Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Getting the GW You Deserve?
Are we getting the GW we deserve? That is the question that came to mind when reading 2 opinion pieces on other blogs in the last week. Both made some good points but seem to absolve GW of a little bit too much of the blame in my opinion.
One pretty much claimed that we need D weapons to balance the meta since they help against the 'star' builds and could be countered with effectively with other meta forces to make a more balanced system. This seemed a lot to me like accidentally cutting off one big toe and then intentionally cutting of the other so that you would still be symmetric. Maybe that would help you walk better. This argument would probably be better if there were a ton of D weapons and they were not limited to a few very expensive model. There are lots of rules that can give D like affects but are more limited where it is not like roll one test then place the template and just remove everything underneath. I also enjoy that the model that is the size of a normal tank that should actually have a D weapon (d6 Titankiller can knock out a Reaver) does not if I recall correctly.
The other was pretty much blaming the players for exploiting the broken rule system. Its point was that GW does not make you min max out your list, spam units, or play with super heavies. You do it in to fulfill your desire to win which then causes your opponents to respond in the same way. GWs many expansions and decisions recently are designed to make the game more open and more fun allowing you to bring what ever you have to the table top for any game you play. This is of course really true. We do all control exactly who we play and what armies we play but that choice for many people is either play what the rules allow and have a chance to win, play with what you have and lose badly, or just not play.
Players are caught in a bind. You have invested considerable time and money into the game and at some point enjoyed it. Now GW has taken the game and pushed it to a new level on multiple directions: Allies, Flyers, Super Heavies, Detachments, Dataslates, Formations, Forge World and Fortifications. Before it was possible to actually have a good idea of what an armies rules where from the dozen or so 20 dollar codexes. It was a considerable investment to own all the codexes but you could keep up with the rules by talking to friends. Now I think you can field an army in a 2000 point game where you might need 7 books just for the rules of your army (BRB, Escalation, Stronghold, Codex, Allied Codex, Inquisition, and Knight Codex). It might not be a good army but that just seems extreme.
I drew my line a while ago at the Allies and Flyers rules. 6th edition might have actually solved one of the issues I had with 5th in the hull points (ignore new rule problems in wound assignment and random charge) but I never seriously thought about investing the money GW wants for it due to the Allies and Flyers. Both of these new rules areas gave a decided advantage to players willing to spend more money on either new models or just a bigger collection in general. This did not seem good to me.
So I walked away. I packed up the models and I put away my wallet. I still spend plenty of money on toys and games but Lego and Fantasy Flight have been getting what GW used to from me. I go on blogs related to the game because you guys are my brothers and we need to be one gaming community as there are just to few of us to be split up between 20 games. I am not Trolling, and I trying to convince people that the current GW way does not have to be the only way for it or the community. The new knight kit is a nice model that is just over priced by about 20 percent compared to GW's own expensive products (which would make it the same as the taller Wraith Knight or Stompas) and the community just bought it up. GW is definitely going to feel that this release was a great success at this price point so next time lets move it up another 10%. That is what is really feeding the troll.
There is a joke on warseer about the declining player base that GW would not mind if it got its money selling 10,000 dollar tactical marine boxes to people 1,000 people compared to selling 35 dollar tactical boxes 250,000 people. While it is never going to get to that but when you see the new hot models at 90-140 dollars for the single model and the push for use of 200-500 dollar forge world models where you need 350 dollars worth of rules books I really see it heading in that direction where you still need all your old models but you need all these big ones that are even more expensive also. I do not know about you but I would much prefer a 250,000 player base than a 1,000 player base.
So if all you do is complain but still buy, you are getting the GW you deserve but if the have put your money where your mouth is like me, we are trying to get the GW we deserve but to get that we need to convince you that you deserve better also. No one wants to see GW die but we need to stage an intervention so that we can save the games and fluff at the core. GW's significant sales and profit drop was a start but judging from the recent behavior of doubling down on more and more low value products that missed the message. No worthwhile mention of customers in the corporate reports.
Pretty pictures are nice but they are also easy for the expert modelers we have in the hobby. Just look at the forums and blogs and you will find tons of awesome models and paint jobs. One person can create a great model in a day and truly exceptional stuff in a few days. No one person can make a great miniature battle game with the breadth of forces in 40K in a few days. It is a ton of work to devise and test and alter and test and throw out and start again and test, etc.
Making a big kit now with all the digital design tools is not any harder than a small model. It the concept art is good like the knight you can get a great looking model be it 1 inch or 10 inches tall. Honestly someone like Jes Goodwin should make more money at GW than the CEO or the heads of any of the Sale Departments. I am positive I could replace the CEO with many people inside or outside the company and get similar results for the company. It is the model and game designers who really matter. For example Forge World makes great looking models but anything Forgeworld makes in resin, GW could make in plastic where the detail will be essentially the same but the quality will actually be higher. Imagine everything from Forgeworld available in plastic at 75% or less the cost.
It is all a question of volume, more players = more models sold = tooling costs spread across more models = lower prices = more models sold which goes in a nice cycle. GW probably spends more on the boxes, warehousing, and transporting for the plastic kits than it cost to make each one other than the tooling cost. GW production division makes more profit for the internal sales than the whole company makes in profit without about 10% of the workforce. Due to the corporate structure alot of the overhead related to the retail side gets placed in corporate and results in retail supposedly being "profitable" but the total profits for the company are lower than what production got from sales paying them probably 40% of the kit retail prices. The high prices and money grabbing rules are decreasing the players which is then decreasing models sold and has the whole process going backward. GW has not admitted that to itself yet so we have to keep trying to intervene because we love you GW and we want to see you stop hurting yourself. GW corporate does not listen to our words only our dollars. Not just my dollars but our dollars so that is why we are out there commenting and posting.