Rich Baker let go from Wizards. What does this mean?

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Rich's blog here.

I've always enjoyed his writing but I wonder why they let him go.
holy crap

thanks for the themes rich

wow wizards, 20 years and you blow him out right before xmas



This is terrible, terrible news. Cry  Rich Baker was one of the brightest lights at WotC and his loss is a serious blow to the game. After reading his answers lately to the "Rule of Three" I was thinking that he seemed to have such a good grasp of the issues that the future of the game looked bright with him in the R&D drivers seat.

Why does WotC always get rid of their best talent? This company is bizarre. Some other company will snatch him up and WotC loss will be their gain. Best of luck Rich Baker, thanks for the good work you've done over the years!
To me it probably means 5th edition is further off than speculants are making it, see around new edition time they start hiring not so much firing.(like Monte).
  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."

 

To me it probably means 5th edition is further off than speculants are making it, see around new edition time they start hiring not so much firing.(like Monte).



+1 ..... You took the words right out of my mouth.
     Could mean anything or nothing.  Maybe he got caught playing with his boss' secretary, or saying no to his wife.  Or, since WOTC seems to have a tradition of Christmas layoffs for some reason, his name may have been drawn out of a hat.  Or he could have hated or loved 5e, or...
I could just tell that he wanted to say something naughty about wizards, and he has good reason to. Ro3 was great, I loved his products, and elemental heroes I am looking forward to. I have a hard time being nice to wizards nowadays. They brought on Cook and kicked this guy off the train? Pathetic. Only my love of the game keeps me coming back, and the fact that D&D could die if we don't support it because of hasbro. I just got d&d, I don't want to loose it.
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Rich's blog here.

I've always enjoyed his writing but I wonder why they let him go.

ENworld is reporting that Steve Winter was also let go.
 
I feel really bad for the guy, who the hell lays someone off two weeks before Christmas? 
Even if a new edition is written by new designers, I feel its important to still have senior designers around for input.

His dismissal may very well be without an exciting story, but the little I know does seem peculiar. I'm sorry to see is gone.
Actually, this makes perfect "business sense."

They're about to refresh their product.  This requires new thinking ... less need for old thinking.  Why not pave the way by releasing some of the older and more expensive talent?

After all, this frees up valuable dollars for hiring inexpensive, new talent.

Then, once your new material is ready to go, you clear the decks again.  Because you need more people to create than to maintain.

Of course, few companies practice such Nietzschean pragmatism around Christmastime. 
"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking." "The important thing is not to stop questioning." A. Einstein
I feel really bad for the guy, who the hell lays someone off two weeks before Christmas? 


Ummm, why does the time of year matter?  Laying him off in the first place is the part that sucks.


It is too bad for Rich, he has always been a stand-up guy, same goes for Steve Winter.  
Why does time of year matter? Use your imagination.
I feel really bad for the guy, who the hell lays someone off two weeks before Christmas? 



There are probably a couple of names for it none of them seem polite "accountants" is closest.
  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."

 

I feel really bad for the guy, who the hell lays someone off two weeks before Christmas? 



Scott, WOTC/Hasbro has a loooooong history of doing just this, most every year around the holidays.

So much so that this has become an industry dark-humor joke.
I feel really bad for the guy, who the hell lays someone off two weeks before Christmas? 


Ummm, why does the time of year matter?  Laying him off in the first place is the part that sucks.


It is too bad for Rich, he has always been a stand-up guy, same goes for Steve Winter.  



Ok, as a whole there is no GOOD time for a layoff, however there are certain times of the year that it is really bad to do it, so close to christmas and/or thanksgiving is the worst. Being a holiday season, with the colder weather in the northern states and shorter days, has a tendency to have an effect on people's moods as it is - many people feel stress and depression around this time of year unless they were in a good financial position to begin with.  A lay off in an already stressful time can hurt even more.

I've been laid off three times so far in my 15 years of working, the worst is getting laid off during cold winter months.  During the summer it actually wasn't too bad - you spend a few hours looking for work, do some yard work, then go enjoy the weather. 

During the winter it's cold, the days are short, there's alot of hustle and bustle.  You look at all the people who are buying things for various celebrations and feel some resentment. 

Thankfully, he still has his writing - so all is not lost. 
Steve Winter is gone too? This just gets worse and worse. Steve Winter has probably forgotten more about D&D than most of us will ever know. It's hard to believe they hired back Monte and fired two of their top guys. This is sad news. I hope they both find work quickly, this is a hard time of year, and a hard year in general, to be out of work. Who's next, Chris Perkins?

Best of luck to Steve Winter, he's done a lot more for this hobby than most people realize.
I feel really bad for the guy, who the hell lays someone off two weeks before Christmas? 



Scott, WOTC/Hasbro has a loooooong history of doing just this, most every year around the holidays.

So much so that this has become an industry dark-humor joke.



I am typically really busy around this time of year myself - I typically lose track of what's going on in the world of D&D (and in general) from November up until Februrary.  Only since my own job changed have I had some additional time this year.  This is the first one I've see it actually happen.

