Saturday, 26 May 2018

A sign-off: What deters me from the 40K fandom

Warhammer saved me long ago from the monotony of mainstream media.  It revealed to me there were some stories worth pursuing, there was an audience for grimdark fantasy, and as a right little edgelord, I was not alone in my taste for the insane and the outré.  I grew up with it, matured into as much of a man as I'm probably ever going to be with it, it was a pillar of my childhood's foundation.





But that was then.  Now the appeal is waning, and there are several reasons which I'll do my best to explain.

I will not bring up the price of miniatures as a reason, because that's easily remedied by toning down on purchases.  There are so many sides to this argument and it's obvious GW won't be lowering prices of existing kits in the near future, so I'd rather not address cost.
Here we go.


1: It is a community-driven hobby; and as a professional failure, I physically cannot people

Firstly this point needs to be got out the way, as of course the same thing could be said for every fandom.  Unfortunately it's just another point of several that deters me, and most importantly I'm the only one to blame here.

A fandom consists of a number of people who like the same thing, discussing it and creating or experiencing that same thing-- but the DISCUSSING I believe to be the biggest part of any fandom.  That's where I, the most socially backwards person ever can attest, falls short.
 Warhammer is a game, a game to be played with other people, with other people who like and understand the IP's concept, with friends. Friends some people don't-- or can't-- have.


My online presence has deteriorated significantly over the last while, despite me climbing on board new platforms left right and centre, that's really a fault of my being caught up in other stuff-- and a combination of rural locale and dodgy vehicle means I can't really extend my RL presence much farther than the workplace.  How I'm ever going to find a girlfriend at this rate is beyond me... That's beside the point.  Moving on.


2: What it once was vs What it is now

I don't believe 40K was ever this mainstream.
This I'm sure I've brought up before, because I'm a fuddy duddy stickler for old things.  Warhammer used to be a hobby, an art expression; now it only feels like an IP to exploit.  True, their miniatures have gotten more and more detailed and pretty in the last while,but is that really necessary?  I mean really truly?  Think about it, does detail enhance the game?  Or rather would it draw new people in?
Uninspired? Clearly one intolerant bugger thinks so
 Don't get me wrong, new people are great for an IP to make money and be more widespread; new people are good.  But at what point does an IP stop being itself, and start appealing to the widest audience possible at the cost of its individuality?





3:  Official art used to be more interpretative than this

I can't leave a rant without at least a bit of good old hobby horse time; I'll try and keep this short.  As a defeated artist, I appreciate an IP mostly through its aesthetic, through its art.
Compare these two tech-adepts, a skitarii and a myrmidon:




Much in the same way I love the inaccurate nature of medieval art, I found the older 40K art inspiring.  It gave me ideas for kitbashes and painting methods, it added depth and character to a story already rich with character.  The miniatures were simple templates for you to build on and develop your own style.
Nowadays I see more and more art taken directly from the miniatures, and to be brutally honest, some are not much more interesting than studio photographs with their subject matter.  Alright, I might have gone and chosen that skitarii image purposefully, but the fact remains; there's less up for interpretation.  The majority of modern artwork seems less of telling a story, as presenting a range of products.


4: What it was for me vs. What it is now

 This harks back a lot to point 2.
Coming into the world of 40K long ago, what the 12-year-old me perceived was a huge, terrifying galaxy filled with such insane darkness and dread you couldn't hope to survive long; the morbid side of me latched on instantly.  This was a fantasy story set in a time so ridiculously far in the future it was obvious they weren't going to pull any stops on the madness.  Guns and vehicles were venerated instead of repaired, religious worship was directed here there and everywhere, aliens nobody even knows the origin of are streaming into the galaxy, man-made gods have taken form but are completely out-of-control...
Maybe I liked it for the wrong reasons; there might have been more fitting IPs to pursue... that weren't anime.  You know, it was the religious part of the Imperium I believe drew me in the strongest, and in the toning down of the archaic, the gothic, the pagan, I've been left hanging.
Like I said before, it was a pillar of my childhood's foundation; it should be left as such.  I don't want it spoiled by washed-out miniature design, lame narrative, and... people.


5: What GW has done/is doing with the IP


If you don't know about WH adventures, it's basically proof that GW have gone full sellout mainstream.
Do I recall a time when warhammer was age-restricted, or is that just a fanciful dream?  Also way to push the primarine shtick, I still don't like the buggers.


6: The memes


Yes, in the long run I hate memes.  So sue me.
 Personal experience has shown me the following; the majority of people are more drawn to funny things than scary things.  Whether they don't like a thing, like it too much or don't understand it because it's too creative or different they'll make it funny.  This mentality I can't stand, and connected to something I took so seriously as a child is oddly painful.

7: people in the community
 
In every fandom full of great people, there will always be the "badd'ns" .  My tolerance of who I'd consider to be a "badd'n" just happens to be WAY lower than most people, again due to my social ineptitude-- which I should stop wearing on my sleeve as if fishing for pity.
These badd'ns are what give the sane folk a bad name, I'm sure a good deal of you have a story.  Mine is of a guy who couldn't go on holiday without taking his entire (multi-faction) collection with him; so instead of not going on holiday at all, he put everything into a hundred ice cream containers and had them rattle about and fill up his camper.  Funny story, but how does it reflect the community as a whole?

It's not just the badd'ns either, I see a lot of unnecessary stupidity.  I've seen terrible crossovers and ship wars-- yes, ship wars concerning primarchs, ship wars concerning astartes heroes, all sorts.  I've seen people who can't enjoy an IP if they can't poke their diddly-stick in it, so they oversexualise.  I've heard of-- not misusing the word either-- truly retarded behavior of every sort, I've seen animal abusers, thieves, and some real mental cases who give the Columbine shooters a run for their money, all connected in some way to the 40K fandom.

