Tag Archives: Forums

From Then to Now – Warmachine Changes this Edition

Last summer, Privateer Press released a new edition of Warmachine and Hordes. They probably rightly judged that this was enough change for the moment, and purposefully planned to give people time to play the new rules, try out all the newly redesigned models, build new and different armies…

They planned for about 6 months of that, with changes starting to hit in December. The changes represent changes not only to the game but to their fundamental business practices. And the changes have been increasing in speed and there have been some pretty big surprises for the community. So I want to try to keep this short and high level for if you don’t play the game, but oh man, there’s been a bunch of stuff. Thoughts!

Army Command Books

The first thing that we knew was coming was that Privateer Press changed how they were going to release new models. In the past, they had released what they called “anthology books,” full of new story pieces and then a few models each for a number of armies. They tended to release fairly even releases across the armies, as well, with everyone getting the same sorts of things in the book (units, warcasters, whatever it was).

It would often take a year or more for all of those models to actually come out once the book was out, so in actual practice people weren’t getting synchronous releases, but it felt that way. The rules existed, at least. They could think about the models.

To try to make the rules releases and the model releases closer together, they decided to change how they release things. The story elements are all coming in novels now. Then they are releasing books based on the individual armies, with them getting new models, and those models coming out in a few month window afterwards.

In practice, this reduces that lag time between the rules existing and the models actually being available for purchase and use. However, it also creates both the feeling of and the actual practice of the armies having an uneven amount of releases.

Somebody has newer toys than someone else.

I was fine with it, what with the first book out being the Trollbloods book… Which also with it came the rules for the first Theme Forces.

Theme Forces

They’ve been racing through on the base Command Books, resetting the basics for the armies and releasing a few new things each – oh, and they’re not similar releases anymore. But coming up this fall, the rest of their new releases and new models will be coming out with Theme Books centered around thematic elements of the armies.

One of the things that stands out about Warmachine and Hordes is the way that there are themes and sub-themes within the various armies, and they create rules for playing a limited options army with perks for following the theme. They’re cool. They’re a fundamental part of how the game works in the minds of Privateer Press, as far as I can tell.

One of the big things they changed with the edition change was that the themes used to be associated individually with each warlock or warcaster in the game – hundreds of them. The majority were cute, perhaps, but not necessarily good. Or just subtle variations on a theme. Now, they’re releasing a handful of themes per army (fewer than that even now), but that are open to a much larger part of the army.

The really good themes in the old edition were played a whole lot, and were generally considered a problem with the game. They tended towards singular list builds. Everyone is holding their breath, since the themes started showing up in December, as to whether a handful of them will once again break the game, or otherwise be just plain better than others. And the related question: is the “right” or “only” way to play the game be to play a theme?

I think the answer they’re going for might actually be “yes,” so, we’ll see how that goes. The first Theme Force book will be Trollbloods, so again, I get to see how it turns out first…

Errata, Errata, Errata… or… Dynamic Update?

There have been quite a few errata at this point. After a bit of rules cleanup shortly after the edition dropped (wording mainly), but then since December there have been quite a few. Balance updates: nerfs, buffs. A lot of things players wanted, although especially with the buffs, not as much as players wanted.

There has been renewed effort to communicate with the community about the changes to the game, as well. For people to ask questions of the designers. To recommend things that need changed.

The most surprising was a “Dynamic Update” that we weren’t warned about in advance – fixing some last items that the community was upset had not been changed in the official errata. And it also sounds like… the official errata, previously something on a 6-month rotation, is a thing of the past. In the future, we’ll have these Dynamic Updates hit.

The thought is, it’s like an app or video game updating. Cleaning up the rules, the balance. It’s a good business model. If done well, it’ll be great for the game.

Community Integrated Development

Along with talk about the errata and the work they put into balance… they also revealed that they are now working on integrating anyone in the community who wants to into the playtesting process. Basically, to continue the video game analogy, it’s like a public test realm, or a beta test. The models and rules will be close to release, and they’ll send the rules and their thoughts on how they’re supposed to work out to the community, and we’ll playtest it.

What’s amusing to me is that this moves back to the realm of getting rules for models far earlier than they release… But they might change, so hey.

This has been met with a lot of cautious optimism. It seems like it could be good. It seems that it makes it harder for us to complain about things. That process began this week, with a whole new army available for playtest!

But we’ll see what happens with the community input. Cautiously optimistic. But also distracting!

The Forums

In preparation for the Community Integrated Development to start this week, they took the Privateer Press forums down for maintenance, to update them and create a spinoff forum for development talk.

