Well, I've been a diehard GW fan all my life. Even the new price hikes and Poorcast haven't really diminished my love for their products. I guess that's what I get for dedicating more than literally half of my life to this game. But I can't ask everyone to do the same, and it seems that at my local, the new big deal is Privateer Press (at least until some ---hat starts complaining that it's unbalanced too, and convinces everyone to just quit). So it's with no lack of hesitation that I must say I'm considering getting into this game as well.
I won't bore you with what I think of my first few exposures to the game - but I really do like the way it plays, and it's nice that it's cheap - it just won't replace Warhammer as my first true gaming love.
So I've come to ask for your advice: I'm looking at two armies right now, with possible leanings towards two more. They are-
Skorne: I hear that they're armored brutes who hit like freight-trains, much like my beloved Warriors of Chaos. Additionally, I love their models, especially the Titans, Cyclops, and Cataphracts. This is the only Hordes army that I'm looking at.
Retribution: I'm an Elf (notice the name?) and I love Steampunk. So combining the two is like combining peanut butter and chocolate, or me and a really hot female - what's not to love? That said, I'm told that Retribution can be tough to play, and I'm not usually a fan of fragility. Their models are a hit and a miss. Like I said, I love Steampunk, and Retribution has taken the road of "sleek, smooth, and refined". Their models look a lot more like F1 cars than steam engines, and that's a bit of a let down.
As for the other two armies, I like Cyngar because they seem average and are truly Steampunks, and I'm told that they're a versatile army with a lot of ranged weaponry. The second of the "maybe" armies is the Protectorate, but I can't stress how much I hate the look of their 'Jacks. Their Exemplars and Knights Examplar, Visigoth Rhoven, and Flameguard look awesome though. If it were sensible to run a Menoth army "sans Jacks" I'd be happy and might give them another look.
All this said, the group that I run with is pretty competitive. I've heard that WarmaHordes is very balanced, and that if anything seems to pick up a runaway victory, they bring it back in line within the next edition or release. However, what I'm more afraid of are the "weak link" armies - every game has one, and I'd rather not find out that my babies are one of the "gimped" army lists.