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Karak Norn Clansman
27-11-2012, 18:35
I bought almost every magazine since I and my brother received WD 278 or so (in effect the one with the Chaos Rhino cover) as a gift for well into the post-White Dwarf #314 Giant issue era, and on top of that I've bought several older White Dwarfs, but none older than Paul "Fatty Bloke" Savyer's ascent to editorialship. Since those White Dwarfs on the general was filled to the brim with actual content and advertised most skilfully through said content, I've a hard time to understand why some veteran hobbyists state that White Dwarf had declined since before or during Savyer's time as editor.

Can someone explain this to me? Was it the lack of goofy new games of every kind such as Dark Future, or was it the lack of completely new add-on rules that could be found during Rogue Trader (when close combats weapon rules were released in a WD if I've understood that correctly) that made the Savyer years a decline from WD's peak point, or was it the lack of scratch building articles for making tanks out of plasticard? Was the background and articles even better during the pre-Savyer years, or is it merely an understandable tint of nostalgia that weighs heavily in the oldest White Dwarf issues' favour?

In short, was the era of Paul Savyer's White Dwarf a decline?

zoggin-eck
27-11-2012, 19:57
It's just opinion. Dig enough and you will find people refer to any stage of GW & WD as their favourite, a "golden era" or "in decline", just as any other hobby. You'll find enough answers in the WD general feedback section. It also sounds like you've looked at a pretty narrow section of issues, and since you're starting with 278, there's no nostalgia towards earlier issues.

I, personally enjoyed Sawyer's run, but have plenty of other favourite "eras" (90's-100's, 120's, 150's, etc.). Some of the Sawyer ones I really liked. The three or so issues following the Dark Elf 6th/Inquisitor game release were sweet. As was the one with three Dark Shadows battle reports. I think it was a fun time for GW games, and WD in general, but many others don't.

Karak Norn Clansman
27-11-2012, 20:05
Just for the record I've bought quite some older WDs, but no issue older than 220 or so. That makes it Savyer-era-only for the start of the timeline. I actually have some sympathetic nostalgia for even older issues, in part because of the wild-running creativity which seemed to run loose in some GW works roughly around the Rogue Trader era.

BigRob
27-11-2012, 20:28
I got into WD in the run up to Pauls takeover when I think it was Thonton as editor. Those issues, the late 100s early 200s were pretty poor as I remember, apart from the odd good bits like the Thorskinson's Island campaign. Lots and lots and lots of full page adverts an some fairly bland articles.

Equally there were odd ones during his time as editor that were poor because of one reason or another, often just a lack of decent content that month.

ColShaw
27-11-2012, 20:57
I liked Sawyer's tenure a lot. :)

blackcherry
27-11-2012, 21:03
Like all 'eras' there were ups and downs. Personally I loved Pauls' reign, as its when a lot of the index astartes and main background pieces that influence a lot of 40k today were written. The path of the gods rules were introduced (with its many, many tables) and if I remember correctly it was when the cityfight campaign was featured, the VDR were written and it was when one of the more famous of WD battle reports 'Carnage' first came up.

All in all, not too bad really ;)

lbecks
27-11-2012, 23:22
Things I liked about Sawyer's era were the background articles (Index Astartes, Index Xenos), and some of the house building articles. Sawyer's run was also very wordy. You could spend a long time reading the entire magazine which I liked. I have no idea what was in the other additions but the US one always had a lot of US hobby team stuff. Some of them were pretty good but it did annoy me that they spent a lot of time with hobby team stuff and did the 2 page EM gloss overs. EM got a lot better under Latham.

Hellebore
27-11-2012, 23:22
I started collecting WD at issue ~181 iirc (it was when Titan Legions came out and had the gargant on from the box cover on the front). I stopped a few years ago.

What is 'quality'?

I liked background articles, new units, stories and conversion/painting guides. Back at 180 they were releasing units in WD.

So for me the last few years have been 'bad' quality.

Hellebore

m1acca1551
28-11-2012, 00:04
I started collecting WD at issue ~181 iirc (it was when Titan Legions came out and had the gargant on from the box cover on the front). I stopped a few years ago.

What is 'quality'?

I liked background articles, new units, stories and conversion/painting guides. Back at 180 they were releasing units in WD.

So for me the last few years have been 'bad' quality.

Hellebore

I agree, the reasons why i purchased WD was because it always made me WANT to collect or continue my hobby, with the stories, awesome batreps still my most memorable is when Grimgor firts came on the scene and fought against the empire, simply stunning reports, heavily fluff driven.

