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Lord Inquisitor
06-02-2013, 18:00
This has come up in several threads elsewhere and generally any discussion there is off topic so here's a thread for this particular question.

I keep hearing this. "Sure mounfangs/heldrakes/wizardmobiles are good, they're new models so GW wants to sell them."

Is this true?

Certainly there are many new units that have new models and are very good. Pretty much all of the new Monstrous Cavalry units in WFB. The wizardmobiles for Empire, the mortis engine, the Ironblaster. Staples for these armies. Over in bolterland, the Heldrake is ridiculously good (especially with the new FAQ - as if GW weren't selling enough of those amiright?).

But is this a real thing or is this confirmation bias? For CSM, the Heldrake was good, sure, but what about raptors (not bad)/warp talons (awful) and then there was the mauler/forgefiend (both considered pretty poor). What else? Havoks? Also not amazing. Out of all the new units, just the Heldrake is considered really too good. The last CSM release was similar, with Possessed and Spawn being the new units then and both sucking pretty hard. I'm not so up on Dark Angels but I gather their flier is awful.

Over in WFB, sure the wizardmobiles are great, but the griffon still isn't worth taking and the war altar, which has been a 1+ choice for Empire for years finally has a new plastic model and... they nerf it out of the army? Likewise, many of the double kits have one good and one poor choice. Mortis engines and Ironblasters are good but Coven Thrones and Scraplaunchers are bad.

Is it more likely that GW writes rules to sell the models (i.e. wants to sell Mortis Engines but not Coven Thrones) or that there is some variance around "balanced" so if you have two models in one kit you might well end up with one on the low side of average and one on the high side of average, meaning the better one of the two ends up a 1+ choice for the army.

A phenomenon that seems to be more consistent than "make new stuff good" is the GW pendulum. Anything that's too good or two bad they seem to think of three ways of fixing the problem and instead of one they apply them all. Starcannon were everywhere, they could have increased points or made it worse, they did both an no one saw a starcannon again. Assault cannons were rubbish and they could have got cheaper, more shots or rending - GW did all three and suddenly assault cannons everywhere! Storm shields, the fact that people take transports only in odd-numbered editions, etc., etc.

Likewise in WFB look at what happened to flamers - they got more expensive, weaker and worse at shooting, all of which would have been good enough to reign them in but now we don't see them ever. What's nice is that 8th edition WFB has clearly been a move towards better balance, so the pendulum has been less visible in this edition.

I can't see any real evidence that new units are more likely to be awesome, despite it being a commonly held perception.

shelfunit.
06-02-2013, 18:06
I think it's more good rules to bad models - think slaughter brute, giant ogre cannon, SoM chimera/manticore, pumbagor... the fact that these models (at time of rules relase) were all new models is coincidence.

ihavetoomuchminis
06-02-2013, 18:48
That's and aseveration i don't agree with. They try to make sure the rules are good enough, but new models are not always mandatory/OP in the army.

BigbyWolf
06-02-2013, 18:51
I liked the Ironblaster model...plenty of character!

I had a look at the rules for the Vortexbeasthingy, and wasn't overly impressed- that seemed to be to be an example of expensive (), poor model, with poor rules. I glossed over the other version of the model, so don't really know how good that is, but I know I don't like the model.

I would have thought the "good rules for bad figures" theory doesn't really work. The book is usually finalised before the sculptors get to work, so I don't see that being very likely.

On the flipside, I reckon they made Throgg so expensive because of his good rules, given that loads of people would want him they figured 36 would be an acceptable price.

Lord Damocles
06-02-2013, 18:56
Pyrovore
Lychguard
Triarch Pratorians
Court of the Archon
Hekatrix Bloodbrides
Legion of the Damned


Some new units are awesome, some existing units become awesome, some new units are rubbish/meh, some existing units get nerfed. Some units barely change.

Lord Inquisitor
06-02-2013, 19:09
The book is usually finalised before the sculptors get to work, so I don't see that being very likely.
I thought it was the other way around? The lead times on plastic models mean they're in production long before the book is actually put together.

BigbyWolf
06-02-2013, 19:16
I thought it was the other way around? The lead times on plastic models mean they're in production long before the book is actually put together.

You're probably right. Thinking about it, it doesn't make much sense the other way, although it would be nice to see the production team using cans of coke and empty goblin green bases to play-test things.

Herzlos
06-02-2013, 19:46
The figures have to be done first, or there couldn't be pictures of them in the rule books.

