Conditions were superior during that interval
-Corr, speaking of some past period of time
It is that time again. Another blog anniversary has rolled around. I have now been doing this for fourteen years.
Fourteen seems like a long time. It is about a quarter of my life at this point. But, then again, beyond a certain age you find a lot of things that have hung around for significant fractions of your life. I’ve been driving my current car for 17 years, I’ve been married for 21 years, I have shirts in my closet that still fit that pre-date the blog even. And don’t get me started on the little things that collect around the house, items that do not have any real value but which I hang on to for whatever reason, like the front license plate to my first car, which was towed off to the junk yard back in 1986.
So, in a way, fourteen years doesn’t seem like all that long ago. Also, the number fourteen doesn’t strike me with much in the way of inspiration. Sure, it is the sum of two prime numbers and the age I was when I started high school. I’ve also had a job pretty much continuously since I was 14. But nothing really struck me for a post title besides Wilson’s fourteen points. Me and history.
I’m also a bit lost for a graphic representing that number. Thirteen had the whole bad luck superstition around it, and fifteen at least has a Taylor Swift song going for it, but fourteen… I suppose there is a state highway 14. Whatever.
Past efforts, with better titles, if you are interested.
- A Year of Living Noobishly
- Two Years Below the Masthead
- Three Years We Grew in Virtual Sun and Shower
- Four Years In, No Further From Noobdom
- Heroic Results of the First Five Year Plan
- But Now I am Six, I’m as Clever as Clever
- The Seven Year Kvetch
- Eight Years of Link Rot
- Nine is a Magic Number
- A Decade Under the Influence of Online Games
- The Dozens
- The Thirteenth Floor
Like so many things on this site, there is now a set pattern of items I share annually, so we might as well get on with it.
The same thing every year, looking at how the various needled moved over the last dozen months.
Days since launch: 5,114 (+366)
Posts total: 5,609 (+394)
Total Words: 4,378,757 (+411,478 words, not including this post)
Average words per post: 781 (+20)
Post Likes: 12,090 (+2,578)
Average posts per day: 1.097 (-0.01)
Comments: 33,780 (+1,329)
Average comments per post: 6.03 (-0.19)
Average comments per day: 6.61 (-0.23)
Spam comments: 1,482,548 (+18,381)
Average spam comments per day: 289.90 (-23.1)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 43.8 (-1.8)
Comments written by me: 6,857 or 20.3%
Images uploaded: 16,210 (+1,635)
Space used by images: 1.5 GB of my 3 GB allocation (49%)
Blog Followers: 1,888 (-40)
Twitter Followers: 775 (-1)
Tumblr Followers: 34 (+0)
US Presidents since launch: 3
British Monarchs since launch: 1
Prime Ministers of Italy since launch: 7
For some of you that will be enough stats. Others will want to dive deeper, which you can do after the cut.
According to the Flag Counter, down near the bottom of the side bar, individuals from 228 different countries have visited the blog since I added that widget. But just over half of the visitors are from the United States.
And the rest of the top ten sources of traffic are places where English is spoken by a significant portion of the population. As I have noted in the past, and English language gaming blog appeals mostly in countries where English is commonly spoken. Go figure.
The WordPress.com calculated top ten aligns with Flag Counter, though they disagree on 11, 12, and 13, where Flag Counter has them as Denmark, Spain, and Russia, while WP.com says it is Spain, Russia, and Denmark. But the numbers are close enough that a surge from any one of those three could change the lineup on one or both lists.
Meanwhile, what people are driving when they arrive here looks like this:
These numbers are based on the last 90 days, with a maximum of 250,000 records in the sample. The Browser count stacks up about the same as last year, with Chrome down just a bit.
When it comes to operating systems, Windows 7 is finally dropping off, though it remains surprisingly high for a decade old OS that is officially out of support.
Where does all this traffic come from. Some of it comes from other blogs and social media sites and the like. For those, here are the top contributors.
Over the Last Year
- Total EVE
- EVE Bloggers
- Inventory Full
- Low Sec Lifestyle
- Blessing of Kings
- Going Commando
- Greedy Goblin
The blogs on the list… as well as EVE Bloggers and Total EVE… all have dynamic, updating lists that show the most recent posts from blogs, something that attracts almost infinitely more clicks than the static blogroll that WP.com offers. I have tried to simulate that with varying degrees of success.
Greedy Goblin amuses me the most. It is all from his idle Blogger.com blog, which he left because Google wasn’t living up to his Arrow Cross fantasies, though he never fully gave up on Blogger and used to post a link to his other blog every time he wrote something there. That reflects the truth that once you get known in one location, moving is death to traffic.
