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Forrix

The heavy hand of GW balancing returns...

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25 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

Its really about numbers.  I agree warmachine and infinity as game systems are more suited for tournament play.  But 40k and AOS has a much deeper player base so you have the ability to have much larger tournaments, much larger prizes, and much larger community where you can make content and earn money from doing that content than you do with smaller games.

Do people even play warmahordes anymore? That died out so long ago in my area, the new edition came out and made people even angrier. There seemed to be no attempt at balance . Infinity is cool. 

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1 hour ago, Zadolix said:

It's only online that there so much push and hysteria about the competitive scene and ITC. I can bet 90% are playing homehammer or storehammer with their friends using the official rules in matched or narrative play.

Around here 40k is almost exclusively competetive even in friendly games which is really killing it for me.

 

Edit: Concerning AoS: It's not fun being rofl-stomped by the Big Waagh 24/7 (with S2D) just because GW was incapable of even remotely balancing Battletomes against one another (One book has superior units, better Allegiance Abilities and cheaper units while the other one is Slaves to Darkness with which this match up feels like you are playing with 30% less points than your opponent).
Bad overall balance kills the casual scene big time.
Most issues aren't even scratching the endless "balance depate" most rules they slap on units are beyond common sense (powerful or bad).

Edited by JackStreicher
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People complaining about GW balance should check the other games.

Even the games where "balance" and "tournament play" are the main focus can end with complete ****** netlist that will break the balance harder than Bane crushed Batman's spine.

Warmachine mostly died in a few months (despite being in a incredibly good position at the start at the V3) because they decided to release those stupidly overpowered broken theme force that were 1000% worse than their previous iteration.

So much for "focusing on balance"

Edited by ledha

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3 hours ago, Zadolix said:

It's only online that there so much push and hysteria about the competitive scene and ITC. I can bet 90% are playing homehammer or storehammer with their friends using the official rules in matched or narrative play. Competitive scene conversations can be useful for number crunching and analysing units which is nice when breaking down warscrolls but there is a whole section of the hobby which is all about just building themed / narrative forces and modeling and playing for fun. Personally I think if you want to play competitive and are OCD with balance then you should be playing Warmachine or Infinity which are tournament focused games, or even underworlds. Competitive Warhammer to me is more of a casual fun competitive format compared to other games which are bleeding edge competitive. 

Mostly agree  however really not sure that WM is your best thing to focus on for balance.  I don't know Infinity so can't comment on it.  

There is a big difference between a game being  designed 'for competitive play' and being balanced.    Lots of games are marketed as being designed for competitive play including at least some tied to GW.  Warhammer Underworlds was designed specifically for competitive play.   I'd argue Blood Bowl while it's taken a middle ground approach to tournament play and home play is reasonably well designed for competitive play and specifically had it's rules set literally written by members of the  tournament going community.    For non traditional miniature games there is a large competitive play focus to X wing (despite a huge narrative potential alluded to in it's rules.)  

However whether we are talking Warmahordes, Underworlds, Blood Bowl, X wing the faction to faction or unit choice to unit choice balance is never particularly good.  In Blood Bowl's case that's actually part of the design intent for the system (to create more and less challenging teams for players to select consciously from.)    That's particularly a problem in the complex miniature systems we are talking about with sequential faction releases over the course of years, intentionally creating very different mechanics from faction to faction, and highly granular player driven list building.    It's a lot easier to balance a game like chess where there is only one faction specific rule (white goes first), and the 'armies' are preselected by the designers to be perfectly balanced.    

AoS and 40K aren't designed a priori to be 'competitive' games they are designed to be fun games for the largest number of potential gamers - to make sales for the company.  Really while a variety of games are marketed as 'competitive' games their actual reason for existence is sell the toys and make money.   Magic has a big focus on high stakes  'competitive play' but most of it's sales are to teens who are playing for fun not to make a living (I don't know enough about magic to comment about balance-but my understanding of the release model is it's designed to be intentionally imbalanced own a better card and you are more likely to win.)     