I've been under the impression there was a shareholder statement indicating that the rules exist to sell models, so having the rules boost whatever they want to sell that edition makes sense.

nedius
06-02-2013, 20:48
There are cases.

Carnifexes were everywhere. New dex comes out, fexes are nerfed, and the latest big model (trygon) was far superior.

I don't doubt for a second rules are modified to enhance sales of high profile kits. However, what I'd wonder more is how those decisions are made. Pyrovores were cool models, but dreadful rules. How did that happen?

The trend isn't consistant, but I'd guess that in general latest kit = best rules.

ColShaw
06-02-2013, 21:10
I think it's giving the GW development team too much credit to believe they power up all the new models. That would imply that they have a keener sense of the relative power of different models than they have demonstrated.

For example: the Valkyrie kit is released. It doesn't have weapon options included for a Vendetta. Which one is (by far) the better and more popular choice?

Right.

No, I think there's some pendulum-swinging going on, as Lord Inquisitor said (I, too, have noticed their tendency to hit an overpowered unit with 2 or 3 simultaneous nerfs, thus rendering it completely unplayable instead of merely bringing it in line), but otherwise, I think they just get excited with the new models, add lots of "cool new rules!", inadequately playtest, and then release them. Since the new rules could be ANYTHING, they'll end up all over the map, with some things (Heldrake) wickedly good, and others (Mutilators) downright horrid--in the same book.

Chapters Unwritten
06-02-2013, 22:05
You can argue that they don't do this but frankly its almost glaring in some cases. Chaos is a good example in 40k. Even though they aren't great, the fiends still both outshone their dread and defiler cousins. The dread is gimped and the defiler had its points skyrocket.

They also are much more guilty of making units we all already own poorer in many cases too, which is practically the same thing...

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

Lord Inquisitor
06-02-2013, 22:34
You can argue that they don't do this but frankly its almost glaring in some cases. Chaos is a good example in 40k. Even though they aren't great, the fiends still both outshone their dread and defiler cousins. The dread is gimped and the defiler had its points skyrocket.
The helbrute just got a new model too, remember. But anyway saying it got "gimped" suggests that it was good before. It is at least better than it was in the last book!

While the defiler isn't amazing, it did get considerably better for the points increase. The forgefiend, when tooled up, costs almost as much as a defiler and the defiler is much tougher, faster and better in combat. Even if the mauler/forge fiend are better - both are very meh in the 6th ed rules.

decker_cky
07-02-2013, 00:20
I think new releases are inconsistent, but the common thread is old great models tend to be nerfed heavily (meaning a greater likelihood of something new being a good thing).

Flamers wasn't a good example, because as they were nerfed for fantasy, they got boosted for 40k. I don't think the popemobile is bad either - not ridiculously underpriced like in the old book, but still very solid for the points.

Hellebore
07-02-2013, 00:27
I noticed it with the Carnifex to Tyrgon, nerfed carnifex, removed any use for lots of the components only designed specifically to have an ingame use, and then pimped the trygon and all its derrivatives.

Then they made the plastic dire avengers, which had rules clearly better than the previous guardian+metal head unit. THey also made pirahnas in plastic and suddenly you could take them in squadrons of 5.

Hellebore

m1acca1551
07-02-2013, 03:20
Interesting topic,

My view on this is, take CSM for example there are many old collectors out there wanting to add something new and shiny to the army and lots of newer player that will want the big and shiny, how do you get them to buy the product that you as GW have designated as the prime seller.

- design a wave of new miniatures
- make some of them poorer than others (forge fiend and co will still be purchased)
- dull older choices (dreads, spider thingo :p, Empire war alter is a great piece of evidence, after being a staple unit of the empire for so many years how many gamers out there will have already made their own?*)
- polish new creation to become the logical purchase **

*this links into the fact that WFB is a veterans' game, so veteran's who wish to get the most out of their army will need to purchase wizard wagons etc, new players will simply buy whats powerful or what they like.

** again as above 40k players who have their army will look at their dreads and go "well there crap now, i really need my dinobot bird, not sure about forge fiend but really need a flyer"

So the answer is yes and no, GW will pick a certain item that they want to be there premium seller of the book and make said unit powerful enough to become an impulse buy, and then they can FAQ or errata a unit later to make the other items more appealing. They wont make every new unit extremely powerful as their market research will show that a customer will only really buy 1-2 items at a time and generally that will be a miniature and some paints, so rather than have a whole swathe of items, drip feed them to the consumer, allows for a steady cash flow instead of massive spike then nothing.

