Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Value of Community Discussion

The Value of Community Discussion

Thousands of years ago, when the Emperor still walked, Horus was loyal, and Ferrus Manus was a head taller, I started this blog with the intention of de-mystifying the competitive Warhammer 40k scene and letting more people have access to army lists and discussion of matches. Today I want to directly discuss that original goal.

Over the past few months I’ve gotten the chance to watch my readership and support for this blog grow, and it’s been awesome. As much as I love watching the numbers go up, and knowing you guys are reading, the best part to me is when people take the time to speak to me, tell me how much they like the blog and how it’s helped them. But I’m only one person, and as much as I love talking about the game I have my own biases and faults and no one can get the whole perspective from only me. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am if not for the help of at least a half dozen other people sticking their hands in my lists or helping me practice. The point of this long-winded intro is that today I want to talk about how everyone can join in discussions and add their points constructively.

There is No “Best List”

Yesterday a member of one of my groups was talking about building an Iron Hands death star. I spent a good ten minutes explaining its weaknesses, what lists beat the tar out of it, and what missions are practically auto-lose for death stars. I concluded with saying “but it’s a good list. A guy running it beat me and placed top 24 at NOVA.” There are a lot of good army lists out there right now but understanding your weaknesses is just as important as understanding your strengths.

You Don’t Have to be a Good Player to Share
I know places like reddit have a lot of “lurkers” who are happy to just read and never contribute. That’s perfectly fine, but remember you may have never played in a tournament and your life and still have good ideas. Don’t be afraid to share ideas for lists, units, or combos that you think are innovative, even if they don’t work for you. Some lists have a higher skill cap than others, and what an inexperienced player loses with, an experienced player may be able to do great things with.

The Meta is Not Static
More so than ever, the Warhammer 40k competitive meta is very fluid. New strategies and armies rise to popularity because they can beat other popular lists and new supplements allow new ways to play old armies. A player who understands what’s currently strong and the weaknesses of those strong armies is capable of coming up with something that can shift the meta a bit. Like the above point, good analysis can come from anyone, not just a top player bringing an offbeat list.

Criticism Requires Explanation
There is nothing more harmful to discussion than blindly repeating things you’ve seen elsewhere. I see it less in the warhammer community than elsewhere, but there’s still an unfortunately large number of people happy to swing into discussions and say “X is bad” or “never play Eldar without scatterbikes”. These kinds of comments are incredibly damaging because they do nothing to help the person posting understand WHY it’s bad, while also propagating themselves. That person is now encouraged to repeat the same, because they’ve been told something is bad without understanding why either. If you don’t understand WHY something isn’t good or popular, take the time to think about it before telling other people.

These points were a little abstract, and I’m not sure I got all of my information across, but I hope to see more people partaking in better discussions. Also, if you ever need help with a list or just to discuss the game, feel free to contact me.

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