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Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for change.

 Post subject: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for change.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:39 am 
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So this idea came about when i saw the german epic communitys own rules that they where going to try out in their next tournament. But it has been in the back of my mind for a long time.

NetEA is supposed to be a community that gathers players around the globe that plays epic. As I have understood it ERC should be the spider in this global web that coordinates new lists, changes in lists and rules amendments.
To do this the ERC needs to have as much players as possible contributing with opinions, battlereports and new content.

Whats happening now is that the players are starting to splinter off into their own local groups. Australia has their lists, Germany is trying out their own. EpicUK and FERC is also around but have been active for quite a long time. But theese new groups are recent things.

This is in my opinion not a good thing. Here in Sweden the NetEA process and the ERC is mainly viewed as a very slow and conservative body that feels out of touch with the gaming community. The view I get when talking to players is that they feel that is very hard to get changes through and that the process feels very undemocratic where some AC:s seems to ignore the communities ideas and wishes and nothing happens.

And the splintering is the symphtoms to a bigger problem. And that is that the ERC has lost its place as a global coordinator of this unsupported game we all enjoy. And the more players groups splinter off from the NetEA, the less good ideas and thoughts about lists and rules will be heard and shared.

So maybe it's time to try and change the ERC/NetEA process?

Instead of having a very small group that calls all the shots and single AC:s handling every list we could do it in a more open, democratic and transparent way!

The Warmaster game (which like Epic is officially unsupported by GW but lives on thru a very dedicated community) has had a recent surge in activity and the community around that game has bloomed some lately. The community formed a rules council of 20 (?) people who together discussed and voted on rules changes and list changes. The result was all the new rules and list changes thats called ”Warmaster Revolution”. Listening to the Warmaster podcast it seems that this process has revitalized the game somewhat and spread a sense of progression in the Warmaster community.

We can do exactly the same with NetEA! We could choose 20-30 people from different parts of the world which have active epic playing communities (Australia, Germany, UK, France, USA and Sweden comes to mind) and give each community 5 seats on this new council.

We can then gather all the changes for rules and every list up into a document under a certain time frame and then start to try them out. But instead of demandning 6 battle reports from 1 gaming group we could get everyone to do 1-2 reports and then compare the data recieved. Lets face it, finding time to get 6 games in with work and family life isn't easy.
Also coordinating testing like this (”Febuary and March we will try out all the Space Marine proposed changes”) would make it easier to maintain focus to a certain list and not have 20 changes for 20 different lists being tried at once.

After discussing and testing a little the council could then do a vote on each change. To make a change go thru you could demand a ¾ majority to ensure that most of the community would agree on it.
I'm very sure that this would also revitalize NetEA and get people excited about the game again. The ERC would in this form also be more in touch with the bigger gaming community around the game and players would feel it easier to get ideas heard (because a member of the council would probably be in their gaming group).

So this is my idea. Theres probably som details thats needs to be discussed and fleshed out to make it work properly.

But continuing the NetEA process and the form of the ERC as it stands now is obviously not working and gahering the community around a common cause. The ”everything is good, just provide battle reports” answer doesn't hold up anymore, because the community is splintering off. So either we change things around and try to revitalize the community around this fantastic game or we keep calm and carry on as the ship slowly sinks.

Thanks for your time.

Best regards

Daniel Bäckefelt, Epic 40K Sweden.

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:04 am 
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It is indeed a troubling development. My own idea is to have Beta versions of lists where suggestions can go in that people can argue over and playtest. Putting it in a document in the front post is much more transparent and accessible than putting it in a thread somewhere where it will get lost.

Having an AC is necessary for keeping lists coherent, but it's kind of sad if lists go stale or never gets updated. It also makes it hard to make big changes to certain common units (such as daemons which are discussed over at the Chaos forum).

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:51 am 
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As a member of the Warmaster Rules Committee, I think this is both potentially good and less good

the warmaster committee primarily exists to make sure the lists are balanced for the warmaster revolution ruleset, now unlike epic, warmaster revolution is basically an amalgam of the warmaster ruleset with the good bits from warmaster ancients (which was effectively warmaster second edition) so it's not really 'fan created' as in the rules are just ported from one edition to another, this means there is very little argument about the wording and mechanics of the rules, unlike what we have with epic

another issue is that participation in the WMRC has declined slowly over the past year, with most proposals only getting 7-8 votes rather than the full 15 members of the board, obviously people have real life and I have been somewhat guilty of slacking off too....

