Controversial Designer Matt Ward Leaves Games Workshop

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Controversial Designer Matt Ward Leaves Games Workshop

The designer behind more Codex and rulebooks than you could shake a medium-sized stick at has left Games Workshop.

Matt Ward, writer and game designer, has left Games Workshop after 11 years. "I can certainly confirm that I'm no longer at GW," he says. "Beyond that, I doubt I've anything interesting to say."

Ward's tenure in the happy, carefree land of smiling space marines could best be regarded as fraught. He's the author or co-author of Codex for Blood Angels, Space Marines and Grey Knights, as well as several army books and the main rulebook for Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition, among other works. He made many canon changes, some of which upset the fanbase, with predictable results.

Games Workshop reported tumbling stock prices and a profit drop of 24% this year, but its acting CEO Tom Kirby is confident that significant changes, including group consolidation and the one-man-store policy, will keep Games Workshop in business for many years to come.

Source: Bell of Lost Souls

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All I can say is, Yes! Yes!

image

If it weren't for the fact that he was only a part of the problem over at GW, I'd almost consider playing 40k again.

Ah, excellent news.

Certainly, things were declining before he got to them, but he did a terrible job.

I sense there is going to be a lot of celebrating on this forum.

I used to play WH40k in the pre-Ward days ('90s). I get the sentiment that he's generally not liked and I'm not challenging that, but... Warhammer 40k was a pretty flawed game to start with. I liked playing it and everything, but zomg the rules lawyering and arguments that happened even then! The point system balance was a fine starting attempt at the thing, but I don't know I'd really call it balanced by any stretch of the imagination.

Did this one guy really drag things down that much? Or did he happen to be a lead writer at a time when GW (which I think we can agree is, um, mercenary at best) shifted somehow?

Just wondering, and I invite anyone to take a stab at answering.

He actually left months ago. We first heard of it just a couple of weeks ago.

And just in case anyone doesnt know why this guy is hated, read this article on 1d4chan (link SFW) While it has a tounge in cheek presentation, it gets the main points across.

Elijah Newton:
I sense there is going to be a lot of celebrating on this forum.

I used to play WH40k in the pre-Ward days ('90s). I get the sentiment that he's generally not liked and I'm not challenging that, but... Warhammer 40k was a pretty flawed game to start with. I liked playing it and everything, but zomg the rules lawyering and arguments that happened even then! The point system balance was a fine starting attempt at the thing, but I don't know I'd really call it balanced by any stretch of the imagination.

Did this one guy really drag things down that much? Or did he happen to be a lead writer at a time when GW (which I think we can agree is, um, mercenary at best) shifted somehow?

Just wondering, and I invite anyone to take a stab at answering.

Lets just say people didn't like his fluff and leave it it at that.

Also: WHOOOOOOOO!

I don't even play anymore, but holy shit, thank god. He destroyed my first, and favourite, army (templar 4 lyf beyotches) as well as making some ridiculous fluff, my least favourite of which has to be caldor draigo and how the ultramarines are now the pinnacle of space marines. They only have 1,000 marines, noobs. Templars dedicated 900 to the 3rd battle of Armageddon, as well as having a load of other things happening at the time. Templars get shit done!

I don't really think this is especially good news so much as just news.

Everything he did (or didn't) was mainly a result of GW's legendary penny pinching, projects that should have been the work of five or six people were essentially left in his hands and his alone. Writing, testing and publishing new fluff and rules every seven months is not a task I would like to take on and I can't see how such small teams that GW uses can keep it up either (evidence would say that they can't).

I'm sure without the pressure to do something new and do it fast all the time he would work things out much better, but apparently the only way to do that is to not be involved with Games Workshop.

I am interested to see where Games Workshop goes from here, although on the strength of the last year the answer might be straight off a cliff into a Warp Storm.

Never played 40K, knew people that loved the game and it sounded awesome (minus the money sink), but I find it hard to understand how people aren't just as angry at GW for allowing these mistakes for so long. What? They don't have play testing, focus groups or QA departments?

