Now that so many of your questions have been answered, how will the community react?
As a community, we are so used to resolving issues ourselves, that the new FAQ almost seems like an after thought. This does not, of course, lessen my appreciation for the fact that GW did what they said they would do. I think for most of us, the FAQ is a good thing, and that we will welcome the clarification it provides. Some, of course, are already nerd raging about certain things; sorry, only Vision can move through walls! And then there is the "one-shot" grenade "nerf" for those hoping to assault a vehicle and Krak grenade it to death; I know Dreads are SO hard to kill without it. Like sharing? No more sharing transports for you, even with your best buddies. The Void Shield change that eliminates the "toe in the water" syndrome. Most are glad for the information/clarity. Some, as you would expect, are not. But no rule set will satisfy everyone. GW has listened and responded. Now let's get on with it and play our game.
Dis' Ain't No GAME!
Does it make the game more balanced? There's the 40K "B-word." Simply put, it will not. Moreover, it was not meant to provide balance. It's main purpose is to clarify questions that have resulted from wording of a not-so-watertight ruleset (as though such a thing actually exists in any minatures game; don't get me started, please!). Seeking balance in 40K is like playing Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha. No matter how tight the rule set, someone will seek to maximize their advantage, and balance becomes a proverbial ghost. The FAQ doesn't address balance because the rules weren't meant to be abused; the writers consider them inherently balanced. As stated earlier; some will like the answers provided and some will not. Which brings us to another point...
What about those who already write their own FAQs and modify rule sets? Modifying rule sets does not balance the game; it merely meets the needs of specific constituencies that exist in the 40K community. Honestly, why should the "modifiers" care what the FAQ says? They pick and choose from the existing ruleset as it is, or ban certain units/builds. It does not stand to reason that any FAQ responses that don't fit their vision of how the game should be played will be any more acceptable than certain published, specific rules are now. Given their rationale of "everybody changes the rules," it would at least be consistent. What is not consistent is their application of rules modifications/nerfs/bans. For example, let's modify/nerf certain psychic powers because they are "too powerful/disruptive." OK, then help me understand how allowing two Stormsurges in the same army list is not way more powerful than a psychic power that, according to the new FAQ, can only be cast once? Are they going to nerf the new Sorcerer Cabal because it is "too powerful" as well? They also talk about Grav being too powerful, yet even six Grav Cents would be extremely lucky to kill a Stormsurge in a single turn. It has long been understood that we should do whatever we want as a community with the rules. And, to be fair, if a part of the community wants to play a certain way, it is their right to do so. Just be consistent when you call something "too powerful' or "too disruptive" to the competitive play scene; especially if you are picking and choosing from a FAQ that the parent company which created 40K was finally responsive enough to create.
Authors disclaimer...it may seem that after my rant/segue in the previous paragraph, that I am some kind of ITC hater. Nothing further from the truth. I have been listening to Reece and Frankie since the summer of 2015. I respect the passion they have for our hobby, and for their professional commitment to grow the tournament scene. It is more than apparent that they work their asses off for their constituents and to make the hobby a better place to play. I would be proud to buy them both an adult beverage of their choice if I ever get the chance to meet them in person. What I don't like is their inconsistency in picking which rules/units/weapons to modify/nerf. I have provided a couple of examples in the preceding paragraph. But as in all thing where folks share a common interest, there will be disagreements. This is such a case.
I will categorize how I think different segments of the 40K community at large will respond. I break this into three groups; casual gamers, non-ITC TOs, and the ITC compliant organized gamers...
- Casual gamers: This group will most likely accept the responses as written. If it says that I can't load my Admech into Drop Pods anymore, then I won't. For the most part, casual gamers adhere to RAW anyway, with a few tweaks using house rules now and again. For example, my local meta uses the Malestrom cards in a way that we feel minimizes the randomness that many in the competitive scene dislike. Overall, I think this group will talk about the changes, then go about their business playing the game.
- Non-ITC TOs: I would think this group will also welcome the clarification this FAQ, in its final form, should provide. I would anticipate TOs in this group modifying their own FAQs to align with the new document, and to support any reasonable local meta dissention.
- ITC TOs: I strongly believe that while this document is most welcome by the folks in the ITC, that it is more of a sidebar for them. They have, and should (just listened to SFTF Episode 430), pat themselves on the back for any FAQ responses that are consistent with decisions they have already made. However, I can already see those wheels turning, considering which parts of the FAQ to ignore/modify. I just can't see this FAQ having that large an impact on ITC play. Their own tome is already extensive (24+ pages) enough to absorb any system shock that might occur. Moreover, their propensity to modify the rule set gives them the room to allow this thing to "walk on by."
They heard us!
The community as a whole seems to have welcomed this FAQ for what is appears to be: an honest attempt by GDub to respond to the 40K community in a way that shows they are at least making the effort to listen to us. How different "factions" within the community react will certainly depend on their individual perspectives and how invested they are in the game. Some play it for recreation; Others own businesses that depend on the success of GW as a company. Whatever the response, it is great to see that our favorite minatures company seems to finally be attending to the most crucial aspect of their business...customers.