Bill Slavicsek leaves WotC

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No preview of an upcoming product this month. No R&D secrets to reveal. Not really. Instead, I wanted to let you know that I’m leaving Wizards of the Coast. It’s time for my next adventure.It’s hard to believe that I first entered the hallowed halls of TSR, Inc. in the long-ago year of 1993. I was the new kid on the block back then, even though I had seven years of professional work behind me at the time and a handful of industry awards already to my credit. Some of the greats were still on the staff back then, people whose work I admired and played in my formative years, including Zeb Cook, Jeff Grubb, and Jim Ward. My first projects were set in the Dungeons & Dragons worlds of Dark Sun,Ravenloft, and Planescape, and I couldn’t have been happier. It was a gamer’s (and game designer’s) dream come true. As time went on, I got the plum assignment of lead designer for the Alternity Science Fiction Roleplaying Game, working with co-designer Rich Baker and editor extreme Kim Mohan. It was a great time.

In 1997, Wizards of the Coast acquired TSR and moved me and a bunch of the staff out to Seattle. Shortly thereafter, I was promoted to Director of R&D for Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with a talented group of creative people over the years, and we accomplished such feats as launching both the 3rd and 4th editions of the D&D roleplaying game, creating d20 Modernand d20 Star Wars, launching painted plastic miniatures for D&D, creating new worlds such asEberron and the D&D Core World, and most recently launching a new category of D&D board games that started with Castle Ravenloft. I can’t wait to see what they do next! I know that whatever it is, it will be great and I will be playing it.

My professional time with D&D may be coming to an end, but the game and its worlds will always be near and dear to my heart. I am a gamer, first and foremost, and it’s the game I always go back to for inspiration and fun. So, until our paths cross again, do what I’m still doing and …
Keep playing! 
—Bill

Matt James Freelance Game Designer Loremaster.org

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Was going to post this as well, but the estimable @Matt_James_rpg beat me to the punch.

So, what does this mean for DnD and 4E if anything? I wish Bill all the best, but I can't help but feel a little trepidation about what happens next.

Good luck Bill! You gave us 4E, and that's all right by me.
I'm sure this will be taken by some to be yet another sign of the impending apocalypse.
...whatever
good luck bill

plz offer the job to schwalb
Goodbye and good luck.
Good luck Bill with your new adventure !

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

 You gave us 4E, and that's all right by me.



I suppose some people might be glad he is leaving if he helped create 4e too! Heck, maybe they will make a 5e now? Not me of course.

Bill good luck to you!  As a long time lurker and lover of 4th ed you will be missed.  I think many people missed the point of 4th Ed, the beauty and ease of play for a DM was not lost on me.  8 player group! is always a challenge 4th Ed made it much easier for me.  Thank you again for bringing it to life and best of luck to you.
Now my twitterstream is filled with speculation that this is only the first of several layoffs announced today at WotC. (There's a fair number of "Christmas in June" remarks from people in the know, as well.)

Good luck to any who might be affected.

Perhaps its time for another company to take on the venerable IP of Dungeons and Dragons? I love the brand, but the Hasbro/WotC roller coaster is a bit too much for this fan.
Now my twitterstream is filled with speculation that this is only the first of several layoffs announced today at WotC. (There's a fair number of "Christmas in June" remarks from people in the know, as well.)


Is this confirmed as a layoff?  I mean, the guy's been in the D&D business for longer than just about anyone.  It may have been time to retire and/or move on.   Neither way would surprise me.

-O
Now my twitterstream is filled with speculation that this is only the first of several layoffs announced today at WotC. (There's a fair number of "Christmas in June" remarks from people in the know, as well.)

Good luck to any who might be affected.

Perhaps its time for another company to take on the venerable IP of Dungeons and Dragons? I love the brand, but the Hasbro/WotC roller coaster is a bit too much for this fan.



I would like to see a company like Paizo take over the D&D brand.  It's best that a company who is strictly dedicated to RPG's handle the game.
Out with the old and in with the new?
Now my twitterstream is filled with speculation that this is only the first of several layoffs announced today at WotC. (There's a fair number of "Christmas in June" remarks from people in the know, as well.)

Good luck to any who might be affected.

Perhaps its time for another company to take on the venerable IP of Dungeons and Dragons? I love the brand, but the Hasbro/WotC roller coaster is a bit too much for this fan.



Noone else could afford it.
English ain't my native language. So point out my errors, please. Thank you.

Mean? You bet. The guy approved (an probably participated in the creative process) of an edition that divided the community and reduced DnD to a board game. I say good riddance.

The layoffs aren't a sign of DnD being in good financial health. Why is DnD in such a bad financial situation? $e, ironically.




Noone ever said this was a layoff, and the rest of this is trolling. Bad trolling from 2008. 1/10
I'm going to guess sarcasm instead of intensely stupid and mean-spirited post.

