It's no secret that the 8th edition of Warhammer has a lot of problems. It's not a comparison with previous editions - there is an indisputable lack of depth, and the balance is still not in the best condition. We suggest a discussion on what could be changed in the next edition to make Warhammer better.
The main claims to the previous edition – death stars, illogical alliances, spam of the same units, and magic. 8th was perceived as a sort of messiah capable of eliminating it, and bringing a long-awaited balance. Here we are dealing with the opinion formed on the Internet, and accepted by the majority. Look at the rosters from any recent tournaments. Spam of the same units? Here it is. Domination of the particular factions? Here it is. Alliances? Less is a fact. Because you don’t need alliances, when each army has its own characters, equally giving rerolls. Magic is also not a subject, but only because the magic has now slipped to an auxiliary role.
The essence of the problem of public opinion is that most people blindly accept the popular point of view. In fact, while playing at a local club, the majority did not see any of the above in either 7th edition or now. But they persistently continue to believe that the 8th edition came, and saved us from this. Therefore, we will look at its problems now without the comparison with 7th edition and taking all the innovations as given. It is quite obvious that GW will not change the concept of simplifying.
In fact, the current version has a lot of really good ideas. Mostly, taken from Age of Sigmar, which feels very well, despite some difficulties at the start.
For example, AP mechanics is now objectively good, and gives even a weak weapon a chance to be useful. But ... why such huge values? In AoS, where it was taken from, AP (rend) -1 is already considered a decent one, and if you have -3, then you probably are a friend of Arсhaon, not less. In 40K this mechanics was transferred blindly, simply relating AP4 with -1, AP3 with -2, and so on. As a result, armor generally does not make much sense – there are too many weapons that put it down to statistically rare values. The same with wound multiplication. Excellent mechanics blindly transferred, and now we have domination of the weapons, capable of killing a character with a single shot. Just because no one thought about how fatal it would turn out in the end. In order for this to work as it should, it is necessary to revise all these values and re-arrange them manually.
Hence the problems with cover mechanics. They are no longer critically important, because a good weapon (no one will shoot a protected unit with a bad one) totally ignores this advantage. By the way, why can’t you go to ground now? This mechanic certainly would not make the game more difficult. Cover save could be brought to the previous values, and made unaffected by the AP. Then holding the key points would have exactly made a difference, and added a tactical component to the game.
In fact, everything is bad now with the tactical component. Since you can remove any model as a casualty, and there are no templates. The placing of the models no longer matters. Why should you take advantageous positions, and think, if it is easier to be crowded in the center, so as to get under the biggest number of auras. Actually, the priority of the nearest model is something that needs to be returned. "But it works the same way in your favorite AoS!" - you will say. And you will be right. But do not forget that the role of shooting in a fantasy game is hundred times less than in the game about the distant future. Even in real history, people stopped fighting in a dense formation after the range weapons spread widely. It became important to take positions and use camouflage. So, the current 40K simply ignores the current human practice.
Well, speaking of placing and templates, we can’t ignore flamers. Now they are totally useless. Recently we played a test game on the 7th edition, and only three flamethrowers, successfully wounded 17 models in the building. Now, for the same result you need two, least likely results on 3D6. In this case, your or your enemy’s position does not play any role at all. Are we talking about a wargame where tactics are important? Flamer template wouldn’t definitely bother anyone.
The weapons that fired round templates also weakened significantly, it's a fact. The increase in randomization never made better. Even without returning the scatter-dice and templates, you can more or less establish a balance by adding fixed values to the number of shots. Why a huge cannon of the Imperial Knight can shoot one, or six times? Is this an ork weapon? This makes such a large and expensive model completely unreliable, and, again, reduces the role of tactics. All you need is luck. But if such a machine would shoot at least 3 + D3 times, you could already put bets on it and build a game based on the estimated enemy losses. And you can do so with all the template weapons, even with flamers. Some depend on the number of models in the target unit - so why is it not a common practice?
Speaking about large and expensive models - the tables of degradation, being a good concept in general, are terrible. We already wrote about this in one of our articles. Some models are degraded by the characteristics that generally do not have a fundamental effect on unit effectiveness. And others - on the key ones. Again, an example of how a good idea was borrowed blindly and without considering the individual features of the game.
Another controversial innovation is the equating vehicles to monsters. From one point of view, this makes sense, but certainly not in terms of survival. The way a lasgun can inflict damage on a Landraider can’t be explained. And given how much shooting can a unit of guardsmen deal... Why not make a minimum value of strength, capable of injuring certain toughness? Yes, the old table was complicated, and the fixed values are really better. But this affects large, and previously invulnerable to small strength units. The introduction of minimum values, will make the vehicles and monsters more durable and useful in battle.
Since we are talking about fixed value - not everything is smooth here. There is no need to return to complex tables, but the values themselves must be critically corrected. Previously, in the melee, only Kharn and maybe a couple more models could hit on 2+. Now any Space Marines captain with a couple of hundred years of battle experience, fights as professionally as the best champion of Khorne, a veteran of the Long War. Don’t you think that WS values should be massively made worse, leaving 2+ only to the best fighters of the Galaxy, and leaving a space for improving other values by certain abilities?
Speaking about abilities. Well, is there really nothing more interesting than rerolls? Characters could bring certain types of ammunition, raise toughness, speed, allow to charge after running, or shoot, ignoring penalties. Of course, there are characters who have such abilities, but they are dramatically few in comparison with those who has thoughtless rerolls.
Continuing the topic of special rules, we should mention stratagems again. We have already said many times that there are still not enough command points for the adequate use of everything. Therefore, most of the stratagems MUST return to the units special rules, where they used to be. Playing the army, I want to feel all its features, all things that distinguish it from others. And now most of them remain unused, turning many armies into faceless dummies with the same abilities.
Diversity! How we lack it now! Why are the big axe of Khorne and the sword of Nurgle - absolutely the same weapon in the stats? Description? But there is no description. If you remove the names, these weapons won’t differ at all. The same with many elements of the game. From weapons and special rules, to units. Warhammer is a huge universe with a long history. Can’t you use all these possibilities to make the game diverse?
In the long run, we have what we have. Now, traditionally, the war will break out in the comments, where the part will say that it used to be better, without playing in 8k, and the part - that everything is perfect now, and those who are looking for disadvantages just understand nothing. And I'll tell you that an adequate person must be able to perceive any phenomenon critically - because the admission of the weak points is the first step towards correcting them. Now Games Workshop listen to the opinion of players and bring those changes that are required most into play. So, why not to point out the shortcomings that are there? The 8th edition has a good potential. It erased the over-complicated 7th one, which was falling apart with codexes and supplements that were issued at different times, and rules that were written under different editions and trends. But just removing all this does not mean doing better. Now it is critically important not to stop on what we can, and blindly eat what you are given. There are drawbacks in the 8th edition and, having precisely corrected them, we can get exactly the Warhammer, that will suit everyone.