One of the first things I did when I got back into the hobby last year was buy a copy of White Dwarf. As I'm also a bit of a completist and wanted to re-immerse myself, I also bought the previous 6-7 years worth of back issues on ebay. I also even bought second hand the only copy of WD that I had when I was a kid (issue 101) for sentimental reasons.
Recently, though, my love of the magazine has begun to wane and I've essentially stopped buying it as a default thing every month (although I did buy the last one to read about Space Hulk)
This is why I found this thread over at the Hogs of War interesting. The blogger has a subscription and he is going to review each issue so we know what we are potentially getting before we open up a copy in the shop and/or part with cash (I think another blogger is doing this, but I can't remember who).
So, why have I given up on WD? Well, several reasons really:
1. It's a sales catalogue. We all know this. I'm not saying anything new. WD is a sales catalogue, designed to promote GW product and make us all lust after it. This is fine and dandy, but I really want more from a magazine than just 'look at this!'. Also, the articles are contrived - all saying how great the new mins, rules, codex, book (basically any GW product) is and why YOU should want it (i.e. 'well, Jervis, I'm glad that you asked me about the quality of the moulds. Let me tell you...").
2. Battle reports are boring. I often liken battle reports to reading other peoples accounts of having sex. I'd much prefer to be playing a game or even watching people I know play than reading about people who I have never met playing games (games that in principle might never have even happened). The only reason I could see myself reading it is to glean tactics, but I can never figure them out from battle reports anyway.
3. Get the same for free from fans. Most, if not all, of WD content can be found on blogs and forums - often ages before it's covered in WD. There are also quite a few fanzines that, although not as professionally produced as WD, literally drip with fan love but which are also honest in their reviews. I'd much prefer to read an online zine or a pdf release that has loads of typos, bad photos etc. if it feels genuine and has a real honesty to it.
4. Narrow Content. Looking back a way, WD used to be much more diverse in the types of articles that it used to have. Not so long ago, you got articles on RPGs, Necromunda, Battlefleet Gothic etc. Now, all you get is 40k, Warhammer and War(hammer) of the Ring (even LoTR SBG has been sidelined). I can understand them wanting to support the core games, but some scope would also be nice. They might even get people interested in non-core games.
5. Recycled Content. Linked with this, there is a SERIOUS amount of recycling going on in the painting articles. The general ethos with them appears to reflect the belief that either there is a rapid turnover in players or most players have no long term memory for how to paint faces, space marines etc etc. Also, linked with 3, most, if not all, of these kind of tips are available online in forums and blogs