Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Future of the game of 40k

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Recently on the Spikey Bits Hobbies group on facebook (Join! Bring Hobby Back!) I ran a poll to determine the "Future" of the Warhammer 40,000 landscape as it stands as a game. Oh, and if you are creeped out by the banner, I ran some AoS images through Google's Deep Dream to get it...

"IF (THE BIGGEST IF EVER) 40k switched to an AoS (Age of Sigmar) style system, more skirmish based with no points, no force org and downloadable core rules/ datasheets which of the following would you do? (Choose all that apply)"

This was left story/fluff neutral, which may not be "Fair" but it is too hard to incorporate into the poll. A lot of people quit fantasy not because of the rules of AoS, but the fact that the Old World went the way of Alderaan. So if I entered fluff into this poll, alot of people may think the same thing, but it could also be that a shift in the 40k world could, however unlikely, lead to something cooler and even more liked by the fanbase. Do to this uncertainty, rules were the pure focus of my question.

As well, this poll is not scientific at all. I had no control over the demographics for one, so this may be a relatively skewed data set (and probably is since it is comprised solely of spikey bitsers. Bitzerkers?). This poll on Dakka or BoLS would likely be VERY different. Futhermore, I have no data on what people ALREADY play and what they would just continue. Would people pick up infinity, or are people already playing it? Would people who don't play 7th now START 40k again with a change to AoS? These are simply things I couldn't collect in a FB poll. Maybe a well developed surveymonkey poll would give us this information, but that is beyond my scope for now.

Any way, the choices and results were:
Play 7th Edition- 155
Play the new AoS style of 40k- 53
Wait for and Play a community developed 8th Edition- 11
Play 30k- 66
Play 6th Edition- 6
Play 3rd/4th/5th Edition- 12
Play RT/2nd Edition- 5
Play Killteams- 22
Play another Sci-Fi/Fantasy game (X-wing, Armada, Warmahordes, Infinity, Specialist Games, etc)- 34
Play Historical Wargames (Black Powder, Bolt Action, FoW, Team Yankee, P&S, etc.)- 10
Stop playing games and just collect models- 14
Quit the hobby all together- 6

Total Responses- 394
Total Respondent- 255
Avg Responses per Respondent ~ 1.55
6 editions

So let me give you some statistical breakdown (and if there is any stat missing, feel free to comment and I will try and get it for you. I have all the data still)

First and foremost I want to bring attention to the relatively low number of rage quitters. You always see a lot of inflammatory language online that if 40k went the way of AoS, so many people would just be done. Here only 20 people are stopping playing, which is ~8% of respondents, and only 6 of them are quitting all together, for <2% of the respondents.

Next thing I want to draw attention to is the STRENGTH of 7th edition. Coming in with a whopping 155 votes, it made of 39% of the responses and was selected by 60% of the respondents. And even then 30k did better than the AoS version of 40k, getting ~17% of the vote by 25% of the respondents. Meanwhile the AoS version got only 13% with 21% of the respondents selecting it. What makes this even more grim, is that combining Rogue Trader, 2md, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th editions gets up to 14% with 22% of the respondents, so all the old stuff just edges out over the new "hotness" that GW would be pushing. Then to build off the first comments of people quitting and jumping ship, switching to other Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Historicals ALL combined only amounts to 11% of the vote by 17% of the respondents. So all this "haters" may not really be out there.

Now since people were allowed to choose multiple options, it is important to look at how some of these stats doubled up.
First of all, I was interested in how many people would continue to play 7th edition and play the new AoS style of 40k as laid out in the poll question. This totaled up to only 14 people, which is 5% of the total respondents. More importantly it is only 9% of the people who selected 7th edition yet a whopping 26% of the people who selected AoS 40k!
So with these numbers in mind, I broke it down a little more to start trying to draw some conclusions. Sorting out the 3 majors "winners" of the poll, I found that 98 people voted just for 7th, 27 just for AoS 40k and 21 just for 30k. This leads to ~ 38%, 11% and 8% of the respondents respectively, and 63%, 50% and 32% of their playerbases respectively. Furthmore, I took a look at the people who would play 7th and 30k, and got 31 votes, which is 12% of respondents, 20% of the people who answered 7th and 47% of the people who responded to 30k. I also noticed there were a number of people who answered AoS 40k and 30k, but not 7th, and found that to be 10 votes, so almost 4% of respondents, but more significantly 15% of the 30k votes and 19% of the AoS votes. Lastly, the people who said they would play all 3 were numbered only 6, leading to 2% of respondents total, and about 4% of 7th players, 9% of 30k players and 11% of the AoS 40k players.

So what do all these numbers mean? Well due to the scientific inaccuracy of the poll they may mean diddly squat. BUT if you can draw conclusions, this is what I would take away from it
1- Most gamers are VERY satisfied with the rules of 7th Edition, and if they don't like the lack of balance, they seemed to have switched to 30k. This bodes well for the core rules IMO. It means a simplification is not called for and in general the game is very playable and enjoyable. And unlike WHFB, it seems the need for an updated community edition, like the 9th age, isn't needed or wanted. I am sure some one would put out some comprehensive update/leveling factor for certain armies. Like if 40k got sigmarized tomorrow, I Sisters of Battle and Blood Angels each instantly spring to mind as needing some fixing.
2- Sigmarization of a game is VERY polarizing. You are either for it or against it. And more people seem to be against it rather than for it. And those that are for it, over 50% of them would also play something else! Whereas the 7th ed players, only 37% would include something else (and remember, 20% of them play 30k as well, so really only 17% would depart from 7th ed rules).
3- For all the kicking and screaming you may see of jumping ship, it seems most people will just contently play 7th edition or some derivative of it (30k, kill teams) or an older edition (unsurprising that 6th is so low, since it really isn't that different from 7th).

Now, who knows what will happen. Judging by this poll and an inability to have a game-changing financial report, I hope GW does not change to a Sigmarized version of 40k. I wouldn't mind some free rules, but the construct of points and force org really helps define the game, and I don't think it needs to be more skirmish based than it already is. And it seems like most people agree.
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