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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Forumitis: "Warmachine is the second coming of Jesus."

Why I don't like warmachine, by VT2.


I don't like the tiers system. I don't like the way characters work, and I hate the mechanics. This means the game's a tedius exercise in annonyance and boredom for me.

If you're a non-believer, like I am, I'll need to explain these 'characters' and 'tiers,' and 'mechanics.'
Warmachine is centered around uber-mega heroes, who aren't uber, or that heroic - in fact, they're quite, quite bland, and on their own, they're little more than magic machineguns. Some are regular machineguns, and a few, unlucky bastards want to hit people with their gunblades.

Now, combat with your caster's generally a really, really bad idea. You see, in warmachine, your caster's death means YOU AUTOMATICALLY LOSE THE GAME THEN AND THERE, and even if your caster is 'beefy,' he's still not beefy enough to tank through everything. "How can that be? I hear they have these HP-bars, and everything."

Yes, there are health-bars, but the way the game works is, you roll a damage roll with each attack, and even 'fodder' - say kommunist (bet you can't see what I did there) riflemen can easily deal a fifth of your caster's life in one shot. When those steampunk robots hit you, they hit far in excess of ten damage, which is a huge chunk of life.

But that's all fine and good, right? You can keep your caster away from mobbed riflemen quite easily, as a long-ranged gun in warmachine's averaging 14 inches of epic reach. Easy enough, yeah?
But then you're playing defensively, and last I checked, the game was meant to be played offensively.

Yes, yes, you can do all these combos with backwards-walking undead mechs, and screened casters with meatshield swordsmen, but that's just you grasping, isn't it? So why is it this way? Why, why, why, is it that the most heroic dudes and dudettes in the iron kingdoms will roll over like bitches to riflemen, steam mechs, and elves with powerfists?

Because there's no save system. At all.
Like in lord of the rings, almost all rolling is done who the player whose turn it happens to be, but without faith, might, or will to mix things up.
When that swordcannon hits your boss, he takes damage, and there's not a thing you can do to ward against this. He's damaged. Bam. No save, no 'faith' to negate it, no 'will' to relocate to cover after the shot. Your boss lost a chunk of his life, and the one thing warmahordes players will say now is 'well, why wasn't he in cover?'

Same reason Draigo's not in cover. He's the hero. He has the right to some plot armor, so he can go be heroic.
He's my chosen avatar - the tabletop representation of me. Draigo will drop if you focus fire ons his ass, but he won't drop if you shoot him with five guardsmen. In fact, being hosed by the massed dakka of a hundred nameless infantry is an heroic and badass deed in itself.

If you thought GW was bad with the interactivity (protip: they're rather terrible at it), PP'll make you cranky very quickly.
When it's your opponent's go, it really is his go. You don't get to take saves, there's little counter-magic, what passes for leadership is very rare, and you rarely - if ever - even get to hit back in combat. In other words, when it's not your go, you're watching models get picked off. Yeah, yeah - turns are faster, blah, blah, blah.
I don't care. I wanna roll dice.

I want my models to attack you back. I want some kind of reaction when you charge, so I can shoot my guns at you, or hit you before you hit me, because my dudes are faster/in cover/a wizard did it. I want a save - even a bad one - so I feel like I'm somehow involved in the game. It's not any fun when only half the players get to roll dice, guys. Sorry, it just isn't.

Then, the tiers.
If Draigo was in warmachine, he'd be this generic guy, see. He'd have 'titansword,' which'd total S+P for like 15, and have the 'magic' and 'weaponmaster' powers. He'd have like 19 blips of life. His feat would be something like ¨'everbody within X falls on their ass for a turn,' plus he'd have the same generic spells as everybody else, and 'stormbolter,' which'd be a ranged AOE with a 2 inch blast.

He'd not have any of his special abilities. No grand strategy, no massive statline that's actually different to the generic commanders of his class - further serving to differentiate Draigo and other characters. He'd not have a really special sword, or saves, eternal warrior, or completely alter the armylist just by his presence.

However, if you took two paladins to accompany Draigo, they'd get a really tiny ability, but if you wanted this ability, you could never include - say - land raiders.
If you add a squad of paladins to Draigo and his two pimps, then the two pimps would get another minor power, but only if the army didn't include any land raiders still, and you added a brother-captain.
This would go on and on, 'til the point where you had the exact same 'tier army' as everybody else in the WHOLE DAMN WORLD who runs Draigo.

Because warmachine is built around casters, and casters have their personal armies. Like in all games ever mad, bad things are inferior to good, and so if Draigo was one of your book's good casters, and Coteaz was one of the bad, you'd see him and his army very often, while Coteaz'd disappear into thin air.
Yes, you have the option to ignore the tier list, but this means you won't get any bonuses - and bonuses, even should they be minor ones, are better than no bonuses at all, so you're going for tiers. Aka, netlists.

