40K: Congratulations – You Are All Play Testers

In the modern era of 40K ALL players are Play Testers.

Something I’ve been mulling over ever since GW announced they would be FAQing books a couple weeks after they come out is the role of players during those weeks. While books are play tested prior to release the new schedule means that in effect the first 2 weeks are in effect a beta test of the rules. All players are testing out the books in that two week period. Lets take a look of some of the effects of this.

​Open Beta

​If you want to think in video game terms the period between the book coming out and the FAQ is basically an open beta. It’s a time when all players have access to the book and can use it but things aren’t quite set in stone. During this period, players can find and report all sorts of issues from typos to rules questions. While most of the changes will most likely be smaller corrections or errata, this won’t always be the case. Remember Summery Execution for the Astra Militarum got nerfed in their FAQ and this was a big change.

​See Something, Say Something

​With this period being a beta of sorts, its important for players to speak out about things they find. When we write articles, like our recent T’au one, that point out rules abuses or conundrums, we often get accused of being WAAC players trying to rules lawyer to advantage. That is not the case. The fact is that its actually important for people to point out these issues right when a book comes out. This is the time for the community, not just us, to talk about these kind of potential abuses so GW can fix them in the quick FAQ. Keeping silent about these things is just likely to make things worse. If GW wants to treat us like play testers then we’d all better start acting like them.

Unfinished Books

The annoying down side to this is that it can feel like you’re buying an unfinished book. If your an early adopter and buy a physical copy of a new codex in the first couple of weeks you know its going to be partial wrong. Once the FAQ comes out something (it could be little or big) in your copy will be invalid. Now I haven’t kept track of later copies of codecs to see if they update them with changes, but I know it can be frustrating to have bought a book that is wrong.

Still, GW doesn’t seem to have taken this excuses to slack off, their quality is still top notch and as long as they keep making the books better they are safe. On top of that, with GW being up front about their FAQ process all buyers should know what they are getting, there are no surprises here.

Still For The Best

As much as I worry about FAQ bloat, its still better than the alternative. Until we live in a world where we don’t need FAQ’s I’d rather have a quick and reliable one than none at all. It’s annoying for sure, but it is also something we can live with. Keeping to a regular schedule is important and big help in dealing with FAQs.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, what this means is that we should all start acting like play testers. Hopefully GW will keep listing to our feedback and improving the books. If there is a narrow window we get in to impact what at goes into a FAQ, then we need to take advantage of it. That means really talking about the issues with any given book – no matter how WAAC or rules lawyer it seems. Together we can improve the game overall, which I think is a worthy goal.

 Let us know if you think GW having everyone act as play-testers is good down in the comments! 

  • Savayan

    Is this new? I’m just glad that GW is erattaing their rules in a timely fashion now.

    • Walter Vining

      its not really new, its just now more open than it ever has been before

  • marlowc

    Well, having a quick response on the faq’s and errata is better than not having one I suppose. But as you say, the books are obsolete almost before the print has dried – damn annoying!
    Even better would be to publish books that didn’t need immediate fixing in the first place 🙁

    • gdim415

      I know play testing rules takes time and doesn’t catch everything but some discrepancies are just obvious. Like what was covered in the Tau article. So it’s annoying to see a fixing required as they try to ramp up hype around the printed item.

      • briandavion

        I was once told (by the line developer for Battletech no less) that play testing simply can’t catch everything due to limited resources and that “you uncover more issues with a product in the week of release then with a month of play testing” Battletech’s solution was to release their books as PDFs first, get feedback from the community who bought the PDF and release your first errata/FAQ and then print the books in “dead tree format”
        This is great if you don’t mind waiting months between the PDF release and the paper release, and almost inevitably buying the book twice if you want a paper version of it

      • Its the same reason that when editing your own paper you miss obvious stuff. You are so used to making assumptions about how things will be interpreted or read that it honestly doesn’t occur to you that someone will try to do that.

    • Jonathon Runge

      The rules should be online for a low subscription. The books are decoration and lore.

      • Chaoscharlie Ya

        You are probably one of the people who dont buy the books already so why do you care

        • Matt

          Thats weirdly aggressive and assumptive.

          • Adam Marshall

            Chaoscharlie agreed, he has excommunicated himself as penitence.

