MK3 – Reflection & Rumination

It’s time for me to open up and deliver my thoughts on MK3. The last week(s) have been one long drip-feed of spoilers trying to accomplish two things, and in my opinion failing at both. Now I don’t claim to have the answers, I almost never do, but I’m great at spotting issues so here we go. Privateer Press tries to:

  1. Lessen the blow of the game-wide nerf to skew lists.
  2. Pump up the people in expectation of the new edition.

Now Privateer Press has tried something I personally haven’t experienced before, with their almost daily insider updates and massive presence on the social media, but I don’t think it’s working as intended (kudos for trying though) because none of the information is relevant in any way until we can see the whole picture.

we need this to do anything with the information

A couple of months ago I attended a lecture on Big Data and, without going into much boring details, I can tell you that not having the full set of data available means making silly decisions based on a complete lack of understanding, which is what’s going on in Warmachine/Hordes at the moment.

The forums are on a tear-stained rampage against the changes. Now I know the doom train always leaves the station when something new happens, but this time I feel like it’s somewhat justified because every piece of information we receive is either subjectively negative or objectively impossible to verify.

The two main spoilers so far have been Cryx and Legion, which they tried and get out of the way first because we had the biggest hits to take (did I mention I own both). Cryx and Legion both had to be reigned in as they were the kings of their respective spams (Infantry/Warbeasts), but here’s where it all goes wrong.

  • We understand every nerf
  • We don’t understand the buffs

Let me take Bane Warriors as an example. I understand them losing threat range (curse), I understand them losing defensive tech (stealth), and I understand Tough being nerfed. These three nerfs make Bane Warriors downright unplayable, but…

  • I don’t know how the points cost reduction will impact the change.
  • I don’t know what the Unit Attachment does.
  • I don’t know what the big picture looks like.

I also don’t know if Weapon Master is toned down across the factions which would make the factions skew armor and in turn make the Bane Warriors hard counters to a lot of lists, and I didn’t know about the changes to terrain which makes the Ghostly buff way more valuable than it would be in the current edition, so you see where I’m going with this.

The Cryx forums handled it well enough, but we’re like World War 1 soldiers, and getting shelled for the third year running just doesn’t bother us as much. The Legion forums exploded in a sea of rage and salt because everything they loved about their faction took an axe to the face, while they didn’t understand the few buff-spoilers they were given either.

Batten down the hatches!

When you don’t see the big picture almost everything looks like a nerf, and when you don’t see the big picture you can’t appreciate the positive changes. I for one got really excited about Venethrax after he was semi-spoiled, but in all honesty he could be completely useless because we don’t know how the actual rules impact his set of abilities. I’ll just repeat in one more time for clarity.

  • Every nerf is instantly understood and resented.

We recognize loss, we understand that our favorite abilities are gone, and we resent that abilities we’ve relied on for years won’t be in the game any longer. We might not fully understand the impact of these nerfs, but that doesn’t matter because the loss is subjective and it hits us right in the feelers.

  • Every buff is dependent on rules we don’t know.

This also means that every attempt at objectively evaluating abilities in a faction automatically fails. I got all excited about every jack with an affinity now having a bond instead, and then ten minutes later they reveal that bonds no longer allow additional focus to be allocated, instantly negating the perceived gain.

The mental strain of juggling every piece of information in a context you don’t understand is too much, and every time something changes based on a new piece of information someone gets excited and someone gets angry, but in the end the anger outweighs the excitement if you keep the drip-feed flowing for long enough.

I know the train has left the station, but we really need the core rules NOW if the spoilers are to have any chance at the hoped effect. If we had the core rules we could incorporate the spoilers in much of the context they need, and the spoilers for each model/unit would need to be complete instead of this drip-feeding.

  • Give us the full rules.
  • Give us one full card (including UA/WA) for each faction each day.

The rules are already going to be free, and the loss of revenue gained from someone copying the cards of the net would be negligible. The way Privateer Press is doing it now will only lead to more resentment, as we can already see from the tears welling up in the Skorne sections of the internet because of the nerfs to their core abilities.

I love you PP, I trust you PP, but you’re not doing yourselves any favors here.



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13 Responses »

  1. Just accept previews as previews. Demanding all the rules just sounds entitled.

    For every person i talk to who whines there are 10 that are super excitee. Your just reading to much into vocal minority

  2. Those sound like the same thing.

    Your completely missing all the people who are enjoying all the fanfare that is going into the new edition.

    • Well, there’s a far cry from demanding something to suggesting it would be a better move. The very sentence also acknowledges that it’s likely impossible at this point, but if you don’t see that as different from a demand…

      I don’t see the world as black and white mate. I can acknowledge problems without taking anything away from the people who enjoy this way of doing it. If you like pointless information taken out of context then obviously enjoy ;)

  3. From what I understand that the difference between a demand, and a suggestion all come down to tone and the choice of words.

    Acknowledging that there are other point of views that could be as equally correct would have gone a long way too make it feel like a suggestion. There are many positive parts to what pps is doing. I think these parts where skipped.

  4. I agree with you 100% Lamoron. I think the thing that made me wary straight away was the fact that there was no field test for this and it was a complete surprise. And the fact that they started working on MKIII only 3 years after MKII was released kind of bugs me as well.

    I look at what Cryx lost and i understand a lot of what they did. But i feel like they went a little too far. And so now i find myself watching forums hoping that every time they do a faction spoiler that members of that faction will be suitably upset. (And i swear if Cygnar is totally okay or overjoyed with their faction spoiler i will lose my shit.)

    At the end of the day a lot of my unease would be lessened if we had the core rules to check out.

    PS – I didn’t feel like you were demanding anything at all.

  5. I’m not sure what PP should have done different, but as a Cryx/Legion player I’ve had my ups and downs these past weeks.

    At first I was sad as I just bought a new token set that now just seems to be more or less useless. Then I got over it. Then they nerfed the recursion, curse, and some other abilities important for Cryx to get into melee against a gunline. People keep talking about how the adding of more terrain should make up for this, but I’m not that sure about it. I also really liked the Spawning Vessel in Legion and it makes me sad that they removed all the offensive capabilities as I suspect that lessers spawned will also have to forfeit their combat action.

    Then I saw the spoilers about Bethane. They wrote that she kept Ashen Veil, they just renamed it to Cloak of Ash. That kinda pisses me off in regards to before mentioned token set. I really hope there’s a good reason for it, but that remains to be seen.

    • Everything remains to bee seen, that’s the whole point. I can’t stop following the spoilers though, even though it’s ultimately pointless :D

      • I feel the same way, and my logical mind knows this is the case. Still I can’t always help it when my feelings take over and I just want to kill whoever came up with the curse nerf :D

  6. Y’know, I see where you’re coming from… but I completely disagree. I think Privateer’s handling of the edition drop is probably the best I’ve seen in any edition change from large company in my 20+ years in the hobby.

    First off, I think you missed one of their major goals, probably their #1 – maintain sales volume through the edition switch. We were told their books took a crippling hit in 2010 (understandably) and they were anxious to avoid doing that again. Pumping people up is probably #2, attracting new players #3, and the various “not hurting people’s feelings” goals coming in a distant fourth.

    I don’t mean to suggest PP is selling out. I think they really care about making a quality game AND running a successful business, and this approach best serves both goals. Flattening the power curve was a necessity if the game is to keep growing.

    To understand the changes, I think you have to look at the new rules the same way the devs do – from the top down, with no bias to “my faction”. Easier said than done, maybe, but I think it’s necessary. In a world where everything has changed there’s really no such thing as “buffs” or “nerfs”, just a clean slate.

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