It's all getting a bit much.


You sound pretty sick of it, D.  Can't you just ignore all that and stick with it alone?
You've always been alone.

I could shut myself in, yes.  I could lock myself away and nobody would know where I'd have gone, but the damage has been done.  If I withdraw to try and enjoy 40K by myself, I'll be withdrawing with all those awful stigmata attached to the IP I once loved.  I'd much rather leave it off for a while and let it heal a bit, even if the reasons I hate 40K will never go away.


What are you going to do?

What I'm going to do is move away from the fandom for a while.  2018 has been rough and slow, with illness and busyness and RL, and sadly 40K isn't quite as appealing as it used to be; it doesn't draw me like it used to.
I've got so many other projects I want to do in the future-- short films, puppets, art, not to mention the apocalyptican fairytales I'm writing-- all those things I seem to get more enjoyment out of.  I used to be able to make 40K my own thing, but as time's gone on and the aforementioned reasons have made it more and more difficult to focus on what I once liked.

Where will the dream take you, Lonely?

My biggest following has been generated by my activity in the 40K fandom, so I shall fade and go into the west, which may be for the better.
Sago-altar.com will still advertise my commissions painting of course, that's a part of my life now and a source of a few extra dollars.  This blog, if I do continue with it, will more than likely be related to things other than 40K, so if you're wanting to clean up what blogs you follow, it'd be best to take this one off for now if you're here for the 40K content.


Who knows, maybe this is just a rough patch for 40K.  Maybe it's just a rough patch for me, I don't know.  I might come back once things have sorted themselves out, I might not: So I guess I'll sign off with a final

FINÉ.


Bye bye for now.


***

For so long
I have wandered, I have fought
Now the road is at an end;
I've climbed the highest mountains, seen the sea beyond the hill,
I'm Alone with a Dream...

13 comments:

  1. I just wanted to say that I have really enjoyed your dark visceral interpretations of the 40k universe.

    Albeit pretty much silently, my apologies, a bit of a social recluse myself. I really struggle to remain "in touch" and to be a fully integrated member of the community the majority of the time.

    Your writings above are much in line with how I grew up with the hobby and I must admit I share some of your sentiments.

    All the best following your muse wherever it may take you.

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    1. Thanks, I'm glad you understand :)

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  2. It’s been a pleasure following your creations, you’ve certainly taken the grim dark of my youthful experience of 40k and realised it. I guess as the company has expanded they’ve knocked off the niche edges. I think the appeal of the game is very different to that of the background. Personally the game is stronger now for me than any time in the last 10 years, but equally I can see how the background has gone away from the darkness of its roots.

    I wish you all the best for the future and hope you find the love for 40k once more, the community was richer for your participation!

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    1. Thank you, it's been quite an adventure I must say. You're quite right, the lore side has declined as the gaming side increased, and I've just never had the chance (or the brainpower lol) to game that often; it's not what 40K meant to me.

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  3. Richard Seaton27 May 2018 at 03:45

    I hear you, so little appreciation nowadays for the older, darker 40k now. It has been a great privilege to bear witness to your works and ideas, which have influenced me and my own style to no small margin, including a scratch-build of some Boreal valley-esque Eyes of the Emperor. I hope that you do not give up on this hobby, as there are truly few people in it with your frankly phenomenal abilities in conversions, and I would hate it if such went unrecognised.
    Hope you get a girlfriend sometime soon, and speaking as a fellow edgy recluse, it's actually surprisingly easy, just awkwardly chat to really any girl you see by themselves until it works and you actually liked talking to each other.
    But enough of my inane rambling, I wish you all the very best in what you go on to do, hope everything works out in the end, and will continue to follow, because the stuff you get up to is oddly fascinating.
    Also, I always wondered, where's the background photo from? I'm feeling southland?

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    1. If I made a mark on the community, then I can retire happy :) The background is actually the Iron Hills (not the Middle-earth ones!) up the Cobb valley from Takaka. Best hills ever.

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  4. Buggers, I understand and respect your decision. I've truly have had some of the nearest experiences hashing out kitbashed with you !!! Your uniqueness will sorely be missed. I support and lend any energy I may to your future endeavors friend. It's been a privilege to colobrate with you and look forward to Future endeavors no matter the universe ! You always have my support ! God speed wild adventurer !!! Jo Jo

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    1. Thanks! Hopefully the friendships will endure, your commissions have made some great memories.

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  5. If you aren't enjoying it anymore then it's the right decision.
    I understand and can relate to many of your reasons, New Wave 40k isn't what I signed up for all those years ago either.

    I wish you well in your future endeavours and thank you for sharing your thoughts and visions with us, you will be missed.

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    1. Thank you! There was a lot I didn't sign up for either, I'd much rather move away before I begin disliking it.

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    2. Necromunda and Inq28 offer a more Rogue Trader feel though, so maybe they might interest you?

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  6. That is a bummer. You've always been one of the best at taking the Blancheian side of the setting and turning it into actual Models. But yeah, like everyone else said, if you're not enjoying it, best to set it aside, at least for a while. I know I've had some pretty substantial hobby hiatuses that I did eventually come back from. I definitely do see your point about the setting getting cleaned up. In a lot of ways, for me, it's not even so much about getting less grimdark as it is about clearing out so many of the dark corners that were previously left as just hints, and the stuff that didn't quite fit, or was sort of awkward, but made it feel all the more real for their flaws, or was just flat out batshit insane. Hope to see you back sometime, but regardless, have a good one,
    - West

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    1. Cleaning up the dark corners, that's it all right! Yeah, I'm hoping this is just going to be a hiatus, it's kinda painful to leave completely behind.

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