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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Review of White Dwarf Weekly and Warhammer: Visions

I am going to skip my usual pleasant introduction to just dive right in and review the 2 new Games Workshop offerings, the monthly Warhammer: Visions and the White Dwarf Weekly. Shall we...

Warhammer: Visions

Now, longtime readers to this site know I am a fan of GW. I will be the first to admit when they make a mistake (the prices are too high, and that is hurting them and the players more than anything else). Clearly, I am not a GW hater. Nor do I over react- I am neither rash nor impulsive when it comes to GW. I do not scream that the sky is falling every time they come out with a new Codex or idea. I wait to examine all the possibilities, after the yelling online has died down. Usually, I find, after examination, that GW puts out a fine product overall, with some glitches in there. Look- when you have a storyline and factions that players are fanatical about, you're bound to step on some people's toes. It happens. I believe that GW does a good job most of the time, even with their mistakes. I have always been a pretty happy 40K player- even in the dark days of Chaos 5th edition.

Today, however, I must express my very bitter disappointment with GW. I am more than disappointed- I am furious. For the past year, I have subscribed to White Dwarf via my iPad. Before that, I bought that magazine every month for over a decade. I have seen the changes in that magazine the whole time. Its more recent iteration (starting September 2012) was something I liked. Again, it wasn't perfect, but I enjoyed the mag. When I got my iPad, I loved the digital WD. The entire mag downloaded to my iPad, and I could lug a dozen with me all in the palm of my hand. And the mag had lots of iPad functionality. Even friends of mine who were disenchanted with WD thought the digital edition was nifty. At the end of this past December, I renewed my subscription happily.

Then- early January- word went out that there would be huge changes to WD, that it would be split into weekly and monthly publications. I was doubtful- after all, going from printing 1x a month to weekly would be a challenge. Then, word came officially from GW that it was true. The monthly would be replaced by Warhammer Visions and there would be a weekly WD. My friend Joe said that GW was going to steal my money and not continue my subscription- no, the sky wasn't going to fall, I said. They will either keep sending me the monthly or there would be a credit or something. Shortly thereafter, GW proved me right- current subscribers would get Visions monthly, as before. Crisis averted. And their description of the monthly made me drool- lots of pics for inspiration, John Blacnche, hobby articles galore. A true enthusiasts magazine.

Boy- did they LIE. Yes. They LIED. The mag downloaded to my iPad after updating the app. No problem. I was excited to get this new mag. Then- I looked at it. The damn thing is a stupid pictorial. Just pictures of models. Only descriptive blurbs, no articles. Just page after page of model pics. What? Where's the conversion articles? Where's a battle report (what they put in there is called a "Battle Report", but I assure you it is NOT. Just pics and a small description for each)? Where's the insight from the model and game designers? Terrain making? Fluff? Nada. Zip. Zero.

It is just a spread of pics. Yes, the pics are nice, but... there's no meat. Nothing thought provoking. Yes, some nice pics. But that is all. This is NOT what I subscribed to. At all. I subscribed to a magazine that had several different features, and lots of articles. Warhammer: Visions has none of that. It is pure, utter CRAP. And I am angry that GW misrepresented what this was going to be. THAT is what makes me maddest. The DECEPTION.

I am mystified as to what the HELL they were thinking with this. Who on earth would buy it EVERY month?!! That is nonsense. Now, I could see me buying one if it had lots of Chaos goodness for one month... or, if they offered it quarterly to showcase what they did the past 4 months...but to buy it every month for random pics with nothing to tie it together? It makes NO sense whatsoever. No one is going to buy this every month. No way. It has NOTHING to offer on a monthly basis. It is pretty much a waste.

The worst part is the wasted potential. With some quality hobby articles, this mag could have been strong. Lots of pics, with some great reads- I would have gladly plunked down the cash for it. However, that is not what they produced. What they produced is a waste of paper. And, to top it all off, GW was deceptive in what this would be. That pisses me off. As of now, I am emailing Apple, demanding my money back (since GW can't do anything with Apple apparently). I have never been so totally disappointed with GW. And angry. What a joke.

White Dwarf Weekly

So, in the interest of fairness I downloaded the weekly this morning. You have to type it into the ibook store search bar to find it, by the way. Anyways, it downloaded quick enough and was $3.99. The first thing I noticed was that it was ebook format- I understand the reason for that, but I quickly missed the glossy finish of the WD monthly, which was glorious in the Apple format. Now, by doing it just ebook, they can reach more people. I understand that. But, it does make the mag look less attractive compared to what has come before.

