Sunday, September 7, 2014

WHFB: Some Fantasy rumors and what it can mean

Shit is about to get epic.

Just recently, Harry decided to spill the beans on what he think is down the line for WHFB.  You can see most of the rumors here, but I want to personally tell you what I think will happen.

What this whole End Times ordeal is right now is GW's way to forward the storyline and put us into a more sinister and grimdark era.  Among all the lore changes and alliances, there's real money to be made and I think GW's actually onto something here.  From a business perspective, this is the direction WHFB should be going in.

Let me explain:

  • Nagash and the rest of the upcoming The End Times books gets players excited.  I mean, really excited.  Not just new players, but most importantly, older players.  I'll use myself as an example in this clause:  I was not interested in WHFB at all because the meta in my area was as good as dead.  Most people left the game to play other game systems because there's just enough players.  Why are there not enough players?  Because the older players just sit there, wait until they get a new book, buy a new unit or two maybe and then give the game a couple of tries.  After a couple of games, the hype dies down and that's the end of it.
  • WHFB is often avoided because the barrier of entry is so high.  Nagash, the Mortarchs and 50% Lords completely destroy this philosophy because you can now take a big, bad character on a monster and play games with it.  Will it be effective?  Most definitely not.  Does it eliminate the barrier of entry and have newer players join in big games faster?  Absolutely.
  • This barrier also affects older players as well.  I already have my big, expensive High Elf army, and I don't have the finances to start another army.  Here is where allies come in, and why GW is using the same tried and true business model for 40K and is now applying it to WHFB.  By letting players take allies as a common thing e.g. Undead Legion's VC and TK, you are giving older players purpose to buy new models.  Newer players don't really care about this particular point, but this is GW's way to sneak a gateway drug into your daily coffee.  The idea behind it is:  Allies give the player more player options, this in turn gives players the incentive to buy different army components from different books, and this will mean you will eventually buy multiple armies.  When you look at the army rosters from the latest 40K tournaments, you will see allies all over the place.  The only thing I see aside from ludicrous combos and questionable abuses is all the cash that GW's making.  It boggles my mind to think about how many Tau players bought Eldar detachments in the last edition and vice versa.  More importantly, how many of those players are playing both armies now?
  • Advancing the storyline into something more grimdark and gritty is exactly what GW needed to do to generate hype.  I mean serious hype.  I've been playing the game for 14 years, and even though I've seen Storm of Chaos come and go, this is something that I've been waiting for.  It's something huge, something epic and something everyone can get their hands on.  When you look at it from a business standpoint, it's a win-win:  Newer players just joining the hobby has a lower buy-in cost.  Older players are now looking to expand their existing armies.  New and old players are coming back, buying models and increasing the concurrency of the game.  This means more events, more blog posts (such as this), and thus, more free advertisement.  If you guys have ever seen the marketing campaigns that other successful media companies have done, you will see a common thread here.  Generating hype, releasing badass models that no one else in the miniatures industry can rival, and releasing rules to go with it is absolute genius.  I seriously never thought I would say genius and GW in the same sentence a little over a month ago.
  • Now enter preparations for 9th Ed. WHFB.  Once this whole The End Times thing blows over, GW will be ready to release 9th Ed. upon the already expanded playerbase.  All those players will pick up the new book, and rave to newer players how they've spent the last 6 months or so fighting the most epic battles ever with brand new Mortarchs, Greater Demons (rumored) and Dragons (also rumored).  Boom, congratulations, you have just potentially increased your playerbase by 2x-3x from what it was months ago.  The new 9th Ed. will have even simpler rules (such as movement mechanics from Kings of War), better magic (not as crazy as it is now), 50% Lords allowing newer players to field their favorite big model their parents bought them when they first started the game 6 months ago (by now, they've probably noticed 50% Lords equates to cannon-fodder), and allies as a staple thing.  Undead Legions was the first, but expect to see Chaos Warriors and Demons holding hands across the table real soon.
  • I keep talking about this, but 50% Lords is really just a impulse buy for newer players.  They see a big model that they really like, the GW employees blows it up and says: Yeah! Now you can play 2500 with 1 model!  And once the new kid buys 5 boxes of shit plus Nagash, he will be ready to enter his first game.  Then you give him a little experience, play a few Ogres, Empire and Demon players, and he'll decide he needs more units instead of big fancy favorite Mortarch.  Out he goes to buy more models and before you know it, poor Neferata is sitting on the shelf with a counter that reads 79, indicating how many times she's taken cannonballs to the face.
No matter what the outcome, this direction can only be positive for the WHFB scene.  More hype, more players, older and newer players joining the game, all of this makes for a better community and shocks new life into a declining game system.

For all those that wanted to see GW fail, sorry, not this time.


Von said...

For the record, I like characters on big monsters and I've been playing nearly twenty years. Careful where you swing that red-hot brand saying NOOB, it might catch someone who doesn't take kindly to the assertion.

I think that's partly why I find the game so disappointing. The big, beautiful classic fantasy trope of the hero on the dragon is simply not viable in an alleged fantasy battle game, and that's... actually depressing. It's telling that the book I've been most engaged with during eighth edition (to the extent that I'd actually consider playing it) is Chaos Dwarfs, and even then I'm sulking because the Taurus substitute is asking for trouble.

Purple-Stater said...

I like models of characters on big monsters, but my group doesn't play with named characters. Some of the models do get bought though, and simply used as generic lords. None of us expect to play any End Times content though, equally based on the cost of things, and the belief that the usefulness of the books/rules will only last until 9E actually comes out. Half the group attends at least one tournament per year, and the rest just like to be current in the system, for better or worse.

All that aside, I'm really excited about the entire End Times campaign and I'm rather hoping that 9E becomes End Times, refining and incorporating the rules being introduced into the main game, without the need for any major changes to current army books. Let the stories/timeline advance for the next five years or so, then settle on the aftermath with tenth edition and the next round of army books.

HERO said...

I don't think they'll do this gigantic campaign that kills off and introduces so many new characters for some kind of optional side-quest. 9th Ed. will pick up where The End Times leave off, that's my guess.

HERO said...

I think you're misunderstanding noob, and newb :) Newer players will fancy those large point sinks, but that'll be fixed within a few cannon shots.

Von said...

So you effectively /have/ called me a noob because I fancy large points sinks. I know they don't work, but I consider that a bug and not a feature.

Actually, given the length of time I've been playing, 'scrub' is probably the more appropriate term of reference here. I hate that word.

macie said...

I like big monsterz and i find this ed im much less wary of cannonballs. With screening Crypt horrors or such the regen saves n #of wounds to stop cannonball is quite effective

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