A game with a smaller player base, less internet net listing and less high pressure prize stakes can have imbalance issues that don't get as recognized in the gaming community.   I.E. some small kickstarter project with 400 backers is going to take longer for any balance issues to make 'the broader gamer' news.  

 

Edited by gjnoronh

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3 minutes ago, ledha said:

Warmachine mostly died in a few months (despite being in a incredibly good position at the start at the V3) because they decided to release those stupidly overpowered broken theme force that were 1000% worse than their previous iteration.

I'm out of the loop on Warmahordes but this might be an example of the risks of marketing a game primarily on competitive play. When they ****** up a new release people just drop in an instant. With focusing more on hobby people have a deeper connection to their armies and are less likely to jump ship when the rules go bad. Obviously, they still get mad (and rightfully so) but it gives GW more time to fix the issue and makes their playerbase less likely to leave at the drop of a hat.

Part of why I prefer miniature games over card games like Netrunner and Magic is the hobby aspect and having nice models for display when I'm not playing. I tried warmahordes but absolutely hated their resin and am not a fan of metal miniatures either. The models don't seem particularly well sculpted compared to other miniature companies too. Conceptually though I find their models to be 2nd only to GW in terms of style.

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Darkness with which this match up feels like you are playing with 30% less points than your opponent).
Bad overall balance kills the casual scene big time.
Most issues aren't even scratching the endless "balance depate" most rules they slap on units are beyond common sense (powerful or bad).

Here is a question I'd like to pose, because it seems there are a lot of people here, on facebook, on dakka, everywhere, that constantly say the bad balance kills their scene, but say that for years so to me their scene is still going (I know I'm not arguing the balance is bad, because it *is* bad but my scene is still huge *despite* the bad balance)

If its that bad and you feel it kills it for you or you casual scene, why do you keep coming back for more?  Why doesn't your casual scene find a different game to play?

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57 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

 

 

Here is a question I'd like to pose, because it seems there are a lot of people here, on facebook, on dakka, everywhere, that constantly say the bad balance kills their scene, but say that for years so to me their scene is still going (I know I'm not arguing the balance is bad, because it *is* bad but my scene is still huge *despite* the bad balance)

If its that bad and you feel it kills it for you or you casual scene, why do you keep coming back for more?  Why doesn't your casual scene find a different game to play?

Because people are afraid of investing into other games when they've already spent hundreds/thousands on their GW collections. They don't want to take the plunge, spend a lot of money, then have their collections wasted because GW puts out a new edition, says "It's the best ever!" then everybody flocks back like what happened with 40k 8th. Even in this example the CASUAL scene died but they can still get WAAC/tournament games. It's why GW games usually have such vocally negative fandoms and indeed pretty dire balance, but they keep selling... well, the core games anyway.

If 7th Edition 40k was put out by any other company, that would've been it. If AoS 1E had been put out by any other company we'd never have heard about that game for more than a month. The difference is that people know they will always find games with GW core products eventually and are very eager to invest back into it for that reason, no matter how bad the game is.

The casual scene in these places might well die off, but within a few months it will springboard back because if there's one thing GW's fandom will do, it's give them unlimited chances.

Edited by Clan's Cynic
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1 hour ago, JackStreicher said:

 

Bad overall balance kills the casual scene big time.
Most issues aren't even scratching the endless "balance depate" most rules they slap on units are beyond common sense (powerful or bad).

Sorry to be the guy but this Is total conjecture which is not borne out by the evidence at all. 

GW are reporting best ever sales year after year, but balance has for GW has always been garbage.

*At best* you can say that bad overall balance kills the casual scene from one perspective but the overwhelming evidence points to an increasing focus on accessibility and availability to the hobby that GW has been prioritising means that approach brings in far more than a lack of focus on balance loses. 

