Monday, 24 November 2014

End Times Unending

The End Times, it seems, are relentless. I had not even finished reading Warhammer End Times: Glottkin when I received an email from Games Workshop telling me I could pre-order yet another book in the series, this time Khaine.

When the Nagash book was announced, I think most people were pretty happy about it. Finally here was something that actually moved the story forward; probably the first real change to the status quo in 20 years. The situation of the Old World would change, characters would die, etc. I’m not quite sure how prepared we were for the sheer number of special characters that would meet their demise in that first book, but it still felt like a step in the right direction.

What I certainly wasn't ready for was the sheer rate at which these books are coming out. I feel like I am barely getting time to process what I am looking at before yet another chapter in the story arrives. By the time the Khaine book arrives, I still won’t have played a single game using the rules from either of the first two books. My wallet may not have recovered in time either, but then GW are helping me out there by having ridiculously low stock levels and making it impossible for people to buy the thing. So yay for them, I guess…

I am not entirely certain what the main motivation behind these books is. The first book felt like a dramatic return for Nagash and the opportunity to sell a few big, shiny new models in the shape of the big man himself, plus the Mortarchs and Morghasts. The second book had a similar number of new models released, although all the special characters were new creations rather than a new take on old, well-loved ones. But now the rumours suggest that the third book will not be accompanied by new models at all. So if that is the case, what is driving this release?

Could it really be the case that GW has decided the Warhammer world had gotten too stale, and they needed to make broad, sweeping changes? The books are coming out right on top of each other, so it’s only one step away from doing the whole thing in a single cataclysmic “big bang” approach. It’s like they've only broken it up to allow people to focus more on how their particular race is faring (or to sell more very expensive books, depending upon your level of cynicism).

It’s all a bit confusing. And through it all, I find myself no more inclined to play Warhammer than I did beforehand. If anything, I am less motivated because of my bewilderment at what is going on, and what it will mean for all the armies I have sitting on a shelf. 75% characters? It sounds a bit silly, right? This is nothing compared to the consternation it’s causing in the tournament scene, which I have done my best to ignore. These books cause havoc with the power balance in the game – something GW have always maintained they don’t really care about, but something that is near and dear to the hearts of competitive players.

So where to from here? As someone who has all 3 Elf armies, I obviously need to get my hands on this new Khaine book when it arrives. Somehow. And then I need to hope that this barrage of End Times books doesn't last too long. I've heard rumours in the winds of Skaven and Archaon books. Much as it feels sad for my Orcs that they don’t seem to get a look in, I kind of hope that things stop there. Maybe then I will be able to find my feet again and work out what I’m doing.

In the meantime there is a large end-of-year game to arrange, and the End Times seem likely to provide fodder for that, if I can just make sense of it all…


  1. I totally understand where you're coming from with this rapid fire release schedule. I have only used the 50% Lords rules for those times where another 25 or 30 point of kit were needed to make my Lord perfect. With a lack of new models for this release I think it make be bi-fold. Firstly, all the elves have had recent updates and they have all the mosters you could want, although a plastic forest dragon would be awesome. Then you have the fact that these new books are moving models off of shelves and I think GW pushed the release schedule ahead on this book to maximize sales under a new leadership. Books are quick, easy and cheap to make. Tooling new molds and filling boxes and shippong them worldwide is expensive and takes time. So if they need to get the book out the door to boost sales, they may have dropped new units and models and instead may release them in later books or as WD rules updates.

    On the rules updates thing, the new 40k Tyranid models have the rules as PDFs for free download on the Black Library kit.

    P.S. sorry for the essay.

    1. Yeah, you may be right. I know people were hanging out for new models for things like Malekith and Imrik, so I guess they can keep hoping that they will just be late arrivals.

    2. It may be so, but it isn't in my opinion the best road to tread. People pay dearly enough for those expensive books (remember the price of any softcover, army book or campaign expansion, ten years ago). When I buy a beautiful and expensive book, especially an army book, I expect it to need no or really few erratas and corrections. What is the point of releasing big "end times books" stuffed with new army lists, rules, characters and units if they won't be complete when, months later we got a brand new unit in a white dwarf which says "you can play it in this and that end time army list" ? Why not put all the stuff in the same book, released once and for all?

    3. I'm not sure how I feel about the prospect of new releases with new rules arriving in White Dwarf (or some other regular medium). It would be good to feel like they're constantly looking after their games and keeping them fresh, but it makes it very hard to stay on top of all the new rules, and does make the proper books feel less relevant.

  2. My sentiments exactly. I'm like a cat on a hot tin roof. Bugger. I a can do all 3 the new armies, and Empire, Karl Franz Ascendent (KFC, as he's called around here) Feverishly repainting my Undead, plotting on buying Nagash (top of my Xmas stocking list) ! I have only played one game with 50% rules, Dwarfs w opponent playing a proxy glotkin. Haven't even had time do a batrep. Then Khaine is out, (back to my favourites, the DEs) or even better now Phoenix Host, but no new Malekith model :( No fear, I have a generic Lord on a black dragon. Still holding out hope fore a late arrival too.

  3. I like end times for:

    Non-Gimp vamp lord on dragon!!

    Archers and catapults in my Blood Dragon themed undead..

    But with the trip elves to deal with, I feel that all end times stuff will be plopped in the 'too hard' basket for tournaments which is a damn shame...

    1. Of course if the non-gimp Vampire ran into Karl Franz Ascendant... Very bad things.

      Some of the stuff being introduced in End Times is a real mine field in terms of tournaments. I do think the odd event specifically pushed as an End Times event might be good fun, though.

