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Natura
22-03-2009, 05:06
Something's been bugging me for a while now, because it just doesn't seem to make any sense. In every Codex or Fantasy Army, there are units that the vast majority of people won't take. This is almost always due to the unit being perceived as overpriced or underpowered. In rare cases the model itself may detract players from using it, but the reverse is also true: the model itself may be so awesome that regardless of it's usefulness, you buy one. You're unlikely to buy a whole swag of them however, and any sales of these models will be vastly outweighed by people buying units perceived as powerful or useful.

Now here's the part that confuses me. Games Workshop write the rules and produce the models. It's in their interest to sell as many models as possible, obviously. So why, when writing the rules, would you create intentionally bad units that people will almost never take? Surely it makes far more sense to make units as equally attractive as possible. I say intentionally here because I simply cannot believe that the rulebook writers honestly thought all their entries were good.

I'm not suggesting that GW make every unit an uber-death-dealing monster. I just can't understand why they'd shoot themselves in the foot like this.

mweaver
22-03-2009, 05:14
There is no way to make all units equally powerful, so there will always be some perceived as poor cousins. "Fix" them, and some other unit will seem relatively weak or over-costed.

Also, players will discover ways to build and use armies from a list that are different from what the designers envisioned, and units they thought were quite viable may prove to be not-so-useful in tournament play.

Me, I just buy the figures that look cool (I use them for RPGs and Mordheim more than WH).

Godfiend
22-03-2009, 08:08
Quite frankly, I don't think they do enough adequate testing to get every unit to a unique, useful stage where players would take it. That said, a lot of players go by theme, and if their theme includes that unit, they'll take it.

AmBlam
22-03-2009, 08:38
Good question. One that is in the heart of most warhammer players.

IJW
22-03-2009, 10:12
It's worth remembering that the 'must use the most efficient units possible' approach only really applies to tournaments and/or forum users, which together make up a tiny fraction of GW's customers.

yabbadabba
22-03-2009, 10:18
Units are created because the army designers decide they can fit into the army's background and playing style.
The fact that you may disagree with that is one of the wonders of choice.

zoggin-eck
22-03-2009, 11:51
The fact that you may disagree with that is one of the wonders of choice.

Beautifully put. You could put a list of what you consider "good" units, and what are "poor" units, but it would be pointless.

I'm more than happy to use something considered poor if I love the model, have a really old unit that I wish to include, or something that just fits how I see the army.

I might want to do an imperial guard army with no tanks, or little in the way of heavy weapons based on some background I wrote for the army, or use carapace armour so I can model some up. I would choose this over whether the unit was considered powerful based on what some stranger told me.

What's the other option anyway? Ask GW to do an errata for each list, removing any crummy unit and just giving us fewer options? It's impossible to have each unit equally desirable. Give that odd unit a try, at the very least you might have the element of surprise, or show your opponent that he/she never bothered to read the rules anyway, rather relying on work of mouth.

my example - I use a goblin warboss on gigantic spider because it was my first named gobbo general in 4th edition, and orc arrer boys because I have some old 3rd edition models armed with crossbows and want to keep using them.

Besides, you talk as if the writers sit around thinking of crappy units on purpose, and I still don't think they mean to do the opposite either.

** Mad Magazine "snappy answers to stupid questions" moment **

"Why create poor threads?"

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Natura
22-03-2009, 12:29
Units are created because the army designers decide they can fit into the army's background and playing style.
The fact that you may disagree with that is one of the wonders of choice.

Whilst I see your point, it doesn't change the fact that it doesn't make sense for GW to purposely hamstring the sales of a particular model by giving it poor rules or overpricing it (points wise). I'm delighted that there are a wide variety of choices available, but there still remain units that are universally regarded as terrible. How many more Tau players would field Aun'Va if he had a power level and points cost similar to Eldrad? How many more Pariahs would we see if they had one more attack, counted as Necrons, or had a serious points reduction? How many more Flash Gitz would be played in Ork armies if their guns were better, or their cost reduced? Every army out there has an example, often multiple ones, of units that a few use for thematic purposes, or because the model looks nice, but which the vast majority wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole.


It's worth remembering that the 'must use the most efficient units possible' approach only really applies to tournaments and/or forum users, which together make up a tiny fraction of GW's customers.

I must respectfully disagree. I've never played in a tournament, and indeed have no intention ever of doing so, so all my experience is from games with friends and at my LGS. I've been playing since 2007, and I've never seen a Chaos Spawn fielded by any of my Chaos opponents. I've seen Vespid once, Biovores never, Flash Gitz only in my own army, Chaos Dreadnoughts once, Ogryns never, Pariahs once, Flayed Ones never, Repentia never. I'm playing a wide variety of opponents, a few who are powergamers and others who go for theme. The vast majority field an army they hope will be effective, but don't go out of their way to min-max. I think it would be fair to say that that's a good average cross-section of players out there.

