Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Rant Ahoy!

Fantastic. Nice to see Stelek vent some venom - and it's well deserved too.

"Here are some general rules that GW is finally getting, that you might want to familiarize yourself with:

Building a army is part of the hobby--both the act of putting together our little guys AND filling out army lists with paper and pen.
Knowing math is part of the hobby.
Bullshitting is part of the hobby, so is whining, flamefests, and general stupidity which can't be fixed.
Socializing is part of the hobby (ostracizing is not).
Converting your army is an art form that requires advanced aesthetic skills most of us kids just don't fucking have--but it's also part of the hobby.
The weirdo universe the little toy men live in and the fluffmasters love to read about, is also part of the hobby.
Painting your army up (or crediting those who did, thank you ethics) is part of the hobby.

Not being a jackass when you play, is part of the hobby."

I absolutely agree. Who here doesn't want to win? None of us. Who here also reads the fluff in the books we buy, and gets some enjoyment from the same? We may be paying a premium for the fluff along with the rules, but if we didn't care about the fluff wouldn't we just play a more affordable, balanced game? Well, yes, hence people quitting for the last decade. Converting is my fav part of the hobby. I love my Orks more than anything because I can build whatever the fuck I want, with cardboard, Lego, whatever, and use it without it looking out of place. Bullshitting, whining, flamefests etc...part of being:
the kind of person who plays toy soldiers,
the kind of person who then talks to his online friends about playing toy soldiers - it's in our cultural zeitgeist, it's part of who we, in the 21st Century Western World, are.
Building army lists is great. For the first decade of my playing this game I couldn't afford half of what I wanted, more than half really - but I could work out what I wanted, and how it interacted and what was good.
Just because we want to win doesn't mean we don't want to make friends - again, the type of people this hobby attracts are often socially awkward...well, tournaments are a great way to meet new people, competition doesn't mean being a dick.

GW have never, in my memory, pushed WD subscription like now, and yet the product is poor. Better than a year ago, certainly, but poor overall. We all remember (or most of us, lol) the 90's Dwarves, and I own a collection going right back to Issue 91, with a few older ones I picked up from eBay as well...the excitement when they started their own games that is evident there is genuine, not the half-assed excitement for absolutely EVERY unit we see nowadays. The Bat Reps were a million times better, and you get the feeling the players wanted the win more, and were more concerned by being limited to the models available for the photoshoot that had been painted by Eavy Metal. More than once a player (IIRC, often Andy Chambers) commented they would have taken x, y or z if they could, but had to settle for p, q and r instead. Games with their own armies were great, as we could see their love for their collections in conversions...but also for the generally more competitive lists.

"The list and not skill as a player becomes the new paradigm.

Corrected: List building is part of 40k, and it is an art form that most cannot master--but most importantly, it's PART OF THE FUCKING HOBBY. DEAL OR GTFO."

List-building is a skill. There is a commonly held belief in the process of net-listing, taken from the net-decking in, I've played many TCGs, very successfully. I was, for several years, among the highest ranked YGO players in Northern Ireland, usually second, but briefly first after winning the first NI national. I qualified for the UK Finals, but opted to go to Dublin (cheaper, and obvs closer) instead, twice finishing in the top 16 - on one occasion my best friend, whom I originally taught the game, came second in a tightly contested final. I was the first ever Level 2 Judge of YGO in Ireland (NI or south) and only the seventh (iirc) in the whole British Isles, including 3 UDE staff. I know a lot about TCGs, so please believe when I say that 40k is NOTHING alike netdecking.

TCGs have fewer variables, and tighter rulesets but, more importantly, they have fucking basic simple rules. As simple as the basics of 40k are, being good at it is a lot harder than YGO, or Magic, or VS System, or Horus Heresy, or Pokemon, or whatever. You can read a card and know exactly how it works, instantly. You can read a deck, and understand intrinsically how it functions - not as well as a good player experienced with it, perhaps, but well enough to beat a shit list by default - this is not as clear cut in 40k. This isn't ListHammer in the way TCGs are - a skilled player with a shitty list will beat a n00b with one of Stelek's lists easily enough. It's impossible to just read an army list online and osmose how to even fucking DEPLOY the thing, nevermind correct target priority etc, unless already SKILLED at the which case what you said, and a whole fucking lot of you idiots out there keep saying, is bullshit. Sad fact is - you can't do it yourselves. For whatever reason, you've given up, resigned yourselves to the fact you just can't write a list for toffee. Well, that'd be fine (though I don't know why you don't consider it worth repeated effort - not least to perhaps save yourself money...) if you kept your mouth shut, and didn't moan about players with similar difficulty actually taking the help the internet provides. Some of us like to help people, y'know?

This brings me to my final point - we like to get victory. This time, I chose not to use the phrase 'we like to win' to point out the difference. Winning At All Costs is something some people do, a very small minority of complete dickheads who, for whatever reason, are obsessed with never losing, and don't want to play a game with a proper ranking system to track their ability...perhaps deep-seated insecurity...maybe they ALL have small penises - statistically unlikely, and uninteresting info, but amusing to read, no? Getting Victory is wholly different, you see - if I can table you in 3 turns, then I'll be really bored by the end of turn one. If I'm bored, I'm not having a good time. If I'm not having fun, you'll know - and you won't have any either, more than likely. There's no fun/point in being enough better at the game that I know I could take a shitty army and still win. I haven't played my Orks in over a year, but at my local GW I could still beat more than half the regulars, either because they prefer Fantasy, because they have no interest in competitive play, because they receive shitty advice from places on the internet or WD...or because I'm just better than them, even with a worse list. And so, I prefer to play a guy I regularly lose to, because playing poor opponents all the time would make me a worse player. I do have a few people within the same skill bracket as myself - I make no claims as to specific ranking within it - (and several not far below) to play against, and these games are invariably more fun, because I don't have to be sloppy to make it fun for the other guy.

We want VICTORY, as opposed to WINS, because we look for the CHALLENGE. Only way to make people better is to give them better advice. A year ago, the average player in my GW though Orks were the best army (admittedly, largely because I stomped them with Nob Bikes) - now they think SM are the best, largely because the IG players are too accustomed to being worse than SM and haven't adjusted properly, still. I'm slowly getting my Guard built, and hopefully will change things...but I anticipate the next Dex (after BA) may be out by then, and maybe things will be a little different. Even at that, I'm worried people may think the Guard win because of me rather than the strength of the Dex.

Rant over.

Also, Danny Internets' article series, linked from Stelek's rant, is excellent, and most assuredly required reading. It's your homework for next day kiddies - 500 words on why Danny is right/wrong, and how you see the game.*

* - Kinda serious. Since my other authors here are fucking useless (kisses!) and never contribute even comments (partly/mostly my fault) I'll happily accept guest submissions if any of you have something you feel is worth saying under the umbrella of people flaming me instead of reading the article is by someone else. Don't expect any remuneration but Kudos though. :)
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