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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Eldar Rumor Analysis: Supplemental Material to be the DLC of Wargaming?

First I want to be clear that I am still incredibly excited about rules expansions for factions within armies. Eldar is a great one for this because of the variety inherent in the craftworlds. In the background and on the table they're all very different. You can write a list and call it Alaitoc, but it would be a lot more fun if there were rules written and balanced to emphasize that flavor and play style.And the same goes for many armies.

The first supplemental faction book is the Iyanden craftworld. It seems to release exactly when the codex does. This begs a number of questions--or perhaps I should say furious inquiries, considering how much we spend on the books these days. Why isn't this material already in the codex? How much more do we have to pay to play Iyanden? Do they plan on releasing all the craftworlds in this way? If so, why are they not all being released together later on, when Eldar have already been out for some time?

Yeah, I know the answer is the same for each of these questions. It's the dollars and yen of it. Just as with video game companies who release games with the DLC loaded on the disc, the Eldar codex is essentially coming out split up for maximum profit. As much as I love the idea of more material for ever more specific army variants, I can't help but feel like we're all being kicked in the teeth and asked to hand over the gold fillings that fall out. As a collector I would love to have the Iyanden book despite not playing that faction, but I don't think I can warrant the purchase if the price is on par with the core codex.

We, the fans, are getting some of the things we've been wanting, but what a wicked twist of monkey-paw fate that the material comes to us with such apparent scorn. One of the best feelings you can have as a customer is to walk away from a purchase like you just received a birthday present, even though you paid for it yourself. It feels like the content provider has some measure of respect for you. Just ask Valve. This is part of the success behind Steam bargain sales. You're spending money and feeling like every purchase is the best deal you've ever gotten. And it feels exactly as bad to buy an expensive book and need another expensive supplement that is likely only 20% of the expensive supplements that will come out for your army. I feel for Iyanden players here.

There are ways GW promotes sales that are a little unsavory in my opinion. External codex balance is one of those. Internal updates is another; and on that topic I'll be writing something eventually about Flamers and Screamers when I get a chance. And this DLC equivalent is another. While it's great to get rules support for handing over so much hard-earned money, for me it's spoiled to some degree by the obviousness of it as a cheap play for quick profit.

I think the most likely rebuttal to this post is "Fine, don't buy it." I agree with that. GW's customers are not entitled to good deals. But it works both ways. They're not entitled to our money either. To be honest, I just don't want to feel like I'm being ripped off. They could release a book like the old Craftworld Codex with all five major craftworlds in it. They chose to release only one, not to include it in the codex that is releasing on the same day and for the chosen faction to be the one that prominently features units like the new, expensive Wraithknight. If that's not being obvious I don't know what is. I want to see them making decisions that benefit their long term growth by maintaining their loyal fanbase the way some other successful companies have managed to. To put it briefly: while profit is good, posterity is better.