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View Full Version : PDF 'dexes: Insult, bandaid or a useful tool?



Souleater
11-03-2010, 20:57
I saw a comment recently that the Blood Angel's PDF codex was 'an insult'. From the context it wasn't so much the content but the idea of giving them a 'get you by' Codex.

(I apologise in advance to the poster if I misunderstood his comments.)

I saw the BA PDF as a useful thing. It let the Dev's tinker around, get some feedback. It gave players something to work with - but I realise it wasn't everybody's cup of tea.

Armies like the Necron could really do with a PDF dex IMO. They have some glaring rules weakness under 5th which this could fix. It would also give GW a chance to tinker with their theme and see where they want to go with the army.

But do such codexes do more harm than good? Would the Blood Angels have got their Codex any quicker without the PDF? And if they had, would there figures have been so surprising...or might GW have simply rushed out Vampire Marines in Space?

I'm guessing that SH, Nids and the BA were all tied together - the release schedule was heavily influenced by that.

In other words might there be a danger that the Design Team effectively put an army even further down their list of priorities rather than being inspired to get on with them? Are they in effect a band-aid soloution that solves little?

What are your thoughts?

Lyinar
11-03-2010, 21:00
I liked the PDF Codex for the Blood Angels... It allowed people to field a legal force without having to deal with bludgeoning a crappy 3rd Edition bolt-on minidex into working with stuff two editions later than it was designed to interface with.

Jagged
11-03-2010, 21:00
I don't see anything wrong with a PDF codex myself.

If anything its a positive service, bet there are many out there that would just love a PDF codex.

mattschuur
11-03-2010, 21:07
Personally I think PDF codex's aren't all that bad. As you said, it allows a few rules conundrums to be fixed with an out of date dex and allows feedback. However, as far as the Blood Angels go I think they had a PDF dex a little to long. A "Get you Buy" dex shouldn't be in existence for years.

Compare that to the Warriors of Chaos dex which I believe was only in circulation for a year.

Ultimately, I think the Blood Angels PDF was created to basically test out some things they wanted to try. Assault squads as troops, new rules for the Death company and to see if Overcharged engine rules were still usable. It seems most of the changes with the PDF dex were minor but allowed the developers to see what good those minor things brought about so they could adjust later. By the rumors in the Blood Angel thread it seems they decided to do a lot more with the dex, hence the PDF's long existence.

I don't think it sets the developers back but instead grants them more time to work on other projects and the PDF army. Of course that doesn't mean they'll do a better job.

Matt Schuur

Asher
11-03-2010, 21:23
I actually liked the BA codex in the white dwarf. I was better than the 3rd edition one in my humble opinion.

As such; I don't constider WD codices to be an insult at all; and I recon that quite a few players out there would welcome one for their army; Necron, Chaos Legion and Inquistion players for example. :shifty:

Earthbeard
11-03-2010, 21:25
Doesn't bother me, in fact I quite welcome it for some of the other older armies too, surely It can't take that much resources for it to be done as a gesture of goodwill.

Ah who am I kidding!

tuebor
11-03-2010, 21:53
I saw a comment recently that the Blood Angel's PDF codex was 'an insult'. From the context it wasn't so much the content but the idea of giving them a 'get you by' Codex.

I really don't get how people think a PDF codex is an "insult". Who is being insulted, the players? It's not like the developers are sitting around figuring out which faction's players they dislike or anything silly like that. If anything, it's a gift because they're not charging you for it.

As for the main question, I think it's both a bandaid and a useful tool. Some armies are in really rough shape due to the changes in 5th edition and a bandaid would be a great thing to have. Either way, it's almost always better than continuing on with a book that's laughably bad *coughNecronscough*.

Eldoriath
11-03-2010, 21:54
Even though it could mean waiting one more year I would see it as a good thing since, as many have said, it lets the designers tinker about a bit. And then 1-3 years later (3rd year if the PDF did push it back by a year) when they release the codex for real they can simply make little tweaks if they like or go on adding to what they like and remove/tweak what didn't work.

I'd be glad for a fully legal PDF for the LatD to play with, even if it was download only.

exsulis
11-03-2010, 21:59
They can be a useful tool when done right, and updated with corrections. At least GW did update the BA pdf which was good. Now if only they'd extended it a little more. 3 Years is a little long of a wait for a full on printed codex.

