One thing that I have noticed about gamers over the last several years is that their perception of what is fair, or right in terms of gaming vendors has become pretty dramatic. If you frequent forums dedicated to GW games, you will find wailing and gnashing of teeth posts about everything from miniatures not being produced fast enough, to miniatures being produced too fast, and any number of conspiracy theories about how a particular faction is being given the shaft for whatever reason. Anytime there is a new release, there seem to be as many comments that are negative about what isn’t being made, not updated, or how it was updated as there are displaying enthusiasm about the new release.
I’ve been noticing this in communities dedicated to other game systems as well. Privateer Press’s forums were quite a sight when Hordes, and then MkII (which I think was an improvement to an already great game) were released. I think that this happens when a game reaches a certain threshold in popularity, as is happening right now with Battlefront’s Flames of War. BF recently released, as a magazine supplement to Wargames Illustrated, a booklet with forces for playing FoW in Vietnam. In addition to this they have also released 18ish different items for the new time-period. It seems that some of the people who play WW2 FoW aren’t too happy about this. There is an impression that new releases for a different time period will limit how much is created for FoW’s traditional subject, the 2nd world war. This is probably quite accurate.
I think it is important to point out that these complaints have been growing on the BF forums for some time now prior to FoW:Vietnam. If it wasn’t Early War releases getting in the way of Late War stuff, than it was Market Garden-centric items holding up stuff for the Eastern Front.
Sometimes people’s issues don’t have anything to do with a certain time period, faction, race, or product. They just want to have the marketing itch scratched, and to have something new to drool over, whether or not they will buy it. I get as excited by NEW as much as the next person, but I don’t feel that anyone owes it to me.
At the risk of getting tangential, this all ties in with the way that gamers/hobbyists love to critique the business moves of the companies that they patronize. It seems like every change that happens that isn’t directly related to a person getting shiny new stuff, is considered a bad case of falling-sky. Recently there was a debate at Black Sun Games over the ethics of GW producing plastic models, considering that there are some people who like metals. Despite the fact that plastic models are vastly more popular with average gamers, the individual who brought this up determined that GW ‘screwed’ the people who liked collecting metal models, especially ones that went out of print. His perception seemed to be that GW had an obligation to keep producing models in metal, and not to stop casting older designs. Usually these sorts of comments are relegated to the safety of the internet, where the consequences of ones comments are significantly less severe, so I was a bit surprised to have this conversation in flesh and blood.
This hobby gets people excited, and I understand that. We invest a great deal of time, energy, money, and love into it. There are occasions where game companies do some bone-headed things that drastically affect the ability of gamers to continue with their investment in that companies product (Chris at Garagehammer brought up a nasty example with the way that GW changed, for some reason, the way that units had to be based in Epic 40k, which caused some serious trouble for gamers with older armies).
My own rant about my expectations will end now, but I really wonder what some people would say if they could hear themselves while crying over their keyboards, several months down the road when the new shiny has become considerably more dull.