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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The 6E "Leak": It's Fake, It's Bad, and It's Dumb



Alright, I was kinda hoping this whole mound of bullshit would maybe blow over and get forgotten but clearly that isn't happening so it seems we need to go through and perhaps tear it apart, piece by piece, to explain why it is not only even more of a tremendously stupid hoax than my own "Tau rumor," but less believable and worse for the game.

Yes, that's right, if, in some imaginary world, this document were somehow real, these changes would not only fail to solve the problems that exist in the game right now but they would utterly cripple it for anyone who wants to play anything resembling a fun and interesting contest of skill. And, guess what, that's something almost everyone- casual, competitive, hobby, what have you- wants from the game. It's no fun to be steamrolled or to steamroll your opponent. It's no fun to only have certain, narrow armies be even reasonably capable of winning. It's no fun to have whole codices invalidated right out of the book. These are all things that this supposed leak of the rules encourages; it is straight-up poor design.

Sometimes we complain about GW having poor design ethos, to be sure- and sometimes they do, especially in their "supplements" and in older codices. Even 40K, generally the best-written of their game systems, has plenty of problems even in recent codices that can be picked out without a lot of difficulty. So understand: when I say "poor design," I don't mean in the broad, general sense, I mean "poor design compared to the standard we usually expect from Games Workshop." This document is clearly amateurish, poorly-thought out, and shortsighted in many of its decisions, and does not fit with GW's usual standards of design.

That last part is important- anyone with even a casual knowledge of GW products and writing should be able to see that these rules are NOT written by anyone on their normal staff. It's not impossible that they brought in an outside, but the style of text is completely and utterly different in most cases. Not only that but the rules themselves are out of character with how GW does their work and fit very, very poorly with the directions that they have taken the game in the last several years.

Obviously you can say "But they must want to change things from 5E and its failures!" And they should- 5E has its problems that really need to be solved in the new edition. But, at the same time, this document represents the most radical shift in the rules since the 2E -> 3E transition, adding in several new stats (EV and MV) and making massive changes to the turn order and to-hit systems. Games Workshop is doing well by 5th Edition; it and most all of the new codices have made them quite a bit of profit, to judge by their stock and quarterly reports; to throw all of that away and revert to old 2E rules on so many things is utterly absurd and I strongly doubt their designers would allow it. Jervis might be dumb enough to try, but Ward, Kelly, and, yes, even Cruddace are all smart enough not to fix what isn't broken. 6E, like 5E and 4E before it, will almost certainly hold fast to the basic framework laid down by earlier editions and shift- not shatter- the rules.

