One Night with Warhammer+
Warhammer+ is finally here—having launched this past Wednesday—and I managed to break through the labyrinthine registration process and sit down for a few hours to watch as much of it as I could before the long night took me. For those just finding out about this here, Warhammer+ is Games Workshop's entry into the VOD streaming world. They've managed to nab some indy animators to do some original, fictional, shows, and they have a slew of hobby-related content ranging from battle reports, to painting tutorials. I'm going to be talking about as much of it as I can below, but if you're waiting for my verdict with bated breath, then I'll just let you know here that I like it very much.
Warhammer+ is made up of a few different apps and websites, that together comprise its total service. These are Warhammer TV (site and app), the Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Age of Sigmar apps, and the Warhammer Vault. Right now Warhammer TV is available on a web browser, through a phone and tablet app, and on certain digital media players (Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku), with more to follow soon. The Warhammer 40,000 app is available on phone and tablet, the Warhammer Age of Sigmar app is still in development, and the Warhammer Vault is solely through the web. Signing up gets you access to all these, as well as an exclusive miniature, and VIP perks at official Warhammer events (not much info on what that will look like).
When it first launched on Wednesday there were some bugs signing up. I was already subscribed to the Warhammer 40,000 app, which was unknowingly causing my My Warhammer account to not know what the hell was going on, and just dumping me back to the sign-up page. I gave up before going to work, chalking it up to the mass of people trying to sign up at the same time. Later, they provided a flowchart that let me know that I had to go into my Apple App Store account and upgrade my 40k app subscription to the full Warhammer+ one. I opted for a paying for a year in advance ($84.99 CDN), but I could've also done an $8.49/month subscription.
Warhammer TV is really the star of the show. It's got all the animations, as well as the Masterclass and Battle Report shows on there. Each program is around twenty minutes, except for the battle reports which are around an hour. New content appears every Wednesday, which is really going to make that day one I look forward to. The site is laid out really well, displaying all the shows in easy to see boxes which open up to display all the individual episodes of the shows. It's got all the usual accoutrements you'd expect from a streaming service except it, frustratingly, doesn't have the ability to make any of the videos fullscreen. You read that right; unlike YouTube, or really any other video player you'll see online, you can't make the shows fullscreen on a desktop. They take up the full browser, and that might take up your monitor's full screen, but you'll always see your browser along the edge.
Angels of Death
This is the big one for me. As you well know, I love the Blood Angels, and this show is all about them. It's stylistically animated to be in black and white except for the color red, which jumps out at you on the screen. So far the story's great, and the animation is awesome (save some awkward desynchronization between some characters' mouths and their speech). I will admit, I got a little choked up seeing all the stuff I'd loved for over twenty years finally on screen. The depiction of the 41st millennium is great to see in motion.
Hammer and Bolter
This is an anthology show that has a comic book-like animation style. It's not as fluid as most animations, but it still looks neat. There are only three stories on it right now, and they're all set in the 41st millennium, so I can't wait to see what they have in store for Age of Sigmar. "Death's Hand" is a cool look at a death-obsessed inquisitor's struggles against his own shadowy organization. "Bound for Greatness" was my favorite, and shows just how oppressive life in the 41st millennium is, and how perfidious the touch of Chaos is. It leans more on the psychological horror, than the action-packed "Death's Hand." The third was "Old Bale Eye," which Games Workshop previewed last weekend for free. It's the story of Commissar Yarrick, as told by an ork runt-herd to a couple of ork yoofs. It's pretty funny, and what I love most about it is how it depicts ork speech, taking it back to its roots, as opposed to the more, shall we say, crude style it can sometimes take on in recent years.
Citadel Colour Masterclass
This is a painting show that takes Games Workshop's already-impressive painting tutorials to a new level. So far the two tutorials include painting faces, and wet blending. The show is hosted by Louise Sugden, who's an impressive painter, and a seemingly natural presenter as well. There's not much more to say about this program other than besides Angels of Death, it's going to be the one I'm glued to most. I'm going to try out both techniques on my next project just to up my painting game.
I'll admit, I always skimmed over the battle reports in White Dwarf magazine, and I can't say I've watched too many of the popular YouTube channels that feature a lot of them, but I watched the Age of Sigmar one and I really liked it. The models were beautiful, the terrain was great, and it was easy to follow. I was thoroughly entertained. The two hosts of the episode, Patrick and Nick, knew what they were talking about and gave insight into their decisions. This kind of makes me want to check out other battle report shows that may be out there.
Warhammer TV also has a bunch of other videos Games Workshop has done, including a lot of their free citadelcolour.com ones, as well as their cinematic trailers they drop with big game releases. It also has a series of learn-to-play videos, which were available previously on their YouTube channel.
Warhammer Vault is where they put old issues of White Dwarf (right now they only go back to issue 450, January 2020), Warhammer Visions, and the fiction from out of print campaign supplements (so far only Gathering Storm for 40k, and the original Age of Sigmar hardcover). The pdfs are pretty slow to load (a Warhammer Visions one took over two minutes to load), but it's nice to have access to the fiction for books I didn't feel the need to spend money or shelf space on. I can't wait to see what else they put on here (especially if it's more, older, issues of White Dwarf)
Let's be honest, it's cool to get exclusive miniatures. This time around the choice was between an Orruk Megaboss for Age of Sigmar or a Vindicare Assassin in a cool, elevated, sniper nest (with the option to buy the other later on). I went with the assassin as I have an Imperial army that he can go in, whereas I don't have an orruk army for AoS. The VIP perks at Warhammer events haven't been elaborated on yet (possibly due to the lack of official events), but I'm pretty excited by that. I've never been a VIP for anything, and while I doubt any official events will darken Vancouver, BC's doorways, I'm willing to travel to one, once things settle down vis-à-vis the pandemic.
Overall, I'm glad I made this purchase, and in the meantime, I can see myself getting my money's worth out of it. After tax, I paid $95 Canadian, which considering I get a model at the end of the year (let's say it's $45 Canadian like a lot of single Warhammer figures are), that means that for $4.17 a month I get to watch high-level painting tutorials and animations of my favorite sci-fi settings. I know that when the AoS app is finished, I'll get my use out of that one too. Like a lot of gaming stuff, I always recommend you consider the cost/benefit to yourself. It would be nice if they offered a trial version so that you could see if any of the shows or painting tutorials check any of your boxes, but for myself I was not disappointed.