Insider 1-13-2011

We don’t typically give titles to Privateer Insider blogs, but if this blog had a title, it would be: “Mommy, where do models come from?” It’s time for a “birds–and–the–bees” blog about model concepts. The models of WARMACHINE and HORDES are much more than a collection of numbers on a card to us, and some of them have rather interesting origin stories.

As we head into the model concepting process for the book after the book after WARMACHINE: Wrath, I figured I’d share a few thoughts on where these models really come from.

The most common model origin by far is the setting itself. The Iron Kingdoms is a very real place to folks like Matt Wilson, Jason Soles, and Doug Seacat. Elements of the setting frequently make their way into model form, even if it takes years for that to happen. Alexia Ciannor, Dannon Blythe, and the Ragman are just a few examples of models that arose from characters within the setting. While there are definitely elements of the Iron Kingdoms that would not make ideal WARMACHINE or HORDES models, there remains a wealth of new possibilities that will shape model entries for years to come.
Another way models come about is through brainstorming ideas to fit a book entry. Some might assume this is the most common origin of models, but in reality it’s a distant second. Factions don’t need to have the exact same menu of warjacks, units, and solos in order to be balanced with one another. From as far back as the original printing of WARMACHINE: Prime, factions had differences in model type quantities. However, there are times when it makes sense to treat factions equally. In those cases, if we do not have an existing concept for one particular faction, we’ll brainstorm some options and choose one that is fitting from both a story and gameplay standpoint.

We also occasionally create models to fit specific gameplay needs or wants. This is not the same thing as creating models that conflict with a faction’s strengths and weaknesses. A SPD 7 character Juggernaut might fit a game play want for some Khador players, but I’m referring more to models that enhance a desired theme. Most such models’ concepts come from within the setting itself, but others are created specifically to fill a niche.

By means of one origin story example, I pitched the Stinger to Jason Soles early on in the Forces of HORDES: Legion of Everblight development process. I really enjoy the background of the Legion warbeasts. They are living weapons that are putty in the hands of Everblight and his chosen warlocks, limited in form only by the imagination and purpose of their master. I also really wanted to see the first new lesser warbeast since Primal from a game play standpoint. Lesser warbeasts are a unique and compelling aspect of the faction, and their options support and enhance the Spawning Vessel’s versatility. The Stinger changed numerous times throughout the development and playtest process, but the core concept still captures the elements of setting and game play that drove me to draft up some ideas and submit them in the first place.

And that’s where models come from.