White Dwarf is like your first love. It might not last forever but you will always remember it.
I've been reading the magazine since I can remember. The cover at the beggining of this post is from the #113 issue, the first I think I ever read; it's been a long time, but I think I made my parents buy it because of the Space Hulk contents.
I kept piles of old issues, when it was at least 30% lore, stories and background, instead of a mere shopping catalog and painting showcase. When "battles" in Warhammer 40,000 were with less than 15 miniatures per side, and there were new rules in most issues.
As I was young first my english was pretty basic, using constantly a dictionary and guessing many "strange" (fantasy) words. But I gazed at the impressive drawings, at the beautifully painted miniatures, even at the ending pages order lists and metal pieces.
I read them over and over, because I could convince my parents to buy me one each few months, until I could subscribe to it... well, really a local store near my house would bring it to Spain, sometimes missing a number or arriving quite late. But it was ok as I still got the chance to read more articles.
I read about Space Hulk, about Advanced HeroQuest, about Blood Bowl and Epic 40,000 ("Space Marine" in the edition I have) and Necromunda... Games that not were "pure Warhammer", and that either I already had or I've ended up buying years later because of that nostalgia and earlier reading.
But I've also known about Battlefield Gothic, about Man'O'War or Mordheim or Gorkamorka, games that I haven't played but I have read lore and articles and seen great minis and scenarios based on them.
I had too the first spanish number when White Dwarf was translated, with months of delay and older contents, before it was monthly and fully localized. I stopped buying it but I've been able to read many many issues and kept it's evolution "under surveillance" during most of the latest 15 years.
In the last years it slowly became a pure, badly concealed, marketing tool. A beautified shopping catalog with a few interesting articles among tons of new products showcasing.
When in late 2012 it was redesigned and a digital version was presented, I decided to give it another try and subscribed for a year for the digital. After those 12 numbers I've kept reading it all months until now.
In all it's "redesigned existence", the magazine has slowly falled even deeper into the marketing pit. Despite the beautiful HD zoomable images and embedded 360 degree images of some new minis, the digital version is only better in the fact that is cheaper than the physical one. And both have zero lore articles, crappy battle reports that no longer are consistent, repetitive conversions and endless miniature showcasing (there's a chaos champion mini that I love and have but I've come to hate because of having seen it so many times in the magazine).
It promised more quality and just had more advertisement. It is like a big ad, a pure catalog that you pay for. You get more and better news from internet this days, and for free.
And now, the next genius turn from Games Workshop: You want rules in the mag and no ads? No problem, you'll pay for it! And just in case you are interested in the new catalog items, you can buy it separately too, in a weekly basis!
Simply brilliant... charging you more for fixing mistakes and removing self-advertisement, when the main purpose of the whole magazine is already that. And even use it to speed up the release cycle so the information leaks around the net are less effective.
And it gets even better... So let's review both magazines separately.
The White Dwarf (weekly)
Imagine compacting the normal White Dwarf into 30-something pages. Imagine almost 50% is pure "new releases" and the other 50% is what was in the "old" WD plus the "new and awaited" rules for a single model.
Images are bigger so less text is needed to fill pages, but you get so few actual content (less than 20 pages) that should almost be free.
The paper magazine has exactly the same paper width and height, just with less pages. There is an epub/mobi version at Black Library, which further demonstrates the bigger images by having just one or two paragraphs per page and a big image (not all pages but many).
So basically is an ultra-minimalistic version of the old WD, with some sections missing.
3.20€ per week (2.99€ the digital edition), almost 13€ per month if you want all issues. Nice marketing idea to allow you to choose but end up charging you more than before.
The Warhammer Visions (monthly)
This is actually quite surprising, and really dissapointing. It can be summarized as hundreds of pages... of photograpies of miniatures and battle scenes. The "sections" are only as a way of categorizing the photographs, but the text is so scarce it could be entirely removed.
It is "multilanguage", as texts and descriptions come in english, french and german, but at least there isn't much around the photos.
Photos are nice, until you notice they are overabused. Tons and tons of Tyranids, same units in different angles, zoom levels and color schemes, until smells like pure page-filling.
Digital version needs to be read in landscape mode (rotated), but the plus is you don't get "cut" images as in the paper version.
It has a new releases section (like the weekly WD), just having tons and tons of pictures, Parade Ground and battle report... full of images and that not even tries to make sense anymore or just communicate properly what happens in each turn.
Kit bash is also here, as Blanchitsu, and the small painting tips. As everything is in big pictures, what was a 3-4 pages article now spans over 6 to quite-too-many pages of and unnecessary huge photos.
And the store list is here instead of in the weekly WD, which also makes no sense except to make fatter this magazine and thinner the weekly one.
Last White Darf was about Tyranids, first Visions is also focused on Tyranids on the 40k part. Repetitive and looking as not wanting to make much effort for a first issue that should be amazing to hook people up.
The "best" thing is that, as some people around blogs have been suspecting, some of the photos of the Tyranids are actually repeated. I have also January 2014 White Dwarf digital version and I can confirm 100% sure that some images are repeated from last White Dwarf.
For example the Hive Crone images are the same photograps, some of them cleverly cut in different rectangles, some like the first one with violet background exactly the same in Jan WD and Feb Visions WB.
Se we have like half of the old WD, with less text and going towards a photo catalog. Such a dissapointing "new" magazine.
9€ per month (9.99€ the digital, more expensive than paperback one!).
They've lost their minds. They have hacked into pieces the old and already bad White Dwarf and made it even worse and way more pricey for just a few rules and more photos. Whoever thought it was a good idea to divide the magazine in two should probably be congratulated by getting fired.
The nonsense goes as far as not even being consistent: Weekly version has a cheaper but worse digital version (with quite minimalistic formatting) in compatible formats, while the Visions one is more expensive, only available for the iPad but with the paper version design.
Why they didn't just went one way? we can't know, although maybe they want to get the most from the new weekly magazine not sharing any revenue with Apple.
Either WD will die, or I'll lose my faith in humanity if people really welcomes this absurd and money-grabbing change. This is the worst movement they could have thought about.