Open letter to Games Workshop embargo! (2)

Com a confusão que a GW está criando na comunidade, um dos post mais interessantes que lí e copio aqui…

From SandWyrm

“Dear Games Workshop,

You’re in the process of losing me as a loyal customer of 20 years, popular 40K blogger, and leader of my local 40K gaming community.

I have already cut back my 40K related spending by roughly 75% in the past year. If your current trends of insane price hikes, sloppy Army Books/FAQs, greedy rules design, and lazy community service continues, then you will lose me completely as a customer within the next 1-2 years to your competition. Either Flames of War, Warmachine, Malifaux, Video Games, or some combination thereof.

I have already either purchased or been given, for free, the models and rules required to play Warmachine and Malifaux. The reasons for why I am actively seeking alternatives to your products are as follows:

1) Insane Price Hikes

In this time of continuing global recession, you are still raising your prices significantly every year, contrary to every other hobby related manufacturer; who have stuggled to maintain or even lower the costs of their products.

Instead of making it easier to enter this hobby by reducing the complexity and cost of your products, you are actively making changes (“Finecast”, Full-Color rules/army books, decorative templates) that increase the end-cost to your customers even as some of them (“Finecast”) reduce your own long-term production costs. The fact that you would raise prices while reducing your own costs is particularly odious.

I know (from reading your annual report) that GW management considers your industry to be a niche luxury hobby that is largely immune from the problems in the larger economy. However I believe this view is very, very, flawed. The 40K players I see every week in our 5 local game stores are not rich. Most of them are students, single guys with low paying service jobs, or married middle-class professionals with very limited hobby budgets. Many have no job right now at all. They are buying your products on ever-diminishing credit. I have more disposable income than most of them, yet even I have been forced to cut back on my hobby spending drastically as the costs of gasoline, food, health care, and other necessities have risen and continue to rise every month. While my family’s income has fallen more than 25% over the last 2 years alone. Before inflation.

Raising your prices, instead of doing everything you can to lower them, is bad business for you. You may see some gains in the short term, but the hobby (and your customer base) will continue to shrink the longer you continue this policy. It’s unsustainable in the long term.

2) Sloppy Army Books

It’s become increasingly obvious that many of the 40K army books that you have released in the last 2 years were not properly finished/tested before release. The Tyrannid codex stands out as a prime example. The rules for that book are so sloppily written that a FAQ was immediately needed upon release. When that FAQ did finally appear many months later, it’s rulings were so arbitrary and inconsistent with similar rules in other books/FAQs that I saw the number of Tyrannid players in my area plummet by half. In addition, this bad FAQ has cast a pall over every new codex. As players wonder if their choice of army (and the cash used to collect/build it) will be invalidated six months after a new book is released.

That is bad for your business. You should be doing everything possible to proof-read your rules ahead of time. As well as releasing timely FAQs on a MONTHLY basis to resolve issues and evaluate previous rulings. You do not want potential players delaying their entry into a new army because of FAQ-fear. Or comparing your paltry rules/FAQ output to what Privateer Press is able to accomplish with their much more timely updates.

3) Greedy Rules Design

I, and many other players, do enjoy the changes that come with a new codex or game edition. It keeps the game fresh and gives us something new to collect and learn. There is a point though, at which so much is changed that we cannot base a meaningful amount of our new army on the figures and models we had before.

Case in point: The Grey Knights.

When the new Grey Knight book was released, I was disappointed to find that none of the Grey Knights, Stormtroopers, or Imperial Guard models that I already owned could be used to field a competitive GK army. Options for them existed, yes, but it was also obvious that the rules had been designed in such a way that an army containing those models would be very uncompetitive.

If I’d had a competitive option for these models, I would have bought into the codex and purchased several boxes of Grey Knight models to fill the army out. But you did not give me that option. You wanted me to buy all-new instead. So I traded the GK models I had to someone else. This deprived you not only of new sales to me, but of some sales to the person I traded with. That’s bad for your business. You would make more from 10 players upgrading half of their armies than from 3 players that buy all-new.

