Warhammer Fantasy was never that well written. It was, however shameless in reminding us (ripping off) things we liked. If you were into history, there were the lands of men: the Empire, Tilea, Araby, Estalia, Kislev, Cathay and so on. If you liked Tolkien, there were elves. Egyptian history and the Mummy movies: Tomb Kings. High Gothic Horror: vampires. There's nothing original about any of them.Jup, we need a T9A Fantasy World that is as exciting, amazing, and glorious as the Warhammer World was.As soon as we have that, our miniatures will become more than just miniatures. They will become mighty armies arisen from our imaginations.I think the only thing that thing that will have considerable impact is solid, appraochable, official fluff.
So far great work this year, looking forward to 2020.
Warhammer Fantasy lore did turn for the worse after sixth edition. Settra originally conquered Khemri out of vanity but, in the 8th edition, Robin Cruddace thought it would be cooler to have him save Khemri from the hordes of orcs about to destroy it. You know, the exact same background as Sigmar, Gilles, Aenarion and the Immortal Emperor of Mankind. Sure, Cruddace says Settra was a vain and proud ruler but he doesn't show it. Before, he proved his pride by conquering solely from his own ambition. (The End Times proved it again. Settra does not serve.)
Now think of Gilles. He saved Bretonnia. 'K, good job. He has zero character. Sigmar has character but that's only because we know he's a stand in for Conan the Barbarian. (Sunna sure doesn't know what's best in life.) Aenarion willfully drew the sword of Khaine, knowing it would doom his people. That tells the reader what sort of fellow he was, just like we used to know about Settra before GW decided to 'improve' his story with more explosions.
It's really hard to write well.
Even writing competently (oldschool GW) is not easy. Warhammer Fantasy simply stole neat bits of background from anything within reach. It even had Orc's Drift. Also very importantly, GW had no competition in its formative years. If you wanted to play fantasy miniature battles, you played warhammer.
So, the 7th and 8th edition writers were imitating something decent and yet their work was terrible. Do you think 9th Age can do better?
I think that Warhammer Fantasy has many elements that were very well written, particularly in the 80s into the late 90s. I do agree that The End Times was a sudden and rushed mess and was a really unfortunate way to write an end to The Old Worlde. But for me I can still look to the 30 years prior to the end of 8th Edition and enjoy a rich, deep and colorful world with which to have as a backdrop to tabletop games.
GW's army books were always thorough, richly detailed tomes which gave you a lot more than just the points values for army lists.
We can debate whether or not the quality of the writing that was done for the lore was good or not in various aspects, but you can't deny that GW put as much into the world behind their games as they did the games themselves. We may be disappointed with certain plot turns or character developments in the Old Worlde but it can't be denied that the world itself has a level of detail and depth that rivaled Tolkien's Middle Earth.
Lest we forget, GW published whole campaign packages for Warhammer and also developed an entire roleplaying system for their fantasy realm.
As far as GW copying fantasy elements from other sources and having nothing original of their own, I STRONGLY disagree. The Warhammer world had its own map and its own cities with their own unique names. Yes, the classic races of the world were taken from sources such as Middle Earth and other places - but we also now know that not even Tolkien invented orcs and goblins, he may not even have invented the concept of the hobbit. Other writers in the 19th Century and early 20th Century had written stories about short folk, and goblin-like races. So even the mighty Tolkien himself drew and "stole" from countless sources that came before him to shape his own vision for Middle Earth.
That doesn't diminish the massive work and massive achievement that Tolkien accomplished with his now world-famous mythical pre-history of Europe.
As such it should not be used as an indictment against GW that they borrowed from other fantasy sources to create the Old Worlde. Terry Brookes wrote the massively popular "Shanara" series - and much of that work is so blatantly Tolkienesque in style and design that it simply can't be avoided.
The final thing I will say, and I have said this since the very beginning of the 9th Age project: I believe that this project should not be approached as something where we have to "better GW" or "one up GW" or do something that proves it's better than the Warhammer world. It's not a competition and should not be one. We can appreciate what GW gave us in their vision for the world we played their games in, and we can appreciate the work that is being done to create a world to give 9th Age its shape and substance.
I think it steals a lot of energy and legitimacy from our efforts if we view the 9th Age as something where we have to "beat GW" somehow.
I still own every single edition of Warhammer going back to 3rd Edition. I still have every rulebook, every starter box, every army book, every supplement from every edition of Warhammer. I still play games of Warhammer with the old editions of the rules. I still love the Warhammer world as it was the very first world I was introduced to that had a mass battle game associated with it.
I'm not throwing them all away because I play 9th Age now. That would be beyond stupid and just plain foolish. It would be like throwing away all my Tolkien books because people think Game of Thrones is a better written story!
There are many magic rings in the world Bilbo Baggins, and none of them should be used lightly!