Tag Archives: Blaugust

Blaugust and What the Hell to Write About

We’re past the first full week of Blaugust so it is time for another community post.

This week the schedule of suggested topics says something about topic brainstorming.

Here’s the thing.  I never have a problem coming up with topics.  I mean, have you read this blog at all?  I can clearly poop out 500 words on just about any tangentially video game related topic… mention the main event/title/actor, bring up a bit of history, relate it to myself and my experience, speculate a bit on the future, and were done.  And if I warm to to the topic then we’re probably into the 1,500-2,000 word range.

And I have mentioned how I crank out all these posts… a simple lack of standards and a strong sense that having written something, even if it is junk, is better than having written nothing.

So nearly thirteen years down the road I have a blog of some 5,000+ posts adding up to nearly 4 million words that feels like a giant first draft of something.  When it comes to the sheer mass of words I’m catching up to the Wheel of Time book series, which weighs in at 4.4 million words, and I don’t think I have over abused nearly as many turns of phrase. (He said, tugging on his braid.)

The thing is, at some point along the line I actually decided what I wanted this blog to be.

I am sure that sounds like a “well, duh!” sort of statement because I am sure many people start out thinking they know what they want to write about and what they want their blog to be about.  And I am sure I did too.  But I was wrong.

Or, rather, I was not specific enough.  So for the first couple of years I wrote all sorts of things about all sorts of semi-related topics.  I wrote 490 blog posts in 2007, the first full calendar year of the blog, more than any other year and they were all over the place in terms of style, format, direction, and what not.

Eventually though I figured out what I wanted the blog to be.  It took some time and it came to me via what was a rather random event in the first month of the blog.  For no particular reason, other than it seemed like a good idea at the time, I wrote a month in review post.

It was short, ringing in at just 500 word, relative to my current monthly monsters, which can loom towards the 3,000 word mark without much effort.  But the basic elements were there.  And I kept doing it, month after month until I hit the one year mark of the blog.  With the first month in review of the second year I added a new element, the “One Year Ago” section.

And that was the magic moment, though I did not know it at the time.  The first few attempts at summarizing what happened a year back were pretty rough.  But it got me looking back at 20-40 old posts at regularly monthly intervals in order to decide what I ought to bring up, which got me thinking about which posts were important, which posts mattered to me, and which posts did not stand the test of time.

If you have done any systems analysis, you will see that I managed to accidentally create a feedback loop that was triggered at regular monthly intervals.  Every month I would review and evaluate some old posts to see which ones were worth bringing up again and which I should let fall by the wayside.  That let me know which posts were important to me and shaped what I would write going forward.

It took a while to gel.  I had to go a full year before I even started on that, so there was a lot of chaos in the first twelve months as I thrashed about in my writing.  And then looking back a year took some refinement as well.  You can see in that 13th month in review that I didn’t even link back, I just wrote a summary.  I had to develop how I even did a “One Year Ago” section.

So I would say, in looking at how things went, that the whole process didn’t even settle down until some point in 2009, and there was some over-correction in 2010 and 2011 as I chased after some things I might not have written about in later years.  2011 was the year with the second most post, ringing in at 488. (It was a busy year.)

Eventually though I managed to hit something of an equilibrium.  Looking back a year in 2008, I would end up excluding a lot of posts I had written when it came to the summary.  They just were not worth mentioning.  But as I have moved along, the ratio of posts written in a given month to the number of post mentioned in the following year review has narrowed dramatically. (All of my month in review posts are collected in a single blog category here.)

And even what to include has changed some over the years.  Generally, when I go to write a month in review today, I do the “One Year Ago” section from scratch.  Then I go back four years ago and take the “One Year Ago” section from that post and use it as the core for the “Five Years Ago” section.  But I go review what was in that year to see if I need to add or amend anything.  Then I go back five years to use the “Five Years Ago” section as the core of the “Ten Years Ago” segment.

That process has gotten much easier over the years.  There was a point when I was rewriting whole “Five Years Ago” segments because what I had written at the one year mark was insufficient.

These days the source for most of my “Five Years Ago” links is generally pretty solid.  I only add something if I feel I missed an event that I did not post about at all.  You will get the occasional Wikipedia article link in the midst of those for an expansion or launch that I might have neglected to mention, but which seems important in retrospect.

And I am getting to the point where the sources for my “Ten Years Ago” sections are starting to be pretty solid, though I do go through and add some links there fairly often.  And, in a few years, when “Fifteen Years Ago” becomes an option, I think I will be able to mostly just copy and paste work I have already done.

But that doesn’t really get to the whole topics question directly, now does it?

The thing is, in looking at what has been important to me in the past serves as a guide as to what I ought to write about in the future and has shaped what sort of posts I take the time to write.

The end goal of the blog is to write something or a narrative history of my gaming.  That wasn’t what I set out to do, that is just what I ended up with after going through and deciding what was important to me.

That does tend to make the blog very event driven.  Something happens, a launch, an update, a battle, a dungeon run, a major announcement, or whatever I filter that through what has become my criteria of importance, which I can sum up simply as, “Will I want to remember this in a year?”  If the answer is “yes,” then I have a topic and a blog post is on the way.