In my book GW could have skipped the PDF, and just updated FAQ. But they made the Pdf to reduce the "OMG, the Blood Angels are broken" with the newer SM dex. Same way a number of people complained about the SW dex with its lower pt costs, and universal rules. Which in my book should have gotten a pdf instead of the BA just from the PoV of how much harder it was to make a legal list in the old mini dex. WG were the worst thing to help a new kid to work out.

One good thing with a PDF is that GW can push a new mini, or two out. :) If they pdf works well enough then GW may see a rise in sales for that army :)

marv335
11-03-2010, 22:00
I don't see the insult.
They got an update years in advance of other codices of a similar vintage.
It wasn't bad either.
There are still a few armies out there that could stand to be so insulted :rolleyes:

Ozendorph
11-03-2010, 22:04
Useful tool. PDF dexes allow tweaks and updates to armies that otherwise might be years away. Anybody "insulted" by a PDF codex is just being overly dramatic.

CraftworldsRus
11-03-2010, 22:27
Is useful bandaid an option? I think they are nice for the time being, and would love to see one for a few armies out there, but I would eventually like to see a real in-store codex for every army to give the army that publicity boost.

Epicenter
11-03-2010, 22:49
I see them like those lists they had in the back of the main rulebook in 3rd edition and so on. While they're not a "real" codex, they allow armies to shed a lot non-working rules and mechanics that arise between editions and allow GW a chance to experiment with some rules.

I think the real problem with the PDF codex for the BAs is that it created a sense of entitlement amongst BA players; that the PDF wasn't a "real" codex, so they were entitled to a newer, better one and that any flaw or shortcoming in their codex (of which there are many, but less than the Dark Angels) was the fault of the poor PDF and not just because the rules were inherently bad.

Flinch
11-03-2010, 23:31
Codex: Planetary Defence Force? Isn't that covered by the Imperial Guard Codex?

oh wait... Portable Document Format...

On topic: I miss the little random white dwarf rules and codex lists. They added another dimension to the games, even if they had poorly thought out units and game breaking situations came from them... a little 'friendly games only' army lists and stuff helps by letting some of the stuff be playtested internationally rather than in-house.

I go one step further: PDF codexes for every army at the start of each new edition.

DeeKay
12-03-2010, 00:01
Well I supose you could draw some comparisons to what Privateer Press have done for their transition to Warmachine Mk2, and are doing the same for Hordes Mk2.

About a year before they released their updated version of the game, they announced a field test and released their ideas on how everything would work and asked people to leave feedback. What was good, what was bad and what they thought could be done better. By and large, the players thought that their involvement would help make the game better.

Replace the word "game" with "codex" and I think that is what GW could do with their PDF codexes, if they haven't thought of doing so already. It would allow for the players to become playtesters. I think that it is especially important to involve tournament players simply because they seem to have an eye for details that could lead to broken lists.

With regards,
Dan.

Vaktathi
12-03-2010, 00:03
I wish we had more PDF's for armies. GW is really the only major game designer that doesn't do these. I'd be thrilled if my armybook was free with a built in FAQ and able to be updated easily in all honesty.

Cromwell Haarlock-Leth
12-03-2010, 00:14
I really wish to be insulted by a PDF Dark Eldar Codex.
I can even dream to be insulted that way.
Maybe it's because I prefer to be insulted than ignored...:shifty:

Yes, please, Mister Game Designer, insult all Necrons, Dark Eldars, Lost and Damned players. Give them "useful bandaid" PDF Codexes.:p

Eos Rahh
12-03-2010, 00:17
I think that the pdf dex is what it is. A quick fix or band aid. but with saying that it is not at all ment as an insult. Like I know that if i played necrons or DE I would be danmed happy with it as for if a codex needs a pdf to fix its horrible issues then its WELL worth it.

Tethylis
12-03-2010, 00:26
Is the Blood Angels PDF an insult, no way.
The Dark Angels codex it was based on however, now thats the real insult :(

Brother Nidus
12-03-2010, 00:49
it depends on the army you're PDFing... let's go with a few examples (strictly IMHO)...

