Expect huge amounts of derp and rage, punctuated by /tg/ extracting humor from it.
|This article or section involves Matt Ward, your Spiritual Liege, who is universally-reviled on /tg/. Because this article or section covers Ward's copious amounts of derp and rage, fans of the 40K series are advised that if you proceed onward, you will see fluff and crunch violation of a level rarely seen.|
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Matthew Ward (usually shortened to Commander DoucheFaggit and sometimes Colossal Anus or even Ultramarine Fanboy #1) was one of the Games Designers at Games Workshop and the Fifth God of Chaos, The Lord of Changing Fluff, The Bringer of Mary Sues. He is the definition of Skub.
He was widely hated on /tg/ for a wide variety of reasons, enumerated ad nauseam below. Since then we've had two new editions and a bunch of new Codexes. He hasn't fucked up recently, but fa/tg/uys being fa/tg/uys there's still plenty of bile spewed about him. Most of us have moved on.
It's probably telling that this page is one of 1d4chan's most controversial and fought-over; not because people are arguing over whether he's good or bad, but because they're arguing over how bad and whether he's redeeming himself with his (slightly) better work as of late. It is also telling that for a period of time, his name was a banned word on 4chan due to the bitchfights surpassing even Edition Wars seen in the heyday and that 1d4chan appears on a google search of his name before Wikipedia.
And it turns out that he has now left GW, as of May of 2014.
- 1 I'm a new player; Who is That Guy?
- 2 That Doesn't Sound So Bad; Why Does /tg/ Hate This Guy So Much?
- 3 An Enumerated List of Ward's Misdeeds
- 4 Factions of Ward
- 5 More About The Guy
- 6 A History of Violence
- 7 Author Spotting
- 8 Why the Hate?
- 9 Also, Misogyny
- 10 Your Fault As Well
- 11 Gallery of Fail
- 12 See Also
I'm a new player; Who is That Guy?
Matt Ward was a Games Designer for Games Workshop. That means he wrote Codexes and Army Books. He was responsible for both the rules themselves (the crunch) and the background behind the army (the fluff).
In real life he's a fairly soft-spoken and shy man, and generally nicer than you might suspect. Still, nobody really knows much about the guy outside the game.
Basically, he was if That Guy could DEVOUR THE RULES
That Doesn't Sound So Bad; Why Does /tg/ Hate This Guy So Much?
Because he messed up. A lot.
It's widely believed that he made some of the most broken books ever published by Games Workshop (which is really saying something), that he systematically destroyed the fluff to fit his own shitty vision of the 40k and Fantasy universes (while ignoring all of the fluff that existed beforehand) and, perhaps most egregiously, made the game boring with his copy/paste style of writing.
That being said, nowadays, a segment of /tg/ has turned against this viewpoint, noting that the other authors (in particular Robin Cruddace, who is hated almost as much as Ward himself, and Gavin Thorpe who's known for the forceful insertion of Chaos into every faction in Fantasy) are frequently just as bad as Ward himself. They also note that although Ward's books were very powerful they were relatively well-balanced against each other, had a variety of good choices in army composition, and were actually fairly interesting (although as always these things are matters of opinion).
Whether or not these claims are true is a matter of debate, but we present the evidence below in equal measure with viewpoints as briefly but accurately represented as possible so you can make up your own mind.
An Enumerated List of Ward's Misdeeds
- He's a pretty poor writer, at least when it comes to 40k. Nobody, not even those who support him, dispute this. He's not exactly a Hemingway or Fitzgerald; hell, he's not even a Dan Abnett or Aaron Dembski-Bowden (no offense intended to them, of course). Most of the things he writes make sense, with some exceptions. The problem is there's something strangely... off about his writing. Somehow, he absolutely manages to miss the humor and excitement of the Warhammer 40,000 universe where exaggeration is key and parody within parody is applauded; ironically then, he does seem (more or less) right at home in Fantasy which is more about an almost Star Trek degree of named characters leading redshirts around and kicking much ass.
- He has an annoying habit of changing fluff to suit his tastes, disregarding established fluff in the process, such as when he completely changed the Grey Knights' organization (and gave them a Mary Sue Supreme Grand Master that wasn't even necessary) and took Pariahs away from the Necrons.
- He really, really likes Ultramarines, and he thinks you should too. He's come prepared to ram that opinion down your throat for PAGE AFTER PAGE AFTER PAGE, and when you close your copy of 5th edition Codex:
UltramarinesSpace Marines and pick up the White Dwarf copy that goes with it (if you have it), you'll find that he CONTINUES to ram it down your throat. You see, in his opinion the Ultramarines are literally the BEST Space Marines in the galaxy, the ones EVERYONE must look up to, the ones that make (/tg/-approved) Chapters like the Black Templars look like idiots. Which really sucks if you were hoping for some good old fashioned Your dudes action, because your dudes are not good enough to be the illustrious Ultramarines.