Captcha: too late

Ok captcha, I get it. I'm leaving now.

Elijah Newton:
I sense there is going to be a lot of celebrating on this forum.

I used to play WH40k in the pre-Ward days ('90s). I get the sentiment that he's generally not liked and I'm not challenging that, but... Warhammer 40k was a pretty flawed game to start with. I liked playing it and everything, but zomg the rules lawyering and arguments that happened even then! The point system balance was a fine starting attempt at the thing, but I don't know I'd really call it balanced by any stretch of the imagination.

Did this one guy really drag things down that much? Or did he happen to be a lead writer at a time when GW (which I think we can agree is, um, mercenary at best) shifted somehow?

Just wondering, and I invite anyone to take a stab at answering.

The issue with Ward is mostly that he has a habit of changing fluff. The argument about his inter-codex balancing used to be true, but have been less so in later ones he's written.
For example, when he wrote the 5E Space Marines codex, he decided that his favourite marines (Space Smurfs, for those wondering) should be the one every other chapter looks up to, to the point that he specifically noted in it that any chapter having a differing organisation and/or doesn't follow the tactics laid out by Robot Girlyman are bordering on being heretical. Basically, each chapter besides Ultramarines got not much more than a paragraph explaining why they were not as good as Ultrasmurfs.
When he wrote the new Necron codex, he also changed the fluff a lot, and made a lot of pre-existing events (like the existence of Orks) about them, which wasn't particularly liked. Furthermore, he continued to put in rage-inducing stuff, like them owning a machine which can snuff out any star in the entire galaxy. Overall it was a respected update, however.

In 40K, his hate is still mostly living due to the atrocity that was the 5E Grey Knights codex, which was completely overpowered and contained such attrocious fluff that you can still hear the screams of Sisters of Battles players on a quite night.

His transgressions against WHFB are much worse, though.

I felt a great disturbance in the Force as if a million neckbeards cried out in joy.

/tg/ is gonna have a fucking field day with this. And I am going to join them in that regard!

Clearly this is for the Greater Good :D

Now that Ward is gone, can we please get some codecies that aren't about space marines or variations thereof? Maybe even some new ones? The fact that the Adeptus Mechanicus doesn't have it's own official codex and army yet is a massive shame. Same with the Ordo Xenos and the Deathwatch. Both of the other Inquisitorial branches have their own codex and unique models, but there is a shameful lack of alien-hunters.

Michael Tabbut:
/tg/ is gonna have a fucking field day with this. And I am going to join them in that regard!

They've been having a couple threads a day celebrating this for the past couple of days.

OT: It's good that he's no longer involved with Warhammer, but I'll wait to see who takes over next before I celebrate. We're in the era of fans who started as children working for these sorts of companies, and there's plenty of backwards-looking misplaced nostalgia and other pitfalls in game development that GW will have to overcome.

Finally...the foul creature is banished back to the pits of the warp from whence it came... if my memory of glorious old school fluff is correct (which it god damn well is) he will not be able to return for 1000 years and a day.

rcs619:
The fact that the Adeptus Mechanicus doesn't have it's own official codex and army yet is a massive shame.

If you happen to shit gold, then the horus heresy army books from forge world have heresy era admech armies.

Was his fluff really that bad? I stopped playing 40K years ago but what I saw of his work didn't seem to different from the old stuff. His codex's, on the other hand, seemed to focus less on armies the player actually invented and more on larger forces so maybe this is a good move.

I remember when a 2000 point army was lucky to squeeze TWO tanks or large creatures in, and the units were considered big if they exceeded 15 men *waggles cane*.

PunkRex:
Was his fluff really that bad? I stopped playing 40K years ago but what I saw of his work didn't seem to different from the old stuff. His codex's, on the other hand, seemed to focus less on armies the player actually invented and more on larger forces so maybe this is a good move.

