Some possible reasons why GW dropped WH after 8th

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  • Some possible reasons why GW dropped WH after 8th

    Interesting opinion from Druchii.net: druchii.net/posting.php?mode=quote&f=176&p=938394

    "Red..." wrote:

    "Shadowspite" wrote:

    ...And yet it was so unpopular that it killed the franchise.

    This is me speaking as someone who used to work for GW and still has friends there. The flow of new people into the WHFB side of the hobby pretty much disappeared thanks to 8th edition.

    Hardly anyone who didn't already own hundreds of pounds' worth of minis was ever going to be willing to get into a game where even elite units had to be 30+ models strong to be worth a damn. Not at GW prices (over £100 for a single Witch Elf regiment). So virtually all GW's new customers just played 40K instead, because you could get a reasonably usable army for the cost of that Witch Elf regiment. The entire WHFB range's sales dropped to less than the Space Marine Tactical Squad alone.

    I don't dispute that 8th edition was fun for the people who already had established armies and/or the time and money to field huge units. But it was a disaster for GW.

    There's some merit to this argument, but I'm not wholly convinced. I think the real demise of the franchise came from a perfect storm of factors, of which 8th edition's attributes played a role but it was not the only force at play.

    It is certainly true that 8th edition raised the cost and time threshold higher for younger players to get into the game - 30 witch elves was a lot of money to buy. Even the boxed set wasn't really playable out of the box because it didn't have enough models, which was a bit unfortunate. Yet, the example is a little specious (you have taken a prime example of a very expensive non-plastic set of models to prove your point, but most entry level models were plastic and a regiment box of dark elves, for example, was still quite affordable and playable with, especially if your buddies had similarly sized starting forces). The cost of GW's models have been going up for years, but the cost of a new army from start to finish was still in the same sort of ballpark as buying a new games console with a bunch of games.

    It is also true that rumours and first impressions killed a lot of the fervour for the game amongst veteran players. In my gaming group, there were mass defections away from the game as a concept after 8th edition was released.

    On the surface, then, it would seem that the reaction to 8th edition (quality of the game notwithstanding, as argued above) caused it a lot of problems and that is true. BUT it was not the defining factor because there were a myriad of other dynamics that contributed and these would have hit the franchise anyway, regardless of whether they remained with 7th or released a more 6th or 7th ed like version instead of 8th.

    One: the rise of computers, consoles, smart phones, and other video games. For years, GW has been battling against the rise of competitors for the disposable incomes of kids and their parents, young adults, and adults. As video/computer/phone games have become better in quality, more prevalent in circulation and societal acceptance, and easier to learn and play, and this has hurt all of its franchises. Dawn of War gave 40k a huge boost, but there was no comparable win for Fantasy to help it ride with the storm (ironically, Total War: Warhammer had this potential but it came after the plug had been pulled on 8th ed). Most importantly, though, phone games have been changing the attention span level that gamers possess. Fantasy was always a slower and more gradual build up of a game than 40k (with its whizzing deep strikers, jet bikers, flying transports, and guns of all sizes with big ranges, etc) and so it was hurt more by gamers wanting a quicker and more instant gratification experience as a result of changing expectations than 40k.

    Two: the rise of other miniature games. 8th edition led to massed defections by my old gaming group but, in a vacuum, that would not have happened. What facilitated my buddies leaving the game was the arrival of a whole host of other games such as Warmachine and Malifaux. In fact, looking back, it was not that everyone was playing 7th edition and then 8th edition came along and everyone dropped it, it was that we were already not playing 7th edition anymore in favour of these other games. The shock was that when 8th edition came along, it didn't pull the group back in for more than a couple of months, after which most of my buddies went back to playing the other games. I'm not sure that a continuation of 7th or even a reversion to 6th type rules would have had any better impact than what happened with 8th.

    Three: model saturation. The reason 8th edition placed so much emphasis on big units and tons of models was not wholly because it made the game better and more epic (which it did), but because GW was desperately conscious of the fact that most established players already owned all of the models they needed and that they didn't have enough newer players joining the game to compensate (they had mostly been flocking to 40k or video/computer/phone games for a while anyway). That was a problem GW was already facing at the end of 7th and was not a problem created by the arrival of 8th.

