03 May 2013

Wave 3 Speculation and Conjecture, Er- I Mean Rumors, Part 2

I had this done last night as usual, I swear! I messed up the damn scheduler function. My bad, y'all!

As The Star Wars Game Experience officially starts today, this is the last chance any of us have to speculate on what Wave 3 will bring to our tables. I thought it might be fun to do just one more round of wishlisting, predicting, or just flat out hoping for what Wave 3 might bring as my next article will surely be revealing the new stuff. 

For those of y'all not in the know, this weekend up in Minnesota at FFG HQ, they're having a big ol' Star Wars extravaganza for all three of the FFG Star Wars games- X-Wing Miniatures, Edge of the Empire, and the Star Wars Card Game, but more importantly- the next four ships for X-Wing are going to be unveiled. Rest assured, dear readers, as soon as I hear what they are, or better yet see pics, I'll post them here on TheMetalBikini.com for y'all to check out. 

(If you're wondering, yeah, this is as close to groveling for someone to send me pics and info actually from Minnesota as you're going to get. As for why I'm not attending, well, honestly, I figured I'd have to work this weekend and it just never even entered my head as a possibility. Next year though... next year fo sho. :) )

What we know so far

Well, first, let's get this out of the way. The Upcoming section of the FFG website lists all of the Wave 1 Expansions as being reprinted May 2013. The Core Set, Dice Pack, and Wave 2 Expansions are listed further down as being reprinted Q3 2013.

How likely are those dates to be, you know, valid? Weeeeellllllll, there's a factory icon by the Wave 1 stuff which according to their little symbol legend, means "At the printer". The step after that is "On the boat", the step after that is "Shipping now", then the final step is "In stores now." I want to believe, but as it's already May 3, I have a hard time buying all that. Who knows though, could be wrong and I'm hopeful that I am. Especially for the Europeans- good Lord, those guys really seem to get the shaft when it comes to getting X-Wing stuff remotely on time. 

The Wave 2 stuff along with the Core Sets and Dice Pack have a computer symbol by them which signifies that they're "In development." I know, I know, they're already developed. Don't shoot the messenger, baby. Just telling you what I'm seeing on there. For what it's worth, "In development" is the step prior to "At the printer."

Main takeaway here is ignore those eBay sellers who are claiming that FFG are never going to make Wave 1 or Wave 2 Expansions ever again. 

As for Wave 3, in this FFG News article, it says...

Along with our full weekend of exciting events and engaging competitions, we’ll announce the next four starship miniatures for X-Wing! Be there when we draw back the curtain and unveil, for the first time ever, four ships that are sure to shake up the X-Wing metagame when they arrive in stores later this year.

What’s more, you’ll be able to meet and speak with our X-Wing developers, and get their opinions on how these upcoming four ships will affect the game. Be there Friday evening when we reveal the ships, then attend the X-Wing Q&A on Saturday, May 4th at 2:30pm, where our developers will discuss the four new ships and take questions about their role in X-Wing.


All right, so first off, they'll be revealed Friday (as in tonight) evening. Secondly, they're four starship miniatures- so any talk of them releasing turbolaser turrets and similar models appears to be right out. Third, it says they're sure to shake up the metagame. 

Shake up the metagame? What's that mean? 


What we think we might know

Well, I think that's kind of the million dollar question right now, isn't it? If we're going to speculate about how these new ships are going to shake up the current metagame, we ought to maybe try and identify what the current metagame is. 

So what's metagaming exactly? 

Well, it can take on several different meanings, but to me at least, it's kind of like having an idea of how to prepare for something you really shouldn't have any idea about. Kinda like if you're playing D&D and your DM has the party make a perception check that is subsequently failed, and in response, everyone starts busting out weapons, readying spells, and drawing back bows because they think something's about to jump out and get them. Or maybe it's class selection- like I call you up before we start playing and say, "I really want to play a Rogue, BC's gonna play a Warrior, so you should make a Cleric" or whatever, when in reality, left to our own devices, we might have all turned up with Rogues or something. 