As for the mag- its not bad at all. I found their articles in Tyranids quite insightful and entertaining, as a matter of fact. The mag mostly covered the dwarfs, and as an ad for the new models, it was standard WD fare. They had the rules for some of these dwarfs- I suppose it is a sneak preview of a sort, and that is cool. They had articles looking at some BL books (I'll be checking out scars shortly). A paint splatter for dwrafs was there too. They even had a back end piece showing a reader's model that was sent in via email, and I liked that.

So, what do I think? Well, I don't think I'll buy every week. I don't need to buy it if it focuses solely on armies I don't have / not interested in. However, if say new Chaos, Dark Eldar, Imperial Guard, or Ultramarines are the focus- I'll certainly pick it up.

Now, I get why they did the weekly format. It is to bring people into the stores more, as a business move, I get it. I also personally think that making it weekly gives the buyer more flexibility. Dwarfs this week? Nah. Chaos next week- oh yeah. I think that means someone who bought WD monthly in store, may only buy a couple over the course of 6 months. More buyer choice is a good thing, and I think the weekly WD is just fine.

Final Analysis:

If GW had just done the WD weekly, I could have been behind them 100%. It makes sense, and gives us a better choice- how many WD monthlies were a waste for me because they had a ton of fantasy or LoTR? Now, I have some choice, which is a good thing.

However, GW decided to run with Visions- the WORST idea they have had in some time. The worst part is how they basically LIED to their current subscribers- it is NOT what we subscribed to at all, and it certainly is not an effective substitute. If Visions had actual content, I would be fine. Instead, its just pics that you can find on the damn Internet. Why on earth would I pay to subscribe to that?!

GW should have given the subscribers an option. Give us a store credit for whatever we had left. Or give us WD weekly for that CASH equivalent. Or, how about giving us a real hobby magazine- with terrain building, fluff, conversion projects, etc. ?

I am going to do something that I have NEVER done. I am going to email GW and bitch at them about the biggest, boneheaded play I have ever seen them do. Look- I love the hobby. I love the universe that GW has set up. I love playing the game. I look forward to new models, playing scenarios, terrain, and all of that. I sometimes get frustrated with GW on things like pricing, but I get that they are a company and want to make money. BUT- this Visions is a total piece of garbage, unworthy of this company. Whoever thought of it and made it like this should be sacked. I am now what I have never been at GW- ANGRY.

Now, I know my anger will subside. I will cool off once I get my subscription money back. But, my disappointment will remain for some time. I'll let you guys know when I send off my email to GW.

Until next time...


  1. Thanks for the review Prof. A good read for sure. Like you I do not hate GW as I absolutely love the world that they have fleshed out in the Horus Heresy series but I do think it's a but of an overkill to churn out so many miniatures in such short periods.

  2. I've just come back toe h hobby after *gulp* 20 years away and I have to say, what GW have done to WD is nothing short of horrific.

    I was sucked in by the promise of Visions and gave it a go, to find. It's just pictures. It's in it's third or fourth edition now and still nothing of any value.

    Similarly, with WD, it's a poor shadow of it's former self, only now it's a £2.50 weekly shadow which is £10 a month - A MONTH for crying out loud. It reeks of cynicism on the behalf of GW - "Hey guys, w know out fan base is strong and enthusiastic, they'll pay for pretty much anything, right? So let's double the cost of the mag by producing it weekly and we'll split our content over 4 weeks.. winner!"

    I refuse to buy either publication again, ever. I find it hard to swallow that some individual plastic miniatures are £18 a pop, but £10 a month is just extracting the urine. Poor show Games Workshop, poor show...

    1. I agree 100% about Visions. The product makes ZERO sense. Why on earth would I want it? Now, MAYBE if it came out quarterly- all their new models showcased- but even then I want meat- articles, how-tos, etc.

      As for the weekly, yes its more expensive than before IF you get every issue. The trick here is to be selective. Like this month I'm not buying ANY because its all fantasy and I don't play that. If it was 40K and a faction I was interested in, I'd buy- like I bought the WDs with the Knights, Chaos, and IG because I'm invested in them one way or another.

      Am I saving or losing money this way? If I'm careful, I'll spend less then the normal $10 a month... But Visions is still ass.