Space Wolves = band aid
Necrons = Useful tool
Dark Eldar = Insult

So in conclusion yes to all three but maybe none of the above...

I was big help no?.....

Squats PDF FTW!!


Nidus

Cromwell Haarlock-Leth
12-03-2010, 01:26
Dark Eldar = Insult

Why? It would still be better than a 12(?)-years old Codex!:cries:
Of course, if GW was wanting to release a Dark Eldars Codex soon, it would be far better. And new minis... No out-dated horrors anymore... (excepted the still cool Raider)



Squats PDF FTW!!

Well dreamt...;)

GrogDaTyrant
12-03-2010, 01:49
I think the PDF army lists would be an extremely useful tool. Especially if used to bring out more official variant army lists beyond loyalist Marine ones. For example, the different Chaos Legions, IG Regiments, Craftworlds, Ork Clans, etc. I think overall it'd be increadibly good for the game as a whole since the current mantra of 'Thou Shalt Not Have Variant Armies' tends to fail when it doesn't apply to Marines. I'd love for PDFs, at the very least. I could honestly care less about a full codex print.

Brother Nidus
12-03-2010, 02:02
Why? It would still be better than a 12(?)-years old Codex!:cries:

Anything less than a Brand New model range, nicely balanced codex and hand written apologies (signed in Blood) to all who have bought a DE model in the last ten years, is an insult. :mad:

Ask any DE player and they'll probably say the same... can't say i've tested this theory as i've not seen one this century :confused:

and also


(strictly IMHO)

Not that it means much, one Grumpy veteren who once had a small DE skirmish force... I'm Easily insulted, hell, the Sanguinor insults me, Canis Wolfborn insults me, when they did that thing with the.....


...and when Captain Cortez...






...Frodo when he....





...Bruce Willis in....


Nidus

Bunnahabhain
12-03-2010, 02:07
Done half wat reasonably, I'd say they're the future.

Best way of untying the destructive cycle of 'models and codex must be done together', and 'nothing is ever wrong or in need of updates'

As vakathi says, lets have legal, easily updated and portable codexs

Cromwell Haarlock-Leth
12-03-2010, 02:54
Anything less than a Brand New model range, nicely balanced codex and hand written apologies (signed in Blood) to all who have bought a DE model in the last ten years, is an insult. :mad:

Ask any DE player and they'll probably say the same... can't say i've tested this theory as i've not seen one this century :confused:
Nidus

That's what I wrote just under what you quoted. But with far less demonstrative passion than you wrote it above.:)
And, if my memory doesn't play me some tricks due to old age, I think I played against a Dark Eldar player this century. In 2001, if I remember well...:angel:

Seriously, I ********* hope that Dark Eldars will get their new Codex AND their new MINIS this year. Their players deserve it, at least for their fidelity to an almost forgotten army, (at least from GW's point of view) !

But, until that so wanted release, if we can at least have a PDF... It would at least (again) show that DE are NOT forgotten.

A great advantage of PDF Codecies would be the opportunity to quicken the release of Codecies, while augmenting their diversity.
I mean, one Space Marines Codex, variants (BT, SW, BA, DA, etc...) on PDF. One Orks Codex, variants (Klanz) on PDF. One Eldar Codex, variants (Craftworlds) on PDF. Etc...
Thus, no one would have to wait 12 years for a new Codex anymore.
I guess GW would also have to appoint new sculptors to keep the rythm, but it's another problem. (excepted for your dear DE: for them, it's the same one!):shifty:

Chem-Dog
12-03-2010, 02:55
I'm all for PDF fixit lists.
When 40K made the jump from RT to 2nd edition, all armies had a "get you by" list in the box.
when 40K made the jump from 2nd edition to 3rd, all armies had a "get you by" list in the book.
Would it be hard to do similar when a new edition is popped out?
We're used to Codexes just prior to the new edition's release being compatible, so no hiccups there, anything that's not guaranteed to get coverage in the next 12 months and doesn't have a new edition compatible codex gets a pamphlette-dex, this should AT LEAST give players of difficult to fix codexes an interim reason to use their models.

If there's a PDF version or PDF update available, great, If I can plop the new amended page into my ring-bound version, I'm a happy bunny. If this means my army gets a new out of synch release with a new entry in my PDF list, I'm an extatic bunny.