- This is why the Ultramarines are so widely hated on /tg/ and elsewhere, by the way (and they were never really popular to begin with).
- His favorite army in Warhammer Fantasy is the Asrai, or Wood Elves. As a result for the 8th (current) edition updates he was chosen to write all three elf armies (Druchii, Asur, and the Ultramarasrai). In order;
- The worst offenders in the High Elf book for being OP as fuck (which they've more or less always been to a degree) were given gentle nerfs, but at the cost of the alteration of a magic flag and addition of a new large model which in combination give one giant "fuck you" to everyone else in the game along with high damage decent durability models getting a drop in points resulting in everyone and their fucking mother taking the new rapetrain. Despite the army as a whole being more balanced than ever, High Elf players are now more reviled than before if they so much as LOOK at White Lions of Chrace, the Banner of the World Dragon, or the Frostheart Phoenix.
- Dark Elves were buffed slightly, still inferior to High Elves but many feel that the already high tier Dark Elves didn't need the boost. Many things in the fluff were changed, sometimes vague things given more description, but mostly it stepped on the toes of many players who liked the previously established fluff or had their own homefluff. Despite this it was probably the most inoffensive change of the three.
- Wood Elves. Wood Elf players, having long dealt with teasing that their army was being squatted and putting up with being literally the weakest army in the game (in one of the random scenarios possible being 100% unable to win), wound up with good news peppered in bad. Forest spirits (literally half the army, with the previous fluff and crunch supporting armies consisting entirely of them) were nerfed into the ground to the point of near uselessness and the ranged options (the signature of the army) were weakened as well without an upgrade which cuts the population of the army by a fair amount. Grimderpness bordering on Gav Thorpe was shoehorned in, making High Elves and Dark Elves look like useless fuckers and childish shits with no indication it may simply be the Wood Elf perspective (unlike 40k, Fantasy books aren't written as factional propaganda but rather that race's side of the story with all the books filling in the full story) although Asrai players themselves don't give much of a fuck about that. They can win now at any rate though, taking their place as a mid to upper mid tier army so disappointment may factor in more than outright hate here.
- His books are often badly, badly broken and overpowered. When his 5th edition Grey Knights book came out, some people even joked that you could randomize everything (movement, shooting, everything) and they'd still win. To be fair, Ward's external balance has been getting better as of late (especially in Fantasy), and Grey Knights were clearly design for the then upcoming 6th in mind, but many on /tg/ will never forgive him for making an army that was that overpowered.
- And Fantasy players will never forgive him for his 7th edition Daemons of Chaos book, which broke the entire game and required a new edition to fix. Really.
- Also, whereas Grey Knights are actually fairly balanced (underpowered, even) in 6th edition, Necrons went from being one of Ward's best-balanced Codexes to... well, let's just say more than a few players hate him after being on the wrong side of a Cronssant list. Now, apart from the flyer spam, Necrons are a rather balanced army, and even flyer-spam isn't as broken as before now there's things that can counter it (eg; Vetock's Tau codex).
- His fluff is skub, at best. From major things such as Ultramarines favoritism, Newcrons and Khornate Knights to minor things like which Dark Elf city has the Beastmasters. Every single book he's ever written has at least one thing that's skub.
Factions of Ward
The various viewpoints on Ward can be broken up into six factions. Like most of /tg/'s inter-departmental-bickering, this is by no means a comprehensive list and the various factions can come in various flavors of This Guy and That Guy. Some would argue more of the latter, and others more of the former.
The Old Guard - Maintain that Ward is the anti-Christ. Loudly complain when he's writing a new codex and vehemently hates his fluff. Will fight to the bitter end decrying that Ward's rules are overpowered, but is notable mostly for his utter hatred of Ward's fluff and complete disregard of previously-established canon. The most devout of them focus their hatred on the new Necron codex. More than simple alterations isolated to the Necron fluff and the 6th ed codex. They vehemently remind people that in messing with the past, Ward had completely changed Warhammer 40k history, affecting such things as the origins of Nulls, Necron motivation, their battles with the Eldar, and due to the notorious Allies chart, changing the very manner in which every race interacts.
The Vet Gamer - Differs from the Old Guard in that whilst the Old Guard hates for primarily the Fluff, the Vet Gamers hate him for the Crunch. They see ward's nonsense as indicative of the power creep that the game's suffered for quite some time, often citing Warhammer 40K's flagrantly game-breaking Blood Angels codex at launch, or Warhammer Fantasy's Daemons codex as a sign of where everything went wrong.
The Indifferent - These are people who have no opinion as to whether Ward is good or bad, they are neutral on his subject, they just want people to shut the fuck up.
The Crunch Defenders - Hold that while Matt Ward does write atrocious fluff, his crunch is fair and balanced. They also defend the viewpoint that ultimately, crunch is more important than fluff because you can ignore bad fluff. Also known as WAAC players.
