Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rant O' the week ... the days of yor (and my) 40K!

I miss the days of yor (8 years ago) when there was more discussion online about modeling and painting and debait about the fluff. Now its just page after page of net list o' the month .3 and endless posts intended to incite flames which drive hits *cough* Bell of Lost Shitheads *cough* ... I'm really growing tired of it all.

In 3rd edition a good portion of the GW community had come to the conclusion that ya you can run the flavor of the month list to try to give you an edge but at the end of the day it was all about balance, balance and balance. I AM NOT saying that there wasn't cheese o' rama going on back then (Rhino Rush!) ... but the player attitude seemed to be a little more balanced overall. Maybe its just nostalgia ... I have no statsitcal info ... all I have to go by is my own selective attention. But in talking to many players I know locally and throughout the western US ... they seem to feel this way too. 

I have always liked a slightly competitive aspect that the GW games could take on ... it made for some fun several times a year when you'd get together at the local shop and play against other players. Or if you were lucky enough to be able to make it to a GT somewhere. It was great fun, you'd see really awesomely painted armies (painted by the guy playing it ... not someone in Indonesia or at Blueazzcracktable or Jawasnads.com or whatever). I think the hobby is really in trouble here in the US as its been hijacked by idiot power gamer jerks. The GW games were never about high competition ... they were about enjoyable game play ... investing in an army and being able to enjoy it year after year. Sure you'd add a model here and there every year or so ... but you knew when you bought an army that you could be playing it five years from then ... still able to enjoy it. That is still true IMO (or I'd just ebay off all my old stuff right now) but the attitude of huge numbers of players now is really horribly misguided. They seem to want the GW games to be Magic the Gathering in pewter and plastic ...

More and more people I know are totally rejecting store gaming and I even know a few people who have finally said ... screw GW all together. They've tossed in the towel or moved to WHFB or just dropped minis for the time being. It seems that the only thing people care about anymore is just "what will win at a tourney" ... and all I see is endless "mine is bigger than yours" posing in places like Bell of lost Jerks, etc. The smoke more bowls guys crack me up ... as does the Adeptacan't set. Those guys are all from big clubs ... they use group tactics at tournaments, etc. and its disgraceful and lame. That is not what the GW games are about ... yet from reading their pages, etc. you'd think they were GW insiders at the center of the GW universe. I'm surprised GW puts up with it ... but apparently lazy GW actually caters to them. I have heard out west here of some other similar groups getting thousands of dollars in free stuff from GW (which they plunder for their own armies, etc. .... its supposed to be prize support, etc.). GW really just seems to have abandoned the US (at least the western US) in terms of any kind of official support. What appears to have filled the vacuum is a collection of power gaming assholes who are doing more to destroy the hobby than they are of preserving it. It isn't a hobby to many of them ... hell they are putting out PDFs that you can purchase that will teach you how to "WIN at 40K!" ... woot! They are linking their buddies blue table style paint service! Woot!! They are advertising for whatever net GW rip off ... erm ... spin off ... company of the month will pay them. It is all sleezy and lame and has totally degraded the feel of the GW hobbies in the US. For those who don't remember the "golden" years of the late 90s and early 2000s ... you'll see what I'm saying and scoff and think I'm an idiot who doesn't know what he is talking about ... fine ... if you never experienced a better GW hobby then I would expect nothing less. But for those who were playing back then, those who attended the GTs and the old style gamesdays (BITZ BY THE OUNCE!!) ... really point by point explain how things are better now ... if you feel that way.

As for the endless list ranting and raving to me its simple ... still ... its the same as its always been. First if you are looking to be a competitive player with the GW games ... maybe you should find a real competitive endeavor that actually is designed to test ones mettle ... if your a pencil necked geek who has not an athletic bone in your body ... there is still chess for example.  You get good enough at that and you'll be world famous. Get ranked as a chess player and then I'll be impressed. Or pick up a sport ... even if your not super athletic there is always ... golf ... skeet shooting ... competitive rally racing ... etc. etc. do something you really have to work at and acquire skill to get good at.

GW games are not ultimate tests of intelligence as many would seem to be asserting. They are simple miniature games with some decent depth but by no means are they so difficult to master that people should be thumping their chests acting like big shots when they manage to beat some 15 year old kid somewhere or even if they win at a GT or at some indie club run event (even if its big). For one thing the bigger the event the less accurate the "winners" are ... when you have 100+ players and your just doing a a 5 round tourney ... you can't accurately pick a "winner" ... who has the best painted stuff is highly subjective (and at many tournaments isn't even being considered anymore ... thanks Blue Coffee Table assholes!). Its funny how the big club guys seem to win more often at these events ... you see the BoLZ guys winning at adepticant etc. Hmmm ... wonder why? Its very subjective and the GW GTs were like that too ... you'd see the guys who knew the GW "judges" (usually just a 8 buck an hour store monkey ... who was more concerned about what strip club they'd be going to that night than what was going on with the tourney)