        • Jonathon Runge

          I bought 4 codexes for 40k and the rules bundle for the Horus Heresy this past month alone. Do you always make assumptions to avoid contemplating another viewpoint?

      • SmaggTheSmug

        Or better yet, free. Like a lot of companies do, e.g. Corvus Belli with Infinity. They also maintain a comprehensive (though poorly organized) rules wiki and a free Army Builder app. Books are an extra and I’ll be picking up the Uprising one mostly for the story bits.

        • LankTank

          BMG does the same but it’s a train wreck as now there are hundreds of USR

    • Steven Hyche

      I’ve yet to see a game that is perfect at release. Be it board, table top or video. All of them require “patches”. They also will always require them even after faqs.

      • NNextremNN

        A virtual product can be virtually patched. A physical product can not be virtually patched.

        Post its can be lost and scribbling into the book kinda damages it. Your opponent might also require a source. So you have to add that too.

        They should make their rules free or at least digital. Buy the book get the code for the digital rules and the rule pages. One page gets updated? Print out the new one and replace the old in your rule binder. Or just use a digital app. No need to carry the lore around with you. This hardly requires more work then it does now.

    • LankTank

      Obsolete is a pretty heavy term. Yes a rule may get amended and something may have a point correction, but it’s still 100+ pages of rules, lore, art, photos, rules etc.

  • grenstauf

    Great article, but I would call it Paid Beta, open betas ate usually free. With GW, buy gotta buy before you can test, so paid beta IMHO.

    • generalchaos34

      well you have 2 options, you can do what DnD did after 4th and basically take a two year hiatus from any major releases, cut their staff and keep it to a minimum while they did a massive open beta test with the community, and its been paying off well but they basically had to have no to low income for an extended period of time, but you release a stellar product that really brings the community back to your product. Or you can be GW and play as you go, which works, but its shafting the consumer a bit (I dont mind as much, im buying the books as much for the fluff as the crunch, and they have been doing a great job in the fluff department lately) Now this has also brought back the community but its a bit more bumpy of a transition with a lot of “good ol’ GW” to explain away the patterns of their usual behavior.

      • Karru

        Actually, what GW is doing is, they chuck out the product, then tell us to “test it out” and then fixes the wording issues in there and calls it a day.

        That’s the problem with GW method right now. If they actually listened to people’s feedback, the game would be in much, much better condition than it is currently. Simple changes that don’t even require a full-blown book to be released in order to implement them. Unfortunately GW knows that those changes would decrease army sizes and make it more difficult for GW to dictate what people should be buying in bundles so that won’t happen.

  • Karru

    Oh I would absolutely love it if we actually could affect the things happening in 8th edition beyond minor fixes.

    It is better than it used to be, that’s for sure, but it is annoying that the major decisions and feedback falls on deaf ears. It would be amazing if GW actually acted on the things people report as problems in the game with the solutions people actually suggest.

    An example, everyone knows that there is a huge spamming issue in 8th edition. The most suggested fix and the most efficient solution is limitations, limitations that affect EVERYONE. Limit Detachments and make CP something you gain during the game. This alone would fix so many problems in 8th edition, but no, this is ignored completely and in fact it is enhanced with every book that gets released.

    • ellobouk

      Yes, because players aren’t affecting the game at all.

      Boots on the ground just happened to be added by coincidence after Stormraven spam became a thing…

      +1 to go first rather than auto go first for having less drops had nothing to do with the fact players were asking for it…

      Conscripts doubling in points was just a happy accident…

      Summary Execution was always supposed to be garbage…

      Brimstone Horrors weren’t nerfed because they were being used by everyone…

      Malefic Lords doubling in points was unrelated to their spamming…

      0-1 Tau Commanders isn’t a direct result of them being the ONLY battlesuit that was present on many tables…

      And the chatter that Dark Reapers are going up 10 points has no bearing on the fact that they’re massively undercosted, and choke out any other Eldar options…

      Feedback from the community is changing the state of the game constantly. Just because they’ve changed from the rapid fire updates of the first few months to a system people can keep track of (big FAQ in March and September, Chapter Approved once a year with updated points tables for all, small FAQ within a few weeks of codex release) doesn’t mean the changes stop, it just means they’re coming at a rate we can keep up with. Sure we’re not creating core game level changes such as limiting certain detachments or fundamentally changing the CP system, because those are a part of this editions identity, just as formations were a part of 7th’s, hull points were part of 6th’s etc.