The Counter-Culture - Love Ward on the grounds that the Old Guard hate him too much. /tg/'s version of hipsters.
The Converted These are people who agree Ward's older books suck but believe he's getting better (and/or the suck of the older books were over exaggerated), or even a good writer now.
The Wardinites - The direct opposite of the Old Guard, the Wardinites worship Ward as a God, following the revered Book of Ward. They are identified by defending Ward, but whereas Crunch Defenders only defend Crunch, Wardinites defend both. Whereas the Counter-Culture like him because it makes them look "edgy", the Wardinites hold that he is legitimately good. Often quotes from the Book of Ward, usually: "From the Cruddex, and the monobuild, Matthew Ward deliver us". They hold Robin Cruddace as the Great Satan. It is suspected that the Wardinites have a strong powerbase in the Necrons and Tyranid communities.
It should be noted, like most religions, there are different sects within the Cult of Ward, the theological divides between them mostly concerning Codex: Grey Knights. The sects supporting Grey Knights are also divided amongst pro- and anti-draigo sects. And now recently these sects have become even more diverse thanks to a certain passage in the new Daemons codex...
It should be noted that if a member of the Old Guard and a member of the Cult of Ward meet, there WILL be blood spilled. Such is also true of a Vet Gamer and Crunch Defender meeting.
Excerpts from the Book of Ward
From the Cruddex
And the Monobuild
Mathew Ward deliver us.
But Mighty Ward cannot be everywhere at once, for the Cruddace is evil and devious!
The Beneficent Phil Kelly helps Ward, but the Cruddace is a dastardly trickster!
So then it is, that some codices must be sacrificed to the Ravages of the Cruddace.
But do not mourn for the Burdened, theirs is a holy task, and the Burdened who endure will be reborn into the Kingdom of Ward.
And to mock the Burdened for their troubles is to invite damnation into the Kingdom of Crud for your arrogance.
-Book of Ward, chapter 4, Verses 17-21.
More About The Guy
There are two things Matt Ward is infamous for: atrocious fluff-writing that induces vomiting and broken army rule sets that turns them into table-flattening steamrollers. There's nothing uniquely Wardian about either of these things, and from an outsider's perspective it can be hard to tell why /tg/ has singled him out for vilification. Games Workshop has been systematically introducing power creep ever since they figured out they could make people buy a new army every year, and the fluff has been rewritten so many times there's basically nothing original left (and really does anybody want to remember second edition? Other than /tg/, we mean). No, its not what Ward has done in service to his dark masters, but how. We hate the zeal with which he's embraced GW's desire to rebrand everything 40k as X-treme and simplistic, the eagerness with which he turns the cheese wheel for each new release, the shamelessness of his trampling on canon.
In essence, /tg/ regards him as a living embodiment of every giant fuck-up Games Workshop has ever made. If this seems unusual to you, it shouldn't; it's rare anything manages to remain this much of an issue for this long with /tg/, and even though Ward himself has gone on to make decent Codexes with good fluff and crunch, his legendary-reputation remains... With justifications ranging from spot-on to spurious. Short of Will Wheaton being put in charge of a Dark Eldar update that gives them AV14 units and removes Darklances, it seems unlikely that Ward is ever going to be dethroned as the single most hated writer Games Workshop has...and after the likes of the Cruddacenids, Thorpe Chaos Codex, and Goto in general, that's one hell of an accomplishment.
Over-hyping a single faction to the exclusion of all others, constantly blowing stories so far out of proportion that they lose all context or believability (especially in the face of previous fluff), constantly trying to one-up his last bullshit story with an even-less-believable story, and actively retconning out contemporary writers who he disagrees with, Matt's abuses are pretty much what /tg/'s come to expect from Games Workshop.
On one hand, Ward himself may simply be a target of convenience; again, his more recent works are infinitely better and can generally be considered to be quite good. Unfortunately his earlier works and some of his more recent ones are only too vivid in players' minds, and with the updates to sixth edition and various armies he's come into contact with, he's certainly not done himself any favors. Some individuals, whom experts believe come from off-site believe Ward to be far more than he really is - the source of all the problems - which has only conflated an already complicated and frankly bugfuck insane situation further. Several others, either supportive of Ward or, more commonly, sick of the shit, claim that the younger fa/tg/uys and ca/tg/irls are just hopping on-board a Matt Ward hate-bandwagon. There's even a suitably-derpy picture of a bunch of anons riding on a wagon with Ward's face on it, blaming Ward for everything from the Judean People's Front (splitters!) to headlice.
To be fair: It is undeniably true that /tg/ hates Ward so much that most of us are willing to blame anything on him - the man is basically Satan to every fa/tg/uy who used to love the 40k fluff, and represents the cancer of 40k killing Fantasy to long-suffering Fantasybros. Is there something deeper at work here? It's more likely than not just because Ward's just one of countless dorks being paid minimum wage by Games Workshop to churn out bullshit. GW's oppressive staffing policy prevent GW Design Studio staff from even having a Facebook page or forums, so it's not as if he's going to defend himself on the matter.
