PDA

View Full Version : Ho hum, we have been here already...



Gabacho Mk.II
26-09-2007, 05:21
Now, after the still brewing controversies of the imminent High Elf armybook release, I am becoming quite pessimistic about the course of changes that will come down on the yet-to-be-redone armybooks.

I don't know, but I fear that there are still many surprises headed our way in the years to come that will make Speed of Asuryan resemble something akin to window dressing.




Man, I don't know.

How many more editions will it take for GW to 'get it right?'

In fact, is there the possibility of GW "getting it right" with any of their core games? (when it comes to rules and armybooks)

Quite confused I am.:o

lorelorn
26-09-2007, 06:14
I'm not surprised you're confused, since you are trying to compare the power level of a book that has not yet been released with the power levels of a bunch of other books that have not yet been written!

I think the substantive point of your post is that you have lost all confidence in GW's ability to balance and direct Warhammer Fantasy. So have I.

I've given Warhammer up as a confused broken mess, and moved happily over to Lord of the Rings. IMO, that's one game GW have managed to get right, and in style. I recommend it.

I would have missed your post except that I often click on 'Warhammer General' out of force of habit.

grickherder
26-09-2007, 06:32
Their marketing system and the way they do their releases are not compatible with "getting it right." They constantly need to rehash the same thing and hype it up as if somehow now it's going to be the good one where they get it right. I think they will continue on the current path of constantly redoing armies with a redo of the rules every so many years and then a constant rehash of all the armies again, ad naseum.

empireguard
26-09-2007, 06:41
How many more editions will it take for GW to 'get it right?'


Never, because unless we want the game to be really simple (like checkers) and then have every one whinge about how GW doesn’t care about the “veteran gamer” they can’t.

If the governments of the world can’t “get it right” how do you expect GW too?

Griefbringer
26-09-2007, 06:47
How many more editions will it take for GW to 'get it right?'

In fact, is there the possibility of GW "getting it right" with any of their core games? (when it comes to rules and armybooks)


If they would get everything right, would there be any room for releasing new product?

On the other hand, what measuring sticks are there for "getting it right"? There will always be somebody unhappy, whatever GW does.

The SkaerKrow
28-09-2007, 11:18
How many more editions will it take for GW to 'get it right?
Games Workshop is not a game company, they're a model company. They're in the business of selling models. Every aspect of their game design philosophy is now dictated by this goal. Stores and warehouses have lots of dusty High Elf sets taking up space? Well then, let's release a new High Elf book that will make them powerful in a way unlike any army that's come before them! Which of course goes a long way to explain why the outdated, ugly High Elf plastic kits weren't redone, and why you are now forced to include at least two units of ugly SpearElves or Archers (or hybridized LSG) in games played at 2K or more.

I can't be angry at Games Workshop for their need to move figs, but I hope they don't end up completely marginalizing the game experience just to sell their most recent (or most horribly overstocked) miniature kits.

Voltaire
28-09-2007, 11:40
“In the long run the pessimist may be proved right, but the optimist has a better time on the trip.”

Now, this quote for me sums up the attitudes of those expecting the army books to be bad and broken. Occasionally the pessimistic types are justified by the fact something appears to be right in what they say such as army books being broken, however the optimist will have a better time with these army books in the meantime.

I believe being continually pessimistic about releases etc is futile as you will never look forward to anything coming out and will simply continue to moan and moan without actually getting any enjoyment out of the game. Is that really the way you want to continue down the path? If the army books do all turn out to be broken then I'll happily concede once all the army books are out. In the meantime though, I recommend saving the disappointment until its justified.

Hvidponi
28-09-2007, 13:33
What is there to say... Just play with the right people?...
Games Workshop has after 7 editions (:wtf: 7!!!!!) made an okay game, but with the possibilities of making idiotic powerfull armies, and instead of throwing out some serious erratas when they realize their mistakes, they just ignore them... But hey, the game in itself is a good game, so just play with people who dont twist and bend the rules only becuase "it doesn't say a character can't have 2 mounts!"... In my group we use the books to make fun armies, that maybe can be competetive, but is not ridiculious... a level 4 and a level 2 mage in considerate POWER MAGIC, more than 2 warmachines are evil and so forth... It is possible to enjoy the game, even if you dont want to play on turney level, just find the right people...

Finnigan2004
28-09-2007, 13:40
I agree totally with Voltaire. Everyone seems to really want this book to be a broken trainwreck, so they whine and whine about it, even though they lack the information to do so. It could be unbalanced, but I don't know because I have not seen the final copy. The thing that the naysayers forget is that they absolutely don't know either yet. Until I see it and play against it, I will reserve judgement.

I can honestly say that I have not purchased an army book that I have been truly disappointed with in years, and I buy all of them. The same can not be said with 40k codexes, which have had the life sucked out of them in my opinion. They have all become generic, and the options in them have been pared away in a search for perfect balance, which can not be achieved in this sort of game in any case (and has not in 40k). I would caution warhammer players to be careful what they wish for because they just might get it-- like the 40k players did.

In closing, I would like to say to keep an open mind. Possibly the book will be horridly unbalanced, possibly not. I do not know and neither do you. The last time I remember this sort of whining, it was about the ogre kingdoms book-- "Oh no, an army made entirely of monsters that have a chariot type charge. They will be so unbalanced that they will destroy the system of warhammer. They will break all the rules." Well, we all know that book turned out to be terribly unbalanced-- er, well, anyhow...

