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View Full Version : Has White Dwarf fallen prey to GW marketing?



Kensai
11-05-2009, 07:34
Am I the only one who has become less and less interested in White Dwarf as the years roll on? Back when I picked up my first copy (WD 273), the magazine used to be alot of fun, with only a small section about upcoming models. The vast majority was instead dedicated to painting, modeling, conversions (anyone else remember the docís conversion clinic?) fluff, tactica, ideas on how to build armies, experimental rules, and battle reports done from a gaming perspective rather than a story narrative.

These days, the content of White Dwarf seems to consist of extensive coverage of GWís new models being released, why said models are really cool, and a battle report pimping the newest GW army in the form of a dramatic story during which the newest army always walks roughshod over their unfortunate victim. While sparse time is dedicated to painting and modeling, the vast majority seems to have become a herald for GW marketing.

Am I the only one who feels this way, or have others noticed the changes in our vaunted hobby magazine? If so, do people actually like the direction WD is heading in?

Nicha11
11-05-2009, 07:36
Yup White Dwarfs quality has gone down the tube.

Daniel36
11-05-2009, 07:40
Are you kidding me? That's been going on for at least four years now. Actually, I feel they are sort of getting back on track... Slightly.

But seriously, pick up those first few issues you bought, and take a good hard look at it. It's pretty much the same. It may have a couple of pages less on marketing new stuff, but not much. Yes, there were a couple of more things like Doc's Conversion Clinic, but seriously, it wasn't thŠt interesting... Most of your sentiment comes from your brain playing nostalgic tricks on you.

You are right, White Dwarf is becoming increasingly more uninteresting, but that is more due to the fact that you are becoming more and more of a veteran and less of a beginner, than of the magazine actually becoming worse.

BuFFo
11-05-2009, 07:43
@Kensai

White Dwarf has been a pile of poo since early 3rd edition, when it was turned into an advertising machine for the game.

Its getting a bit better, but hells no is it worth 9 bucks an issue. If it were 5 or 6 bucks it would be worth it as it currently is. Maybe....

Devil Tree
11-05-2009, 07:44
I would say so. I started getting it somewhere in the mid to low 200ís and Iíve noticed a steep decline in quality. If thatís not bad enough, GW cranked the price all the way up to $9.00, which is way too much for what is basically a monthly advertisement.:wtf:

Grimbad
11-05-2009, 08:09
I started buying WD a bit before 300, and agree with many that it plummeted after the 'GIANTS' issue. I did find some older ones, including one with the original Last Chancers rules, background, and battle report.
To describe as best I can, the old ones give a feeling that Games Workshop is in fact a workshop inhabited by industrious little gnomes who go about dutifully playing wargames and watching movies all day.

Jedi152
11-05-2009, 08:22
'Fallen Prey'? It's GW's main marketing propaganda!

The Clairvoyant
11-05-2009, 08:22
my first issue was 167. I collected them up until about 1998 when 2nd ed 40k ended. I've bought a few others since then (about once a year)

Back then, WD was the only way to keep up with what was going on in the hobby, whereas these days, the internet provides most of the information i need and so the magazine has lost its appeal.

Also bear in mind that back then, it promoted more than just the core games (back when epic was a core game), and had articles on bloodbowl and warhammer quest, and included new rules for such games - i always loved the extra card sections with new board sections or items for games.

And every talisman supplement released resulted in new characters in white dwarf that "didnt fit in the box"

A friend has a subscription so occasionally i'll read his copy, or i'll have a flick through it at the store. The only i bit i tend to take much notice of though is Jervis' standard bearer article, which i always find an interesting read.

Max1mum
11-05-2009, 08:28
the painting article for me is worth the 7,50 i spend on it...

those painting articles have helped me A LOT ! - that and it's good to keep me entertained for at least 6 1 hour train rides. So that's 6 hours, roughly 1.10 per ride on entertaiment. Bucket-loads cheaper then sitting there texting with my GF ;-)

Born Again
11-05-2009, 08:33
my first issue was 167. I collected them up until about 1998 when 2nd ed 40k ended. I've bought a few others since then (about once a year)

Back then, WD was the only way to keep up with what was going on in the hobby, whereas these days, the internet provides most of the information i need and so the magazine has lost its appeal.

Also bear in mind that back then, it promoted more than just the core games (back when epic was a core game), and had articles on bloodbowl and warhammer quest, and included new rules for such games - i always loved the extra card sections with new board sections or items for games.