In the end, Ward himself remains a polarizing force to this very day. Fluff/Crunch debacles have stained much of what he's worked on in original sin, as has accusations towards misogyny, even as he's worked towards putting out better work - many, even on /tg/, will defend his updates to the Necrons (or would until 6th Edition turned them into table-destroying rape-machines; that is, until Vetocks arguably OP Tau codex came along). But by the same vein, most of his most egregious offenses cannot be overlooked by veterans, and even newcomers to the hobby have found giant flaming problems with his earlier fluff and crunch.
TL;DR: Another great example of /tg/ being /tg/.
A History of Violence
2002 - 2007
- Ward authors a bunch of Lord of the Rings books. Revisionist neckbeards now like to point to them as damning proof of Ward's madness in its infancy, but mostly they're just forgettable. During this time, he also worked for White Dwarf, his only real defining feature being his fondness for playing the evil armies in battle reports. In hindsight, this was probably a sign of things to come. He also creates the rules for the Mumak, the most fucking ridiculous unit ever, which can destroy entire armies in it's movement. The Mumak is eventually revealed to be so broken (and included in an army that already had it's share of cheese) that it signals the beginning of the end for the Lord of the Rings system. This, and Wards creepy fetish for Evil heralds the evil to come.
- On a Warhammer Fantasy note, 7th edition Orcs and Goblin book(with really stupid fluff mistakes ans the appearence of a wizard from magic colleges in Gorbad's siege, thousands of years before their foundation. He also teamed up with the long-lost Anthony Reynolds to write the 6th Edition Wood Elves army book. The fluff was passable and the crunch had a few gems (Dryads would have been game-breaking infantry if they could rank up and take a full command).
- Ward's descent into skub and infamy begins with Army Book: Daemons of Chaos, a work of such apocalyptic cheese mongering it is widely credited for single-handedly breaking WHFB while simultaneously reinventing large portions of its fluff. No army could come close to beating it (Dark Elves and Vampire Counts, accepted as 2nd and 3rd powerful in the rankings, generally had to struggle to grab DRAWS!) and the failing attempts at Power Creep to match eventually broke the entire system so hard that Fantasy required a hard reset in the form of the massive shakeup that was 8th edition. Most people write it off as an overeager premier, and whether this was Ward's own work or management fiat remains a point of conjecture.
- Ward is instrumental in the creation of the Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook, 5th Edition rulebook. While the crunch is more or less accepted, much of the fluff openly contradicts previous works (sisters being all but retconned out of the universe for example), and there's considerable attempts to promote certain armies over the others.
- Ward writes Codex: Space Marines for 5th edition. Thousands of neckbeards cry out in terror, and are silenced. While he manages to make this work mechanically stable, it comes at a terrible cost: Ward unilaterally decides to retcon massive amounts of Space Marine fluff and enshrine the Ultramarines as the gold standard for a "proper" space marine. The new fluff reads like Ultramarines fanfic, portraying the smurfs as second to the Emprah in damned-near all regards, and that all Space Marines view Rowboat Girlyman as their spiritual liege. It is about this time that Ward's prejudices against certain chapters start to emerge for the first time.
- Ward writes "War of the Ring", basically Apocalypse for Lord of the Rings and the basis for some of the new rules in the 8th edition of Fantasy, which will help clean up after the mistakes of Daemons of Chaos. The book isn't bad, but the fact the Lord of the Ring's hasn't been popular since 2001-2003, cheesy heroes and units on certain sides (Elves for example) and the fact the book is full of mistakes makes the game easily one sided and boring. Ward is sent back to writing 40k and Fantasy, where his abilities are no better.
- Ward doubles down on his Heresy with Codex: Blood Angels. Any and all pretense of restraint is dropped and the codex is loaded with deep striking Land Raiders, flying librarian dreadnoughts, and ICs that can rip Abaddon's head off and shit down his neck. Ward devises new weapons and abilities for the blood angels, giving them evocative names like blood fists, blood talons, blood reavers, blood croziuses, blood lances, blood boil, and bloodstrike missiles. That's right. "Bloodstrike". (Phil Kelly's wolf-tooth necklaces and wolf-tail talismans sound positively innovative by comparison). The fluff, while not the hate crime against neckbeards his previous work was, still manages to inspire rage by having the Necrons and Blood Angels become Super Secret Pony Princess Unicorn Best Friends Forever (if only temporarily). As fate would have it, this work will not survive the next edition too well and the Necrons team-up does make sense, though it heralds terrible precedents for things to come...
- Ward gives birth to Codex: Grey Knights, fusing the awful fluff and limitless cheese of his two previous works into a single abomination. While Psyflemen sweep tournament after tournament, writefags rage impotently about Kaldor Draigo, Khornate Knights, and the unapologetic rape of over ten years of canon.