finally, the WMRC process is actually based on the NetEA process anyway... ;)

I don't neccessarily see various splinter groups as a bad thing, two of the ERC members are core developers for EpicUK after all, I'm a staunch EpicUK player but also playtest quite heavily for NetEA, I don't see the two groups as oppositional whatsoever

I have suggested to the Army Champions that we try some directed playtesting to drive development forward and it gained some murmurs of support. I'd like to take that forward, my idea being that we assemble some playtest teams who are flexible in collection and willing to play whatever it takes to get lists approved, in a fashion we already have this as my group and I, Dave and his opponents, and PFE200 and company have been involved in most of the lists reaching or pushing for approval lately

I'd be happy seeing a voting system where more people can contribute towards whether a list is approved or not, but with that, it needs people to sign up to the idea that sometimes you get outvoted, and you need to be able to deal with that and move on rather than taking it personally

Also this may highlight metagame differences and lead to more separation, if the swedes all share the opinion that the angry marines list is overpowered and wins every tournament, but nobody else does, that is more likely to make the swedes hump off and make their own lists, because they feel like they are being ignored, similarly if the system requires unanimity or similar, those troublesome and contentious swedes ;) can hold everyone to ransom until they agree to burn their angry marines army on a giant bonfire and instead adopt the swedish marines who have functionally designed thunderhawks with headlights that can't be turned off and a built-in breathalyser....

Honestly I'm happy with whatever the community decides, but it needs to be done in a spirit of openness and a willingness to reflect on the fact that people want different things from the game

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:31 pm 
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I don't think any changes are going to stop a group from doing what they want to do. House-rules are everywhere in wargames and Epic is no exception. Frankly, people have their idea of what makes a "game/list/unit" good and rarely listen to or spend a moments thought on an idea to the contrary at best. At worst, those ideas are met with hostility due to poorly worded/interpretted posts, or the anonymous nature of the internet and people just being jerks. It's the lack of sonder and the ability to accept compromise that's fracturing NetEA. Adding more people to a committee will give more people a voice, yes, but I don't think it will result in Epic UK, France, Australia, Germany, US or Botswana dropping their house-mods and getting behind a single Epic mega-nation mod-list.

With regards to the difficulty of getting changes through, I believe this relates to the above as well. ACs aren't going to budge for opinions unless they agree with it. The good ones will budge for players that can demonstrate via battle reports why the change needs to happen, but those reports are so rare to begin with it doesn't happen very often. Dropping a playtest requirement below what it is will not result in more lists approvals when the majority of players don't post battle reports in the first place.

Are the ERC and ACs conservative, sure. But I think that retains a player base more than if they weren't:

  • Small point adjustments are easier for people to stomach. People are more willing to drop an upgrade or two than take out one of their formations they love to play with.
  • Adding a unit or two to a list can potentially work, but they should further reinforce the list's theme and play style. Doing it because GW came out with a new product with awesome 40k rules isn't a good reason, especially when it circumvents an absence the list was designed with. Making sure the opponent has a fair and good time is important as well.
  • No one wants to spend money on a unit, paint it up, play with it, and then be told they're not allowed to play with.

I'm of the opinion that we'd splinter the player base more if we majorly messed with points, bloated lists, or removed a unit from an approved list. If you don't like something start a dev-list that's close and put some reports forward. If people agree with you it'll get traction. The LatD reboot is probably the best example of that.

Finally, we have tried "this month we're testing X" in the past back in Neal's, Hena's and Chroma's times. It didn't result in any changes in the lists and petered out after a two-three months. I don't think we'd get a different response now. Some lists don't see a lot of use in all groups, and giving people a deadline they know is artificial does nothing to motivate people.

With all that being said, I'm not opposed to any of it with the exception of the playtesting. I'm just not convinced the proposals address the issues, but rather address the symptoms.

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:11 pm 
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Didn't know there was a thriving epic community in Botswana! ;)

Having battle reports as the only accepted currency for change (no pun intended) is a bit blunt imho. First of all they're a lot of work, and second of all they're kind of subjective unless delivered in bulk and replicated with different players / different groups. Which is even more work. And in the end all this will likely lead no-where.

A more objective measure would be to have tournament statistics from the fairly numerous tournaments that are out there. What are the win stats? What units are used? What units are not used?

And if a big army is played by very few players (or even no players at all) there might be reason to ask why this big army is played by so very few players. Is it because it is underpowered and/or weird and/or boring and/or horrible to play against and/or has just one viable way to play?