Thommy H
28-09-2007, 14:45
What is there to say... Just play with the right people?...

QFT.

Honestly, I don't know who people play against to get so worked out about possible 'imbalances' in army lists. Are you playing for money or something? Does it really matter that much that much that something might be a point or two too cheap?

Apart from the incredibly egregious stuff (i.e. the previous Iron Warriors rules in 40K), I've never, ever seen or played against an army I thought was actively "broken". I think the whole concept is laughable, in fact. Has anyone really, honestly and truly played against an army they physically couldn't beat because their list was "broken"? Your opponent set them up and, due to the fact that their list was inherently unbalanced, they just walked all over you...you rolled nothing but 6s (and 1s for Ld tests), nothing ever misfired, every scatter dice came up "HIT", you deployed and manoeuvred perfectly, etc. etc. but you still lost because their guys were a point too cheap?

No?

Well shut up then. It's a game to be played for fun. You can't "break" it.

Colonel Fitzgerald
28-09-2007, 15:19
Boring, useless conversation. Complain if you like after the book has come out. Fantasy is far more balanced that 40k anyway - I am keenly aware that comparative statements are of little use but; Warhammer Fantasy Battles is a good, well made game. Quit moaning or play something else.:mad:

Mad Doc Grotsnik
28-09-2007, 16:12
If an army is overpowered, then when I smash it across the table with my Empire, then the victory is all the sweeter.

huitzilopochtli
28-09-2007, 17:12
the day GW "get it right" and come out with an edition that is perfectly balanced is the day i will give up warhammer.

who would want to play a game without such variety? without armies so poorly planned that they shouldn't stand a chance in combat yet against all odds emerge victorious from their fray with an overpowered enemy? without the thrill of going up on the day of a new release knowing you now have something new that your opponent has no knowledge of, and as such a sneaky weapon to appear with, mid-way through your battle, (and consequently enjoy many happy hours after discussing the model, its performance, debating its new rules and deciding when you'll play again so you're opponent can create some counter-measures)?

now i've written quite a lot here and have probably gotton a little side tracked, so i'm just going to summarize, (and hopefully my point will become clear), by saying i'm very glad that they haven't got it right. half the fun is arguing ridiculous loopholes and working out compromises.

kyussinchains
28-09-2007, 18:20
I think that the constant tweaking of things that dont need it is their problem, I still think 6th edition was the best, hell, you can count the number of major gameplay changes on your fingers and toes between 6th and 7th edition.

I would prefer to have army books online as .pdf files which could be downloaded for free and updated easily. I think a feedback system could work also, players could suggest ideas to improve armies and games, and GW could make them official if they like them.

There is so much that could be done to improve the quality of the ruleset, and I would love GW and the gamers to work together to improve things for everyone, but as previously said, GW's main interest is selling miniatures, the games are basically a marketing tool, so unless that changes, things will be stuck as they are, with whinging players, and a company out of touch with their customer base.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
28-09-2007, 19:13
All the tweaks though, were needed, and it's arguably more responsible as a company to put out a new edition than just a PDF.

The change to magic was slight, but significant. I think the low number of tweaks speaks volumes about the stability of the game system as a whole.

grickherder
28-09-2007, 19:42
the day GW "get it right" and come out with an edition that is perfectly balanced is the day i will give up warhammer. ... half the fun is arguing ridiculous loopholes and working out compromises.

I'd much rather have a solid and tight game where I don't have to spend time trying to arrive at those compromises. It's Warhammer Fantasy Battles, not Warhammer Stupid Arguments, after all. And if someone actually likes exploiting rules loopholes to try to get some sort of silly advantage, then I'd want them to leave the hobby :D

kyussinchains
28-09-2007, 20:21
All the tweaks though, were needed, and it's arguably more responsible as a company to put out a new edition than just a PDF.

The change to magic was slight, but significant. I think the low number of tweaks speaks volumes about the stability of the game system as a whole.

true, but all the specialist games are available for free download if you dont want to shell out 30 smackers for the book, they also welcome fan feedback, and it appears you get less complaining from people about game balance...

Kahadras
28-09-2007, 21:10
the day GW "get it right" and come out with an edition that is perfectly balanced is the day i will give up warhammer.

I must say that I've noticed a trend with GW's 'balancing' idea and this seems to give virtualy every race everything going. Cases in point...

'Heavy' Cavalry - I liked the idea that some races didn't get access to good cavalry. Armies like Lizardmen and Wood elves really didn't 'need' them but GW felt the desire to add in Saurus cavalry and Wild riders.

Magic - Everybody needs magic, even Dwarfs. So they add in the anvil and make it slightly 'good'.

I could go on (Artillery for Bretonnians/Chaos for instance). maybe it's just me but the 'rounding out' of the armies lists has left me slightly depressed with the way things are going at the moment.

That's not to say that it's all doom and gloom but I prefered the idea of certain armies lacking certain units rather than the new 'everybody can have everything'. I was seriously suprised for Dwarfs not to get some kind of mountain goat cavalry in their latest armies book.

Kahadras

Angel of the Black Parade
28-09-2007, 21:28
Its near impossible to get it "right"! I mean, if high elves improve, other players will be moaning "oh its not fair" and if high elves dont really improve, the high elf players will be grumbling! As both a 40k and a WFB player, wfb should be grateful! 40k is mega messed up IMO, but thats why I love it :D

Mad Doc Grotsnik
29-09-2007, 00:12
true, but all the specialist games are available for free download if you dont want to shell out 30 smackers for the book, they also welcome fan feedback, and it appears you get less complaining from people about game balance...