Aaaaaaand in doing so they decided not to bring everything back. They especially took down the army-based sub-forums, which was the main place I went on the forums. No more place to go talk to the other Trollbloods players. At least, not officially.

They said that discussion like that are better suited for social media, which is interesting, because that moves the discussion away from them and their sphere. Away from their moderators and rules. I mean, okay, most of them can be found in the Facebook groups, but still…

We didn’t quite get a solid answer on it, either, until it was done and gone.

No More Press Gang

And then, the news after the forums were gone… after we started Community Integrated Development this week… we found out they were ending their volunteer program, the Press Ganger program. I talked about this program with Chad a couple months back.

Chad is our area’s Press Ganger, so this affects him most directly. Press Gangers had a special forum, could talk with each other and got inside information. They organize leagues and events and tournaments. And for doing so, they get points which they can redeem at the Privateer Press store. Okay, so free stuff… in exchange for volunteer work. Seems like a fair trade.

Taking this away impacts the rest of us too, though, because if it removes some of Chad’s motivation for running events and getting us engaged with the game and playing with each other… that takes a lot of wind out of our sails.

They claim they will be working more directly with the game stores and such, but our game store doesn’t do much with the game so that doesn’t help us.

That’s all my local thoughts on this, and I think that all sorts of small communities playing this game around the world are having similar thoughts right now. We’re all hoping that our Press Gangers keep doing what they do, now just out of the goodness of their hearts and the love of the game. To be fair, that’s the majority of the reason they did it before. I think we’ll be fine with Chad here locally.

Still, we’re only a couple of days into this. I guess we’ll see.

Final Thoughts: Coming Soon

Well, so much for short post. It’s been a lot that I have been processing in the recent months, about the game, about the company that is bringing it to us. I think I understand the business reasons that most of these things are happening. Maybe the rest – the most recent things – will make more sense given some time.

But the rate of change has been increasing. They gave us 6 months to ease in, sure, but it’s been a rollercoaster since then.

The next big change we’re seeing down the way is the new Scenario packet, which are randomly chosen before games for what zones and objectives you’re fighting over in your game. They had decided to keep the last set basically unchanged so that it was one less thing changing along with the new rules. Part of the nothing-much-going-on-for-6-months. But now, they’re looking at big changes to that.

In the midst of all of this change, we’re hoping to travel to Privateer Press’s big tournament they put on themselves, Lock and Load, this summer. I just hope between now and then, things remain fun… because in the end, the element that’s true other than that this is a business, is that this is a game.

Advertisements
Audio

Comparative Opinions – Wargaming – Episode 28

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! This week, David is joined by guest host Chad to talk about tabletop miniature wargaming. What it is, a bit of history of the industry, why people get into it and love it, and closing out with the game they play: Warmachine and Hordes by Privateer Press. Find Chad on the Privateer Press forums as PG_cavebaby and David as CompGeekDavid.

Comparative Opinions is a weekly half-hour-ish podcast hosted on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes every Sunday!

https://www.facebook.com/ComparativeGeeks/

https://twitter.com/comparativegeek

Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

Happy New Year 2017 from Comparative Geeks!

Happy New Year! It’s time to start looking ahead, because the year behind us was awful – let us hope that there’s nowhere to go but up! That’s certainly our plan here at Comparative Geeks.


We want to keep getting more guest hosts on the Comparative Opinions podcast, get more voices and more topics going. Hopefully you’ve been enjoying that – remember you can find the feed here or subscribe to us on iTunes. And hey, if you do follow on iTunes, consider rating the podcast!

We’re also hoping to start bringing together a number of new and exciting series that our contributors have been thinking up and planning. The time is now – look for those in the coming weeks!

Chapter 2 of the Astral Chronicles starts this week, possibly planned by David. Possibly random. The stars are right!


Part of our goal with moving to our own managed site was to do some advertising. So far, you’ve seen advertising from our contributors and their projects – hopefully you’ve checked those out! We’re going to be exploring more options, including hopefully some affiliate programs. If you know of any looking to connect with a site like ours, let us know! Also, it would be great to set up some giveaways and such… we’ll see what we can do!


The new year is also a time to look back and reflect on what’s not working. For us, that is unfortunately probably the Forums. They just haven’t really seen use, which tells us that it’s just not a need that you have from us right now. They would be easy enough to recreate or set back up, but for now we’ll be taking them down.

Is there anything we’re doing you especially like or don’t? Things you’d like to see more of from us? Questions, concerns? Let us know in the comments below! And if you would like to join the team, let us know that too!

