Should 8th Edition Play-Testers be Competing at Major Events Close to Release?

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Games Workshop has finally reached out to the community for this edition. Apparently they’ve had some of the best and brightest 40k players actually play test this edition before releasing it publicly. But, with some major events like the American Team Championship falling only a month or two after the rumored release date, this brings up a question. Should 8th edition play-testers be competing at major events close to release?

Right from the start I want to make it clear that I really appreciate all the time and effort guys involved with events like Adepticon, Las Vegas Open, and Bay Area Open have put into this edition. And I’m glad the new GW is waking up to the fact that they survive based on the community. From the teasers we’ve been getting daily, I think many players are going to find 8th edition to be the quickest and easiest to play 40k edition in years. While I’m still skeptical, I think the hard work play testers are putting in is what will really set this edition apart.

Is it Fair?

So with all that said, is it fair for play testers to get to compete at tournaments right after the new edition comes out? The first several months of 8th edition are going to be crazy. So many current 40k players are going to have to relearn a lot of basic game play. Since GW has made it a priority to interact with the community, I’m sure there’s going to be several FAQ’s in the first few months as well. We’re all going to be trying to learn and play a very different game. Frankly, those play testers are going to have a huge advantage. When it comes to big events people travel for, everyone goes with access to all the same resources and rules everyone else does. Seeing how different people play and what they can do with those same resources on a level playing field is what makes the experience fun. I don’t know if that’s going to be possible if some groups of players have had access to the rules for an extra six months.

Why not teach?

Now I do want to say play testers absolutely should be going to and organizing events. I just don’t know if they should be playing competitively at events within a few months of release. It seems like they should be teaching the community how to play this new edition they helped make, not trying to win prizes or awards. Someone who play tested 8th edition claiming top prize at any tournament immediately after release just seems ridiculous. Every gaming group has that one guy who only plays new players because they like clubbing baby seals. We all hate that guy because he’s not even playing a fair game. That’s how it feels for play testers to be winning trophies and prizes in this new edition right out of the gate. Come on guys, help judge, come hangout and promote your blogs/podcasts/battreps/whatever, but don’t come to be THAT GUY.

Conflict of Interest?

One last thing I want to bring up is less about how fun the game is and more about what the community should want out of events. I know many of the older guys in my group wish that Games Workshop would more tournaments and really try to drive interest that way. With this new influx of support from GW in tournaments and blogs I do start to wonder at what point there is a conflict of interest. If Games Workshop is sponsoring your blog, should you really be trying to compete in tournaments run or sponsored by Games Workshop? I might not mind so much if I wasn’t paying and traveling to play in those tournaments, but there just feels something wrong about all of that.

Final Thoughts

Again, I want to thank all those play testers who are trying to make 40k great again. I also want to thank Games Workshop for finally doing some community outreach. However, with all these changes I do think the community needs to start asking itself at what point is there too much involvement by Games Workshop and their affiliates. If Games Workshop is sponsoring all the blogs that used to post articles calling out their BS, what happens when GW does actually mess up? I hope groups like Frontline Gaming and Adepticon keep putting out their own ITC or FAQs to keep GW rules in check but I don’t know if that’ll happen if they’re being sponsored. Finally I hope play testers and those who make a living off of 40k that get sponsored by Games Workshop directly choose not to compete in events run or sponsored by Games Workshop just to keep everything above board. I don’t like having to ask why someone won without knowing they could crush me any day of the week!

Let us know your thoughts!