Tuesday, 16 October 2012

GW Speaks ...

No hyperlink in this picture - you get enough traffic.
It's been a good long while since I've had a bit of a rant at GW's expense.  But I've also resolved to be a little bit more constructive and balanced after having one of those side-chats with a store worker, so I thought I'd post up some of the stuff that came out.

We got chatting after he asked me what I was using my purchases for (I now get all my models from alternative sites but I also still buy paints and brushes from GW direct.  I told him Mordians and some WW2 stuff - his colleague behind the counter gave a very slight disgusted look, presumably for stating out loud that I gamed with something other than GW - but his mate appeared genuinely interested.  Both in the Mordians and the WW2 models.



After a while I brought up a question that's been nagging me for a while.  What will the final fate be of the Mordian models?  I've heard and been told that GW have a general plan to make everything into Failcast, but what about these old models?  To be honest, I'm surprised they've survived this long - the sculpts are so old that they almost look out of place, since they were (I guess) probably done by hand as opposed to the CAD stuff they make nowadays.  Is it worth moving over to Failcast when there isn't that much detail on the models at all?  When metal finally goes, will they drop all the old Valhallans, Steel Legion, Mordians and Praetorians?

This was symptomatic of a wider malaise, which is that the Guard don't get enough new models.  Now I know every army thinks this, and some like Dark Eldar have been worse off than we Guard players.  But when I take a look over at Faeit 212, there are endless rumours about Space Marine releases.  Followed up by loads of new stuff for other armies.  I suppose the Valkyrie was the newest model we got?  I might be wrong there.  There's nothing wrong with the plastic Cadians; although I haven't done a Cadian army in years and they are starting to get on a bit, they are still lovely models.  But what about Mordians?  What I wouldn't give for plastic Mordians?

Back to the store.  I said in an offhand manner that I thought Mordians wouldn't make GW that much money.  This seemed to offend him a bit, and (in a friendly way) he put me right.  He admitted he was at the bottom end of the company, closest to the gamers, but he said in all his experience he had only met people who were gamers.  Even when area managers and big, suit-wearing executives came to visit their store, they usually brought an army and once the work was done, they could have a quick game.  No-one in the company knows where this perception of them being a big money-grabbing company came from.

I fought my corner, saying that however benevolent the company hierarchy was, if the prices keep going up and the quality comes down, people will stop loving the game.  He admitted the quality thing is particularly worrying for their lower-level workers.  Until recently, you could say that GW were expensive but they had the best quality and the best range.  Now there has been an explosion of superb quality conversion kits and even whole models of excellent quality, that make the collection of an army (especially Guard) an entirely feasible option.  And all this at a time when GW's reputation for quality is being eroded away - like the detail parts of a Failcast Commissar ...

(My top two parts websites are Victoria Miniatures and Curious Constructs - check out Col Ackland's (incidentally great) blog for a thorough rundown of the two)

Anyway, we parted on jovial terms, and I even plan to go back there for a battle soon.  But he took my points, mainly that although SMs are their moneymaker, the Guard have a very high proportion of older gamers (both fluffy players and elite tournament gamers).  There is certainly a bit of a cult feel about the blogosphere - there are loads of Guard blogs out there, but how many Eldar army blogs can you find?  (Edit:  just did a Google search and found a few.  Bugger.  But you know what I mean).  So if, as this anonymous employee assured me, people at the highest levels of GW read the blogs and forums - give us new models!  And keep the Classic Range of Guard on the website!  What are your thoughts on the state of the Guard in today's hobby?

Anyway, just so you know I'm planning on doing something apart from hours of Silent Hunter - I'm thinking of doing a bit more on my Chaos Renegades after payday, and I've got a WW2 game coming up with Headologist soon!

Thanks for reading!

The Colonel

9 comments:

  1. It is awkward; I've psotulated before that we now live in a very different world to he pre-Falklands days of when every mad idea that a GW member had made it onto the shop's shelves (Squats, the car game, the saving new york game and so on) as well as other company's products being in WD.

    I cannot blame GW for their business model; as the giant (and let's give them credit, they more or less created this market) they are the easiest target and relatively easy to take pot shots at. But to keep the company alive it has to attract kids who have grown up on HALO and GTA (or whatever it is this year), so over the top units and models will continue to be where its at (look at PP's stuff).