And every talisman supplement released resulted in new characters in white dwarf that "didnt fit in the box"

A friend has a subscription so occasionally i'll read his copy, or i'll have a flick through it at the store. The only i bit i tend to take much notice of though is Jervis' standard bearer article, which i always find an interesting read.

Yup, I started reading white dwarf just before Necromunda was released. Since then, i agree with pretty much everything you covered. It had more of a wealth of variety in it, as this was before the splinter fleet of "Specialist Games".

IMO WD is still a good magazine, but horrendously overpriced. they could improve it by including more specialist games stuff, though seeing as they don't sell that stuff in stores it's probably not good business. Also, I've never had any interest in LOTR.

As is, I only buy WD when there's something of particular interest to me, ie; a new codex book for an army i'm considering getting in the near future. I think they have got back on track slightly though, and yeah, Standard Bearer is always a good read.

They should just drop the price and it'd be fine. Remember the days it was like $8AU and had a card insert every month?

Metaphorazine
11-05-2009, 08:36
Just like to point out that Guard lost one of the battle reports in the May 09 WD, to Tyranids no less. Was quite an entertaining narrative, very imaginative.

Yes, WD could have less of the advertising in it. But seriously though, is it that big a deal? Format of a usual WD goes:

Here are the models coming out next month, with nice clear pictures and the price of each, and whether they're plastic or metal. Here's a report on the army coming out next month, what's changed, and why these new models are good in the game. Here's a report on how the army played against another one. Here's some other nifty stuff, like a GD wrapup, or a painting masterclass on a model usually from a different system than the featured army. Here's some modelling tips. Here's a list of community groups around the country that play the games you play.

What more are you people wanting?

Apart from the now mandatory forgeworld ad, and the fact that the new army usually wins (but not always, and seriously, it's to be expected that the brand new army has a few tricks up it's sleeve...), I think the format's pretty decent. Not really any fluff in it, but that stuff should stay in the codexes anyhow, instead of being invented by magazine authors.

Deus
11-05-2009, 08:52
I've only started reading WD recently, but the painting articles are worth it, they have helped my painting immensely.

Occulto
11-05-2009, 08:57
What more are you people wanting?

Simple - when I sit down with a pint and my latest copy of WD, I want to finish the beer before the magazine, not the other way round (as happens now).

I don't want a sales pamphlet that's got the subtlety of a discount rug advertisement.

Epicenter
11-05-2009, 09:00
WD has evolved, but it's certainly fair to say it's also gone downhill to some degree. It's partially nostalgia, I'll grant people that, but it's not completely nostalgia.

I think White Dwarf actually reflects Games Workshop's soul in many ways. As Games Workshop has grown bigger, slicker, and more corporatized, WD has done the same, changing from a RPG magazine support various other RPGs, to supporting only their own products as they branched out into RPGs and their own games, and finally showing the increasing focus on GW's core business of selling a few wargames and supporting those.

White Dwarf also used to have great hobby articles - ironically, the much-despised LotR section actually had the last gasp of great hobby articles, far outstripping 40k and Fantasy combined for while - every month produced new articles on how to make your own terrain and scenery.

Sadly, I think part of this is a result of the increasing total support of 40k. For instance, when GW makes the vehicles you're supposed to play with, no more articles on how to make your own. When GW starts making terrain and buildings for 40k to sell, no more articles on how to make your own buildings and terrain. When GW makes a battle board, no more articles on how to make your own battle board. With the corporate nature of GW, they have to clear everything they say through their lawyers and so on.

They could still try and foster better communication between the game designers and players, give us more scenario variations, and introduce more minigames and so on, though. Apparently at some Bugman's Q&A in the UK, Rick Priestly (yes, the Rick Priestly) was talking about WD and expressed that he was unhappy with what's happened to WD and would like to make it better.

So perhaps there's still hope.

d0dgeuk
11-05-2009, 09:07
I think for the hardcore gamer that spend time on forums and on various websites and blogs that get news and photos several months before WD print them then yes WD is probably vastly underpitched to that level of the hobby, they are already aware of most articles printed well in advance of WD publication and it presents no new real news. For the casual gamer then I think it still fits a purpose in letting them know what products are coming, cost, local clubs etc. One magazine is probably never going to appeal to the whole spectrum of the hobby so it has to pitch itself somewhere in the middle which I think it does reasonably well. I suppose that doesn't really answer the original posters question though.

