Is Games Workshop the “Call of Duty” of Wargaming?

I apologize for the clickbait title, but I have been browsing countless wargame forums from Bell of Lost Souls to Beasts of War for the past couple weeks, and I’ve noticed a SERIOUS problem that needs to be addressed, because it’s really bothering me. Let’s talk for a second about Warhammer 40,000: 8th Edition.

This huge update to the Warhammer 40k universe was just teased, right on the heels of GW’s updated Age of Sigmar for Warhammer Fantasy. Not only are the rules getting streamlined, but there’s an all-new and epic story to go along with it. Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines, has been brought back to life thanks to the work of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The entire GALAXY has been torn in half by a massive Warp storm, and the Forces of Chaos are amassing for one final strike to bring the universe to its knees. To combat this new threat, Guilliman and Archmagos Cawl of the Mechanicus have utilized new and ancient technologies to create a whole new breed of Space Marine. This means they’re bigger (physically, their models tower over normal marines), stronger, and have all-new armor and guns, introducing the first MK10 Armor and the new Cawl-Pattern Bolter. This is freaking epic!!! It’s basically the apocalypse, everything is falling apart, and the Imperium of Man has gathered its resources for one final, defiant stand against oblivion. And, what were some of the comments that were made on the heels of this fantastic announcement?

“I would rather say its absurd… Completely strange and anticlimactic… What?”

“Ugh!”

“Give it a year and Numarine will be the Onlymarine as the old marines are wiped out as ‘casualties’ in the war. And guess what? if these follow Sigmarines a box of 5 is going to be a whopping $50-60. What a bargain!”

“Yes, this game desperately needs another Space Marine codex!”

What the heck is this?! There’s been a huge update to a highly-popular game that’s been a long time coming, tons of old models are getting revamped, the story is taking a major leap forward, and all people can do is gripe?

I mean no offense to the people whose comments I posted here, but it bugs me when the wargaming community does this. What happened to the joy of your hobby, building and painting epic models, diving deep into the lore, and engaging in epic battles with your buds? Now, all “wargamers” do is go onto internet forums to complain about the price of the newest Dreadnought for WH40k, or complain about some errata update that ruins their faction, or just plain gripe about some aesthetic they don’t like.

And don’t think I’m just picking on GW fans here, there’s other members of the wargaming community that are guilty. Listen to these comments from the recently-finished Kickstarter for the 2nd edition of Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel.

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-“Timothy McGuire: you promised us months ago that he will have classic look but now you use that Prodos power armoured weirdo. Total disappointment.”

-“Timothy McGuire – Ultra Marine cosplay…”

-“Maguire is simply the WZR sculpt, with that silly engine on his back and does not fit with the more classic aesthetic of most of the remainder of the range ”

I’d also like to point out that the classic MacGuire from Warzone 1st Edition looks like this:

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So, just because they revamped his design and gave him a steam-powered backpack, he’s automatically a rip-off of Warhammer 40k and the design is crap?

This is what I mean about GW, or rather its FANBASE, being the Call of Duty of the wargaming world. Its fanbase is made up of whiny children who complain to no end when it does something new or different, and believe that it should cater exclusively to them. It also takes every opportunity to poke holes in other successful companies, i.e. Prodos or Privateer Press, and constantly look for things that seem similar to WHFB or WH40K to call them out as plagiarists. Furthermore, when they try to do something different and go back to their roots as epic, crazy fantasy or epic, crazy sci-fi and have fun with their projects, the fanbase goes nuts and starts throwing a tantrum, as we saw above. This isn’t unique to GW either, as I see it all over the place. When Privateer Press announced the Grymkin, instead of being excited about this awesome, apocalyptic event and these cool designs, the comments were mostly “Buh, you’re ripping off Wyrd! They do gothic miniatures better!” and there was little to nothing positive, save for those few mature people who admitted they liked the new direction and how PP is getting more creative with their work.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I still love GW, and my figure bag is still filled with old ork models from my WH40K days. True, I’m not too crazy about their pricing, but I’m happy with what they do from a design front, pushing the boundary to create things that haven’t been seen before, and I applaud them for that. What I DON’T like is when people are so quick to jump down their throat whenever they actually use their imaginations. If the majority had their say in the way GW was run, all of the Space Marines would look like Commander Shepard, or they’d all be Squats (remember them?), all humans would just look like generic cut-outs with different armor slapped on them, so you can forget about Catachans, all alien races would inexplicably look like hot women (except the orks), and the story would just be  “Duh, I’m a Space Marine! Watch me shoot things as all the women hang off of me!” But look at what they’ve done. The space marines are actually LOSING. The villains are winning and are growing stronger. The aliens too are growing stronger, and are picking off whatever Chaos leaves behind. True, some of it is still grimdark silliness, but the important part is being overlooked: IMAGINATION.

