Bob here with some holiday inspired musings. I have decided to put together a list of sorts for what I would like to see out of Games-Workshop in 2015. This is both a list of model releases and rules as well as issues relating to the company itself. Feel free to agree or disagree as you see fit and leave me some comments on anything you would like to see out of GW in the new year.
Rumors have been cropping up recently of some
form of Adeptus Mechanicus force FINALLY getting a release for 40k. If
this indeed pans out it will be most welcome if not long overdue. Moving
right along, tack on the usual near mythical new Greater Daemons, Eldar
Jet Bikes, and of course the Sisters of Battle. so how about some of
the not so prevalent wish listing? Also, keep in mind I am pulling
mostly from the armies I actually own and play.
Empire State Troops: Please redo this kit, GW. They suck taint to get to rank up and provide little to no customization options. The old regimental kit wasn't the greatest, but at least I could get them to rank up and not look like copies of each other.
High Elf Spearmen: They look hamfisted and bulky compared to the new Sea Guard and Dark Elf models.
I have also noticed several disturbing trends in model designs in recent years, and perhaps the most disturbing is the lack of customization. Poses have also gotten far more rigid over all. Look at the Dark Elf Executioners/Black Guard, Empire Greatswords, High Elf Phoenix Guard, Wood Elf Eternal Guard, and the Dark Elf troop kit to name but a few. I am not saying that every model should have a dynamic pose, but I would like the ability to customize the stance and kit of my models.
Also, what happened with making awesome character plastic kits like the High Elf and Empire generals and wizards? I would have loved to have seen every army get these suckers. A single model clam pack is all well and good, but can we at least get some new models with options?
But the biggest wish for Fantasy in 2015 is this, please, for the love of all that is sacred and holy don't fuck up 9th ed. After reading the End Times up through Khaine I am not sure the world you are building is one I want to play in any more. I understand the desire to breath new life into the system, but there are much easier ways than nuking the established universe. Having said that, here are a few of my suggestions:
Give more models per kit for Core choices. Costs go up blah blah, but the price point for building a new army in fantasy is ridiculous. "Back in the day", $35 got you more than 10 models in a box for a core choice and it made getting your core regiments built way easier. Alternatively, how about making blocks of 40+ models per unit no longer mandatory? John and I have both ranted about the need to field unwieldy blocks of models in order to gain the moral bonus. Refocus on the scale of Warhammer and bring it back to smaller regiments as the norm for the average game. Take a hint from historical miniatures systems that flat out tell the players they are fielding scale representations of much larger formations in large battles. 10 men in a British line or 14 in a French column representing the "on paper" strengths of 100 and 140 men respectively in Napoleonic line infantry regiments for example. We don't need to try to field a numerically accurate army at 28mm.
Bits: Bring back the ability to order
individual components and sprues. Third party websites already sell your
stuff like this so why not retake control of this part of the market.
either increase your quality control on what is arguably a shittastic
production or do us all a favor and go all plastic (or bring back
metal). Seriously, fuck Finecast.
Give these folks a bigger staff and production capacity or open a
production facility outside of England. Make this stuff more available
and possibly a bit cheaper. The Pound to Dollar rate sucks and so does
international shipping. The Horus Heresy stuff kicks ass and deserves a
much wider audience.
Specialist Games: bring them back, even if it is a limited run.
The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings:
What the fuck did you smoke to make no new plastic kits for anything
after the Mirkwood Elves a good idea? Don't let these ranges and games
fall off. They are a great rule set and a ton of fun to play.
Pay attention to what your authors are writing and work in the major
plot lines of the popular books into your Codex lore. The Ultramarine's
4th Company Captain has been incorrect for the past several Marine dexes.
Chaos Havocs: Need I say more?
Space Marine Bikes and Land Speeders: They could do with a few updates.
Plastic Aspect Warriors: See the comment on Havocs.
Chaos Space Marines: How about some conversion kits of Legions?
Dark Angels: Don't shit on my army for our next book. In the meantime, how about making our flyers not suck racoon taint and letting our veterans get special issue ammo? Is it too much to ask to show some love to the First Legion?
Imperial Guard (fuck Astra Militarum):Where to start on these kits. That is of course a rhetorical question. Wake up and smell the diversity, Games-Workshop. People like Victoria Lamb are making better and more Imperial Guard models than you are. The Catachans desperately need a sculptress, and for fuck's sake lets see some more regiments in plastic. If you are worried about them not selling, you don't know your community very well (maybe that is an entirely separate issue...). Also, get some female models for the Guard. Crack open a Black Library book and go from there. I humbly suggest the Gaunt's Ghosts series, Ciaphas Cain, or the Mars Trilogy as references for women in the Guard.
And that is perhaps a good jump into talking about diversity in your models. Would it kill you to model the diversity of humanity? Hell, you may even get some more players if you made some non-ridiculous looking female sculpts or someone other than a white dude with an implied cockney accent.
To wrap up this little rant/wish list I want to discuss some of your recent business practices, GW. 2015 sees not only a new year but also a new president. This is a great opportunity to make some improvements in the way you interact with and view your customers. I for one love your models, but I would not buy them unless they had a great universe behind them and a fun game system for the tabletop and I am willing to bet I am not alone in this view. I want you to make money and be successful, but you need to realize that you are both a model company and a game company. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Don't be afraid of social media and being open with your fan base. Whoever ran the old Digital Editions Facebook page should be given a promotion. They responded to community questions in a timely manner and seemed to actually give a shit about legitimate issues that people brought up. Community feed back is the best source for things that need clarification in the rules and to see how what you write actually performs in both competitive and casual settings. This would certainly help with making FAQs more comprehensive and relevant.
Perhaps the biggest thing you need to realize and adjust to in your business strategy is that North America is not like the UK and Europe. The independent retailer in the US is going to be your main source of on the ground revenue. Work with them and make them profitable. Your stores are great, but they aren't nearly as big of a presence as the independent game stores are.