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Author Topic: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?  (Read 1217 times)

Offline Warlord

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T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« on: March 08, 2018, 05:01:42 AM »
So I read on and off various threads on the T9A forum, and it just feels like the creators resent their players?

I have seen plenty of topics where people are asking for simple considerations, to which the creators often just shout down or say too bad because of xyz.

I also find it weird they insist that the game is different from Warhammer, and that you cant even mention it, but they insist on applying the same tropes. One example was that one of the creators said Vampires shouldn’t have missile weapons and Dwarves can’t have cavalry. Why? The reason for that is Warhammer. If you are free from its influence, be free?

I don’t know, it just feels pretty toxic to be honest. Any thoughts from those who partake in T9A?
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 11:55:16 AM by Warlord »
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Offline Zygmund

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2018, 07:30:12 AM »
My feelings exactly.

It  all changed in October-November 2016 with the badly communicated change of approach & goals of the 1.2 edition. They had to endure a real shitstorm, but it didn't make them wiser, more open, listening to the public. Instead they became protective and stubborn of their vision, and covered their policy with IP legal talk which I personally do not believe is relevant. They're like still reeling from the shock that not everyone likes their game.

I think the creators really have become better in game design and writing, but not in management or communication. And it's still blatantly Warhammer with a twist rather than its own independent product. Still, their version of Warhammer has its merits, especially compared to the balance problems of the 8th edition. And it's THE tournament fantasy battle game played in the more competitive scene, so a highly successful legacy game.

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Offline Warlord

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2018, 12:20:18 PM »
Hmmm.
That has been a while ago now... they need to refresh that attitude instead of becoming more bitter. It certainly doesn’t make me interested to invest time in the game. I was playing wait and see to determine if it would be worthwhile and interesting, but from what I see of their ‘ASAW’ approach it looks like they are removing the interesting.

I feel like the way they are going though, its only going to be a tournament game, and that doesn’t seem to me to be the way to attract and keep players. Though time will tell I guess.
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Offline S.O.F

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2018, 12:42:54 PM »
The reason for that is Warhammer. If you are free from its influence, be free?

This has always been my biggest qualm about the 9th age, particularly when the names went from a wink nudge safety net to totally serious. One of the biggest flaws I thought of late Warhammer games design was an over reliance on making armies tick certain boxes. The feel became more like how many classic RTS games went about it, say the Command and Conquer series, which long insisted that one faction would be good at one thing and the other another, though some tactical overlap would exist. I does feel very 'organic' if you are going to bother with a bunch of background fluff nor does it help gameplay. Dwarfs not having anything really meaningful to do in the magic phase or Vampires and Chaos Warriors nothing in the shooting was not really something that needed to be further hardened into the system, by my mind, but something that needed to be remedied.
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Offline Konrad von Richtmark

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2018, 03:03:47 PM »
What Zygmund talks about is when they made a game design decision for T9A to be its own thing, rather than a fixed Warhammer 8th edition in all but name. The stated reason for it? Warhammer Total War. The Old World no longer was an abandoned franchise by GW, and the possibility of legal action being taken by GW against T9A became a far more likely prospect than it had previously been. I wasn't yet playing T9A at the time, so Zygmund knows better than me what happened. Far as I can tell though, the decision was made at the top without asking the wider community, on the basis of internal discussions with the T9A legal team, discussions that were kept secret to retain attorney-client privilege. Or so they said. I can see how a shitstorm could have erupted out of all that.

As far as being or not being Warhammer, it de facto largely is so at the moment, but being its own thing is indeed in the long-term pipeline. Mainly through the release of the full, completely reworked army books. So far, only Warriors of the Dark Gods (aka Chaos Mortals) have gotten theirs. I'd say it largely manages to do so, though the similarity will always be there because of the design goal to enable people to keep playing with their existing model collections.

I've used to say that T9A is community-driven in the same way the Soviet Union was: There is a vanguard party that ultimately answers to the community, but does its own thing day-to-day as it sees fit and considers itself to know best. A vanguard party that pretty much everyone can get into and involved with, but one in which you ultimately need the favour of those already on the top to really rise high.