Again, fewer people play Specialist Games, thus, there are fewer people to complain.

When you have the sort of numbers Warhammer and 40k have, all you get are a lot of conflicting whinges on the same subject, leading to a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.

kyussinchains
29-09-2007, 00:25
Again, fewer people play Specialist Games, thus, there are fewer people to complain.


true, however it would appear (from the complains on this forum) that few rule changes in any system have had such a polarising effect on people's opinions as the high elf update.

I'm all for the high elves being made competetive, in fact they were a competetive army back in 6th edition, but you had to use a specific, seer council type army build which wasn't fun to play against.

I just think that it's the pendulum swinging too far the other way, and GW are vastly overcompensating for their percieved upset of the high elf players. My high elf playing friend had a list of good, solid and worthy ideas for the high elves (half of which are in the new book) which I agreed 100% with, I think like the dark elf revision, it would have been good for the high elves and allowed them to compete on a more even level, without turning them into a super army.

time will tell, but small, numerous units of swordmasters will be in most high elf armies in the near future I reckon!

Mad Doc Grotsnik
29-09-2007, 00:30
Well, thats because GW have been very deft at covering up rumourage, and haven't confirmed owt.

Theres a thread in Rumours by people who allege to have read the book, yet what they say doesn't tally with alleged confirmations from the very writers of said book at Games Day!

All it is, is people whinging. Thankfully, the most vocal have nothing else in their life to whinge about, so they choose to whinge about a Wargame. I might complain from time to time when I've had my arsed served up on a platter, but it doesn't raise my blood pressure! I mean, we've not even heard of points values to my knowledge! Swordmasters could well so expensive, they aren't that appealing!

Bring on those small, numerous units. They'll need every wounding hit they can get once I've got stuck in! Good old static res.

grickherder
29-09-2007, 01:02
The reason you don't see people whining about the specialist games is that the fans are involved in the rules process. Take a look at the PDFs available on the various Specialist games sites and you'll see man them written by non-GW employees. Entire Epic:Armageddon army lists are fan creations that are currently undergoing playtesting. The Blood Bowl Rules Council is made up of fans who vote on proposed changes. The current BB rules were playtested as openly available "vault" rules before becoming the latest living rulebook.

There's just nothing to complain about.

Heretic Burner
29-09-2007, 16:18
Absolutely. The specialist games show a remarkable degree of balance and, flat out, entertainment because they've taken into account player feedback. Blood Bowl in particular has an outstanding community capable of giving and receiving player tested results to help improve the game. Sure there are those who want nothing more than to improve their favorite army, however in light of the entire community positive changes are made. It simply works, whether or not there are conflicting arguments the whole is taken into account. It simply works.

This should serve as the model of how GW should implement their other games, including Warhammer Fantasy, however it isn't. While the BB team may admit an error and correct it with the next rule book (with a terrific period of testing and retesting in between) the Warhammer Fantasy team will state no problem exists, produce garbage, and wait for several years before addressing the problems with a new book that may very well be worse.

Thommy H
29-09-2007, 18:05
But the Specialist Games range is a different business model. GW doesn't make money from the rulebooks for SGs because they make the money on figures instead (or not, in fact, but that's a different issue).

You're essentially asking them to adopt an inherently unprofitable business model for their mainstream games (which actually do make them some money). Yeah, I'd love free PDFs of army books and rules too, not only because they'd be able to be updated more easily, but because I wouldn't have to pay money for them either.

For some bizarre reason, GW like to charge money for the stuff they produce though....

Bortus
29-09-2007, 19:38
I was seriously suprised for Dwarfs not to get some kind of mountain goat cavalry in their latest armies book.

Kahadras

Trust me I here you.

grickherder
29-09-2007, 20:15
You're essentially asking them to adopt an inherently unprofitable business model

That's nonsense. Tons of other games producers give their rules away for free on the net. It hasn't stopped people from buying oodles of clicky games for example. Or tons of magic cards.


for their mainstream games (which actually do make them some money). Yeah, I'd love free PDFs of army books and rules too, not only because they'd be able to be updated more easily, but because I wouldn't have to pay money for them either.

And where would that money go? You'd likely still spend it on the miniatures, wouldn't you? In Japan, GW was having a hard time expanding, so they offered the rulebooks for free. They're still not breaking in very well, but I think their Japan numbers have been better since they did the free codex thing.


For some bizarre reason, GW like to charge money for the stuff they produce though....

And they might make more if they did both-- charge for a printed rulebook as well as having open playtesting. And just because you have open playtesting doesn't mean the final product has to be free. Sure, someone could get by with thefinal playtest copy, but if you make it a rule that people need to have their printed rulebook at GW stores and all official events, no exceptions (when I am in a local GW I notice the players never bring their books and always use the store copy-- do they even buy them?), people will buy them. As much as I hate the tournament legal mindset, such policies do trickle into the wider non-tournament going gaming community.

Thommy H
29-09-2007, 22:31
And where would that money go? You'd likely still spend it on the miniatures, wouldn't you?

No, it'd probably go on other stuff. Like food or rent or other hobbies. There's only so much I'm willing to spend on toy soldiers, and that includes rules to play with them.

