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What happened to 2nd edition?

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I'm a long time, hard core fan of Dark Heresy 1st edition, but as much as I loved it, I couldn't help but to admit that it had... issues. This is the game that made me a better GM, by moving away from combat to focus on investigation, mainly because combat sucked and gave me a headache to run with any attempt at engagement with my players.

 

For a while I had a sticky in the GM section of DH on how to run an investigation and conspiracy game. Googling "running a conspiracy investigation adventure" still turns my article up as the top post. The game that inspired that post ran for 3 years, with 8 players phasing in and out at different times due to life. Most of those players agree it was one of the most, if not the most, satisfying RPG experience of their lives. I don't usually use words like "proud" when talking about my gaming experiences, but I'm **** proud of the time I had with DH.

 

I say all this to try to express how stoked I was for 2nd ed DH. On reading reviews of the beta (I was out of work and couldn't afford the expense) I was even more thrilled at the idea of combat being completely overhauled and the wound system being changed up to something new, that felt fresh, that actually appealed to me and made me wonder if maybe I could come back to DH and finish the other, more combat heavy part of the story we never got to tell. So I ordered the release. I got it tonight. I've been reading for two hours...

 

What happened?

 

No seriously, what happened? This isn't 2nd edition, this feels like DH 1.5. The chargen system feels better at first glance, and the advancement system has merit, but everything, and I do mean *everything* I hated about combat is back. I feel like I paid 50 dollars for an improved chargen system, a much-needed pruning of the skill system, and a setting that I probably will never explore.

 

I bought 2nd ed explicitly based on the impressions shared by reviews of the beta. I have poked around a little and found suggestions that there were complaints about the original combat so it was essentially scrapped? Or was I reading a grossly exaggerated/false review of the combat rules of 2nd ed?

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I assume you are talking about Narrative Damage (instead of 'hit points') and Action Points (instead of 'two Half Actions and one Reaction')?

 

Narrative Damage, while a cool idea, had it's share of bugs. Playtesting results showed that it slowed combat down to a crawl (and slow combat is already a problem with WH40KRP). Plus there were built-in nonsensical results (taking a single hand cannon shot to the head was virtually never fatal, but five minor scratches and you were as good as dead), and it didn't 'scale up' well to take non-human adversaries into account (necessitating silly stopgaps like all daemons having force fields, for instance). Like I said, it was an interesting concept, but it needed more development to be 'ready for prime time'.

 

Action Points are a different matter. The negative comments about them on the Forum were almost exclusively in reference to Beta1's absurdly complicated Rate of Fire rules. I think Action Points would have been an improvement to DH2 if they had been applied to the 'standard' WH40KRP RoF rules, allowing us to replace the cumbersome Half Action/Full Action/Reaction language with "You have three Action Points- spend them however you want." I think ditching Action Points was a case of 'throwing the baby out with the bath water.'

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If you want to be cynical about it, what basically happened was that people had very strong, very legitimate complaints about a wide range of changes, and when poked at, someone in charge felt insulted or indignant, and instead they copy-pasted Only War.

As Adeptus-B said, they pretty much threw the baby out with the bathwater. While the combat system in the DH2 Beta was wonky as all hell, the Action Point system could easily have worked well, the Fatigue system was better, etc, etc, etc. The DH2 Beta had some really good ideas and a lot of really terrible ones - and they ended up scrapping all of it.

 

And now we're back at trying to work out RAI between systems due to copy-paste inconsistencies (I'm a bit flabbergasted that Degrees of Failure/Success mechanics were never adjusted after BC/OW changed how it worked).

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And now we're back at trying to work out RAI between systems due to copy-paste inconsistencies (I'm a bit flabbergasted that Degrees of Failure/Success mechanics were never adjusted after BC/OW changed how it worked).

At least they were considerate enough to make the DH2.0 rules as a loose leaf bundle so you can just insert the updates. :P

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In addition to all the mechanical problems with the original beta, there was also a large contingent of people who were super extra angry that DH2 was not going to be backwards compatible with the past decade of WH40kRPG. Rolling back to OW satisfied them, but required rolling back all of the changes that were improvements as well.

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I wish I could read the original DH2.0 beta book, hard to form an opinion otherwise.

 

Screwing backwards compatibility would have required those new improvements to be VERY good and revolutionary to be actually worth it.

 

From what I had read, the new system had its own flaws and drawbacks. Granted it was still in beta so who knows.

Edited by Gridash

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The "bugs" with narrative combat are easily solved. We have zero problems with first edition in our round, after increasing weapon penetration and adding some minor adjustments that speed things up greatly and minimise the amount of dice rolls. For example, unaimed bursts automatically hit the highest armour value, which rewards being in cover (cover has an assigned armour value). Added pen on most weapons means you can now shoot -through- cover or severely injure or outright kill someone with a single called shot. -> combat is fast and lethal, unless absolutely everyone is in heavy cover and firing full auto, which is both deeply stupid and deeply funny if you're quoting stuff from the A Team.

