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A disconnect in GW's team?


AaronWilson
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Hey guys, would just like to make a discalimer that I currently think GW are smashing it out the park, heck I play 5 of there current game systems and I think as a company ethos and actions they are smashing it so please keep it up GW!

My real discussion point was - do people think there is a disconnect between the GW's rule design team somewhere? I got thinking about this primarily when AoS2 first hit us and a lot of changes that were put in place in AoS1 to stop silly scenarios happening stopped. No was the rule of one a thing, which lead to grots doing 128 damage and things like Lord Kroak doing 100+ mortal wounds in a turn. It seemed like a really weird decision to have purposely ruled one way in AoS1 because of these scenarios to then revert the change for no good reason it seemed. 

I got this feeling again when reading through the Beasts of Chaos battletomes, as a rule of thumb Batallions were brought up in points and / or changed to remove a lot of the offensive ones that would result in one dropping and un-interactive games. Looking at the Beasts of Chaos batallions there is one that stands out for a cheap cost it's a one drop with very few restrictions, again which contradictory to the route they had been taking.

It just feels that not everyone is on the same page and the community team often real off there teams goals / designs which don't come get through / executed in the final product. 

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GW's rule team situation appears very odd. First up we've never really known what happens behind closed doors.

The second issue is that they don't really open test that often; from what I've gathered even when they send out pre-release rules for testing its often done in a means by which they send out a fixed army for both and have the people play against each other, rather than releasing the codex details in full. This can account for how even with some external testing, some combos slip through the net. 

I also think that they've had, in the past certainly, some attitude problems and I think that there's more htan one on their team who approaches rules in a very casual manner, which results in rules that have casual gaps in them because they make assumptions, The push to get page numbers down might have made this worse in some areas. 

 

 

I think GW is improving, but many have said for a long while that they could do far better considering the huge data resource they have from players. That said since the new management and the new 40K and AoS they've taken huge strides in improving. The annual Generals books; the faster FAQ/Errata releases etc... They are, I think, at a big turning point in their direction, focus and attitude toward rules, but are not quite there "yet". 

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3 minutes ago, AaronWIlson said:

Hey guys, would just like to make a discalimer that I currently think GW are smashing it out the park, heck I play 5 of there current game systems and I think as a company ethos and actions they are smashing it so please keep it up GW!

My real discussion point was - do people think there is a disconnect between the GW's rule design team somewhere? I got thinking about this primarily when AoS2 first hit us and a lot of changes that were put in place in AoS1 to stop silly scenarios happening stopped. No was the rule of one a thing, which lead to grots doing 128 damage and things like Lord Kroak doing 100+ mortal wounds in a turn. It seemed like a really weird decision to have purposely ruled one way in AoS1 because of these scenarios to then revert the change for no good reason it seemed. 

I got this feeling again when reading through the Beasts of Chaos battletomes, as a rule of thumb Batallions were brought up in points and / or changed to remove a lot of the offensive ones that would result in one dropping and un-interactive games. Looking at the Beasts of Chaos batallions there is one that stands out for a cheap cost it's a one drop with very few restrictions, again which contradictory to the route they had been taking.

It just feels that not everyone is on the same page and the community team often real off there teams goals / designs which don't come get through / executed in the final product. 

Mmmm. Yeah. I've been getting that same feeling for a while. And I know there's that whole 'work in progress' ethos, or 'agile working' going on in the design team, but for the gamers there's been plenty 'wtf?' going on too.

Don't get me wrong also, love the game, love the models, but the rules see-saw between being 'nonsense for the sake of balance' to 'let's ignore balance completely and be utterly ludicrous.' None of which improves the game, and at times weakens it. The Endless Spells, for example, which I was hoping would be amazing, are... dull, to be honest. While Lord Kroak is now a demi-god who has more power than Sigmar himself.

Personally, I'm waiting for the Snotling Pumpwagon-boost, which turns into a hot-rod, massacres Everchosen in one roll of a dice before transforming into a wooden/snotling sentinel the size of a titan dealing 5xD6 damage at every turn.

