Sunday, January 8, 2012

Vampire Counts + Unbalanced look and feel + Resin = Meh

Ok ... I've seen some of the new Vampire counts stuff on the GW site, BoW, and around the net and some of it looks very beautiful and well done. Yet there are some things I'm seeing like ... Resin bat swarms ... but not NEW sculpts?!!?!! What??? WHY!!

GW is "finecasting" (I feel dirty just typing that) a bunch of the "classic" models. The old bat swarms, I'm sorry those to me are not "classic" they are an old sculpting style that isn't redeeming, interesting in a kitchy way or anything ... those should be plastic on one of the sprues they should come with the zombies or skelletons or whatever like ripper swarms do for the nids. Why on earth would they do that?? Expect people to pay 24 bucks for what looks like two swarm bases? What the hell?? Ya I know maybe 20 guys globally want some new ones to match their current army but ... seriously ... even then 24 bucks a swarm? Why would anyone use GW models for that. At that price I can buy pewter reaper swarms for 6.99 and they match the look and feel of the old range nicely ... so GW can hang when it comes to this price gouging BS! Lets not even talk about 53.00 for a resin black coach. Seriously? 53 bucks?? What the hell that is just obscene!!

It is a matter of the greed or mismanagement (or both) and lack of a long range planning GW seems to have these days. That to me seems the most striking difference between GW today and GW five or ten years ago. Today it almost seems like their strategy with miniature gaming is more lets make the quick buck, lets worry about this quarters profits, to where five and ten years ago they seemed content to have a methodical multi-year, long range plan. Certainly that is still there and the current economic environment has alot to do with things, but I have to wonder if the mass departure of all the old guard in terms of game designers doesn't have alot to do with this as well. From what I've heard there has been a power shift at GW over the past decade or so and now the game design folks are sort of seen as subservient to the demands from the MBAs and corporate executive folks ... and the creative content coming out of GW ... at least in my opinion is showing it. I think there are some strong similarities between what is going on with GW and what has gone on over at WoTC.

I really need to look at their annual shareholders report (though I don't know how much they have to disclose being in the UK) I'm curious to even see what percentage of their revenue comes from mini games anymore. The things they do just simply don't make sense. I get upset about this because GW really holds a dear and special place in my heart so even if I'm not playing many of their games these days, I still hope for them to succeed but in a way that strengthens the community, in a way that brings new people to the hobby. Driving the costs of minis up so high that it is laughable for parents to look into it as a hobby for their kids. Seriously at 60 bucks a video game, even a few a month, that is cheaper than being heavily into GW games by far. During my peak about six or seven years ago I was spending $500.00 a month on average with some months going up as high as $1000.00 or more and that was at a 20% discount without sales tax. I still wasn't able to keep up with all their releases. Now we know that the typical teenager isn't going to pull that off, but even buying a single army ... now is a $1000.00 prospect in many cases. Why?? Why on earth does it need to be that way? It doesn't. GW is unwilling to look for ways to make their game cheaper and more inclusive, they seem hell bent on shrinking their customer base and offering only models at the high end, more forgworld at really ludicrous prices (for the price of a single large Forgeworld model I can buy a legion of roman figs, an entire mantic horde army, etc. etc. there are even other options out there like the dreamcast titans, etc. that are IMO better done than the forgeworld stuff. All the eastern European resin knock off places have jumped into the action ... thanks to GWs insane pricing almost anyone can make money producing models for their games.

I don't care for myself anymore as I've just largely given up on ever playing GW games again (other than their historical systems which they don't even support anymore, perhaps some blood bowl, mordeheim or necromunda, etc.). The reason I care and my big worry is just that due to pricing being driven ever higher coupled with the fact that kids can much more easily access video games ... what is the future of tabletop mini games? GW has been the historical gateway for most young people to get into mini gaming. Outside of GW mini games are largely the pursuit of old men ... is it going to only become more so thanks to GWs lack of care?? One can only hope Mantic and Privateer Press can find a way to get minis back in the hands of young folks on the scale that GW has been able to.

I have been very frustrated that GW is only focused on the top of the market, but that said it has undoubtedly created alot of opportunity for other smaller companies to come in and gobble up little crumbs. So I spend my money on the high end with Warlord on historical stuff, and at the economy end with the host of companies like reaper, etc. etc. So who knows maybe the renaissance is just around the corner. Dark Eldar and even the Space Wolves (despite some blah stuff in there) were solid new releases and I really was sorely tempted to get back in, I bought the wolves codex and had plans for an army. Even with fantasy I really was hoping to get into that with the small group of locals who aren't store troll power gaming jerks ... but the rulebook is 100 bucks (nearly anyway) and selling people on a $1000.00 game ... its just a non-starter.

I guess the silver lining for me though is from Blood Angels, Tomb Kings, to Ogres, to Necrons and now this ... GW has had a string of releases that just absolutely failed to capture my imagination like they used to. So more and more I'm ebay'ing off my GW stuff and looking to historicals and non-GW games for my mini gaming hope.

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