In other words, I can't really comment on the current rules other than to say that first edition's problems are...fairly easily fixed.

 

Backwards compatibility isn't really an issue for us ruleswise (fluff wise though, it can be). New system, new round. People die in our games quite a bit as is.

 

My primary concern with the new edition, and why I haven't snagged myself a copy yet, is the book binding topic. I'll have a look for myself when I get into the city and the game shop later this month, maybe. Though if it truly is mostly copy-paste of only war, I'm unlikely to buy. I dislike having duplicate rulesets in my shelf.

 

The new setting looks interesting as a premise. I hope it gets enough into detail and the big picture to let us work it into an ongoing segmentum-wide campaign (it's practically, geographically, in our characters' path in the current one).

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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I wish I could read the original DH2.0 beta book, hard to form an opinion otherwise.

 

Screwing backwards compatibility would have required those new improvements to be VERY good and revolutionary to be actually worth it.

 

From what I had read, the new system had its own flaws and drawbacks. Granted it was still in beta so who knows.

The few things in the original DH2 beta that wasn't a complete mess didn't have to be thrown away for backwards compatibility, though.

 

I think what people really reacted to was that a lot of changes didn't seem to be warranted, and ended up being changed for the sake of change, and it wasn't worth breaking the game line for it. As Adeptus-B mentions, the combat system was a complete mess, but there were also a whole slew issues, such as the Talent Trees and the gamification of very basic actions (You know Overwatch? The act of looking in a given direction and shooting when you see someone or something happens? It was a Talent. Wrap your head around that for a while.)

 

The original DH2 Beta had some - albeit very limited - merits. But the best part about it was actually the fact that a lot of content seemed to have been re-written and reviewed, something the WH40kRP line desperately need, instead of the constant copy-pasting that results in sometimes very wonky interaction between older mechanics and newer ones.

 

I have the feeling that instead of listening to the critique, FFG just back-pedalled to something older, before people complained. A very.. reactionary response, regrettably. The intent of the very valid criticism targeted at the original DH2 Beta was never to simply coat Only War with a red and black tint.

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(You know Overwatch? The act of looking in a given direction and shooting when you see someone or something happens? It was a Talent. Wrap your head around that for a while.)

D&D pretty much had a monopoly on this game design 'feature' back in 3rd edition, and it has infected many games developed since. Want to throw sand in a guy's face? Hope you got spent one of your 5 feats on the one that let's you do that, otherwise that action is not available to you.

 

I have the feeling that instead of listening to the critique, FFG just back-pedalled to something older, before people complained. A very.. reactionary response, regrettably. The intent of the very valid criticism targeted at the original DH2 Beta was never to simply coat Only War with a red and black tint.

My guess is FFG saw all of the feedback about the system not really working that well, figured out how much work it would take to get the game into a playable state, and realized they'd spend way more time and money than they projected the game would bring in and decided to cut their losses and push out something they already had on the shelf. The fan backlash gave them a good justification, as well. The lack of attention they gave DH2 at Gencon tells me they don't expect very many people to be excited about it and thus it won't make them a lot of money so they won't put a lot of effort into it.

 

The original beta did a lot of things right, and throwing the baby out with the bath water is a very apt analogy.

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I think FFG has taken the BC/OW rules to their highest evolution at this point. If they want to make a better rule set, they have to throw out backwards compatibility to fix everything that has been wrong with the system from the start. Making a new game system is hard and I understand why FFG took the course they did, but I was still disappointed when they reverted to an OW clone and discarded any and all good parts of the beta.

 

The different Perils tables for each discipline, reworked weapon stats, and changes to Fear and Burning are particularly missed.

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Overwatch being a talent never really bugged me. The ability to flawlessy identify friend and foe without proper training in the prior (or rather, apparently, current) ruleset did.

 

As an aside, I have absolutely no clue what is "absurdly complicated" about 1 Action point = RoF shots. Invest up to 4 AP to shoot. You get that many shots and only one roll per target to hit. Each degree of success is a hit. You can't have more hits than shots fired.

 

How is that complex?

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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I wish I could read the original DH2.0 beta book, hard to form an opinion otherwise.

 

I have the original Beta version, as well as Update 1 which brought it back in line with BC and OW.  Hit me up with a PM and I'll see what I can do to accommodate your desire without infringing on FFG's copyright.

 

Overwatch being a talent never really bugged me. The ability to flawlessy identify friend and foe without proper training in the prior (or rather, apparently, current) ruleset did.

 

As an aside, I have absolutely no clue what is "absurdly complicated" about 1 Action point = RoF shots. Invest up to 4 AP to shoot. You get that many shots and only one roll per target to hit. Each degree of success is a hit. You can't have more hits than shots fired.

 

How is that complex?

 

It wasn't just the Action Points and Rate of Fire that were problematic.  There were some other areas which were also complained about beyond that. 

 

-=Brother Praetus=-

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Well for one, the weapons tables had fractions. Fractions.

 

Also I think RAW it is impossible to use the charge action with an eviscerator. Which is like, what you do with an eviscerator...

