -- As far as with working with people... it's another change in how we do business at WotC. We never used to do this before. We consult. 5th Edition was very good to us. The company supports us wholeheartedly, they have given us large amounts of money to basically bring people from the outside who have some cachet or who are creative titans in their field, bring them in an actually have them consult with us on our stories. They help us develop the stories. The way it works is we drive a dump truck of money up to their house, and we say "Come with us to Renton, Washington for a week and sit down for a week's worth of meetings to break a story." And we don't even know that we're necessarily going to do this in product yet. We just ant to get these people out here and pick their brains and see what comes out of it. One of our most successful endeavours was Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time. He came out for a week, spent some time with us in meetings, and a marvellous story came out of that wacky coalition of elements that you'll be seeing in the not too distant future. We've had other consultants as well. For instance on Out of the Abyss we naturally brought in Bob Salvatore. RA Salvatore writes the Drizzt novels, since Drizzt was going to be sort of an anchor for the story, we brought him in to consult on that. But we are looking at bringing in consultants beyond the range, beyond the pale... people that obviously love D&D may not actually have ever worked on a D&D product. Or maybe they have! Who knows? If I could resurrect Gary Gygax I would bring him in as a consultant, certainly. But we have to stick to the living.

[lq]It is incumbent upon WotC to spend some amount of its time, effort, mindspace, and resources to ensuring that the roleplaying hobby and the D&D enthusiast hobby, the gaming hobby, is healthy[/lq]

On inclusiveness and growing the hobby -- We are going to see D&D stories that are fresh, that are going to attract new people to the hobby, and I think it is incumbent on us probably more so than any other company ... it is incumbent upon WotC to spend some amount of its time, effort, mindspace, and resources to ensuring that the roleplaying hobby and the D&D enthusiast hobby, the gaming hobby, is healthy, that people are always coming in, that we have stories that are welcoming to them, that are inclusive, that are going to appeal to more than just middle America white guys, that are showing D&D to people in a whole new light, in a way that's fresh, that's welcoming, in keeping with the age in which we live, and I don't want anybody feeling discriminated against by our D&D stories, by the products that we're releasing. I don't want anybody to feel that they can't play because of some perceived barrier, because their mother told them it was satanists ... D&D has always been safe and fun and smart and friendship-inducing.

Level ranges - Tyranny of Dragons, the TRPG products that were released for it, took you from levels 1-15. Elemental Evil, same, 1-15. Out of the Abyss, our Rage of Demons adventure, 1-15. We're going to be changing up that model in the future. So you may see future stories which are strictly low-level, you may see some that are sort of set in the middle, you may see some that are set strictly high-level. Or you may see a story that can be told at level 3, level 10, and level 15. We're going to change that up for a couple of reasons. 1) We don't want to be boring and predictable. 2) We've discovered that when we give people 4-6 months to play an adventure, they won't necessarily get to the end. Tyranny of Dragons, most games did not make it to the end. Elemental Evil, most games did not make it to the very end. Out of the Abyss remains to be seen. So, for the next one, we're going a little shorter, and for the one after that we're going a little shorter still. That doesn't necessarily mean that the products will be getting tremendously shorter; for instance one of the upcoming products that we're doing it enormously replayable. It's a short adventure, but you can play it 200 times and never have the same adventure twice.

[lq]Tyranny of Dragons, most games did not make it to the end[/lq]

Non-story based products like SCAG - Will we do more of that in the future? Yeah, part of our goal in that is to surprise and delight ... if all we did were big adventure books, that wouldn't be surprising. So the question is "What is the next Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide?" Who knows? I don't know. ... But let's say we did a Greyhawk adventure, Greyhawk has been out of circulation now for how many years? Although you can still ... there's nothing stopping you from running a Greyhawk campaign because everything out there is still there and its still timely. And it remains, as far as I'm concerned it's an open question whether we would even change the timeline. Greyhawk's current timeline is perfectly cromulent. So is its original timeline. So the question then becomes "Is it a better user experience to put all the information you need to know about Greyhawk in the adventure product because it's really for the DN's information, or is it better, and it's going to be better received, if that information is parcelled, divorced from the adventure as a separate thing that you have to buy? That you have to spend money on now."