All Time List
Referrers by all time is plagued by inertia, but let’s look at that list again.
- Blessing of Kings
- Total EVE
- EVE News 24
- Low Sec Lifestyle
- EVE Bloggers
- Google Reader
- Keen and Graev
Some of the more recent contenders are moving up, but VirginWorld, whose heyday is a decade past, is still at the top of the list. Likewise, the long gone Google Reader remains on the list. EN24 is still around, but they haven’t linked to me in a good seven years either. There was a time when blogging was a lot more active. It isn’t just my site that is seeing less traffic.
Blogs and similar sites are fun and all, but search engines are where 90% of the traffic comes from. According to WP.com, here are the raw numbers for search engine referrals over the last year.
- Google Search – 106,119
- Bing – 2,361
- duckduckgo.com – 1,501
- Yahoo Search- 408
- Yandex – 381
- Ask.com – 62
- Google Image Search – 16
- myway.com – 16
- Baidu – 12
- Yahoo Image Search – 5
- t-online.de – 4
- earthlink.net – 3
- Google Mobile – 3
- metacrawler.com – 3
- dogpile.com – 2
- AOL – 2
Google is, of course, number one by a long shot. If Google forgets you, your traffic dies. Then again, when Google sends people, they are most likely to just bounce off your site, never to return. People coming from blogs are more likely to be return visitors.
But if you want to know the top search terms that sent people here from Google, here are the first dozen on the list.
The list goes pretty deep. I can only see the top 1000, but even the last one sent me five clicks.
I am always surprised that “tagn” is at the top of the list. I guess people don’t have me bookmarked or something. And, as I said in the Blaugust Discord a month back, if you want to pull some traffic out of Google, write posts that use the words “WoW Subscription Numbers” in the title. Everybody wants to know what they are it seems, and nobody has an answer.
And, as I mentioned a while back, something happened in May and Google was suddenly a bit more interested in my site. You can see the climb after the April Fool’s spike.
Of course, not everything lines up. Web stats are garbage when you start to examine them.
Google says they only sent me 82K clicks, which is pretty far from the 106K number WP.com is telling me. That is 24K missing referrals. But 10K of the WP.com number is from non-US versions of Google, which brings the missing number down to 14K. And that missing amount might just be how things are counted. If you search twice for the same thing and click on the same link, that might be one search referral to Google but two for WP.com’s stats.
So it goes.
I get traffic coming here, but I occasionally send some out to other sites.
Over the Last Year
- Inventory Full
- EVE Online (various dev and news blogs)
- Massively OP
- zKillboard (EVE Online ship kills)
- The Nosy Gamer
- Imperium News
- Blizzard Forums
- WoW Wiki
Wikipedia remains my top out destination, usually because I link things I don’t want to explain. The whole list is more a reflection of whom I link to in posts rather than anything on my side bar. My attempt to create a dynamic blog list is not so successful I guess.
- Various Pokemon sites
- Civ Fanatics
- Various Blizzard WoW Sites
- Hardcore Casual
- Keen and Graev
- Blessing of Kings
- EVE Online Pictures
- Inventory Full
- Kill Ten Rats
Wikipedia is the all time champ as well, with a the link to the entry for the 1981 game Castle Wolfenstein being the top destination there, both this year and all time. People love a classic I guess.
Most Viewed Posts
Over the Last Year
Kind of surprised to see a fairly recent post sneak in at number 10 there, it being less than a month old now, but the whole Niarja thing was quite a change for high sec. There are actually four posts from the past year on that lists, and all of them are there because Google favored them in some way. For a bit I was the top result for searches related to “Niarja,” so that explains a bit of that.
I did a couple of posts last year about my most viewed posts over the life of the blog, both cumulatively and year by year. I over-explained things in such detail there that you should read those, because otherwise I’m just going to say something about Google and inertia and Reddit and Pokemon here.
Categories and Tags
Categories, as I have said in the past, represent the larger scale topics I write about. There are a limited number of those, though I add a couple every year… or convert a tag or two to a category if they get used a lot. I currently have 97 tags, up one from last year. The top topics for the blog are:
- EVE Online 1,729
- World of Warcraft 1,361
- EverQuest II 734
- EverQuest 592
- Lord of the Rings Online 429
- Blizzard 408
- Sony Online Entertainment 342
- Instance Group 330
- Humor 237
- Pokemon 231
- blog thing 201
- Misc MMOs 193
- Rift 162
- Month in Review 168
- YouTube 159
- WoW Classic 152
- Nintendo DS Hardware 141
- Other PC Games 146
- Diablo III 140
- Vanguard SOH 135
EVE Online remains the king, having supplanted World of Warcraft some years back.. The new kid on the block, or on the list, is WoW Classic. I wrote a lot about it over the last year. Minecraft fell off the top 20.
