Wolves Of The Old World

In the early hours of this morning (UK time), when sensible folk were still abed, Games Workshop rolled out another of their big previews. I didn’t set an alarm for it but I did enjoy taking a look at it over a cup of coffee and needless to say, now I’ve given it all some headspace, I have thoughts ready to inflict on you, my gentle and long-suffering readers. We saw quite a mix of stuff too, from World Eaters (which I may – or may not – talk about in a future blog once I’ve got my ideas in order) and some walkers for House Cawdor which seem to be a real “marmite” release which some people (like me) love and others hate. However today I’m going to talk about the green lads and their good boys; the new Goblin Wolf Riders for the Gloomspite Gits.

Wolfriders 1

Well would you look at that! Somebody stop the presses and hang out the bunting – Games Workshop have managed to sculpt some decent wolves at last! Well done guys, pity it’s taken you 40-odd years but persistence beats resistance and these shaggy beasts were worth the wait! (Pedants will currently be desperate to remind me of the existence of Rippa’s Snarlfangs and the Soulblight Dire Wolves – both of which are ok – and the two wolves which hang out with Belladamma Volga which are actually really nice, but still, GW does have a reputation for missing the mark with their wolves on a regular basis so it’s still novel enough to be a relief when they get it right).

Wolfriders 3

These weren’t the only new Goblins to put in an appearance either. We also saw the previewing of Grinkrak’s Looncourt who for some reason have the exact same back story as the Flesh-eater Courts – that being that they believe, against the evidence, that they are in fact chivalrous knights. I know it can sometimes be tricky to think up new lore but this is a direct copy and paste, and much like with the ghouls it’s not really reflected in the models. I guess “identifying” as a noble knight is the new in thing in the Mortal Realms and we should go along with it rather than risk causing offense – what harm could a goblin or a ghoul do to a damsel in distress after all? Not naming the warband “the Green Knights” is a missed opportunity too – and if there’s one faction in the setting that can run with the puns it’s the Gits. At least the models are cracking.

Loonknight Goblin

More and more lately however I’m wondering if the Old World ever really went away. Were the last eight years all some kind of bizarre dream in which my fevered imagination conjured up magical realms and Stormcast Eternals whilst the Warhammer that was has rumbled on much as it ever did? Looking at GW’s release schedule you’d be forgiven for thinking so. The new Wolf Riders are a classic example of this – they’re awesome but conceptually they’re lifted straight out of the old Orcs and Goblins range without the slightest tweak to bring them into the Age of Sigmar. Now I don’t mind this – I liked old Warhammer – but wasn’t the point of Age of Sigmar to create a new world in which new ideas could be brought forth and explored? Sure, in the early days we didn’t have a whole lot to work with, it takes time to produce a whole new range of miniatures so models from WHFB were reused to flesh out the setting, but come on – it’s been eight years guys! In that time GW has churned out a lot of kits, many of them fantastic, and of those very few would look out of place in the “World That Was”.

By the time 8th Edition came around Warhammer had a lot of problems. The size of armies had grown so vast that new players could easily find themselves looking to paint hundreds of miniatures before their collection was ready for battle. To survive it needed to become more flexible, and desperately required a skirmish spin-off to serve as a stepping stone. Meanwhile the lore was a strange mix of cliches and ideas which were uniquely Warhammer, which the writers had to wrestle into shape whilst desperately seeking to ensure they had their own voice and weren’t trading solely on nostalgia. The range of models had grown large, and needed plenty of resculpts to keep it fresh, and the constraints of making models that rank up on square bases was clashing with the posing potential of the plastic models and new sculpting techniques. By the time the End Times rolled around Warhammer was desperately in need of some kind of soft-reboot. However absolutely nobody was saying “I really love this setting, but wouldn’t it be better if it was set on floating magical space bubbles. Oh and the Lizardmen need a silly name. Other than that it’s perfect”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those who’s still sore about the destruction of the Old World, it’s just that the more time passes the more I wonder what the hell the point was. Much of what we’ve seen since 2015 would have fitted into the previous setting. Old Warhammer was an odd mix of the very generic and the uniquely creative – Age of Sigmar was an opportunity to break away and do something really creative but they seem to have lost their nerve. Now with The Old World project coming it’s harder than ever to differentiate AoS from WHFB. If, for example, I wanted to start an Orcs and Goblins army for WHFB I could find pretty much everything I might want amongst the ranks of the current Orruks and Gits. Wacky spelling does not new models make! Things like the Stormcast Eternals, Idoneth Deepkin and Kharadron Overlords serve to demonstrate what they can do if they want to but in the main they seem to be afraid of pushing the envelope.

