As each day rolls along, we are getting more information. The past two days has been unit and weapon profiles.
Pretty much the exact same we are used to with a few significant changes. No more initiative stats – whoever charges now strikes first (with later rounds alternating turns). I both like and dislike this. I like this a lot as it goes back to what we spoke about in the rumors – movement is so important already and now becomes even more important for both shooting, combat and defense. This is huge – you must get your movement right. There is no dice rolling here (hopefully difficult terrain is still a movement modifier and not random) and thus you have all the control. It also flat removes the silliness that terrain impacted on combat (other than changing charge distances) with assault grenades being a must. Anyone who did not have them was at a huge disadvantage but since nearly everyone could get them, it was often a moot point. Removing this necessity is good.
I dislike it because I feel like the above could have been encapsulated with a modifier stacking system. I.e. charging gives you +3 initiative, charging through cover -3 initiative, charging with assault grenades gives you +1 initiative, charging against defensive grenades / templates gives you -1 initiative, etc. This is probably going against their grain of streamlining and unifying however, and would have required keeping in mind more rules.
Either way, I like the changes as we know them so far in this instance which feeds into the next point.
Movement profiles. Yes yes yes. Looking at just Tactical Squads and Terminators, that one inch difference might not seem a lot when we consider the ranges of 40k weapons (unlike say X-Wing Infinity or Warmachine / Hordes) but if we refer back again to the concept of movement being the most important phase, this changes things drastically, especially when we start looking at other rules interactions. Think Run!, moving through cover, charging, etc. If a Terminator can only run 5″, that one inch is multiplying quickly.
Ballistic Skill and Weapons Skill are now straight X+ to hit which removes two tables from the table. I imagine there will still be modifiers here but it makes it easier to calculate with the classic 1 always being a miss remaining.
The final big change is wounds. Remember, that’s a Dreadnought in there and it has a wounds value. This goes to the Q&A section where they referenced Armor Values would be obsolete and I for one am an initial fan but will need to see what the other rules interactions will be like (i.e. for every 3 wounds lost do you lose a BS/WS/A, etc.?). Will we also see an uptick in the wounds available for original Monstrous Creatures? Also just as significantly, the Terminator has two wounds giving the game designers more flexibility when making models (no longer are infantry just 1W or super tough infantry like Paladins almost as durable as non-Marine character (T3/W3).
All in all, first glimpses at the statline leave me happy. So what about the weapon profiles?
Again, very similar looking but with a few significant changes. Rapid Fire 1 looks like it could be replacing Torrent and streamlining that rule where you get Rapid Fire X shots at maximum range and Rapid Fire 2X shots at half range. Potentially – will need to wait and see but would make sense. Anyway, to the more significant changes.
Templates are gone as indicated in the Q&A and we are instead left with an automatically hitting D6 weapon. The community page feels this will make them the special weapon of choice for 8th edition but I am skeptical (without seeing the rest of the special weapons and points, I am fully prepared to be wrong here). Randomness is something I don’t like, so D6 could mean it’s just as effective as a rapid firing bolter and as effective as six rapid firing bolters (assuming 4+ to hit and rapid fire range). When we compare to old templates, the ceiling is lower (clumped up enemies) and your floor is lower (very rarely would you only ever get one model under the 8″ template) but your average probably works out the same (assuming an enemy trying to avoid being hit by a template, you’d fit 3-4 models under one flamer template) if not a little worse. It is however, much more effective at dealing with one or two models given those hits stack or also dealing with models at the fullest extent of its range (which may make for good sniping opportunities if such rules still exist). Regardless, it’s a nice streamlining changing but I don’t think template weapons will take over the world. I again, am prepared to eat this statement. (oh also, no denying of cover like templates used to…)
Secondly we see the AP changes. No more straight AP values but what looks like AP modifiers – none on the bolter or flamer and -3 on the Lascannon. One assumes then that a lascannon will drop your save by three (so a 3+ would become a 6+ and a 4+ would become a dead+). Cover apparently adds to a save modifier though I am curious to see then if Space Marines will walk around with a 2+ save all the time thanks to cover but will wait for official word on how that works. Either way, another nice streamlining effect while also allow weaker armoured models the opportunity to roll their saves against your standard weapons.
Finally we have damage. D weapons are gone. Thank goodness. So much thanking of goodness. In its place we don’t have a S10 cap and we have a damage modifier – for the lascannon this is D6. Again, I don’t like that randomness – you could have one measly wound (12.5% damage) (or to be fair, zero but we will assume its taking a wound here) to a Dreadnought or drop its durability by 75%; that’s a huge range of damage. I think a straight flat value would have been better here (like 3 for a lascannon, 2 more a missile launcher, etc.) but it still adds a bit of the flavour that AV had (first hit could explode your tank) which will hopefully balance itself out across the game. The timing of this roll will also be critical – do you wound then roll D6 before saves or do you wound, roll save and if failed, roll wounds. The former is more likely to cause a spread of damage and the latter could make heavy weapons very inefficient. Either way, I like it for being able to do more damage to characters / MCs but worry about its ceiling of damage.
So those are the changes so far – in general positive though I will always complain about randomness :). Thoughts to date?