Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Response to an article on BoLS

So much good and bad..

You can find the article here:
http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2015/04/editorial-gw-doesnt-need-to-listen-to-us.html

For those people saying that GW doesn't need to listen to be successful..

I don't agree with this at all. Making a nice, balanced game does not alienate or eliminate the casual/hobby crowd at all. Making a crappy, poorly designed game that cares nothing for balanced gameplay keeps the gamers away. If they only cared about the game they're designing, they would have both parties.

They can start by hiring a community manager or designer with a speciality in balance. Other, more modern game companies such as PP, FFG, Spartan, Hawk, all have designers who are very much intune with the community, the tournament scene, the metagame, and the general health of the game.

Experimental rules is a thing, alpha and beta rules are a thing. PP run testbeds in mini-campaigns all the time to test out rules all the time. GW just lives under a damn rock and have none of these modern ideologies. The community of gamers want to be involved and test out rules and provide feedback (good and bad). There's just no place to do so.

I don't really care though man, not anymore. I've been with GW games for 14 years and they haven't changed, in fact, in some cases they got worse. With their mission statement specifically calling out that they're a collectibles company and not a gaming company, that's just a big spit in the face for all their loyal gamers out there. The second you attach rules to your models, you become a gaming company whether you like it or not. It's up to you to make it better and keep it healthy, and they haven't been doing a good job with that. All the other companies I listed above are running circles around them in terms of rules development and actually knowing what their community wants, because they actually listen, and have taken action to make the game better. They actually understand that making the rules better do nothing for the casual player, the hobbiest or the painter, and that it only affects the player. GW does not, and for that reason, they will never be as successful as they might be.

Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments below.

61 comments:

NafNaf said...

Y'know, I am quite a fluffy player and I have been put off big time by 40k as a game right now. The horrible imbalance between the new codices and the older 7th ed ones (like orcs and DE) have created a game that is almost unplayable.

When I play a game I want to be immersed in that game, tactically and story line wise. I DO NOT want to take my models off in spades to an unkillable model backed up by cheap spam that fires a million shots a round. This is no fun for me and probably not for my opponent too. So long GW. I love your models, and will continue to convert and paint them, but my money and gaming time are now focused on other games that care about their communitites, like dropzone, infinity, x wing ect, and are fun and balanced to play. When both opponents have an equal chance of winning, the game becomes so much more fun, whether you are a fluff bunny or a hardcore competitive one.

PokeTeeHee said...

Overall, I think the article is right. However, I don't know if that is the best long run strategy for GW. I think over time GW will have to make a balanced ruleset to stay a float. I only say this because 3D printers are a thing. And as 3D printers get better, it will allow people to in their own homes develop there own games and sculpting high quality models will not be as difficult. 3D modeling software means anyone can create GW style miniatures OR their own unique ones. I don't think this will lead to GW figures being pirated all the time. However I do think people will model their own Great Unclean One, because they don't like GW's or something like that. Also some GW hobbyist enjoy mostly the conversion and painting aspect of the hobby, 3D printing could be more fun and economical for such people. They can design and print Space Marine-like figures (and as long as they don't sell them, they should be fine) without issue and at a cheaper cost. Basically, the advent of the high-quality household 3D printer, which probably won't be around for another 10 years or so, will force GW to become more competitive in the rules aspect of the game. But for now it is too costly for an individual to "design and produce" GW quality miniatures for themselves. And GW is using the aesthetic (and size) of the models to entice us to buy them, in the future that may not be the case.

HERO said...

I think by the speed FFG is providing affordable pre-painted models with excellent rules, it's only a matter of time before they overtake GW completely.

Darian Vorlick said...

The article is exactly right. It's a business, not an esports/competitive gaming league. They make models that happen to have rules you can use to play with your models. What direction the metagame/game balance/competitive niche market is completely irrelevant as long as they keep pumping out models that people are willing to shell out money for.

The audience of players who actually care about competitive gaming is incredibly small compared to how much of GW's market share just want cool looking models.

Let me make a comparison. I enjoy the high-end painting tutorials because I try to see if I can try and mimic the talent the 'Eavy Metal team outputs. I used to look forward to each and every 'Eavy Metal Masterclass tutorial, book, guide, whatever just so I could glean a tiny hint of what techniques these painters use.

When they changed to the new White Dwarf format, they removed the Masterclass section. Why? Because it was only for, according to one of the WD editors I spoke to, approximately 1-5% of their readership. That means 95-99% of their customers have no interest in painting to that level, so it was essentially wasted editorial space in the magazine. If you COULD paint at that level, then you wouldn't be using a White Dwarf magazine to gain more skill.

