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Main => General 40k => Topic started by: Cavalier on March 11, 2020, 07:38:21 AM

Title: Space Marine FAQ- Playtesters Perspective
Post by: Cavalier on March 11, 2020, 07:38:21 AM
Alienscar asked me for my thoughts as a playtester for GW on Space Marine FAQ and if it was warranted. As a playtester I knew WELL in advance how incredibley strong Space Marines were and in my opinion FAR too strong. It was an over-correction and in addition in addition to Knights, the sole blemish on an otherwise brilliant edition which I consider the best we've ever seen.

Before the intitial FAQ, Iron Hands were winning at 80% clip at tournaments, in over 3000 games. This is absolutley unheard of. Even before their massive re-write Ynnari were only winning at around a 68% clip and played only be a minority of players, around 8% if memory serves, while Space Marines represented 20% of all armies represented.

This was a monstrous problem and even after that FAQ which hit them very hard, they were still winning at an unprecedented rate, and even now after this FAQ will be extremely strong, with Iron Hands probably still reigning at the top, with Ravenguard, Ultramarines and Imperial Fists right behind them. Asuryani not far behind the rest.

During playtesting, I played exclusivley against Imperial Fists, primarily with my Flayed Skull/Alaitoc build and it was by far the most challenging experience I've had in 8th edition. I still won most of my games, but there were times where I was getting nearly tabled by turn 2. I had -2 to hit Flyers being taken out of the sky by bolters. It was absolutely ridiculous.

The shift to doctrines needed to happen not just from tabletop perspective but also a lore perspective.

I'm limited in what I can say about the playtesting process, but I can tell you guys this. The guys behind the scenes at GW are the most passionate guys you can imagine. Their dedication to trying to get it right, has been the most impressive thing to me in this whole 3 year process. They have zero ego when it comes to feedback (we are all polite of course) and go to extraordinary lengths to try and get things right. Their guiding principal is the lore and more than anything they want the players of each faction to feel rewarded and excited whenever a new codex or supplement is released and that if anything is where sometimes they go too far. I can tell you point blank, pushing new releases for sales is not their goal. They dont want the wild pendulum swings any more than we do.

The Space Marine thing has been a pretty tough rough patch, and one I've not been happy with at all, but overall its been a brilliant edition. I've had more fun this edition than ever before.

But if you have any questions please let me know. I'm happy to answer anything I can!
Title: Re: Space Marine FAQ- Playtesters Perspective
Post by: Alienscar on March 11, 2020, 08:21:46 AM
Thanks for this Cavalier. Just to be clear I asked the question as a 'thought experiment' more than anything else because, as I have said elsewhere, life is being a cruel mistress at the moment and I don't get much time to hobby. I really hope some of the other people on here can give your post the attention it deserves.

As a playtester I knew WELL in advance how incredibley strong Space Marines were and in my opinion FAR too strong.

One of the most common things I have read on other sites is 'why did GW have to release a FAQ so soon after release surely the problem could have been spotted and sorted beforehand.'

It appears to me from what you have written that GW were fully aware of the Iron Hands issue. If this is the case, and if playtesters pointed out the issue is there a reason the issue wasn't sorted before release?

To be clear, playtesting is not a payed job, but it requires TONS of work and a ton of digital coordination, both across the pond and with my team which is both local and elsewhere across the US.

I hope you at least get a staff discount on any GW stuff that you buy.
Title: Re: Space Marine FAQ- Playtesters Perspective
Post by: Cavalier on March 11, 2020, 10:45:49 AM
Yeah I'm not sure at what point GW knew it was an issue. As a playtester the process is quite grueling, so I cant imagine how tough it is for GW themselves. Also there are combinations out there that are very little known, but incredibly good but for whatever reason players dont gravitate towards... so sometimes, they are trying to make a certain playstyle work for certain armies, and because of certain interactions, weird exploits pop-up that were not intentional.

Also certain things just slip through the cracks despite the sheer number of eyes on the project.

But the tournament results, which are carefully tracked were overwhelming and the player response was very strong across all arenas of play. The rules team really take to heart the playstyles that armies are supposed to represent and they want them to be good, but sometimes they go too far, and other things crop up in addition.

So yeah its not been pretty but the fixes have thus far been very solid. I'm also extremely happy with everything thats to come.
Title: Re: Space Marine FAQ- Playtesters Perspective
Post by: Myen'Tal on March 11, 2020, 12:01:08 PM
Hey Cav,

Thank you for giving your insightful opinion on this matter. I've often wondered how GW playtests some of their rules, especially after seeing a lot of the psychic awakening stuff coming out recently.

I've still never jumped into 40k, but I visit my GW often and I've seen what it looks like. Space Marines, Space Marines, and more Space Marines. It's honestly prevented me from jumping into 40k at this point in time, due to the dominance that they were showing when the individual indexes were beginning to drop.

I am glad that GW is reigning the marines in back onto a fairer playing field.