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12 minutes ago, Clan's Cynic said:

Because people are afraid of investing into other games when they've already spent hundreds/thousands on their GW collections. They don't want to take the plunge, spend a lot of money, then have their collections wasted because GW puts out a new edition, says "It's the best ever!" then everybody flocks back like what happened with 40k 8th. Even in this example the CASUAL scene died but they can still get WAAC/tournament games. It's why GW games usually have such vocally negative fandoms and indeed pretty dire balance, but they keep selling... well, the core games anyway.

If 7th Edition 40k was put out by any other company, that would've been it. If AoS 1E had been put out by any other company we'd never have heard about that game for more than a month. The difference is that people know they will always find games with GW core products eventually and are very eager to invest back into it for that reason, no matter how bad the game is.

The casual scene in these places might well die off, but within a few months it will springboard back because if there's one thing GW's fandom will do, it's give them unlimited chances.

Just adding that a lot of people will also stay because they still like Warhammer as an IP, regardless of rules

Edited by Zanzou

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8 minutes ago, Nos said:

Sorry to be the guy but this Is total conjecture which is not borne out by the evidence at all. 

GW are reporting best ever sales year after year, but balance has for GW has always been garbage.

*At best* you can say that bad overall balance kills the casual scene from one perspective but the overwhelming evidence points to an increasing focus on accessibility and availability to the hobby that GW has been prioritising means that approach brings in far more than a lack of focus on balance loses. 

Poor balance kills accessibility and availability though. When more armies are balanced - I say more, because they'll always be top dogs - then you're encouraging a wider spread of players to get stuck in and have a good time, compared to going up against generally unfun lists like Ossiarchs and Iron Hands. I know I sure don't want to play 40k until my GSC can actually stand a chance against casual Marine lists when the latter is pretty much designed to wipe the former off the board.

Good balance is pretty much always a positive, both internal and external within/against a book. Poor balances serves nobody save GW wanting to shift old, dusty stock that's suddenly powerful.

Edited by Clan's Cynic
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11 minutes ago, Clan's Cynic said:

If AoS 1E had been put out by any other company we'd never have heard about that game for more than a month.

To be fair, AoS 1E dropped on nuke on my local area and effectively killed the scene for a couple years and wasn't even talked about except to be used as an example of a gaming company committing suicide. Hell, I remember seeing 1E starter sets going for $70 on Amazon and not selling. The GHB rekindled people's interest but it still took quite some time for it to take root. It wasn't until after 2nd Edition dropped that my local scene started to take off. I think GW only survived the launch of AoS due to 40k at the time and having more resources than most other gaming companies. They then poured resources into AoS and managed to turn it around by abandoning most of the design philosophy initially present in AoS's launch.

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44 minutes ago, Clan's Cynic said:

Poor balance kills accessibility and availability though. When more armies are balanced - I say more, because they'll always be top dogs - then you're encouraging a wider spread of players to get stuck in and have a good time, compared to going up against generally unfun lists like Ossiarchs and Iron Hands. I know I sure don't want to play 40k until my GSC can actually stand a chance against casual Marine lists when the latter is pretty much designed to wipe the former off the board.

Good balance is pretty much always a positive, both internal and external within/against a book. Poor balances serves nobody save GW wanting to shift old, dusty stock that's suddenly powerful.

I'd agree good balance helps overall. Someone who falls in love with the look/lore of army X and then realizes they are terrible will either not make the purchases if they figure that out before they get invested (money and time), or once they are invested be a bitter gamer when they realize their investment isn't competitive on the table.  

Because it's harder to switch factions 40k/AoS the angst is higher.  Again contrast that to cheaper skirmish systems where you might paint 12 models for $35 realize they were bad and easily move on.    

That being said folks complaining about GW's balance - please name a company that really does better long term balance with a 20 or so factions s with widely variant faction rules.   