- Ward co-authors the new White Dwarf release of Codex: Sisters of Battle. He shows incredible restraint in not turning the codex into another creepy sisters snuff-fic like his previous works, but compensates by basically reverting the Witch Hunters to 2E. The force org chart is gutted out, allies are removed, and the best strategies are promptly eliminated (with a bit of help from the nerfer in chief Robin Cruddance).
- Ward next turns his fell hand to the Necron. He ups the ante again by completely rewriting their backstory, presumably while humming to himself with a shit eating grin plastered to his face. The crons are now insane Tomb Kings, IN SPAAAACE, who want your body. Oh and they turned the C'tan into pokemon. Yea. Mechanics-wise the release fares surprisingly well, trading away some of the more egregious cheese of 3E (Monolith Death March) in order to eliminate its shittiest design flaws (Phase Out) Except that it apparently changes Necrons to the point that it would've been easier to change their name altogether and you know... some people could've taken up Necrons because they liked them as they were. Anyway, in its few improvements, the fluff manages to dodge Matt Ward's greatest flaw.
- Matt Ward
teams up withquietly disposes of Adam Troke and Jeremy Vetock to create Wardhammer 40,000 6th Edition. The whole rulebook promptly turns Codexes: Necrons and Grey Knights into rape trains with no brakes. Every single fa/tg/uy instantly regrets ever thinking the Space Tomb Kings were balanced in the first place. We're talking cheese like 9 fliers in a 1500pt list with flying dedicated transports that don't kill passengers when they crash!! What the fuck. Among other rage-worthy things of note include massive Buffs to already broken beyond reason armies, highly abusable mechanics resulting in severely limited builds for HQ choices (tool for challenges or suffer!) and the Space Marine segments of the fluff being full of yet more Matt Ward Porno.
- Matt Ward rewrites Army Book: Daemons of Chaos. Many neckbeards commit suicide before the official product announcement is out, to save themselves from the predicted cheese. Many Fantasy
Daemon players (They exist?)power gamers also ritually sacrifice themselves, in anticipation of a gargantuan nerfing. In the book, Matt Ward nerfs all the good units of the previous codex, so they become unplayable, puts a lot of random effects, random magic items, no dispel scroll available, and does things such as taking one of the worst units of the previous book (beast of burgle), improve it and reduce its cost by 40 points/each, or giving daemons the best cannon of the game, while he also gives them a "burning charriot" which does not have flaming attacks at all.
- Matt Ward heads the team that makes the 8th edition Warhammer Fantasy update for the High Elves. It's... really, really good. No, really! The Everqueen (and her units) were added back in and come off as pretty awesome. The book also fixes a lot of the cheese that the High Elves got away with in the older book, like "every time we cast spells it's Irresistible Force" and the "we ALWAYS Strike First with fricking Great Weapons." The fluff is good (although it's arguable how much Ward is responsible for the fluff, since it's mostly copy-pasted from earlier editions), and the army is pretty well-balanced, both internally and externally... except for one thing.
- Banner of the Motherfucking World Dragon. 2+ Ward Save against anything magical. And you know what army has only magical attacks? That's right, Daemons of Chaos. Most people feel this is blatantly unfair (hell, most reviews went out of their way to point it out, because it's just that egregious), but a small number chuckle lightly every time it comes up, because they remember the days when Daemons always won. Yet in the previous versions it gave COMPLETE immunity to spells, it was cheaper and there are currently a few spells and rules that ignore ward saves in 8th edition. Furthermore, only one unit in the army benefits from it if the character carrying the banner joins them. Thus rendering those complaints somewhat invalid.
- Writing the Codex: Eldar Supplement about Craftworld Iyanden. It's two pages of crunch with the rest being fluff for $40. Said fluff consists of turning Iyanden into a clone of Biel-Tan, forgetting how the Infinity Circuit works, retconning more or less everything involving Ynnead; and turning Iyanden's leadership into incompetents who didn't think the Tyranids were a serious threat. That said, a number of Eldar players loved it because it's one of the few fluff bits that doesn't treat the Eldar as the universe's punching bag (which is far more than what can be said about most of their fluff), and gave them a little street cred.
- Writing the "Dark Elves" 8th edition update (and according to White Dwarf is now GW's go-to-guy for all things elven in WFB). Good news, the crunch is passable; Dark Elves have army wide Always Strike First like High Elves do while retaining High Elf Hatred. Also Murderous Prowess with some units getting buffed significantly with slight nerfs to balance them (Witch Elves). They also gain a glass cannon sea monster, that doesn't have any rules to let it move through water; justified in fluff so it can't escape its handlers. The bad news is Matt Ward rewrote/ignored much of the established fluff to suit his tastes. First, now Clar Karond is the Beastmasters city instead of Karond Kar like it was in every previous edition. They both deal in slaves but Clar Karond has most of the monsters now, leaving Karond Kar out in the cold (literally in the fluff). Karond Kar has beastmasters, but now Clar Karond's the place to go for them, even though it's also the Dark Elves's main shipyard. Malekith also gets an ex-wife. While not badly written it seems out of character for him and he never had one before. Another change is the fluff suggesting incest between Malekith and Morathi has been removed. An acceptable change, most likely done for GW's new target audience (and their parents). Now it's changed that Morathi is wet for her step-son, Tyrion, who she thinks to use to reincarnate Aenarion in a magic ritual to name a few. It's also worth noting that females are once again depicted as they were before though there's less of them in army, going by the new Dark Elf models and art.