Yeah, you can laugh. But it might happen.

Really.

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Generally speaking they have come on leaps and bounds since AoS v1.0. Balance at the moment is the best it has been, although I regret the bias towards hordes and the total sidelining of shooting (tough balance to strike - Kunning Rukk was crazy).

I am surprised by some of the mistakes they have made - allowing stacking of same command abilities (now largely reined in, but obviously should never have been in place); and indefinite usage of Endless Legions for just 1 CP (when 40K nerfed similar more expensive abilities to once per game recently).

Edited by Nico
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I think there has always been a disconnect, and will forever be a disconnect.

The SCE book for example. It's by no means terrible, but seriously how much thought actually went into it?

Did no one raise their hand and go "hey do you think creating rules for EIGHT stormhosts with their own mandatory item and trait would result in some (or most) being subpar, especially since we already have THIRTY SCE magic items"?

It's like they were making rules for the sake of making rules! Now I love space marine chapters, but maybe they should have slowly trickled the stormhosts rather than trying to stuff in as much as possible all at once at the launch of a new edition (new edition armies tend to...be a little on the weird side). Heck even Nighthaunt players (at the top competitive level, they're still great in normal games) are starting to think they're overpaying for Ethereal.

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7 minutes ago, Sleboda said:

I think AoS 1.0 was the pinnacle for GW in terms of balance. Each game was left to the players to find what was right for them. I liked that a lot.

Eh it was a nightmare if you are meaning the actual launch rules before the 1.0 Generals Handbook.

When AoS launched its rules were a jovial slap in the face approach to rules. Most of them were comical (if you've a beard you get +1 defence) and were like the unhinged game for magic the gathering. Yes its good for a laugh but its not what you base your entire game on. At the time it was the entire game and it was not just that, but it was the launch rules for the game after GW shut down a long lasting and very popular (in its day) fantasy game and world.

They were rule born of managment focus that was "rules don't matter, players just care about cool looking models". 

Also the whole "make your own points up" thing was broken. Most people just dumped the game or used the points from the previous fantasy game. Because otherwise you're relying on each gamer group to work out what is fair in a game. Sure its fun to put a hydra against 60 spearmen, but if the hydra loses every time its not fun for the hydra player. And it could take ages to work out how many spears are worth one hydra to give a roughly even chance for both to win. And that's just one example of one isolated situation and not factoring in all the models in the range.

 

Like I said these kind of things are ok when as a said to a regular structured game. Nothing stops you doing those things right now, you can play without points or rules or even sensible rules at any time you want and you don't need GW to tell you to do that. 

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3 minutes ago, Overread said:

Like I said these kind of things are ok when as a said to a regular structured game. Nothing stops you doing those things right now, you can play without points or rules or even sensible rules at any time you want and you don't need GW to tell you to do that. 

Plus isn't that what Open Play is for? I mean point costs are technically for Matched Play.

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29 minutes ago, Overread said:

Most of them were comical (if you've a beard you get +1 defence) 

despised those rules, for sure.

I'm talking just about the whole "play with your collection as you see fit - talk it out with your opponent first" approach. Loved it!

It was the first and only time in GW's history where they walked the talk. For decades they said it was about the models and that the range is so large that they'll never get the balance right ... and yet they kept selling point values, unit sizes, etc. It was hypocritical and disingenuous.

Then they finally said "You know what? ****** that. We make great models. You paint them. We will make some some basic rules as a frame for a game. You will figure the rest out."

And we did.

We played games that were spectacles and thrilling. One guy said he wanted to use every plague bearer he owned. So he did. It was a wonderful evening.

Nobody argued. Nobody got bent out of shape at a loss. Nobody was trying to net-list a killer combo. People were just having fun with their hobby.

Then GW caved to the beardies. They were so close to finally achieving The Happy Place, but they didn't have the stomach to push ahead and let the "I'mma kill ya, brah. My identity is tied to my kill rate, brah. I eat noobs like you and pooh out a new meta, brah" crowd die out.

 

Now, don't get me wrong. I enjoy the current game as well. A lot. I'm just saying that for a brief moment, there was a shining place known as Camelot.

