The Gathering Storm’s story just set the stage for 8th Edition perfectly. Let’s talk about how.
We all know that Warhammer 8th Edition is going to be an edition of big changes. To do that properly Games Workshop has been planting seeds and hints all over the place. But they still had a huge obstacle to overcome: Inertia. Warhammer 40k has over 30 years of backstory/lore/fluff to deal with! So, as a writer, how do you deal with it with out just hitting the reset button again? You work with it instead of fighting it, again. Gathering Storm did just that.
Reset the Board, Not the Lore
Gathering Storm has done something I haven’t seen GW do in a long time – they reset the “State of the Board” so to speak. What do I mean by this? Well if you’ve ever played a CCG like Magic, you might be familiar with this tactic. When you wipe the board of all creatures/lands/resources. This is resetting the board back to zero. It’s the nuclear option and it something you only do if you have a plan to come back. Well, Games Workshop has done this from a narrative perspective. Look at what we have now:
- An Expanding Eye of Terror
- A Unified Imperium
- A New “United” Eldar faction
Three of the biggest super powers of 40k have just consolidated power and redrawn the battle lines. Now the writers have a clean slate to work with…or maybe I should say a “clear” slate to work with. It’s easy to see who’s-who and what each faction’s goals are. It’s easy to point to the “leaders and key players” now. That’s where you want to be when you launch a new leg of a story.
All Sides Are Ready to Rumble
As I mentioned before the battle lines are drawn and the enemy is known. With the death of Cadia, the Eye of Terror is not contained – it’s easy to point to it as “Chaos Turf” and go from there. We still don’t know what all the consequences will be from that. And don’t forget all the damage that was done to the Fenris Sector. It’s not like the Space Wolves hold grudges or anything…
With Guilliman is also back and he’s got the full weight of the Imperium behind him. For the first time in almost 10,000 years the Imperium has a true leader they can point towards. And, love him or hate him, Guilliman knows how to get things done. Both sides are posturing from a position of strength. And it’s about to go down…
And Then There Were Xenos
Aside form the Eldar, the other Xenos factions didn’t seem to get a lot of attention. At first, I was a little ticked off because of this, however, now I’m kind of glad. Why? Because now the writers can go in when 8th comes out and talk about all the craziness the Xenos have been up to while the “adults” were fighting. And I’m willing to bet those “kids” have gone bonkers. You can’t ignore the Tyranids, Orks, and Necrons forever. The Tau can only do so much to maintain order…eventually fights start up then things get broken. If you’re a parent or teacher you know when you leave the room the kids will play…
I think this leaves a nice third option for the writers as well. If we’re buying into the Age of Sigmar style, that gives us an Order Faction, a Chaos Faction, and now a Xenos Faction. I think this is exactly what Games Workshop is shooting for, at least on some level. Re-structuring the factions into these big groups allows them to consolidate and get updates out en masse. We saw this at the start of AoS with the Grand Alliance Battletomes. I don’t think they will keep them consolidated forever, but it’s a good place holder until the new books can come out. If you look at AoS’s releases you can see that trend play out. It’s like Ravening Hordes, but for 40k’s 8th edition!
Gathering Storm has the story in a great starting point right now. It’s not the end of the story, it’s only the end of the beginning of the story. It’s up to the Games Workshop writers to take it to the next act of this galactic play. I can’t wait to see where they go from here!
How do you think the story will progress with the launch of 8th edition?