GW Online Preview 3: A Goonhammer Roundtable

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Saturday 18th April saw the third and final online Games Workshop preview covering the announcements intended for Adepticon in March. Once again, a selection of Games Workshop designers and writers took to Twitch to show off future releases. The biggest change in format was that Adam Troke was hosting the stream in place of Wade Pryce, who had been allowed a “day off” like some kind of slacker. Per discussion at the end of the stream there is an intention to hold more of these events in future, with a date to be announced in May, but this is the last definite event that we know about for now.

If you want to see everything that was previewed at this one you can find that here on the Warhammer Community site.

Participating Authors

  • Liam “Corrode” Royle
  • Tyler “Coda” Moore
  • Raf “captainraffi” Cordero
  • Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

For full context on the previews it’s worth taking a quick run-down of everything that’s been announced across all three, now that we know there’s no more coming, since they were meant to be a complete piece together:

Warhammer 40,000

  • Fabius Bile (updated model)
  • Psychic Awakening: War of the Spider (Death Guard, Agents of Bile, Adeptus Custodes, Officio Assassinorum, Sisters of Silence)
  • Psychic Awakening: Pariah (Sisters of Battle, Inquisition, and Necrons)
  • Ephrael Stern and Kyganil
  • Illuminor Szeras (updated model)
  • Lord Inquisitor Kyria Draxus
  • Lieutenant Amulius made to order
  • Terminator Librarian made to order
  • Sister Tariana Palos made to order
  • Deathwatch and Harlequins Psychic Awakening White Dwarf articles

Warhammer: Age of Sigmar

  • Avalenor, the Stoneheart King/Alarith, Spirit of the Mountain
  • Alarith Stoneguard
  • Lumineth Realm-lords army box
  • Sons of Behemat faction announcement
  • Mega-Gargants (Gatebreaker, Warstomper, and Kraken-eater)
  • Scinari Cathallar

Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game

  • Eomer (updated model)
  • Quest of the Ringbearer campaign book
  • Anborn and Mablung, Rangers of Ithilien

Blood Bowl

  • Treeman (new model)
  • Snotling team

Warhammer 30,000: Horus Heresy

  • Lion El’Johnson
  • Word Bearers Praetors in Terminator and power armour
  • Saul Tarvitz

Blackstone Fortress

  • Ascension expansion

Warcry

  • Scions of the Flame
  • Khainite Shadowstalkers

Warhammer Storyforge/Black Library

  • Hammer and Bolter: Death’s Hand
  • Daemonifuge reprint
  • Angels of Death
  • Hammer and Bolter episode 2 (untitled)

 

What did you think of the reveals?

Liam: Thinking first about preview 3 on its own, I think it was a much bigger deal than either of the first two and hit the right mark. The Sons of Behemat and Snotlings are genuinely new and not just “further previews of a thing you’ve already seen a bunch of.” I’m impressed with the new Szeras model, and the new Inquisitor has grown on me a lot – she initially looked quite plain but when you have a second look at all the cool details she’s a great model. I’m also excited for the Khainite Shadowstalkers – I am, at least in theory, a Daughters of Khaine player so having DoK factions in a bunch of different systems is great for me.

I also think Tariana Palos is a great miniature and a much better “one more thing” as a made to order run than Amulius was or than the somewhat naff Terminator Librarian would have been on his own. She’s also continuing the recent trend of cool models based on old artwork a la Abbadon/Mephiston/Fabius Bile – it’s nice to see some of that great material brought to life as something for the tabletop.

Coda: This was a learning experience for GW and a positive one at that, all 3 reveals did 40ish thousand live viewers per stream, showing that this is something people want to see. There was solid improvements on formatting, marketing and from a technical standpoint for each stream. Ben Bailey deserves a goddamn medal for running all of this out of his home office and making it smooth as hell. Seriously GeeDubs promote that man.

That said something they need to work on is managing expectations of the viewers, which I think they blew a bit on stream 1, slightly managed on stream 2 and nailed on 3.

Models wise I’m really excited for the new elves, not the foolish hammer ones though, they clearly need swords. Goku, sorry Stern also rocks with the insanely good pose and movement being displayed on the model.