Free PDFs for the rules would be very handy - as would free figures, free terrain and an opponent who lives in a cupboard in my house and doesn't require any food or attention - but none of these things are remotely feasible.


Tons of other games producers give their rules away for free on the net. It hasn't stopped people from buying oodles of clicky games for example. Or tons of magic cards.

The difference being with those two examples that the companies have a different business model again - they give their models/cards away in random packs where you don't know what you're getting. They make their money because half of what people buy is stuff they don't even want or need. Not to mention the fact that the rules of their games are inherently simple with much of the 'rules' coming with the products themselves (the effects of played cards are printed on the cards themselves in Magic and other CCGs and Clix figures' rules are tied to the information on their bases). It'd be the same as if GW gave away the stats to figures on cards in blister packs (which is what many other companies do, actually - but they don't have established ranges for the most part, and once they do get enough of a back catalogue they start printing the stats in books like GW do).


And they might make more if they did both-- charge for a printed rulebook as well as having open playtesting. And just because you have open playtesting doesn't mean the final product has to be free. Sure, someone could get by with thefinal playtest copy, but if you make it a rule that people need to have their printed rulebook at GW stores and all official events, no exceptions

I'd be one of many people who wouldn't bother with buying rules if there was a 'final playtest PDF' available. Most people don't game in a GW store or at tournaments either, so they'd have no reason to buy the books. They'd lose money - they can only afford to give away rules for free in a niche market like Japan (where the cost of producing translated rules outweighs the profits anyway) or for Specialist Games which are inherently unprofitable anyway (that's why they were taken off the shelves in the first place).

Crazy Harborc
30-09-2007, 03:05
GW is trying to present rules and minies that are evolving, improving with each revised, newly improved edition of which every rules set you want to use. Besides after convincing veteran players to spend money on the latest whichever edition, it makes convincing them to buy new minies that much easier.;)

Heretic Burner
30-09-2007, 05:10
Free PDFs for the rules would be very handy - as would free figures, free terrain and an opponent who lives in a cupboard in my house and doesn't require any food or attention - but none of these things are remotely feasible.

However multiple companies (including GW itself) do indeed release "free" rules (i.e. DOW rules) and terrain may certainly be "free" as well (i.e. countless GW terrain seminars). So yes, at least two of those things are feasible. To suggest otherwise is absurd. As for a cupboard opponent...well I'll leave development of that for others.

The fact is GW's current business model simply isn't working. The company is in an absolute financial tailspin. Nobody can argue that a company with plunging share prices and one which issues multiple profit warnings is in a good state. It just isn't. Clearly the idea of releasing numerous unbalanced army books with horrific response to its customers isn't working for GW. The idea of having the company adapt to the current market through the quite easy to implement (and revolutionary) "Listen to the Customers' Feedback" business plan isn't exactly an unfeasible suggestion. It's certainly worked for other companies before - indeed GW itself was a much more successful company when it did so.

Of course, I suppose GW can continue to release laughably bad army books one after the other and cross their fingers hoping things change by divine intervention while being forced to close yet more stores in the meantime. It might work out well for them but somehow I doubt it.

sulla
30-09-2007, 06:21
I must say that I've noticed a trend with GW's 'balancing' idea and this seems to give virtualy every race everything going. Cases in point...


Of course, there's only a limited amount of directions left for GW when they want to bring out a new unit for a re-done army but I also think things are a little less sinister than you might.

For example, lets take the saurus cav... I'm sure that was more fan driven than anything. The fluff for the cold ones said the DE stole them from the tunnels to Lustria, I'm sure some fans must have pressed for their lizardman army to have access to them too on the grounds that 'it makes sense'. Similarly, perhaps someone asked the sensible question of how the bret's besieged each other's castles without siege artillery or decent infantry...

As for chaos, there has been a gross oversimplification of chaos over the past 10 years from GW in both fantasy and 40K (khorne worshippers are frothing loonies, tzeench disciples are all master mages etc). The simple fact is, chaos should have far more daemon-engines than it currently does. They have next to no technology base so the only way they could possibly remain a threat in the warhammer world especially is to use sorcery and daemonic energies to compete. At the very least, the forces of Khorne should have war machines like they did in epic or back in the old Slaves to Darkness. I suppose you could accuse the devs of giving the woodies an unneeded unit but if you look back enough, they did lose chariots so I won't begrudge them gaining a long range strike weapon to replace them.

As for the anvil... the simple fact is that dwarves have had an anvil in their list for ages. It's just that in their efforts to make it actually worthwhile to bring one to battle, they overdid it and made it a no-brainer. dissapointing but I don't think it's evidence of a sinister plot...:D

grickherder
30-09-2007, 10:20
No, it'd probably go on other stuff. Like food or rent or other hobbies. There's only so much I'm willing to spend on toy soldiers, and that includes rules to play with them.

Exactly my point. You have X dollars to spend. If 22 of it goes to a rule book, it won't go to miniatures, but if the rules are free, the 22 might go to miniatures. After all, there's only "so much" and it includes the rules.


Free PDFs for the rules would be very handy - as would free figures, free terrain and an opponent who lives in a cupboard in my house and doesn't require any food or attention - but none of these things are remotely feasible.

