Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Is 40k coming unhinged? (Rant)

Well, it seems this is a terrible time to be on deployment. I am going to get back and not even know where to begin with 40k.

Whether digital or not, there is a massive flood of rules coming in and at a rate almost too fast to consume.

Starting back with 6th ed there was the introduction of allies and fortifications. I had reservations of allies, just because they seemed a little open and loose with the application of it, but with the 5th ed codices it wasn't terrible. Okay, maybe Matt Ward was stupid with things like Blood Angels and Necrons. So while nothing was overtly broken in the beggining, this was the start. As well, Fortification detachments were a necessity with the intro of flyers, but were never broken, and as 6th has evolved I think there are even less and less of them.

At first I approved of the idea of the digital supplements. They allowed for fluffier builds and captured parts of the fluff that were critical to lore but not enough to develop their own codex around. I will say some of the rules seem pushing it, and allying these supplements into forces to min/max bad/good rules is a little broken and unfair, but allies was already allowing that, so I let it slide in my mind.

One thing I WHOLLY APPROVE of is the release of Be'lakor. Finding models without rules, or classic characters, and giving them life in the game again is both fun, interesting, and great for hobbyists and veterans. If Cypher, Doomrider, Moriar the Chosen, Lord Solar Macharius, etc. etc. all got rules, that would be great. It is also hard to make a single character game breaking.

I also love the ideas of releasing scenarios and missions. Styles of play releases is a classic concept and it is just being sped up. What were city fight, planet strike and zone mortalis if not this. Things like this are just fun additions to the game, offer variety for players and typically don't fundamentally alter the meta or hobby, as most people typically dabble in it, but return to the standard format of play for ease and the sake of finding opponents and playing in tourneys.

Shifting gears, I want you to remember back to what changed the hobby forever? Apocalypse. The flood of purchases with the promise of massive formations and unrestricted force org the first time around caused everyone and their mom to go on a buying spree.

Now we have Codex: Inquisition, Escalation and the Tau Firebase Support Cadre, and I am sure there is more to come on this front. Allies already left the door open on power combos. These and future releases are just pulling the door off the hinges. The ability now for attachments in addition to the primary detachment is crazy. The idea of formations and super heavies in regular 40k is out there to me as well. I can foresee escalation going the road of Planet strike, but the formations and Codex supplements or mini digital codices are here to stay. What is the point of including these forces in your primary detachment anymore. Why not just take 1 HQ, 2 Troops and start taking formation detachments all around it? I can't wait to see the first list that has just a 25 point Inquisitor as the Primary Detachment and then nothing but allies and formations to max out power combos. That is a sarcastic I can't wait.

What is seems is that GW wants to recapture that sales success. Let everyone play with all their toys all the time. And with formations, you need larger collections of expensive models to make a  cohesive unit. So instead of having bought a 3 suit broadside team to ally, you now buy 9 broadsides AND a Riptide.Oh, additionally, don't forget to bring scoring Jetbikes in your ally detachment... and a 25pt, $25 inquisitor.

So what's the solution. Now I have seen a lot of things going around like "Ban lists" and "No allies". Now I hate putting limits on people's fun, but GW seems to be just pumping the game full of "cool ideas" and leaving it to players to sort out.

To me the most functional way is to no longer just agree on points before a game with your opponent, but the number of detachments as well. Cap it yourself.  Say you will do a 2k point game, but no more than 2 detachments + 1 Fortification, or some other such restriction as you see fit. I see this as a good approach for TOs as well. What if instead of allies I want a formation. Or instead of a fortification I want an Inquisitor. This allows for maximum player flexibility while inhibiting game breaking.

In a way it is sad to see the days of the mono-codex list fade away. I love Blood Angels, but if I step on to the competition scene I am really hurting myself without bring exterior forces in it seems. As well, unless you are able to live and breath 40k, the rate of release is definitely exceeding the average players ability to absorb the information.

In the quest for access and fun, I think the idea that it is a game, and as such requires balance, has been forgotten. Am I going to stop playing. No. I love the lore and the models. I will likely slowly become more of a collector and hobbyist rather than gamer. Heck, I am even getting into historical wargaming (already have my copy of War and Conquest). But that is a discussion for another day. For now I just hold on for dear life, because in the Grim Darkness of GW's gaming future there is only war.