I for one, as a 20 year dwarf player, am very happy about the new empire release because I think it means good things for the dwarfs.
One of my favourite things about GW over the last few years was how they really try to derive and establish unique themes and motifs for their armies. I used to always complain the Ogre kingdoms had no place in Warhammer since I didn't feel they filled any particular niche, but then GW came out and gave them a unique "Feel": wandering ice age horde that has awesome prehistoric creatures. Cool. This was reiterated in the designer discussions that "Used to be" in White Dwarf (May you rest in piece, but that's another discussion....), and Jervis has said that they are trying to make sure all armies have good unique releases and armies that have been taking a while are because they are doing alot of work on them to make them feel unique. Again, awesome
Now, fast forward to Dwarfs. Dwarf and Empire have kind of clashed in terms of who is the more "Steampunk Army". Over the last few years though Empire have kind of been getting more "Steam punk Attention", and I know many players would kind of /sigh at the fact that Empire seem to be getting the better technology. Dwarfs have also not had a new unit in nearly 20 years. I'm not kidding, as a kid who picked up and love the old 4th edition dwarf book nearly 20 years ago, it's been disappointed to see that pretty much everything we have now was there in 4th and we'd pretty much have to sit through 20 years of just Rules Updates, nothing exciting and new. (Honestly if VC can get nearly 10 new units in the last 5 years, can't we get a bit of love?). I also always feared that GW dwarfs would lean more towards the LotR dwarfs, basically short Norsemen but to me that was just boring.... nothing unique about that, and really Warriors of Chaos kind of fill that imagery.
So I had been following the empire build up with anticipation. GW is trying to separate army feels to make everything feel distinct and unique and what they try to use to define Empire wouldn't be carried over to dwarfs. So would they expand the empire steam punk motif or would they go more imperial and churchy. Thankfully the Empire didn't really go the steampunk route and instead tried to focus more on a more "Imperial" imagery releasing new models for the colleges and imperial zoo and tone down the imperial artillery.
So this, along with the 8th edition rule book focus on the dwarf airship has me thinking that GW is leaning towards making dwarfs more steampunky instead of going away from that. I for one am very happy with that, and given that the dwarf book still hasn't received an update even though it's older than O&G, VC, Empire, the upcoming Warriors of Chaos book has me excited that we have something really good in store Anyone else thing the winds are pointing this way? Will the love finally trickle down (No Pun Intended) to the stunties?