It's the equivalent of those looking for a completely balanced ruleset. Like those who want to paint 'EM-level quality, it is an incredibly small, niche subset of GW's customers so focusing on them would actually alienate the majority of your customer base. The remaining 95%+ simply want to build their models, play with their friends and have fun.

And they're right to do that.

Do I want more advanced painting tutorials? Hell yeah. But I also recognize that I'm not part of GW's majority demographic audience.

Furthermore, the article is right in saying that there is no unified voice among the customer base. One group of people may say "this sucks!" but there are plenty of other groups saying, "meh," or "it doesn't bother me any."

So if you're trying to get a feel for what the customers want, reading the various GW-oriented websites is definitely not going to net you any value. It's like saying Blizzard should read the General Forums for how they should direct WoW. There are too many people wanting too many things, and in the end you'll never make everyone happy. Nor should you.

One of the things I learned when I was at Blizz, were some wise words. Don't make a game that you think everyone will like. Make a game that you will like, and hopefully other people will like it too.

The same should apply to GW. Listening to the player base is stupid because you'll never get a unified voice for what they should do. Instead, make models that will sell, and hopefully people will like it too. So far, GW's done a pretty good job at that.

Darian Vorlick said...

Test

PokeTeeHee said...

Yes and No, GW has SO long before FFG could overtake them. If FFG does take up some of the market, GW can react to that. But the problem with your argument is you believe pre-paint affordable models are an advantage (which is not easy to know). I actually enjoy painting models (painting the models creates value for me) but the larger market we are in my not agree with me on that point.


Anyways GW customers fall into three categories. I will call them the artist, the tryhard, and the narrative. The artist likes conversions and painting mostly, the tryhard likes the competitive nature of the gaming and being the supreme general, and the narrative enjoys just watch what happens (there is some overlap with the tryhard). GW is trying to appeal to the narrative and artist (and disregarding the tryhard). FFG disregards the artist or at least does not emphasize the roll of the artist. I think with the 3D printer there may be a split in the artist and the other two categories. This makes FFG a better buy in the longer run. However, I think all miniature gaming companies should be concerned more with IP and rules than miniatures, but this will only be apparent in the next couple of years. Also, I think there needs to be more technologies integrated into table top gaming. We are still rolling dice for goodness sake, technology will be what both GW and FFG need to look into. I think that will create the future profit margins for table top gaming.

archied said...

i did start reading that article in question but gave up pretty quick. Short term they do seem to be doing 'okay' (it really saddened me to see the £100 ltd ed Eldar codex sell out so quick) but how long is this honestly going to last? How long are the people who are currently enjoying what theyre being dished up going to stick with the game thats basically turning into playing action man/GI Joes with a few dice thrown in?
They really really do need to listen to their customers. The argument against that theres too many differing opinions is crap, of course theres differing opinions, this is why to do it successfully is difficult.
Very few things that are really worth doing are easy.

archied said...

I'm pretty sure theres a large number of hybrids all of those player types too to be fair.
The problem being, none of those core types or any hybridisations would be put out by GW releasing decent, concise, balanced rules.


I agree FFG seem a way off to me too. But the fact that theyre willing to FAQ units that are OTT (as in the recent nerf to the TIE phantom) speaks volumes.

PokeTeeHee said...

I am mostly going to responed to this "The problem being, none of those core types or any hybridisations would be put out by GW releasing decent, concise, balanced rules."

YES, YES, YES. GW should be putting out balanced rules and they kind of did until necrons and eldar (at least on the whole). The problem is GW does not like editions (5th edition necrons was really 6th edition necrons). Basically at the middle to end of every 40k edition there is some sort of power creepy to the next edition. Then, in the next edition it levels out, as a whole, with certain armies being a little more or less powerful (in general). This means the eldar codex and necron codex that have been released were probably made for 7th and 8th edition ( they are a hybrid of how both editions will work). GW does not have a true core set of rules in mind IMO. The eldar (and necron IMO) codex was made for both 7th and 8th edition (and it could be broken in both?). This means GW can not easily make balanced armies under this condition (because eldar are clear not meant to be balanced to Dark Angels, but necrons v eldar, IMO, is a fair match up). Daemonkin is a little bit of a let down, but I think it is decently powered (we will see when 8th hits). The counter to this is why doesn't GW release every army in every edition and have them balanced to each other. This goes against GW release style. First off they aren't anything like Privater Press, or FFG because 40k has 16 armies (maybe 20 with Harlies and the like). Also GW releases some new or updated models with each release, so that means like a 8 months if they did two week releases for every army. No other companies has to deal with so many armies (FFG has just a few armies in each gaming system). GW could release all rule books all at once (8th with every codex in 8th), I think this is the best idea. But it means if new units need to be released, they need to release models for them all or third parties may create proxies. GW could release all armies quickly like in 8 months and then have a slight decrease in sales until the release in a year or two (and then do FAQ's if something is overpowered). But this is weird for a company to have such weird profits and it creates weird buying practices on the consumers. Also, GW's seems to price there products off of people who already play 40k. (If I spend 80-120 dollars on the eldar jetbikes that is not too bad, but if someone is spending 300-500 dollars or more just too start up an army that is push out people who might be interested in 40k). This is why GW releases codices every month, they are getting their heavy customer base to buy some each month, and it fits in their production scheme.