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@Sleboda but the thing is you can use all your plague bearers you own if you want. You just have to agree with your opponent. Good rules never stopped you doing that before and they don't stop you now and bad rules don't enable it. The only difference is that now there is at least a standard game format where you  can play with rules that aim to achieve a balanced playing field.

 

If a few people are better and gloat about it sure; but before then they'd have just brought their whole collection of 15 dragons to sweep the board with anyway. So they are no less or no more than they were. IT might just be that you've "noticed" it since the rules got better and tht now you're more aware of it than you once were.

 

In my view good matched play rules act like a solid foundation upon which gamers cna build what they want. You can follow it all at the competitive end; you can have fun games where you ignore bits of it; you can throw it all out if you want. but having it gives you that solid base line. It's also much more fair for new people who don't know the internal balance at a rough level so they can't even fathom how to build an army without some guildelines (points) so that its fair and fun and that their opponent won't just trash them with 10 super expensive super powered models. 

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28 minutes ago, kenshin620 said:

Plus isn't that what Open Play is for? I mean point costs are technically for Matched Play.

The problem was, there was no matched play in the first year. There was only open play and a community that was spoiled by a pointsystem to balance there games.

 

1 hour ago, AaronWIlson said:

My real discussion point was - do people think there is a disconnect between the GW's rule design team somewhere? I got thinking about this primarily when AoS2 first hit us and a lot of changes that were put in place in AoS1 to stop silly scenarios happening stopped. No was the rule of one a thing, which lead to grots doing 128 damage and things like Lord Kroak doing 100+ mortal wounds in a turn. It seemed like a really weird decision to have purposely ruled one way in AoS1 because of these scenarios to then revert the change for no good reason it seemed. 

Sometimes I don't know what GW was doing. The main problem here was, that these warscrolls exist since the beginning and rules were changed multiple times in between.

So bad it sounds, I think, in 2.0 we normally need a second range of "Grand Alliance Books", changing every warscroll to the new design and new wording (but with our luck, the examples of the TO would have sliped through.

Another case we are seeing now. GW made an FAQ that Units in a Battalion of another Faction counts as Allies but Beast of Chaos Battalions don't have an allegiance at all. So the FAQ doesn't count for them. What was wrong with the old rules, that you can choose beween the Allegiance of the Battalion and the Allegiance that all units within the Battalion have?

1 hour ago, AaronWIlson said:

I got this feeling again when reading through the Beasts of Chaos battletomes, as a rule of thumb Batallions were brought up in points and / or changed to remove a lot of the offensive ones that would result in one dropping and un-interactive games. Looking at the Beasts of Chaos batallions there is one that stands out for a cheap cost it's a one drop with very few restrictions, again which contradictory to the route they had been taking.

Wasn't it the same problem with the daughters of Khaine. Every Battalion was getting 100 Points more expensive with the GH2017 and DoK had cheap Battalions.

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1 hour ago, Mcthew said:

Personally, I'm waiting for the Snotling Pumpwagon-boost, which turns into a hot-rod, massacres Everchosen in one roll of a dice before transforming into a wooden/snotling sentinel the size of a titan dealing 5xD6 damage at every turn.

Yeah, you can laugh. But it might happen.

Really.

Wait, is that not how it's played right now? I owe my local gaming group an apology for consistently turn 1 tabling their armies with my 2 Snotling Pumpwagon with several dozen command point list...

All joking aside, the rules team just seems disconnected from the reality of play. How many times have we seen them release an ability that everyone is instantly like "Uh, this is game breaking since it's stackable"? And of course 6 months later its FAQed to not be stackable. 

It's not even super convulated situations that happen once in a blue moon that slip through. It's just stuff that two good players would notice over a single game. I simply don't understand how such glaring rules questions slip through sometimes. Bleh. 

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34 minutes ago, Overread said:

before then they'd have just brought their whole collection of 15 dragons to sweep the board with anyway

Nah. They couldn't. There was a discussion first. You would agree he could use 4 dragons (or whatever) and if he put 6 on the table, you would remind him you agreed to 4. If he still went with 6, you skipped the game and likely never tried to play him again. There was no surprise ****** move.