This isn’t just an issue with the goblins either. Today also saw the previewing of a new Beastlord for the Beasts of Chaos. Again, he’s a really nice model – although the beasts need a hell of a lot more attention than just one new hero – but he’s no different to the kind of beastmen we saw in pre-End Times Warhammer.

Beastlord Beastmen Warhammer

Likewise the new Slaves to Darkness are just a revamped kit for Warriors of Chaos – they look cool but there’s nothing different here.

Chaos Warriors

Some people might be saying “So what?”. The Warriors of Chaos and Beastmen were cool before and they’re cool now. Why reinvent a perfectly serviceable wheel? If it ain’t broke and all that. Now that’s fair enough but the thing is, they did – dramatically and unashamedly – blow their old setting to bits, burn their bridges and declare that this was a whole new era in which everything you had known before had been devoured by daemons. This wasn’t gentle – this was as subtle as Angron. Soft reboots, GW clearly thought, are for wimps! Yet here we are, almost a decade later in the real world and tens of thousands of years in the timeline of the game, and half the old characters are still around and everyone still dresses the same.

Lately Games Workshop has been previewing concepts from the forthcoming Cities of Sigmar revamp. Except is it a revamp? Everything we’ve seen so far, and I’ll admit it isn’t much, is very similar to what we used to know in the Empire.

CoS Preview GunsCoS Preview

Now I’ve got nothing against nostalgia (although I’m pretty sure it used to be better) but if I’d slipped into a coma in 2014 and woke up now would I see any difference between the Warhammer of now and the one I used to know? Of course given the state of the world otherwise this might be comfort, at least some things don’t change for the worse, but if you told me it was a whole new setting I’m not sure I’d believe you.

When the End Times was in progress I suggested that what we’d probably see was a partial apocalypse, shaking things up ahead of a new and refreshed setting. Chaos would come close to destroying the world but, at the last moment, the Gods would withdraw, laughing, to their own realm, leaving the survivors to fight it out amid the ruins. GW would have the chance to change anything they wanted, old characters with old models could be killed off, new characters and factions could arise, new rules – even a whole new game system – introduced. It would give the End Times some kind of significance, without needing to wipe the slate clean. The bathwater could be poured away without needing to send the baby with it. Afterwards I was (mostly) willing to give Games Workshop credit and let them do their thing, hopeful that the passage of years would create a setting that I could believe in and which would make the whole exercise worthwhile. I’m still waiting. Of the 24 factions currently present in Age of Sigmar all but 8 of them are essentially unchanged since before the axe fell on WHFB. Sure, some things have changed – breaking up the Orcs and Goblins into two separate factions, and dividing out the Warriors of Chaos into five new armies (one for each god) has given them room to grow and the results have been well worth it. However that, and the new rules for that matter, could easily have been achieved without the wholescale destruction of the world.

Stormcast Bloke

Let’s take a quick look at the eight new factions. Could any of them have existed in the World That Was? I would argue that all of them could. The Stormcast Eternals are perhaps the most iconic AoS army – and the one which, I suspect, precipitated GW’s decision to go through with the whole exercise. Space Marines sell – so why not have Space Marines in fantasy too? Double your money! It’s an understandable decision for a business to make but I reckon it could have been done just as well in a post-End Times Old World with nothing more than a few tweaks to the backstory. The Bretonians were in dire need of a range refresh and with Game of Thrones dominating screens around the world people were excited about knights. Most of the Stormcast concepts are not a million miles from a re-envisioned Grail Knights, granted superhuman power by the Lady to restore the realm.

The Kharadron Overlords and Fyreslayers could easily have been part of a re-envisioned Dwarf range, especially if some of the concepts were dialled back a little. Dwarves in Warhammer were traditionalist to a fault and extremely resistant to change but with their holds smashed and ransacked by daemonic hordes and many of the old guard killed and strung up by their beards a few young upstarts might be able to promote new ideas (ready to be patented by GW of course) onto a suddenly less recalcitrant population.

