Saturday, June 16, 2012

6th Edition - Drama rife across the Blogosphere!

When I used to play EVE Online there were often posts on the forums saying "drama llama is not amused" or words to that effect. To those not familiar with it EVE is a sci-fi MMORPG with the highest number of players on a single server of any MMO. There's a big part of me that misses playing it but I simply don't have the time to get back into it. Anyway, every time the developer released an expansion/patch/ship/module there'd be mass panic on the forums that this new thing was going to break the game forever. Once the new feature was released there were a few days of panic and then everyone realised there was an easy counter to it and things went back to normal.

To me, 40K is no different. Every time GW announces a new codex, or in this case an entire new edition, we hear a few rumours and everyone panics that the new army/rules will break the game. Now I'm not going to pretend that GK are balanced but they certainly aren't as powerful as everyone seems to think. Most players now know how to deal with them. However, when they were first released there was hysteria because of the snippets of rules we heard. A prime example is that a lot of people thought the vindicare assassin was ridiculously powerful. That was until a missile heads his way, he fails his save and is insta-killed.

I've been trying to keep up-to-date with the rumours that are surfacing about 6th edition because I'm just as excited as everyone else about it. Don't get me wrong there's this niggling worry that GW will totally shake up the game but is that such a bad thing? Most people's complaint about 5th edition is that it just involves marines in boxes. If the new rules are anything like they're rumoured to be then we'll probably see less vehicles. So that'll make everyone happy right?

Well no, apparently there's lots to complain about in these rumoured changes to the game. What with cover saves being reduced, land raiders becoming tougher, rapid fire improving, etc. it seems that Space Marines will become even more powerful than before. The important thing there is the word "seems". We've heard only a few bits and pieces and frankly as reliable as some of these sources have been in the past they're still just rumours. Not to mention they're totally out of context. We don't know if armies will get FAQ'd to change how they work in the new edition, we don't actually know much at all.

Some of the rumoured rules seem pretty good to me. There's no doubting that reduction in cover saves will make it harder for xenos armies but low AP weaponry might be more affective against marines now. There might be change to how blast weapons work too. Close combat weapons having an AP makes sense to me, shooting at a fast moving vehicle being harder makes sense, land raiders being less likely to be one-shotted even makes sense. I don't think we'll be seeing armies totally dominated by land raiders but it will at least mean the people will take them again. In 5th edition it seems some vehicles are far too easy to kill at times and others are way too difficult. How many times have you been trying to kill a rhino and achieved everything but actually blowing the thing up? How many times has your land raider exploded on the first shot fired at it?

I think what I'm trying to get at is that (and making a pretty bad job of it) is that we don't have a fecking clue what 6th edition will be like. Does a film trailer tell you everything about a film? Is scanning the blurb on a book the same as reading it? Responding angrily to how supposed new rules will break the game is ridiculous.

What we can be sure of is that when the book first hits and copies of it flood the internet we'll have people posting "invincible" lists and similarly saying that x army is now unstoppable or conversely y army is utterly useless. Then, after everyone has calmed down and actually played a few games we'll probably find that those invincible armies just don't work. We'll then settle into what the internet refers to as the "new meta" for a while until a new codex arrives (looking like Chaos) and churns up the drama again. It's a vicious cycle but it's one that keeps this game from going stale.

Finally, I think it's important to remember one thing. GW doesn't like you, they like your money. That isn't to say they don't want people to enjoy the game but selling plastic comes first. Will it stop the vast majority of us from shelling out for these things when they keep inflating the prices, not a chance. Accept it, you're addicted and until someone comes along as a decent competitor to them, GW will continue to dominate this market. To my mind they make the most beautiful miniature soldiers in the world and every new release is better than the last. When you think about the 2-dimensional armies we were using in 2nd edition compared to the infinitely different armies we field now I'm glad they're still in business. Call me a fanboy but accept first that protesting about everything GW does, means nothing if you keep buying the stuff!


  1. Great post!

    Every game needs a shake up now and again to keep things fresh, as it helps even hardened addicts stick with it and not run off to something new and therefore more interesting.

  2. Personally, I actually think that GW does do a good job of producing balanced rulesets and codexes - and I'm a Tyranid player! If you consider just how complex a single codex is in terms of different units, wargear options and special rules, for there to be even a vaguely level playing field between codexes is remarkable. We all think it would be easy to do better - I've tried with my efforts on producing a playable Squats codex - and I've realised just what a fine balancing act it is.

    The other factor is, of course, the exponential way that 'cookie-cutter' army builds seem to spread across the Internet. Time was, if you came up with a clever idea or tactic, it was confined largely to you and your close circle of gaming friends. Now everyone has almost instant access to the Internet, and every last army-list permutation is shared out within days of a new codex being released. For me, this has taken a lot of inventiveness and self-reliance out of the game.

    What I would really like to see is a far larger range of missions and deployment options. By now, we all know how to play each of the nine basic game-types, and most of us do not stray any further in terms of missions. If there were a greater variety of missions, that would stop certain army builds from being so dominant in most situations. Add to this the rumoured addition of Stratagems and we finally have the possibility to build armies that suit our own unique styles of play.

    That is my great hope for 6th Edition - more variety of missions, and the addition of Stratagems to allow us to personalise our army builds. Hopefully we won't have too long to wait to find out!

  3. I'm looking forward to 6th edition, I think it will be nice to have a shake up of the game. i do enjoy reading all the rumours though, just so I can ponder there potential impact on the game, whether or not they are true.

    I'm a plastic-crack addict though, so will buy stuff regardless of what the rules are like. :-P

    (new blog with additional authors)


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