In this post, you’re going to be treated to not one but two helpings of the Agents of Sigmar podcast. After a hiatus due to illness, we recorded “Does Warhammer Ruin Everything?” Then after more illness (COVID-19) and more holiday, we recorded “Lore – Fact for Fiction?” on August 24th. Sit back, relax, and enjoy some double-agent pontification. You can expect random asides, terrible puns, and even the odd parenting tip!
Does Warhammer Ruin Everything?
Whilst the first holiday (Pete’s) and a throat infection (Pete’s again—contracted on holiday) kept us away from the mic, an interesting series of videos popped up on YouTube. They asked whether the marketplace share of Warhammer is ruining the tabletop gaming hobby. More specifically, they lamented the fact that YouTube buries non-Warhammer tabletop gaming content under an avalanche of Games Workshop-related videos.
Fellow UK-based content creator Blackjack Legacy gave an impassioned monologue about why he struggled to make his channel grow. He has tried to promote games he loves made by smaller companies such as Mantic Games, but when he does, they garner far fewer views. If, however, he makes his title clickbaity, like “Why XXXX is better than Warhammer,” the views go back up. Even if you don’t put anything (or almost nothing) in the video about Warhammer, just by putting the W-word in your title, you can give yourself a ratings boost. You’ll feel dirty doing it, but it will work.
This, of course, just feeds the algorithm and makes the problem worse. Off the back of Andy’s video, a few other content creators made similar videos. Some even go as far as to suggest that GW should be helping the other companies out a little by pointing out they’re not the only game shop in town. Whilst I can see this would be a nice thing to do, and might even have happened in the 1980s, much as Audi doesn’t tell you to take a look a BMWs and Apple doesn’t sing the praises of Android phones, it’s never going to happen. It’s naive to think it would or could in 2022.
Pete and I at Agents of Sigmar are in the fortunate position that we’re not trying to make YouTube videos for a living. It must suck if you want to make a video about a game you’re passionate about but the algorithm won’t show it to anybody. Particularly if you’re trying to make a living doing it. Ultimately, though, this is just another demonstration of how we are beholden to our capitalist overlords. It would be nice to make art for art’s sake and get paid for doing so, but sadly market forces dictate what you’ll get paid for.
For what they’re worth, Pete and I give our thoughts on the might of Warhammer and the gaming news of early August in episode 8 of our podcast.
Lore: Fact or Fiction?
There have been lots of discussions, in certain quarters, this week about Tim Burton’s Addams Family-inspired series, Wednesday. Much of the conversation has been centered around the casting of Luis Guzmán as Gomez. Lots of people have decried the choice stating Guzman isn’t as dashing as Raul Julia, who made the role his own during the two ’90s adaptations. It’s unfaithful to the originals came the cry. This being the internet, there were plenty of people on hand to point out that Raul Julia’s Gomez was more based on the original TV Gomez, played by John Astin, whereas Guzmán’s Gomez was more like the original cartoon drawing by Charles Addams.
Who is the real Gomez Addams? It probably depends on your age.
“Lore” is a word that has taken on a deep significance in hobby fandoms in recent years. Fealty to the lore has become something with which to hang adaptations or new rulesets out to dry. It’s sadly used a lot for gatekeeping purposes. Marvel, Star Wars, and, on the eve of the release of The Rings of Power, Tolkien provoke huge debate and argument about the lore. It’s particularly bad since these behemoth franchises are often rooted in the culture of geeky white men. The seed change required to make them more accessible and diverse has spawned a staggering amount of vitriol. The rancor undoubtedly stems from a minority of fans, but it’s a very vocal minority. All too often there are people who seem to love hating the thing that they (purport to) love.
Episode 9 came on the back of my summer holiday an outbreak of COVID in the Brooks household. Not much hobby had been going on. Nevertheless, we covered a host of topics including lack of hobby motivation, the new One D&D announcements, and the forthcoming War of the Ring card game from Ares Games. After that, we chat about which games we regret buying, and, finally, we discuss the perils of thinking that game lore is immutable. At the end of the day, changing the lore is a way to sell you more stuff. If Games Workshop can alter things to create Primaris marines or destroy the Old World, nothing is safe. Companies will change their stories in a heartbeat if doing so protects or promotes sales. It’s not personal, it’s business, and there’s little point in getting worked up about it.
Hopefully in September things will get back on track. We have lots of exciting stuff coming up on Agents of Sigmar for the autumn, hopefully, you’ll come along fo the ride!