On Greyhawk -- The other problem that we have with Greyhawk, speaking honestly, is that it's D&D at its most core. The problem is if I were t say that to somebody in an elevator, they'd go "I have no idea what you mean. What the hell do you mean, Greyhawk is like D&D at its core? What is core D&D?" "Oh, it's monsters and magic and wizards!" "Well, you just described The Hobbit. You just described Dragonlance. You just described Forgotten Realms." What makes Greyhawk, Greyhawk? Is it Gary? What else about Greyhawk makes Greyhawk, Greyhawk? Is it low magic? Because you have Mordenkainen - he is not low magic. So it's that magic is more exclusive in Greyhawk? Unless you goto the Valley of the Magi, where it's not. It's got barbarians, a whole lot ... look at the Greyhawk map, there's a whole lot of barbarian territory up there. We don't know a whole lot about them except that they're tigers and... we've got Scarlet Brotherhood which are aryan monastic wanna control the world type organisation, somebody at work, I can't remember it was Mike Mearls or somebody else, described Greyhawk as almost Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser-esque, Fritz Leiber, Lankhmar-esque. That would certainly make sense based on things I heard about what Greyhawk was like when Gary was running it, sort of maybe he felt that way. Certainly Fritz Leiber was a friend of Gary's and the Gygax family, and Gary loved his works according to Empire of the Imagination.

If we were to do a Greyhawk story, one of the things I'd be sorely tempted to do is focus on Iuz. I'm not going to give you a full campaign setting. I'm going to tell you a story about Iuz and all of the **** that he's doing right now and all of the repercussions that are happening because of that... Iuz is going to be the glue that holds this story together.

The full audio is a 90-minute podcast available from Gaming and BS. I've covered the salient points, but there's plenty more there to listen to!

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
I too think they switched over to an agile development schedule. Which isn't bad. It's a different way of going about collaborative writing, but it does seem like they are working on some kind of iterative design schedule. The thing about agile development though is that you can't give release dates out because release dates need to be somewhat fluid, and once you give the release dates out to the fans the release date becomes less fluid and more set in stone. The reason we don't get release dates until about a month or three before release is because by that point they know they don't have a ton of work left and can reliably put out their product, basically the book is with the printer by then.

I do not believe that there is an "agile development schedule" in book production and/or licensing. The only thing I would describe as "agile" that WotC is currently doing is their monthly Unearthed Arcana articles and questionnaires.
 

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Orlax

First Post
I do not believe that there is an "agile development schedule" in book production and/or licensing. The only thing I would describe as "agile" that WotC is currently doing is their monthly Unearthed Arcana articles and questionnaires.

You can apply agile development to pretty much any type of development: software, hardware, game, doesn't really matter what it is, if there is a development cycle it can be made an agile development environment.
 

Orlax

First Post
And you know when Greg Leeds tells you that, it has to be as official as it gets.

I'm just going off what I'd do if I owned the IP. I'm unaware if this has actually been said by anyone officially. I just know I wouldn't let go of the D&D label for a long time.
 

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
I'm just going off what I'd do if I owned the IP. I'm unaware if this has actually been said by anyone officially. I just know I wouldn't let go of the D&D label for a long time.

Ok, so you would rather sit on DnD then try to license it out.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
They don't tell us anything because they want to keep us around and waiting.

He talked for like 45 minutes. Just because he didn't say what you wanted to hear and he didn't specifically confirm certain things, I don't think that means he didn't tell us anything. He told us plenty, and implied a whole lot more.

I don't think it's this. I believe it's "Dragonlance won't sell as well as Forgotten Realms" so we won't put it out. Thing is, nobody knows just how well DL would do because we have never had that setting coupled with this ruleset. It could be a smash hit.

Also, just because something sells less than something else doesn't mean it didn't sell well.

I think in the case of Dragonlance it's more a question of what's the point of releasing another setting that is a kitchen sink, Tolkienesque fantasy setting that doesn't really stand out from FR or Greyhawk.