His fluff was unbelievable. And not in the 'fanboy rage can't believe that' way, but in the literal 'this does not fit in 40k' way. He had Calgar single handily fighting an Eldar Avatar and an entire Eldar host. He wrote in that asshole Sicarius, and his magical ability to just be the best ever. He wrote that bit about Grey Knight bathing themselves in the blood of Battle Sisters, and how a single squad of Knights fought back an entire army of daemons threatening to overwhelm close to 100 Invader Space Marines.
And he did that Drago kills Mortarion in single combat bit. Keep in mind it took 100 terminator Knights to fight Angron, and then only 12 survived and even THEN they only banished him. And Mortarion was the stubborn, hard-as-nails Primarch. And Drago kills him, by his lonesome, AFTER killing the entire Deathshroud, in oh...5 minutes.

Was Ward the worst thing ever? A Dark lord to lore? No. He was just very bad at what he did. Matt Ward's lore is to 40k as the final fight in Man of Steel is to Superman. Destroys everything, kills everyone and none of it is in character.

Hopefully now the Ultrasmurfs won't get favoritism.

And while I'm dreaming, I'd like the Angry Marines to be a canon chapter...

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Here is hoping they don't stop there, but move onto the idiots responsible for pricing.

$110AU for a codex? $90AU for a single squad of soldiers? Get bent.

I played back in the 90s and the prices were bad enough then, when I looked to get back into the game I damn near had a heart attack. You're looking at at least $600 - $700AU for a basic army. It's ridiculous, especially when you look at other table top games like X-Wing, Boltaction, etc.

Another thing they need to start working on is what they are going to do now that 3D printing is becoming more and more mainstream. My gaming group has been talking about it for years, more and more people are printing their own models, and so far all I've seen is GW issue take down notices on files when they should be looking at it and planning to get into that game themselves, selling subscriptions that allow people to print their own files.

I love the various GW universes, but their businesses practices (see Space Marine copyright bollocks) and pricing just keeps me, and a lot of other people, away from them. They could also take notes from WoTC and FFG on supporting stores and running events, because GW events are *terrible*.

The Great JT:
Hopefully now the Ultrasmurfs won't get favoritism.

And while I'm dreaming, I'd like the Angry Marines to be a canon chapter...

And ass the Knights Inductor while we're at it. If you're going to go to one extreme, may as well double down and go to both.

Sweet! Now if GW would lower the price of their models, I could start playing again!

Praise the Emperor for expunging the heretic.

Now all GW has to do is to pull their heads out of their collective asses and stop overpricing all the tabletop models and codexes to a ridiculous degree. I don't even play the game, but I know it's the driving force behind the franchise. I'd hate to see the IP wither and die because nobody can afford it anymore.

Silentpony:

PunkRex:
Was his fluff really that bad? I stopped playing 40K years ago but what I saw of his work didn't seem to different from the old stuff. His codex's, on the other hand, seemed to focus less on armies the player actually invented and more on larger forces so maybe this is a good move.

His fluff was unbelievable. And not in the 'fanboy rage can't believe that' way, but in the literal 'this does not fit in 40k' way. He had Calgar single handily fighting an Eldar Avatar and an entire Eldar host. He wrote in that asshole Sicarius, and his magical ability to just be the best ever. He wrote that bit about Grey Knight bathing themselves in the blood of Battle Sisters, and how a single squad of Knights fought back an entire army of daemons threatening to overwhelm close to 100 Invader Space Marines.
And he did that Drago kills Mortarion in single combat bit. Keep in mind it took 100 terminator Knights to fight Angron, and then only 12 survived and even THEN they only banished him. And Mortarion was the stubborn, hard-as-nails Primarch. And Drago kills him, by his lonesome, AFTER killing the entire Deathshroud, in oh...5 minutes.

Was Ward the worst thing ever? A Dark lord to lore? No. He was just very bad at what he did. Matt Ward's lore is to 40k as the final fight in Man of Steel is to Superman. Destroys everything, kills everyone and none of it is in character.

So he kinda jumped the Squigark in terms of power creep, fair play, I grew up watching/reading Naruto so I know that feel... that Sisters of Battle blood thing sounds kind of Chaos'y if anything, I always liked 40K's space nun/goth/dominatrix girls.

