Category Archives: blog thing

Blaugust in Review

Here we are on Day 30 of Blaugust and I am already rushing to the exit, ready to review the whole thing.

Now seems like an appropriate time to flash the even logo

Now seems like an appropriate time to flash the even logo

I’m not really in a rush (and somebody else has been down this path already), but I had a post slated for yesterday, I have the traditional month in review post already queued up for tomorrow, and something already queued up for Tuesday, but nothing really planned for today.  So I figured it would fit nicely here.  Not that I need another post.  I hit the 31 post mark nearly a week ago, but I guess we actually have to do one EVERY day.  Can’t just stop at 31.

What I Did Do

I posted at least once a day, every day, for the whole month.  Last year I wrote 39 posts for Blaugust, this year I will manage 42.  So three better, for specific definitions of “better.”

I linked up my post over in the Blaugust section at Anook.com, both as a blog post and as a forum post.  At about Day 22 I had finally refined my method so I could link my blog, embed a picture, assign a related game, and have it all publish correctly on the first try.

By the way, the craziest thing on Anook has to be this:

The bar has been set very, very low...

The bar has been set very, very low…

Bhagpuss could easily topple me from that #1 spot if he joined and linked up his posts.

I visited other bloggers, left comments much further afield than I usually do, added a couple blogs to the blog roll and even more to the blog feed in the side bar, and became Blaugust buddies with Ysharros.   I think that should be a Blaugust feature going forward, a random pairing of participants or some such.  Maybe?

What I Did Not Do

I did not write much in the way of special Blaugust posts.  I didn’t use any of the writing prompts and I was even able to dodge the AMA thread in the Blaugust forum when I pointed out I already wrote a post on the requested topic for the NBI 2015 event, so there wasn’t much left to say.

Basically, I don’t seem to have much problem coming up with a topic to write about on a daily basis.  I didn’t even use any of my emergency backup topics.  That is, in part, one of the joys of having a somewhat generalist gaming blog.  If I were single game focused things might be different.  Also, it was a pretty big news month for August.  There was a lot to write about, plus a week long war in EVE Online, which always helps.  I think I have more half finished posts in my drafts folder at the end of Blaugust than I did at the beginning.

I did not inject the word “Blaugust” into post titles, use it as a hash tag, link to the rules page, or any of that except when posting explicitly about the event.  That was partly me just being finicky about style and partly a matter of being “in” the event but not “of” the event, to get a little philosophical.  My blog was here before Blaugust, it will be after Blaugust, so it doesn’t need to be tied directly to Blaugust even during Blaugust.

Also, I managed to use the word Blaugust four times in a single sentence there

And, to be honest, going into Feedly during the event and seeing post title after post title starting with the word Blaugust looked kind of icky, to use the technical term, and a bit confusing.  I didn’t want any part of that.  Such is life.

I also didn’t see much in the way of traffic from the event.

Not that this month wasn’t a banner month for traffic, so there appears, on the surface, to be some correlation between that and Blaugust.

But digging into the traffic sources that brought people to the blog over the last 30 days, Anook is way down in 14th place.  Search engines were the top source, with Anook bringing in just 0.6% of the traffic Google sent here.  And individual blogs of participants in Blaugust fell further down the list than Anook, with In An Age being the top there.

The top 20 sources of referral traffic for August, for those who are curious.

  1. Google
  2. lowseclifestyle.com
  3. evebloggers.com
  4. totaleve.com
  5. greedygoblin.blogspot.com
  6. bhagpuss.blogspot.com
  7. blessingofkings.blogspot.com
  8. syncaine.com
  9. Twitter
  10. keenandgraev.com
  11. feedly.com
  12. Reddit
  13. theoldreader.com
  14. anook.com
  15. Facebook
  16. inanage.com
  17. WordPress.com Reader
  18. popehat.com
  19. weritsblog.com
  20. mmoquests.com

Search engine traffic was up significantly this month, and it was largely directing people to posts about World of Warcraft. The first week of August saw two big WoW announcements, first the subscription number drop and then the big WoW Legion reveal.  That also got people talking and linking back and forth and what not.

Basically, if you want more traffic, write about WoW drama.

Though, in a surprise move, my post about Lord of the Rings Online server merges topped the chart here for August.  That was mostly by virtue of few people posting about it, so my post made it to the first page of the results on Google.  Go me.

