Thursday, 25 February 2016

Past Mistakes and Future Plans

You might have noticed that things have been a bit quiet around here of late. While there has been a constant flow of new articles, some bits were a little on the short side with longer gaps than usual between major pieces. As a rule, I try to ensure that an article is posted every day to other day in order to keep things active, but that's been made a little difficult recently. One of my recent jobs became quite time consuming for quite a while and another developed a few complications, neither of which were helped by some unplanned failures screwing up my schedule. The end result was losing my day off and a lot of the time I tend to delegate to writing article for this blog, Starburst or The Founding Fields. Something not helped by the sheer scale of the recent articles.

While most codex reviews tend to be quite extensive - largely due to the fact I seem to be one of a small handful of reviewers who actually valued lore analysis as much as tabletop mechanics - he Curse of the Wulfen itself has been the biggest of late. It's probably going to be capping off at somewhere between 16,000 to 20,000 words by the time this is over, and between that and the limited time, a few mechanical errors were made. I have made the point of doing back to correct these once they were realised, but I can only offer my apologies that they emerged in the first place. The main reason I try to take so much time playtesting each rulebook with friends is so that each analysis can be as accurate as possible across as many armies, but when you're trying to do that at 4AM on your own rather than 6PM with two other people, you tend to miss a few things. 

As a result of the aforementioned mistakes, some of the mechanical parts of these reviews might be delayed a little longer than the usual lore segments. If I can't actively make the time to do them properly, then i'm simply going to save them until I can juggle them between other issues, and press ahead once the most critical details have been double checked. It might be infuriating for those wanting rapid updates or new information, but i'd rather do this right or not at all.

Now, speaking of new material, there's a brief plan I have in mind for the coming months. The first is that, to coincide with the release of a few promising Warhammer 40,000 video games, we'll be looking into more old material. The first among these is Battlefleet Gothic Armada, so naturally this will warrant a look into similar material and our first Specialist Games review: The original Battlefleet Gothic. This might take a different direction from usual, deliving into a few personal opinions as to the flaws and strengths found in building a new game from the ground up as the designers did, but it will ultimately have the same format: Lore, Rules and then a more opinionated piece relating to how I think things could have been improved or what direction might have helped strengthen the game as a whole.

Once the Gothic material is finished, hopefully alongside a substantial review of the video game, we'll then get into another long planned piece. It will either be a stage by stage review of Dan Abnett's Eisenhorn trilogy, building up to the long awaited Eisenhorn: Xenos adaptation in April, or springboard onto an introduction to Firestorm Armada. We've talked about this game in the past and, as one of the two truly fantastic worlds forged by Spartan Games, it's as good a place to start as any. That and it does admittedly help that there's a sizable number of local ex-Battlefleet Gothic players who seem to have migrated over to the game. Either would be welcome and, no matter which one comes first, you can be assured that the other will follow it without too much delay. Well, assuming I don't have to keep up with some abrupt announcement from Games Workshop anyway.

Content aside, there's also been a possible planned change for the website. While written reviews and building up attention here has always been a priority, and a definite success, it's time to try and push to the next stage. For every person with an attention span willing to actually read a review, there seems to be a thousand put off by the simple act of reading itself. I can't say what caused this exactly, but I have seen people completely give up on trying to get through even brief articles of less than a thousand words simply because they honestly seem to be intimidated by the size of the piece. Personally, I can actually understand both cases, especially if you're short on time or looking to multi-task in an increasingly busy life. As such, later on this year we'll be experimenting with video reviews.

Most planned reviews or articles are going to be audio variants of past reviews to begin with, or adapted articles. There are a few I already have in mind to help test the waters, and we'll decide where to go from there depending upon the initial response. If it's successful, you can expect the same text reviews as always, but perhaps headed by a video rather than an image. Plus, of course, it's a chance to show off a few War Thunder gameplay videos or even start experimenting with the odd first impression of certain video games. Please keep in mind, these won't be replacing the text reviews, but they will be made alongside them.

So, why are we holding off on starting videos rather than jumping in? Short answer: Youtube has been screwing up a lot lately. Long answer: Youtube has always been screwing up, and I trust the website less and less with every passing day. You can probably think of no end of issues people hate, from the constant redesigns of the front page until its unintuitive to the sudden change in the comments section and just about everything involving Google+. Copyright and its abuse has been a joke there, and the website refuses to help anyone protect themselves even when fair use is openly ignored and the law brushed aside by big corporations. This finally hit boiling point recently as the corporations have gone berserk and hundreds of content producers, minor and major alike, have come out in mass protest against them. 

So, why is the protest important, or Youtube repeatedly screwing up? Because it effectively is all video content on the internet. When people claim that text reviews are dead, when people claim that video reigns supreme and cites the millions watching someone screaming at a horror game, they point to someone on Youtube. Look at DailyMotion, Vimeo or any other provider and they lack even a fraction of that same audience. Hell, many front page videos on DailyMotion are lucky to hit triple digits, let alone hundreds of thousands of views. You effectively have one company running a near monopoly on an entire medium of content creation, but failing to provide even basic protection for those creators. That's not a world I want to get into right now, and have no desire to associate myself with until they realise they can't  run a multi-billion pound corporation like a lemonade stand.

Because of the ongoing protests and Youtube's failure, I want to hold back and see how things pan out. If they do start to get their act together, i'll join in and start using my account there again. If not, we'll just have to consider other options and look for other websites to help host work.

So, that's what the future holds for us and apologies for the past. I hope that each of you will be around to see the new content and watch as work on here improves further. Until then, I hope you enjoy the last part of the Curse of the Wulfen review.

1 comment:

  1. I think wanting to hold back to make sure the information is correct is a good idea, we all make mistakes and if they can be mitigated a bit then I don't see a problem with it. I also do kind of get why people hold off on text reviews, a few times when I'm busy I can't really read a review, though I can listen to something else (though I'm not too partial to one or the other). I do get why you're holding off on Youtube (especially recently) though I think there are alternatives using things like Screenwave, or first hosting on Daily Motion, then uploading to Youtube when it's calmed down on there in a bit. To mitigate the dangers if you wanted to use Youtube you could also have the videos as unlisted videos and link them to this site.