In the end, GW either needs to ramp production up in a MASSIVE way once every three years or so(which may be the way to go). Or they stagger releases and make some codices in one edition playable in the next edition (which is exactly what they do). And because this is the method they choose to do FAQ's are difficult and cumbersome. This method is very difficult to put into a balanced core rules set (because there isn't one balanced core rule, it is both 7th and 8th). None the less, GW needs to realize that many gamers want a competitive game and GW needs to TRY to get this group of people to be successful in the future (and who knows maybe 6th-7th-8th will create this atmosphere for 40k). If the competitive gamers are a large part of table top gaming then 40k must adapt or die.

Tim Andresen said...

This. This all the way. Whenever I have the dumb idea of getting back into 40k, I'll read this blog post. Thank you Hero!

HERO said...

Other gaming companies don't have the same issue. PP updates all their core army books with each edition of their ruleset. Otherwise, they "patch" in units to help certain factions with imbalance and weaknesses with almost "DLC"-like faction models. White Dwarf updates are like this, but PP actually know what they're doing with game balance because they take feedback from the community, AND experiment with test rules that the public can provide feedback for. Spartan does the same, Hawk does the same, FFG does the same. Virtually every miniatures company knows how to handle the miniatures market when it comes to making a successful GAME. GW does not, and it's unfortunate that people can't see that because they don't have the same level of exposure to other companies like I do.

HERO said...

I think you need a better word than "tryhard". Is gamer not a good way to describe them? Come on man.

HERO said...

I've just been disappointed too many times. As I get older, and mature as a gamer, I just don't have the time or motivation to flip armies at the pace GW wants. If their rules were actually consistent and that all armies can play at the same level, I would love the game. Sadly, one must face reality and I'm not going to give them another 14 years of my life holding onto a prayer that they'll suddenly know what they're doing.

Time, is important to me now more than ever. More companies are starting up and starting to dominate the space that GW has held defiantly in the last 20 some years. These companies are business smart, tech savy, understand the power of social media, and tap into community resources, all the while sporting equal or better design philosophies than GW. Tell me, aside from fluff and IP (which I love), why, as a GAMER, should I deliberately choose to support a company that has consistently failed me after I've given them so much in return? The logical answer is that I shouldn't. I shouldn't because GW does not give a fuck about me as a gamer. They have recently announced that they are a collectibles company and not a game company. This is HORSESHIT first and foremost. Why? Because the second you attach rules for a game onto the models you provide, you are a gaming company. Stating that they are a collectible miniatures company is simply a cop-out for saying they do not care about the game.

With that, I begin my long exodus away from GW. I'm starting with my massive Tyranid army, then I'm going to sell my Eldar remnants, but I'll probably keep my oldest and greatest love which is Dark Eldar. If GW fucks up 9th Ed WHFB, I'm selling everything. This is the year I put an end to the long abusive relationship that is GW. And it pains me greatly.

PokeTeeHee said...

Competitive gamer works (I was giving more flowery names). And PP is too different (they are too young). Just read my previous article (it spells out why GW will not be competitive. In a nut shell it is because GW does not have a core ruleset in mind for necrons and eldar (they are limbo codices. Actually it seems PP is getting closer to GW than I thought http://privateerpressforums.com/showthread.php?222253-Can-Privateer-Press-Still-Change-the-Game-If-so-how And the transition from MK1 to MK2 seems huge (I have not studied PP enough, I do know all of their products are priced at nearly the same level as GW, even codices are 35 soft, and 45 hardback). http://pokeminiatures.blogspot.com/2009/11/cliffs-notes-for-warmachine-mk1-to-mk2_17.html. This is proof that PP changed entire armies with the core rules, where as GW tries to make armies fit multiple core rulesets. "This isn't rocket science, GW is just dumb as wood." please, please read my previous post and respond to the words I have written because there is a huge divide in our conversation. The point is GW DOESN'T write codices for one ruleset, they want a codex to have more longevity than that (meaning competitive play in 40k will not happen naturally). When PP releases a unit or models they have a stat card for that unit and bases for there core ruleset which does not change see post http://www.reddit.com/r/Warmachine/comments/2f36w5/will_there_ever_be_mark_3/ What this is saying is warmachine will have its mk2 ruleset until some future release demands the rules be update. GW has gone through 8 editions of fantasy and 7 of 40k, they may continue this trend. And as long as they do competitive 40k will not really be a thing after each release of each codex (for instance in a year after space marines and tau and some more armies get "decurion" formations 40k will be very competitive again). And remember GW has 22 armies while PP has 7, it is completely different.