Again, it’s a bad economy, and you must adapt to the new reality of that. I and many, many, others no longer have the free cash to buy an all-new army. For the foreseeable future, I will either upgrade an army I already have, or I will not buy at all.

Along these same lines comes a warning: If 6th Edition 40K requires me to rebuild my entire army as the switch from 4th Edition to 5th Edition did, it’s over. I’m gone. I will not rebuild 50+% of my army in order to play 6th competitively. Instead I will either continue to play 5th (and not buy anything new), or I will simply quit and play something else.

4) Lazy Community Service

I know from talking to the individuals involved that GW management had to be BEGGED by multiple people both inside and outside the company to let Forge World attend Adepticon, North America’s largest wargaming convention. Even then, they were only allowed a reduced presence that required 12+ hour days from their staff.

In case you’re not aware, let me tell you some of what Privateer Press did at the convention:

  1. Gave away a free $50.00 starter army and introductory rules booklet to the first 1000 attendees.
  2. Had 3 Warmachine/Hordes demo-game tables set up between the doors to the 40K hall.
  3. Had a complete booth set up where you could purchase Warmachine gear.
  4. Had an official corporate involvement in Adepticon’s Warmachine tournament. Including prize support.

Those are the actions of a company that cares about it’s community/customers. Not only that, but they have an official competitive tournament format and ranking system for players. Plus timely rules updates and FAQs. Which is something that you, as a company, constantly fall down on.

Why does PP show up to events like Adepticon and make such a showing? Because they know that every player at an event like Adepticon is a representative of all the players in the local community where they live. If they can “flip” one of these players to their game, it will encourage many more in their local communities to give their products a try. That’s why the local Warmachine community here in Indianapolis has grown from a couple of players at the back of the shop to a large group with it’s own night that rivals the regular 40K crowd.

To simplify, PP is perceived as a company that listens to and supports it’s community. While GW is perceived as a company that has not only abandoned it’s community, but continually bleeds it with ever-larger price increases. That is bad for your long term business.

In Conclusion

I want Games Workshop to make money. I want you to prosper and continue. GW has been a huge part of my hobby life over the years. But I see you continually engaging in bad business decisions that emphasize short-term gains over the long-term health of both GW itself and the community you depend on to buy your products. It’s time to re-think the way you do business for the better.

Sincerely,

SandWyrm & The Undersigned “

Open letter to Games Workshop embargo!

Com a confusão que a GW está criando na comunidade, um dos post mais interessantes que lí e copio aqui…

From Kirb

” To Games Workshop,

Why? No seriously, why? I’m sure the excuse of cutting off Australasia and other countries (Canada, India, Korea, South American countries, etc.) to benefit the independent and GW store sales in Australia sounded good but unless you cut the prices here to not be a ridiculous 200% higher price than overseas, it’s not going to happen. Let’s look at this logically. You’ve stopped us from buying from stores like Maelstrom and Wayland with an embargo agreement in your Terms and Conditions (remember globalisation? how’s that going btw?). Does this mean we are going to now buy at RRP in Australia or other countries? No.

There are other outlets overseas we can buy from which are still much cheaper (hi America), other companies which you cannot touch without raising a helluva lot of crap (hi ebay) and people who are willing to ship to us overseas (hello family and friends) without the 200% tax. We won’t be getting as huge a discount as before but it’s much better than buying here at RRP. The other option is of course going to be quitting which I imagine some people are going to do. Check out this thread on WargamerAU where a lot of people are indicating they are. The ultimate bottom line? Your bottom line suffers (more people leaving) and the retailers in Australia do not benefit.

