If you've been following my blog for a while you might have seen me rant about White Dwarf Magazine, but in a nostalgic 'yearning for the days of old' kind of way. You might've also seen me offer up some creative criticism as well, with hopes for a new direction for the old dwarf.
Since I wrote those articles, I got a fraction of what I had hoped for. Mainly a boost in usable content. New releases with rules support in White Dwarf, although inconsistent, was enough to make me feel a little bit better about it. In recent months they really wowed me with the Daemon booklet which was a double-sided rule addition for both army books for both Warhammer Fantasy and 40K. Short, but nicely done! Also we had that great flyer's issue which was just a tasty bit of fresh 40K goodness. Sadly there was a downside. It seemed that more good articles we got, we got 3Xs more photos to over compensate that content. In fact, there were some issues that were so focused on a particular release that the photo-spread abuse was just so blatantly over-whelming that it was clear that the magazine had more pages to fill then they had readable content to fill it with. The Dark Vengeance release issue was a clear example of this. Yes, it was cool to see these pretty pics of the flashy new miniatures, but you know, that glitter and glam wheres off, especially after I go out and buy whatever it is that's being show-cased.
OK, so as you see, I was somewhat, OK with White Dwarf, but still having some degree of disappointment with it. Usually every issue or two I felt 'meh' about it.
Then there was last month (Oct. 2012):
Bold new direction! In every aspect! Even the paper is different! The logo is different (reminds me of the logos that Paizo came up with for Dragon and Dungeon it those publication's final days) Only Blachitsu and Jervis Johnson's features remained.
The presentation of new releases, although a major feature of the magazine still was done in such a way that it feels oddly helpful and informative. It didn't feel like I was being talked down too by an editor who can't believe he's writing for a kid's magazine, but rather that the new team are fellow hobbyists who are 'coming from the same place' as us. Sure, they're still pitchmen of new product, duh, but they're pitching it right.
You can't talk about the new White Dwarf without saying something about the amazing photo-work within. Not that this magazine ever slacked on good photos, but the new team truly upped the ante on the presentation here. Never has this magazine looked, felt, or even smelt this professional.
Content? Well, no new rules were presented, but I didn't mind considering I felt like I was actually provided some true reading content this time around: I had something to read as opposed to a re-reading of the previous ad-copy on the new release pages, which many of the past few years WDs were guilty of committing. No, I felt really engaged with the articles. Feels to me that it has to do with the spin on the presentation. Another added source of content is that finally White Dwarf is show-casing Forge World and Black Library product with more than just a 3-4 page spread, but presenting actual featured articles! Still not to the point where we're getting a story (seriously, give us this! This magazine now costs more than a paper-back, surely you guys can spare something from Hammer & Bolter each month?)
I could rave on and on, However, I just want instead to talk about how I feel that this is a good progressive step in the right direction. Instead of throwing in the towel on this old institutionalized concept of a hard-copy magazine, like WotC chose to do (and, far as I can tell, fail) with Dragon and Dungeon, they revised it to make it worth it's price tag. Hell, they even had the balls to raise it an additional $1 and I still don't care! LOL! But I'm straying; the point is, they could've dumped this, and just gone to relying 100% on the web-site and mailing list. Instead, they made the printed product better and, in doing so, made the digital product. The people I know who are getting the White Dwarf digitally on the iPad have really been pleased with it! One added bonus that I am envious of is that they get it instantly as opposed to waiting impatiently for it to show up in their mailbox like I do each month. That could be a blog article itself actually, but again I'm straying: to sum up: I'm thankful for all of this actually. The new team has done a fantastic job and I look forward to reading the Nov. 2012 issue (which I saw, not in my mailbox, but in the local Hobbytown USA today... grumble...)
I am also thankful that maybe, once again, we'll see White Dwarf used as a tool to attract new players/hobbyists. Case in point: I was quite pleased to see the Oct. 2012 issue on display with the hobby magazines in my local Barnes & Noble bookstore the other day. I haven't seen that happen in years!