View Full Version : Thoughts: What Wont BE In 6th Ed

13-02-2012, 09:31
I was in my local GW recently discussing rumours of 6th edition and the box set with the staff. Just a friendly chat really, they didnít know anything more than me and we were just talking about what we would like to see in the box set.

A few interesting things came out of the chat, not about what would be in the 6th edition box, but what shouldnít.

For example I repeated an old rumour that maybe it would be Dark Angels as the marines (we all agreed there would be marines) but the staff disagreed. They didnít feel that GW would marginalise a starter box into one chapter. I felt that they could do a Dark Angels force for the box(with bikes/terminators/speeders) but that wouldnít mean you couldnít use any of these things for regular space marines. But of course if your marketing the box to look like itís got Dark Angels in it, and there is a Dark Angel codex, what are people new to the game going to believe?

The second thing that came out of this chat really showed for me the difference between marketing towards someone already in the hobby and someone who isnít. We were talking about the chances of Eldar being the other race in 6th Edition, an idea we all thought sounded cool, but I pointed out I didnít think this would ever happen. I pointed out that Eldar werenít ďbad guyĒ enough for a started box, a box that is designed to draw new players in, and that meant you wouldnít see any tau, elder or possibly guard in the starter box. The staff didnít see any chance of a marines/chaos box and although I agreed that power armour on power armour seemed unlikely, it was more likely than elder. If you look at the box sets for both WHFB and 40k over the last few editions you see a running theme, good guys and bad guys. Knowing that there will be marines in the 40k starter this really narrows down the possible choices for the bad guys.

But the staff pointed out that Eldar and Tau arenít good guys, they have pretty dark elements to their background and could easily be packaged to be evil. I pointed out that this just wasnít true. The deeper elements of the 40k fluff are one thing, but GW packages its armies to fit into broad archetypes of good and bad. This isnít for the vet but for the new players. The example I used were orks. Now the staff and allot of people donít see orks as evil, but a bit mental. Their background is such that there really is no choice in their actions, they just do what they do and that happens to be war. However, just a quick look at the models, the codex blurb, and the box art tells us, on some level, that these guys are evil. Their armour and weapons are massive and crude, they have ugly alien faces with monstrous teeth and beady eyes, and their basic background speaks of a savage feral race of nightmarish monsters. To a person getting into the hobby they are bad guys. By contrast the Tau have smooth gentle shaped armour, are human shape and size, have background that talks more of unity and friendship (or at least a just war for peace) and even the box art has blue sky in background.

This is how you market to children and new players. You donít muddy the water with shades of grey, which we all what most races in 40k fall into, you present them with two strong archetypes. One a holy super human warrior from earth, the other a monster from the depth of nightmares. Dark Eldar, Tyranids, Chaos, Orks and Necrons all fall into this nice bad guy archetype, even if closer inspection would seem to challenge that.

Anyway just a few thoughts :)

Formerly Wu
13-02-2012, 14:19
Good thoughts.

Keep in mind that, while the current DA archetypes are bikes and termies, they are still basically Codex. I imagine that the bulk of models in a starter set would be easily refurbished to a different chapter. Probably a basic marine force with some scattered robes, a captain with heraldry, and maybe a shiny new Wardian invention for a centerpiece.

You're right about the broad "good guy vs bad guy" theme, although I think a stronger theme for the box set is contrasting army styles. Looking back over both 40k and Fantasy shows this: elite vs horde (isle of blood, black reach), wits vs brawn (skull pass, 3rd Ed 40k), human vs monstrous (macragge).

If the rumors are true, the Chaos present in the new box will be less power armor and more varied than the current codex. So it could represent a more lawful (regimented, stubborn Dark Angels) vs chaotic (cultists! daemons! astartes!) theme.

Personally it was the shades of grey that got me into 40k in the first place. Having your "good guys" project such a brutal, anti-modern philosophy as the Imperium fires the imagination. How can they live like this, and if these are our protagonists, how bad is what they're fighting? The need to simplify and categorize everything like they're GI Joes has always rather disappointed me.