DDogwood
12-03-2010, 03:49
I wish they were ALL PDF codices. Most other companies that are in the business of selling miniatures give their rules away for free. Not to say that's what GW should do, just what I'd like them to do.

Ronin_eX
12-03-2010, 04:38
I too wish they had PDF get you by lists or even go back to the good old practice of putting army lists in the core book (you know, like almost every other game company on the face of the planet).

It cuts down startup cost so people can get to buying your main cash cow (minis) and it gives people an idea of what to buy before doing (which makes consumers happy).

Ideally I'd love to see the rules and army lists (but not fluff) released as free PDFs so people could try before they buy. Infinity does this and it is brilliant for getting people into the game. Meanwhile 40k has you buying either a $100 boxed set and a $30 book or $100 in books just to get started up.

Meanwhile with Infinity I download the rules, my army list and buy a $45 starter and start playing (same with Warmachine/Hordes as well). But I still eventually picked up the books for it anyways because it was a 200 page, full colour, hard cover work of art full of back ground material (and amazingly cost about as much as a 40k codex which is mostly black and white, uses a load of recycled art and fluff and only contains the rules for a single army instead of all of them along with the game's rules).

GW really needs to embrace the present and offer online support for their core games beyond the poor FAQ/Errata releases they hand out every so often.

Znail
12-03-2010, 05:02
There isnt any problem with a PDF in principle. The problem is how GW treats it. As it doesnt sell for any money so dont they want to put any effort into it. No playtesting means that they have to play it safe or risk great imbalances. This was pretty obvious with the BA PDF and made for a bland and sub-par army list.

I dont expect GW to change so its a bad idea with PDF codexes for them.

GrimZAG
12-03-2010, 07:02
I say get into the PDF codices! I see it as a useful tool to update an army that may have weakness or rules that are now useless. Perhaps think of it like this:

If you had been stabbed in the chest, and a nearby person runs to give you first aid would you:

A - Be thankful that you're getting something to make you slightly better
B - Be insulted that someone would think to touch you
C - Be screaming and yelling at the person in rage because they are not a paramedic and haven't granted you a brand new chest yet!

Znail
12-03-2010, 07:09
I say get into the PDF codices! I see it as a useful tool to update an army that may have weakness or rules that are now useless. Perhaps think of it like this:

If you had been stabbed in the chest, and a nearby person runs to give you first aid would you:

A - Be thankful that you're getting something to make you slightly better
B - Be insulted that someone would think to touch you
C - Be screaming and yelling at the person in rage because they are not a paramedic and haven't granted you a brand new chest yet!

You are making the asumption that a PDF would be an improvement. It is likely to be clearer ruleswise but dont expect it to be a buff.

AlmightyNocturnus
12-03-2010, 07:14
OP makes a great point about making a PDF for Necrons, especially since their codex looks light years off yet. Yes, if there are any GW employees with the power to influence such decisions reading this...A PDF update for Necrons would be absolutely great.

Almighty Nocturnus

EmperorEternalXIX
12-03-2010, 07:18
I wish we had more PDF's for armies. GW is really the only major game designer that doesn't do these. I'd be thrilled if my armybook was free with a built in FAQ and able to be updated easily in all honesty. It's also the only game company of the magnitude that it is. Even the other big ones don't really compare monetarily. Many don't have such an involved board of investors to please, either.

I have heard an old rumor that GW plans to one day release codex e-books only, and no more paper ones, with people having access to "trials" in this manner, but the rumor had no real clout to it.

I personally love having a nice book to reference. PDFs aren't cool. You can't really curl up with the PDF before you go to bed at night reading the fluff, thinking of all the cool combos for your upcoming game. I mean yeah, you could print it out I guess, but it's just not the same.

Harwammer
12-03-2010, 08:20
Community pressure in response to a PDF can result in the actual army getting nerfed when the official list is released.

Before the warhammer 6th edition beasts of chaos armybook there was aa get you by PDF. This PDF added a new unit, the dragon ogre shaggoth. There was abundant complaints over it, resulting in the armybook version being hugely nerfed and having its point costs ramped up (it cost about 1.7x what it was worth).