Also, Gevlon linked here more than anybody else this month.  What does that say about August? And me?

But the traffic thing is really beside the point.  I didn’t come here to make friends.

Wait, no!  I totally came here to make friends.

This was a community event and a chance to mingle a little more closely with my fellow gaming bloggers and all that.  So much better with people and all that.  So I am going to declare op success on that front, though now I am confused as to how this all fits under the heading of things I didn’t do.  Well, not making a lick of sense never stopped me from clicking the publish button before, so why stop now?  Maybe I should inject a new heading.

Summary

Never too late for that.

All in all it was a good event.  As noted above, I found some new blogs to follow.  It got some people back to blogging, including Brian “Psychochild” Green who somehow found the time write a significant post every day while on the very busy Camelot Unchained team.

A great big thanks to Belghast for setting it up and a shout out to all of the blogs that joined in.  I think I have the list below.  We had even more people to part than last year.  There some prizes to hand out, an accounting of who made it the whole way, and some further summaries to write, but things should be mostly arriving at the finish line.

Blaugust 2015 survivor blogs:

  1. A Green Mushroom
  2. A Technical Rejoinder
  3. Adamantly Complacent
  4. Aeternus Gaming
  5. Ald Shot First
  6. Alexandria Mack
  7. Ash’s Adventures
  8. Aywren Sojourner
  9. Battle Priestess
  10. Beyond Tannhauser Gate
  11. Bio Break
  12. Blue Kae
  13. Cannot Be Tamed
  14. Comics and Cookies
  15. Contains Moderate Peril
  16. Couture Gaming
  17. Diary of a Mom Gamer
  18. Endgame Viable
  19. Fickle Fangirl
  20. Floor Tank Gaming
  21. Game Introspection
  22. Gamer Girl Confessions
  23. Gaming Identity
  24. Goobbue Crossing
  25. Hello Kitsune
  26. Herding Cats
  27. I Have Touched the Sky
  28. In An Age
  29. Intermittent Daily Posts from Howard
  30. Jamie’s Blog – Daily Vlogs
  31. JVT Workshop
  32. Kateri Morton
  33. Knifesedge
  34. Lair of the Wolf Dragon
  35. Leaflocker
  36. LFGryph
  37. Light Falls Gracefully
  38. Lock and Bolt
  39. Me Vs Myself and I
  40. Memoirs of a Lady
  41. MMO Gypsy
  42. Moonshine Mansion
  43. Murf Versus
  44. My Epic Fail
  45. My Life in Azeroth
  46. Nerdy Bookahs
  47. No Market Collective
  48. Nomadic Gamers
  49. Pizza Maid
  50. Pleasant Gamer
  51. Psyche Plays
  52. Psychochild’s Blog
  53. Pumping Irony
  54. Sagacyte’s Digital Adventures
  55. She Rides Dragons
  56. Soul of the Forest
  57. Soulbound Life
  58. Soultamer Gaming
  59. Sparks in the Horizon
  60. Star-Fired Beef
  61. Starshadow
  62. Stars of the Spiral
  63. Static Refresh
  64. Stropp’s World
  65. Stylish Corpse
  66. Tales of the Aggronaut
  67. Thalen Speaks
  68. The Adventures of Xinrae
  69. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  70. The Driveling Dwarf
  71. The Friendly Necromancer
  72. The Mystical Mesmer
  73. The Tankquisition
  74. Through Wolfy’s Eyes
  75. Trail-food for Thought
  76. Tyrannodorkus
  77. Why I Game

It is Blaugust and You Are Already Late!

It is that time again.  August is upon us, the month that historically brings the least news and sees the fewest game launches.  It is hot out, the Euros are all on vacation, True Detective is wrapping up, and it just feels like it might be the right time to take a break from blogging.  Who would even notice, right?

So let’s hold a blogging event!

blaugust_2015_logo

Belghast over at Tales of the Aggronaut is going to try to push all willing to try and post every single day during the news and interest drought that is August.

There are, of course, rules.  You can read them all here, but to summarize you have to make a minimum effort post on your blog every day this month, and then you have to link up your post over in the Blaugust forum on Anook.com.

Of course, here it is, the first day of August, and if you’re just reading about Blaugust now, you’re already late!

But don’t worry, you can catch up.  Or, if you’re quick, you can still post today and not be behind at all.