The "competitive" players are just people who play more often than the average player ... not a single 40K "champion" has a judge watching his every game to make sure he doesn't cheat or his opponent doesn't hose himself via a bad rules call, etc. That being the case how can they really be a "champion" ... they aren't ... see mini games require a gentleman's agreement from the get go. You and your opponent have to agree to play honorably against one an other in a fashion akin to a duel. But its even more "honor system" because you don't have a second standing their watching the match to ensure its all according to the rules. Its just you and your opponent. But we all know that it is all to easy for people to cheat if they want to ... you buy some ebay always rolls a six dice and toss those out when you really need to hit ... you do some elastic tape measuring when you need it when your opponent isn't looking ... you take advantage of a player who doesn't know the rules for your army as well as they should by cheating ... and on and on. Its just super easy to cheat. The ultra competitive guys know this and they do it and don't care ... and they win at the GTs and Adepticant etc. I'm not saying every winner of those events is a cheating jerk ... but come on ... a high % of those guys are and we all know it. So ... is that a good group for everyone to aspire to? Well in the days of old ... there weren't as many BoLPG and Jawa's nads and Sheep boyz out there teaching everyone how to be jerks ... but now the internetz seems to be chock full o' douchbags ... when it comes to 40K.

Again all name calling and ranting aside ... in my experience many of the "best" tourney players are simply more aggressive and know when they can cheat and get away with it. I've seen it time and time again form the GT level events to the local store RTT level stuff. Being that these events are not heavily sanctioned and closely monitored its all just for fun ... and that is the spirit in which it should be undertaken ... yet based on how people seem to be viewing it now it seems that huge numbers of players out there are missing the point entirely. Thumping their chests about how awesome they are or their list is ... they are missing the point ... and who cares right? I care because it is a horrible cancer upon the hobby as a whole. If I was a shop owner I'd be stamping that stuff out if I saw it cropping up in my local community. It is bad for business. So many new players out there who are just getting into the hobby turn to the internet for advice on how to play the GW games and how to conduct themselves and they land on the Bell of Lost Powergamers ... and bada bing ... that is how they think the GW games are played.

GW games have shined traditionally because they are reliable, year after year players can enjoy their army. It is NOT Magic the Gathering, it is not a collectible flavor of the month type game ... yet many of the BoLS set seem to be wanting it to morph into that. They endless rant about statistics ... they math chart how some stat line in a unit will give them a .3% advantage ... etc.  ... ya if your going to adeptacant you might need to find that .3% edge that whatever math-hammer combo gives you ... but for normal gamers ... pick something that works for you and give it a chance. Play it over the course of several games, really get a feel for the strategy of the list and then adjust accordingly. That mindset has fallen by the wayside ... the play for the love of the game ... play what you think is fun who cares if you win every game attitude seems to have diminished and been replaced by "BUY MY PDF and you will WIN EVERY GAME! Act now its only 19.99!!" ... GW lets this crap keep going unchecked and they are going to poison the well entirely.

Sad times indeed ... BOOOOO Bell of Lost Idiots! Booooo Way of Saim Jackass! Booooo Jawnadz Z Master Smooth's of the world! You losers are ruining the game for everyone!! I've stopped following BoLZ and any of the other blogs that are similar ... I hate that side of the hobby. For the sake of the actual hobby I hope that GW returns to actually support their own product in the US again ... if not ... I might even be leaving the  GW hobby myself. As painful as that would be ... there are other more pure GAMES out there that are simply that ... something people do just to have fun.

Hopefully sanity prevails and the GW games that many of us have loved for a long, long time ... are preserved in the spirit that they were created.(Names changed in this rant to protect the guilty)

12 comments:

Dethtron said...

Well, since you and I seem to have been playing for around the same amount of time, I think that the internet is the cause of and solution to a lot of your problems. It's a double edged sword that is capable of spreading legitimate hobby information, but is typically hijacked by a very vocal minority of asshats, who are loudly proclaiming that the way they hobby is the only way to hobby. These are the same douches who are helping make comp systems the norm, btw.

The Lord of Excess said...

Well said sir! 100% agree (and I enjoy your rants as well ... you have more patience than I do being able to engange those losers on Bell of Lost Powergamers). Hopefully the silent majority of GW players will slowly reclaim the hobby ...

Bodlar said...

Those are all the main reasons I left the hobby LOE. I think you really hit the nail on the head. Once you turn a creative enterprise such as game development over to people that are just out to make a buck you will see a decline in enjoyment and game spirit. Any creative endeavor that is solely money focused will be poisoned by it. GW is poisoned from the top down. The people that really cared about the game are no longer in control of it. This poison is merely being reflected by the community. GW is dead creatively. As a company/machine they may continue to come out with new products and pander to a certain type of player that will tow the company line. This is why I got out, and why if you have any shed of hope left that you give it up. Speak with your wallet as that is the only language that will get through to them. Find something else, or make something else of your own design even!

