Change is coming, big changes for X-wing Second Edition. Despite all of the new mechanics, the classic ships returning to glory, and the exclusion of much hated upgrades(bye bye TLT), I think one of the biggest changes coming is the community’s views on factions. X-wing 1.0, to play competitively, required you to buy all of the factions. For the longest time, the best upgrades were only available in one faction’s blisters. Tie Defenders were referred to as ‘oh that ship that comes with the Predator expansion’ way before Starvipers brought Autohrusters to the table. But it was manageable, X-wing blisters are relatively cheap in tabletop gaming terms and most players would alternate through all three factions. Heck, this past Store Champs season, I flew all three factions to decent results. However 2.0 is bringing the sequel era ships, the Resistance and the First Order, as there very own separate factions. The game is growing from 3 to 5 factions. This is quite the jump. Yet with this growth, the distribution model for upgrade cards for X-wing 2.0 is also growing for the better. In multiple streams and Youtube videos, the FFG team members have repeatedly stated that no longer will a player be required to buy ships in multiple factions to collect all available upgrades. This is following the Legion and even the Runewars model for expansions and upgrade cards. This is a massive improvement over the 1.0 model, but Legion and Runewars have much more in common with themselves than they do with X-wing.
X-wing, at its core, is a skirmish game. The range of ships in a list only ranges from 2 to 8. Legion and Runewars are more traditional war games. I don’t play Runewars, but I do play a bit of Legion so I know the direct comparisons here. My rebel list for Legion consists of over 30 models. It’s a whole platoon of soldiers and vehicles while X-wing only brings a small wing of fighters and freighters to the fight. The cost to put a full 800 point Legion army for OP events vastly outpaces the cost to put a X-wing list together. FFG themselves even published multiple articles on how to assemble lists for $100(FFG’s 101 article ). Nand Torfs even brought the list he authored to a second place worlds finish! So what is my point? Of course Legion costs more and requires more minis than X-wing. My point is the community’s expectations of how many factions one person will play are a key difference in these games, or rather was a key difference.
Legion follows a different upgrade card distribution model because FFG expects players to only play one faction. This is a key paradigm shift that is happening to X-wing players. X-wing pilots can specialize in one faction and not be hamstrung by not having access to the best available upgrades. X-wing players will not be expected to buy or convert all 5 factions to stay in the competitive scene. I’ve many concerns over the cost and contents of the new conversion kits. The price to convert 5 factions plus a mandatory core set does start to get pretty steep, but I argue that players don’t need to convert to all 5 factions. We must learn to let go. I myself will likely not upgrade my First Order and Resistance ships. I’d be perfectly happy to only purchase a core and one imperial conversion kit to start out. Imperials are my favorite and I’m sure I’d get months of play and enjoyment out of that $90 purchase.
So I understand the trepidation of players with large collections, especially those who favor epic play. However I think the X-wing community will shift over to time to mimicking other more traditional war games and have players specialize in 1 or 2 factions, but not all of them. Imagine if FFG actually did come out with prequel era factions, or the Yuuzhan Vong, or split Scum into Black Sun and Hutt Cartels, that would mean X-wing would have even more factions! Maintaining that many different fleets just wouldn’t be economically viable for most people. But here’s the kicker, we aren’t expected to either.
Cheers and happy hunting.