So it has been what, slightly more than 2 weeks since my last post? It’s funny, when I read other people’s blogs and they go long periods without a post I always say to myself: “Seriously is it that hard to post once a week?”….well I guess it is! Life and everything just gets in the way and the time just slips by, and then you find yourself writing an apology on your next post with an explanation and a vow to do better in the future…well I promise to try to post more often going forward ;).
Also I’m sure with the few posts I have published I come off as a HUGE GW apologist. Really though this isn’t true at all. I have absolutely no loyalty to GW at all, and sadly they aren’t paying me to be positive (although if they want to I would be happy to have that conversation 😀 ). I just enjoy thinking about their business decisions rationally, and then as long as those decisions make sense to me I will defend them from all the hate online. Anyways on to the actual post:
So I tend to visit lots of forums over the course of a day, and I frequent the major Warhammer ones quite a bit, although I tend to get fed up with some and swear off them every once in a while (mostly DakkaDakka). This being the case I have read a lot of the complaints and such about GW and over the years I have seen a few pop up over and over again. To start here is a list (in no particular order) of what I think are the most common complaints, followed by my personal thoughts on how they relate to AoS.
- GW prices.
- High cost of entry
- Long game time compared to other games
- One sided turns (meaning only the active player is making any decisions on their turn)
- No communication
- Expensive rules
- Sloppy rule sets
- No support for organized play.
- Lots of hobby time required.
I’m sure I missed some, if anyone would like to add to the list then please don’t hesitate to comment and I will address them in a future post (which I will do sooner rather than later since I promised to post more 😉 ). Again I stress that these are IMO the most common complaints and I am by no means saying these are the only complaints. With that out-of-the-way: on to the analysis!
- This complaint will simply never go away. Are GW prices expensive? Of course they are! Would I like their prices to go down? Obviously. I would also like gas prices, grocery prices, video game prices, car prices, energy prices, ISP prices, etc… to go down as well. Anyways this doesn’t really relate to AoS specifically and I think this topic deserves its own post. Basically my thoughts here: GW is expensive, but it’s a hobby. No one forces anyone to buy this stuff and no one needs this stuff to survive, GW should price stuff as high as it will sell for.
- This complaint has especially been attributed to why WHFB failed, although for the past year or so 40k has had just as high of a cost of entry. Either way this has been true for GW games. From my own personal experience this is probably the biggest hurdle in getting new players into the game. Seeing all the excitement generated by the awesome demo game and the cool models drain away when you tell them it will probably be about $500 +/- $100 to get all the models and supplies required to have a fun game just sucks. AoS on the other hand takes around $75-$150 to get into depending on if you have a friend to split the starter box with. No need to buy expensive rule books and codices and a smaller required model count are obviously the big factors here. Really the only extra thing needed outside the starter box are some model supplies.
- I personally don’t think this is a negative, since I really enjoy longer games of 40k, but I see this pop up again and again so obviously it is important to many people. Many people say they don’t have time to set aside 3-5 hours for a game, or that they would rather play multiple games during that time in order to test new tactics and such. Well GW certainly listened here as AoS seems designed from the ground up to be faster. A simpler and more streamlined rule set means most average sized games last about an hour. I also appreciated that it’s very easy to add more models and still have a long epic game.
- This one has been much more common since games like Infinity and Bolt Action have come out, where both players tend to be engaged every turn. IMO GW games aren’t the worst in this regard since both payers tend to roll dice for each round. However the decision-making required of the non-active player is generally very minimal. AoS isn’t as good in this regard as the previously mentioned games, but it’s much better than WHFB/40k thanks to the combat phase. Alternating turns during the combat phase means both players have to make active decisions throughout the round about combat order and movement.
- For the past few years GW has been basically walled off from us. Sure they had a “GW Digital Editions” FB page for awhile but that sadly didn’t last long. Obviously the best thing here would be having official FB and Twitter accounts that actually engage with the community, however it seem they have at least been trying with the AoS release. We actually get previews of stuff in the Warhammer app now, they had someone at Forgeworld Open just to answer AoS questions, it sounds like there was supposed to be an actual GW booth at GenCon (oh never mind, they ARE at GenCon with an official AoS booth), and they even sent out review copies of AoS to quite a few sites. These are baby steps but they are steps in the right direction and we can only hope they continue.
- Well this one is fairly obvious. People don’t like paying $40-$100 just for rules to play the game in addition to the expensive models, and rules for AoS are free. This has the added benefit of not needing a new edition or a new codex in order to update the rules. Of course we have yet to see if GW will take advantage of that.
- GW is notorious for having ambiguous situations in their rule sets. AoS has mitigated this slightly I suppose, but really it’s still an issue. IMO the only reason AoS has fewer unclear rules is because there are fewer rules. I dunno it would be nice if they had tighter rule sets, but since this hasn’t changed in the history of the company I think this is something we will have to live with.
- A valid complaint and one that is actually made even more relevant with the AoS release. There have been a lot of rumors about GW coming out with actual organized play rules for AoS, but who knows if this will happen. For now it is obvious that GW doesn’t care about supporting organized play so there isn’t much more to say here.
- A complaint that is true, but IMO isn’t really valid. Spending time on the hobby is kind of the point of a hobby. I would say that if someone gets no enjoyment out of the hobby side then maybe they should look elsewhere.
Phew! If you’re still with me then thanks for reading all that. From my perspective it seems pretty clear that although they don’t communicate with us, they are at least listening. I truly think AoS was designed to address the major criticisms with WHFB and 40k and IMO they addressed them well. Oh man, this really does read like an apologist post in many places doesn’t it? Ok well even though I really enjoy AoS overall there are plenty of things about it that I dislike…I think my next post will have to go into more detail about where they went too far or missed the mark.
Well I hope you enjoyed the read! As usual I love getting comments and it’s a great inspiration to keep going with this so please let me know your thoughts!