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Why I’m Done Playing Warhammer 40k: This Is the End

Goodbye Warhammer 40K

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.

With the 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.

Conclusion

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.

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nick w
nick w
11 days ago

I think codex creep is worse than you make it out to be. It’s long been an offensive sales strategy. I don’t agree with some of the harsher things you say about 8e, I think it is a big step up from 7. 8e is way more coherent than any other edition.

But it is a bit distressing to observe the Marine codex 2.0, and how that parallels the Angels of Death book in 7e. Now over two editions, planned obsolescence, Marines to be power creeped away and then get a second codex. That’s the part of codex creep for sales that offends me

Gary
11 days ago

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end of our elaborate plans
The end of ev’rything that stands
The end

I can understand your reasoning buddy, 8th has been the worst edition of 40k for me but the rot started at the beginning of 6th edition IMO. GW’s Codex Creep (read cash grab) became more and more blatant after 5th edition to the point where they stopped even trying to conceal it in 8th. I could have lived with that if the game had been exciting but 8th is the most boring game going at tournament level.
I’ll buy the rulebook and have a good read of it but I suspect that I’ll be sticking with Necromunda.

Frank
11 days ago

I get what you’re saying here, however I’ve seen so many editions come and go that as long as it takes my fancy I’ll keep playing. I am somewhat insulated against the rules and codex changes, because my armies (6 for 40K) are big enough that I can generally adjust what I use to suit what works. I’m not I danger of finding myself with an ‘unuseable’ collection. All I sometimes do is grab the odd new unit or model just to grab what I like the look of adding to my collection.

Most of the games I play these days are against very easy going players or against my son who is still very new to the hobby, so there is little in the way of stress in my games. I do think however that if the arrival of 9th suddenly invalidated all my codexes, I may be thinking twice about that investment, as I play several different systems and don’t get enough games of any one of them in to warranty a complete new buy-in every time there is a new edition. I did it once when 8th came in, and once with Age of Sigmar, but I wouldn’t want to do it again.

Zab
11 days ago

Dude, this is fine. just paint fun looking minis. I don’t play since like 5th, but i still like to paint up the odd GW mini or set. I like the small games like lost patrol and space marine adventures or space hulk but the big system? Pffft! Why bother and who has the time to sink 3+ hours into a game that gets broken so fast. I’d rather paint.

Rory - Stepping Between Games

Wait… You can play games with these models! I have played less than 10 games in two decades, still love the lore and models.

Paint what you like, regardless of system.

eriochrome
8 days ago

40K long ago pushed me away. Every edition seemed to invalidate my army choices. That box you bought a couple of months ago to make an army. It can no longer do that. You need this and that, oh, and we have these new models for your army that are so much better than your existing ones. Dropping new edition after new edition every 2 to 3 years says you cannot write a good game.

Adam
5 days ago

I played one game of 7th, just before 8th came out. And that was the last game I played. I miss 40k and I can always come back to it, but for the time being I’ll read blogs and check out cool pics of painted miniatures. Maybe even pick up a paintbrush now and then.
I don’t think I’m the target demographic anymore.

Knight Of I_R
1 day ago

Funny because I came on here to reply to a comment on a 30k article and ended up at this post.

It strikes me that Horus Heresy gaming answers a lot of the issues you have with 40k. The rules churn is glacial, there is pretty much no codex creep, and the community works together to keep the game balanced rather than find rules to exploit.

Gaming is a great hobby and I hope you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water :-) There is bound to be some game that you’ll love with less faults. There is a reason many gamers ‘grow up’ and graduate to historicals. The reason is that GW sucks in many ways! And other sci-fi and fantasy franchises have a way of vanishing, burning out, never building up a head of steam or going bust.

Horus Heresy gaming is an odd bridge between the GW/40k world and historicals. Its aimed at mature gamers, generally non (or less) competitive, and has more of an emphasis on personal creativity.

If HH doesn’t float your boat do consider historicals or generic fantasy gaming. With both historicals and classic fantasy your army is system agnostic which saves you from the vagaries of games companies. Its a new way of doing things from the GW way that I’m really enjoying at the moment. I am building the undead army I’ve always wanted. I’m concentrating on the models and I am making it useable in Oathmark, Oldhammer, Kings of War and maybe the new WHFB game from FW. Likewise seeing how my WW2 Soviets work in Chain of Command and Bolt Action is liberating!