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Friday, August 8, 2008

The continued floundering of Wizards of the Coast

So, it's two months after the release of 4th Edition D&D, and next week is GenCon (aka the biggest RPG convention ever, aka WotC's Frigging House Organ) which is supposed to herald 4e's official release. Let's check in and see if they've learned any lessons from the utterly incompetent way they handled 4e's release:

  1. Necromancer Games -- one of the Big Names in third party D&D publishers -- has declined to swallow the poison pill that is the GSL. In this they join Green Ronin, Paizo, and Kenzer & Co. in giving WotC a firm "Fuck you, we'll support the OGL instead."
  2. Speaking of "Fuck you", David Kenzer (he of Kenzer & Co.) happens to be an intellectual property lawyer, and having gone over the GSL with a fine tooth comb he believes he has the legal right to publish 4e material without having to sign said infernal pact, and in fact is doing so. Yes, this means K&K is publishing 3.5e and 4e material. Suck it, Hasbro.
  3. Gleemax, which was supposed to be a "social networking site" for WotC, has been shut down, allegedly because they want to focus on their "core brands" of D&D and Magic: the Gathering, but in actuality because it's a gaping hole of suck. (Special thanks to Geek Related for that melodious turn of phrase.)
  4. And now D&D Insider -- you know, that glorious "digital initiative" that promised you such things as a character builder, character portrait maker, dungeon designer and online version of all the books you've bought -- which was not ready when the game was released back in June, is now ready to kick off GenCon with...
  5. (wait for it)...
  6. An online rules compendium which has no actual rules in it. Go on, look for rules-y stuff like "initiative" or "blinded".
  7. Oh, there's also some half-assed versions of Dungeon and Dragon magazines which in no way measure up to the print versions Paizo was putting out last year.
  8. And here's the best part: Even though those two "features" are free, they want you to start buying subscriptions now. That's right: they want you to subscribe for 1, 3 or 12 months to access material that you can get for free. No, seriously:
Our current plan is to start charging for subscriptions before we have the client applications ready. That means the initial Insider subscription package will include exactly those parts that are currently in free trial mode.
Oh, and they promise they'll have the other stuff ready. Just like they promised they'd have DDI ready by GenCon.

Based on all of this, I can only assume that the D&D division of WotC is being run by a particularly retarded group of rhesus monkeys, because this level of gross incompetence is unforgivable.


  1. WOTC dug their own hole on this one. Having let the genie out of the bottle (the OGL) now they're trying to stuff it back in.

    I hope the genie turns and bites them.

  2. Wow... just wow. I used to think that CBS's ownership of Fender guitars was the worst case of a major company handling a niche market product. Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast have surpassed that.

  3. yeah, their business model is AWFUL.

    4e is a lot of fun to play though, let me tell you. Far less getting hung up on byzantine rules, quicker, more streamlined gameplay... it's hella cool. I just wish they'd quit being such dumbasses about marketing it.

  4. Eh, after you told me (and soon after the rest of the world) about the review process not working like it should, I figured that anything related to 4E wasn't going to be handled properly.

    Thank goodness the only branch of Wizards I care about, Magic, has a very competent staff...


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