Friday, May 01, 2009

MKII Goddness, My Thoughts So Far

So Warmachine MK II has been out for a few weeks now and I figured it's about time to give my thoughts on the matter. First I'd like to say that I've been watching the Privateer Press Forums closely since this Field Test started and either I just don't play the same game that everyone else does or the Forum is filled with a vocal minority. Either way, I have to say that most of the things that others are complaining about are not the things that I would like to see tweaked.

I really have to hand it to Privateer Press doing this Field Test in the first place by the way, it shows a great deal of respect for the players and confidence in their system. My understanding is the motivation for MKII was to streamline the system and reduce the number special effects and re-balance the game overall.

I guess the biggest changes to the rules themselves are as follows:
  • Points system has been completely reworked
  • Jacks must now have all their damage boxes marked in order to be put out of action
  • Power attacks have lost most of their penalties to hit
  • The formation rules for infantry have been changed
  • Epic models are now available for all games
  • Plus a bunch of other niggly things
The new points system has ROUGHLY 10% of the range that the old system had. Many forumites on the Privateer Forums have whined at great length regarding the "lack of granularity" of this new system. While that is true on it's face, it's only because the design philosophy seems to have changed regarding the points/model balance. In MKI the design process seems to have gone something like; design a model then, through some mystical process, come up with a point value with a precission down to 0.5% of the total scale. Somehow I don't think the process could be so precise and still be accurate. In MKII is looks like the designers determine the points value that a model should be and then tweak the model so that it fits into that point scale. One great advantage of this is that you never feel that you are playing at a disadvantage because you couldn't get to exactly the points value of the game. The MKII points system, assuming you have a couple of low point cost models, is easy to make a list that uses every point. The drawback of course is that the players have to get used to the fact that their models may have gone up or down in relative power in order to fit the "point slot". Personally I think the new point system is a definate improvement.

Jacks are now just better, they have to lose every single box before they are taken out and they don't suffer the penalties to hit for most power attacks. I'm pretty sure this was done purely to make jacks as useful as beasts from Hordes. I'm down with this I'd have to say.

The real significant change to infantry is the formation rules and the fact that formation is measured as a range from the unit commander. Essentially, any member of the unit that is not within the command range of the unit commander is "Out of Formation". Models that are out of formation must make a command check or flee. The effect this generally has is that you can't "daisy-chain" models out like you could before. Again, I'm down with this change.

A great new thing is that Epic models can be taken in any game size. Love it, love it, love it... that is all.

There are a bunch of other subtleties that have been changed, damage types and immunitites have been added, LOS rules are slightly different, the order of how effects resolve has been made both more formal and universal, etc... All these changes have major effects on the game but I'm just too lazy to get into them all now. :)

Overall I think the MKII rules are a great update to a great system. As far as the rules go I don't really have too much to complain about. It still feels like Warmachine so many fears should be allayed but that.

That's it for now, in the next little while I'll put up some of my opinions for how the Cryx fared in this version. Until then,

Thanks for reading,

Yours in Service,

The General.


Keir said...

Well, I'm more than interested in hearing your comments on MKII. I really like the changes from Prime Remix though I haven't had the benefit of playing them due to lack of opponents. I am equally nonplussed by the complaints I'm seeing on the forums, particularly when I see that they are actually having such an impact, dragging MKII back towards Prime Remix.

JET (aka Jason) said...

Likewise, I'm also a big MkII fan (in spite of my inability to win a game). The game has been cleaned up, and more importantly, it seems that all models have merit again.