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Underway
01-06-2008, 03:39
Yes you all knew it was comming, but I have heard recently from no less than 3 sources (a fix on the chart in my buisness) that external playtesting is like the dodo.

Both Hordes/Mortals of Chaos, and Lizardmen (due Feb 09) are a long way past the playtesting stage, and there is no sign of them from the external playtesters.

Oh that and all the external playtesters I know are not getting their email/phonecalls for the development of new armies. With HoC not to far away you would think they would be battling it out by now.

Znail
01-06-2008, 03:49
It seems GW prio secrecy alot nowdays, so that is probobly why the playtesting is gone. I wish they would get rid of the policy of no errata as well as its a bit of a bad combo with less playtesting.

kroq'gar
01-06-2008, 03:58
Who cares if somone finds out about an upcoming release.... the only people who will find out are us- the fanatical online gamebase who'l buy it anyways....

They are hurting themselves by removing the external playtesting- unbiased oppinions cannot be ignored....

If they were winding down play testing that could explain the new vampires...

Joewrightgm
01-06-2008, 04:08
Honestly, I think its a good move.

How many army books (and codex) have been basically leaked before GW can really stoke the fires of anticipation?

And if any of the arm-chair generaling that goes on on this board is any indication, I think the game developers probably got sick of hearing off the wall ideas or unneeded tweeks.

My .02, punching out.

Rodman49
01-06-2008, 04:39
Honestly, I think its a good move.

How many army books (and codex) have been basically leaked before GW can really stoke the fires of anticipation?

And if any of the arm-chair generaling that goes on on this board is any indication, I think the game developers probably got sick of hearing off the wall ideas or unneeded tweeks.

My .02, punching out.


What? So when is having less people test a product useful? Sounds retarded to me. Game developers need feedback from all types of gamers in order to develop the best game possible - a creator always has a skewed view of their game as opposed to a player and its important that a creator obtains a large amount of feedback to fix bugs and abuses of their system.

Garanaul the Black
01-06-2008, 04:49
And if any of the arm-chair generaling that goes on on this board is any indication, I think the game developers probably got sick of hearing off the wall ideas or unneeded tweeks.


Or endless bitching. It's a good idea in the long run, but I have to say I'll miss finding things out before hand. This is going to put a dent in the rumor section.


G

Festablo
01-06-2008, 05:00
I think in the long run it would be good if only GW could figure out a direction for their gaming systems. Fantasy doesnt so much have the problem, its a good game, and for the most part has a nice set of rules. However 40k for example is being pulled in 30 different directions trying to please everyone from the average hobbyist to the die hard tourny players. This could be in part from external play testing. It would be nice if GW had a unified vision for there games, that way play testing internally would help to develope them.

silashand
01-06-2008, 05:24
How many army books (and codex) have been basically leaked before GW can really stoke the fires of anticipation?

Realistically I could care less, but the "stoking the fires of anticipation" argument seems pretty naive to me. As soon as people know about it they will either buy or not. It's not like cutting time from people discussing the issue will make them buy something they don't like.

Ah well, whatever. I haven't been following the rumours anyway of late so for me it really doesn't matter. I do think GW just failed its Stupidity test on this one though...

Cheers, Gary

DoktorZinieztro
01-06-2008, 05:30
Yeah, yeah... A narrow player base a group sample is JUST ACE.

C'mon... "stoking the fires of anticipation", "unified vision". As if it isn't that way as it is now. So, naive it's silly.

To me is a bit more simple and cynical than that: they don't want to deal with the process. Maybe it was costly to run and really didn't change anything, so they dropped the pretense and reduced the costs with one swoop.

All in all, rumours will be harder to get ahold of and MAYBE the whining and doomsaying will abate...

UNTIL the books come out and people can start busting balls about not getting their "wishlist" or about how they were "nerfed".

Mah... Not really big news, I reckon.

Zethal
01-06-2008, 06:54
Why wouldn't GW want discussion?
Discussion, leads to a more informed player base, a more informed player base should lead to more sales.

There are still people on this and other forums coming on and asking what the next book is. It is bad enough to not mentioned anything on their own site, but when you have a whole community of online gamers that are likely to share their information with other players at their store and get them excited, and you don't take advantage of it...

As for being sick of getting negative feedback on rumors?
Maybe if they had any interaction with the community, and took the time to not make design blunders like Dragon Armor, new silver helms, halberdiers, O&G etc, They might start to see some respect from their players, and really if they are getting their feelings hurt pulling further away from the community is not going to improve their image.

As it is GW is the least respected company by the consumer I know of. We expect flawed and poorly done material from them, not a good rep to have.

Less play testing is not likely to improve this reputation.

Archaon
01-06-2008, 07:32
I know a ton of people in my local gaming group and in the wider Germany tournament scene who have a very good grasp of Warhammer, the interaction between armies and army composition in itself and above all.. they are fair.

They are very good players and they instantly spot weak spots in new army books.. powergaming blunders like SAD, RAF and the "smaller" mistakes like Tzeentch Heroes and his Dragon mount getting a 3+ save or the now standard Altar + 2 Steam Tank combos in unrestricted tournaments.

What i'm trying to say is that if you gave these guys the half or 2/3 finished books and let them have a few games with it to give feedback all of the above mistakes would have never happened.

These are grown men and not biased kids who would push their army in front of others with better rules and stats.. they'd be as objective as possible to create a balanced yet interesting and challenging army within the guidelines of GW.

I'm very sure that such players also exist in the UK but for some inexplicable reason GW doesn't want to use this method.

It's not the same as with car companies for example who have to field test their cars on the streets and cover up new design elements because there's a very real threat that other companies will "steal" their designs and copy them (which may lose them money). All of GWs main competitors have hugely different games and the few companies that copy GWs miniatures (like Gamezone) are not really a threat financially.

Gorbad Ironclaw
01-06-2008, 09:22
External playtesting is suspended at the moment, as I understand it because of leaks of 40k books.
I'm sure it will be back at some point, although yes, it does appear that the next couple of armies up haven't received any playtesting.


What i'm trying to say is that if you gave these guys the half or 2/3 finished books and let them have a few games with it to give feedback all of the above mistakes would have never happened.


The current/past batch of playtesters are not exactly incompetent either. Nor are they just looking to power up there own army or anything like that. It's also an international group, it's not just UK people.

And sure, sometimes things are missed in playtesting, usually when no one thought of doing things like that until some clever(or demented? :p) chap reassembles it backward and suddenly you have a big flaw. Other times things just get changed, or the deadline is up, different priorities or plenty of other reasons why things end up they way they are.

escobar
01-06-2008, 09:47
How is playtesting done at the moment - are people employed to do it (i.e. paid) or is it mates of mates, try this out kinda thing. Surely they have some kind of NDA in place - GW legal seem to be watertight in every other way.

God love them but their are people working with lots more confidential business critical information in the world and 12-18 months is not exactly long to keep a secret. Stopping playtesting seems crazy - just need to get recruitment of playtesters right.

Lordsaradain
01-06-2008, 10:44
Seems to me the problem is with the people they are using as playtesters. If they pick people who end up leaking stuff they're doing a bad job.

Agree. External playtesting is a must if warhammer is to remain balanced and fun to play.

Handmaiden
01-06-2008, 10:52
If they get rid of exteral playtesting than I expect Dwarfs will become super.....

arkle
01-06-2008, 10:58
I was reading a old white dwarf not to long ago and Jevis column was devoted to how they won't change rules and errants are only for clearing up misunderstandings. If this policy of not changing rules in Faqs continues then they should be making as much effort as possible to get the rules right in the first place rather than reducing the chances of this happening!

Pacific
01-06-2008, 10:58
These are grown men and not biased kids who would push their army in front of others with better rules and stats.. they'd be as objective as possible to create a balanced yet interesting and challenging army within the guidelines of GW.

I'm very sure that such players also exist in the UK but for some inexplicable reason GW doesn't want to use this method.

It's not the same as with car companies for example who have to field test their cars on the streets and cover up new design elements because there's a very real threat that other companies will "steal" their designs and copy them (which may lose them money). All of GWs main competitors have hugely different games and the few companies that copy GWs miniatures (like Gamezone) are not really a threat financially.

I agree with this sentiment completely. What has GW to gain from doing this?

I am sure that the people playtesting would not need to be paid (and if they were, I am sure there would be no shortage of willing gaming groups who would be willing to try out new rules for free), so it can't be financial.

And as for leaks? The sad fact is, GW could make only a single hard copy of the rules, lock it in a safe and then bury it under the Nevada dessert and something would still get out.

I remember when the LoTR movie came out - New Line only originally made 50 copies of the film on disc, and threatened severe legal action if it was copied. And what happened? Within a week there was a perfect DVD quality copy of the film on the web. Unfortunately GW needs to wake up and realise that in the internet age, keeping information and data completely secret is almost impossible.

So the conclusion will be rules which have had less objective playtesting (which is a concern as we all know that GW seems to be populated entirely by 'yes men' these days) and will no doubt be more error prone.

Shamfrit
01-06-2008, 11:01
Or people, they've started using the Secracy Act before people can playtest.

Maybe it's going on, and we just don't know about it?

EvC
01-06-2008, 11:23
It's a bad decision, but it sounds like their hand was forced. Seems like we only have the playtesters who leaked far too much to blame.

Pacific
01-06-2008, 11:53
Doesn't make a scrap of difference - secrecy act or no stuff will continue to get leaked. Like I said, GW could move their playtesting to the island from Lost, which exists in a different time to everything else around it, and we would still hear about new units and special rules etc

Bregalad
01-06-2008, 13:22
That explains the weird army books lately, that seriously endanger game balance. For now, at the release dates, we only get public beta rules.

Was it the shampoo manager's idea that imbalancing the game increases sales? :rolleyes:

blongbling
01-06-2008, 13:32
i think you are confusing the fact. the rules are still playtested, just no longer by external people.

Gazak Blacktoof
01-06-2008, 13:41
Internal play testing will mean its getting tested by a small number of people.

You can't properly test any product on a small group of people unless they are the only ones that are going to be using it.

I don't think the studio staff have enough time to adequately test the books as well as doing all the other work they need to do to produce a high quality product including maintaining FAQs and erratas post release.

EDIT:

I seem to recall there was a rumour going around a few years ago that they dropped the ball on a couple of books in 6th edition because there were a few leaks and they stopped external testing.

If that rumour had any basis in fact then its a clear sign that external play testing is a requirement for a healthy set of army books and a good hobby.

Can anybody confirm (or deny) those old rumours?

Makaber
01-06-2008, 14:36
By the way, the reason why the external playtesting was dropped, was because of a spesific incident where rules for the next edition of Warhammer 40k were leaked.

theunwantedbeing
01-06-2008, 14:48
Rules were leaked so the playtesters who leaked them ruined it for the rest of us eh?
Makes sense if you ask me.

The VC book was on here months before the book was even out as pre-release.
As was the HE book, and the daemon book and it looks like a lot of the DE rules are available on here as well.

If your trying to keep things a secret and your external playtesters keep leaking pages of rules to people then your going to remove the external playtesters from the equation.

Archaon
01-06-2008, 14:54
i think you are confusing the fact. the rules are still playtested, just no longer by external people.

Problem with this is that GW people play "fluffbunny" lists as we like to call them.. hyperfriendly lists that use the entire spectrum of the units available.

Usually this isn't a problem when playing against friends.. you agree to a friendly, low to mid powered game to have a nice evening pushing figs around and sipping on some beer.

