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Wizards of the Coast

Wizards of the Coast (often referred to as WotC or simply Wizards) is an American publisher of games, primarily based on fantasy and science fiction themes. Originally a basement-run role-playing game publisher, they popularized the collectible card game genre with Magic: The Gathering in the mid-1990s, and experienced tremendous success with the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Today they publish role-playing games, board games, and collectible card games. Currently they are a subsidiary of Hasbro.

History

Wizards of the Coast was founded by Peter Adkison in 1990 just outside Seattle, Washington, and their headquarters is still in nearby Renton. Originally the company only published role-playing games such as the third edition of Talislanta and their own The Primal Order. The release of The Primal Order brought legal trouble with Palladium Books suing for references to their game and system. The suit was settled in 1993 by Wizards paying an undisclosed sum to Palladium and agreeing not to mention their products again.

However, it made its indelible mark when at Gen Con in August 1993, the company debuted Richard Garfield's Collectible card game Magic: The Gathering under the shell company Garfield Games to shelter it from the legal battle with Palladium. The success of Magic generated revenue that carried the company out of the original basement headquarters and into its own offices.

In 1994, they expanded their role-playing game line by buying SLA Industries from Nightfall Games and Ars Magica from White Wolf, Inc. In 1995, they released Everway and then closed their roleplaying game product line, with Peter Adkison explaining that they were doing a disservice to the games with lack of support and had lost money on all of their roleplaying game products.

In 1997, Wizards of the Coast was granted on collectible card games, followed by the purchase of TSR, Inc., the cash-strapped makers of Dungeons & Dragons. Many of the creative and professional staff of TSR relocated from Wisconsin to the Renton area, and Wizards re-hired many game designers who had been laid off during the troubled last years of TSR. TSR was used as a brand name for a while, then retired. Wizards of the Coast allowed the TSR trademarks to expire. The game and toy giant Hasbro bought Wizards of the Coast in September 1999. Between 1997 and 1999, they spun off several well-loved but poorly-selling campaign settings (most notably Planescape, Dark Sun and Spelljammer) to fan groups, focusing their business primarily on the profitable Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms lines.

In 1999, Wizards of the Coast also published the highly successful Pokémon Trading Card Game for a number of years before Nintendo took back control.

Wizards of the Coast also ran a chain of gaming retail stores, run under the names "The Game Keeper" and "Wizards of the Coast", including their flagship gaming center on the Ave in Seattle for several years, and their retail stores, which were mostly in shopping malls in the US. The gaming center was closed by March of 2001 and eventually Wizards announced in December 2003 that it would close all stores in order to concentrate on game design. The stores were closed in the spring of 2004.

In early 2006, Wizards of the Coast filed a lawsuit against Daron Rutter, then administrator of the MTGSalvation website. The lawsuit accused Rutter of engaging in copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement, trade secret violation, unjust enrichment, and breach of contract. The charges stemmed from Rutter publicly posting confidential prototypes for upcoming Magic: The Gathering card sets to the MTGSalvation forums. Wizards of the Coast attempted to obtain summary judgment. The case was settled out of court, and the terms of the settlement have been sealed.

In 2008 Wizards of the Coast, as successor to TSR, was named as a co-creator of Neverwinter Nights when the game was honored (along with Everquest and World of Warcraft) at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for advancing the art form of MMORPG games.

Web community

Wizards has a vocal online community. Its members' posts on "magicthegathering.com" sub forum has made Wizards change some of their online employees, contents of articles and even the content of the website.

Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons game designers have also been known to visit the D20 Character Optimization Board to get information on how character classes have been used, and which ones are considered too powerful.

Wizards Community members have the privileges to:

  • Contribute to "You Make the Card!" project where members create cards of their own that may be chosen to show up in Magic: The Gathering sets.
  • Contribute to "Select Xth Edition" where members present their votes publicly for cards they like to see in Core Sets.

Members run an annual "Urza Awards" competition to recognize the contributions of noteworthy users. Forum moderators also organize "UnCon", Unconventional Convention. Special guests (WotC employees, Artists and Writers) also appear in WotC's "Live Chat'"

From 2007-2008, Wizards' website incorporated a community-focused site called Gleemax.

Games and products

Board games (produced under the Avalon Hill name)

Collectible card games

Miniature Games

Online Games

Role-playing games and supplements

Wizards of the Coast drafted the Open Game License used by Open Gaming Foundation and the d20 system.

Standalone card games

Fantasy novel series

Wizards of the Coast also publishes many fantasy novel series based on its other game products. Some of these are now out-of-print.

Wizards also has a juvenile publishing imprint, Mirrorstone Books, which has produced books for StarSisterz, Dragonlance: The New Adventures and Knights of the Silver Dragon.

References

External links

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