HERO said...

Sounds like a GW problem, not a PP problem.

PokeTeeHee said...

"Sounds like a GW problem, not a PP problem."That is what I said in my post you responded to originally today. GW is too large to operate like PP, and GW wants to consider itself a modeling company, NOT A GAMING COMPANY, first. So GW does not recognize it as a problem. However, I do believe GW is sizing up there competitiors and seeing how they compare (GW went from 4 40k releases a year, to now like 12). They may have already realized that PP's stable ruleset is the best way to go, but they need time to adapt their core rules in this way. I also believe the future of 40k (talking about 10-15 year, a ways away) depends on GW realizing that the game needs to be more balanced in a competitive sense. So in that sense, GW will have to make a strong ruleset, not because of what the players say, but because GW will loose its edge to 3D printers (modeling in the future may not be profitable). This will force GW to go to video games or become a true gaming company.

PokeTeeHee said...

Please do not say things like "This isn't rocket science, GW is just dumb as wood." or "Sounds like a GW problem, not a PP problem." it shows immaturity and you don't seem to understand that GW KNOWS THERE RULES ARE NOT MEANT FOR COMPETITIVE PLAY (so it makes you look ignorant). In GW's mission statement they make it quite clear their goal is to make good looking minis not rules. Whether it is good or bad GW neglects competitive play although many moons ago they did do everything you said PP, Spartan, and FFG did. They even had GW sponsored tournaments.

HERO said...

And because they don't realize it's a problem, shows me they don't care about the playerbase. It's apparent in their work, their business motto and their marketing schemes. I don't have time for them to get their shit together, other companies are here, now, so I might as well sell while its worth something.

PokeTeeHee said...

"And because they don't realize it's a problem" No you have it backwards, they don't think that their playerbase wants a tight and competitive game. They think there customers want high quality models to play a fun game with their friends and roll some dice(balance is not key in the short run here. Once a high quality 3D printer comes out in a hinder GW business model of selling high quality models. It is kind of like comparing say Rockband to LoL. LoL is very competitive and that is fun. Rockband is generally seen as a more lead back game that you play with friends (not as competitive as LoL). Here PP is LoL and Rockband is like GW.

HERO said...

The problem here is that they don't, or have any concept of, that making a tighter ruleset does do them any harm. They have so much to gain with absolutely no loss. It's not that I have it backwards, THEY have it backwards. Whether or not they think their customers are just playing the game for fun, you can have even more fun if the rules were better. There's just no arguing that.

PokeTeeHee said...

That is exactly will I wrote all this text pervious:


YES, YES, YES. GW should be putting out balanced rules and they kind of did until necrons and eldar (at least on the whole). The problem is GW does not like editions (5th edition necrons was really 6th edition necrons). Basically at the middle to end of every 40k edition there is some sort of power creepy to the next edition. Then, in the next edition it levels out, as a whole, with certain armies being a little more or less powerful (in general). This means the eldar codex and necron codex that have been released were probably made for 7th and 8th edition ( they are a hybrid of how both editions will work). GW does not have a true core set of rules in mind IMO. The eldar (and necron IMO) codex was made for both 7th and 8th edition (and it could be broken in both?). This means GW can not easily make balanced armies under this condition (because eldar are clear not meant to be balanced to Dark Angels, but necrons v eldar, IMO, is a fair match up). Daemonkin is a little bit of a let down, but I think it is decently powered (we will see when 8th hits). The counter to this is why doesn't GW release every army in every edition and have them balanced to each other. This goes against GW release style. First off they aren't anything like Privater Press, or FFG because 40k has 16 armies (maybe 20 with Harlies and the like). Also GW releases some new or updated models with each release, so that means like 8 months if they did two week releases for every army. No other companies has to deal with so many armies (FFG has just a few armies in each gaming system). GW could release all rule books all at once (8th with every codex in 8th), I think this is the best idea. But it means if new units need to be released, they need to release models for them all or third parties may create proxies. GW could release all armies quickly like in 8 months and then have a slight decrease in sales until the release in a year or two (and then do FAQ's if something is overpowered). But this is weird for a company to have such weird profits and it creates weird buying practices on the consumers. Also, GW's seems to price there products off of people who already play 40k. (If I spend 80-120 dollars on the eldar jetbikes that is not too bad, but if someone is spending 300-500 dollars or more just too start up an army that is pushing out people who might be interested in 40k). This is why GW releases codices every month, they are getting their heavy customer base to buy some each month, and it fits in their production scheme.