The problem with the comparison is that while it sounds witty, it's actually closer to witless. Impossible things like free figures and an opponent who lives in the cupboard are not the same thing as free rules at all. Obviously GW can do it. GW did it with Epic Armageddon which sold something like 500% over their sales projections. Other miniatures companies though way, way smaller have done very well giving away atleast intro rules. Lots of historical, fantasy and sci-fi miniature gamers play with free rules sets and get as much or more enjoyment out of their hobby as anyone else. The only limiting factor keeping free rules from being a reality is the producer seeing the benefit in making them available and us willing to use them. The majority of GW's games are available for free. Their three best selling games are not, but the majority still are.


I'd be one of many people who wouldn't bother with buying rules if there was a 'final playtest PDF' available.

The playtest PDF would likely only be available during the time of playtesting. Sure, copies would be floating out there and you could get them, but you would have to check them against any final revisions and whatnot.


Most people don't game in a GW store or at tournaments either, so they'd have no reason to buy the books. They'd lose money - they can only afford to give away rules for free in a niche market like Japan (where the cost of producing translated rules outweighs the profits anyway)

Umm. That makes no sense at all. They are paying the translation costs anway, whether they charge for the books or not.


or for Specialist Games which are inherently unprofitable anyway (that's why they were taken off the shelves in the first place).

Specialist Games are not at all inherently unprofitable. Many smaller companies would love the sales figures they can generate. If GW can't sell Bloodbowl or Epic miniatures (in the case of Epic, blow away sales projections) at a profit, that's inefficiency within their operations and not the model of free rules and charging for miniatures. GW's bloat is the problem, not the games.

The only reason that free rules don't seem possible to some is that they don't get that they already exist and are completely profitable. Many companies have done it and done it well, across a variety of games and product times. From free and open RPG content, to the Specialist Games Range, to the massive amount of free rules you can get all over the internet, it's completely possible. GW would do well to leverage the creative talent of their fan base in all their games and not just in the Specialist Games.

Thommy H
30-09-2007, 13:35
Exactly my point. You have X dollars to spend. If 22 of it goes to a rule book, it won't go to miniatures, but if the rules are free, the 22 might go to miniatures. After all, there's only "so much" and it includes the rules.

Or I'll just buy the figures I want anyway and save money by not having to buy the rules.


Other miniatures companies though way, way smaller have done very well giving away atleast intro rules.

Like Games Workshop did with the first Warhammer rules they distributed by post you mean?

As I've mentioned, the "free sample" rules system is one adopted by many games companies but you'll find that, once it becomes profitable to do so, they start charging for them - or at least market a 'full' version of the rules. The rules for Confrontation come with the models, but that's started to change with a new edition now that they've got enough of a back catalogue to start publishing stats in the big, expensive book. Same with Privateer Press - they give you the rules for your models in the blisters simply because they had no established troop types when starting out (i.e. "Space Marine Tactical Squad", "Orc Boyz") so there was little point publishing the rules in a book when the models weren't even made yet. Now they have a back catalogue, the stats are being compiled into new editions and the cards phased out.

It's a different model: the model of a company just starting out with no established player base. You can't just throw out an expensive-to-produce book and hope the rules are good enough to sell: better to give it out to free and get some fans (and tweak the rules if needs be) before marketing the new edition in a big fancy book that people have to pay for.


The playtest PDF would likely only be available during the time of playtesting. Sure, copies would be floating out there and you could get them, but you would have to check them against any final revisions and whatnot.

Why? Once something's on the net, anyone can get it any time with a bit of google fu. And why would you need to check them against printed copies? As an example from my own experiences, I'm a Chaos Dwarf player who doesn't own the O&G book. Someone posted the stats and cost for Black Orcs on another forum and I had it saved as a text file before a moderator pulled it. All I had to do to 'check' it was wander over here and have a look at some O&G army lists to check the points costs matched up. Anyone with half a brain can figure out rules and points cost given a bit of ingenuity, and it would be that much easier if there were legal PDFs floating around.


Umm. That makes no sense at all. They are paying the translation costs anway, whether they charge for the books or not.

It's true though. Army Books and Codecies are available as free PDFs on GW's Japanese website. I believe it's connected to the difficulties in printing books for the Japanese market (since they have to be done backwards and such) and it's not widespread enough a hobby over there to justify those costs. Better to give it away for free and drum up some fandom (see: new companies model discussion above).


Specialist Games are not at all inherently unprofitable. Many smaller companies would love the sales figures they can generate. If GW can't sell Bloodbowl or Epic miniatures (in the case of Epic, blow away sales projections) at a profit, that's inefficiency within their operations and not the model of free rules and charging for miniatures. GW's bloat is the problem, not the games.

They're unprofitable by the standards of an international company. That's why they gave them away for free rather than bothering to print out the books. And the sales figures are surely irrelevant given that they're being compared to 0 prior to the creation of Fanatic and then SG. The model for Bloodbowl, Epic, Gothic, etc. was "release new game, support for a few moths, then remove from shelves once everyone has bought it all". Hence, according to that model, once that period ends, the game is expected to earn nothing. After that, if it sells any copies, it's exceeding expectations. The SG system is therefore designed (from a business perspective) to make the best of something that wasn't supposed to be selling any copies in the first place - it's inherently unprofitable because it's just there to appease veteran gamers and make a little bit on the side while all those rules and models are sitting there taking up space (and because it was Jervis's pet project...).