Fishmen were rumoured for years – apparently springing from a design studio in-joke that spread to tinfoil-hat-wearers and online theorists and never really went away. They too could have come to the surface in the form of a slightly tweaked Idoneth Deepkin. The Kruelboys could well have been lurking in the swamps and caves of the Old World, the Lumineth Realmlords tweaked into something closer to the High Elves and the Nighthaunt added to the undead ranks commanded by the Vampire Counts. Aesthetically speaking the Ossiasrch Bonereapers are the faction most unique to AoS – although ever here there are similarities to the Tomb Kings of old. Are they enough to justify the risky, and still controversial, decision to destroy a well-loved setting and start over from scratch? Those aside absolutely everything else from the mightiest Son of Behemat to the smallest gobbo could have been released in the old setting without stretching the lore one inch.

Ultimately I’ve got nothing against Age of Sigmar, it was a bold move and an opportunity for great creative strides, but since then their courage seems to have deserted them and as a result the whole thing starts to seem unnecessary. The wolf riders are amazing models but when it comes to their fantasy settings Games Workshop are living in the past.

29 responses to “Wolves Of The Old World

  • Dave Stone

    Some very interesting thoughts Wudu, I always saw it as a strange decision by GW to kill off Warhammer, if they had made another realm that opened up into the Warhammer world which brought in new factions, and could play it as a skirmish game, or add to your WHFB games would have doubled their target audience, rather than alienating a lot of them ( Heard a lot of that over the years). Can understand them wanting to get a bigger presence in the skirmish market, but was a really strange way to go about it in my opinion.
    As for the model releases so far, very few have caught my eye, and they have done very little for the Lizardmen, I think I look more in the way of conversion ideas than new purchases.

    • Wudugast

      Thanks Dave! Aye, it was a strange move. It’s certainly a brave and bold thing to do, to end outright a setting which had enjoyed such a long and successful run as Warhammer and start afresh, but I could understand them doing it if they were working towards something that they believed would ultimately bring them greater success/creative opportunity/profit. The risks were clear (potentially alienating their existing fans) but presumably there was an end goal that made it all worthwhile. However the passage of time has not brought that end goal into sight. It’s easy for me to sit here saying “Oh, this new model is really cool, it’s a new take on a model I loved when I was a kid” but when GW are clearly doing the same thing you can’t help but think “Why did they go to the trouble?” If all they want is to sell models for Warhammer, and I want to buy models for Warhammer, then the first step in parting me from my money should not be to blow up Warhammer.

      As for the lizardmen I very much agree, they deserve some new models (although the chameleon skinks which are coming for Warcry are very cool – then again Warcry is always the best at everything from GW these days). Again though, what the lizardmen didn’t need was a strange backstory about them being magical angel memories made out of light and flying around in space. If it walks like a lizardman, talks like a lizardman and shoots poison darts at you from the depths of the jungle like a lizardman it’s probably just a lizardman, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  • theimperfectmodeller

    I’m no expert on GW as you know but I’m starting to think the problem of creativity and something new and exciting isn’t confined solely to them. I’ve been coming the Internet for inspiration for weeks now and sod all has popped into my head. Inevitably this has led to the only conclusion I can reach and that is that I’m a grumpy and miserable old git! Love those wolves though! 🤔

    • Wudugast

      Haha! Well, you have my sympathies but to be honest I have the opposite problem, too much inspiration and not enough time to do anything about it! Have you tried looking through the stuff you’ve already got? I’m not being funny there but I find I often get pulled along by the draw of the new, and what I already have is often out of sight and out of mind. When I really sit and look at it I often find myself recapturing the passion that lead me to buy the stuff in the first place. Or if that doesn’t work you’re more than welcome to come over and paint some of my backlog (I’m only about 600 miles away after all…)!

      • Alexis West

        Truth. I was digging a bunch of stuff out to put up on consignment in September, and found a bunch of old projects that I’d burned out on, but now was ready to dive back into. It was really cool!

