Those of you with long memories may recall that I used to write articles for a blog network called the House of Paincakes. One of my fellow writers on that network was a strange creature known as SinSynn who has decided to return to the world of blogging that quite frankly has been lessened by his absence...well...there were less tentacles at least...and Megan Fox was marginally safer...
Hey, folks. SinSynn here.
So I visited Games Workshop's slightly fancier-than-I-remember-it website today and had a lil' lookie. It's been awhile, G-Dubz...I see you call your website an 'online store' now. That's nice. The internet is a thing.
I'm not sure how many folks have a love/hate relationship with GW similar to mine. I know I'm not alone here - Games Workshop seems to have a gift for...I'm not sure what to call it...being somewhat insular, perhaps? Is that a fair thing to say?
When it comes to dealing with things like their fanbase, advertising, hype and rumors, timely releases, and, welp, pretty much any instance where contact and/or communication with the world at large is required, Games Workshop has historically just seemed...is uninterested a fair thing to say? Lackadaisical?
To be fair, I hesitate to use words like 'confused' or 'dismayed,' but honestly there's not another company out there that's given me as many SMH moments as good ol' G-Dubz.
Bless their crazy hearts, but OhMyGawd they're a frustrating company to be a fan of.
Y U make me have psychotic episodes and take to the keyboard, where I spill out all my insanity? Sigh.
|*I'm sure we can fit a few moar in there...*|
Don't get it twisted - I love many other sci-fi and fantasy universes.
By way of a fer instance, I've been hearing rumbles about a new Dune thing; a movie, a series of movies? A big budget show akin to HBO's Game of Thrones, mayhap?
... Oh, excuse me. One of my tentacles had literally started touching something in impure manner... ...I'm sorry, desk...we'll getchu cleaned up. I haz shame...
I'm gonna need a towel here...
Seriously, though, imagine all of Frank Herbert's Dune books, from Dune to Chapterhouse Dune, presented live-action, in proper chronological order, with a millions-O-dollars budget, giving us every scene with no corners cut...with Fremen riding giant worms into combat, knocking down the outer walls of a city as thousands of lasers trace back 'n' forth, and...
...Oh, OhMyGawd desk I'm sorry...Oh jeez you didn't deserve that...
Wow, Imma run outta towels here...I am so, so sorry, desky desk. I luvs you. U R friend...
Anywho, yeah. I've heard names like David Lynch attached to these rumors, so who knows?
Dune, the book series, has a lotta 'people thinking within their own heads,' and as readers we're privy to all of it, and their inner monologues are ever-so-important to the whole thing.
If you've seen the 1984 movie, then you've had a taste of how kinda, sorta awkward making Dune work on film is, so I've never really had high hopes for a proper Dune thingy.
Still...there's gushy residue on my desk, so, ummm...I sure do luvs da Dune 'verse...
I am sorry, desk. Really I am.
|*Dune - And yes, I only consider Frank Herbert's Dune books worthy, not the follow-ups written by his son, or whatever. As you can see, Dune is a lil' light on Beakie Chapters, but there is a God Emperor, so that's something*|
Don't you judge me. I've seen what sports fans get up to, y'know.
Besides, you should see how glossy alla furniture in my lil' Bronx apartment is. It gleams. So nyah.
Yes, I know I, uh...might've complained a lil' 'bout Matt Ward during his initial tenure as Mr. Main Codex Writer Guy at Games Workshop, but it was just a lil.'
A tad. A wee bit. A smidgen, maybe.
*looks innocent for five whole seconds*
Okay, maybe I riffed about him incessantly, 'specially after the Grey Knights release, but I won't deny that 5th Edition was by far the most fun I had playing 40k, like ever.
6th Edition felt like a deliberate punch in the gut from GW.
It felt like a disavowal of everything the 40k scene had evolved into; the conventions and huge tournaments, the blogs and forums dedicated to the game, all of it driven for the most part by fans who love this silly thingy. Games Workshop threw a few official events every year, and welp, there were a lotta happy 40k'ers in the world.
Until, that is, GW did the world's slowest rug pull out from under the 'competitive scene' by first cancelling any and all of their own events, then cancelling any and all support for independently run events, and then releasing the absolute clunker that was the 6th Edition 40k ruleset.
