In the wide world of 40k content creators, there’s typically a constant battle to decide who to spend our precious non-gaming hours when it comes to gaming commentary. That is, until last year. The last year has dramatically increased the amount of time we spend with digital content, making it realistically possible for me to actually burn through the usually content I take in, so I’ve been on every medium I can think of trying to find a distraction. While working on new Hear Me Out content, trying to get to GT’s and hunting hungrily for more content, it was recommended that I look into an app the kids are using called “Tik Tok.” Since then I’ve been on a long ride of of endless swiping, drawn into an almost zombie-like trance. So much content. Then like a ray of sunshine, I discovered the channel of a peppy gentleman by the name of Hammer, Weshammer.
What drew me into his content was the amount of energy and passion he put into making our beloved hobby approachable. His channel was full of friendly, inclusive, and clearly well researched content. I saw a part of the community that I haven’t given enough attention to: The fluff heads and the people who are truly passionate about the game setting. On his channel WesHammer approached the game itself with a level-headed, potentially more casual view point that I found incredibly endearing. After hooking me with his peppy attitude, approachable view of the game, and willingness to invite others to the hobby, I still wanted more. Community builders in 40k are treasured individuals, and growing the hobby benefits everyone. I wanted to know more and help promote great content. I’d eventually end up stumbling onto more stuff, but before we go into that, I figured I’d reach and talk to the man himself.
Gunum: Hello there! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions and hang out with me. Any time I can talk about 40k with new initiates or up-and-comers in the hobby, a small part of my need to extend the game to new players is fulfilled. I think some introductions are in order before we get started. Would you please fill us in on who you are, how long you have been making digital content, and any projects you are currently working on in the 40k world?
Hey there, my friend! My name is Wes, and I go by WesHammer on TikTok!
I actually started making Warhammer content there back in October, and since then, my account has absolutely exploded to 318,000 followers as of the time of writing this!
Currently, I make Warhammer lore videos in a minute, and I post them exclusively on TikTok, where I take the somewhat complicated and high barrier of entry into the fiction of this universe and make it easily accessible to everyone! even if they don’t know the first thing about Warhammer!
Since you have started this adventure into the wargaming content creation space, what are some stand-out things you’ve encountered? The cost, the game itself, the lore?
So I have been an enormous and somewhat obsessive fan of Warhammer since the early 2000s, so the price is something I am definitely accustomed to. However, I just started diving into the lore about four or five years ago, and now a day doesn’t go by where I’m not reading something new about this amazing universe! I would read the codexs back in the day, don’t get me wrong, but I think in the last 2 years, I’ve read something like 85-90 Warhammer novels. I am obsessed!!
Now, you have been at this for a little while; from what I’ve seen, have there been any negatives that you didn’t expect getting into it?
There have definitely been some negatives, but the pros vastly outweigh them. This has been an amazing journey, and I feel like it’s only beginning.Most of the problems come from the limitations of the platform itself. The Creator fund really doesn’t pay you anything (roughly 2 cents per 1000 views), and there aren’t many opportunities to monetize your content on TikTok. So you can’t get into it for the money. Additionally, Tik Tok tends to play favoritism with its features. Doling out important innovations to only their top 5% of creators while the rest of us have to wait months or sometimes years to benefit from those features as well. For example, closed captions have been on the platform for a while now, but I’ve recently started implementing them. same with 3-minute videos or uploading a post in HD, and I still can’t make playlistsAdditionally, although 99.9% of my followers have been unbelievably supportive, now and then, you get one of those GateKeeper basement-dwelling types that come in to cause problems in the comment sections. As an LGBT member myself, my whole purpose is to foster an inclusive environment and show how wonderful this community can be. so I do not tolerate that.
Has the TikTok space been an easy one to explore?
TikTok is a tricky beast. It’s a relatively young platform that doesn’t work how we are used to content platforms working. So there were many hurdles to overcome in making engaging content that the algorithm was generous to.
Additionally, because of how the algorithm works, my content is primarily going to people who have never heard of Warhammer.
Unlike on YouTube, where most of the views you get on a piece of Warhammer content are from people already invested in Warhammer, videos on TikTok have to appeal to a wider audience for the algorithm to eventually push it to people who actually know what Warhammer even is.