Has it fallen prey to GW marketing? Of course it has and has been for years. It is published by GW so I don't think it is unreasonable that they use it to market their game systems. Since probably the first boxsets of 40k and warhammer came out WD has essentially been a marketing tool. I don't think the phenomenon of a magazine used for advertising ones own products is unusual, a quick browse through the newsagents shelf would probably reveal several others that are similar.

htj
11-05-2009, 09:11
It's not all nostaligia, that's for sure. I was out of the hobby for quite a few years and came back to it about a year ago. Flicking through a friend of mine's WD I was sorely disappointed. It just had nothing of interest for me, no real articles of substance. Bell of Lost Souls has kind of taken it's place in my case.

farmersboy
11-05-2009, 09:12
I sorted out my WD collection the other day, trying to find inspiration to get back into painting and encourage my sons to have another crack at it; the collection runs quite solidly from about issue 30 up to the early 200's, bit of a gap then rallies into the low 300's before stopping completely.

Why? Because for some time now, every few months, I pick up the latest copy and think what a pile of crap! Where are the articles, the small chunks of fiction, the artwork? All gone, the magazine now a mere shadow of its former self...

They should rename it Brown Dwarf.

djinn8
11-05-2009, 09:13
What more are you people wanting?

Take a look at the Firebase mag and you'll have more of an idea what a hobby magazine should look like.

And just as a random piece of info for you all, I read WD #8 (or was it #6?) when I was younger and it was a very different beast to what it is today. I remember it had advertisements for the latest boardgames (like "Dungeon" and "Awful Green Things Form Outer Space"), and then it made way for Roleplay campaigns and ideas - I know that Call of Cthulhu was one, possibly Runequest, with a Fan Fic story or two in between articals. I can't remember Warhammer being mentioned in the mag, but I could be mistaken since I believe it had been released at that point. They even advertised non GW minis!

My, my... How things have changed.

d0dgeuk
11-05-2009, 09:20
They even advertised non GW minis!

My, my... How things have changed.

I think back at the 8th issue WD had little to do with Games Workshop. It was still Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstones pet and was certainly much more of a hobby magazine.

rodmillard
11-05-2009, 09:37
^^
I have to agree - people bemoaning the fact that WD has "fallen prey" to GW marketting are about 15 years too late - that happenned back in the mid '90s when they stopped publishing anything (reviews, campaigns, advertising, whatever) for non GW products.

Chaplain Mortez
11-05-2009, 09:39
Has White Dwarf fallen prey to GW marketing?

yah, it has.

Netherghoul
11-05-2009, 10:49
first issue was number 56, so yeah...

the1stpip
11-05-2009, 14:20
Been there since issue 169, and its had its ups and downs.

Apparently, the studio have re-taken the WD, so I am still vainly hoping it will improve at some point.

I miss articles like Mike Walker's and Stillmania. They were good tims.

Cane
11-05-2009, 14:23
They could put the meaning of life in WD issues for all I care --- the amount they charge for their company catalog/newsletter of a magazine is cold-blooded murder.

d0dgeuk
11-05-2009, 14:23
Bring back Thrud I say!

Lion El Jason
11-05-2009, 14:50
My WDs go back to issue 25.
I started buying them at 166 and the quality has gone downhill a lot (Not just space wasted on LotR either;)).

These days I get my WD in the mail, read Standard Bearer then return it to my shelf.

The problem is simple: There are no articles any more.
The things masquerading as articles are really just adverts for the new products in the guise of "Designers notes" or "How to paint your"
While I admit the designers notes are interesting (I am a professional games designer myself) as an insight into how GW does things (Badly!), and the painting articles are a good idea they just aren't articles like we used to have.

The painting articles are very poor, I'd go as far as to say pointless. The only people who use them are GW staff who have to get their model to look as close as possible to the WD pictures.
The models are done to such a high standard that anyone who can possibly use the article doesn't need to!

The design articles, you will note, are also a crock. They never spend time discussing the reasons for making major changes to the rules that were needed or how some long forgotten troop type is now a viable option, these are skipped over in a sentence or two. Instead you get lots of paragraphs on how they added a new troop type and "oh how cool are our new models!" or "Now we've done new models for this unit, people will actually want to use them!".
Not a hint of design discussion goes on in those articles.