4 years ago i stopped buying WD all together... why? the value for money was just dead, it became stale and boring, i just couldnt read them anymore. If they were to become hobby magazines again i would subscribe in a heart beat... but alas the "golden age" is dead.

Crymson
28-11-2012, 08:44
I got into WD in the run up to Pauls takeover when I think it was Thonton as editor. Those issues, the late 100s early 200s were pretty poor as I remember, apart from the odd good bits like the Thorskinson's Island campaign. Lots and lots and lots of full page adverts an some fairly bland articles.

Equally there were odd ones during his time as editor that were poor because of one reason or another, often just a lack of decent content that month.

See I think starting at around issue 190 or so was some of the best White Dwarf stuff, as it started containing the card section that had new magic items/wargear, Warhammer Quest cards/tiles, scenery, etc.

Karak Norn Clansman
28-11-2012, 08:56
I agree, the reasons why i purchased WD was because it always made me WANT to collect or continue my hobby, with the stories, awesome batreps still my most memorable is when Grimgor firts came on the scene and fought against the empire, simply stunning reports, heavily fluff driven.

Spot on, the advertising through content worked wonders, and not just on veterans I can tell you. I was somewhat sceptical to 40k when I entered the hobby, but after my first White Dwarf with a battle report featuring Ulthwé Eldar, some text about Logan Grimnar and an article about the war on Macragge (IIRC) and a few other quality pages, I became convinced that 40k was interesting. I read that WD thoroughly, and some articles probably even twice in a row during the evenings. I'm to the core more of a historical or fantasy player, and I own much more WHFB and Lotr miniatures than I do 40k, yet the quality WDs and also the codices have given me a target on collecting Imperial Guard and some odd squads for the sake of it, like abhumans and Chaos cultists. I'm still tempted to get some Wulfen and Space Wolves after those 13th Great Company articles back during Eye of Terror.

In Fantasy, good WD articles (such as that one with the scrap-caravan Night Gobbos with a big horde unit during 6th edition) ultimately made me collect the starts of Night Goblin and Skaven armies, despite my Dwarf enthusiasm.

Promethius
28-11-2012, 09:48
See I think starting at around issue 190 or so was some of the best White Dwarf stuff, as it started containing the card section that had new magic items/wargear, Warhammer Quest cards/tiles, scenery, etc.

I agree. A lot of issues from around that time featured interesting battle reports that reulted in characters like azhag the slaughterer appearing. There were cardboard cut outs to make things like barricades or vehicle data sheets. Battle reports were stories. There was an awesome one where a renegade planetary governor (?evil lord varnak I think) was fighting space marines whilst he tried to escape imperial justice.

Sawyer's run continued the tradition imo. I remember the 'tale of four gamers' which followed collectors with a monthly budget (unrepeatable now as the budgets would have to be stupid to get a worthwhile collection). I think there was alo a guy who wrote warhammer articles with a humerous bent which I always read and enjoyed even though I didn't play fantasy at the time.

I would agree that when Sawyer left things went downhill. By the time the issue 300 was reached I think the decline was terminal. The loss of index astartes/xenos was a blow. I bought the dark vengeance issue a couple of months back, expecting in-depth articles about the design process, conversions and background (remembering fondly for example the land raider release) and was bitterly disappointed to have spent money on poor pictures of what I had already bought (DV).

Althwen
28-11-2012, 10:02
I believe my first issue was 216 or so and I collected them well up until the mid 300's. After that, I felt WD had mainly become a shoppingcatalogue. So I'd have to agree that Fat Bloke for me represents WD's Golden era as well.
Not only the legendary Tale of Four Gamers, but his own contributions when he decided to start his own Chaos force, or write funny articles on his gaming experiences (Much like Jeremy Vetock's bit in the previous WD).

But while writing this, I suddenly remember the short stories in those WD's as well. There are two of those that I can't exactly remeber literally, but I remember them well enough to advocate the return of those beautiful excerpts that brought a vitality to the mag and the hobby.
One of those stories was on the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, focusing (or at least my memory does this) on the rage and disappointment of the primarchs and depicting a lamenting Leman Russ after arriving too late to save the day and finding out the Emperor is slain.

The other story was one on a Dark Eldar torturer or some noble who decided to have a little chat with a prisoner, granting him insights in the DE culture and subjecting him to mental torture in a very callous way.

Both stories are characterised by their lack of violence and action, and their richness in flavour and insights into the psyche of the denizens of the 40k/Warhammer Universe.
Such subtle storytelling was lost imho, with the departure of Fat bloke.

Griefbringer
28-11-2012, 10:50
I would agree that when Sawyer left things went downhill. By the time the issue 300 was reached I think the decline was terminal.

