Thursday, April 30, 2015

Is GW digging a hole?

What does the past show us about future releases?

That's a long way down.
I read an article over on BoLS this morning about the pace of releases and how it's hard for players to know the rules with so many new releases. I think there was a lot of merit to the assessment and one of the better articles BoLS has put out recently.

It got me thinking of the past.

I used to pride myself on knowing the rules. I thought it made me a better player. I could call out mistakes of an opponent and potentially save myself from some a situation where the rules had been bent either on purpose or a misinterpretation. I'm not so knowledgeable anymore.

The first thing GW did was increase the cost of rulebooks. It was suddenly harder to pick one up to know the rules of an opponent at around twice their old price point. The second was increase the pace of releases. This BoLS article nails it with the excitement about last weeks releases being consumed by this week's new sauce.

Overall however, I think this is a good thing for the game. The less competitive it is, it's generally better for the community. I think that has to be one of their goals. At least that's what I tell myself to sleep better at night. It also introduces uncertainty to the tabletop which I think is loads of fun. I've found it's far cooler to encounter some cool special rule in the moment. It feels like maybe your tiny little army men are encountering this alien threat for the first time and have been duped by the trickery! It's more "real," - forge the narrative and all. It helps keep factions unique. As long as players aren't doing something to bend the rules in their favor and taking an unfair advantage of the lack of knowledge by their opponent it's good.

To be fair, we all see the rules leaks ahead of time anyway. We all get free glimpses of what a codex can do. The internet spills it's guts worse than a teenage girl who heard a juicy rumor.

The Problem Below the Surface

Hide yo kids. Hide yo wife.

It felt daunting before when GW came out with a new edition and had to update all of the faction codices. Looking at how much content has been released in a few short years, it's kind of crazy to think they'll be able to update everything in a timely manner.

In the past we saw books go multiple editions in some cases operating under previous rule sets. The experienced gamer's have been groomed to expect this. You get a new book every few years and the edition will change sometime in between. The edition change will change your playstyle and the new book will change how you play.

The concern I have is it certainly seems like updating books will take a back burner to bringing out new content. Where do you draw the line on new books? What kind of an "update hole" is GW digging itself? Ultimately how long will it take to update everyone to a new edition?

It seemed like the pace was there to bring everything in line. We would finally have all books in like with a current edition. There would be no more creep.

There are currently 22 "Warhammer 40,000 Armies" listed under the corresponding tab of the Games Workshop webstore. Seeing as how there are only 12 months in a year, if a new edition were to be released it would take just under 2 years to update all army factions to that edition...IF they updated monthly, and IF they stuck to only 40k under that scheduling.

What Pace?

This car has the Heavy rule.

At this point it's very difficult to say how fast or slow the company should be doing releases. It's amusing to me to see how passionate and opinionated we are about how GW should be doing business.

My observation is one of a company trying to find themselves in a sense. They want to be industry leaders. They get excited about really cool models. They have a model design team that shares that enthusiasm. It seemed to me as if they were trying to play catch-up when they changed the speed of the release schedule. Now, not so much. Rules are getting paired with models and said rules are being questionably added on. Playtesting to the fullest extent seems more doubtful with such speed.

Is there an overall goal in mind? Are they taking us somewhere or with the 3D modeling technology available are they simply having a blast releasing tons of new things they've always wanted to, but could never sculpt fast enough? Should we be complaining at all?


  1. i can only say its a good thing.... i hated the fact there was onluy around 3 codexs a year released in the old days. boy that was a slow burn.

    1. It really was. As long as they maintain this pace, updates shouldn't be hard to come by.

  2. I assumed that GW would move from 6th to 7th quickly and the slow down, but that does not seem to be the case.I assume (and we know what that means), once again, GW might have these core books (eldar and necron) for a while, fingers crossed. I say that because the internal balance in those books is amazing and they have ways of dealing with every unit type from troops to flyers. Hopefully this round of codices will last longer than the previous one.

    I do think you are spot on with this "They want to be industry leaders.", because we Privateer Press came onto the scene, GW had lots of metal models and old sculpts, but now almost all of them are gone(still have Greater Daemons, but there are whispers in the warp about that). GW has competition for once and they need to show everyone why they have been number one for 20 years.