Tags are the more whimsical part of the system here, being subject to immediate mood or fancy. I throw them out with abandon. They fill in for games that don’t rate a category, details like zones or solar systems or expansions, or sometimes just my general feelings about a post or warnings to the reader. There are 3,645 3,851 tags used over the last 14 years, up 206 from last year. I continue to make up a new tag for a lot of posts it seems.
The top ten tags I’ve used are:
- CCP 215
- Progression Server 122
- Asher Elias 94
- Reavers 90
- Fippy Darkpaw 85
- Meaningless Milestones 82
- Nostalgia 81
- Delve 74
- MMO Expansions 66
- Warlords of Draenor 65
- Free-To-Play 63
Last year I did a list of the tags I had used exactly 13 times, so this year I can do the ones I have used exactly 14 times I guess.
- Age of Kings
- Cash Shop
- EverQuest II Extended
- Delve War
- Pandemic Legion
- Honest Trailers
- Delve 2016
- Spring Movie League
That last one is a bit of a kick in the gut, as it doesn’t seem likely we will see any FML movie leagues for some time to come.
A Peek into Page Views
Here we are at the one day a year when I bare the raw page view stats for the world to see.
You can click on either chart to see them in a more legible size.
This is the bit where I talk about whether traffic, page views, or whatever really matter. To certain extent, what I say most of the time is true, that it doesn’t matter so much. If it mattered a lot you would notice some change in my pattern of posting. I might post less frequently, or at less length, or in some way adjust myself to a patter of fewer views. But clearly I haven’t. Call that exhibit A.
On the flip side, resigned as I was to the ongoing decline of traffic, I was actually kind of happy when page views started to perk up a bit after the Google change I mentioned above, which kicked in around early May. For ages page views never dipped below 20K in a month, which started to become something of a psychological line, a point above which everything was good and below which things were… not? And then, last year, traffic started dipping below that line, but I kept on going as before. But now it is up again and, at some level, more attention makes me feel better. I can pretend that maybe sometimes I write something that matters to people, or informs them. Something. As I noted above, I was surprised to see a post I made less than a month ago make it into the top ten most viewed posts for the last year.
So maybe it matters some.
So Very Many Words
The most amusing chart for me, the one with the word count.
As usual, you can click on the chart to see it full size. I still write a lot of posts. We’re at day 256 for the year and I am already 267 posts into things. And I am still averaging a bit over a thousand words a post. So many words.
The total word count, so you don’t have to tally it up yourself, is 4,378,757. That puts me within striking range of the number of words in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, including the three bloated volumes that Brandon Sanderson wrote to finish off the tale. I’ll pass it next year, and I think I overuse stock phrases only slightly more often.
Forward Looking Statements
Here is where I say some things that may or may not be true over time. It is also far enough down the page that I’ll have lost most people, so Bhagpuss, Shintar, and a few regulars are my only audience at this point. And you know I am not a reliable narrator when it comes to writing about my own motivations. Or perhaps they just ebb and flow. Maybe that whole biorhythm thing they were trying to sell us on back in the 70s had something to it.
But when it comes down to it, I feel really tired right now. My motivation is ebbing.
And it isn’t due to the fact that I am writing about the same games I was back in 2006, or that we’re running the exact same content we were fourteen years ago or that we’re fighting over the same region of space we were back in 2012. I think I have proven I can write about the same thing over and over.
After all, it is only the same at a macro level. Every dungeon looks a like, every space battle feels the same, every sporting event totals up to a final score if you get enough distance. You killed the boss and they dropped some loot, the space objective was won or lost, a numerical value sums up the state of play.
But at the ground level each dungeon run is different, each space battle flows in its own way, and every sporting event has its moments that make it special. And I live in the little details with my writing, because that is what sparks memory for me when I got back and read my posts a year or five years or ten years later.
So it isn’t that. At times in the past, when I have felt myself slipping a bit, I have been hard pressed to identify the problem. But now, in the year of our lord 2020, I am pretty sure I can spot the problem. The problem is I have been sitting at my desk at home too damn much.