My view :)

outbreak
07-02-2013, 03:43
8th ed isn't more balanced, the only reason it seems so is we've had a bunch of new ARMY BOOKS. the actual 8th ed rules did nothing it's the updating army books that helps fix broken armies.

Avatar_exADV
07-02-2013, 04:36
There's certainly no argument that ALL new GW models have great rules. Plenty of them have rules that make them, at best, questionable choices for your army.

The question is, do they intentionally nerf what used to be good with an eye to making people rebuild the army? And, even if that's the case, is that necessarily evidence of EVIIIIL GW, as opposed to good game design?

Take IG. There's pretty much no question that the Vendetta is hideously overgunned and undercosted relative to what everyone else gets to play with. So when they get around to doing the next IG rulebook, and the Vendetta suddenly only has one set of lascannons, AV11, and is 150 points, does that mean that GW would be bending over IG players in order to get them to buy the gee-whiz-awesome new tank units? Not necessarily - they might just nerf it because it's way, way too good now, and nerfing it fixes that.

Of course, both of those might be the case at the same time. Broken cheese sells to people who don't mind being shot dirty looks in a tourney. Those are the players who will dump their old nerfed units and pick up the new hotness with the most alacrity. But if the cheese be broke, don't GW have an obligation to fix it?

By contrast, take a look at the Warriors of Chaos release. New beasties? Meh. New Forsaken models? Meh. Nerfbat landing squarely on the too-cheap horde with great weapons? Oh yeah. Really the only new kit that's in that sweet spot is the gorebeast chariot...

m1acca1551
07-02-2013, 07:19
The question is, do they intentionally nerf what used to be good with an eye to making people rebuild the army? And, even if that's the case, is that necessarily evidence of EVIIIIL GW, as opposed to good game design?

Take IG. There's pretty much no question that the Vendetta is hideously overgunned and undercosted relative to what everyone else gets to play with. So when they get around to doing the next IG rulebook, and the Vendetta suddenly only has one set of lascannons, AV11, and is 150 points, does that mean that GW would be bending over IG players in order to get them to buy the gee-whiz-awesome new tank units? Not necessarily - they might just nerf it because it's way, way too good now, and nerfing it fixes that.



Of course, both of those might be the case at the same time. Broken cheese sells to people who don't mind being shot dirty looks in a tourney. Those are the players who will dump their old nerfed units and pick up the new hotness with the most alacrity. But if the cheese be broke, don't GW have an obligation to fix it?



By contrast, take a look at the Warriors of Chaos release. New beasties? Meh. New Forsaken models? Meh. Nerfbat landing squarely on the too-cheap horde with great weapons? Oh yeah. Really the only new kit that's in that sweet spot is the gorebeast chariot...




GW will do what ever it takes to create extra income, you will probably find that the dev team will cook up a new flyer that is only slightly more powerful but after the vendetta is nerfed people will want the new flyer

Why fix cheese? cheese is often only found in tournaments or in pick up games at a lgs, clubs will often house rule certain things to stop the OTT lists from becoming the norm. Cheese sells roughly 50% of your miniatures whilst the actual look of the unit sells the other 50%. GW have no real obligation to fix cheese, if they did you would find errata's being dropped every other weak as soon as a OP trend is discovered, its actually the individual who's obligated to choose between a cheese list or not. I hate using the argument of guns dont kill people, people kill people but alas it's true, GW simply give us exploitable rules that in the wrong hands can turn very bad very quickly.

Exactly, how many lists will you see sporting 2-3 chariots on the field, you negate the maruder horde, and buff the chariot who has long been relegated to the bench so now it has become a real contender for a core selection.

Chaos and Evil
07-02-2013, 07:27
IIRC there are a few quotes out there on the internet from ex-GW devs who say that the newest models do get pimped rules.

Commandojimbob
07-02-2013, 08:58
It makes sense to me to give their new models a reason to be purchased and rules are definately an important part - I would love to know how well the Pyrovore has sold over its life time versus say a Hiveguard model.

I think it would be neglectful of GW if their own internal analysts were not tracking these type of trends - I look at Necrons as perhaps the most internally balanced codex that GW has right now, where virtually all kits are viable options - the one kit that stands out for me as a failure are the new Flayed Ones - rules wise they are fine and that their real issue is what they go up against in the Elite section, but 25.50 for 5 models where each model is 13pts versus a box of Lychguard / Praetorians with all those bits and maks a 200-225 pts unit of 5 - the difference is immense both kit wise and gaming wise - how well have flayed ones sold I wonder ?