The Necron has me hyped for the future, with the WD a few months back laying the foot work for some exciting cron action, If we get to see the old war in heaven vibe between Eldar and Necrontyr becoming a thing, then the somewhat iffy PA lore was totally worth it. Hopefully Pariah is the PA book to finally deliver on the lore aspect that we expecting back last year when this whole thing kicked off.

I also think the =][= model is rad. I really hope we get a codex for agents of the imperium so the range of ‘cool random imperial models’ gets expanded.

Also the more feet each stream showed the better it became. I’m pretty sure noted foot appreciator Greg will back me up on this.

Rob: I have been absolutely savaging him on Discord about the feet. Making “Greg is a feet guy” a key part of his internet persona is one of my favorite things we’ve done on Goonhammer.

Raf: Has anyone checked on Greg? This last stream brought these feet and we need to make sure he’s ok.

Gargant Feet

Credit: Games Workshop

Personally I enjoyed these reveals. I’m someone who camps out on the Warhammer Community site every day checking in on what they’re talking about. At least I was, before this whole virus thing. Juggling working from home with 2 kids has dramatically reduced the amount of time I have during the day to keep up on non-essential websites (sorry WarCom team) and these streams provided an opportunity to check in with my hobby and get excited. My 4 year old enjoyed them as well; he sat staring at the Gargants in Steam 3 saying “Wow Daddy look at that!”. Can’t wait to bring one home.

That said, as far as specific products I’m excited about there wasn’t as much as I’d let myself hope for. The Gargants are the big personal winner for me; the models are awesome and I love the idea of an army of big honking monsters in Age of Sigmar. Something about that works for me in a way knights don’t. I was way more excited about the Scions of the Flame than I expected; the low-fantasy aesthetic is a refreshing change of pace for the AoS universe. I hadn’t planned on getting another Warcry warband but now I’m interested again. That’s about it, unless someone I know commits to Blood Bowl.

Rob: This was the best one yet. I’m actually really impressed with the list of stuff above; it’s definitely much longer than I had remembered. There’s a lot of cool stuff in there, though it still manages to somehow feel smaller than what I expected out of Adepticon — usually there’s a big summer release and here it feels like we’re skipping that, or it was delayed (understandable).

 

What would you have liked to have seen more of?

Liam: I mean, obviously I would have liked an explosive announcement of the imminent 9th edition, but I think even if that was originally planned for Adepticon it would be out of the picture now given that there’s no definite idea when GW can begin production of anything and they still have Engine War/War of the Spider/Pariah to go, with lots of lovely accompanying model releases. It’s one thing to announce 9th edition is coming when you know you’ll have the rest of PA done with a month or two to spare, but potentially setting people up to say “well I’ll just wait until 9th” when you don’t even know when you can release it would not have been great business.

I would have liked more stuff around Specialist Games, too. Nothing at all for AI/AT/Necro is a weird exclusion, although I guess it’s possible that stuff is being held back for the various monthly features on WarCom.

Finally just a bit more on Warhammer Storyforge. It’s hard to get excited for when I have no idea how or if I’ll be able to watch it, or when I can expect any of the stuff in these fairly limited trailers to actually appear. I’d assume of all the stuff they’re previewing right now these are the most likely to be able to be released even through a lockdown, so it would be great to get a few more concrete details of how that’s actually going to work.

Coda: I know most don’t give a damn but gimme more lore. Like don’t even make it a preview, get some of the BL writers or the studio lore-heads to talk about where PA and whatever is coming next going to go in the future.

Also more of Andy Hoare’s fantastic Not-A-Webcam.

Raf: I’m with Coda on this; would have been a cool opportunity to work some story or lore interviews into it. I think at a convention GW needs to be very mindful of people’s time because we’re there for more than the preview. Now? We’re all a trapped captive audience and even if we need to leave individually it isn’t disruptive. Of course that’s more work on the part of the WarCom team who all deserve praise and love from us for the work they’re doing but I think there is an opportunity for GW to rethink what a preview is and what it’s about given our unique circumstance.

 

Now that we’ve had all three, do you think this justifies the label “biggest preview ever?”