Of course, this would need tournaments using NetEA to report all this consistently and in a way that is useful. And it would require the AC:s for the lists involved to be willing to, if needed, change their lists in response.

Otherwise things will go on as they've done until now and the game will get ever more fragmented.

Also, I think it would be a good idea to raise the visibility of developmental armies on the main NetEA page. That way more people will find them, more battle reports might be filed, and more lists will move on towards approval. And I still think having beta-versions of lists is a good way to channel players' energy in ways that are constructive. If some tournament decides to allow such a beta-list to be played, that's more data.

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:35 pm 
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Mrdiealot wrote:
First of all they're a lot of work,


I'm in the minority here, apparently. What is the "work"? Taking pictures (while not required, they help a lot), taking notes, talking about the game and army with your opponent afterwords, posting this? It takes time, sure, but once you get a process down it's not much at all. I take pics as the game happens, I then caption those pics as I upload them, and five minutes later I've got a battle report thread.

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and second of all they're kind of subjective unless delivered in bulk and replicated with different players / different groups.


No, they're always subjective, and same goes for tournament results. We're not using battle reports to draw quantitative conclusions here. 18 games or 100 games are a drop in a bucket, statistically, when you look at the sheer number of variables inherent in a single activation, let alone the entire game. The reports are being used to qualitatively evaluate the list. Still subjective, but it let's us look at how it's being played in multiple groups which helps us find those units used/not used easier than a win:loss rate would.

Beyond that though, the reports are there to make sure the developer is putting some thought into the list and getting community buy in. Without those a list shouldn't be put up for approval. You can argue that a win:loss ratio might do the same thing, but there's other factors that obscure it, caliber of the player and their opponents being the biggest.

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:35 pm 
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Dave wrote:

I'm in the minority here, apparently.


I think you probably are, actually. Taking good notes and/or remembering enough to write a useful report based on just pics is definitely a skill that takes practice. I've written one report so far, and the note-taking probably added almost 45 min onto the game. That was an activation-by-activation, detailed type report though, so maybe we can make it clearer as to what counts as a bat rep? Do we need ALL the details? Only key activations that swung the tide of battle? Turn-by-turn general overviews? Just a quick paragraph with each player's impressions of how the game went?

I think it would also be very helpful to make it clearer what would be required to change a list. For a recent example, there are a couple of changes for Orks that are being discussed, namely reducing the saves on skorchas and allowing the EpicUK powerfields upgrade for battlefortresses. All we've gotten as players is that we "need reports." Several have come in, and since the list is so similar to the UK one already (seriously, they're almost completely identical) most UK games also qualify for testing the powerfields. But as players posting in that forum we have no idea how close those changes are to approval/real consideration., which keeps motivation to test low. And no one is inclined to play games using 'uge warbands to prove that they're not worth taking as is, because it's so glaringly obvious that this is the case.

It'd also really help if more tournaments allowed developmental/experimental lists or as-yet-unapproved changes to lists. If they did, we'd have more chances to playtest changes. Can-Con for example seems to do this and from reading the reports it doesn't seem to cause too many problems down there.


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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:43 pm 
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To be blunt, sorry if I am; I noticed that even within EA lists (not FERC or UK) Imperial Navy assets differ considerably ie Marauder is a WE with 2 DC in Elysian list, which differs from Steel Legion, which differs from Tallarn (again I know SL is the only approved list) but surely if an exp list wants to become dev, then approved we should be singing off the same song sheet?


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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:47 pm 
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Dave wrote:
Mrdiealot wrote:
First of all they're a lot of work,


I'm in the minority here, apparently. What is the "work"? Taking pictures (while not required, they help a lot), taking notes, talking about the game and army with your opponent afterwords, posting this? It takes time, sure, but once you get a process down it's not much at all. I take pics as the game happens, I then caption those pics as I upload them, and five minutes later I've got a battle report thread.


I don't find them too arduous either, the only ones I really find difficult are the games where you're playing to make a point to the AC who may be receptive or dismissive.... I get a game in most weeks, if I'm playing games with stupid lists to illustrate power builds or bad stats to an AC, I'm not testing other, more balanced lists and pushing them towards development, nor am I practising for tournaments or just playing a no-pressure game for the enjoyment of it (wouldn't that be nice eh?)

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Quote:
and second of all they're kind of subjective unless delivered in bulk and replicated with different players / different groups.


