Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Black Library: A tale of growing frustration and discontent (LIMITED EDITION)

Don't take the subject line the wrong way. I still love all the stories, books and audio dramas that come out of there. The authors and artists are amazing and I don't want them to stop.
Exclusive products in that only an exclusive few will ever get them
It is the business men there that are turning me sour with their culture of Limited Edition, no heads up, a tidal wave of products, and a saturation of microtransaction digital products.

I used to be able to get an read almost every 40k book. This wasn't too long ago really, Probably about 6 years. I can't be sure, but eventually, they just started making too much. I am kinda okay with this part, but it is lamentable because I may be missing out on some particularly awesome story and not even know it. It has also become nearly impossible to tell which stories are related to each other and follow character story arcs as a result. To add to this problem is the constant release of short stories from compendiums as separate digital products, without saying always what they were previously contained in.

Now continuing on this trend, I used to be able to see well ahead what was coming and plan what I was going to read. Now I am always catching up. ALWAYS. There are constant surprise releases, which makes it hard to budget for them. Alot of times these are of somewhat important stories, such as Horus Heresy Products. Some things I still want to follow in their entirety.
I have been trying to get this book for years
Which leads me to the Limited Edition nature of certain products. Especially Horus Heresy. This is the best and most epic story there is at BL. One of the best in Science Fiction Literature IMO. But I am finding myself missing more and more of it because of Limited Edition releases THAT SELL OUT IN AN HOUR. This is wrong on so many levels.
1- If your product sells out in an hour, that means you did not have enough of them. Period. You lost potential revenue. ALOT of potential revenue. And the cost of these books is no where near the $50 price tag, so that is all profit being flushed away.
2- It is punishing me the fan for being at work or unable to get on the internet. I missed an unexpected release of Corax:Soulforge in the vault because I was driving. I got the email saying HEY WE HAVE 700 COPIES when I got home and they were sold out.
This came out of nowhere and I had already spent my BL money for the month catching up on old stories I had missed AND another limited edition BL had released just 2 weeks prior (Seventh Serpent) so I missed this...
3- They are dropped on us like a present. IN 48 HOURS YOU CAN BUY THIS OVERLY EXPENSIVE BOOK OF A STORY YOU REALLY WANT TO READ THAT YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO AGAIN IF YOU DON'T BUY NOW!!!!! Well thanks for that gift. I don't happen to be able to spend $75 on a book this week. I appreciate it. Now I will have to wait for you to surprise me again a year from now by telling me you have 100 copies in your vault and miss my opportunity again.
Furthermore, you are making more AND MORE of these limited edition products. It seems like there are more limited edition these days than normal release. I wouldn't mind the occasional limited edition, or a limited edition so long as there was also a regular one simultaneously, or even up to a year later. BUT THERE IS NOT. I cannot afford to drop $50 every 10 days. And you don't even release them on pay day, so I am sure there are some people that have already blown their expendable parts of their budget by the time the limited edition is released, especially since there is very little heads up any more.
The worst part is I am not getting these because they are collectible. I don't care. I bet you almost no one does. I am getting it because of the story. Because your authors are creating a great universe that I want to immerse myself in. By making it limited, you are tearing at my devotion, because I cannot possibly afford to devote so much to something I truly do love. So congratulations on finding a way to monetize fanship and a love of fluff and in doing to causing discontent and in a way, punishing a fan.

Last of all is the number of digital products. It is clearly becoming more about making money than enriching the 40k universe. I can't fault the company for making money, which really everything I am ranting about is aimed to achieve, and almost definitely is achieving. It is just frustrating. There are so many digital products that I just can't keep them straight or realize when I want a particular one. And some of the ones I do end up getting are just really short and really stale. Like you just asked an incredibly talented artist to pump out 7 pages in 3 days so you could slap a piece of digital art on the cover and sell it next week for $4.99. It shouldn't just be that. They should be making these stories to make the 40k universe more expansive, not just to regurgitate codex fluff and make money.
How much will it be? Will I be able to get it later?
Will I try and get Tallarn: Ironclad. Maybe, because the story trumps these gripes. Am I feeding the beast and the problem if I do. Yes. So will the other 2,999 people that manage to get a copy. If I can get it later, I may not, but I am not convinced it will be available again, at least not for a long time. It doesn't make it any less frustrating though...