Thursday, January 22, 2015

End Times, 9th Edition, Forums, Blogs And Negativity - Or "Down & Out in Tilea"

One of the more popular posts I’ve done here on Fields of Blood was titled “Blogs versus Forums”. In it I looked at why I had tended to gravitate towards reading blogs rather than “participating” in forums. The reasoning centred on the negativity you encounter and the open “trolling” or interaction with “internet warriors”.

If anything, the last six months have seen even greater polarisation of this in my mind. Eight to ten years ago I was an active participant on forums and I could troll or rage with the best of them but somewhere along the line I thought “What’s the point?” It started with me writing an incredibly insightful and cutting post where I would (in my own head) clearly demonstrate my intellectual superiority and invariably finish with me hitting the delete rather than send key. Over time I weaned myself off even having to craft a reply.

I slowly came to the realisation that there were no winners in forum debates. In fact I’m pretty sure that no-one ever said “Well that vitriolic and cutting post that pointed out my logical inadequacies really made me change my view”. So over time I gravitated to reading and of course writing blog posts. Generally (and in my own case hopefully) the medium means that the posts are more reflective than confrontational. The idea is to provoke thought or in the case of hobby elements provide some inspiration.

To this end I have started to require people who post under the Anonymous banner leave their name or identifier. I generally find that the cloak of anonymity “encourages” a more confrontational style and if I’m going to engage with somebody I always find it more polite to refer to them personally.

The recent End Times developments – initially rules but increasingly fluff – has seen a ratcheting up of the negativity on the net (again far more in forums than blogs). I find this interesting because for a long time the lack of storyline progression was used as a weapon to beat Games Workshop and now it is the opposite. Admittedly I am relatively lucky as my three favourite armies – Skaven, Nurgle and Tomb Kings – have emerged unscathed (and potentially stronger) from the process. So I understand some of the angst re the Elves, Dwarfs, Lizards, Brets etc but let’s see the end point before passing final judgement.

The rules have generally been greeted negatively rather than positively. In a lot of cases they have been dismissed untested. From my point of view I have concerns about some of the higher pointed characters – Nagash, KFA, Malekith the Eternity King – but think a lot of the other new units are good additions. Certainly I’d be happy to use and play against the Mortarchs, Morghasts, Blight Kings, Maggoth Lords, Verminlords, Thanquol and Stormfiends. However I do realise that these are all new add-ons for armies I favour.

Up to 50% Lords/Heroes causes concerns. Yes there could potentially be holes but like comp systems that knock the hard edges off, it is relatively easy to put constraints around this rule if you deem it necessary. These were typically being addressed by spam caps/flyer caps etc. The magic system was largely dismissed outright. In my view this was premature as it introduced a mechanism that limited the opportunity to do 6 dice casting. Was it perfect? No, but the holes were identified pretty fast. The biggest concern from my own viewpoint was loose wording and potential to slow down the game.

However the forum response was largely negative and we saw a spawning and re-spawning of negative threads. Into this storm were dumped the 9th Ed rumours of the past fortnight. This was the touch paper that a lot of posters needed to “complete” their day. Every interpretation was towards the worst outcome and the extrapolation that occurred magnified this even more. Forums became an even less fun place to visit.

My view remains pretty much that we should see the end product before we dismiss things out of hand. This was consistent with my view at the outset. When Nagash rules were released a number of commentators piled in saying how wonderful things were. Some of these same people are now at the other end of the spectrum. In both cases we hadn’t (and still haven’t) seen the full End Times and we certainly haven’t seen 9th Edition. This may well be the End Times but let’s not bury things, hold the requiem mass and post the eulogy before we see how things pan out.

Part of the clue is that we are talking about Warhammer Fantasy Battles 9th Edition. It means the game has come through 8 previous editions and the majority of readers are still here for the ride.


  1. Great article. I'm getting tired of all the negativity on the forums. I'm just returning to Fantasy because I love all the End Times stuff, and I've posted things on forums asking for advice on turning my 40K Daemon army in to a Fantasy army etc. Within a hours its full of people telling me to not bother, and that 9th Edition will kill the game. It gets very tiring very quickly.

    I've so far enjoyed reading the posts on this blog. Keep it up

  2. unfortunately many of the internet media seem to be holding a contest to see who can out rumour the others to get more ratings.

    Its the online version of the tabloid media standing around crying that the end is nigh due to the loss of page 3 models.

    1. Daemonettes and Witch Elves are being canned?

    2. Oh no..... I have 100+ Juan Diaz daemonettes

  3. Enjoyed this article and ensuing comments. Its funny how after only a few words you can kinda tell if the writer is someone you would actually like to game with or not! And I would have you all round the house for some Warhammer anytime...
    Even when i disagree I enjoy the read - keep up the good blogging


  4. Forum views are like political views - no matter how much you think your opinion is right, even factual, there will be somebody with an opposite view who is prepared to argue the toss forever. It's like trench warfare, a battle of attrition, whoever gets bored/tired first "loses".

    Personally I am not a fan of the fluff change, it's far too drastic for me. GW seem to swing wildly in their game rules, now they have done the same in their background. The appeal has lessened for me and I no longer play, but I am curious to see how 9th edition works. Personally, I see it all as a marketing exercise, an attempt to reduce the game to smaller regiments and big characters, to get the entry cost down. I actually agree with a lot of the negative sentiment being spouted, but have never, up to now, put my name with it. Even on my own blog I have no views on it. Ultimately, as I no longer play, it's irrelevant what I think. Feel free to flush my comment down the internet tubes.

  5. Great post Pete. Basically sums up why I check your blog every day at work. Nice to have a wargamer who uses with reason rather than 'bravado'. Keep it up bud!
    Henry P

  6. Yeah there is a lot to be said for keeping it positive on Forums. The only one I visit is Bugmans, and although people might be surprised, it is actually quite positive (End Times excluded!). They do have their place, especially when helping out new players and providing awesome feedback on painting and conversion. Nothing gives more motivation to painters than a "Wow, that looks fantastic mate!".


  7. Thanks for the kind comments guys. I personally think debate is good and I hope this site encourages and supports reasoned discussion. Certainly welcome contrary views being expressed as long as they are considered and attributed.

  8. Good article have to understand that many have a real emotional investment in the game and so really overreact to rumours.
    One thing I have never been able to understand is the sky is falling with a new edition mentaility and the idea of "supported "rules etc. Sure when a system is popular it means you can get games anywhere. I played historical stuff and i can tell in my group we still use rules published in the early seventies sometimes then we turn around and use the same models for games with more modern games like Black Powder. So if 9th or endtimes isnt to your liking then keep playing 8th with our mates, knowing that if you want to branch out with other players then 9th will be the way to go. Nothing is stopping you from playing any edition of WHFB with your models that you want to or even playing, dare i say it, other games! There is life outside of GW when it comes to wargames.