What they totally disregard is the growing number of people who just want to win the game and they abuse the lists in every way possible.. sometimes exploiting the gaping loopholes and at others bending the rules so hard they almost break.
When you run into such a guy with your nice list the game goes down the drain immediately.

GW simply has to acknowledge the fact that people play the game differently than them in their little R&D castle but you can't do that with such a small group.
I can't explain such blunders like i already mentioned if they really have external playtesters because they would spot these things immediately and suggest changes.

Cenyu
01-06-2008, 15:47
If your trying to keep things a secret

Why do they want to keep it a secret in the first place? I don't see an impact on sales if rules become public before actual release. On the other hand, it generates attention and discussion and opinions from the community to factor in for GW... okay, or maybe not.

theunwantedbeing
01-06-2008, 16:12
A main release of a set of rules works better than a steady trickle.
You want the new rules to seem overpowered so lots of people go out and buy a lot of stuff so they can win with the new uber army. As it takes people a while to figure out how best to take on the new army.

If people already know the rules before the official release, you dont have that and the new army doesnt seem all that great as it doesnt give the impression of being unbeatable. So people think "oh that new army is crap" and then dont go out and buy it.

It does make a notable difference by keeping things secret.

Not to mention the fact that if people know the new rules but dont have access to the new models...they are likely to keep using the models they already have as proxy, and simply wait for the new rules to appear. Plus they'll have time to decide what troops they want and what they dont, instead of being dazzled by new rules and new models at the same time....so they'll be less likely to simply impulse buy all the new things and then later on realise it's not the most effective list and buy other things.

It does make a noticable difference being able to plan and test a list before buying it.
Meaning you dont buy lots of extra's, simply exactly what you need.
Which isnt as good for the company as if you simply bought everything that looked or seemed cool.

Cenyu
01-06-2008, 16:17
Duh, point taken.

Joewrightgm
01-06-2008, 16:24
Here's my view on the issue:

Both fantasy and 40k are vast games, and its difficult to balance, in fact its almost impossible to balance one factor against all others.

Irregardless of external playtesting, people still find ways to 'break' the game. And until players realize that its in their hands to build balanced, fun armies, there will be forever cries of unfair and foul play when someone chooses powerful combinations.

Garanaul the Black
01-06-2008, 16:47
It does make a noticable difference being able to plan and test a list before buying it.
Meaning you dont buy lots of extra's, simply exactly what you need.
Which isnt as good for the company as if you simply bought everything that looked or seemed cool.


QFT. GW have been playing financial catch-up as of late, people are going to buy the books/figures whether the beta version has been leaked or not, probably more while they're still partially blinded by the shiny newness of it all.



And until players realize that its in their hands to build balanced, fun armies, there will be forever cries of unfair and foul play when someone chooses powerful combinations.


Also QFT. External play testers or not, people love to abuse the lists, it's science fact.

Looks like the Rumor Round-up is going to become just that, no more nearly complete lists five months before the book release date. So it goes.


G

Sarevok
01-06-2008, 16:58
GW should just make everything public and let the net do the playtesting.

But as usual GW need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

LooseMoose
01-06-2008, 17:00
Problem with this is that GW people play "fluffbunny" lists as we like to call them.. hyperfriendly lists that use the entire spectrum of the units available.

GW simply has to acknowledge the fact that people play the game differently than them in their little R&D castle but you can't do that with such a small group.

One can in turn assume you have no idea how the internal workings of the company is with such a presumption. Before external even gets a list its being broken to the nth degree. Whether these changes and feedback is acknowledged is purely the responsability of the designer and not of the playtesters. A lot of lists built and released are very much for the purpose of product promotion/model availability from the studio.

Bloodknight
01-06-2008, 17:03
Before external even gets a list its being broken to the nth degree.

Yeah, sure. And they did not see the double Lash of Submission coming, which was one of the things most people said they would use at the instant the first rumours of that ability showed up on the internet. And look, it's broken, but has no bearing on model sales because most people would use those figures anyway.

winkypinky
01-06-2008, 17:04
Could it maybe be the case that for once they have decent play testers that just dosnt leak any information they get?

Just because the usual playtest crowd have been dismissed (obviously because nothing was secret to the public 4 sec after it landed in their mail boxes) dosnt mean that they havnt made a new one.

winkypinky
01-06-2008, 17:07
You can't properly test any product on a small group of people unless they are the only ones that are going to be using it.


Magic the Gathering? There is only 5-10 Actual people play testing any given magic set. And it works pretty fine for them, and they have a player base that is much larger than Games-Workshops.
It is just the quality of the play testers that needs to be improved. Not their numbers.

static grass
01-06-2008, 17:23
GW should just make everything public and let the net do the playtesting.

But as usual GW need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Well just because warseer is this happy clappy place where everyone agrees and respects each other and their opinion in a forum where ever post resembles a note from the wonderful Ivory Tower symphony orchestra. The rest of teh interwebs is just endless bickering.

Just go and take a look at the "building a better 40K" threads out there on the net. They are vomit inducing. Then contrast against the output from BoLS. A small group of gamers who produce stuff to please themselves and release it for everyone else.

Zethal
01-06-2008, 17:36
Magic the Gathering? There is only 5-10 Actual people play testing any given magic set. And it works pretty fine for them, and they have a player base that is much larger than Games-Workshops.
It is just the quality of the play testers that needs to be improved. Not their numbers.GW has yet to show they are even close to competent at their own game.

Look at WD battle reports for a citation. Half of them forget the rules, or make illegal army lists. The other half don't understand the tactics and make very weak lists.

Sarevok
01-06-2008, 18:11
Well just because warseer is this happy clappy place where everyone agrees and respects each other and their opinion in a forum where ever post resembles a note from the wonderful Ivory Tower symphony orchestra. The rest of teh interwebs is just endless bickering.

Just go and take a look at the "building a better 40K" threads out there on the net. They are vomit inducing. Then contrast against the output from BoLS. A small group of gamers who produce stuff to please themselves and release it for everyone else.

The net can catch rules exploits, loopholes and confusion before the list even comes out, thus reducing the need for future FAQs and such.

The net wouldn't be actually writing the rules, just giving feedback to those that do. It's still their call as to what they agree with and what they don't.

silashand
01-06-2008, 18:15
Magic the Gathering? There is only 5-10 Actual people play testing any given magic set. And it works pretty fine for them

WotC also happens to release timely erratas and updates to fix problems discovered after the fact. GW doesn't do that (at least not in a timely manner anyway) and they publicly stated they won't errata problems. Combine this with poor to non-existant playtesting and what you see now is what you get, i.e. a system that stays broken for years at a time giving the impression that GW could care less about the product they put out. If they aren't going to fix it then they need to playtest it more thoroughly. If they don't want to playtest it, then they need to be willing to fix it as they go along. That they don't want to do either says categorically that they either don't care or are incompetent in supporting their product. Either way it's bad for players.

Cheers, Gary

static grass
01-06-2008, 18:37
The net can catch rules exploits, loopholes and confusion before the list even comes out, thus reducing the need for future FAQs and such.

The net wouldn't be actually writing the rules, just giving feedback to those that do. It's still their call as to what they agree with and what they don't.

The problem is that you will have to sift through literally endless analysis and discussion to get these kernels. Generally most of what the net says is completely contradictory so what is the point of listening to it? The other problem is that of ego, it's fairly common to see a few rules writers on the net squashing all independent so even if someone wanted to "help" and go over everything for you all they would end up doing is advancing their own agenda. It surely better to have a group of in house testers slash rules writers doing all the testing. Atleast all of these problems are given to people who need to solve them in order to make their mortgage payments.

The last bit was a joke we all know games devs can't afford a house.

sulla
01-06-2008, 18:39
That explains the weird army books lately, that seriously endanger game balance. For now, at the release dates, we only get public beta rules.


Well all those external playtesters didn't do a great job with VC did they?

Sarevok
01-06-2008, 19:16
The problem is that you will have to sift through literally endless analysis and discussion to get these kernels.

You don't. If I can find out about bad rules by spending 10 minutes on dakka, it's not unreasonable for me to think a games developer could do the same when that's his job. Especially as major rules issues usually spread like wildfire.


Generally most of what the net says is completely contradictory so what is the point of listening to it?

Yes you will get a whole lot of different opinions. That's not a bad thing, that's a GOOD thing.

As for who you listen to? That's your call as a designer. But at least the controversial issues have been brought to your intention rather than any "oversights".

Anyway I'm sure the playtesters they DO use don't agree on everything either.

The sky will not fall if GW uses the net. There is a precedent with this.
e.g. Jervis is in charge of Blood Bowl just like he is in charge of 40K, and Blood Bowl uses player feedback and playtesting from the net. The result is a far better game.
Even 40K the 4th edition assault rules were released in trial form to the internet so they could be better balanced.

Internet player feedback has a proven track record of success.

Gazak Blacktoof
01-06-2008, 19:38
Magic the Gathering? There is only 5-10 Actual people play testing any given magic set. And it works pretty fine for them, and they have a player base that is much larger than Games-Workshops.
It is just the quality of the play testers that needs to be improved. Not their numbers.

The mathematics and situations inherent in Magic (or any card game) are less complex than those involved in Warhammer (or any table top game).

I believe that in another thread somebody mentioned they've had to do "patch" jobs on Magic as well to make it balanced for the tournaments.

winkypinky
01-06-2008, 19:46
WotC also happens to release timely erratas and updates to fix problems discovered after the fact.
Cheers, Gary

And their playtesters must be MUCH better than GW's which was my point. Since I cant remember a card with an errata on it that have been released since.... stronghold I think actually (Mox diamond, who happens to have gotten an resent errata that makes it do the same as it did before the erata). And the ban's in T2 is few and very very far between. Almost every single errata currently in magic have something to do with that their core game mechanics changes in their "6th" edition. Not the way that the cards function. Many erratas just made sure they would still do what they did before.
Then there is T1. And that would be the same as playing warhammer were you could chose units from books back to 1st edition mixed with every unit ever made since. And even there cards are not altered to do something else. They are just restricted. And most loopholes are not even fixed at all, they are just the way you win in magic. And T1 magic is such an overpowered format that many direct loopholes in the rules are not even played upon because they are not "good enough" (World-Gorger dragon is a prime example)

Also note that the second most widely played format in magic ever. Limited. Have NEVER ever had an errata or banning.

(Also the timing of their errates can be debated, how long was there left of the standard season when they banned affinity? 2 months or something? And urza block was only hit with bannings after academy had been bending people over for more than 1 year straight. And who in their right mind decided to reprint necropotence in 5th to make sure it stayed in standard for an other year? The screw-ups of WotC seems worse than any GW really have done, since there is still a vast variety of armies at tournaments. And I have NEVER seen a warhammer or 40k tournament were 50% of top 8 was made up of the same army. I have seen plenty of magic tournaments were top 8 was 40% or more, many times. And I have never seen a warhammer tournament were half the players played the same army +/-100 points. That happens a lot in magic were half the people in a tournament shows up with the same decks +/- 1-3 cards.)

DoktorZinieztro
01-06-2008, 19:48
The mathematics and situations inherent in Magic (or any card game) are less complex than those involved in Warhammer (or any table top game).

I believe that in another thread somebody mentioned they've had to do "patch" jobs on Magic as well to make it balanced for the tournaments.

Thus, we have the "super cool, rare cards" that get into the banned list. And yes, so many different tournament formats speak volumes of "post" disaster damage control.

Balancing "afterwards" means not enough to lousy playtesting.

