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Made in us
Slaanesh Havoc with Blastmaster





I mean, it makes sense that the greedy, shortsighted move in question may well be beancounters skimping on playtesters.
   
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 Bosskelot wrote:
You also all assume that the GW designers even understand what makes a rule good or bad most of the time. As is the case of pretty much every games designer in existence, they're not that good or even that knowledgeable about their own game (and this is why outside playtesting is done for pretty much any game, tabletop or otherwise) and so half of the time when something is nerfed into irrelevance or made gamebreakingly strong it's probably unintended.


In my opinion, don't think you could be more wrong about game designers not understanding their own games. Sure, most big games with continuous updates (whether that be new expansions for a card game, new models for a wargame, or new patches for an online shooter) generally run into some unfortunate design mistake eventually, but that is hardly proof of absolute ignorance. The ability to make new material that meshes well with the old without creating balance or gameplay issues is integral to good game design, meaning that most competent game companies hire developers who are good at exactly that. The reason playtests are important is to either fill in the gaps which will inevitably appear due to bad luck, or to test for factors which game designers couldn't measure on their own, such as understandability or enjoyment for new players. Some game companies, such as Wizards for MTG, actually hire professional players to design cards, as they've proven to understand how to evaluate cards under a competitive mindset.

Games Workshop (or more specifically 40K) just happens to have a particularly bizarre development team. They're clearly not as knowledgeable about their game and playerbase as they should be, but that's the exception, not the rule.

Dudeface wrote:
 Eldarain wrote:
Is there another game where players consistently blame each other for the failings of the creator?

If you want to get existential, life for some.
 
   
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Wing Commander





Bristol (UK)

I don't think it is unique to 40k, the specialist games team seems to have much of the same problems.
   
Made in de
Ork Admiral Kroozin Da Kosmos on Da Hulk






Without wanting to excuse anything the fethed up in the past, for 9th they clearly got a lot of knowledgeable people on board to help, and so far the rules and codices are turning out rather well in regards to rules actually doing what they were trying to do.

Earth is not flat
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Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




 kirotheavenger wrote:
I don't think it is unique to 40k, the specialist games team seems to have much of the same problems.


So the common denominator is GW.

A few years ago one of the biggest X-Wing tournaments had one of the game's designers commentating on the games. He clearly showed he understood the competitive side of the game and even freely acknowledged some of the issues with the game at the time. Just listening to him gave me a lot of confidence that the design team were orders of magnitude more competent than GW when it came to designing a balanced game. They didn't always succeed in achieving balance, of course, but at least you felt they understood the problems. The same is true of a lot of other designers who talk or post publicly about their games, including MtG.

Having knowledgeable people on board is only good if you use their feedback properly and allow them to test properly. Receiving and analysing feedback is a skill, especially divorcing yourself from the criticism in order to try to improve the game. GW designers never seem to have mastered this skill. In 7th edition WHFB some of the Dark Elf community was involved in testing the new army book. They highlighted a number of possible problems that might lead to the army being too good but by all accounts the army's designer didn't really take any criticism well and ignored the feedback. The end result was a pretty busted book that was only saved from complete infamy by the release of probably the single most broken army book ever released: Daemons of Chaos.
   
Made in gb
Wing Commander





Bristol (UK)

Slipspace wrote:
 kirotheavenger wrote:
I don't think it is unique to 40k, the specialist games team seems to have much of the same problems.


So the common denominator is GW.

A few years ago one of the biggest X-Wing tournaments had one of the game's designers commentating on the games. He clearly showed he understood the competitive side of the game and even freely acknowledged some of the issues with the game at the time. Just listening to him gave me a lot of confidence that the design team were orders of magnitude more competent than GW when it came to designing a balanced game. They didn't always succeed in achieving balance, of course, but at least you felt they understood the problems. The same is true of a lot of other designers who talk or post publicly about their games, including MtG.

Indeed, I play a number of games where the developer is reasonably active in the community, answering questions and even taking suggestions. Granted those game's communities are many times smaller than GW's. But it seems GW doesn't even make the attempt.

Although for a year or so some of the specialist games developers seemed to occasionally stalk the Facebook groups. Once in a blue moon one would leave a comment clarifying someone's rule question (almost always with an answer directly contrary to the actual rules mind*) and often the rule in question would be rewritten with the next book release to be more in line with what the developer had expressed in their comment (although not always successfully).
Some of them would also act very offended at the suggestion their answer didn't match the rules, which is a view corroborated by people who claim to have met/played with the developers in question.