      • theimperfectmodeller

        It’s a good point but alas my back log is surprisingly small and uninspiring. However, between my previous comment and this one I have found something and am now waiting on a couple of deliveries. Hopefully these purchases will inspire me but if they don’t then at least they can form the basis of a pile I can fall back on! 😉

  • Alex

    I really like the look of the ‘new’ gobbos, really nice minis from what I can see! Totally agree about the irrelevance of the setting though… whether that is an opportunity squandered or bullet dodged is up for debate 😂

    One thing is certain though – I’ll be self-identifying as a noble knight from Jan 1st!

  • templeofthutmos

    I may have “panic bought” a set of the current Beastman Gors to customize in my R&H force, thinking GW was about to release another monopose set. I have no regrets.

    • Wudugast

      No regrets needed mate – those gors are great models in my book. I actually have both them and the previous set kicking around somewhere (at one time gors were cheap as chips for some reason and I took full advantage). I’ve kitbashed some of them into 40k/Necromunda mooks and I’m thinking a little band for Warcry would be a good use for some of the others. I wouldn’t say no to another new gor kit for the beastmen though but really I think there’s a lot of other things the beastmen need more. The new minotaurs are really nice mind you, it’s just a shame that they gave them to the Slaves to Darkness instead…

      • templeofthutmos

        Agreed on this take. And yeah, I just steadily convert the Gors to 40k Beastfolk, either as Chaos cultists or pressganged Imperial cannon fodder and shock troops, atoning for the sins of being born mutants.

  • Alexis West

    There’s an interview over on Goonhammer with James Hewitt that actually digs into a lot of this. The answer to much of it is changeovers in management and marketing, way, way above the level of the actual games designers. Most of the people who were the real driving force behind the “fuck it, let’s blow it all up and start over” movement that lead to AoS left the company shortly afterward, around the time that Tom Kirby did, and the ones who stayed would have been perfectly fine with just tweaking the Old World rather than blowing it up, but they couldn’t really just undo it at that point.

    There is one other benefit that Hewitt mentioned there that you didn’t touch on, which is that in AoS, they don’t have to get nearly as narratively contrived to get all the factions involved in big events. In the Old World, most of the factions were pretty strongly tied to specific regions, and they would sometimes have to come up with some pretty far out reasons for certain pairs to fight, since they were halfway around the world from each other. In the Mortal Realms, everyone’s all intermingled.

    • Alexis West

      Not sure how WP feels about links, so I’m putting this in separate, so I won’t have to re-type everything if it goes wrong: https://www.goonhammer.com/the-goonhammer-interview-with-james-hewitt-part-1-age-of-sigmar-and-40k/

      The other parts of that interview also have some fascinating stuff about the development of the Necromunda and Adeptus Titanicus reboots, along with some generally interesting stuff about the behind the scenes of game dev in general.

      • Wudugast

        Ah, cheers for reminding me about that interview – I read the parts about Necromunda/Titanicus etc a while ago but skipped over the AoS stuff. It all sounds about right to be honest, I’ve always suspected that big egos, closed rooms and a large dollop of last minute panic were in play. Certainly that chimes with my own experience of (semi-) professional game design a decade or so ago. Much as in any highly departmentalised workplace everyone starts to think that their specialism is key to the whole endeavour, and if management leans a certain way then the whole thing becomes polarised rather than holistic. For us the problem was rules guys ruling the roost and everyone else trying to twist the background to fit with whatever idea they’d come up with at a tournament. To me a game like AoS/Warhammer/40k should go; setting – miniatures – rules. That is to say, “what is the setting we’re trying to create here (futuristic hive city, pastoral hobbit land, etc). Then what factions would you find living there? Then make models that convey that. Then make rules that capture what it would be like to be/fight for/against those creatures/characters. I don’t care if you’ve come up with some really cool, fun rules for a Chaos Marines hero who has hairy feet and just wants to grow carrots – he’s a hobbit and we’re not doing a last minute re-write to make the Iron Warriors really keen on gardening (not actually a silly example but a real situation with the names tweaked to protect the guilty!). Sometimes you have to murder your darlings.
        I would add that you can go the opposite way; rules – then setting – then models, but that only works when you’re starting completely from scratch with total freedom and it’s still much, much harder to do.

