Since its 1987 inception, Warhammer 40,000 has garnered a sizeable online community, and its online community is not as centralised as that of the younger The Lord of the Rings. The bulk of the community's online presence can be seen in the many unofficial fansites, galleries and forums themed around Warhammer 40,000. The community has attracted the attention of Games Workshop significantly enough that some members have had articles published in White Dwarf.
There are a multitude of sites devoted to almost every aspect of the game, and many are specifically dedicated to a single Warhammer 40,000 army, such as the Dark Angels Space Marine chapter or the Orks. Some members of the community have also created web comics about the Warhammer 40,000 world, as permitted by Games Workshop, including the webcomic Turn Signals on a Land Raider, which has had more than 300 issues since it was first published online in 2003. Some sites, such as the now-defunct Portent.net, focus on other aspects of the game such as rumours of yet-to-be-released miniatures, rules and games. That site, at its height, garnered over 100,000 visitors per month.
In addition to these sites, there are a few large community sites that specialize in providing multiple game-related resources to the online community, aside from serving as discussion forums. These unofficial sites are often major endeavours, requiring significant financial investment and enterprise-level server hardware. Portent, one of the major Warhammer 40,000 sites during the turn of the millennium, closed down in 2005 primarily because it had become too large and expensive to maintain. With over 20,000 registered members, the Bolter and Chainsword forum is a good example of one of these major Warhammer 40,000 online subcommunity sites. While the forum itself is primarily a message board, it echoes the breadth of the community by conducting painting and modeling contests, allowing members to post battle reports of games they have played and featuring articles on gameplay and other Games Workshop-related issues written by the members themselves. Like many other Games Workshop fansites, it provides a gallery where members can upload photographs of their own miniatures. A more general site would be the Dakka Dakka forums, which does not limit itself to just discussion on Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines (as Bolter & Chainsword does). The members of sites such as Dakka Dakka have provided a wide range of articles, ranging from painting guides, strategy manuals and army lists, to fan-made fiction and the occasional prose. Librarium-Online is another notable site, focusing in particular more on articles rather than forum discussion. It has published articles on topics ranging from getting into Warhammer 40,000 as a new player, to topics like miniature photography.
One of the larger Warhammer 40,000 communities online is WarSeer, formed in 2005 by former members of the closed Portent.net. Like many of the larger community sites, the site is a collection of rumours, articles, galleries and discussion forums. The forums themselves have over a million posts spread across almost 22,000 registered members. On sites such as these, discussions between fans can arise regarding even comparatively minor details in the game's background story; For example, there is a 12-page discussion surrounding the removal of a minor character in a single background event in the game's official storyline.
In addition to the three major games, Games Workshop's Specialist Games also have their own online community. As the games and their components have been partially discontinued, support for the players has been almost entirely via Games Workshop's Specialist Games forums. It is notable that these official forums are provided by Games Workshop, which closed off their official fora for their major games in November 2006. In addition, new editions of game rules and game material are published entirely online on the official website. Fanatic Online is an official e-zine that Games Workshop publishes monthly for the Specialist Games online community.
- RussWakelin (2006-03-09). "White Dwarf Articles by Dakka posters". Forums. Dakka Dakka. Retrieved 2007-01-26. Check date values in:
- Bell, Christopher (October 2005). "Commorragh's Elite: A veteran tournament player proves the strength of the Dark Eldar.". White Dwarf. Nottingham: Games Workshop. 309: 96 –102. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "Codex Unforgiven: A fan site for Warhammer 40k". Codex Unforgiven. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- Carrick, Paul. "The Waaagh!". The Waaagh!. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "What you can do with Games Workshop's Intellectual Property". Games Workshop Online. Games Workshop. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
We would probably not take issue with anyone creating a web comic based upon our intellectual property – but as with forums, keep in mind that the hobby is for people of all ages…
- Campbell, Stephen A. "Turn Signals on a Land Raider". Turn Signals on a Land Raider. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- Closs, Pete (March 2005). "Portent". Portent. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "New Contest at the Bolter and Chainsword". Electric Ocean. 2005-02-17. Retrieved 2007-01-26. Check date values in:
- "Bolter and Chainsword". Forums. Bolter and Chainsword. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "Dakka Dakka Forums". Dakka Dakka. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "Librarium-Online". Librarium-Online. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "Warhammer 40,000; Getting Started". Newbie Guides. Librarium-Online. 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2007-01-26. Check date values in:
- "Miniature Photography". Photograph. Librarium-Online. 2006-12-18. Retrieved 2007-01-26. Check date values in:
- "WarSeer". WarSeer. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "WarSeer Forums". WarSeer. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "What is the deal with Ollanius Pious?". 40k Background. WarSeer Forums. 2005-06-20. Retrieved 2007-01-26. Unknown parameter
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- "Specialist Games". Specialist Games Website. Games Workshop. Retrieved 2007-01-30.