Sunday, September 28, 2014

Thoughts on the Relentless Codex Regeneration Cycle!

I can barely catch my breath from the last codex review I've written before GW announces that they're releasing the next one. August saw the release of both the Space Wolves and Grey Knights books and Dark Eldar will be hot on their heels in the first weekend of October. That's pretty insane when you compare it to how long we used to have to wait for a codex. We were lucky to get three in a year before but we've now had three in a couple of months once DE comes out. Rumours even have it that Blood Angels will be next after a brief spell of Fantasy releases.

So where does that leave us? Here's the list of current 40K armies and their release dates (shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia):

7th Edition
Dark Eldar (Oct 2014)
Grey Knights (Aug 2014)
Space Wolves (Aug 2014)

6th Edition
Astra Militarum (April 2014)
Militarum Tempestus (April 2014)
Imperial Knights (March 2014)
Legion of the Damned (March 2014)
Tyranids (January 2014)
Inquisition (November 2013)
Adepta Sororitas (October 2013)
Space Marines  (September 2013)
Eldar (June 2013)
Tau Empire (April 2013)
Chaos Daemons (March 2013)
Dark Angels (January 2013)
Chaos Space Marines (October 2012)

5th Edition 
Necrons (November 2011)

Blood Angels (April 2010)

Clearly then, if Blood Angels are next it isn't much of a leap to assume Necrons won't be far behind. That'd then put CSM next in line and could potentially mean just an 18 month lifespan for their current book. In 40K terms that doesn't seem long at all. That's assuming they continue once they've cleared the 5th edition books? At that point everything would be in a hard cover at least but wouldn't have this new datasheet format. Clearly someone at GW has realised they can give you a new book and a couple of models at a more regular interval and you'll still cave and buy it.

I have to say that, like a lot of people, it feels like GW really is rushing things with this current accelerated cycle. The Grey Knights book is certainly streamlined but doesn't half feel rushed. I have my concerns about the DE book too but I'm reserving judgement until I get my copy next week.

Vanishing Units
One thing that is clear is that if a unit has rules but no model it's going to disappear. So far we've lost Zogwort, Wazdakka, Mordrak, Valeria and Thawn. With the DE release it looks like we'll double the number with Duke, Baron, Malys, Vect and Kheradruakh all for the chop. You should know by now that I love special characters so I think it's a massive shame that these units are disappearing. Perhaps they'll reappear one day.

Some will blame Chapterhouse for the loss of these units but I think the fault lies with GW. Look at the Necron codex. It introduced several new special characters but within a couple of months of the book arriving we had models for them all. Dark Eldar didn't even manage to get the Voidraven bomber model until now. I can't pretend I'm a long time DE player but it still frustrates me hugely that they feel overlooked compared to other armies. Old school DE players waited a long time for an update of their codex and for the latest incarnation to strip so much away is likely to be gutting for them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the book will be a lot more streamlined and there'll be some good stuff in there but if nothing else it stunts the creativity of people when they don't need to convert models to represent the missing ones. I still use my Arjac "conversion" despite there being a model for him (and thankfully there is one so he wasn't removed).

Streamlining?
Well that's the term that seems to be floating around at the moment. Is it really the case though? Individual books are certainly losing a lot of what is termed "bloat" by the community but the game as a whole is becoming increasingly more complicated. I've found it incredibly difficult to come up with a solution for Blog Wars and what I have come up with has been met with a raft of complaints.

The game is more complicated than ever. I could've simply said "no Unbound" but the armies you can create within the "Battle Forged" bracket are still daft. Look back up at that list of codices and there's already a few extras there that didn't exist until recently. Inquisition and Assassins were part of the GK book of course and Legion of the Damned were in the SM dex but Imperial Knights and Militarum Tempestus are almost totally new. I just don't see the need.

Warhammer 40K was never the most ideal template for competitive play but I can't help but feel that GW are making things worse rather than better. Perhaps once all of the books are renewed some master plan will emerge but I'm not holding my breath.

The sad thing is I still love this game. I've dabbled in other things but I keep coming back to 40K. There's something about the imperfections that make it better somehow. Would it lose its soul if it was a truly streamlined competitive game? I think it probably would.

Leaks or should that be "leaks"
One final thing that caught my eye this week. The image on the left was one of the "leaked" pictures of this week's White Dwarf. I assumed it was someone who had a copy of both the weekly edition and Visions who had taken a shot to show the new flyer. However, this same image appeared on the GW site on Friday as part of their What's New Today blog. It's definite the same image which adds a little weight to my theory that GW starts at least some of the leaks off themselves to generate interest. Maybe I'm just a conspiracy theorist but as a marketing ploy it would actually make a lot of sense!

25 comments:

  1. I definitely think GW is releasing the leaks themselves. It's the only reason why they would start out "so shaky photo'd" then slowly get better as the week progresses. Anyone with a semi modern cell phone can take better photos then most of the initial leaks.

    As to the codex releases, I'm almost certain they are going to hit "all" the codexes, until everything falls in line with one another. It's the only way the current "re-balancing" makes sense. I assume the hardbacks will just get rapid releases (one a month once they redo the old ones), until everyone is caught up. (I feel so horribly bad for eldar.)

    Then they'll release an 8th edition rulebook to tie it all together.

    At that point we'll all be out of tears and money.

    Note: This is all made up on my part. I have no sources. I am not a magical greggles of figuring things out.

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    1. Well, speaking as someone who's been responsible for leaks before (pictures and Q&A of CSM book), I know that not all of the leaks are GW's creation. Having said that you could argue that the only reason they showed ppl the CSM book at Games Day was so it would get leaked. I took great pictures but took them down pretty quick when I considered the copyright implications.

