Today I'd like to tackle a topic that seems to be rather misunderstood in the online community. For years, Warmachine and Hordes releases were done once a year for each system in a giant compendium book with a couple models for each faction.
While this sounds like a great system, the various schedules for production and design meant that we would occasionally see models months ahead of the book they were due out in, and on the flip side we'd get models like the Revelator that didn't release for over two years after we knew what they did.
Interestingly, while the current system is far more organized and user friendly, it seems to cause a lot of confusion as to when things will be released and how to know if you are using current rules. I thought I'd take this opportunity to address some points:
What is CID?
CID stands for Community Integrated Development, and that's really all it is. Instead of models being solely developed in-house, Privateer Press has decided to allow the community to have input on the final 5-10% of the development process. This is done through a specific forum which you can find at cid.privateerpress.com.
In the CID process, new models are "spoiled" with rules that are not yet finalized, and then we as the community are allowed to test them out and make sure that they don't break the game and also don't fall completely flat when out in the wild. Privateer Press does a great job of balancing their releases, but they have a small playtesting team.
CID also pulls in a small portion of "legacy" models, that is models that are already released, and either brings their power level up to par or brings outliers down. We've seen a good example of this in the Deneghra 1 changes recently.
CID cycles vary in length from one week to six weeks depending on the size of the cycle involved. During this time, tweaks are made to the pre-release rules of the models involved on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Again, these are rules that are not yet released and can only be found on the cid.privateerpress.com website.
At the end of each CID cycle, the models go back into the development team for a last few weeks of internal balancing before their official rules are produced and published in Warroom 2 or in the card database at cards.privateerpress.com.
How do Release Cycles Work Now?
Release Cycles are no longer tied to big force books, and they are almost always constrained to a three month period of time. Typically what happens is a copy of No Quarter Prime is released that primarily features the new models, as well as showing off the updates to old models in print form.
Once that happens, a three month cycle of releases focused on the faction of note happens, with a few models monthly being released. A great resource for those wishing to find out what's coming next is www.warmahordesreleaseschedule.com. Currently, we are in the middle of a Cryx release Cycle, with the next one likely to be Legion and then Khador.
While this is a drastic shift from previous years, this system is much cleaner, much more reliable for model production, and overall better for us as the consumers of this game.
One thing to note: because of the way this works, each faction will only be getting new releases about once every two years, with a special bonus release every Christmas.
The Game as a Constant Beta
I have seen in many places the idea that we are playing "Warmachine and Hordes Beta" and that mark iv should just hurry up and get released so that we can start playing with stability again.
I would like to offer a counter argument here. Simply put, the CID process changes very few older models with every cycle, and as they continue on and factions start getting a second CID process that number will continue to shrink.
If the CID cycle is too confusing or makes the game seem unstable, my suggestion is do not participate in CID! If you miss opening up a new force book and seeing what all the shiny new models do, do not participate in CID!
If you ignore the CID cycles until the model release updates happen about once every 2-3 months, then the same anticipation of new models and the feeling of a solid game will continue as it always has.
The reality of the situation is that mark III is actually the last edition of Warmachine that is likely to be published. From here on out, changes to the core rules will be implemented digitally (and you can find digital copies of the core rules here), model updates will be accomplished via Warroom and the card database, and a massive overhaul of the rules is never likely to happen again.
Is This Model of Releases Better?
In my opinion? Yes, yes it is.
You want cards to play with? They're free, just print them out. You don't want to have to play with cards? Perfect, you don't have to because of Warroom.
We don't have to wait for months or years to see releases we know about come out. We don't have to worry about massive changes to the game as problems arise, and we don't have to worry about investing in our faction every six months either.
The CID process has been a difficult one for the community to figure out, but we're slowly getting there and the game is becoming better and better for it.
I, for one, am excited to see where it goes.
Thanks for reading!