No, they're always subjective, and same goes for tournament results. We're not using battle reports to draw quantitative conclusions here. 18 games or 100 games are a drop in a bucket, statistically, when you look at the sheer number of variables inherent in a single activation, let alone the entire game. The reports are being used to qualitatively evaluate the list. Still subjective, but it let's us look at how it's being played in multiple groups which helps us find those units used/not used easier than a win:loss rate would.

Beyond that though, the reports are there to make sure the developer is putting some thought into the list and getting community buy in. Without those a list shouldn't be put up for approval. You can argue that a win:loss ratio might do the same thing, but there's other factors that obscure it, caliber of the player and their opponents being the biggest.


yup, this is true, look how many years it took before Dan1314 came along and used the thunderhawk spam list to win a couple of tournaments, you won't come close to testing every possible combination in a mere 18 games, so a lot of approval is subjective, "unit X felt a bit strong, maybe it could lose a shot, formation Y is too expensive for what it does" etc, if you want to run serious, robust statistical analysis, you need tens of thousands of games, and we're lucky if we get ten....

This is not directed at anyone in particular but it does seem that some of the voices of dissent about the process (and there have been many and varied, from all over the globe, again not singling anyone out here) are not the people actively engaged in it, I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to take two lists to approval, one of which was pretty much from scratch, I've also contributed batreps and testing to several more (Emps children, OGBM, Raven Guard, LATD redux, vior'la and even the old crazy bananas Dark Angels list) from my POV it seems that we lack people willing to playtest and write it up, an army list, a photo or two and a paragraph about the main features of the game are all that is needed, that really isn't too much to ask.... it's a bit rich to complain that nothing is happening when really the onus is on the players to make it happen, not the ERC or even the ACs (how many times did Jimmy BEG for batreps when he was marine AC and get nothing but tumbleweeds in response??) we can't operate in a vacuum....

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:14 pm 
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mordoten wrote:
So this idea came about when i saw the german epic communitys own rules that they where going to try out in their next tournament. But it has been in the back of my mind for a long time.


As one of the organizers of the midigeddon mayhem in cologne Germany on 21st April I would like to ask to which German lists do you refer? Or to which tournament? We will play NetEA lists and incorporate some special amendments that reflect NetEA discussions on taccom to give some ideas a shot. The intention is to provide feedback to the NetEA community. Said shots include baneblade stats, ork transport and inspiring issues and a general stat change for flamer demons and armour saves on vindicators and predators for sm and chaos adopted from the french. Sporemines for Nids are borrowed from uk.

So this is not intentional ronmake own lists but to get some harder data in than just discussion and mathhammer.

Also I'm AC for the Eldar Ulthwe list and I'm trying hard to listen and incorporate other opinions while keeping things on the balanced side and not going op. I am hassled with real life as everyone else and have a job that requires a shitload of travel around the world that leaves little time, but I try hard to provide valid feedback and reports as well as to attend as many tournaments as possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:21 pm 
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kyussinchains wrote:
it seems that we lack people willing to playtest and write it up, an army list, a photo or two and a paragraph about the main features of the game are all that is needed, that really isn't too much to ask.... it's a bit rich to complain that nothing is happening when really the onus is on the players to make it happen, not the ERC or even the ACs (how many times did Jimmy BEG for batreps when he was marine AC and get nothing but tumbleweeds in response??) we can't operate in a vacuum....


I think this is very true, and this is why I think it would be a good idea to raise the profile of developmental lists / beta lists of approved lists. Right now they're kind of hidden in threads and you have to be pretty proactive and hunt around and check regularly to see if anything has happened. This gets old fast.

If the latest version of all developmental lists (which these are might be left to the ERC to decide, preferably on some objective criteria) were all in one place with the latest versions and a change log, then maybe there would be more people doing playtesting. I guess a version of this was done with the Compendium. But I imagine that was way too much work and no-one really wants all the lists in one place anyway given that we all read army lists on smartphones nowadays.

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:33 pm 
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is this the kind of thing you are referring to? it's stickied at the top of the Adeptus Astartes section of the board, I try to keep it as current as possible, if not, can you give me some guidance about what to share and how? I am all for increasing visibility and simplifying things where possible

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:36 pm 
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NoisyAssassin wrote:
I think you probably are, actually. Taking good notes and/or remembering enough to write a useful report based on just pics is definitely a skill that takes practice. I've written one report so far, and the note-taking probably added almost 45 min onto the game. That was an activation-by-activation, detailed type report though,


At the risk of being flip, then practice. To be more useful though, here some thoughts on what helps me:

If you're not going to write notes during the game, take a picture of every activation from the PoV of the activating unit with anything it affected in the distance. It'll jog your memory to see the formation and what was around it and help you caption the pic. Also, for assaults, strive for shots of after charge/counter-charge, after casualties, and after resolution.