If they're going to publish alternate settings their going to need to pick one based on what it offers that is different from FR.

And yes, I know there are some differences between Krynn and Toril, but they're all pretty superficial.

Ok, so you would rather sit on DnD then try to license it out.

Businesses do that all the time. I don't know if Hasbro would do it with D&D, and I don't see it happening anytime soon or anything...but if the brand became not profitable, then they'd likely shelve it. Doing that means they can wait a few years and try to relaunch things.

I don't know if they'd license it out for fear of something happening like how D20 basically became Pathfinder.
 

Orlax

First Post
Ok, so you would rather sit on DnD then try to license it out.

Didn't say I wouldn't license it out I just said I'd never license it for a price anyone is capable of paying up front. See the problem with licensing it out is I make you pay for the license, but if you take that license, and run with it, and somehow turn it into a million dollar industry I don't get a dime of those profits. I get the original licensing fee and that's it. So as the wizard's CEO I'm going to want to make sure that licensing fee can pay the Piper I need to pay for as long as I'm licensing the IP to someone else for. Unfortunately no small time publisher can actually handle the cost of the license and therefore effectively I'm not going to license it because it would be a terrible business decision for me to do so. Even moreso because even if someone worked up the cash to license the IP they could just completely wreck it and any value the brand had and now I don't even have something worth licensing out for puttng into tv shows or movies or video games. That means any licensing deal would need to include some level of oversight, and at that point I may as well just run a bare bones crew that contracts out to freelancers to put out highly regulated and quality controlled content... Wait that sounds familiar.
 


Shasarak

Banned
Banned
Didn't say I wouldn't license it out I just said I'd never license it for a price anyone is capable of paying up front. See the problem with licensing it out is I make you pay for the license, but if you take that license, and run with it, and somehow turn it into a million dollar industry I don't get a dime of those profits. I get the original licensing fee and that's it. So as the wizard's CEO I'm going to want to make sure that licensing fee can pay the Piper I need to pay for as long as I'm licensing the IP to someone else for. Unfortunately no small time publisher can actually handle the cost of the license and therefore effectively I'm not going to license it because it would be a terrible business decision for me to do so. Even moreso because even if someone worked up the cash to license the IP they could just completely wreck it and any value the brand had and now I don't even have something worth licensing out for puttng into tv shows or movies or video games. That means any licensing deal would need to include some level of oversight, and at that point I may as well just run a bare bones crew that contracts out to freelancers to put out highly regulated and quality controlled content... Wait that sounds familiar.

Do you really think that not licensing your product is significantly different then setting the license so high that no one will want to license it?
 

Orlax

First Post
Do you really think that not licensing your product is significantly different then setting the license so high that no one will want to license it?
Someone didn't read the whole post, I address that in the middle where I say: "Unfortunately no small time publisher can actually handle the cost of the license and therefore effectively I'm not going to license it because it would be a terrible business decision for me to do so."

Yes sitting on it would be way better for me since I can sit on it, and without any further investment still have it print money for me. Heck I'm surprised they haven't gotten the old toon on Netflix, or something, to get some more money printing.
 

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
Someone didn't read the whole post, I address that in the middle where I say: "Unfortunately no small time publisher can actually handle the cost of the license and therefore effectively I'm not going to license it because it would be a terrible business decision for me to do so."

It just sounds to me like Doctor Evil asking for "a kajillion bajillion dollars."

Frankly the DnD license is not worth even a kajillion dollars because everyone can rip off what ever parts of DnD they want and not have to pay a thing. How much licensing does World of Warcraft pay for its DnD setting and characters? How much does Skyrim pay for its setting? How much are Pathfinder and 13th Age paying for their license?

Brands and IP are just not ever green products that you can sit on any more.

Yes sitting on it would be way better for me since I can sit on it, and without any further investment still have it print money for me. Heck I'm surprised they haven't gotten the old toon on Netflix, or something, to get some more money printing.

You do not see the old cartoon because Hasbro does not own the rights as per the Chris Perkins talks about everything interview.
 