Yet still these units fail to appear. The one unifying factor that binds them together is that they are regarded by the 40K community as a whole as having poor rules or being overpriced, or even both. This cannot be a coincidence, and for GW to actually be the one responsible strikes me as unfathomable.



Besides, you talk as if the writers sit around thinking of crappy units on purpose, and I still don't think they mean to do the opposite either.


I can't think of another reason, honestly I can't. Experienced players with a particular army can examine a new Codex and in a matter of hours identify which units are powerful, which are balanced, and which are underpowered. Strangely enough they're almost never proven wrong subsequently when the Codex has been in circulation for a while. If these players can do it, how can the people who write the rules themselves be so blind as to the deficiencies in what they produce?

Templar Ben
22-03-2009, 13:03
You are presuming that the writers have some goal of balance and that is simply not the case. If so why are black rhinos different than blue rhinos or why are red terminators different than bone white ones? The designer is designing for a game that tells a narrative and is not necessarily balanced or logical from a military point of view. Once you take the blue pill and accept that it will go easier.

Tommygun
22-03-2009, 13:16
Without poor units, how would you know what a good unit is?
If you remove all poor units then all good units become average units.
The designers didn't set out to make them poor, it is how we perceive them that way.
There are also contributing factors as rule edition changes that nerf a previously good unit.

zedeyejoe
22-03-2009, 14:00
I am told that some just like to buy the models, indeed some buy WD just to read it (and ever buy anything else).

Chaplain Mortez
22-03-2009, 14:05
Without poor units, how would you know what a good unit is?
If you remove all poor units then all good units become average units.
The designers didn't set out to make them poor, it is how we perceive them that way.
There are also contributing factors as rule edition changes that nerf a previously good unit.

Exactly.

A unit's strength is determined by the other ones around it. The chaplain of 3rd. edition 40k was the no-brainer option for an HQ, since he was the most cost-effective choice for a leader of a marine army (came with a power weapon and 4+ invul. for 60 points...that was the base cost of the librarian without any gear--not even a psychic hood!).

By today's standards, if the chaplain existed as it did in 3rd., while the librarian and commander got improved, we probably wouldn't see the chaplain at all.

I think balance is important...definitely. But there's always going to be "bad" units, and there's always going to be "good" units.

Mouldsta
22-03-2009, 14:15
Then you also have different people's perception of "good". I have a mate that absolutely loves the new Leman Russ Punisher, the thought of rolling 20 dice at something makes him extremely happy, so he's overjoyed at this option and will probably have 3+ in his army.
On the otherhand another mate who likes to work out what's the most effecient thing for the points will never field one, because statistically it will do less damage than a standard LR, but costs more points.

The other ting is that GW have said before that they don't actually care about complete balance - the game they make is to fight out cinematic battles with a bit of stategy, not to be a hard bitten exact game. Personally, while I can see why people want to get the most "bang for their buck", skipping out on half the army list because statistically it's not as powerful as the other half makes for tiresome games of exactly the same list vs exactly the same list.

Corrode
22-03-2009, 15:28
Whilst I see your point, it doesn't change the fact that it doesn't make sense for GW to purposely hamstring the sales of a particular model by giving it poor rules or overpricing it (points wise). I'm delighted that there are a wide variety of choices available, but there still remain units that are universally regarded as terrible. How many more Tau players would field Aun'Va if he had a power level and points cost similar to Eldrad? How many more Pariahs would we see if they had one more attack, counted as Necrons, or had a serious points reduction? How many more Flash Gitz would be played in Ork armies if their guns were better, or their cost reduced? Every army out there has an example, often multiple ones, of units that a few use for thematic purposes, or because the model looks nice, but which the vast majority wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole.

It's just human error. Flash Gitz suffer because Lootas are more powerful and have more range (and cost 15pts rather than whatever Gitz do) and regular Shoota Boyz are better and cheaper as a run-forward-shooting-then-assault unit. They have a clear role, but it's one which doesn't really play out because two cheaper and/or more specialised units do both those roles better. Quite frankly though, with how many units there are in the Ork codex it's not surprising that one or two were duds - someone just failed to consider the full ramifications, which is easy to do when trying to balance off however many units it is against each other, or had the Gitz perform well in playtest games and never really went back to look at them again after the initial 'welp they're fine.'

Things like Chaos Spawn are different in that they're extremely thematic - Chaos Spawn are about the most Chaos thing in the new 'dex, what with being random, insane and weird as hell. It's easy to see why the designers thought they might be cool. Unfortunately, they're a bit too random. Players like uncertainty (will my unit of ultimate death whiff against that bunch of Grotz, will my Kroot shoot a Bloodthister to death , etc.) but too much uncertainty like 'will my unit move 2" a turn for the entire game and never get past my own front lines' isn't any fun. There's much to be said for being able to react, but there comes a point when you're left with just reacting without the ability to plan ahead. Everyone's played That Game where the computer just dominates you relentlessly or your real-life opponent seems to be ten steps ahead of you the entire time, and it's not fun.

dlantoub
22-03-2009, 17:56
The vast majority of Warhammer players fall into two rough categories. Casual/Friendly Gamers and Tournament Gamers. In both of these the idea of winning and having fun is emphasised, to varying degrees.

