Warhammer 40,000: 10 Things We Love About The Warhammer 40,000 Universe

Games Workshop, Warhammer 40000
Yes, Space Marines are one of the things we love.

10 Reasons Why We Love the Warhammer 40,000 Universe

Games Workshop has produced some great tabletop and PC games, but it is the settings behind these games that keeps fans coming back for more. Over the past ten years games like Dawn of War and Space Marine have turned a lot of PC gamers on to the Warhammer 40,000 universe, creating a whole new legion of fans. Whether you're a die-hard fanatic or new to the lore, here is a list of 10 reasons why we love the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

10. The Setting

Warhammer 40000, Games Workshop

Everything about Warhammer 40,000 is on an epic scale.

In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, nothing happens by halves. Let's just start with the name: it's Warhammer 40,000 because everything takes place in the 41st millennium. It's not a few hundred years in the future like many science fiction settings, or even a few thousand; this is 38,000 years from now!

The huge time scale means that everything else feels epic has well. Humans have expanded to over a million inhabited worlds in 38,000 years, which means that planets and even entire star systems can be destroyed or sucked into the chaotic Warp without anyone batting an eye.

Spaceships the size of cities roam the emptiness of space; new gods are born from the vices of men and aliens; immortal robots slumber on forgotten planets, waiting for the right time to remake the universe. As large as the universe is, however, in Warhammer 40,000 even a single person has the power to change everything, and that is why we love it.

9. The Factions

There are more than just Space Marines out there.

The Warhammer 40,000 universe is massive, and is suitably full of diverse factions all fighting for survival – or domination. The Imperium of Man, as humanity is called, includes the iconic Space Marines and the vast Imperial Guard, and is spread out over a million worlds.

Mankind is nevertheless outnumbered, and is in a constant fight for survival against the forces of Chaos and a vast array of aliens including Orks, Tau, Tyranids, Necron, and the Eldar. Each race is unique, with its own heroes, history, and goals. Whether you support the God-Emperor, the Chaos gods, or the WAAAGH!, there is a faction for you in Warhammer 40,000.

8. The Stories

There is always a new story to be told in Warhammer 40,000.

Warhammer 40,000 has been around for nearly thirty years, and in that time Games Workshop has created an extensive history for the universe and the various factions in it. However, the vast scale of the Warhammer 40,000 universe means that there are always new stories to tell.

Players are encouraged to create their own planets, their own Space Marine Chapters, their own Ork clans. Battles can have global consequences without contradicting the established lore of the universe. This kind of freedom is rare in many games, and is one of the best things about Warhammer 40,000.

7. The Brutality

This is exactly why we love Warhammer 40,000.

Warhammer 40,000 is dark, grim, and violent. In a universe with millions of inhabited worlds, life is cheap, short, and often brutal. Those humans who escape conscription and certain death on the battlefield must usually resign themselves to years of toil on industrial hive worlds.

Those races which are not actively trying to destroy the universe struggle for survival against the merciless onslaught of heretics and aliens. Whole worlds are regularly destroyed by Orks, devoured by the Tyranids, and corrupted by Chaos.

Because of this, Warhammer 40,000 provides a great escape from reality, and is the perfect setting for tabletop and PC games alike.

6. The Gods

The Chaos gods do not mess around.

As if life wasn't difficult enough for mortals in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, they also must contend with gods. The gods of the Eldar and others often sent physical avatars to the mortal world to aid their believers

The Imperium of Man is built on a marriage of religion and technology. Space Marines fight for their God-Emperor, who has been kept in stasis for 10,000 years. Although most of the Eldar gods were lost when the majority of their civilization was destroyed, the Eldar can still call upon Kaine, who can send his physical avatar to aid his people.

Then, of course, there are the Chaos gods, born from the vices of mankind and alien alike. Nurgle, Khorne, Tzeentch, and Slaanesh all corrupt their chosen mortals in unique ways, and add great flavour to the Warhammer 40,000 unvierse.

5. The Imperial Guard

Warhammer 40000, Games Workshop

It is only sheer numbers that give the Imperial Guard a chance to survive. And tanks. Don't forget the tanks.

In the midst of Chaos gods, rampaging aliens, and superhuman armored soldiers, there is the Imperial Guard. Consisting of trillions of men conscripted from a million worlds, the Imperial Guard is one of the best indications of the sheer size of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

An army of conscripts with minimal body armor supported by tanks and heavy artillery, the Imperial Guard is as close to a modern-day army as you can find in Warhammer 40,000. It also shows the utter helplessness of ordinary humans against the hordes of aliens and heretics in this brutal universe.

4. The Orks

Warhammer, Games Workshop

Not your grandfather's orcs.

While Orks are one of just a number of violent alien races in the world of Warhammer 40,000, they are by far the most entertaining. Not like the standard orcs of fantasy settings, these warlike, biologically-engineered Orks are one of the most dangerous races in the universe.

In Warhammer 40,000, Orks are literally sustained by violence. Normally too busy fighting among themselves to pose a serious threat to more civilized races, when an Ork leader unites warring tribes into a WAAAGH! they become an almost unstoppable force that can ravage entire star systems.

As if their potential for destruction wasn't enough to make them one of the most beloved alien races in gaming, they have more personality than you can shoot a bolter at. Their scavenged technology, heavily accented speech and constant bickering have endeared them to many, and Orks are certainly one of the best parts of Warhammer 40,000.

3. The Heretics

Games Workshop, Warhammer

Blood for the Blood God!

For all of the danger that Orks, Tyranids, and Necron pose to humanity, they are but side-shows to the true threat to mankind: Chaos.

Originally soldiers and Space Marines of the Imperium of Man, the forces of Chaos have been corrupted and mutated by the Chaos gods and are intent on eradicating mankind. These former humans have been strengthened by their communion with Chaos, and call upon demons to aid them in battle, so it is all that the Imperium can do to keep this ever-growing enemy at bay.

Warhammer 40,000 takes the familiar conflict of man vs. himself to the next level. Humans must not only face their inner demons, but real ones as well, and this struggle for survival lies at the very heart of the universe.

2. The Space Marines

Yeah, they are that good.

The Space Marines may not be everyone's favorite faction, but there's no denying that these iconic soldiers have drawn legions of fans to the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The elite of the elite, Space Marines are genetically-modified superhumans carrying devastating weapons and clad in heavy power armor.

They are humanity's best defense against the legions of heretics and aliens who dare threaten the Imperium of Man. They are not without their flaws, and their fanatical devotion to the God-Emperor often blinds them to such concerns as “right” and “wrong”. Nevertheless, they are as closest thing to heroes that the universe has, and are definitely one of the best things about Warhammer 40,000.

1. The Games

If this doesn't make you want to play Dawn of War, you're reading the wrong article.

The games are what brought most of us to the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and the games are what will keep bringing us back. The tabletop game is great in its own right, and appeals to strategists, painters, and collectors alike.

For most of us, though, it's all about the PC games. Whether you prefer the explosive battles of the RTS Dawn of War series or the visceral action of Space Marine, you've no doubt enjoyed one of the many Warhammer 40,000 games on the market. With such an interesting universe for inspiration, it's no wonder the games are so successful and so entertaining!

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Gamer Since: 1995
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