Seriously. I have mentioned this a bit in month in review posts, but now that were about six month into COVID-19 and isolation and masks and work from home, I am pretty sure this is taking a toll on me.
Since mid-March I have been working from home, which means spending 9 or 10 hours most weekdays sitting in my home office, at the end of which I am not always inclined to remain in the very same chair to pick up and start playing a game or go on a fleet op.
This has been somewhat aggravated by the company for which I labor as the CEO has been out with a message at the start of every month that we’ll be back in the office by the 15th of the next month. April, May, June, July, August, September, and now October have all come up as return dates. That has left me in a state of feeling like this is all temporary, so I haven’t felt the need to change up my work space at home.
Then the bomb dropped late last month. I work in a satellite office, 2,000 miles from HQ, which is a place of work for a dwindling number of people. After having been away from the office for so long and yet still staying productive, the company decided we didn’t really need an office at all. So we’re all working from home for good.
Which is kind of a bummer. I won’t miss the commute, though it wasn’t all that bad, and was often a nice quiet time to listen to an audio book… so maybe I will miss it a bit. But I will miss the office, which was quiet and air conditioned, the latter weighing particularly when it has been getting up to 108 degrees here. And I will miss the campus where it was located, which was pretty and green, nestled in the mountains above Santa Cruz… though a large part of that area has been on fire lately, to the point that when I cleared out my stuff from the office there was ash falling out of the sky and a strong scent of something burning.
In a way, being at work and away from home charged up the batteries that got me to play video games. Now that is all gone. And the pandemic means going out to eat or a movie or much else is out of the question. I know we introverts were all “we got this” back in April and May, but Jesus Christ I would be happy to go to a crowded mall on a Saturday afternoon once more just to change the scenery. But the state is on fire and there is smoke and ash falling from the sky most places these days, which kind of takes outdoor dining, the only eating out option we have, off the table, so to speak.
And this has been driving my wife even more crazy. She is a sales rep, a gregarious outgoing person, so staying home has been even more of a burden… and all the more so since she needs to meet people to find customers and get paid, which just isn’t happening these days.
So we have been spending a lot of time watching TV, since at least we can sit on the couch rather than our office chairs. That has spawned the ongoing series of posts about pandemic binge watching. Or we drive around and play Pokemon Go from the safety of my car… which also has air conditioning, which is a factor when it is 108 out and you don’t have central air at home because you keep saying it is a waste of money because you only really need it two weeks or so out of the year and you like some fresh air now and then.
Oddly, while my PC gaming time has been in decline, I have been spending about the same amount of time writing, which is why posts are still going up daily… I’m still on an unbroken streak since late March… and they’re still running out to a thousand words or more on a regular basis.
But the grist for that mill, the game play time that stimulates the posts, that has been tapering off pretty sharply of late. There are a bunch of things I’d like to play. My cup runneth over on Steam and what not. But my back hurts and I am sick of sitting in my office chair and I feel like I am watching too much TV and it seems like this is never going to end. Oh, and my state is on fire, the economy is tanking so hard that it is making the “great recession” of the last decade look paltry (the PPP stuff is ending, so expect huge layoffs soon), and the President is actively trying to destroy the country to feed his ego and make a few bucks. So there is some sense of helplessness and existential dread mixed in there I am sure.
I can’t fix the world, but I am working on setting up my work stuff in another room so that I can have a work area and a recreation area. Maybe that will help, though I have some work to do before that is ready. And it remains to be seen if working out in the living area of the house will be viable. It is not always quiet out there.
All of which, as I said about 800 words ago, is making me feel very tired. I don’t want to get off the couch, even if it means watching another episode of Billions. As I have said before, the structure of my post schedule, built up around a few regular items, has helped me keep going. But if the game play well runs dry I might be back to writing opinion pieces about esoteric bits of MMORPG design, and I’m not sure any of us want that. We’ll end up with things like “Five Table Top RPGs that should be MMORPGs” or “Why Table Top RPGs should Never become MMORPGs” or how I haven’t played a table top RPG game since the mid-90s or retreading why EverQuest II never did as well as EverQuest, much less World of Warcraft or why everybody is mean to DPS players.
So I guess the forward looking statement this year is that I am hoping to get to year fifteen. At least then I can add a regular “Fifteen Years Ago” section to my month in review posts.
My plan is to carry on as before. My backup plan is to just do month in review posts until the end of time. It might be difficult to keep up with either.
Conditions were superior during that interval, the one before the pandemic and the fires and the being at home all the time. Also, it is well past midnight and I might be rambling a bit.
We will see what tomorrow brings.