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#1 SprainOgre

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 05:32 PM

So, you want me to pay to get a book that you want feedback on, that has a built in obsolesce because of this, so that I can turn around and buy it again in a few months?

 

You want me to pay you for the privilege of giving you feedback?

 

Ugh.

 

I bought Edge. I bought the dice. But I don't know if I'm going to be buying anymore. I really wanted to support this game, hell's bells I'm from the Twin Cities and was really excited to hear that Fantasy Flight got the license. But after getting it? I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed that X-Wing's and Star Destroyer's were missing from EoE. I'm disappointed that the Force was only a hand wave there at all. And now this? I feel like you're trying to take advantage of myself, and the community as well, with how this play test is set up.

 

This feels like a money grab version of what Paizo does for their major Pathfinder releases, and what Wizard's has been doing for 5th edition D&D. Both of those companies give you the play test material for free. I know from experience that the folks on the Paizo board are very responsive to comments, and I remember seeing how Pathfinder changed due to comments. I can't speak for the DnDN play test, but I've heard from others that changes did seem to reflect what was being said online. This though, this look just so far along that the play test is being done to pander, or it's simply the new, trendy, thing to do. Not to mention the cost involved for the players.

 

Either the books are a waste of money because so much will be changed in response to the user feedback (that user's had to pay in order to submit), or the developers basically have everything buttoned up, and are using the play test as an editing/fact checking final polish that they're being payed to have done.

 

Either way, it'd be a waste of my money. Not speaking for others, maybe you don't mind double paying for your books, and paying for the privilege of being used as a play tester, but I don't like it myself.

 

I'm getting to the point, in fact, that I don't know if this whole system is going to end up being a waste of my money.

 

Yes, yes, fellow forum goers. Sour grapes (I'm obviously full, just full of them). What do the developers care about me bitching (I'm just one person, why should FF care about losing my business, and I suppose that is correct, I doubt they'd even notice). If I don't like it, I don't have to play it (obviously). I'm just a nay sayers who hates new things/systems (you're welcome to your opinion of my opinion, go nuts). Etc, etc, etc.

 

But I'm part of the Star Wars community too. And I'm not going to be the only player that feels they're being taken advantage of, or wasting their money, or simply tired of being yanked around by what doesn't feel like a complete Star Wars game. And maybe I am alone in that. But maybe I'm not too.

 

Anyway, that's what I have to say.

Ogre out.

 

Water and Shade all.


Edited by SprainOgre, 03 September 2013 - 05:49 PM.

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Just whistling into the wind...


#2 Yoshiyahu

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 05:46 PM

10/10. Guaranteed replies.

 

Also, you said "neigh" sayers, when you clearly meant "nay" sayers. If you had a beta version of that post for us to buy and read-test, we could have caught that before it made the final version.


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#3 SprainOgre

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 05:49 PM

lol. I choose to release this version free of charge, so that I wouldn't need to double post with corrections. However, I will be correcting that one now, thanks Yoshiyahu for the feedback!


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#4 Emperor Norton

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 05:54 PM

The problem is that FFG doesn't have a license that would allow them to put the playtest materials out there in PDF, which would drive down the cost point for the beta. Compare it to the Dark Heresy beat, which they sell for 20 dollars PDF, but you also get a 20 dollar discount on the pdf of the final book. They can't do that with the Star Wars stuff because the license disallows PDF, which means physical printing, which means money.

That said, its not like you miss out on anything if you don't buy it.

Edited by Emperor Norton, 03 September 2013 - 05:55 PM.

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#5 Yoshiyahu

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 06:05 PM

In all seriousness, there are probably loads of reasons why FFG has decided to go this route with Age of Rebellion. In case you aren't aware, they did it with Edge of the Empire as well.

 

I know that Wizards of the Coast and Paizo release all of their playtest material as PDF's. The way LucasArts has licensed Star Wars to FFG means that they're not allowed to charge money for any PDF's, so that might have something to do with it. Rampant speculation on my part, obviously. Yes, they could release it for free, but it's possible that a free PDF version of otherwise paid content might somehow be a violation. Again, I don't really know. I do know that for me personally, I'd rather have the book than the PDF when sitting around a gaming table. I can't speak for everyone.

 

I also know there's a psychological factor involved. People who pay to join a beta are more likely to submit meaningful feedback because they paid for it, after all. So perhaps FFG is trying to get more targeted feedback.

