New 40K – whats the fuss?

I thought in light of the preorder going live tomorrow for 40K, I’d put up a blog post to hopefully foster some common understanding of why the reactions to the new edition of 40K vary so much.  The Warhammer Community has been fantastic, but their posts are focussed around nothing but the positives, can’t take into account the unofficial leaks, and don’t address some of the feelings around the news.

I’m going to look at some of the positions people have taken, and honestly, there is no 100% right or wrong.  A tiny change for one person can entirely break the game for someone else!

Although I don’t like generalising too much, there are a few main positions:

  1. New 40K is going to be the BEST 40K EVAHHHHH!
  2. I like the rules stuff I hear, but some of the leaked lists really worry me.
  3. I like the rules stuff I hear, but some of the fluff changes really worry me.
  4. I really don’t like some of the rule changes, but I’ll give it a go.
  5. I hate it all!  I will burn my models!
  6. Why the hell are we talking about 8th edition and not playing the best version, the original Rogue Trader?

Your gaming situation

Before I get into each of the positions, and why maybe we should be a bit more patient with people taking them, I think its worth a quick talk about what edition changes in general do mean to some people.  The type of gaming you do really scales the level of impact an edition change has.

I play mostly with close friends.  If I don’t like a new version of a game, my friends probably won’t like it either, and we’ll just play the old version.  If its generally good with a glitch or two, we’ll happily house rule stuff.  I can watch a new edition come in and  it doesn’t particularly concern me too much.  I don’t tend to go to tournaments, or play pick up games in store.  I play how I like to play.

Not everyone has this luxury.  If I don’t have any mates nearby who like to play, I have to play in store or at tournaments.  That means, yes, if you want to play at all, you have to play the current version of the game, or you walk away from playing entirely, and the latter options means all the time and money you poured into your hobby may as well have been thrown away.  It also means any recent purchases based on the last version might now be rubbish, and that tends to be more of an issue with strangers in tournaments than rocking up to a fluffy game with someone you’ve known for 20 years.  They genuinely are going to feel they’ve lost something they value, and it makes taking advice like “Just wait and see” a lot harder.

Most people are somewhere in the middle – they play mostly with a group of mates or at a club, but play the odd game in store or with new club members and attend a few tournaments.  They’re more emotionally invested in the new version than someone who just plays with mates, but its not going to be a total nuke to their hobby if they don’t want to play it either.

Your personal situation

Beyond the way you’re involved in a game, people’s personal situations also play a part in how seriously they react to a major change.  If you are moving to a new area, or heading off to uni, dealing with a hobby change at the same time is far harder than it is for someone in a settled job and home.  

If someone sounds like a whiny kid complaining about changes … well, they might be actually be a kid dealing with massive physical changes, trying to keep up with enormous amounts of new information at school, and now trying to absorb huge changes to their hobby as well, without decades of experience in social interaction that buffers the longer term members of the gaming community.  That doesn’t make it right for them to be an arse, but it certainly can explain it.

Others suffer from physical or mental conditions that make dealing with change harder.  The fixed ruleset means that some people with conditions like autism can sometimes use the system as a framework to interact with others, but they are uniquely placed to find this sort of edition change difficult.

On the other side of a social media screen in particular, you don’t necessarily know the person posting their complaints.  Rather than jump to the conclusion it’s someone whining for the sake of it, either respond with positive enthusiasm, or simply don’t engage.  You aren’t obligated to buy into someone else issue.

New 40K will be awesome.  No worries, No doubt.

I’m a bit of a sceptical chap in life generally, so I struggle a bit with this point of view, to be honest.  There’s nothing wrong with being hopeful and positive, of course!    I certainly hope 40K is awesome.  But some people have taken the stance that it definitely is, even before seeing the rules.  

That’s cool.  I think everyone to some degree expected a blend of the older 5-7th era rules with the new AoS model, and people who liked AoS and liked the older 40K are generally in pretty safe territory here!