    2. Well if you combined the profile of this:

      Vamp Lord
      Heavy Armour
      Tal of Pres
      Night Shroud
      Red Fury

      So if we use the current theory of combined profiles (I really feel this will be the norm come 9th) You have, on the charge, 10 S8 Attacks, hitting on 4's with rerolls, wounding on 2's, each one of those wounds that go through firing off an extra attack (so possible 20 wounds and him rerolling his successful wardsave), then if he still isn't down, go a last ditch 2D6 breath weapon wounding on 6's...

      All for 679 points...

      Then Karl strikes back, Hitting on 5's (due to swarm of flies), possibly rerolling successful hits if he fails a LD7 LD he hits with 3 attacks on wounding, 1.5 will be stopped by the Tal of Pres.. Hey Presto ;)...

      So if running combined he'd actually slap old mate Karl around very hard, but that is only with the combined profile, as it stands with the split profiles Karl the OP would bitch slap him to hell and back...

      Just my thoughts ;)...

    3. I agree that combined profiles seem to be the way forward, but for now that is wishful dreaming on the part of the doomed Vampire Lord. :P

    4. Ha, I reckon he could have a fair crack non combined, but sure isn't a sure thing IMHO haha...

    5. And yet oddly enough.. they haven't given Tyrion a combined profile in the new Khaine book (only Malekith and Imrik get it)... lack of consistency or some other reasoning?

      Also in regards to one of the earlier posts... you'd think if they were wanting to push sales via books... there would be more book copies available?

      Seriously starting to wonder if this End Times isn't another Storm of Chaos blip after all.

  4. Although Tyrions mount isn't a monster correct?

    1. Unless something has changed (I haven't been looking at the rumours), Malhandir is not a monster. You are correct.

  5. This whole ET got me really confused too. I don't mind the frequency they release the books. I am still reading Nagash but I enjoyed what I have read so far. On the other hand, I think I understand the TK players. Their faction was all but destroyed so how do you adapt to new world order?

    As a long time HE player I find it even more difficult to digest the news about part 3 of ET series.

    However, this is just background point of view. It is very important, after all it was the reason why I picked this particular army. But background usually allows for many things that are more or less limited to your imagination.

    Now the game mechanics is totally different story. And this is the part that gets me confused the most. If ET was a campaign set that does not affect the core rules I would be ok with it. However, we don't know what the future is about to bring. If the impossible just happened (i.e. unification of all Elves) and GW released FAQ that 50% character allowance is part of the normal army selection what if they decided to incorporate more ET changes? In fact, there are rumors that 9th edition is going to bring complete overhaul and hard reset of the game of warhammer.

    It might not happen very soon but it may happen some time in the middle of 2015. It does not leave that much time left. The whole uncertainty about the future of the game makes me so confused. Should I keep playing the game as it is and see what happens? But if the game is going to change dramatically then would it not mean waste of time? Because even in the frame of ET campaign I don't like the rules - they might be suited better for the massive battles at 10k but not really for regular battles.

    Still so many questions. I really try to be patient :) But somehow the direction the game is taking and the possibility it might change into "Who casts deadly spell first" game makes me less motivated.

    Hopefully it was not so pessimistic in the end and sorry for adding to the number of essays :)

    1. Game balance does indeed seem to be going out the window a bit with some of these changes. If that is just because this is the wild and dramatic End Times, then I can probably handle it. If it's somehow a sign of how the game will soon be all the time, I agree that I'm not enthusiastic.

      Seems this is a topic close to the heart of many...

  6. The rumour seems to be that yes, change everything, and then have a whole new edition of post-end-times Warhammer to play after it, release date tbc.

    We played a game with some end times rules in the other week. Don't use them for competetive games or fun friendlies, would be our advice. They're fun for specific scenarios, but they've got worse balance than a one-legged drunk in a bouncy castle. Wearing a scrambled oculus rift during an earthquake, for good measure.

    Mixed army lists could be fine with some minimal effort to make them coherent. Right now, it's just a case of taking all the best stuff possible for mental power combinations. Wood Elf archer blocks with Phoenixes, Hydras and Doomfires, for example. Bleh.

    All these rules are presented as optional, though (other than the characterhammer change). Nobody is forcing you to use them!

    1. Ultimately nobody is forcing anyone to use anything, but at the same time people don't like to start contradicting "official" rulings, because it's a slippery slope once you start.

      I agree that some of the rules are clearly there for the particular scenarios, which are more about the narrative and trying to recreate the drama of the stories than about making for a sensible or level playing field. You'd want to be careful about what you used in games beyond that.

      If they do make sweeping changes after these End Times are resolved, I do hope that what is left still resembles Warhammer as we know it - or I may finally leave GW's "progress" behind and stick with something based on 8th edition instead,

  7. It's quite unnerving. As yourself, I am excited by the storyline. Having characters and places I've known for decades get killed or destroyed makes me pause and exclaim 'crikey' at regular intervals. I'm delighted to be able to take undead chariots and archers again. I also love the united chaos army. But God help tournament organizers. The filth mongers must be twitching with the possibilities. All pretense of balance is utterly gone, and as the books are coming in such rapid succession, it'll take a while for the community to get to grips with it all. Interesting times.

  8. I agree with you Hoodling but the biggest question yet to be answered is what is happening to chaos dwarfs? Any ideas?

    1. Honestly, I think the Chaos Dwarfs are lucky to make it into GW's material as a footnote nowadays. The attention they got from the Forgeworld Tamurkhan book was a bit of an anomaly. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they never merit a mention in the End Times stuff. Poor little evil stunties. :(

    2. They do get a brief mention in End Times 2. VERY brief, but still hanging on...