I'll admit it.
I am tempted by the new Empire army.
Ok I don't know how the points work out, but I rather like the idea of the lazer wagon things, the only thing that really stops me is that I want something that contrasts my Ogres, and there is too much WS3 in the Empire book to really do that.
What I don't understand is the negativity surrounding the new book - not least because in all honesty I don't think much has changed.
I'm not sure if Empire players have noticed, but the new 8th ed books offer players choices - and pretty hard choices at that. So the idea that the army is 'nerfed' due to changes to units that have seemingly become the 'only' build is a sign of just how dated the book is. Curiously Vampire players have embraced this new found freedom, and no doubt when the book eventually reaches eager hands of a wider player base, the debate will break out of the sterile twatishness of the big mouthed 'experts' that feel the need to criticise everything.
Frankly some of the chatter has been bizarre. For instance, people have been complaining about the Steam Tank being reduced to T6. Supposedly this is a sign of the book being Cruddified (*rolly eyes*), and the 'experts' point to the Tyranid codex. However a brief glance at the still current codex shows the Steam Tank as being.... eh.... T6. The interwebz warriors would have it that this change is as a result of the book being not properly playtested. Which surely flies in the face of all reason, as the change to T10 happened with the 8th ed FAQ, the studio have seen this change in action for nearly two years, and it seems perfectly reason that they have taken the decision that T10 was mistake.
The 'nerfing' of the mortar is also not as it seems.
A few months ago there was a story doing the rounds of a casual conversation involving Jervis Johnson at Warhammer World. According to reports Mr Johnson was of the opinion that the mortar would move to the small template. Let's not forget the armoured Butcher issue here. So clearly the decision had been taken that the mortar was too good, and needed to be balanced - (ignore that it is a howitzer) - so the question is, would it have been better to have S3, small template or S2, large template? Keeping in mind that it was going to get a points increase whatever.
Honestly the way people are talking it's easy to forget that the Empire has access to all the magic laws, cheap mages, and a wide variety of troops, and that the changes - rumours - have offered an increased number of options to tailor a list. In short to do what everyone who has a new book has had to do - experiment, and make up their own mind about what sort of army they want to play.