With the launch of the first couple of codices now launched, we are starting to see a trend in the FAQ’s that follow them. Fast. Very fast. And this has a lot of people grumbling about the amount of playtesting GW is actually doing, considering they are claiming this is the most solid and playtested edition they’ve ever done. With Codex Chaos Space Marines now out, it was followed closely by an updated FAQ for Index Chaos. And the Space Marines codex already has its own full fledged FAQ weeks after its release. So how much work is actually going into this? Let us break this down a little and see if they really are playtesting things or if it’s just the marketing team trying to quell the masses.
So let’s start with the newest FAQ (as of this writing), Index Chaos. This launched nearly simultaneous with the CSM Codex. I’ve seen some reactions from people in outrage wondering why there is a FAQ for the codex already. But there isn’t, this is for the index. The point was to bring the similar elements, namely Deamons, from the index in line with the new rules in the codex. Also it makes a point to allow Thousand Sons to use the new Psyker tables and powers in the Codex while they await their own full fledged codex. All in all, this is a very easy to swallow FAQ, and just makes sense.
Now a little bit more of a touchy subject, the Space Marines FAQ. It’s only one page, but some of the things that it addresses makes you wonder how they needed corrected in the first place. Clarification is one thing, but adjusting AP values, completely re-writing special abilities, and adding point values for three pieces of gear that were apparently just left out? At the very least they need some better proof readers. With only being one page I feel like they can be cut some slack, but some of those things seem like pretty serious errors. Coming so quickly after its release, it makes you wonder about the quality of the playtesting.
Now Grey Knights and Death Guard are on their way, and honestly I am expecting the same to be true for them. The fact that all four codices were announced at the same time makes me think they were already done and off to production. That being said i would expect the same rewrites, missing equipment, and stat changes right out the gate. I’m hoping things will get better with whatever the next wave is that follows.
The other thing to consider when looking at this as well is, when you have a core group of testers, it is easy to fall into the “This is how it should be” trap. Playtesting can legitimately be hard work. You have to clear your mind of all intentions and read and act on things based solely on what is written. When you are playtesting something for friends or coworkers, people you know well, it is easy to gloss over how it’s actually written and read it how it was intended. The “New GW” puts forward a very friendly image and if this is truly the case, then they need to reinforce that there is a job to be done and a product to promote. If they can shore up these kinds of issues, then the next wave of codices should be pretty solid. One good thing that can be said about this however, it their obvious willingness to acknowledge their mistakes and correct them. I would prefer the codices be more solid from the get go, but releasing a FAQ quickly to address concerns and questions is a pretty good step from where it was.