HERO said...

I deleted your comment btw, please do not copy and paste giant blocks of text if it already exists in the comment.


No matter, it no longer matters. It's been 14 years already, and I'm not going to wait any more. That's all that needs to be said. Enjoy whatever it is you enjoy.

PokeTeeHee said...

Cool.

Stickman said...

I think you're making an argument against a point the article doesn't even make. You make good points as to why GW should listen to (a percentage of) its customers, but to me the article reads along the lines of "sure, maybe they SHOULD listen to their customers, but they absolutely don't NEED to listen to their customers".

The Kirby family just got a dividend payout of $500,000+ recently. That is not a company that NEEDS to give a tiny shit what the internet thinks. A company in trouble doesn't spend millions redesigning Warhammer World. They don't NEED to listen to us because there's more than enough people who are still giving them plenty of money.

Until they make a loss or don't pay a dividend, you're looking at status quo.

archied said...

according to that, okay, yeah, that suggests theyre doing 'okay' at the moment, having absolutely gutted their retail staff and pumped out more product in a short space of time than they ever have before.


You may be right, this may be sound strategy on their part thats going to see them well for the foreseeable future as theres enough people liking what theyre doing and will go on liking what theyre doing for the company to remain profitable.


But I really dont see it that way, the current strategy smacks of desperation and panic to me. and im seeing more and more folks (yeah, myself included) that are just saying 'ive finally had enough of this, im out'.
Im feeling very close to heros feelings on this, ive come up against a lot of comments resistance to my point of view where people are basically saying 'its not THAT bad' and 'you can play the game how you want though, its just a toolbox, pick the bits you like'. if im having to spend effort making the rules playable, why the frick am i paying for rules at all?
And honestly, answer me this, when was the last time you saw a new model release from GW and thought 'Wow! thats jaw dropping'. As for me, those moments are getting further and further between. My last one was probably the imperial knight kit, but i never actually wanted one once id seen the rules as it just seems so imbalancing for regular 40k.
For a company that almost seems to want to intentionally hobble its own rules to sell itself as a model company first and foremost. This is all rather worrying also.


I might be in a small vocal minority now, but i honestly believe if they carry on with their current strategy that minority is going to keep growing and growing. and once those players have given up and ducked out altogether on principle, its double hard to win them back further down the line.


A question thats come up a few times from various members of my playgroup over the past 3 years. If you were getting in to gaming now and had no models or books. No prior investment, would you choose to play GW games?
Not one of us could honestly answer yes.

benn grimm said...

To start with, that BOLS 'article' was terrible, a badly made argument stretched out over a flimsy bone structure of dumb...


I feel your pain, and have uttered similar words on a few occasions since 6th edition hit, most recently the DE and Ork codexes had me hyperventilating and swearing I'd leave them on the shelf until they actually played somewhat like it seemed they were supposed to.


I guess you just have to remind yourself what you liked about the hobby in the first place and try and focus on that. Or just give it up a while and try something else. Things are in a weird place atm, and I can see them having to eventually hire someone in who actually knows about game design, kind of like they did years ago with Alessio Cavatore. This 'we're not a games company' isn't fooling anyone; get rid of the rules and see how many kits you sell to 'collectors'; I'm guessing at not quite enough to stay afloat...

Tim Andresen said...

I for one would love to read more Cygnar thoughts from. It's very good reading. Infinity would be the best since that's my main game

doughouseman said...

I have been involved in gaming long enough to see 3 cycles worth of GW community involvement. The cycle works kind of like this...


1) Sales slack off so GW decides to reach out, normally thru outriders or some similar volunteer effort.
2) GW ends up deciding they need direct involvement and start running their own tournaments, some in the stores, some at their own events, some at conventions.
3) GW publishes official tournament scenarios.
4) GW decides it is too expensive to continue the completion support and curtails it significantly.
5) GW seems to disappear from the convention/tournament scene
6) Sales slack off (return to #1)


We had an almost 8 year cycle last time from #6 to the current #5. I suspect if the gross revenue does not pick up before the end of the year, expect GW to be more visible next year in recruiting the next generation of "outriders"


---


GW is a business pure and simple, they will do what they need to do maintain sales. This time it may be much harder this time, between kickstarter and Chinese manufacturing the barrier to entry has fallen significantly and artists who had no ability to bring cool stuff to the market, now can. Will they grow as big as GW, probably not - will the potentially retain many of the players they have captured - highly likely.


