Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Old News: GW Posts Army List That Isn't Terrible; People Stunned

It's true - GW posted an army list on its main site that isn't the worst way to spend your money since the last time GW tried to 'help' with list building (here's an example I'm sure you'll remember fondly).  Super props to Kennedy for catching the existence of this thing.  Sure, there a few minor tweaks that needed to be made here and there, but that's not the important part of my discussion and there are more qualified people who have covered this

What's more interesting to me is the hoopla surrounding the list.  Take this comment from the Antipope*:

I am very surprised that they published a fairly competitive list in the GW website. I thought it was anathema to them. The end times must be drawing near.

hopefully, not antispacepope
 Its a pretty common sentiment and, largely, the evidence from GW's past behavior and all the cryptic statements the FAAC crowd holds up as Ape Law would seem to support that this is indeed odd.  But lets look at this from another perspective - maybe its not that a GW employee has crossed into the Forbidden Zone but rather that GW is doing what it has always done and it's the player base that's perhaps changing.

GW is a miniatures company.  Its what the FAAC people always say, and in this case, they're correct.  But its not out of the kindness of GW's heart or some kind of commitment to artistic excellence that this is the case.  It's simple economics and its the same reason why Privateer Press could also be called a miniatures company; It's where the money is coming from.  Sure the books are kinda costly - but there made in small runs (which means they cost more to make) and they aren't required past a certain point to play.  Theoretically, an enterprising gaming club would only need to have one BRB between the lot of them.  Hell, players using the same army could share codices.  However, everyone has to have miniatures.  Even if someone buys ALL the current codices and a BRB, the total cost is still about $90 less than the cost of the models for the 1500 point army up there.

When it comes to these little update thingies, their front page blog posts, the WD battle reports, etc - GW will always, always showcase a collection of well painted works of art when given the choice.  GW wants to sell you miniatures.  Well painted examples of the product will entice you to help make that happen.  That's the reason they have the 'Eavy Metal team in the first place.  The unfortunate side effect of this need for visual awesomeness is that the armies that get showcased are either built by goofball super-hobbyists or created out of the studio's collection of sales pitches. 

Enter Kevin Chin's Imperial Fists.  The reason this is on the GW site is because it is an incredibly good looking army.  That just also happens to have a good plan behind it.  Which is where I think that this is more firmly an example of a shift in the player base than shift for GW.  Sure GW has been going the distance on 5th edition, but the rules are a means to a miniature selling end.  Its the players that are responding to it.

------[Foot Note]--------------------------
* Not that I'm picking on the Antipope.  Its just that he commented on my blog so I didn't have to go far for an appropriate quote.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Running Your Dreadnoughts Like a Business Part 1: Cost-Benefit Analysis

In between playing Minecraft and looking for the best possible location for my Amy Adams/Isla Fisher fantasy three way, I occasionally think about 40k.  For the last few days, this list from GW (more on this in the future) has been floating near the surface. 

I've always really liked the various flavors of Space Marine.  The aesthetic is pretty great, the rules have been increasingly solid and the latest codices have been absolutely fantastic at creating 3 distinct forces.  Plus, who wouldn't want to push some armored bad-asses around the table? Losers, that's who.

Despite all that, I've never really pulled the trigger on getting myself a marine army - though there have been at least 3 major attempts over the years.  But more than any other army, the collected space marine chapters are the most frequent subject when I get into listmania mode.  There's just so much damn flexibility with the three books.  Even more once it dawns on you that custom chapters can stand in for ANY of the 5 flavors.  Its kinda crazy.

Each of the 5th ed. marine books has there strengths, but there is one thing they all share in common:  they all have access to the extremely awesome Rifleman Dreadnought... or the Destroid Defender Dreadnought if you want to be, ya know, technical.  Unfortunately, its also one of the two very valuable and very 'not produced by GW proper' models that most often find their way into lists.  The other item being the las-plas Razorback turret.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Silence...

