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 What do people think about this idea of how GW should be run?

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Ynneadwraith
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PostSubject: What do people think about this idea of how GW should be run?   Wed Feb 08 2017, 12:06

All this new fluff coming out around the Gathering Storm has been great and all, but I can't help but feel a little detached from it. As if it's a story that's being read to me, rather than something that I'm a part of. That, I think, is a missed opportunity from GW in how they run campaigns. I've been mulling over for a while now what I think is the missed opportunity, and I think I might have worked it out.

If I was GW, here's how I'd do it:

GW's main role should be 'overarching games-master'. They are here to show us precisely how it's done.

I would leave the setting exactly as it is for now, but set up a succession of 'Eye of Terror' style campaigns to be fought by the player-base, set in various different locations around the galaxy. These campaigns will be held at various pre-planned events around the globe, and the plot will contrive restrictions on lists in order to level the playing field slightly (or simply to make things more interesting/fluffy/tricky than a tournament net-list-fest).

The outcome of these campaigns will be determined by how the players do in each event, the ultimate fate of the sector being written into the ongoing story of 40k, weaved into an evolving grand narrative by GW's writers.

This does a number of things:

1. Encourages participation in campaign events for people invested in how their faction fares
2. Allows for a gradually evolving storyline, rather than leaps and bounds, which gives it legs going into the future
3. Provides a fantastically rich lore, which is constantly changing, satisfying the whole 'plot advancement' crowd
4. Provides a happy medium between tournament play and narrative play, all in a GW sanctioned event
5. Because they'd be held frequently, you wouldn't need to contrive a way of sandwiching in every faction into every campaign, but everyone would still get the chance to play over the year.
6. This is the important one: makes it feel like each and every player is themselves involved in the advancement of the setting. Rather than having what is happening dictated from some bloke in the midlands, the events that are unfolding are because[ of your actions in the real world. You want to encourage participation? Involve people.

It would also let them do really, really cool things involving 'Your Dudes'.

Lets take the example of an Assault Marine squad.

Random Assault Squad B from Bill's army was nearly wiped out during one of these events, but the sole surviving member heroically nuked an Imperial Knight with a Melta Bomb. This event would be enshrined forever in the background of 40k. Your Dude would become a solid, tangible part of the 40k universe that everyone would know about. Your Dude would be written into White Dwarf Articles, get his own official page on Lexicanum, potentially reappear in later battles where if he survives and does well again may rise to become a great hero of the Imperium!

It's Captain Tycho applied on a global scale, involving the armies and characters of real-life GW customers and players.

What do people think?

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|Meavar
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PostSubject: Re: What do people think about this idea of how GW should be run?   Wed Feb 08 2017, 13:50

I think it is a grand idea in theory but will not see real life.

They have tried it with multiple campaigns in warhammer.

The problem comes that
A) there is real balance in 40k
B) not all factions are equally popular
C) there is a lot of people playing

A some factions are significantly more powerfull then others and thus will win significantly more then others, this creates an imbalance that GW cannot accept easily, and they can also not agree that the points are of because then they would just say, we know we make crap rules, but we do it anyway so you buy our new models.
Some factions are supposed to only fight when it ain't a fair fight, which many people will not like much to play.
Even if everything is balanced, it will mean that everything will even out and no real change will happen.

B Even if there are multiple events during a year people will feel left out if they cannot participate with their favorite faction. Some minor factions have a lot of players and some of the lore wise big players have much fewer people playing them. Which makes it very hard to justify the impact things have.

C Enough people playing means that averages even out and not much will happen if balanced, or it is unbalanced and it feels like you have little impact anyway.
The idea of having the squad from Bill's army become notorious is nice and all, till you recon we are talking about a million other people like Bill. No way we can get all those nice things written down but let's say that only 1 in 1000 gets a mention a year. That makes a 1000 new characters each year. And let's say you play regularly and have a real cool story once every few games, that becomes multiple times a year, so you have about 1 in 5000 chance the story makes it, and then the heroes are still lost in the masses of others and there is no real hero anymore.