I would say, though, that they are genuinely listening to feedback and considering it, even going to greater lengths than most to collect it. The issue is just the broad scope and objective of the entire project. To create a game that will be the new common standard in rank and file fantasy wargaming, like Warhammer once was. A universal fantasy rank and file wargame, or as close as one can be to such a thing. Which means having to please the broadest possible player population with the most diverse wants and preferences, which forces them to balance all kinds of conflicting objectives and priorities. Most of the time it's not a conflict between the wants of the wider community and the vision of a clique of insiders, but rather, between different factions within the community. That's before even considering differences in opinion among the insiders. I swear, for every prominent team member who has quit because of disagreement over the direction the project is going, there's another who has quit for exactly the opposite reason. The end result is a jack-of-all-trades game that probably has a good shot at becoming said universal fantasy rank and file wargame, but one that might not appeal to those with strong, precise and extreme preferences regarding game design philosophy.

As far as it comes to interaction between the team and the wider community, I think the recent mid-February hotfix to the 2.0 beta originally released in December shows both the best and the worst of that, of what the process can be at its best and what it can turn into at its worst.

For Empire, the hotfix was a case of everything going right. Empire ACS (Army Community Survey, the team members who process army subforum feedback into digestible pieces for the rules team) did a well-organized effort to collect feedback, arrange discussions and conduct polls, and presented their findings to the rules team, along with ready suggestions. The rules team delivered. All kinds of unused, overcosted things got points discounts, and the most controversial and ill-advised change (removal of great weapon knights) was undone. Everyone acted reasonably and in good faith, and gave the other entities involved in the process the benefit of the doubt. The result was well received and most people on all sides of the process were satisfied.

For Highborn Elves, the hotfix was a hot mess. In the original 2.0, they got some quite overpowered things, things that were received with rejoicing in the army community due to opening up new playstyles that weren't competitive before. Came hotfix time, the HbE ACS started off acting essentially as lawyers on behalf of their community, for why their new overpowered toys should be nerfed as little as possible, wasting both time and opportunity to advance proposals on nerfs that would have made them not OP but still retained their usefulness at enabling new playstyles. When they eventually came around to do just that, it was too late, they had wasted time that had been scarce to begin with. Miscommunications happened between the different involved teams and people who worked without much coordination, an ever-present potential problem when the project runs on lots of irregular part-time volunteer work and needs to be highly parallellized to make effective use of all that manpower. The resulting HbE hotfix wiped out much of the gains made by the 2.0 HbE betabook, was a mess not really liked by any of the involved parties, and caused a shitstorm on the HbE forum, made worse by the resignation in protest by one of their ACS guys.

Make of all that what you will. Me, I'm firmly in the T9A camp. Its imperfections aside, what it has achieved is truly remarkable. In view of what it has achieved, its issues are to me really first world problems of fantasy wargaming. We abided far worse for far longer from GW.
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Offline Yodhrin

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2018, 06:21:55 PM »
That justification based on legal issues seems like complete nonsense to me. They changed the names, they changed the fiction, and one of the big reasons GW supposedly did Age of Sigmar was that the "historical" elements of the aesthetic in the art & model design weren't legally protectable. Game mechanics certainly aren't protectable, only any trademarked names for rules.

The fact almost certainly is that the people at the top of the project decided they wanted it to make them money in the medium to long term, and that the best way to do that was for it to become fully its own IP rather than "just" a way for Warhammer players to keep playing an actively supported version of Warhammer.

Personally, they lost me the moment they took that direction, because that's literally all I wanted. There are already other fantasy IPs out there in tabletop gaming, there are already other rank & flank rulesets - I wasn't interested in them before, and I'm still mostly not interested in them now, what I was interested in was a community-managed continuation of WHF in the same way that the community took over the Specialist Games(with the bare minimum of changes required to avoid legal issues since unlike with the SGs GW hadn't released WHF for free at any point).

Offline Calisson

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2018, 03:15:15 PM »
Excellent analysis from Zygmund and spot on from Konrad von Richtmark. :::cheers:::

From a privileged insider position, I can testify that the fear expressed by Yodhrin that anyone in the projects wishes to make money from it is the exact opposite of reality. I have no idea how possibly anyone could come up with this feeling.

