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#1 Tinwhisker

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:17 PM

So, I got my copy out of the mail late Monday night when I got home and since then have been thinking about starting a thread on it. I'm not going to break down and review every article here but I do want to give my first impressions and see what other people think about the Official WoW Magazine. Ideally the discussion will continue on through subsequent issues.

First Impressions:
First off, the magazine was delivered through USPS in an opaque white plastic bag with simple black lettering denoting that it was the "Official World of Warcraft Magazine." Opening the bag there were no inserts or other things to fall out. You're immediately greeted by a magazine that is slightly larger (taller and wider) than most monthly periodicals with a wrap-around cover cover design featuring Arthas on the front. There is no text to speak of on the outside save the title art and some text about volume and issue.

A quick flip reveals the cover is of thicker material than the internal pages. All pages are of high quality gloss paper and in full color. There is a plethora of artwork inside and no shortage of text. It would seem that the text font is smaller than found in most periodicals but that may only be my perception.

As promised, there are no advertisements (at least in the traditional sense). My wife was quick to point out that the entire magazine is nothing but an advertisement for WoW itself but I'm not sure that counts. There is a large article inside about having posters made of your character which is very borderline advertisement but it's only 3 or so pages long and probably still worth the read.

I'm a bit unclear about how much of the artwork contained within is original and how much is recycled form other sources. I do recognize a fair amount as artwork from The Card Game as well as some from other sources. The TCG artwork is much larger than contained on the cards though and is pleasant to see in this larger form.

Content:
I'm not going to list every article individually but here's my thoughts on the content.

There is nothing groundbreaking or revealing in any of the articles (or at least nothing I've seen yet). It's all information that we already knew or have already guessed. As expected there are many nods to WoW's 5-year anniversary as well as what things to look forward to in Cataclysm. Topics covered are quite diverse and span from PvP in the arenas and battlegrounds to companion pets to raid healing to achievements and an interview with Mike M.

One thing that did surprise me but probably shouldn't have is that in many of the articles they have quotes from players about the topic covered. It was a nice touch I enjoyed as a side dish to the main meals.

Most articles seemed well written and edited. I will say though that the writers would do best to stay away from current hot topics. Towards the end of the magazine is an article aimed at DPS classes that spends nearly half it's time talking about rogue weapon swapping (which was 'fixed' by Blizzard a few weeks ago). Realistically, I don't think that article should have ever been written let alone allowed to printed after the fix but I really have no way to know when the magazine went to print. Big thumbs down there but that's my only major gripe.

What I liked:
To me the magazine seemed "full." While I don't think I'll be able to glean any information I didn't already know out of it, it was quite entertaining to read. I do feel like I got my money's worth if subsequent issues are similar.

What Id like to see more of:
Honestly, I'm having a hard time coming up with any topics they didn't cover at least partly. I would like to see more about Blizzards operations, specifically from the network and database maintenance side. Hearing from Execs and Devs about company vision, game design and what-not are great but Blizzard has never really revealed anything of substance about the kind of hardware and software it takes to run such a massive MMO. Now, I'm not suggesting they give away all their secrets and throw wide the doors but I hardly think that after so many years of development and 5 years of play they couldn't talk about at least some of what goes on behind the curtains.


That's a short and sweet write-up of my first thoughts, what are yours?

#2 Nathanyel

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:59 AM

Has someone in the EU (specifically Germany) got their copy yet?

#3 Mr. Crow

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 03:51 PM

I am eagerly awaiting my copy. For Tinwhisker though, let me ask this:

Had this magazine been released in October/November as was initially promised, would that have fixed the problem of "no new information" being in it? Perhaps it's better to ask if this premier issue suffered because the EiC position for the magazine was vacated just as the issue was finalizing for print?

I'm thinking that if the WoW Magazine is produced and printed more promptly, we can expect it to be a big resource of new information that we haven't heard elsewhere. If all the magazine is going to do is replicate the commentary and reporting from all the WoW news sites, then we're paying a subscription fee for a bunch of pretty artwork on glossy paper. I'm really thinking that Blizzard has more in mind for this mag.

Thanks for the write-up! I will cheerfully get my own in once my copy arrives.