If you are going to take notes, I suggest you split it with your opponent. They jot down what your formations do, and you do the same for theirs. There's less downtime that way, they write as you move stuff and roll dice, and they should be done before they have to roll saves.

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so maybe we can make it clearer as to what counts as a bat rep? Do we need ALL the details? Only key activations that swung the tide of battle? Turn-by-turn general overviews? Just a quick paragraph with each player's impressions of how the game went?


I usually strive for what activations did what, but that can sometimes be overboard. If you spent all of turn 1 doubling up, just say that and say which formations failed to do so. Key activations like you say are particularly important, especially if you're trying to illustrate a point to the AC. If you're only going to record one thing that would be it, I guess. Just be aware that people are going to want to know what else was going on around it if you're using them to make a point.

Players impressions can happen later. I think you get better feed back after the fact anyway, people may need time to think a bit more and blow off steam if they were frustrated/pissed. Have your opponent post them for themselves, or e-mail them to you if they don't post it here. No sense if you taking dictation for them.

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I think it would also be very helpful to make it clearer what would be required to change a list. For a recent example, there are a couple of changes for Orks that are being discussed, namely reducing the saves on skorchas and allowing the EpicUK powerfields upgrade for battlefortresses. All we've gotten as players is that we "need reports." Several have come in, and since the list is so similar to the UK one already (seriously, they're almost completely identical) most UK games also qualify for testing the powerfields. But as players posting in that forum we have no idea how close those changes are to approval/real consideration., which keeps motivation to test low. And no one is inclined to play games using 'uge warbands to prove that they're not worth taking as is, because it's so glaringly obvious that this is the case.


This is going to come down to the AC. If it's not clear, ask them. How it works now is: AC has playtest changes, they test them until they're happy, they bring them to the ERC, we vote on them individually. You only need 18 battle reports if you're approving a list. To get a change put up for a vote it's AC discretion. I haven't kept track of the changes, but if I had to guess 75% or more of them pass. The only ones that I can think of off the top of my head that we kept back were some Eldar and Tyranid buffs.

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It'd also really help if more tournaments allowed developmental/experimental lists or as-yet-unapproved changes to lists. If they did, we'd have more chances to playtest changes. Can-Con for example seems to do this and from reading the reports it doesn't seem to cause too many problems down there.


Bring it up with the TO, I guess. Dev/Exp stuff is allowed by request at NEAT and Adepticon. I believe Kal runs the HGMS tourneys the same.

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:42 pm 
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Mrdiealot wrote:
If the latest version of all developmental lists (which these are might be left to the ERC to decide, preferably on some objective criteria) were all in one place with the latest versions and a change log, then maybe there would be more people doing playtesting. I guess a version of this was done with the Compendium. But I imagine that was way too much work and no-one really wants all the lists in one place anyway given that we all read army lists on smartphones nowadays.


Ya, it's a lot of work. The TP was born out of the compendium because at least it only get's updated once a month-ish.

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 Post subject: Re: Revitalizing the NetEA Community - a proposition for cha
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:56 pm 
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kyussinchains wrote:
is this the kind of thing you are referring to? it's stickied at the top of the Adeptus Astartes section of the board, I try to keep it as current as possible, if not, can you give me some guidance about what to share and how? I am all for increasing visibility and simplifying things where possible


Preferably they'd be on the same page as the approved lists. Like I said, not every little experimental list that haven't seen play since 2011, but those lists / betas that are actively being developed from all the big armies. That way they might catch the eyes of people who're in there anyway looking at approved lists, going "what should I play next? Hey this looks neat" (which I think is pretty much how we all decide on what to play anyway).

I guarantee that there is a very great number of casual / not even casual players who have no clue that Taccom exist. And even if you *do* know Taccom exists, from my own experience: it took me *years* to figure out that I had to scroll down to the bottom of the main page to find the Epic Armageddon playtesting forums. Kept looking under the main Epic Armageddon header at the top. Needless to say I was not finding what I was looking for. I didn't look that hard perhaps, because at some point I probably just assumed that these forums where locked away somewhere that I didn't have access to.

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