    I think the overall point I'm trying to make is that Fantasy had been rolling downhill towards the edge of the cliff for some time before the arrival of 8th edition. The rise of popular alternatives to miniature gaming for people wanting a war game fix, a reduction in attention spans amongst players (including not only kiddies but also many adults), the rise of other more specialist gaming systems for miniature purists, and the saturation of GW models amongst older players (and ebay options for younger ones) had all been taking their toll. Did 8th edition help save the franchise? No, it inflicted its own wounds, but the state of the game's player base had been in poor straits for quite a while prior to 8th edition even being conceptualized and to blame it all on 8th would be missing a good chunk of the picture.

    So, I think the idea that re-releasing 6th edition as a specialist game would be better than re-releasing 8th because the former would draw more players doesn't hold water. Those players who dropped warhammer didn't drop it because of 8th, they had already dropped it or were on their way to do so in the near future. I would rather GW went with the better game version of 8th ed over the unlikely idea that re-releasing 6th ed would do better in terms of player take-up.

    Of course, the whole debate is somewhat moot because GW isn't going to re-release either version. *sigh*.

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  • I agree with the multiple reasons theory, but cost of entry definitely stands above that.

    This is entirely a problem of GWs own schizophrenic business model, of course, pushing a mass battle fantasy game with increasingly high prices. (And this is coming from someone who liked both the 8th edition ruleset and the improving quality of the models also).

    Clearly one or the other of these things had to give, and from a business perspective it’s obvious which one that should be (rules). That doesn’t mean that 8th edition was a bad game just that it wasn’t a commercial success.
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  • @Calisson FWIW I agree with basically all of that post.

    I was a GW fanboy for decades, and whilst I bear them no ill-will, it is clear that they are no longer interested in making the kind of games that I want to play; I am no longer a part of their intended audience :(

    Its part of why we are in a catch-22 as a project: it seems that the number of people interested in this sort of game is dwindling, but at the same time if we change it too much to attract newcomers then we lose the reason for its existence in the first place.
    Ask not what the project can do for you, but what you can do for the project :)

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  • For me, the main point of the OP is that we need the game not to be focused mostly on 4500 pts, at the expense of small games attractive for beginners.
    Once the game is advertised to work greatly (does it?) at 1000 pts, then we have a much lower entry point.

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  • I already have trouble building armies at 3000 points. The problem is that at 2/3 of the points I get smacked with 1/2 of the choice limits. That makes listbuilding insanely hard.

    There should be different limits for lower points it does not scale.

    EDIT: For example Sylvan Elves, half the number of bows is far to limiting.

    EDIT 2: It does not really matter to me, I just ignore it. :D

    EDIT 3: regarding the OP. There were many reasons why WHFB failed. Blaming customers for not buying is the silliest excuse. GW increased prices and unit sizes, then we had the big monster trial run. It always failed because GW rules were just there to sell more and what GW had on offer was just simply a bad deal.
    So they had a look at the competition (video and tabletop), their portfolio in games on offer and they axed anything not profitable enough. That is just a healthy business decision, I will not fault GW for that. I can however fault them for mismanaging WHFB for years. I think they copied the new sales model from video games, DLC content and no long term support. If that's true still remains to be seen.
    CAD design, fewer parts and options helped scale down kits which probably helped with being able to make and sell confined armies for AoS, Push fit kits are an offer for players wanting to invest less time, the game has less rules and complexity to lower time investment to play (sure, add scenarios for real games is the answer I usually get :rolleyes: ). I think even the lack of setting is by design, it is growing but stays shallow and focused only on the latest update. All time savers. And if people enjoy AoS, that's good.

    I disagree with model saturation. Improving available options still had merit: zombies, common goblins, wolf riders, common orcs and forest goblins on foot. Heck they could have gone legacy: war of the beard (I would have been so poor from that :D ), you name it.
    IP issues and GW's insecurity I would call it. GW no longer makes the best miniatures in I would dare say most of their ranges. So to sell, they are throwing out crazy DLC one shot armies. Their life span will be too short for other companies to be able to catch a ride. It won't hurt them if you look at mobile video gaming, people are trained to accept such garbage these days.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Little Joe ().

  • Magic pretty much doesn't work below ~4k points. It's too targeted at 4500, because you have too many dice for low investment to really work, and it's too many points for a full magic phase. Magic (the whole phase) needs to scale linearly with point investment to scale up or down effectively, or you just have to play without magic below standard size.

    The rest of the game probably scales okay, although you have a problem where the game allows too much investment in characters, so one uber-killy nigh-invulnerable character can probably kill whole 1000 pt armies. (Okay, 1000 pts may not be enough for a character 'o doom within character limits, but 1500 probably is for some books).

