View Full Version : The Great Balancing Act (a bit long...)

04-11-2007, 16:48
There are few certainties in life. We are all doomed to die, us blokes will never understand women and every time a new Codex arrives, the great debates begin again on how the new arrival will balance/unbalance 40K.

This has the effect that as developers are working on each individual army, perhaps this is time that could be used to refine the gaming system itself. We all have issues with the current 40K ruleset, and I have no doubt that this will continue to be the case in 5th, 6th and 7th edition 40K. As each new Codex arrives with its shiny new rules, we have a new set of complications.

Now, this is a hobby, and like all good hobbyists I'm in for the long haul, so the constant stream of change only serves as extra incentive to keep me interested in the gaming aspect and see the effects of the changes for myself, and present me with new challenges. However, I do wonder....

The question I present to you is this: Would it be the most beneficial solution to 40K in its next incarnation to have the core sections of every key army's Codex sorted out before 5th edition is rolled out?

Now, this would involve a huge amount of time and effort from the Games Dev guys, way beyond anything they currently do, however I would point out that if what we were presented with afterwards was a genuinely smooth gaming system that was fully balanced across the board, more than a few of us would be pleased to endure the extra wait.

It could have a knock on effect on the subsequent sales of Codices, as the main part of each Codex would already have been included in the main ruleset. That said, Codices have never been a purely rules oriented exercise, and numerous debates on this forum and others over the years have illustrated perfectly that this should continue to be the case. Codices could still present additional, unique units/characters and rules to work alongside the main list, and we would still have a fantastic book giving us background and modelling/painting tips. I firmly believe that even with the main part of an army's list included in the main ruleset, most of us would still invest in our new Codex.

What about the impact upon newbies? Well, as I see it, it is a far better introduction to the hobby for them in that they would come in to a hobby with a fairly stable, settled ruleset, and could spend more time getting to grips with the hobby and the actual playing of the game, rather than having to get used to one set of rules, only for it to change not so far down the line. You also have the added incentive that a good deal of new players to the hobby are not the ones who pay out for their first rulebook, it's the parents who pay.

When a parent wants to help their child into the hobby, the parents can often find it confusing as they wouldn't necessarily know what Codex their son would be interested in, despite the best selling efforts of the GW staff. It would be a major selling point to these parents that they could buy the 40K rulebook/box and their little Jimmy/Jemima would have all the basic rules they'd need to play games with their pals. Yes, the current rules do this to an extent, and Battle For Macragge is an excellent attempt at this, but perhaps we could do better?

Ultimately, this is going to boil down to time and resources, however perhaps this is something worth considering to take 40K forward.

Your humble scribe :)

04-11-2007, 17:12
Would it be the most beneficial solution to 40K in its next incarnation to have the core sections of every key army's Codex sorted out before 5th edition is rolled out?

Well, for the customers, proabably yes. As in your title, it requires a balance between the demands of those who want a new codex and those who want a new set of rules i.e rules without mistakes. I think the one thing that you have to remember is that GW is a company who want to make a profit.

The best way to get profit is to attract newbies, IMO. New people have to buy the rulebook and all the starting off stuff, as well as new stuff. Older gamers only get new stuff and so beginners make more money. With this in mind, GW want to have as much new material as possible, but also want to make the most amount of money out of each new set of material (part of the explanation of the long waits.) However, the old gamers do have to be pleased and so the balance issue comes into play - beginners are attracted by the codexs, and old gamers like new rules. So, GW release rules at a lower rate than codexes. To link it to the question, they do not find it beneficial as if the rules are put off too much, many old gamers would be put off the lack of updates in this section and so they would leave which is not good for them.

For gamers, it is comepltely subjective. For those who have their new codex, they want rules. For those who don't have a new codex, they want a new codex.

IMO, it is not essential to update every codex and this is based upon the fact that there is a time limit on the rules where at the end, people are so fed up with the errors that they can't be bothered to play with them. If GW were to update ever army before releasing new rules, it would be too long to wait for vehicles to become survivable. I would slowly loose interest as we saw the same things over again and rejoin when the new set came out. Also, it is the variety that often makes the game fun. Eventually, you will have played every game and done every tactic and so you want something to rekindle your interest. A new set of rules does this and so, it overall has to be "no".

04-11-2007, 18:19
I have to say a huge, hearty "YES!" to this, but I am concenred that G.W. would never do this.

As far as I can see, the 40k and Fantasy rules systems are becoming somewhat stable, and hopefully new editions will not introduce major overhauls to the system. Now would be a perfect time to settle down and give each army book the full treatment in-turn BEFORE a new edition gets rolled out. I don't know about including the core army lists WITHIN the rulebook but it would certainly be a huge benefit to have every book ready and lined-up, all in-line with each other by the time 5th edition launches... and for 5th edition not to throw everything off and require lengthy FAQs.

Since Eldar/Dark Angels G.W. has been going in a new direction with 40k, streamlining somewhat, removing "splinter lists" and making armies more characterful. The earlier Tyranid and Tau Empire books are not too removed from this model (except the Nidzilla list, but that's another debate), but as it stands the 4th Edition Marines Dex. are simply out-of-sync with the lists of Blood/Dark Angels and Chaos Space Marines. Not *so* much they cannot be used in the same game but it is frustrating to an extent. Necrons, Space Wolves, Dark Eldar, Daemon and Witch Hunters are all lists that don't feel quite "right" in 40k fourth edition. Obviously G.W. cannot do all the lists at once, but the big concern is that before they get around to "4th-editionising" all of these other lists they will already be setting off in a new direction with a new edition (perhaps they'll go mad on customisable lists again...)

Every army is of course getting updated in-turn, Orks are obviously next, and then Chaos Daemons, as well as Necrons or Dark Eldar seemingly being on the horizon... but if G.W. do a new edition before finishing them it's just going to be an incredibly annoying situation.

I like having seperate codex books for seperate armies, but as long as they do not get abandoned while a new edition takes preferance (sorry, deviated a bit from the main question, but hopefully still relevant).

04-11-2007, 19:07
Didn't they have this i the old 40K books? Im sure of it! They had Chaos and Marines and Eldar and Guard and Orks in the back of the BBB!!! It was more fun! It would be interesting to have that back...

04-11-2007, 22:52
3rd edition did indeed include a set of basic rules for each major army, though given the colossal differences between 2nd and 3rd edition 40K, there simply was no other option.

I sort of hinted at doing a similar process for 5th edition, but I think Luckywallace has hit on the compromise that really shoud be looked at; even if the basic core rules for each army are not included in a 5th edition ruleset, that they are at least ready to go top be rolled at in a timescale that allows each army to have its 15 minutes in the spotlight and provide a long term viable release schedule for GW financially.

But wouldn't it be nice to finally have a set of rules we can all (well most of us) be happy with ....

EDIT: Post number 300...rock on!