The inner discussions nowadays are focused on:
- finishing 2nd edition, to make the rulebook a very stable edition that people can print hard copies of.
- making progress on updates of the army books, which takes a painful long time.
- delivering more background, which is also much slower than anyone would hope.
- providing add-ons for non-tournament players, who have too often the feeling that T9A is focused on tournaments only.
- finding ways to make T9A more community friendly, with more outside-the-team initiatives.


Offline Il Condottiero

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2018, 06:48:47 PM »
What has really triggered me was their resistance to do any sort of meaningful work regarding Dogs of War.

In all honestly, any sort of pastiche mercenary armies featuring individuals from various races would suit me so very much. I was very excited by 9th Age once they started discuss it back in 2015, annoucing that a 'Dogs of War' book would be released around december 2016. Since then, however... no word on that side of the project, most if any responses from their design team claiming that they wanted for the system to be as 'stable' and 'finished' as possible before introducing Dogs of War as an army [which makes no sense, it's deliberately 'forgetting' one army despite giving rules to all others including their version of Chaos Dwarfs], as well as cutting down on any forum talk that mentioned the very name 'Dogs of War'.

They even coined a name for the faction as 'merchant city-states' as the Iron Crowns [which, I admit, is an awesome name and I am fully into it], but neglect has pushed me away from even learning their system. I much prefer to stick to 8th ed. these days while adapting its ample gamma of gaming material. I mean, my local club didn't ever touch Storm of Magic after the whole pact debacle that allowed out most... competitive friends to keep bringing and spawning Bloodletters in every army.

Oh, well. To me the project seemed interesting enough but their community [which to me looks rather like their design team rather than the community itself at large] has shown such disregard to what I aimed to play with their system that it pushed me away and I currently have no interest in taking a second glance at it.
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Offline S.O.F

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2018, 08:47:50 PM »
What has really triggered me was their resistance to do any sort of meaningful work regarding Dogs of War.

This has also been one of my secondary concerns being that 9th Age stuff has not changed on 'humans been a very populace species' bit but continued the ideas seen among the more 'Tournie' oriented types which I felt often stated that Chaos Warriors counted as a 'human' army. Their work with the faux Bretonnians has also left me underwhelmed.
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Offline Zygmund

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2018, 09:26:09 PM »
Something of a personal story here.

I think this thread already starts to hint why many aren't very happy on the T9A forum. We all have different hopes, different priorities, different goals. When hundreds and thousands of Warhammer-players are brought together, and when everyone thinks they will finally get theirs, tensions will arise. Then add a balance-seeking gamer faction at the very core of the project, who suddenly launch in a completely unexpected direction... Then add the obvious problem of keeping volunteers delivering, or even keeping them inside the project for long.

I also have the impression that although the T9A forum has got a staggering 13.000 members in less than three years, the fat years are past and a smaller and smaller percentage of that number actually participates in the discussion. Yes, many write a message or three, perhaps making a statement what they would like to see or what they don't like, but they then grow quiet. (And some may be quited.) This means that there's a small and very loud group of people who fill the forum - some 'insiders', some 'alumni' and some outsiders - and they already have a history of liking and disliking this or that, and even each other. Then some people get warnings and get banned, and their friends feel they're under attack. Ever steeper spiral of hardening feelings. When we cannot blame a company for failing us, we will blame each other. In this respect, the forum has grown old, petrified and cracking, faster than usually.

Personally, I really liked the T9A some two years back. I wanted to play the game, and I think I voluntarily promoted the project here and on some other forums. I even tried to work for the project for some time, but being a volunteer (like everyone) I would have liked to see my work come to fruitition and get published. The only thing you get from volunteering. When I saw how slow and badly managed the whole project was, I saved myself the trouble and resigned, and stopped visiting the forum.

My impression was, though, that you could get to talk to the more important (really, more devoted) members in the project, and that most were quite open on how they saw the project and where they thought improvement was needed and possible. The same was especially true of the army support guys. Problem was, nobody but the hard gamers seemed to have control, and priorities were changing a lot. So even if you got to talk to people and even if you agreed on many issues, it didn't seem to lead anywhere. You sort of didn't meet the boss who would have explained your role and put you to actual work that would bring some needed results. Everyone was an intermediate, and unless they held some secrets, they didn't seem to be in the know.