What I'm saying is that the SG model is not for making money. It's for shifting stock and keeping certain gamers happy. The free PDF rules serve that purpose nicely, but for actual profitable sectors of GW's business, it would be insane to give away free rules given how much money they make from books.

kyussinchains
30-09-2007, 18:31
They're unprofitable by the standards of an international company. That's why they gave them away for free rather than bothering to print out the books.

they do print out the books though, and the fact that the SG DID do well should be a model for GW for how to improve current performance, just because they (in your opinion) happened to get lucky and make good money, doesnt mean that it's a fluke, it obviously means that the system works, and the fact that the games have developed into well balanced systems with few player complaints is probably due to GW's LACK of involvement more than anything. The games have become profitable despite GW's original agenda, and therefore surely shouldnt be simply dismissed.

There is a huge potential number of playtesters out there, thousands of people who are willing to spend thousands of hours playing games and ironing out the kinks. Compare that to a few guys in the studio who simply dont have the time or manpower to do as thorough a job, and I think it's pretty obvious how to increase customer satisfaction.

The SkaerKrow
01-10-2007, 02:28
I have to say, I like the concept of releasing the Army Books as free PDFs. Not because I'm not willing to drop $20 on a book, but because, when a book goes to print, it becomes dreadfully permanent. There's always room for improvement and clarification, and they aren't going to lose any money by updating a .pdf after its release.

grickherder
01-10-2007, 02:36
They're unprofitable by the standards of an international company.

LOL!! You do know that in the last fiscal year, GW lost money overall, right? Does that mean that 40k and WFB are unprofitable by the standards of an international company? Also, Epic, back when it was called Space Marine and/or Adeptus Titanicus was one of GW's core games. It sold great and was very popular, but then they botched it with Epic 40,000 and the fan base dried up. It has nothing at all to do with the product or the game, but how badly GW handles them.



What I'm saying is that the SG model is not for making money.

That's a total load. GW would have dropped them completely if they thought they wouldn't be able to make money off of them. No company undergoes the allocation of capital with an expected sales of 0.

But if you are correct, and that GW can not do open playtesting without losing tons of money, then we have a conflict of interest between game design goals and sales needs. They'll just keep putting out terrible rules that need to be rehashed every few years. The model that has been very successful for other companies and even for GW's specialist games is a proven method of getting out of that rut. People still buy D&D Players Handbooks despite being able to get the needed content from the SRD for free online.

But those who think that a company carries product lines while expecting to sell none of it probably aren't able to comprehend how this all works.

zak
01-10-2007, 15:51
LOL!! You do know that in the last fiscal year, GW lost money overall, right? Does that mean that 40K and WFB are unprofitable by the standards of an international company? Also, Epic, back when it was called Space Marine and/or Adeptus Titanicus was one of GW's core games. It sold great and was very popular, but then they botched it with Epic 40,000 and the fan base dried up. It has nothing at all to do with the product or the game, but how badly GW handles them.



I think this hits the nail on the head. GW changed it's strategy in the mid 90's to concentrate on the two main games, which changed to the three main games with the introduction of LOTR. The problem with this was it alienated a large portion of gamers, some of whom weren't veteran WHFB or 40K gamers, but those that started (like myself) with Epic. Suddenly I had no models, unless I ordered them via post and later by the net and no players as the fan base disappeared over night.
I think this also coincided with the decline of the WD.
Overall GW have made many major changes which have been almost business suicide. I for one hope that they manage to pull it around. The main rulebooks on PDF's may be a way forward, but I can't see it ever happening.

Brother Ranz
01-10-2007, 16:11
I mostly left GW games for over a decade. I returned because upon closer inspection, the grass is no greener. In fact, once you've played a non-GW game or six for any amount of time, you realize that GW ain't so bad. The best part is that these other companies try to sell themselves as "Not GW" and then try to either copy or improve upon GW's time-tested techniques.

I say play whatever systems you like and take the good with the bad. All games have good and not as good. What GW has is kind of like what d20 has: A large player pool. If everything else is "ok" then the player pool, plus fond memories of playing in the 80's and 90's, plus nice fluff, decent models, great supporting fiction, lots of new releases...makes GW games a good choice for me.

If you're not playing GW games, you're likely just playing with yourself. :D

Brother Ranz
01-10-2007, 16:27
About the PDF...

Reaper does this and most everyone hates it. Most gamers want to buy a book. PDF special lists or whatnot are ok, but I really hope GW never does it for the core rules or even most of the army books.

The SRD is for other gaming companies or wannabee gaming companies to use ot make their own d20. I don't think GW has any interest in seeing "D6 OGL" products.

Thommy H
01-10-2007, 18:19
LOL!! You do know that in the last fiscal year, GW lost money overall, right? Does that mean that 40K and WFB are unprofitable by the standards of an international company?

Please pay attention to the comment I was responding to, which was "many small companies would love the sales that SG get". The overall fortunes of the company don't mean anything in the context of the argument which is "good sales for a small company are not the same thing as good sales for an international company".

To use an extreme example: a child with a lemonade stand shifting 50 units is pretty good going, but to Coca-Cola 50 units means nothing whatsoever. So, if Coca-Cola released a product that shifted only 100 units worldwide, doubtless the kid with the lemonade stand would be envious, but it's still irrelevant to Coca-Cola.

It's an argument of scale, not of overall profit.


Also, Epic, back when it was called Space Marine and/or Adeptus Titanicus was one of GW's core games. It sold great and was very popular, but then they botched it with Epic 40,000 and the fan base dried up. It has nothing at all to do with the product or the game, but how badly GW handles them.

