40K: FAQ Bloat is Going To Be a Problem
I need how many books to play this game?
FAQs, and errata, have always been a bit of a contentious subject when it comes to Games Workshop. These amendments and clarifications of the published rules have incredible power. Power to end arguments, to render lists illegal or ineffective and to fix seemingly broken of overpowered aspects of the game. Players have in the past complained about GW’s slowness to FAQ and address issues, often wishing for a faster process. With the advent of 8th Edition GW seems to be taking a different approach, releasing rules changes and FAQs at a blistering rate. While at first this seemed like a great thing, some players are stating to worry that this might be too much, too fast. Lets take a look some of the issues surrounding FAQs.
Lets start off with a pretty tame option and see just how FAQ’s effect me. If you’ve watched us stream at all you know that I love playing our Emperor’s Children list. If I want to take that list and play a matched play game, how many books and FAQs do I need? To start off I need a copy of the basic rule book, in addition I’ll need my Codex: Hectic Astartes books. Pretty simple so far, but we soon hit a snag. See my list includes a Chaos Lord on a Steed of Slaneesh, whose rules are not in the Codex, so I also need a copy of Index:Chaos. That’s three books so far. Now we add in FAQ’s, one for the rulebook, one for the index and one for the codex. So just to play a simple list I already need 3 books and 3 FAQs. In addition the FAQs could update at any moment so I need the most recent version of them, and they may not always agree with each other.
A Worse Case
Not all of us have a Sam to carry our books
Now the above case is a simple one, but what happens if I want to play a more complex list at say a tournament or something? Well lets say its a few months from now and I want to play a list that has some Marines, some AdMech and some Astra Miltarum in it. Maybe I throw in Saint Celestine for some fun. This could mean to play one army I could need 4 Codexs, 2 Indexs, the main rulebook and 7 FAQs.
If I’m playing a tournament that event may also have its own FAQ that I would have to use. Lastly lets consider that I could also need a copy of the 2017 Chapter Approved and its FAQ. That’s 8 books and 9 FAQs or 17 documents. For one army. All of those FAQ’s could again be updated at any time and any number of times adding more stuff to them over time. That’s quite a lot books and FAQs for one army.
What Even is an FAQ
Making the question even worse is the issue of what really counts as an FAQ or errata. While there are the official erratas on the GW site there are also a number of other sources we now get information from. Is something said on the (totally amazing) Warhammer Community site counted as an answer? What about an answer given on the Facebook page? Both of these tend to muddy the waters a bit and add in a whole lot of additional sources you have to check to make sure your rules are up to date.
Be Careful What You Wish For
So it seems we’ve got of a case of getting what we wished and not liking it. I mean we’ve always asked for more/faster FAQs. Now that we’ve got them a lot of players seem pretty unhappy. This may seem inconsistent or ungrateful, but I think at heart it’s not. You see I don’t think it’s that players just want fast FAQs or more FAQs, its that really what they have been asking for is better or more consistent rules. If you gave players a tight rule set with no or very few FAQs they’d be happy. The perception that many people get from the rapid fire FAQs is that in fact the current rules are less consistent, and with more loopholes. To many it feels like a lack of consistency and rushed editing is behind the quick FAQs rather than a real push to address players concerns.
FAQ Your Problems Away
It’s heather than drinking
To make matters more complicated a lot of players are still arguing for more, or more updates too, FAQs. They see erratas as not just a way of cleaning up messy questions or fixing unintended consequences be fixing any problem that shows up. Pretty much any time a unit or combo gets power in the meta we now hear players calling for GW to FAQ the issue way, change the rules, adjust the points, do something but fix it! Just look at my friend Goatboy’s latest article and you can see how he, as a tournament player is looking for an FAQ to fix some of these issues.
Legion of the Damned if You Do, Legion of the Damned if You Don’t
So what’s an Old GW supposed to do in this kind of a situation? If they don’t put out FAQs they get accused of ignoring players not fixing issues with the game. If they put out a bunch of FAQs they get accused of writing bad rules and bloat. So what can they do? Well first off, the easy answer is, tighter rules. Or at least give the editors/proofreaders more time. GW could really benefit from giving the rules just a smidge more time under an editor’s nose being being booted off to the printers. A lot of the issues the FAQs have addressed so far are pretty basic mistakes that could have been caught. But beyond that it really is a hard choice.
They are of course going to keep putting out FAQs. And FAQs are good of the game. But I do think they need to have some restraint. I think adjusting point costs every few months in FAQs is too much. I think changing rules to try to mess with a meta that is ever changing anyway is too much. Leave these things for a yearly publication last Chapter Approved. Keep FAQs for rules questions and minor tweaks. And maybe find a way to cut down on the number of books/documents I need, because 17 for one army is a bit much.
So what do you think about the current state of FAQs? Too many?Too little? Just enough? And is 17 documents too many for one army to need? Let us know down in the comments!