 

Now if you look at it, it's honestly not that bad of a deal. Most of the rules didn't change all that much from the EotE beta to the actual release, and if you print out the beta updates, any beta book left over after the final book has been released is going to be a comparatively cheap second copy of the core rules.

 

And for some people, it's a way for them to get their hands on an early copy of the rules that they would otherwise be waiting until June(ish) 2014 for. Clearly, no one is forcing anyone to buy it, but it's not really for me to say how FFG wants to run their business, or how people choose to spend their money.

 

At the risk of sounding like an FFG apologist (since we do have a few of those here) I know the stated goal was to release three different, but fully compatible games with each game focusing on a specific area of the Star Wars universe in order to deliver a more focused experience for each person. Rather than buying the core rulebook and a bunch of splatbooks for your individual character concept, in theory one would only need to buy the core rulebook that suits their particular style of play: Scoundrel, Soldier, Jedi. So no, no Jedi or X-Wings in Edge of the Empire because they don't really fit with the setting of Scum and Villainy.™ And while I personally don't mind how FFG's choosing to release these games, I'll be the first to acknowledge that not everyone is happy with it.

 

Obviously, customers are going to vote with their wallets (as you may elect to do) and if enough people do that, FFG will obviously have to reconsider their approach to this particular business model. Something tells me, though, that enough people are willing to pay for the beta that this probably won't happen.

 

Regardless of whether you choose to remain a customer of FFG, I hope you enjoy your Star Wars gaming with the products that you do have.


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#6 SprainOgre

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 06:30 PM

I don't like having to pay them, to do what they're already paying editors to do. If Norton is right and there is a license or contract element to this decision (not able to put out free play test books/materials), fine. I can totally understand that. But don't try to double charge me for each book with what smacks of a "trying to be trendy" play test.

 

While some people might indeed be more likely to leave feedback on a play test they're paying for the privilege to, it would also stand to reason that a free play test would have a larger pool from which feedback could be gained.

 

Also, as for the chance to pay for a rough draft of the rules, that's all well and good. Accept that without this play test, the rules would be out sooner, as they'd just do this last bit of editing in house and much more rapidly.

 

And if the rules didn't change that much from the play test of EoE (I was aware of them doing it then, and was also a bit put out by it, but to see it start to become a pattern has upset me), really means that this is more pandering/trend following/empty gesture than a genuine attempt to get meaningful response on the system and rules.

 

Norton, you're correct. I do not miss out on anything for not buying. But does that means this is just a money grab on FF's part to take advantage of those players who will buy both versions? I'd hope that sort of business model would not be sustainable.

 

If the play tests don't mean anything, don't spend time and resources doing one. Don't waste the time to type set it. Don't waste the resources printing and shipping it. Don't waste the time waiting for feedback that won't be heavily integrated. Spend that time doing a last round of edits and play tests in house, and get the final product out sooner.

 

And I can certainly draw on previous versions of Star Wars rpg's to play in multiple erra's of the Star Wars story already. I was just hoping that this new version would be something cool, since dead game systems can be a drag to maintain.


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#7 Yoshiyahu

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 06:47 PM

But does that means this is just a money grab on FF's part to take advantage of those players who will buy both versions?

 

I would argue that if I as a customer want the product, and I'm willing to pay for it- in addition to the final copy of the rules, then it's not really a money grab so much as it is FFG providing me with a product that I desire. For that matter, I'm sure there are some people who bought the beta and applied the updates rather than paying full price for a copy of the core rulebook. It's just as functional and a lot cheaper.

 

As always, you've got a right as a customer to vote with your wallet. Just understand that you might be in the minority.


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#8 Cilionelle

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 06:48 PM

Hey there.  Whilst I agree with some of your sentiment, my own perspective on it is that it's akin to a Kickstarter, where I support them to the tune of $30 and get an advanced copy of the rules, with a) a soft-cover rulebook that I can use right away with all the basic rules listed and set, thanks to the prior release of Edge of the Empire, and b) access to the new stuff almost a year before it's released.

 

I'm also then able to give feedback on the final form.

 

To me, and obviously you don't (have to) agree, that's worth the $30 investment.  And, if I choose to not buy the final form of Age of Rebellion, I'm only out half the cost of the book, not the full cost.


