August 22, 2008

A Word with Wizards

After the recent annoucement that WoTC is going through an organizational alignment, some of the casualties have already appeared. They are Linae Foster, Licensing Manager and Mike 'Gamer Zero' Lescault.

It looks like WoTC is really going through a bad time and my sympathies are to those real people who's makes a livelihood in the gaming industry. It's not all fun and games, it's a business and things can be rough. That is why I sympathize.

I really wish them all the best and I would like to particularly praise Linae Foster for her great work in keeping fans like me informed about what is going on with the GSL.

I don't think you'll be reading this, Linae, but you were my last chance of any hope left to see any good public relations practices coming from WoTC. There has been some crisis that WoTC could have just solved with a little more and better communication and only so far, I've seen you step up to it and telling the stakeholders, the 3rd party publishers, what is going on. I really would like to know why you were given the boot for your extra effort and initiative that I thought was the courtesy that we, as customers, deserved.

Shame on you, WoTC and I have a new bone to pick with you.

When you put out a press releases that says;

“Organizational change is always difficult on those impacted,” said Leeds. “But we will take great care in the transition, and continue to invest in the growth of the business, specifically innovation for our Magic and Dungeons & Dragons fans.”

I thought that it was pretty clear that you were going to cut up someone else's pie and leave the 2 brands alone. As much as reality bites that someone has to get the hurt, but that last sentence was an assurance that we wouldn't see anyone who will be taking it from our side. Instead, you went ahead to get rid of the 2 people who worked with those brands, to make it even worse, who had played the role of being communicators for your otherwise, faceless company.

Mike 'GamerZero' Lescault has been an icon in bringing new information to us gamers about our beloved game. If there's any new goodies to spill, he was the man that we would see in his videos talking about D&D.

Linae Foster, for reasons as I have already mentioned earlier, and why of all times did you think she was disposable when the revision of the GSL was coming up? Sure, Scott Rouse is in charge but my first-hand information came from her.

Now who's going to do all the talking and who will represent WoTC if we wanted to hear some answers from?

Public Relations 101. It's one thing to say that you're sorry and we could have forgiven you, but it's an whole entire thing to blatantly lie.

I'm really dissapointed, WoTC. You keep our hopes up and carelessly dash them down.

The postponement of DDI could have been said earlier before we had to find out that you weren't ready on the launching of 4E. You made that release bittersweet instead of making it all the more sweeter. You let the anger festered across the boards and community about what's up with DDI before Randy Buehler showed up about a month later to tell us that Gleemax was going down.

Although I commend on you picking up the pieces after that to keep us informed about DDI but you could have saved yourself a whole lot of resentment if you hadn't just hide in some corner, leaving us to guess what you were actually doing.

The changes made for 4E Forgotten Realms became a heap of miscommunication as no one knows what was really going to happen. But that's not the point. It was more important to tell us WHY it was changing. It doesn't make sense, WoTC. If you are trying to make 4E FR open for new gamers (see, I'm just guessing, are you?), does that mean all the loyal fans who have supported you for some 20 years doesn't even deserve a statement to tell them why are you doing this?

No, WoTC. You do not say that you replied us at the designer's thread. If we were the 'best supported product line' for WoTC, you make an open statement on your website in the FR section about this if you see angry and confused fans, which you pretty saw it coming. You let us in on the all the details (novels, campaign setting, the magic system, backward realmslore compatability of products between the editions, the 100 year leap, the spellplague) of how things are going to change and be honest that not everyone's going to like it.

If NDAs is making everyone tight lipped then get someone who can at least feed with something that is not vague and misleading.

You can't spin it that it's going to be exciting if we really don't feel it in the end.

One last thing. I might be insensitive about this but I find it really ironic that you wouldn't put out a statement regarding the company's loss of an employee in a tragedy but think it's alright to release a press statement about the company is going to cause employees to lose their jobs?

That shows how much you care about your staff, I guess; good riddance.

If this is just a rant or a troll to you then take it as you will. I'm really sad to feel like this for a company which I have tried to play along on its side in terms of corporate-customer relations for years.

Your products are great, WoTC but your communication policies is on the other end of the spectrum.

If the D&D brand name is moving away to another company along with it's designers, I would have no qualms of leaving you behind, WoTC, as a friend who feels betrayed that you will take great care in the transition, and continue to invest in the growth of the business, specifically innovation for our Magic and Dungeons & Dragons fans.


Geek Gazette said...

Preach it brother!I could not have summed it up better.

"Public Relations 101. It's one thing to say that you're sorry and we could have forgiven you, but it's an whole entire thing to blatantly lie."
WotC lie to us? Like that would ever happen... except when they open their mouths.

I too love the products, but have a huge beef with the company. I would love to see the brand bought by Paizo or someone else.

Questing GM said...


Agreed about the products. I'm worried that the trend of 4E has something to do with what Hasbro is telling them to do.

Ishmayl said...

Mostly agree with what you've said, though I would like to point out that even though it is a tragedy to lose Linae, they still have Scott Rouse, who has proven himself to be a very respectable person.

Questing GM said...

True and I still respect him. He may really be the last shred of hope that WoTC would do better PR work.

Welcome to the blog by the way, ishmayl!