On Feeding the Trolls

There’s a pun in that title…

I’ll try to keep this at a level that you can follow without playing the game, here goes! So, end of last week, the Chain Attack Warmachine and Hordes podcast I listen to got to talking about the toxic negativity in the community at large, in particular the online community. What, negativity in an online community??? you say. Yes.

There’s always been negativity, I mean, it’s the Internet and a game and these things happen. However, with the new edition coming out and changes to near everything in the game (small or large), there’s a whole new level of negativity. Memes were spawned, like #threeyearsofplaytesting (from their statements that they spent three years on the edition, generally used to talk about something that isn’t perceived as balanced), #designspace (a common phrase they used to explain why some things were changed), and a whole group dedicated to memes about how bad a whole faction was… a faction that’s now getting a heavy set of errata coming up in January.

This one's more my style...

This one’s more my style…

Anyway, the podcast was basically… hey guys, if you really think it’s that bad, try a different faction. Try a different game. Take a break. Walk away from the online communities. Whatever you need – but if it’s all just negative for you, there’s no need to just feed into that further. With something like a Forum, you have to choose to go there (and it’s all sub-forums, too, so you can easily go to one section and avoid another, if there’s one thing you’re happy about and one you’re upset about). You choose to listen to a podcast. Even some of the more passive things, like Facebook groups, you can actively leave.

So with all of that floating around my head, I maybe, sort of, went and started a thread on the Trollbloods Forums asking the question, “Do you really feel like it’s that bad?” I had been noticing that there was plenty of negativity and constructive criticism, but only a few who were more directly “trolling” the threads and spreading toxic negativity. Three main ones I’ve learned to just ignore the comments from. And then there’s one other, whose whole gaming group has basically moved on from the game and he’s upset and still posting, but it’s tough – he has a blog, he’s a volunteer for the company, all these things. He’s one of the people who got me into the faction, with his blog and guides, and it makes me sad.

But by starting a thread asking basically “why are you here spewing negativity when you could just walk away?” I was kind of literally just asking the trolls to come out of the woodwork (see? pun!). I was feeding the trolls.

One of the three main Forum trolls bit, and he was all over the place. I noticed something I hadn’t seen before – his Forum signature, which reads

Someone PM me after the game gets fixed.

Like, doesn’t that read like someone who’s stepping away? Saying PM (private message) me when things are better? And instead, he keeps jumping in and derailing threads by saying things are bad and we’re deluding ourselves to think otherwise. And also saying that the company is doing things bad/wrong/stupidly and there’s no hope for improvement. A perfect candidate for stepping away.

Well, after engagement by the rest of the community, things got well out of hand… and the thread got closed (but at least not until after I had gotten one final say!). Which is, I suppose, what happens when you feed the trolls. When you confront them and say, “troll, why for art thou trolling?” it turns out what you’re likely to get is a trolling response.

The hope, though, is some introspection – if not of the main trolls, then, well, for others. For those who are just dissatisfied and have nothing constructive to say. I know that Chain Attack got me thinking about how I don’t feel positive about my Convergence of Cyriss army right now – I’ve boxed it up, and I’m waiting to see how the future shakes up before I get back to it at all. And so I removed Convergence from my Forum signature, I’m staying away from that sub-forum, and following my own advice. It’s all Trollbloods from here – and I’m having a blast with them!

Two Months On – Comparative Geeks Going Strong!

Hello faithful followers! Two months ago, on another holiday weekend in the U.S., this new Comparative Geeks site got up and running. Its goal is to be a place where geeks can come and geek out, about whatever they want. So far, I think we’ve been living up to that pretty well! Our contributors are going strong, with more on the way.

We’re up to 10 episodes of our podcast, which I guess makes this week 10 of the site. Hopefully you’ve been enjoying that, the comments we’ve gotten so far have been positive. Definitely let us know if there’s anything you want us to address – questions, problems with sound or length or anything like that. We’re hoping to interview and talk to some folks in the future, and we’ll be sure to ask for questions from readers in advance! Make sure to follow us on iTunes or other podcatchers.

What do you think of our other original content so far? We are exploring options to manage the webcomic, so that the archives can easily be accessed from start to finish. What about Wordless Wednesday? And any input on Meme Monday or any of our other series or posts so far? Let us know what you would like to see more of from the site.

If we were going to mention one other aspect of the site, it would be the Forums… they’re off to a pretty slow start. Have you looked at the forums? Start a thread! Check out what’s there! Or tell us in the comments what you’d like to see from the forums moving forward.

Otherwise, just an obligatory sort of reminder to check out our Facebook Page and our Twitter account – follow us wherever you find yourself, so you can keep track of what we have going on as we move forward!