Tuesday 20 June 2023

What GW should do - #ArmiesOnParade2023

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity I've been taking part in #ArmiesOnParade since 2013 and I would argue I'm its BIGGEST FAN! Sure, I haven't won any of the national [or internationally] recognised prizes, or even spend as many hours on my Parade as those that do. But, as I've said countless times, the prizes and competition are not what I believe is the spirit of Parade Day and as far as I'm concerned no one is pushing the open and inclusivity of the biggest hobby event in the world as much as I do.

I usually don't like to be egotistical like that, but the facts support it. I'd say around 50% of the latest tweets about #AoP are mine and these aren't tweets about what I'm doing, these are mostly my recent campaign to have the official Armies on Parade Website updated. This isn't about just me, it's about everyone taking part. Everyone understanding the rules of the event, few as they are, and also showcasing the very best of what can be done but also celebrating as many entries as possible to make it clear - 

if you have an army - you can parade

Of course, I understand that keeping a website updated requires resources and this 'external' page predates www.warhammer-community.com which is where they want to receive most of their traffic and presumably have the most resource to keep up-to-date. In fact they've mentioned the continuing challenges and bi-monthly categories in various posts for the last few years. It's not that there isn't support for #AoP it just feels like the forgotten official page undermines their push to make it more of a year long event. Put it this way, if you google 'Armies On parade' the official site is 2nd in the result. If you google 'Armies on parade 2023' it's 11th, on page 2.

Now the simplest thing to do is to just take down the site - no resource needed, no out-dated information or stench of neglect. But that's the last thing I, or anyone else who is passionate about AoP [c'mon, own up] should want. There is so much good content on there. As mentioned, past winners, community posts from various store parades around the world, staff entries from the likes of Eddie Eccles, Chris Peach, Dan Harden and one of my favourites [for pure simplicity] John Bracken. But there are showcases of the very best as well as guides to help you prepare your own board. The site is full of great ideas and great examples to share with the hobby community.

At the very least the website just needs it's Terms & Conditions updated, y'know, the legal stuff that people can hold GW to account with when they do focus on the competitive aspect! On top of that maybe update the FAQ's. It doesn't look good when it's still showing an Armies On Parade 2020 banner. And lastly, add in the new bi-monthly painting challenges and quarterly challenge pin info. Maybe even mention the new Leviathan box competition category to remind people that their efforts in painting #New40k can be shared with the world at the end of the year. I mean Leviathan has it's own satellite warhammer40000.com website, so it's not like they can't dedicate resource when they want to.

In an ideal world you'd use the official site to showcase the 1,000s of entries sent through each year to the online competition, or shared on social media for various store parades. These don't have to be the winners but acknowledge as many hobbyists contribution as they can. Not everyone wins an Armies on Parade gold badge, but everyone who participates and paints an army is a winner and the official site should be where that's celebrated as much as possible. And I guarantee anyone who is featured on the 'official' website will feel just as happy as if they won a medal on Parade Day. So little effort to achieve so much hobby joy worldwide. They could even add in the various AoP themed videos from YouTube to get more views on these clips.

I'm not sure there's much appetite for any of these suggestions, understandably there are bigger events and releases coming but I really hope someone takes the time to make the official page feel official again. For those that love this event it's a tragic waste. It would only take about 30 minutes to do the bare minimum fix, but if they really committed to it it would be an amazing hub and global showcase for what is the biggest and best advert for the hobby there is.

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