Tuesday, 14 January 2014

CALM DOWN and DON'T PANIC! Opinions are like bumholes (everybody's got one that's special to them).

So, as you've probably heard by now, White Dwarf is going the way of the Dodo and will be followed swiftly thereafter by Warhammer. After that the Sun will fail to rise and the Earth itself will spin off it's axis and plunge headlong into Mars.

Ahem. At least that's if you believe the internet, which I would advise you don't because it tells fibs and makes things up.

Rather than rush around commenting on other people's WD scandal articles I've decided to wrap up my thoughts on the subject here, where it can be safely ignored if necessary.

Despite the fact that 12 month WD subscriptions are still on sale from GW and the lack of an official announcement, all of fandom is agog with the possibility of the imminent demise of White Dwarf. Hold on there buddy, it died quite a long time ago! It has been a mere catalogue for hundreds of issues! There has been no original hobby content in the living memory of the average teenage gamer! Surely we all knew this? The long lament has been dragged out for years with the moaning and whinging from 'veteran' gamers, apparently all the time people were hoping WD was going to make a comeback though? A return to the glory days? Why else are we all so upset? Never going to happen I assure you, I hope WD does die a death frankly, so that the embarrassment comes to an end. "So long!" I would say gleefully before continuing. "Thank the Lord you're finally able to rest in peace!". Unfortunately though, it looks like WD will morph into a weekly catalogue aimed at encouraging weekly visits and used as an 'add-on sale'. Surely a fate worse than death.

As for Warhammer (at least, the modern corporate version), I think it deserves an honourable death too. Made cool because it was Cthulhu in Middle-Earth, now it's just a bloated, burnt-out, parody of itself with nowhere left to go.

If anyone out there wants my opinion (based on a little educated conjecture), here it is. Mr Kirby has cut his American venture (the rejuvenation of the U.S. market) short to personally oversee the sale of GW. I think he was given a nod and a wink from a much bigger corporation than GW (Hasbro has been named in some quarters) and has come back across the pond to make a series of short term moves designed to increase the share price as much as possible for the sale. Thus enriched, Mr Kirby can sit back and enjoy a luxurious retirement while Warhammer's future is decided by a real corporation.

Nothing is ever killed off while it is profitable, that's not smart business. Warhammer is profitable by the way, it just doesn't perform as well as Space Marines, but then, nothing else in 40K performs as well as Space Marines. It might be sold off, ending up in the hands of a miniature company or an investment group that wants to squeeze a bit more out of it. That's plausible. It might be allowed to die, disappear, retained merely to protect the IP of Warhammer 40000. Possible. It may even get a dream team assigned to it and enter a new golden age! Of course, that's the one that doesn't sound too plausible when you say it out loud.

Won't it be a blessing if Warhammer goes though, really? A curse, lifted?

I've turned my back on it because everything good Warhammer has to offer is already in my possession, and that's the secret GW have been trying to hide from everyone. The good stuff was there all along, in the beginning, not in the future. It didn't need constant updating, retconning, censoring and embiggening. That's why it's not a good cash cow for a corporation.

1st, 2nd and 3rd editions are great games if you have a GM, 4th and 5th are lots of fun for two mates and 6th was the most balanced edition for tournaments. Everything you need, no matter your hobby preferences!

If there is a hobby god, 1st through 6th will be made available as cheap PDF's by the new proprietors at GW and a selection of cheap, 3D printed, Warhammer miniatures will be available too. Maybe they'll even be good enough to make your own lead moulds from!

Thanks for stopping by!

18 comments:

  1. cant see it surprises or will ever affect me but good article nonetheless

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    1. Thanks Andy, appreciate the compliment. I'm not sure why it should surprise or affect fantasy gamers to be honest mate but there seems to be a buzz about the subject!

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  2. Well put Mr Warlord.

    As I've mentioned previously on a couple of blogs that I follow; it matters not what GW do, WE are the ones who decide what we play! GW can bring out whatever the hell they want as far as I'm concerned....they don't dictated to me what I should play, I do!

