Friday, 31 January 2014

Warhammer Visions and WD weekly review out. Why why why GW?

Glorious new Magazines?
So the word is out on these two new mags from GW with the first video review live avilable here. Sadly what follows is going to be a bit of a rant so read on to see my flabbergasted thoughts on this new direction.
I will however seek to apply logic and constructive criticism. 

Lets start with a little background.

GW has not to long ago released it's financials and it wasn't good news, profits have drop considerably over the last year and with a week second half of the financial year ending with a significant drop. 
This lead to a considerable drop off in share price of about £1.50 per share in a single day but even before that there is a steady trend in the months leading up to it stating unsurprisingly enough 6 months ago around the time their last financials were released. 


GW share price over the last 6 months.
http://www.lse.co.uk/ShareChart.asp?sharechart=GAW
Even with the fast paced release schedule since 6th edd dropped the company that has been arguable doing well throughout the financial difficulties of the last 7 years, has now begun to decline.

Now this will be the second time in recent history that they have reworked the publication. While at first I started to collect the 'new' magazine I soon felt it lacked substantial content and while pictures are cool I found that the 360s on the website the day of release (often midnight friday) gave me a much better look at the new models and saved me a fiver.

And then the leaks come out about the new new White Dwarf, followed by the announcements a while later.
"White Dwarf, now weekly.
Available exclusively through Games Workshop stores, independent retailers, and games-workshop.com. White Dwarf is an exciting and essential weekly hobby magazine that contains something for every hobbyist, every week - guaranteed!
·    36 pages of everything that is exciting and new in the hobby this week.
·    Detailed information on all the week’s other new releases, and the latest hobby news.
·    New features, new modelling and painting techniques, new rules, new columnists and much more.
·    All this every week for the same price as a single Citadel pot of paint!
Issue No.1 launches Saturday 1st Feb and subsequent issues follow every Saturday
Warhammer: Visions, now monthly.
Experience a visual feast of super high-quality Citadel Miniatures.  In more than 230 pages you’ll find a completely new take on the worlds of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 in a stunning new extended pictorial style.
·    Contains all your favourite sections from Army of the Month and Blanchitsu, to Kit Bash and Paint Splatter.
·    Over 70 more pages than the previous monthly White Dwarf with more Golden Demon and Armies on Parade photos and more fantastic photographs of Citadel miniatures than ever before.
And it’s wrapped up in a fabulous new format that you will want to keep and collect! Issue No.1 out Saturday 1st February" From Games Workshop's website.
Sounds exciting right? You bet I was until this evening looking forward to tomorrow. Then I saw the review....

And got a little angry, but mostly flabbergasted at the stupidity and total lack of understanding shown by GW.
Time for the Hammering.
A) We're told it's over 70 more pages completely neglecting to mention the pages are 3/4 size or smaller. 

B)  "Contains all your favourite sections" they say "Army of the Month and Blanchitsu, to Kit Bash and Paint Splatter." again forgetting to mention they have sterilised and distilled out any soul from the work by stripping out all context to even less words than before.

C) " new format that you will want to keep and collect!" WHY??? I have the Internet and Goggle search I can see as many picture from the worlds best conversions and projects along with so much more. L00K Golden Daemon Picks!!!!. So why would I want to spend £10 a month and then keep it after flicking through?

And cutting to the crunch of the matter is GW really genuinely as arrogant and out of touch with the playerbase as it seems?
Apparently not so arrogant anymore as the are at least looking for help
Thanks to Apocalypse 40k for pointing this out.
So having bashed Warhammer Visions like the ruined Aquila, how would I pick up the pieces and put it back together.

A) is obvious, I wouldn't have tried to make a big deal of the page numbers and neglected the pocket sized book. If no one at GW spotted this was an obvious way to piss of your customers then they need more than a customer experience expert. a brain transplant perhaps.

B) The main reason I like many other stopped buying White dwarf was it's lack of content. Out of context pictures are not content!!! The saying "a picture tells a thousand words" is not something to rely on when your trying to entertain people. The whole point of the saying is that you can assimilate information much quicker with a picture than with words. But when I sit down to read a magazine I want it to last a bit and reading is a part of that pleasure.

Lets look at this fellow.
Photo Courtesy of Tail of painters
On the face of it it seems like a good item. Nice pictures and a little bit of chatter, all good but then while plodding round Blog land you get work like this from Eternal Hunt

Background details of all his IQ28 Characters. 