Remember, this was some time ago. I surely hope things have improved from that. But, personally, I got too exhausted and disillusioned to want to try again.

But if you want to try, here's how you could do it.

If you want to engage with the game creators, you need to make yourself known and useful first. Play the game, write reports that show different units and combos in action, discuss the game on the forums, get to know the existing arguments and how differently different people see them. Then, if you still have the energy and think your ideas are worthy, start to promote them more openly, and perhaps try to volunteer for a team where you think you will be most useful and most influential to bring some of your vision into fruitition.

Another way to engage with the game creators could be meeting them at their club or their local tournament, if you live nearby. Many project members have openly given their whereabouts, and it shouldn't be too hard to figure out where they play their games. If you're ready to travel some, you could actually get to talk to them live. For example, I could very easily get to contact with some locals who are project members, should I feel the need. We've met, seen each other play, traded figures. These are normal (or rather hc) Warhammer gamers, and they actually want to talk about the T9A with people they meet.

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Offline S.O.F

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2018, 09:45:10 PM »
I think the opinions of those that that enjoy the 9th age very helpful but in the end I feel is that was Warhammer the lingua franca of Fantasy gaming whilst 9th age is Eperanto. One is the natural outcome of organic circumstances and the other a contrived a created thing.
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Offline Konrad von Richtmark

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2018, 10:45:30 PM »
What Zygmund says makes sense.

Indeed, when thousands of Warhammer players get together and all think they will finally get what they want, tensions are bound to arise. Part because they don't realize how hard making the game that gives them what they want really is. Part because they don't realize how widely varied the preferences of different players are. Overestimating the extent to which our own feelings and preferences are representative of the silent majority seems to be a common human cognitive flaw.

If it seemed like everyone was an intermediate and few really knew what was going on, I suspect that's because of the extremely parallelized organization and assignment of tasks. Which I suppose the project has to do, since it's running on loads and loads of volunteer labour, i.e. you can have a lot of guys simultaneously working slowly on different parts or subdivisions of the same task, but have none or at most a few guys working fast and focused. Which causes a large load of organizational overhead, and more often than not leads to the left handing not knowing what the right hand does.


All that said, I think they've delivered remarkably, all things considered. Empire in the T9A 2.0 beta feels more "right" to me than it has done in any version of the game since WFB 6th edition when I started. Fluffy army compositions with state troops and detachment goodness actually work, even if you aren't a prodigy like TVI.
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Offline Cannonofdoom

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2018, 02:17:09 AM »
My issue with the T9A people is the top five guys are using their playerbase to create a saleable product and then they plan to do exactly that. It’s a “deep dark secret” that only a little googling will reveal.
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Offline Zygmund

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2018, 08:41:13 AM »
Dear Cannonofdoom & Yodhrin,

please consider your words about the intentions of the top T9A creators for a moment.

I don't know what the top five or top fifty guys in the T9A think or plan, but I think your scenario is very unlikely. The top guys of the project are ordinary gamers in the ETC circles and their local clubs. If they started to steal from their friends, they would likely lose much more than they can ever gain for grabbing T9A and selling it as their own.

If you blame someone for "deep dark secrets", it's your job to prove you're right, not their job to prove your accusations are wrong. So, prove it to us! What did your "little googling" bring up?  :-)

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Offline Konrad von Richtmark

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2018, 09:57:51 AM »
I too find the notion of such a hidden agenda of profit to be unlikely to the point of being preposterous.

T9A is an unincorporated association. That makes the exact nature of ownership of the work produced rather ambiguous and subject to no end of lawyering should the association be dissolved, but what's entirely clear is that a few top guys can't just seize legal private ownership of the work. Particularly if it's the result of volunteer labour that has been solicited on the notion that everything that the project produces is going to be free and freely available in perpetuity. That's before considering the fact that everything that T9A has released up to date has been put under the Creative Commons licence.

