Sunday, 29 September 2013

Reading White Dwarf and reviewing its first year of the new format.

With the release of this months White Dwarf we have reached the twelve month mark of the new White Dwarf magazine (alright technically it was last month they released the 12th issue but it was Gamesday last year they launched the new look). I thought I'd jot down a few thoughts on how I feel the year has gone.
When it first came out I had high hopes for the direction the creative team seemed to be taking the magazine in. It certainly looks more like a magazine for an older reader rather than the more comic book style of the previous incarnation. At first it felt as though there was a real effort to streamline the individual articles to get more content in and focus just on the parts that the plastic crack addicts really wanted, even if it never quite hit the spot there was a wider variety. 

As the issues have come out there seems to have been a slip back towards the content of old White Dwarf when it was at it's worst. There really isn't any content in there for the 'game' side of the hobby, it is all about 'pretty models' and 'see new releases first'. There are a couple of reasons that this is a wholly flawed approach. 

Firstly there is a complete disconnect between the quality of the painting tutorials in the magazine and the quality of painting demonstrated by the models shown to inspire readers on the pages and pages of 'Armies on parade/Painting competition reviews' style articles that clog up the content. These seem to go on and on, with almost no detailed explanation of how these results are achieved, whilst most of the 'paint splatter' tutorials really do look like someone got a bit too brush happy with their eyes shut. My biggest complaint regarding this particular article though is the underhanded attempt to imply that model you are being shown/techniques demonstrated are the same as the 'Eavy metal painted version at the front of the magazine with a caption telling you 'as seen on page x'. One of the reasons I think this is happening is that it seems GW have realised that the more seriously minded gamers will pay for ipad tutorials and missions and rather than make them pay the £5.50 for white Dwarf they can get and an extra £2-10 for the content that they (in their eyes) used to give away for free in white dwarf. That being said I have to admit I did research the costs and found a free paint guide for Tactical Space Marine, though even this isn't nearly as detailed as the 'Eavy Metal Masterclass books they used to produce as it is mainly just 'use these colours in this order' with no detailed explanation of the techniques needed to replicate the fine finish on the models.

The second reason is the GW website is available to look at the models on the morning the Magazine is released with more detailed shots of the sprues and 360 degree shots of the models, without having to pay a penny. Now it would make sense to me if every magazine had a unique code that allowed the purchaser to get even a small discount/deal on the preorder for the weekend of the magazines release then people would be given an incentive to purchase through the store/web site and have to pay the extra £5.50 for the magazine. Otherwise I just don't understand why people would consistently buy direct from GW as every store now offers a saving and the opportunity to pick it up on the day of release.

I know I sound like a grumpy old fart but I just can't help thinking back to those exciting times when White Dwarf used to include content that expanded my hobby through developing the game play opportunities rather than just try to thin my bank account with thinly veiled sales pitches for the latest monstrous plastic kit that won't fit into and of GW's carry cases properly.

How do you guys feel about the magazine now? Have you lost faith in it or are you happy to just have something you can read in 30 minutes and forget about?

1 comment:

  1. I dont think wanting a worthwhile product makes you a grumpy old fart.
    I gave the new format a few issues but gave up with the high elves issue, didnt buy the eldar issue or space marines issue because i knew what would be in there. pictures of models id already seen and superlative descriptions of how awesome the new stuff is. Its a shame, i do think it started out promsingly, but just slid backwards rather than building on what theyd started.
    And as you mentioned, it doesnt help the magazine much when lots of articles youd quite like to see in the mag just bypass it and get sold as digital stand alone products on the ibook store. It really does just confirm WD as a monthy catalogue that they charge you money for.