Haquim
01-06-2008, 20:04
External playtesting is suspended at the moment, as I understand it because of leaks of 40k books.
I'm sure it will be back at some point, although yes, it does appear that the next couple of armies up haven't received any playtesting.



Gorbad got it right. GW suspended all external playtesting because some less than trustwothy people leaked the 40k 5th ed playtesting list on the net for download. Since that list is more less 80% accurate people in the Studio became REALLY pissed.
GW is still doing playtesting, but ALL playtesting is now done by GW staff (at least I was told so when asking for DE rumors...)

Bloodknight
01-06-2008, 20:16
LOL, but they print the books in China, don't they?, so I guess the leaking won't stop.

Griefbringer
01-06-2008, 21:34
LOL, but they print the books in China, don't they?, so I guess the leaking won't stop.

Depends on whether:
1.) somebody in the print shop actually happens to care about GW games (which AFAIK are rather rare in China, at least outside Hongkong) OR
2.) somebody in the print shop realises that you can make a pile of cash by nicking a copy of the army book and selling it on Ebay several weeks before the actual release date

Garanaul the Black
01-06-2008, 22:00
Internet player feedback has a proven track record of success.


Absolutely. We are a free source of play testing to them, albeit, generally after the release. Who else is going to sit around and come up with 'broken' lists, 'cheesy' combos, ect.? Most of the big problems are (usually) found by one of the die hards on one of these sites and are (usually) ironed out in the next edition. It would be down-right naive of us to assume they don't at least keep tabs on the net buzz and foolish of them to ignore so much free information. Sure, they'd have to wade through some crap to get to some useful info, but they don't have to pay us. I find time to come onto Warseer and it isn't my job.

G

Asq_Dak
01-06-2008, 22:22
Could it maybe be the case that for once they have decent play testers that just dosnt leak any information they get?

Just because the usual playtest crowd have been dismissed (obviously because nothing was secret to the public 4 sec after it landed in their mail boxes) dosnt mean that they havnt made a new one.

Indeed. Just because one wing of play testers is currently silent, doesn't mean there are none. For example, multiple play-test rules are send to different sets of play testers. After a leak, you know which wing is compromised and you can cut them out. The other wings may still be active, but tight-lipped when it comes to the community.

Gazak Blacktoof
01-06-2008, 23:39
The rumour wasn't that some play testers have been axed its that all play testing outside of the studio has been halted.

Baindread
02-06-2008, 11:15
It isn't so much the problem that "cheesy combos" (since they are generally few and far between and you can counter them) get through, itīs that some books are massively more powerful than other books, on a general level. How you can't notice that when just sifting through the final version of the book is not believeable. It's almost like they either ignore the previous books or just disregards them since there isn't a single trend. Some books are overpowered, some are underpowered, some are barely changed when needed, some are changed when it isn't needed.

static grass
02-06-2008, 11:50
Internet player feedback has a proven track record of success.


It's fine that you disagree with me and chop up my posts to pick at the seams. But for the above statement could you please show me this track record and show me what you consider success. I consider success to be in terms of player base and revenue for the company. So I would need some numbers.

Consider BoLS. A small group of gamers who release rules that please themselves. Those rules are massively popular but there is no mass internet bun fight. This is they way the internet should design rules for games.

Jedi152
02-06-2008, 12:02
If people refuse to abide by the NDA's in their contracts you can see why.

(External testers signed Non Disclosure Agreements right?)


Look at WD battle reports for a citation. Half of them forget the rules, or make illegal army lists. The other half don't understand the tactics and make very weak lists.
Excellent point with the first two, but the army lists comment is unfair. I bet they've played more than you have, and remember they can only use 'Eavy Metal models, so must stick to what is painted, make sure they stick to the background of the scenario, and the major point is that they are trying to discourage powergaming, which doesn't make for a fun game.

EvC
02-06-2008, 12:39
No, the army lists chosen are appalling. Look at both the Wood Elves' and the High Elves' inaugaral battle reports: against the Wood Elves, the Orc player took massed shooting, chariots that couldn't go in the forests, and tough and massive blocks of Trolls that would never see combat. Against the High Elves, the Orc player took virtually no shooting and no chariots (The best counter to ASF), and that same unit of Trolls that would have had a perfect place against the weak close combat attacks of the High Elves were nowhere to be seen. Blatantly tailored to provide the new army with an easy win.

Funnily enough when the Vamps came around they designed a scenario that benefitted the Empire, which was very weird... then the three Daemon reports were so in favour of the Daemons it was shocking.

Gorbad Ironclaw
02-06-2008, 12:43
If people refuse to abide by the NDA's in their contracts you can see why.

(External testers signed Non Disclosure Agreements right?)



They do indeed sign a NDA before they get to playtest. (and it wasn't just the 5th ed playtest list that was leaked, the Chaos and the Ork books at least was available online ages before they were release)

As for how it's organised, as I've been told you have a handful of playtest groups headed up by one person. That person then picks the people to be under him.

Also, it's worth remembering that the playtesters don't have the power to change anything. They will submit there feedback and experiences with the various playtest rules, maybe answer specific questions etc. but ultimately it all goes back to the designer(s) and they are the ones who then change things. So you could have the testers think something is broken or needs changing or what have you, but if the designers disagree it won't happen. And some things are set in stone before the playtesters even get the lists.


As for public playtesting, I'm not sure it would really be all that useful. Sure, you end up with a lot of data, but it's going to be a lot of work and quite difficult to sort through it all and actually get the useful bits. Not knowing who is saying what, there qualifications, there agenda etc. means you have to be very careful with just accepting things as stated.

In my experience you end up mostly listening to people you already know (because you respect there opinion and know they know what they are talking about) over facelessposter #317 on an internet forum.

It could help to highlight some issues, but other issues are made issues only because of online forums, not because they are issues.

Ixquic
02-06-2008, 13:53
GW has yet to show they are even close to competent at their own game.

Look at WD battle reports for a citation. Half of them forget the rules, or make illegal army lists. The other half don't understand the tactics and make very weak lists.

Exactly. Look at the White Dwarf battle that they did to highlight the Vampire Counts release. The VC player spent a lot of effort to tarpit his own unit and Vampire hero into his opponent's flagellants the very first turn. He also (unless I missed it) didn't cast invocation ONCE the entire game.

The recent VC list by Gav Thorpe uses Konrad (stupid with a leadership of 6) as the General. The army has 4 power dice and a unit of 10 Grave Guard. It's absolutely retarded even for a fluff army since it would be cleaned off the table by the third turn. Speaking of Konrad, who playtested him? Anyone with a brain is going to park at 10 inches or so away from his unit, hope he frenzies and runs out since he's M6 and all infantry is M4, and then dies since he only has a 5+ armor save.

You can look over the recent books and just see how things will be abused. The 5th ed 40k book even says that their rules are intended for friendly games and you shouldn't play jerks. That's a pretty lame way of admitting that they are too lazy to write tight rules and that the players have to police themselves. If that's their attitude why are we bothering to even pay for their books?

EvC
02-06-2008, 14:24
It was indeed notable that he didn't cast invocation, because some of us hoped that he would cast it on a unit in combat during the game to help "prove" it could be done! I think Konrad's playtesting seemed all right, I've used him a fair few times, and anyone with a brain can stop the enemy baiting him out like you say ;)

Ixquic
02-06-2008, 14:35
It was indeed notable that he didn't cast invocation, because some of us hoped that he would cast it on a unit in combat during the game to help "prove" it could be done! I think Konrad's playtesting seemed all right, I've used him a fair few times, and anyone with a brain can stop the enemy baiting him out like you say ;)

Yeah I was looking for it for exactly that reason.

If Konrad was M4 he would be fine, but I don't think they had people try to be sneaky and get him to run out of his unit during the playtesting stages, especially when characters like The Masque are much less expensive, better and don't require nearly as much carefulness (also Isabella and the Masque being the same point cost is laughable). I don't really care that much because I don't plan on ever using the lame-o Von Carstein special characters but it just seems sloppy.

Archaon
02-06-2008, 16:17
One can in turn assume you have no idea how the internal workings of the company is with such a presumption. Before external even gets a list its being broken to the nth degree. Whether these changes and feedback is acknowledged is purely the responsability of the designer and not of the playtesters. A lot of lists built and released are very much for the purpose of product promotion/model availability from the studio.

No i don't have information about the internal workings of GW but i see the finished product and when experienced gamers are able to instantly spot broken combinations within minutes of opening the book then there's something seriously wrong.

Additionally there have been many quotes by GW staff such as Cavatore, Thorpe and others that they really play that way and "expect" their customers to play "nice" because with that approach they would get the most enjoyment.

Now i agree.. i try to make balanced lists when playing against friends. These are in no way peaceful games.. we each try to win and we give no quarter but you won't ever see me fielding 2 Steam Tanks and the Altar or a SAD (and probably not even in unrestricted tournaments).
However there's a ton of people out there who don't abide by friendly game agreements and build the most nastiest list they can come up with to stomp the other guy into the ground and dance on his grave.

This is the main problem.. no development team will ever be able to totally balance out the entire game as it's too complex but even the most obvious imbalances slip by them which wouldn't happen this much with a good group of external playtesters.

EvC
02-06-2008, 18:22
If Konrad was M4 he would be fine, but I don't think they had people try to be sneaky and get him to run out of his unit during the playtesting stages...

I don't think you can assume that. Remember, Konrad is very powerful- he's more killy than my regular Vampire Lord, and she's made to be as killy as possible. And just 145 points. GW also have experience with this setup, as the old rules for Vlad saw him go frenzied whilst movement 9, meaning he'd have to charge out of almost any unit. The fact he might charge out by himself fits his background perfectly, and helps balance a strong character. No problem with him. Of course you are right that the WD Konrad army was laughable, but that's another matter, and in an army where he is the general, you can expect problems... hopefully no-one would use him like that!

Aurellis
02-06-2008, 18:33
No, the army lists chosen are appalling.

This is because they have to use models that aren't currently selling very well and try use them in a way that makes them seem more competitive than they actually are to drive sales.

White Dwarf at times is like a monthly sales catalogue with staged Battle Reports to promote certain items further.

isidril93
02-06-2008, 18:37
hey...i like my monthly white dwarf!!!

Aurellis
02-06-2008, 18:49
I enjoy White Dwarf every month too especially the last few copies, they've had more articles which i've enjoyed. The catalogue feel is still there which is my main gripe and a proper battle report for each system would be nice to have every month.

Back to playtesting though, I'm sure GW would be able to find enough people who would volunteer to be a playtester. I know a lot of people, including myself, who'd jump at the chance

EvC
02-06-2008, 23:19
Yeah, but you post on internet message boards, making you a risk they wouldn't want to take.

DoktorZinieztro
03-06-2008, 03:00
Intrinsically, yes.

Many people here and everywhere would jump at the chance for a free scoop and the chance to brag about "how dey in day knowz".

Too much damage control, too much to mantain the secrecy levels, high coordination costs, almost squat gained from all the testing as the studio heads call the shots and book get printed to sell books and models, not to fix anything...

They need to cut costs. This is one thing they don't need as it was useless.

Face it, it's always been a closed thing no matter what the impression the playtesters had about it; the time to keep the appreances is over. If the leaking of an early draft of 40K 5th was what was needed to "justify" the crapcanning, so be it.

"It was YOUR fault, for not keeping your traps shut, see? Now, the insider-knowledge thrills are gone. Bad playtesters."

Another business decision spinned to look as if it was OUR collective fault by.... rumour mongers.