That's sad they would do that.
Wow, that's not good news.

30 years of working for a roleplaying company (TSR/WotC) with a lot of good work under his belt - I especially like the work that he did with Forgotten Realms.

I suspect that he will be back - even if it is just as a novelist for the short term.

Good Luck, Richard!

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I will tell you what it means.  WotC management listen up, cause this is the kind of negative impression your lousy business decisions are making on the D&D community.  WotC management has to be some of the most low life people in the gaming industry.  That's right. I said it, and I mean it.  Your business model of lay everyone off you can every six months is ridiculous, cold-hearted, and really makes no sense at all.  I will be the first to admit that severeal years ago Mr. Baker would be first on my list to can after what he did to the Forgotten Realms, but in reality no one deserves to be laid off, especially for whatever pointless (I'm sure) reason WotC had.  WotC really seems like a lousy company that does not value it's employees at all ,and I wish that a more deserving company had D&D's IP.  The only comfort I have is the Pathfinder is clearly outselling 4E.  I guess sometimes it does pay to be the good guys.
Really sorry to hear the news.  I've always enjoyed Rich's work; he's done so much over the years.  

One of the most memorable for me was Rock of Bral.  It was our home base for a whole Spelljammer campaign.  It could've been just another fantasty city (in space ;)) but his work really helped make the Rock an interesting place, one we wanted to call home.

Maybe Birthright will make a come back and Rich'll get a call to work on it.  Can't hurt to hope, eh ;)?
/\ Art
I dont normally read D&D books but I made an exception for Swordmage.
  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."

 

I was actually enjoying actual honesty in the Ro3 articles. They just lost their best designer, and the only one that I honestly believed could turn things around post essentials for me. No Andy Collins, James Wyatt, and now no Rich Baker on 5e. My D&D days will be winding down as 4e winds down. At least as far as new purchases go.
Hate to see them let Rich Baker go, but I suspect he won't be gone long.  A designer with his experience will find a spot in some of the other rpg company most likely or go freelance.  Who knows maybe he'll join Paizo and work on Pathfinder, maybe he'll work on some other rpg team/line.  Maybe he'll turn to noval writing.
Rich Baker and Steve Winter both held extremely important positions in controlling the creation and publication of D&D and did a damn fine job doing it. It will be interesting to see who is bumped up to take their places. Those are very big shoes to fill. Lots and lots and lots of pressure.

This whole thing feels very Darth Vader-ish to me. The man in the big black suit killing off his top commanders one after another and promoting people on the spot, each one knowing full well that one day it'll be their turn to feel the squeeze of the dark side of the force.
Anyone wondering what kind of guy Steve Winter is should check out this thread:

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

Unsolicited, he put it there because it's the kind of thing that should be said on such a day. A stand-up man with character and wisdom, his presence on these forums will be missed. Good luck sir, godspeed.
Rich's blog here.

I've always enjoyed his writing but I wonder why they let him go.

That is very upsetting. Rich was one of their more talented employees. 
I was really enjoying Baker's Rule of Three column. It was informative and honest without seeming like bland hype or empty spin. Too many of the early Ro3 articles seemed to have been filtered and passed through the marketing department first for maximum compliance with the company line. 
And Steve Winter has been around since 1e and the TSR days. His name is in the credits of the 2e DMG. He's been around forever. I hope he got an excellent severance package. 

It does seem odd that they're continuing the layoffs when it seems like they're slowly building to a new edition, even if it is in the planning stages. This is the time when you'd expect a consolidation of employees with new hires, and not layoffs. 
A change of the guard is not a bad idea per se; you don't want the same people in the same positions, or you'll make the same game over again. I can understand having someone like Monte Cook being hired: you want different perspectives and ideas. But you also need that historical perspective. 

I suppose some of it might be voluntary. The people in the best position to leave take a nice severance package in place of newer employees.
Still doesn't bode well. WotC seems to have been shrinking for some time. With the increased competition it seems like a bad time to be letting go of dedicated and experienced workers - who will inevitably work for your competitors. Freelancers are cheaper and have their place in the industry, but they're not ideal: they know their book and nothing else. They don't know the bigger picture and can't tie products together or create synergistic work. Gloomwrought would have been so much better had the writers known what was going on in Heroes of Shadow

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The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

In my opinion themes were the best recent innovation that 4th edition had. It was a great way to make characters more interesting and three-dimensional, and also really fun. I am pretty sure Rich Baker came up with that. He did lots of great stuff. He had twenty plus years under his belt and he seemed like a solid, hard-working guy who had given his heart to D&D.


He deserves better than being laid off, out of the blue, two weeks before Christmas. Someone (probably more than one) at WOTC is a very cold-hearted person. Hopefully one day they will get laid-off in much the same manner. I doubt anyone will be filling a message board with lamentations when it happens. 


I also want to say that customers have loyalty to companies, and when companies do things like this, it erodes that loyalty.  My trust of WOTC has just gone down.