There are games with tighter rules in terms of competitive play (inside the GW world and outside) there aren't any games  I am aware of where someone is managing to keep 22 or so  factions balanced while maintaining differences in their faction types.

Several of us have already pointed out that some stars of the competitive games world (warmachine, magic, xwing) don't achieve interfaction balance.   

 

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1 hour ago, Clan's Cynic said:

Poor balance kills accessibility and availability though. When more armies are balanced - I say more, because they'll always be top dogs - then you're encouraging a wider spread of players to get stuck in and have a good time, compared to going up against generally unfun lists like Ossiarchs and Iron Hands. I know I sure don't want to play 40k until my GSC can actually stand a chance against casual Marine lists when the latter is pretty much designed to wipe the former off the board.

Good balance is pretty much always a positive, both internal and external within/against a book. Poor balances serves nobody save GW wanting to shift old, dusty stock that's suddenly powerful.

Again- the extent to which that may be the  case is evidently dwarfed by the accessibility GW provides by its focus on accessibility in other forms- Start Collecting sets, push fit kits, battleboxes, contrast paints etc.

Over the past decade GW, a company who makes toy soldiers, were one of the highest performing companies in the FTSE 250 and flourished esoecially on the Highstreet, an area where many far more wealthy and powerful businesses and companies have experienced a complete haemorrhage of profitability and even viability.

There are situations in which it is possible to propose to know how to do things better than the established party doing it.

In every aspect relating to popularity, profitability, accessibility and customer loyalty, there is not one person on here who has any reason whatever to maintain that they know better than GW. It's easy to say stuff, GW is doing it, investing in its vision which according to some is not efficient or makes no sense, yet it is worth billions and its value increases year on year, on the back of it's own convictions, just by making toy soldiers.

Its simply not possible to suggest they're not doing it right when faced with  the fact of their mounting success. 

Edited by Nos
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Nos while I generally agree with you - there is no question GW has been the most successful miniature company for decades.  I think it's also fair to wonder if there are things that would help them.      

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1 hour ago, Nos said:

Sorry to be the guy but this Is total conjecture which is not borne out by the evidence at all. 

GW are reporting best ever sales year after year, but balance has for GW has always been garbage.

*At best* you can say that bad overall balance kills the casual scene from one perspective but the overwhelming evidence points to an increasing focus on accessibility and availability to the hobby that GW has been prioritising means that approach brings in far more than a lack of focus on balance loses.

True, for the moment. As mentioned before: I don't think GW is even interested in balance or making a better game, it's about making a game many people will get into and buy. The issue of overall balance arises for people who have the luxury to play rather often, and therefore ruins their game experience which will have consequences in the long term (just listen to the overall casual consensus on 40K, most people seem VERY annoyed by the rules and powercreep)

However GW claims to produce a "premium" product, which includes rules. The latter clearly isn't premium which pretty much lowers the overall product quality and proves that their product isn't premium at all.

 

Think of it what you will. My hope remains that some GW dev listens to the rather critical feedback and maybe wants to steer the Rules production to a more focussed approach : Setting a level of power (per edition?) that has to be achieved for all new and old books and work towards it. At the moment they seem not to have a idea of powerlevel at all, they design rules that might be cool and slap some points on them, uncaring about the actual power of it. 
 

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A few people have mentioned it in the thread already, but Corvus Belli (Infinity’s producer) has managed to consistently maintain inter faction balance between a game with 20+ factions for years now (counting “sectorials,” the game’s take on sub factions that trade restrictions on broader unit availability for increased availability of certain units and the ability to play with “linked” groups of models in a skirmish game).

 

There are certainly still “winners” and “losers” in Infinity factions - some are considered more capable at base level than others, and some are definitely more difficult to play well. But, the best tournament players will often win tournaments with the “worst” factions because the game is relatively well-balanced and player skill truly matters.

 

That said, Infinity lacks, to a larger extent, intra-faction balance. There are some units you just never use, and some units you must play in certain factions to be competitive. However, any unit can still perform, especially in casual rather than competitive games. 
 

