Friday, May 23, 2014
Did 6th Drive a wedge between Wh40k Gamers?
On the one hand, you have the competitive gamers, or the tournament scene. 6th edition was hard on them. The death of assault, the downplay of vehicles, wonky wound allocation and all the other changes brought the tournament folks fits. It was hard to leverage the 6th edition into the tournament scene, and the constant flood of codex's and data-slates did nothing to help. Now, I'm not a tourney player, I play for fun, but I empathize with the Tourney circuit guys. This is how they have fun and enjoy the hobby, and if the constant turmoil of the system keeps them from enjoying it, that is bad for everyone.
Even though I am not a tourney guy, you have to admit that the tournament players are the ones who usually drive the game forward and make good changes to the system, whether adopted by GW or not. They are interested in a fair, balanced game that provides everyone with a chance to win. They are the guys who find the flaws, see the weaknesses and identify the absolutely garbage rules. I have never been a tourney-guy hater, although I do hate the WaaCers. But I do NOT lump them into the same category at all. WaaCers are just dicks, the tournament guys are serious, committed gamers and hobbyists who help the hobby in more ways then even they perhaps know.
On the gripping hand, though, I think 6th edition was a real boon for the narrative and 'play for fun' crowd. Many old and new codex's became fun to play around with again, and the rules, albeit wonky in places, made for a good narrative game with some fun pieces. Even the supplements, compendiums, data-slates and expansions all brought fun, new ways to play, while confounding the Tournament guys.
It strikes me that, although some (perhaps most) would doubt, GW may have looked at 6th and realized that they swung the hammer to far to the other side of the anvil. In embracing narrative play, they had really dealt a killing blow to the tourney folks. And let's face it, the tourney guys spend ALOT of money on the hobby, and that talks straight to GWs heart. I think they saw, from behind the invisible fortress walls, that there were issues, and they knew something had to be done.
I do not feel, as many others do, that GW has turned hard and cruel toward the gamer community, nor do I think that they embrace the community like they once did. But being a big company (with shareholders, I might add) is not too easy these days. If you have an on-line presence, you are setting yourself up for all the haters and providing them a forum to kill you from. If you pull back your on-line presence, you are labeled a 'hate filled bunch of corporate ass hats'. So what do you do? I know I would choose the same road GW did. Don't give your detractors a free and easy method to kill you. Suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune from behind your high walls.
We have all seen the previews of 7th edition. I, for one, like the look of it. I'll hold off any real judgment until giving the rules a good read, but I think they have done some things to lessen the division between the Narrative crowd and the Tourney crowd. The mission changes, wound allocation, vehicle, assault changes... all of these things will make for a better game for everyone, I hope.
So, on the eve of the release of 7th edition, I say to you all, bons champs, mes amis (from the French - Good fields, my friends). I hope to see you all enjoying 7th edition soon, and I hope you all find what you are looking for!!