It's nearing the end of the year, and what better time to look back on and reflect over the ups and downs of the past twelve months of glorious Warmachine and Hordes. Across the world, innumerable dice rolls were made, games were won and lost, and CID cycles came and went. While last year we of course had the release of Mk. 3, it was a shaky beginning and 2017 started off a cycle of continual improvements and changes to get us to a stronger, more stable game. So... what happened in Warmachine and Hordes 2017?
At the end of December of 2016, we had a major errata addressing many of the seriously negative play experiences plaguing the game, specifically changes to power attacks that stopped us being able to target our own models, which was a change that had some positive and negative reactions overall. Immunity to Grievous Wounds, a mechanic that early Mk. 3 found to be devastating, was added to Massive models (Gargantuans and Colossals), which was a wonderful quality of life change. Seriously problematic casters like Caine2 and Madrak2 were brought in line, removing some seriously vicious rules and interactions that turned them into monstrous powerhouses, as well as reducing the power level of the, at the time, quite dominant Wurmwood, Tree of Fate and tweaks to Sentry Stones. With the good sometimes comes the bad though, as this is when we saw the increase of Woldwyrd's gun to POW 12, creating a serious monster in a faction that already had a few options outshining the rest.
Many theme forces released, including the dominant Storm Division and Ghost Fleet, the latter of which was considered unplayable by much of the player base but... more on that later. Shortly after that, Skorne received a massive overhaul, drastically changing the faction and setting them on a path towards viability in the competitive scene, although arguably they weren't quite there yet. January was the start of a long process of changes and errata that would eventually put us closer than ever to a good, well balanced game.
Then we got to February.
February kicked off strong with the addition of Una the Skyhunter, who proved to be a massive step backwards in terms of game balance. Designed almost entirely off of mechanics that proved to be abusive and have next to no counter play, Una was prereleased at Las Vegas Open and instantly took the head of events, including a skilled pilot taking her straight to victory in the Masters. For many of us, I think, Una was a real step back at the start of a year that looked really promising. But... the Devs listened, and within a week or so we received changes to her to bring her in line, as well as tweaks to High Reclaimer, who was proving to be a dominant problem, among other things. Privateer Press was getting faster about reacting to these things, and it showed.
We got more details on the upcoming Community Integrated Development this month, but it wouldn't kick off for a little bit longer.
March signified the kick off of the Community Integrated Development process and forums, and gave us our first true look at the long awaited Grymkin. While a bit messy in some areas at first, Grymkin proved to be a really interesting faction in its 'beta' design and changes in CID lead to the eventual release of a really interesting faction to the Warmachine lineup. We also got our first teasers of the Battle Engine CID this month, but otherwise there wasn't a ton going on.
The Steamroller 2017 CID kicked off this month, in addition to the CID process surrounding Battle Engines which turned many of them into highly effective and interesting pieces. Steamroller 2017 was a drastically different beast to any Steamroller prior, and with its eventual release saw huge changes to how the game plays, how we design our lists, and how we view the scenario in general. Also got me putting my Vessel of Judgement on the table again so I was happy!
May saw the edition of the Privateer Press Card Database, finalizing their commitment to opening the ruleset and game cards as a free, available to all service and making the game easier to get into than ever before. Moving in to what is essentially the modern era of tabletop gaming, Privateer put this foot forward and has overall been a really helpful move for the games growth in general.
We also saw the very cool Haley vs. Deneghra animated short this month, and while I think many people have forgotten about it since it has been some time, I really hope to see more things like that in the future. Check it out here if you haven't seen it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1lTTRGvwRA
Aside from announcements surrounding Lock and Load, June was largely uneventful until the first big CID rules update, in which Battle Engines across the board were overhauled. Cryx's Bane overhaul also took place during this update, which was the beginning of future tidings as Cryx, regarded as a very weak faction at this time, was beginning to stir from its slumber.
Lock and Load! Here we saw the official release of Grymkin in all its glory, with the first wave of models releasing to the public and the entire faction available as a prerelease at the convention itself. Grymkin would definitely change the play environment in many ways, and has proven to be a worthy, well designed addition to the game, putting a unique spin on the rules we've known forever. The Monday after LnL, Steamroller 2017 dropped and we began to truly enter the environment we are playing in today. We also saw our first information about the new No Quarter Prime pop up this month.
This was also the month Cryx started showing their colors, with the Deneghra1 Ghost Fleet builds starting to really gather stride alongside a Coven pairing under the Bane theme. This pairing continues to terrorize us to this day... but not for much longer, we hope!
We had the first stirrings of the ThemePocalypse this month, which started with a continuing discussion about Mercs/Minions being added to theme forces which started in an earlier CID cycle. Privateer expressed a commitment to getting every single model in the game into a proper theme force, which was to be a huge undertaking but one they were fast tracking.
Later in the month we also saw the changes that occurred surrounding the Trencher CID which had started a bit earlier, which included a drastic overhaul to Kraye and tweaks to some existing models, but most importantly... the nerf to Haley2. Technically these changes didn't drop for a bit longer (they were merely previewed in July to account for the World Team Championship some weeks later), this signaled the end of a long era of Haley2's dominance. Now the target was on her sister, Deneghra... but it would be a while before we got back to that.
One of the most highly anticipated rules updates I have seen in my time playing was this month. The Themepocalypse dropped, amid a torrent of troll posting from the development team to prey on our insane degree of impatience. Prior to that of course was the WTC, which had a very interesting statistical breakdown showing Cryx's sheer power in that environment. After a long couple of days of duking it out with players across the globe, Germany Loreley defeated Norway Munin for the first place victory! Always a fun weekend of games streaming and poring over data, I hope to make it to this event someday in the future.
About a week after the WTC, though, was the Themepocalypse, and boy was it worth its anticipation. A massive number of theme drops as well as tweaks to existing themes opened up options for everyone, creating a far more complex and interesting environment than we had in a world of only a handful of themes. This to me marked when Mk. 3 hit the point it was designed to be at, aside from a few little design changes maybe needed; we had, over a year after its actual release, really entered the new edition.
This month we started seeing more hard information about Company of Iron, the anticipated 'skirmish' level Warmachine and Hordes game. The Northkin CID changes all dropped, introducing many fun changes to Trollbloods as well as starting their cycle of model releases for the new rules. PP also announced the creation of Black Anchor Heavy Industries with their first model under the line, the Dracodile. This would make drastic changes to how PP sells their huge based 'showcase' models, and we will start seeing the results of that as the Dracodile releases soon.
Warmachine Weekend kicked off this month with a bang, and as always it was a great time of a convention. We saw prereleases of a lot of models over this time, including the 12 Factions of Christmas pieces, and overall the event was amazing and I can't wait to go again next year!
The first real news of November was the 12 Factions of Christmas CID changes, which largely just introduced the final version of a number of models for every faction, but tweaked a few others in the process (like my precious Zealots and Deliverers!)
And now... the present! The Black Fleet CID ended recently and will be leading to changes to some of the last really egregious lists in the game, and we are closer to a perfectly balanced competitive game than ever before. The Blindwater Congregation CID rules update also dropped, tuning Gators into a better place than ever before as we prepare for their cycle of awesome new releases. Christmas is on the horizon, the 12 Factions of Christmas models are released, and I for one am excited to go into the new year and see what Privateer Press has to offer!
It has been a fun year, albeit with a lot of ups and downs for the game as we really push through the growing pains of the Mk. 3 transition. I'm having more fun building lists and playing the game than ever, though, and can't wait to head to the Las Vegas Open at the end of January as my first convention of the year. Hope to see you there!
Thanks for reading!