Great reports and information have come out of this years Enter the Citadel event. Yesterday we read a report from Mauler here on Faeit 212, and yet there is more to learn.
We have a special guest also coming in to answer your questions. Please be courtious, and limit your questions to one per comment.
I think I may want to go to next years event. A huge thanks to Enigwolf for linking me up on this. Excellent report.
via Enigwolf on Dakka (thanks for linking me Enigwolf)
Developing the Eldar
& side conversations with Jes Goodwin+Phil Kelly
Eldar are more than elves in space.
Phil and Jes clearly have a VERY good working relationship. It's evident in how friendly they are with each other, the jokes they crack, and how much they defer to the other person when it comes to different things.
Eldar were designed as a "shades of grey" race - they're not "good", or "bad". Same goes with Dark Eldar.
Eldar have been in development for the last 10 or so years
Design elements wise, there is a strong emphasis on triangles. In fact, the Eldar "shape" is a triangle, from their body, to their weapons, armour, vehicles - the triangle is the "strongest shape". It's also in Jes Goodwin's signature.
Eldar and Dark Eldar are supposed to share the same, main design aesthetics. On the table top, an Eldar vehicle should look perfectly at home next to a Dark Eldar vehicle and not how an Ork would stick out in the middle of a Tau army.
There are 3 Eldar "scripts" for their runes - hierographs that represent an idea, script "writing", and I don't remember what the last one was called, but it's the big square ones that represent personal heraldry. There is no English->Eldar conversion chart like there is for the Tau language.
Glad they finally have the technology to make big models. There was a "gap" in the "Wraith" range going from Wraithguard->Wraithlord->Titan, and so this space was filled with the Wraithknight. The Wraithknight is scaled and inspired by the Epic 40k Knight-class of Titans. They wanted to include the 4-legged one, but it didn't fit in with the design aesthetic of the Eldar.
The Iyanden supplement wasn't really planned, but it had been talked about internally for a long time
Phil Kelly wants to see supplements done for the traitor legions and space marines. In fact, he wish he could've included more of these into the original 'dexes.
Physical copy of the Farsight supplement will be available in October.
Only 60% of stuff that gets developed by the designers actually ends up in the codices. The rest get put into a big pile of stuff to be looked at again in the future.
Jes Goodwin is annoyed by the need to keep lots of stuff and design docs secret, he wishes he could share them with the world, as well as his sketches.
Two rounds of playtesting: Internal to get the "feel" within the designers. Once that is achieved, it goes external (with other non-designers and devs in GW. They used to use tourney playtesters, but then realized they were potentially leaking a lot of information. So now they keep it all within the family)
Matt Ward came up with Battle Focus
Phil Kelly confirms that fluff drives the design of the race, which drives the models, which drive the rules. Talks about wanting to do an Exodite supplement. There is a lot of "Sleeping IP" from the leftover 40% each time a 'dex gets released.
Phil Kelly states that a race is defined by their weaknesses as much as their strengths. An example is the Guardians, who are a "last resort" for the Craftworld. That's why their weapons are range 12".
Eldar are defined as a race that is T3 S3 race, but one that has a higher Init and WS/BS.
There was no point and no place for Storm Guardians within the 'dex.
Artifacts of system design affect the rules (hence why Eldar still have to generate psychic powers randomly despite being psychic masters. Nothing they can do about this - it's fairness across the board)
They had to choose between working on Wraithguards and Jetbikes.
There is a fear now that they cannot release rules without models. Although they view this as a "blessing in disguise". Also, they have a lot more sculptors now, so it's all good.
Supplements allow for smaller releases, and thus a faster release schedule overall.
Apocalypse was designed to be more "fun" this time round
Your warlord is meant to be your representation on the battlefield
Apoc is meant to break free of restrictions. Hence, in the Allies Chart, "Come The Apocalypse" is a direct reference to all armies being allowed to accompany each other in Apoc. This was confirmed as intentional by Jervis and Phil.
Old Datasheets will return in Warzones if they aren't already back
Apoc is meant to be casual, fun, and was only limited by the book's page count and players' imaginations
Some wild stuff went into the Pandorax Warzone, including dinosaurs, space boards, asteroids, etc.
Phil Kelly initially designed a Khorne "blade" power that, when used in its first play-test game, removed 9 flyers instantly. It was awkward for all players involved, and deemed too powerful after the game.
They thoroughly enjoyed working with Forge World on it, and even mused that Forge World loves them because their Titan sales spiked the first time round.
Phil Kelly states that Warzones are intended to be more than "supplements", they're directly inspired by the Imperial Armour books and intended to be smaller versions of them, with fluff and background in the beginning and then rules after.
When asked for their various sources of inspiration...
Guy Haley: "Inspiration? Whiskey bottle!" -> Later corrects this joke, states that hard science fiction facts and science in general inspires him.
Phil Kelly: Greek mythology. But not to the point where he is re-creating Greek mythology in space.
Jervis Johnson: Military history. Particularly for the Pandorax Warzone, it was WW2 naval maps.
There used to be a "Master of Disasters" role, and internally they had the guy wear a funny helmet.