        One thing I don’t agree with Hewitt on is the whole issue of factions being tied to specific areas. I’ve heard this said a lot and it just doesn’t sit right with me, it sounds like received wisdom rather than something objectively true. For one thing, I’ve played a lot of Warhammer Total War and I really like the way they’ve got different factions popping up all over the place in a way that makes sense. Go to Naggaroth and you’ll find outcast Tomb Kings in the wastelands. Go to Lustria and the Empire has colonies on the coast, Dark Elf and Norse raiding parties come sailing through, the Dwarves have mining operations in the mountains. To me that makes for a far more elegant solution; rather than me not being able to play my Wood Elves against your Lizardmen without coming up with some kind of elaborate hand waving to explain why the Lizards want to invade Athel Loren let’s have a bit of text in the army book talking about the Wood Elf cultures that have sprung up the world over. Let’s have a White Dwarf article; how to paint and convert your Wood Elves to represent the ones that live in the jungle, or the grim and bitter guardians who fell the mad trees that roam forests of the far north, or the desert dwellers that protect the little oasis woodlands of Araby.

        However my real issue, and I know this may not be a popular opinion, is that we shouldn’t need to have everyone involved in every campaign. It works for certain settings like Necromunda, Blood Bowl and Warcry (oh look, my favourites!) because all the factions are in the same place to begin with but it just doesn’t for others. I remember those Warhammer campaigns that he mentions, where there was often a very well considered story about Chaos invading the Empire, Bretonnia coming to their aid, Orcs taking advantage of the confusion – and the whole thing getting more and more stretched as they tried to shoehorn everyone in and explain why the Tomb Kings or whoever happened to be there too. Same thing with 40k when for some obscure reason every big player in the galaxy always ends up fighting over the same planet. Now I agree, it sucks if you play Tomb Kings and you want to join in with everyone else but you can’t because the campaign is set in the Empire. However switching to AoS is a really extreme way to solve that problem. More than that though by trying to fit everyone into the same scrum at the same time and place can become so jarring that it takes away from the sense of verisimilitude. If we look at a real world conflict that’s happening currently, for example the war between Russia and Ukraine in the Donbas, it would seem odd if the Taliban, the Mexican drug cartels, the Royal Saudi Armed Forces and the Tatmadaw all turned up and joined in as well. Like I say, I get that GW want to include everyone, from their point of view it helps to sell models and for the players it sucks to be left out. However, sticking with the example of the Tomb Kings, they did leave them out in the end – and pretty terminally at that. The move to AoS may have mixed everyone together but for the Tomb Kings it doesn’t really matter because their army got canned anyway. What defined the Tomb Kings and made them cool was their pseudo-Egyptian look and feel, and that tied them to the deserts. If given the choice between Option A “We don’t include the Tomb Kings in the next campaign because it’s set in Norsica but the one after that will be in the Southlands and they’ll be front and centre – that way everyone gets a turn” or Option B “We scrap the Tomb Kings all together and never make kits for them again” I reckon the average Tomb King fan would grudgingly settle for A.

        Any road up, I’ll get down off my soap box now! 🙂

      • backtothehammer

        Peachy also recently left GW and spoke a bit about the demise of the old world on a YT channel: The Painting Phase.
        Great article. I don’t disagree with anything you said. I actually found it a bit annoying that they are recycling old characters. It feels like they are missing a trick.

      • Wudugast

        Ah, I didn’t realise Peachy had left. Good on him – I hope he does well. I’ll give that interview a watch later. Peachy and Duncan were always the best guys for teaching painting, I’d been in the hobby a long time when I discovered them and they still taught me a lot. They just seem like really nice blokes too. The new presenters they have for Warhammer TV are alright, and I’m sure they’re lovely people, but it’s not the same.

        Oh don’t get me started on them recycling old characters, that was such an obvious flaw from day 1 and how nobody at GW pointed it out boggles me. The length of time between the collapse of the Old World and the start of AoS is just so long there’s no way any of them would still be around (daemons excluded). Chaos Lords, Vampires, whatever – it’s been hundreds of thousands of years, they shouldn’t still be there. This is why, if they insisted on doing this, they should have set it in the immediate aftermath of the End Times. That way if they wanted to have a clear out they could and, right or wrong, it would at least make sense. “Oh Neferata with her cool new miniature, yeah she’s still around – she survived the End Times and now she’s busy gathering thralls to rebuild. Old Whats-his-face with the ancient finecast model that looked like it was sculpted by a guy with ten thumbs and never did sell well. Yeah he died…” I mean, for crying out loud, Thanquol and Boneripper are still around! That’s an amazing model, and I’m really glad to see it’s still on sale, but Skaven are supposed to have incredibly short lifespans (not helped by all the backstabbing) and that dude has been around long enough to have watched continental drift!

