Honestly, now that I've seen the Tyranid codex in all its "glory", I think it's time for me to say it:
I think Games Workshop needs to hire a community manager and or balance designer immediately.
I just can't see how this book turned out the way it did if GW paid any attention to its fanbase. I know a lot of people are in the camp that GW are a miniatures company and their job is to sell minis first, but that's horseshit. The second they decided to start writing rules to go with the models they create, they became a game company. They put out physical product that have rules attached and thus, they need to honor the gamer as well as the hobbiest.
Having combed through the book, I don't think they have a community manager at all. If you had someone who monitors the forums, read fan blogs and filters through the Internet, GW would know this codex is not what players wanted. The truth is that while some people will be happy, the majority of them will be highly disappointed. This includes myself as I think the new book is hastily put together, poorly executed and lacks all forms of character. It's uninspired, unoriginal and it's more of a WD update to streamline the old book for 6th ed. more than an actual codex. In fact, to call it an update would be to give it credit. The book makes tons of meaningless changes that doesn't improve the quality of the army but detracts from its original 3rd edition design even further. In terms of design, this book was a disaster. Not in the sense that the internal balance is poor, or because the power level is completely underwhelming, but it's simply not what players wanted. This seems to be an ongoing tread as of late and I'm not sure what the issue is.
Whenever I do game balance for any of the game systems I'm responsible for, I pay very close attention to the community. I am always heavily involved with the competitive players and the min-maxers without losing focus of the original design content. You also have stats of model sales, which common threads pop up, and which units are commonly taken to tournaments. There's just no excuse when you can pull hard data as well as gather feedback from trusred sourcces. You see, many people think in order for a game to be successful you need to appeal to the casual. This is false. If your background, your universe and the fantasy you provided for your players is good enough, the casual players will come and buy your models. They might enjoy the look, the art or the modeling potential. For them, this is enough since they casually play the game as a secondary hobby element. If you design the game to be balanced, only the competitive players will notice. The casual players are not into the hobby for the gaming element so what do they care about the state of the game. I think this is where GW has its disconnect. Because their targert is the younger, casual player who has disposable income, they think it doesn't matter if the game is poorly balanced. In truth, a properly balanced game does not hurt you in anyway, it only helps you. The reason why is because competitive gamers are usually the most vocal: they blog, they register on forums, and they're the ones who kick and scream when they get handed imbalance. This is negative publicity for your game instead of free, positive marketing. Imagine a world where GW gamers from all over the net praise each books release, or avidly promote their game at every convention. This type of free marketing cannot be bought, and it's one of the key driving forces for building a unified, successful gaming community. Currently, this is not the case.
Balance design is something of a niche field. It's essentially taking the idea of something and making sure it works with everything else. I'm pretty sure that the design department over at GW has no such field or anyone who specializes in the balance of army books. By now, I'm not even sure if they really have play testers or if they're making that stuff up. Or they have play testers, but their focus is purely to see if the models don't break when you handle them and if everything looks visually impressive when you put them on a mock battlefield. The reason I'm being this harsh is because there's no way a design studio can put out the Skullcannon, Heldrake, Wave Serpent, and the Tau codex with educated and experienced play testers providing you feedback. It's just not possible in the gaming industry, and this is coming from someone who started his professional career at 16. The only way this is possible is if GW deliberately doesn't care about game balance even when they know balance issues exist. This hurts me beyond measure because I know how successful they can be with one. Their games would be more fun for the ones who play it, for both casual and competitive players. In turn, this will lead to a more positive community, a more unified community with more tournaments, who would have no problem providing free marketing and publicity for your game system. This ultimately results in higher revenue and sales.
I wrote all this from my phone. Please don't kill.