The last issue with Fat Bloke as the editor was 301. Even after that, there was a run of very good issues (302-311) with Guy Haley at the helm. It is only after this that the rapid decline in content manifested in issues 312-315.

That said, what was the first issue with Paul as the editor?

Maccwar
28-11-2012, 11:20
I liked WD best before issue 88 (ish) when it became solely GW's house magazine. Before then it used to have lots of D&D content and competed with Dragon Magazine. WD used to be produced in London and a load of staff left when they relocated to Nottingham.

That said Fat Bloke's tenure at WD was quite a good period and there were plenty of interesting articles which were worth keeping.

m1acca1551
28-11-2012, 12:39
Well when we talk about WD my still favourite batrep is the old 4th ed skaven and beastmen led by lord skrolk and GUO against Lizarmen, they were all mono-pose or metal, but i still remember it clearly!!! Skrolk rod of corruptioned the stegadon and with 1 wound killed it outright!!!

This alone shows that content not fancy models will make WD succesfull!!!!!!

Wil Grand
29-11-2012, 12:52
I have a bias to Paul Sawyer personally but here goes anyway;

I've been in the hobby long enough to know what the WD was long before Paul and long before that as well. I'd say mid-term the WD was very good when it covered many different things and collected articles and whatnot from many different people. Later on the WD became GW only. Not a bad thing in itself since it ment that without fail there was smething it it that applied to you as a GW game player every month. The problem then was that it became very flat, a large number of contributors were basically cut since they didn't do GW game articles. Again, not a big problem. The issue became that you saw that promised articles and trailed items weren't in the next again month, likely because of the deadlines slipping.
It was under Paul Sawyer that the three month lead time was put in place and Paul treated the team like a newspaper editor would in that he enforced deadlines to make sure there was content in and on time and he formed the teams of staff heading the different sections.
Basically, Paul took a failing publication that was in essence a self made fanzine and turned it into a fully operational monthly magazine with content, articles and decent motivated staff that worked like they enjoyed their jobs.
Exit Sawyer and the thing went to seed again with lazy articles. Remember the Dwarf issues from 2006? New Dwarf release that basically swallowed up every bit of content for three months? That was what the WD was before Paul Sawyer.

Karak Norn Clansman
29-11-2012, 13:02
I have a bias to Paul Sawyer personally but here goes anyway;

...

Exit Sawyer and the thing went to seed again with lazy articles. Remember the Dwarf issues from 2006? New Dwarf release that basically swallowed up every bit of content for three months? That was what the WD was before Paul Sawyer.

Now that's interesting to read. It seems as though a GW-only WD more or less require an astute editor who is able (and are allowed to by his superiors) to put together a dedicated team working as professionals who enjoy their job.

Speaking of which, your information explains all those lines of "X is an avid Space Marine collector who is currently working on a Minotaurs army and make us work hard to force him hit his deadline" and editor's comments in the text of Savyer's WD.

theshoveller
29-11-2012, 13:26
I started reading WD with 127 (c.1990?) though I own issues older than that. Those years saw the magazine trying to give equal coverage to all the games (back then: WFB, 40k, what would become EPIC and a mix of WFRP, Advanced Heroquest and Space Hulk, later there was lots for Space Fleet). I'd imagine it wasn't that interesting if you only played one game - I didn't play any particularly, so it was all equally good. By #160 the magazine had become about WFB, 40k and [EPIC] and was dominated by content that would either be reprinted in the books, or was in itself a reprint from the books.

Around #185 there was a big revamp that considerably more new content, often geared around gaming. Apart from publishing more scenarios and regular battle reports (and as teenagers, we followed those like football supporters - Gav Thorpe being the underdog pick), there were regular FAQs. This was the era of the card insert, which was heavily used to support Warhammer Quest and the relaunched Space Hulk. After issue 200, I got out of the hobby for a few years but I've seen issues from that period. I'm not impressed with the content, the articles are often trivial and packed out with stock photos of the miniatures. I came back around #290 and look on that period as fondly as I do the period of the card insert - lots of hobby stuff, lots of discussion about what makes a better game. After about #310, I got out of the hobby again.

I came back about two years ago. WD was dominated by the "flavour of the month", with long articles devoted to assembling and painting the new products. Battle reports lacked the detail to render them interesting or the flair to make them exciting (you can write a narrative account with flavour or a blow-by-blow account with accuracy, but halfway between the two is simply rubbish). Then recently (actually before the current revamp) there was a spike in interesting things - product promotion was written with an eye to playing with it, articles on how to vary your games. Things were looking up. I haven't bought an issue since the revamp however, so I would be interested to see if the trend continues.

scarletsquig
29-11-2012, 13:32
I love the Sawyer era of issues, the magazine was still brilliant then.