        Ok, now I’ll get down off my soup box…

      • Alexis West

        Excellent points there. And yeah, I suspect that the whole “everyone has to be included in the big events” thing was another of those that came from management or marketing.

        I do actually like how wide open the Mortal Realms are in that regard, with everyone all mingled together, but that’s very much a subjective preference.

        Amusingly to me, where they’ve really written themselves into a corner in that regard is with the Tau in 40K. I’ll buy the Tomb Kings showing up in Norsca way more easily than the Tau appearing anywhere outside of the Segmentum Ultima 😀

      • Wudugast

        Oh yeah, I’m 100% with you there – at least the Tomb Kings and the Norse are on the same planet, no reason why they couldn’t meet up for a good old punch up from time to time. I’m not one for just slagging the Tau (it has become a bit of a cliché to have a go at them hasn’t it) but their whole background places them within one relatively small area of space. Yet they’ll show up to the grand opening of an envelope on the other side of the galaxy if there’s a campaign book involved… Stay in your lane blue-guys, we’ll give you a call next time we’re anywhere near the Damocles Gulf!

  • Kuribo

    I would submit to you that the Hobbit Wargs are really solid and a lot of the design in those minis is similar to these new Gobbos. They certainly look good and were as impressive as anything GW showed off this weekend.

    I agree with what you’re saying that over the last couple of years, GW seems to be more interested in bringing back everything from Warhammer Fantasy but making it more trademark safe. This has had mixed results for me as whole factions like the High Elves are replaced by the inferior Lumineth. Even the new vampire stuff is cool but it just isn’t the same as the Vampire Counts for my money. I’m starting to think that GW has realized that a huge percentage of their customer base has nostalgia for the old Warhammer so they said, “heck with it, let’s just bring everything back in a way we can trademark.” There’s so many examples of this like with the Beastmen. I can’t imagine the Beastmen have ever been a hot seller but they’re making a comeback to AoS which is surprising. But on the flip side, nostalgia sells. Most of the things I buy and collect are due to nostalgia and I’m sure GW knows that it sells as well as FOMO does with their customers.

    Having said all that, where does this leave The Old World? Is it really going to stand on its own enough to justify a product line? AoS has vampires, ogres, elves, and dwarves which are different but not radically different from their older counterparts. I would kill for the Tomb Kings, High Elves, and Wood Elves to come back but there are somewhat similar armies for two of the three of those as it stands now. Its certainly going to be interesting as we start to learn more about The Old World and how it stands apart from AoS because it is starting to seem like that might be difficult to accomplish.

    • Wudugast

      You know, I’d forgotten about those wargs. They’re actually quite good, for some reason I only ever remember the old ones (which as I recall looked like giant weasels) but they redid them around the time of the Hobbit didn’t they?

