Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reoccuring Rant about GW's US tourney scene ... (Warning I'm like a broken record on this ... sorry)

Ok as I read other blogs this evening that I subscribe to  I'm yet again reminded that ... apparently ... GW has allowed their entire US support to fall back to levels  not probably seen since the early 90s. In those days at least you could understand why ... they were still moving into parts of the US in terms of the mini gaming scene ... heck they were creating a mini gaming scene in places (I'm talking non-historical mini gaming). Still growing a customer base, still learning how to run competitive gaming with their product on a large scale, etc. etc.
Flash forward 12 years or so to present ... the official support GW is giving its product at least in the Western US is the worst I've ever personally experienced. From what I'm reading in various places 'Ard Boyz is going as expected ... being dominated by a few large clubs as usual ... same players ... same clubs ... same bias in GWs system towards them. The latest thing I've heard is a GW store employee actually wrote the scenarios the day before the event (courtesy of a good blog I have been reading theback40k.) ... check that stuff out. I'm not playing this year ... and I don't think I'd ever bother to ... the competitive GW scene has fallen off a precipice as far as I'm concerned. All the coolness of the big tourneys has faded for me ... everyone is running the net list o' the week ... with blue table painted armies ... whats the point. Back in the early 2000s I remember playing in GTs where everyone was running amazingly well done armies ... that 95% were painted by the person playing ... running pretty balanced lists based on sound tactical practices for their armies. Was there cheese ... were there beardy lists ... of course ... but at least from my selective, biased attention ... it seems like that is 99% of the field now as opposed to 10 or 20% back in 2000-2005.

In my personal experience GW has gone from having really solid official Games Workshop run  big events  that were supported by clubs to stuff that individual game clubs ... whose members not only game in said events but win them ... run/dominate. These clubs collectively have maybe 2 or 3k in membership ... the  massive, vast majority of the rest of GW customers out there get hosed. Lets face it people buy GW stuff as much online anymore as from their FLGS and I don't want to get into a FLGS vs. the internet debate because generally I believe supporting yea old FLGS is good for us all ... BUT ... GWs policy now actually mostly hurts the FLGS. A system where focus on all the stores running RTTs and some sort of system that at least partially would incorporate that would really benefit people all over. Now ... with this regional 'Ard Boyz thing ... just the big stores that are bending over for GW get hooked up and most of the rest of the stores get left out. This is just 'Ard Boyz we are talking about too ... the so called Independent GTs are even less beneficial to FLGS. I'm not claiming to have all of the answers or even a plan for a better system ... but I've seen some pretty solid stagnation over the past few years.

To me its like GW is saying "we don't give a feth about competitive play in the US. They certainly are telling me they don't care about supporting their own product in the Western US anymore by pulling out all their big events they used to have. Gamesday, GTs, etc. Now reading all this stuff the past few months just confirms what I've been hearing for the past few years in terms of the trend away from GW product support towards depending on large gaming clubs to do their work for them. You have these clubs basically running GWs support in the US. Its lame and it isn't the type of setup I bought into with GW. I loved the GW company at least seeming/appearing unbiased events, etc. Because of all of this stuff for me at least there is little point to participate in official events anymore as its all either "insider" club stuff or store (read a greedy so called "friendly" local game shop running stuff that caters to the store trolls who spend money in their store) ... independent gamers and small garage gaming groups have no reason to partake in GW stuff on a competitive level anymore at all. People can scoff at what I'm saying but long term its not good for the GW hobby scene in the US. A big segment of the market is being neglected and don't just take my word for it look around the net ... look in the Blog-o-sphere ... listen to your local gaming community. More and more people are getting disenchanted with GW for various reasons ... but support is an area that is key.

Beyond my rage ... as a hobbyist who loves this stuff ... it saddens to me to see something that has been near and dear to me diminished at least in part. I actually really loved the competitive side of GW games and now there is nothing left there that is appealing. Yes there is still a lot to love ... but ... price increases ... lack of overall product support (again at least in the Western US) ... etc. etc. etc. ... combined with the loss of a tourney scene I would participate in half empty ... at least for GW for me ... I could really use a refill GW. Warhammer Fantasy just for fun (8th ed right around the corner) ... historical 28 MM finally ... hmmm ... the grass is looking greener by the day.


Da Masta Cheef said...

Rant on brother! lol...

I don't have any tournies available that are any closer than a 2 hour drive or so. Don't know how they're run, but after playing in the last few years of the (now defunct) Atlanta GD's GTs, I really don't want to either. They were always a mess (run by the same guy every year, go figure) . One year they said they screwed up & shorted one round by 45 min., in 40k was no problem, but the WHFB guys were screaming! 40k games getting put on WHFB terrainless tables when 40k tables were open and being told quote 'deal with it'. Gee, and we paid money for that?

Now we have the BoLS clinical dissection of the game on an almost daily basis, and new players see that & think that's how the game is played, so those math hammered 'WAAC' lists are showing up @ the FLGS friendly game nights along with the 'I saw this online & they said it was good' line...

And price increases? Well, I used to have close to 20 separate 40k armies. Now its 5, with one set to go to ebay, to cover an unexpected expense. New purchases are financed by the sale of old stuff (miniature recycling I call it) and my collection has been dwindling for years. Feels like like I'm a price increase away from finding a new hobby, which sucks as I've enjoyed this hobby for roughly 15 years or so.

The Lord of Excess said...

I agree man. I'm seriously looking more and more at other companies products in terms of minis. I tried FOW a few years back and it just wasn't as good as 40K. Its too complex ... to many books ... too much potential imbalance if people are playing odd lists, etc. etc. These days Spartan Games is looking cool (Uncharted Seas, Firestorm, and Death or Glory ... they have a 40MM game too but that's really not that interesting to me personally). I'm just looking at generic skirmish games too. Beyond that I'm not really probably going to end my GW gaming all together but I totally relate to what your saying I too used to have basically every army in the game. This year I got rid of my sisters, got rid of three marine armies, I'm finally going to dump my Dark Eldar ... I'm considering getting rid of my Necrons (might wait for the new dex to sell them though) ... etc. I miss the fun hobby side of GW games ... which largely seems to be vanishing.