Something just isn’t Right…
Lately, I have been having trouble formulating my current feelings about Warhammer 40k 8th edition.
Part of me is enjoying bringing out old units that haven’t seen the table in years, but more and more something about the new system is leaving me and many others wanting. Initially I took a wait and see approach, as I felt Games Workshop would fix many problems I felt with the new codex releases. The indexes providing just enough to get most players through until they got a codex.
Now looking at the first three new codexes, Games Workshop hasn’t risen to the expectations. All of them feel bland and uninspired only adding layers to an already sugarless cake, without adding any sort of good fillings. Amazingly, the Grey Knights codex has the most depth, and this is a codex without Chapter Tactics or other specialized goodies. The Grey Knights codex at least feels like an attempt to make Grey Knights be Grey Knights with Stratagems and abilities that unify the army. The codex formula Games Workshop is sticking to so far doesn’t gives incentives for synergistic lists or play styles.
Just compare the 7th edition Traitor Legions traits to the new 8th edition ones. While you can see echos between each the 8th edition ones are very simplistic, and don’t impetus for players to take certain units over others. You though can see Games Workshop getting a memo; making sure the most amount of units are as playable as possible, but they have missed the execution.
We should have seen this coming, Games Workshop loves to overreact and go one direction way too hard. Unaware that you can still make a close to balanced game, that gives players on a competitive or fluff level a reason to create themes fitting there play style. Like I have no reason to really take Raptors or Chaos Bikes for a Night Lords army. Nothing makes specific choices unique to the Night Lords, and especially on a narrative level.
Stratagems the great differentiator haven’t done much either. Stratagems are either too limited, too generic, or uninspired, leaving the the basic single re-roll all you really need. The stratagems don’t necessarily force me to take different things than before, they only give select few units a trick or make an upgrade a must have.
Across the board from codex to index, an army might have one or two things that makes them feel special, but overall this doesn’t give players any reason to go one way or another. The keyword system should be the ultimate tool for creating depth and army immersion lacking from the basic game, but so far they have not been used to their fullest potential.
Then you have the basic Detachments, which like the Keywords seems like everything you ever wanted, as you can run any army you ever wanted, but once again the template hasn’t been built upon. The game doesn’t need to go back to Formations of 7th edition, but I was shocked the new codexes didn’t have detachments focusing on the unique ways those armies have traditionally played. We don’t need tons of special rules for each Detachment either, one extra special rule and a interesting unit selection won’t destroy the game, especially now Games Workshop listens and makes adjustments when necessary.
Combined, this has left the game with every army have very few options for narrative immersion or competitive build styles. When you have a game devolving into very simple math equations, you are left with every army focusing on a small selection of units. With armies either being a Alpha Strike or resilient horde focused and nothing in between. Creativity is close to non-existent and what goes for creativity are rule exploits, that Games Workshop eventually fixes making it all the more pointless.
Warhammer 40k has always been accused as just rock, paper scissors, but so far 8th is feeling more like a game without even the scissors.
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