The problem is I think GW completely decouple the gaming side of the kits/models to the raw material , bottom up pricing (with a popularity factor) per model/kit - a while ago in the pricing thread I argued for a while that I am surprised GW does not do "dynamic pricing" - flexing prices based on demand. Factor in rules to the equation and whilst you would have a reasonably complex 3 dimensional model, I think it would maximise their sales and make them more conscience to how rules affect sales (if that is they do at all).

Lord Inquisitor
07-02-2013, 13:53
I think new releases are inconsistent, but the common thread is old great models tend to be nerfed heavily (meaning a greater likelihood of something new being a good thing).
Right, but this seems to be an attempt to balance something that's too good rather than an attempt to sell new models. This has happened even when the old models get a new kit (e.g. War Altar, plastic CSM possessed).


I noticed it with the Carnifex to Tyrgon, nerfed carnifex, removed any use for lots of the components only designed specifically to have an ingame use, and then pimped the trygon and all its derrivatives.
But this can also be explained by saying Carnefexes were too good so they got the nerf bat. After all, the big winner of the latest Tyranid book was the Tervigon and how long did players have to wait for a model (or, more likely, convert their own - or worse, buy from a certain 3rd party manufacturer). The same goes for the Hellpit abomb. That doesn't make sense!


- make some of them poorer than others (forge fiend and co will still be purchased)

Why make the Heldrake stupidly-good-everyone-needs-two and the forge/maulerfiends "meh" though? That doesn't make any sense to me.


- dull older choices (dreads, spider thingo :p, Empire war alter is a great piece of evidence, after being a staple unit of the empire for so many years how many gamers out there will have already made their own?*)
Why make a plastic model if you don't want to sell it? That doesn't make sense. The plastic moulds cost an insane amount of money to create. They know the war altar has been needing a model for a long time, many players have the old one but might well buy the new one because the old one is 20 years old. All they needed to do was nothing and people would still buy it. But they nerfed it pretty hard.

If they weren't making a war altar model then nerfing it makes sense. But this seems backwards! Make it too good in the old book, then bring out a model and nerf it? This idea of not wanting to sell a model they've just released also ties in with the tervigon/hellpit mess they got themselves into before where not only did they lose sales because people scratchbuilt them, but other companies managed to make models for both of these things before GW got around to it. That's not a cunning plan, that's just incompetence.


8th ed isn't more balanced, the only reason it seems so is we've had a bunch of new ARMY BOOKS. the actual 8th ed rules did nothing it's the updating army books that helps fix broken armies.
Off topic, but certain parts of 8th were designed to balance the books. Re-rolls for ASF were clearly designed to keep High Elves competitive, either Ward or Regen seemed to be designed specifically to knock Nurgle Daemons down a peg or two.


GW will do what ever it takes to create extra income, you will probably find that the dev team will cook up a new flyer that is only slightly more powerful but after the vendetta is nerfed people will want the new flyer
But it seems so random. Sure, the heldrake was teh awesome, but what about the Nephilim?


GW have no real obligation to fix cheese, if they did you would find errata's being dropped every other weak as soon as a OP trend is discovered, its actually the individual who's obligated to choose between a cheese list or not.
Up to a point. I think GW got a sharp shock with 7th edition that the imbalance in the game was costing them real money. 8th seemed to be a real attempt to turn over a new leaf and actually playtest the army books adequately. There's still cheese, but not like 7th edition.


IIRC there are a few quotes out there on the internet from ex-GW devs who say that the newest models do get pimped rules.
Then they suck at it. Griffons for Empire suck. Their big monster releases for ages have been pretty bad overall, from the giant, the arachnarok, the ogre mammoths, even the new WoC monsters aren't looking that hot compared with old sellers like the Hellcannon that isn't even plastic!

Neat
07-02-2013, 14:18
Didn't Rick Priestley pretty much confirm that this happens on his Reddit AMA? I'll go dig out the link.

Edit: Yup, he doesn't quite say it outright, but conflating a couple of his post definitely points towards it

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/172inz/i_am_rick_priestley_ask_me_anything/

budman
07-02-2013, 14:37
Well yes and it due to the fact the minis are made before the rules...
and a writer lets call him Wat Mard and He like a a mini and is inspired to make a cool rule for the mini he likes...
fans get the codex and look at the rule and buy the mini.

