This could be a small part of a larger point but I'll start with a point about Whirlwinds and go on rant my ranty rant.
I just figured out why GW decided to make a new kit rather than give a new rule or change a rule to an existing model. It, like everything else lately seems to be, is about money. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but when you put money ahead of the integrity of the game, that is when I have problems with it.
Case in point is the Whirlwind vs the Stalker/Hunter.
Since rumors of the new Space Marine Codex have circulated, and maybe much before that, there have been further rumors of giving sky fire to Whirlwinds. Seems a very efficient way of updating the SM to 6th and giving them an option for anti-aircraft while preserving the fluff in an Occam's Razor kind of way. This seems reasonable. GW would not have to do anything other than add a line to the Whirlwind's entry. 0.5 seconds of work and then you would increase the sales of whirlwind kits, right?
Wrong. If GW had done this, they would have increases the sales of trades and eBay sales of Whirlwind bits because this kit and the metal kit before it. Yes, they might have sold a few kits but not as many as they would have if they had introduced a new model. The bits trade hurts GW's bottom line and they are going to do everything they can to circumvent it. They have a history of this but with the dollars being tight lately, you are going to see more of this and more extreme
That brings me to my thesis of this article. From now on (or at least they get their act together), you will see GW introduce a new model rather than chance the rules to an existing model. There are multiple examples even in the latest release of the 6th Edition SM Codex.
Before I get to those examples, I want to say that there is nothing inherently evil with wanting to make money. I want GW to make money and take my money. That is how they are going to produce more great products to enjoy. When I take exception is when they put the strategy for making money ahead of making a great product. That calculation will make you money in the short term, but poison you in the long term.
People play GW products because for the last 3 decades the have been committed to being the best fluff, minis, and gaming environment available. where they open themselves up for competition is when they compromise those values. When did GW really start to produce great quality minis like the plastic Stormboys, Sanguinary Guard, or any of the Grey Knights range? About the time that Privateer Press really began to gain headway in the market. They are still rocking the plastic minis (I would go so far as to say that no one is making plastic minis as good as GW), but they are slipping in all the other aspects. Their gaming stores are havens for miscreants, genuinely unfriendly and not generating revenue. They can cost of the 30 yers of great fluff and writing they have generated, but aside from the Horus Heresy novels, their fluff is a little weak of late.
So rather than up their game, GW plans on gaming the game rather than play the damn game. By this I mean they would rather resort to dirty tricks to get us to buy new kits rather than making a superior game and winning on merit. This is a bit of a theme on this blog and my life, but I hate it. Hate it with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. It is going to hurt them in the end. Judging by the gamer makeup at the FLGS and the CLGS, more people are happy playing Warmachine than ever and hardly anyone is playing 40k. Can't say that GW's business practices are not to blame.
A small example of this is seen in the new Tactical Squad box. They had a great opportunity to redesign the foundation box of Space Marines combining the proven cash crop of Pre-Heresy Armor versions of the Space Marine units (even one or two would have been nice). No, they chose to copy and past the units we all have already with very few changes. They could have chosen to mix in all the bits you need to make every kind of tactical squad, but no. They chose to give you a smattering of bits and change virtually none of them.
Here is the thing that really pissed me off. They could have made a combi-bolter bit that fit OVER an existing bolter (much like the crappy "upgrade " pack they released and I ranted against) but they chose to give you one combi-bolter bit that fits one of the variants. What do you think that we are going to do with that? We are going to either mag it so we can switch it out, we are going to force our own combi-weapons or we are going to sell the bits on eBay. Which of those options benefit GW? None is the answer.
The Grav weapons are another sticking point. They have introduced a whole new class of Imperial weapon that has no historical basis only to sell SM kits. You know hat, it would have worked don me. I love how Grav-weapons shake up the game, but I also see why they exist. It is a cheap trick and I do not like it. It is painfully transparent and yet not really commented on widely.
A prime of example of fixing problems with existing models rather than introducing new ones are the Centurions. Now, there is a lot (A LOT) of hate out there for the Centurions and on a variety of subjects, but the problem they represent is not "fixing" (and by that I mean adjusting) the rules for Dreadnoughts (note the correct spelling rather than "Dreadnaughts") or Terminators. why make those units viable again when everyone owns them when you can introduce a new mini that has no basis in the fluff or really reason to exist at all.
Centurions should not exist. SM have an existing hierarchy of armor types from Scout to Dread that is well-established. Centurions are shoehorned into this with no reason or justification. They could have changed the rules for Terminators to fill this gap or even Dreads, but they went this route for no reason. I did not call for help when they ret-conned the Storm Raven, but I did not speak up because I was not a Storm Raven I did not call for help when they ret-conned the Land Speeder Storm, but I did not speak up because I was nay of them. Then they came for me and I went and played Warmachine.
The hate for these units is justified because they represent a problem that is going to bite GW in the ass eventually. If they keep this up they are going to drive away their base. New playes are not their bread and butter. It is the old school gamers taht are going to buy teri minis today, tomorrow and way after that. The new gamers are going to buy the new hotness yes, but then they are going to sell it on eBay. That dows GW not service.
In closing (because I am pretty drunk), GW is making choices that are going to benefit them int he short term only and hurt them in the long term. That not only hurts them but everyone. GW and 40k are not going anywhere anytime soon. Worse case scenario is that they end up selling to PP or another company that will do things right and no loss there. I would rather not see that. What I want is GW to out-compete the other gaming systems on merit rather than sneaky tricks.