What an Angry, Angry Little Man...
Alright, let's get started on looking at this pieces of shit. I'm not going to be nice about this because nothing about these rules deserves any mercy. They're a terrible, terrible system and I refuse to pull punches when commenting on them.

~~~
"Majority characteristics" make very little sense. One T3 and four T6 guys have a majority toughness of... three or six, your choice- ta daaa! I don't know of an easy way to use this to your advantage as it stands, but no doubt there are cases where you could do so.

Vehicle Squadrons are fucking terrible. Like, shit-awful, because if one vehicle in the squad takes an (immobilize, stun, shaken), the whole squadron has to roll a die to shake it off or suffer the same fate. Yeah, that one Autocannon somehow blew the engines off all five of my Piranhas, thanks a fucking lot.

The wound allocation rules not only eliminate the chances of picking out special/heavy weapons from squads (which was a balancer against MSU) but are also entirely pointless because Independent Characters are pretty much the only time you have mixed armor values inside a unit.

Pinning is worthless. Oooh, I can't Run now! Fucking terrible, help me!

Broken units die instantly if they are within 12" of an enemy unit at the start of the turn. Marines don't care, but for anyone else... yeah, you're never going to have a chance to rally. Even better, you can't rally without a character in the squad, and as we'll see in a second that is basically not ever going to be true for long.

No that there are levels to Fearless, my Dominatrix in Apoc games can scare your tanks off the battlefield by shouting "BOO!" at them. Assholes, there's a reason that units that lack a characteristic are defined as being immune to effects based on that characteristic.

"Dense" terrain takes the worst aspects of old 4E-type "abstracted" LOS and applies to to TLOS. And, of course, it only affects the other guy, not you. So melee armies will say "everything should always be Dense all the time" and shooting armies will say the opposite, not to mention the joy and fun of two armies sitting in Dense ruins (all buildings are Dense, remember) across the board doing nothing because they can't see each other and they can't afford to move out of their hidey-holes. Isn't that just fucking fantastic and wonderful?

Trygons that Deep Strike into multilevel terrain end up on the top level somehow. Dig up, stupid!

Changing the turn order, even if absolutely nothing else changed, would completely overturn absolutely everything about the game. In a game this far through its evolution, doing that is basically completely starting over from scratch, as it utterly changes the relative value of every unit and every shooting/melee option. This alone should be enough to mark the document as fake.

Oh, and all the stupid "actions" with their little boxes and tags and descriptors? GW doesn't write that way. Never has. Never will. Writing style aside, it's an awkward and largely-meaningless system that tries to impose an anal-retentive order on things where it is utterly unneeded. There are plenty of reasons and ways to clean up the system of actions in 40K; this is not one of them.

The pile-in rules for multiple combats straight-up don't work. You can only pile in with units you're locked with, but you don't determine what units you're locked with until after you finish piling in. So you can never pile in with anything, straight by the rules.

The rules for assaults during a game with 3+ players (or multiple "sub-turns" with different parts of a player's army) are straight-up kicked-in-the-head retarded.

No Retreat got way, way, way worse. Instead of taking wounds, now you take critical wounds, which ignore armor and cover and everything. Oh, but you get a super-hard Ld test to try and ignore them. You know what, if I lose by three under the old system, my Trygon can just make three 3+ armor saves (and/or FNP rolls) to shrug things off- I'll probably be fine. If I lose by the same amount under this system, I just lose three wounds unless I make a test on Ld5. And it's just as bad for Marines. Fuck you, game designer, that's a huge step down.

Oh, and if you thought not having Fearless was better, think again: if you break from combat and manage to not get Swept (harder than before now), your move of 6+d6" is not going to get you outside of the 12" Zone of Autokill before the start of your next turn when you check to regroup, so you lose the whole unit anyways- and that's assuming they don't bother consolidating towards you.

Going to Ground only gives you a bonus against one unit's shooting, because after you hide once you have to come out and expose yourself again- it's only fair.

The whole EV system is fucked. You think this will play faster? No, it won't, that's why they removed modifiers from 40K in the first place and it's why WFB almost always takes longer than its cousin to play- even if it's just a few seconds to calculate the bonuses/penalties, that time is added onto EVERY SINGLE ROLL YOU MAKE ALL THE TIME and it adds up quickly.

Hey, did you like layering models to get cover? That's too bad, because you basically can't do that anymore without invoking a needlessly complicated system of distributing and re-distributing hits.

The Patch Up action is a horrible, stopgap method that was clearly invented after the designers belatedly realized they hadn't put in any way to deal with multiwound units. It's counterintuitive (suddenly four models die at the end of the phase for absolutely no raisin!), awkwardly-placed and meshes poorly with other rules.

The changes to Rapid Fire/Assault make no sense. Assault does not mean a weapon is suitable for use in CC, and it never has. Tyrannofex Biocannons are not CC weapons. Storm Bolters are not CC weapons. Stop being an idiot.

Directed hits are a terrible way to handle wound allocation/torrent shooting. There is no real reason not to use Covering Fire pretty much every single time in order to try and pick off the enemy's characters so they can't regroup.

Template weapons magically gain a 3" range for some reason. And can be used in CC to be ultra-ultra good (hello Flamestorm Cannon.) A twin-linked Flamer can hit a model that is 17" away, what the fuck?

Rail is internet fanboi bullshit. I'm not even going to bother discussing it.

Someone had a huge boner for Sniper weapons, probably because they played too much Counterstrike and think that the AWP/AWM is the greatest gun known to man.

In several places the rules refer to "gracing hits." LO, BOW DOWN BEFORE THE DIVINE PRESENCE, FOR HE BESTOWS YOU WITH A GRACING HIT. Fucking morons, learn to spell.

All Monstrous Creatures double their Str in close combat. Derp, good thing Carnifexes are S9!!11

