Tuesday, 4 August 2015

eZaal; malaise du jour


I feel hesitant to write something about eZaal, as so much has already been written, with the various online Skorne communities collectively shitting the bed over the reveal of his rules. People got their first glimpse at what Skorne's next warlock can do, and it seemed there was a lot of expectation and anticipation invested in what he could do. I largely stayed out of the conversation as I felt I had nothing alternative to say to what was already being said, and would only add to a process I will illustrate with gifs, as is the way and laws of blogging

First people be like

Then other people be like

and the first people are all

But since the weekend, we are already getting more stories and instances of people actually trying on eZaal and giving him a go, a more accurate picture is beginning to emerge of how he and his abilities can synergise with the stable of Skorne units and beasts. One decent thread was started by one of the Enter the Crucible guys after he used Zaal as one of his lists for the Iron Gauntlet and Masters at Gencon, and to me he brings a nice, concise and easily understood breakdown of his experiences. This brought clarity to a warlock that otherwise looks quite muddled on paper, where people would find problems with using him faster than actually considering what solutions he may have.

For myself, I write this post because I feel I have a way to approach my opinion on Zaal in a variety of domains, as discussing the merit of the warlock himself is dependent on so many factors, its easy to get bogged down in various overlapping arguments. So first, the personal domain, or what my opinion of him is; he intrigues me and  he's disappointed me, he excites me and he makes me want to persist with him. The latter is likely due to being a masochist, I perform modestly with Skorne at best, yet still like the pointy eared pricks. There are also some dialectics at work here: opposing emotional states that meant I did not have a clear idea of what I thought of him, beyond that I want to try him out and see just what would happen with his suite of abilities. I have a genuine curiosity and anticipation of how Transference, Annihilation and Reclaim work alongside the rest of the Skorne faction.

This leads into what I consider the next domain, stepping back and observing where Zaal sits in context of his faction, and in comparison of the other factions in the game. A lot of talk has focused on him not bringing anything different to the Skorne faction, not having the ability to change Skorne's "bad" match ups. Some are making direct comparisons with pZaal, and I think this is a mistake as different versions of a warlock ultimately play a very distinct game from one another. Sure there are themes and similarities, but they only add character and don't seem to define the caster's use on the table.  On the flipside of that, several were looking for something quite different in eZaal, a "control" caster as seen in other factions. But I wonder now if having a caster that has a decisive impact on the game is even part of what Skorne does? It seems to me now that Skorne may have similarities with Trollbloods in that the main strength is in the army itself, with the warlock playing a more subtle support role then just direct buffing and debuffing. So developing a stronger appreciation of the units, beasts and solos may be required of myself, to see just what pocket Zaal sits in comparison with them. There are some great combat solos in Skorne that would benefit from Transference, so that was one of my starting points.

Stepping back again and looking at wargaming as a domain, and where WM/H fits within that context, there were some who were questioning Privateer Press' ability and integrity, in writing rules and communicating with the player base. This was something I snorted at; it really seemed myopic to think that of a company when you can make a direct comparison to the crap that was going on with Age of Sigmar and Games Workshop. Then again, that system and the fans of that company may be able to find some enjoyment and snort in turn at the detractors of AoS. I find it easy to be outside of that process looking in and have contempt for an "inferior" system, but am I also blind to any inherent problems within the WM/H way of doing things? Am I just defending PP out of having invested so much of myself into this game? It's pretty much stating the obvious to say it's all relative then, but I want to be cautious that to boil this down to a discussion of relativity, can shut down further argument. At this stage, I feel PP are an incredibly responsive company, that have a particular design approach in mind that they seem to follow despite the requests of their customers, and I think they are well within their rights to do so. There are creating a fantastic product, with interesting and evocative pieces that generate a lot of discussion - sometimes too much as is probably the case with this post.

What this all boils down to is me having an opinion of Zaal based upon three main factors or domains. There are most certainly more "domains", and further deconstruction may shape my opinion more, but I'd rather put that aside for now because all this writing is making my brain ache.

Also, AoS is terrible. Asshole of Suck more like.

1 comment:

  1. TL;DR - Zaal2 is an AoS model.

    "You may die. If you do, come back as a useless rock".