Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A rant I just posted on Warseer

I'm not big on rants, and this wasn't meant to be one, but I guess it kindof just turned into one. Anyway, here it is in all it's glory. Perhaps it helps to explain why there has not been much 40k content here of late, although I expect I'll roll round to it again as time goes by.


I just finished adding up my total GW spending this year - it's showing some interesting trends, and I think it says something about GW's current business model - particularly the "lets keep upping the prices" and "lets not tell anyone what's coming" facets of what they've done recently.

Just to put you in the picture, I'm a GW "heavy user" to use the Mcdonalds term. For pretty much the last seven years I've purchased at least one new army each year, sometimes several. I have at least 2500 pts of each of the following:

Space Wolves
Blood Angels
Flesh Tearers
Black Templars
Dark Angels
Crimson Fists
Dark Eldar
Imperial Guard (4 distinct infantry-based forces, three of approx 2500 pts, and one of 6000, plus an Armoured Company with two Baneblades).

I also have a large Empire army (about 5000pts), and about 1500 pts each of Vampire Counts and High elves, and about 3000 pts each of Dwarves and Orcs+Gobbos.

Then there's the specialist games - I have a ton of stuff for each - plus loads of oop games stretching right back to the 1980s. In my loft I have an old Ultramarines army made up of RTB01 marines and original rhinos and Land Raiders. And Squats. Hell, I even have two box's worth of the original plastic citadel Daleks and Cybermen. I dread to think what my collection is worth.

To cut a long story short, it is not unusual for me to drop something close to a grand on GW products per year, when you add it all up, and I've been doing that year on year for at least the last seven, with plenty of (more sporadic) spending before that.

So what have I spent this year?

£25. The whole year.

Have I got tired of gaming? No. Hell no. Actually I've probably done more modelling and building this year than I have most years, one way or another. So where has my hard-earned been going?

Other games.

It's not that I've had a big strop at GW - quite the opposite. I'm still playing as much as I ever did - 40k mostly - and I've certainly not been ranting to anyone about how I'm giving up GW games for good or anything stupid like that. But I've hardly spent a penny this year on GW stuff, and until I sat down and thought about it for a few moments today, I didn't actually realise that had been the case.

So the question I'm asking myself now is: "Why?"

Like I said, I've got no axe to grind against GW - I love their games. But this year, I've just been more excited by other things.

I must confess I got a bit burned out on Dark Eldar around Christmas time (my last major GW purchases were a bunch of Dark Eldar just before Christmas) and then I had an extraordinarly busy spring work-wise, but then Salute rolled round.

I love Salute-  if you don't know it it's a big trade-show/gaming fair type thing at the Excel Centre in London every year. I usually go and I enjoy looking at all the cool models.

Well this year, I lingered around a bunch of 28mm plastic napoleonics for too long and got hooked. Before I knew it, I had somehow acquired a MASSIVE army of French and British, and it took me pretty much until the end of the Summer to get through painting them - in fact I still have a ton to paint, but I'm giving myself a break.

Then, in the autumn, I toyed with the idea of leaping back into bed with GW, but rumour-wise not a lot was going on with 40k (my main system) and the Fantasy re-boot had failed to grab me, so my eye roved elsewhere, and again before I knew what was happening I had a shiny new copy of "Force on Force", and a crap-ton of modern US Marines, British army and Afgan Taliban to paint, along with associated tanks, IFVs, soft-skins and helos.

So this year, rather than spend my hard-earned on two new GW armies, I've instead bought into two whole new games, and basically bought pretty much all the models I will ever need or want to play those games with, from the perspective of several different new armies.

And here's where it gets interesting (for me at least). All of that has cost me LESS that two new armies from GW would have done. I have basically bought two entire games systems with near-complete model ranges for more than one army in each, and the whole thing has cost me LESS than I would usually spend on GW models in a year.

So if I were GW what would I learn from this?

Lesson No.1: GW prides itself that they "make the best model soldiers in the world". If they are going to survive as a business they need to amend that. It ought to read that they "SELL the best model soldiers in the world". They can't do that, if people can't afford to buy them. End of.

If other manufacturers are SELLING their models so significantly cheaper that people can afford to buy a complete game system elsewhere for the same price as a single GW army, then GW will lose customers to other companies. Space Marines or no.

Lesson No.2: GW needs to excite their customers about their products in order to maintain their interest. I was mildly excited about Grey Knights, but I still had too many Dark Eldar unbuilt and unpainted to think about starting up with them. I'm not at all excited about Necrons, because I know next-to-nothing about what is coming. Had I know a good deal a month ago, I might have saved my purchasing for the Necron release. As it happens, I've gone elsewhere.

Lesson No. 3: 40k needs more love. Two army-remakes a year is not enough. I realise it's getting a new edition next year, which means more love, but it's their main system now and it doesn't have enough armies anymore. I've already bought a crap-ton of models for the armies that interest me - the others don't. Unless they bring out some NEW armies that interest me, I can get by with only a few purchases a year, assuming they're only going to release a few new models for my forces per year.

Lesson No. 4: Don't take your customers for granted. Sure, 40k is great universe to play in - so is Warhammer, but there are OTHER PLACES WE CAN PLAY. And they don't cost anything like as much. We all love 40k, but there comes a point where us "heavy users" can just shrug and say "I don't need to buy anything new to keep playing this. How do you like them apples GW?"
It feels real good to drop the sort of cash you'd usually spend on a new GW army and buy enough models for ALL THE ARMIES IN THE ENTIRE SYSTEM in one go. And still have some change.

And for those of you still reading (have a chocolate) you want to know what it was that cost me £25?

Draigo and Coateaz. In Finecast.

They are still unopened in the bag I brought them home in three weeks ago.

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