    I heard somewhere that their fight with Chaptermouse was largely to do with their agreement (to defend IPR) with the LOTR licence holders. They continue to fight or they will loose their (presumably lucrative) LOTR product line, which has already a lot in deisgn and tooling (?)

    And they quite obviously are trying to balance both camps (gizzits for the Spaze Mhureens and keeping the old metal IG lines going for *us*). Whilst there are somethings that dissapoint, it would be asinine to expect them to service my requirements at the expense of the rest of their customer base. I would not expect to see any of our favourites in failcast any time soon. Small production runs to feed us lot simply will not attract the investment required to improve these product lines (They do not like change for change's sake - all of the failcast lines are supposed to be improvements; I suspect from a design angle the old IG lines are simply not worth the effort for the reasons Col Scipio outlines.

    My hurrahs for the other manufacturers do not mean GW hate, even when they arn't pushing my buttons. As people line me (and you ?) experiment with Defiance, Dreamforge and others (who would actually say no another FW army ?) there will simply be less and less money going into the IG Infantry product line, even if our UAMC/PzGdr 'Guard' are riding around in Chimera.

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  2. completely agree, IG are one of the things about 40k that i LOVE. and IG are diversity just by their very nature. If they wiped away the collectors range, they'd be destroying that diversity. I mean sure, we have cadians and catchans, but eh, i don't really fancy either one so much as the Steel Legion and the Mordians. At this point the cool collectors range squads are only a few $ more than their plastic counterparts, which i feel is certainly worth it if you're going to pay their lavish prices in the first place anyway. If they went finecast i'd probably cry, b/c i just know those 10 man squads would jump to something ridiculous like 45$ or something.

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  3. Colonel Scipio, I think it is a cultural generation thing.
    When I/we were younger the Imperial Guard were the only humans in 40k (The space marines were a futuristic super human -but not human).
    Back in the 80’s sci-fi was all about humans fighting big bad stuff: Shiny Aliens with big heads (Aliens), Aliens with cool guns (Predator), killer robots (terminator), evil and faceless troopers in suits of armour (Star Wars) and I could go on and on and on… Because of that we all wanted to play was the Guard.

    For the current generation of kids lots of sci-fi and computer games don’t have the hero as an ordinary (ish) human, but as a super human. As technology has moved on, the concept of what a space marine is and how we can relate to it has changed. That has led to the Space marine being the dominant ‘Human race’ in 40k, not the guard. The time of guard had past and we are truly in the time of the space marine.
    But the thing is, as all things change and repeat themselves. I think we are on the cusp of a revolution- It’s just that GW doesn’t think so. Honestly I think that if GW gave the guard a full miniature overall (like they did for the Dark Eldar) they would come back as the dominant humans in 40k. But then again I could be wrong.
    My prediction is that all of the old models will stay around and be moved to fine cast. But the cost of the new minies will be so expensive that getting the ‘old metal’ ones off eBay will be the way to go. Then probably a year or two later we will see new guard plastics.

    Oh and thanks for the awesome shout out!

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  4. Its a refreshing and candid take from one of the staffers and a bit brave of him to come out with - the lads at my locals wouldn't stray from the company line.

    I guess only time will tell the fate of the more characterful regimanets; however, my gut feel is that they wont support multiple regiments like the used too, more as a result of the expansion to the range/options would too many sculpts unless they went to snap fit or monopose models. Imagine if each regiment had the full range of options available to them along the lines of the Cadians and to a lessor extent the Catachans - I'm not sure it would be viable as within a range they would be poaching from each other.

    I know Space Marines come in various flavours, but as per the above comments, that range seems well supported.

    I fear a Dark Eldaresgue revival would only last as long as the next range release before sales dropped or were spread amongst the regiments making non really viable.

    I do hope they leave the existing range alone - that is dont drop it. I'd assume they have a bank of inventory and available, and with the transition of most of the better selling ranges to Finecast, they mus have a bit of tin sitting around to use on the odd production run, unless they sold their stockpiles off once Finecast came on board.

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  5. Thanks for reading that fairly rambling post, all, and for your replies!

    @Zzzzz: That's a good point - we all (especially when within an interest group) get a bit blind and assume that we're the only players. There can't be Imperial Guard every month in WD, and we can't expect that. I hope you're right about Finecast, that's what I've been hoping for as well. I hadn't thought about the influence of modern CGI/movies/computer games would raise peoples' expectations of big shooty flyers and tanks, either. Thanks!

