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LegendofOld

Soooooooo..... How'd Dark Heresy Turn Out?

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Howdy, y'all, 

I was one of the beta testers way back a year or so ago. I remember a lot of anger and angst from those days (which led me to wander off), and I was wondering how Dark Heresy eventually turned out. What do you guys think of the system? I want to take a look at it, but none of the local stores have a copy. Could you guys give me a run-down?

LoO

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If I remember correctly, a common opinion is that <Dark Heresy Second Edition> is a (failed) <Only War> clone that didn't fix any of the long-standing issues. I somewhat agree with that opinion, but I find the new [Character Creation] system refreshing. It's streamlined into three basic steps and doesn't inflate Characteristics like before with and whatnot. Also, imposing a [Maximum Agility] stat for armours is a nice touch, as is making [Power Armour] give [unnatural Strength] rather than raw Strength.

 

TL;DR: It's pretty much a copy-and-paste job of <Only War>, with some noticeable differences.

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The main opinions out there seem to gravitate between "it's great" and "it sucks where DH1 sucked". Main argument is whether it should have followed the new direction suggested in the beta (which it didn't) or whether it's cool that it didn't and turned out to be basically Only War with different character creation rules.

 

I always favoured an approach that would keep it backwards compatible with the older rules. It does that , in generally, but not in all respects: forget about most of the old home worlds, elite packages, alternative careers etc. They do generally not work with the new character creation system.

 

It has a new gamefied approach which I do not entirely like. Psychic powers have changed a bit and I can't really tell why, it's more crunch-based now. The Askellon sector is so far a bit meh, the Calixis Sector is way more interesting. Furthermore the book targets novice GMS with lots of text on how to stage encounters and such, which you may or may not like.

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I have to admit I enjoy it and like the changes it made as well as the fact that it is largely compatible with Black Crusade and Only War, but I think continues the progression towards more steamlined rules that those two lines had started the process of.

 

That being said I never played the first edition so I cannot compare the two.

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It's good. The new psychic power rules are a huge step forward, and the rest of the system is as solid as it was in previous games (which is to say, YMMV, but personally I've always liked the system 40k uses, especially after the tweaks introduced in Black Crusade and Only War).

 

There are some things I don't like all that much about the system, but they are admittedly very minor issues stemming from personal preference.

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It's so hard to comprehend the hatred that some people have for the second edition. 

The open beta process caused a lot of bad blood in the community. This wasn't really the devs' fault, mind you - they wanted to try something new, it didn't really catch on, so they reverted to the previous system. Except the community went ballistic over pretty much every step of the process. The first beta got a lot of negativity, but also had staunch supporters - then, ironically, by the time FFG chose to roll back, most gainsayers of the first beta have long left the board, resigned to not playing 2e, so obviously the rollback got a lot of negativity from the people remaining on the forums, and thus the cycle continued...

 

I've been pretty active on the boards back then, tried my best to keep my cool and not turn into another unreasonable hater (I'll leave the judgment on how well that went to people who interacted with me back then), but the whole experience did leave a bad taste in my mouth, and I haven't touched 2e for quite a long time afterwards.

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It's so hard to comprehend the hatred that some people have for the second edition. 

The open beta process caused a lot of bad blood in the community. This wasn't really the devs' fault, mind you - they wanted to try something new, it didn't really catch on, so they reverted to the previous system. Except the community went ballistic over pretty much every step of the process. The first beta got a lot of negativity, but also had staunch supporters - then, ironically, by the time FFG chose to roll back, most gainsayers of the first beta have long left the board, resigned to not playing 2e, so obviously the rollback got a lot of negativity from the people remaining on the forums, and thus the cycle continued...

 

 

I wouldn't spend money on 2e if you already own a 40k RPG from FFG. Too much identical content for my taste.

 

These are both true statements.

 

For myself, my feelings are not of hatred but of profound disappointment. DH2 could have been a great leap forward but ended up being a patched version of a game I already own (namely OW and DH1).  For future DH games I'm looking at a soon-to-be-released game called Mutant Chronicles that looks like it will be easy to shoehorn into the 40k universe.

