I haven't had the chance to blog too much these last couple of weeks, but it's really only because I've been busy. That whole 'Dad' and 'Man' thing has interrupted me a number of times, and anyone that fits either of those two categories can attest. But I'm not one to be defeated by sheer inconvenience, so I forced myself to pick up the new WD and see what all the hub-bub is about. And by 'forced myself', I really mean scrounged up dollar bills and rushed to the game store just in time to get the last one, specifically reserved for me. It was NOT a terrible battle of willpower, to be sure.
So let's start with the White Dwarf, the root of all evils right now. Games Workshop announced last month that they were going to 'revamp' the magazine- producing a higher-quality product, with more pages, and much more attractive articles and features. The promise seemed to be an answer to the constant whining and bitching from the hobby community out there.
I'm going to go off on a bit of a tangent here and talk about that 'whining and bitching'... We used to have a belief that an established, veteran hobbyist participated in all three true aspects- collecting, modelling, and gaming. I, having dealt with THOUSANDS of hobbyists over a very large geographical area, added a fourth aspect- bitching. The new hobbyists were always happy with everything (except the price, of course), while the 'Old Hats' always had a poor opinion of everything (especially the price, of course). I would always know whether a person was a long-time gamer before I ever inquired, usually because I heard them whining about some rules change or something to someone.
I do have to admit that I am part of this as well. As with all my rants, I am a guilty party at times and can never claim to be as perfect as even my blog gives as an impression. I bitched alot. I've been an Ultramarine player forever, and I've had plenty to bitch about (not the least is that my army sucks while the codex I'm in is awesome! Damn me for wanting to paint blue, rather than the obviously better white, yellow, or green), and I've been a tourney gamer for longer than most hobbyists have known how to read. I have waxed furiously about many subjects over the years. It's also why I have a blog.
But I do think there's alot of 'perspective' missing. Complaints about the WD over the years have been commonly that the price is too high (for a full color, glossy, picture-filled magazine? Sorry, no Cosmo or Golf Digest here), that it doesn't have articles about every army or even every game (I mean, over 40 armies across 3 games and 5 divisions can't be that hard to cover at least once every couple of months, right? Yeah, about that...), and the biggest complaint being that it's nothing more than a thick advertising catalogue now (of course, this from the people that have never opened WD 146 before or really looked at magazines from other hobby companies). The hobby community tends to lack any real perspective and so this makes the bitching almost unbearable to me.
Ironically enough, I actually agree most of the time. I agree because the complaints are half true and because I miss the magazines of by-gone days like Armageddon. Those were outstanding issues. That were also filled with advertisements like crazy. And still only featured 40k, and only the armies that participated in the war. And I only got one poster for the entire 4-month run! But I keep these complaints quiet because I have perspective. I understand the business (having been a successful part for so long). And I'm more than grateful for what I DO get versus being unhappy with what I DON'T. Want what you have. GW gives us ALOT. Alot alot. Just sayin'. Now back to your regularly scheduled reading.
The promises appear to have been kept, and in a big way. The magazine is indeed higher quality, and this considering the old format wasn't average or low-quality at all! The cover of this month's issue is firm and matte, with standout graphics and well-placed layout. The pages are more firm, and maintain the same glossy style as the old issues. The publishing layout and presentation format were significantly more professional-looking, and all 'modernized'. All in all, the appearance and quality of the magazine definitely improved.
Newer, better, longer articles seem to have made a comeback. The magazine is more pages, and the articles are also more pages. Jervis' monthly commisseration wasn't a page and a half (it was TWO!), the army display was longer than a half-page twice (it was 2 full pages!), and so on. The articles that complimented each other were no longer near one another- the examples being the Horus Heresy bit and the Chaos Codex notes. The beginning saw both of these promoted, and the end of the magazine saw articles about the design and concepts of each. No more of the old 'everything I need is in the front/back/certain section'. Hell, the descriptions of the new release models had fold-outs to show the models off even better! Every article or section seemed to improve or at least expand.
The battle report was phenomenal. The table was fantastic, the armies were 'british-style' army lists (which you all know is my favoured style), and the new army didn't automatically win. Plus, pretty nice commentary and a refreshing critique from some of the tall hats that didn't even participate! And the report wasn't 12 pages or 2. It was appropraitely long and exhibitted brevity nonetheless. This was my favorite part of the whole magazine.
There was also some little things that I really liked. First was the listing of all the GWs and LGSs in the back. It listed them ALL, and still only took a few pages. It's nice to have that and not have that stupid insert we used to get sporadically. Secondly, and far more importantly, all the new releases were marked with prices. I can't even begin to explain how happy this made me. I know the prices change, and I know that there's always the website, but I want to know what something costs when I look at it. GW may have finally figured out that their stuff truly is expensive and they no longer have to be sneaky and hide it. Be proud, and be loud! This was huge to me.
There are some disadvantages, however. First off, the magazine is $10 now, which is a 10% increase in price. Damn you, GW. Paper and ink can't be this expensive... Oh, wait.
Secondly, there was no mention at all of my proud Ultramarines, my furious Blood Angels, or my stalwart Imperial Guard. Or my Eldar, or Tau, or even the rumoured-to-be-upcoming Dark Angels! What about my Empire or Warriors of Chaos? Hell, my Uruk-hai didn't get mentioned in the LotR splash! How dare you, GW. With the enormous amount of money I've spent on this hobby, I deserve a nod once in a while. Right?
Finally, the issue was PACKED with advertisments! I mean, it was completely about the soon-to-be-released Chaos Marine models, dedicating 62 of 120 pages to nothing but the new release models. This took the form of the 'release' section, the 'description' section, the 'design' section, the 'paint lesson' section, and even the 'battle report' section! GW thinks that they can release a ton of models in a month and use the magazine to focus on those models? That's like when we were forced to run events in the shops that focussed on the new releases for that month... Sneaky GW! Proof of the evil empire, I tell ya!
See what I did there? If you catch it, you win. :-)
I know many many people that haven't purchased a White Dwarf in years. I have heard (and even said) these complaints so many times that my ears automatically ignore them now. I understand that this magazine tends to cost money better used on glue, or part of a box of doods. But THIS is a great issue. If this is the theme going foward; if this is the new format; if this is what we can expect as an 'average' issue, I'm thinking a subscription might be in order. Seriously. Save $50 (which is basically half a year for free) and get a subscription. The White Dwarf has actually become a 'must have' again!
I have every issue of White Dwarf since #90 (and many before that), and I now have the urge to pull them all out and organize them again. This issue has motivated me to do that. What does that tell ya?
C'mon, next month!