In any case, ever since I read that sentence, I've been trying to think of what the current metagame is for X-Wing that the devs are going to shake up. In a way, I've kind of been metagaming the statement- the question kind of isn't, "What's the current metagame?" It's more like, "What do the Devs think is the current metagame?" Or perhaps even, "What did the Devs think would be the current metagame when they designed the Wave 1 and 2 ships?" 

After all, it seems kinda unlikely they've only been working on Wave 3 since the beginning of March. I mean yeah, could be they already knew what ships they'd make, but waited until the last minute for rules, but I don't know. Still doesn't seem right to me. 

Anyway, I have no idea what they think the current metagame is or how they'd go about shaking it up with these new starships, because I'm not really sure what they believe the meta to be. The only things that occur to me that would be big enough for them to see coming as far down the road as they must have been during development would be really, really big stuff like adding another faction or some heretofore unavailable abilities like the Boost card that factored into the Wave 2 stuff.

As for what that Boost card type thing might be, I don't know, maybe it'll be the ability to attack a target twice to represent the extra firepower of a TIE Bomber, B-Wing, or Assault Gunboat (assuming of course they make any of those miniatures).  Maybe it'll be some sort of reinforced Hull modification; after all, it's the only stat that can't be buffed up somehow right now. Or maybe it'll be something crazy like a hyperdrive modification that lets a ship deploy somewhere besides the deployment zone. Maybe it's a ship with some sort of tractor beam emitter or gravity well array that messes with a target ship's template. I think any of those seem somewhat plausible without adding in a bunch of extra rules for additional layers of complexity I've seen others speculate about, namely more detailed stuff like angled deflector shields or linking weapons like you could do in X-Wing and TIE Fighter for PC. Those seem more destined for a X-Wing Miniatures: Second Edition than to be included with new starships. 

Speaking of which- starships. Starships. For what it's worth (which, could be not much, admittedly), if you read the product descriptions, you'll find that all three Rebel starfighters are referred to as being just that- starfighters. Not starships. Imperial stuff and the YT-1300 aren't referred to by either term- just their proper names. They talk about starships in that excerpt  above though. Does that mean we'll be getting the Lambda Shuttle after all? If so, how exactly does that shake up the metagame? Maybe starships kind of fall into a "medium" class between the small ships and the large ships and have slightly different rules and bigger bases? I don't know how much bigger a TIE Bomber is, but you could make a case for a B-Wing and Lambda being "medium" ships in this game. 

Ok, so there's a lot of speculation, what do I think will actually happen? 

My safe bet is we end up with what we think we're ending up with; that is, the rest of the stuff from the movies and well known extended universe. In my opinion that'd be the B-Wing, TIE Bomber, Lambda Shuttle, and a Z-95 Headhunter. The B-Wing and Z-95 are for the Rebels and the Bomber and the Lambda are for the Imperials. 

My off-the-wall bet is we see the same stuff I listed above, but the B-Wing and TIE Bomber are the only faction-specific ships in the Wave; the other two can be taken by either faction.

My "Sure to shake up the meta" bet involves crazy stuff like repair ships, re-arming ships, or medical ships that can remove face-up Pilot cards along with Spaarti Cloning Cylinders that let you include more than one copy of a unique pilot in your list.

My disappointed bet is they release stuff from Episodes 1-3; 2 New Republic, 2 whatever those bad guys were- Trade Federation or whatever. The New Republic stuff can be used by the Rebels, the other stuff by the Imperials. Or vice versa. I don't know if the New Republic would be more likely to end up being Rebel or Imperial. Hell, maybe that's the meta shakeup- maybe it's four New Republic ships and either faction can use any of them. 

In any case, I'm betting these Wave 3 ships are going to drop alongside the Wave 2 reprints. I just hope they're accurate with that Q3 projected release date and they actually produce stuff in quantities that allow everyone who wants them to buy them without having to pre-order to ensure they get the stuff they want. My God, has anyone ever stopped to think how much bigger this game would be if they actually made enough stuff to meet demand? Sheesh!

So what do y'all think? B-Wing and Bomber for sure or have I talked you out of that notion with all this starship talk? Is anyone else at least somewhat surprised that even at this late date we really have no idea what's coming? Maybe it's my years as a GW customer, but you gotta admit, FFG's leak control is pretty impressive, no?