Only a very few people, for example myself, deliberately choose "weak" units on the grounds of theme alone. This is because it makes the game unbearably frustrating for ourselves (I'm trying to work out how to kill a dragon using a marauder only army for example) and abominably boring for our opponents since they can kerbstomp such a list every time (I make no excuses since I'm a bad general as well as a fluffy army builder). Do you really want to play an army that you can beat before you've begun deploying your miniatures. This applies to both Tournament Gamers and Casual Gamers. In order to play you have to have someone to play against, which means your army must at least try to use efficient units so there is even the smallest element of doubt about the outcome. Since it is the doubt that makes the game fun, and where the skill (and dice) come in.

TeddyC
22-03-2009, 18:04
It's worth remembering that the 'must use the most efficient units possible' approach only really applies to tournaments and/or forum users, which together make up a tiny fraction of GW's customers.


what he said.... maybe people like the asethetics.... maybe others like playing fluffy armies and underpowered/overpriced units are part of that.

Lord Damocles
22-03-2009, 18:26
This is almost always due to the unit being perceived as overpriced or underpowered.
It's also worth remembering that just because teh interwebz says that a unit is 'underpowered', it doesn't mean it's true.

Most units which are considered to be poor are really just situational: if you want to make a Seer Council run away crying for their mommas, then a Culexus is pretty good value. However if few of the people that you play are using psychics, then suddenly he's not so great.

Angelwing
22-03-2009, 19:09
I've seen Vespid once, Biovores never, Flash Gitz only in my own army, Chaos Dreadnoughts once, Ogryns never, Pariahs once, Flayed Ones never, Repentia never.

I can't think of another reason, honestly I can't.

Oh dear. I field 5 of those units mentioned...
There is another reason though. Most of those units are expensive metal models. A high cash cost will put many off even if the unit is reasonably useful (Tyranid gargoyles, old metal gretchin for example).. High cash cost plus below par rules will see the models left on the shelves for the most part.

Gorbad Ironclaw
22-03-2009, 19:23
The thing is though, that some armies have virtually no poor units. VC for Warhammer, or Orks for 40k for instance. Yes, there are still some units that are considered better than others, but they have no/virtually no units that are not good/useful.

But you also have armies where units does not seem to have any use. Of course they still do something, but you do have units where you wonder why you would ever take that as it doesn't add anything, or does what it does so poorly that you wouldn't take that unit for any gameplay reasons.

It seems to plague some armies more than others (for several editions) so partially it's based on the type of army it is (some is just naturally better) but it can also be based on how much experience the designers have with the army/unit etc.
I very much doubt they do it deliberately, it's just flaws in the design process. Now you can argue endlessly about what and why those flaws is/are there, but unless we have a detailed knowledge of the design process in GW it's hard to give a good answer.

IJW
22-03-2009, 19:29
How many more Flash Gitz would be played in Ork armies if their guns were better, or their cost reduced?
Or had off-the-shelf models that you didn't have to convert? ;)


I must respectfully disagree. I've never played in a tournament, and indeed have no intention ever of doing so, so all my experience is from games with friends and at my LGS.
Plus the time I've seen you spending in the army lists forum - the place where the 'perceived efficiency over-rides all over concerns' approach holds the strongest sway.

At the risk of repeating myself, this site (and most other gaming-related sites) tend to have an extremely one-dimensional approach when it comes to how you decide what units to include in an army list.


I've been playing since 2007, and I've never seen a Chaos Spawn fielded by any of my Chaos opponents. I've seen Vespid once, Biovores never, Flash Gitz only in my own army, Chaos Dreadnoughts once, Ogryns never, Pariahs once, Flayed Ones never, Repentia never.
While I, in the same period, have seen Spawn, Biovores, Flash Gitz, Chaos Dreadnoughts and Ogryns used.


The one unifying factor that binds them together is that they are regarded by the 40K community as a whole as having poor rules or being overpriced, or even both.
Like I said, part of it is just perception. Yes, there are definitely units which are less powerful than others - some of that is edition changes, some is genuine bad balancing on the part of the author - but a large chunk of it is also self-perpetuating army list opinion posts that you must use the absolute optimal choices at all times.

Like Corrode pointed out, it's not that units like Flash Gitz are bad/poor (they aren't), it's just that other units are slightly more effective and internet hype builds this up to absurd levels.