I always like to give the benefit of the doubt.

-O


Man are you the one that stole all Tonys optimism - that is an incredible dose you have. I cant see any positive interpretation of the childishness.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Now my twitterstream is filled with speculation that this is only the first of several layoffs announced today at WotC. (There's a fair number of "Christmas in June" remarks from people in the know, as well.)

Good luck to any who might be affected.

Perhaps its time for another company to take on the venerable IP of Dungeons and Dragons? I love the brand, but the Hasbro/WotC roller coaster is a bit too much for this fan.



I would like to see a company like Paizo take over the D&D brand.  It's best that a company who is strictly dedicated to RPG's handle the game.




I have nightmares about that hapening... I imagin the backwards move to be more like 3e or pathfinder... and that makes me want to cry.


I  really like the PR that piazo does (I would say it is better then wotc but that seams like a back handed complment) and I like the people...


BUT I HATE THERE GAME.... so I want to give them money (and I will for minis) but there product is so inferar I can not...    

Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: What Would Wrecan Say?

English ain't my native language. So point out my errors, please. Thank you.

Mean? You bet. The guy approved (an probably participated in the creative process) of an edition that divided the community and reduced DnD to a board game. I say good riddance.

The layoffs aren't a sign of DnD being in good financial health. Why is DnD in such a bad financial situation? $e, ironically.




Noone ever said this was a layoff, and the rest of this is trolling. Bad trolling from 2008. 1/10



You are right about the layoffs. Misread one post.

It is not trolling. It is my opinion. People might not like it, but it is honest, no trolling here.



An opinion that is wrong because it can not be based in any fact. It is trolling/baiting. 

I’ve removed content from this thread because trolling and harassment is a violation of the Code of Conduct.  You can review the Code of Conduct here: wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg...

Method Actor 100% Storyteller 100% Butt Kicker 50% Tactician 50% Power Gamer 25% Specialist 25% Casual Gamer 25% The Code of Conduct is: http://wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1916 To contact Customer Service: http://wizards.custhelp.com
I agree with handing R&D over to Schwalb. This is a golden opportunity for WotC, and him.
It may have been time to retire and/or move on.   Neither way would surprise me.

That is the impression I get when reading it. If it was a layoff I doubt he would write a farewell article. Writing one implies leaving on good terms to kme, which would mean he is either retiring or moving on to a new job. 

THe problem is that there are to many doomsayers who are going to assume he was fired/terminated if nothing else is said. 


Is this confirmed as a layoff?



No confirmation, but that's the talk among the RPG crowd I follow on twitter, most of whom are past employees of TSR/WotC and still working elsewhere in the industry.

Honestly, I hope its not true for personal reasons (I feel bad when anyone gets laid off), hobby reasons (I don't like to see hints of business weakness in the industry I devote my time/passion to) and gamer reasons (It's getting harder and harder to buy products from a company I no longer trust).

On that last note, Paizo, Green Ronin, and Open Design will all still continue to get my money. I don't know about WotC anymore. Not just because of this latest development, but there's a sense of changing ships in midstream with the management that casts doubt on the future of the game.

I make no appologies for my pessimism.

@ Resurrection_Man: Way to keep it classy.

@ Samrin: You're probably right. I'm just venting frustration.

I though Slavicsec created 3rd edition, not 4th?
ANYWAYS...

I am really sorry to see Bill go.  I loved a lot of things that had his name on 'em, and he did some great work.  Doubtless he made something I didn't like, but he brought myself and a lot of other people a lot of hours of fun, and I hope he knows how much he's gonna be missed.

Happy trails, Mr. Slavicsek.
Jackonomicon™ It's not always safe for work, but it's great for play. It's my blog, yo.
Now my twitterstream is filled with speculation that this is only the first of several layoffs announced today at WotC. (There's a fair number of "Christmas in June" remarks from people in the know, as well.)

Good luck to any who might be affected.

Perhaps its time for another company to take on the venerable IP of Dungeons and Dragons? I love the brand, but the Hasbro/WotC roller coaster is a bit too much for this fan.



I would like to see a company like Paizo take over the D&D brand.  It's best that a company who is strictly dedicated to RPG's handle the game.




I have nightmares about that hapening... I imagin the backwards move to be more like 3e or pathfinder... and that makes me want to cry.


I  really like the PR that piazo does (I would say it is better then wotc but that seams like a back handed complment) and I like the people...


BUT I HATE THERE GAME.... so I want to give them money (and I will for minis) but there product is so inferar I can not...    



I'm talking about the company itself, not the Pathfinder game.  I like Pathfinder and I don't want it to change.  I was talking about a company like Paizo, one that puts all of it's time into it's product.  I'm glad they aren't making boardgames and card games for Pathfinder. 

Hasbro is big but big is not always a good thing.  I would rather have a smaller company that spends all it's resources into one specific thing, than a very big company that has many many different things going on at the same time.
Excellent.  Not even at page 2 before this devolves into flamebaiting and edition wars.  