Now we have an illusion of balance and testosterone-filled tournaments that allows "brah" gamers to hide behind "it's all legal, noob. Not my fault you suck" and all you can do is ... nothing.

Yes, you can still play open in your basement, but the existence of matched points and "balanced" competitive tournaments encourages people to embrace that part of their lesser selves and puts a squeeze on time devoted to open play.

Most of my adult life I (and the vast majority of the people I know) have counted themselves lucky to get in one or, at best, two evenings of gaming in a given month - often times skipping months entirely.

If The Big Event is coming up in 6 months, you are going to be hard pressed to find opponents willing to "waste" practice time on any game that isn't focused on the Event.

This is why I say GW caved. When there was no Matched Play system, your opponents could feel better about a fun romp of 6 dragons and 75 plague bearers. Now he can't afford to be so frivolous and whimsical ... cuz there is serious winnin' to be done and the meta must be studied and armies need to be painted by pros so you can score the soft points (can't risk your own ****** painting costing you in the standings and moving down in the global rankings, after all).

Edited by Sleboda
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16 minutes ago, EMMachine said:

The problem was, there was no matched play in the first year. There was only open play and a community that was spoiled by a pointsystem to balance there games.

 

Oh yea I know that, my post was in reaction to someones response to someone who seemed to like the beer and snacks "bring what you want" game. The option to play "the original" AoS never went away, it's just renamed to Open Play.

 

I think the main problem with the rule design is that it's how gw writes and updates rules, outside of the "holy cow we need to fix the Flyer only armies in 40k!"

They are not structured like a video game company, nor are they Wizards of the Coast. They just do their own kind of thing at their own pace (outside of the massive codex update for 8th edition). Even Privateer Press uses the CID system to slowly develop a theme before a general release (though how is that anyways? I never really paid attention to the development, just the final stuff).

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I'm not sure there is a disconnect per se.  But there is a big difference between what a vocal part of the community wants and how GW sees itself. GW sees itself as a company that makes fantasy miniatures and produces games to sell the models. A lot of the community see it the other way around and think GW should be a company that makes games and models for those games. I get that but TBH that's the community misunderstanding GW, not the other way around. They make all of this clear in their business model statement for investors.

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3 minutes ago, zedatkinszed said:

I'm not sure there is a disconnect per se.  But there is a big difference between what a vocal part of the community wants and how GW sees itself. GW sees itself as a company that makes fantasy miniatures and produces games to sell the models. A lot of the community see it the other way around and think GW should be a company that makes games and models for those games. I get that but TBH that's the community misunderstanding GW, not the other way around. They make all of this clear in their business model statement for investors.

Well though it is weird when a company called GAMES Workshop says "we make models, not games". Why not just use their Citadel Miniatures name instead? (Ironically they once claimed they don't want normal stores to carry their stuff because they aren't "toys"...and now they're boasting many of their products will be available in Barnes and Noble)

Plus well they have been making and printing rules for the past....30 years? It's not like they're a miniature company for 30 years, and then just 10 years ago went "hey maybe we should write rules".

And to be fair my goodness some of their errr...statements are a little weird. I remember reading one of their Year End reports (like what 2013-2014? somewhere around there), when the company was more or less in a massive pickle (during the massive CEO jumping) and the acting CEO at the time claimed no one plays Pokemon.

 

Now don't get me wrong! I don't mind "hey the company in the end gets the final say in what they wanna do".

Like Nintendo. They said "Super Smash Brothers isn't suppose to be Competitive" and then went to make Super Smash Brothers Brawl (with the infamous Tripping mechanic). I'm not hating on them for that. Sure it's weird they did that, but it is their own creation.

But I guess the argument is "why can't they do both?"

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1 hour ago, Sleboda said:

I think AoS 1.0 was the pinnacle for GW in terms of balance. Each game was left to the players to find what was right for them. I liked that a lot.

you mean, the time where every tournament was won by either changehost or vanguard wing ? meh...

