Tag Archives: Massive Magazine

World of Warcraft Magazine – Issue 2

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.

World of Warcraft Magazine, a quarterly publication, put out their first issue early this year.  It was glossy, well done, and surprisingly full of interesting and useful information.

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.

World of Warcraft Magazine - Issue #2

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.

Massive Magazine Issue #2

I received Issue #2 of Massive Magazine in the mail on Friday and had some time during the weekend to pour over it.

The lead-in column from Editor-in-chief Steve Bauman was interesting because it addressed at least one of my problems with issue #1; MMO News.  He said that with all the other, more immediate venues for MMO news, they want to concentrate on “other entertaining parts of gaming.”  So issue #2 moves in a somewhat different direction than #1.  For example, there is no up front news section.  Massive plunges straight into the features.

The features in issue #2 are:

  • Outland of Sight, Outland of Mind – A look at the World of Warcraft Burning Crusade expansion (during the beta)
  • Pay To Play No More – A wrap up of free-to-play MMOs
  • Big Five Then and Now – A look at what they call the big five initial MMOs, Ultima Online, EverQuest, Asheron’s Call, Anarchy Online, and Dark Age of Camelot
  • Kill ‘Em All – A pass through PvP in MMOs
  • I Win EVE – A rehash of the EVE Investment Bank scandle, including an interview with the guy who ran the scam
  • DIY MMOs – A look at player generated MMO content
  • Negative Creeps – A look at the people who make MMO forums unbearable
  • World of What? – A noob experiment where a non-gamer gets sent to play World of Warcraft
  • The List – An huge listing of all of the current, in beta, and in development MMOs.

This issue makes for an interesting read.  If issue #1 was well suited for people who have never played an MMO, issue #2 is targeted at those of us who already play.

While generally a strong outing, some items did grate.  In the “Then and Now” feature, the “Now” part consisted of the diary of somebody loading up these games today and playing them.  They seem to have picked people with no real interest in the games in question, which I guess was a shot at objectivity, but it did not play out well.  The guy who looked at EverQuest for example, came off as openly hostile to the game before he installed it.  Despite being a “Now” perspective, he declined to grab The Serpent’s Spine, going with the old tutorial.  His finale, crowing about how happy he was to uninstall EverQuest in the end and reclaim his hard drive space, came as no surprise.  While worse than the others, it did not stray too far from the overall attitude.

The heavy weight opening issue contributors are all gone, so general industry opinion pieces are lacking this time around.  I wish they had kept some of the initial star-studded columnists from the first issue, if only to add some respected heft to the magazine.

The issue again closes with “The Same Five Questions We Always Ask,” which appears to include a couple of different questions this time around.  My pick for stinker question is gone, so I would have to support that.  Unfortunately, the person to whom they put the questions, Mark Jacobs, co-founder of Mythic and now general manager of EA Mythic, wasn’t nearly as interesting as Rob Pardo was last issue.  Questions do not make the interview I guess.

All in all, not bad, but no great achievement.  For me, the issue was worth it  just for “The List” at the end of the magazine.

Addendum:  I forgot to mention that issue #2 also came with an installation CD for EVE Online, complete with a 14-day free trial key.

Massive Magazine Issue #1

I received my copy of Massive Magazine about a month back and have been meaning to write about it ever since.  If you have not seen it, it is a new magazine dedicated to the coverage of the MMO world.

Since I would like to get my comments out before I get issue #2, I will break my review into two quick parts.

Lows

News: For me this is a low.  It is a reminder of why I do not subscribe to monthly magazines that are news oriented.  I was reading the news clip in the magazine announcing the Ryzom Ring on the same day I read about Nevrax going into receivership.  Of course, I may not be the target audience here, being somebody who picks up MMO news via RSS every day.

MMOGRAPHICS: Some statistics thrown into the news section.  No source or methodology is provided with them, so they might as well be made up by my standards, and 87% of MMO players surveyed concur with my opinion.

Tradeskills of the Future: A humor piece scattered about the front section of the magazine.  It fell completely flat for me.  Besides, if they think that “prostitute” or “beggar” are trade skills of the future, they haven’t spent enough time playing World of Warcraft.

Ask Dr. M.M. O’rly: Did not care for it and, given that this is issue #1, it seemed pretty faked up to have letters available to answer.

Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising Beta Key: It is a key to get on a list to maybe get an invite to be in the beta.

The Same Five Questions We Always Ask: This is their last page piece.  They need to ditch their first question, “When was the last time you pulled an all nighter working on a game, and why?” If you have somebody interesting there, I do not care about the last time they pulled an all nighter.  Find a better question.

Highs

The magazine itself is well put together and well laid out.

The Ads: The big, colorful double page spreads for the different games in the magazine are very nice.  They made me want to play games I knew I had no business playing.

Features: There were several very good articles about different aspects and history of online gaming.  “Anatomy of a Crash,” the story of a huge EverQuest II outage, was good because I remember that episode well.  “Mods of War” was decent, though with the World or Warcraft 2.0.1 update, a lot of the information is now out of date.  There were also interesting articles on hacking online games and gold farmers.  I could have done without “Say What,” a piece on in game chat language,mostly because I think that topic has been beaten to death.

Columns: There are pieces from Raph Koster, Richard Bartle, Richard Garriot, Brad McQuaid, and Nick Yee.  A pretty heavy hitting set for a first issue.

The Same Five Questions We Always Ask: Again, their last page piece.  Rob Pardo of Blizzard was the person being asked this month, and the other four questions were good and generated interesting answers.

Thoughts

If I had a friend who was not into MMOs but who wanted a quick look into the world thereof, I would hand him or her a copy of this magazine.  It is bright, colorful, and has lots of pictures of different games, so it has a toy catalog air about it that works well.

They also sponsor the Massively Online Gamer podcast, which is a pretty cool thing to do.

I am looking forward to the next issue.