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Come one, come all! Post your comments, your hates, your loves of Matt Ward's newest attempt to beat the English language into written form!
In all seriousness however, I was pleasantly surprised that Mr. Ward hasn't done too bad of a job with the background fluff of the Necrons. His writing style aside, he has certainly toned down his wildly outlandish ideas (for the most part). He balances his more crazy ideas with serious depictions of Necrons that don't border on the "ZOMG THEY'RE 100% PWNERS IN GOD-MODE!!!" style that fills some of his other codexes (I'm looking at you, Space Marines and Grey Knights). For a re-imagining of the Necron background, it's pretty decent.
As ever, there are some cringe-worthy moments:
The Necrons apparently have the ability to cause any star they wish to supernova by turning out the respective lightbulb in a map of the galaxy. The counter Ward has come up with is that it takes thousands of years to balance out the chain-reaction this causes, which kinda fails when you think that the Necrons are immortal and would probably think eliminating Terra (and therefore the Astronomicon and effectively destroying the Imperium with one blow) and therefore their greatest enemy worth the effort.
The Necrons also wipe out three companies of Imperial Fist Space Marines with little to no effort. Really? 300 Space Marines, with tens if not hundreds of thousands of Imperial Guard and PDF support are destroyed seemingly without much effort on the Necron's part. What happened to the story of a Chapter of Space Marines managing to cripple an entire Tomb World? Now 300 members of the First Founding are utterly wiped out for the sake of making the Necrons seem badass? One company would have been plenty, but now Ward wants to almost cripple the Imperial Fists on a whim by eliminating nearly a third of their manpower.
The Necrons now use the webway to move around. WHAT!?! They can destroy any star they wish by fiddling with a map, but suddenly lose the ability to use reliable FTL travel? They still have their time-controlling abilities, that alone could probably be implemented in proper travel. Now the Necrons are just as reliant on using a form of warp travel as everyone but the Nids are. Great. Now Ward just needs to explain how the Silent King was able to travel far enough outside the galaxy to encounter the Tyranids and then return with a warning without faster than light travel.
Those are the three main fluff problems I see, and for Ward, that's a pretty low tally. When countered by his rather subdued (for Ward) descriptions of other events, as well as some properly entertaining pieces (ie, the Black Templar and White Scars encounters, Trazyn's thoroughly enjoyable communique and gift to Inquisitor Valeria), this codex (the fluff at least, haven't examined rules in detail yet) comes out as pretty balanced.
Overall rating: B
I like the new necron fluff. Instead of the lifeless soulless robots they once were, they now have character and substance. Best of all, they have motives and a plan (or at least the silent king does). The Silent King's back story is a nice touch and it kinda explains the blood angels and necrons brofisting against the tyranids. Trayzn is definitely the best character (fluff-wise) in the whole codex. I'm curious to see who the "lgiant of a man in baroque power armor is (*cough cough primarch cough cough*). All in all, they are finally being portrayed as characters in the larger 40k story, unlike the soulless killing machines they once were.
I've only read through the first half of the book as of yet, so not quite to the special characters. I will say that I really enjoyed the "Sands for Fordris" story (the one with the orks hunting for tech fighting waves of warriors on the beach). For me, that was the one story I thought was great in a "see how crafty and uncaring we are" sort of way. And, if I read the "Dissolution of Burr" right, that was one of those stories in the timeline where the necrons lose, which is nice to see every now and again.
On the bad note, not too much comes to mind. I didn't really care for the "We collect White Scar chapter masters for our menagerie" story, and there were a few Tomb Worlds that I felt were a little lackluster and uncreative.
Overall, so far, pretty happy with the background.
I kind of suspected I wasn't going to be happy when I saw the models.
Yes, Necrons were always a slightly boring force visually. I'm not fundamentally against giving them new troop types, I just wish they were styled in keeping with the existing models rather than the 'crank the bling-o-meter to 11' effect we seem to have ended up with. Okay, so Necrons are the 40k undead and have this cool Egyptian vibe, but that doesn't have to mean everyone gets loaded down with jewellery and accessories. One of the great things about the Necrons was the simplicity of the visual design, in a universe where everyone wears a skull codpiece and enough chains and spikes to supply a fully functioning torture chamber and looks like they couldn't get through a door thanks to their enormous shoulder pads, the fact that the necrons were just identical robot skeletons with occasional (functional) variation was awesome. Why ruin that by making them robot-space-marines.
