What Could Derail 8th Edition Warhammer 40k
As the majority of Warhammer 40,000 players continue to salivate at the daily reveals from Games Workshop about the upcoming new edition, we shouldn’t lose sight that 8th edition could still fail. We probably won’t know for a good while after the new rules are released if 8th edition Warhammer 40k is a dud, but there is a few things that could lead to possible problems.
The first is the little information we are getting from Forge World. How will deal with integrating units and rules into the new rule system? The editions before 6th-7th this wasn’t a problem as the majority of games left Forge World models and rules to Apocalypse games. Today though with the rise of Imperial Knights, Horus Heresy, and Tournament acceptance has made Forge World products acceptable. Part of this acceptance became possible as 7th edition caught up to Forge World in the crazy department.
8th edition the danger is Forge World will go back to the old ways of outrageous units at discounted point costs. There is little evidence Games Workshop’s outsourced play testing teams have not balanced for Forge World. Games Workshop also hasn’t really given us confidence Forge World will be ready on Day 1. Even if they are ready, Forge World is notorious for giving out broken or unclear rules to only fix them months or years later.
Since players are accustomed to using Forge World models now, you just cannot take them away. Worse, Forge World has become the bad side of Games Workshop when it comes to communication and clarification, so it is important to make sure both the community and Games Workshop police there products.
Second, if Games Workshop treats playtesting like Age of Sigmar it will stop once the new rules come out. Even with yearly General Handbook style updates, new Warhammer 40,000 could suffer as each new Codex gets rolled out. We already see this a bit with Age of Sigmar, as Disciples of Tzeentch have clearly become the best army, showing Games Workshop just can’t help themselves, but add rules bloat when given the chance.
It is one thing for Games Workshop to trust the players with units they know, it is another to trust them with new products they are introducing. We could end up back where we started a few years from now as the few new armies dominate while the rest lag with outdated rules. Outdated rules could also end up taking advantage of new rules, as we have seen with things like Servo-skulls in 7th edition. The yearly General’s Handbook style of point adjustment can only do so much, when core rules or army bonuses are the culprit.
Lastly, and this one is a dangerous mind field of hypotheticals, how far can we trust the playtesters? This isn’t about malicious intent, but the people we know Games Workshop had playtest all have agendas. It is a question if these agendas come out in the rules and units. If the playtesters general consensus is say Riptides were too OP, did they end up going overboard in nerfing them? Do playtesters hatred of the Death Star, leave the game without counters for whatever new boogieman to come along? Nostalgia could also play a big part. We have already seen articles written telling us just how great things like the Avatar, Dreadnoughts, Land Raiders, and Howling Banshees now are.
Realistically though the bias will come out in how the playtesters think certain armies should play. If the playtesters feel the game was best in 5th edition we could see Imperial Guard, Space Wolves, and Grey Knights dominate. If they want armies that haven’t been good for many years, expect Tyranids, Orks, and Dark Eldar to crush it. Conversely Eldar, Tau, Daemons might suffer because they have been so good for so long. This extends to style, will Orks only be playable as a horde army or will only the Wych Cult work for the Dark Eldar?
Looking past the release of 8th edition playtesters will also be more susceptible to manipulation by Games Workshop; remember the majority of play-testers are also organizers for the large wargaming events. If Games Workshop goes back to the old ways they could put these people being put in difficult situations when it comes to promoting the game and or future playtesting opportunities. This could lead to overhype and ego driven battles causing future problems we have yet to encounter.
As with everything so far, we have no clue what will happen until the new game comes out. This is just a few things to be on look out for as the game develops over the next year. With any luck Forge World will do its job, Games Workshop won’t power creep, and the playtesters will end up being completely altruistic, one can hope right?
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