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#9 SprainOgre

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 07:05 PM

I understand I'm in the minority on this. And it kinda confuses me, but I guess I'm coming at this from a different perspective. I don't know why people would spend $30 to get rules that they know for a fact will not be relevant in a few months, just to get a product early, where if FF was not doing a play test (that seems to have little effect on the final outcome) they'd get the final book, only paying for it once and not once and a half, sooner. If they want to just release a slimmed down version for less, and larger more bells and whistle's version for more, okay, fine. I could get that. I can even maybe understand having the second copy as a back up, so that other players in the group might not need to buy their own copy. But this isn't how it's presented. It's making you pay them to maybe give some feedback, which if the past book is any indication, didn't amount to a whole lot of changes.

 

And the Kickstarter thing is an interesting analogy, but even then I'd be getting the final version of the book, for my (sufficient) donation, not having to pay enough to get a rough copy, and then pay again, even more, for the final. I know I haven't pledged to any Kickstarter like that. Regardless, you're paying twice, once for the not-finished rules, and then full price again for the edited copy of the book they may or may not have any significant changes.

 

Like I said, it smells of a money grab (buying the books twice) and a pandering play test to get in on the trend (the rules didn't really change that much.)

 

I like to get my new splat books too. But I'm able to wait a few months more to get a final version.

 

*shrug* It's a trend I don't like to see. It smells of extorting the community.


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#10 Toqtamish

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 07:23 PM

No one is forcing you to buy it. So don't and wait for the final release next year. Problem solved.
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#11 Emperor Norton

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 07:28 PM

They had already said when AoR was being released (roughly). I doubt the beta is putting off the release date at all. The idea that it would be out sooner if they didn't do the beta is an unfounded assumption with nothing to back it up.

And once again: You don't have to buy it. No one has to buy it. The only people who buy it are the people who decide its worth it. And if its something enough people want, its not FFG ripping anyone off, its providing people with something they WANT.

They aren't withholding anything, they aren't putting anything in the beta book that will be necessary once the main book is out. For everyone who doesn't find it useful: Nothing has changed. Buy your book when the final version comes out. Your experience is in no way different than it would have been had they not done it at all.
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#12 Utsanomiko

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 07:45 PM

As much as us roleplayers have always been traditionally indignant to spending money, I keep seeing this hostility to 'money-grabs' of late that I feel highlights two distinct opinions/inclinations about the publisher:

 

1) The more items the publisher tries to sell, the more 'corporate' or 'bad' they're being and the less they're able to work on non-production-related work. This of course assumes RPGs aren't a niche market struggling to afford producing any of the content the designers/artists produce while waiting for a project to be green-lit in the first place. Jay Little is not being pulled away from developing Jedi careers to pack beta books into shipping crates. 

I would much rather them load shelves of book stores and flippin' Target with rule books books and supplements and accessory cards and let the masses buy into the game than see it languishing at FLGS with one paperback core book with the same old content for five years. 

 

2) The more items they release, the less it will make one willing to buy in the first place. Who cares how good the game is when they're making *optional supplements*, the nerve of them! Better put on the pirate hat and bitterly head to the printer with some water-marked PDFs, because I sure won't support a hobby that tries to be popular!

Well the bottom line is you never had to buy more roeplaying books than what you needed; sometimes you only want some dice and a spiral notebook and that can work (even in Edge of the Empire). Other times you want $60 books full of useful material. Being able to produce more products for us to *optionally* buy at our choice is a good thing and I don't feel cheated  by them not cramming all the careers and ships of three books into one book.

 

Other people here can go into the details about valuable content in the core books and the bonus of getting the AoR rules 8 months early or adding input into a beta we have no entitlement to be part of in the first place, I think it all boils down to the assumption that people wouldn't just spend the same $180 on half a dozen 'core' rulebooks and ship/weapon/adversary/career supplements that were merely divided up in a more traditional format. Personally I think it's being divided up into requiring less books and thus is less of a money grab than it easily could be.



#13 Emperor Norton

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 07:47 PM

Honestly, I can drop 30 dollars on a plate of food. I'll get way more enjoyment out of the beta book than one meal.

If you actually PLAY, RPGs are one of the best money/time ratio investments you can get into.

Just because I might buy the full book next year, doesn't mean I can't get 30 dollars worth of enjoyment out of the beta book between now and then.

Edited by Emperor Norton, 03 September 2013 - 07:48 PM.

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#14 Utsanomiko

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 08:15 PM

I bought the Edge of the Empire beta around November-December last year. I didn't take the opportunity to participate in the open beta, I just wanted to be able to try out and playtest the rules myself for the same of me and my home group.  I printed out the final rules revisions and cut & taped them into the book.