Godfiend
22-03-2009, 20:38
I really think that it's more of a task of making each unit unique and useful it its own right, so that even if you build fluffy, you're not forced to take strictly inferior units. An example would be the Warriors of Chaos book, where the new Forsaken units are widely deemed as not worth taking, as they aren't very good. However, if they had skirmishing (which some players have added), then they'd be unique (the only skirmishing army in the list), and much more useful. Fluffwise, they're the link between a gifted warrior and a chaos spawn, and could be incorporated into a lot of cool themed armies, but if the unit is both weak and dull (doing nothing interesting), then it's a hard sell. And sometimes the authors don't do this, for various reasons.

I'm not a fan of the "everything is good compared to something else" idea for Warhammer. Of course some units will be better than others in the big picture, but if you can't find any possible reason to field a unit other than cool models or a fluffy army, then something is wrong with that unit.

yabbadabba
22-03-2009, 20:50
GW will not deliberately design units that won't sell.
The Interweb is at best a confused place to garner opinion.
GW tries to avoid making people buy units - giving players a bit more free reign in their army selection. If you were to play some conventional wargames you will find that some "poor" units are compulsory to encourage armys that look - and play - like they did in real life.
"Bang for buck" is a catchphrase that absolutely covers opinion on here in every way.

Wintertooth
22-03-2009, 20:50
intentionally

I think I see where you're going wrong. Google Hanlon's Razor.

zoodog
23-03-2009, 15:28
Some of is also their tendency to nerf/boost things just because how frequently they were used in the previous codex. Which is sort of the no thought way of doing it but also benefits them in that people buy new models. I'm sure the number of AC tornado Land Speeders vs Typhoons on table tops has vastly shifted with the new codex vs old.

Master Stark
23-03-2009, 23:03
I say intentionally here because I simply cannot believe that the rulebook writers honestly thought all their entries were good.

Well, there's the critical flaw in your complaint.

Never attribute to malice, that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.

doombanner
03-04-2009, 17:10
Units are created because the army designers decide they can fit into the army's background and playing style.
The fact that you may disagree with that is one of the wonders of choice.

Tell that to all the Dark Elf players before their army book got that update. :evilgrin:

~Doom Banner

Meriwether
03-04-2009, 19:59
It's also worth remembering that just because teh interwebz says that a unit is 'underpowered', it doesn't mean it's true.

...unless that unit is Chaos Spawn in 5th edition 40K. :D

I saw great use for them in 4th edition with my EC army. They fulfilled a *fantastic* tactical role, even though all they ever really did was die in two close combat phases. In 5th edition they can't even do that -- they get wiped out in one, by pretty much anything.

To kinda-sorta agree with the OP while paying a nod to the "we all don't agree on what makes a unit 'good'" crowd, I do think it's worth saying the following:

40K and Fantasy would both benefit greatly if every single unit was seen as "good", because they are well-designed and can fulfill a tactically important role in the game. For example, the Eldar Codex is spoiled for good options -- I can only think of one thing that I think "um, no, I'm not going to field those ever" from a gameplay standpoint. Everything else is a matter of, "Wow! Do I take *these* or *those*?" The ork codex is similar. Dark Eldar, on the other hand, have some units that simply are not viable -- they're just awful -- and so you almost never see them. And that's too bad.

You would see more variety in army lists and play styles if every choice was a strategically good choice to field. This would make the game more interesting because you would see less similarities between armies -- and I see that as a good thing.

Ah, well.

Meri

Occulto
03-04-2009, 23:57
It's worth remembering that the 'must use the most efficient units possible' approach only really applies to tournaments and/or forum users, which together make up a tiny fraction of GW's customers.

Precisely. Although I'd replace "tournaments" with "pickup games." Players who don't enter tournaments can (and do) still use tournament style lists.

There's two basic ways to write a list:

The first is to take on anything that anyone can throw at you. This is where the good/bad unit syndrome is at it's highest. Each unit has to be evaluated against every other unit in the game. This generally means that the most versatile options are considered good, whilst specialised options are considered bad.

The second way is brought up less on forums. That's where you've got a pretty good idea what you'll be facing, either because you only play in a small group or a narrative campaign etc. This changes the way codices work completely. For example, consider how useful dispel scrolls will be if you know your next game is against a Khorne daemon list. If your regular opponents are Tau and Eldar, then you're going to have a different view of Landraiders, to the person who just plays against Orks and Guard.

GW have to write codices to cater for all players and cover all situations. What works for one, won't work in another.

Even then, when people talk about good/bad units, they always seem to take them in isolation. Is a techmarine good or bad? That's going to depend on how many vehicles you've got in your army isn't it?

R Man
04-04-2009, 00:17
I'm going to go with stupidity here. I remember hearing a story (probably an urban legend) that someone asked Alessio (or was it Gav?) about the double lash prince and template strategy and his reply was that he 'didn't think anyone would take 2 lash princes).

Also remember that some units were written for a different time when the rules of the game were different. We are also partly to blame. We rant on about things so much that GW doesn't get a realistic picture of how overpowered a unit really is and then overnerfs it.

Generally GW should be more willing to ettra their rules. On the plus side it seems GW have recognised there is a tournement mentality being dominated by VC and daemons (in fantasy at least) so they are at least paying attention.