      Part of me wonders if this is all a way of stealthily rebuilding the WHFB ranges ahead of the Old World. That way rather than having to release/re-release new models for everyone all at the same time they can borrow from AoS. If they launch the Old World without some of the old factions you’ll have loads of angry grognards shouting “But where is my army?!”. However if they try to cover everything in one go they’ll flood the market and hoover up all their resources (no 40k, Necromunda, Blood Bowl or anything else this year – we’re making Wood Elves!). This way they can launch the Old World with things like Bretonnia, Tomb Kings etc – and if you want to play Warriors of Chaos/Vampire Counts/Orcs and Goblins you can just borrow them from AoS. The problem with that is that aesthetically speaking the two settings are getting closer and closer together, to the detriment of both. If I like hobbits I can play Middle Earth, if I prefer Space Marines I can play 40k, but if I like Vampires do I choose AoS or the Old World (especially as I can’t use the same army in both games – round bases vs square – borrowing from ASOIAF and using movement trays for Old World would be a very good move I reckon). No-one is going to paint the same army twice so chances are people will pick one setting and stick with it. If you’ve got ten guys locally who enjoy fantasy and half of them go over to the Old World and the other half stick with AoS you’ve cut your scene in half. Its a real problem in Necromunda now because there are a lot of guys who were playing the old edition for years, and kept it alive when GW scrapped it. Now old Necromunda had a lot of flaws (so does new-munda mind you) and getting all the new models and books has been really cool, but we’ve had so many re-writes and changes to the rules in recent years that in some places there are more “editions” of the game than there are players. Do you play the version from the 90’s, or one of the community re-writes from the late 2000s, or the 2017 edition, the 2018 edition, the House of Books era, the Ash Wastes version? Lots of guys who were able to get games in when the game wasn’t being officially supported now struggle to because their models don’t fit with the current rules, and you need to buy hoverbikes and tanks to be competitive and that’s not the game they’re interested in playing. Now I think the hoverbikes are cool but I see the issue they’re suffering from, and it takes the game away from loyal fans who were doing a lot of good to support it, and instead places near total control in the hands of GW.

      I’m really excited about the Old World, and I want it to be a success, but I’m a rebel who plays occasionally with a very small group of people and so is able to do my own thing when it comes to games (up to thumbing my nose at Necromunda and writing my own rule-set, just to make things extra confusing on that front). My fear is that unless they get this just right they may loose the support of the exact people they need to be courting and instead of having the old WHFB boys inside the tent pissing out, they’ll be outside the tent pissing in. Meanwhile GW are carving the fantasy pie into smaller and smaller chunks and in doing so competing against themselves. If you want to collect Orcs do you paint them for AoS, or the Old World, or Middle Earth? Of do you pick up some Space Marines instead and go off to 40k where you know exactly where you stand?

      • Kuribo

        The old LOTR wargs are poor in their movie design and the sculpts aren’t great either because they have massive gaps for hard plastic anyway. The Hobbit improved upon both thankfully and are enjoyable to paint.

        I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. I know there is a hardcore type of Warhammer Fantasy fan that wants to paint up huge armies that require 6×4 tables to play but I do think the hobby has moved on from that to some extent and most of us play skirmish or at least mid-sized games because that is all the space or time we can dedicate towards our hobby. GW is going to have a hard time appealing to both types of fantasy fans UNLESS they do what you’re saying and make it so you can play AoS or The Old World with the same minis, just more of them or something along those lines. The more I think about this, the harder it is going to be to make everyone happy but then again, I suppose that is something GW is always having to sort out so they should be used to it by now! I’m just looking for cool sculpts I want to paint as display pieces from The Old World so if GW delivers that, they’ll get no complaints from me! 🙂

  • Faust

    The new gobbos and the wolf are looking pretty good. I feel sorta like you on the Beast hero and the Chaos warriors, more of the same. Oh well, I’m mostly just waiting to see what they will finally release for Blood Bowl next.

    • Wudugast

      Aye, I’ve got nothing against the Warriors of Chaos, or the beastman, or any of it really – in fact I really like them – it’s just not the crazily creative new world that we were promised all those years ago. Mind you, this is also part of the reason I’m drawn to Warcry – they’re really cutting loosing with their creativity there and the results are outstanding.
      I’m with you on waiting for more Blood Bowl – things have slowed right down on that front haven’t they? At least we got two teams this year – twice as many as last year! And it’s given me a chance to catch up – for once I’ve painted more teams than I’ve bought! Reading the interview with James Hewitt that Alexis West links to above I wonder if part of the problem lies with specialist games having farmed out a load of work to China in the early days because they didn’t have the capacity to produce it in the UK. I’m speculating based on his comments, obviously I don’t know for sure, but I can’t help but wonder if they’d managed to bring Necromunda back in-house by the time Covid arrived but Blood Bowl, Adeptus Titanicus, Aeronautica Imperialis etc were still being sub-contracted to China and have stalled as a result of the “zero covid” lockdowns/crackdowns/shutdowns they’ve been having over there, combined with the huge drop in global shipping. Like I say, it’s a guess, but it would make sense of the facts – up to 2020 those games were churning out releases at an absolute tear and then all of a sudden they hit a wall and pretty much stopped (this may well explain the demise of Cursed City as well).