Orlax

First Post
It just sounds to me like Doctor Evil asking for "a kajillion bajillion dollars."

Frankly the DnD license is not worth even a kajillion dollars because everyone can rip off what ever parts of DnD they want and not have to pay a thing. How much licensing does World of Warcraft pay for its DnD setting and characters? How much does Skyrim pay for its setting? How much are Pathfinder and 13th Age paying for their license?

Brands and IP are just not ever green products that you can sit on any more.



You do not see the old cartoon because Hasbro does not own the rights as per the Chris Perkins talks about everything interview.

Yeah but whoever does own the rights could be making money off of it by licensing it out to Netflix the why they haven't is still a valid question it just isn't a question for them. D&D might not be a billion dollar license but it is certainly at least a million dollar one, and no small publisher is going to take on a million dollar license for a product they literally can't win on. No matter what if you print a D&D book, about half the vocal internet community will absolutely hate it. Write your own thing and you don't need to worry because the niche you wrote for is the only audience you need to worry about pleasing. Rather that than spending a butt ton of money just to be allowed to write something you are quite possibly going to get threatened over, no matter what you do with it. See that's the other half of the problem the d&d license is worth a ton of money (print a phb and print money no matter what), but it is unfortunately career damaging to work on it. For instance given your appreciation for the current D&D team, will you ever buy books attached to Mearls ever again after he gets done with D&D? If he came out with some solo project would you be pumped to see it? Unfortunately a large set of the hardcores won't, because they dislike his handling of D&D. D&D is a highly profitable, but also highly risky IP. That's just not a gamble anyone is or should be willing to take, especially given how the RPG market is at the moment (way too much competition for a small company to take such a gamble). Anyone big enough that they could handle the risk is already doing fine on their own product line and had no need to take on the extra risk and workload grabbing a D&D license would bring.
 

Corpsetaker

First Post
This is all the more reason why I would kill to see D&D in the hands of a gaming company who is happy just making the game and making a little profit.
 


Hussar

Legend
Considering how many times WotC has gotten bitten in the bum by licensing, are you really surprised that they aren't in a hurry to do so again, now that they have all their properties under one roof?

Let's stroll down memory lane shall we? First we have the movie licensing, negotiated in the latter days of TSR, WotC had nothing to do with this one. Result, three absolutely abysmal movies and a multi-year, multi-million dollar lawsuit to finally get the rights back.

Dungeon and Dragon - fantastic magazines. When they decide, due to falling subscription rates, to bring it in house and do it digital, all things they were perfectly entitled to do, there's an online orgy of anger, comparisons of WotC to baby killing and rapists. MASSIVE overreaction.

Video games - License to Atari results in a series of failed video games, after an initially successful one (Neverwinter Nights). Spend nearly ten years getting the video game rights back, multi-million dollar lawsuit.

I'm sure there's more. Heck, things like the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon where CBS owns the rights to the characters. I have to wonder who TSR's lawyer was at the time.

Like I said, why would WotC lose control of properties yet again, when so many times, licensing out stuff has done nothing but bit them on the petoot?
 

Orlax

First Post
This is all the more reason why I would kill to see D&D in the hands of a gaming company who is happy just making the game and making a little profit.

So a failing company. You can't make D&D and just skim for small releases. You have to be ready to pony up for large scale printings that may not pay off entirely for a year or two. That's the only way to meet demand, and again you are still going to damage your career either way. Anyone more worried about "just making the game" rather than making a game that will sell by the but ton isn't going to be able to properly meet demand and then they will be universally panned for that fact. Even worse they will likely not make a game with mass apeal either, and they will be panned for that as well.

As it stands the only way to work D&D is with a big corp. When we say it's obvious they love the game it's because we see they've sold their soul to do the best they can to protect the game and keep it alive (potentially saccing careers in the process) and they do their best to keep the dream alive that they will get out all the settings they clearly want to, and all the adventures they want to, but they also understand that they need to build cash first, and then they can hopefully have the fun. The reason we get hodgpodges of rules in ua every month is because that's the only time Mike can get away with putting it stuff that doesn't need to worry about making money and is just him having a quick bit of fun every month, and even that has to include stealth playtests of content they plan on putting out soon.
 

