Okay, so as everybody here likely knows by now, FFG announced a new release on May 4th, “Heroes of the Resistance”, which included a YT-1300, a T-70 X-Wing, both re-painted as well as new pilots, updated pilots and new titles for both and a fresh batch of upgrades. The community, which is usually excited for such releases, immediately went up in arms, with almost everyone simultaneously getting a focus token, two stress tokens, and being able to re-roll attack dice.
The main complaints, at least on the FFG forum leaned towards “rebel favouritism”, and the release not being a new ship, Rey’s pilot skill of 8, or players being upset over two solid ships receiving a buff while several of the weaker ships remained outside the meta. Now, I’m not here to debate what ships are power level of certain ships, or if Rey is a Mary Sue type character, as those are issues for a different post. I’m here to explain why I believe FFG is likely doing what’s good for the game.
First off, let me say this: most X-Wing players are not number crunching, regular tournament players who keep up with an established meta game. Most players are happy playing on the kitchen table with a few friends who will fly Lando in the falcon with Nien Nub on board, not because its a good combo, but because its thematic, and adds to the immersion. Such players will care little for a Scyk becoming good enough to take in a tournament, or for a T-65 “fix”. They’re happy playing X-Wings and Tie Fighters because those are the ships they’re familiar with.
Simply put: most players are drawn to this game, at least at the start, due to the Star Wars theme, and want to begin playing with ships they know. Imagine your average fan, where they see the core sets surrounded by Star Vipers, Phantoms, K-Wings, E-Wings, Decimators and Scyks. What are these to most fans? Unknown mostly.
Now imagine the same fan seeing the ships from the movies: A-Wings, TIE Bombers and the like. The T-70 and the Falcon are clearly recognizable, and simply for the game’s community to stay healthy, we need new players to replace the ones who leave. Sure, they may grow to love these ships when they find them later, but to start they need someone they recognize. They know Rey. Is she a perfect character who everyone likes? No, of course not. But at least everyone who’d want to plays knows she’s in Star Wars.
I’m not saying that game balance and boosting ships that are seen as weaker shouldn’t be a priority, because it absolutely should. Yes, I agree that most of scum’s small ships could use a boost. I agree that the T-65 is disappointing from a competitive point of view. I agree that the triple scout build should be countered. FFG has correctly fixed underpowered ships in the past (the TIE advanced comes to mind), and I’m sure they will get around to some of the later stuff. I play in tournaments to, and I love when FFG does something to help one up the meta game. My point in this article is creating an environment where only competitive players are happy will be terrible for the game in the long run.
The great community welcoming of all players, from newbies to hardened vets is of one of my favourite parts of the game, and one that other players love to. If we want to keep the game that way, some releases geared towards the more general public will have to happen. Plus, you might even find a few upgrade in there to add to a tournament list.
May the force be with you, pilot.