I am not sure how I will fare this time around.  Last year I ground through without much of a problem.  This year though… well, it is still August, school is starting soon, work is busy, I have a summons for jury duty next week and a low number which ensures I’ll be spending time at the courthouse.  We shall see.

Hopefully we’ll have some Blaugust group topics for people to dig into.  Or, if you want another source of help, WordPress.com is having a Blogging 101 event this month as well, and will send you a topic to write about every weekday.

Anyway, look at all the people who have signed on for the event.

Hail to the NBI Class of 2015

Well, May has come and gone, and with it the now annual Newbie Blogger Initiative event.

NBI_Logo_450I only put up one post about the event this time around, slacker that I am, and did not engage in any of the talk back challenges.  Such is life.  But I do want to call out the final tally of new and returning bloggers who joined in this year.

That list is shorter that last year, which was shorter than the year before, all of which was shorter than the initial class.

But that is 22 new or revived blogs publishing away here at the start of summer.  Hopefully a good chunk of them will still be around to participate for the 2016 edition.  Blog fading is a common problem, as we have seen when tracking past NBI classes.

Anyway, Hail to the Class of 2015!  Long may they publish!

NBI 2015 – Blog to Game, Game to Blog

The 2015 incarnation of the annual Newbie Blogger Initiative event kicked off… um… about two weeks ago.  Time flies.  Better put up the logo and move on.

NBI_Logo_450During May of each year we encourage our fellow travelers in the gaming world who have just a bit of free time to give up that free time… and some of their gaming time and some time they probably need to be doing other things… to write a blog.  Many are chosen, few will survive for even a year… really, 3 out of 4 blogs started during the event will be dormant by the next one.

What can we do about that?

Since I expended all of my actually useful advice during the 2012 event, my one contribution to this year’s event… aside from a post summing up and listing out of the new blogs at the end… will be to try to tackle one of the questions I get regularly.

And by “regularly” I mean “almost never” because clearly people who chance upon this blog learn quickly never to ask my advice on anything.  But it has come up a couple of times in the last eight and a half years.  And the question is; how have I written so many posts and keep going for however long it has been?

I can prove I have been asked this.  Liore asked me once about it on Twitter… sort of.  It was implied!  Roll with it, dammit!

My response was:

Years of MUDing made me a very fast typist.  Not a very accurate one, just very fast.

And there are days when I clearly spend more time writing about games than actually playing games.

And Low standards. I cannot emphasize how much just wanting to write something, versus wanting to write something good, helps out.

That last bit was the key.  I’d rather post crap than nothing at all.  That explains much that goes on here now doesn’t it?

But that is not all of it.  No, there is another key to what I refer to as “my success” in an off-handed way while trying not to make eye contact.

The other key factor is that when I play games, I often do it with an eye to turning whatever I am doing into a blog post.  Sometimes that manifests itself as me simply making sure I take some screen shots.  But at other times I undertake whole new trips through MMOs just because I think they might make for a decent blog post.  I am pretty sure, as an example, that I wouldn’t have bothered with LFR or the Molten Core event earlier this year if I hadn’t also seen the possibility of a blog post or two in the venture.

So there exists this two-way feed between my game play and my blogging.

I blog about my gaming as a memory book sort of thing, as well as to enhance what I have done in game by recounting it which gives it additional life.  And then I game with the blog in mind, which makes me push on the boundaries of what I do and explore new things.

And it works.

Sure, it probably doesn’t lead to some of the most exciting content at times.  I know I have done more than my share of “spending three hours flying from point A to point B in EVE Online” posts.  But I post, and have done so nearly every week day for eight and a half years, because my gaming and my blogging are pretty much a combined activity at this point.

It took a while to get there.  The alleged Wilhelm-style blogging machine didn’t come into being over night.  I had to find my way and combine the two pieces together over time.  And there have been points… usually on Sunday night when I am sketching out what the next week’s posts are going to be and I’ve got nothing, no screen shots, no notes, and nothing in the backlog… where I have thought about dumping the whole thing.  I would clearly spend more time gaming if I did.

But blogging and gaming work well together for me, to the point that if I gave up blogging I am not sure I would find as much satisfaction in gaming.

So that is it, for what it is worth.

Meanwhile, other things are going on with the NBI.  They have had a couple of blog challenges, neither of which I could really warm to.  One felt a bit too much like feeding the trolls while another I have covered ad nauseum, but that doesn’t mean other people didn’t have things to add.  You can find it all at the Newbie Blogger Initiative site.

