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View Full Version : Hasbro + WoTC = ?!?!?



Valairn
2008-06-10, 09:40 AM
Didn't WoTC originally produce DnD 3rd edition before being bought out by Hasbro? Any information on this would be appreciated.

MandibleBones
2008-06-10, 09:53 AM
Sort of, and also no.

WotC aquired TSR, and with it, the D&D brand name, in 1997. Development starts on 3E.
WotC became a subsidiary of Hasbro in 1999.
WotC releases D&D 3rd Edition in 2000.

McClintock
2008-06-10, 09:58 AM
=|mistake|

AKA_Bait
2008-06-10, 10:01 AM
=|mistake|

I'm afraid I don't understand what you are trying to say here.

Valairn
2008-06-10, 10:03 AM
Sort of, and also no.

WotC aquired TSR, and with it, the D&D brand name, in 1997. Development starts on 3E.
WotC became a subsidiary of Hasbro in 1999.
WotC releases D&D 3rd Edition in 2000.

Was the OGL developed before or after Hasbro acquired them?

AKA_Bait
2008-06-10, 10:07 AM
Was the OGL developed before or after Hasbro acquired them?

I'm pretty sure that it was after. However, something to keep in mind is that Hasbro did not buy WotC to obtain the rights to D&D. D&D's a nice perk but what they really wanted was Magic: The Gathering and more importantly, the patent rights to CCG's. Within the first year of ownership of WotC, I'm sure the whatever WotC was doing with D&D was of pretty small concern to Hasbro.

MandibleBones
2008-06-10, 10:09 AM
OGL was released with 3E in 2000. Not sure how long it was being developed before then, but release date is what counts, right?

Valairn
2008-06-10, 10:52 AM
The only reason I was asking, is I am very curious on how much influence Hasbro has on the design process of DnD.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-10, 11:00 AM
My gut feeling is that there is very little influence imposed upon WotC. As stated, Hasbro aquired WotC to get a hold of the highly lucrative CCG market. As business decisions go, this was a brilliant move on their part. As far as I can tell, it seems WotC has been allowed to do what it does best with little interference from the aquiring company, which has kept them successful.

MandibleBones
2008-06-10, 11:02 AM
My gut feeling is... *snip*

My gut and your gut are in agreement, to be sure. Looks like Bait's in on this too.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-10, 11:09 AM
Typically, business aquisitions go cattywhumpus when a large company purchases another company because of the latter's success, but then imposes the large company's model of business and management on the small company. Essentially this results in negating the purpose of the aquisition.

WotC products are still doing quite well. To me, that speaks volumes.

kamikasei
2008-06-10, 11:24 AM
I'm afraid I don't understand what you are trying to say here.

"Hasbro plus WotC equals an absolute mistake"?

AKA_Bait
2008-06-10, 11:31 AM
"Hasbro plus WotC equals an absolute mistake"?

I suppose that could be it. I'd like to see some justification for that opinion though. As far as I can tell it was a good business decision for everyone and at least insofar as D&D goes, the product has not really suffered.

sikyon
2008-06-10, 12:29 PM
Typically, business aquisitions go cattywhumpus when a large company purchases another company because of the latter's success, but then imposes the large company's model of business and management on the small company. Essentially this results in negating the purpose of the aquisition.

Why yes, purchasing something and then not using it typically does result in a useless acquisition. However, not all acquisitions are like this. Many are horizontal/vertical integrations, technological acquisitions and market share mergers, etc.

Quirky=/= good, special =/= useful

Large company models can help small acquisitions grow with more structure and experience.


Anyhow yes Hasbro basically bought WotC to get Magic: The Gathering. Or better known as "paper crack".

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2008-06-10, 12:36 PM
You are correct in that. I was not saying this is typical of all aquisitions, rather it can be one cause of an aquisition gone wrong. Oddly enough, it can happen more often than common sense would indicate. :smallconfused: The world is a weird place sometimes.

Person_Man
2008-06-10, 01:31 PM
Pro's of big corporate ownership:

Budget: Big companies have big bucks. So even small projects tend to have relatively large operating budgets that they can use to improve or develop their product.

Human Resources: Working for a big company means corporate perks. 401K plan, health benefits, cost of living adjustments, performance bonuses, a career ladder with multiple rungs, etc. This attracts and (more importantly) retains the best talent in the industry.

