Monday, January 23, 2012

The story of how I won't be playing 40k anytime soon

It's Monday and I have to rant yet again. It's just the kind of guy I am.

I have always been a bit reluctant about Warhammer 40.000, being both a much more fantasy-oriented hobbyist and a shelf space-lacking one. But every now and then there comes a time I look upon the 41st millennium with interest. I don't quite like most of the armies, but I have seriously considered at least a few as my future projects. These were the orks, the Space Wolves, a homebrew Space Marine chapter, the dark eldar and the necrons.

Now, thing is I already have a greenskin project (on the workbench as we speak, in fact), so orks are a no-go. Space Marines, well, everybody and their grandma has Space Marines. they are the most popular of GW products for a reason, but that same reason keeps me from buying them as well. The dark eldar, in the light of circumstances you'll read in a second, became winners of my "If I Ever D 40k Army" contest. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

When the previous necron codex had been published, the dark eldar were still stuck with their first edition and their horrible, horrible miniatures. That made necrons a no-brainer. I picked up the codex, but being a humble student at that time I simply could not afford the army itself. But I was simply smitten by their fable, and for me that's a deciding factor in everything that is Warhammer. I know some 40k veterans did not share my view, but I loved the whole backstory about the C'tan, how actually the necrons "work" and why they do what they do. Their sinister, secretive feel and single-minded purpose, the sense of looming danger they present, it was all great. I was hooked and I knew I will be making necrons someday.

So when the new necron codex surfaced along with the new miniatures, as is tradition, I was overjoyed. I wasn't able to pick it up immediately. I did it last Saturday. I did not, for the life of me, like what I saw.

What GW did to the necron fable is, for me, nothing short of a crime. They basically turned a great, well-written race into Tomb Kings in space. It is so blatantly obvious throughout the codex I can’t really understand what thought process went behind the whole project. I know the necron fable was modest, but in my opinion that was what made them so great: they were supposed to be mysterious. That feel of enigmatic, but powerful dread was exactly what made necrons stand out as a definitive faction of the 41st millennium.

And now we have the C’tan not as the shadowy masters behind the necrons, but actually their slaves. Now the necrons are not a single, unified, galaxy-spanning force – now they just have their own separate areas of influence. Now they do not intend to harvest the sapient races and their worlds by the orders of their overlords – they want to get their fleshy bodies back… is this Pinocchio?

Am I butthurt? Maybe so. I had hopes for this army. I still like the miniatures very much (but where are the pariahs?). But as far as the fable goes, I think Matthew Ward has slaughtered it. Royally. He effectively killed what was great and appealing in this whole product. As the old adage goes, better is good's enemy. By comparison, the Vampire Counts fable was left untouched - and it served the army well. Take the hint GW...

So, I think dark eldar might be stepping into the spotlight and onto my workbench. Sometime. Do not expect them sooner than fall or winter of 2012. But expect them.

Thanks for reading and see you on Wednesday.

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