AoS has bigger issues with both forms of balance, although I’ll grant that GW has a much larger world of options to balance than CB does. There’s a fundamental difference between skirmish and massed-battle games that makes it harder to catch all of the balance issues in AoS (or 40k). Speaking as someone who cares heavily about balance (both in competitive and casual play, because frankly bad balance hits casual play worse than competitive play), GW does need to do a better job about reviewing books and listening to feedback.

 

All that said - I’m willing to keep giving GW a chance. The new KO book looks like they really listened to the players. The new Tzeentch book seems to make multiple playstyles useable, even if Changehost is still the best option for competitive play. The nerf to Gristlegore made FEC manageable while keeping them functional and competitive. Only the Slaanesh nerf has really whiffed lately (I’d add my frustration with the SCE Sacrosanct points increases that were totally unwarranted, but SCE is one of the best examples of both bad inter- and intra-faction balance in AoS so, oh well). 
 

TL/DR: it’s hard to balance games with lots of options. Corvus Belli’s Infinity is a good example of how it can be done (even if it still has issues). Modern GW seems to be trying in ways they haven’t before so I’ll continue to extend them goodwill for the foreseeable future, even though I won’t be swapping competitive Infinity play for competitive AoS play. 

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2 minutes ago, Vakarian said:

TL/DR: it’s hard to balance games with lots of options. Corvus Belli’s Infinity is a good example of how it can be done (even if it still has issues). Modern GW seems to be trying in ways they haven’t before so I’ll continue to extend them goodwill for the foreseeable future, even though I won’t be swapping competitive Infinity play for competitive AoS play. 

It definetively is very hard to balance. Yet if they design a rule that is fitting to the faction and its playstyle (Violent Fury - sorry for bringing it up again, it's just my most common enemy) and they know that the buff is incredibly strong, then WHY aren't they more careful and creative with it and make it conditional?
Example: Grants +1 dmg when wounding on a 6s. Or +1 dmg if they charged the previous phase. Just some way that you can counter it and it doesn't spike as it does.
The same goes for the locus of diversion, it was obviously too strong on a 2+ and it still took them months to fix that. 
There's an endless amount of examples for it for cases in which I have to say: This must be on purpose, there is no way you cannot see that such effects are way too potent to be handed out as freely as they are/were. These effects aren't fun to play against and they get dull when playing with them.

I grant them mistakes when balancing units. For example the case of Namartii Thralls: It was rather hard to see that they simply don't work with their intended buffs due to too short ranges and all that. That can happen, IF you do not playtest your own game.
 

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1 minute ago, Vakarian said:

A few people have mentioned it in the thread already, but Corvus Belli (Infinity’s producer) has managed to consistently maintain inter faction balance between a game with 20+ factions for years now (counting “sectorials,” the game’s take on sub factions that trade restrictions on broader unit availability for increased availability of certain units and the ability to play with “linked” groups of models in a skirmish game).

 

There are certainly still “winners” and “losers” in Infinity factions - some are considered more capable at base level than others, and some are definitely more difficult to play well. But, the best tournament players will often win tournaments with the “worst” factions because the game is relatively well-balanced and player skill truly matters.

 

That said, Infinity lacks, to a larger extent, intra-faction balance. There are some units you just never use, and some units you must play in certain factions to be competitive. However, any unit can still perform, especially in casual rather than competitive games. 
 

AoS has bigger issues with both forms of balance, although I’ll grant that GW has a much larger world of options to balance than CB does. There’s a fundamental difference between skirmish and massed-battle games that makes it harder to catch all of the balance issues in AoS (or 40k). Speaking as someone who cares heavily about balance (both in competitive and casual play, because frankly bad balance hits casual play worse than competitive play), GW does need to do a better job about reviewing books and listening to feedback.

