Sorry, Farseer - my initial response was a little belligerent.
You say it's more of a nostalgic element to my feelings, and yes - upon more thought, I reckon that is the case.
As much as I enjoy the progress the likes of 'Eavy Metal has made, I do feel that they have lost something in their bid to increase the realism of the appearance of models, etc.
I'm going to be really vague and cite a cartoon I used to watch when I was about 3 - Animals of Farthing Wood. It has a charm about it (even now) that is lost in more modern CGI cartoons. Which, although visually more up to date and modern, just lack that 'thing', something I cannot word.
I feel GW has done the same, somewhere in the mid-00's, they lost that part of themselves. And I honestly cannot word what it is. So I will settle with your suggestion that it is my nostalgia.
sorry again for the short answer before, dude!
Don't worry, as I recall you had another member to answer as well so I understand the brevity!
Thank you for your response, and I'm glad you can admit it's nostalgia. I'm not saying that's a bad thing at all - I'm certainly not able to look at things purely objectively (hence preferring puppet Yoda to CGI ball of plasma Yoda!).
My issue is with people who say, purely objectively (and they make a point of professing their impartiality) that GW has got substantially worse, with all elements of nostalgia and that "thing" (and I do understand what you mean by that) set aside. They try and dress opinion as fact. After all, at the end of the day everybody has their own preference, and if they feel GW has lost something then nobody can (or should) tell them otherwise. The reason I pressed for a concrete answer is because I have yet to find a purely objective, impartial "worsening" of GW. People confuse this with personal preference too often from what I've seen (which admittedly is limited).
But then I suppose a subject so broad as the highly diverse output of a company in an exciting, innovative industry is hardly ever going to have an objective answer either way, so perhaps my question was foolish!
As for that "thing", could it be explained by the dehumanisation of GW? As it has grown it has thrown off its humbler past, and the face of individuals is more subsumed by the corporate whole. Now it has to really push sales rather than tactical articles or modelling tutorials, or just columns to chat about the hobby, in White Dwarf. It feels less like something we're all involved in with GW, and more like something GW is selling us. The business has grown larger and larger - the difference between a school play where you know the lead role, and seeing something at the West End where even the stage-hands could outstrip everyone in that school play you fondly remember. Or the difference between a live performance and a CD, where live the audience is part of the experience, the performers give something extra, something different for that particular audience, and everybody knows how hard the music is and how much pressure is on the lead soloist not just to play it correctly, but beautifully - whereas the CD is probably the result of a hundred retakes, each little embellishment well-planned out in advance, and no human face for the listener to latch on to. Maybe these examples are over the top, or even irrelevant, but that's how I personally feel GW has lost that "thing" that many people either skirt around or directly cite but fail to describe - it became too successful.
And, in part, surely that's our fault? The reason they don't create all this content aimed at the player-base is because we make our own: you need only google "Space Marine tactics" to see what I mean. Indeed, the "hobby" side is over saturated by our own content as the industry grew - GW can't afford to spend valuable resources, especially in today's economic climate, on something that is made for free by the players already. Their name is big enough that they can't produce those more "human" columns - they can't afford you to know the main actor (to borrow from my earlier analogy). All that's left for them to do is exactly what we cannot - the production of models, and assorted supporting merchandise, to let us play the games. That's where their money goes, and that's where their money comes from. Because they were so popular with us, the playerbase, they had to change to support this wider audience - staying the same would've led to a drop in demand after it is continually not met, and expanding with the same character would've been unsustainable. We commercialised GW because we liked it too much.
(Just a mad theory!)