And, finally, I want to call out the new bloggers participating this year.  This is what I could glean from the NBI forums and site, so I hope I got them all.  Not as many as years past, but that just means less of an excuse for not visiting all of them.

Liebster, Schmiebster

I was tagged by Kirith Kodachi and SynCaine as part of the whole Liebster thing that has been going around our corner of the blogesphere of late.  I suspect that there is something in the fact that two fans of EVE Online picked me, as opposed to anybody else so far.

There are apparently rules for this somewhere.  I think I grasped them.

I think this is part of the rules as well...

I believe this is part of the rules…

I have to list eleven random facts about myself, I have to answer their questions, and I have to pick somebody else with eleven questions of my own.  Easy enough I suppose.  I meant to get to it sooner, but I keep having those “I don’t know what I’ll write about… oh, wait, I have too many things I want to write about” weeks.  This week for sure!  So to kick off.

11 Random Facts

  1. I am not fond of yogurt, but am otherwise pretty pro-dairy products.
  2. I probably ate all of the black jelly beans.  I will pick them out of the bowl.
  3. I cannot smile if I am deliberately trying to smile.  I’ve learned to fake it by just trying to laugh, so at least I look happy and not like there is something seriously wrong with me.
  4. I am determined to beat Candy Crush Saga without paying a dime… and before King goes out of business. (Currently at level 369)
  5. I have never hit the level cap in any EverQuest game.  I’ve been close, but something always comes up, I get obsessed with alts, and then the cap gets boosted and I am behind again.
  6. If I live to be 80, the end of WWII will be as distant in time as the end of the US Civil War was when I was born.
  7. If I want to remember something, I need to say it 10 times… or write it out with surrounding context. (Hence, blog.)
  8. In 34 years of driving I have owned 6 cars, but two thirds of that stretch has been two cars, a Mazda 626 I bought in 1986 and a Toyota Camry I bought in 2003, and which I still drive.  I’d probably still be driving the 626 if a Honda Civic hadn’t plowed into it while I was stopped at a red light.
  9. I hate inkjet printers, and have since the HP DeskJet 500 came out way back in the late paleolithic era of computing.  We recently picked up a cheap Samsung M2020W laser printer and it makes me happy just to print stuff on it.
  10. I am much more outgoing in text than I am in person.  Much more interesting too, I suspect, which should serve as a warning.
  11. I think eleven is an unreasonable number, the person who started this should have stuck to five because, lets face it, most of us have trouble staying interesting past two or three.

Now onto the questions, which seem mostly focused on superlatives.  My favorite this or most memorable that.  Those are horrible questions for me, because I can never pick a favorite anything.  Ah well, I’ll give it a shot all the same.

Questions for Kirith Kodachi:

1. What was your first PvP experience in an MMO and did you like it?

Define MMO?  Define PvP?  I am going to go with Stellar Emperor on GEnie.  My scout ship got blown up.  I am not sure I realized what was happening at the time.

2. What’s your favorite season? What’s your favorite season for gaming?

Autumn.  There is a chill in the air, there is some rain, and contrary to popular legend, California… at least the northern end of it… does get season so the leaves turn color and all of that.  Also, it means the transition from allergy to flu season.  Winter for gaming, as bad weather is the all purpose excuse for sitting at my computer all afternoon.

3. What is your favorite period / place in history?

To live? Now, or any time/place with clean bathrooms and cheap WiFi.  To read about?  I run though interest cycles.  When I was a kid it was WWI and WWII.  Since then I have gone through periods where the Napoleonic era, or 1848 to 1914, or the immediate post-war eras have interested me.  And I like Rome as well.  I couldn’t really pick.

4. Talk about the first computer game where you were pulled in by the story instead of the gameplay.

Probably Wizardy, though I will admit up front I am frequently more of a “roll player” than “role player.”  I spent a lot of hours moving through that game, step by step, mapping my way, notating traps and regular encounters and what not.  I was immersed.

It can be hard for me to let go of the mechanics of a game.  Oddly, post-Cataclysm WoW, where the content got easy enough that you can mostly ignore gear and such, is one of the places where I can actually let that go and just get into the story.  Hrmm…

5. If you had to pick, which Bad Guy would you choose to be in any game?

Bowser.  He gets to steal the princess pretty much without long term consequence (and it is so easy and so frequent that she has to be in on it, right?), has a pile of castles, plenty of minions, hangs out with his kid all the time, and on his days off he goes karting or plays tennis or soccer with his nemesis.  The guy has it made.