 

All that said - I’m willing to keep giving GW a chance. The new KO book looks like they really listened to the players. The new Tzeentch book seems to make multiple playstyles useable, even if Changehost is still the best option for competitive play. The nerf to Gristlegore made FEC manageable while keeping them functional and competitive. Only the Slaanesh nerf has really whiffed lately (I’d add my frustration with the SCE Sacrosanct points increases that were totally unwarranted, but SCE is one of the best examples of both bad inter- and intra-faction balance in AoS so, oh well). 
 

TL/DR: it’s hard to balance games with lots of options. Corvus Belli’s Infinity is a good example of how it can be done (even if it still has issues). Modern GW seems to be trying in ways they haven’t before so I’ll continue to extend them goodwill for the foreseeable future, even though I won’t be swapping competitive Infinity play for competitive AoS play. 

Was chiming in to say what @Vakarian essentially said more eloquently. Infinity is my bar for balance and tactical depth. Overall, its been a more pleasant casual experience than what GW has offered our gaming group.

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GW clearly doesn’t engage in deep and extensive play testing, or doesn’t listen to the play testers when they do. That’s the first and largest change they need to make to begin achieving balance - find serious play testers, and actually listen to them. 
 

From what I’ve heard from some other members on this board, it appears to be an issue of listening to the play testers rather than not play testing at all. It seems that when rules do go bad in AoS, it’s because the designers just really wanted that rule to go through for whatever reason. 
 

Edited to add: so that this post doesn’t sound completely at odds with my first post, I should add that the newer books have generally seemed better play-tested, so maybe they’re improving? Slaanesh is still an outlier though. 

Edited by Vakarian
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7 minutes ago, JackStreicher said:

I grant them mistakes when balancing units. For example the case of Namartii Thralls: It was rather hard to see that they simply don't work with their intended buffs due to too short ranges and all that. That can happen, IF you do not playtest your own game.

I will always remember the WhiteDwarf where Fyreslayers played against Daughters. Daughters did (I think 100) damage to the fyreslayers and wiped a unit completely. Guys in the batrep where like, oh didn't know they do that much damage, but cool. After I read this, I was convinced that they do not playtest properly / care.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, schwabbele said:

I will always remember the WhiteDwarf where Fyreslayers played against Daughters. Daughters did (I think 100) damage to the fyreslayers and wiped a unit completely. Guys in the batrep where like, oh didn't know they do that much damage, but cool. After I read this, I was convinced that they do not playtest properly / care.

 

 

Yup I remember that one, made me roll my eyes (as a DoK Player) XD

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1 hour ago, gjnoronh said:

Nos while I generally agree with you - there is no question GW has been the most successful miniature company for decades.  I think it's also fair to wonder if there are things that would help them.      

To clarify, I'm not saying they're perfect, that I totally agree with their methods, that they cant be improved upon etc.

More the observation that whatever it is folk think they're doing wrong, it's sort of moot because they are getting the rest of it so right, by their own objectives at any rate, that what they're getting wrong absolutely dosent matter at present and hasn't for at least four or five years now. It's not damaging accessibility to or the sucsess or legacy or popularity of their product in any sense that remotoey begins to counter how effectively they are succeeding in those areas.

The other thing that sort of blows me away in the balance debate is the assumption that GW somehow dont know the value of balance, or the importance of it, or how much more money it would make them etc;  people seriously seem to think that a company that has so successfully reinvented its identity and revitalised its fortunes and which beats its own sales targets and records four years in a row dosent have the capacity or brain trust or resources to invest in these things if it mattered as much as some people on here suggest it does, or to make a simple cheap fix that would being in even more money.

*Of course* GW would invest heavily in balance if they seriously believed it would increase their profits relative to investment or make for an even more sucsessful product. Not only are they not stupid, they're manifestly very very savvy. It's not an accident their games turn out to be as inelegant and unwieldy as they do. GW obviously have come to the conclusion that it simply doesn't matter and focus their fire elsewhere.