D A storyline is much harder to make into a good story if you do not know where you want to end up. By having the direction of the story in part in the players hand, you will have a much harder time to write a compelling story. There is a much larger chance for dead ends in the lore and writers block.

E GW never listens to us, even on matters of game play, why would they make an elaborate effort on their part. The only reason how they might do it is with small tournament style games. Then they can ask exorbitant prices to join the tournament, make money, and have a much smaller selection of people and stories to incorporate.
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Ynneadwraith
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PostSubject: Re: What do people think about this idea of how GW should be run?   Wed Feb 08 2017, 14:27

Agreed those are all hurdles. They're far from insurmountable though.

For the first point, the balance issue, there's two main issues:

1. Game balance between factions
2. Proportional representation of armies

With a game as complex as 40k, you're never going to get a perfect balance. Hopefully 8th does a better job of balancing factions, but until then (and even after) the idea would be to run these tournaments with fairly unorthadox restrictions forcing people to shy away from the more overpowered combinations. While that would necessitate some sort of admission that their ruleset is unbalanced, I don't think GW displaying that they have some sort of notion that that's the case and implementing something to patch it would go down badly with the fans or buying public.

Proportional representation would have to be solved either by limiting/vetting the numbers of each faction in each campaign (far from the ideal option, but it would work), or by levelling the playing field mathmatically so each faction involved has equal sway over the outcome, regardless of the number of players representing them (the better option).

I don't think the miniscule chances of your particular character being noticed and included in the fluff is as much of a problem to participation. There's still a chance. People participate in raffles and lotteries all the time despite the astronomically small chances of them winning. It's less of a concern how likely something is to happen, more that it just might.

Plus, you can do broader things to increase inclusion like publish a list of the chapters represented at each campaign for instance, so that even if they weren't noticed you know that your dudes were there man. They were there Wink.

Either way, it's a step up in inclusion compared to what they're doing now Smile

Agreed that the storyline would be much harder to manage, and would require restraint to prevent walking down dead-ends plot-wise. However, there's a relatively simple solution to this: set it in brand new places each time. Don't focus on the massive conflicts like blowing up Cadia or Commorragh. Focus it on places like Medusa V, or some other previously unheard of planet. Your writers can have a ball making up new things for each system, and because it's relatively insignificant to the grand scheme of things it'll be harder to blow things up lore-wise.

As for writers block there's quite an easy solution to that too: crowd-source it if you get stuck. There's thousands upon thousands of people who play 40k, most of which are fantastically creative themselves. Have them send you their own ideas for a conflict to occur, and pick out the best ones Smile

The GW never listening to us is a bit of a moot point. This is what I'd do if I was in charge, not what I think GW is actually likely to do at any point soon Smile

For the record, I've got no real problem with GW charging for entry to these 'Forge the Narrative' events. By all means on the local level I expect all the existing events that happen with 40k to continue on around them. These would just be something extra to supplement them and 'move the story forwards'.

Probably the best way of doing it would be to make each Forge the Narrative event similar to a festival of sorts. I'm thinking of the system Glastonbury has in place for example.

Relatively small series of events around the world. Charge a moderate amount for attendance (not too much mind, £25 maybe?) to help run the event and justify it to the shareholders. Then, offer out the limited number of tickets on a lottery-basis. If your number's up, your army has received the role call to defend/attack the system and off you go to the event! The happenings of the event are covered by media outlets on the GW site/White Dwarf to spread the word of what's happening to the rest of the playing public Smile

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PostSubject: Re: What do people think about this idea of how GW should be run?   Wed Feb 08 2017, 14:34

I think there's one grand problem there.

Back in the days of actual Warhammer, they did the whole Storm Of Chaos thing, and based the outcome on the results of players games. Or at least that what they said they would do.
What actually happened was not what GW were expecting, so they HAD to alter it.
As I recall it happening, Chaos won. Utterly. The number of victories recorded for Chaos were overwhelming, and the forces of "Good" were utterly defeated.
BUT, GW couldn;t at that time have Chaos completely destroy the Empire and take over, because it would wreck the narrative of the setting, so they fudged it and had Mannfred Von Carstein save the day.