Inquisitor Zuul and his Fate 
The Development, creation and back story of a model specially built for the Inqvitational held at Warhammer world and second model produce by Eternal Hunt and sent to be used at wahammer world after

Legion with his Fate 


Which produced by a fan in his spare time smashes Blanchitsu produced by the 'professional' WD team so far out of the water that WD needs a spacesuit.
It's an embarrassment that they just can't compete, the total lack of context with a feeling of forced editing, removing all traces of specialist game references ect, sterilises the articles to a dull and pitiful death.

Whats worse is I get the feeling that it's pressure from up the food chain that forces this creative neutering on the white dwarf team. 

The same can be said of the Golden Deamon pages, so little info leaves me cold. FFS the white dwarf team have access to talk to these people who convert and paint these models is it that hard to expect an interview? even a short 5 questions would show some effort.

And don't get me started on Kitbash. If I want to see grey plastic conversions I'll go look in the loft, there is a reason thousands of WIP (work in progress) threads across hundreds of forums get so much attention. Is it too much to ask that an article on kit bashing covers the process from start to finish? maybe talk with the guy and get an idea of what he was thinking or any concept sketches and background ideas the creator has had... No? then how come the rest of us can manage it when it's not our Job?

At least armies on parade was kinda funky. Oh wait if the review is anything to go by the article has gone to the vets and come home missing a couple of things.
"Hey what are you doing back there???"

C) A magazine I want to keep. 
 Guess what I have many of them, a whole shelf full of old white Dwaves from just before No.200 through to over 300.

But did you ever ask my why I would want to keep them? No funny that might explain why you're so far off the mark this time....

Good enjoyable and USEFUL content thats why.

Short stories I can grab and reread like codexes had in 2nd ed. One page Shorts are quick enjoyable and help add flavour to the world. What's wrong with a page and a half spread through the battle report snippets here and there of an in character view of the battle. Other stories about the army released that month gives me a feel for the personality and motivations behind the troops and generals. It's not like Games works doesn't have access to a host of world class authors and best sellers, Out wait yes they do....

Context to models, the backgrounds a stories for them. How they were assembled and what from and why? it draws a reader in and encourages them to investigate the picture in more detail.

Rules and I don't necessarily mean units cut straight from the upcoming codex or army book, (peeking at you new dwarf dude). but interesting out of the box ones, its all well and good Vetock and Johnson babble on about making up scenarios but do we ever get any good ones to use?  Nope not really, even the special mission battle reports are not that inspiring. 

I've got an old White Dwarf where in 2nd ed they did the battle of Ork's Drift or something like that. With a full set of suggestion for multiple games, random Ork waves and injured defenders going to the hospital between waves to make Zulu feel like a nice holiday for the British chaps. I took it, altered it to fit and spent my 30th birthday playing some of the best games of 40k I've ever played  coming to a tense end at 4Am calling time with no real Idea who could truly claim to win. 

Add in short articles with alternative terrain rules (5 out of 6 trees in warhammer are special, but after 3 or 4 games soon become very dull) or mysterious objective tables they become something you can use for a month and then stash on the shelf till next year.

Even then most of this I can find on the web with so much more for the princely sum of nothing. So why would I pay for it unless its to the highest standard. What more can you offer me???
The legend that is Inspector Gadget.
Perhaps the pick of the web, the best of the best. Use these fans with so much skill, get them doing guest posts on the WD blog and full articles for WD and get involved with your community. Mind I can google that too so what more than that could you do?
Inside information, thats what. Ok so you don't want to give away the release schedule that's a totally different discussion. But if you release a weekly with the new stuff in and a visual feast full of last month's stuff what's wrong with including the WIP pictures of sculpts, concept sketches and interviews then. 

You have direct access to the people who enter Golden Daemon and Armies on parade, interview them, talk to them. Gather WIP photos from them and show me how they achieved the fantastic pieces so I may learn something from that. 

There is only so many times I need to see the heavy metal painted Flying red behemoth Hive tyrant, with the 360s on the web site, WD, the codex, WD daily, ect. I'm damned if I'm paying a tenner to see it some more no matter how many different figure arrangements you place it in, I can do that at home with my Dakka jet and get the added advantage of getting more enjoyment out of my own models.

The design studio was often my favourite part of white dwarf. I often felt conflicted and slightly jealous of how much the team could paint, then I remembered that in a single battle report on my blog I could catch up with the White Dwarf word count. For the size of the team there really wasn't that much content in the brochure and I guess they need to look busy somehow. 

So come on GW management stop tying your staffs hands and allow them to be creative and do cool stuff, write stories and articles to thrill and excite us and stop relying on big shiny pictures of models we've seen before on your website and in your books because it's clearly not working if you need this reboot so soon after the last.

It's late now I need bed. I hope this has been an interesting read and if not well it's out of my system. I may even email a link to the WD team or WD daily to see what they say. for now though Good night and feel free to comment with your Ideas and opinions.

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