- It's highly likely that he had a hand in the new Wood Elves update (not shocking, since he did the other two elf books for 8th edition, his stated favorite Warhammer Fantasy group is the Wood Elves, and he was wrote their current army book way back when). The fluff is good, though there have been changes to some of the characters, such as Ariel having a dark side and being more gullible (she's manipulated by her arch-enemy Morghur, as well as Morathi), the personality of each incarnation of Orion is influenced by the person sacrificed to revive him, and Skaw the Falconer is no more. The heavy hand of Thorpe-ian writing is also present, jacking off Chaos at the expense of the previously established elf canon. Crunch-wise the Wood Elves are arguably better at shooting than before, but there were some major nerfs handed out to a few things; Dryads, Treemen and especially their magic items. The Lore of Athel Loren is also gone, making the race of isolationists feel more like a race of bipolar copycats.
- Writing Codex: Sentinels of Terra, he was a part of a team effort to write the book and put in charge of writing the fluff. Mostly talks about things anything who has ever read anything about the Imperial Fist would know form other writings. Emphasizes on their Pride and Stubbornness being both their biggest strength and weakness. Went a little to far on the Assaulting when the Fist as best know for deference fighting and "Centurion Squads are awesome" (gotta push the new stuff, and the fluff does only focus on one Crusade) and killing off their Chapter Master. Overall one of his best works.
- Going by the writer's traits below, it looks like Ward may have had a hand in the new Dwarfs codex for WFB. For example, it has good balance with potential broken spammer list (warmachine and/or runic weapon spam). The fluff is mostly unchanged though the few new bits make heavy use of the special characters, and a few uses of the word 'alas'.
- It turns out that Ward quietly left GW on May 2014, with the Wood Elves being his last book. The exact circumstances behind his departure are unknown (as is how nobody knew about this until it was posted on his LinkedIn profile three months after it happened), but seeing that Robin Cruddace is still employed at GW it's not likely that the quality of his work had anything to do with it.
- Because GeeDubs decided upon themselves to credit the "Games Workshop design team" rather than individual authors as of late (gee, I wonder why?), it is best to assume that Mr Ward is now working on every Codex. And nobody will ever know which ones he did and didn't work on.
- However Phil Kelly has admitted the codex writers have been working with each other for a while now, even that some of the Eldar's new rules was in fact Ward's idea.
- Despite taking authors names out of the books to try and fool us, the staff at White Dwarf have obviously not been informed of the new requirement for secrecy, so every time a new Codex comes out, they end up doing interviews with the author anyway to ask them what amount of thought (or lack there-of) went into it's production.
- Though there may be a way to survive the new "Games Workshop design team" route. Each author has their trademarks. While particular traits aren't always exclusive to one author, patterns can be discerned that can help people navigate this hidden minefield. To summarize this guideline can be used;
- Matt Ward trademarks: Rectonning/omitting previous fluff, creating new fluff of moderate quality at best and Heresy at worst, recruiting special characters, overall best internal balance for armies except for a high chance of game breaking spammer lists, Space Marine and Necron fanboyism, spamming the world 'alas', anything relating to elves in WFB (although this is more of a GW sin than "Ward Save" alone going by the Black Library books involving the keebs).
- Jeremy Vetock: Average and/or hilariously epic fluff, balanced armies, occasional bouts of hilariously awesome crunch, although a few REALLY bad units.
- Phil Kelly: Amazing fluff, average to monobuild crunch, random tables, anything relating to Space Elves in 40K.
- Robin Cruddace: Average to stupid fluff, rewriting existing stories to suit his tastes, using special characters in his stories, mediocre crunch unless it has tanks, being a huge treadhead, hating Tyranids.
Why the Hate?
The problem with Matt Ward is a touch complicated, but the biggest issue is the way he writes the fluff. For many, as can be seen by the plethora of /tg/ made chapters here on 1d4chan, the true appeal of 40k is designing a unique, colorful army with a rich history and engaging heroes. A good player of 40k likes to put a certain amount of himself in his lovingly assembled and painted armies, and he likes his army to reflect his own sensibilities and his own ideals. That's what makes an army truly belong to a player – that's what makes them special.
