It sure ain’t Dragon Magazine.
I’ll elaborate a bit more, but that’s the one thing I keep thinking while looking at this app. Back in the day, I use to pick up a Dragon and/or a Dungeon Magazine almost every month; I couldn’t wait to crack the cover and see what stories, adventures, and dungeon mastering advice there was to see. I read Sage Advice religiously. I even read the letters to the editor every month. In addition to the new magazines, I was lucky enough to have a pretty substantial back catalog of Dragon Magazines (I think a lot of these are still in a storage building my mother has) from before I even played the game. These all came from a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman who, whilst in the midst of his vacuum cleaner pitch, saw me scurry through the living room with a D&D book. He immediately told me how he had a bunch of old books and Dragon magazines, and asked if I was interested in them. I’m pretty sure the look on my face sold my parents that vacuum cleaner more than any sales pitch he made. Anyway, the vacuum cleaner was bought, and a few days later I had at least 50 new (old?) Dragon Magazines to pore over.
What I’m saying is that I’ve got a lot of memories of Dragon Magazine from when I was buying them in the early nineties, as well as a pretty good handle on what the magazine was like in the eighties. So to be fair, I don’t know how anything short of an actual print magazine could come close to scratching my “Dragon Magazine itch.” So far, Dragon+ doesn’t even come close. I feel like, with a couple notable exceptions, the whole second installment of Dragon+ reads like a transcript from an infomercial. The article about the chronology of Dungeons and Dragons video games felt like it was in a hurry to get past the vintage games so it could pitch the new games to me. Then there was a sales pitch for Sword Coast Legends, then one for Neverwinter Strongholds, then one for Fantasy Grounds, all interspersed between links to where I could buy these things. I get that the app is free, and I don’t expect the issues to be free of sales pitches or advertisements, but I expect there to be a bit more substance than what I’ve seen so far.
The saving graces of this issue were the short story, which I really enjoyed, and the interview with Ed Greenwood, and even that had a bit of a pitch for his newest book at the end of the article. Hopefully as more issues roll out more content will be added, and hopefully that content will have a broader focus than the current emphasis on writing articles about the newest thing Wizards of the Coast wants me to buy.