      • Alexis West

        Cursed City, I know had issues due to being produced outside the UK. Brexit has really thrown a wrench in some of those production/supply chains as well as covid, driving GW’s costs up significantly on stuff like (in the case of Cursed City) the tokens and board sections and other heavy card components.

  • Azazel

    I think the thing you’ve missed through the interesting post is that something very important outside of the setting happened. Something that allows Goblin Wolfriders and Genestealer Cults and that “The Old World” project.
    The departures of Kirby and Merritt.
    The Sundering of The Old World wasn’t about freedom and creativity – it was a public rationale for discarding the generic aspects of Warhammer and retaining (and leaning into) the most IP-protectable elements of WHFB. With Fantasy Space Marines!
    Now that those two are gone, we can have (hopefully) the best of both worlds.

    • Wudugast

      Oh yeah, I think change at the top has had a lot to do with it. Perhaps not always directly, I know they wouldn’t be making individual design decisions, but I can imagine the office culture changed a lot once they were away. For the record I’ve nothing against seeing lots of “old world” style kits, I just think they’re missing a trick by not doing more with the new setting they took such a risk to create. Partly I suspect that the public outcry at the destruction of the old setting – which in many ways I would say resulted more from the half-finished state of AoS when it launched – has frightened the marketers, who will have switched from telling the designers to be more “out there” and creative and will now be over-correcting and saying “traditional designs sell”. Knowing the long development times of these products as well, I reckon we’ll be seeing a knock on from decisions made quite some time ago. Plus tough times make people more conservative, with the socio-economic climate as it is now there may well be a feeling that what customers want right now is comfortable, familiar concepts that recall nostalgia for better days.

  • 34thtribeofthevault

    I’m saving this thread for later when I post my long comment on the subject. I might have a few interesting things to say on the topic.

    Though as an off topic ramble, I’ll be sharing something that I came across that might be interesting. This is somewhat of a spoiler for my planned post on Morathi from each edition and her AoS inspiration.

    Morathi’s design for her corrupted form was not necessarily influenced by Slaanesh as the lore would have you belive, but rather the Cytharai gods of Atharti and Hekarti. You see, both gods have a duality of rivalry as they both seek to outdo one another in an eternal war to kill each other. Both are represented with serpents in their runes and banners.

    The designers at GW used this duality as the main design theory for the initial DoK range. So if you’ve been wondering why the aesthetic of Morathi and the DoK doesn’t look like those of the Slanneshi corrupted form, then you know why now! 🙂

    Now here’s something mad, what if the Morathi plastic kit and her serpent creations were originally planned for End Times: Khaine? That book didn’t have any miniatures tied to it like the rest with each one having some chstscter models, units and one big centre piece miniature. Maybe the rushed story in End Times: Khaine was done due to the miniatures not being done on time, or changes by the writers forced the miniatures back in the release slot?

    What if the Warlock Bombardier was also a delayed miniature? Tin foil hats at the ready!

    I’m probably going mad…

    • Wudugast

      You make some excellent points there. I remember at the time being disappointed that End Times: Khaine didn’t come with any models and the new Morathi would certainly have sat nicely alongside the other big show-stopper models that were released with the other books. And once again, as with so many other AoS kits she and the Daughters of Khaine would work just fine in a post-End Times Old World.

      I remember reading an interview with one of the GW old timers who described (and I’m afraid I’m going to have to paraphrase a bit here as it was a while ago that I read it) taking an early draft of what would become Rogue Trader to his boss. His boss asked if they had a working title for it yet and he replied that they were thinking “Warhammer Four Thousand” – set four thousand years in the future. His boss said something like “Nah, needs to be bigger, make it 40,000 years!”. Now whilst this works for 40k it doesn’t suit Warhammer/AoS. Everything would have worked well if set in the years immediately following the End Times – but hundreds of thousands of years stretches credibility. I can’t help but wonder how much that culture of “make it bigger” which has served GW well in the past, turned out to be a mistake here.

      Looking forward to hearing your further thoughts when you get to them. 😃

  • 34thtribeofthevault

    Some character models** bloody typo mistake on my part. 🤦

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