Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Citadel Paints and 40K Trolls

I'm still relatively new to Warhammer 40,000, so I'm sure that this is well known to more experienced gamers, but it seems like the hobby is chock full of trolls (not the fantasy kind). Rarely have I seen this much hatred of a franchise by its supposed fanbase.

Yeah, it's kind of like that

Anyone who's ever visited Bell of Lost Souls ("BoLS") can find interesting rumors of new releases, articles on tactics, modelling advice, etc. However, a visit to the comments section will show that it's infested with trolls. It's one thing to comment or criticize; it's another to complain about every little thing, whether it's other players, articles, or Games Workshop's products and practices (especially GW's products and practices). I can understand some of it (it sounds like Finecast still has severe quality control issues), but other things make absolutely no sense and it appears that many commenters are simply complaining to complain.

The most recent case in point; Citadel just released a huge number of paints, including new colors and paint types. Several of the additions are very clever. Textured paints contain a grit and are intended to be used on bases to replace/supplement the practice of gluing your own rocks to the top of each base. I had always followed Bryce's lead and kept my bases simple. Recently, I looked back on the work I did for my Ultramarine Scouts and wished that I had put a lot more work into their bases. Now I might just go back and apply a textured coat.

The new paint types make a lot of sense: "Base" paints (formerly called "Foundation" paints) go over the primer, "Layers" (apparently the same or similar to "Colours") are intended to be painted in layers (clever, eh?) over the Base paint, and "Shades" (the new name for "Washes") go over the layers. "Glazes" are a new addition that are similar to Washes/Shades but are designed to change the hues of the paints beneath them rather than to specifically fill in crevices. "Dry" paint is a thicker formulation of paint that's intended for dry-brushing. They've also added about 70 new colors. I get the impression that hobbyists more talented than I have been creating many of these colors for years by mixing paints. Now you can outright purchase them, making it a lot easier to maintain consistency between models/units/armies.

My only complaint is that they changed the names of every color. It's obvious why they renamed several of their paints: to more easily copyright them. "Skull White" is simply too generic while "White Scars" is different enough to be a copyrighted name. "Ultramarines Blue" is too close to the generic "ultramarine blue", whereas "Altdorf Guard Blue" is unique. I'm not certain why GW decided to change names that were already easily copyrighted, although it may have to do with a general reformulation of the colors. Either way, it's not really a big deal. They were even kind enough to release a conversion chart on their webpage on the very day they introduced the new line.

However, the increase in paint types and variety of colors, at the expense of the name changes, has not stopped the trolls from spewing their hatred. I found numerous comments like the following on GW's Facebook page:
Stupid move on your part GW, No need to ditch the names of the old colours just to give them daft names. People are already swapping over to Vallejo and P3 without your help.
I don't know how many people have complained about paints they haven't even used yet and declared to all and sundry that real painters use paints other than Citadel's. Back when the new paint line was only a rumor, numerous commenters on BoLS were screaming 'they're going to make the bottles smaller and the prices higher; they always do that! That's why I switched to [insert company name here].' Note: the bottles and prices (at least in the US) are the same. However, the trolls are so insistent on complaining about the company that makes their hobby possible that they assume the worst in all possible circumstances and almost seem disappointed when it doesn't happen.

There's plenty of proof that many of these people complain because they like to. One is the fact that many claim to have switched to another manufacturer's product years ago. If you switched years ago, why do you care what GW does? Another is the fact that some actually complained that the revised paint line had too many new colors. Seriously? Too many colors? If that's your complaint, then you really are a troll.

Those jerks! How dare they give us more paint options!

The nerd rage isn't just limited to paints. Many commenters on posts about 40K rules and codices feel the need to declare that GW's rules are stupid or poorly written and that they moved on to the "far superior" [enter non-40K wargame here] years ago. Again, why are you trolling 40K boards and taking the time to negatively comment in the most vehement language possible when you don't play 40K anymore? Others complained when they belatedly released the Tervigon/Tyrannofex model. Would it be better if GW completely ignored the Tyranids altogether? The silliest complaint is that GW 'just wants to make money'. Um, yeah, they're a business, after all. Did you think they made models, paints, and rulebooks out of the goodness of their hearts? Because they like to make geeks happy? Yes, they should strive for customer satisfaction, but the primary reason for them to do that is so people continue to buy their products. Strangely enough, like their customers, GW employees also like to eat and pay their bills.

If GW didn't try to make money, they would fail just as countless companies and organizations who didn't put enough emphasis on financial success have done before. Gamers should be glad that GW tries to make money, otherwise they wouldn't be able to manufacture that box of Terminators whose price the commenters complain about. I think a lot of these commenters would be surprised by how much the equipment costs to manufacture a bunch of plastic pieces and how strongly the number of units sold affects the price (Tactical Marine sets are cheaper than Terminator sets partially because a lot less Terminator sets are sold). And since all the parts are manufactured in Europe or America, the cost of labor adds a lot more to the price than if the parts were manufactured in China.

I comment on this only because I've seen it too often in the geeky circles I travel in. Nerd rage helped to kill Star Trek: Enterprise. Like the preceding Star Treks, Enterprise took a few seasons to find its feet. I thought its first few seasons were a lot stronger than those of its predecessors, but the so-called fans seemed determined to hate it, which doomed it to cancellation by the end of its 4th, and strongest, season. The very same fanbase that claimed to hate the series then had the gall to express surprise that it had been cancelled. Similarly, many who claim to be Star Wars' most loyal fans have come to despise everything about George Lucas because of the prequels or the Special Editions. While the prequels weren't nearly as strong as they should have been, and some of the Special Edition changes were unnecessary or just plain silly, the degree of hyperbole and downright hatred is insane. This is entertainment, for heaven's sake. If everyone would just settle down, enjoy the good stuff that comes our way (new Citadel paints, new Star Trek series), and take the bad stuff in stride (Finecast, Star Trek: The Motion Picture), then we'd all just be a little happier.

If only nerd rage could be harnessed for good instead of evil...

3 comments:

  1. Here here, couldn't agree more. We are in this hobby to enjoy ourselves at the end of the day, and all this negativity is utterly pointless and counter-productive.

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  2. Well, not for nuthin,' but GW has developed a well-deserved reputation for drawing the communities ire at this point almost immediately after announcement is made. After all, they're rarely any good for the consumer.
    Even so, the reaction of the community at large usually falls between, 'meh,' and 'oh my good GW is going down in flames!'
    It's pretty funny from the sidelines, since I'm one of those that left GW behind long, long ago.

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