6. What’s your favorite novel or novel series?

Again, how to pick?  Most re-reads?  Probably Catch-22 or The Lord of the Rings series.  Total time invested?  Probably Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series.  Most inspirational in my youth?  Larry Niven’s Known Space stories probably get the nod.  I could go on and on and not even get into things I liked at one point in time but which fell flat later because I changed as a person.  I have a problem picking favorites in any situation because everything is so situational… and I tend to over think these sorts of things.

7. Describe your perfect vacation.

The one where I actually come back rested, recharged, and happier.  Unfortunately, I find travel a pain, so coming and going is always involves stress and anxiety, which tends to undue the good bits.

8. Star Wars or Star Trek? Explain your answer.

Star Trek.  That was the inspirational bit from my youth.  I would sit and watch every episode, we would play Star Trek at recess, I read the novels, had the models, saw all the movies, and so on.  Not that I do not like Star Wars… and certainly Star Trek has waned in its influence over the years, especially relative to Star Wars… but it came after.  Star Trek was first and will remain so in my heart, even if only generated maybe three good video games. (And Star Trek Online is not one of them.)

9. If someone offered you a substantial sum of money to stop playing MMO’s forever, would you take it? What’s your price point? A million? A billion? Nothing? (Stole this one ’cause its good)

This is a good one?  Define MMOs?  I’ll say five million dollars.  For that amount of money I could change careers without worrying about retirement and find a new hobby… like LEGOs or console gaming.

10. Smart Phones are a boon to humankind, true or false?

On balance, true.  Access to all sorts of information and the ability to stay in touch and record so much of what happens in the world probably outweighs that guy talking loudly into his iPhone at the next table.

11. A solar flare is about to wipe all electronics on earth and it may take years to recover fully. You have three days to get all the gaming in you can, what do you play?

Sorry, I am too busy burning my iTunes library to CD and building a lead-lined box for a DiscMan to play games.  Oh, and shopping for a serious typewriter again.  I am not sure where my old Olivetti Lettera 32 is these days.  And printing out my blog.  On my laser printer.  Which rocks.

Or maybe I am just standing in line at the bank trying to get my money out like everybody else.

Seriously, three days left… I might log onto EVE and WoW to say goodbye to people, exchange addresses, and maybe have one last peek, but if everything is going away in three days, doing anything is futile.

Questions from SynCaine

1. What is your greatest MMO achievement?

That is a tough one.  There are a number of “being there” achievements I could mention, like being present for two of the biggest battles in EVE Online history.  But there wasn’t much I “did” during those, my presence didn’t make much of a difference.  A lot of the times I am most fond of are stupid things that happened early on in a game, things that become trivial later on, like my first successful run from Qeynos to Freeport in EverQuest or the day I managed to solo the Return the Light heritage quest in about two hours, back when the whole thing was a huge pain to finish because of a pile of special random spawns required, due to a succession of unbelievably lucky breaks.  Basically, all the spawns were up that morning and nobody else was doing the quest.

Let’s just go with that last one.  It was a good time.

2. If you could go back and stop any MMO from every being released, which one would it be and why?

I get the feeling you want me to name a specific game.  I don’t have a good answer for this one.  There are any number of MMOs that have disappointed me, or that I wish had been done differently, or where I think the dev resources might have been better used on other projects.  But wishing one out existence, I can’t really name one.  Just because a game didn’t click for me doesn’t make me hate it, and I am not obsessed, like some, about WoW or some other game ruining the genre or whatever.  People play the games they like.  If EQ or UO were the paradises we paint in hindsight, we never would have left.  And us leaving is what caused them to change.

3. What is your greatest ‘rage out’ moment in an MMO?

I don’t really rage all that much.  Probably the most annoyed I have been that I can recall involves a Nek Castle run in EverQuest II, back when that was current content.  A kid, whom I will call “two shirts” for reasons only Gaff will likely understand, enthusiastically agreed to lead us through what was a very complex run in order to wrap up a couple of heritage quests (and to start a third).  At one point, after a fight, about two thirds of the way into the whole thing (call it the three hour mark) he excused himself for a bio and went away… and didn’t return.  He was still logged on, his character was still there in game.  After about an hour of trying to ping him through other means, we managed to find somebody in the guild who knew him in real life and called his house.  His mother answered and said he had gone to bed and was asleep.  He just went to bed without bothering to let us know.  Of course, he was like 14 years old or some such, so what can you expect?