    The reason why the old stuff still holds so much appeal to me is that the old books are overflowing with exciting background material. There is just so much stuff you can draw upon to game with that I've never been enticed away by any other system.....even if it had a sleeker combat system (aerial combat shenanigans anyone?)

    I'm sad that WD will be going (probably), but only because of its heritage, not its content...or lack of it to put it bluntly.

    Cheers.

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    1. Thanks Mr One! I couldn't agree more regarding who should be be in control of one's own hobby. I think I did my mourning over the 'death' of WD/WFB etc. quite a while ago, perhaps the current fuss is down to people that have only now been confronted with the epic downfall of a giant.

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  3. Indeed! re the "Let Warhammer die" plea, I've been thinking something similar - although not without mixed feelings. Will try and post some thoughts about this later tonight...

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    1. I will look forward to your thoughts mate. 7th and 8th brought nothing to the party as far as I'm concerned and it's time Warhammer 'died' so that it can be reevaluated as a classic and played for fun, like red box DnD.

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  4. (puts his ear on his 3rd ed rule book, then on his leadpile...)
    Nope, I think we've been misinformed here, warhammer is still very much alive !

    Let me put this another way, If Metallica stops and the band collapses, will you stop listening to the music? If they release another very bad album, will you stop listening to the first 4?
    I chose this band as an example because heavy metal and fantasy wargaming have an history but this would be valid with any other artist so why not with warhammer?

    Nah, the moment someone on this planet puts "Kill 'em all" and/or opens his realm of chaos book, the heart of all we love beats...

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    1. Precisely so JB, your analogy is excellent. May Warhammer die only to be reborn, phoenix-like, as a classic of our generation. I know geedubs has done much to recruit young whippersnappers into the hobby over the years but I think they do more harm than good now and it's high time classic Warhammer editions were made available as an inexpensive series of downloads that we can pass on to those who follow.

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    2. Yes, sure, one thing is I strongly believe that they changed because WE changed, now we're back to basics which are good stories, fair fun and no rules non-sense and we are still willing to pay for it. I'm pretty much sure anyone can see the opportunity here. Studio designers still have ears and eyes to see where the winds blow.
      Let us just stand proud and still until this all gets back on track... for now, as you briliantly said, we already have all we need for some incredible fun !

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    3. I'm totally on your wavelength, Warhammer still inspires me to write stuff and do hobby stuff, just not the latter-day drivel. Only the cream of it's heyday has any long-term appeal that outlasts the edition it was created for. That doesn't mean new Warhammer material can't possibly be good, just that it doesn't appear to be profitable enough to be a priority for anyone anymore. The problem of course is that you can only trade with past glories for so long, at some point critical mass must be reached and we will see what happens after that crisis comes to pass. I hope to see older Warhammer editions become more available but I fear the corporate mentality that destroyed classic molds and historic artwork may have other ideas.

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  5. Couldn't agree more about your thoughts on Mr Kirby's motivation. He's in his sixties now and probably wants a yacht. Great article!

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    1. Precisely, who wouldn't want a yacht and an independently wealthy lifestyle in their retirement? Glad you liked the article, many thanks.

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  6. Soooo ... Warhammer miniatures are going to be on clearance sales? (Now that will really be a sight!).

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    1. Ha! There's an idea to chill the blood of many a tabletop gamer. It's still too early to declare the end of the world as we know it but we have been down that road before off course. I have spare copies of 1st edition WFRP, Warmaster, Mordheim et cetera, all acquired in clearance sales!

      Then again, the Dreadfleet surplus ended up in the chipper machine to avoid a furious backlash from those who shelled out full price for it!

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  7. I agree with your article, it's very well written.
    It will be a shame to see White Dwarf go, but as you've said, it has'nt been anything more than a catalogue for a very long time. I think I have only bought three copies in the last 10 years (one on the release of the Imperial Guard codex, two for the Tomb Kings releases, both some years ago now).

