Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Regarding the WotC Layoffs

Rather than express my own anger towards a company that would summarily dismiss established vital talent like Julia Martin, Jonathan Tweet, and Dave Noonan, among others, I'm going to quote Monte Cook's ENWorld post today instead (in response to a post by Kevin Culp):

While I appreciate the good intent, I'm not sure how one might credit layoffs with the creation of Malhavoc Press. Neither Sue nor I were laid off, nor was our first major freelancer (Bruce Cordell). I suppose later on we used the talents of Sean Reynolds and Skip Williams, but we'd been around for a while at that point. I suppose you could say that some of the layoffs were indicative of the kinds of large changes that occurred at WotC which convinced me it was no longer a place I wanted to work at.

Not that I have any illusions about what would have happened had I stayed. I've no doubt that I would have been laid off. From a larger perspective than just yesterday, it's become clear that WotC's become a company that not only doesn't value experience, it avoids it. (And looks at least somewhat disdainfully, rather than fondly, upon its own past.) You have to stretch your definition of "old guard" to even apply to anyone there anymore. (This is likely a bottom line issue, since the longer you stay, the more you get paid.) When I was there, I worked among people like Skip Williams and Jeff Grubb--with that kind of perspective at hand, I was always the new guy. Which was fine by me. I had much to learn and always appreciated the perspective they could provide. Now, most of the people working on D&D weren't even there when I was there. That's how much turnover and change there's been. There's a real danger of losing continuity with these kinds of layoffs. Dangers involving making old mistakes and not remembering what was learned in old lessons.

It's a foolish and shortsighted management that lets people like Jonathan, Julia, and Dave go. Foolish. And a cold-hearted one that does it at Christmas. But this is not new outrage, it's old, tired outrage. This is the company that laid off Skip, and Jeff, and Sean, and other people of extraordinary talent and experience. It's par for the recent course.

Before I end this bitter ramble, let me just add that it's hard not to laugh at the shocking and perhaps pitiable ineptitude of a company that makes role playing games that would lay off Jonathan Tweet, very likely the best rpg designer, well, period.

I wish all of them the best, and have not a shred of doubt that they'll all go on to do bigger and better things.
Since my thoughts are less diplomatic, I'll just hold on to them. If we meet at a con, buy me a drink and you might be able to coax a rant out of me.

1 comment:

Masada said...

I avoid alcohol... it makes me care.

Cheers, Darrin. Keep up the good fight. You know why these games are fun. You know why you are drawn to them. Ignore the mistakes of the industry and only dwell on what you love.

Game On!