Godfiend
04-04-2009, 06:58
GW have to write codices to cater for all players and cover all situations. What works for one, won't work in another.

Even then, when people talk about good/bad units, they always seem to take them in isolation. Is a techmarine good or bad? That's going to depend on how many vehicles you've got in your army isn't it?

While I agree that there are different roles for units, and that some units won't be picked very often for an all-comers list, some units are more or less useless no matter what army you're facing. For example, the Forsaken in the latest WoC list are pretty much useless. They cost about the same as a Chosen, and gain only 2" of move speed and a random number of attacks that are far reduced in WS and S, with no other compensation. Some players have added skirmishing to the unit and have found them to be more useful - the versatility and maneuverability helps the unit shore up a weak point in the army. However, GW didn't print that, and the unit remains a useless one according to the army book.

Vampiric16
06-04-2009, 19:22
I love biovores. Great model to look at, reasonably good performer on the battlefield.
Pros:
long range blast weapons that can be AP3
Reasonably durable
Cons:
Fex can do it better

lonepilgrim
07-04-2009, 16:35
In order think about why GW might create poor units you first need to ask why GW produces army lists and the units that populate, then you can put them into some sort of context.

GW releases army lists to allow people to play games of different types including tournament play, pick up games at a GW shop or club, casual basement games at home against regular opponents and campaign games.

Then each army book/codex includes units for their in game effectiveness, to highlight a theme or background to the army, for legacy reasons (because a unit was included in the last three lists) or for aesthetics because a cool model exists.

As has been pointed out, tournament and pick-up game players are the most likely to complain about poor units because they have to pick units without knowing which army they are facing in a competitive environment. They have to look at the army list and make a judgement about which units will be most useful. All other considerations are secondary.

But that is not the only way of playing the game.

Players in a casual setting are unlikely to spam a forum with complaints that a unit is poor because they know who they are facing every week. This shifts the balance of army books quite significantly. For instance I have recently been playing a lot of casual games against a Chaos Daemon player using my Daemonhunters. Because I know what I will come up against every week I know I can load up on some units that are great against Daemons but would be classed as poor against everything else.

Another good example is my WFB games, which I have not been playing for very long. My only opponent is a Dark Elf player and I play Warriors of Chaos. He picks a Hydra every game and thinks it is a poor choice because my Knights and characters beat it up in many of my games, but I hear that it is a bargain in competitive play. His view is entirely coloured by the types of games he plays.

And what about background driven/scenario driven/campaign play? At least if GW includes an entry for a Techmarine it gives players an option to use one for such games.

Plus you have armies, sub lists and units such as the Eldar Craftworlds, Ork clans, IG regiments which GW cannot drop. If GW were redesigning 40k as a game with a totally clean slate some of these ideas would be dropped or changed considerably and the game would be easier to balance but GW has 20+ years of history to adhere to. They have tried to incorporate these armies into the main lists recently but it is obviously very tricky to balance everything together.

How can GW write a codex which allows an Eldar player to choose freely between all units and balance that against a player just picking from Iyanden units? A separate book for each is one option but at one point there were something like 60 different army lists available for 40k, not including Forge World. Balance is then even harder to obtain especially as editions of the core rules change.

So, just to sum up, I think that it depends entirely upon how you play.

yabbadabba
07-04-2009, 18:27
How can GW write a codex which allows an Eldar player to choose freely between all units and balance that against a player just picking from Iyanden units? A separate book for each is one option but at one point there were something like 60 different army lists available for 40k, not including Forge World. Balance is then even harder to obtain especially as editions of the core rules change.

Simple answer - simple rule set and army lists for beginners and tournaments.
Campaign books which enrich and flavour the game, but do not allow balance to hinder creativity.

Luthor
07-04-2009, 19:02
They make new units better so they sell more. Older units that use older models get shafted.

lonepilgrim
07-04-2009, 19:04
Simple answer - simple rule set and army lists for beginners and tournaments.
Campaign books which enrich and flavour the game, but do not allow balance to hinder creativity.

Then that goes back to legacy issues; imagine the outcry when GW says no Iyanden in the core codex but you can play them in this campaign instead. I agree that in an ideal world it should work as you have stated but GW is largely committed to not throwing units out completely now, thus we end up with 'poor' units.

Plus what happens when the core rules are updated? This invalidates the codexes and campaign books which then need to be redone.

They're in a tough spot.

Axel
07-04-2009, 19:10
>Why create poor units?
A lack of thought during creation. Some units are NOT playtested sufficiently.

Example: Repentias
New models (smashing the idea that GW sets point cost to sell) but either overpriced for their usage or lacking use for their points.
Whenever they are used the player does so to show that HE can use them. I have never seen them doing something usefull.

Newer Example: Flash gits.

There is no deliberate creation of poor units.