    Aside from dramatically changing and/or forbidding wizards in small games, you probably want to forbid lord-level characters.
    Just because I'm on the Legal Team doesn't mean I know anything about rules or background in development, and if/when I do, I won't be posting about it. All opinions and speculation are my own - treat them as such.

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  • I agree with @Squirrelloid and @Little Joe.

    I play rather a lot of games at sub 2000 points as we are currently building a community around here. Small games are too mixed a bag.

    Matchups of Elves and UD work well. Elves against VS, elves just go south too quickly.

    In general, bringing a mage at these points is of little value, except you beat your opponents magic dice via equipment- then, though, they can wreak havoc. The problem is, that either you don't pass spells, because your opponent isn't just drowning your spell attempts in unlimited amounts of dispell dice. Wizard aprentices are thus completely useless, if alone.

    What is especially bad, is that you need to rely on hero-level characters- which are in some books quite useless, to be frank. We simply lack good hero level equipment, as the game is centered around 4500 points, there is no demand for that.

    My suggestions:

    1. Give -1 to dispel attempts when the opponent doesn't have a wizard himself- this will increase the value of a single apprentice.

    2. Develop hero level equipment. UD have the fancy Scourge of Kings- a HUGE boost to your Nomarch. We need similar, cheap equipment for our other chars. (Aegis, fortitude, better AS)
    2.1 Possibly introduce hero-class in the actual rules. Limit some equipment to hero's. An elven nobleman might not consider using a shield made of willow wood. His servant might.

    3. Make Hero level characters cheaper, disalow redirects by single models. (unless gigantic)
    This will limit single hero chaff-spam, but make heroes-cost more related to their worth.

    4. Have different limitations at lower point games, i.e. more core-tax, for less bow-limitation. A possibility would be 40% core while 40% bow allowance. (thinking of HBE, 3000 points)

    5. Introduce a maximal unit size. 2 maximized units of rats at 1500 points will never be forced to make a dis test. You will just never have enough bows and artillery to do so...

    EDIT: Scourge of kings shows up in the forum as fixing the users strenght, while it actually fixes the attack number to 6. Just fyi.
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  • @Calisson

    What you describe is nearly the same what I faced (players turning away to Warmachines etc.) . But in our local group we always had players who played different systems besides WHF (or started them..a few of them, but most died out rather quickly) .

    And that is were I am not totaly with you: there were always other (good) games and systems (confrontations e.g.) which were rather easy to pick up and start (skirmish-sized games so to say). But they never endangered WHF ...people always came back or were willing to play with you a game of WHF if you`d asked them.
    But with 8th. ed. gamers turned away and gave WHF up (and not returning..they started to sell their models /armies) .

    So, no, the "rise" of new games /systems had certainly an impact...but weren`t a maior reason why they left.

    Rules ? Well, gamers always complained about them :) ..some changes were met with disdain..other were warmly welcomed. Don´t think it had and deeper impact.

    Balance? Well, some army books were just received as very unbalanced (too strong...cough..DE cough :whistling: )..and on the other hand sgaming)
    some armies never got a new book (errr..brets with 6th ed. books still gaming).

    But for the most part it was:

    Oh nos`...I have to (feel to) buy and paint up so much more models /units now..and I own 2-4 armies || ...yuck fou...
    Veteran of the Chaff Wars
  • Calisson wrote:

    For me, the main point of the OP is that we need the game not to be focused mostly on 4500 pts, at the expense of small games attractive for beginners.
    Once the game is advertised to work greatly (does it?) at 1000 pts, then we have a much lower entry point.
    Why not start with a skirmish-sized game a la Warbands or Mordhiem.

    We could have small "starting" scenarios were two scout forces meet ( 500 pts....10-20 models...no Characters, just core unit models).
    The outcome would give benefits for the winner in the next "level" when the vanguard of two armies meet (e.g. 1000 pts-1500 pts) where now the first proper units in rank n file are used ..and so on.
    Veteran of the Chaff Wars
  • Great post @Calisson

    So what to learn from this that could be applied to the 9th age?

    The 9th age remade the mass RnF battle game with many of the aspects of 8th edition.

    The pitfalls of that edition could be applied to FB:9th age as well. Do we win back those who left for war machines etc by what the current game offer? Will quickstarter do that? I hope so but I doubt it.

    I think we need to forget about a one size fits all model here. The best, and potentially easiest, approach i think would be to have several games that bridges easily and appeals to different target groups and occasions.