When I talk about my 'hobby' I tend to lump painting, gaming and blogging all into that one word.  Which means they're all equally affected by how much time I spend on video games.  Lately, you'll notice that I haven't been blogging lately.  Which should tell you that I have been playing the shit out of some video games.

I tend to go through cycles with painting - I'll have 3 months where I am all about it and then another 3 of struggling to complete a single project.  I'm in the middle of one of those slooooow phases.  It took me a month to finish one (1) fire prism.  One!  On the other hand, I have played over 100 hours of Fallout: New Vegas, another 70 of Borderlands and went to Florida.  Oh, and Minecraft finally found me.

Rather than further try and justify/explain whatever blah blah blah I think is going on in my own head, I'm just gonna talk about the video games if been whiling away the hours(days) with.

Fallout: New Vegas - Most of you have probably already heard about this one and maybe even played it.  I think it's pretty goddamn fantastic and I'd be surprised if it doesn't get game of the year.  The game is tight, the quests are good and the whole visual feel really captured the essence of Fallouts 1 and 2. Plus, all the Sunset Sarsaparilla you can drink.  In every respect, its much better than Fallout 3.  However...  If I had one complaint, and I do, it would be that Fallout New Vegas should have and could have come out 2-3 years ago instead of 3.  New Vegas isn't enough different, technologically, to be a proper sequel and Fallout 3 wasn't a proper sequel to Fallout 2.  Some very cool Fallout callbacks though.  Oh, and watch the hell out for guys with Ballistic Fists and those damn super wasps. 

I ended up with 100+ hours clocked on New Vegas and had beaten the game, seen all the endings and gotten 44 of the 50 achievements.  I was itching for a new game and still kind of in a Fallout mood.  Along came the game of the year edition of:

Borderlands - I really dig this game to.  In comparison to New Vegas, it was a much needed move towards a simpler game.  Much more of a classic shooter.  The game play is pretty fun (even if there is a lot of travel - but hey, I just finished Fallout) and the setting is phenomenal.  Borderlands has a ton of LOL moments that Fallout was sadly missing.  The graphics are actually what drew me in.  I have yet to see better cell shading.  Very cool and very slick.  The millions of guns thing is over-hyped since most of them blow and isn't even a 'thing' beyond the fact that you need them to kill bad guys.  My one serious complaint is the difficulty level - the human bosses will fuck you up like a car crash while all the big monstery-type bosses were pathetic to the point that it jarred you out of your suspension of disbelief for the game.  The Destroyer is supposed to be this grand, evil demi-god and was a total pussy.  Maybe its a message about the most evil creature of all.

It turns out it's man.

Minecraft - The ultimate sandbox game.  Its very simple looking but if you think the game play itself is simple, then you'll get eaten alive in survival mode.  It's kinda hard to describe so I'll just link to this SA thread instead:  Minecraft: Gentlemen... shit posts - ban

I've been digging on this since I get back from America's wang and its been an experience.  Its been hours of mining, crafting, engineering and building goodness punctuated with me catching the edge of the learning curve and flying of the ramp.  Some highlights of my WTF moments:
  • In an attempt to power my smelting furnace with boiling hat lava (an idea that sounded great until I said it out loud), I ended up burning myself to death and destroying half of my inventory.
  • I built my very own Lighthouse at Alexandria/Eye of Sauron only to find that it was so tall that the lights on the eye spent most of their existance obscured by cloud as to render the tower lame.
  • While mining for bulk building materials and managed to fall into a previously unknown pit.  Some of those caves are wicked close to the surface. The only thing that hurts more than falling damage is cave skeleton attacks.
  • I burned down an entire forest.  Also, myself.   Once you harvest the trunks, the leaves remain suspended in air (the game is in alpha).  This bothers me aesthetically and I resolved to clear them in the most expedient way possible - fire.  Pro-tip your fire breaks need to be at least three spaces wide.
I strongly recommend looking into this game and maybe trying out the free version if you're feeling feisty.  If you're gonna by, do it soon.  The game is maybe a month away from beta and doubling in price.