There is a distinct minority of people who think that WD became trash after issue #100 because they stopped putting non-GW content in it.

For me, #314, the giant issue, was the turning point. Magazine competely turned to trash after that, and the supposed "revamp" that they've done in the last couple of months hasn't changed a thing, in fact its now even worse.

Damien 1427
29-11-2012, 14:31
Last Stand at Glazer's Creek. Oh yes.

I remember my first issue, 212. Codex Sisters of Battle and a guide on how to build your own Epic 40,000 gaming table for under £40. Good times.

Karak Norn Clansman
29-11-2012, 14:34
If you're going to have a go at the bloke, at least spell his name right. It's SAWYER. You mong.

Did you address me? I'm not attacking Paul Sawyer here, only asking if it was an era of decline as some long-running WD subscribers have written in other threads. This surprised me, and ergo this thread. The consensus seem to be that Sawyer's time was one of strength for WD, and those who think of it as a decline probably liked WD better when non-GW content was published. I seem to have read that name as "Savyer" all time along (not that I've double checked much) and always forgotten the correct spelling as soon as I noticed the W. So you'll have to live with Savyer. :D

Gnr Rear
29-11-2012, 14:42
Fair enough. And for the record, I also happen to think that his editorship was among the better ones.. But I started getting WD before the RT days. The RT and Adeptus Titanicus era was a good one for WD.
But then I'm looking through rose tinted bino's.

Griefbringer
29-11-2012, 14:54
For me, #314, the giant issue, was the turning point. Magazine competely turned to trash after that, and the supposed "revamp" that they've done in the last couple of months hasn't changed a thing, in fact its now even worse.

WD may have been on a downward slope in issue 314, but the giant issue was actually slightly later (WD316).

SkawtheFalconer
29-11-2012, 15:19
Last Stand at Glazer's Creek. Oh yes.

Seconded.

I joined in White Dwarf 220, and I think there was some cracking content back then. That said, it's pretty arbitrary to compare without taking into account historical context as well. For example, in Sawyer's era, they openly criticised (some) things that GW did - for instance, I distinctly remember an article about bent magic items in which Paul said things like "The forbidden rod should be". Similarly, in the much loved Tale of Four Gamers, Sawyer basically said he didn't want any plastic models in his army because they're mono-pose and suck. You would NEVER see negativity like that nowadays; I nearly fell off my chair when I saw a bit in the latest WD where a voice actor on a Black Library release is mildly criticized for his portrayal of a White Scar. Again in Tale of 4 Gamers, they all troop off to a newly opened store to get new store deals (i.e. discounts) on models. Again, not in a million years would you see that now - now, it would be "buy this new model asap from us full price, internet discounters and ebay doesn't exist" etc. And that's fine because times have changed, but that ultimately is my point.

boogle
29-11-2012, 16:14
I started with issue 186, then retro-ed back to issue 140, i would say that issues 175-300 were for the most part the golden age, they covered a multitude of hobby related stuff, the battle reports were memorable (i can remember who won between Nids vs Eldar/IG in 188, but cannot remember who won 3 months ago without checking), Glaziers Creek introduced us to the fact Orks were going to change to WS4 BS2, they also gave a good rationale for Tomb Kings existing as a seperate army from Vampire counts, i loved the eavy metal articles, that not only showed you the finished model, but took you through the techniques in both pictures and words on how to achieve those techniques tale of 4 gamers was awesome (much better than the one they did a few years ago, which lacked any structure at all), it gave you insights into different mindsets on army building (not just competition style building), the campagin articles were both simple, but brilliant

There were some turkey's in there too (3rd ed release issue for me being one of the stand outs), but overall i have fond memories of that period, and on a personal note, the new format, whilst lovely looking seems to be really lacking in readable content.

Promethius
29-11-2012, 17:37
I started with issue 186, then retro-ed back to issue 140, i would say that issues 175-300 were for the most part the golden age, they covered a multitude of hobby related stuff, the battle reports were memorable (i can remember who won between Nids vs Eldar/IG in 188, but cannot remember who won 3 months ago without checking),

Eldrad Ulthuan and Colonel Gurion vs nids, nid victory despite interesting use of a vortex grenade? Is it weird how many people can remember these old issues?