    Can we build a portfolio of games that fit nicely together? Not to work as learning games for FB:9th age but to allow people options fitting their needs within the 9th age universe.
  • We don’t need to speculate. From a business standpoint you need only look at what GW replaced WHFB with to understand what they felt fantasy’s shortcomings were. AoS has:

    -Fewer models
    -Simpler rules
    -More shooting
    -More sci fi aesthetic
    -Bigger monsters/machines

    40k was obviously more successful because they made their new game look and feel more like 40k, not the other way around.
  • -Fewer models
    -Simpler rules

    I can agree to that

    but

    -More shooting
    -More sci fi aesthetic
    -Bigger monsters/machines

    40k was obviously more successful because they made their new game look and feel more like 40k, not the other way around.
    ?

    I am not sure that those sci-fi attracts sooooo much more gamers . WHF (and 9th age) caters to the (classic) fantasy(medieval) nerd. The "Lord of the Rings" readers.
    I don´t think THIS group likes the sci-fi aesthetic /more shooty theme.
    Veteran of the Chaff Wars
  • All good reasons here. However I DID drop whf because of 8th. The only reason.
    And then I waited for 9th to be ok but instead the end times happened. Same for most if not all of my buddies.

    Lets not over think this because for many of us its as simple as gw shat on the players and then when it was clear most of us had had enough they just went straight money grab before blowing it all up.

    9th has/had a winning combination. The only thing 9th is struggling with now is continuously messing with a good thing. Its like a new grower over watering. Just leave it be for awhile.
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  • Squirrelloid wrote:

    Magic pretty much doesn't work below ~4k points. It's too targeted at 4500, because you have too many dice for low investment to really work, and it's too many points for a full magic phase. Magic (the whole phase) needs to scale linearly with point investment to scale up or down effectively, or you just have to play without magic below standard size.

    The rest of the game probably scales okay, although you have a problem where the game allows too much investment in characters, so one uber-killy nigh-invulnerable character can probably kill whole 1000 pt armies. (Okay, 1000 pts may not be enough for a character 'o doom within character limits, but 1500 probably is for some books).

    Aside from dramatically changing and/or forbidding wizards in small games, you probably want to forbid lord-level characters.
    I'm curious what others have looked into for this? My initial strategy would be to 'half' the card results for warband games, and double them for grand armies.

    As for @Calisson 's OP

    The death of WHFB is best summed up as follows:

    Make the game play like 40k
    Chapterhouse & the need for less generic fantasy IP

    That really was it - at its core, block of infantry wheeling and charging was determined to not be profitable. Drop the rules to 2 pages, make it play like 40k, and slap on some unique IP to make sure other minis can't be easily used.

    WHFB in any way, shape, or form. was determined not to be profitable ENOUGH to a company of GW's size. They chose to cede the market segment and focus on what they do well - 40k.

    Please note, none of this is bashing anything - its a cold hard business case and I can't fault GW for it. As a consumer it sucked at first, but I completely understand why it happened.

    The upshot has been a total liberalisation of the fantasy market - which has been amazing as a consumer.

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  • GW realized something interesting in the early 2000’s: older, veteran players spend less money than new, younger players. We have our paints. We have our supplies. While we may spend some money on new releases, for the most part we have our armies. And while the “Tolkien fantasy” setting is undeniably popular, it’s certainly less popular than spaceships and lasers among that new, younger demographic GW needs to capitalize on.

    Like it or not GW is a company, companies need to make money, and the people who spend the most money are comparatively young, like lightsabers and machine guns, and will likely play the game for less than a year.
  • Not much new. I would argue that entry point wasn't high on non-GW markets (where GW doesn't have stores). Ebay is and was always full of couple of 100 dollar armies, painted. Then we had chinese and east european black markets which made cheap GW knock offs, those catalogues weren't on the internet. And lastly rise of other model manufactorers which were undermining GW core business (model company). All this led to market saturation where GW had low sells.
    This could only be tackled by going away from classic non-IPable fluff to its own, more futuristic one, something cheap model companies can't copy like they can with classic elves and dwarfs. Same reason other "fantasy" games have their own IP world and not classic fantasy one, like Warmahordes

    But I agree we will go the same way, or stand still, if we do not catter to new type of players. We need this game scalable down to a level when you can effectively have a one day tournament playing 5 games.
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  • Phosphorus wrote:

