How much change has GW gone through in such a short time? For someone who borders on a GW fanboy even I had to admit that last year at this time it didn't look good for GW in the long haul.
Codex creep GK was domination the tournament scene. Finecast continued with quality issues with GW apparently indifferent to the consumer about it. No support for events/tournaments. It's like they were rolling along on past success with complete apathy. Units in books without models. Oh, and the international sales embargo.
Oh what 12 months can bring.
What sparked this post? Today's announcement of a brand-new White Dwarf. The final bad apple has been plucked and a whole new life has been brought to the Games Workshop hobby.
Check it out here: http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/wnt/blog.jsp?pid=4200016
A whole new team. A whole new approach including featuring models painted by the community from email and Flickr. How cool is that? Only time will tell if WD will return to past glory, but I'm hopeful.
So what else has happened to completely turn around my attitude towards GW? A lot. Necrons brought non-power armor into the forefront of the competitive environment. Timely and useful faq updates. More and more attendance by GW at events such as Adepticon and GenCon.
Then came 6th edition. A whole new approach to 40k that to me is a wonderful game. With the latest round of faq and errata eliminating the deathstars and bringing the last little bit of balance to the game. I always thought 5th edition was wonderful. It was, but 6th eclipses it by far. Other then the challenge rules, I have no complaints about 6th. It is fast, fluid, cinematic and a whole lot of fun. I think the challenge can be fixed really easy too, make it just like fantasy where unit champions can decline without penalty.
Still only rumors but the leaked release list includes some very interesting tidbits. Mainly the idea that they will release small army lists in WD that can't play on their own but can be used as allies. I consider that the ultimate win-win. The company gets to sell more models, while the players and hobbyists get to try out new things, new models, new lists without the expense of a full sized army. Specifically the older gamers with multiple armies that may not be buying as fast or as often as they once did, will be enticed into new purchases. The final cherry on top is you'll never know for sure what you will come up against. I honestly think 6th edition eliminates the "meta" entirely.
Oh ya, can't forget to mention the awesomeness that is Dark Vengeance. For once, GW has put out a REAL starter set. I've seen Macragge, Black Reach, Island of Blood, and none of them really qualified. I looked through the book that came with Black Reach and I can't imagine a new player trying to figure out the game (basically it just had arrows pointing and referring to page numbers) and of course the fact that Island of Blood came with no stats at all..they had to release a pdf.
DV changed all that. There are missions that walk you through the rules adding more in each time. Heck there is even a *single player* scenario!! Nicely made stat cards gives you all the information you need to get stared in 40k. All this for the same price as Black Reach. Don't forget the completely amazing models included in the set. GW is still the king of models, especially plastics.
Did I mention every unit in the Necron codex has a model? That is something new, and if the rumors hold then from now on every codex will have available every unit in it within a month or two. This may mean that some books are delayed, but that is a compromise I can live with.
There is no way to know what motivated this change. Ultimately I have have to vote for the idea that sales were slumping, or at least flattening, and they realized the competition was coming on strong and they couldn't sit on their laurels any longer. It really does come down to making money after all, and I will never berate them for that.
Edit: Totally forgot to mention the digital products! If only they had them available for general computer use not just iSuck products. maybe in time..
Not everything is perfect of course. The draconian clamp down on rumors. Finecast still hasn't reached the quality it needs. Price increases. But overall I have to commend Games Workshop for the almost revolutionary way it has responded to complaints by it's customers and fixed a whole big chunk of it's issues, and in such a short amount of time.
I'm really looking forward to years of enjoyment with the current state of Warhammer 40k. What's even better is the local people and community I play is huge, growing and simply amazing. The Pacific Northwest is a huge gaming area. There are about 12 active game stores around the Portland area alone, which means there has to be a lot of gamers out there spending money.
If you want to see what we do here, check out our club Ordo Fanaticus and it's forums.
Well that's enough for now. I am still planning on hitting up the Bay Area Open next year, so subscribe to get updates on my plans for that over the next 6 months.