I hate to do two GW hating articles in a row, but they're the ones that do stupid things that warrant such articles from people like me who call them on their stupid things in the hopes that one day they will stop doing them, making their fans infinitely happier, putting guys like me out of business and never forcing me to write the longest run-on sentence in history. Whew that was kind of fun actually.
OK, so as I said we've had a major release now about every 4-5 weeks for the last 5 months. On the surface this seems good for everyone...we get new stuff to play with...people who play said armies get their updates and GW is likely going to post a banner Q1 and Q2 this year. There are still some armies that are VERY old and as usual should have gotten an update long before a few others (Don't worry Wood Elves and Black Templar, I know you still exist...GW just doesn't) but generally this is good for the gaming community.
Well...except for the parts where it isn't. Tau came out in early April and many retail establishments had to wait weeks before they got the stock they ordered in advance (not far in advance since the official release schedule is still a secret guarded on par with nuclear launch codes in a Cold War movie, but whatever). This means players didn't get the new models or even the new rules for their army for weeks. This just plain sucks. Maybe they underestimated the Tau. The good thing is they know that this can happen and can try to have more product ready for the next release...
Oh wait, the same thing happened to High Elves. It wasn't in the same scale of the Tau, but there were people that did not have their products in-hand the weekend of the release. Now there are rumors that we'll be seeing Tau level or worse shortages this week for the Eldar. Cone on GW. This is something I'd expect from a smaller manufacturer. If Spartan Games announces a shortage of some new release of theirs I'd understand it, but you guys are the Juggernaut in this industry so what's going on over there in Sherwood Forest this year?
I personally think they decided for whatever reason (theories exist, but I won't address them here...this is going to be long enough) to speed up production and now they're paying for this decision. I just don't think they can handle this new pace. In the old days they had a good chunk of time after a release where they can concentrate extra resources to the next release. Now because of their new speed, they just can't do this. It's always crunch time. The Eldar that are coming out this week had to be rushed to be finished right alongside the High Elves and probably the tail end of the Tau run, too. If you guys can't handle this speed and will continue to screw up releases then by all means slow down. I'd rather wait an extra month for a release then watch the lucky ones that got their stuff on time enjoy it while I wait for the Skycutter Chariot wing its way across the globe to deliver something that should have been here the week BEFORE the release.
So you've read my rantings this far. Good for you! As a reward I offer the solution. As I always say, I'll never hold a position of power because I have common sense but I do have a solution. Are you ready? STOP KEEPING THE RELEASE SCHEDULE A DAMN SECRET! There...that wasn't so hard was it? For a while now GW's pre-release window has been a whopping 7 days. That's right SEVEN DAYS. How long before a movie comes out do you start seeing trailers on tv? The internet? Answer: a hell of a lot longer then seven goddamn days. The Eldar drop this weekend...Monday We should know and be able to pre-order August's release (since July's should have been known for weeks now).
How, you may ask does this solve the problem? Well its simple. If in 3 weeks there is a very large pre-order list for that release, you can step-up production with time to spare. Beyond that if you see that 60% of the pre-orders are coming from Europe and only 10% from North America then you know where the bulk of the initial release shipments should go to. Doesn't that make sense? Of course it does which is why you will never do it, but hey whatever. I'm just some guy from Jersey trying to save the games I love from the company that seems hell-bent on destroying itself.