It just is the way it is gw don't get in the way as it makes them money.

Hengist
07-02-2013, 15:21
Whilst I wouldn't put it past GW to overpower/undercost units in order to sell new models, I honestly can't credit GW's rules-writers with enough understanding of their own system to do so.

Sureshot05
07-02-2013, 17:48
Quote from Rick that states it reasonably clearly:

"Well I don't see Matt that often! Game balance is a real chimera for GW because the games are driven by model releases that are entirely out of the hands of the designers - that shows really obviously in the new edition of WH which has been stretched to fit in the big monster kits, and WH40K where the aircraft rules have been 'nailed on'. But yunno - the guys do their best and I wish them luck!"

Laniston
07-02-2013, 18:20
I wonder what the process is for making rules for things which have no models then. For example Tomb Kings have no model for the Necrolith Colossus or Hierotitan. They suggest a bone giant but that needs heavy conversion if you want different equipment. Other armies, ie Necrons or Tyranids, had to wait around for new models that already had rules. It really seems strange to me that they would ever release an army without the ability to represent certain things. And by the time they catch up players have learned to do without or made their own and makes buying the new model less of a priority.

I agree with Lord Inquisitor and others who are suggesting that GWs behaviour regarding rules vs. models is odd and inconsistent.

ColShaw
07-02-2013, 19:09
I think it's pretty easy to explain. I said it back on page 1 of the thread: the game designers try to come up with "cool new rules" for new models. However, they're not actually all that good at game design; they insufficiently playtest their rules, and seem persistently unaware of the existence of powergaming. Thus, some of their cool new rules and models are extremely powerful, others are not. It's sheer dumb luck, flavored by whatever the designers think is most awesome at any given time.

Gaargod
07-02-2013, 19:39
Whilst I wouldn't put it past GW to overpower/undercost units in order to sell new models, I honestly can't credit GW's rules-writers with enough understanding of their own system to do so.

You know I would normally agree with you, but...


Quote from Rick that states it reasonably clearly:

"Well I don't see Matt that often! Game balance is a real chimera for GW because the games are driven by model releases that are entirely out of the hands of the designers - that shows really obviously in the new edition of WH which has been stretched to fit in the big monster kits, and WH40K where the aircraft rules have been 'nailed on'. But yunno - the guys do their best and I wish them luck!"

Another quote from that thread:
"The biggest limitation that WH has (aside from commercially driven content which is not really a design issue) is the IGOUGO turn sequence - which is a good system that works when done right but it really dictates how the game plays."

"GW prices - I guess GW have the right to change what the market will bear - and the market appears to bear a great deal indeed. But it has to be a real barrier to growing that hobby IMO."

That those comments together clearly demonstrate that Priestly at least knows what he's on about... Whether they all do (*cough* Cruddace *cough*), I'm not so sure.



Edit: Oh, and yes, Pendulum swing is a massive thing. Take basic infantry in 7th - 8th ed fantasy; went from being ok, at best, to 'the game'. And yes, that's normally because they apply several buffs / nerfs at once - i.e. infantry got step-up, steadfast and charges got nerfed massively.

The bearded one
07-02-2013, 20:19
8th ed isn't more balanced, the only reason it seems so is we've had a bunch of new ARMY BOOKS. the actual 8th ed rules did nothing it's the updating army books that helps fix broken armies.

No, 8th edition balanced the field so mindboggelingly much before any 8th edition book ever hit the shelves. So. Much! Punctuated. for. emphasis!

And remember there were 8 months between 8th coming out and the very first 8th edition armybook, and that was O&G, which were never a OP offender anway. We certainly didn't sit with 7th's unbalanced mess for 8th months ;) In fact up to this point the only one of 7th edition's top or broken armies that has been redone with a hardback is vampires. Daemons and dark elves are still the same, but havent spent their time anymore ruining the meta as terribly as they used to since 8th's inception. They're still strong books, but not to the point where half the other armies doesn't need to bother unpacking.


Then they suck at it. Griffons for Empire suck. Their big monster releases for ages have been pretty bad overall, from the giant, the arachnarok, the ogre mammoths, even the new WoC monsters aren't looking that hot compared with old sellers like the Hellcannon that isn't even plastic!

