I had the past week off. Which meant that what little energy Long Covid allows me has gone towards my hobby instead of my job. I've also been looking at/seeing things and musing.
What did that musing lead to? I think I'm done being an active Games Workshop Customer.
Let's preface this with some background and then the causes that led to this conclusion.
I've been a GW\40K fan for my entire adult life. I discovered them around 18 years of age, during second edition. Since then I've bought EVERY edition of 40K starter, and have collected a large portion of the 1st edition books too. Several editions, I didn't even get to play a game in, due to gaming groups drifting apart. But I still kept up, because Warhammer/40K was my main "thing". Even if it was never exclusively so, I do play other games and settings. I have many of the secondary/Fanatic games, and love them dearly, especially Battlefleet Gothic, Necromunda and Space Hulk (Kill team combining these two in Gallowdark was a stroke of genius which is mainly responsible for this only coming now, and not several months sooner, tbh). The shared love of the games and setting has given me the vast majority of people I now call friends, both online and in "meatspace". The 41st Millennium runs deep with me.
So what prompted this disentanglement from the company that produces it? In no particular order:
-While never a cheap hobby, the game has become downright unaffordable over the past years. The Hobby™ has never been cheap, but the past and upcoming price hike have, for me, broken the limit of value for money.
-GW's relentless release pace means you don't have the time to enjoy new mini's or spend time with a release to get to know it's ins and outs. It's all so rushed and stressful. It's exhausting.
-And many of the newer releases, despite being of high technical and sculpting skill, aren't very good, lore and design-wise. There's nothing joyous or inspired about them.
-Despite its grand "Warhammer is for Everyone" statement a while back, I've not seen GW make any significant progress or effort to deal with the obvious bigot issue in their community. They're still here, and with the lack of significant push out since that statement, they're louder and more obnoxious than ever.
-GW's reliance on FOMO and flash in the pan sales and their accompanying consistent unwillingness and inability to get their product in the hands of fans instead of scalpers. It just shows such disrespect and disinterest to their customer/fanbase.
-GW's exploitative lack of respect for their artists and creators. It started years ago, with the removal of author credits on rules, artists watermarks and credits, and now after building loyalty and community through popular faces on their tutorials, they've reverted to literally faceless narration. The only ones allowed a name and face are the presenters, the one who are effectively doing a constant, barely masked sales pitch.
GW has always been a somewhat out of touch and regressive company, but they seemed to be doing better for a while. Not it just feels like their regressing to their worst habits. I just can't find any joy in THEIR version of The Hobby™ anymore.
Sum total: I don't NEED Games Workshop anymore for my hobbying in the 40K setting, and I don't like them near enough anymore to give them a default claim on my hobby budget.
Does that mean GW won't lure me back in at some point? No, if they manage to hit the perfect note with a release (Say, BFG 2nd ed or Warhammer Old World Man O'War?), I might pick that up. But I won't be a devotee anymore, just a passer by.
Keeping my games/collections up to date and assuming something is a must buy, because it's for a game or faction I collect? That's past. The only remaining guaranteed buy left is the fourth installment of Kill Team Gallowdark. Because I WANT to have it, not because I NEED it to stay current. Unless a miracle happens, 9th will be the last edition of 40K I own.
I won't sell my collections either, as I still like the setting and minis. But I'll be playing around in the universe at my pace, on my conditions, in a part of the timeline I choose, an the version of the rules I like without regard to GW's plans or desires. MY hobby, not The Hobby™.
Anyway, after all that dour thought, let's end on something fun, shall we?
I finished painting the first/test portion of my Gallowdark terrain. These are 3d printed fanmade iterations and meant as a testcase for painting techniques, colour schemes and new materials/paints to try. (Dirty Down Rust prime among them). They'll also mean I can fill a larger table for when we play a Badab War Kill Team campaign later this year. You see, for this year, I want to try and focus on playing more, instead of just buying more. Let's hope I succeed!
|My Void Crows scavenger team got a bit more than they bargained for inside a derelict ship!|