Who's arguing about "the product or the game"? I love Epic - Epic 40,000 actually, which is the best game GW have ever done, IMO. The point is that the SG model is not profitable because it's a flawed model.


That's a total load. GW would have dropped them completely if they thought they wouldn't be able to make money off of them. No company undergoes the allocation of capital with an expected sales of 0.

No no, again, look at what I said in context. They knew they could make some money - not much, only a tiny amount really - but that was more than they were making on the Specialist Games at the time, which was 0. It was something they did just because they could, to keep a few veteran gamers in the hobby and because Jervis wanted to do it. It wouldn't work as a business model for ranges with a wider distribution.


They'll just keep putting out terrible rules that need to be rehashed every few years.

Says you. They don't need to be rehashed - you think they released a new Empire book because the previous version had been 'unbalanced' all along? They did it because they periodically redo new editions as the game moves on and because the designers like to update their work and put a new spin on existing armies every decade or so.

I must have said this in, like, three threads over the last week, but games designers aren't balancing machines whose job is to provide you with a perfectly fair gaming experience - they're writers who get paid to be creative and be clever with games. They do stuff because it's cool and they want to, not so that whatever unit is perfectly even to another unit of the same cost.

grickherder
01-10-2007, 23:11
So, if Coca-Cola released a product that shifted only 100 units worldwide, doubtless the kid with the lemonade stand would be envious, but it's still irrelevant to Coca-Cola.

It works the other way around. A big company might identify a drink that is popular in one local and then use their international presence to market it to a much wider audience. Specialist Games are not "the new coke" that everyone hates, but still sells well compared to Dad's Cola Corp. They are/were popular games that GW did NOT use their international marketing ability to properly support.

If Specialist Games sales are poor because GW did not support them properly, did not market them as aggressively as other games, etc., then that is the reason why they sell less than 40k, WFB & LOTR. It means that giving away the rules for free can not be logically linked with poor sales or written off as a model that doesn't work. The true cause of Specialist Games "not working" is GW's handling of them on the support and marketing side. Giving away rules for free has nothing to do with it and thus, your earlier statements that the Specialist Games open playtesting and free rules won't work for 40k/WFB is totally specious.


The point is that the SG model is not profitable because it's a flawed model.

Wrong. The giving away of free rules and the heavy involvement of fans in playtesting is not part of a flawed model. The flawed model is the complete and utter lack of marketing the product, giving it no shelf space, no anything. If Specialist Games are poor sellers, it's because there is no active sales force or marketing for them-- not because they give the rules away for free or take player feedback for playtesting.


It wouldn't work as a business model for ranges with a wider distribution.

"It" is not the giving away of rules or the involvement of the players in play testing, but the complete and total lack of sales and marketing effort. Ofcourse that wouldn't work with a wider distribution.


They don't need to be rehashed - you think they released a new Empire book because the previous version had been 'unbalanced' all along? They did it because they periodically redo new editions as the game moves on and because the designers like to update their work and put a new spin on existing armies every decade or so.

That's not why they do it at all. They do it as a marketing blitz. To sell the latest redesigned army's product.


I must have said this in, like, three threads over the last week, but games designers aren't balancing machines whose job is to provide you with a perfectly fair gaming experience - they're writers who get paid to be creative and be clever with games. They do stuff because it's cool and they want to, not so that whatever unit is perfectly even to another unit of the same cost.

Then they're poor game designers compared to the results produced by the open playtesting in the Specialist Games ranges. You can have both if you're either a) not willing to settle or b) not using the rules to blitz market the flavour of the month army release.

In summation, you've incorrectly written off open playtesting on the ground that Specialist Games don't sell well enough. The problem is that if Specialist Games sales have other causes, then your conclusion of it not being commercial viable is wrong-- based on a faulty conclusions about the true causes of Specialist Games' small sales levels (the complete lack of sales and marketing resources used to promote and support them). The factors you point to are actually explained better by something else and the conclusion you've drawn from them are wrong.

memitchell747
01-10-2007, 23:44
Um, you're comparing apples to elephants. Specialist Games are each unique, so broad based comments are difficult. Some, like Necromunda, are on version 1.1, after 13 years. If it had been promoted and redone like the Core games (WFB, 40K, LotR), it would be on version 4 by now. Since it was not, that is a hard comparison to make. On the other hand, Adeptus Titanicus>Space Marine>Epic 40,000>Epic Armageddon is on its fourth or more version. Epic 40K was not well received, so Epic dropped out of the Core games.

All the SG's have had heavy fan support, both in the rules and updates and errata’s, but also in play testing. Now, I can tell you from personal experience with rules developing and play testing with Necromunda, this is not an ideal situation. Game designers get paid a professional salary to turn out a professional product. Tinkering with rules that were well written by professional game designers many years ago is not exactly cutting edge technology. Forum response based play testing also has its problems.

The problem for SG is they are not independent of GW in the same way Forge World and Black Library are. They moneymaker is minis, and those are controlled by the parent company. They get lost in the shuffle. There is obviously a deliberate decision to downplay SG’s. Why not, their profit potential is miniscule compared to 40K and WFB. Sad, but true. If there is a way to get a return on investment by promoting 6 to 15 year-old-games, I’d love to see it. I can’t believe Epic A would not be a seller. But, it also needs the most additions to flesh out it’s product line. BFG would seem to be a sure thing, too. But, compared to just 40K Apocalypse, apples to elephants. I would bet 40K Apoc makes more profit in its six-month lifespan than SG makes in the next 6 years. And, I will bet it cost less to produce and promote, too.