Besides, what would the actual product be that they sell? Rulebooks? Those are so piratable that paying for them is effectively voluntary and dependent on goodwill and convenience. Miniatures? There's no feasible way they could make people have to buy their specific miniatures without rebuilding the entire game from scratch, not when the current army books are specifically made to enable play with existing Warhammer collections and currently commercially available miniature ranges out there, and when there's an ever-growing body of miniatures specifically made for T9A players out there for sale. Heck, if they wanted to make private profit from miniature sales, their best bet would probably be to keep T9A going as it is, and sell the miniatures as a little side business.

That's before considering that the ability of the project to get shit done in the first place is dependent on their ability to solicit and make use of large amounts of volunteer manpower. An ability that would vanish if the top guys stole the project for their own profit. Tiny, one of those top guys, estimated that just getting from 1.3 to the first beta version of 2.0 took some 136,000 workhours in total, conservatively estimated. Try estimating what a commercial entity would have to pay to get that kind of work done.
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Offline S.O.F

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2018, 12:02:48 PM »
My issue with the T9A people is the top five guys are using their playerbase to create a saleable product and then they plan to do exactly that. It’s a “deep dark secret” that only a little googling will reveal.

If you blame someone for "deep dark secrets", it's your job to prove you're right, not their job to prove your accusations are wrong. So, prove it to us! What did your "little googling" bring up?  :-)

Right, I only get a vague bit of the turn to for profit inkling because my intense cynicism but even then I always think it more of put it in a place where it could be maneuvered to profit not profit out right. I'd be curious at the deep dark secret bits but have not the interest to sift through google to find them.
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Offline Calisson

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2018, 09:07:07 AM »
What has really triggered me was their resistance to do any sort of meaningful work regarding Dogs of War.
This has also been one of my secondary concerns
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Offline The Peacemaker

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2018, 07:43:25 AM »
First, anyone who complains about the copyright legal problems and how T9A doesn't consult the community about it - is simply out to lunch.   lol, its not even up for debate unless you are a copyright lawyer who will represent T9A pro Bono, or you make a considerable donation to cover legal fees.


Now, T9A forum is pretty good now. The "toxic" elements came from a few sub forums such as High Elves, Lizardmen, Dwarfs where tge player base just complained and whined to no end. A large portion of these players in those armies are the Timmies - they think they can game design but they really can't.
Gt so bad that they had to warn loads of players. ...myself included got a warning for calling certain whiners a bunch of kids in a candy store with a buff bat shouting "i want i want i want". Lol


The other sub forums are pretty fun and very constructive. ....and when players don't whine, and instead give constructive feedback - good things get implemented.
If anything I think they listen to the community a little too much.
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Offline Gankom

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2018, 08:21:31 PM »
The dwarves are grumbling and the High Elves whining about not being the best? How very in character.

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2018, 01:02:11 PM »
Dwarfs grumbling and High Elfs whining, that never happens. :icon_wink:
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Offline Konrad von Richtmark

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2018, 08:50:57 PM »
You should see the T9A High(born) Elven subforum. That towering High Elven superiority complex has rubbed off on a significant fraction of their player base.
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Offline Gankom

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2018, 11:58:18 PM »
Some of my earliest gaming friends were all high elf players, and they embodied that aspect to a T.

Offline S.O.F

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2018, 02:25:37 AM »
I think the bad 6th edition book for both High and Dark Elves played a big part.
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Offline GamesPoet

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2018, 08:49:03 AM »
There's a reason they call them High Elfs.

(GP ... becareful, you got a few HE in your collection.)

Only a few.
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Offline Artobans Ghost

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Re: T9A forum - engaging with game creators - does it work?
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2018, 01:04:05 PM »
All this talk of high elves is going to make me pull out my army and place it in the new section. This was my favorite looking army and battlwise it got pummelled the most. There was always a look of satisfaction when they were completely obliterated which took me awhile to understand the animosity. I actually felt the same way towards Dark elf and vampire counts. Couldn’t kill them enough and tboutoughly enjoyed the extremely odd time I won. I remember one game where the first shot with a canon killed the main wizard/ necromancer of the VP army. He looked like I murdered his child. I only had that one experience of victory and indeed it felt great. The rest was painful. I don’t think I ever one against the DE.
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