    @ImpCommander: Yes - it's bad enough as it is to get Mordians, they're pretty much too expensive to do an army with. I only managed this one by building it up fairly slowly over several years - just hope they don't pull the plug on them before I finish!

    @Col Ackland: That ties in with what Zzzz said I think about the GTA generation and people expect more from a hobby which has to compete with super-zappy computer graphics. And yes, glad you saw beyond my apocalyptic prediction. Thinking about it, once they kill off Mordians etc they might well follow it up with GREATCOAT-WEARING GUARD! Hurrah!

    @Rogue Pom: (I've realised I've been spelling it 'rouge' for ages! Sorry!) I suppose you don't realise what you've got until it's nearly taken away from you - and yes it can't be that efficient to have different ranges of Catachans, Mordians, Praetorians, Cadians ... we're the only army to get anything like that so we just have to be grateful and hope they stick with Mordians!

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  6. Aha, I've been looking forward to this post. It's great to see the perspective from the GW teeth arm as it were. Although I do have a Marine army at the moment, I think Scipio will agree that I am really a "Guard-player in Power Armour" - my interest is always in the nameless faceless humans of the Imperium, from it's Gogolian tech-bureacrats to the Ratings on Navy ships and of course the personnel of the Officio Medicae. I make the point that my Marines are pretty obscure and unknown in the grand scheme of things.

    As I've said to Scipio before I think a lot of the miniatures look a bit... naff. Maybe it's symptomatic of the CAD design, but they look a bit bland and like kid's toys (which arguably, they are). I think Zzzzz has it on the money there, it's the "Halo" effect. I really liked some of the new Dark Eldar stuff, but some of the larger miniatures look dreadful - and is it me, or is there now a tendency towards miscellaneous assortments of random miniatures (big shiny things).

    I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but ultimately what I do want to end with is - "I've been waiting for plastic greatcoat-wearing Guard for 10 years - please make some GW!"

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  7. I'm not sure I agree entirely with Col Ackland's take on the youth of today positively assotiating with the super human space marines; I completely understand and agree that *our* heroes were ordinary men fighting super beings and that a lot of todays heroes are super beings.

    However, I suspect that the reason that the Spaze muhreens are the best selling army are that they are the easiest to play; being 'better' than other armies, without the complicated rules of the DE, the need to accept losses of the IG or 'nids, or glass hammmer of Edlar or Tau. You can throw a SM army on the table and if your plan goes south, still not fold like a deck of cards (which all of my schemes do unless the plan works well). I suspect that this has as much to do with it as any concept of 'identifying' with the army. 14 yr olds have fragile egos, and a robust army is a way of keeping them interested for long enough for them to perhaps mature into a more characterful army; and if this is case, and not just my brain making stuff up, once again it is a very deliberate part of that well crafted GW business strategy.

    Keeping this business model in mind, they do not often duplicate things that FW are already producing (although they appear to be about to start, according to some interweb 'sources'). So I do not think we will see GW greatcoat infantry for a long long time. Not with the DKK still selling well.

    Another thing that is going to delay the release of new plastic IG lines is that, because they have been absent for so long, we are now buying the new lines of counts as available from the other manufacturers. The more we spend on others, the less likely they are to release anything new. But let's never say never. Plastic ISTs remain a firm favourite on the interweb rumour mill. Perhaps that's because they are what a lot of people want.

    One possibilty would be something along the lines of ASL/Vostryans; perhaps with some different weapons (ie ornate like the Vosroyans and cheap and modernish like ASL) and two styles of head (bearskins and [possibly French/belgian WW1 'fireman' style] helmets). Allowing for one kit that could possibly be put together four ways. If I were them, this would be my plan, 'cause you'd buy it, wouldn't you ?

    As an Edlar Autarch myself, I'm looking forward to the new codex and the rumoured list of goodies promised. So they have me saving for a whole new wave of plastic crack. And if your efforts are soley focussed on iggies you'll get drip fed just enough to keep most of you interested; for everyone who leaves the hobby, another SM player sees the massed ranks and squadrons of tanks and thinks either "I'm going to become a iggie die hard (see what I did there ?) like Admiral Drax and share the love." or "I could win with that." keeping the GW business ticking over. For the time being.

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    1. hmm interesting. I think they are very fair points.

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  8. Well I'm buying up all the Vostroyans just in case they disappear...

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