Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The Future of FAQ's

Just when I think its safe to get on with all the hobby updates, GW add more things to distract me! This time around its the new FAQ schedule. Now, I think most of us will agree that the new way of doing FAQ's, as in the speed at which they get them out and the willingness to listen to the community on the issues in game, is a great thing. It means we get clarifications and amendments quickly and don't have to have the continual running arguments about RAW vs RAI. My only gripe about the whole process is that they seem to lean heavily on the Tournament scene for the majority of the rules changes, which in my view is not representative of the who community but just a small portion of it.

So what exactly has been going on with the FAQ's? Well, if you haven't seen what's happened, go here, to the Community site, where all of the big news releases are made. The new approach is basically to formalise the release times and options for FAQ's, so that we all know when we can expect some answers to questions or problems that we have. In general I think that this is a good thing. It means that we can ask questions and queries and have a good idea when we will get an official response to them. As it stands they are going to split down the releases into three sections.

The first thing noted is Codex Errata's, and confirmation that there will always be an errata a couple of weeks after every codex is released. This should address the majority of issues in the book, probably all the issues that will come up in most of the games that non-tournament players will play. There will always be some issues at the higher levels, most as some players specifically look for ways to break the game and that makes it almost impossible to fix every problem.

The second things is there will now be a twice yearly big FAQ. They have given dates or March and September of these updates and they will included aspects from Codices to the Rule book and everything in-between. These updates will also be a place to address rules imbalances and I guess points changes, in GW's continued attempt to keep the game as balanced as possible.

The third way that GW intend on updating the game is through Chapter Approved. This will mostly be aimed at match play games and will include all of the latest points updates and changes, continuing where they left off with this years version. They are of course keen to point out that chapter approved is more than just a points update but is also full of other content, for all three ways to play. I'll not go in to details about how I feel about chapter approved here, I think that I have spoken enough about that and this doesn't change my feeling on that front.

FAQ schedule from the Warhammer Community page

Well, overall I do think that this is a good move by GW. It gives everyone a clear understanding of how FAQ's are going to work in the new game and what we can expect from each release. It continues the trend of GW being far more open and transparent about what there up to and how they do things. It good to know that we will be getting FAQ's and Erratas at set times and with a good idea of the content, meaning that we can have some confidence that our questions and queries will be answered in good time. Apart from my feeling  on Chapter Approved, this is another great move by GW and I look forward to the next set of FAQ's that come out after Christmas as there is always something to learn from them, even if they don't directly apply to you or your army.

Speaking of transparency within the new GW, they have also added on some extra content to the FAQ post. This takes the form of some new rules that they will be trying out at a couple of the big US tournaments. Again, there is a leaning to towards tournament play, but I suppose they have to start somewhere. These new rules take the form of Beta rules and these are the two rules in question.

The Character targeting rule was updated in the latest chapter approved to change the rules to stop various types of LoS shenanigans, but now its being updated even further. The extra line in the rules basically means that you can ignore any other characters when determining if a character is the closest model. This mean that if you have two characters one behind the other, you could still shoot the one at the back, if they were the closest models. This makes some sense, more so that the other changes, but I understand why they made them, even if I think the changes in CA17 are not very good. I say this, as if all you can see is the character then you should be able to shoot it, just because a unit is hiding behind a ruins, completely out of line of sight, it shouldn't stop you shooting the one thing you can see. Granted this idea was abused at the top level and i'm sure that they will figure some way around this new update as well. I do like they way characters are these days and the way that they have dealt with the super friends issue but I am starting to feel that were moving back to a sort of mini HeroHammer age. I think I may have to look for some more Ratlings.

The second of the Beta rules is for Psychic focus and is basically aimed at Smite spam armies. It still keep the rule that all but smite can only be cast once per phase but now adds in the fact that smite will get harder to cast with every cast. So, the basics are that every time you cast smite, you will add to the dice roll, a +0 the first time, +1 the second, +2 the third and so on. This means that you'll need a 5, then 6, then 7 and so on and so forth, making each attempt harder to cast. This means that you're still looking at getting about 3 or 4 smites off a turn, maybe more with a few good dice rolls. This is going to hurt a few armies, like Eldar and also Grey Knights. Eldar are a very psychic army though, with a lot of good psychic powers and so will no doubt have a lot to fall back on but do run the risk of actually running out of powers to cast. Grey Knights on the other had have a different problem, as many of there units are psychic and only know the Smite power. This means that in a large army, it will be impossible to get off all the units smites, if you are successful with every roll, as you can only cast 9 times, one of which will incur a perils. However, I don't know if they will be effected the same way, as there smite rules are slightly different anyway, as they only do a single point of damage per attack. In many casual games I don't think that this will cause much of an issue, as I haven't seen many lists that really spam smite the same way that the top tournament lists do. In reference to Guard, it will end the Astropath spam lists as you'll only be able to use two of them.

On the whole, there is a lot of good news in the post, as we now have a clear understanding of what updates we will get and when we will be getting them and also in insight in to some potential new rules, which is always nice. This again goes with the "new" GW and its policy of open communication. Another step in the right direction for GW.