The Parry rule literally does nothing because every weapon with it also has, at a minimum, the "Combat" special rule, negating the Parry. Morons.

The Infernus Pistol is AP5 because someone clearly forgot what that part of the statline means.

The Ripper and Exitus Pistols got their stats backwards. Exitus wounds on a 4+, Ripper on a 2+, not the other way around.

Jet Packs can't make JSJ moves anymore and aren't relentless. Derp, let's make Tau COMPLETELY worthless!

Bikes are even shittier in melee now, because they don't get their +1Toughness there. Did you want to play a bike army? Yeah, fuck you.

The system for picking a squad leader always makes you use the "lowermost" codex entry in the unit. Huh, I guess that my Shas'el's Bodyguard and my Krootox are the squad leaders for their respective squads? what is this i dont even

You can have a Fast Fast Skimmer, because shit, let's just keep adding rules until we're too drunk to type.

Wanna get rid of the main gun on a tank? Sorry, nope. You're gonna have to just keep blowing off bits and pieces until it can't shoot anymore because the turret is made of Unbreakium or some nonsense. Some vehicles can get Multitargeting(6) or higher, so I hope you enjoy rolling on the damage table a lot!

Speaking of derp, tanks can only die on a 6 on the damage table (or a five-and-five-on-a-later-roll.) Yeah, that's gonna solve the problem of mechanized army dominance.

You can pre-emptively repair things to make them better than they were when they started the game. Is there even a word for that? Pair? Pre-pair? What the shit? That isn't how "repairing" works, guys.

Models inside a transport are Relentless. Welcome to GK and BA fucking your shit up, guys.

The "bid for first turn" system is basically the worst thing ever, along with strategy points. It encourages bad play and leads to unfun results.

Roll the dice to see if I'm winning! Yep, the Annihilation objective, rather than being simple and sensible, is a needless mass of dice-rolling and calculation.

The reserve rolls say that a unit must be "within six inches of the table edge it arrives from." The rulebook defines "being within a distance" as measuring from nearest point to nearest point. Thus, the larger/longer a unit is, the further onto the battlefield it can get. (My Stormravens, for example, make their way almost 18" onto the field before even moving.) The later parts of the text indicate this is clearly not what they meant, but it's what they said. Enjoy stringing out your Hormagaunt squads 30" in order to get assaults as soon as you arrive!

The combined reserve/bidding/strike force system basically makes it so the only thing you want to do is arrive second and alpha strike the shit out of your opponent (in the more normal terminology, not the Alpha Strike rule in the game.) Add in 5+ cover, determining cover from the squad leader only, etc, and you have a game that is all about shooting all the time.

You can charge the enemy (Engage) after performing a Critical Deep Strike. Derp! So Lictors, DoA, etc, can jump people right off the bat. It's a good thing these guys playtested this to make sure it was fun and balanced.

The Comm Link strategem is basically the be-all end-all of the game. You arrive when you want and blast the enemy out of existence; nothing else needs to be done.

Orbital Surveilance would be similarly game-breaking, but the other rules have already split the game open like an overripe melon, so it actually ends up having very little effect.

"This will fix the game!"
So what does this tremendous pile of bullshit leave us with?

Shit. It leaves us with a game that is complete and total shit.

This does not "open the game" up and "make more armies viable," it does exactly the opposite. The viable armies I see coming out of this are so ridiculously narrow that I can practically write them off the top of my head. IG static gunlines will be one, thanks to the boost in accuracy; Drop Pod/Spore-based assault armies will be another, as they can hit you the turn they arrive and can't be shot at basically ever. Finally, a few mechanized armies (like the aforementioned BA/GK and likely one or two others) will survive, since they have the mobility and firepower to avoid getting hit on 2+ all the time by everything.

This supposed version of the game is all about reserve manipulation and playing dumb alpha strike games. There's very little tactics, just a simple "what did the enemy do/what do I do in response" flowchart that shows you the correct course of action. Show up after enemy, shoot/assault them dead, win.

Credibility, Credulity, and Skepticism
Somehow people have managed to latch onto this document as "credible" for a variety of very, very stupid reasons. Now, I knew the internet was dumber than a box of frozen hammers at the bottom of a lake, but I didn't realize it was quite THIS dumb.

This document matching with other rumors does not prove anything any more than my own rumors matching up with things did- it just means whoever wrote this is aware of the other rumors being circulated (also without any basis.)

The font and typeface do not prove anything. That's fucking retarded.

The addition of flyers and superheavies do not prove anything. Neither of those things are good for the game and I sincerely hope GW will not include them.

The length/completeness/internal consistency of the document prove only that whoever faked it put a lot of work into it. Do you think people wouldn't do that on the internet? Are we thinking of the same internet, the one where billions of hours are spent on Farmville and The Sims? Are you trying to tell me "No one would waste that much of their time on useless, infuriating garbage just to make other people angry"? Seriously?

This document is a baseless, sourceless pile of nonsense. There is absolutely no reason to think it would be real because it did not come from anyone and has no trackable history. Lack of evidence is not proof that it is real, and given the nature of the internet anything that lacks meaningful evidence and makes an extraordinary claim should be regarded with heavy, even violent, skepticism. Idiocy like believing this is exactly why I threw out some fake rumors of my own, because I knew that people would swallow like a sorority low on cash despite them being both absurd and without any reason to think they would be true.

Come on, people. I may not hold a lot of these sites in the highest regard but you have to have SOME standards. For god's sake, at least spend a moment or two thinking about things before mindlessly reposting every piece of garbage someone on a blog vomits out for you.

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