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Edge of the Empire and the future of WFRP


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#1 aaronz

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:51 AM

 

A couple years ago, just as I was getting into WFRP 3e, my gaming group fell apart. I haven't had a chance to play it since then, but I have some new players I'm going to show the system to, and I'm really looking forward to getting back into it. So it's a bit of a bummer to see all the sky-is-falling talk concerning the game. (Thankfully, even if they cancelled the game today, I'd still have years of content to explore.)

WFRP 3e seems to be fairly niche at this point; while many people enjoy the bits and believe they help facilitate roleplaying, it seems like even more people are either exhausted with the components or didn't give the game a fair shake in the first place because of them. Now we're looking at the introduction of Edge of the Empire, which appears to be a mix of traditional pen-and-paper stuff and the great narrative dice of WFRP 3e. I've read a bit of the beta book, and it indeed looks great. My suspicion—and I don't think I'm alone in thinking this—is that it will fare better in the market than WFRP did. I mean it's Star Wars, so it could be terrible and still sell well (I'll refrain from making a joke about SWTOR here). But the system looks streamlined and exciting. 

I like the components of WFRP. I believe I will also like the component-less play of EotE. With that in mind, I have two questions. 

1. I'm wondering how much of the slowdown in WFRP releases can be attributed to EotE. I'm not sure how long EotE has been in development, but it has presumably taken at least some resources away from FFG's other roleplaying lines. Assuming the Star Wars line is a success, it may continue to take up a decent amount of FFG's roleplaying resources (time, developers, money). At the very least, they've committed to two further books. Could this dropoff just be a natural consequence of this, meaning we'll continue to see WFRP support, albeit at a reduced rate? Further, there is still plenty of ground to cover in WFRP 3e, but FFG has done a considerable amount of work on the universe so far. Some slowdown seems inevitable.

2. WFRP is obviously not selling like hotcakes, and I wonder if FFG can use the Star Wars line to drum up some interest in the system again. I know you can play without the components, but how does the game actually run using only the books? My understanding is that it's a bit of a shoehorned concession to component-haters at best. Could FFG revise the non-component rules to capitalize on some of the new ideas from EoTE while still maintaining compatibility with 3e as it was originally intended? I don't see WFRP as a clunky proto-EotE, but maybe there's a way to filter some parts of the new system back into WFRP for those who weren't interested the first time around.

In the end, of course, it all comes down to numbers. If WFRP continues to sell, they'll sell it. If it doesn't, they won't. It's a great system, and I hope it can get its second wind.



#2 Angelic Despot

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:42 AM

aaronz said:

I know you can play without the components, but how does the game actually run using only the books? My understanding is that it's a bit of a shoehorned concession to component-haters at best. Could FFG revise the non-component rules to capitalize on some of the new ideas from EoTE while still maintaining compatibility with 3e as it was originally intended? I don't see WFRP as a clunky proto-EotE, but maybe there's a way to filter some parts of the new system back into WFRP for those who weren't interested the first time around.

I think you're on to something here.   In my opinion the 'component-less' version was a real waste of time, because all it did was take a system designed to use components and essentially say 'write everything down on paper instead'.   If that's all they were going to do, they shouldn't have bothered.   I think there are plenty of areas that could have been streamlined and components removed, but it would have a taken a little adaptation.   It seems fairly common for people to houserule (as with all RPGs) and remove the bits they don't like, so it's not like doing so would have been impossible.

But it's hard to see them doing this at this stage.   I know nothing about the Star Wars / Edge of Empire game, but I can't see FFG working on a 3rd 'version' of WFRP 3rd Edition.



#3 Remorhaz

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:50 PM

you can play warhammer 3E with nothing but a character sheet, the dice and the non basic action cards. this is in no way evident in the core box or the player guides and in order to do so easily you have to go track down fan made character sheets. a warhammer 3 beginner box makes a lot of sense to me. careers, talents, stress, fatigue, stance, and non basic actions are moved to a redone character sheet and the box contains action, wounds, and enough pc and monster standups to play an introductory adventure. star wars and warhammer are on semi even footing and the all the material previously released for warhammer 3E is still applicable. 

even online the warhammer core box is stil too expensive to pick up on whim and youd have to be insane to pick one up at full retail. 