The 6 month FAQ thing is case in point. People were telling me a year ago when it was introduced that it was evidence that GW did care about balance etc and a new direction. Whereas I think most have since realised as I said at the time that it's an easy and basically free sop to those clamouring for balance. Each 6 months go by and people expectant of actual balance and change to make the game competitively viable are left disappointed. Meanwhile GW have upped production on *everything* and the quality of things like battletomes etc have actually gotten sloppier and more imbalanced and weird. 

They make toys to sell that people really want to buy. You can also play some games with those toys which is basically unsupported by GW besides expensive books, compendouns of articles available elsewhere  and rulers and dice to play said game with, if you want.

Nothing has changed except they've worked out how to make their toys even more desirable and available. They dont care about balance or AOS or 40k as competitive systems in any sense that begins to compare with how much they care about making and selling as many toys as possible.

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Nos said:

They dont care about balance or AOS or 40k as competitive systems in any sense that begins to compare with how much they care about making and selling as many toys as possible.

I think this is about as accurate a summation of the long-standing GW mindset as I’ve seen.

 

That said, I do think they care about balance - to the extent that they want people to enjoy the games in addition to the models. I just don’t think they care about high-level competitive balance on a level with a company like CB (in fairness, CB also cares more about the models and the backstory than they do about the game itself - but they care more about the game than GW does, and it shows).

 

Like I said above, though, I’m willing to stick with GW so long as books like the recent KO and Tzeentch books are options, because the models and setting are lovely, and the game is fun if balance remains anything close to “reasonable.” 

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9 minutes ago, Vakarian said:

I think this is about as accurate a summation of the long-standing GW mindset as I’ve seen.

 

That said, I do think they care about balance - to the extent that they want people to enjoy the games in addition to the models. I just don’t think they care about high-level competitive balance on a level with a company like CB (in fairness, CB also cares more about the models and the backstory than they do about the game itself - but they care more about the game than GW does, and it shows).

 

Like I said above, though, I’m willing to stick with GW so long as books like the recent KO and Tzeentch books are options, because the models and setting are lovely, and the game is fun if balance remains anything close to “reasonable.” 

I think the key mindset with GW-which again hasn't really changed-is that so long as you and your opponent are of the same mind and intention then rules, or lack thereof, will serve their purpose.

If you  both want to play fluffy and to a narrative etc the rules are there for guidance and to create a simulation . Balance dosent matter because it dosent matter to the players in the first place.

If you want to play competitively then the rules are a strict foundation on which to pick and play your army. Balance dosent matter because the players going out to win, not how to be fair, players will actively be looking for as imbalanced and unfair a line up as possible to beat all comers.

The issue arises when peoples expectations are different, thats where the sourness of a stomp list against a fluffy or just less ruthlessly engineered army is likely to come up.

But given that GW's philosophy is that players should want to play the same way before playing each other, I think they would basically say it is not the point of the rules to act as mediator in a situation which GW explicitly dosent cater for or believe in in the first place.

So while I dont for a second believe that armies aren't thoroughly and extensively play tested, I dont think they are ever done so with anything besides how fun and characterful they are how they feel and cohere. Because the vast majority of people who buy an army want to play that army eg they want orruks to be like orruks etc. And so long as they do, and the play testers are playing against people of a like mind, they'll have a great time and be left with the conclusion that they have crafted something which feels true to the faction they are playing. 

 

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@Nos can’t like that post enough. GW just approaches the game’s development and testing with a different mindset than most of us would desire. If that mindset happens to line up with the players’ then all works out well.

 

If I understand the general sentiment well enough (including yours and mine), it’s that we wish GW would balance the game to require less player agreement at the beginning, because gaming casually in a store or club usually defaults to matched play rules (to use the current system’s nomenclature). 
 

A system like Infinity does that very well; GW could do it better. Although I still hold that their current place and most recent releases seem to be better for that than some of the slightly older releases (like Slaanesh). 

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