Shiodome
07-04-2009, 19:57
the 'why hamstring their own sales' part of the question doesn't make much sernse to me. if they made the poor units better, and people started buying more of them then they're buying less of something else.

kairous
07-04-2009, 20:11
Oh dear. I field 5 of those units mentioned...
There is another reason though. Most of those units are expensive metal models. A high cash cost will put many off even if the unit is reasonably useful (Tyranid gargoyles, old metal gretchin for example).. High cash cost plus below par rules will see the models left on the shelves for the most part.

I agree with that point.

In my experiance wraithguard sound/read like an awesome unit (just an example), they have good survivablility, good weapons etc, but now its like what 8-10 for one:wtf:, i find it hard to justify buying enough of them for it to be worth the money.

On the flipside, my statement fails though, as alot of people think chaos raptors suck, personally i love the damn things, but i believe now they fall into the same catergory as the wraithguard, sure they come in a 5 man set, but once you have that set once, its doubtful you will buy it again, unless your ebaying the doubles, so you buy the individuals but i think there goinb to be similiar price wise to wraithguard (again only using the wraithguard as an example), don't quote me as i haven't checked the prices, just going by what i can remember from when i was in GW the other day.

Of course from another way thinking, raptors arn't too much of a problem now as you can bit mash the components from the possessed sprue, cost wise it still seems daunting, but you will be getting raptors, possessed and CSM out of the sets needed.

Anyway thats my two cents rant ;)

Colonial Rifle
09-04-2009, 11:43
Well, there's the critical flaw in your complaint.

Never attribute to malice, that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.

QFT.

GW codex scribes don't set out to make poor units, it's just that not all designers are created equal and they make mistakes.

I heard the rumours about the 2 lash prince before and completely believe it. Gav has come out with so much asinine, poorly thought-out junk before (including "we don't quite know how Tzeentch bikers work, so a 2+ invulnerable save sounds fine" + "How do you kill Falcons in 4th ed? Take autocannons!") that it makes it quiet possible it was true. The Chaos codex is such a poorly thought out book that there is little surprise half of it isn't worth fielding.

I LOATHE this new idea, propagated by Jervis, that 40K has"2-tiers" of players - Tournament and casual - and that one way is wrong and should be punished. I play pick-up games and friendlies, I don't play tournaments and I hate the idea of using 2 lash chaos or Nob biker spam. However, I see the importance of balanced rules-set and codexs. It's no fun for a casual player to get smashed into the ground by Nidzilla, because his "fluffy" list had zero-chance of actually competing with it.

A good codex should have all entries equally viable - codex orks is a good example of how close you can get to this as it only has a few "duds".

yabbadabba
09-04-2009, 15:58
Then that goes back to legacy issues; imagine the outcry when GW says no Iyanden in the core codex but you can play them in this campaign instead. I agree that in an ideal world it should work as you have stated but GW is largely committed to not throwing units out completely now, thus we end up with 'poor' units.

Plus what happens when the core rules are updated? This invalidates the codexes and campaign books which then need to be redone.

They're in a tough spot.

They wouldn't have to dump any units to create different armies. Iyanden is a great example. Also, with the outcry, players can't use a specific Iyanden army list now (like in codex Craftworld), they have to use the standard Eldar codex like everyone else.
As to updates, I think we all have seen how new editions of the rules have had varying effects on old and new codices, so I don't think the impact will be as big. However, what we do end up with is a legitimate playtesting arena which can then lead to the inclusion of new units in subsequent army.

The key thing for me is that
a) we have a smooth, specific and core set if rules and army lists with little or no confusions for beginners AND tournament players that can be easily updated with one errata every year.
b) we get an arena to focus on the more creative side of rules and army lists without upsetting the balance of the core rules
c) GW designers can take a gloves off approach to the campaign packs, designing house rules and uber/weak units, knowing that it's pitched the right way and to the right people.

Rick Blaine
09-04-2009, 17:22
They make new units better so they sell more.

Chaos Spawn and Possessed, for example.

lanrak
09-04-2009, 20:25
Hi all.
I am sure the GW devs do the best they can, in difficult circumstances.

I honestly belive the mirriad of 'quick fixes ' utilised from 3rd to 5th ed have made the 40k rules (& meta game?) VERY unstable .

(Not to mention its very difficult to see the ramifications of any 'slight change.')

Legacy issues also mean that units that were valid in previous editions may no longer be viable in current editions alongside newer units...

I am not as knowedgable on 40k as some others on this forum.
But as 40k heads more towards 2 state conditions ,(black or white with no shades of grey.)
Then as the amount of unit functions reduce then the amount of unit redundancy increases, doesnt it?

This makes the chance of 'poor units' more likley.
('Poor' only in the sense of units that they are not as cost effective ,compared to alternative units in the list.)

Just some thoughts...

TTFN
Lanrak.

Ozorik
09-04-2009, 21:28
There are 3 issues here.

Firstly GW's prime motive is to sell toys, the actual rules and the toys effectiveness therein, are a secondary concern.

