Thursday, July 9, 2009

Protecting Mysteries in the Age of Information

If you asked the average person what is one good thing that can be found online, the answer would be porn. If you asked for another good thing, I would expect a good number of responses to be gossip/rumors. Our hobby is no different. There are forums and blogs built upon and dedicated to rumors about the latest news in the hobby. While I’ll admit that I have enjoyed following all the gossip, I must confess that it does seem to have a negative impact. Specifically, when a product is finally released, it just doesn’t seem as grand as it did in the early 90’s.

When I look back, I remember two releases that have stuck with me till today. The first was the necron release in WD. Looking back on the models today, they weren’t that good, but it was exciting and fresh to open the WD and discover a new model/army. The other one that I remember so fondly is the release of the eldar vyper. I remember the first time I saw that box. The sleek design, which reminded me of Tim Burton’s Batman, was just such an amazing model to see the first time in person.

In comparison to now, almost everything is discussed and shown online months, sometimes years, before they are released. Take the current gossip about the space wolves. A number of cool and interesting things have been dropped about them this week. While we have yet to see any pictures, there have been enough reliable rumors that some of the mystery about the new book has been dissolved.

Maybe in this age of information, we no longer crave the mystery and wonder something simple like a new codex can generate. Instead, we seek to absorb information and dissect every aspect of the hobby down to its most fundamental components and mechanics. This is not a negative thing, as each generation has its own collective goals and desires. As an individual though, each of us needs to decide how much we participate in this generation’s goals.

If I reflect upon myself, I am starting to find that I want to avoid most of the bigger forums and sites and just focus on ones dedicated to individual approaches to the hobby that I find interesting. When it comes to rumors, I feel like maybe I should police myself more when it comes to what sites and discussions I read in the hope that I can bring back some of that mystery I enjoyed as a young man.

So readers, what are your thoughts on the internet and its impact on the release of new products? Does the mystery of the new release hold as much importance to you as it once did for me? If you like keeping new products a surprise until they are released, how have you successfully avoided ruining the surprise while still being active in the online community?


  1. Its an interesting point and one that I've thought about quite a bit.
    I'm a Space Wolf player, and love the army. With all the rumours running around right now, its difficult to not be really excited and desperately want to know everything about it as soon as possible, but at the same time, I agree with you about wanting the surprise.

    I've come to the decision that although I'm happy to look at the "larger scale" rumours such as which codex might be next, the odd upcoming model, for the nitty gritty details that start to come out closer and closer to the time I try to avoid so although I've caught some of the discussion, I see it is starting to get detailed so from now I am going to be trying to avoid it where possible so that although I know its coming, the contents will be a nice pleasent surprise when it comes out.

  2. Great topic.

    I too remember the release of the Vyper, also the Falcon and Fire Prism. I can recall the excitement, the awe and eagerness to build it, paint it and play it. As enjoyable as that was I also enjoy the hype that rumors can generate about a new release. There's a kind of a slow building energy until its final debut. For me the excitement is still the same, but rather then the excitement being generated after the product release / debut, it's happening before and is then carried on once the product is in hand.

    In today's society everyone wants instant gratification and for the most part the internet fuels this. Quick / instant news and rumors from all over the globe. Before the internet and forums and feeds, us gamers only had our small 'social network' of gaming buds and those who ran the FLGS were the only real people who could pass rumors on from their distributors.

    Bottom line, I think the mystery and surprise is still there, but now with an added hype. Once the product is revealed... If it's crap, it's going to be crap regardless of what you knew before hand or if it were just a surprise. For example, the new AoBR box set. There was tons of hype and rumors, everyone wanted to know as much as they could and when the box set finally hit store shelves, it was better than anyone had imagined, so the excitement lived on.

    On a more personal note. I sensor myself to most rumors, especially those about codex releases. In general I'll read just enough to know about the release and get myself excited, but ignore details until its debut. Lets face it, you can't always believe what you read on the internet. ;)

  3. You know, I am starting to come over this camp - I used to be huge on all the rumors, but things are really starting to get out of hand. Considering people have begun to quit the game based on the rumors of the next "broken book" coming out, I think things need to change.

    This is why I love the mystery box GW is doing next month - its cool to have a suprise release now and then.

  4. Part of me thinks that GW slowly "releases" rumors in order to gauge interest in future products. It's all about the (potential) money.

  5. amen... it's like the lyrics to to the DJ Shadow song, "Why Hip Hop sucks in '96": "it's the money!"

    And it's a hobby, not the next way to save a billion lives. Wish folks could relax and enjoy themselves instead of using the internet to breed rumors.

    Though I will say - there's something more to the anticipation of that new magazine to come into the shop or be delivered to your door as opposed to the latest random thread being started in some forum with pics. You just don't get the chance to be excited before it's in your face.