Quote Originally Posted by samiens View Post
Then you had mephiston and calgar et al smacking everything in second edition.

You might argue that perhaps the grim dark elements fail to be brought out so much nowadays but to deny the heroics that existed at least 17 years ago is a fraudulent argument.
I see things like this brought up quite often, but there's a full run of 2nd Edition books sitting around on my shelves, and not once do I see the sort of blandly superlative "heroics" of Ward's feckless wordspill. In fact, Mephiston's backstory in Angels of Death is almost identical to his 5th Edition write-up - except now, Mephiston's "re-birth" is now followed by a silly baptism in the blood of several hundred Orks, which adds nothing to the experience but a groaning eye-roll from the reader.

That, I think, is what's at the heart of the virulent objection to Ward's style of Codex writing. Entirely aside from his doddering purple prose, there's a heavy focus on the exploits of special characters that relies entirely on martial exploits that simply aren't impressive. Having Mephiston carve through scores of Orks or Calgar punch through an Avatar evokes nothing in the reader, because everyone's aware that doing so only takes as much effort as it just took me to read that sentence. All we see is the sale, rather than what's being sold, and it rankles. Really, this is present to some degree in all 5th Edition Codexes, and late 4th Edition books as well - Ward's just particularly artless about it, and has thus become its poster boy.

Sure, as Azzy is so fond of pointing out, 40K's a pastiche composed from the colorful detritus of culture, slapped together haphazardly by a bunch of overeducated nerds in order to sell the cool models they sculpted, but what it's never been before now is blatant or cheap. The nice part about said nerds being overeducated is that they knew history and literature and culture, and synthesized it into something evocative and fun, with the same curves and angles of real history, even while its specifics were completely unbelievable. Now that they've all left, been given the boot, or been all but stripped of their influence over the universe, all we're left with is a marketing department that's trying to sell to a demographic and the creative lackeys who've been tasked with getting us all to pretend that this is an "evolution" of the universe rather than a degradation. Buy into the fantasy if you like, but there's no reason to snort at those of us who preferred the steak to the sizzle.