Matt Ward takes those elements away from the player, and hands them to twelve-year-old children new to the hobby. It's our game, not theirs. The biggest rage-inducing codex he has made thus far is the Ultramarines codex, which explicitly stated that all chapters, excluding a few "aberrants", behave and think in exactly the same manner as his army – Ultramarines, his chosen faction. He spelled out the organization patterns, the ideologies, who they revere and why, and then proceeded to tell the community at large that if they don't do it that way, then they're making their army wrong. However, Ultramarines have always been the posterboys and GW's butt buddies, so he just continued the age long tradition of derp. Plus there is more non-Ultramarine fluff than ever before.
Players can still make their own factions, but with Ward's fluff, they'll always be bearing a black mark: the flaw of being unlike Ward's army. The flaw of being unique and of following a set of ideals that don't match Ward's. This could be easily written off as the bitter anger of the old veterans, and on some level, it is - but when analyzing Ward's works, and his reactions to works by other Codex/fluff writers, patterns quickly emerge, and one cannot ignore this. By choosing to be different from the Spiritual Liege, they are choosing to be "lesser." The flaw is inescapable, and Ward enforces it in all his writing with sincerity and vigor.
Even this would not be so much of a problem if it weren't for the fact that Ward just doesn't appear to be, well, very smart or insightful. Either that, or he doesn't seem particularly well-educated in what he writes. His ideas on what makes good warfare and tactics seem based around the idea that might is right and strength equates victory. His grasp of the subtle nuances of conflict and managing people revolve around things far displaced from reality. Ward's heroes lead head first, sacrificing all in frontal assaults that could be circumvented with more ingenuity.
While there is such a thing as a front-line general, the fact is that all of his heroes are like that, and ones that aren't seem both vague and unfocused (to be fair all of the factions he has written are front-line generals types long before he wrote them). Furthermore, Matt does a lot of telling rather than showing. He tells us that Marneus Calgar is a patient tactical genius who considers the danger of an incoming projectile before taking cover. The image painted in the average person's mind in that case is one of Calgar analyzing a falling bomb until it strikes him in the head and explodes, at which point he decides, “Yes, that one was dangerous, I probably should have taken cover from that one".
The biggest offender of Matt's “tell not show” policy is Kaldor Draigo, the Grey Knights' supreme grand master, whose main personality trait is “badass”. Without rhyme, reason, or feasible explanation, Draigo simply exists as this whirlwind of enemy-destroying fiction in his codex. He pops in and out of the Warp, wrecking everything, everywhere, without so much a minute of exposition or explanation. Draigo is a concept – a meaningless one without any emotional impact. He's not a person or anything to which the average man can relate. Ward has simply declared him the best ever, and he has done so in canon, so it is so. This isn't helped much by the fact that Grey Knights are a very "Tell not Show" Chapters, ever since they were made every amazing feat they do there are a dozen more form some guy no one has ever hear of doing something no one else remembers.
To be fair, Matt can write reasonably decent fluff, like The World Engine (which this former necron player admits is awesome despite ripping off Star Wars in several ways; the World Engine is just a renamed Death Star, and the Rebel Fle- ahem SPACE MARINES have to destroy it) , Castellan Crowe (who even this severely butthurt daemonhunters-now-GK-player has to admit IS pretty fucking cool) or Trazyn the Infinite, but for some reason he does not use this talent very often, sticking to cheap pathos, Mary Sues and insane amount of illogical favoritism. As with fluff goes, he also able to create a perfectly balanced crunch like Space Marine codex, or Necrons before 6th edition edition buffed them to the stratosphere. The fact he continues creating shitty fluff and cheesy crunch while having enough skill and talent to craft a masterpiece is actually make people hate him even more - if he can do good work, why so persistently insist on writing shit?
Another problem with the simple "Ignore the Ward's Fluff" idea is that for many fluff players, the canon lore does matter to them, and though try as they might to ignore the glaring fact the canon fluff is forever altered by creating little pockets of what they believe 'should be' the fluff, it all feels exactly as it sounds; a personal delusion that ignores the facts: One day, it was found out that your family doesn't exist, and while you can still maintain the belief that they do, it will never be true; that's how it feels. And it is painful either way.
The controversy over Ward is so great that every Codex has at least one rumor that he has a hand in writing it, typically started by some fag who wants attention. Like any meme, eventually people have become tired of it. Ward threads tend to met with a response of 'meh' rather than overwhelming hate these days, though /tg/ tends to weep for the unfortunate army under the knife for a potential Ward-Codex.
