Ever since i got back into Warhammer Fantasy i have maintained that GW is the "EA of Wargaming". For those who dont know EA is the name of a video game company widely despised in the video game community for such things like Day 1 DLC, Pay to Win and Pay to Play practises, all of which involve charging the customer more money. Before i go on i want to make my position clear: I don't not like the current pricing of GW models and how many you get per "Box" of models. I still love playing WHFB and think that the current set of rules for fantasy are some of the best ever, my issue with GW is very specific and narrow and generally speaking i find GW's models and rules to be top quality.
So what do i mean when i say that GW is the EA of the wargaming industry. Well its simple, GW's business practices and pricing are aimed to draw as much money as they can get away with out of the customer, and the most visible example, of this is the Data slates and formations that are now being sold on the Black Library website.
I started this hobby waay back in the mists of 2005. Warhammer Fantasy was in its 6th edition and 40k had just turned 4(th ed). I consider 6th ed fantasy army books to be some of the best ever produced. They had pages brimming with character and lore and each army had a distinct feel which was help by each army having access to a unique set of items and rules that others didn't. What some of these army books also had were variations on how you could build your army. The one that leaps to mind (mainly because it was my first GW army) was the Orcs and Goblins. In the back of the book you could find rules for how to build a savage Orc army, night goblin army, Snottling army (yes you read correctly) and many more variations. What each variation did was shuffle unit categories to allow players to build a more themey army. For example in a Savage Orc army Savage Orc Boar Boyz were core but units like basic Orcs were special and Black Orcs were rare. How does this relate to Data Slates/ Battle Scrolls and Formations? It shows that once upon a time GW included the kinda things found in Data Slates and Battle Scrolls in the actual army book and didn't cut them out and sell them for extra profit as Day 1 DLC (or whenever a given Data Slate goes on sale).
Pay to win refers to a instance where a player can pay money for access to a superior unit, weapon or buff that basically automatically wins him/her the game he is playing. I think this is a phrase that applies to both Fantasy and 40k. If you have the money you can buy 12 Demi Gyphs, field them all at once and stomp on your opponents army without breaking a sweat. If you dont have the money to buy units to counter them then tough, don't play that against that army. This isn't a issue with the rules of a given unit but the price of that unit. All sorts of people play GW's games, by they full time or part time workers, students or people who have money. And its the people who don't have money (or much of it) who loose the most when it comes to pay to win. They cant afford to buy the units that can counter things like Monstrous Cav (or for a 40k example: Riptides). This wasn't a issue back in 6th ed because things were reasonably priced, you didnt see many units costing more than 80-90 dollars and only special characters, battalions and the starter sets cost over 100 dollars.
So there you have it, my core augments as to why i consider GW to be like EA. But i dont want to end this post there, i would like to talk about the manner in which people criticise GW. This post was was written partly in response to a post on the blog Cadia's Creed by the Grumpy Guardsman. That post (called why 40k is pay to play) made the augment that GW should not be compared to video game industry practices. Its a good read and i recommend you go take a look at it. In the last section of that post the wrote this:
So how do you tell GW you do not agree. Well
one, tell them. Send them a CONSTRUCTIVE email with your reasons and examples
of what you don't like and why. But this is useless if you don't tell them what
you want, complaining, even constructive, is useless. Give them a direction you
want them to go in. Explain why you think prices should be lower and what you
would buy if they were.
I 100% absolutely agree with this statement. That is the proper way to criticise anyone, keep emotion out of it and write it it with the aim of providing constructive feedback. The Internet is know for bringing out the worst in people and the wargaming community is no exception. dont spew hatred on forums, or send expletive ridden messages to GW. Write a claim message outlining your issues and who knows, if enough people do it then GW may even begin to take back some of its decisions regarding pricing.
Finally (and this is the final point, honest) i think that recently GW has been improving. WHFB army books show good signs of balance and actual effort into producing books that don't have OP units that cant be scratch by mere mortals, the volume of new books that GW has been producing is impressive and shows (i think) a real desire for ALL armies to be on the same edition and be able to compete against one and other. And their online service is the best i have ever experienced, quick communication after buying something from their webstore and speedily delivery really make it a great online store. So while they may still be the EA of the wargaming world at least they are trying harder than EA to improve and correct mistakes. Until next time.
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