I think the reason was that the guys making wd were clearly having fun. They had personalities and thinks like gavt always loosing were well known. I may be wrong but i don't think the old bat reps were clearly rigged and I'm sure they are now. Take the recent necron release, there was an ig vs necron battle and the ig army list was complete rubbish, clearly deliberately so. It vaccums out the fun. One of the things I liked about Sawyer's tenure was that he had a personality and the banter made the fun of the game stand out.

Damien 1427
29-11-2012, 18:32
I may be wrong but i don't think the old bat reps were clearly rigged and I'm sure they are now.

To be honest, I first started using Warseer's forerunner, Portent in 2001. People were moaning about rigged battle reports in White Dwarf back then too.

Berk
29-11-2012, 20:50
I think the reason was that the guys making wd were clearly having fun. They had personalities and thinks like gavt always loosing were well known. I may be wrong but i don't think the old bat reps were clearly rigged and I'm sure they are now.

If I remember correctly, they said at some point, they they would play each bat rep a few times taking lots of notes, pick the one that seemed coolest then go back and set the table up to photograph it so it would look neat and tidy for the article.


mob.

Lord Damocles
29-11-2012, 21:19
I may be wrong but i don't think the old bat reps were clearly rigged and I'm sure they are now.
To be fair, it's [always been] all but impossible to tell with any degree of certainty whether a battle report is 'rigged'.

If the new release army wins, then it's rigged to show that they're the best thing since sliced bread.
If the new release army lose, then it's rigged to show that the new release army isn't over powered (or illustartes that GW has some completely irrational hatred of a faction - I'm looking at you, Tyranids).

Sotek
29-11-2012, 21:39
Sawyer had a lot of good with a little bad. Before that it was a bit more extreme but at the same time more whacky. Since LOTR it's just been downhill and sans Sawyer it is just a catalogue.

Thuggrim
30-11-2012, 02:05
Paul Sawyer over saw what to many vets was a golden era, but apparently this had too much in depth stuff so there was no begineer content, which is why they took it the other way. To an extent that makes some sense, but it was a call made when the company was starting to throttle availability of bits for conversion and promoting the offical (sold at cost rules)

Paul sawyer actually deliver fantastic and diverse hobby content but it did make assumptions of regular readership and a level of understanding - the issue GW had with this was it didn't fit company priority and new direction. Since that change it has gone steadily and progressively downhill.

Edit: Atleast with a battle report then I could see what was happened, where stuff was and how it was unfolding, latest ones I have described games in more detail and clarity in the pub after a game. No maps, no thought process, no memorable moments. Oh and bland and insiped view points from 'experts' when from some I would expect the muppet completely cocked up by ....... or his list was rubbish etc.

Karak Norn Clansman
30-11-2012, 07:48
I've often heard about the in-depth articles being alien to beginners, but I claim that they for many were the opposite.

To me, who primarily enjoy background and painting/conversion articles yet likes tacticas and more rules-aligned stuff, my first WD blew me out of the window and had me sold to follow WD for years to come, even into the era of poor issues post-#316. This was in no small part due to the sheer breadth and depth of background articles (and quite good models), and the discovery of these were akin to stumbling into a bustling fictionary world where there was constantly new things to read about. I've always read a lot, and not much shallow stuff, so this was a good indicator of WD's quality. Oh, especially the background articles were for the most part a little difficult to get into since I hadn't read the main background which should have been in codices and army books (yet often weren't), but eventually one gained a larger understanding of the fluff and could puzzle it together after reading many in-depth articles.

I hadn't collected Warhammer for long when I read my first White Dwarf, yet the sheer richness of these gaming universes sucked me in. My brother had only collected Warhammer for one or two days longer than I had, and he was also sold when he read our first WD. For him it was primarily the fast cavalry tactica (probably the best tactica I've ever seen) and the battle report which were of interest, with a pinch of 'Eavy Metal and Lotr, and the background was less interesting to him since it didn't contain much in the way of Elves. One or two issues later, with the 6th edition Lizardmen release, we read what was for us the best battle report of all time, namely that of Brass Orb Skaven versus Slann Lizardmen.

The wealth of material in Paul Sav... Sawyer's (as in the common phrase "I'll SAW YER head off") White Dwarf had something for everyone, and what it had was for the most part well-written, imaginative and in-depth. It had the power to make one interested and left wanting more, and especially wanting to buy more miniatures. ;)

williamsond
30-11-2012, 10:34
I'm not sure when i stopped reading each copy from cover to cover twice but, it was after the fat bloke, last month i didn't even read the whole thing once just a quick scan and this month I still haven't bought the thing yet... for me the hope for the new direction of WD died very quickly.

Daniel36
30-11-2012, 11:05
WD's decline comes with your own age going upwards. Barring exceptions, the magazine wasn't all that much better in era X compared to era Y.

