The state of the GW nation

The state of the GW nation

Hi all,

So I have managed to squeeze in another post before the Christmas break and I was wondering what to post on this time and I felt it was about time to talk about what Games Workshop has been up to in the last 18 months or so and what I think about it!

How it all began…

For those of you who have been following miniature wargaming as long as I have (or even longer!), Games Workshop has made some significant changes to the way it has operated in the last 18 months or so and personally I think it has definitely been for the better!

I first began my hobby interest in 1997 where my first White Dwarf magazine was bought for me by my mum (who did not know what a costly mistake she was making!) and I was able to encounter new metal space marine scouts, brettonian knights, the new Eldar Falcon Grav tank and more. The magazine at the time was full of hobby articles on how to build your own scenery from scratch, battle reports and more. Games Workshop seemed to be geniunely interested in supporting its fan base with more than just things that required purchasing.

The dark times…

A few years ago Games Workshop seemed to stop being a company that had any clue about its customer base, other than that they had money and they wanted it. This was easily seen in their White Dwarf magazine which essentially became a weekly catalogue of new models and items available to purchase, which with this new fangled thing called the internet, was completely redundant. I stopped purchasing White Dwarf completely as frankly it was a waste of money. Don’t even get me started on Warhammer Visions, the monthy picture book that had nothing but pictures of models in it, cost about £8 and was worth nothing!

A new leader steps into the breach…

Around about 18 months ago Mr Kirby, the previous chairman of the board stepped down to just a regular board member and a new man took charge, Kevin Roundtree. Since that time Games Workshop has become what feels like a completely new company.

With re-opening Social Media channels so they can speak to their customers, making White Dwarf a magazine worth purchasing again, last week they even released a community survey to see what their customers thought about their games and company! I mean for those of us that have been in the hobby for the long haul it is truly a complete turnaround in attitude and I think it has been a massive success!

Every month I read in the mail section of White Dward positive comments about how far Games Workshop has come in their customers eyes from what they used to be. People still complain about the prices, but that will always be the case and it will not change. At least now Games Workshop are releasing bundles that actually save you money, rather than buy 3 dreadnoughts, for the price of 3 individually!

Your thoughts?

So what do you think of Games Workshop’s change in attitude and way of running their business? I think it has been a massive positive and has kept me far more engaged with the hobby, and I do believe it will get more people interested in starting the hobby whereas before they would perhaps not have heard of Games Workshop unless it was from someone already involved in the hobby.

I would be really interesting to hear your thoughts, whether you have been engaged with the hobby for decades or just months! Let me know what you think below!

Happy Christmas!

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25 thoughts on “The state of the GW nation

  1. GW in my mind will always be the company that will make changes and then ask if it’s okay to it’s customer base after. The only reason that we are saying they are doing well now is comparatively to what happened before. It was truly awful and they had rove do something to turn the sinking ship back around to get it in the harbour.
    Some may say my view is extremely cynical and unforgiving but they are first and foremost a company that desires to make money, their current damage control for their public image has been successful but we will soon see them slip back into their old ways.

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    1. Well I am trying to be more positive on my outlook but I do understand how you feel, and they do have to make money otherwise the hobby wouldn’t exist!

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  2. Positive on all fronts except game design. They are still selling what should be beta test versions of their products. 8th is awful and Necromunda has many flaws plus the whole ‘split it into numerous parts for more £¥€$’ is very old school GW.

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    1. To be honest I have found 8th edition far better than 7th from a game design point of view and necromunda has been great fun, has a few bits that need tweaking.

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  3. I think their approach to consumer engagement has been leaps and bounds better than it was in the past. However, I don’t like the direction they took the game in 8th edition. I bought $10,000 worth of models for a strategy game, and ended up with a game stripped of many of the tactical and strategic options I’d bought into it for.