#4 Tinwhisker

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 04:20 PM

Had this magazine been released in October/November as was initially promised, would that have fixed the problem of "no new information" being in it? Perhaps it's better to ask if this premier issue suffered because the EiC position for the magazine was vacated just as the issue was finalizing for print?


Hard to say, my guess would be no. A lot of the Cataclysm info in there is stuff we learned from BlizzCon or shortly afterward. There do seem to be some new screenshots but they don't reveal any new information.

From the look of things, the majority of articles had probably been planned out and near completion before that but Future (not Blizzard) was unwilling to go to print/delivery without a full staff able to work on the next issue. Their fear being that they would get this one out in Oct/Nov and not have the next one out for 4-5 months due to having no EiC. That might be ok from a patch cycle viewpoint (released when ready, soon, etc) but in the world of periodicals, not publishing at a quarterly interval would be a killer and a huge black eye.

Future probably thought it best to delay the initial release rather than risk missing a publishing interval later on.

#5 Emeraude

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 10:26 PM

It'll certainly be interesting to see if this magazine stands the test of time. Print in general has issues against the Internet. The moment the issue hits the stands, some website or person is gonna post about anything of interest somewhere. It's one of the things Dan "Shoe" Hsu complained about when he was the Editor-in-Chief @ EGM. Especially when you consider that 100% of the people you expect to buy this magazine already have internet connections.
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#6 timski

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 01:40 PM

Keep in mind that although the magazine is "official", Blizzard haven't suddenly decided to start telling players how to play: The editorial emphasis was on how players do things, not on "Blizz' exclusives".

The long (4-5 month) production cycle poses a serious challenge. It's longer than Blizzard's increasingly long patch cycle, not that Blizzard are 100% sure about anything until a week before it actually patches. I'm intrigued to see how they cope with the next issue, which will inevitably be dominated by a Cataclysm that isn't yet complete. Expansions tend to change everything...

Nathanyel: Non-English versions are delayed due to translation.

#7 Nathanyel

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 11:59 AM

Nathanyel: Non-English versions are delayed due to translation.


Of course I ordered the English version, German WoW sucks since 2.0
Still haven't received the mag though :(

#8 Tinwhisker

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 03:56 PM

I'm intrigued to see how they cope with the next issue, which will inevitably be dominated by a Cataclysm that isn't yet complete. Expansions tend to change everything...


With the Cataclysm alpha starting up shortly it puts the magazine in a weird spot. Assuming the alpha runs for 2-3 months, it means the beta will be out at nearly the same time as the next issue. Once into the beta, there's no more NDA binding anyone which means they're either going to have to really put a lot of info into the "spring" issue or people are likely to ignore the magazine in favor on new Cataclysm info coming out of the beta itself.

#9 Nathanyel

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 04:09 PM

I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the beta is under an NDA as well. That there was wotlkwiki doesn't contradict that.

#10 Arthek

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 04:17 PM

I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the beta is under an NDA as well. That there was wotlkwiki doesn't contradict that.

I'm pretty sure the beta wasn't under an NDA, since the whole wotlkwiki issue came from the alpha datamining. And if I remember well once the beta launched MMO-Champ did a pretty big recap on all the info he had from the alpha.

#11 Qaenyin

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 07:39 PM

This is correct, there was no NDA on the WotLK beta, only the alpha. The WotLK beta forums themselves were publicly accessible, in fact, so all information on them thus were easily accessible by anyone interested.

#12 Leviathon

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 07:39 PM

I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the beta is under an NDA as well. That there was wotlkwiki doesn't contradict that.


NDA's are dropped once the Beta begins.

With the Cataclysm alpha starting up shortly it puts the magazine in a weird spot. Assuming the alpha runs for 2-3 months, it means the beta will be out at nearly the same time as the next issue. Once into the beta, there's no more NDA binding anyone which means they're either going to have to really put a lot of info into the "spring" issue or people are likely to ignore the magazine in favor on new Cataclysm info coming out of the beta itself.


I'd imagine we won't see the Alpha start for another few weeks (wow.com was trolled). If the next issue comes out around the Beta I would imagine it would have quite a bit of new Cataclysm info in there and wouldn't suffer from the setbacks this first issue had which caused it to be so outdated.

