Insider 4/16/2010 - DC

Early last fall, I began meeting with other Privateer staff to discuss the league system for 2010. We knew we wanted to take things in a fresh direction that allowed us to explore more story elements of the Iron Kingdoms, and we also had quite a bit of feedback from past leagues that would factor in to the various decisions we made on our new direction.

Towards the very beginning of the process, we decided one thing for certain based on the feedback of our players and event organizers: we wanted to more clearly differentiate our two organized play elements. Tournaments such as Steamroller, Hardcore, and book-release events would promote competitive play and give players numerous opportunities to win prizes like coins and medals. Leagues such as Shattered Grounds and Summer Rampage would instead promote community play with a very participation-oriented system and less incentive to aim for the utter destruction of one’s opponents.

Some players have disagreed with this competition/community split, but many have been really receptive to this change. PG_Stevo from Iowa really captured the essence of our philosophy on the subject in a recent forum post:

The point of the league is two-fold. One, it promotes the game in your area. That is vital. Potential players who see a group playing are more inclined to become involved in the game. The league is designed so that if you enter it late, or if you have a run of bad luck early on, you still have the opportunity to win the league. That's why the points are set up they way they are. It's intentionally easy to get a few games in and suddenly be in contention for the top spot.

Two, the league shows potential players that the game itself isn't a cutthroat enterprise. The game is very complex. For a potential player to become involved with Warmachine and/or Hordes, they have to be willing to learn the rules, and they have to be comfortable with the environment in which the game is played. The league isn't the be-all and end-all of Warmachine/Hordes. The league is an excellent starting point for new players, and it allows experienced players a chance to explore the background of their factions and the motivations behind the armies they play. It allows experienced Steamroller players the chance to decompress and play models that they might not in a more competitive setting. You know, for fun.

Thanks, Stevo. And thanks to all the players out there who support our various formats, be they competition-oriented, community-oriented, or both. As noted, the communities that support our games are the lifeblood of those games, and leagues such as Shattered Grounds are a great way to build up those communities and draw in new players.