Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Knee Jerks

     Okay so I will freely admit that I still consider myself to be a relative newbie to 40K, let alone table-top gaming in general. I've got a small observation to make: The community seems to be very VERY reactionary to rule updates. This could manifest itself in an updated army codex, a FAQ, or even a rumor.

     Now one arena I'm surely not a newb in is video games. I've been playing all my life. I remember the fond nights spent in front of the glow of my Commodore 64, my brother's Odyssey, and even our Pong set-top box. I'm certainly "old school" when it comes to the PC/console side of the house. I used to be much more of an early adopter, and one of my knacks was conquering a steep learning curve very quickly. I could start in on a completely fresh game and have a ton of the tricks sussed out very early. It would almost always show up as a nearly unfair advantage against other players who weren't so fast to catch on.

     I'm not bragging, I just noticed that this was a strength. I tend to switch games pretty often (less so now that I'm in the military and my horrible pay doesn't really afford me the support of both my hobbies in full) and this played to that special ability I had. The one place where I tended to linger was always MMOs.

     Anyone who has spent a significant time in any MMO knows that one of the constant evils that shadows this particular genre is the cries of "NERFED!" or "OVERPOWERED!" This was something I thought I had left in the digital realm but I'm finding it alive and well within the table-top kingdom.

    A recent update to the Ork 40K FAQ added a bonus to having a Deff-rolla. Being a new Ork player, I was interested in that little tid-bit but I certainly didn't immediately punch in the Games Workshop site and order up a bunch of rollas. I recognized it for what it was: An added advantage with plenty of risks.

    I really didn't give much more thought on the matter until about two or three days later when Bell of Lost Souls ran two stories, back to back, about the rule change filled with great wailing and gnashing of teeth. One article went so far as to proclaim mechanized lists dead.

     This is a systemic problem here. People get so worked up about codices and rule updates that it really just descends into a noise, a cacophony of complaints that really doesn't serve much good for the hobby. I think that new players (and really; speaking as one) will most probably find this distracting and confusing. I know that many new players are looking to get the biggest bang for their buck from their first army. If they're anything like myself, they're going to research the hobby/game intensely before choosing which army to start investing in (and lets face it; it's an investment). This kind of "Army X is the best, oh wait now Army Y is" just doesn't speak to the generally calm people I've associated with in this hobby.

     Perhaps it's just the hyperbaric chamber that is the Internet that causes these over-reactions. Whatever the case, I encourage my fellow gamers to find calm and peace and know that "This too shall pass." can be a mantra in which you find solace.


Tabletop Painter said...

I think people get upset over things like what you mentioned because there seems to be no ryhme or reason to their decisions on faq's and the pressure on writers to out do each other from one codex to the next. My fav is the grey knight force weapon because it doesnt say instant death in the description eternal warrior doesnt protect you it says they are slain outright, when u read instant death the description is the model is killed outright i asked gw to explain the difference and they couldnt lol. sometimes they are just very short sighted and we have to put up with it oh well this comment is rambling on now.

Sam said...

I follow. There are many rule holes out there. I just want people to rest assured that this is still a game of compromise when it comes to rules disputes. Ultimately, you're playing the person across the table from you, and it's just a game. Unlike MMOs, you have the chance to talk it over a bit, and if nothing else, roll for it.

I just want the whole race to find the next best thing to be calmed down just a tad. I think it would be best for the hobby, that's all.

Thanks for your input though! Keep it up.

RPiazza said...

I've been around 40k for a for a good six years now in that time I have also played World of Warcraft online. I had never thought about it until you mentioned it but yes the chatter is quite similar. I usually just ignore it. I do agree that GW makes some questionable calls just like Blizzard does but I enjoy the games and playing people in the spirit of fun. It's the hardcore people in both settings who hang on every change that cry the loudest. Yes you will see the nut now who will run three battle wagons with Deff Rollas or some other over the top power game configuration but I don't care. I don't make a living from playing 40k. Where I gnash my teeth and make a commotion is at my job and in my education. I kick ass and take names in both areas. I enjoy your blog Sam keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

It always makes me have a little giggle reading BoLS and other forums where everyone gets so uptight about this.

You're spot on with your comment about talking it over with your opponent. If you're playing with decent folk and you have a query which isn't easily resolved you can always fall back on an adjudicator if you have one spare, or the good old 4+. I generally know who is a 'power gamer' or 'FAQ hound' at my local and will try not to game with them as this hobby is meant to be a bit of fun (it used to be much easier when I was just a youngling with my mates).

Carrying on like they do on some of the forums won't promote the hobby, and GW won't take much useful data back from it.

On the Deathroller issue that you sighted, I can;t see what all the fuss is. I haven't seen anyone around my area tank shock or ram another vehicle since our preview game in store at the launch of 5th.

Sam said...

RPiazza, and Rogue Pom; I love your comments. Spot on guys.

Here's to the sensible gamer! Lets hope we're never drowned out by the impatient people in our past-time. Thanks for the comments and for stopping by.

Turuk said...

An interesting note about the comparison between 40k and WoW is that 40k players are known to bend, fudge, or compromise on the the rules at times if they are obscure or vague, and have the ability to do so. With all this noise over the FAQ's that come out, two players can always choose to play it a different way if they find the new rules so unfair to them.

WoW does not allow that, for better or worse, as you cannot do anything to alter the changed ability/skill/whatever, and yet that does not stop so many players making a huge fuss over it. While yes, sometimes that noise does let Blizzard know how the community feels about a change, is that noise ever presented in a mature debate? No, not really, and 40k is no different in that.

The funny thing about people who complain so much for either game is that they will gripe and moan and complain about it, but it will not stop them from playing the game. I think that acting like it's the end of the world for them (and maybe they truly feel that way) just shows that their life perspective needs a bit of an adjustment.