4. If you were forced to stop gaming and gaming-related activities (blogs, reading game sites) what would you do with that time?

I told my wife once that if we won the lottery I would quit my job and take some classes in oil painting and start doing landscapes or some such.  I think I was reading a biography of Churchill at the time.  Pretty unlikely, and since lottery winnings aren’t in the question, I’ll have to keep my job I guess.

I would probably go back to playing with all the LEGO sets I have accumulated over the years.  I have been tempted to go back and try and build that X-Wing kit again, which would mean finding all the parts and so on.

5. Do you have any plans to retire from gaming? From blogging?

Retire from gaming?  That is like asking if I am going to retire from breathing.

From blogging though… I have considered it from time to time.  There are plenty of days when I spend more time writing about video games than actually playing them.  But somehow I keep going.  My current plan is to get to the 10 year anniversary and then think about how I want to carry on.  10 years might be enough.

6. Which game had the most memorable ending and why?

Games have endings?  Seriously, see question 8.  Very little I have gotten into in the last decade or so has had an ending, and those that have had them I haven’t finished.  I am horrible like that.

But if I have to pick one, I’ll go with Pokemon White Version 2, which I wrapped up last summer.  It was a surprisingly good entry into the Pokemon core RPG genre (even if it has possibly the worst name) and actually changed up the standard Pokemon RPG ending.

7. Have you ever been a ‘whale’ in a F2P game? If yes, confess!

I am not very good with F2P when it comes down to it.  I will opt-in for the subscription, if there is one, if I am going to play a F2P game, just to cut through the restrictions.  But I tend to avoid the cash shop.  Well, maybe “avoid” is too strong a term.  I open it up, stare at it, and wonder who buys this crap.   I have problems spending cash shop currency that companies just give me, so I rarely even consider of buying any.  I think I bought some diamonds back when we tried Runes of Magic, but that is about it.  Given we played that for about 15 minutes five years ago (I think I spent more time patching than playing), so that isn’t a very good example. The F2P cash shop isn’t my thing, and that is where the whales go.

8. Is there a game or genre you wish you could enjoy, but just don’t?

I wish I could get back into single player RPGs again.  They were a staple of my early days, but since online multiplayer came around, it has been tough for me to focus on a world by myself.

9. How much time, on average, do you spend doing gaming-related activities per week (not counting actually gaming).

I am just glad that Raptr doesn’t track that.

10. Which former blog do you wish still existed or was updated?

Aggro Me or maybe Michael Zenke’s MMOG Nation.  So many have come and gone over the years.

11. Your ‘Mount Rushmore’ (top 4 all time) games are?

I already picked my 15 most influential games a while back, and had trouble winnowing that down to 15.  So, for me, a ‘Mount Rushmore’ game is more than a ‘top 4,’ it is a foundational game that lead me to greater things.  With that in mind, I will have to call out:

And it was tough to get down to that four, because I want to put Wizardry and Marathon on the list as well.

My Questions

Okay, I am going to come up with eleven superlative-free questions and then try to tag a couple of people who haven’t yet been drawn into this mess.

1. Why blog?  In this age of Facebook and Instagram and Twitch and what not, why do you work in a medium that is still mostly about words as opposed to video or connections or other things?

2. Why MMOs? (Or, why not MMOs?)  What is it about this never ending genre that pulls you in, relative to single player or even multi-player co-op games?

3. Science Fiction or Fantasy?  Which way do you lean when it comes to games, literature, movies, or whatever?

4. What of Steam?  Do you feel like you’re missing something by not browsing the shelves looking at boxes when shopping for video games?  Digital distribution is here, on the PC at least (consoles still depend on a lot of physical boxes), do you miss the old way?  Are you old enough to even remember the old way?

5. What gaming relics to you hang on to, if any?  Chat logs? Screen shots? Physical boxes? Just memories?

6. Name three (or more if you like) video games that shaped the gamer you are today.

7. You’re rolling up a new character in yet another fantasy title.  What race and class is always the first set you go with?

8. What video games, if any, did you play before you discovered MMOs?  Did you leave them behind?  Or have you left MMOs behind?

