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[WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?
Author Message[WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?
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[WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Admiral 06-20-2018

The world of Warhammer is one hell of a generic fantasy smörgåsbord, rooted in Tolkien and history, with a dark twist and crafted by many talented hands and clever minds through three decades of development. Looking back on WHFB, what were some missed opportunities? Of products never released, of audiences not catered to, of artistic concepts not pursued further and so on? These are both missed business opportunities and artistic opportunities of every kind.

Now that WHFB have been replaced by Age of Sigmar in the miniature world (but keeps on steaming in PC games), it's rather interesting to look back at the golden treasure Games Workshop produced, yet also interesting for a number of reasons to see what they didn't do: The niches or popular stuff they didn't cover.

As a business opportunity, I don't consider the lack of Araby, Cathay, Ind and Nippon to be a major mistake by Games Workshop, but it sure was a missed artistic opportunity. Also, had Warhammer kept on as it did during the '80s with all manner of weird releases not bound by army book straightjacket format, we may well have seen more from fringe parts of the Warhammer World, including Chaos Dwarfs (but hey we got the outstanding Hellcannon).

Not releasing a single piece of plastic Elf terrain was a missed business opportunity. It's easy to see why GW went for generic skull temples and Empire houses when they started releasing terrain, but I'm certain that a quality Elf tower or the like would have sold well, especially since those can be hard to scratchbuild to a good standard (unlike Empire houses). It's not hard to imagine lots of people buying an affordable good-looking tower for their scenery collection.

I don't consider GW's and FW's treatment of Chaos Dwarfs to be a missed opportunity, neither artistically nor financially. The mystery of this lost army sparked the fires of Chaos Dwarfs Online, which carried the torch strongly into glorious blazing Legion of Azgorh territory. Had Warhammer Fantasy lasted longer, it's not inconceivable plastic Chaos Dwarfs could have come out and performed better financially than Beastmen (hindrance: CDs was FW's own fantasy resin army, and GW didn't even release plastic Death Korps of Krieg despite massive demand).

Brainstorming over on T9A has revealed that GW didn't have much going for the Southlands, even though their world was by and large based on historical cultures. See Kegiz Gavem brainstorming and compare with Karak Zorn. Missed artistic opportunities down south, but not business ones.

Also, it's such a brilliant artistic take on the setting that there are Daemons, but not angels duking it out. It's such a grimdark thing. And it's always funny thinking about a dominant British fantasy miniature company making Albion into a remote backwater. Cheers!

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This post was last modified: 06-20-2018 05:14 AM by Admiral.

06-20-2018 05:10 AM
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Dînadan 06-20-2018

I think a missed opportunity was not advancing the ‘plot’ much.  For example, there were some BL books and some of the 2nd ed WHFRP books that touched on the post-SoC setting, but by and large GW left that alone (especially post Nemesis Crown), and the fluff in the Army Books rolled the timeline back to just before SoC (simarly with 40k they rolled back to pre-13th Black Crusade and stayed there until only recently).

What would have been nice is if they’d stayed post-NC and carried things on and explored the aftermath of SoC and NC.  I suppose you could say they’ve sorta done that with AoS by retconning what happened in SoC (and similarly 40k with the plot developments there), but it’d have been nice if they’d carried the setting on as it was.

Apart from the pandering to those that liked the old setting, I think this is a missed opportunity as it’d have allowed for a more organic way of introducing new units and characters to the game rather than the hamfisted ‘oh yeah, err, they were always there’ that we got.  I was actually thinking about this point last night coincidentally, about how if every so many years they moved the timeline along a bit, then instead of characters having their old minis retired and new versions brought out or entirely new characters appearing who have ‘always been there’ even though never mentioned of before, they could tie the retiring of the mini into the character retiring/dying/etc and a new character stepping up to fill their place in the army book being a new character in the fluff (explaining why they’ve never been mentioned before even if they have a major position within the faction - they either weren’t around before or were just a minor up and coming warrior on par with the generic heroes/lords until just recently).  Same for monsters/units/warmachines/etc - the new minis represent things which really are new in universe rather than things which have been around for centuries with no mention in the fluff.

Another missed opportunity I think is variant lists.  Iirc the 6th ed Army Books had apendicies with variant army lists (or at least the Empire one did).  These wouldn’t need to be anything fancy, simply reorganising which slots units belong to would be enough (eg in the aforementioned Empire book there was a Nuln list iirc which moved what slots warmachines belonged to around, and a Fanatics/Cult of Sigmar list which moved Fanatics from Rare to Core while moving other stuff to Rare from what I can recall).  We did see this to some degree with some special characters changing what slots things belonged to (eg iirc the Troll King moved Chaos Trolls from Special to Core), but compared to a proper variant list that feels halfhearted.

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06-20-2018 07:17 AM
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Fuggit Khan 06-21-2018

I would've loved to see GW do a Cathay army. Maybe even include Hobgoblins as green skins for the Cathay forces.
I also think GW had an interesting idea with the Dogs of War units, but executed the idea itself poorly. The box sets were expensive, the units were over the top gimmicky, and each units special rules made for a broken army with limited value as a fighting unit.
I would've liked to see more mercenary units, perhaps even mercenary units of night goblins or trolls. Something fun and that most armies could use as allied fodder.
More war machines would've been nice, generic machines that any army could use: such as wagons (increase deployment area) , spotter ladders or towers (better targeting for missile troops),  carts of hay or oil (to be lit on fire,  various reasons),  etc. Generic stuff all medieval armies used, perfect for all GW armies as well.
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06-21-2018 09:29 PM
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Malorndk 06-27-2018

Plot wise
I don't consider them missed opportunities as such, but I have a beef with the frozen plot progression up until the End times, which (aside from ending the Old World and making some beloved characters gimmicky or dead) actually had a lot of plot progression that related through out the books.

I also found it hard to believe, that the entire Skaven race was somehow a myth in the Empire? Come on. Someone has seen something!

And lastly, the fan theory that 40K is the precourser to fantasy, and the Ancients being Eldars on the run from Chaos, who tried to start a new world hidden from Chaos is absolutely awesome, and could have made for a cool expansion/board game/Novel series/something

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06-27-2018 04:54 PM
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Dînadan 06-27-2018

I don’t think the Skaven were treated as a myth per say, it was the organised secret society living under every major city that was treated as the myth.  The Skaven themselves were just written off as a sub race of beastmen (iirc one of the Nathan Long Gotrek&Felix books addresses this with the events of Skavenslayer brought up, but dismissed by other characters as an attack by beastmen/mutants and a character in a governmental position privately acknowledging to Felix that it was hushed up to preserve the maskerade).  And plenty of people have seen something, they just either wind up dead at the paw of the Skaven, or are written off as drunks/lunatics by the general population (in one of the Tales from the Ten-Tailed Cat comics a sewerjack tells a story about how he saw some Skaven, but laments that everyone thinks him a loon, and it’s revealed he’s unknowingly been telling the tale to a disguised Skaven, who reports back to his fellow Skaven that no one believes the story so the sewerjack is no threat).

Never heard of the theory that the Old Ones were Eldar; I’ve always assumed that they were the same as the 40k Old Ones/Slanni.

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06-27-2018 05:21 PM
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