    I am not sure that those sci-fi attracts sooooo much more gamers . WHF (and 9th age) caters to the (classic) fantasy(medieval) nerd. The "Lord of the Rings" readers.
    I don´t think THIS group likes the sci-fi aesthetic /more shooty theme.
    I remember when Warzone came back in the dark ages. Me and my friends were playing Warhammer 4th edition and liking it but we all started with Warzone after an introduction game at a convention. We had played Mutant Chronicles the RPG for some times and was familiar with the setting. It had relativity easy rules, customization options, and one only needed a couple of units and a character to start playing a balanced game. Suddenly every body had painted armies and the armies became larger. It was a really fun tactical game and similar to AoS to some degree. We all switched back as they started to drop new army books and the power creep was not a creep. By the latest book and win the game.

    This group those not like sci-fi aesthetic and more shooty theme but for a new player a simpler rule system and few models means accessibility and quick games.

    What the 9th Age is offering is a well balanced game with a great diversity of playable armies for people who wishes to paint 60 - 100+ models. I love it but it is a though sell for some one who does not own painted models and at least a couple of hours of playing of your free time to finish a game.

    Until we have a fleshed out background that enables emersion, for those that finds this game and have no previous background in miniature wargaming, I think that our recruitment pool is our friends and people who plays KoW, AoS, Warmachines et cetera and sees the 9th Age at mixed tournaments. They have the experience of painting and collecting and can see the game for what it offers. It is before a shame that AoS is represented with so few teams at the ETC. When I see active wargamers rebasing from rounds to squares I know that the 9th Age has started to grow. What is good is that we do not need to look at sells figures to know if we are doing the right thing to our game. On the other hand we need to look at the number of active players to know whether or not I will find an opponent for my newly painted army in the fall.

    Having a easy "This is how you play this game" PDF might help. No special rules or full magic rules. Only the basics of moment, shooting, melee, some magic spells to get the idea of how the phase works, and victory conditions should be enough. Focus on elit armies with few models. And as @Squirrelloid wrote:

    Squirrelloid wrote:

    Aside from dramatically changing and/or forbidding wizards in small games, you probably want to forbid lord-level characters.
    Read the "This is how you play this game" and play a few games at 1000 - 2000 pts and get the grips of the basics and then escalate to a full army book and the full rules and then play the game at 3000 pts until you have painted/ bought models up to 4500 pts.

    A skirmish game might not be the good for a beginner. Our game is meant to be large scale rank and file. It would, however, be a good idea for a special game that allows players to create their own special characters and get more emersion in the background.
  • 8th wasn’t that much of a bad rule set, it needed a few minor tweaks but that was it. End times was just stupid.

    GW ruined it because as pointed out above, people wouldn’t constantly buy bigger and more expensive units.

    However, AoS v2 is now becoming this. The end of v1 has seen mode counts above 100 for armies, which is back to or larger then 8th / 9th edition armies

    40k has also become nice count large too.

    Also price is no different, £45 for a single character? Just never going to happen.

    Kill team for the first time in a long while looks a great game and is cheap via online stores. Bloodbow teams also under £20 is amazing

    So with 9th you have this great ability to use whatever brand of miniatures you want to and it doesn’t have to cost the earth

    I can see why 10mm is quick becoming a flavoured scale, cheap and ability to shove it all into a take away box.

    I wish GW would bring it back but I can’t see it happeninf. However you have all the books accessible to you or you can play 9th :)
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  • Its also key to remember that "healthy sales numbers" and "healthy active gaming community" are not the same thing.

    WHFB had an active healthy community - but it just wasn't selling enough models as GW needed based on their business model.

    Moreover - WHFB grew out of the 1980's fantasy RPG boom. Massed wargames with RPG miniatures.

    Times changed, and WHFB (from a business standpoint) wasn't able to adapt as required.

    luckily we're one of many groups able to fill in that gap in the market - Honestly its never been a better time to be a fantasy wargamer!

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  • Bugman wrote:

    So with 9th you have this great ability to use whatever brand of miniatures you want to and it doesn’t have to cost the earth


    I can see why 10mm is quick becoming a flavoured scale, cheap and ability to shove it all into a take away box.

    I wish GW would bring it back but I can’t see it happeninf. However you have all the books accessible to you or you can play 9th :)
    I don't think GW needs to bring 10mm fantasy back.

    there is a good number of online companies that have worked to fill out the gaps left when GW vacated Epic & warmaster. theres a lot of 10mm stuff out there online, especially for generic fantasy.

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