There’s also the fact that frankly the current models are some of the best ever in many ways (Grognards may argue about the character imbued into the models – I do love rogue trader metals, even if the current plastics are so much easier to convert!), and the plastic materials some of the easiest to work with.  If you like the GW range as is, and love the Gathering Storm triumvirates, you are on pretty safe ground with the direction the model line will take.  Lots of people just paint, and for those people the models will be as good if not better than they are now – the new primaris marines and death guard are pretty damn nice.

If you have doubts, though, its sometimes hard to express them to someone taking a position that the game will be flawless and amazing, and hates whiners who disagree!  I’d ask people who are this enthusiastic about the new version to express the reasons they are looking forward to the new version, not just blanket “Its gonna be great”.  People will go along with specific reasons.  Get people excited for the positives! Blanket statements can polarise things, especially with a game – what people find fun in  a game can be pretty subjective.  I enjoy mathematics.  Reducing the calculations in a game will probably make it more fun for 90% of the people out there – I’ll tend to miss them!

Cool Rules, But whats up with XYZ in the leaked army lists?

Well, until we see the indexes in person and in full, and the main rulebook to fully understand how keywords will tie everything together, I wouldn’t worry too much.  In addition, these are just the holding lists, designed to replicate what you could do in 7th edition.  New codexes will be coming out to really show how the armies will be going forward, and you’ll have to wait for those to really see how armies are going to move forward, not just adapt the models to the new rules.

There do seem to be a few glitches in some of the new model rules, I’m not going to deny that.  My personal favourite is that the only one in an army seems to be missing of the leaked updated celestine, so I may be forced to field all three of mine simultaneously in an outpouring of pure filth πŸ˜‰

Generally, though, the armies have some more flexible keyword options for taking cross faction armies in detachments, which is cool.  Some depth has been lost with the holding index books – legion customisations for chaos aren’t as deep, and Imperial Agents seem to be a bit screwy unless there is some unlocked or yet to be FAQed updates on how to take you old inquisition war bands in  the modern transports.

Chaos players, though, are likely to feel a bit upset.  They just got a legions book with some real depth, and much of that may have gone until the codexes drop.

I can understand why some people aren’t overjoyed with the leaks, but I think we need to see them in full, in context with the rules, before we can really jump to conclusions … and even then the full codexes are going to reintroduce a lot of the depth that by necessity is going to be skimmed over in the initial lists.

Particularly if you don’t game with friends though, and only game in store or at tournaments, the quirks in the list aren’t something you can overlook or house rule.  If people are in that boat especially, be patient with them – it can mean its going to be months before they can get a fun game again even if they love the general rules!

Rocking Rules, but does it feel 40k?

And by feel 40k, we mean the fluff, the storyline, the overarching narrative.  This is something that causes a lot of confusion when being talked about online.  One person is talking about the story in the universe, while another is talking about narrative play (where you tell more of a story through the battle than a random skirmish).  More narrative play doesn’t necessarily mean that the overall feel of the game universe is better for fluffy players!

A Primarch is back running the Imperium!  A huge rift has opened up, splitting the galaxy!  Orks are heading for Armageddon as their ancestral capital of Ullanor (or because there’s a big fight there.  Hey, they’re Orks!).  Multiple Daemon Primarchs are running around on the Chaos side!  Abbadon has broken Cadia into pieces and unified the forces of Chaos.  Tau are a bit quiet.  Blood Angels and their successors are facing (or will have faced, by the new fluff launch) the Tyranids of Leviathan!  More hive fleets are on the move!  Fenris has been corrupted and pretty much all the potential recruits for the Wolves have gone.  The Iron Hands homeworld was near the now expanded Eye of Terror!  Whole new lines of war machines are launching, tens of thousands of new Primaris marines are running about, Custodes are abandoning Terra and roaming the galaxy on the Primarch’s order, and Sisters of Silence have wandered up from the basements of the Imperial Palace to see what the fuss is about!