      • Karru

        Congratulations, you just supported my original comment.

        Sure, GW changed those things nice few months after they got released after a few major tournaments had happened and the tournament people bought into those combos before GW completely decimated them to the point where they no longer have any use even in casual play.

        But what actually matters are changes that would properly fix the game. These are the ones that need to be heard but will never happen because it would directly affect the sales of GW products.

        I have to hand it to the GW Marketing, they managed to nail it this edition since people like you actually believe that they take in ALL of your feedback. They pick out very specific ones, ones that only need to be changed with points or ones that affect tournament armies in a big way, big way meaning they have to buy another equal size army as the last one was made obsolete.

        A list of things that fixes the game are completely ignored, things that have been tested out since the beginning of the edition, are posted every time there is a chance to post feedback towards GW and what is the answer from them? Silence.

        Spam is the name of the game in this edition because it allows GW to freely dictate what kits should people be buying. With points and FAQ changes, GW can also change singular units on a whim, forcing people from one unit to another. It is absolutely genius plan from them, because there are people that actually believe that GW is reacting to ALL feedback that people give them while at the same time they are purposefully changing the power level of various units to create unbalance and encouraging spamming so that people keep buying into those choices.

        That is my core issue with 8th edition and how GW is handling it. Sure, nerfbatting units to oblivion is nice and all, but it unfortunately does affect the casual crowd as well. Trying to get a pick up game and asking your opponent “Could I do this more sensible nerf to my unit X instead of the GW ‘These guys are now useless, buy another unit instead’ nerf?” is a good example of how it affects people. Conscripts are now useless and have no place in a Guard army, since Infantry Squads do everything they do but better for the same price. So either your opponent goes “Sure, why not, I didn’t like that change too much either!” or the more likely scenario, “Nah, let’s just do it like GW said, easier that way.” and thus you go with Infantry Squads and your opponent now dislikes you afterwards.

  • Sbatragno Sbatragno

    i’m gw betatester and i love russian style to betatest gw book:
    tks putin.

    • Sebastien Bazinet

      That good ol’ russian public library lol

  • Until the game moves a little bit beyond basically being a board game with a tape measure and chucking a lot of dice, I’m pretty much done with it and have been since 6th.

    I don’t need a ton of complexity but the over abstraction has made my soul bleed. I say that because I was really invested in the 40k universe and have spent too much money on it that I cannot get back and that takes up a lot of space in my house.

    Bring some meaningful cover rules back. Get rid of this ridiculous alpha strike nonsense and make movement and maneuver mean something again. The IGOUGO system also needs burnt in a dumpster fire.

    **** the IGOUGO system is probably what exasperates a lot of the alpha strike nonsense.

    After that, pay attention to units imbalance and start looking at what constantly gets spammed over and over again and bring the hammer down.

    It doesn’t need to be Advanced Squad Leader level of complex by any means but it needs to be a step beyond the board game / CCG style listbuilding exercise that it is now.

    If you want to push a listbuilding / card deck game make a 40k version of shadespire.

    Lets put some wargaming back into wargaming.

    • Walter Vining

      ill buy all of your stuff for 50 bucks

      • Too late it was donated to a charity event for raffle.

    • Pandapeep

      Or… don’t do that, keep it fairly simple and attract more new players who are turned off my most wargames as they are complex.

      • Nah. Theres plenty of room for both. There is a middle that can be reached. Even if thats optional extra rules.

      • Karru

        Hmm… Maybe GW could bring back a simple force organisation chart that doesn’t give allies, give people some nice cover saves based on LoS, have vehicles have armour values and facings.

        All this sounds faintly familiar, a 40k edition where simplicity and complexity was in excellent balance. Ah yes, now I remember, 5th edition.

  • briandavion

    no if you want to use a video game analogy the FAQ is the post release patch

  • Mike Linke

    I don’t see a problem.

    Paizo sold the Playtest version of the original pathfinder in stores as a hardcover book years before they incorporated player feedback into a final version. Now they’re selling a Playtest version of their second edition.