Developing Big Miniatures
Riptide was intentionally designed with an asymmetric backpack - one side is the Nova reactor (the large one) and the other side is its regular reactor
When it came to poses, the team decided to lock in one fixed pose that's really cool and dynamic for those who want to simply build and play with it, and have small pegs that can be clipped off to allow for full re-poseability. This is the standard for all large miniatures moving forward.
Knight-class Titans are the limit before Forge World "takes over"
A joke is made about a Tyrannid flying aircraft carrier (Harridan)
Big miniatures have only become really possible recently because of limitations of mould details, as well as plastic minimum and maximum thicknesses.
Jes Goodwin: "We're designers, not artists".
Large miniatures are intended as "icing on the cake" to a codex, and they are keenly aware not to drive 40k in the direction of MC hero-hammers ala WHFB
Certain injection moulding techs that the designers really want GW to buy haven't been acquired yet as they are incredibly expensive, so there are a lot of possibilities and room for further development in terms of kit quality
Plastics are by far the best representations of the designer's master model. They intend for plastics to fully take over from resin, metal, and finecast.
They have to design for an industrial process as well as for aesthetics.
Ask the Audience
This section was mostly them asking us, but there's some snippets gained from this.
GW has more sculptors = more models = faster releases now
The devs themselves are generally happy with the faster release schedule as well
I suggested including an Army Builder into the e-Codices, Phil Kelly thought it was a really good idea and promised it would be noted and taken a look into.
Pictures and drawings now put the perspective cloesr to the ground so that you can "appreciate the bigger stuff". Also to create the epic cinematic feel where you feel like you're on the battlefield as a commander.
Phil Kelly confirms that Sisters of Battle could not be plastic moulded (and told us to check with Jes Goodwin for more information - I stupidly forgot to do so). He mentioned it had something to do with the amount of detail on every side and the way that the moulds were limited in two directions as well as their method of release.
Traitor guard are "not different enough" from normal guard. Don't expect to see them.
"Come the Apocalypse" was intentional.
Writing 40k Background/Lore
Black Library was recently restructured into under the same roof as the other Citadel writers, leading to more fluff consistency
Black Library books are canon. Yes. Canon.
Guy Haley is writing a new Eldar book, he couldn't talk more about it but was really excited.
It is impossible to write from a Tyrannid perspective, and the closest done so far is from that of a Genestealer in Death of Integrity, and only because Genestealers were meant to interface with us. It is impossible to encapsulate and put in writing how the gestalt consciousness of the hive mind works, as every creature is part of the same consciousness across the universe and not, all at the same time.
Black Library will always provide an explanation, even for things in 'dexes which are ridiculous. ANYTHING can be explained, even if it's merely "The Warp Did It".
An example of this is Kaldor Draigo carving the name on Mortarion's heart. This is being written by a BL author right now, apparently it's believable as to how it happened.
Graeme Lyon confirms that the universe will never advance to M42, and will always stay at 999.M41. If they run out of things to write about in M41, they'll look back and visit other timelines like the Badab War, the Age of Apostasy, etc.
I have a lot of other fun facts that I didn't write down, feel free to post questions and I'll answer as best as I can...
The way Phil Kelly explained it to me, they aren't going to "axe" any 'dexes. Hence why the Daemonhunters and Witchhunters transition to Grey Knights particularly puzzled him and other devs. Well aware that it upset people too, and he himself played Daemonhunters.
Other Random Stuff
Rapid prototyping is very commonly used in GW
A lot of newer sculptors sculpt straight on the computer and don't use physical sculpting, and so building things out of putty, plasticard, etc. is seen as a "dying" skill.
There is an internal joke/competition of how well Jes Goodwin manages to make the symmetry of his models when they are scanned in. The last one, the Eldar flyer he made, elicited responses of "How did you do that?! That's not possible!!!"
The Tesseract Vault is HUUUUUGE when opened. It was easily larger than the length of my hand and fingers, and I used to play the piano.
Even GW writers have amazingly painted armies.
Phil Kelly is sad that his hierophant's stand went missing, so its legs are starting to warp from the weight now.
Phil Kelly, as well as other designers, are not worried about the advent of 3D printing. Tech is still too far away to be used for the fidelity of scale miniatures.
Phil Kelly loves daemon engines. He also loves converting and kitbashing them, as evident by his Iron Warriors army.
Looking at the above 3 statements, I am a Phil Kelly fanboy. I want to frame a picture I have with him lol.
Were I a Sisters player I'd be feeling optimistic after reading this, because at least it looks like they're still in the minds of the studio staff. You never know, the part about them never being switched over to plastic could even, if you Sisters players are lucky, lead to them getting a relaunch from the ground up à la Dark Eldar.
I didn't see Alan Bligh unfortunately. :( He wasn't at the event, but you definitely should have come! I literally had Phil Kelly to myself for all of 20 minutes to quiz about Eldar development, quizzed Jes on a lot of his more classic designs, as well as explain Eldar runes in-depth (as well as his signature, which looks like an Eldar rune!) Talked a lot with Guy Haley about the new Chaos 'dex, too. Talked a lot to Jervis about Planetstrike and Apoc.