Friday, July 27, 2012

Apologist? Sycophant? Fan?

I have not read this book, but I have been accused of being a Wyrd apologist. In fact, its been worse than that, with terms such as Fanboi and Sycophant being thrown out in relation to me and Wyrd. I had some thoughts on this, and I have both a blog and a podcast. Apparently people like to hear my opinions so I figured I would start exploring this topic on the blog. Thats not a promise it will not make it onto the podcast at some point, but for the time being I think this is a more appropriate format. Just a bit of a warning, I envisage this post being filled with a variety of links. Even if its not a lot of links, I will probably be too lazy to go back and edit this out.

So, lets jump in. Are you aware that I really enjoy Malifaux as a game? If so, you might also be aware that I have a very positive opinion of Wyrd as a company. I have had the privilege of gaining a bit of "insider" status with the Wyrd crew and while I certainly do not see everything, the things I do see impress me. I did not start my journey into Miniature Wargaming with Wyrd, but instead started with Games Workshop and thier 40K game. I expanded from 40K into Warhammer Fantasy, and only after several years of that did I find Wyrd.

I have become aware of a fair amount of discussion lately around positive and negative support to gaming companies. Games Workshop raises their prices every year, and when they do there is a flurry of unhappiness on the various internet outlets for opinion (podcasts, blogs, and forums). Along with a bucket full of bile, there are always those people who play the game and simply love it, and see Games Workshop as incapable to do any wrong. Now, GW is a large company in the Mini-Wargaming world and lots of people seem to get joy out of hating them. Other companies have come along and for a variety of reasons, they are held up as glowing examples of all that GW does wrong and that could be done right in the world.

Fair enough. The unmitigated hate of GW is as unwarranted as the unbiased love for GW. By the same token, its the same for the smaller companies. Everyone has the capability to do really well and do poorly in a situation, and these companies are making choices on both an artistic (developing rules, game systems, models, art, etc) and on a business aspect. These factors will not always align for providing a mini-wargaming utopia.

So what does this have to do with Wyrd and Malifaux? Hopefully I gauged your waning interest appropriately and caught you before you stopped reading! Recently we are seeing some vocal unhappiness in the paradise of Wyrd-ville. Numbers of people both lightly and heavily active on the Wyrd forums are unhappy because Wyrd has not released preview pictures of models before they go on sale. Others are anxious to find out what will be released at Gencon, and are becoming increasingly frustrated as that information is not released. Still others have claimed to have quit the game all together because they are unhappy with the way the game is written (apparently?) or balanced (as claimed).

Then we get some discussions about game terms such as Fan boy and Rage Quitting. We get accusations that Wyrd has some type of agenda of evil against critics. This seems to be balanced by posts on the Wyrd forum talking about why players are not quitting the game and asking if Malifaux is people favorite mini-wargame out there.

So why would I both writing up an article on this? Whats the point? I am glad you asked (actually I asked for you.. but keep reading). I was recently accused of being a Sycophant when it comes to Wyrd. I found this interesting, as I have freely admitted I was a fan, and I have previously shaken my head at those GW supporters who think the company can do no wrong. I am coming around to understanding their standpoint a little bit. As I said above, I am a fan of both Wyrd and of Malifaux. I am making an effort to step back and be objective when I see arguments on the negatives. I assume I am labeled a sycophant due to my support of Wyrd, Malifaux, and my comments and opinions that I do not see the same problems the detractors do. There are some hot topics floating around lately, some were very well detailed in a forum post. I am one of the community who disagree with the opinions that seem to be cropping up recently in relation to frustration with Wyrd.

So, I am now asking myself, is there a middle ground? If the "Fan Boy's" stop calling the "Rage Quitters" trolls does that make things better? If the Trolls stop shouting their dissatisfaction at the top of their virtual lungs, will that make things friendlier? Why is expressing disagreement with a detracting opinion immediatly grounds for labeling somebody a Sycophant? or an Apologist? I wonder why its such a popular move to immediately condemn a mini-wargaming company despite a track-record to the contrary.

Overall, this is likely a tempest in a teapot and will fade away. I am likely doing everyone a disservice by even bringing it up. Then again, it is something I am contemplating and spending "brain space" on, so why not post it to my blog?

At the end of the day, I really enjoy Malifaux. It is my favorite game and I am not quitting. I spend a fair amount of time traveling to play in Malifaux events, and want to see the overall community grow. I see an established track record of Wyrd maintaining incredibly high standards by rejecting unsatisfactory products (Avatar Levi model pushed back, Terra-clips redesigned, Avatar Hoffman pushed back, etc) in places where other companies have a track record of releasing the lower standard item to maintain a sales pipeline. I do not believe Wyrd is trying to take my money, but instead I see a heavy balance toward the creative and the fan and away from the business. I see a company that is doing an awful lot to be involved with their customers and fans. I do believe the game is balanced from the point of how the game is defined to be played. I have a blog where I write about the game, spend time painting the models for the game, record 2 podcasts related to the game, and am a henchman pushing the game on new players.

If there was a doubt that I an a fan, dispel it. Apparently that makes me a Sycophant and an Apologist.


  1. Interesting comments.  I find that I lean much more heavily on the "Wyrd is good"  side of the track than the other, but I do voice disappointments I have with them from time to time.  Which leaves me in the interesting spot of being accused of "Not being realistic" about the game when I agree with something positive about the game (like that I believe it is, by and large, balanced) and then get accused of spouting hate when I believe that Wyrd has dropped the ball on something (the recent Guardsman card misprint on the Warden).  There does not seem to be much of a middle ground these days.  If you are saying something good about Wyrd, you're a fanboy.  If you're saying something bad, you're just spouting hate and should leave.

  2. LOL. This reminds me of a certain GW discussion we had on air a a while ago. Bill? Do you love the game and can Wyrd do no wrong (well after they delay and fix problems?)? If you say yes, then you are a fanboy (boi?) At one time I was a PP Fanboy so I under the feeling.

    Are you one of those other names... no probably not but you do have to admit you are very predisposed to seeing things from a very narrow Wyrd favorable point of view. Malifaux is the only game you play actively, you are involve with the game in many aspects and many ways, and to some extent you are personally invested in the success of wyrd products in the future (your running the Puppet Wars stuff at Gencon for example). So when you come out and say something in favor of X Malifaux or Wyrd related topic, you should be able to see that those that don't know how critical you are of things might associate you with being a Malifaux Yes Man (to say it in a way even Dan can understand).

    I know this isn't generally the case (though I do have the personal experience of many active and heated debates with you both on and off the air and understand how you think far better then most). Personally I suggest you ignore the hoobla and go about your business as usual but I know you won't. I just wished you played more then one game actively as I miss gaming with you... and if you decide to start playing another game in the future don't choose Infinity... I am not going to play that crappy game either... ;)

  3. I've always found it strange that posters on the internet use the term 'fanboy' as an insult. It seems to me to naturally follow that I must be a fan of something to care enough about it that I post in-depth articles about it on my blog or a forum. Why would anyone play a game (much less post about it on the internet) if they weren't enthused about it?

    Anyway, this is the internet, where only extremes of opinion are allowed to exist. If you like something you are a 'fanboy' (in some strange derogatory way) and if you dislike something you are a 'troll' or some other similarly insulting term.

    I certainly enjoy reading your blog about a hobby that I share, so I hope that you keep it up. Fanboy or otherwise.