Monday 15 July 2013

Enter the Citadel: Questions from the Bell of Lost Souls forums

At the weekend I attended Enter the Citadel at Warhammer World. It was excellent, and very much worth the trip. I'll be covering the individual Q&A sessions separately later this week, along with my personal experiences and opinions.

However, to start with, I'm going to cover the questions that the Bell of Lost Souls forums asked me to ask - well, the ones I thought could get an answer anyway.

Some of these questions came from a rushed conversation with Phil Kelly - it was hard to find time to speak with him on top of everyone else going on and without being rude and interrupting other people. As a result, I didn't have time to make my usual copious notes. We were also cut short as we talked right up to the wire of the end of the event. As such, I've taken the liberty of summarising some of the conversation. Hopefully, I have not lost his intent and focus on this. As such, should you talk with him yourself, you may get slightly different answers - both because my account is filtered through my perception of it, and because people's opinions can change over time!

Other questions were asked by other people in the seminars by people other than me, and some came up naturally without me needing to ask. Hopefully its useful and interesting to people!

"Do you feel that certain units such as banshees and genestealers should be changed to have grenades considering the impact of overwatch?"


"Is there a possibility we will see Howling Banshees fixed in an errata as currently they are comprehensively inferior to Striking Scorpions even with being cheaper. Lack of plasma grenades, reliant on unreliable buffs from a unit that can't join them to inflict wounds an inferior Mask and and inferior Acrobatic."

Context for those not obsessed with rules: Banshees don't have assault grenades, but wargear that penalises their opponent's initiative, to a minimum of one. While this will often mean they are then striking simultaneously when assaulting into cover, there is a risk of them being badly mauled by the counter strikes.

The discussion: Assault grenades and assault units are a difficult point. You can't just give absolutely every unit grenades, because at that point, why would you have a rule to penalise assaulting into cover? There needed to be distinctions between Howling Banshees and Striking Scorpions, otherwise everyone would be taking Banshees and the Scorpions would be being decried as useless. Phil does love Eldar and its a careful design line to not to make them The Best At Everything Ever. He still uses Banshees in his own army.

We also had a short conversation about making Banshees more effective. I couldn't recall if your initiative is still penalised if you're charging a unit that is already engaged with someone else (that may be a way to bypass the lack of grenades). The Dark Eldar also have a piece of wargear that bestows assault grenades onto the unit they've joined - while allying isn't to everyone's taste, a Dark Eldar independent character with this kit joining the Banshees could create an effective, punchy unit.

"Are they happy with the speed of releases for sixth edition?"

In short - not answered. Rather, they asked us our thoughts on it!

"Why did they not give the Hemlock Wraithfighter better armour or a better jink save considering it is only armour 10 and will die to even bolter fire, yet has to hang out at range 12 (bolter rapid fire range) in order to get any use out of its Mindshock pod?"

There was a general comment during the Q&As that establishing newer units in Codexes was generally quite hard - people already know what a Fire Dragon does, and how it fits into the army and the background. Newer units, such as the fliers, need to be introduced and will take a while to bed in - the example was given that the Autarch is only just starting to really find his place in the army after a number of incarnations.

While chatting to Phil, his further comments were that it was a difficult line to walk. Fliers have a narrow run of armour between 12 and 10, with 12 being the established heavier fliers, and 11 being the mid range. Eldar are supposed to be lightly armoured and fragile, so 10 is the natural point for them. The subject of the jink save really wasn't covered - we were short on time and I was trying to cover as much as possible.

"Will we see a time when all units will have a model?"

They certainly hope so. A newly released Codex will have models for all its units one way or another from now on - this isn't even necessarily something caused by the Chapterhouse situation (while there were questions on this subject, the answers carefully avoided direct references). They were already getting a lot of feedback from people that codexes with gaps in the model ranges were frustrating for people. Its unlikely you'll see a Codex release missing models happening in future.

"I'd be keen to hear what his thoughts are on the rise of 3D printers and how he sees GW taking on that technology into the future."

There was a much longer answer from Jes Goodwin I'll cover in that seminar, but in store printing, custom designs, adding your own face to a character model and the ability to mix and match to order were all talked about as things that are not currently technically possible, but could be in the far future. The level of detail and affordability is just not there to see it being a danger or competitor as fast as the internet commentators would have you believe.

I also took the opportunity to ask about the Heavy D Scythe, which has been covered in a couple of blog posts (although ironically I can now only find the one). In short, the description doesn't really match the weapon profile.

This weapon did go through some iterations during play testing. The natural progression of a D Scythe would be to move from a Template weapon to a Torrent weapon. If people have concerns about the Helldrake's balance, two Torrent D weapons is not going to stay in line with the overall power curve. I asked if perhaps the blasts should have ignore cover and if that might be updated in the future, but this was part of a multi line conversation and this was one of the things that fell by the wayside...

Questions not asked

My original post on the forum had some guidelines:

"To save wasting anyone's time, the following topics won't be considered: - Any questions about what's coming in the future (they won't tell us)
- Any questions about pricing / material use (they're games designers, not marketing / production)
- Anything about Squats, because it's to the point of a running gag now
- Loaded questions set more as a statement followed by "do you agree?""

I therefore decided not to ask the following questions:

"With the advent of Terrain fortifications are we going to see faction specific terrain pieces, or just more archetypes with which each player can customize/convert the aesthetics of to fit their appropriate faction?"
"I'd like to know if they're planning to do more terrain and upgrade packs. Making a finecast pack of las/autogun wielding arms would be great for converting WHFB models to 40k :3 Maybe tie it in to a minor Necromunda rerelease?"
"Ooh, question for Jes Goodwin: Is it possible we might see future plastic kits represent a more equal gender breakdown in line with their background and the new Dark Eldar range?"
"When will Codex: Squat be released?"
"will be there even supplements for codex already out in the sixth edition?"
"Will all 16 current armies for WH40k get a codex in the new release cycle for 6th edition?"
Will the Imperial Guard show more Gender equality in their figures in the future?
Same question for Eldar."

(Sorry BoLS fans!)

I didn't manage to find the time to ask:

"Please could you ask Phil Kelley if he meant that the burning chariot couldn't move and fire, since its flame is a heavy weapon, and because its a template weapon, it cannot snap fire either. I'd be immensely grateful if you could clarify this specific question. Thanks!"

I also didn't ask:

"Why did they give the Hemlock Wraithfighter a spell it cannot use on the turn it enters the board?"

... as I thought the answer to this was covered in the general FAQ - but it seems that some people don't agree on this. I am going to be making a much longer post on that argument once I've finished researching it.

In the meantime, there should be some more posts from me on the Q&As and general experiences soon, as I have a lot of notes to write up. Check back soon!

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