9. By whatever definition you choose, what would you consider to be the Video Game Capital of the World?  LA? Austin? London? Elsewhere?  Maybe just the Video Game Capital of your world?

10. Which MMOs have you really invested yourself in?  There are a lot of them out there, but you can realistically only really get into so many.  Which were they for you?

11. How do you spend most of your MMO time with relation to other players?  Are you solo, in a partial group, in a full group, in a raid, in a coalition-wide fleet operation, or some other formation?  What is your default mode?

So, there are my eleven questions.  I hope I made them interesting enough to answer.  I think one of the rules of this whole thing should require you to do a separate post to answer your own damn questions.  How clever would they seem then?  Maybe I’ll do that later, because I couldn’t even finish writing them before I had answers springing up.

Now for the tricky part, picking some people to tag.  As in my youth, it seems like all the cool kids have been picked already.

I want to pick a few people who have not yet done this (and, ideally, who have not yet been tagged, but I’m not going to try to check that, there being only so many hours in the day), who are likely to actually respond (we all know a couple bloggers who would find this beneath them), and who actually read this blog enough to actually have a chance to see that they have been picked.  That leaves a pretty narrow set of choices.  So who is on Team TAGN for this then?

That is a longer list than some but, with a few long shots in there, I am going feel good if two of them actually pick up the torch.

Addendum: Secondary Effects

Mrrx and Stargrace recycled my questions, so now I feel compelled to track those posts as well.  So you can find additional answers to my set of questions below:

A Return to Writing about the Blogesphere

Writing about the blogesphere, trying to capture the conversations and summarize what is going on and generally connecting with one another, has a long tradition in our corner of the woods.

Some still thrive...

MMO Blog Island circa 2007

I have been on about this whole community thing before, I know.  But it is undeniable that it does exist in some form.  That so many of us have blog rolls on our side bars speaks to a sense of community.  We also link to other blogs on a regular basis by way to joining a conversation or continuing a point made elsewhere or setting the foundation for something we want to write that might have started out as a comment and then grew in the telling.  It is a way to connect and nobody… well, almost nobody… acts like they are doing you a huge favor if they link to something you have written.

Some people have gone beyond just links and blogrolls at times.  For quite a stretch Tipa wrote a Daily Blog Roll column (which I once attempted to parody) on her own blog to try and take the pulse of our little corner of the net.  Others have gone for a less arduous weekly wrap up at times.  Currently we have J3w3l at Healing the Masses and her Monday Link Dead Radio posts, Marcus Scarus is starting up a weekly Blog Bulletin, and there is Silverangel and the semi-regular Weekly Wyrm posts over at Kitty Kitty Boom Boom.

(I know somebody else does something like that as well, but I cannot think of who at the moment, so hit me in the comments and I’ll add it in.)

(Also, a note to bloggers: If your are going to do a regular series like that, give it an exclusive tag or category so readers can view the whole thing as a specific body of your work.  Also, it makes it easier to link to it!)

There have also been events, like various “tag, you’re it memes” and events like the Newbie Blogger Initiative (a new one coming this year I hear) and things like the EVE Blog Pack and the monthly EVE Blog Banter.

Then there are people who take this even a step further and put together sites to help bring the blogging community together.  VirginWorlds started as a blog and a podcast, but quickly became a focus of our little corner of the web as it created a popular amalgamation of feeds featuring MMO bloggers.  Then there is Scr.ee from the Scree of the Cynic Dialogs, an attempt to map and track trends in the blogesphere.  And for space nerds there is EVE Bloggers and Total EVE, sites focused on bringing together EVE Online blogging into a single feed.

And then there are the commercial MMO sites.  It seems natural for those sites to pay us some attention, seeing that they have drawn any number of contributors from our ranks.  The earliest column I can recall that spent time with the MMO blogesphere was Michael Zenke’s Massive Update column on the late 1UP.com site.

Michael Zenke's old column at 1Up.com

Michael Zenke’s old column at 1Up.com

It was focused on MMO news, but Mr. Zenke spent many of his column inches linking out to us.  And that tradition carried on when he went on to become the founding editor-in-chief of the recently departed Massively.  And while he  (and his successor Shawn Schuster) ran the show, the site was often very generous in acknowledging the blogesphere.