In 7th edition the monster was given to warriors of chaos instea. Its statline was altered, it got a points drop but it is still generally considered overpriced, letting the legacy of the post get-you-by pdf nerf live on.

Despite the above I think get you by PDFs are good, it is better to have a workable rule set than something crippled by edition change (beasts of chaos after the chaos split losts much of their troops/items and were particularly hit by rule changes in 7th edition). or even nothing at all.

shabbadoo
12-03-2010, 09:51
As to publishing "get you by" PDFs, it goes like this:

No new models coming out, but old codex rules are serious out of whack with the latest edition = PDF is a very useful tool

New models for the army coming out = PDF is not a useful tool.

Model support is the only criteria. Blood Angels got a PDF to test the waters a bit, and because there was no new model support at the time. I would prefer to see more PDF's for those armies than can expect no model support for some time, let alone a new codex; especially if the latest edition of the core rules wreak havoc on what rules are in their existent codex. At least you get edition-relevant rules to use in the mean time.

But noOOoo, getting any kind of update that isn't a codex(let alone one that is FREE) is an insult. :eyebrows:

MadHatter
12-03-2010, 12:05
I thought it was a useful tool for the first year after that it grew to be more the insult. I think its a great way to see some play testing by those who love their armes. and get feedback on what they think as well as see where they should tweek things to fit that army. But they need to be working on the actual Codex so it can be released.

Thanatos_elNyx
12-03-2010, 13:29
IMO all codexes should be PDF codexs.
That way instead of having to write an errata and an FAQ for every book, you would just update the PDF.

I know they are against this becuase people might not be aware of updates, but seriously how hard is it to keep yourself up-to-date?

That and they want to make money from teh books, but if they just had teh army list and rules in teh PDF, they could still release the Bestiary section in a hard back book.

Odin
12-03-2010, 13:35
I saw a comment recently that the Blood Angel's PDF codex was 'an insult'

Yes, idiots are allowed opinions too. ;)

That PDF was as good a list as the Dark Angels Codex released around the same time. And unlike us DA mugs, Blood Angels players got theirs for free, and got what appears to be a very good Codex a few years later.

NightrawenII
12-03-2010, 14:17
Replace the word "game" with "codex" and I think that is what GW could do with their PDF codexes, if they haven't thought of doing so already. It would allow for the players to become playtesters. I think that it is especially important to involve tournament players simply because they seem to have an eye for details that could lead to broken lists.
+1
I think, the GW should release a PDF codex(rules-part only) before releasing the printed version.

The Pro's:
Balance - With the huge amount of fieldtesting, there couldn't be any glaring or hidden gap, especially if the WAAC and tournament players get involved.
No Broken Units - overpowered = whinning from the opponents, underpowered = whinning from the players. Of course the PDF version should be updated to avoid any unnecessary-brutal change.
Clear Wording of the Rules - self-explaining.

The Con's:
Fanboyism - unwanted feedback from people, who think that their army deserve to be "Teh Bestes".
Flamme Wars - One side wants this, other wants that. Dev's cannot please both.
Feedback itself - If the order to make this "strategy" work, the GW have to run their own forum or watch others.

Captain Blood
12-03-2010, 18:35
Feedback itself - If the order to make this "strategy" work, the GW have to run their own forum or watch others.

I remember those forums... I thought of it as a cesspool back then.

Anyway, speaking as a longtime Blood Angel player, yeah, it was good to finally have an updated codex. It was better than trying to figure out how to use that stupid add-on book with the 4th edition Space Marine codex, then deciding that it wasn't worth the headache and ditching the add-on entirely.

At the same time it was frustrating, because it felt like they tossed me a bone to distract me from the fact that by this point, they probably weren't going to give us a "proper" codex to use. It felt, to me, like it was sort of an afterthought, or nice little bonus to the recent release of the Dark Angels book.

Seeing it come out so soon after Dark Angels brought back some happy memories of Codex: Angels of Death as that gave me my first real look at both chapters. That book gave me a more clear idea of what space marines are like than the ultramarine book did. Not long after, I found myself thinking that while having it is better than not, I felt that this was a band-aid on the situation when the Black Templars have had a 2 army lists released for them by this point, the add-on list in Armageddon and their stand alone book. It kind of felt to me that it was to placate Blood Angel players at best, and to shut them up as the most cynical part of me suspected.