This is something I really hate about warmachine.

Compare to warhams, where Draigo represents 50% of your total HQ slots.
Taking him gives you a really beefy, chunky guy, but in order to field him, there's no rules that say you must use all his powers.
If you wanted to, you could take Draigo in a henchman army, or a three raven/three raider list, just for the funny. If you ran 10 paladins, you'd not be penalized by losing access to heavy support dreads.

Right now, at this very moment, those who didn't know about warmachine have been a bit more enlightened, and the fans are angry, but that's just how it is.

There's another thing, too, and it's quite big.

Warmachine, as well as hordes, are skirmish games. They have few dudes, with really short ranges, and 'assassinate' conditions. This is how all skirmish games are, and why I don't like them.
I want lots of dudes. I want battles, with epic heroes, spells, dakka everywhere, and actual attempts for tactics.

Now, some smartass is gonna say 'but if I have almost no range, my game is instantly more tactical!' to which I say you're dumb.'
If everybody in your game has range 'shit' on their guns, while my game features ranges 'pistol,' shit,' 'average,' 'long,' and 'excessively long,' that means my game is far, far more tactical than yours, because I have to think more about threats, while I watch the entire field.
This while you watch midfield, and camp the enemy boss.

Yes, the game has special rules.
Yes, it has ridiculous pauldrons, steampunk communists, ultramarines with a lightning fetish, and elves with powerfists.
No, none of these impress me.
Yes, there is a special sorta saved, called 'tough,' that was added to draw naysayers like me in, but it's primarly on a bullshit orc fashion.
Yes, there are caster that are so good at combat, they can chew through everything for that one turn they trigger their feat, but that sure sounds a lot like point-and-click to me, guys, and situationally reliable at best.

I want to roll dice for my guys. I want a say in what happens to all these expensive pieces of metal and plastic I have bought, even if it's a token one that's readily removed (orks).
I want to hit you back in combat.

Lastly, I don't want to pay GW prices for models that aren't as nice as GW's - either design- or quality-wise.
"But you can totally build four different jack-variants from this box, man!" I can totally outfit my venerable dread with a long-ranged blob killer, long-ranged anti-tank, or mid-ranged anti-everything, as well as an extremely short-ranged, anti-light infantry template, and it looks roughly 914,551,992,211,555 times better than your warjack. All that just out of the box; however, my codex lets me put a quadrillion other guns on it, in multiple configurations.

Hey, it's even plastic, and has all these optional bits and pieces, so if I run 6 dreads, even if they're all carrying lascannons, they won't look the same. Amazing!

Here's the ultimate kicker, and why I won't play this game. Even if your body's not ready, I'm gonna deliver truth unto you.

The fans.
The fucking fans. You go on and on about Mat Ward, and chaos being gimps. You whine, and shout, and rave, and froth at the mouth about GW this, and GW that. How mean, evil GW doesn't have a forum. You hate the powercreep. Oh my god, GW's so expensive! Oh no! White dwarf's a catalogue, and when GW raises prices, they don't apologize to you.
Boo, hoo! No balls of steel page 5! Oh my god! I want to play competitively, but I can't when everybody's running space wolves - waaaaaaaaah! Leafblower, DAVU, thundershield, metagame, eldratar, razorwolf, loganwing - AND THAT PIECE OF SHIT MAT WARD, MAN! HE FUCKS UP ALL THE FLUFF!!!!

Oh, god, I hate every single one of you, and I bet PP does, too. You don't even play GW anymore, yet you're always around when I fight my marine on marine battles - bitching and moaning.
It's impossible for me to play a game with a userbase like yours. Impossible. Fucking no way in hell will I ever support a company that breeds idiots like you. It will never see my money until you've all been rounded up and executed, so I don't have to feel embarrassed for playing a game associated with you.

And for all the whine, you still don't dare to play me in any game. You still say my vanilla marines are 'broken,' and have 'codex creeped' your precious eldratar footdar DAVU. What happened to page 5? Is that only in warmachine? Your balls of steel shrank after that loss with your muslim/jihad black templar/grey knight terminator rip-offs? That why you're building a human ultramarine army that shoots lightning from its asses, and have Cable's brother Stryker as their Marneus Calgar?

God damn.

That's my rant for today, and we will never discuss this game again. Should I feel the need to say the game sucks, I will refer you to this.
However, I maintain the righ to make fun of your bad models with mark 3 helmets without warning, and am still contractually obligated to throw in one diss at warmahordes each blogpost.

TL,DR: I don't play uninteractive skirmish games that cost thousands of dollars, have whiney, bitchy, intrusive fans, or approve of forced list selection. My hobbytime's precious, and - believe it or not - not for hanging out with manchildren who talk big, but can't back themselves up.

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