*Exact same situation with the few responses I've had from their FAQ email.

Slipspace wrote:Having knowledgeable people on board is only good if you use their feedback properly and allow them to test properly. Receiving and analysing feedback is a skill, especially divorcing yourself from the criticism in order to try to improve the game. GW designers never seem to have mastered this skill. In 7th edition WHFB some of the Dark Elf community was involved in testing the new army book. They highlighted a number of possible problems that might lead to the army being too good but by all accounts the army's designer didn't really take any criticism well and ignored the feedback. The end result was a pretty busted book that was only saved from complete infamy by the release of probably the single most broken army book ever released: Daemons of Chaos.

I've heard similar things from 8th/9th playtesters. Allegedly they told GW that Eradicators were overpowered and received a response along the lines of "good".
   
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 kirotheavenger wrote:
Slipspace wrote:
 kirotheavenger wrote:
I don't think it is unique to 40k, the specialist games team seems to have much of the same problems.


So the common denominator is GW.

A few years ago one of the biggest X-Wing tournaments had one of the game's designers commentating on the games. He clearly showed he understood the competitive side of the game and even freely acknowledged some of the issues with the game at the time. Just listening to him gave me a lot of confidence that the design team were orders of magnitude more competent than GW when it came to designing a balanced game. They didn't always succeed in achieving balance, of course, but at least you felt they understood the problems. The same is true of a lot of other designers who talk or post publicly about their games, including MtG.

Indeed, I play a number of games where the developer is reasonably active in the community, answering questions and even taking suggestions. Granted those game's communities are many times smaller than GW's. But it seems GW doesn't even make the attempt.

Although for a year or so some of the specialist games developers seemed to occasionally stalk the Facebook groups. Once in a blue moon one would leave a comment clarifying someone's rule question (almost always with an answer directly contrary to the actual rules mind*) and often the rule in question would be rewritten with the next book release to be more in line with what the developer had expressed in their comment (although not always successfully).
Some of them would also act very offended at the suggestion their answer didn't match the rules, which is a view corroborated by people who claim to have met/played with the developers in question.

*Exact same situation with the few responses I've had from their FAQ email.


This adds more evidence to the theory I've held for a while that internal playtesting at GW involves really vaguely written drafts of the rules, or even just the designer verbally explaining it, rather than presenting players with more substantial drafts of the text and letting them play it as they understand it. I think this leads to situations where everyone internally is playing RAI but very few of their playtesters are giving feedback on the final text. Then it gets published and GW act all surprised when people read the rule and apply it without having any of the context their own playtesters have.
   
Made in gb
Wing Commander





Bristol (UK)

I think most of the time they simply don't playtest.
One of the developers behind Necromunda has said on stream that they just don't get time to playtest everything. It certainly shows in the scenarios they write that some have never been played, at least not by the wording in the book.
I would describe them as cool concepts, poor writing and implementation.
I also suspect what playtesting does occur is done internally by the developers. So you're absolutely right that they're playtesting how the rules work in their head, not how the rules are actually written.
I also think the developers have a very "beer and pretzels" look on the game, and as someone pointed out earlier, they absolutely don't think about how the rules might be broken. In fact there was a White Dwarf article on Necromunda a while ago that included pictures of the developer's games, and they were playing stuff that absolutely wasn't in the rules, like GSC bikers and a Dark Eldar Haemonculus.

Although I'm banging on about specialist games now, this is the 40k subforum!
They do seem markedly better in 40k though, at least recently. It does seem an effort is made to at least make sure rules interact correctly and we do get FAQs semi-regularly that fix some things.
But they do seem badly in need of a proof-reader that knows what they're doing. It seems from job adverts that they only hire people to check things like grammar and spelling, with the editors having little to no idea what the stuff actually *means*, hence the FAQ is such a mess of errors and typos because they're only errors if you know what it's talking about.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/01/22 10:46:17


 
   
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stratigo wrote:
Hanlon's razor would posit the reverse to me. Making short sighted manipulative business decisions is the norm in business. For a company to simulate that through just incidental incompetence is positing a bizzare stacking of ignorance with angelic innocence

Hanlon's razor is about incidental incompetence, it was first made as a joke not a serious logical thing. Although some people (myself included) feel persecuted more than they should so it does apply to some people. There are lots of short-sighted things that are both stupid and malicious, but Hanlon's razer is about innocent stupidity.
   