But at some point that idea seemed to pass from Massively and other commercial MMO sites.  I am not sure why this happened, if blogging had been declared dead yet again or if blogs were suddenly passé or if editorial policy was changed to never acknowledge that there are other sites on the internet or if people were just sick of hearing about us, but there was clearly a period of time when a link from Massively was exceedingly rare and them writing about the blogesphere appeared to be strictly verboten.

That time of neglect seems to have passed.  Towards the end of Massively’s run, Syp revived the blog community presence with the Global Chat column, a regular feature that has found its way to the Massively Overpowered successor site.

Meanwhile, over at MMOGames, Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut had a bi-weekly Bel’s Blog Bonanza column start up this month with links out all over.

And then just today Liore of Herding Cats had her debut over at MMORPG.com with Tales from the Neighborhood, giving her take on what topics were are covering in the blogging world.

Of course I am happy to see some more focus back on the grass roots blogging scene, but I am also interested in why this turn of events has come.  Are MMOs just not generating enough news these days?  Have budget constraints meant that sites have gone to covering niche topics by linking out to the crazies? (And we’re all crazies on this bus.)  Have such sites decided that they need to tend the garden from which so many of their staff have sprung?  Or is this just a quiet time aberration, soon to be dropped once something interesting happens?

What do you think?  And who did I miss in my summing up?

Addendum: Mr Luvva does a regular blogging wrap-up feature as well.

When I Look at that Cloud, I see Juche

There is a little thing on Twitter right now called Word Cloud Bot that will create a word cloud from your Twitter feed.  Not the first one of these I have seen, and it likely won’t be the last.  But this one is at least simple to use and you don’t have to authorize it to take over your feed.

Anyway, this is the cloud it generated for me.

@wilhelm2451 cloud

@wilhelm2451 cloud

I find the whole thing aesthetically pleasing to look at.  The colors are soothing and I like the way smaller words are woven in.  You really have to click on it and view it in full size to appreciate it.

Apparently the bigger the word, the more you use it.  So “EVE,” “Draenor,” “Pokemon,” “WoW,” “Blizzard,” and what not… those all make sense.

But the biggest word in the whole thing is “post,” which I find odd because as far as I can tell, I rarely, to the point of almost never, use the word “post” on Twitter.  And I would be surprised to find that I used the word “blog” that often.  Maybe “play” or “year,” but the most likely words seemed to be much smaller.  After all, a good portion of my feed is automatic tweets of post titles with a link, so the cloud ought to be heavily influenced by my titles here. “Quote” ought to be huge, given my run of “Quote of the Day” posts.  I can see the influence of post titles, especially from my EVE Online Pictures site (Basilisk!), but those words are all pretty minor.

So I went poking around to see if there was a description somewhere about how this bot does its thing.  And, sure enough, there was a bit right there in its feed.

I use the last 1200 tweets to build the word cloud. Common words are excluded. There are at most 180 words in a word cloud.

I reply to a request every ~30 seconds, I can’t go faster than that because otherwise Twitter will block me, so you may have to wait a bit.

That was interesting, but not exactly useful in answering my question, which still stands even if we limit the tweet corpus to 1,200. (That is less than a year of Twitter, and just under 20% of my 6,104 tweets up to this time.)  My only guess is that when WordPress.com tweets about a new post for me, somehow the word “post” is embedded in there.  And I suppose that even if the word is not literally in my Twitter feed, it is there metaphorically with each tweet that WordPress.com does, so the size of the word “post” probably represents the prevalence of blog post notifications in my feed.

My favorite word in the whole thing… and there are a number of good/amusing words scattered throughout in tiny print… is Juche.  It is right there between the “L” an the “O” in “Blog,” below “soe” and “close.”  And SOE being close to Juche is pretty funny as well.

Anyway, I like it.  Tweet Cloud might be more accurate in representing the words I use.

Tweet Cloud covering approximately the same time period

Tweet Cloud covering approximately the same time period

The word “post” is still in there, though “time” outweighs it.

But the result is not nearly as interesting to stare at.

And for those who cannot get enough of the style of that first word cloud, I also have the cloud generated for my awful spam Twitter feed, which reflects what Rift and Raptr have tweeted for me in the past.

The pain of that feed, but fun to look at still

The pain of that feed, but fun to look at still

That feed has been quiet for a while, though I suspect it will liven up again with Blizzard giving us Twitter integration in the WoW 6.1 patch.  You never have to see a bit of that from me so long as you do not follow my second feed.