In typical Games Workshop fashion for the time, there was no real explanation, no interaction with the community that supported them, so it kinda came off, in my opinion at least, as if Games Workshop was upset with us for playing with their toys in a fashion they didn't approve of, and decided to literally friggin' murder the fledgling competitive scene blooming up around 40k.
What ultimately happened, however, is that following a period of confusion and fumbling around, a lot of gamers (and the tournaments and conventions they attended) simply moved on to other games, and here we are a few years later and our hobby is massively, massively fragmented, when once so many of us united beneath the Games Workshop banner.
Is this a good thing? Bad thing?
Those gamers, myself included, took their money elsewhere.
KickStarter came along about this time as well, and boy-oh-boy, do we ever have a lotta choices now. Minigamers went from having pretty much two games to choose from - do you wanna play 40k or Warmachine? - to literally having entirely too many choices.
Now your biggest problem is gonna be finding someone else to invest in a new game with you, and then hoping you can grow the game so you'll actually have someone else besides your buddy to play with.
'Tis quite a conundrum, but I don't think we ever would've seen games like Malifaux, Saga, Infinity, or oh-so-many-others gain traction like they have in a Games Workshop dominated hobby scene, so...there ya go.
|*Battlefront still commissions their art at high schools, apparently*|
While there may be a dozen or more companies out there making models that are every bit as detailed as a 40k fig, and others offering cheaper figs, and meow meow meow, Games Workshop always has something they lack - the Warhammer Universes.
Two of them.
Not long (in GW terms, that is) after they got done with the 40k makeover, they set about killing off one of those Universes.
Like, fer realz.
And there was much lamenting...
While I'll admit that I'm not a swords and sorcery guy when it comes to my minigames, the way Games Workshop handled the whole Warhammer Fantasy debacle was...is poorly handled a fair thing to say?
I'm not gonna say 'shocking,' cuz no...by the time Fantasy's demise rolled around there's not a lot GW could do that would surprise me. Honestly, it would've been more surprising, 'round that time, if they had done something I thought was awesome.
|*Viya Con Dios, Warhammer Fantasy. You deserved better*|
They're a company. Companies are supposed to be all about making money (I haz doubts, sometimes, where G-Dubz and 'profits' are concerned).
That often means making decisions that may be unpopular with some customers, but will hopefully net more profits when it comes time to count the money. I get that.
What kills me about G-Dubz is the amazing consistency they seem to have for making what seem like extremely counter-intuitive business decisions. Combine that with the fact that whenever they release their financial statements their stock looks as attractive and upwardly mobile as a dead sloth, and you've got half of the gaming blog-o-sphere swearing their cat could make better business decisions than the folks at Games Workshop...and then we started making fun of Age of Sigmar...
Games Workshop killed off one of their signature franchises, and replaced it with something laughable, as far as comprehensive rulesets for games with hundreds of figs go.
It was painful to watch.
I understand there are some folks out there that kinda like Age of Sigmar, but that's not ever gonna make me think it was a good idea. The Twilight series of books and movies has fans, too.
On the flip side of alla the bad news, Games Workshop had done one good thing, and maybe two...but two is pushing it...
Firstly, they had re-released the Space Hulk board game.
Yes, they got all stoopid, claiming it was like, a one-time, limited, deluxe sooper-collector's edition type-o-thingy (sigh, G-Dubz. Just sigh), but hey- we got Space Hulk, so whatever. I'll take it. And yes, we were all hoping for a re-release of Blood Bowl the following year, but hahahahahahahahahaha! G-Dubz pulled a massive troll on us by giving us...Dreadfleet.
I know, right?
The game no one wanted, no one asked for, I don't know a single person that purchased it, and had to be the best example evar of GW's hubris.
At the time, I remember being amazed that we were getting this...thing instead of Blood Bowl, which seemed like a no-brainer following the success of Space Hulk, and also being completely put off by GW's 'just shaddup and buy it cuz we made it' way of presenting things to us.
The Games Workshop staff were firmly ensconced in their ivory towers, or whatever, and it felt like there was no way we could even ask them a question.
Perhaps I'm a lil' overly dramatic, but...welp, I don't have an excuse, actually. I'm just riffin,' but that's kinda what I do.