#13 Nathanyel

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 04:10 PM

My bad, I was under the impression the whole wotlkwiki was something that was unwanted in Blizzard's eyes, though I guess now that it was mostly the datamining.

#14 winkiller

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 11:47 AM

While I haven't got the magazine, I saw this blog posting yesterday and would be highly interested in any details regarding this. How is the whole imprint part handled, do they have a "team" named or are some of the articles in the mag signed with author names and some aren't?
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#15 Tinwhisker

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 03:54 PM

While I haven't got the magazine, I saw this blog posting yesterday and would be highly interested in any details regarding this. How is the whole imprint part handled, do they have a "team" named or are some of the articles in the mag signed with author names and some aren't?


They do give credit for articles written directly at some of the articles, others do not have their authors directly attached by there is a list of contributors at the front. It does not say which contributor wrote what though. The writers listed with specific articles are not the same as those listed as contributors.

The listed contributors are:
Cody Bye
Alan Dexter
Teresa Dun
Todd Leveen
Casey Lynch
Jamie Madison
David Murphy
Tyler Nagata
Luis Villazon

Since the author of worldofmatticus does not publish his real name in either the blog or his domain registry, there's nothing to back up his claim that he wasn't given credit.

#16 Cranberry

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 09:52 PM

My bad, I was under the impression the whole wotlkwiki was something that was unwanted in Blizzard's eyes, though I guess now that it was mostly the datamining.


This is correct - as mentioned above, the Alpha was under an NDA, and WOTLKWiki was put up using datamined and leaked Alpha information. It really took off when the alpha client got leaked a few weeks before the beta began, and people started doing sandbox servers and such.

#17 Pollska

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 04:00 AM

Magazine subscribers should get access to the beta of cataclysm. Most magazines run special promotions like that and this one should not be an exception.

#18 Nathanyel

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 09:57 AM

Magazine subscribers should get access to the beta of cataclysm.


Damn you, in my post-slumber state, I read the "should" as "will" and was already excited...
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#19 Moonthrower

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 01:23 AM

Had this magazine been released in October/November as was initially promised, would that have fixed the problem of "no new information" being in it? Perhaps it's better to ask if this premier issue suffered because the EiC position for the magazine was vacated just as the issue was finalizing for print?

I'm thinking that if the WoW Magazine is produced and printed more promptly, we can expect it to be a big resource of new information that we haven't heard elsewhere. If all the magazine is going to do is replicate the commentary and reporting from all the WoW news sites, then we're paying a subscription fee for a bunch of pretty artwork on glossy paper. I'm really thinking that Blizzard has more in mind for this mag.


Short answers: Yes and yes.

I believe that, had the magazine been released when advertised, the ICC: 5-man previews and the raid info would have been much more pertinent. That being said, there was still useful information to be gleaned from the articles about the current content when I finally received my copy.

In addition, there was a multitude of general information about the game. The magazine perfectly caters to the WoW community. In fact, the previews of the goblin and worgen races were one of the highlights of the magazines, in my opinion. Sure, some of the info might have been released previously at Blizzcon, BUT the writers doing the articles did a beautiful write-up and took us along for the ride. In addition, there are previews of new professions and what not, with illustrations I hadn't seen before. I'm hoping that the next issue has peeks from Beta Cat in it. And, knowing that this magazine is the OFFICIAL WoW magazine, Blizzard will probably make that happen for us.

All in all, I believe that anyone with a WoW account will LOVE this magazine. It is totally worth the subscription cost to me (albeit a long publishing wait for the first issue >:[ ). If the additional issues follow the same format and general idea, this magazine is going to be around for a LONG time... and I will be subscribing to it each year.

EDIT: Holy %^*&, spelling! Sorry!

#20 Tinwhisker

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 07:03 PM

It is now the first week of April and I've got nothing. The WoW Magazine site as well as the Future US is unchanged and there's obviously been nothing in my mailbox. I had expected something to be mentioned by this time but there's nothing. Usually Blizzard is overjoyed to announce upcoming things like this (even if they're behind schedule) but I've not heard a single peep.

Hopefully they've not failed at meeting their deadline (again).




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