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 CEO Kasen wrote:
I mean, it makes sense that the greedy, shortsighted move in question may well be beancounters skimping on playtesters.


I also believe this to be the origin of many OP stuff coming out, especially when it is a not a new kit. Also, as it was said here, playtesting takes time, so GW would have more delay before stuff gets out.
As they dominate the market, they just probably don't feel the need to invest and fully commit to more rigorous playtesting. There may also be a thing with 3D printing, and GW really focusing on short term profits, because the shareholders may fear that in a few years, the kits may sell less. 3D printing enables "people in the know - not new players of course -" to replace GW kits by 3D printed stuff that closely resembles the kits.
I hope I am wrong about this though, and I for one hate resin stuff and am happy to pay more for plastic kits.

Anyway I think investing in playtesting is just not the focus of GW, but still... 10 point reavers and no disclaimer for two weeks after ? That is just incompetence

Ere we go ere we go ere we go
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CEO Kasen wrote:
I mean, it makes sense that the greedy, shortsighted move in question may well be beancounters skimping on playtesters.


I also believe this to be the origin of many OP stuff coming out, especially when it is a not a new kit. Also, as it was said here, playtesting takes time, so GW would have more delay before stuff gets out.
As they dominate the market, they just probably don't feel the need to invest and fully commit to more rigorous playtesting. There may also be a thing with 3D printing, and GW really focusing on short term profits, because the shareholders may fear that in a few years, the kits may sell less. 3D printing enables "people in the know - not new players of course -" to replace GW kits by 3D printed stuff that closely resembles the kits.
I hope I am wrong about this though, and I for one hate resin stuff and am happy to pay more for plastic kits.

Anyway I think investing in playtesting is just not the focus of GW, but still... 10 point reavers and no disclaimer for two weeks after ? That is just incompetence


So I could be wrong here, but I don't think most of the playtesters actually even get paid ...

As far as the "OP stuff coming out" - we've seen enough times now the playtesters telling GW "Yeah, you can't release this" and GW doing it anyway. GW themselves essentially even admitted this in the case of the 8th ed Iron Hands debacle. I don't think the playtesters are perfect or anything, but at the very least, we have seen them try to stop things in the past.

As far as 3D printing. No. It's just not an issue. That debate happens in 3 to 5 year cycles on Dakka. The last time we had a long, serious thread on it, the prediction of most was that, by 2015, you would be buying 3D printers off the shelf everywhere no different than microwaves, and that GW would literally not be able to keep up. And here we are, with 3D printing bigger and better than it has ever been, and in a time when most people can't even go to a store to buy models, and GW has had record high profits. The "3D printing Boogeyman" isn't exactly burning down their house is he?

Even for those who know how to do it, 3D printing is still much more difficult than traditional casting (which was, and continues to be far more widespread), and that never really hurt them either. By the time it ever actually becomes an issue (IF it ever gets to be an issue for them), they will have figured out a way to monetize even that (My degree is in Industrial Design and I have extensive experience here - there's just A LOT that would need to happen before 3D printing becomes an issue for them. A LOT).

You see GW focusing on short term profits because GW has simply always focused on short term profits. That's been their business model forever. They have almost always focused on the short term. They have paid dearly for that at times (7th ed 40k for example, and the initial Sigmar debacle), but yeah, that's been their model for a long long time.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/01/22 15:01:30


Edit: I just googled ablutions and apparently it does not including dropping a duece. I should have looked it up early sorry for any confusion. - Baldsmug

Psiensis on the "good old days":
"Kids these days...
... I invented the 6th Ed meta back in 3rd ed.
Wait, what were we talking about again? Did I ever tell you about the time I gave you five bees for a quarter? That's what you'd say in those days, "give me five bees for a quarter", is what you'd say in those days. And you'd go down to the D&D shop, with an onion in your belt, 'cause that was the style of the time. So there I was in the D&D shop..." 
   
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I'm fairly certain GW treats it's play testers like any AAA game developer treats it's game testers, take CDPR for instance. They are paid nothing, forced to work 80 hour weeks under the threat of being replaced, not given any benefits(Part time hire loopholes) and they are ALWAYS the first ones thrown under the bus when a half baked and crap product like CP2077 or 9th Edition Primaris rules get tossed out to a hungry and violent mob of enthusiasts.

TL;DR - GW likely treats it's testers like warmed up dog crap, and it's no wonder why their products routinely are crap.
   