Mike McVeys painting articles; Stillmania,J-Files and Chambers of the horned rat in every issue; Mike Walkers column...
Now I'm not suggesting we bring back Critical Mass or Reviews of other peoples products but I'd like to see more than one thing in each issue. Currently they have Standard Bearer and that's it... literally the rest of the magazine is adverts! Oh wait there's sometimes a highly convoluted batrep that bears no resemblance to the games we play in the real world...

If I were to run WD I'd ensure it had a monthly column (And literally, not the size of Standard Bearer just a column of text) from 3-4 members of the design team on what they are doing, thoughts on armies, games or models whatever they want to discuss. More interviews on important issues not just releases (How cool would it be to see a WD interview with the subject "WTF With the Warhammer Armies Daemons Tzeench Special Characters?" and have a studio person explain and say sorry.), 'how to' articles that are aimed at people who would use them, maybe even reports of coverage of events... there's something happening every month at warhammer world... lets see it!

Anyway... thats me. Some people like reading the argos catalogue so I guess that same mentality is keeping WD selling.

Awilla the Hun
11-05-2009, 14:59
The Battle Reports don't seem to be as good as once they were. It was nice when the players got to write up their own fights (I mean, look at our own Battle Reports sections!) They also occasionally generated a few really, really memorable moments. But now they do really read (for 40k at least) like a cross between bad fanfiction and the rantings of a lunatic, often with a new, made up scenario that no one ever uses apart from the GW people to exaggerate a new army's talent.

EVIL INC
11-05-2009, 15:00
Bring back Thrud I say!
HEAR HEAR!!!
I started shortly before 100. Loved Thrud and the D&D articles and such. Then it was a GAMERS magazine.
I pick it up once in a while now but only if it has articles on something I am looking for in particuler.

MrMojoZ
11-05-2009, 16:17
The Battle Reports don't seem to be as good as once they were.

Really? I've considered them to always be awful.

Awilla the Hun
11-05-2009, 16:37
Well, my thread on everyones' favourites begs to differ.

Roguebaron
11-05-2009, 16:41
Stopped reading white dwarf about 3 years ago, and honestly don't miss it. I had every issue from about 100 on to 300, but quit reading for most of the above reasons. If I wanted a catalogue, I'd look online. I actually read no quarter, PP's mag. I've found it more useful for painting articles and modeling tips. I'll even admit I've bought a few mini's just cause they looked cool.

Zoring
11-05-2009, 17:47
Ah the battle reports, i think they have become the craziest most incomprehensible thing in White Dwarf, i remember reading my first White Dwarf 196, reading a battle report, a civil war battle between two Eldar tournament players, using their own armies, brilliant.

White Dwarf 197 followed with a 3,000 point fight between Wood Elves and Skaven, Deathmaster Snitch getting up to shennanigans in that one.

Nowdays i don't remember a single thing about any of the madness battle reports i read. At one point in this latest one the Valkyrie supposedly wipes out a squad of Necrons with a single multi-laser.

3 AP 6 shots against a Necron squad? Uh. C'mon guys, at least make it plausible

_Si_
11-05-2009, 18:02
I think there are less adverts in it now than when I started reading it. Back then you'd have page after page of unpainted miniatures. Of course it was "games workshop's monthly gaming supplement and citadel miniatures catalogue", so they weren't hiding the fact.

I stopped reading because I don't like the way they do battle reports any more. It used to describe the game properly, X moved his orks that way because of this, rolled such and such and oh noes they all died. It made you feel more involved. Now it just gives you a general overview "our shooting turn, that died and that blew up, along with a few other things, next".

I still think Hold the Line was an awesome battle report. Eldritch storm inside a bunker? genius..

philbrad2
11-05-2009, 18:05
The only answer is YES closely followed by MANY YEARS AGO!

It's hardly going to be extolling the virtues of non-GW product is it.

PhilB
:chrome:

Satan
11-05-2009, 18:06
I don't mind it being crammed of new releases but they don't utilize them as wll as they could. I'd love to see more paint job variations and conversion work on new releases - that'd make them alot more interesting. Accompanying tactica articles would also be great. Like a regular feature that is.

And the battle reports are uninspired. Really. You can tell.

t-tauri
11-05-2009, 20:20
There are several white dwarf threads in other GW. This one is closed.