Liam: Taken as a whole, this series of  previews has had a ton of content in it; there’s more for 40k alone than we’ve seen for whole seminars in the past. The breadth of systems they’ve shown off is also great. I agree with Raf’s point below about the difference between “previewing a lot of stuff” vs. “1 or 2 independently huge announcements” – objectively this is a much bigger preview than e.g. the recent Nova or LVO ones and definitely bigger than stuff like GAMA or New York Toy Fair which tends to be board game or specialist game focused, but there’s no single announcement that I can point to that’s a total game-changer like a 9th ed would have been.

In terms of expectations management, I think if they’d gotten the week 2 format nailed down earlier with ~10 minute breaks instead of 15, and compressed this into 2 previews rather than 3, that could have helped. The first one was just a bit thin given the hype. In that format you maybe stick all the Lumineth stuff in one preview and then the gargants on their own in another, put the already-strongly-hinted-at Bile model in with the “BAM new models” reveals of Stern and Kyganil, and chop and change a couple of other bits to run e.g. 2 hour previews each of which is packed to the gills instead of 1 quite thin one, 1 ok one, and 1 really good one.

Rob: Is it because of the Giants? Feels like they can say that because of the giants.

Coda: No.

I’ll expand on that, because it’s way more negative than it really is.

I think what we got was pretty good and GW doing it was awesome, they could have shrugged their shoulders and said “whelp, cya next convention/hamfest I guess” when Adepticon was cancelled. Instead they directed time and resources into keeping their fans engaged and doing community outreach.

I do think expectation management needs to be a thing in the future though, if they outright said “look, the stuff at Adepticon, like the 1st ep of Angels of Death, is too hot to handle for an online stream, instead we are going to show off a series of cool but minor stuff that is coming up.”  then I think the initial reaction to stream 1 would have been a hell of lot better.

That said as someone that was travelling from Australia to head to Adepticon, at least getting to hang out with my internet mates and watch the preview was rad. It’s not the same as being therewith them in person but it took some of the sting off. I really curious to find out what the secret model for the Adepticon preview ticket holders is as they haven’t revealed it yet.

Rob: On the other hand, there were no titans. Can a thing truly be big if it features no titans? Are titans bigger than giants?

Raf: Maybe? It’s probably a semantics thing. I think for many people the phrase “biggest preview ever” implies that it will include 1 or 2 independently huge announcements. It could have also just meant that it was the longest/most things/largest volume of plastic previewed. Given that we had info for nearly every game system and new info on the Storyforge stuff I think it’s probably a fair title from GW’s perspective but that doesn’t mean some people aren’t going to be disappointed. I’m happy with what we got and appreciative of the work that went into it. Stream 1 would have been a lot better if they just turned off Twitch chat too but now I just sound like a grumpy old man.

Rob: Realtalk as someone that works with marketing teams, this doesn’t bother me. Also I agree that they should have turned off Twitch chat for all of the streams. No amount of audience engagement is worth seeing comments about Sisters of Battle art/sculpts from the world’s worst people.

 

Wrap-up

Liam: Overall, my feelings after the 3rd of these are very positive, and I like the online format a lot and I continue to hope this becomes a regular thing instead of being discarded if and when there’s a return to “normal.” Also I appreciated the presenters getting testy at one point and telling off the people in the Twitch chat whining about their fave thing not being previewed RIGHT NOW. Good on you.

Rob: I thought the third preview was the best yet. We got a ton of new model previews, Bile and Szeras were rad as hell, and there was something for (almost) everyone. Now comes the long, long waiting period where we hope that things can at least start being manufactured and shipped before 2021.

Coda: In summary GW previews are a land of contrasts.

Real talk I can’t wait for the one that might happen in May. I also hope we get to see the light at the end of the tunnel soonish. I miss playing this game and watching the ‘actually good at the game’ crew get excited about new rules.

Something I didn’t talk about in my stuff above is the social aspect of this content, it gives us all something to talk about and keeps our ham social circles having something to talk about. It provides us with an escape to not talk or thinking about covid-19, even if it’s just for an hour.

The value of that cannot be undersold. Keep doing hobby hang outs in your discords, share your stuff on twitter. Talk to your mates and take care of each other.

Raf: Gimme dem gargants.

 

 

Have any questions or feedback? Want to offer your own thoughts on the reveals? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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