I think this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it, also. I'm 38 and I have played rpgs all the way back to first edition AD&D. A couple of years ago I wanted to introduce my nephews to roleplaying games. My nephews are heavy into video games and i didnt think that a pen and paper game would be for them. So i did some internet research and discovered descent: journeys in the dark. we played and we loved it. After a couple of sessions, i formed the opinion that this was a first step in the evolution of the RPG. If table top rpgs were to survive the world of warcraft era, then fantasy flight games were the guys to do it. By taking the visual impact and the easy to approach style they did with Descent.
Jump forward a few months to the release of fourth edition Dungeons and dragons. i bought the rules read through them, and had a feeling that those rules were influenced by Descent. I could be totally wrong. both games could be trying to reach the younger video game influenced crowd. But where 4e is clunky and quite cant admit it wants to be a video game simulation of world of warcraft and still clings to pen and paper traditions, Descent was unapologetic and jumped in with both feet. Descent had a head start because its forerunner is Doom the boardgame which is trying to be a tabletop version of the video game. I couldnt help but think that FFG had leaped far ahead WOTC in table top game development that wants to appeal to the younger gamer. They had the visuals down. there was actually something on the table to look at. There were tons of things to manipulate and pass back and forth. loads and loads of cards and loads and loads if bits. God love em over at FFG.
I have played 4th edition D&D and I have to say I am not real impressed. It over loads players with lot of non visual card powers ( again I was reminded of what Descent did a whole lot better) that make the game go a little cold. In a recent game,a rpga game, I played with several players who were playing characters that were not standard fare. They played their powers and I could not visualize what was going on. one player cast something called a memory hole and the other did something called an eye of doom and it went on and on. I saw them roll damage dice, I saw them figure burst radius. we played through about the stuns and knockdowns and the poisons of various encounters. I immediatly thought about the conditon tokens of the Descent about how I could see if some one was taking fire damage, or stunned or confused or poisoned. You could SEE it with the tokens. You can't see anything in 4th D&D. we ran into some kind or dragon thing with a breath weapon, and I thought about the fire template. When somebody made a big attack you could see it with the different color dice. I was playing D&D and I was constantly thinking how Descent did it better and more visual, AND did it FIRST, before 4th D&D.
Now make another jump to when FFG gained rights to the Warhammer IP as far as board and card and rp games go. I immediatly thought about how they should use the visual lessons of Descent and apply it to this wonderful RPG. Don't get me wrong. Green Ronin Warhammer is a masterpeice of pen and paper design. I'm not ever going to knock it. But FFG can put thier own spin on it and I'm optimistic that they will do a good job. for the people who complain that its going too be to boardgame like you need to come up with a better term. I would describe it as a visual card and bit RPG. what would you expect from the makers of descent and arkham horror and twilight imperium? restraint? The price tag is a FFG price tag. you will get what you paid for. you will get a ton of cards and dice that will only enhance the experience especially for new and younger players.
Anyway, I have really been impressed with what FFG is doing. I'm looking forward to seeing if the warhammer FRP will impress me like descent did.