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    1. Yeah I understand how you feel, but I do feel that the game does still have some tactical elements and that a lot of the game is much better rather than just being about who has the best cover buffs vs anti cover buffs. I had my worries when I first played the new edition but I do enjoy it now.

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      1. I’m reserving final judgement for their release of the Dark Eldar codex. If they don’t do some serious moving and shaking with that release, I’m pretty sure I’ll be selling my collection. I have Eldar, DE, Tau, Necrons, and Orks, but 5th edition DE captured my heart and got me into the game. They were largely unusable through 6th and 7th edition except as a sprinkle of support units for an Eldar primary detachment, or some extreme mono-build where you take literally nothing except gunboats or reaver jetbikes. Between my favorite faction getting shafted for 2 entire editions and the strategic depth they’ve stripped from the game, I’m finding difficulty identifying reasons to continue to give them my patronage.

        While they’re on this kick of engaging the public, maybe they should consider getting some feedback on how they price models. This new release saw some massive point cost shifts in models that came along with nerfs to how the models work. Together, this has made many models that were previously mainstays of many armies unusable in competitive play. Wraithknights, for example, are not even close to worth their points cost(unless it was changed in the eldar release, which I haven’t bought). Also, they tripled the points cost of the Eldar artillery battery while nerfing it’s toughness from 7 to 5. This was an unpopular and underutilized unit, except for the D-weapon version, which you had to pay extra for. If the D-weapon part is what the problem was, they should have raised the cost on that equipment option, not raised the cost on something no one uses anyway.

        Seriously, sometimes the logic behind their decisions is so unclear that it seems like a bunch of drunk guys laughing it up throwing darts at a board: “Oi, if I can hit a bulls eye in one try, eldar artillery gets +1T, if I miss, -2T!” Missed. “Ok, now on to cost. If I hit a bull’s eye, price reduction, if not, price increase!” Misses the board entirely.

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      2. I get what you mean, hopefully they will make some of the races that have not been great in the past much more playable.

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  4. X-Wing supplanting 40k as the biggest minis game on the market clearly unsettled Workshop very badly. Their response has been a series of steps in the right direction, but they are not there yet. Making Shadespire their flagship game will certainly bring in players for whom the ungodly cost of entry to Workshop games was a barrier. The fact that the models are unpainted and noticeably lower in quality than X-Wing and Armada is still going to put people off though. There is also the Star Wars advantage in FFG’s court. In the end though I hope GW can get some real traction as competition is good for us gamers.

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    1. I don’t think x-wing is the biggest game in the market is it? I thought it was outside of gw which doesnt give it store sales data so x-wing might be the biggest game in flgs bit not overall.

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      1. X-Wing was confirmed in the trade press to be outselling 40k by a significant margin for at least the last two years. Last year (before the latest edition of 40k came out) X-Wing was top, Armada was second and 40k was third.

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      2. Yes but I thought that only counted local gaming store revenue and doesn’t include gw store/official gw online sales so is missing a large majority of the picture!

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      3. Did a quick bit of checking. As Workshop are a PLC their results and revenue streames are a matter of public record. X-Wing and Armada are outselling 40k as of the last figures available. Those figures do preceded 8th Edition, but you only have to look at the speed at which events like the System Open in Birmingham sold out to see how popular X-Wing is right now.

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      4. I’m not sure it was split because you wouldn’t be able to tell from the public info how much gw was selling in 40k for example, you could see what their profit is, but not by individual product…? It still may be the case but I am quite surprised as to me x-wing is quite a limited hobby, with only a few miniatures and then it gets a bit repetitive.

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  5. I’m returning to the hobby from a long hiatus. Played a lot of 3rd edition, a bit of 4th, then got married, had kids, yada yada. Now my son is old enough to start playing (he’s 9), and has started Ork and Tau armies.

    In 2016 I bought the Dark Vengeance battle set to get back in. I was dismayed by the 7th edition rules and how complicated it all seemed compared to what I remember. It was way too much to get a (then) 8 year old into. One of the GW employees told me that 8th would be different, more accessible and streamlined. I hoped he was right.

