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Warhammer The Old World: Is Limiting Factions A Mistake?

5 Minute Read
May 25 2023
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The latest GW news about The Old World Factions left fans with more questions than answers.

Warhammer the Old World is a game that is coming out… sometime. It’s a game that has a lot of people very excited. It’s also one that we know basically nothing about. A release date is to many the least of our questions, since we don’t have any real idea what the rules will be like. Well this week GW did give us some more info, and opened up a ton of new questions, about the factions. However the information wasn’t met with approval, but instead confused and befuddled a lot of potential players. Lets take a look at why.

The “CORE” Launch Factions

The initial launch of The Old World is going to focus on nine “CORE” classic factions. These are:

  • Empire of Man
  • Dwarfen Mountains Holds
  • Kingdom of Bretonnia
  • Wood Elf Realms
  • High Elf Realms
  • Orc & Goblin Tribes
  • Warriors of Choas
  • Beastmen Breyherds
  • Tomb Kings of Khemri

These nine factions are going to be the narrative focus of the setting at this time and will get full releases and books. Other armies will get free PDF rules but not the same kind of support. It’s interesting to note that while some of the armies have had slight changes to their names there hasn’t been any real attempt (yet) to rebrand them.

Those Left Behind

The armies that are getting free PDFs but not full rules are the:

  • Dark Elves
  • Skaven
  • Chaos Dwarfs
  • Vampire Counts
  • Chaos Daemons
  • Lizardmen
  • Ogre Kingdoms

According to GW they will get PDF lists to use for fun but that’s about it right now. It’s a bit interesting that Chaos Dwarfs are on this list since they didn’t really have much support in the later editions of WFB. But here they are. GW has explained that these armies didn’t really factor into this period of history so are getting sidelined.


Focusing Is a Good Idea

Now this news is obviously disappointing for a lot of people. To learn you’re favorite army isn’t going to be supported in the game is a blow. I’m in a bit of the same spot myself as Vampires were one of my two favorite armies. This news might just be enough to kill some players interest in the game. However I don’t think it’s a bad move. Focusing on a few key factions not only lets GW tell a tighter narrative, and put a lot more effort into the factions they are focusing on. However it’s also unlikely to make people more excited for the game.

Trying to release a ton of armies, with a lot of new models hopefully, isn’t really a quick or viable option. It could easily overwhelm players and stores with options and models. Heck at a pretty fast release schedule of one army every three months just getting through the first nine will take a year and half.  I think that its good to focus on the CORE ones first. I don’t know if players would be any happier if they were told Lizardmen ARE getting fully supported but their book isn’t coming out for 3 years after the game comes out. Whenever that will be.  However there are still some big questions.

Some Missing Players?


Hey remember these guys? GW led off the announcement of the Old World with a lot of talk about both Kislev and Grand Cathay. Both got detailed maps. Kislev even gave us the first look at some artwork for models. But now there is no mention of either of these armies in the list of supported armies. They also don’t show up in the list of PDF armies either. So what’s going on? Maybe Kislev is getting folded into the Empire of Man, but Cathay is still out there.

The focus on Bretonnians and Tomb Kings is also a bit odd. Tomb Kings didn’t play any real role in the Great War against Chaos, while the Bretonnains played a pretty minor role, certainly less then Kislev did. It’s pretty clear they are getting a lot of attention simply because they are the two armies that didn’t make the jump to Age of Sigmar. Daemons not getting focused is also a head scratcher… I’m pretty sure they had a big role in the Great War.

A Quick Game Update?

Focus is good, but what has been announced is just very strange. I don’t see how the game can launch without Kislev and Grand Cathay. These were the first armies teased and are also the only new armies. While getting old stuff back is cool, new armies are really going to be needed to draw in new players. On top of that they are a great way to tie into and capitalize off you Warhammer Total War. Unless The Old World is so far off that GW thinks interest in Total War will have died off by the time it comes out. What they are saying about focusing on some factions isn’t all that bad, but it is also likely to decrease interest in the game, not increase it.

A lot of people have speculated that this means we will see a second edition of the game come shortly after the first. I’m not sure if it will be a full second edition, but if Kislev and Grand Cathay aren’t supported at launch they’ve got to come soon. I suspect we will a pretty quick update or expansion that has them and at least Chaos Daemons as they are needed for the Great War. Overall this is just yet another really confusing announcement for the Old World.


Let us know what you think about the faction list, down in comments! 

Author: Abe Apfel