Truly, The Emperor has saved us all!!!

LOL WTF ? WHAT ?! Thats real ? Grey Knights bath in sisters blood !? why ? how ? the point ? The last time i played TT was 4th edition i think when the box set came with dark eldar and black temps. I still read alot of the books.I heard this ward guy was hated due to fluff but never knew why and nice to know this ass is the reason why Ultrasmurfs are so over played.
Whats some of the other stupid lore he did can anyone fill me in ?

Maybe now we'll finally get the Oldcrons back.

The little rat flees the sinking ship. The damage has been done, though, but I wish Matt Ward nothing but ill for the future.

[/bitter]

*sacrifices planet full of civilians to Khorne* He has delivered us from the nightmare, let there be blood and skulls for days in celebration!

*buries chainaxe in the back of an Ultramarine* and now hopefully things will get better.

Neverhoodian:
Praise the Emperor for expunging the heretic.

Yeah, he should've been gone for that.

Good riddance. I don't play anymore, but I still buy the lore books, so its a net win.

When The Cruddace leaves maybe I'll start buying rules.

AstaresPanda:
LOL WTF ? WHAT ?! Thats real ? Grey Knights bath in sisters blood !? why ? how ? the point ? The last time i played TT was 4th edition i think when the box set came with dark eldar and black temps. I still read alot of the books.I heard this ward guy was hated due to fluff but never knew why and nice to know this ass is the reason why Ultrasmurfs are so over played.
Whats some of the other stupid lore he did can anyone fill me in ?

IIRC, there was some planet that had a convent of Sisters of Battle, and also some daemon of Khorne controlling an old (meaning insanely powerful) weapon, basically using nanites to fly in people through their pores, and making them go nuts. The Sisters were, thanks to their faith and all, extremely resistant against this daemonic influence.
Grey Knights come at the planet. Notice Sisters can resist daemon.
Do they ask the Sisters for help?
No. They murdered every one of them, and used their blood as a ward against the daemon. For some reason.

Not only is it disgustingly stupid and makes no sense at all, it was very poorly thought out and written.

I don't think many people will miss Matt Ward.
Now, if he'd only take Cruddface... errr... Cruddace with him...

And so the only guy wo still made fun codexes left, and now every codex'll be a Cruddex.

Bad fluff is one thing, codices that contain a single viable list (or none at all if crudd happens not to like your army)are another entirely.

Funny, I was recently reading about this guy...

Well it looks like it is a good time to get back into 40k! Now if only the models didn't cost an arm and a leg.

TheBelgianGuy:

AstaresPanda:
LOL WTF ? WHAT ?! Thats real ? Grey Knights bath in sisters blood !? why ? how ? the point ? The last time i played TT was 4th edition i think when the box set came with dark eldar and black temps. I still read alot of the books.I heard this ward guy was hated due to fluff but never knew why and nice to know this ass is the reason why Ultrasmurfs are so over played.
Whats some of the other stupid lore he did can anyone fill me in ?

IIRC, there was some planet that had a convent of Sisters of Battle, and also some daemon of Khorne controlling an old (meaning insanely powerful) weapon, basically using nanites to fly in people through their pores, and making them go nuts. The Sisters were, thanks to their faith and all, extremely resistant against this daemonic influence.
Grey Knights come at the planet. Notice Sisters can resist daemon.
Do they ask the Sisters for help?
No. They murdered every one of them, and used their blood as a ward against the daemon. For some reason.

Not only is it disgustingly stupid and makes no sense at all, it was very poorly thought out and written.

I don't think many people will miss Matt Ward.
Now, if he'd only take Cruddface... errr... Cruddace with him...

WHAT ?! i was thinking that must be the reason if not a flimsy stupid one but i thought to myself that would not make sense as Grey Knights are already full of wards soooooo point ? Anything else ? I mean it sounds stupid that Grey Knights get fucked taking out Angron but UltraSmurfs chapter master taking down an Avatar all on his own.....?

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