Jeebus, you people make me proud to be part of this community.
Jackonomicon™ It's not always safe for work, but it's great for play. It's my blog, yo.
I though Slavicsec created 3rd edition, not 4th?



He started with TSR in 1993 (I think) and came over when WotC baught it in 1997. He had a hand in both 3e and 4e. It's in first post.
Some people in this thread have fully illustrated why it is sometimes a good idea for a company to fire its customers. Too bad they stick around and crap on the floor after you fire them.

On an up note, thanks for the memories Bill, you oversaw the best version of D&D yet.

...whatever
I though Slavicsec created 3rd edition, not 4th?


Opens 3.0 PHB
checks credits page
There is is listed as Director of RPG R&D
Opens 4E PHB1
Checks credits page
Similar position and 4E final Development Strike team. 

In neither edition was he listed as part of the design team.  
SPECULATION:

Bill S. is a Star Wars encyclopedia.  He's actually written the Star Wars encyclopedias... He worked on the old West End Games Star Wars game.... What if he was lured away by the siren song that is the (rumored) forthcoming Star Wars rpg by another company which hasn't been announced yet,  but might be Fantasy Flight Games?

Could be.  I'd hire him to lead that.

The man did lead the creation of both 3e and 4e.

I am surprised some people do not like a man who did so much for DnD, but they are free to express their frustrations.



He did a lot for the hobby in general. I really wonder if it's retirement, or if we'll see his name pop up elsewhere.

Man, if the criteria for trolling/baiting is that their is no fact to back up a statement, then Future Release is a giant bait... 

No it is more complicated then that. 


Also, Slavicsek did head R&D during 4e's creation. He has a hand in it.

Yes he was the boss of the guys doing the design, not the one of the guys doing the design. 
That I do not like 4e is my right and certainly not trolling.

It all depends on how you say you do not like it. Presentation matters, allot.

The man did lead the creation of both 3e and 4e.

I am surprised some people do not like a man who did so much for DnD, but they are free to express their frustrations.



At this point, its the rare moments of civility that surprise me.
...whatever
SPECULATION:

Bill S. is a Star Wars encyclopedia.  He's actually written the Star Wars encyclopedias... He worked on the old West End Games Star Wars game.... What if he was lured away by the siren song that is the (rumored) forthcoming Star Wars rpg by another company which hasn't been announced yet,  but might be Fantasy Flight Games?

Could be.  I'd hire him to lead that.




His midi-chlorian count was the highest i've seen in a lifeform.


His midi-chlorian count was the highest i've seen in a lifeform.



Haha,

Anyway, here's enworld thread with more condolences, speculation and rumors: bit.ly/lisISm

Thanks to NewbieDM for link on Twitter

Whatever you think of the most current edition of DnD, Bill did a metric ton for the industry through the years, and if this leaving is not his decision, it sucks and is bad for the game. IMO.
The man did lead the creation of both 3e and 4e.

I am surprised some people do not like a man who did so much for DnD, but they are free to express their frustrations.



At this point, its the rare moments of civility that surprise me.



I think he was civil. When you do not like someone it can look like you are notbeing civil. People should be able to express themselves.



I was speaking more to the thread in general than what you were specifically responding to.
...whatever
I loved your work Bill, I hope you have a good future.
Apparently Michelle Carter and Stephen Schubert are also gone. Can anyone confirm this?

Monte Cook supposedly said they were layoffs at WotC. Again, can anyone confirm?

If people want doom and gloom, you don't need to look at Bill's leaving (sad though it is).

Instead take a look at Hasbro's most recent report and accounts for investors.  Under 'Puzzles and Games' is states that overall the division is contracting and is only bouyed up slightly by Magic: TG.  Thats for the 2009-2010 financial year I think, which sort of fits in with when WoTC started to massivley reduce the D&D product line, and recycle would be products into Dragon articles - otherwise known as an ooportunity to reduce staff levels and attempt to keep conten at a decent level.


The last is conjecture on my part, of course, but the comment about Puzzles and Games division is there for anyone at Hasbro's corporate site.      
    
...and more "evidence" that D&D is dying, to add to all the other "evidence" that has been piling up over the past 20+ years.

At this rate, D&D might outlive Western Civilization.
...whatever
Thank you, Bill, for the years that you've given to D&D and to its fans, and best of luck in your future endeavors, whatever those may be.

Yes he was the boss of the guys doing the design, not the one of the guys doing the design.



Correct. Jonathan Tweet was lead design for 3E, and Rob Heinsoo was lead design for 4E. Neither is at Wizards anymore.


Good Luck to Bill in his new endeavours (whatever they may be)!

This doesn't surprise me as much as I think it should though.  It seems (to me) that D&D has been circling, rudderless, for about an entire year.  Maybe the new pilot can right this ship.