    The part about Hasbro and Mr Kirby was interesting. I would be suprised if any buyer, or a still indepedent GW, sells off any part of it's Intellectual Property. GW is a hoarder of it's IP, not a bad thing, but it does'nt really engage with the wider fan base or make use of it's back catalogue. Given how much (money and support) can be made from an engaged fan base, GW seems very parochial. It's often just their monolgue, and rarely a dialogue. This is not a anti-GW, just a regret.

    I am glad someone else has mentioned 3-D printing! I have been wondering if the future of GW, whatever it's form, will include you downloading and printing out an all plasic army? It might be the future of other compaines, and allow the growth of other in the industry, but will GW want people not going to the stores, however expensive the stores are to run? GW Brighton is now closed for 2 days a week.

    The end of Warhammer Fantasy? Maybe, or maybe it will revert to a specailist game, or just continue in a support role for 40k? They do have the licence for the various Lord of the Rings/Hobbit stuff as a fantasy range, but will they be able to keep the licence? If not, then they might need Fantasy Battle to resume it's role. As 'the one' and 'Asslessman' suggested, even if they scrap it, people will still play it.

    Take it from me, you can never know what will happen. I'm someone who was told in 1992 that the Slann were gone and forgotten, yet the Lizardmen turned up, and people still like the 3rd edition Slann too. Also, I am someone who is currently painting up a Rogue Trader Squat army, and there is a wide interest in them still, as well as other companies 'Space Dwarf' miniatures.
    Who would have thought GW would make a Jokaero ever again?

    Whatever they do, I still have far too much painting to do already! :)

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    1. "Take it from me, you can never know what will happen."

      'Ain't that the truth!

      The blogosphere is very grateful you never gave up on those Squats and Slann GL.

      I seem to recall, imperfectly, that GW has lost control of sister companies in the past without too much of an IP conundrum, lots of research necessary before I make any assertions there though.

      I read very recently that GW had made a mistake competing against itself with LotR and The Hobbit, which I find to be a very valid point. Given that Tolkien's world is less mutable (and therefore milkable) than the Warhammer World, it would surely make more sense to abandon that first and foremost. After all, in financial terms, if Warhammer is 40K's senile old Grandfather then LotR etc. are the drug-addled, teen-delinquent, cousins you refuse to acknowledge in the street.

      Locally, Leeds has gone from two stores to one (which is closed half the time) and Harrogate only has one staff member. I see a time when the high street presence is reduced to half a dozen flagship stores in the UK and the business is moved online which will be supported by TV and internet advertising.

      3D printing is going to revolutionise the hobby, soon. Even now there is talk of how to insert electronic 'watermarks' into the CAD files to protect the profitability of miniatures.

      Keep on painting Lee, I love your blog and the output is incredible!

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  8. This was always my frustration with GW, how many times do you have re-invent what something looks like (like an 'orc') or plays like - more versions and rulebooks and army lists (to get it right!?), ...just to sell more toys/books ... as you say 'veteran' gamers have long been frustrated by this... I stopped playing these games many years ago, but follow the LOTR / Hobbit content avidly, though constant price hikes are seriously pissing me off... cant help wonder if/when it will get dumped - probably once the movies have run their course... my fervent hope would be somebody might buy the licence and molds to keep it going for the die hard few... same opinions as your on WD... it was a good hobby mag once, possibly the best, now just a sales catalogue - such a shame. Its a business that needs genuine owner interest to keep it going in the right direction, not some uncaring corporate suit who just wants to make $$$... They should never have gone public listed... If both Warhammer and 40k disappeared, I'd feel a piece of the memories of my youth had, gone but wouldn't miss what the games/corporate company mean to me now - nothing...

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    1. I very much agree, someone pointed out that Warhammer 9th edition would be due in 2014 if things run to form and I just shook my head. 9th edition! How many other games are in their 9th edition? Either way, this could be a make or break year for Warhammer and the LotR system (final movie released).

      I just find that GW are making themselves irrelevant to mature gamers, which is dangerous because who do they think is going to raise the next generation of gamers?

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