 

We played that beta weekly for about three months, February to April or so (still months before the game came out).  It was glorious and I learned a lot about the kind of games I want to run/play in using the SWRP system.



#15 SprainOgre

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 08:16 PM

Unproved assertion? Well, perhaps. But I think you're looking at this from the wrong angle. It's not like the play test is something they decided to do at the last minute. It was something that was a planned part of the development cycle. The entire length of time to get this book from brainstorming to stores. As a part of that whole cycle, is the play test, and it takes time to do it. So, did it take time to type set the beta copy? Did it take time to get it to and from the printer? Will final edits be delayed while the play test is going? Will they need to edit the master copy and reformat it, thus having to typeset it all over again? If these are all zero time procedures, than you are correct, there is no delay in the entire production cycle that without the play test being a planned part of it would change a thing. That is correct. If, however, these components add time to the entire development cycle, than the final product is not arriving in stores until later than it could be. And considering the comments that there were very few changes between the EoE beta and final release, which I'd agree with having had the opportunity to compare a friends beta version to my final version in the past, this seems to be time frivolously spent, and is costing the consumer an additional $30 if they so choose to be charged.

 

I guessing if other's are willing to shell out $90 for a 244(ish) page supplement, I'm not going to force you not to. I'm just trying to point out that this seems like a shady way to go. And the play test strikes me as pandering, or an empty gesture attempt to be like other game companies that are doing the same. It lacks substance. And since I won't be paying the $30 for a beta copy, as I could buy some movies, or a used video game, or another rpg book that I won't need to replace in less than a year, or save it, or countless other things that have varied long and short term rewards. There is some other opportunity cost for this book, just as with all things that we buy. As for me, I'll just have to wait and see what the final product looks like, and I'll be curious to see if it is substantively different from the beta.

 

Utsanomiko, if you took a look at my game book shelves you'd see I'm happy to buy a supplement for the games I like. So are most of my friends. And while I certainly cannot speak for the entire community, in which I know that piracy is an issue, I think hour presentation of it is narrow. Yes, too many supplement can indeed drive people to the Pirate Bay. But are these inherently lost dollars? If there was not enough money in the budget to buy the book in question, it wouldn't have been bought. Not always the case, not at all, but it is a part of pirating, and should not be dismissed in any genuine analysis of the issue in general.

 

In general, the gamers I know all work within the confines of our budgets, and try to get the books we really want. While we certainly lament what we cannot afford, it's not that the bad ol' game company is giving us too much, it that we don't have the income to keep up. However, flooding the market with books that are built entirely to be replaced might not be the best way to put more supplements out there. I'm sure that FF's warehouse team is very competent, and the creative staff are not needed to assist them. But regardless, a play test like this adds to the overall development time, and I find the value to the final products quality to be suspect.

 

And again, I don't really care about getting into the play test. While it's cool to see and use rules early, whatever. I'm upset at how this play test is being run, and think it would be better to not have it, if this is the option available, as it would mean the final book would get to market sooner.


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#16 mouthymerc

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:14 PM

No AoR won't get to market any sooner, it is due to release next year and always was, and this playtest time has been accounted for just as it was for EotE. Much like EotE had a beta, which ended up with about 12 or so pages of errata and corrections and benefited greatly from it, they have released a beta for AoR. I assume it is a limited release, much like EotE was (about 5000 books), but it could be more this time around. While much of the basic mechanics have been hashed out, new talents, races, equipment and such will benefit from the community getting an early look at it. This will only benefit the game as a whole and you if you purchase the AoR Corebook once released.

 

Do FFG want to make money? Of course they do. Its the best way to stay in business, especially when you buy into a license like Star Wars. Do you have to buy it? As others have already said, no you don't. No arm-twisting or deviousness here. FFG has been totally upfront and clear on what they are doing, unlike, say, WotC and their 3.0/3.5 fiasco. FFG is releasing three Core rulebooks, each focusing on different aspects of the Star Wars universe and coming out one year after the other (2013-15), but all of which can be combined if you so choose. You can just wait for those, or you can buy into the betas and get early access to those rulesets.

 

And as already noted, FFG's contract, like WotC's, precludes PDFs except those that are free and supplemental in form (like the free adventure Long Arm of the Hutt). So a pdf of the rules is definitely not happening at cost or for free.

 

How is it shady or pandering if people are very happy to purchase this? Its not like we're being fooled into thinking this is the actual release. We're buying this fully aware of what it is, a beta.