Secondly GW's playtesting leaves a lot to be desired. Some units/choices are significantly over costed (New, and old, Ogryns) while some units/choices are undercosted (Fantasy flamers).

Thirdly internet hype amplifies these shortcomings and creates this myth that
there are units that the vast majority of people won't take. I simply dont believe that to be true.

A units usage may be altered by its percieved effectiveness but the tabletop is not a vacume; terrain, mission and opponent all have a large impact on the success or failure of a particular unit. Over a thousand different games unit X may well punch above its weight but unit Y punches below its weight but that doesnt make Y a 'never take' choice, its all situational.

The formulation of points costs is not an exact science anyway, if a unit is 50points more expensive or cheaper than it should be then thats a whopping 3% of the total points in a 1500 game, wow.

lanrak
09-04-2009, 22:04
Hi Ozorik.
Just to point out a 50pt variance over an army of 10 units is 500pts.(If extreems of cost effectivness are taken.)

That means a the most cost effective army could have 2000'true' PV, vs 1000'true' PV of least cost effective army.

This would make quite a bit of difference.IMO.

I am sure the 'take one of everthing ' approach the studio seem to take while play testing , doesnt highlight the major discrepancies of more focused unit selections.

If other smaller companies can achive provable levels of imbalance in thier games, why cant a multimillion pound multinational company like GW?

Hena
10-04-2009, 06:17
One good thing about Epic is that most units are pretty usable. There are very, very few must take units in armies (though with Marines Thunderhawk is pretty close to that).

borithan
10-04-2009, 08:08
Oh dear. I field 5 of those units mentioned...
There is another reason though. Most of those units are expensive metal models. A high cash cost will put many off even if the unit is reasonably useful (Tyranid gargoyles, old metal gretchin for example).. High cash cost plus below par rules will see the models left on the shelves for the most part.Have to agree...

There are various things I would never use, but more because of the cost in cash terms rather than in game utility. I have used things which are said to be sub-par because I have them, or they are not that expensive to buy and I like the look or whatever, while there are far better units (or at least units that are said to be far better) which I would never buy because they are impossibly expensive.

I personally think the small number of Ogryns that appear, for example, has far more to do with the fact that it costs 60 for a base sized unit of 5 models, rather than any underpowered element to their rules. If they were 5 for 25 I am sure many more people would buy them, and at least some of those would actually use them in their army, regardless of the perception of them being an underpowered choice. Same with Rough Riders (which I have heard are not bad, but never seen myself), which while not as bad per figure are rather poor buys when you compare prices to point costs (which if you are wanting to buy as cheap an army as possible, due to limited budgets), where they end up being worse than even Ogryns, if I remember correctly (ok, I know many don't like the Attilans, but the Tallarn ones are quite nice, but way too expensive for me).

Also the whole fact they are metal, or at least partially metal, does play against them as well.

Colonial Rifle
10-04-2009, 11:24
Cash cost vs pts cost isn't really a factor unless they are a very specific models. Remember, you can always convert stuff. I have Ogryns and Rough riders converted from their fantasy equivalents. I don't use them at 1500 pts because they aren't particularly cost effective at that level (especially with Ogryns).

Ozorik - 50pts overcosted on 2-3 units is a MASSIVE difference over the cost of an army. I play BA and all my infantry is overcosted to pay for the DC - if i translate my list to Codex marine army (which got loads of things at a discount), I end up with 1-2 extra kitted out units, all of which have more options than my BA codex. The only thing I have going for me is the nerfed DC.

A Designer's decision to overcost units in a book, because "oh well, they will be getting X unit cheap, so they can pay a bit more here" is bad practise. Why? Because the designer is making an assumption on what you will be taking in your list. What if I want to build a themed list that doesn't include that undercosted unit? Gav did this with 3rd Codex Eldar and it was an abject failure. Units should be fairly priced in of themselves first, then as part of the army.

lanrak
10-04-2009, 13:47
Hi.
What I find odd is that GW promote the idea of wider choices in thier Army books-Codexes, by having lots of different units.

But unless the PV is allocated in a more precise way, this illusion of choice soon dissapears.

GW PV allocation appears to be based far more on artistic interpritation and marketing influences, than on maths and practcality, IMO.

Making up for a 'shortfall in expectation in one unit,' by improving another units 'potential' is artistic interpritation.

Most other companies match PV to in game effectivness, at the UNIT level.(As the games of 40k/WH and similar ,are about unit interaction.)

And the effects of synergistic influences are delt with in compostion restrictions.(1 unit of X per 2 units of Y.Or 0-1 unit Z.)

GW allocate PV at the individual model level(fraction of a unit), then ballance out at the army level including synergistic considerations , then reduce these alterations back to the individual model level :wtf:.

borithan
10-04-2009, 14:52
Cash cost vs pts cost isn't really a factor unless they are a very specific models. Remember, you can always convert stuff.True, but it is only more experienced and/or imaginative players who engage in large scale converting. Many players don't fall in this group, so their reasons for not taking things is not necessarily purely based on in game effectiveness.



