WARNING: Wall of Text
Back in 2003 when I got into the hobby at the ground old age of 9 the atmosphere when getting into this hobby was much friendlier and to be honest people cared more about the hobby than actually winning. All anyone cared about was spending time with friends and family of all ages and generally having a good time. The community back then was such more well, community orientated; things were done for the rule of cool, players played to the fluff and did ridiculous things you would never see in an overly competitive environment. (A Space Marine Chaplain charging into an entire mob of Ork boyz after his squad had been killed by shooting for example) The great thing is the dice always seem to reward this "heroic actions, something you'll never experience if you’re hung up a WAAC mindset.
So how does this relate to the topic title? Well, the world of today is so internet based, I'll be the first to admit that most of my generation would properly die without the internet , and as new players come into the hobby they look to the internet, because that's what our society is built around in the world of today. Except they are no longer met by the smiley faces of real people in stores, the friendly care less attitude that came with the hobby back then. Instead, these days they are met with if you do not take this unit you will lose. New players are being brought into a community were winning is everything and the hobby aspect of the hobby is dying. For eg; a noticed a thread in 40k General earlier (actually what made me write this) by DTWATKINS (sorry for naming you mate) about using a Tomb Stalker as a C`tan, now he was afraid that people would complain at him just because the Tomb Stalker was a fair bit larger than a C`tan which is fair enough. Now the posts below got me rather angry to say the least (Disclaimer: Not at the posters themselves just the posts) as they talked about how the tomb stalker would be unsuitable as it wouldn't fit on a 60mm and people would accuse him of modelling for an advantage. Now the latter part is actually what ticked me off the mostly. The fact that our community feels that someone can't use a model they bought with their own hard earned cash just because it might give them a slight advantage in a game. If it bothers you that much why not just put a 60mm in the centre of the base and measure from there, problem solved!
Another thing I've noticed these days of the internet is really cool conversions are frowned apon unless for meant display. I've seen several posters, on various forums, post about how they want to do Conversion X but feel they can't because they're fellow players would rules lawyer them and use that conversion against them to gain an advantage. Now posts like these always leave me utterly incensed, that people feel they have to stifle they're own creativity just to satisfy the over competitive attitude of some in the wargaming community (Note: I have nothing against competitive gamers, see later in post) Back in my day, cool conversions were encouraged and supported by those around me and a never had to worry about Mr Bobby WAAC telling me it was wrong to do such a thing as I'd gain a huge disadvantage in a game.
Over the years I have watched closely as the age of casual gaming has declined into near nothingness. (With much sadness I might add) I believe there are several things to blame for this, some more so than others, but they've all had a substantial effect on the way we game today.
The first, like I stated before, is the internet. In the past 10 years the number of sites focussed on tactics and army lists has reached a staggering level. It's getting to the point where the painting/modelling aspect of the hobby is almost non-existent across the internet. In fact besides the fantastic painting and modelling sub forums on Dakka Dakka, Ammobunker and Warseer (and in some respects CMON) the internet is barren of decent communities for the hobby orientated players. This brings me back to a thread I was reading a while back, which I can't locate for some irritating reason, about which part of the hobby players hated the most. Now no prizes go out to anyone who guesses which part was the most hated. Yep that's right, painting and modelling. Now these stats disgusted me to the core and I'm sorry to say if that's the case you’re in the wrong hobby. A little single minded I know but it's true, the hobby aspect always has been and always be the thing that makes this hobby. If want to push a bunch of gaming pieces around a board which you don't care about, then I suggest playing a game like chess.
The second is, I'm sorry to say, GW itself. (I know surprise surprise, I'm not just hating on them though so read on) The company doesn't make as much of an effort to push forward the P&M aspect of the hobby as it used to. One example of this is WD, the magazine focusses a lot less on the hobby aspect as it used to. The old articles in the magazine really encouraged the fun side of the hobby; "Doc's Conversion Clinic anyone? Fluff in the magazine?" Now admittedly the magazine has improved slightly over the past year with things like fluff starting to be included again, but it seems every time the magazine takes a step forward (Spearhead Expansion for 40k anyone?) the next issue takes another 12 back.
Now if I listed every single point I'd be here all day so I'll just list one more. So on to competitive gaming. Now before you all start I have nothing against competitive gaming and I think there is a place for it but at the expense of the other aspects of the hobby. Now us older players (if you can 17 old ) know there is more to the hobby than winning all the time, the younger players joining our hobby will not know any better. They will be bought into the hobby thinking that the spirit of our hobby, the P&M aspect, is completely irrelevant and care little about it.
If anyone is still with me after that wall of text thankyou for reading, I know at some parts it may seem I’m against competitive gaming but I honestly am not. I completely understand where completive gamers are coming from, and enjoy a challenging game as much as the next war gamer. This post was more about how I feel certain aspects of the hobby, which to be honest make the hobby what it is, are being put to one side at the expense of other, to put it bluntly, completely irrelevant aspects.