      I can see GW doing all the books by the end of next year but they might've pissed a lot of players off by then.

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    2. Bear in mind though that the CSM book was 2 years ago. Much has changed since then. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the vast, vast majority of 'leaks' from more than a few days before a release originated from GW.

      Onto the prediction… the way GW seem to be rushing the codexes at present would seem to lend some credence to the theory that they are trying to get everything into hardback before shifting a bit more focus back onto Fantasy for next year. I can't imagine them slowing down the pace of releases to what it used to be, but cutting down to a codex every 2-3 months as they update the earlier hardbacks would make sense.

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  2. Knight of Infinite Resignation28 September 2014 at 20:13

    It certainly seems too soon to hit me with another CSM book, but then again the whole of 6th edition lasted barely longer than 18 months, and to be honest the current book is so flavourless and under-powered that I almost want it to be refreshed, if it weren't for the stupid cost of £30 so soon after the unnecessary expense of 7th.

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    1. I'm looking forward to a new daemon book...just to reorganize the thing...it takes so long to find anything in that book. It's absurd. One thing you have to give the new codexes...at least they put a lot of the information in an organized and easy to find manner!

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    2. I have to say it took a bit of getting used to the new layout but generally speaking they're better. There's less repetition of rules for example. What I'm not so keen on is having to flick back and forth to the reference section for different weapons and the datasheets make it harder to see at a glance all your options for a particular FOC slot.

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    3. The Daemon Dex is problematic because so much stuff is organized alphabetically, or in odd categories, that do have some inherent sense to them, but no relation to how they're purchased or used in the Army. The Loci, for instance, would be so much more convenient if they were organized by Chaos God and level, rather than level and then alphabetical.

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    4. Having just been working on an ork summoning daemon list...my god the daemon book is confusing. Trying to find rules requires multiple books. Just tell me what it does already!

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  3. I'd love a new CSM book. I really would. IF it y'know- had new units and fun options.
    I really want a new eldar codex. Some stuff needs sorting out.

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    1. if it follows current trends it might be even more boring than the present book...

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    2. I don't think the new books are necessarily boring. Sure there's a lot of fluffy options gone but you can still make interesting and fun armies with all of the new books so far.

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  4. Streamlining seems to be new word for simply removing interesting things. Tbh, I don't think that any book besides Chaos Daemons is complicated, you got many options you can choose from, and small special rules made some units (GK vehicles) look apart from the standard ones. I really enjoyed those. All this removal of options and versatility is sad, I would rather prefere the opposite, adding even more options to units to make them look unique and fluffy.

    The only complicated thing imo is the rule book itself, introducing 4 different warlord tables, 5 or even 6 different schools of magic. Then adding challenges and precision hits in 6th, removing most of those rules again in 7th. Introducing unbound .. who needed that ? In my area, if you asked if it is ok to play a fluffy list and not be bound by the FOC, most of the players wouldn't have turned you down anyway.

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  5. My money is that once the last paperback codex has gone hard ;) then WHFB will get the speed treatment, andd 40k will take a back seat for WHB 9th Ed reboot.

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    1. Seems a reasonable suggestion. It'd be nice for all the different books to at least look the same for a while!

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  6. Was the Ork codex that forgetable? (Its not on your list!)

    Aaron

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    1. I think that was the general consensus on the ork dex! ;)

      Yeah, too much, too fast, I'm sick of it, it's actually got me stopping spending on GW atm, I have no interest in being milked by GW!

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    2. I actually find the ork dex is actually quite strong in this meta. You just can't play it the way you used to play. Heck one ork player was almost in the top bracket at nova open (pure orks). Green tide is ridiculous now. It's SO fast.

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    3. Must've missed it when I was copying stuff from Wikipedia. By no means deliberate as I really like the Ork codex. My only issue with it was that I was just starting to plan some new lists and paint up some models when the SW codex came out and distracted me. Generally speaking I think the Ork book is great although I miss Zogwort!

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    4. Missing Zoggy was bad...but you can take three weirdboyz to compensate...and they can summon daemon orks! (and die in the process, which is so friggin orky!)

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  7. GW really needs some WD updates to give all armies some LoW/Formations... As it is those are the only things unbalancing the game.

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    1. No, you're totally right. The 7th ed books (and Tyranids I guess) with their formations and LoWs have been really unbalanced compared to the excellently balanced books of 2013. They really need to start toning down these recent codexes!

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    2. I think the ultimate problem for the game at the moment is that Eldar, Tau and to an extent Necrons seem to be in a totally different league to anything else. Necrons should be getting sorted before the end of the year but while ever people are comparing the new books to Tau or Eldar they're always going to feel cheated.

      Frankly I find the strength of the Tau book to be an annoyance. I was frustrated with how outdated they felt before but since the new book people groan when they see you run Tau!

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    3. I think Tau (outside of markerlights granting ignore cover to pretty much anything) is pretty balanced now since 7th has really punched them down.

      Riptides getting FNP on their failed nova needs to change though (should be an auto wound).

      Then shuffle their points around. I think people would be fine with ignore cover changing to "ignore jink" or reduce cover saves by 2.

      The necron players are already tearing up over what is going to happen to their codex. If its anything like 7th codexes have shown so far...it's going to be viciously brutal.

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    4. On Tau: Is that not just because the current meta is to run a shooty army, which Tau will always end up trumps (Combined with a general lack of terrain in alot of games).

      If you run a list that can get into combat with them, with several units at once (This somewhat negates the multiple overwatch.. By sacrificing a unit) ... Well then they crumble.

      I think a Tau gunline is very much a rock-paper-scissor list. Against any dedicated combat list it will fail, as long as the gap can be closed quick enough.

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