I have Ogryns and Rough riders converted from their fantasy equivalents.Really don't like the Fantasy Ogres. They are all... well, made up of rolls of fat, which is not what I would want Ogryn to look like. Not that I like the Ogryn models either, both the current ones and the older ones. The ones I liked the look of where the much older ones. The one with the sunglasses (who is technically a Ogryn sergeant, as only squad leaders had ripper guns at the time), and the one who is sorta standing diagonally (if that makes any sense), holding the ripper gun in the direction he is facing and has his other hand in a fist held up curving towards his head behind his head... not sure if I have described him well.

Rough Riders I could see myself doing at some point, but the truth is I am not sure what to convert them from. Empire Pistoleers seem the closest from what I can remember, but I am not sure, and even then they are not as nice as the Tallarn, who I would really like to have a few of, but then, as said, they cost quite a bit (cash wise) for what you get (game wise).



A Designer's decision to overcost units in a book, because "oh well, they will be getting X unit cheap, so they can pay a bit more here" is bad practise. Why? Because the designer is making an assumption on what you will be taking in your list. What if I want to build a themed list that doesn't include that undercosted unit? Gav did this with 3rd Codex Eldar and it was an abject failure. Units should be fairly priced in of themselves first, then as part of the army.If they want to encourage you to take a certain build it makes perfect sense. They aren't forcing you, but it serves as a significant encouragement. Not that I am saying all poor point costs are due to this, but I am sure some are.

IJW
10-04-2009, 17:01
and the one who is sorta standing diagonally (if that makes any sense), holding the ripper gun in the direction he is facing and has his other hand in a fist held up curving towards his head behind his head... not sure if I have described him well.
This one (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&item=170318521595#ht_1428wt_1007)? :evilgrin:

Axel
11-04-2009, 13:09
There are 3 issues here.

Thirdly internet hype amplifies these shortcomings and creates this myth that. I simply dont believe that to be true.

>> there are units that the vast majority of people won't take


Repentias

Not that a single example makes an overall point. They may be an exception, but they are singularly useless and/or overcosted.

Angelwing
11-04-2009, 15:12
Repentias

Not that a single example makes an overall point. They may be an exception, but they are singularly useless and/or overcosted.

I've found two uses so far. Immobile vehicles and Initiative 1 MC's. But thats it.

Reinholt
11-04-2009, 15:41
I would suggest you need to be more clear about the question, as there are multiple components:

1 - Does GW intentionally create poor units?

To me, unlikely; I don't think they are trying to deliberately not sell models. One could argue that the way units swing from good or bad with each edition is a sales tactic, but a smarter sales tactic would be to have everything be viable in the first place!

2 - Does GW unintentionally create bad units?

Clearly. In fact, I would argue that the real culprit is the excessively poor playtesting practices that GW uses. If there were a "quality standard" to playtesting, GW would be so far from it that they might not have discovered the letter "q" yet. While I admire the ideas and the raw ability of the game designers, I feel the process is managed very, very poorly by GW, and it has led to downward quality creep in their games with each edition as problems compound (referenced by others above, so I will not say more).

However, human error and a complex game will necessarily produce some units that are better or worse than others, so as long as this is not too extreme (as in, you still see them fielded off and on), that's probably fine, in the long run.

3 - What's with the total <expletive deleted> units like Repentia?

Here, there is just no excuse. While you can argue good or bad for most units in the game, there are some units that are just horrifyingly poor and never, ever should have slipped through the design process at both their power level and points value. In this case, you can't help but look at the codex and wonder what the <expletive deleted> they were thinking... if they were even thinking.

Again, it all comes back to playtesting and quality control. Until GW realizes that "we're a miniatures company, not a game company" makes no goddamn sense if you create games that provide a disincentive for people to buy your models (that's like saying "we're a car company, not a keeping people alive on the road by not building cars that spontaneously explode company"), this will not change.

Ozorik
11-04-2009, 16:25
50pts overcosted on 2-3 units is a MASSIVE difference over the cost of an army

10% of a total points is still within the fuzzy points vaule territory, even if it is at the upper end. When multiples of an undercosted unit are taken then obviosuly it adds up. The FOC does tend to reduce the possible damage though

borithan
11-04-2009, 23:40
This one (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&item=170318521595#ht_1428wt_1007)? :evilgrin:Yup, thats the one... though if you are trying to encourage me to put a bid in, I don't have the spare cash... not even if it is just 7 or so quid...

But yeah, much prefer that model to the current ones (or the previous versions, or the idea of converted fantasy Ogres). Looks more like a fighting... well man seems a bit incorrect, but more like a fighter, rather than the blobs of fat that are the Ogres, and the incredibly dumb looking previous ogryns, who also had comedy weapons, while the new ones are overdone.