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To date, the most popular thread in the forum is the passionate debate over whether it is a waste of money or not, linked above. I am in the camp that FFG made far too many cowardly design decisions.

Edited by gdiddy

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To date, the most popular thread in the forum is the passionate debate over whether it is a waste of money or not, linked above. I am in the camp that FFG made far too many cowardly design decisions.

I'm loathe to pass such judgments, given how little we know about what was really going on behind the scenes. For one, remember that whatever happened on the beta forum wasn't necessarily an accurate representation of the overall feedback FFG got from the playtesters, as many people gave their feedback directly through the designated email address, without ever gracing the boards with their opinions. All we know is, whatever the bulk of the feedback was, it made the devs choose to roll back, a decision I'm sure they didn't make lightly given the time and money already spent on making the new rules.

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I was in the first Beta; didn't like the narrative angle they went for, but when they 'switched back' to doing DH with OW rules, I stopped following, if only here and there.

 

From what I've read on it, the sector is rather 'weak', too grimdarkand ignored by the greater Imperium for my tastes.

 

Char gen, for me, is not optimal.  Sure, you can make the char you want, but I have alot of newbies, and DH1 careers is easier to understand for the non-initiated and to get into the action faster.

 

Since it is OW, and as I never was a fan of the new combat system (screw your current-time realism in my sci-fi RPG set 38K years into the future), can't say I'm a fan of this new edition

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It depends on what you wanted out of it. If you wanted a refinement of the rules from first edition and haven't looked at or played any games, 40K or otherwise, released since it came out, this edition will seem like a huge step forward. If you wanted a refined edition and have played other contemporary games, including the recent 40k games like only war, you'll probably see this edition as okay, but not really refining anything so much as just adding some extra rules for investigation. If you wanted a second edition that overhauled the system and brought it in line with more modern game design, you're going to be disappointed.

As far as backwards compatibility, I maintain that it's going to take exactly as much work to convert characters, weapons, and abiliies to this edition as it would have to convert to a total overhaul. There are so many minor changes to keep track of, and mechanical balance is so non-existent as to make it impossible to know whether introducing something is going to overwhelm the game.

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I'm with Nimsim here - it really depends on what you want to see in a game like that. Perhaps DH2's biggest fault was that, as Morangias said, its evolution somehow managed to sort-of-alienate both extremes of polar game design, resulting in a product that tries to appeal to everyone, but which seems to have few real fans. Specifically because of the "lowest common denominator" approach, instead of committing to a specific vision right away.

 

As for me (and mind you, I haven't actually played it yet, just read the book and discussed a possible future campaign with my BC group), I really like the direction they've taken character creation to, but was utterly disappointed that they still kept the controversial injury mechanic from DH1+ with its "my skin can deflect bullets" Toughness Bonus. I also don't like how they continue to push their idea of divine magic and Movie Marines, but at least this is consistent with their earlier books, so this is just a matter of subjective preferences.

 

From a visual PoV, I love the cover of the book, but the interior layout, even though it was a very nice idea in theory, can make things really, really hard to read. NPC profiles in particular just look messed up. I suppose with prolonged exposure you'd get used to reading them, but I still feel that'd be comparable to growing accustomed to wearing a gas mask to protect yourself from the bad air in Beijing.

Edited by Lynata

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I wouldn't spend money on 2e if you already own a 40k RPG from FFG. Too much identical content for my taste.

 

Really it's identical to Dark Heresy first edition, Rogue Trader, and Deathwatch?

 

I believe you mean it's very similar to Black Crusade and only War.

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No, the rules are so similar you have an entire thread's worth of people surprised by a minor addition to the damage mechanic that's been in existence since Rogue Trader, because they overlooked it due to "Seen this before, skipping".

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No, the rules are so similar you have an entire thread's worth of people surprised by a minor addition to the damage mechanic that's been in existence since Rogue Trader, because they overlooked it due to "Seen this before, skipping".

 

Personally I chalked it up to FFG's **** editing burying the rule but it's probably a combination of these two.

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