Because everything but the cancelling of external playtesting in this thread is SPECULATION. So, some of us are blaming another group of us for a decision NONE of US knows dung about why they actually did it.

Still, some guesses are far more educated than others.

Frankly
03-06-2008, 03:05
I play Legends of the five rings, where external play texting is key. If a card still look OP they're marked and watched for balancing.

Kerill
03-06-2008, 05:00
I just don't understand how they miss the things they do. Most cheesey combos have been discovered on the internet within a day of getting the rules. GW studio designers play test for months and don't spot them. Useful combos is one thing but really a lot of the things that get through are laughable. Similarly the sheer uselessness of other things is very very easy to spot within 5 minutes of opening some of the books. They not only need to re-introduce external playtesting, they also need to listen!

Draconian77
03-06-2008, 05:00
Balancing requires effort, GW don't do effort...

Farsot
03-06-2008, 07:18
The worst thing is that people have the general consensus that you have to stick to the rules, army lists and so on instead of actually experimenting with them, changeing them and makeing new ones (units, items, cspecial characters and even core rules as thrown weapons on charge and so on). The fault must be in GW for not supporting and promoteing a more open rules atmosphear. This is not something you can change by some compendium once every 10 year or some skirmish system that dies out after the push that season, it has to be something continues. If that exist and people (clubs and even events) actually have that mentality (not the "this has to be offical, fair, points by points structure and by the odds right) then they have a free wide spread gametesting comunity at the games core.

Now every one is so hocked on that everything has to work and be balanced for turnaments, personaly I loath turnaments for that reason, they are alla bout the win and not the joy of a game. This is not a sport, it's an entertainment, laughs and OMG moments are what people should be doing this for. The core perception of the game kinda stinks and I kinda loath myself for being a part of the "This is not balanced" and not mixing, breaking, changeing and inventing rules and functions (to a greater extent) of the game in our games.

That said, it's been stated, the minies are the reason for GW and the rules are just to sell the minis (as a biz), so in that case if the next book in line breaks the one befor that over its knee, well.. Guess it makes that score of minies sell beter :|

Any way, secracy is a biz tactic and I have nooo clue how big a role the net and the info that leaks actually plays in their launch and sell tactics but maybe they need to rethink the whole model of their current set up on how they handle and push the hobby (a bit extrem though)?

Still think "playtesting" (breaking, changeing, inventing) should be something that goes on everywhere, instinctive as a part of the hobby, in a much greater extent, it makes it all the more alive.

burtnernie
03-06-2008, 08:31
Just a quick .2 cents.

How many army lists are there out there that appear at the GT and become the "uber list of doom" if you have noticed most armies when they came out are harder than the last one.

The number of times I have spoken to rules bods, players, referees and games developers who have seen good army lists "broken" by players with things like the nidzilla list etc and have openly admitted that the army was not designed to do that...

GW staff take the list and test alot of the items etc but I don't think they always test the combinations available as things start appearing that they realise are overpowered... you only have to look at Thorek at the GT heats as they changed the rules for that.

External play testing gives beardy players the chance to muck it up, so that GW can try to fix it before it gets released. No army is supposed to be better than the last from what I understand.

Zethal
03-06-2008, 09:33
Well all those external playtesters didn't do a great job with VC did they?To be fair, the single hardest part of any beta testers job is to get design to agree with them.

Knowing somethings is truly horridly broken, and being able to convince the guy who designed it, is emotionally invested in it and who happens to have all the power in that relationship is quite a different thing. Also happens to be quite difficult, many gamer designers feel personally attacked when you come back telling them all the mistakes you found. Or trying to get them to see the same problem you do, is often impossible.

Zethal
03-06-2008, 09:57
I play Legends of the five rings, where external play texting is key. If a card still look OP they're marked and watched for balancing.
Can't really compare GW to AEG.
AEG is one of the best companies in gaming.
L5R has a Interactive story line, free weekly content, a good website, with a great forum, not only run by but involving the people in the company.

An good set of rules defined on how and why the errata things with lots of player warning and even MRP's.

AEG has always had a doors open policy in relation to their customers, while GW has been the opposite. Heck, even their current lead designer was pulled from the tournaments after winning so much with unique and obscure decks to come work for them.

Edit: as it turns out this just turned into another post of mine bashing GW. Surprising how many decisions they are making lately are frustrating and illogical to this extent. To bad Clan War was a bust.

Darkson
03-06-2008, 11:00
Knowing somethings is truly horridly broken, and being able to convince the guy who designed it, is emotionally invested in it and who happens to have all the power in that relationship is quite a different thing. Also happens to be quite difficult, many gamer designers feel personally attacked when you come back telling them all the mistakes you found. Or trying to get them to see the same problem you do, is often impossible.

True dat!

I remember from the early days of Blood Bowl 3rd edition, people were telling GW and Jervis that the fouling rules were broken, but they only agreed with the rest* of the BB playing world when someone from an external league joined the HQ league, stocked up on Dirty Player, and destroyed teams left, right and centre. Rule soon got changed then.


* Ok, a lot of them.

Osbad
03-06-2008, 11:22
For what it's worth, I can verify that external playtesting has been dying a lingering death for the last 2 years or so. GW never really got it organised and its effectiveness (or whether it was used at all) depended on the whim of the indifvidual design team member in charge of the overall project (and, for instance Alessio, is on the record as saying he "doesn't trust external playtesting" to give a balanced review because the types of games played cannot be controlled internally....! )

Some designers (e.g. Adam Troke) used the system well and got some good, robust rules out of it. Others didn't use playtesters and it shows. You can see which army books/supplements/codices have been effectively playtested by the credits (or lack thereof) on the frontispiece. Nowadays when I see a new supplement in the store, the first thing I do is look for the level of playtesting. If there is a long list of external names, the odds are it will contain decent rules. If there are no external names, it'll probably be a pile of pants.

That it has now been formally been abolished comes as no surprise.

It is classic GW-paranoia to totally axe external playtesting. Seriously what did the leak of 40k 5th ed. really cost GW? Absolutely nothing is the answer! I would be absolutely gobsmacked if they even lost a single book sale from the process. All it did was stoke the flames of desire, in reality.

Set that against the possible gains which could derive from a properly handled and focussed public beta testing (such as operated by Paizo with the new Pathfinder RPG - and that is from a company that DEPENDS on its paper product revenue to survive as that is all they have got...) which could produce a tighter, more focussed ruleset!

To me there's no contest. To control-freak run GW who definitely "put the rules second" it however makes some perverted sort of sense!

Feth-wits, I say!

I mean, I am so not a powergamer, it isn't funny. Even less am I likely to play a powergamer. Let alone get upset about it. But I do care about quality product. I want clear, concise, working rules. That is what I am paying my money for. I am not paying my money for a set of rules that don't work and which I have to toss a coin over everytime someone does something slightly unusual. If the rules are THAT broken I may as well line up my army men on the floor and make "pew pew" noises like my 5-year old son does! It makes for as interesting a game....

Sure not everyone wants or needs rules that protect them from extreme cheese, but surely an improvement in quality of gameplay by removing areas of obscurity and error would generate much more in the long term than it would cost in the short term as the game gained a reputation for quality of play? Blaming "rules lawyers" for "not playing in the spirit of the game" is just a darned lazy way of justifying producing lower quality product. I don't care how glossy the cover of a rulebook is, if the contents are turds, it'll stink!

Ixquic
03-06-2008, 11:56
Sure not everyone wants or needs rules that protect them from extreme cheese, but surely an improvement in quality of gameplay by removing areas of obscurity and error would generate much more in the long term than it would cost in the short term as the game gained a reputation for quality of play? Blaming "rules lawyers" for "not playing in the spirit of the game" is just a darned lazy way of justifying producing lower quality product. I don't care how glossy the cover of a rulebook is, if the contents are turds, it'll stink!

This is totally correct. "The most important rule" was acceptable when it came up in rare situations like accidental clipping in 6th edition but more and more they seem to be falling back on it instead of just making more concrete rules in the first place. Rolling off to see what happens when Annoyance of Nettlings goes up against something that autohits is silly and lazy. Unless you play with your four good friends in your basement or garage you're going to end up playing against powergamers and saying that we just shouldn't play them and accept the game with loopholes and rules open to abuse shows that they are not interested in making a quality product. I'm not interested in taking my models and going home if halfway through a game I discover the guy I'm playing is trying to bilk the system since when the GW designer wrote his book he didn't think that people would use it that way; it's a situation that shouldn't happen in the first place.

I also just really don't understand the amount of secrecy that GW thinks it needs. Are they scared people are going to get all the rumors consolidated into a text file and then not buy the books? If that's the case, people that cheap are just going to sit down in a GW and read the store copy then write out the army list from memory when they leave. I don't understand how a leaked rule can possibly affect the actual sale of models except that if something is getting a huge nerf then people will stop buying the models a few months earlier and really if they know that they are screwing over something that badly they only have themselves to blame when the customers don't want to use it. It's also not like there is some rival company making games in the Warhammer universe that might steal their ideas and beat them to the market. Fantasy Flight games put their rules books on their website for free and those are much more integral to their bottom line since every game has its own unique book as opposed the Warhammer where you buy one every five years or so. I'm not saying that their books should be free but do they really think that if someone leaks the Dark Elf special rules on the internet that it's REALLY going to hurt their bottom line more than not creating a balanced and well tested game because they stop getting external opinions out of fear of leaks?

Llew
03-06-2008, 15:19
The only people who care about leaks are people who would buy the product anyway. They want a chance to mess with the new rules as early as possible. There's possibly a very, very small group who just want something free, but those people wouldn't spend money on a book as it is, so the chance of sales being lost is miniscule at best.

Leaks actually can go a long way towards building interest and excitement. And if external playtesting just happened to get better rules? Oh, my.

GW is running their product development on an outdate business model where you have to just surprise your customers with your new product and generate sales hopefully before they know anything. The closest example of a company pulling this off right now is Apple, and they produce some excellent products that the customers will like. GW doesn't have the internal testing to pull off well-designed products -- they, more than any other company I can think of, need to take advantage of crowdsourcing to improve their products.

AFK in Life
03-06-2008, 17:11
GW is running their product development on an outdate business model where you have to just surprise your customers with your new product and generate sales hopefully before they know anything.


Actaully the Spear heads with the rule book in them out before the rule book is a perfect example of this. You drop 300 bucks down without really knowing what your getting if there isn't rumors out there.


A friend of mine recently read an interview with Jervis, he quoted it as saying that Jervis had said that 5th ed 40k was designed how the design like to play and wasn't for rules lawyers, it was for fun players. Sorry I don't know where this interview was, I will try to ask him next time I see him.

This sent a shiver down my spine. :( This also lends weight to the idea that really play testers only matter if the studio listens to them.

I have played game systems that were not play tested enough, and well I don't play them any more. They just break down to being not fun if I have to create a list to be bad so I don't crush an opponent.

My final biggest concern is the amount of biased that will come in to play with a small design team makign all the decisions, like if your particualar army has no champion, you can expect a half assed effort with nothing good. Where as if your army has a developer who really loves it, expect some serious rules lovin'. "Oh wait St6 Graveguard with regeneration, +1 to hit, strikes first and a WS6 vampire giving them WS6, and I can raise back d6 of them on 3+, hmm yeah I will take that"

Emperor's Grace
03-06-2008, 17:19
Magic the Gathering? There is only 5-10 Actual people play testing any given magic set. And it works pretty fine for them, and they have a player base that is much larger than Games-Workshops.
It is just the quality of the play testers that needs to be improved. Not their numbers.