    This is completely fine, and the way games like this SHOULD be developed.

  • marxlives

    I think this is true for all games nowadays. I just wish that since all their codexes or rules are unfinished they would do what other companies do and make unit rules and rules free online and update those rules with the faq. The 4 pages of demo rules is nice, but they should release the full rulebook and 40k unit stats as free digital resources. Which the industry standard nowadays. But it seems like the library and the codex chase is alive in well in 8th. It is a big turn off for new players.

  • HeadHunter

    The reason this is not like an open beta, is we have to pay for it. More like a Day One Patch.

    • Rasheed Jones

      There are pay to play betas though.

      • mac40k

        Isn’t that just “early access” now?

        • NNextremNN

          It is whatever the marketing department think sells. I know games that have been officially called beta for years.

        • Rasheed Jones

          Basically yeah…and yeah its a terrible practice there too (I forgot to mention this in m first post.)

          • mac40k

            Agreed. I feel the “early access” term was just some marketing dudes’ attempt to make pay to play beta testing seem more appealing. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a turd by any other name still smells like crap. 😉

  • Martin Aggerholm

    Maybe I’ve been living on the moon or something. Where/how do you send feedback to GW?

    • NNextremNN

      You pray to the emperor and maybe he hears you …

      Or you could try to mail 40KFAQ@gwplc.com it was said here: https://www.warhammer-community.com/2017/12/15/the-future-of-faqs-and-chapter-approved-dec-15gw-homepage-post-2/

      I think you could also message them on Facebook and maybe they read other sources. They seem to be at least aware of some memes like plastic thunderhawk, SoB or

      Still saying we all are play tester is highly exaggerating. To say the physical release of the book is a beta test is highly incorrect because that would have to happen before the release. But it’s a mentality catching on in video games.

  • rtheom

    Yeah, sorry GW, but if you’re gonna do this, you need to be releasing these rules free as a PDF a month ahead of time and then printing the final codex. You pay the players by taking a hit in the final sales. If your product is good, it will still sell. It also shows a lack of faith in your own product, which is disappointing.

  • EnTyme

    So it seems “a few things needed to be clarified or corrected” means “this book is obsolete”. Apparently BoLS hasn’t heard of this glorious invention: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Post-it-Super-Sticky-Notes-3-in-x-3-in-Rio-de-Janeiro-Collection-5-Pads-Pack/14935500

  • Billy Billstoner

    I love paying for a codex that has poorly written rules to have GW release an errata a couple weeks later for things that have been covered in previous erratas, just plain lazy work GW …. do what I do now … get your codex from non-GW sources. We need to send a message that we wont pay for incomplete work …

  • Gergely Rátkai

    Next big thing: printed codexes comes with like 5 folder pocket pages for the latest FAQ printed and inserted at any time. Seriously, I’d be glad for that.

  • Witch Beatrice

    NERF CONSCRIPTS AND COMMISSARS THEY ARE OP. They let dozens of t3 5+Sv men largely immune from morale checks LEL.

    but at the same time Lets just hope people dont figure out that my entire army if in synapse are essentially fearless and always ignore those silly morale checks XD AND a Tervigon Queen can allow reolls of 1’s to shoot like Guilliman and for free without reinforcement points revive 10 dead termagants.

    Can commisars revive 10 conscripts from the dead i dont think so lol.

    TL:Dr – nerf everyone else but me. says the Internet.

  • Rasheed Jones

    So GW is now Syndrome…when everyone’s a playtester…no one is. (granted its always kinda been this way for any game that gets revisions, but I think more effort needs to be put in getting it right the first time, I can understand a few bad word choices, mispellings, and somethings being over/underpowered in an unexpected way, but the patch it away mentality shouldn’t really fly for a physical product.)

  • Antoine Henry

    When you can hit a Supersonic flyer with a hammer and a jump pack or hit it with a little guy and a flamer, you do not play a wargame, you play a mediocre game but thats fine, if you have fun.

    • Kabal1te

      Yes because Last several editions when my archon with his blast pistol which has a range of half the distance the dude could run between trigger pulls still being able to shoot a super sonic aircraft out of the sky with the weapon that has shorter range than someone can throw a grenade makes so much sense.