I haven't read the book, and at this rate I won't bother because some of those ideas sound horrible..
* The supernova thing was already part of the fluff, but it was rationalized as something the C'tan could personally do at the height of their power because they are, after all, solarvores. They did it during the war in heaven, for example, when they served as living weapons on the side of the Necrons, but it was pretty well explained why they weren't doing it now. This version just isn't good storytelling, giving one side an 'I win' button is just brinkmanship, not dramatic tension. Heck, even if you just hinted at it without explaining it would be better, but that seems to be beyond whoever is writing the fluff nowadays.
* Necrons have always been fairly overpowered in the fluff when it comes to personal combat. In the old days before they had a codex, I seem to remember that they had complete control over technology and would just randomly shut down anything more complicated than a blunt object if you tried to use it against them, something which fortunately was toned down. It has always been the case than Necrons are one of the few threats which can go toe to toe with space marines in equal numbers and potentially win, up there with Eldar aspect warriors, chaos space marines and little else. It does seem kind of craptacular to present any battle involving marines as a walkover though, it kind of cheapens the fact that they're the big guns of the setting. Again, it's just boring brinkmanship, especially when you read the marine codex and its all about marines kicking so much butt they have to use lubricating bootpolish.
* Necrons.. use the webway?
Okay, not touching that. Needless to say it manages to ruin both the background and rules for my favourite GW game single handedly. Oh well, I doubt BFG will ever catch up - and thank God for that.
the fact that they use the webway makes sense and I think the fluff of how they used the webway to overcome the eldar and old ones is pretty cool
I want comment on "the Blood Angels and Necrons brofisting against the Tyranids."
THAT ABOMINATION IS WORSE THAN SIN !
Last edited by Nagato; November 8th, 2011 at 12:30.
MEAT IS MURDER
Having read a bit more... I've definitely gotten that supervillian vibe from the necron lords. You know how the super-intelligent villain builds his army of killbots and then sits on his floating pedestal and gives this long, unnecessary diatribe as the hero approaches? Then toss in the occasional maniacal laugh. Yeah, I didn't make that up, it's in the command barge description.
As for the new models: I like the ... pretty much every one and all of the new infantry plastic models. I like the gradual increase in "bling", though I'm not really sure what bling people are really seeing on immortals and licheguard only have a crest on their head and a tabard between their legs. Not really excessive, in my opinion. A little ornamentation isn't a bad thing, even on your mindless killbots. The massed produced infantry is all still pretty bland.
I think the main thing I didn't like, and it still drives me nuts, are control panels. It took me a little while to come to terms with necrons mounted on jetbikes that moved like jump infantry, but then I just started thinking that they were mounted on spyders instead of jet bikes, and I'm cool with that. But control panels... We have a super-advanced race that can control legions by mental whim, they have super deathray cannons that defy gravity, but for some reason they have to push buttons to fly and fire their super gravity defying deathray cannons. The necron airplanes have super AI that pilots them, why don't all the ships have that? Why can't the necrons simply tie straight into the ship and control it with their minds? I think that's the bit that I'm going to have to mod the most, is get rid of all the pilots and control panels on the ships.
But, yeah, I feel like the necrons have a lot more depth now, instead of just being two dimensional villains of the week.
It seems the naysayers generally want to go back to the old fluff and models and not deviate at all. While I grant I miss some of the old fluff (FTL travel, C'tan being actual leaders), most of the old Necron fluff was pretty stagnant, without much depth. I enjoy that they totally revamped the background, rather than just twist the old stuff into a new shape or continue on with the boring and the old.
That being said, I groan at the idea of webway access.
I think that the webway thing was an option they now have which supplements their opd FTP travel. No response for pilots/ctrl panels etc, they make no sense. And one thing balancing the 'i win' button is that it is in the hands of hippie crons who don't want to have to deal with the aftermath of the supernovas.
“The ultimate philosophical question, “Am I human or machine” is answered by many people, “I don’t care, as long as I am”
- Myron Krueger
No, unfortunately the only option besides the webway for the Necrons are their stasis ships, which move far less speedily than their former incarnations. And honestly, they need more of a balance than hippie crons. Maybe have the thing missing special ore or a key component that it's Overlord is searching the galaxy to accumulate/find to power the thing.