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.
So, White Dwarf as we have always known it, has ended. We got the official announcement yesterday after weeks of speculation and rumours that our well-aged monthly hobby magazine has had its last issue.
In its place though, we are getting two new magazines, White Dwarf Weekly and the supposedly mammoth monthly Warhammer Visions. So what will these be like? Will we see twin phoenixes rise from the old Dwarf’s ashes, or are we getting stiffed?
Well, we won’t know until February 1st when both new publications will have their first issues revealed. WDW (am I the first to use this new acronym? Probably not, but I’ll totoally claim it) will:
“contain everything that’s new and exciting in the hobby that week, from news and information on all the week’s other new releases, to new columnists, interviews, painting, modelling, game rules and much more. And the price? The same as a pot of your favourite Citadel paint.”
While, according to the GW website, WVs (First! 😉 ) will be:
“a completely new monthly magazine, also from the White Dwarf team. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever done before and this super high-quality visual feast weighs in at a whopping 236 pages, each and every month.”
In a couple of weeks, we’ll get our first look at the future of GW publishing, but I have a few thoughts to share prior to this because, well, this is my blog and it would be pretty pointless if I had no thoughts or opinions to offer, right?
Way back when… *cue harp music and everything going black and white*
169. This was the first issue of White Dwarf that I ever bought. That makes me feel old, considering that we’re now on… wait, do they even have numbers now? It wasn’t the first one I ever read, but it was the first one that I ever bought with more than two weeks of my own pocket money!!
Let me give you some context, this issue featured:
• A free cardboard bunker (can you imagine getting one of these now?)
• The first appearance of the Bjorn The Fell-Handed Dreadnought model.
• Full colour! Still relatively new for WD in them days.
• The Battle report was Man O’War. MAN.O.WAR. If that doesn’t date it…
The odd thing about it was, people hated White Dwarf’s ‘new look’ back then. They cried that it had lost a lot of what made White Dwarf great because it had just started to be a sales piece. Sound familiar? Well, there weren’t blogs and internet forums back then (the web was still in its infancy) but there was plenty of bitching about WD in the GW that I used to frequent. I distinctly remember some of the oldies (like 20 year olds – I was about 10 I think – if that!) arguing and deriding the ‘new’ White Dwarf.
Nowadays, we hear a lot more of that. The internet is awash with forums, blogs and more about how ‘new’ White Dwarf isn’t as good as it was. The point of that little stroll down memory lane was to illustrate that the grumbling is nothing new, and that, as with all things, we humans are not so good at dealing with change. I fully expect a wealth of rants and diatribes regarding the new publications, regardless of whether they meat our demands or not. I will give it a while to bed in and become part of the routine before I have at it.
Marketing Men, and Dwarves
When I look at this move with my Marketing hat on (yes, I am one of the evil ones who makes you buy stuff), this is a really clever move. We, as hobbyists, are clamouring for new content all of the time, and a weekly fix will be enjoyed by many. And the mammoth monthly mag will ensure that, between the two, all areas are covered.
What’s more, calling the big one “Warhammer Visions” and with it available in WH Smiths and Newsagents across the country (and indeed the world) is a great trick. People know what “Warhammer” and “Games Workshop” are, but “White Dwarf” doesn’t necessarily convey that it is part of the same hobby to the casual observer. ‘Unless you know, you don’t know’ sort of thing. This will put the word “Warhammer” in front of eyes all over the world belonging to people who are not hobbyists but, crucially, could be hobbyists. Cunning move indeed. Brand and product awareness drives business in such a big way, increasing your new customer levels and ultimately revenue. What’s more, put that word on the front of a big, glossy and professionally produced tome full of awesomeness, and you’re reinforcing your reputation for quality too.
Sorry, when the ol’ marketing brain gets going, it tends to drone on a bit. But what I’m saying basically is that this could be a very good tool to get the Hobby in the face of more people and that is a good thing, providing they spend money.
One interesting aspect to the announcement was the lack of confirmation relating to digital edition support. I’ve been reading White Dwarf on my iPad now for some time, and I think the format has worked wonderfully. However, there’s no mention of either WDW or WVs appearing on either apple or android devices. We’ll have to wait and see what happens when they roll out, unless we get some info beforehand from GW themselves.
Personally, given GW’s move to embrace all things digital, I would be shocked to not see it supported, but the lack of confirmation is intriguing.
Rumour Mongers thwarted!?
WDW will supposedly deal with new releases, but what will a now weekly schedule to this publication mean? Weekly releases!? Maybe. Also, will the same printers be used to create these magazines? These sort of changes are often brought about new printers being given the contracts, having pitched the potential of their capabilities over those of the previous contract holders. Rumour sites may need to start looking for new sources in the future. Of course, there’s always the argument that the rumours help GW by drumming up interest in new releases, and some believe that these rumours are initially spread from within the sombre halls of GW HQ anyway. But either way, it’ll be interesting seeing how this affects all of the hobby gossip and leaks in the coming months.
Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to seeing the new incarnations of a magazine that has been a great staple of the Hobby for so many years now. Here’s hoping that we get the publications that we all want.
What do you think about the changes? Worried? Excited? Happy? Sad? Sleepy? Comments below please!
==][== UPDATE ==][==
Games Workshop have confirmed that both White Dwarf Weekly and Warhammer Visions will both be available in digital formats. You can read their announcement here along with some FAQs for subscribers.