Yes, but bear in mind that WotC has a relatively tight rule set with a rigid time sequence and universally defined keywords. If GW rules were that tight/universal, they might be able to spot the problems with less folks too.

(which is why I liked the USR idea when they came out with it last edition)

It's also worth mentioning that they seem to have accepted that MtG is played competitively and the rules are made with that it mind - clear and concise to reduce arguments. Any rulings that do arise from misunderstandings are publically listed for the knowledge of all. It's also largely played against strangers/all comers.

GW, on the other hand, seems to be caught on the idea of a D+D/beer and pretzels style played by a stable group of friends with disputes solved by friendly parties that aren't overly attached to the outcome. (Granted, this is my favorite style of game but I understand that many out there are more competitive or lack opponent choice).

Maybe that's the core. GW is designing the game to be something other than what the community wants. Holding on to past ideals perhaps? Even MtG started out much friendlier, less tourney/WAAC than it is now. (I even have Garfield's book on how to play. It's obvious that his focus wasn't on tourney's. Now before someone points it out, they did have ante but you couldn't find a single group at either my college or hometown whose members actually used that rule.) MtG changed as it aged. Maybe GW needs to consider that path as well?


WotC also happens to release timely erratas and updates to fix problems discovered after the fact. GW doesn't do that

Nothing further to add on this one, it just goes with the above idea.


Actaully the Spear heads with the rule book in them out before the rule book is a perfect example of this. You drop 300 bucks down without really knowing what your getting if there isn't rumors out there.

Agreed but then that's like buying a quesadilla maker in a box at the department store. It's new, I don't have one, and I can't be sure that it will make good quesadillas until I use it. I have to try to rely on what's been released prior (same company made a good waffle iron) or the "word of mouth" from those that got one before me.

Sarevok
03-06-2008, 17:35
How badly do leaked codices affect sales? As far back as I can remember (Necrons or so) I've known a great deal, if not everything, about a codex or army book prior to release. Yet 2001-2004 was like the most successful GW has ever been?


I also just really don't understand the amount of secrecy that GW thinks it needs. Are they scared people are going to get all the rumors consolidated into a text file and then not buy the books? If that's the case, people that cheap are just going to sit down in a GW and read the store copy then write out the army list from memory when they leave.

As soon as any GW book released it will be scanned and torrented within weeks, if not days. Nothing GW can do to prevent that.

Thommy H
03-06-2008, 17:58
Maybe that's the core. GW is designing the game to be something other than what the community wants.

But they've been trying for years to create a game system that fits the "fun play" (what a silly expression - isn't all play fun? Isn't that the idea?) and it still astonishes me that people don't get this.

The Core/Special/Rare system in WHFB, and the Troops/Elites/Fast Attack/Heavy Support system in 40K was created to try and stop the kind of power gaming that was going on in earlier editions - now you have to take some basic troops instead of a whole army of Snotling Pump Wagons or Harlequins led by seven blokes with 500 pts of magic items/wargear each.

GW hate, and have always hated, the kind of extreme armies that power gamers create and have been trying to stop people doing it for as long as I can remember. There used to be whole articles in WD trying to tell people they should really take some basic troops in their armies until they hit on the idea of just structuring the army lists to make it impossible not to. The original tournament rules were actually designed to facilitate fair contests that would be fun for both players instead of rock/paper/scissors style clashes that were only fun if you were on the winning end and, when the time came to do new editions, they made those tournament rules part of the basic game - the problem is that this made players think the game was supposed to be played competitively.

So maybe they are going against what their customers want, but I kind of feel they have a right to make their own game be what they want: a set of rules to facilitate a few hours of fun to be had with aesthetically pleasing objects you've collected, modelled and painted, not a quasi-sport.

Emperor's Grace
03-06-2008, 18:11
So maybe they are going against what their customers want, but I kind of feel they have a right to make their own game be what they want: a set of rules to facilitate a few hours of fun to be had with aesthetically pleasing objects you've collected, modelled and painted, not a quasi-sport.

Oh, they certainly do.

It's just that I'm not sure that it isn't part of their sales issues.

If they integrated tourney rules to match what the majority of their players were doing, then why wouldn't they progress the next step now that tourney style players have flocked to them?

MtG started out looser and tightened up as they realised the style in which people were using the rules.

I take it that GW has realized that the player style has shifted but is reluctant to shift the style of the game. They have every right to do this but until the next wave of "fun" gamers catches on, it'll be a rougher ride.

Maybe a start would be to make sure that the "fun" content of WD comes back in at least amounts to match the tournament ads? (To be clear, I believe the recent WD's are more back on track)

I remember (with MtG) playing a five color dual land/BoP driven artifact deck just to prove to my group that you could use all five colors at once effectively (after we saw an article disputing the same). That's the sort of craziness that Chapter Approved used to be...

I think Mike Walker's articles used to show the style that they're shooting for quite well. (Also, Paul Sawyer's "army on a budget" series)


There used to be whole articles in WD trying to tell people they should really take some basic troops in their armies until they hit on the idea of just structuring the army lists to make it impossible not to.

And that's the other end. If you want to stop that kind of gaming, you may need tighter rules/proofing to prevent the abuses.

Temprus
03-06-2008, 19:48
Considering how "well" people feel the rules are written now, how could we tell the difference if they are externally playtested or not? :angel:

Llew
03-06-2008, 20:21
I think the argument is that what little external playtesting was being done wasn't really sufficient in the first place. GW needs to *expand* external playtesting, not eliminate it, if they want to improve their games.

I'm not sure they want to though.

Charax
03-06-2008, 22:04
so GW are halting external playtesting because of the Chaos and Ork leaks?
well, I have one question about that:

Why in hell are GW sending out workprints to playtesters?

The leaked Chaos & Ork books were workprints (just like the leaked Eldar book was, and D&D4 core books), they shouldn't even have been in the hands of playtesters. Black Industries sent out their playtest rules as blank, unformatted PDFs and there have been no leaks.

Not. A. Single. One.

So that would be one slightly less drastic way to keep stuff from getting leaked on such a huge scale - put it in a format that it is undesirable to read and/or too time-consuming to put in a format which is easy to read.

And as for Internal playtesting, this is the same GW who didn't bother to think up what happens when a unit is affected by two lashes because they didn't think removing 0-1 limits would result in people taking two of something. Internal playtesting will NOT go well.

Oh well, it's their problem, they can deal with it however they like - they're not going to stop leaks.

blongbling
03-06-2008, 22:10
i think its less about loss of sales and more about people getting the rules early that arent finished and going off in the wrong direction. how often do you see debates on here about "i heard that x will have strength of y" then watched the fifty pages of how GW has ruined the game and they are never going to play again....even though most of the time the leaks are wrong???

would you want BMW to let you drive a car before they had fitted the brakes?

Lucifer216
03-06-2008, 22:32
Charax - you make a really good point. If the playtesters were sent rules with absolutely no GW symbols, just badly formated text, any leaks would simply be dismissed by the vast majority of readers.

logan054
03-06-2008, 22:40
If the rules are THAT broken I may as well line up my army men on the floor and make "pew pew" noises like my 5-year old son does! It makes for as interesting a game....

Ahh man, you just made my day!

Well i to agree that i believe its a bad move GW stopping extrenal play testing, hell i got all the daemon rules on the internet but i still went and bought the book anyways!

cailus
04-06-2008, 03:15
GW hate, and have always hated, the kind of extreme armies that power gamers create and have been trying to stop people doing it for as long as I can remember. There used to be whole articles in WD trying to tell people they should really take some basic troops in their armies until they hit on the idea of just structuring the army lists to make it impossible not to. The original tournament rules were actually designed to facilitate fair contests that would be fun for both players instead of rock/paper/scissors style clashes that were only fun if you were on the winning end and, when the time came to do new editions, they made those tournament rules part of the basic game - the problem is that this made players think the game was supposed to be played competitively.


If GW hate extreme armies so much they would not have promoted Nidzilla so much when the Tyranid codex came out. They heavily emphasised the idea that you could now field an army of Monstrous Creatures.

If they hate extremes, they would also not design rules to promote certain new models - e.g. Assault Cannons become rending so that people are attracted to the new plastic Terminator kits, or SM Librarians being buffed when their new models came out.

GW likes dollars and not much else. Fair enough as they are a profit driven compnmay. But some quality when it comes to rules design would be a welcome improvement. I'd actually be happy if they just proof read the bloody Codexes (look at the horrific Ork codex for total lack of proof reading).

Commissar von Toussaint
04-06-2008, 04:10
I have a somewhat unique perspective in this issue, since I'm an aspiring game designer.

I don't sell minis, so I can't even pull the "rules are free, buy my figs" concept. Still, my rules are out there for people to download, free. Go look at my sig and they're all right there.

I'm kind of stuck, because I know the more people play my game, the better the rules will be.

Of course there is the danger that no one will actually PAY for them, which kind of undercuts my ambition to publish them.

To me, the solution is: better to be credited with decent if easily pirated rules than have a corner on the crappy rules market. GW's obsession with leaks is totally ruining their product.

They sell miniatures, and their rules also have lots of artwork and fluff - value added that people like. Even the skinflints who rely on internet scans (who would do this, btw? I mean why should I pay and then give it away? You want 'em? Buy your own damn set) still have to buy figures.

Besides, if the rules are tight, if everything lines up, you'll expand the total pool of players because everyone will rave about how well-designed they are - as opposed to constantly whinging about how this one combo is unbeatable.

Codsticker
04-06-2008, 05:18
Interestingly enough two of the playtesters I know were complaining that the Games Developers weren't listening to them. I'm not sure that the lack of playtesting is due to GW wanting to slow down rumour leakage but it may be that they aren't getting the approval that they want from the playtesters and are utilising them less because of it. It will interesting to see if the Order of Tech Priests section in credits is any shorter.

Thommy H
04-06-2008, 13:11
If they integrated tourney rules to match what the majority of their players were doing

Ah, but this is what I believe the paradox to be: their original tourney rules (when the army lists could be bent and skewed into ridiculous combinations because things were just divided into "Characters", "Units" and "War Machines/Support", with percentages to be filled from the total points value) encouraged things like taking lots of basic troops, toned down magic items/wargear and spells/psionics (in one early tourney, I seem to remember that 4th level wizards/psykers were outright banned) - all things that are now entrenched in the actual systems. But these tourney rules weren't introduced to encourage 'tournament style' gaming - they were introduced to make a fairer, more fun battle, with armies that reflected the background rather than bizarre combinations of troops and characters that would sweep a given type of army before them, but be utterly crippled against anything else: rock/paper/scissors gaming.

It's also why obscure lists get 'banned' and they don't release erratas: GW's priority is creating a coherent game system that any two strangers who've picked army lists from the Codecies or Army Books can play together. Someone's not going to turn up with an army of Falcon Grav Tanks or 25 cannons led by a bloke on a pegasus who spends the whole battle flying high (remember that rule?) - they can't any more. And the army lists aren't structured to disallow those combinations because they're 'unbalanced' per se, but because they're no fun for anyone who shows up with the wrong kind of army to beat them.


If they hate extremes, they would also not design rules to promote certain new models - e.g. Assault Cannons become rending so that people are attracted to the new plastic Terminator kits, or SM Librarians being buffed when their new models came out.

But, again, these things are only 'broken' in extreme combinations - assault cannons are fine if you use a sane amount of them (one in your terminator squad, one on your dread, maybe one on a landspeeder), it's when people start bending the lists to their limits that the system begins to buckle at the seams, which is understandable: it's not actually designed for competitive play.

