Thursday, April 26, 2012

In Which The Warlock Watches the Worrisome...

Unfortunately for me, the PlatinumChick got me sick this past weekend, so I've spent the last two days hacking stuff out of my lungs and trying desperately to clear my sinuses clear.  But, in the meanwhile, there's been a juicy bit of news launching its way through the various rpg news channels.

You see, after about 8 months after coming aboard the "D&D Next" design group, Monte Cook has announced his impending departure.  Mike Mearls' response--ostensibly the Wizards of the Coast 'official' response--came shortly thereafter with a combination of outright shock and distraction technique, as the response contained the official announcement for the public playtest start date: May 24th.

Many have read a good deal into this, particularly given Cook's mention of "not wanting to start drama" and Mearls' seemingly-strange mention that "no one voice can rise above the others, unless it is the voice of D&D fans as a whole".  While Cook mentions in a later entry that he had no personal issues with anyone on the design team, the whole situation smacks of corporate apologism and clashing personalities.

What's worse, this bodes incredibly poorly for the upcoming D&D brand.  I was quick to criticize WotC's choice to bring Cook aboard in the first place, particularly given the apparent lack of knowledge Cook had regarding 4th Edition.   But, as the saying goes, "you don't change horses mid-stream".  With Cook's departure, the current design goals likely to be fragmented and internally opposed, for no other reason than, "that was XXXX's idea--I don't like where he's going with that". 

I'll readily admit--I've signed up for the 5e/Next open playtest and intend to sit in on at least one game during this year's Origins Game Fair.  As much as I hate to say it, people tend to forget that games are a business.  And, at that corporate level, publishing has just as many problems as, say, a corporate takeover. 

Will we see a coherent edition from D&D Next?  Probably.
But, does this sound dark tidings for Wizards of the Coast?  Undoubtedly...

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