The first issue of a magazine can be a glorious thing.
There has usually been a long ramp up to that first issue, with a lot of time to get the message and focus of the magazine right. You can line up a lot of things for that first issue to make it very special.
And then as soon as it is out the door, you’re on the treadmill. You have to do it again, and again, and again while keeping the whole thing both fresh and interesting as well as focused on your core audience.
Massive Magazine, for example had quite the first issue back in late 2006. They had columns by Raph Koster, Richard Bartle, Richard Garriot, Brad McQuaid, and Nick Yee as well as an interview (which they blew, in my opinion) with Rob Pardo, along with some good articles like the one about the big EverQuest II server crash. Good insider stuff.
And then came the second issue. And while they had an interview (again, blown) with Mark Jacobs, all the luminaries were otherwise gone, the articles fell down some in quality, and the whole thing really failed to deliver in my opinion. And perhaps in the opinion of others, since there was no third issue.
We now have a chance to see another second issue.
They did a good job.
The second issue arrived in the mail a few weeks back and I have finally found some time to sit down with it to see how they followed up that first issue.
The first issue featured an icy themed cover. This time around it is fire. And what was inside?
- The Stories Behind the Stories – A candid interview with some of the team that creates the quests in WoW
- Dragons – A guide to the dragons of Azeroth and the lore behind them
- Last Chance to See – A guide to the places that are going to face big changes with the release of Cataclysm.
- Resetting the Scene – A peek at how some zones will look post-Cataclysm
- Forty to the Power of Three – A look at the original 40-man raid instances and how to run through them with as few as three level 80 players
- PUG is not a Four Letter Word – Advice on how to behave (tactics and etiquette) when using the dungeon finder tool
- Arena: Has the Burst Bubble Popped – A look at Arena Season 8 with an eye to how changes in PvP will affect it
- Lore of the Titans – Just that, the stories behind the titans of Azeroth and where they live
- For the Mount – A guide to raiding the capital cities of Azeroth to slay faction leaders
- Dismantling Icecrown Citadel – A detailed look into the instanced content and the boss fights that makes up ICC
- Winning Warsong – A guide to the Warsong Gulch battleground… more people need to read this one… or at least the people on my side when I’m in WSG
- Crafty Crafter’s Guide to Engineering – A trade skill guide
- Epic in the Real World – A look at the process by which FigurePrints makes statues and busts of your WoW characters
- Modern Raiding – A look at raiding addons
- Columns and Community – Art and opinion, including the tale of the player who went pacifist and made it to level 80 without killing
All of this in 144 pages full of pictures and maps.
Perhaps a few too many pictures in some cases. I wanted to hear more from the quest team and would have shed a few of their pictures for another couple columns of text. But that was because I found the story interesting.
All in all though, I would have to say that the team at World of Warcraft Magazine succeeded in producing a second issue worthy of their initial outing. There is something there for everybody, all of it rich with detail.
Of course, in the magazine business, you are only as good as your current issue. What I looked at here was the Spring issue, but it is Summer now and the next issue should be coming out in a few weeks. If you subscribe today though, you should still get the Spring issue.
Of course, a year’s subscription is $40 (two years for $70), so you’ll have to decide if you’re into the game enough to pay the price. While you can find a lot of the information in the magazine elsewhere, there is some unique content and it is all presented well.
We’ll see if they can keep this up through a third issue.