In my local game store the GW shelf space has been the same for 2 years - but Hawk, Privateer, Mantic an others have all captured significant shelf space and are being stocked in depth. The weekly shipping box to restock Privateer now is larger than the GW box.


Oh, and then there is X-Wing and Bones, and ....


GW is now the largest fish in an ever more crowded pond. Can they keep up growth?

BenitoSenence said...

Great discussion guys. As a gamer for over 20 years what GW hasn't recognized is the new young gamer. They are simply out priced and out skilled in modeling to field any type of army (fantasy / 40k). Other companies are hitting excellent starter sets and beginner box forces. Easy reference materials and access to rules and army builders, often without costs.
This and they act like Kickstarter companies are not effecting anything. As someone mentioned, these artist and designers are getting their game made and into gamers hands. My game circle has spent nearly 20x more on several different games than a single GW product. Regardless of how good the model was. The other game products are getting played with us. If they lost money with my group which own several armies for 40k each of an 8 member player base. World wide the popularity of GW is waning

Sammy Busby said...

Im pretty new to the hobby so I may not know any better yet but my experience with Games Workshop products has been a good one. Ive never played a game, and ones probably not anytime in my near futures as I dont know a soul in my area interested in 40K or even WFB but as for the hobby side, I had a problem with a model and I emailed GW about it only to make them aware of it. I had no camera or smartphone with a camera at the time and couldnt send a picture of the bubble I had in a set of Blood Angel Tactical Squad Models I bought. I told them what was wrong as best I could and gave a lot number and GW actually sent me out a whole new complete model set. WITHOUT any proof at all that what I said was true. That wasnt the reason I contacted them at all. I only wanted to make them aware something was wrong so it could be fixed as I fixed my problem with the model with GS no problem. I thought that was great for them to do that as a Company. Customer Service for GW is top notch. Others may not like GW or how they do things but for now Im totally with GW on what they do. It seems to work. This is only my personal opinion and experience with them and others may have had bad experiences and also I might change my mind if I were ever to get into the gaming side of the hobby to. As I said Im new and may not know better yet : 0. I do find it odd that as a company they have no website where we, as customers could make suggestions or critasize them on such as a forum or something. We should be able to have a say in our hobby one way or another and they should show that they are at least listening. Maybe THAT will change soon. Maybe we should all come together and sign some kind of petition that says we would like a way for them to see what we think for a chage. If enough of us actually got together and tried, who knows what we could accomplish.

nurglitch said...

Actually, I really really love 40k right now. There's plenty of people in the community that I think GW is right to ignore too. So long as they keep doing what I like, and not what those people like I'll continue to buy as much new product as I can.

HERO said...

Newer player or just indifferent about game balance?

archied said...

TBF, their customer service on things like that has usually been very good. Credit where its due.
As for allowing customers a voice...
They did have online forums back in the day, but shut them down.
They used to have a facebook presence. they shut that down too.

nurglitch said...

I find the game balanced.

archied said...

id be genuinely interested in hearing your thinking on that.

nurglitch said...

Okay?

HERO said...

I think he means if you can expand on why you think the game is balanced. Meaning, that Dark Eldar, Dark Angels, Sisters of Battle are on the same level as Eldar and Necrons.

nurglitch said...

Oh, I took it to mean that he disagrees that the game is balanced. He's entitled to his opinion, even if I don't share it.

archied said...

what hero said.
i do disagree with you, i dont think the game is anywhere near balanced.
I guess i can understand how people might be enjoying the game at this point, but i cant see how anyone can honestly say they think its balanced.
That is unless their definition of balanced is wildly different to mine.
Hence me trying to get to elaborate on your stated opinion.

HERO said...

Sure, but can you expand on why you think the game is balanced?

nurglitch said...

What would you like me to say?

nurglitch said...

Nope, not trolling, just offering my opinion. However, if you would like to discuss this further then we would need to find some common ground in order to have a constructive conversation. If you would like me to elaborate on how I think Warhammer 40,000 7th edition is 'balanced' it would probably go some distance to explain what you mean by 'balanced' and suggest what you think when I suggest that I disagree with your assessment.

HERO said...

Well, you said the game was balanced, we're just interested in hearing why you feel that is. What would be your definition of balanced? Why do you think the game and the book associated with it currently fit that description?

archied said...