Orlax

First Post
Considering how many times WotC has gotten bitten in the bum by licensing, are you really surprised that they aren't in a hurry to do so again, now that they have all their properties under one roof?

Let's stroll down memory lane shall we? First we have the movie licensing, negotiated in the latter days of TSR, WotC had nothing to do with this one. Result, three absolutely abysmal movies and a multi-year, multi-million dollar lawsuit to finally get the rights back.

Dungeon and Dragon - fantastic magazines. When they decide, due to falling subscription rates, to bring it in house and do it digital, all things they were perfectly entitled to do, there's an online orgy of anger, comparisons of WotC to baby killing and rapists. MASSIVE overreaction.

Video games - License to Atari results in a series of failed video games, after an initially successful one (Neverwinter Nights). Spend nearly ten years getting the video game rights back, multi-million dollar lawsuit.

I'm sure there's more. Heck, things like the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon where CBS owns the rights to the characters. I have to wonder who TSR's lawyer was at the time.

Like I said, why would WotC lose control of properties yet again, when so many times, licensing out stuff has done nothing but bit them on the petoot?

This too!
 

the folks who work at Wizards of the Coast love what they do, love the game, and make choices that will see them continue to do what they love in the field they love
I'm sure they both do. And at least some of the 500+ folks who work on things other than D&D at WotC hopefully like their jobs, too.

WotC's still a unit of Hasbro, though, so D&D is still corporate IP and is necessarily managed as such.
That it lets a couple of game designers live their dream is nice, though.
Good for them.

In the end, what's so hard to understand about the following: Not everything they do will appeal to everybody, but everything they do is in the best interest of keeping D&D alive. I want D&D alive. Ergo, I support the decisions they make.
It's a big leap of faith from believing someone's heart is in the right place or their motives sincere (or even pure) to believing they're infallible.
 
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Shasarak

Banned
Banned
Considering how many times WotC has gotten bitten in the bum by licensing, are you really surprised that they aren't in a hurry to do so again, now that they have all their properties under one roof?

Let's stroll down memory lane shall we? First we have the movie licensing, negotiated in the latter days of TSR, WotC had nothing to do with this one. Result, three absolutely abysmal movies and a multi-year, multi-million dollar lawsuit to finally get the rights back.

How can WotC get bitten by licensing that they did not even do? It is not as if it was a big surprise to them that they could not make movies. It is not even as if that was the worst licensing agreement of all time.

Dungeon and Dragon - fantastic magazines. When they decide, due to falling subscription rates, to bring it in house and do it digital, all things they were perfectly entitled to do, there's an online orgy of anger, comparisons of WotC to baby killing and rapists. MASSIVE overreaction.

Well this is just patently false - WotC never decided to bring Dungeon and Dragon magazine in house because of falling subscription rates. It was because they felt they could make more money by bundling the baby killing and whatever in an on-line subscription then they could by licensing out their baby killing and expecting people to do their own whatevering.

Video games - License to Atari results in a series of failed video games, after an initially successful one (Neverwinter Nights). Spend nearly ten years getting the video game rights back, multi-million dollar lawsuit.

So who do we blame for WitC legal not being able to write up a licensing agreement?

It is not as if DnD has had any decent games since Baldurs Gate and ToEE anyway so no great loss there.

I'm sure there's more. Heck, things like the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon where CBS owns the rights to the characters. I have to wonder who TSR's lawyer was at the time.

I suspect that TSR did not have anything to do with the cartoon other then vague managerial oversight, most likely because they were focused on important projects like buying Needle Work companies or getting their second Gold-Plated Jacuzzi installed.

Like I said, why would WotC lose control of properties yet again, when so many times, licensing out stuff has done nothing but bit them on the petoot?

My first recommendation would be not to hire The Three Stooges or Uncle Joe or who ever was doing legal for Lehman Brothers. That would be a good start.
 
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