 



#4 Captain Fluffy

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:46 AM

Warhammer 3rd faced the problem that it was the first game, not just by the FFG but by any mainstream publisher, to take such a radical approach to presenting the rules and mechanics.  This means that to they could not learn from other peoples previous mistakes they had to go and make their.  It looks like the Star Wars game is going to benefit from the lessons that FFG have learnt producing warhammer. 

Whilst the warhammer setting does match very well with the stress and fatigue type system there are other areas where the setting made it difficult for FFG to produce a sensibily priced introductory box that could be considered a complete game.  8 different colleges of magic, 9 different gods, 4 different chaos lord, dozens of different careers etc.  If they had produced the same type of game for a simpler fantasy setting they could have gotten away with less careers and a single pool of magic spells and a single pool of divine magic in the base box.  Therefore the Winds of Magic and Signs of Faith box sets would not have been necessary and the base set would have been a genuinely complete game.

Concerning the future of 3rd Edition I dont think they really need to change a lot or produce a 4th edition. They can just change the emphasis as they release things.  The game is very modular so different elements could be left to wither if it was left that they did not offer much value. For instance the cards probably cost a lot of money to print but there is no reason why they could not release expansion books, which are mostly fluff afterall, with seperate POD cards to back them up. 

The one area that does need fixing is the entry point to the game.  At the moment it is very confusing and expensive.  Elsewhere I have promoted the idea of a revised core set that dropped elves, magic and gods to make it more affordable.  Then the magic and gods could be added in as revised versions of Winds of Magic and Signs of Faith.  Whilst some gamers raised on D&D might not believe a game without magic or miracles is complete it would probably fit the game world a bit better. I have run almost 100 sessions of this game and I have had a priest in 8 of those and a wizard in 1. However whilst I think this is necessary I doubt it will actually occur. I hope instead that the predicted success of the Star Wars Begineers game encourages FFG to consider releasing a WFRP Starter set of some description


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#5 aaronz

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:19 AM

Captain Fluffy said:

 

The one area that does need fixing is the entry point to the game.  At the moment it is very confusing and expensive.  Elsewhere I have promoted the idea of a revised core set that dropped elves, magic and gods to make it more affordable.  Then the magic and gods could be added in as revised versions of Winds of Magic and Signs of Faith.  Whilst some gamers raised on D&D might not believe a game without magic or miracles is complete it would probably fit the game world a bit better. I have run almost 100 sessions of this game and I have had a priest in 8 of those and a wizard in 1. However whilst I think this is necessary I doubt it will actually occur. I hope instead that the predicted success of the Star Wars Begineers game encourages FFG to consider releasing a WFRP Starter set of some description

 

 

I agree. Not sure they should cut magic and gods, but a new entry point is probably essential to revitalizing the game. "What to buy" has always been a huge question with people new to the system, and while the core set gives you all the basics, it's a huge investment. Like you said, a simpler and rules-lite "taster" box, like what they're doing with Edge of the Empire, may help.

Probably won't happen, but here's hoping! 



#6 Count Zero

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:47 AM

I'm 99% sure that WFRP will get a new component-free edition in the future. The current game is actually pretty damn good, but a little too cumbersome for its own good. EotE seems to be the system that splits the difference. Let's be honest, the dice were the best feature of the new WFRP. The dozens of tokens for everything got a little out of hand. Hopefully it will remain at least slightly backwards compatible.

 



#7 Gambin

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:22 AM

It's quite easy to just use pen and paper to play this game but the components in my opinion do add so much more.  My gaming group has always been very reliant on the GM to tell them the rules nearly every step of the way through each game with each dice roll not completed with a "I succeeded/failed" but a blank stare.

Warhammer has changed my group as everything the player needs is there staring him in the face.  Sure there's a lot of bits and bobs but you can fit all that's regularly needed into the core box.

Edge of the Empire does look fantastic and I'm sure I'll pick it up but I doubt I'll be buy all the expansions like Warhammer.






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