It’s a case of things coming round again as it has recently been confirmed that White Dwarf will be going back to being a monthly publication after spending a couple of years now as a weekly magazine. Not only that, but it looks like this will spell the end of Warhammer: Visions as well. Let’s look at the whys, ifs, whats and various other things like that.
Let me take you back in time to February 2014. White Dwarf Weekly first hit the shelves and it was met, by many, with great enthusiasm, but the reason for the quiet elation for many seemed to originate from what White Dwarf had become as a monthly magazine. The old format had become thin, yet bloated. Battle reports were few and far between and were barely worthy of the name, and so much of it had become a sales piece. Now, the latter issue is relatively natural, as White Dwarf is GW’s main vehicle for informing people about new releases, but many took the view that it had gone from highlighting new releases to instead cynically chiming on about them without abatement.
The new, weekly Dwarf was a leaner machine, costing about as much as a pot of paint and offering a bitesize chunk of hobby goodness, while still pushing those new releases. It was also part of GW moving to a weekly miniature release schedule which has widely been regarded as a success. When White Dwarf returns to being a monthly publication, it will be interesting how they decide to push the weekly releases from now on. My suspicion is that more people are going online anyway and that the webstore will be doing most of the work on the new release front from now on.
Then there was Visions. Poor, poor Visions. Now, I’ll admit to being a fan of this magazine, but I know that I’m in the minority. And in truth, the first half of the publication I could do without – again, it was a sales piece. Look at fifty images of the same new shiny mini – those pages were a bit ‘meh’. That being said the higher grade paper and higher standard of photography allowed the miniatures shown within to really shine. But really it was Blanchitsu, Golden Daemon and Army of the Month that made it for me. Those are the bits that I enjoyed, even if I had to pay almost £8 for the privilege. Edit: I’ve recently been told that Visions as a monthly will indeed die, however it may well live on as a quarterly. Hopefully we’ll get more news on this soon.
(of course some of actually made it in to Visions once upon a time… *smug*)
The point of this ramble is that there were good things and bad things about both formats, and if GW wants to get it right again, they’re going to have to take the best from both worlds, and satisfy painters and gamers alike – a feat not easily accomplished.
So what do we want? And by ‘we’ I of course mean ‘I’. Well, here would be my winning formula:
Battle Reports – Of course battle reports, but we want them done properly. That means going old school, with maps, with both sides writing their side of the battle and not so much about the looks on their faces, and more about their tactics and plans. The delight is in the details.
Army Of The Month – It’s been a great feature for ages now and it’s got to stay. In terms of getting a hobbyists aspirations going, it’s a cracker. It’s the article that makes me say ‘one day’.
Blanchitsu – John Blanche has been one of the most influential artists (if not THE most influential artist) in GW’s history and his small segment of the magazine is always a treat. Seeing a different way to look at painting and converting minis each month is one of the best, most stimulating ways to get the imagination going.
Golden Daemon/Painting Competition Highlights – Another great inspiration piece. Seeing what the best of the best are doing, whether it’s at The Fang, or at a Golden Daemon event is great. And with them running more competitions, hopefully we’ll get even more awesomeness.
Paint Splatter – Not something I use much myself, but it’s great for teaching those beginning the hobby or a specific army how to achieve the look they want. And the better everyone gets at painting, the better all our tabletops look.
Paint Splatter+ – How about some painting tutorials for the more intermediate or advanced painter? Experimental techniques, intricate techniques, that sort of thing. I’d like to see some of that.
Words From People – In the last days of Old Monthly Dwarf, Vettock and Johnson were the main article writers and I for one used to quite enjoy going through those pieces. They were the sort of ‘yes, I know what you mean’ kind of articles. I liked those. The nuances of gaming and ideas from people who are real authorities on the games.
The ‘Fun’ Pages – One thing I’ve really enjoyed about Weekly Dwarf is the section at the back with things like ‘Ask Grombrindal’ and the ‘bit of the week’. It’s lighthearted but shows that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. A little bit of personality amongst the sales and seriousness.
Rules, Scenarios And The Like – This has been one of the big successes from the weekly mag. It’s great to be able to check out the stats of new models without having to fork out for a codex or steal them from another online source. And the scenarios have been a great touch too with a lot of fun being had by a lot of people.
And then of course you have to have all the new release stuff (from GW, Black Library and Forge World) and design studio stuff and the like – the usuals. Will all of that fill the 150+ pages? I should think so.
That’s what I’d like to see from the new monthly White Dwarf. How about you?
All of that being said, I shall miss weekly Dwarf. On many a Saturday, I have strolled in to one of my local GWs and picked it up as something light to read over a pub lunch. You could hardly call it ‘in depth’ but there was always enough to get stuck into over a burger and chips that made the small price worth it.
And yes, I will miss Visions. I’ve got quite a nice set of them now, having picked up almost every issue. For a painting-enthusiast, it was a great read (even if there weren’t that many words to actually read).
That being said, I’m looking forward to White Dwarf going back to being a monthly magazine. It’ll be nice to see it again in this form and, if they get the recipe right, we could be in for a real treat. Let’s hope GW are up to the job.