Precisely. It seems new units also have a pendulum; some come into existence really strong, some pretty poor. However generally the 'new powerunit' tends to grab the spotlight of attention and thus the focus of hate and accusations of 'rules-sells' (the rare, geeky cousin of 'sex-sells'). Looking back at newly added units through the past year.. it's actually pretty random. Except for monstrous cavalry; those are all pretty ace ruleswise. But then whadaya expect of expert heavily armoured warriors sitting on badtempered monsters? xD

Chivs
07-02-2013, 21:54
Games Workshop aren't just heavy handed with the pendulum swing when it comes to rules. A staffer told me that the bits service was highly inefficient, when customers are simply ordering one shoulder pad. Rather than group up small items such as that, to make packs of shoulder pads, Games Workshop pretty much axed the whole system. No more ordering weapons or banners, particular infantry models or other big parts. One big axe to the system, because thinking how to refine it is too much work.

There shouldn't be a problem with looking at which units are being used, which are not, and adapting their rules/points accordingly. You'd think there's a reason why people weren't using transports in 4th Edition much, or why the Vendetta is a popular Imperial Guard unit. It's the multiple changes at the same time that Games Workshop frequently do. "Lets improve Transports in the Core Rules so they're less of a giant coffin (Good change!), reduce the cost of Rhinos and Razorbacks in Codex: Space Marines (What, as well as the first change?) and then allow units to take them regardless of size (So you can now take loads of cheap heavy weapon platforms???)

Jervis Johnson's heavy handedness of the Assault Cannon in the 4th Ed Dark Angels Codex was appalling, and was a major reason why I never bought that Codex (until 2 weeks ago when I bought it for 3 second hand for painting guides :D). "The assault cannon is better than a Lascannon at penetrating armour. We can't change the weapon as we don't change core rules so lets make it more expensive (Fair enough, it is very good) and heavily restrict it's use (You mean we can't field squadrons of Ravenwing pattern Landspeeders (HB and AC), which have been a hallmark of Dark Angels armies since Codex: Angels of Death?)." Low and behold, the 5th Ed rulebook fixes the problem with Assault Cannons, and so every other Space Marine chapter can field squadrons but the Dark Angels as there's no longer a problem. Thanks Jervis!

Hellebore
07-02-2013, 23:59
But this can also be explained by saying Carnefexes were too good so they got the nerf bat. After all, the big winner of the latest Tyranid book was the Tervigon and how long did players have to wait for a model (or, more likely, convert their own - or worse, buy from a certain 3rd party manufacturer). The same goes for the Hellpit abomb. That doesn't make sense!


Well all that says is that they gave the the new carnifex kit uber rules to sell it....:angel:

The trygon and carnifex though were competing rather directly both in plastic kits and in FoC location.

I don't think it's a totally universal thing, but it's pretty noticeable when it does happen. The carnifex/trygon thing looked just plain greedy - we've extracted all the money we can out of the carnifex kit, so lets crap it and make the next plastic kit we release uber instead. Comparing kits available to stats is I think more useful. The tervigon might have been better, but it had no kit. The premise you posited was 'GW gives good rules to new models to sell them'. In comparison to the carnifex, the new trygon kit had better rules and in fact the carnifex's previously 'good rules to sell it' were removed. I found this far more noticeable because they removed the rules for all the additional extras on the kit, the tails and heads. Which would be like GW releasing the baal predator and simultaneously removing the normal predator's sponson options but retaining them in the kit.

Hellebore

The bearded one
08-02-2013, 07:44
Well all that says is that they gave the the new carnifex kit uber rules to sell it....:angel:

The trygon and carnifex though were competing rather directly both in plastic kits and in FoC location.

I don't think it's a totally universal thing, but it's pretty noticeable when it does happen. The carnifex/trygon thing looked just plain greedy - we've extracted all the money we can out of the carnifex kit, so lets crap it and make the next plastic kit we release uber instead. Comparing kits available to stats is I think more useful. The tervigon might have been better, but it had no kit. The premise you posited was 'GW gives good rules to new models to sell them'. In comparison to the carnifex, the new trygon kit had better rules and in fact the carnifex's previously 'good rules to sell it' were removed. I found this far more noticeable because they removed the rules for all the additional extras on the kit, the tails and heads. Which would be like GW releasing the baal predator and simultaneously removing the normal predator's sponson options but retaining them in the kit.

Hellebore

The carni-trygon case is a really noticable one, definately, but it's not universal. There will be oddballs, in both directions. The case of the poor carnifex is rather blatant, therefore it grabs the spotlight of attention, whereas crappers like the pyrovore just gather dust, despite also being a new unit needing to pay off its cast.

