Is it just me, or is Fantasy cool again?
Don’t get me wrong… I’ve always liked Warhammer Fantasy Battles. But, there’s something about these new rumors that’s got me really interested. In fact, it started with End Times. I’ve been thinking about WFB for the first time in maybe 20 years. I mean, I’ve always been aware of it, and the new models are great, but the new fluff has really caught my attention.
Wait, what are we talking about…
You missed the memo? According to the rumor mill, WFB 9th Edition is going to be a game changer. Literally. To summarise, the End Times fluff will destroy the recognizable fantasy world, causing a shattering of reality. In fluff terms, there will be levels of reality, some pockets are just like old times with little change. Some are more “current” and have been described as sort of steam-punk (rumors say about 200 years have passed), etc. There’s said to be further consolidation of factions, while some are apparently gone altogether. At least one ‘new’ faction will arise in counter to Chaos Warriors, wielding new powers and with an all-new look. It’s wildly different, and there are a lot of opinions on the matter already.
The purists are up in arms.
I guess we all should have expected that. The internet wisdom is that rumored changes will make all the hard work we put into collecting fantasy armies obsolete. They say it will invalidate old lists and factions completely. While I can totally understand that, I think it’s pretty clear that you’ll still be able to play with your old stuff for quite a while. It’s not like those lizardmen are going to be completely trashed in a year. Also, the growing Oldhammer community will almost certainly embrace current WFB and keep it alive. Is this ideal? Hardly. But it happens to everyone sooner or later. It’s a far more drastic change than we’ve seen before, but there are sources that indicate the old stuff will be useable for some time moving forward, representing pockets of reality that have remained largely unchanged. There’s really no way to get the internet to NOT freak out about change on this level, but that’s not really what my post is about.
Here’s to new beginnings.
No two ways about it, this is a reboot on a massive level. Some say it’s a cynical (arguably necessary) move to alienate ‘gray market’ mini companies that are able to take advantage of generic fantasy tropes to create entire armies of non-GW minis. Some say it’s a way to breathe new life into segment of their market that has been underperforming for too long. Whatever the reason, they’re spending a lot of time and money on it from all accounts. That means we lucky gamers will see a huge variety of stellar new kits ranging from 30K Forgeworld stuff, 40K Citadel stuff, and now new WFB kits and factions coming out at breakneck speeds. It’s all very exciting for me, even though I only collect one army right now. I love seeing new stuff, and even though I’m not buying most of it, it’s really cool to see how much keeps rolling out.
If End Times are any indication…
I’ve been following End Times fluff and model releases over the last year or so with baited breath. Of course, I was really excited about some 40K stuff this past year as well (like the Knight!) but, usually I was just sort of aware of Fantasy and that was it. Now I’m actually getting interested again. Kits like Glottkin and the Morghasts are nothing short of stunning. Who cares if I even play, I want to collect some of them just for the models themselves. Of course, I don’t have the money for that but it’s a testament to their quality. Perhaps more importantly, I don’t think there’s a Fantasy player out there who hasn’t been intrigued by the renewed interest in the system. I’ve seen and heard tons more chatter about it since End Times started with some of these radical departures. If this is going to be the way Fantasy is moving forward, we all had better buckle in. Hell, if it’s really as cool as it sounds, I might start playing WFB for the first time since I was a wee youngin. That’s a victory for all gamers, not just the company’s bottom line.
To those who are saying it’s suicide…
Why would it be? I think they stand to take on more new players from this than losing old ones, especially as those old players have already purchased most of the models they’re going to. Yes, they will alienate some for sure. I think this year has proven nothing so much as there’s life in WFB yet, and I’d much rather see it change into something new and exciting than drop off slowly and eventually get phased out, which is what the rumors a couple years age promised would happen. I really do think the company will make good money with this new model, and ensure continued support for both sides of the fence.