Is the “End Times” Arc Really “The End” of Warhammer?

The end times. Literally read, it would mean the events leading to the conclusion. Until more recently in Warhammer, it’s was probably just the incoherently crazed screaming of a unit Empire flagellants.

In the terms of The End Times, Warhammer’s epic expansion, it is the story of a gathering of forces leading up to what can only be one massive battle for control of the world. Those were my thoughts until some comments recently at the Black Library Weekender. Now, is it possible it is the end of the Warhammer Fantasy Battles universe, to be replaced by something completely different?

To look at this, I think we need to start a ways back. There have been many rumors, both from credible and non-credible sources floating around for quite a while now about changes coming to Warhammer. More started to circulate last spring and into the summer months about there being major shake-ups to the game in 9th Edition.

Around that time many gamers (as well as the WFB podcasters) played armchair games designer and threw out their ideas on what might change. These varied from things as basic as tweaking magic spells or cannons doing D3 wounds to the extremes of a “Ravening Hordes” style reboot, releasing new army lists that would be compatible with 9th Ed and partially over-writing the 8th Ed army books. One rumor even went as far to say that WFB was completely ending and being replaced by a new system and story that tiered better between skirmish, current play size (2000-2500 points) and Apocalypse style levels. More on that one later…

Then there was the return of Nagash, the beginning of the End Times storyline for Warhammer. And everyone has become caught up in the madness.

Most rumors these days speculate about what races will be focused upon next. With Undead, Human, Chaos (mostly Nurgle) and Elven races getting attention, discussions tend to circulate around Skaven and what other armies are going to get attention. And when they hell is The Lord of the End Times going to actually do something (I mean, come on Archaon, quit slow-playing it, it’s affecting your sports scores).

Other non-rumor based conversations continue to circulate around how this affects tournaments and if this is going to have the negative affect on the tournament scene that 6th Ed 40K had.

But, other than some very small rumblings, not much has been rumored as to where this is actually going.

Then the Black Library Weekender happened over in England in early November and Graham McNeill discussed his ideas for a possible “End Times style” storyline for the 40K universe with Guillion and Lehman Russ and others coming back, the Golden Throne being destroyed and other absurd craziness (to be honest, I have no idea what any of that means, but 40K folks were excited).

But then, something strange happened – Graham McNeill responded to the rumors. Granted, I haven’t been in the hobby super long, but I have never heard a Games Workshop employee publicly respond to rumors circulating on the internet.

Anyway, McNeill clarified that what he was saying at the Weekender was his thoughts and ideas and that it needed to go through editorial more to get actual clearance, but that they were open to hearing more. Also, he explained that he has two books already in the works, so if anything is cleared, it is a ways off.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, in his reaction to the rumors, he said something peculiar.

“40K is NOT ending.”

He followed that by saying that “context is everything” and he walked through the discussion he was having about it at the weekender.

However, the rumors and internet discussion wasn’t about 40K coming to an end, just some large storyline where these classic warriors are brought back into the gold when the throne is destroyed.

So why would he specifically state that 40K isn’t ending? Once could logically deduce that he said that because the End Times for WFB may actually be the very final chapter for the universe. Quite possibly, the name isn’t just hyperbole, but it quite possibly could be the ending of Warhammer.

This leads me back to the rumors (known by many as “The Spanish Rumors”) I mentioned before about this being a compete and total reboot of all things Warhammer.

Check out this post on Warseer from June.

Now, he did say to take it with a grain of salt, but aside from the dates, there is a lot that is on target with this rumor. If you couple this with what McNeil said, you can see something aligning in the tea leaves here.

Another piece to connect the dots is some comments made by Greg Dann (@childoffang) on Twitter. He was also at the Weekender a month ago and was able to get some info out from what he had heard:

“@ChildofFang: End Times is both the Status Quo and leading to a new status Quo. Changing with each book.”

“@ChildofFang: Warhammer will be changed after the end times, it’s not going away but it will be vastly changed. That’s from an author.”

It is quite possible that I am reading into this wayyyy too much. But, it all clicked in my head today and I needed to get it out there in a format longer than 140 characters. But, from connecting these ideas, it sounds like it is less of an iteration (9th Ed) and possibly more of a reboot, possibly keeping some story and basic elements but starting the system over from scratch (so 1st Edition of some new name).

So, what are your thoughts? Do I have a point here or am I grasping at straws? Let me know in the comments with your ideas of where this all is going.

Cheers and Game On!

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