    And he was.

    8th edition is what GW needs IMO to keep the hobby alive and growing. It streamlines the game and balances playability and strategy really nicely. Sure, I miss some of the old elements (armor values and the tactical challenges/rewards of pulling off successful flanking moves, some terrain effects, etc.), but the game is still loads of fun, there’s less room for rules abuse (note I said “less” not “zero”), and it is easy to introduce the game to people like my son and his friends.

    I love the new SM models although it effectively sidelines prior investments. That smarts a bit, but I understand it from GW’s perspective. They are a business and they need people – old and new players alike – to buy models. Points to them for doing it the way they are doing it. They aren’t invalidating the old models, just creating powerful incentives for a player to update. You don’t have to, but they are trying to create reasons for you to want to. Good on them! (I had a 4000 point DA force that I lost in a household move, so I have to rebuild from scratch anyway!)

    The new GW stores seem cool. Around here they are only 1 person shops and although I understand the need to keep costs low, having ONE person be responsible for a shop is a bit much. More than once I’ve gone to a local store only to find it closed because the lone employee is out to lunch, sick, or in taking a restroom break.

    All in all, I think it’s a great time to be in the hobby, I think the new vitality and movement in the fluff (even if I’m not fond of some of it) is a great thing, the new models are excellent, and the online resources (GW and fan-based) are great.

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    1. So glad you have had such a positive experience with the new edition! I am in full support of GW at the moment and am enjoying being in the hobby. Long may it continue!

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    1. Translating from alt-right “Please let us abuse people and let’s still have nobody speak up for the victims (SJW is a slur for “social justice warrior”, you know, decent people who stand up and speak up).

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  6. Spookily enough my path was very similar to your own falling out of love when WD went weekly. I felt the company had taken an attitude of there being no competition…the timing really could not have been worse in what I see as a golden era of table top gaming. WD has brought me back in the fold with the introduction of some excellent games which really have offered value for money. Initially I first got into the game through Space Hulk and then I brought the 2000 Black Templar Armegeddon starter set (Knight Templars being a real passion of mine). My true passion soared with the chaos warbands which really had me collecting the models and pushing my painting skills to new levels. The recent changes with Age of Sigmar allowing me to use all my old models has reignited this passion. Love this game and the brilliant miniatures!

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    1. Sorry to hear that’s the case with you, I don’t think it is the case across the country though. I’ve seen more 40k being played than before 8th.

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  7. I’ve played 40k since 1st edition and this is the first edition where I’ve found synergy between units to have returned. I also think codex creep has lessened with this edition and certain poorly done codexes like csm and tyranid from previous editions have been done well enough to be viable again and wraith knights for eldar if chosen with iyanden can be hard to face
    As for necromunda I worry the timing of it may have been prompted by the fact that Fallout Wasteland Warfare was to go on preorder at the same time (though that preorder will not end before february as it starts shipping at end of march)
    Part of my pessimism over this was that up until the point it was announce, rumours I’d heard was that the big november release for this year was going to be the Horus Heresy: Adeptur Titanicus which has now been pushed back to some point in the future (though I will give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they had it nearer completion and decided to release it while the Shadow war Armegeddon was still keeping necromunda adicts like myself pumped up.
    I have to say though that the get started boxes the new figure cases and the new board games are all fantastic but i find it odd that they keep releasing cheap sets of easy build models that are too few models to fill a unit with

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  8. I saw something the other day about Adeptus Titanicus being pushed back because of the success of their boxed games, they have changed it from being resin models to plastic (which takes a lot of time to change apparently) so that they can expand the game further than they originally anticipated. So I would see that as a positive rather than a negative. As for the easy to build kits, I think they are more to get you into the hobby as a newbie where having the right number of models in a squad is less of an issue. Also the newer easy build kits that they have just released have the right number of models in.

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