Karak Norn Clansman
30-11-2012, 14:25
WD's decline comes with your own age going upwards. Barring exceptions, the magazine wasn't all that much better in era X compared to era Y.

But that is not true at all. It's not rose-tinted glasses that make people return to older issues of White Dwarf to reread memorable articles, even though they might have been for the wrong edition or some game you've never played. White Dwarf have provenly dropped in content, as have been showed by others here who have compared the non-advertisment pages between a most recent White Dwarf and an old one. Try the WD issued with Guy Haley at the helm, which featured an Index Xenos article on Dark Eldar which is still worth to read, and Fatty Bolger's escape in Lotr (a humourous little scenario), the Hell Pit army list and the Black Templar designer's notes amongst other things. I think it might have been WD #310 or something similar.

Compare this with last month's White Dwarf, or a White Dwarf from two years ago. Count the articles and number of pages which you think makes the WD worth enough to keep and revisit in the future. This is slightly subjective, of course, but by massive consensus we can nevertheless reach a firm conclusion that White Dwarf was better during Paul Sawyer's and his predecessor Guy Haley's time.

On the individual level this observation can be supported slightly by me paying for some dusty old WD or Fanatic magazine in a store as soon as I see the old issues which I have not read before, whilst I bought the first issue of the revamped WD but decided that little of value have actually changed (despite some positive new introductions), and I'll wait for a later date until trying again.

I've never played a Specialist Game, yet I still buy the Specialist Games magazines of old to read, because of the wealth of background, scenarios, odd rules which might be inspiring or make me tempted to try the game, and gamers' tales.

This isn't down to nostalgia, it's down to quality. Had I been blindingly nostalgic I wouldn't have critized the 6th edition Dwarf army book for its lack of coloured art (this is a minor issue) and its lack of a thoroughly structured history and background for the dwarves (this is the main issue). I entered Warhammer during 6th edition, and I still like a lot of the Dwarf army book from said edition, but even so I wondered to myself after reading it where all the other background were, which should be in the army book. The 7th edition army book keeps a decisively higher standard and might leave you with peripheral questions and ponderings, but not a sense of not knowing the core background.

"Mighty General"
30-11-2012, 16:43
Looking back at issue's from a few years ago (2002+), I remember them for the interesting articles they contained like Index Astartes, Chapter Approved and stuff like Paul Sawyer's month-by-month chaos army (Rise to glory?) or Christian Byrne's Iron Warriors. Looking back at issue's from more recent years, I remember them by what came out that month.

:(

Drakcore Bloodtear
30-11-2012, 17:21
Being introduced during Fat Blokes as ed, I enjoyed the magazine thoroughly during that time, however I also enjoyed Guy Haley run.
I must say though, IMO when Owen Reese (?) became editor things became less personal and loss its content, with issues like Giants, Medusa IV and Dwarves :(

Griefbringer
30-11-2012, 17:37
Try the WD issued with Guy Haley at the helm, which featured an Index Xenos article on Dark Eldar which is still worth to read, and Fatty Bolger's escape in Lotr (a humourous little scenario), the Hell Pit army list and the Black Templar designer's notes amongst other things. I think it might have been WD #310 or something similar.

That would actually be issue 311, the last one with Guy Haley as the editor.

Karak Norn Clansman
30-11-2012, 18:42
That would actually be issue 311, the last one with Guy Haley as the editor.

Was it? Well, I always thought that WD declined noticeably after #311 (or possibly #312, I have not recently checked the contents of the subsequent issue), and then went into an awful time after #316. The Dark Eldar article of #311 was still fresh, then, and I expected something similar for the Vespid...

Moralein
30-11-2012, 19:46
I think the problem is that GW used to be run by gamers for gamers. Now it's run by men in suits for shareholders.

In the meantime, we've lost the fun. I can remember Andy Chambers converting a chaos marine army to play test the new army rules and running a campaign with his mates which was followed in WD. I remember the likes of Nigel Stillman giving advice on collecting your armies and how to use them. I think the common thing was that the articles were written by people who had a passion for their hobby and were given the leeway to express it. Nowadays the main aim is to sell and I get the impression that the WD team have very little control over what ends up in the mag.

The old articles/armies/battle reports got people to spend beacuse we wanted to emulate what we saw, to be part of the universe. Now it's just a case of loads of identical pictures and a brief write up about how awesome something is.

I think the turning point for me was when Owen Reese went onto the official GW WD forum to tell unhappy readers that he had taken their views on board and that big changes were coming. He advised people that it would take three months for the changes to happen and we all waited in the hope that things would improve. Instead the quality continued to decline and I cancelled my subscription.

