This is a topic I’ve thought about for a long time. I last played Warhammer 40K around March of 2018, not all that long after the release of 8th edition. During that time I’ve had a lot of time to think on the subject and why I just can’t play the game again.
Me and Warhammer 40K Over the Years
I started playing Warhammer 40K in 2006 near the tail end of 4th edition. By that point the game was in a weird place because it was dated and codex information from some armies just didn’t line up.
Still, I played my Orks enthusiastically and tried to get in as many games as I could. That equated to about 6 games a year but I loved it regardless.
We saw 5th edition drop in 2008 and it came as a much needed update for the game. I really think 5th edition was a solid set of rules and I know others think back to them fondly.
Of course since then we’ve seen 40K jump up to 8th edition at the time of writing this, with the
rumored confirmed 9th edition on the horizon. It was those 9th rumors that served as the catalyst for this article.
Codex Creep is Real and Unforgivable
Anyone who has played any edition of the game will be familiar with the term codex creep. It’s where each subsequently released codex throughout an edition eclipses the previous codices released.
I’m not talking meta or player perception here. Legitimately, codices released later in the life of an edition are stronger than those released earlier.
It’s honestly unforgivable of Games Workshop to do this. I know GW plans for an edition years before we even hear a rumor of it. Years. They know the path their system will take and when it will be reforged.
Why then can’t they keep a relative power level consistency across all armies during an edition? They know what’s to come after all and this includes other codices to be released. There’s a roadmap they have and it’s like they’re completely disregarding it.
While codex creep is annoying, it’s ultimately not the biggest downfall of Warhammer 40K. No. That’s something else.
Games Workshop Lacks Vision
I feel this is the crux of the matter, so no sense raking GW over the coals on every little thing I take issue with regarding 40K.
The earlier editions of the 40K that were released were done with no support from the gaming community. GW decided that edition was what they wanted and they published it.
The occasional FAQ or errata would adjust things as the community responded to an edition, but by and large it was driven by GW and their vision of what the game should be.
Now, the problem with that is that while the writers of the game are players of it, they very seldomly share the outlook that the player base does. This results in GW writing something fun and fluffy that becomes exploited by players.
GW thought it (whatever it is) would be a fun addition while everyone else saw it as a loophole and a way to force something into the game that was not intended.
Remember the arguments of RAW (rules as written) vs RAI (rules as intended)? I do. I don’t miss them.
The Failure of 8th Edition
For years this was how the game of 40K operated but 8th edition changed that and not for the better.
With 8th edition GW listened to the community. They worked with well known gamers and honed the game to be something that would sit well in the competitive environment. That was their flaw, their lack of vision.
What became of 8th edition was a game that worked well in a competitive format but leaves behind anyone who is not interested in that scene. This isn’t a power gamer vs fluffy gamer debate either.
8th Edition was not created for your average, casual wargamer. It was meant to be played at Nova Open, Las Vegas Open, etc.
Games Workshop wanted to throw their weight behind the game and push it into the US market as they never had by putting it on center stage at competitive events.
It’s an Abusive Relationship I’m Done With
At the start of each edition everything is great. Then there’s something that drastically alters the game. Be it a codex, a supplement, an errata, etc. From that point the game of 40K either doesn’t recover or does so too slowly. Worse, it just shifts the power from one thing to another.
I’ve grown tired and old. I don’t have it in me to continue the vicious cycle that ensues every iteration of the 40K. It really is like an abusive relationship.
rumored upcoming release of 9th, it creates a clean break for me and the game of 40K. I won’t buy the next edition no matter how much better it’s supposed to be, regardless of all the things they fixed.
There is a long defined cycle with the game that has remained unbroken since my time in it from 2006 to now. I’m smart enough to realize that nothing is going to change despite promises contrary.
This wasn’t intended to offend anyone but to simply share a realization I had when I saw rumor of 9th edition. These are my own personal feelings and not intended to sway anyone or encourage argument.
If you enjoy Warhammer 40K and you’re looking forward to 9th edition, then that’s fantastic. Seriously. I’m never one to knock someone for their enjoyment of anything.
I’m also not here to debate the shortcomings of the game as I see it, or dive into meta arguments. There’s a lot to be said about 40K that’s positive. Also, much can be said that’s not.
I hold nothing against Games Workshop either. I’m not a bitter or jaded person who wants to see the game fail. That’s not something I take enjoyment from.
I’m also not angry about any of this either. The game is what it is. It just happens to no longer be a game for me; that’s all.
Of course this means nothing for the blog. I long ago shifted the site towards hobby oriented pursuits and moved away from writing about gaming. That is unchanged.
I’m also still playing Blood Bowl. In fact, it remains the only game I’m playing. God I love that game.