Now I’m all for one in supporting the locals. I buy all my products such as spray paint, paints, plasticard, magnets, drills + bits, modelling putty, brushes, etc. from Australia. As an aside, do you actually stock good quality merchandise for all of those options? I don’t see you selling plasticard, magnets, good sized drillbits, custom bases, etc. I’d be happy to pay a 5-10% premium on these objects compared to other stores to support your business but then again, I don’t really want to support your business currently do I? The point of any business is to make a profit but the problem with your business model is you do not do this whilst concurrently supporting your customer base. We don’t ask for much but a short list would look like…

  • not raising prices every year, without fail, regardless of the economic situation or inflation rates
  • basing prices around the world upon exchange rates (I wouldn’t be averse to paying 20% more in Australia compared to the UK or America locally but I am adverse to paying twice as much) – there are circumstances in each country that make operating there more or less expensive but you need a base retail price for your product which is then translated by exchange rates at a given time (i.e. quarterly) rather than a price set many, many years ago. It’s part of being in a global market.
  • regular and quick FAQs – you’ve done a fantastic job IMO of creating some pretty balanced books for 5th edition, fix the grey areas quickly.
  • official erratas – man up and admit you’ve made mistakes (hi Tyranids) and work on erratas that are official and re-print the books with these amendments. Admitting a mistake and fixing it isn’t a problem and I’d applaud you for it. Ignoring a problem is.
  • fix Fantasy – you did it with 40k, why go backwards with Fantasy?
  • don’t think your customer base is moronic – the resin re-cast to be cheaper than metals whilst hiking prices, not fooling anyone.

Ultimately people in Australia and other countries go overseas for their Games Workshop products for a reason: it’s significantly cheaper (I.e. half price). What motivation is there to therefore buy from our locals when you aren’t treating your customers with loyalty and support? People will walk away and your bottom line will hurt. A simple solution: care about your customers. Change the Australian (and other countries) prices so they are at least similar to the UK and US. This doesn’t have to be the exact same price but some parity would be greatly appreciated.

Here’s a quick example. If you could buy a similar product for $45 compared to $150, what would you do? How about if the product was the exact same but if you ordered it overseas it was $80 compared to $150 by the time it reached your door step? I’m pretty sure you’d want to take the cheaper option correct? For you as a company, you make your profit margin through the reseller regardless of where it is purchased. You may make more money off a direct sale at an Australian store compared to an Internet sale from the UK but you have already achieved the profit margin from the Internet sale already. The Australian stores may be hurting but this is down to the initial price you have set, not market trends. Simply put, you are alienating customers from a large and developing market.

I and many of the readers here obviously enjoy your game. We’ve played it through thick and thin (4th edition…) or come back thanks to an improvement game balance (5th edition) and don’t want to leave. We will though sooner or later if you keep piling on idiotic choices on us. Other companies like Privateer Press did very well in the early to mid-2000s for a reason and people will migrate to other gaming systems if you continue to mistreat them and their loyalty.

As it stands I question why you do the things you do. Raising prices every year annoys me but I cannot complain too loudly as your products are a luxury item but you do not provide excellent customer service one usually expects with such goods. I certainly find minimal fault with your staff or when your product is damaged/faulty but your overarching business model seems counter-intuitive to maintaining a customer base. Even if you are getting a large amount of new customers imagine how much better off your company would be if you had maintained a significant portion of your repeat customers. The model you are running currently to me does not seem sustainable as your turnover rate in customers is just too high. I applaud your efforts in making 40k 5th edition a more competitive game but what you’ve done to Fantasy 8th edition doesn’t bode well for the future.

Please, look to satisfy both the shareholders and the customer rather than just the former.

Kirby.

P.S. Anyone who agrees with this, I would greatly appreciate this being re-posted on your blog so we might actually garner GW’s attention and hopefully move forward together. That is the ultimate goal, I want Games Workshop to succeed as a company so I can continue to enjoy the gaming systems I do but to do that, Games Workshop must look at altering their business model in the long run to maintain a steady customer base. “

Wip – Belial p.01

Buenas,

Primeiras fotos da minha nova empreitada, meu HQ Belial (convertido do Lysander), apenas retirei os ícones dos Imperial Fist.

Na parte da pintura apenas comecei com a capa e a base verde da armadura. O primer empelotou, mas como é pra jogo mesmo (sei que vai descascar logo) não estou me importando tanto…

Extra: Thunderhammer e Storm shield convertidos (bem discretos)