If you leave it to the players, it goes horribly wrong.

As a veteran RPG GM, I can honestly put my support behind the old line: "No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy."
There is nothing GW could write or prepare that would survive its first encounter with thousands of US.
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Ynneadwraith
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PostSubject: Re: What do people think about this idea of how GW should be run?   Wed Feb 08 2017, 15:15

That's the beauty of setting it in some backwater world that's insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It doesn't matter if Chaos roflstomps everyone, because it doesn't cause any 'well...that was unexpected. What do we do now?' situations.

If Chaos roflstomps Terra then there's big problems. If Chaos roflstomps MiddleOfNowhere IV then no real problem Smile if anything, it might make them seem slightly more effective as antagonists Smile

I can see the issue though. You'd have to be really restrained with yourself when writing the campaigns, but the 40k universe is so much bigger than the Old World that it'd be possible to hold a thousand different campaigns and not even start to feel liek the setting's getting crowded Smile

I suppose the trick with that is to make each campaign compelling by making characters/NPCs you really want to save/kill rather than by making it of significance to the overarching Big Plot.

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PostSubject: Re: What do people think about this idea of how GW should be run?   Wed Feb 08 2017, 15:23

I agree it would help most major ploblems, but then you are not really weaving any "the ultimate fate of the sector being written into the ongoing story of 40k, weaved into an evolving grand narrative"
You are weaving the ultimate fate of one planet. Which in true 40k style will just be bombed from orbit afterwards to make sure no deamons survive, irrelevant if they win or lose:P
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PostSubject: Re: What do people think about this idea of how GW should be run?   Wed Feb 08 2017, 15:47

Hmmm, I suppose you're right, but I never intended anything to be about 'the ultimate fate of the sector'. It would literally be focussed on the fate of that planet in particular (although if you want to extend it you could choose to do each campaign in turn deciding the fate of a sector).

Think more 'War of Armageddon', than 'Eye of Terror' campaign Smile

I don't actually think anyone crying out for plot advancement actually means they want it to be like a storyline. I think what they actually want is new stuff to read, and the feeling that the setting is alive and moving forwards.

They don't need to be big revelations, or big changes to big important systems. They only need to be changes to systems we care about.

It's something that GW hasn't been very good at realising recently. 'Epic' does not mean '16ft tall demigod with a flaming sword'. 'Epic' means little dude with a Thunder Hammer standing up against the horrors of the universe with nothing but his grit and determination to see him through.

Take that and transpose it onto a campaign and that's what I was thinking of Smile

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PostSubject: Re: What do people think about this idea of how GW should be run?   Fri Feb 10 2017, 17:40

In terms of recording amazing feats by characters and models this can just be done by individual players, I did this myself when a single black templar marine finished off a unit of wraiths which had charged his squad and refused to be destroyed by the full firepower of a monolith. I honoured that guy by modifying his model to stand out among his squad.

I agree that GW should maybe run some campaigns which could influence minor areas of the plot whilst retaining control of the overall motion. For example the defence of a system caught by a splinter faction of an invasion force, this campaign would have to be run at GW stores in order to record the results fairly and avoid fake results for a side. This could then be included in the next codex/rulebook as a historic event, or even just added to the official lore.

If there was alot of interest it would be easy enough to organise a community narrative campaign based around a war/sector and have it recorded by some talented authors. If it was popular enough maybe it would catch the attention of GW, but I think we have learned that regardless of what happens in the campaigns GW will take the story in the direction they choose.

40k is very much a setting which allows everyone to make their own stories and tales inside it, I would prefer that GW provided better and more balanced tools for narrative campaigns or offered to include community campaigns even as historical notes in codexs.

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Vindicavi
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PostSubject: Re: What do people think about this idea of how GW should be run?   Fri Feb 10 2017, 17:46

Speaking of which we could always organise our own narrative campaign based around the breaching of Khaines gate, with some of our Kabals battling back the daemons invading a satellite realm. If there were enough people interested and willing to play.
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