I guess I'm ranting a little, but my main issue is that people are running around, playing these games, and not realising that GW has been trying to tell you since time began that you're supposed to be having fun with your friends, not competing with strangers. There's a rant at the back of the 2nd Edition 40K rulebook about people using the biggest weapons or hardest characters, and how that's not really much fun for anyone, and misses the point of wargaming. Similarly, I have White Dwarfs going back fifteen years in which there are articles begging, pleading, gamers to just use the basic troops in their armies and put their faith in tactics rather than list building. I remember when the plastic Empire halbediers first came out (the first mulit-part ones they did) and they had a battle report when the Empire general had obviously been told he had to take some big blocks of infantry - yeah, they wanted to promote the models, but the models mainly existed to create a valid environment for creating armies with normal troops in abundance. After all, if GW was only interested in the bottom line, why would they encourage people to buy cheap plastic troops instead of metal mega-characters? The old system meant that most people actually spent their money on expensive character models because these were what you needed to win games.

I'm pretty sure this is all off-topic, but I was just very surprised to see people so shocked that GW doesn't cater to competitive gamers. Their message to such gamers has been very consistent for many years.

lanrak
04-06-2008, 17:46
Hi.
I agree that GW PLC is NOT interested in gameplay issues or how fast they can be resolved.

It is possible to have a fun table to games with far less imballance than WH or 40k.

If the basic design concept is for strangers to be able to play reasonable ballanced fun games against each other. Then the current rule sets are a dismal faliure.

However for hyping the latest minature releases they are suceeeding.(At the cost of the game overal.)

I know of rule sets that are FAR more complex and detailed than WH or 40k, but are far more intuatuve, and have far greater clarity and efficiency.

Lets face it GW game development is driven by marketing requirments , NOT game play requirments.

(I wopuld like to state SST as the rule set 40k could have been, if Andy Chambers had been alowed to actualy DEVELOP 40k.)

Emperor's Grace
04-06-2008, 17:55
I'm pretty sure this is all off-topic, but I was just very surprised to see people so shocked that GW doesn't cater to competitive gamers. Their message to such gamers has been very consistent for many years.

Yes on OffT but it doesn't surprise me. I think the message to the audience has been mixed.


GW's priority is creating a coherent game system that any two strangers who've picked army lists from the Codecies or Army Books can play together.


it's when people start bending the lists to their limits that the system begins to buckle at the seams, which is understandable: it's not actually designed for competitive play.

The two quotes above illustrate the mixed message.

Two strangers would be more likely to play competitively than narratively.

Narrative play requires set-up and session to session congruity. Neither of which is there in pickup play.

The problem is that a competitive ruleset can be used for competitive and narrative/friendly play without issue.

A narrative/friendly ruleset, on the other hand, suffers when used in competitive play.

After all, friendly rules rely on friendly people with common sense and fairness. ... And we all know "Common sense isn't all that common" :D

I believe that GW is publishing friendly rulesets for "a game with the gang" but then we try to use it in their tournament systems with WAAC opponents. Mixed.

Bloodknight
04-06-2008, 19:33
However for hyping the latest minature releases they are suceeeding.(At the cost of the game overal.)

Yeah, that is why Chaos Spawn and Possessed are so great. /sarcasm

I really don't think that the developers have that stuff in mind, I think they genuinely don't get it right.

gorgon
05-06-2008, 14:25
I guess I'm ranting a little, but my main issue is that people are running around, playing these games, and not realising that GW has been trying to tell you since time began that you're supposed to be having fun with your friends, not competing with strangers. There's a rant at the back of the 2nd Edition 40K rulebook about people using the biggest weapons or hardest characters, and how that's not really much fun for anyone, and misses the point of wargaming.

You contradict yourself in your post regarding playing with friends/strangers.

Regardless, the designers' fundamental problem is their obsession with *how* the game is played. It's not their job to be the morality police.

gorgon
05-06-2008, 14:27
Yeah, that is why Chaos Spawn and Possessed are so great. /sarcasm

I really don't think that the developers have that stuff in mind, I think they genuinely don't get it right.

Great examples.

But I think it's a mix. Sometimes they boost things a little for sales reasons. And sometimes they just don't see obvious problems.


To be fair, the single hardest part of any beta testers job is to get design to agree with them.

I have no first-hand knowledge of this, but the external GW playtesters I talked with said that this was definitely a problem.

lanrak
05-06-2008, 19:14
Hi.
Just to clarify , when I said that marketing overides gamplay issues.
I didnt mean to imply the devs 'pimp' up the rules for a particular unit to help sell it, on purpouse.

More along the lines of release Codex 'Another' Marines for a quick cash injection. Rather than updating the xenos codexes that are over 5 years out of date.3rd ed codexes in use 4 years after 4th ed release is just dispicable IMO.

And pressuring the devs into releasing codexes to be in time with the minature releases.(Out of the average 2 years development , only 2 months are spent on rules issues/ play testing :eek:.This is from an ex GW employee who shall remian nameless.;))

And to be fair the views of the external playtesters were given such a small time window, so late in the production schedule.Most never made it into print anyway.

This is typical of corperate managment, never allow anything that takes resuorces from primary buisness to suceed.Even if in the long run it would be a great asset to the buisness.
Ensure any external playtesting feed back is delayed past the point of usefulness, and then you can justify stopping it.:rolleyes:

Games Workshop plc has a team of corperate managment that belive game development is at best a neccisary evil, at worst a liability.
Not realy in synergy with the appx 50% of GW customers who are WH/40K gamers.

Garanaul the Black
06-06-2008, 04:45
sometimes they just don't see obvious problems.


This, I don't get. GW could spend a few minutes a week reading threads on sites just like this one and figure much of that out. A rules argument that spans dozens of posts and multiple pages could be something to keep an eye on. I spend enough time reading what people think on this site and a few others, theres a lot to learn, and it can't ALL be dismissed as crap.




And to be fair the views of the external playtesters were given such a small time window, so late in the production schedule.Most never made it into print anyway.


Not surprising. If GW listened and tried to iron out all of the problems in any given list, there would be less need for a new army book/codec next time around. It is their policy of endless tinkering that keeps them in business.


G

Playa
06-06-2008, 11:29
Hey,


GW could spend a few minutes a week reading threads on sites just like this one

Or even use one of their amortized servers to host their own groups!
* There could be individual areas for all the games they sell.
* It could be moderated free by fanboy volunteers.
* Maybe even include a Games Developme ...

Oh, wait.


it can't ALL be dismissed as crap

Speaking of crap: Parallel universe time -

Imagine the Studio somehow developed the DE Codex in utter secrecy.
The final draft is flown to China by armed courier in the middle of the night.
It's hand-delivered to the Chairman of the Happy Panda People's Printing House.

Before that courier gets back to the UK, Codex: DE is uploaded to Pirate Bay.
Upon hearing the news, Jervis exclaims, "Chinese IP piracy? Unthinkable!"

What have you learned, Dorothy?

Well, model companies shouldn't lose money by publishing bad rulebooks.
After years of experience in this area, it's time for GW to cut their losses -

Simply skip the middle-man, and upload the damn 40k books yourself.
You're already halfway there - your errata are being done by Dakka.
You'll get your masterworks vetted and edited by *gamers*.

Free.

Secrecy problem? Solved.
Proofreading and layout problems? Solved.
Continuity/ backward compatibility/ playtest problems?

Solved. For. Free.

Plus, all that money saved on armed couriers . . .


Pla - consultancy fee negotiable - ya

whilewolf
06-06-2008, 13:31
A reduction in the amount of playtesting, no frequent revisions to the rules this can only lead to broken, exploitable rules, troop choices getting into published books and then remaining uncorrected for a very long time.
Other decisions like the bits service reorganization you might not like but at least you can see they make sense from a financial stand point this doesnít even seem to save any money.
If management felt that external playtesting wasnít being utilised correctly then thatís a problem with developers not using their resources efficiently and the developers need training.

lanrak
06-06-2008, 19:16
Hi.
The games developers are capable of much higher quality work.But they are realy limited to what they can achive due to time restraints.

IF the rules and army compoistion were free down load from GW web site.
The rules development could be free of commercial pressure.(Only updates with new books 5 to 9 yers later...)

By all means release a background and modeling painting guide with the new minature range.

But dont totaly mess up the game play by letting marketing requirments overide product quality.

If the models and art was as rushed as the rules/codexes GW wouldnt be in buisness!

jibbajabbawocky
06-06-2008, 19:54
External Playtesting is too expensive and erratic to be profitable.

Remember, GW is a corporation that needs to report to it's shareholders. Why are we not blaming the people who broke the NDA agreements they signed (thus showing that they are worthlessly dishonest bastards) who continued to leak Copyrighted material to us on Teh Intarwebs?

I don't blame GW one bit for being forced into this by dishonest playtesters. After all, if people are willing to lie about not leaking the info, what are the chances of them not lying about fixing rules or finding bugs? Hopefully they will either hire part-or-full time in-house playtesters, and hopefully those people know how to read and abide by a written contract. (which requires a monetary investment that gives no profit return, so it will probably be shot down by investors)

--JJW, who deals with finances and people who break contracts all day

Bregalad
06-06-2008, 20:46
Do I get you right:
GW can't afford to publish tested products, because publishing crab is cheaper?
And the mega-business had to stop testing because one person of a hundred broke the NDA?

I am glad that no major business, esp. car and aicraft builders don't follow that logic.

jibbajabbawocky
06-06-2008, 20:58
Do I get you right:
GW can't afford to publish tested products, because publishing crab is cheaper?
And the mega-business had to stop testing because one person of a hundred broke the NDA?

I am glad that no major business, esp. car and aicraft builders don't follow that logic.

GW is hardly a "major business". Also, if the plans for a car were leaked, you would see a gaggle of lawyers descend like rain. It's not even expensive money wise to have info leaked, it's expensive IP wise, and in this time where copyright laws are being flagerantly ignored, companies can't be too careful with copyrighted materials. The people who actually "own" GW certainly don't like hearing that their new in-development product is now available for free on the internet, and this new ban on external playtesting seems to be a result of that. (ignoring the fact that people will buy the book when it actually comes out, its more the principle of the matter) Companies take NDAs VERY seriously, and if they catch the guy who leaked the 'dexes and 5th ed rules, he can expect some legal action. (assuming he's in the UK, copyright laws get weird when you go international, hence the NDAs)

--JJW, who's signed many NDAs.

DoktorZinieztro
07-06-2008, 07:02
I work with NDAs all the time... It's apoor sap the one that think "nothing" will come of not honouring the little doodle he/she stamped on one of those.

Still, if GW actually tried harder to make a "selection" among GROWN UPS (and that's just because of accountablity, not because "we knowz betta' than them yuff zilliez") with certain profiles that could lead to a) well-established knowledge of the game, b) ability to provide ARTICULATE criticism and suggestions, c) a true desire to collaborate, not just get "freebies" and d) responsability and adherence to the NDA signed...

Well, I think GW would have saved bucks, red faces and leaked rules.

I mean: I work with COPY CONTROLLED pharmaceutical e-documentation and all sorts of entertainment media, and can be easily traced where it has been, back and forth, to and fro...

So, yes. There were costs attached to the ext. playtesting route. As I said it before, these were the real reason why ExtPT is now gone. GW is cutting costs by axing "useless" stuff...

Of all the things they've crapcanned (aside from a solid 50 or 100 pretty lousy redshirts), I think external playtesting was actually the real king in GW's TRUE uselessness heap.

