So, like totbegoren before me (what a nice post), I'd like to take a swing at this one, even if it's pretty far back in the thread:
Why is the old lore so sacred that any sort of new lore is instantly unappealing to you?
I guess the easy answer here is that I do like quite a few of the new things, or at least the things that have been new to me over the years. The 3rd Edition rulebook and its redefining take of the Imperium as an oppressive religious state. The haunting magnitude and celestial horror of the original Necron Codex. The change in Orks to something a little simpler and more brutal (though I do miss the Kultur). The Index Astartes fleshing out every Legion's background, introduction of flyers to the game and the background, the novels of Dan Abnett and the B&C's own A D-B. The 3rd War for Armageddon, the 13th Black Crusade and even the oft-forgotten Medusa campaign were all high points. Even recently, the addition of the Mechanicus, the Genestealer Cults and the Deathwatch have been great. I didn't always like all these things when they were introduced, and I won't say that I think they're all perfectly done now, but I wouldn't have ever denied that they're worthy additions to the setting.
The Primaris, and the Dark Imperium generally, are in a different class. As the ever-observant Marshall Rohr has pointed out above, however, they're not the first.
Some posters have previously noted shortcomings in the pre-8th Ed background, and a majority of them come from, or at least started in a particular time that we can probably call the Ward Era. Not everything was Ward's doing, of course, but he was and remains the poster boy of a set of ugly tendencies in GW
's fiction writing, ones that are still, unfortunately, largely still present in the Studio's output. There's a digression there that's large and undeniable, but it's very difficult to define. I've been trying to describe it thoroughly and conclusively for ages now, and still feel unequipped for the task, but it feels necessary to keep trying.
To digress for a little bit, I'm currently re-reading an old favorite novel of mine called Warday
, by Whitley Streiber and James Kunetka. It's a travelogue that follows the two (real!) authors on a fictional trek through America in the aftermath of a limited but devastating twenty-minute nuclear war with the USSR in the late 80's. It consists of Streiber and Kunetka's own narratives about the journey, documents they've collected - polls, surveys, fallout reports and medical procedures to name a few - and interviews with people from all levels of the strange new society that's formed in this quasi-post apocalyptic setting. This book paints a world, and it's just as real and vivid as anything I've ever encountered in fiction. It's not just the painstaking research that clearly went into it, but the variety and verisimilitude that emanates from every detail. The horror of seeing population centers blasted to nothing but ash and the bodies of dead birds that flew through invisible clouds of radiation. California, the lone area of American civilization not sent back to the 1700's by EMP detonations, becoming a virtual police state walled off from the rest of the country. New diseases like Non-Specific Sclerosing Disorder and the Cincinnati Flu ripping through the population, huge dust storms of irradiated soil blasting through the abandoned Midwest and the surreal disassembly of New York by salvage team and the otherwise useless remnants of the Army. It makes for a great setting on its own, but then there's the people, trying and striving and doing and scheming like people do. They all have different stories, different ideas that connect and diverge at all sorts of points. Some people welcome the European and Japanese aid that flows into the country, while some resent it as de-facto colonization. Information is scarce, rumors run rampant, and nearly everyone's point of view comes off as valid. There's a huge variety of existence covered here, and that variety gives it a feeling of something very real.
Reading through it, I'm struck by how much it reminds me of the very best of 40K, because 40K used to have that real, lived-in feeling, or something like it. People talk about how we don't hear of the "common man" anymore, and other catechisms when they talk about what's missing in 40K, but those are the kind of broad and simple concepts that've degraded the setting already. It's not that there's one side of the galaxy that's being shown while the downtrodden are being ignored, but the fact that there's no gradient between the two being presented, or things that live outside of that two-dimensional spectrum. The Imperium and the space beyond used to feel unending, not because we got a detailed view of every lifestyle, profession and habitat available, but because we got enough variety to bridge the gap between what we did
see. There were hints and scraps and whole sections of the setting given over to things that were never meant to see the tabletop, but their existence gave the setting context and depth that's simply missing in the modern age. Now everything is simple, small and compartmentalized for easier categorization on a shelving unit. War was always the focus of 40K, but now it's the whole
thing - if it doesn't get a model, it doesn't get talked about, and that's harmful both to what we used to have, and what's there now.
Why the focus on Primaris and the Dark Imperium, then? What about that crosses the line? I guess for a lot of people - me included - it was that the worst parts of 40K as it once was were, at least, suggested to co-exist with the better parts. They were all part of the same universe, the same time, the same whole. The Dark Imperium is the new Studio and the new philosophy making their own 40K for the first time, and it's magnified all their failings. Everything is such a grasping, obvious ploy for sales, and little else beyond. Even if the old 40K just existed to sell models, it did so by creating something that felt real and big and weird and fun. That 40K still exists, I guess, but it's very much the setting's past now. The Dark Imperium is supposed to be the full galaxy, but it's a galaxy that feels hollow and small and insincere. I don't know if the old 40K was ever sacred, but the new one is definitely unappealing.
Edited by Lexington, 21 January 2018 - 04:46 AM.