Made in us
Quick-fingered Warlord Moderatus




I'm fairly certain GW treats it's play testers like any AAA game developer treats it's game testers, take CDPR for instance. They are paid nothing, forced to work 80 hour weeks under the threat of being replaced, not given any benefits(Part time hire loopholes) and they are ALWAYS the first ones thrown under the bus when a half baked and crap product like CP2077 or 9th Edition Primaris rules get tossed out to a hungry and violent mob of enthusiasts.

TL;DR - GW likely treats it's testers like warmed up dog crap, and it's no wonder why their products routinely are crap.


So ... unfair shot at CDRP as what you describe is the norm for nearly all levels of development in AAA games at way more studios than it should be (this is why my stint in that industry was brief), and as far as "how GW treats it's play testers" yeah - like most of us who are not playtesters for GW - you have no idea. So let's not get quite so hyperbolic?

In fact, GW has, several times now, done the OPPOSITE of what you describe. I haven't seen them, one single time, blame play testers for anything. Ever. They did say, when they eventually nerfed IH that they were warned about the problems and released the book anyway. That's a pretty far cry from your theory isn't it?

Edit: I just googled ablutions and apparently it does not including dropping a duece. I should have looked it up early sorry for any confusion. - Baldsmug

Psiensis on the "good old days":
"Kids these days...
... I invented the 6th Ed meta back in 3rd ed.
Wait, what were we talking about again? Did I ever tell you about the time I gave you five bees for a quarter? That's what you'd say in those days, "give me five bees for a quarter", is what you'd say in those days. And you'd go down to the D&D shop, with an onion in your belt, 'cause that was the style of the time. So there I was in the D&D shop..." 
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut




FezzikDaBullgryn wrote:
I'm fairly certain GW treats it's play testers like any AAA game developer treats it's game testers, take CDPR for instance. They are paid nothing, forced to work 80 hour weeks under the threat of being replaced, not given any benefits(Part time hire loopholes) and they are ALWAYS the first ones thrown under the bus when a half baked and crap product like CP2077 or 9th Edition Primaris rules get tossed out to a hungry and violent mob of enthusiasts.

TL;DR - GW likely treats it's testers like warmed up dog crap, and it's no wonder why their products routinely are crap.


This is probably the fifth or sixth unfounded hyperbole-laden, vitriolic post you've made in this thread. You appear to be angry at GW for some reason. Might I suggest stepping away for a while to allow yourself to calm down?

GW playtesters are not treated at all like video game testers. Video game testers are pretty much treated like gak from what I can tell (I have known a couple who worked for AAA studios in my time) - same long hours as the developers without the good salary and perks to match. GW testers aren't paid at all as they're all volunteers. They don't get thrown under the bus at all since we've already established GW rarely admits its balance mistakes so they don't get an opportunity to blame people for things they don't admit to. Most playtesters seem to be quite appreciative of being involved in the development of GW games, even if their feedback isn't always listened to.

If you have any evidence to back up your unfounded theory I'm sure it would make for interesting reading.
   
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As someone building a halfling blood bowl team right now, I don't think there's any expectation of 'true' balance in the specialist games - but the fact is that this same halfling team, with extra halflings to max out all positions if I ever need to, plus multiple conversions for treemen, star players, coaches, etc. is going to ultimately cost less than $300 to build, a shy fraction of any actual 40k army.

To that end, yeah, I do expect a degree of balance in 40k. Not every possible build of every army needs a valid path to victory, but the very best build of every army should have at least a fighting chance against the very best build of every other army. Yes, it's a moving target, but it's something worth striving for.

   
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Secretive Dark Angels Veteran




Vancouver, BC

FezzikDaBullgryn wrote:
I'm fairly certain GW treats it's play testers like any AAA game developer treats it's game testers, take CDPR for instance. They are paid nothing, forced to work 80 hour weeks under the threat of being replaced, not given any benefits(Part time hire loopholes) and they are ALWAYS the first ones thrown under the bus when a half baked and crap product like CP2077 or 9th Edition Primaris rules get tossed out to a hungry and violent mob of enthusiasts.

TL;DR - GW likely treats it's testers like warmed up dog crap, and it's no wonder why their products routinely are crap.

CDPR didn't blame its playtesters for CP2077, they said they didn't see some of the crashes/bugs (which is likely true) and that they had expectations that they could fix the game last minute because they'd always managed to do that before. If fans blame the testers that's on the fans.
   
 
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