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19 minutes ago, kenshin620 said:

Well though it is weird when a company called GAMES Workshop says "we make models, not games". Why not just use their Citadel Miniatures name instead? [...] Plus well they have been making and printing rules for the past....30 years? It's not like they're a miniature company for 30 years, and then just 10 years ago went "hey maybe we should write rules". [...]  But I guess the argument is "why can't they do both?"

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I take your point but if you think about how GW did AOS 1.0 it shows how they saw themselves. 

No question in my mind though - if GW wants 40K and AOS to have longevity then they need to invest in proper rules development (not just game development).

Then again if you look at how it has been happening for 30 years, the releases for (WHFB,) AOS and 40K are more kluges that develop out of the "rule of cool" (which dictates what models get released) rather than asking "what does the game need".

The minis are king in GW's process and TBH in many people's mind too. (That's not a defence of how they do things just and observation)

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But tournaments are fun...

Yea some people are a bit too competitive and can be an ******, but most are pretty chill and looking to have fun in a competitive environment, like with video games, card games or sport. 

I don't want to have to "figure" things out with my opponent every game, that's what I pay GW for. Matched play gives you a nice format to play games with without having to worry about your army getting stomped flat by a silly list. 

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16 minutes ago, Sleboda said:

No, I mean before tournaments were enabled at all.

I think the issue here is that AoS was (by outside observable measures) failing badly at launch. I know that we don't have concrete sales data, etc. to back that up but I think there is more than enough anecdotal evidence to generally support this position. So while you may enjoy that aspect of the hobby, GW (as a publicly traded company) had a responsibility to their shareholders to produce a system with a wider appeal. 

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21 minutes ago, zedatkinszed said:

 

The minis are king in GW's process and TBH in many people's mind too. (That's not a defence of how they do things just and observation)

 

Yea thats why I am in warhammer in the first place!

I am not a tournament player, if I play MTG for example, I'm definitely a Timmy+Johnny!

(if you don't know MTG lingo, theres a wonderful article about the 3 main "buckets" of mtg players and hybrids. https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/timmy-johnny-and-spike-2013-12-03    )

I don't mind mid tier armies or builds, I think Legions of Nagash is a big example of this. To the casual/mid player, LoN is pretty cool with all sorts of fancy options. To the ultra competitive player, there are a lot of the book that...kind of doesn't see the light of day.

What I don't like is the obvious "low tier" armies, whether it's due to power creep or just because the rules are so mangled. Orcs and Goblins in 7th edition with their silly "1 in 6 chance of doing NOTHING" rule, or 7th edition Beastmen with their horribly convoluted ambushing rule coupled with the most overpriced monsters in the entire game (the 275pts for a jabberslythe, ghorgon, or cygor? really?)

Right now in 2.0 there are a lot of armies that could use some love but GW is GW, it updates when it updates. But on a whole I am very much 2.0 positive.

 

Going back to the super smash bros example, I think it's like SSB for the WiiU/3DS. Sure it does not appeal to the ultra hardcore Melee players, but I think it sufficed enough for most tournament people (compared to the anti tournament Brawl), while at the same time still appealing to the casual audience with silly items and party modes.

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58 minutes ago, Sleboda said:

Most of my adult life I (and the vast majority of the people I know) have counted themselves lucky to get in one or, at best, two evenings of gaming in a given month - often times skipping months entirely.

If The Big Event is coming up in 6 months, you are going to be hard pressed to find opponents willing to "waste" practice time on any game that isn't focused on the Event.

This. Ten thousand times this. My opinion about GW skyrocketed back where it was on early 90s when AoS first release. I mean, the courage of releasing a game system without a point system? It couldn't last, obviously, but it was GW telling people "guys, maybe you're missing the most important point: have fun". Now the system is still fine, there is a point system so people are happy and stopped complaining (even if it's a joke) and everyone uses it. You cannot anymore get a game where you design stuff as you please, like mixing alliances, for example "for game balance sake" they say, even if questioned on the subject, everyone is very ready to point out undercosted and overcosted units by the dozen.

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