Thuggrim
06-12-2012, 21:40
WD's decline comes with your own age going upwards. Barring exceptions, the magazine wasn't all that much better in era X compared to era Y.

Utter crap, sorry but it is - found some old white dwarfs and they are still a interesting read now, and have real content. Current iteration is a glossy contentless mess, Good content is not age dependant - no or poorly written content without depth will always be rubbish once you reach a certain stage in your mental developement.

Thuggrim
06-12-2012, 21:41
I think the turning point for me was when Owen Reese went onto the official GW WD forum to tell unhappy readers that he had taken their views on board and that big changes were coming. He advised people that it would take three months for the changes to happen and we all waited in the hope that things would improve. Instead the quality continued to decline and I cancelled my subscription.

GW forum, thats something they killed - they didn't want the feedback or people to read anything negative about their products.

PointBlank
07-12-2012, 14:57
WD's decline comes with your own age going upwards. Barring exceptions, the magazine wasn't all that much better in era X compared to era Y.
There are multiple posts in stickied the WD threads clearly explaining and demonstrating how and why this is not true. I know you've read them, so I wish you'd stop repeating this tired nonsense without even the slightest proof for your assertions...

Sgt John Keel
08-12-2012, 03:22
I love the Sawyer era of issues, the magazine was still brilliant then.

There is a distinct minority of people who think that WD became trash after issue #100 because they stopped putting non-GW content in it.

For me, #314, the giant issue, was the turning point. Magazine competely turned to trash after that, and the supposed "revamp" that they've done in the last couple of months hasn't changed a thing, in fact its now even worse.

The Buy the Giant issue was by chance the last issue of WD I paid full price for, so I cannot really say if it was the turning point. I was specifically angry at the abysmal printing and paper quality of the included Golden Demon pamphlet.* It was much worse than the ones I own for previous year's.

But, I think I remember I was dissatisfied with the content (and the new layout/style) for several issues prior as well.

On the other hand though, when the library were weeding out old issues of their magazines, they sold maybe half a dozen issues from around the launch of Apocalypse which were surprisingly decent IMO. The battle reports were readable, for one. (Admittedly I paid 2 kr (20p) per issue, so that may colour my judgment somewhat.)

My collection basically encompasses the period between the launch of The Fellowship of the Ring and the Buy the Giant issue, which is not a lot of issues by some standards, but I think I prefer the issues before 4th edition 40k was launched (IIRC, when Chapter Approved stopped being a regular feature).

*I vaguely remember that they apologised and said something had gone wrong, but when the next issue didn't come with a better re-print I refused to buy it.

Sheena Easton
09-12-2012, 18:38
There was a definate and noticable sharp decline in quality around the time of the Eldar Falcon & Lord Of Change releases but there was a tendancy for encouraging powergaming and tossing Special Characters into every list prior to that.

Griefbringer
09-12-2012, 21:07
There was a definate and noticable sharp decline in quality around the time of the Eldar Falcon & Lord Of Change releases

I have got the Falcon issue (216) and it is certainly a bit on the light side content-wise. Interestingly enough, in that magazine there is no mention at all about the identity of the editor, and on a quick browsing could not spot any reference to the Fat Bloke anywhere.

That said, I managed to locate an article about the history of WD (from issue 300) and according to that Paul Sawyer started as WD editor in issue 215.

Zenithfleet
10-12-2012, 12:30
I have got the Falcon issue (216) and it is certainly a bit on the light side content-wise. Interestingly enough, in that magazine there is no mention at all about the identity of the editor, and on a quick browsing could not spot any reference to the Fat Bloke anywhere.

That said, I managed to locate an article about the history of WD (from issue 300) and according to that Paul Sawyer started as WD editor in issue 215.

Have to agree about the Falcon issue - apart from anything else, the typo count is astronomical. :eek: There's even one of those notorious "battle reports" that doesn't actually give you any detail on the battle... sounds familiar!

I started collecting WD with 218, but I've tracked down quite a few back issues before then. The handful of issues featuring Gorkamorka/Falcon/Lord of Change (just after the red/blue sidebars stopped) feel like an awkward transition between editors... which by the sound of things is exactly what it was.

In Oz we arguably had another lurch around the release of Battlefleet Gothic, when we got our own editor (Dave Taylor) and WD started running more local Australasian content. The latter was a bit amateurish for a while there (similar to the aforementioned Gorka/Falcon/LoC run, in fact), and tended to clash with the more professionally photographed and edited UK articles. The Aussies got their act together soon enough, though. We even had our own Tale of 40K Gamers in mid-3rd edition. Good stuff. Inspired me to start an Eldar army before they even had a 3e codex.