(cue overused Spongebob meme)

What I’m trying to say is this: don’t be a child. I’m not saying you have to take everything in wargaming seriously. Heck, if you did, you’d probably need some help. What I am saying is that you should exercise your imagination and remember to have fun with your hobby. So what if the new space marines aren’t to your liking? Don’t whine about it, just make a mature statement and either sculpt your own or buy conversion parts. Don’t like the story? You don’t need to know the complete background of WH40K to have fun with it; why do you think Astra Militarum legions like the Praetorian Guard exist? It doesn’t have to make sense, it’s just fun! The weird thing is that the less of our imagination we use, the more childlike we become. If a model isn’t the way we want it to be, we don’t use our imagination to explain it, we just complain because it isn’t the way we want it.

This is the reason why I compared GW to Call of Duty. Originally, it was a great game and something that hadn’t been seen on the market. Unfortunately, as time went on, it became tired and cliched, not just due to its ideas, but due to its fans acting like whiny children. Then, when it tried to reinvent itself in recent years, it did get some good attention from old fans and drew in new players, but the majority just complained about the changes and whined that it wasn’t pandering directly to them.

Ultimately, GW and non-GW fans, cut it out. If you want to make a statement about the company, don’t whine about them on online forums; simply don’t buy their products and go somewhere else. If you can’t appreciate imagination or creativity, you don’t have any business playing wargames anyway. True, it is a big toy soldiers game, I admit that, but half the fun comes from you imagining these epic battles acted out with your models. It’s just like when you were a kid acting out mock battles with your green army men in the sandbox, though this lets you have even more fun with bigger and better models and all sorts of fun weapons. And besides, even if a company does something similar to another, they’re not blatantly plagiarizing it. Take websites like Kromlech or Puppetswar who make conversion pieces and individual models for games like Warhammer. They’re not trying to rip off the company; they’re giving players the chance to have even more fun by going outside the standard boxed models and making their own. And even when a company does something similar to another, i.e. Privateer Press making Gothic Horror miniatures ala Wyrd Miniatures, it’s also not ripping them off. Theirs is a world of fantasy, so they can use their imaginations to create these new and crazy things. So what if they don’t follow real-world logic? That’s the point of FANTASY! Besides, it opens up even more possibilities, letting you use models from one in the other and expand your own headcanon fantasy world.

The final word here: Use your imaginations and have fun. Don’t nitpick about every single little thing, but appreciate it as something unique and different. Appreciate it as the byproduct of someone’s imagination, and a company’s desire to reconnect with its disillusioned fanbase. And if you’re a wargamer, do what that entails. Build, paint, and play with your models. Don’t just rag about things you don’t like on internet forums; work together with your fellow wargamers to create a strong community, exchange ideas, build games, and just have lots of fun. Don’t let GW become the next COD. Quit whining, get off your forums, and paint something.

Now as for me, I have a Trollkin UA that needs painting. I’ll see you all next time with more pictures. PLEASE keep up with your hobbies, and have a good week!

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