I wonder if this could be a sign that the 5E approach will be different than past ne edition approaches - Perhaps WotC/hasbro is thinking of buying Paizo/Pathfinder and using some of their staff in the 5E design?
D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
I wonder if this could be a sign that the 5E approach will be different than past ne edition approaches - Perhaps WotC/hasbro is thinking of buying Paizo/Pathfinder and using some of their staff in the 5E design?

Like for  Monte, not a bad idea.. if they keep to fluff only.
Rich's blog here.

I've always enjoyed his writing but I wonder why they let him go.

ENworld is reporting that Steve Winter was also let go.
 



dang



Maybe Birthright will make a come back and Rich'll get a call to work on it.  Can't hurt to hope, eh ;)?



his nerathi legends stuff had a birthright vibe-couldve been a box
I wonder if this could be a sign that the 5E approach will be different than past ne edition approaches - Perhaps WotC/hasbro is thinking of buying Paizo/Pathfinder and using some of their staff in the 5E design?

Like for  Monte, not a bad idea.. if they keep to fluff only.



I was going to say but they havent designed any games.
  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."

 

I wonder if this could be a sign that the 5E approach will be different than past ne edition approaches - Perhaps WotC/hasbro is thinking of buying Paizo/Pathfinder and using some of their staff in the 5E design?

Like for  Monte, not a bad idea.. if they keep to fluff only.



I was going to say but they havent designed any games.


Ummm... do you mean the company? Well, of course not. While corporations are legally considered individuals, very few are that creative of game designers. 
Meanwhile, they're staffed by gamers with a variety of levels of experience, ranging from new to the industry to multi-decade veterans who have worked on dozens of different games.


I remember a few lay offs ago, I predicted the end of Rich Baker. Foretold. As it seemed like WotC was purging all the old staff, and firing anyone connected with the origins of 4e.
I'm sorry. I take it back.
I don't look forward to four or five years when WotC is staffed entirely by non-writers.

Hrm... does anyone know if any other departments have seen layoffs? I remember a few novel line people being cut. But has anyone from the board games or Magic: the Gathering been axed?

Also, I recall Mr. Winter being somewhat involved with the Axis & Allies game, and Mr. Baker is frequently mentioning it. This might not spell good news for that product line. 

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

How could they let the brains behind Dark Sun go!  Those books sold out super fast.  This only convinces me further that either WOTC is even stupider then it seems or Hasbro is just that evil.

This news made me quite sad. 
Rich Baker gone? I'm to the point where I almost want to just give up the game entirely. It feels completely depressing. I like 4th edition, but for some bizarre and/or stupid reason, few people seem to like it. If the articles that Monte Cook has been writing are any indicator of how 5th edition will be then I'm very worried for what's to come. It just not worth the worry or time or money right now. Its just not. This could be my goodbye to role playing games entirely. Only time will tell for sure. Cry
I wonder if this could be a sign that the 5E approach will be different than past ne edition approaches - Perhaps WotC/hasbro is thinking of buying Paizo/Pathfinder and using some of their staff in the 5E design?

Like for  Monte, not a bad idea.. if they keep to fluff only.



I was going to say but they havent designed any games.


Ummm... do you mean the company? Well, of course not. While corporations are legally considered individuals, very few are that creative of game designers. 


ah snark - humor Paizo hasnt as a company produced/designed a game of there own.

Meanwhile, they're staffed by gamers with a variety of levels of experience, ranging from new to the industry to multi-decade veterans who have worked on dozens of different games.   


Then the company must be a represssive environment mired in the game produced by somebody else not able to express all that pent up creativity or perhaps they just arent creative.
  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."

 

This is kind of baffling, unless there's some kind of retirement deal that WotC is trying to avoid. Layoffs this prominent seem especially odd with Monte being brought back on board.
Fire Blog Control, Change, and Chaos: The Elemental Power Source Elemental Heroes Example Classes Xaosmith Exulter Chaos Bringer Director Elemental Heroes: Looking Back - Class and Story Elemental Heroes: Complete Class Beta - The Xaosmith (January 16, 2012) Elemental Heroes: Complete Class Beta - The Harbinger (May 16, 2012) Check out my Elemental Heroes blog series and help me develop four unique elemental classes.
I wonder if Chris Perkins is walking on eggshells yet...
Fire Blog Control, Change, and Chaos: The Elemental Power Source Elemental Heroes Example Classes Xaosmith Exulter Chaos Bringer Director Elemental Heroes: Looking Back - Class and Story Elemental Heroes: Complete Class Beta - The Xaosmith (January 16, 2012) Elemental Heroes: Complete Class Beta - The Harbinger (May 16, 2012) Check out my Elemental Heroes blog series and help me develop four unique elemental classes.
Baker let go? I'm sure there is a manevolent and convoluted conspiracy behind this! Surely, it can't be for mundane reasons, like monetary or personal. Quick, I must spread my opinion to the internets!
Now that would just be the end.  Have the WOTC high ups even read perkins' Against the Giants remake?  Remarkable, everything that guy touches turns to gold.  Rich Baker too though so I guess Perkins could get canned.  Just as likely i suppose.
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