G-Dubz haz dem.
|*Games Workshop Headquarters. Yesh*|
Sure, in typical Games Workshop form they got there in the most awful way possible, by killing off one of their two most recognizable brand names. Warhammer Fantasy didn't go out with a bang, like yer average comic book or movie franchise - a big, crash-bang, explosion-filled, fan service-filled finale, unfortunately.
Was Warhammer Fantasy losing money?
Dragging G-Dubz down?
Was it beyond saving?
I very much doubt it, and please don't get me started on their whole 'Lord of the Rings' phase. Please. -_-
All I'm gonna say is that GW took the opportunity to dip their toe into a new paradigm for them - give the rules away for free, and sell the models gamers need to play it for cash money.
The theory is that, if the rules are good enough, they'll drive interest in the game, and folks will buy models to play it. I'm sure we'll never know how Age of Sigmar is making or losing money, cuz lord knows GW is so secretive we'll need the Russians to hack their servers if we ever wanna know what the heck G-Dubz is getting up to.
I've found that everything always works in theory, it's when you put these things into practice that they tend to go awry. I will give GW a tiny bit o' credit for giving the free, downloadable ruleset a try, however.
At least they tried.
Just when you think they can't do any more outlandishly backwards stuffs, G-Dubz catches me out there and releases the Mechanicum Codex for 40k.
When this happened, I was...is speechless a fair thing to say? Dumbfounded?
Nah, cuz I'm dumb most of the time...
How long have 40k fans wanted some Mechanicum stuffs?
|*This is cool. The Mechanicus stuffs from GW is cool. It's weird an' unique an' no one else out there has anything quite like it, fluff OR fig-wise. THIS...this is part of what makes 40k so darned awesome, and GW gave it to us finally*|
Just a few of this and that to look good. Not a whole Codex worth of stuffs, and not in plastic for us scruffy nerfherder 'can't really afford too much Forge World' types.
Yeah, Games Workshop released a whole new army for 40k, with a new lineup of models and a Codex to accompany them. And...wait for it...it was something we wanted.
It wasn't moar Space Marines.
I was a lil' wary, cuz GW had managed to turn basically one model into an entire Codex with Imperial Knights, but no...Cult Mechanicus may be a wee bit on the thin side, overall, but I think it was an actual good move on GW's part.
...An actual good move...
It could happen.
To my (much greater) surprise, they didn't stop there.
Expansions like the Harlequins and Skitarii, Thousand Sons and Deathwatch...Ok, sure GW could include those as part of their Parent Codexes, and methinks g-Dubz is bein' typical ol' greedy-ass G-Dubz, but it does show they're committed to Digital Publishing, and we prolly shouldn't expect a lotta free downloads outside of the odd formation or two...and yes, I think formations are a sneaky/clever way for GW to move models that aren't selling well.
'Sure, these guys are stoopidly overpriced and underpowered in their original Codex entry, but if you buy twelve of them...'
Sigh GW. Just sigh.
Whilst I don't approve of the method, I approve of the content. Moar content is almost always a good thing...
|*Hey - Y'know who needs their own 'Dex? POINTY HEAD SOOPER BEAKIES!!!*|
I guess I can't complain about the lack of big, stompy Knights for da bad guys if they gave us that, too...
Now we've got a Traitor Legion book, Matt Ward might be back, and how far away could a new Edition be for 40k?
The Ultimate Rival was texting me all week, telling me he'll be building a Salamanders army 'for his son,' which is an excuse he's used many times in the past. I was so amped to find out that I may actually get out of playing Team Yankee that I didn't call him on it.
Apparently a buncha folks from my old gaming club are either digging out their old 40k stuffs, or are coming out of pocket to re-up.
They're psyched about this...is turnabout a fair thing to say? Change of direction?
Something is going on at Games Workshop.
I'm not sure what, and I'm extremely loathe to genuinely believe in Games Workshop due to too many years of 'abusive relationship syndrome,' but...but...
|*Sigh. Fine. We'll buy the damn Custodes Codex*|
A very tiny, wee lil' spark.
I mean, all it would take is a decent ruleset to pull it all together. The disparate mess is all there, we just need someone to codify it, organize it and make it fair 'n' fun.
Easy peasy, amirite?
OhGawd please let this happen.
Now if you'll excuse me, I hafta sacrifice a box o' Grey Knights to da Chaos Gods, and chant Matt Ward's name into the Warp.
Until next time, folks...
I still gota come up with a good exit line, dammit.