Tehkonrad
02-10-2007, 01:07
GW does a pretty good job considering that most of its employees are players and whinge too so that GW is a company in perma-whinged at mode

Gabacho Mk.II
02-10-2007, 05:42
There is so much going being talked about in this thread.

I would like to share a single thought with you all to see if we all (meaning all of us WFB gamers) share the same or similar feeling-

>> The continual weapon choice (or unit type choices) limitations that are still in effect for WFB armies.




Let's take the High Elf armylist (not armybook mind you, but the ARMYLIST) for instance:

The High Elves, as with any other WFB creation, is an army that is supposed to be fielded and gamed in a certain fashion, given their strengths and weaknesses... However, they just do not have a workable, believable unifying theme, other than the soft armylist that they were given for 6th ed. [the list was so bad that a whole unit type, Phoenix Guard, were rarely bought and fielded in the armylist!] :o

While the High Elf armylist mainly sports spears (for its spearmen, the backbone of the army so to speak), great weapons for its 'elite' units such as Swordmasters and White Lions, and lances for its Silver Helms and Dragon Princes, etc.... But, they are also allowed S3 bows and reliable bolt-throwers. That is the overall makeup of the army.

Seriously though, why wouldn't a single HE Lord come with the brazen thought of fielding pike for his men in his given army? Well, we are told that this would "brake the theme for the HE's". Fine.

Then, similarily, why wouldn't a single Provincial Lord come up with specialized troops who, for instance, would be given additional hand-weapons and fielded next to the ranks upon ranks of spearmen? Again, "Fluff."

The more and more you try to apply 'real world examples' to this armylist, the greater the restrictions become, mostly hemmed in due to the 'fluff.'





Yet now, with 7th ed, we are given an armylist that allows for all of its warriors to strike first, and lowers spearmen (quite possibly the BEST point-for-point model in 7th ed!) cost but retains the cost for archers (with S3 longbows!) at 11pts @.... Now then, is this done on purpose by GW?... Are they honestly expecting us to believe that S3 archers are worth 11pts @?.... Or, is this something that will be "looked at in later editions" in the upcoming 8th ed armylists???

So then, we have to wait for another 6 years or so before we are given the ability to field a reasonable HE archer. (assuming with a better/effective longbow) And I still do not buy the response that by better costing the HE archers would have 'broken' the HE armylist by making it too powerful.:rolleyes:


Why can't we be allowed to, for instance, be able to purchase and upgrade spearmen with pikes? Would this really be game-breaking? [heck, wouldn't this actually generate more sales for GW, by offernig HE players with a larger model pool to buy and field?]

Again, I just do not get it.

The SkaerKrow
02-10-2007, 06:03
Troop choices are priced not just by their effectiveness, but by their role within that army as envisioned by the developers. If the developers have decided that High Elves will be at their best as a fighting army, then their core missile troops aren't going to be as points efficient as archers in another army that's actually based around missile combat.

The Old Scholar
02-10-2007, 07:27
I know this is a bit rude of me to post without having read many of the others but I think I understand what is going on here.
Well, maybe not, but let's pretend.
Here's the thing:
the company wrote up a really interesting background many moons, years, ago and included within this background lived many characters.
With each new edition this background and its characters received a tweeking.
A character at the core of a specific army died.
A territory at the heart of a specific kingdom fell.
Whatever the chataclysm, the designers currently in the employ of the company would make a seemingly HUGE change.
Next edition, the change would be amended, the dead characters would walk the battlefield once again, and the game would go on.
It's weird. But then, it's not.
We play a game in a spiraling, seemingly changing, but utterly static universe. Yeah, in the short term it seems that great changes have occured, but in the long run, things always go back to their simple origins.
Speed of Asuryan, feh!, it's nothing and will last for an edition.
Alith Anar, Korhil, The Everqueen, Grom the Paunch, the blind swordmaster Eltharion; dust in the wind.
Anyway, there is no work in progress, merely a recycling of ideas that the designers are constantly rehashing inorder to impress an ebbing and flowing market.
Whatever, I'm drunk.

Kahadras
02-10-2007, 12:50
Of course, there's only a limited amount of directions left for GW when they want to bring out a new unit for a re-done army but I also think things are a little less sinister than you might.

For example, lets take the saurus cav... I'm sure that was more fan driven than anything. The Fluff for the cold ones said the DE stole them from the tunnels to Lustria, I'm sure some fans must have pressed for their lizardman army to have access to them too on the grounds that 'it makes sense'. Similarly, perhaps someone asked the sensible question of how the bret's besieged each other's castles without siege artillery or decent infantry...

The Lizardmen did have access to Cold ones in the form of Skink cold one riders. Brets still have access to siege weapons during sieges so there's no real case for them to be included in the armies book and Bret infantry acutaly got worse in the latest edition of the armies book.

OK it might not be 'sinister' but it certainly feels like vanniliafication to me.

Kahadras

Crazy Harborc
03-10-2007, 02:09
Just a couple of thoughts caused by a couple of the posts in this thread.

If players/wargamers using a set of rules want to do some "different" ideas for unit or army makeups....AND they work it out between themselves (in writing;))....outside of GW's stores....go for it.

Want pikes for a HE unit? Got the stats for DoW pikes? Got the stats for HE spearmen?