Bad luck or evil conspiracy?
I had a little thought of the main idea behind this new edition.
What struck me as really odd was the totally different approaches the two (or three) GW role playing games has taken.
Dark Heresy and its sister Rouge Trader is in my eyes very good examples of mature and good role playing games. They are well received and has earned great and positive reactions from booth fans and other media. Senior RPG Developer Ross Watson received several awards for different source books and what I understand you can call the game rather successful even from a economic viewpoint. Personally I have never been a fan of science fiction but even I bought the core books and found them interesting, although I probably wont start a 40k campaign cause my real role playing passion has been WHFRP for many many years.
My initial thought was that is was real bad luck that Jay Little got the responsibility of developing the WFRP line and not a guy like Ross Watson.
I cant see no rational reasoning behind this new development of WHFRP.
All these "news" and fabulous ideas in V3 is absolutely nothing you couldn't create and implement in the V2 if you really wanted to. You got a lot of gadgets, dices, puzzle character sheets and eye candy stolen from different boardgames. Absolutely nothing that a RPG needs!
The "we put stuff on cards so you can focus on the story" or "we use a lot of shiny and strangely designed custom dice so you can focus on the story" reasons feels just plain dumb and just an excuse why we should accept these odd changes. The real insult to role playing games came when we also learned that "we decided where your little dwarf came from so you could focus on the story" or the really horrific "we made a group sheet so you know when you doesn't get along with the other players". The role playing experience get reduced to a "pick a card to know your class", "pick a card to know your background", "pick a card to know your motivation", "pick a card so you know why you're in a group", "pick a card so you know what happened in our last adventure", "pick a card so you don't have to think for yourself" etc...
Cynic and a bit exaggerated, but you get the idea...
Why oh why does V3 look this way...?
But then the other idea struck me that this could be a result evil reasoning from a business point of view.
If someone put a gun to my head and gave me the following instruction:
1. We want you to make a role playing system that doesn't compete with our other products (the mature RPG:s Dark Heresy and Rouge Trader)
2. We want you to make a game that requires card, tokens and other toys. In this way we will reduce players ability to download illegal copies.
3. We like the D&D idea that all players, not only the GM, should buy books, dice and stuff for the game.
4. Make sure that nothing is compatible from old material, not even the dice!
5. We want to include CCG thinking i the game. Make the games buy extra card expansions and more shiny dice every month.
6. Make a game that attract the younger audience! Steal the feeling and setup from World of Warcraft! We want group buffs, flashy special attacks and a LOT of visual aids.
7. We want to attract the players that thought D&D 4:ed was a bit to complicated. Make sure they can get over here and still feel at bit at home.
8. The kids today want to feel powerful and cool! Make Waywachters and elven ninjas!
9. Don't make it complicated! Reading numbers from dice and reading tables give kids headache!
10. We want to be able to create characters and groups in less that 10 minutes! Pull a bunch of cards, arrange them then off we go!
11. Descent is wicked fun! But we want at least to call this game a RPG so you cant include a board.
If I got these work instructions... well then I suppose the result would be something like the stuff we've seen so far from V3.
It would surely not be a good RPG and it wouldn't be Warhammer and it wouldnt appeal the old fans... but I would fulfil my instruction.
I don't know him but Jay Little could surely be a nice and smart dude... but I got REALLY curious what his instructions were when he made this game.