Marketing: I could write the greatest RPG in the world tomorrow, convince Alex Ross to do extensive artwork for my product pro bono, put it on the internet for free, put on game sessions at conventions across the country, and sell hardbound copies at cost, and MAYBE a few thousand people would end up playing it. Getting people to try anything new is a supremely difficult task. Just look at all the trouble WotC is having with 4E, even though it was building off of 3.5, which accounts for 50% of the RPG books sold in the world. Luckily (for them), they have a corporate marketing staff and budget. They can buy access to Penny Arcade, PVP, and other geek websites, pay dozens of staff members to visit every convention, buy ads in comic and magazines, etc.

Distribution: Hasbro can put a product in every toy, comic, and game store in the US and most of Europe and much of Asia, and guarantees access and "positive recommendations" on major internet vendors like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Few other companies can do this.


Cons of big corporate ownership:

Corporate policies: There isn't a censor somewhere in a Hasbro office editing every D&D book before it goes to the printer. But there are corporate policies that everyone must follow. No sex. No graphic descriptions of violence. Nothing that's outwardly hostile towards any race, gender, or religious group. Most of these policies are very good ideas (I don't want my 2 year old goddaughter playing Playboy Candyland Bloodbowl). But writing their policies to protect themselves against the most easily offended groups (small children, parents, Jack Thompson, political nuts) they severely limit writer creativity. This is especially true for a game like D&D, which revolves around a group of young adventurers who kill things, use occult powers, worship imaginary gods, and get directly rewarded for doing so (and punished or stagnate if they avoid combat and/or magic and/or idol worship).

The chilling effect: Small companies love controversy, because its free publicity. But large organizations fear controversy, because they fear long term litigation and the costs that they incur. So even if something isn't explicitly written into corporate policies, they avoid anything that even smells like controversy. Everyone working for an organization knows this. And they know that they are expendable. "Hasbro apologizes for publishing "4E - Swords and Satan Supplement." We have fired everyone associated with the project, and deeply regret...

Corporate structure: This is the biggest problem. Nothing concise, clear, or creative was ever written by a committee. Dozens (if not hundreds) of people either wrote or "contributed" to 4E. And if two people disagree about something in a large organization, the most likely resolution is to split the difference and compromise. This leads to vague rules with endless exceptions and muddled fluff.

McClintock
2008-06-10, 03:07 PM
"Hasbro plus WotC equals an absolute mistake"?

Thanks for helping to clarify my point.

As for a reason for my opinion... I am a grognard and while I like many of the changes that have happened to "my precious" RPG, many of the changes are too close to video games. I see the actual RP of the RPG being down played into a straight numbers game. Now instead of RPing the encounter with the barmaid for info, we roll a few dice and see how persuasive we are and how she reacts. We either get the info or don't, but the technically the interacting is gone.

In my group we have inadvertently house-ruled that diplomacy, bluff, gather info, sense motive and many of the skills are only roleplayed. Some of the group fights this, but it is how the majority of the group enjoys the game.

Ranks are important for physical skills and knowledges, as it points towards a focus in the characters training, but diplomacy (at least in our view) is not so much a trained skill as a personal trait. One can know how diplomacy works, and not know how to be diplomatic.

This is only an opinion, but it is one my group lives by. Many of us feel betrayed by the changes, being to far removed from the soul of the game.

D&D started as a game moving away from robotic war games with little soul and much destruction. It was formed with the understanding the individual and his/her companions could make a difference and the choices they made played a huge part in the difference. When the game becomes number crunching and damage dealing and less about the "fluff" the game has lost its roots.

Hasbro & WotC are great companies, and the dragged D&D out of the dark ages, but I think they changed it into a commercialized monstrosity that is far to easy to exploit.

But thats just one man's humble opinion.,...and you did ask for it.

Chronos
2008-06-10, 05:31 PM
In my group we have inadvertently house-ruled that diplomacy, bluff, gather info, sense motive and many of the skills are only roleplayed. Some of the group fights this, but it is how the majority of the group enjoys the game.There's a very difficult line to walk, here. If you make social skills "Just roll the dice with your Charisma modifier and see if it's good enough to persuade the NPC", then you're losing out on the role-playing, which many people enjoy. On the other hand, if you make it entirely role-playing, then there's no reason to invest in Charisma at all, and you'll end up with half-orcs with 5 Cha sweet-talking the barmaid. Or alternately, players who, in real life, have the equivalent of 5 Cha but who are playing what are supposed to be suave bards, but can't get anything out of anyone.

Reinboom
2008-06-10, 06:01 PM
For everything I can see, there is more safety than is obvious against the cons of what person man sad, specifically...