Bregalad
07-06-2008, 11:57
GW is hardly a "major business". Also, if the plans for a car were leaked, you would see a gaggle of lawyers descend like rain. It's not even expensive money wise to have info leaked, it's expensive IP wise, and in this time where copyright laws are being flagerantly ignored, companies can't be too careful with copyrighted materials. The people who actually "own" GW certainly don't like hearing that their new in-development product is now available for free on the internet, and this new ban on external playtesting seems to be a result of that. (ignoring the fact that people will buy the book when it actually comes out, its more the principle of the matter) Companies take NDAs VERY seriously, and if they catch the guy who leaked the 'dexes and 5th ed rules, he can expect some legal action. (assuming he's in the UK, copyright laws get weird when you go international, hence the NDAs)

--JJW, who's signed many NDAs.
I know that it is bad for business to have IP-sensitive material leaked in the internet. And sueing people who broke NDAs is legitimate (and there are ways to identify the culprits).
But how would you feel, buying a car or flying a plane, when the constructors tell you :
"No, we don't test our products because we are afraid of IP breach!":wtf:

We are talking about GW stopping thorough testing here, not that it is bad to break IP.

Cruentus
07-06-2008, 19:31
Well, obviously, there is a huge difference between car or plane builders, and playing with little plastic (or metal) soldiers.

All of this assumes that 1) GW actually payed external playtesters (which I doubt), and 2) GW actually listened to their playtesters.

I know a couple of playtesters who worked on the Sisters Rules, and the conversation went something like
Tester: You know, the ability to generate faith points can be abused by doing x, y, z.
GW: But no one would actually do that.
Tester: But its in the codex, you can build it that way, and people will.
GW: But that's not what is intended, why would someone do that.
Tester: Because you can the way its written.
and so on.

It ended up not being changed, and people were able to take advantage of it. External playtesting is only useful if it actually affects the final product. As some have mentioned, there are any number of reasons that they may or may not have an influence (time, deadlines, direction from on high, etc.)

I just wish GW would stop trying to tell me "how" to play, and provide me with solid rules that allow me to play. The "how" will differ from group to group, and person to person.

DoktorZinieztro
07-06-2008, 19:58
"All of this assumes that 1) GW actually payed external playtesters (which I doubt), and 2) GW actually listened to their playtesters."

Point one sounds silly. YOU assume playtesters got paid.

We only meant that coordinating the effort required MONEY (staff, liaisons, creating the documentation, forwarding, mantaining the db, etc).

There's a HUGE difference between what you assumed and what people that talked about costs were actually discussing.

Point two adds up to what people discussing about costs were saying about the uselessness external playtesting, more evident with each passing year.

That's it.

lanrak
08-06-2008, 15:03
Hi all.
Just remember quality costs.
You pay to get it, or you pay through the nose when you loose it.:eek:

Son of Makuta
08-06-2008, 15:28
I have a somewhat unique perspective in this issue, since I'm an aspiring game designer.

I don't sell minis, so I can't even pull the "rules are free, buy my figs" concept. Still, my rules are out there for people to download, free. Go look at my sig and they're all right there.

I'm kind of stuck, because I know the more people play my game, the better the rules will be.

Of course there is the danger that no one will actually PAY for them, which kind of undercuts my ambition to publish them.

To me, the solution is: better to be credited with decent if easily pirated rules than have a corner on the crappy rules market. GW's obsession with leaks is totally ruining their product.

They sell miniatures, and their rules also have lots of artwork and fluff - value added that people like. Even the skinflints who rely on internet scans (who would do this, btw? I mean why should I pay and then give it away? You want 'em? Buy your own damn set) still have to buy figures.

Besides, if the rules are tight, if everything lines up, you'll expand the total pool of players because everyone will rave about how well-designed they are - as opposed to constantly whinging about how this one combo is unbeatable.

I'm a person in the exact same situation as you and I find I agree with all your points too. :) As you'll see in my sig I have a game of my own in development. I'm releasing it for free for the very purpose GW seem to want to avoid. I'm opening my external playtesting to the whole world!

I've seen Jerv's thing about the rules being just the icing on the cake. Now while GW make some veeeery nice miniatures, they aren't the cream of the crop (in my experience and opinion, that would be Infinity's range - they're just gorgeous) and I personally would never buy a miniature I won't be able to use in game, simply because I can't waste money that way. I'm a teenager, and soon to be a uni student. I'm permanently low on cash. My point is that I don't think GW, or any wargaming company, is really capable of taking this standpoint. Without rules, model sales drop imo: why, if you were a collector and a collector only, would you want more than one of anything, barring conversions?

Besides which, I think that a game with good, fun, tight rules and so on will be a selling point by itself. There are awards for such things; AT-43 whipped up the most recent of a particular award, WARMACHINE the year before. A lot of my gaming club members are solidly hooked on the latter and it appears some of them may never go back! It's simply so much deeper and more fun than 40K - because while 40K is fun enough in its own right, there's nothing like lobbing your enemy's heavy support at his leader and following up with a chain combo that involves everything in your army...

My game, in fact, circumvents the army list balance problem neatly. It doesn't have any army lists; just small special rules for each faction, which'll take a lot less balancing. But that's by the by. GW have some 10+ different forces in each of their major systems, and one would assume this needed balancing out. It can't be an easy job, but they shouldn't neglect it.

...What GW really need is for Andy Chambers to come back, with a gun. :skull: Nah, kidding. They do need a bit of an outlook change though. While I can't deny that their newest releases, and numerous of the 4th ed codices, have been excellent - 5th ed 40K looks to be brutally awesome - the company as a whole is approaching the game in a not-all-that-brilliant way (too many Space Marines spoil the broth) and being perhaps a little too corporate.

The best way to do this would be to bring actual gamers into the loop. Keep an eye on the internet, even use it for beta testing, rule suggestions and so on. A few days ago, I set up a forum which lets me get feedback on my game and bounce ideas off my rather small community. It's got 6 members so far, including myself... but it's already been worth it. Surely GW could run something similar? Make a thread or two on Warseer/Dakka/etc in the guise of common gamers, saying 'what would this be like', or post up proper "We're the Devs and we want your opinion" threads. Or both. Wouldn't be hard and it would garner a lot of valuable feedback.

As to the questions of designers being too fond of rules: I know the feeling. But it can be overcome by clear thinking and a little spare maturity. In matters like these, the opinions, ideas and musings of other people are the most valuable input of all.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
08-06-2008, 15:31
Hate to interrupt the whining like....

But is there any actual confirmation on this?

ADF
08-06-2008, 16:32
"All of this assumes that 1) GW actually payed external playtesters (which I doubt), and 2) GW actually listened to their playtesters."

Point one sounds silly. YOU assume playtesters got paid.

We only meant that coordinating the effort required MONEY (staff, liaisons, creating the documentation, forwarding, mantaining the db, etc).

There's a HUGE difference between what you assumed and what people that talked about costs were actually discussing.

Point two adds up to what people discussing about costs were saying about the uselessness external playtesting, more evident with each passing year.

That's it.

There is a theorie in marketing/product development that speaks of so-called "banana products", meaning products that are sold in a "green",unripe state and mature or develop through customer feedback, reducing cost for the company by cutting testers, quality control and the like. In fact, the customer becomes an unpaid worker for the company the very moment he sends feedback about glitches in the (proto-)product the company was to lazy to search. The prime example for this would be IT companies that sell applications known to be bugged, relying on the customers to find and report the errors, fixing them later by a patch. This theory can work very well and is an appproved cost-cutting measure in branches where the time necessary to spot and correct this kind of error is relatively short (mainly IT), but does not work very well with companys that have very extended cycles of renewal (between 5 and 10 years in GWs case). However, regarding some of the happenings at GW in recent history, I do now believe that they try to pull a similar stunt on their customer base, also trying to get them all cheered up about "being able to do something about the game". ;)

Vestan Pance
08-06-2008, 16:42
Yes you all knew it was comming, but I have heard recently from no less than 3 sources (a fix on the chart in my buisness) that external playtesting is like the dodo.

I suspect you heard from three external playtesters who aren't being used any more. The fact they told someone about it perhaps goes some way to explain why they aren't being used anymore...

Doesn't mean the rest of the program is gone though.

DoktorZinieztro
09-06-2008, 02:13
There is a theorie in marketing/product development that speaks of so-called "banana products", meaning products that are sold in a "green",unripe state and mature or develop through customer feedback, reducing cost for the company by cutting testers, quality control and the like. In fact, the customer becomes an unpaid worker for the company the very moment he sends feedback about glitches in the (proto-)product the company was to lazy to search. The prime example for this would be IT companies that sell applications known to be bugged, relying on the customers to find and report the errors, fixing them later by a patch. This theory can work very well and is an appproved cost-cutting measure in branches where the time necessary to spot and correct this kind of error is relatively short (mainly IT), but does not work very well with companys that have very extended cycles of renewal (between 5 and 10 years in GWs case). However, regarding some of the happenings at GW in recent history, I do now believe that they try to pull a similar stunt on their customer base, also trying to get them all cheered up about "being able to do something about the game". ;)

Well, yes. While it only works with intagibles, that's typical lamearse IT for you.

Still, you deduction brought a big smile to my face. I just hope that the "bug fixing in GW stuff" cadre doesn't get sued silly by the IP vultures.

ADF
09-06-2008, 12:20
In GWs example, the people who are actually bothered to write up FAQs and the like are nothing more than outsourced manpower for GW. They do not need to be paid, get the job done with dedication and a genuine interest, and sort out the silly questions for themselves.
What GW does with the collected data is sadly another cup of tea (cue in Alessio: "RAW is always right and never changed, even if it's stupid as hell". Lashedy-lash-lash-steamtank-dragon-4-wide-ranks-of-ambushing-beastmen full stop.)

By the way, the concept of making customers do a part of the work for a company is also common outside of IT:

IKEA mobiliar is assembled by the customer.
In most supermarkets, you have to package an weigh your fresh fruits and vegetables for yourself.
Banks used to provide a lot of services the customer has to do himself nowadays (online banking is outsourcing services into the customers hands).

While not banana products, these examples show that very often, the customer is forced to do a part of the work under the disguise of service...

Bregalad
09-06-2008, 14:32
There is a theorie in marketing/product development that speaks of so-called "banana products", meaning products that are sold in a "green",unripe state and mature or develop through customer feedback, reducing cost for the company by cutting testers, quality control and the like. In fact, the customer becomes an unpaid worker for the company the very moment he sends feedback about glitches in the (proto-)product the company was to lazy to search. The prime example for this would be IT companies that sell applications known to be bugged, relying on the customers to find and report the errors, fixing them later by a patch. This theory can work very well and is an appproved cost-cutting measure in branches where the time necessary to spot and correct this kind of error is relatively short (mainly IT), but does not work very well with companys that have very extended cycles of renewal (between 5 and 10 years in GWs case). However, regarding some of the happenings at GW in recent history, I do now believe that they try to pull a similar stunt on their customer base, also trying to get them all cheered up about "being able to do something about the game". ;)
That's exactly what I meant, when I called the army release "public beta rules" in post #22.
Too bad, that GW doesn't listen to customers even after the release (and haven't to the play testers as it seems):rolleyes:

lanrak
09-06-2008, 19:09
Hi.
Just to ballance the cynical view, 'how do we know external playtesting has stopped.'

How do we know the level of playtesting at GW internal or external?

Because to be honest , most average gamers can find errors/inconcistancies in the 'playtested' codexes quite quickly.