6mmhero
08-02-2013, 16:58
Games Workshop aren't just heavy handed with the pendulum swing when it comes to rules. A staffer told me that the bits service was highly inefficient, when customers are simply ordering one shoulder pad. Rather than group up small items such as that, to make packs of shoulder pads, Games Workshop pretty much axed the whole system. No more ordering weapons or banners, particular infantry models or other big parts. One big axe to the system, because thinking how to refine it is too much work.

I have to disagree with you on this one, having spoken to one of the people involved in getting rid of the bits service (in bugmans of all places) they actually looked at the bits service in quite a lot of detail. One thing they noticed was that people rarely in the case of shoulder pads ordered one or two. In fact they tended to be in multiples of 5 or ten. The Scrap launcher contained a huge amount of parts and most of it did not sell individually, but the Rhinox from it did etc.
At the time I spoke to the person (i was disappointed with them getting rid of the bitz ordering service) they had plans to release a lot of bitz packs of the items that were actually ordered on a regular basis and in the quantities that they tended to be ordered.
This actually panned out when you look at their bitz packs and it is a shame that you cannot order certain things.

Back on topic. I think the designers to have a bias towards making the new kits very good in the game and that is probably part of their brief. But I have noticed that it is not always the case. The chaos book was very balanced I thought and I was surprised that the new expensive beasties where not must haves in the army.

Lord Inquisitor
08-02-2013, 17:25
I've been pondering a way of quantifying, even subjectively, the releases. Now, I'm more of a WFB guy and I'm interested in limiting what we look at to just WFB 8th ed and 40K 6th ed as the imbalances in 7th WFB and 5th 40K were pretty bad.

For WFB I've gone back as far as Ogres, and for 40K I've just done CSM. If someone wants to do Dark Angels be my guest, I've not had a good enough look at how well they're doing in the meta to make judgements about their units.

I've limited myself to plastic kits, and assigned one of four grades to each unit, each worth a certain number of points. Very good (2 points) - a unit that is a staple in most competitive armies, considered an excellent choice. Good (1 point) - a solid unit, worth taking but not compulsory. Bad (-1 point) - a unit that's not considered a competitive choice and rarely seen in competitive lists. Very Bad (-2 points) - an absolute liability in any kind of game. I assigned a category to each of these based on my own subjective opinion on the unit. No doubt people will disagree with me - but probably not by more than one "grade". I'll also add that I play all of these armies and have brought each one to a tournament at least once.

Now, ideally we'd see an average somewhere between 0 and 1. New units should be somewhere between average and solid without being broken.

Ogres:
Mournfang - very good
Thundertusk - bad
Stonehorn - bad
Ironblaster - very good
Scraplauncher - bad

Empire:
Griffon - very bad
Luminark - very good
Hurricanum - very good
Popemobile - bad
Demigryphs - very good

VC:
Black Knights - good
Hexwraiths - good
Vargheists - bad
Crypt Horrors - good
Coven Throne - bad
Mortis Engine - good
Terrorgheist - good
Zombie Dragon - very bad

CSM
Heldrake – very good
Forgefiend – bad
Maulerfiend – bad
Chosen – good
Helbrute – bad
Warp Talons – very bad
Raptors – good
Havoks – bad

The average for all of these together is 0.1. Per army it is Ogres 0.2, Empire 0.6, VC 0.1, CSM -0.25.

If you want to be more generous you could push stonehorn and thundertusk up to "good" along with the vargeists and the forgefiend and maulerfiend up to "good" as well that still only brings the average for everything up to 0.5.

esk34
08-02-2013, 18:01
I think they try to write good rules for new units, Sometimes they just don't seem to know how.

Misfratz
09-02-2013, 05:50
I think it's pretty easy to explain. I said it back on page 1 of the thread: the game designers try to come up with "cool new rules" for new models. However, they're not actually all that good at game design; they insufficiently playtest their rules, and seem persistently unaware of the existence of powergaming. Thus, some of their cool new rules and models are extremely powerful, others are not. It's sheer dumb luck, flavored by whatever the designers think is most awesome at any given time.I think this is sadly the case. You would think that good design [including rules design] would be the core of what Games Workshop are about, but they clearly do not value the design of rules.

How many rules writers do they employ?

Bearing in mind that these guys also double up to produce material for White Dwarf - how much spending on rules design does this represent?

Not very many and not very much.

If I had more time I would like to try to open source rules for Warhammer [40K]. If people can manage it for Linux I don't see why the wargaming community can't manage it for wargames - and then we don't have to be reliant on self-interested companies doing it for us.

