Monday, March 6th, marks the first day of Community Integrated Development for WARMACHINE & HORDES. So, today I wanted to take some time to talk about expectations. Both what you can expect if you decide to jump into CID and what will be expected from everyone who chooses to participate in terms of good and useful testing feedback.
First things first, the registration system for the CID forums is live today, but the forums themselves are not yet live. You can go to the CID Forums and register to participate once the full process begins on Monday. Since this system is part of our development process, we are not treating the new forum the same as we treat a standard community. The first thing you will notice is different is registration on this forum has an extra step of manual approval.
I’m mentioning that for two reasons. First, we don’t want anyone to worry that something is wrong if they do not get a confirmation email about their registration right away. We’ll be processing them as quickly as possible, but I encourage everyone to register now so that they will be ready to go on Monday. More important, I want to reiterate how seriously we are treating this process. For this first CID cycle, everyone who registers will be approved to participate. In the future, however, this manual approval process will allow us to ensure that the CID forums remain constructive and positive for both the process and all involved in the process.
When you register, read the Terms of Service agreement very closely. You will notice the TOS for the CID forums is strict. That is because we want to get the maximum amount of constructive feedback while minimizing as much distraction as possible. To guide you through this process, we’ve put together a document about playtesting and CID that you can find here. I’ll summarize a few of the most important aspects of it now, but please read it thoroughly nonetheless.
The biggest stumbling blocks to good playtesting are Faction bias and too much theorizing. For this first cycle, which focuses on Grymkin: The Wicked Harvest, Faction bias will be easier to avoid; however, in the future, when models you have a strong feeling about are being tested, it will be important to remain objective. Always consider when providing feedback what it will feel like to play with and against a model and not just what it will be like from your perspective as a player of a certain Faction.
Too much theorizing is an easier hurdle to overcome. All it requires is playing games. We’re not completely ignoring feedback in the form of theory, but we will make feedback based on actual in-game experience a priority. Because getting time on the table with new models is one of the most important parts of playtesting.
Once you have your models on the table, there are a few points about that process I want to call out, too.
Playtesting is not about crushing your opponent. Winning a playtest game should never be your goal, especially if it comes at the cost of not fully testing a model. The two people participating in a playtest game should be working together to get the most feedback possible about the models being tested. One example of this is rewinding the state of the game. If you realize partway through a turn that a rule has been forgotten or that there was a better activation for a model, rewind the game as much as possible to that point, and see what else was possible. Similarly, if one player sees an assassination but various new models have not been fully tested, discuss if there was different positioning for the assassination target that would have prevented the possibility. Another useful tool for working together is switching armies. After playing through a test game, if there is time, switch sides. This can give you valuable perspective. If both players disagree on the power level of a new model, changing perspectives on that model can help further both players’ understanding of it.
The linked document doesn’t only talk about playtest, though. It also provides advice on participating in the process. We will be striving to build a community on the CID forums that respects others’ opinions and communicates with clarity and thoughtfulness. Remember, we are not some giant faceless corporation, nor are the people on the other side of the argument ephemeral forum names. We are all—every one of us—thinking, feeling human beings with a passion for what we do, and we love seeing that passion reflected in the players of our games. However, sometimes that passion can fuel hyperbole and hasty statements. When interacting with other members of the playtest community, please remember that we are all trying to make WARMACHINE & HORDES the best games they can be.
To close, I want to also assure you that this is not all of the guidance we will be giving you. Privateer Press staff, especially the development department, will be active on the CID. forums. We will provide model descriptions that include the look of the model but also the place it should occupy in the game. We’ll participate in some of the conversations on the forums as well, but one last word of warning: access to staff is not a way to complain loudly until you see the changes you want. As we’ve stated, when new models that could impact the state of older models are being tested, those older models will often be included in the cycle. We will be very interested in constructive feedback about those models, but CID will not be a venue for open submissions about models individual players want to see addressed.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone for participating and welcome you all to a brave new world.