The codexes are not proof read to proffessional standards.
(Unless you count Ebays 'pro painted' as the benckmark for professionalism:rolleyes:)

So for all we know the devs just write down the first cool ideas that come to them, (to fill up the spaces between the pictures and the fluff), guesstimate PV and slam the lot in for the print run.:eek:

escobar
09-06-2008, 23:09
I think GW using its customers to do its work is a great idea (as I've banged on about in lots of other threads).

A great example of this is lego mindstorms relaunch - co-created directly with lead customers (one even wrote a big chunk of the software). And it cost lego next to nothing - they paid their own flights to denmark and got a couple of boxes of kit for their troubles.

If anyone is interested, demos (uk think tank) have an interesting pamplet about pro-ams (amateurs who can do their hobbies to a professional level). GW has a really strong and passionate pro-am base and should really tap into this much more in my view. Games Development would be much more productive if it planted seeds and managed the process, rather than trying to do all the work. An open innovation approach is something many companies are trialling at the moment (I'm just about to start a pilot with a large publisher on this) and has real benefits for both quality of products and reduction of costs.

Unfortunately GW are stuck in a long drawn out product cycle so they can't incorporate changes for years or have the capacity to react to obvious problems. I doubt they will ever open up - innovative business thinking are not exactly what they are known for. So even if they start up external playtesting again it will not really fix the problems...

+ edit +
Just saw they are incorporating dakka faqs into their website - maybe they are changing...

Plastic Rat
10-06-2008, 03:53
I think GW using its customers to do its work is a great idea (as I've banged on about in lots of other threads).

A great example of this is lego mindstorms relaunch - co-created directly with lead customers (one even wrote a big chunk of the software). And it cost lego next to nothing - they paid their own flights to denmark and got a couple of boxes of kit for their troubles.

If anyone is interested, demos (uk think tank) have an interesting pamplet about pro-ams (amateurs who can do their hobbies to a professional level). GW has a really strong and passionate pro-am base and should really tap into this much more in my view. Games Development would be much more productive if it planted seeds and managed the process, rather than trying to do all the work. An open innovation approach is something many companies are trialling at the moment (I'm just about to start a pilot with a large publisher on this) and has real benefits for both quality of products and reduction of costs.


Hasn't Specialist Games been doing this for the last while? As far as I know all the currently supported Specialist Games handle their development through extensive input from the community. The Specialist Games I've looked at have some fantastic rules, are very well written and are a joy to play.

I don't think GW isn't aware of the approach, I just think they don't want to give up their prime marketing tool. If you allow fans to have input on your system, it stops you tweaking it to increase sales of your highest return SKUs.

yabbadabba
10-06-2008, 09:39
I think it is a good thing that this has all gone by the way. Now before I get lynched ... ...

GW is not reknowned for having a new structure in place before they remove the old one. My hope is that they have knocked all this on the head to review the whole thing and decide what place the community has in development and design.

Of course, we could read in the paper that pigs truly fly.

Bregalad
10-06-2008, 09:45
GW is not reknowned for having a new structure in place before they remove the old one. My hope is that they have knocked all this on the head to review the whole thing and decide what place the community has in development and design.
Remember Black Industries and the "Dark Heresy" roleplay game?
GW announced the closure on the height of its success, got a serious beating by angry customers, and a month later made a panic sell to Fantasy Flight Games, while other bidders like Green Ronin (former Warhammer Fantasy RPGproducer) were not even considered and informed through the press.

GW is reknown for business decision that look to everyone like they don't work and indeed don't work. Like this one.

BTW, can I make a guess what the future role of the community will be according to GW? (Hint: "Shut up and buy!") :rolleyes:

yabbadabba
10-06-2008, 09:49
Remember Black Industries and the "Dark Heresy" roleplay game?
GW announced the closure on the height of its success, got a serious beating by angry customers, and a month later made a panic sell to Fantasy Flight Games, while other bidders like Green Ronin (former Warhammer Fantasy RPGproducer) were not even considered and informed through the press.

I take it you have inside information on this Bregalad or is it another dagger, wildly thrown?

Bregalad
10-06-2008, 09:53
I know that Dark Heresy was successful, that it was sold quickly, that customers went amok and that Green Ronin told GW about their interest, was informed that there is time and that they were not informed by GW on this FFG deal. So there was no decision process including the obvious stakeholders.

Any normal company would have first made the deal and then informed the public, as making customers mad is not a good idea. They didn't do it, so I made my conclusions that they couldn't at that moment.

If it looks like poo, smells like poo, feels like poo and even tastes like poo, it probably IS poo.

yabbadabba
10-06-2008, 10:05
I know that Dark Heresy was successful, that it was sold quickly, that customers went amok and that Green Ronin told GW about their interest, was informed that there is time and that they were not informed by GW on this FFG deal. So there was no decision process including the obvious stakeholders.
If it looks like poo, smells like poo, feels like poo and even tastes like poo, it probably IS poo.

Stakeholders have no say in business, you know that. SHAREHOLDERS and the business managers do.

*Yes DH was a success, but it was going to be as GW only made a limited run of it, had no plans to do more and had been teasing the community with a "will we, won't we" marketing approach for years.
*How do you know that GW sold to FFG and that FFG didn't come in to buy with an offer that couldn't be refused? That would have gone on long before the release of DH was decided.
*There is no evidence that GW put Black Flame up for sale.
*The release of DH by GW could have been an marketing splurge for FFG to get the leg up it needs when releasing more GWRP stuff.
*It doesn't smell like poo - it smells of some clever marketing, of GW cutting costs and of a specialist company taking over something which GW isn't experts at - despite the awesome efforts of WFRP and DH.

Your argument doesn't convince me mate!

Bregalad
10-06-2008, 10:17
1.)Well of course GW had ready plans for future releases, remember the 3 level Dark Heresy release plans?
2.) I know that Green Ronin was told upon request to just make an offer after the closure announcment. And that they as the experts were not even considered.
3.) FFG sells miniatures, boardgames, card games and some odd RPG books. Just like GW. They just don't produce metal miniatures. So they are not specialists, just people with better marketing and a better nose for making profits.
4.) Making customers mad is ALWAYS a sight of bad strategy, communication and marketing, not of clever marketing like "Mad customers buy more!". And GW does it quite often. BTW Black Industries was informed about the closure about a week ahead.

yabbadabba
10-06-2008, 10:42
1.)Well of course GW had ready plans for future releases, remember the 3 level Dark Heresy release plans?.

But, no concrete plans to re-release the DH rulebook. Of course there would be supplements, but they were not going to redo the book UNTIL they saw how successful it was.


2.) I know that Green Ronin was told upon request to just make an offer after the closure announcment. And that they as the experts were not even considered.

Doesn't answer the point - do you know if FFG offered to buy before GW decided to sell? Also ever considered that Green Ronin might have been considered too "big" and that GW didn't want to lose DH as a GW branded product? Too many questions, not enough answers to even form half an opinion.


3.) FFG sells miniatures, boardgames, card games and some odd RPG books. Just like GW. They just don't produce metal miniatures. So they are not specialists, just people with better marketing and a better nose for making profits..

Far enough but that already puts them ahead of GW and in the same mind frame as GW.


4.) Making customers mad is ALWAYS a sight of bad strategy, communication and marketing, not of clever marketing like "Mad customers buy more!". And GW does it quite often. BTW Black Industries was informed about the closure about a week ahead.

You tell them it's a limited release. It sells out. Fair enough. You tell them that you are closing the business that makes their product. OK, but business is business - its happened many times before. Then you say you have found a solution and you will be able to get their product back out to them, just through a different channel. Where is the problem? Again too many unknown variables in all that to make an informed opinion.

Gripe away mate, gripe away.

Apologises - this has gone way of topic. I will keep within the bounds of the thread now, promise!

blongbling
10-06-2008, 10:44
the fact that they sell that range of product made them a more natural partner as, dont forget, they also took Sabretooth games off GW's hands and also the licence for the board games.

it is also worth rembering that GW was already dealing with FFG on a licence and already had a relationship with them.

Brother Loki
10-06-2008, 12:30
As they did with Chris Pramas at Green Ronin - who wrote WFRP.

I'm quite pleased with FFG getting it, but GR didn't even get a chance to bid!

blongbling
10-06-2008, 14:16
i can find nothing relating to him writing WFRP

Osbad
10-06-2008, 15:43
i can find nothing relating to him writing WFRP


In 2004, Games Workshop announced that the WFRP line would once again be published. Black Industries, a division of GW's Black Library publishing arm, would oversee the publishing and distribution of a new second edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, designed by Green Ronin Publishing. The new edition uses the same basic system released in 1986, but revises and updates a number of features of the system (replacing the magic system, for instance). The new WFRP version 2 also brings the Old World setting of WFRP up to date with the developments in background story that had taken place in the Warhammer tabletop game since first edition, by setting the events of the game after the Storm of Chaos. The new rulebook appeared in March of 2005,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warhammer_Fantasy_Roleplay

Its all there in the intro to the second edition of the game.

Brother Loki
10-06-2008, 16:10
Sorry, he wrote WRFP2, not the original WFRP from the 80s. I should have been clearer. I know he was pretty pissed off that they made the decision before he'd got his bid in, from his blog.

FFG does specialise in re-publishing other games (especially English tranlations of european games) so they are a pretty good fit for BI and Sabertooth though.

slaughteredbull
10-06-2008, 16:14
I hate to add to this but... Yabbadabba you must be mad to think that if Dark Heresy/Black Industries was kept on by GW there would've even been a question about a second print run of Dark Heresy whether it was a success or not, as it would have been a lousy buisness strategy to release 1 print run of the rulebook, GM Screen & Character Folio, and then follow it up with 3 more supplements and not reprint any of this. Especially for a game that a) fans have been begging for for almost as long as 40K has existed and b) a game that was a critical success months before it was even released due to the fact that the whole first run had sold out months before release, something not even D&D 4th edition can admit to.

Also FFG, in my opinion are only a good fit for BI to the American market, as I believe it will become a lot harder than it already is to get this game in the UK (GW's biggest fanbase) from now on.

yabbadabba
10-06-2008, 16:18
I hate to add to this but... Yabbadabba you must be mad to think that if Dark Heresy/Black Industries was kept on by GW there would've even been a question about a second print run of Dark Heresy whether it was a success or not, as it would have been a lousy buisness strategy to release 1 print run of the rulebook, GM Screen & Character Folio, and then follow it up with 3 more supplements and not reprint any of this. Especially for a game that a) fans have been begging for for almost as long as 40K has existed and b) a game that was a critical success months before it was even released due to the fact that the whole first run had sold out months before release, something not even D&D 4th edition can admit to.

Well, that's GW for you. They don't always follow the norm. I think the worry might have been what to do if it had not lived up to expectations. Also that if they redo it, could they have repackaged it in a way to cost less money. I do know that there were no plans to rerelease the rulebook in that format i.e. a true reprint on the build up to its release. What I am not doubting is post release, the plan probably would have changed.

Bregalad
10-06-2008, 16:37
As they did with Chris Pramas at Green Ronin - who wrote WFRP.

I'm quite pleased with FFG getting it, but GR didn't even get a chance to bid!
BTW the first "undying thanks" in the Dark Heresy rulebook go to "Chris Pramas and Green Ronin for getting us started on this epic journey". He personally expressed his interest very early to GW, but got no chance. Very sad for someone, who build up and sustained WHFRPG, when GW lost interest. And yes, the first print of the unlimited Dark Heresy rulebook was sold out BEFORE GW announced their decision to drop it.

But back to topic.