Alright, i'll bite.
For the game to be balanced as i see it, a player should be able to rock up with a take-all-comers list from any of the main codexes in print and have a reasonable chance to win, regardless of what his opponent has chosen to field.

nurglitch said...

Okay. It's a pretty reasonable definition of balanced. After all, on the face of it having a reasonable chance to win regardless of what your opponent has chosen is fair.

I feel like the game is balanced because I take all-comers lists, usually from C:CSM, and often C:Tyranids, and I always feel like I have a reasonable chance of winning. Whenever I lose, and I write up the game, I can always find in-game decisions that, had I chosen otherwise, I probably would have ended up winning. Which seems like a reasonable chance to me. And I'm talking about playing CentStars and FateWeaver and SeerStar and so on, since the usual response I get when I offer my anec-data is that the people I play with clearly suck.


On the other hand, I do occasionally get to play people that suck, where I get to watch them make terrible decisions, and my limited experience is that to a man they take no responsibility for playing badly. The remaining guy didn't care, because he got to play with his models.



Now, what I think accounts for the problem of the gaming being balanced and the apparently common notion that it isn't, is that the definition of a reasonable chance to win as given above means that for some players a reasonable chance of winning is much lower than their expectation. As in, they have a reasonable chance of winning, but their expectation of winning is unreasonably high given their understanding of, and skill in, the game. In short I think it's the Dunning-Kruger effect applied to Warhammer.


Does that make sense?

archied said...

It does, but the next question that leaps to mind is what your 'take all-comers' lists from those books looks like?
While i think we all agree both of those codexes you play are pretty poor, they do at least have some abuse-able units

nurglitch said...

I don't agree that the CSM and Tyranid codices are 'pretty poor,' but I do aknowledge I'm of a minority opinion there. I don't think I need to abuse anything in them. I do have to play well though. Sometimes I play well enough, and sometimes I don't. I think that applies regardless of the list. That's part of why I think 40k is so balanced these days, because so much turns on player skill.

HERO said...

I think you're diluting your argument for what is balanced and what is not in regards to player skill. If you eliminate player skill, by saying that both players are on the skill level, have the same degree of experience with the game, and make the same amount of average mistakes per game, you have to then look at the books as a direct comparison. So let's take something like Sisters of Battle, a book many would consider utterly terrible, vs. something like the new Eldar. You examine their units, their stats vs. their cost, and see what competitive options are available. By that, I mean units that you would consider well-priced for their abilities, or even underpriced in that respect. You count these up and throw them into a competitive units bucket, so you have an idea of just how many player options you have for anti-infantry, tank, objective holders, heavy armor, and whatever else you would feel is strong in their respective roles. There's just no arguing at this point that when you compare the options available to the Eldar vs. Sisters is horrendously lopsided. Their units are often times better priced for about the same stats, have a greater amount of special rules, better special rules at that, and more options in the realm of D-Weapons, psychics, anti-tank, and what have you before allies, formations or detachments are even considered. Those latter additions just further complicate things, but in this particular example, nearly all of Eldar's formations are viable in a competitive setting. Thus, if you isolate player skill and then just focus on the book itself, you can see that truly, some books are better than others. That's where the game unbalances itself per se; evidently proving that all books are not created equal. I think to a greater degree, one can argue that you can make up certain armies with their options for allies. But then I ask, are you really calling the army you're fielding a Sisters of Battle army, or Space Marine/GK army? (depending on how much X vs Y is being fielded)

nurglitch said...

Which is my point, that player skill means that not only can you not compare the books by going the ceteris paribus route, but that it's precisely the complexity of the game and the tactics available that make it seems like it's unbalanced when it's simply a matter of differences in player skill.

HERO said...

I don't share that outlook at all. Even if you take the most basic of strategy games, like chess for example, if you give the White player 1 more of every type of unit, do you think the Black player has a chance if both players are at the same skill level? That would be imbalanced. If the Black player is a Grand Master level player vs. a newbie, there's a good chance the Black player would still win regardless of handicap, but that still doesn't detract from the fact that the game is imbalanced in White's favor.

nurglitch said...

Warhammer isn't Chess. Which isn't to say that certain points aren't transferable between similarly sequential games, but just that it's not relevant where we've sharing the preceding definition of a "reasonable" chance of winning.


I think the problem in thinking about Warhammer is, on the face of it, thinking that 'skill' in play is something that can be considered equal when one point of playing can be considered as finding evidence about who is actually the better player. It's not like we have a knowledge base centered on player standings in organized play within an internationally recognized standard, Torrent of Fire notwithstanding (but probably a good start).