Mastodon
09-02-2013, 08:24
I think they try to write good rules for new units, Sometimes they just don't seem to know how.

They write rules to reward the right spirit of the game imo. Everyone knows not to take large monsters because they'll die very easily, but really, that's only 3 armies that wipe them out with cannons. So if you want a Griffon, have one.

They're not ignorant of 'powergamers' they just dont expect everyone to want to be like that.

bobthebobish
09-02-2013, 17:26
GW has shown us again and again that they are 100% ignorant and or apathetic about their customer base. If they had any sense they would make sure that all the armies were at least somewhat balanced and play tested so that the models would ALL sell rather than a smaller portion of the models selling.

Take furies for daemons as an example. Anyone with half a brain would realize that there are better choices within the same slots that they occupy however instead getting feedback through play testing they shove the rules out the door and spend what I would imagine is a large chunk of money making the models. They could have spent that money writing rules and putting them in a white dwarf that makes them viable thus selling models and magazines! Instead they just keep the models around, make a price hike once or twice a year and hope they catch on eventually.

That is just one set of models imagine all the options that you never or almost never see hit the table! All of those unused and un-bought models are a drain on their profitability every year that can be fixed simply by fixing some text in a book. GW has time and time sent out C&Ds to fans who just wanted to balance rules or further the hobby which could only help their bottom line. Is there a power creep on new models? Sometimes yes but the underlying problem is that with each new release there are plenty of models that are left on the shelf to rot when any smart company would simply not let that happen.

The bearded one
09-02-2013, 18:36
Take furies for daemons as an example. Anyone with half a brain would realize that there are better choices within the same slots that they occupy however instead getting feedback through play testing they shove the rules out the door and spend what I would imagine is a large chunk of money making the models.

It's funny you should say that, considering the fact furies are a useful choice for their cost.

Chapters Unwritten
09-02-2013, 18:41
Personally I wish they would go back to their old business strategy of updating kits. Instead all this mucking with the rules really stinks up the game.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

the_picto
10-02-2013, 13:41
Quote from Rick that states it reasonably clearly:

"Well I don't see Matt that often! Game balance is a real chimera for GW because the games are driven by model releases that are entirely out of the hands of the designers - that shows really obviously in the new edition of WH which has been stretched to fit in the big monster kits, and WH40K where the aircraft rules have been 'nailed on'. But yunno - the guys do their best and I wish them luck!"

I do not think that quote means what you think it means. Someone decides they want to release a range of fliers and the rules designers have to then write rules for them. You are making a leap to get to the rules designers are told to make overpowered rules.

I dont think the carnifex is a good example either, both because it makes no sense and in the context of the tyranid codex.

The people who own 6 carnifexes would still buy the trygon because it's new and shiny and has cool rules, you don't need to nerf the fex. I'll get some of everything in a codex so long as the model is cool and the rules are at least decent, then when they bring new stuff out I'll buy that too. Nerfing the fex to stop people wanting them would mean no fexes sold to new nid players. Make everything good and people will buy everything. The trygon rules aren't that great anyway. Its stats and talons make it good for the price, but the options are all overpriced, he has no grenades and the tunnel rules are rubbish.

Look at the rest of the nid codex. The best units are the swarmlord, the doom, tervigons, trygons and hiveguard. Only two of them had new models. The mawloc, pyrovore and venomthrope are all a bit meh.

lanrak
10-02-2013, 16:27
If you consider that it costs a lot of money to make new kits/minatures.
And the studio staff are aware of this in no uncertain terms.They are predisposed to try to make the new stuff 'sound in the rules ' as cool as it looks in the pictures and sculpt.(Exclusive special rules appeal to the target demoghraphic more than bare stats, apparently.)

The fact the WHFB /40K game systems have been made so over complicated and diffuse.By the extensive use of Exclusive Special Rules that help inspire people to buy stuff.But make accurate costings impossible.
Now means the studio staff only have the option of 'best guess' from limited play testing left !

And as long as folk keep buying enough minatures GW plc will not change this.

Fear Ghoul
10-02-2013, 18:47
The truth is that GW is not historically very good at developing balanced rules for their games. Therefore in any wave release there will often be (but not always) one very good unit, one very bad unit, with the rest lying somewhere in between. People who suggest a conspiracy or a business strategy to push new models with broken rules are giving GW too much credit for what is otherwise simple human incompetence.