Now, many people reading that will be going “OMG!!! It sounds amazeballs!”  Others will be reading it and thinking “But that’s not the 40K I loved.  How comes a tech priest has done better than the Emperor and Primarch in engineering new marines?  Why would Orks care about a particular world?  Thats not what they do!  I loved the resistance of Cadia and had loads of guard, and they just got blown up!  Why have my Space Wolves been turned into dull Primaris Marines?  If Primaris Marines have been re-engineered so magnificently, why on earth didn’t they increase the pool of recruits and fit them to women too?  And if all these production facilities existed, why weren’t we rolling out loads more older tanks and conquering the galaxy pre Primarch?”

I’m pretty relaxed, myself.  We’ve seen good and bad bits of fluff come and go, and I’m happy to wait and see how the story comes together and what the terrific Black Library authors pull the disparate threads together into.  But I can also understand why people are a bit worried. 

The biggest concern is that its going to turn all the dials up to 11.  Bigger, more awesome!  Spiky haired super saiyans battle titan sized demons.  And in the process, lose the feel of the tragedy of humanity and a galaxy in general collapse.  Its always had a satirical edge … but most fans hope it doesn’t descend into outright parody.

Again, its very personal taste!  One persons awesome is anothers disaster.  I favour Tolkien type levels of magic, and Hobbits and men standing against the dark.  AoS is a bit much for me, filled with demigods and star warriors, a world where vampire troops struggle to even compete against the god warriors of Sigmar and chaos, and Orks have got monstrous and huge.  Even lizard men bleed magical light as star demons.    But loads of people love that level of magic and epic fantasy!  

AoS is a reasonably fun game – I haven’t really got sucked in as the fluff hasn’t grabbed me, so I can understand those who worry that the same epic feel might break 40k for them.  I’m pretty optimistic though, but again, lets try to stay positive and see what happens with the actual released fluff and the first few novels before we declare its all silly.  And remember we’ve let plenty of loopholes and silliness ride in past editions already.

I really don’t like the sound of some of these rules, but I’ll give it a go

Honestly, these are the people I admire the most!  They’ve looked at the announced rules, are a bit worried about x, y or z, but happy to give it go and make a call then.  These are the ones we should be encouraging, helping over the changes, and gushing about how change x will mean a, b and c will improve to compensate.

If they say they are a bit worried though, don’t label them as whiners, as that  will probably flip them over the edge into the next category.  I’m all about encouraging anyone who will give things a fair go.

I hate it all!  I will burn my models!

Now, if you fall in this camp, at least think of eBaying the models off nice and cheap so I can get a bargain rather than burning them!  

I don’t get this group, in the same way I don’t really get the all in on the new edition people, as until we try something properly, I don’t know how you can really feel that strongly one way or another!

If the changes are so big that you feel you have to quit, well, that is a real shame πŸ™  I hate it when people drop out of even part of the hobby.  7th edition is hanging around for the Horus Heresy, and you can easily reuse much of any marine forces for HH games if it came down to it.

Please try to explain your specific breaking point, though, and if you are just indulging in hyperbole now, do expect at least some gentle ribbing when we catch you playing 40k in 6 months time.  And try to have an open mind about the bits that have improved!  I get that if you hate the way the game sounds and not taken by a leaked army list, you might be reluctant to update.  Maybe instead of ranting and rage quitting, you think of it as a bit of a sabbatical until we see more of the fluff and the actual codexes.  Keep options open, don’t burn bridges.  And I hope the rest of the community doesn’t burn the bridges behind you, as thats no good either.

Lets all go play Rogue Trader instead

Deffo a good option.  Man, that edition was great for skirmish stuff, and the random equipment lists and chaos war band rules in Realm of Chaos!  Legendary!  Shadow War Armageddon isn’t actually a million miles away πŸ™‚

However you want to deal with the edition upgrade, I hope this helps you understand some of the standpoints and worries others have, and helps us all push forward a bit more positively.  If nothing else, I hope it means I cheap eBay bargains rather than seeing gorgeous minis burned!!!!

And I’m always up for a game of Rogue Trader πŸ˜‰

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