Wednesday, 30 April 2014
Warhammer 40,000 7th Edition - Thoughts, Predictions and Problems
Word was leaked onto the internet a few days from several sources that rulebooks for the current edition were begin removed along with Dark Vengeance and a number of starter kits. While I did put some stock in this I was personally waiting for a bit more confirmation and, yes, it does seem that 6th edition is coming to an end. While a number of countries do still feature the option to purchase the rulebook and the like on their pages, across Europe and allegedly America the option is disappearing. The supposed date in which the upcoming edition will be released on is the 24th of May.
Suffice to say this is a monumentally stupid decision on the part of Games Workshop for a number of reasons. The most commonly brought up one is the timing here. This edition has been the briefest one in Warhammer 40,000's long history, lasting only half the time of any other release. This would be bad enough for any usual edition of the game, but for 6th? It causes the most damage imaginable.
This latest edition saw a massive number of changes to the rules, from the reintroduction of Overwatch and integration of fliers to the massive number of individual rules which were added. Many of these only served to make the game increasingly monotonous and clunky, with turns requiring checking through multiple rulebooks to find more definitions than ever. It takes a great deal of time for players to truly adjust to new rules, and what Games Workshop does not seem to realise (or care) is that many have yet to truly adjust to these changes. Most people are lucky to get one game in a week, and one of the most common complaints I have personally seen from people is how they have yet to memorise the new systems and rules. While this is going to supposedly be a smaller step than 5th edition to 6th, it's still a very early change.
There has also been little to no official announcement of this, as with almost any Games Workshop release these days. As such, most customers are being given no time to adjust or prepare for this new expensive release. Unlike the many other examples, this is also a . This is not to mention the fact 6th edition has been especially draining on wallets, and some of the gameplay problems.
6th edition has become infamous for one thing beyond the big units: The sheer number of rulebooks it is now churning out. Every other month we seem to be having a new codex. Even ignoring the dataslates, we have had a grand total of twenty-three codices, supplements and expansions. Just for comparison, the last edition had thirteen in total, and that's including a White Dwarf codex. The only thing which comes even close to rivaling this is 2nd edition.
All of these have been built around the 6th edition rules, some integrated very closely to certain points such as Cities of Death and Planetstrike, and now all of that is changing. As absolutely terrible as the vast majority of supplements have been, are we expected to believe that the new rules will take them all into account? It seems a near impossible task for such a small time-frame. Or will these rules simply ignore them entirely, wasting the money of any poor fool who purchased these rules.
Even accepting this however, many codices are still woefully out of date. Even those just one edition behind are at an immediate disadvantage thanks to massive changes such as fliers, with the stop-gap measure of fortifications hardly cutting it. This will also mean that several major armies will now be multiple editions of the game behind everyone else, with Codex: Orks in particular now three editions out of date.
I can only put this down to one or two things on Games Workshop's part.
The first is an effort to streamline the current edition and take the additional rules into better account. With Escalation, Cities of Death and many expansions being pushed to be used by more players, this could be an effort to better combine them with the rules. Perhaps including them into a single set of rules, containing them it the rulebook and then have future codices be structured similar to the supplements. Namely with each one having a section purely devoted to scenarios or rules for those games.
The second and more likely one is that this is a desperate cash grab due to either greed or financial trouble. The current edition saw a massive rise in units and boxed sets which were game-breaking and extremely expensive. Usually huge units such as mini-titans, or with the direct integration of existing super heavy units into the main game. Even beyond that there has been a sharp price increase with even the most basic codices, under the excuse of hardcover copies. As mentioned earlier, we have seen a massive output of supplements and additional lore books. While some are good, many obviously had no oversight and little in the way of checking the person writing it actually understood what the hell they were talking about. The supplements were an especially egregious example. With the same price as a true codex, but half the content, lore so bad it defaced many armies, and proofreading which manages to make these articles look professionally done.
What backs this is two obvious events: The first is the sudden, massive drop in profit by Games Workshop back in January with a 24% decrease in their overall value. The second is the massive restructuring which took place within their company. The obvious one being vast numbers of their stores suddenly losing half of their staff, but a less remarked one being the lengthy restructuring which took place within Black Library. All seem to suggest problems in some way or an effort to cut costs, and as ever Games Workshop is failing to earn cash by milking its fans for every penny it can find.
These are still partially based upon rumour however, as such we may see changes in dates or times. However, if 7th edition is coming, I can only foresee things getting far worse from here on. Of course, these are merely my own personal thoughts. If you disagree or want to leave your own opinion then please do so in the comments section.