So, yes, I subscribed to the World of Warcraft Magazine. The first issue showed up this past weekend.
Vol. 1, Issue 1, Winter 2009
After all, I’ve subscribed to several print magazines that covered the MMO market in general (most of which have folded), as well as the EVE Online magazine EON, and even the EverQuest II magazine EQuinox.
And, in the end, I have let all these subscriptions lapse.
The general MMO magazines, some of which didn’t last as long as my subscription, all suffered from the same problem: I’d effectively read most of their content on the web 4-8 weeks ahead of receiving them in the mail. The death of print media in a nutshell. And the remaining content, items unique to the magazine, were not worth the price of the subscription.
EON, the EVE Online magazine, is probably the best MMO magazine around. It looks good and is chock full of information you probably haven’t read at six gaming sites already. Plus they have cool posters. The problem for me was that the magazine tended to be aimed at people way more into the game than I have ever been. A lot of the content got flagged “nothing to do with me really” as I went through it each quarter.
And then there was EQuinox. EQuinox looked very nice. It was done by MMM Publishing, the same people who do EON. But it was very thin. Too thin to be worth nearly $20 a copy after you added in tax and shipping. I do not think I was alone in that assessment, since I believe it only ran a two issues in the end.
So what can the Official World of Warcraft Magazine offer up in a space where others have failed?
In general, the magazine looks good. It is well produced, though perhaps not as glossy as EON.
It has some heft at 144 pages. The official site says 148 pages, but to get there you have to count the cover, inside and out, none of which has any real content and which are not numbered.
My last copy of EON weighed in at 80 pages while that first issue of EQuinox was a very light feeling 66 pages, so it compared quite favorably there.
And then there is the content. Topics covered in this first issue are:
- Things to look forward to in Cataclysm
- A feature about Mike Morhaime and the history of Blizzard
- Companion Pets
- Overview and background of Ice Crown Citadel
- Different methods guilds use to distribute loot from raids
- Isle of Conquest battleground guide
- A guide to line of sight and how to maintain it in various conditions
- Heroic Prints poster guide
- Guide to inscription (which has the same graphic as Syp has in his blog header)
- Guide to the Argent Tournament/Trial of the Crusader area
- Guide to addons for healers
- WoW Five Year Anniversary overview – includes a nice time line
- Arathi Basin battleground guide
- Overview of the return of Onyxia
- Overview of the WOW trading card game
- Fan art gallery
- Some one page guides to things like keeping threat when tanking and when to swap weapons in combat
- An attempt at humor on the last page
Over all, the first issue was pretty good. It felt like it contained a lot of information.
Then I realized that there were no ads in the magazine at all. No pages bought by WoW guilds, fan sites, news sites, vendors, nor any of the other stuff that you expect to find in such a magazine… stuff that generally finances the magazine… were anywhere to be seen.
Of course, seen from another angle, the magazine is nothing but a giant advertisement for World of Warcraft. But then you cannot buy it off a news stand, you have to know about it and subscribe, so if it is nothing but an ad, it is directed at people who already bought the product.
And it did deliver value.
A lot of the magazine was devote to guides that contained reasonable, practical advice. Nothing you couldn’t search the web and build on your own, but it is nicely presented in a single location. For me, the battleground guides were quite nice, since I tend to spend most of my time lost in battlegrounds trying to figure out what I should be doing.
While the information about Cataclysm was nothing really new if you read all the info coming out of BlizzCon, it was well put together with screen shots of new UI pieces and the like.
The articles about Blizzard and World of Warcraft in general delivered a lot of good information. I liked the list of features that they added over time that you now just take for granted, like the ability to turn off scrolling quest text. The game went almost a year before they got that added in.
So, all in all, a strong first outing for the World of Warcraft magazine, at least relative to comparable magazines. You can go browse through some of it online on the official site, linked way back in the first sentence.
Now the real question: Can they follow up with an equally good second issue come Spring? Pulling together a first issue is one thing. Getting into the cycle of putting out an issue every quarter is something else altogether.
We’ll see in the spring I guess.