Siph_Horridus said...

Wow! Big rant. Fella, just leave the douchebags to their own stuff and continue with your own slice of the hobby pie. Others are out there and read your snippets and hopefully you read some good stuff too. I game to have fun too, never did a tournement and probably won't due to reasons you listed. But a good mate or a local game group and you don't need tournes. Stick in there pal.

Equinox said...

I too remember the 90's when one Friday each month the FAL would rent a hall and we would gather to casually play 40K. No tournaments. No hardcore stuff. People would paint a couple models and show them off because of the what they had accomplished, not to prove they were the best.

I don't take issue with people wanting to play tournaments or such, what I struggle with today is the attitudes. I have found myself getting caught up in it and everytime I have, it has really hurt my love for the hobby. Hopefully this "phase" will burn itself out and the golden age will return.

The Lord of Excess said...

I know from my angry ranting it might seem like I despise tourney play ... believe it or not I don't. I really used to relish the tournament scene and enjoyed making road trips to other towns to play against new players, etc. For me ... back then ... it was really a huge amount of fun. These days though things just seem so different and I can only blame the internetz and a lack of GW support in the US. Along the lines of the advice to move away from those pages ... I have ... today I stopped following several hardcore BoLS type pages and have no desire to go back. I actually aspire to get back into tourney organization at least here in my local area so I hope to try to improve things where I live ... I agree I hope this will "phase" out and we'll return to a more normal period for GW games in public.

The Lord of Excess said...

I hear ya Bodlar ... but for me leaving the GW hobby isn't something I want to do. I love it still ... GW is still putting out quality products in my opinion. Heck its even better than from back in the days you and I were playing in tournies together. More really well written books ... more cool models ... more cool stuff. Its just the old GW product support model (in the US ... at least out west) is down the toilet. I really feel that created a vacuum that has been filled by clubs and BoLS/Adepticon groups who are running over the hobby roughshod. Those groups are doing things that benefit their little groups ... not the hobby on the whole ... we'll see though only time will tell. It will at least be next year before GW does anything differently in terms of support.

Will said...

As always a good rant, and reflecting many of the same opinions I have about the GW gaming scene. I dont have the amount of tourny xp as u or Bod, but I can say that just playing in some of the FLGS and against other local players, in general there are very few who seem to share the same mentality about gaming that I do. Add to that some of the very unfriendly and $$$ oriented business practices GW employs, and it really is a glutton for punishment type deal. I still love the fluff, love the conversion and hobby opportunities, and still know enough great players to keep me interested. Lastly im still really disappionted at how much of the creativity and individuality that the rule changes have sucked out of the game. I still remember Bods all biker Chaos marine army. Crazy chapters of marines or stuff or whatever u could dream up. Now its vanilla vs mech, or whatever standard crap generic list is current. I miss the variety.

Col. Corbane said...

I feel so sorry for you US guys, over in the UK we're still all playing for laughs. Yes, there's a competitive element, but in the main, we're just rolling dice and getting pissed.

I often wonder if GW has just given up at trying to tell you players in the States that it's just a game, they keep saying it but nobody seems to be listening. It really does mystify me but hey, at least it's not like that over here. Perhaps you should consider moving.

The Lord of Excess said...

Col. Corbane ... I would happily move to the UK ... every time I've been for a visit I don't want to come home :) Unfortunately I think the UK is one of the most difficult countries in the world to emigrate to. I've honestly looked into it :) Your 100% right though I really think a big part of this is the general attitude that many American's have ... I think things were better when GW had more direct support and ran many events of their own. In essence those efforts "educated" us Yanks on how we should be approaching the game. Now that in large part that is gone ... left to our own devices ... we don't roll dice for fun we make it overly competitive and ruin it for everyone (that is what we are best at after all). Ah if only ...

jugger grimlord said...

That was a great read....I really do feel the same way. I read those blog for the pretty pictures and not the list or "tactical" advise. I still like to see what people are doing with the actual hobby side of this. The modeling, the painting, the conversions. That is still fun. You know I don't play much anymore and would never even consider going to one of those big tournaments. Not that I don't enjoy tournaments, but I will stick to smaller, local games (not that everybody there isn't an ass-hat power gamer, but there tends to be less).

I still enjoy going to somebody's house and bsing, watching a game, talking about the hobby. That's what got me into the hobby and if that ever changes, then I am done too.

The Lord of Excess said...

I agree man. I wish BoLS would just stick to the modeling/rumor/release stuff. I agree with your last comment too ... as long as you have that going 40K and the GW games are amazing ... if your left to BoLS style 40K only ... whats the point. Take care man ... good to hear from ya.