I guess the short answer to the question at hand is yes. It was useful, it did put a band-aid on the problem of not having the codex, but at the same time, it felt a little patronising. Right now, although I still use that list, I have it printed and bound in a nice looking report cover that I bought, I still don't think of it as a "proper" Blood Angel codex. There was not the level of fanfare for the list you would normally see, which is understandable, they wanted the Dark Angel stuff to get the spotlight; which was rightfully theirs. Today, I still think of it as being some 10 years between the last codex and upcoming one.

Anyway, sorry about rambling. It's been a long wait, and it feels like a long couple weeks for the new Blood Angel book.

Aggiememnon1986
13-03-2010, 06:29
I think the way that Flames of War does PDF releases would be excellent within the 40K system. while the paper codex's can set up some more mainstream armies (Space Wolves, Ultramarines, Plague Marines, etc.) it would be great to have them release variant lists. For instance, in FoW, the British, Americans, Germans and Soviets have main lists that are often released in paper form. The awesome thing is that they release variant armies like the Polish Armored Division and various other Axis armies that don't really have a big draw. I think the PDF format would be awesome for say an Iron Hands list, or an Alpha Legion list. Just my 2 cents.

Tamwulf
13-03-2010, 07:23
The Dark Angels Codex feels like a printed off PDF compared to the other Space Marine Codexii.

If GW released a PDF codex, then solicited feedback to make a good army, then it would be awesome.

The Blood Angles PDF was a fluke. After the success of Space Hulk and the Space Wolves, they must have taken a step back and said "Ya know, we can push back all the other army updates and throw out a new Blood Angels Codex and make some money..."

Deetwo
13-03-2010, 07:28
I think it's an insult we don't have MORE pdf codexes. All of them preferably...
That would mean GW could update them on the fly and possibly have people start more armies, since the rules would be freely available.

The Ginger Ninja
13-03-2010, 07:51
OP makes a great point about making a PDF for Necrons, especially since their codex looks light years off yet. Yes, if there are any GW employees with the power to influence such decisions reading this...A PDF update for Necrons would be absolutely great.

Almighty Nocturnus

QFT

an idea to throw in into the mix:
Have sellable codexes with the fluff, rules, artwork and photographs, and stark PDFs with just the rules.
This would work IF gw was centered around the game, and not the profits :cries:

Voss
13-03-2010, 08:20
It was also fairly useful in that it made seem (briefly) that White Dwarf had a legitimate purpose again- that it actually added something to hobby.

On the other hand... if it takes too long to produce a real codex, it does feel like GW is slacking on getting things done.

I also dislike the idea for new and minor armies, particularly if they shoot the number of armies up. Balancing is hard enough as it is. A serious codex bloat wouldn't really be good for the game.

Griffindale
13-03-2010, 08:23
I think they're a useful tool in that they can be both.

Blood Angel PDF: Band-aid.

If Dark Eldar got a PDF: insult. :D

Grand Master Raziel
13-03-2010, 13:19
I really think GW could and should make more use of the internet in general and PDF dexes in particular. One idea would be for each army to have only one dex, with sub-armies being released in PDF format. So, you'd have one Codex: Space Marines and one Codex: Chaos Space Marines as printed documents, with any Chapters and Legions GW wants to make lists for released as PDF dexes. That way, GW doesn't have to go to the expense of printing so many books, but makes the fan base happier. Heck, I'd even be willing to pay a nominal fee for the dexes I wanted to download.

A better idea would be to simply have all dexes (or at least their army lists) be online. That way, players might be able to expect updates to their favorite armies a little more often than every 5-6 years (or 10 or so in the case of DE). Also, if the developers missed something that turns out to be broken (dual Lash Prince armies, say), they could easily fix it. Let's face it, in this day and age, having a PC and internet access is considered more of a necessity than having a collection of toy soldiers to play tabletop wargames with, plus there's a lot more public internet access available.

senorcardgage
13-03-2010, 17:43
I think that it can be a very good tool for ridiculously outdated books from a player's perspective. It also gives us the ability to mass playtest a variety of things that are likely to show up in the next book.

I believe one should always have the choice between their real book codex and the pdf one, though.