On another note, how do you feel like the balance for 40k is generally when compared to Age of Sigmar?
Title: Re: Space Marine FAQ- Playtesters Perspective
Post by: Cavalier on March 11, 2020, 01:10:30 PM
Hey Myen'Tal. Yeah the reason for the prevalence for Marines and the sheer number of releases, is they essentially rebooted the entire Space Marine line. In my opinion they've modernized and simplified the range and in the future the Chapter Tactics should stack cleanly on-top of the very clean dataslates.

In the weeks since the Marine FAQ there has been great variety in top tables at tournaments at the very least. You had a double Drukhari duel at a finals here in the south of the USA, Sisters winning a major event over in the UK, Aeldari winning here and there. Genestealer Cult and even Blood Angels. All "off meta" armies.

The balance has been restored to a large degree, but its still an uphill battle against Marines, nothing like it was. For the most part there has been really good balance in the game throughout the edition. There were 3 bumps in the road IMO. The Castellan Knight, the Alaitoc Flyer list, and then Space Marine meta. Which was basically all within 6 months of each other.

With all of that being relativley patched, its really not the scary anymore. There are tons of good options for every army. And all of the armies have a niche. The mainstay factions are really strong: Space Marines, Asuryani, Chaos are sort of the top dogs. With Orks, Drukhari, Sisters and Tyranids, Genestealer Cult and Guard being Tier 2 that can very much win any event in the hands of the right player. Ad-Mech, Harlequins are a bit behind them but Necrons actually have great numbers against Marines, but they struggle against some of the other factions.

Some of these armies aren't meant to go 5-0 at an event, such as Harlequins. But you can crush on the regular with any of these armies just playing regularly with friends.

As for AoS I cant speak to it specifically, but it has the same issues from what I've heard. With Slaanesh and Daughters of Khaine dominating for a good long while.

Its important to remember GW games are big ships and take awhile to correct course. But unlike the past there have been LOOOOONG periods of total stability with only a few outliers. As opposed to editions previous where the long periods of consistency were usually consistent misery. The internet sort of amplifies the negatives, but when you are just out there playing games, its really been a great edition with very little worry about outside a few tough months.
Title: Re: Space Marine FAQ- Playtesters Perspective
Post by: magenb on March 13, 2020, 02:57:38 AM
For the most part there has been really good balance in the game throughout the edition.

5th ed is the closest GW has gotten to long periods of balance. 6th started OK but then GW tried to do a warp jump without a navigator in 7th. 8th we emerged all hopeful after the terrors that were unleash, with high hopes of actual play testing to sort out balancing issues. The purge they conducted appeared to have worked, but now we know they missed a bunch of nurgle and slaanesh daemons. One presents the new shinny model/book while the other makes the rules (I'm not sure which one of them is setting the prices lol).

Basically any sort of "balance" in 8th is between when the nerf bat lands for the last batch of terrible rules, to when the new shinny thing is released.

It doesn't help that we've had a unbelievable amount of new units release during the life cycle of the current rule edition. To be fair, trying to balance an army on the fly isn't that easy, which is why all of the primaris kit should have been planned better.

I think 9th edition should be really interesting, hopefully all the units would have been released, just updates to existing sculpts. A really big focus on balancing, but to do that, I think they need to drop stratgems and alliances for sub 2001 point games. Waaay too many options even with just the number of units/armies.

Title: Re: Space Marine FAQ- Playtesters Perspective
Post by: Alienscar on May 21, 2020, 03:31:03 AM
I'm limited in what I can say about the playtesting process

Hey Cavalier as I am sure you have seen there are very blurred pictures of what may or may not be new Primaris vehicles floating around the internet. It has been surmised that the pictures could be from a playtestesters handbook.

I realise that you can't tell me anything about the internet pictures, but I was wondering if you could at least clarify if you do get a handbook that has 'secret' pictures in it.
Title: Re: Space Marine FAQ- Playtesters Perspective
Post by: Killersquid on May 21, 2020, 12:56:49 PM
I'm limited in what I can say about the playtesting process

Hey Cavalier as I am sure you have seen there are very blurred pictures of what may or may not be new Primaris vehicles floating around the internet. It has been surmised that the pictures could be from a playtestesters handbook.

I realise that you can't tell me anything about the internet pictures, but I was wondering if you could at least clarify if you do get a handbook that has 'secret' pictures in it.


I've seen nothing about that anywhere. what pictures?
Title: Re: Space Marine FAQ- Playtesters Perspective
Post by: Alienscar on May 21, 2020, 01:26:25 PM
Check out BoLS, Spikeybits, or Reddit. Just Google blurred pictures of Primaris vehicles and you will get more than a few results.
Title: Re: Space Marine FAQ- Playtesters Perspective
Post by: Cavalier on May 22, 2020, 05:22:25 PM
There is no photography in any of our files. I'm not sure who is behind the leaks but it sucks for GW at leas the creatives and rules developers. These guys bust their humps year round and so many times never get the chance to unveil their work in the way they want. I'm extremely excited for this preview tomorrow