Monday, December 17, 2012

Anyone else tired of fluffy vs. non fluffy arguments?

I normally check BOLS a couple times a day and read the "articles" to see if anything interesting or useful has come up. It feels like a meaningful way to stay connected with the community, and as one of the larger non forum driven websites out there, it is a refreshing change from the poo-slinging we often see on forums.

Lately I've taken to spending more time reading the comments than the articles themselves. Let me tell you, it’s disturbing and more than a little irritating to see the nonsense people say. Sometimes the comments are opinion gold, more often than not I find myself shaking my head in embarrassment for the words some people spew. It's like a sick fascination, I want to look away but at the same time I have to watch.

Now I will admit, whenever someone posts lists or "tactica" articles, I will read them like a hawk and usually post a comment, often times with some critique. Just ask Goatboy, I rip him a new asshole over his ork lists every time he posts one (they are bad, and his logic behind them is awful). Not mean mind you, but still there is some tearing involved! As an answer to his post today, he complained that he is often critiqued by people who never met him. As an FYI, I met you at Adepticon! Cult of Kelly ftw. (If you ever come down from your throne and read my blog that is!) But what I'm talking about is not people like me who try and add their 2 cents to the discussion while staying on topic.

No no, I’m talking about the fucking fluff bunnies. Those beardy purists’ who think that if your list involves more than one of the same unit, or if there is no historical precedent in the fluff for things to go together, you are somehow mutilating the game, committing a grave sin for which you must be shunned.

Does anyone else get irritated by this or is it just me?

I'm so sick of people posting lists and a multitude of people respond ripping the poster because of spam, or the lack of cohesive fluff, or it being a "competitive" list and the poster is a very bad man for wanting to play a hard list. Inevitably this is followed by the commenter proclaiming loudly this is the reason they stopped going to tournaments or some such, and stays at home and plays with his friends.

If you are this type of person, I have news for you; you are most likely an idiot and get off to the smell of your own farts. Seriously; full stop.

Why do these kinds of people irritate me so much? Well let’s see

- The community that plays this game is tiny enough as it is; now you have someone who thinks that it'd be even better to exclude more people from it because they don't fit their world view of how things should be

- This game is supported by the hardcore players who constantly buy GW crack as it comes out. Their impulse to buy is directly related to how badass or synergistic a unit is. These people keep the hobby alive, and therefore keep the fluff alive through their expenditures. Without them, GW would be in the trash heap of business failures

- There is nothing wrong with wanting to play hardcore competitive armies, just as there is nothing wrong with playing fluffy fun armies. We should not be spitting on each other. We are on different sides of the same fence.

- Personal experience: A list played well, is often times better than a powerhouse well designed list. Player experience is everything. I'm not saying it will be easy street. A bad player with a good list will be evenly matched with an average player with a sub-par list. The best way to learn to beat these "powerhouse" lists is to play against them. You'll quickly find strategies to beat them after getting your teeth kicked in a couple times. Losing is the best teacher. As human beings we hardly ever learn when we win. Why? Because whatever we already knew brought us to victory. Losing teaches the hard lesson that we were wrong and something else needs to be applied.

Let me apply personal experience to this last reference. I went to the Nova Open 2010 as my first ever GT. I never even knew there was a community outside my house and friends before I went to it. I proceeded to get dead last, even losing to the ringer who was playing an IG army, and had never played IG in his life. I was that bad. I had an amazing list, designed by Mike Brandt himself, who had taken pity on me after seeing my poor list designs.

I spent the next year being curb stomped by the likes of Eric Hoerger, Mike Brandt and many others, losing every single game I played. My lists fluctuated all over because I thought I needed to take the most beat face hardcore units possible in my armies, and I would still lose. Eventually I learned over time that winning games was more about analyzing what units in your list can handle your units in your opponents lists than it was about bring the most ideal armies ever. This required being comfortable using specific units in many scenarios and being able to know off the top of your head roughly how things should go using them. My lists started to stabilize. I found myself gravitating towards units/armies I liked to play, rather than "powerhouses". I would take units I liked, and equip them as best I could to handle things I knew I would come across. I call this aspect the "multi-tool" aspect in list design. Taking lists that can handle as many things as possible, not amazingly but doing it ok. I'll save that for anther post though. The point is, I became comfortable with my army, I learned how to use it, when to tweak elements of it and when not to. This applies to any army.

My strong suspicion on this? Many of these people who bitch about fluffiness, used to take "powerhouse" lists of their time. They had their moment in the sun, and now they refuse to evolve their play styles to match new units and armies. Not even realizing that the evolution is not so great, it just means you play against it a few times, and learn the new metrics of how to get the job done with your army.

So what does this really tell me about the person bitching about powerhouse lists? In addition to what I stated above, they probably are egotistical, enjoy beating up on their small gaming club (i.e. top dog in a small pen), and hate to lose (whether or not they admit it).

Bottom line. Quit bitching. The community is small enough as it is. If you really hate someone’s powerhouse list they post on the internet’s for other people to see or comment on. Instead of next time self-satisfactorily smelling your own fart and commenting how you only play with your buddy Bill in the basement because of lists like that.

Why don't you provide insightful feedback on how the user could tweak the list, based on your experiences to perhaps be more "fluffy" while still maintaining a competitive edge? Better question, why are you reading a post you know is going to irritate you and then feeling obliged to beat up the poster? You are not adding anything useful to the discussion.

Let’s be honest here. The 40k fluff is broad enough, in a galaxy so large its mind boggling, that anything can, and will happen. The guy with a beat face list may not have fluff he thought of himself or from GW to back it up, but I guarantee you could create some pretty easily. It can't be worse than the fluff written for Draigo. 40k is an amazing game, and will continue to be for quite some time.

For you fluff bunnies out there ready to shit a brick in rage after reading that entire wall of texts? I've got nothing against you for liking fluff and non-competitive gaming. I've run narrative GT events before. I wrote fluff and created fake newsletters to be distributed between games to "track the progress" of the event. I know a thing or two about being fluffy and having non-competitive gaming. I get enraged when you attack other people for not conforming to your strict and completely arbitrary standards.

 Let’s not be the guy who shits in the punchbowl ok?


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