Warhammer:Visions & White Dwarf Weekly
A good friend and fellow gamer without a blog of his own has asked me to post a copy of his own response on the all new White Dwarf here on my blog. Its well worth the read.
White Dwarf Weekly/Warhammer Visions:A Review
I am contacting you in regards to the receipt of this months subscription; that being the new White Dwarf Weekly and Warhammer Visions. In your enclosed letter you encouraged subscribers to reply with opinions in regards to this new direction, which I present below:
White Dwarf Weekly:
Ah, the classic White Dwarf which I have been purchasing/subscribing to for some fifteen years now. For many years now the only magazine I actually buy and I still have many old issues on my shelves for their excellent content. Now we have it's rather thinner son, which at least retains its parents height. Immediate reaction is that this is the more familiar of the two new titles, but at £10 a month nearly double the price of last months WD. For far less content. Hmm.
-New Releases: the classic showcase of new stuff, perfectly fine as always. I must admit I was about to comment on the lack of prices for these new releases until I happened to look at the contents. Whilst having the list of prices all together is nice as a reference guide I would still like to go back to having the prices next to each item as it appears rather than letting the reader get all excited only to suck in their breath at the price a few pages later... -Jervis: Why am I already halfway through my £2.40? If I wanted to know new releases that badly I'd use the website...anyway. When Jervis does a good column he's very good, when not it is entirely skippable. This is of the latter, a nice idea but ultimately adding more messing around prior to a game which already requires a lot of setup. -Monstrous Invasion: "Ooh, a tactica!" says I, "As a gamer I love seeing these to give me tips on starting out/using an army I'm not familiar with or getting ideas I haven't considered before!" Nope, it's three guys saying the same thing (durr buy loads of big bugs and giv uz more moneys!) with only Phil Kelly offering anything resembling tactics. Phil doing a column however is something quite exciting. -Paint Splatter: always useful, shame it's a whole one page (and a bit). Yes it's being spread out over 4 issues but should that be necessary? -Sprues and Glue: Finally! Thank you GW we have a building article! have been waiting ages for a regular modeling feature in a vein to paint splatter, and this one, while rather brief is a nice start. Some good tips there. -The Rules: Again a nice touch for the new magazine, though I don't like that these will be hiding in random issues of the weekly to encourage ALWAYS getting your WDW to avoid the risk of missing one. Will the Ebook subscription overwrite itself each week for those buying it? -Designers Notes: Another staple which has seen better days. I remember not so long ago getting pages and pages of how all the new stuff works and the design process behind writing the rules etc. Now we just seem to get variants on a theme of "I made ten different heads for variety." No disrespect to the miniature designers, they do incredible work making beautiful models, it's just that we know it's all about variety and options now. We've heard this before. I want to know what they can do. -This Week In WD: Really WD? You couldn't find something to fill those last five pages? You had to go and just throw in random paragraphs of pointless stuff no one will read or care about? Admitting that Tau options are just random bits is insane and will inevitably lead to tournament arguments of "but I count those sticky out bits as this! WYSIWYG! Judge!" Seriously WD sort it out, that could have been another two pages of paint splatter, a proper battle report (we'll get to that in visions), more pages of how new Dwarves work. An actual Tyranid tactica! Remember when you did tacticas? You know, well written tactics rather than "buy the most expensive stuff in the range!"
My immediate reaction to news of visions coming out was one of concern. Seeing a review of it the other night filled me with dread. Neither prepared me for the 260 page waste of good tree that was Warhammer Visions. Right off the bat, everything is in English, French and German. Great for reaching multiple nations with one magazine but it means you have a third of the space for your content. Where once we had paragraphs now we get 2-3 lines. Hmm.
Page one (the inside front cover no less) we have the first major, fundamental issue. To quote, Visions is "a photographic showcase...of miniatures". Ok. That's not what I'm subscribed to. I'm subscribed to White Dwarf, the hobby magazine which combines a look at the latest stuff with gaming articles, ideas for new rules, a nice big battle report and general advice on all aspects of the hobby. I am not, nor have I any desire to be, subscribed to a photo album of "look how well they can paint those miniatures, aren't they pretty?" I am not subscribed to an ego polishing rag of people who happen to paint better than those more interested in gaming or collecting than spending three hours on that Guardsmans left eye to get it "just right". I am certainly not subscribed to something that costs £7.50 to see how pathetic my painting skills are compared to those who have the time to spend 80 hours painting one Gaunt.
Having just renewed my subscription at Christmas (as I'm sure many have) it is insulting that WD have waited a month into the year for these changes to catch everyone out (let's face it if not for the leaks we would barely have known about it prior to about last week) and that subscribers have automatically been forced into buying Visions, which is nowhere near what they initially paid for, rather than having the decency to give them the choice. Given the choice I would rather have WDW as a subscription despite its flaws, since Visions is so far from what WD was it boggles the mind that anyone thought this was a good idea.
The first 60 pages are a recap of last months releases. That's right. Last month. I saw all those last month. You know, in White Dwarf? That magazine that two weeks ago was doing not bad at its job? Already I could care less about seeing another picture of a Nid, let alone the same pictures cut into different sizes over several pages. Again the fact that Visions is in three languages means there is barely space for text, save "durr look it's a Hive Crone." No kidding, I saw that last month.
Army of the Month, Golden Demon (all three billion pages of it), the "focus" on hive swarms; all of them just picture after picture after picture. I don't care, at all. I'm flicking through this thing about six pages at a time wondering where my £7.50 has gone; I know what a Nid looks like!
The battle report. Now this makes me mad. For years this has by far been my favourite part; seeing two gamers try out all the new stuff and show off some great tactics. Seeing Phil Kelly and Matt Hudson continue their rivalry wondering who will win this time? But no, we get a bunch of giant photos showing no clue of who's winning or even army lists, just a comment that chaos wins. Do they? Good for them! I could care less.
I am genuinely, bitterly angry that a magazine that has been arguably a highlight of my month since childhood, and which I have genuinely enjoyed for years, has been reduced to this. Visions is an utter travesty and can and should result in subscribers jumping ship by the thousand, whoever pitched this as the way forward should quite frankly be fired. There is no substance or reason for this to exist, certainly not for its price tag. All of the interesting articles have been removed to WDW, which itself is desperately thin for what it now needs to contain.
For my £9.60 a month I expect more than 15 odd pages of actual content per issue. What's happening should be stripped out and the new releases cut back to allow for actual content. Bring battle reports to WDW and split them into 4 parts to spread over the month so they can continue to be written to the same high standard it used to be. Offer more army book/codex writers input and actual tactica articles (the riptide and wraithknight ones which came out in December were brilliant so it's not like you've forgotten how to write them). Offer a subscription for WDW (say £6-7 monthly) on paper/Ebook format with the months issues posting together or the Ebook updating. Give digital downloads of all new WD exclusive rules to subscribers as they come out so they don't have to trawl through stacks of issues to find them.
I will be cancelling my subscription ASAP and expect many others to do the same. I know for a fact this is not the only email of such a vein you have received today.
You've dropped the ball WD. Time to pick it up.
Thanks Andrew. Much respect.