Monday, 6 May 2013

Giving Me The Corporate Creeps

I hadn't popped over to the Warlord Games forum in a while, but I did so recently in the hope of catching some interesting Black Powder posts (there weren't any). I was dismayed to find a new post from Warlord telling people 'Do Not Post Direct Links To Other Companies'. Such posts will evidently be deleted or edited.

Now, there is also a rule on the forum banning advertising by other companies in blog posts. This, I think, is fair enough. But how many times have you posted a link to some product in a forum post, merely in the spirit of sharing information with other gamers in a convenient way? I certainly have. Does this mean I can't even point out a useful book to read? I recently recommended Frank Chadwick's Benghazi Handicap scenario book on the BKC forum in response to another gamer's request for info.  Another poster helpfully added a link to the publisher's product page. This apparently would be verboten by Warlord

The post from Warlord is also locked, thus gagging any forum members who might wish to express disagreement with this policy. Now you may say that Warlord are entitled to do this - it's their forum, after all. Well, entitlement is not the point. The point is, this is not in the spirit of our hobby. In a phrase, it is just mean spirited.

Sadly I was reminded of two other examples of the corporate mind set from the past year. There was Games Workshop's attempt to punish a self-publishing author for use of the phrase 'Space Marine' in her book title. When you look at the details of the book itself, that phrase 'mean spirited' comes straight back to you.

Then there was Flames of War's ruling that only armies formed from Battlefront miniatures would be allowed to take part in official, Battlefront-run FoW tournaments. Apparently there were howls of protest on the FoW forum and some backtracking took place. Again, the 'it's their tournament, they're entitled' argument was trotted out, not least by FoW themselves. And again the response from me is, 'this isn't in the spirit of the hobby, and this isn't the way I want my hobby to develop'. And as someone noted, for some armies you need to use other manufacturers because Battlefront don't make the right models. It's well worth checking out that TMP thread for some of the quotes from Battlefront, which tend to the arrogant. See for example the lengthy quoted post from John-Paul towards the bottom of this page.

If readers of this blog have any more examples of the corporate tendency spoiling our fun, I would be pleased to receive them. In the meantime, well... at the end of that Warlord post there is a cheerful 'Thank you!' I can only respond to Warlord with an equally cheerful 'Screw you'!

Goodnight and God bless.


Loki said...

I often think this coporate attitude does more harm than good its to be expected from warlord, most are ex GW

Steve J. said...

Pendraken don't mind discussion or even posting of other companies products. After all theirs is not a comprehensive range (like Warlord) so it only helps gamers fill in gaps in the range.

For example if I want to do Poland '39 in 10mm, I would have to go to Pithead miniatures for the Poles as Pendraken currently do not have a Polish range. Or I can equally flesh out their French range with Pithead vehicles if required.

This openess is widely appreciated by other forum members and IMHO can only help their sales in the long run. So if it works for Pendraken, why not Warlord? I think I know the answer...

Mad Padre said...

Disappointing. It seems as though once wargames companies reach a certain size and critical mass, which enough money invested in product development and marketing, they begin to aspire to these lawyerly, oppressive behaviours. I suppose to be fair, smaller players don't feel the same need to protect their return on investment.

Mike said...

Greed is greed, regardless of whether we are talking wargames or coffee.
I'm fortunate to have a local group with whom I game and we don't worry about the manufacturers.
As they say "A little hat fits a little head."

DC said...

It's seriously petty behaviour isn't it, you'd think that 'professional' outfits such as Warlord would appreciate the benefits of good customer relations, but apparently not.

It wasn't always thus - remember when Hinchliffe sponsored Northern Militaire? Pre-internet shows were far more important than today, and yet Frank Hinchliffe was prepared to plough his own money into providing a platform for competitors in both modelling and wargaming to show off their wares. I suspect he was happy to do that because he understood the importance of a vibrant and growing hobby (a factor that seems to be irrelevant to the GW or BF 'hobbies') and ultimately was an enthusiast himself. Maybe the bean counters behind the likes of BF and Warlord have lost their enthusiasm....?


Steve J. said...

As I'm in the process of trying to sell my 15mm WWII Russians, I thought I'd check to see if the FoW forum had a 'trading' section. I must say I wasn't in the least bit suprised to find they didn't...

Ross Mac said...

Of a less drastic nature, but still unsettling to me, is a trend that seems to be increasing towards releasing new miniatures ranges linked to a new rules set, the BF model in the wild I suppose.

Its obvious to those that have been around that the figures and rules can be used anyway you like once purchased but that does not always seem obvious to newcomers to the hobby/

Even worse, it seems to stifle the desire to research the history since what the game says would over rule anything you found out yourself anyway.


David Larkins said...

That's really disappointing to read. It seems like it's too much to ask that a gaming company be run with a certain level of glossy professionalism and not also be total tools.

Dang. I really wanted to like Warlord, too. Like you, I want to support companies that shepherd the hobby in positive directions. I'll have to give some serious thought as to how I'm going to vote with my wallet in the future.

Unknown said...

Hear, hear!

It all seems so petty, to be honest. I am a recovering GW-customer and I never expected any of this from Warlord.

Perhaps it is only Warlord going through some growing-pains?