Monday, August 3, 2015

LOL n00bs!

Warhammer 40,000 has been around for a looooong long time, in fact since 1987 when it was colloquially called Rogue Trader (that's 28 years). I'd been in their store several times before I actually started playing 40k over 20 years ago in 1995 (not too long after they introduced their 2nd edition rules) and I haven't stopped playing since. I've seen a lot of things over the years while taking part in this hobby but recently I've started to notice some interesting things happening with the player-base itself...
Over the last few years I've seen a lot of newer players make some fairly typical rookie mistakes. I don't mean to make fun of them but seeing them go through the same things I went through multiple times throughout the last two decades makes me wonder how I looked going through the same things. Hopefully I didn't complain as much!

I'll try to cover some of the more common mistakes newer GW customers make one at a time:

1. Complaining about power creep, unbalanced codexes, etc
Warhammer 40,000, in the 20 years I've been playing, has never been a balanced game. There have always been over-powered armies, really bad codexes, and vague or unclear rules. Seeing newer players whine and complain about it like it's a new phenomenon to 40k is often entertaining, but what they don't understand is it's an exercise in futility. I'm no Games Workshop apologist, the unbalanced games definitely suck to play through, but it never has been and never will be that kind of game. Love it, hate it, buy in, sell out, blog about it, it will not change. Like most 40k players I try to skirt around that issue by finding games against the armies I enjoy playing against, with the people I like playing against. I've had some very amazing games of 40k throughout the years and I whole-heartedly believe that's still possible now despite the disparity in army list strength in today's game with all the detachments, formations, and datasheets available in 7th edition. Sure, maybe it takes more effort now to find a good game than it did before, but to me it's still worth it. You just need to ask yourself if it's worth it to you. If not, go play something that makes you happy!

2. Within a month or two of learning the game you should be winning most your games
Unless you have a really good grip on the rules, or build an illegal list or use weighted dice *cough*Feast Of Blades*cough*, excuse me, then you should expect to lose games often for the first few months or more (especially nowadays with how many possible list variations there are). There are enough nuances in 40k and wargaming in general that you're not going to pick up in just a couple of games. It takes a little bit of time but stick with it and ask questions.

3. Asking a GW employee or emailing GW or Forge World directly with rules questions
When your rules debate gets confusing or heated enough that you want a second opinion, do not contact Games Workshop about it. While logically it follows that the company that writes the rules for a game should have answers to rules questions for that game, your emails are not going to Phil Kelly or Jervis Johnson's inboxes for example. Instead they're going to a publicly unknown community manager or customer service employee who may not be (and might not be required to be) familiar with the rules. The same thing goes for Forge World employees. You're honestly better off posting your question in your local facebook group page or on whatever 40k forum you visit most often online. Asking people who play the game multiple times a week or have played in large events that have more widely accepted rulings in place will likely get you a better answer. There's a saying about emailing Games Workshop with rules questions, that you can ask them the same rules question 10 times and you'll get 10 different answers. They're just people too, they're not some infallible rules machine that will perfectly understand your question the way you phrased it and give you a complete and perfect answer that needs to be etched into stone as if it came from on high.

4. "When a codex on the online store is 'out of stock' that must mean that army is being redone!"
This happens all the time and has never indicated anything other than that product being temporarily "out of stock". It has never meant that and it won't mean that the next 15 times you discover it and post about it either.

5. "When a model kit on the online store that was previously metal or finecast and is now out of stock, that must mean that model is being re-sculpted or remade in finecast or plastic!"
Again, no. Things go out of stock at GW's distribution centers, and take a simple reproduction run to restock. There's no need to read into it.

6. "Games Workshop is a miniatures company, not a game company. That's why they're not as interested in the quality of their rules!"
Don't buy into the former CEO Tom Kirby's nonsense. I know newer GW customers like to repeat this line whenever they hear anything bad about the game, but it's extremely ignorant. In my previous article I mentioned this already, the fact that Grand Tournaments, Rogue Traders, 'Ard Boyz, and Throne of Skulls events even existed, along with rules packets for school leagues, and the whole "specialist games" range just proves that dead wrong. But don't take my word for it, read their business model:

"The games are a key part of both our Hobby and our business model. Our games are played between people present in a room (a Hobby centre, a club, a school), not with a screen. They are truly social and build a real sense of community and comradeship. This again makes good business sense. The more fun and enjoyable we make our games, the more customers we attract and retain, and the more miniatures our customers want to buy. This in turn allows us to reinvest in making more and more exciting miniatures and games, which creates a virtuous circle for all."

7. So you bought a box of Termagants, and now you're suddenly a seasoned Tyranid expert!
If you're new to the game and are skimming through a new codex, don't pretend to have a solid understanding of how the army used to work and how it will work now under the new rules. You haven't put in enough time with that army, let alone with a single list, to begin to know what you're talking about. Most of the time people are willing to teach and explain but if you just laugh off their experience and opinions, you're going to quickly piss people off. Going around and telling people how things are in absolutes with no experience to back up anything you're saying is just going to make you look like a jerk.

There's plenty more, but I feel these are the most repeated mistakes and claims I hear coming from new players. Sure I took a bit of a harsh stance on a few of these, but when they're repeated over and over and over it wears on you after a bit.

If you guys have any questions, feel free to respond and I will try to help in any way I can. I don't have all the answers, and I'm not always right. I also won't chew your head off. But I try really hard to to learn what I can and listen to different perspectives to ensure I have the most up-to-date knowledge and an idea of what the big picture is.

Thanks for reading!

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