The Optimistic Gamer here with my take on a lot of whats been bugging the community of late, strap yourselves in, this may take a while.
Lately all I have been seeing is negative comment after negative comment on the internet directed not just towards GW but the hobby in general. I want to take the time to give the community a different perspective on it. Unfortunately I feel like the majority of opinions about our beloved hobby online come from a very, very small group of players who just happen to have the largest presence here.
The Online Community
All the people on the internet who complain constantly about GW and prophesize about its’ doom and downfall are a very small percent of our hobby community. I would say somewhere between 10 – 30% of the overall consumer base. Now it may start to make a little more sense why GW doesn’t immediately change its marketing strategy or rules development because some random guy in the comments complained that “Tyranids are broken, you suck GW! Why do you even write rules anymore!”
The majority of hobbyists out there are contently enjoying what they do, so why don’t we hear from them online? Well generally if you are happy with something you don’t feel the need to shout about it at everyone.
6th Edition Sprawl
This is something I have been hearing about a lot, and yes I agree, 6th edition has gotten very large very quickly. While there are some drawbacks to this I don’t think it is as bad as people are making it out to be. One of the main complaints I have heard is it is almost impossible to own all the material that GW puts out, well, yeah, thats true. I don’t think GW plans or expects most people to buy ALL of the rules they put out, they would love if you do, but most people buy the main rulebook, there codex or army book, and maybe all the basic rules supplements but probably only a few of them. The average player does not buy every codex to study it and tailor their list to be able to beat combo X from book Y. They take their army to their local store or friends house and plays a game or 2 against the newest army and learns from experience. It would be rare in a friendly game to find an opponent that wont help explain what their army is capable of as the game unfolds or what that specific weapon does. Most people will find it much more fun and rewarding to learn through this method then they would by highlighting and marking pages in a book for an army they don’t even own and may not even be interested in.
The type of player who buys every book is the HARDCORE tournament player, not even the average tournament player, which is fine. That is how they chose to enjoy the hobby and they should have known what they were signing up for when they chose that route. The problem is when those people complain that GW is ruining the hobby by putting out so much content, no, they may be hurting YOUR hobby, but to everyone else it just gives more options and flavor to what we love. Its is said often but I think it bears repeating here, back only a few years ago people were complaining that GW didn’t update stuff fast enough and didn’t put out enough content and now they are complaining that it is to much! If you are not happy with anything then please keep your opinion to yourself.
Yet another thing I hear constant complaints about are the codex supplements. What?! Only 2 pages of rules in this book that costs $50? What a rip off, oh wait, there’s 50 some pages of lore, artwork and general awesomeness for the army? Well thats useless, how is that supposed to make my army better?
These books were never designed to plug holes in their parent codex or somehow make the army better. They are there to expand the background for that specific race and give them just enough of a unique flavor in game to make them different on the board. If every time GW announces a new supplement you look forward to it thinking it will “fix” something you perceive as being broken in your book you will be disappointed every time. I personally love the books, they always have great lore that is able to go way deeper then their parent book since they are focused on just one faction within the larger faction. For example the Black Legion book didn’t have much in the way of rules but man oh man did it expand upon what we knew. It detailed every Black Crusade and exactly what happened to the Sons of Horus to make them paint their armor black and for Abbadon to take control. The artwork is always top notch as well and quite frankly to me that plus the slight changes to the rules is well worth the $50 price tag. Once I have an extra $50 I plan on buying the Crimson Slaughter one as well since it looks extremely interesting.
If this doesn’t float your boat, thats fine, the greatly expanded lore and top notch production values aren’t enough for everyone, but please don’t shout and whine about it like they just killed your puppy. If you don’t want it, don’t buy it, simple as that. Just because you’re not happy with it doesn’t give you the right to try and ruin it for all the people like myself who like those sorts of things.
Don’t Blame the Game, Blame the Player
The game is broken! What are we to do, GW has clearly written their rules so that we can exploit it to make instant win lists so I must do that. Fortunately for us this is not true. GW has stated time and time again that they have created their games to be a fun, narrative experience, not a tightly written tournament game. When they made the idea of allies for 6th edition it was for 2 reasons, to give the players more options to use everything they own for a fluffy and fun game and to sell more models. They never intended for someone to take a very unfluffy combo for the sole purpose of exploiting a loop hole to win more. I understand that in a tournament environment this can make the whole thing very unbalanced and that if you want to be the top winner you will most likely have to do this, however for the average player these loop holes should never be used. The game is only as broken as the player who breaks it.
How can tournaments fix this? With more restrictions and regulations imposed by the group running the event, but don’t expect GW to do anything about it. Like I said before they have practically shouted that they never intended for their game to be played this way. It is perfectly fine to want to play in a tournament but please realize that the casual gamer will most likely not run into these same problems.
To Sum it Up
This whole article may have seemed somewhat negative for something titled The Optimistic Gamer and I don’t want to come off that way. There are many ways to enjoy this hobby and every one of them is valid. Let’s, as a community, try and focus on the things that drew us into this hobby in the first place, the playing, the painting and the camaraderie. Just remember that GW is trying to make the best game they can for everyone, which means it is not always going to be the best game for some.
Well I am sure the comments will be interesting on this one, lets hear it, whats your take on everything?