Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mike Mearls' Responds to Monte's Leaving - When Visions Clash

How Dare You Tear Up Your Contract!  Don't You Know Who We Are?!?

Here's Mike Mearls response to Monte's decision to take his ball and go home:

I am surprised, and frankly saddened, by Monte’s decision to leave the D&D Next design team (if Mike was surprised, he must have missed a few signs.  Monte didn't come to this decision lightly). I’d like to thank him for his contribution, and we all wish him well (Monte, thanks for trying to make the FrankenGame work). As we close the first phase of the D&D Next project, I’m excited to share with you all what phase 2 has in store.

It is my pleasure to announce that our public playtest for the D&D Next project will commence on May 24th ("listen, we need to throw you all a bone, to calm the masses upset by Monte's decision to leave"). The playtest is the single most important part of the D&D Next process (I actually thought that would be writing the rules to the game that needs to be play tested, otherwise it's the cart before the horse). D&D is a game that has spanned 38 years of gaming, spawned countless campaigns, and launched an entire gaming genre.

Personally, I can’t count how many friends I’ve made through D&D, or how many hours I’ve spent playing the game, building worlds, or just talking about it with friends. Yet while D&D is an intensely personal game (here it comes... wait for it), taken as a whole it cannot afford to become something beholden to one team’s vision (one team, or "one man"?  or was it two different visions, Mike's and Monte's?). D&D is a tool for creativity. The game must embrace the entirety of its past, and the entirety of its fandom, in order to create a compelling future (trying to embrace all will leave you holding none.  at least we can see why Monte left - he saw the impossibility of designing one game that would satisfy the gaming desires of players of all editions.  One Game to Rule Them All is Mike's dream.  Apparently for Monte, he saw it as an impossible task). No one voice can rise above the others, unless it is the voice of D&D fans as a whole. (Well, now that Monte's voice has left the process, Mike can make sure his voice is heard the loudest.  Frankly, I had more confidence in Monte than Mike, even with Monte's schilling with his early posts.  He tried to be a "company guy" in the beginning, and wound up leaving because he had issues with the company line)

The public playtest is your chance to shape the future of D&D (yeah, I want a game designed by thousands of lemmings... didn't they just say at PAX that D&D Next is only 15-20% complete?  yep, lets throw it the masses.  let them think up some good ideas.  certainly saves salary on game designers), your opportunity to share with us your creative vision for the game. If there are creative differences between the designers and gamers, then surely the needs and vision of D&D gamers will win out (yep, it's in the hands of lemmings). D&D Next is your game. (or it will be when it hits the discount bin at my FLGS)

In the coming weeks, the Legends & Lore column will provide insight into the materials in the playtest and our plans to roll out content (so, no more Mike's Houserules entries?). The curtain is about to go up on our stage debut. On a personal level, and I think I speak for the entire D&D Next team – Bruce Cordell, Rob Schwalb, Jeremy Crawford, Rodney Thompson, Miranda Horner, and Tom LaPille – when I say that we are all excited to hear what you think about our progress. (less than 20%?  not much) We had a great response at D&D Experience, the UK D&D Tweetup, and PAX East, but those were dress rehearsals. You can never be sure of where you stand until you have a full, live audience in front of you (watch as the D&D Next Design Team follows a sea of lemmings off a virtual cliff). Maybe you’ll cheer, or maybe you’ll engage in heated and passionate debate (there's been a lot of that without even seeing the rules). In either case, we’re absolutely dedicated to making D&D Next a modular game (I'll bet a paycheck that Monte wasn't so committed), one rooted in the traditions of tabletop RPG play while poised to blaze a trail toward a vibrant, exciting future. In the end it is you, the audience, who will determine the future of D&D (it is us, the people that will or will not buy the game, that will truly determine it's future). The game is too big, and too important, to stand for anything less than that.

--Mike Mearls


  1. "listen, we need to throw you all a bone, to calm the masses upset by Monte's decision to leave"

    Actually, they had that date set for some time. I signed up for the dealeo back when I was optimistic for the game. But yeah, I get the sentiment, and all that.

    Ho' boy.

  2. You really want the heart attack:




    The Mayans were right...it's the Apocalypse :)

  3. Erik.. I gotta tell you.. as soon as I heard Monte was gone, this was the first blog I came to.. I knew you would have an interesting take on it and you didn't disappoint!

  4. @ADD Grognard - yep, posted about it this afternoon.

    @the dave - i'm flattered. i'd like to assume more like it than not (judging from the hits the blog has gotten yesterday and today, i think its a resounding yes.

    still, some think i'm a bit too... obnoxious might be the word. i brought a Care Bear in for the latest entry ;)

  5. I loved the 'Cheer Bear' review but I don't think you were that hard.. I think you were doing your best to want to like D&D Next and everytime Mike and Monte posted something, the more disillusioned you came..

  6. Public playtest begins May 24th and this thing is coming out in summer 2013, right? Any sooner and this "playtest" is nothing but a sales pitch and possibly prep for the second round of splat books.


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