The chilling effect: Small companies love controversy, because its free publicity. But large organizations fear controversy, because they fear long term litigation and the costs that they incur. So even if something isn't explicitly written into corporate policies, they avoid anything that even smells like controversy. Everyone working for an organization knows this. And they know that they are expendable. "Hasbro apologizes for publishing "4E - Swords and Satan Supplement." We have fired everyone associated with the project, and deeply regret...

The structure of marketing the products avoids this rather well in an interesting way.
I actually think that hasbro doesn't really want to be associated with wizards as a name.

Go to the wizards web page, you will see a single trademark of hasbro there. That's it.
Look at the bottom of the 4e box set, or the back of the 4e books. You will see -no- mention of hasbro.
For one of my tournament packs of Lorwyn (magic the gathering), the length trademark on the side has a single mention of Hasbro, specifically, as an alternative to the wizards of the coast mailing address, it gives the Hasbro UK if you live in Europe instead. The copyright is specifically set on to Wizards of the Coast, however.
Even if you open the 4e books, you will only get the same single mention in the credits section for the Hasbro UK as a mailing address.
In the 3.5e core books I have, there isn't even that - there was the old Wizards of the Coast headquarters in Belgium instead. (I wonder what happened to that one..)

If Wizards messes up, I believe Wizards might make a statement. It won't be a big thing however, and I definitely don't believe Hasbro is going to make their name known in it. Hasbro is protecting itself by not being there.


This would also probably lessen the effect of the other cons.


There's a very difficult line to walk, here. If you make social skills "Just roll the dice with your Charisma modifier and see if it's good enough to persuade the NPC", then you're losing out on the role-playing, which many people enjoy. On the other hand, if you make it entirely role-playing, then there's no reason to invest in Charisma at all, and you'll end up with half-orcs with 5 Cha sweet-talking the barmaid. Or alternately, players who, in real life, have the equivalent of 5 Cha but who are playing what are supposed to be suave bards, but can't get anything out of anyone.

I would also like to quote this, and reiterate the message from sikyon below.
The longest set up for role playing? Storytellers, most likely. Aside from them, actors!

The roles a good actor (or decent actor) can play can showcase their intelligence, charisma, and wisdom far beyond their actual capabilities - however, aside from the bursts of improvisation, actors rarely just talk to the subject, know how to respond, etc. without a script. The dice is the script.

More than that, but sometimes there are players who really want to be charismatic and boastful.. because they are not. I'm quiet, personally, and I speak a bit from personal experiences. Having the ability to put the weight and pressure on something else (the dice) occasionally when you really want to say something helps, it relieves the stress just in case you do mess up the speech (in person), or even just a parlay. Overall, I would say that in a lot of cases, the dice helps to roleplay.

sikyon
2008-06-10, 06:04 PM
There's a very difficult line to walk, here. If you make social skills "Just roll the dice with your Charisma modifier and see if it's good enough to persuade the NPC", then you're losing out on the role-playing, which many people enjoy. On the other hand, if you make it entirely role-playing, then there's no reason to invest in Charisma at all, and you'll end up with half-orcs with 5 Cha sweet-talking the barmaid. Or alternately, players who, in real life, have the equivalent of 5 Cha but who are playing what are supposed to be suave bards, but can't get anything out of anyone.

Indeed. Using your real-life charisma, int and wis is infact the opposite of role playing.

Kompera
2008-06-10, 11:09 PM
There's a very difficult line to walk, here. If you make social skills "Just roll the dice with your Charisma modifier and see if it's good enough to persuade the NPC", then you're losing out on the role-playing, which many people enjoy. On the other hand, if you make it entirely role-playing, then there's no reason to invest in Charisma at all, and you'll end up with half-orcs with 5 Cha sweet-talking the barmaid. Or alternately, players who, in real life, have the equivalent of 5 Cha but who are playing what are supposed to be suave bards, but can't get anything out of anyone.
It's fully within RAW to do both. Role play the interaction between the player and the NPC, and then apply a Circumstance Modifier (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/theBasics.htm#circumstanceModifier) to the skill roll as already modified by the points the player spent on the skill and any applicable stat adjustment.
This is how my group handles things in most cases, and it has a very good 'feel' to it which surpasses either ignoring the skills or ignoring the role play. And it has the added benefit of helping to improve the role playing abilities of those players who are less adept at coming up with what to say to the city guard to convince him that the goods you have are clearly not smuggled, but that you were on your way, at this very moment, to the tariff office to pay the taxes.

Mark Hall
2008-06-11, 10:47 PM
WotC has maintained, since the acquisition, that Hasbro has little to do with the D&D part of the business. IIRC, Ryan Dancey was talking about the OGL well before the acquisition.