Merry Christmas! WotC’s Annual Layoffs, RPG Superstar 2010

On Friday, the news broke that Wizards of the Coast has once more conducted their annual December layoffs.  This time, the axe fell on Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Chris Sims, and Stephen Radney-McFarland. Rob Heinsoo is especially notable, as he was one of the chief designers of 4E, and apparently a mastermind behind the game’s mechanical execution.

Now, this is usually where the blogosphere and the forum threads engage in endless speculation as to what this means. Does it mean 4E is failing? Does it mean WotC is in financial trouble?

Well, they’ve been doing this every damn year since around when Peter Adkison left the company. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s inevitable, every year, as night follows day, that WotC will fire a number of people, at least some of whom are talented. EN World’s front page lists formerly laid-off employees: Jeff Grubb, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Julia Martin, Jim Butler, Chris Pramas, David Noonan, Stan!, Owen Stephens, Linae Foster – and that’s not a complete listing, either, even forgetting the guys from other departments who don’t get their names on the covers of books.

So, it doesn’t mean dick. It’s just what WotC does. I don’t know why, maybe to avoid paying Christmas bonuses or something. Whatever the motivation, though, the timing has always struck me as rather mean-spirited.

Well, good luck to Rob, Logan, Chris and Stephen. Hope you find new jobs soon.

In much happier news, Paizo Publishing has their own annual tradition, the RPG Superstar Contest, which kicked off once more on Friday. The first round of the contest is to design a wondrous item for the Pathfinder RPG, in 300 words. Deadline January 1st. 32 of these will advance to the next round, then 16, then 8, and finally the top four will submit full adventure proposals. The winner will get to write a full 32-page module for the Pathfinder Modules series.

I’ll see if I can get something done, this time around.

Currently, exams piling up. While I still probably won’t have anything resembling a posting schedule after they’re over, I may post more often.