Here's what's going on with the online magazines and why we're experiencing delays.
Beginning on January 3, we launched new procedures that put magazine articles through the same vetting process as everything else that comes out of R&D. Up until now, the magazines operated semi-independently. We didn't treat them as throw-away objects, but they didn't get the full R&D analysis that a Heroes of the Fallen Lands would receive, either. Now they do.
The two chief reasons for this change are 1) to reduce errata, which is unacceptable at just about any level, and 2) to ensure that what's released through the magazines harmonizes with R&D's long-range plans for the game. In other words, the magazines are now fully part of the R&D department's work flow instead of being sort of integrated and sort of separate.
This has lots of upsides, but it also creates an immediate problem in that a bunch of people in R&D just got more work dropped into their laps in the form of helping to analyze and vet magazine articles. The number of eyes that an article passes under before publication has more than tripled. We're devoting as much of everyone's time to this process as possible, but there are many new places in the chain where delay can occur and a lot of people involved for whom this is a new chunk of work. Because our deadlines are so short, losing a day or two anywhere along the path can cause an article to miss its publication.
We know that this system can't work without some cushioning in the schedule, so we're further complicating things by actually accelerating the process in the short term in order to gain ground in the long term. The additional review work people are being asked to perform right now is about 50% higher than it will be once things settle down. The situation should stabilize within a few weeks ... but it may get worse before it gets better. This is the time of year when people (and their kids) get sick, schools close, Outlook clogs up with long-range planning and budget meetings, and so on.
For the time being, if we state that we'll have four or five articles ready during a certain week, we're pretty confident that we will. But there are still likely to be days (like this past Monday and Tuesday) where nothing appears, days where articles appear mid-day, and days late in the week when two or more articles are posted. This will be a short-duration problem. It might happen again next week; it might happen the week after that. By the end of this month at the latest, articles will again be properly spaced out across the week.