I do have to grumble about one definite decline later on though - around the time of the WFB Storm of Chaos and 40K Eye of Terror campaigns, when they emptied an extra bucket of grimdark over the mag due to all the Chaos releases. For some reason the binding quality went downhill and the pages separated if you so much as glared at them. Maybe it was a problem limited to Australia, but most of my issues from that era have to be very carefully handled to prevent impromptu disintegration. My EoT issue fell apart as soon as I tore off the subscription shrinkwrap...

ntw3001
29-12-2012, 02:59
i can remember who won between Nids vs Eldar/IG in 188

189 :P

188 was my first issue, and the report was IG vs Orks in Epic. I was going to post about that anyway. Reports then were very much story-driven (also, being eight years old and reading an explanation of the Ork army list convinced me that Gav Thorpe just couldn't spell...). When Gav Thorpe's Mega Gargant was destroyed, there was a brief scene with the warlord yelling 'ABANDON GARGANT' down the shoutin' tubes. By the time I stopped buying WD (I think it was some time after Paul Sawyer's successor left), the magazine was a catalogue and battle reports instead contained segments about people anxiously watching dice spin on their corners.

As for the more personal, informal touch, I guess that decline is the result of the magazine becoming more of a corporate mouthpiece. I can't compare the appeal of the old and new styles to their target audience, but I was attracted more by the sense of people enjoying the games, and the personal opinions and criticisms that come with it, than 'you should buy this... you should buy everything'. I imagine something as empty as the current WD wouldn't have done so much to maintain my interest in the hobby. That era was the era of WD as a professionally-produced fanzine, and it seems to have worked well.

JoeStrummersPlectrum
29-12-2012, 20:46
Hi, first post so go gentle :)

Stumbled upon this thread, so I thought I'd add a few thoughts, as I was quite heavily involved in the "Sawyer" years and the WD team. I've got no intention of doing any stirring and I still have absolute love for GW, but thought I'd comment on some of the observations I've seen.

I think having read interviews with people like Nick Kyme referring to that era as the "Golden Era" I would have to agree. Those who have picked up on it are spot on - when those White Dwarfs were being put together in the late 90's / early 2k's the whole of the team loved what we did and the fact we were paid for it seemed like a bonus. Battle Reports would often go on well into the evenings/nights, and more often than not ended up with about a dozen observers. Putting that bloody magazine together was some of the hardest work I've done, but the characters involved understood each other, understood the hobby and really wanted to make the best mag we could.

Paul was absolutely instrumental in that, and he had exactly the right personality to make it work. Jake is a really nice and knowledgable fella, and Guys experience is phenomenal, but I think (well, know) in both cases that they had to work under certain constraints. Paul seemed to have none of that (for instance the Readers Wives gag and "Who's got the biggest Nob" article). Or if he did, he got away with it. He also had a really good working relationship with the senior managers and so was able to argue the case for and against things happening in the mag.

And he had both Adi Wood and Graham Davey, and without them the mag would have been half what it ended up being I reckon.

I think personally the change happened when we all bucked our ideas up for LOTR. We needed to be more professional, as it was like taking the cork out of a shook bottle of champagne. We stopped referring to Paul as "Fat Bloke" in the mag, and some of the whackier stuff got cut. We kind of altered the way the magazine was put together as well, so there is actually a lot of material written and produced that never got printed, or was only picked up in certain territories. But, tbh, that needed to happen given the way the company was now heading, as LOTR was a complete game changer. The magazine was seen as the principal way to address the new converts, and so (for better or worse) went the way it went, with more input from marketing and sales than it had previously.

I think that's probably why the "personality" disappeared. Not that we should ever have had that bloody Dwarf "editing" the magazine mind :) (and I'd moan at Guy every month about it, so I was doing my bit for you all!) But hey ho, it is what it is now, and I still have the scars from that bloody ridiculous 24 hour shift on issue 300 to remind me of the "good times" !

And no, the Battle Reports weren't rigged. Just so you know :)

kaptin wazgob
30-12-2012, 00:54
Another person here popping their WS cherry :) interesting thread and thanks for the insight Joestrummersplectrum. It does make sense that the whole LOTR shenanigans forever changed the way WD would be given that they were trying to seize the opportunity to break into the "mainstream" to an extent never before possible, so the first thing to go was the irreverent style.

I wonder anyone knows what became of the following WD characters from times past - Ian pickstock, "Papa" Steve anastasoff, nelson, mark brendan, andy kettlewell.