The Problem With The Rumor Engine: Editorial

rumor engine

Games Workshop has made enormous strides in its attempts to engage fans of their product but the Rumor Engine has proven an annoying misstep.

Games Workshop has made enormous strides in its attempts to engage fans of their product. The company has embraced social media in a way that would have seemed impossible two years ago, making fans feel like they have an input into the products that GW offer. Many of their initiatives have been inarguable successes – Duncan’s paint tips, their advance previews of upcoming products and their timely responses to correct errant game mechanics through FAQs to name but a few.

One of their more frequent pieces of contenet, however, has proven an annoying misstep. The Rumor Engine.

On December 5th, GW released the following Rumor Engine pic:

Rumor Engine Cape Pic

What could it be? A cape certainly, but a cape belonging to what? To who? To which game? Oh the mystery. Surely a fine piece of marketing that will generate healthy, lasting discussion and interest?

Hardly. At the time of writing the Rumor Engine had upwards of 20 unsolved teasers. I know this because I went back and looked through them all to see which ones had been solved. Did I remember any of them? No, of course not. Because who remembers a spike on a blurry metal bit. “Remember that cape teaser from a few weeks ago? I didn’t sleep for days wondering what it might be” said literally no-one ever.

plastic thunderhawk box

Instead of whipping up fevered interest in future products the Rumor Engine is, instead, reducing potential long term excitement to an annoying momentary distraction. What could be an item so important to someone that their desire infects everyone around them, ensuring elevated future sales, is transformed into a vehicle for online smart-arses to talk about plastic Thunderhawks and Sisters. Instead of putting something into the shop window you have handed it to internet Smarks to use as a stick to beat everyone else with.

Custodes Trajann Valoris

If GW is reading this, I have a solution:

You have made the model. It exists in the universe. It has made the transition from arranged electrical impulses in a designers brain to become a plastic cash cow. So just tell us what it is. It might not be due for release for another year or another quarter but so what? I’m no marketing expert but I suspect knowing for sure that, for example, a new Primarch was months away would generate far greater buzz than knowing that a secret thing will be released at a secret time.

What you have done is create a secret so hidden it is impossible to care about it.  Just tell us already.

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  • Dulahan

    Thank you for posting this.

    I also really freaking hate the name “Rumor Engine” – These aren’t rumors! These are teasers! Rumors do not seem to mean what GW thinks they do!

  • Wayne Molina

    Absolutely agree. I hate their silly approach to rumors “oh I wonder what this is?!” why not give us a damn preview of the 3D render or mockup or whatever of the model, to actually create excitement about upcoming releases. Back in the day they used to show the sculptors (back when they sculpted by hand) working on things and gave sort of a “This is coming soon, stay tuned” approach.

    now it’s all this nonsense.

  • Leo Wentworth

    I think they are petrified that people will copy the model. Maybe there are some obscure copyright laws that if it isn’t released yet you don’t have protection.

    • Mitchell Lord

      There are not. They gained the model the second they created it, and it would be a simple matter to REGISTER it.

  • mark howard

    What utter tosh, the rumour engine is a great thing, it fuels the rumour fires and allows masses of speculation and it’s loads of fun, long may it continue and shame on those who are salty about it.

    • Mitchell Lord

      He’s not saying a rumour engine isn’t bad. The problem is, there are SO little details, that speculation is meaningless. The perfect example? The wounded Space marine teaser…went to nothing less then a PRIMARIS APOTHECARY…which I do not believe was a likely guess.

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