So the goal with my content is to take complicated topics and boil them down into their simplest form so anyone can appreciate them, whether you’re a veteran or have never heard of Warhammer until this moment!
You’ve made mention of your partner from time to time; which one of you is the better 40k player?
Well, that’s a tricky conversation to have! I would say he’s better than me, but he would insist that I’m better than him. I think I’m currently a little better, but that’s just because I’ve had more free time to play games recently against our friends, so I have more experience in the 9th edition. But he still hands me an L anytime we switch back to older games like battlefleet Gothic.
Have you guys started to implement any house rules?
Actually, yeah, we have. If somebody in our group’s army is a little overpowered or underpowered, we sometimes make slight adjustments. For example, currently, Thousand Sons are one of the lowest ranking armies in the game because Games Workshop (in all their infinite wisdom) decided to take away their “always smite on 5s” ability without giving them anything to make up for it. So our group of about 15 people has decided that that’s dumb, and a Thousand Sons players can always smite on fives until their New codex comes out. We still haven’t figured out a balanced way to make knights viable, but we were working on it!
Have you had any unexpected opportunities or revelations since you’ve started working on your platforms?
This interview for one thing! But I’ve also been invited on a couple of podcasts, and I make it known that if anybody wants to do any form of collaboration with me, I’m on board! My dream is to one day get the attention of the long war crew and do something with them, so fingers crossed for that!
Additionally, the overwhelming amount of support I’ve gotten from my fans has been absolutely unreal. I still don’t even really know how to process it. So I want to give back to them by forming a YouTube channel, a twitch stream, and a bunch of other stuff!
It seems like you have been a part of the community for a long time but may not have been making content. What was the driving force for you to start striking out into the wilderness of content?
Well, there’s a couple of reasons. The first was that I graduated with my degree in advertising right into the pandemic, so nobody was hiring. Second, I had a ton of experience making engaging content, but nobody wanted to give me a chance, so I struck out to make content on my terms.
I turned to Warhammer because of how depressing it was not to talk to everyone at my local store about Warhammer. All the shops had been forced closed due to the pandemic, so this started as an outlet to talk to other Warhammer nerds and then morphed into something I could potentially put on a resume. As the follower number kept skyrocketing, I eventually realized that content creation might actually be a worthwhile pursuit as a full-time career!. That revelation came to me about 4 days ago, so I’m still early in the process!
Take us through a typical day or week of making content for TikTok. Any pitfalls, maybe things you find unique to short clips?
You know, honestly, I’m still figuring that out every day! And the process is always shifting. Currently, I wake up in the morning and start scrolling through comments looking for ideas on new lore videos. Then I put on a pot of coffee, set up all of my lights, and get to work on cranking out videos. Normally I’ll try to get one or two videos made each day, and recently, I’ve been incorporating a 1 to 2 hour live 3 times a week that functions as a Q&A for my fans. But I play it pretty fast and loose with my schedule.
What are some resources you’ve used to learn how to play?
You guys at Goonhammer have been my number one resource for picking up on how to play an army! I have your Drukhari review bookmarked right now, and I am studying it like crazy to figure out how to make these guys work!
Additionally, I would use 40kstats.com, battle reports on YouTube, and 1d4chan, although I don’t think they are around anymore.
Have you looked into the ITC or any of the competitive forums yet?
I have followed it off and on for the last couple of years, but I’ve never competed in ITC myself. I was hoping to change that very soon! I used to compete in local tournaments when I was 14 but haven’t really dived into them since. I normally prefer the wackiness that my friend group brings to the game to hardcore tournament play.
Okay, so we’ve talked a lot about your content at this point; where can our readers find you besides on their phones?
So the bulk of my content is currently posted on TikTok @Weshammer, which you can also watch on a computer!
I also have a budding inclusive community for all ages over on my discord
Hell yeah! Any final words for our readers?
First, I want to thank you for this opportunity and everyone in this community who has been so supportive! You guys are amazing! And if you are a fan of easy-to-follow Warhammer lore, come check out my content @weshammer.I make more videos for newcomers and present them in a fun, energetic way; most of my fans tell me they send my videos to their friends to try to get them into Warhammer, and I’ve been told they have been pretty successful using that tactic!