Now, Chess is imbalanced in White's favour anyways, quite aside from giving the White player extra pieces if we agree for the sake of argument that doing so is actually an advantage where nothing else on the board change (and we can figure out where those pieces are set up). Nonetheless games of Chess are undertaken under the understanding that the Black player has a reasonable chance of winning, and that the game is thus balanced. 40k is much more complicated, and it's much harder to isolate what gives one army an unfair advantage over another despite the plethora of opinions to the contrary.


Part of the problem might be something that, for whatever reason, doesn't get talked about enough and that's the lack of codification of terrain. It's mysteriously undefined, although it's nice that GW's terrain kits now have their own datasheets that go at least some distance towards quantifiable terrain. If I had my druthers then players would pay for terrain out of their army allowances, with open terrain on the table counting towards that total.


But supposing that we can quantify and identify levels of skill and suppose that where terrain, skill, and mission at held fair, that one army is categorically better than another isn't a problem because we've agreed that it doesn't have to be a 50/50 crapshoot (and from a play standpoint that would probably suck) just that it's reasonable that both players can win.


From my background of competitive swimming I was routinely matched up in races with people that would beat me, by a large margin. The fastest were seeded in the best lanes in the middle of the pool, with the worst swimmings in that heat getting the outside lanes. Now you think you might get better competition seeding like against like, but the fact was (and is I might add) that seeding less skilled (and indeed physically gifted) swimmers with more skilled swimmers produces better races.


Similarly I think that perfectly balanced armies in Warhammer would be both pointlessly boring since player skill would go out the window, and that imbalanced armies (as well as possibly imbalanced terrain) make the game interesting and allows the drama of underdog vs champion. Which is why I agree with the definition of balanced as both players being reasonably capable of winning rather than armies driven by equally successful strategic programs (equal skill) being evenly matched.


Of course, I also think that the competitive model for swimming is a good example for Warhammer in that different styles of swimming have been spun off in their own races, to account for the surprisingly diverse nature of short-course swimming.


Mind you, if you really want balanced games than the solution is really simple: Mirror matches, where everyone brings the same army to the tournament (or there's two available armies, both of which players use over the course of a tournament). I have yet to meet anyone else that wants to play in such tournaments, but I think it would be a fantastic way to take comparative army strength out of the equation and focus on player skill, so long as the boards also contain symmetrical terrain.

HERO said...

Just because the game has complexity from different factions and units does not mean it cannot be balanced, or at least come close to being balanced. When you look at a game like StarCraft, and a faction like Terran, you can easily compare it to something like Sisters of Battle in a game of Warhammer 40K. It has similar degrees of complexity, special rules, abilities and units, but the difference is that regardless of setting (different maps vs. warhammer's terrain layout), Starcraft is a more balanced game than Warhammer. This can only mean that the focus for Starcraft has a much stronger emphasis on game balance in its core design philosophies. As we know already, Games Workshop does not really care about game balance. They write rules as a second thought because their prime directive is to sell "collectible" models at a premium price. All of the factors you mentioned above touches upon exactly how difficult it is to judge balance in a complex game. Yes, it is difficult, but it's not impossible, as demonstrated in countless other games of all genes. GW simply does not make the effort, and that's the one true difference.

How long have you played GW games? Or 40K in particular?

HERO said...

Well, then I wholeheartedly feel that the game of Warhammer 40K is not very well balanced. Having worked in game design before, and specifically in regards to game balance, I can tell you that there are some huge, glaring flaws when comparing one book to another. Of course, this is just my opinion and you're entitled to your own, but I don't think most people would agree that GW games are well balanced. I do think GW designers do an above average job translating the fantasy and fluff of their IP to tabletop rules. Where I think they fall a little short is in the realm of numbers (stats, price, etc).

achastain said...

Hero, I would go a step further and assert that Games Workshop selectively monitors the game of 40K, specifically, competitive 40K play and has made changes to subsequent releases to counter 'house rules' adopted by the TO majority. Some examples:
Lords of War (LoW) and super-heavies not allowed in games: Every new codex has received a LoW and super-heavy.
3 detachments not allowed: Decurion attachments counts as one but has what would be considered 3 or more unique detachments which can include LoW or superheavies
D-Weapons banned/nerfed: Eldar received D-weapons across multiple units.

In the end I think someone at Gee Dubs is listening, or, monitoring certain aspects of the community- definitely not in the way we would like.

Freecell said...

PP has 12, 17 if you include all of the separate armies in mercs and minions.

PokeTeeHee said...

I had actually tried to figure that out on PP site, can you show me a list of their armies on their site (I might want to start a Warmachine army one day).

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