 

It had some bugs, okay?

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I might rework the weapon altogether and bring it in line with other power weaponry and great weapons.

 

0.33 seems a solid rate for something that size, power weapon penetration, add power field, add unbalanced. Fixed.

 

Also, need to remove unbalanced from great weapons. Not being able to parry with a greatsword does not reflect RL experience with weapon. At all.

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The problem with RoF in the first beta was that some weapons were made less accurate simply because they took more than one action point to fire. IIRC a lasgun was more accurate (had a higher to-hit bonus) than a sniper rifle if you spent anything less than 4 AP to aim and fire it. That's just weird.

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Funny; What it keeps boiling down to is a bad weapons table and a lack of streamlining (which is a problem the other FFG 40k games have as well). From a balance perspective, a clip size of three is already enough limitation on a high damage sniper rifle that the low RoF seems a bit excessive. I can see it, just barely, for drum weapons like a revolver, but not for a modern carbine. RoF 1 makes a lot more sense there.

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What happened is simple:

FFG asked for feedback on the game they'd written.
FFG received feedback on the game they'd written.
FFG implemented changes on the game they'd written based on the feedback they had asked for.

Pretty simple.

BYE

Edited by H.B.M.C.

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What happened is simple:

FFG asked for feedback on the game they'd written.

FFG received feedback on the game they'd written.

FFG implemented changes on the game they'd written based on the feedback they had asked for.

Pretty simple.

BYE

Summed it up quite nicely, H.B.M.C.  Quite nicely indeed.

-=Brother Praetus=-

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What happened is simple:

FFG asked for feedback on the game they'd written.

FFG received feedback on the game they'd written.

FFG implemented changes on the game they'd written based on the feedback they had asked for.

Pretty simple.

BYE

Summed it up quite nicely, H.B.M.C.  Quite nicely indeed.

-=Brother Praetus=-

 

 

Mm, I don't know, I don't think it was as dry and objective as that; it seemed to me that there was an element of panic in the decision. FFG didn't just 'make changes' to the Beta1 system- they completely scrapped it (the popular parts and the unpopular parts) and went back to Only War.

 

I was one of the people who was leaning toward what the Forum was calling 'DH1.5' over Beta1, and even I was a little disappointed that Beta2 had so little advancement beyond the OW ruleset.

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What happened is simple:

FFG asked for feedback on the game they'd written.

FFG received feedback on the game they'd written.

FFG implemented changes on the game they'd written based on the feedback they had asked for.

Pretty simple.

BYE

That's not entirely true. They didn't implement changes on the game based on the feedback they asked for. People were criticizing specific parts of the DH2 Beta, not the whole thing by itself. If they'd done it "based on the feedback", we'd have opposed Dodge, the better Fatigue system, and Action Points still in there somewhere.

Mm, I don't know, I don't think it was as dry and objective as that; it seemed to me that there was an element of panic in the decision. FFG didn't just 'make changes' to the Beta1 system- they completely scrapped it (the popular parts and the unpopular parts) and went back to Only War.

 

I was one of the people who was leaning toward what the Forum was calling 'DH1.5' over Beta1, and even I was a little disappointed that Beta2 had so little advancement beyond the OW ruleset.

And as often seem to be the case, I agree with Adeptus-B.

I will likely never know for sure, but it really felt like someone being insulted over the criticism. Like a mother that made something fancy, got some criticism on salting it too much or something, and then throws a huff screaming "Well then eat your old meat and potatoes then!".

They didn't just scrap the things people criticized, they scrapped everything. They gave Only War a coat of paint, came up with some oddities for progression and power level. This did not only mean that they didn't really listen to the criticism and it didn't just fix the issues, but it also meant disregarding pre-existing criticism that was levied against existing aspects of the system(s).

All other lines have, in my mind, progressed in some form. Not always positively (the by now insane condensation of skills comes to mind). But it feels to me like DH2 doesn't really bring anything new to the table. We're just back to copy-pasting, when, whether the ruleset is remade or not, it desperately needs to be reviewed and rewritten.

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Thing is that one of the biggest source of feedback was concern about cross compatability (which honestly from a marketing POV is good for FFG too. people'll buy black crusade sourcebooks for their dark heresy game etc) FFG may not have been able to strip some but not everything if they where gonna keep it cross compatable 

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That's not entirely true. They didn't implement changes on the game based on the feedback they asked for. People were criticizing specific parts of the DH2 Beta, not the whole thing by itself. If they'd done it "based on the feedback", we'd have opposed Dodge, the better Fatigue system, and Action Points still in there somewhere.

And what do you base this on?

They asked for feedback, and the feedback they got was enough for them to change it back. It's difficult to imply anything beyond that. You may have liked the Fatigue system or Action Points, and a few people here might have said how much they liked them, but they changed it back. That implies that the feedback was in favour of the old system or not in favour of the new system.

 

So yeah, I think it is that simple. They asked for feedback, received feedback, and implemented changes based on that feedback.

BYE

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