There are other theories, and there is evidence that suggests that Ward's not entirely to blame. It is entirely possible that Ward may very well just be a talented writer who is basically being ground into the dirt by the GW corporate machine, and that he's just writing some of the shit he writes in an effort to just get his next damn paycheck and to be done with it... But this immediately is undermined irrevocably by a huge number o statements he, himself, has personally has said; reading his "spiritual liege" ramble for example tends to halt any momentum the sympathy-machine might have been building for him. It is, by his actions and his own words, just likely that he is actually a hack who nevertheless does occasionally have some gems come to him, and that for every diamond he gives us, he throws out chunks of asbestos and lead. There is no denying that Ward is better than several alternatives, but it is likewise an undeniable fact that GW has infinitely more-talented people in terms of both fluff and crunch at their disposal. At best, the theory that Ward is a victim in all of this must be taken with a grain of salt, if not outright suspicion as best. It should be noted that ever since the Hours Heresy Novels Games-Workshop has been reediting the lore of 40k, while this resulted in a much tighter community than before its been ripping the older apart and changing it. As Ward primary writes the factions that would be effected by this lore change the most many of his "fluff rape" may in fact be GW mandated in order to pave the way for the new lore.
Make no mistake, it cannot be denied that he filled in fluff for armies that previously had essentially no personality at all (Necrons) and has given excellent crunch upgrades for armies (before 6th edition hit, anyway), and Ward does deserve credit for this. However, for every success of fluff he's done, there's a bunch of Kaldor Draigos and Khornate Knights and Blood Angel/Necron Pony Best Friends Forever and complete changes to existing fluff on the nature of Daemons to sift through - and in the eyes of a staggering plurality on /tg/, that's a big part of why he's disliked. The violations are so glaring, so completely immersed in original sin, that even the large amount of good work he's done is not enough to overpower the bad. Meaning the most likely problem is Ward is a writer that needs an editor, this isn't an bad thing mind you many good writers have then, and up until Necrons GW didn't give him one.
Whether you decide Ward deserves the rage and hate he gets, write it off as a sad consequence of his earlier work, pity him for working for GW, or simply don't give a shit is entirely your call. As ever, on /tg/, we urge you to make your own decisions. Either way, he's not the best writer they have, not the worst, and his reputation will follow him in every endeavor he goes from now till time immemorial, for good or for ill.
That said, hatred for him is dying down these days as the quality of his work has improved, and even some of the neckbeards who despised him at first are willing to forgive him now, especially in light of the clusterfuck that was the 6th edition Tyranids codex.
In any case, these days; Hatred is directed at Jervis Johnson (and his...controversial beliefs about game design) and GW as a whole as GW has made it clear it has no interest in balance or tighntness and clarity of rules set in favour of "forging the narrative" and what amounts to shoving DLC down our throats to get the flavour or competetiveness the gamers want out of their armies. And also massive random chart fetishes, because deciding whether you're going to win or lose purely because of some dice rolls that happen before the shooting ever starts is fun.
See Khornate Knights.
(There were several other incidents that were seen as evidence of this, but due to the amount of arguments they caused, were removed from here. If you want to find out about it, please save it for the discussions page and be polite).
Your Fault As Well
Perhaps another reason why fa/tg/uys hate ward so much is due to, despite the hatred for him, his success. The case is rather clear - look at the number of people playing Grey Knights, Blood Angels, Necrons these days, ruthlessly exploiting every bit of cheese they can and purchasing up all the new shiny overpriced models for them.
Ward is your greatest enemy and yet you feed him on your very souls and cash. If you truly wanted things to change you would refuse his codexes, adapting previous versions. You would not purchase models based on these new codexes and make it clear to your local GW store why you are not. You would defiantly raise the middle finger to GW until they understood that enough was enough.
On the other hand, oohhh, look at all the shiny Stormravens. Maybe Ward will give the
Black Templars Dark Angels FLYING Dreadnaughts. Luckily he hasn't...Yet. Wouldn't that be so cool? And it happened. Now the Stormraven is available to Vanilla Marines (read: Ultrasmurfs) and Black Templars.
Thankfully, it's not all bad news.
/tg/ has gotten shit done in its time-honored tradition, and now boasts a veritable legion of players who are rage casting or using alternate methodologies (such as using GS modeling) in order to bypass the pricey barriers brought about by GW's tendency to charge upwards of 75 dollars for a hill of dirt in a terrain piece. Considering that Games Workshop has been slowly bleeding money for years even with the shiny new content, there's no question that /tg/ is definitely having an impact in this endeavor - though to what degree is a matter of conjecture.
However with the release of Tyranids an all around agree underpower book, it shows that Games-Workshop is hurt WORST than any butthurt of an Overpowered book /tg/ has. This is compare with Oldcron and Deamonhunter, weaker less popular armies that brought in some newfags when Matt Ward wrote new codexes for them.
Sometimes it feels that Matt Ward is a scapegoat used by GW in order to hide behind when they make a mistake. Sure Matt Ward probably shouldn't be allowed to touch any Codex, but there is no way he could be involved in price increases or digital copies of codexes that are the same price as paper back books. That all falls under the purview of the GW Shadow leadership.
Gallery of Fail
This is how Matt Ward views Spess Mehreens.
- Matt Ward's official homepage Surprisingly, there's an article of his here that makes the accusations of misogyny against him fall flat.
- A heretic most foul tries to defend his Spiritual Liege. The comments section was lost to the warp when the blog changed host, but it must have been a thing to behold.