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#17 Ddogwood

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:15 PM

Does anyone honestly think that the Star Wars license is CHEAP? They have to milk it for every penny in order to make it worthwhile for them to sell Star Wars games at ALL.
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#18 Utsanomiko

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:32 PM

Why would a delay in type-setting and printing the beta rules into a half-sized copy cause a delay in printing the revised version eight months later? They are not printing the final book right now. The people working on the book right now are not the same people who will be working on it in Spring 2014; those developers will be well into the next book due out a year later.

 

I'd say it's disingenuous to paint the changes from Beta to final as 'very few'; there were only a few modifications to stats, naming conventions and extra/optional rules here and there between the Final Week and the hardcover six months later, but I'd say the fourteen pages of revisions during the Beta are pretty substantial. Whole talents and weapon mods were added and subtracted, a skill was removed, Humans and Droids were greatly reworked. Stats flipped around. Fourteen pages of tiny text revisions. I may not have posted but I read up on the discussions.

 

And the beta is paying for itself. That's why they're charging for it. Even if they don't take much playing input into account, the development of the beta is tied into the development of the final book. Even if few are bought it's not like they poured their time into developing "The Ewoks Cartoon Sourcebook".

 

The notion of '$90 for a 244(ish) page supplement' is a rather unfair depiction, as well. My point here is this is all about an appeal to emotion for the relative perception that it 'feels like a money grab', based on the assumption of why one would buy this book. It's not a supplement. Neither is the format of the final book. It's an early release designed for player input. Considering the restrictions from Lucasfilm and the timeframe until the final publication, Many think it's a fair trade.

 

A supplement would be like Enter The Unknown, the option book for Explorers coming at the end of the year. It's is a book that depends upon another book to use that you bought because the first book doesn't have all the possible relevant options. Or it may have extra rules, which would more frustratingly make it resemble an actual money grab (except some people don't seem to notice when it's divvied out like that). A flood of actual supplements risks dividing the market amongst too many optional items and potentially waste development time that could have gone to core products. Like Core rule books and developing them from beta to final product.

 

 

The bottom line is plenty of people don't want to buy the beta book. They have various reasons and that's ok. you can feel it's a con all you want but that's not a convincing appeal.



#19 TCBC Freak

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:46 PM

As much as us roleplayers have always been traditionally indignant to spending money, I keep seeing this hostility to 'money-grabs' of late that I feel highlights two distinct opinions/inclinations about the publisher:

 

1) The more items the publisher tries to sell, the more 'corporate' or 'bad' they're being and the less they're able to work on non-production-related work. This of course assumes RPGs aren't a niche market struggling to afford producing any of the content the designers/artists produce while waiting for a project to be green-lit in the first place. Jay Little is not being pulled away from developing Jedi careers to pack beta books into shipping crates. 

I would much rather them load shelves of book stores and flippin' Target with rule books books and supplements and accessory cards and let the masses buy into the game than see it languishing at FLGS with one paperback core book with the same old content for five years. 

 

2) The more items they release, the less it will make one willing to buy in the first place. Who cares how good the game is when they're making *optional supplements*, the nerve of them! Better put on the pirate hat and bitterly head to the printer with some water-marked PDFs, because I sure won't support a hobby that tries to be popular!

 

Well the bottom line is you never had to buy more roeplaying books than what you needed; sometimes you only want some dice and a spiral notebook and that can work (even in Edge of the Empire). Other times you want $60 books full of useful material. Being able to produce more products for us to *optionally* buy at our choice is a good thing and I don't feel cheated  by them not cramming all the careers and ships of three books into one book.

 

Other people here can go into the details about valuable content in the core books and the bonus of getting the AoR rules 8 months early or adding input into a beta we have no entitlement to be part of in the first place, I think it all boils down to the assumption that people wouldn't just spend the same $180 on half a dozen 'core' rulebooks and ship/weapon/adversary/career supplements that were merely divided up in a more traditional format. Personally I think it's being divided up into requiring less books and thus is less of a money grab than it easily could be.

 

I agree with you.


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#20 TCBC Freak

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:54 PM

It's also kind of like saying that because FFG put out Deathwatch, that making Only War was a money grab. Wasn't Dark Heresy really just a beta for Rogue Trader and then Rogue Trader just a Beta for Deathwatch which was, in fact, a beta for Only War since Only War really is the perfected (IMO) version of the d10 rules built for Dark Heresy all those years ago?


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