Now, it is not infallible.  I still write stuff that I don’t end up caring about in a year.  You will, for example, see that I rarely ever mention the Fantasy Movie League posts in my monthly review.  The week to week scores just are not that interesting a year later, unless something outrageous happens.  I do mention the end of season posts.  Those seem worthwhile.

And, of course, I write about things that seem very much off topic at times.  I have done book reviews and posts about our cats and vacations and other similar things.  Those don’t get triggered the way that a lot of gaming posts do.  However, they do act as sign posts along the way, points of reference as to what was going outside of video games.

But you still don’t have a topic to write about coming out of this, unless you want to get meta and write about what your blog is really about, what posts appeal to you immediately or in the hindsight, and whether or not you are like me and reflect on the past on a regular basis or just write and move on and never look back.

So maybe think on that.  That might be a topic for you.

Blaugust Arrives and You Call This Prep?

On the first day of Blaugust… I wrote a post about Blaugust.  No surprise there.

Blaugust, back in its early origins, was a goal, a challenge, to write a blog post every day for the whole month of August.  It has softened up a bit over the years, merging a bit with the Newbie Blogger Initiative idea, to become more of… well, as it says on the logo… a festival of blogging.

You can read all about it here.  It is not too late to join!

But I hold myself to the traditional goal of the event and plan to post daily for a month.

Which, of course, means I am in a bit of a panic here on day one.  How the hell am I going to find something to write about every day for a full month?

That is my usual lack of confidence speaking.  It ignores the fact that not only have I managed to fulfill that task in every Blaugust so far, I wrote more than a post a day for a full month just last month.  July could count as my Blaugust.

In fact, if you look at the stats of the blog, I have effectively write more that one post a day for most of the years that the blog has been around.  In 2009 and again in 2017 I only wrote 350 blogs during the calendar year.  Those were my worst years ever.  Given that my goal is a post every weekday, which adds up to about 260 posts in a year, I am well ahead of the curve.

None of which can dissuade my brain from trying to calculate out how I am going to make it this year.  The past is old news, I have to do this today, this week, this month!  Aigghhhhh!

It is good thing that this is, according to the suggested calendar for the event, prep week.  So let me do some planning here in front of a live studio audience to see if I can calm myself down a bit… or let you in on my thought process, which might be a more useful/scary way to look at it.

Blaugust 2019 Schedule

How to fill up that calendar?

Well, to start with, I can skip that last week, that is September.  I’ll worry about next month when it arrives, though that Monday will probably still be a summing up post about the event.

The other weeks each have a topic, I can probably make something out of each of those… except developer appreciation week.  I appreciate devs, and wouldn’t necessarily want their career path, but I never know what to say when people get on that appreciation topic.  I’ll find something.  So that is five topics for August, five posts down, including this one, 26 to go.

Then there are my standard weekly FML posts.  The league goes on through the end of the month, so that is a post every Wednesday, so four more knocked out, 22 to go.

There is also the monthly look at the SuperData numbers and the EVE Online monthly economic report, plus there will be an August patch update for EVE Online.  Oh, and month in review, the cornerstone of every month!  That brings the number of posts down to 18.

What is coming up in August?

There is the final two aspects of the Season of Skills event in EVE Online and another EVE Online stress test event.  And my 13th anniversary of starting off in EVE Online lands this month.  That is four more posts easy, so call it 14 needed now. (I’ve already written that last one too.)

WoW Classic is coming.  Launch day is August 27.  I wish it was earlier in the month, but you get what you get.  There will be at least one looking forward post, the launch day post, and a post about the chaos of the first night.  At least four posts this month will likely be about that, so now we’re to 10.

What else is coming up?

DC Universe Online is launching on the Switch on August 6th.  Might be worth a mention, just to keep track of what Daybreak is up to.  That gets us to 9.

Time to look in the drafts folder.

I have three almost complete posts in there, all started with Blaugust in mind.  I should be able to knock those out.  That leaves us at 6 posts.  I need to come up with six new post ideas over the course of August.  That doesn’t sound too bad.

Likely topics:

  • Ops I fly in EVE Online
  • Looking at Dota Underlords after a couple weeks of play
  • Looking at Teamforce Tactics, a Dota Underloards competitor
  • TorilMUD introducing a new character class… 36 year old MUD is still going
  • My Pokemon Go 3 year anniversary
  • The Switch Lite – my daughter an I have been talking about that
  • Something about my new keyboard
  • Kickstarter project review
  • Something about books/movies/TV

Things I will jump on if they happen:

  • Any Daybreak announcements/rumors
  • BlizzCon rumors
  • CCP making people mad in EVE Online through words or deeds… some more
  • Anything particularly quotable in the MMORPG space
  • Waves of nostalgia, my own or from others

From all of that I think I might be able to scrape out 31 posts, one for each day of Blaugust.  We shall see.

So welcome to Blaugust!

In furtherance of Blaugust spirit, I present a list of the current participants according to the master list that Bel has.  There are some old, well established blogs there, some brand new ones, some that have been quiet for a while, and some that won’t need to change pace to plow through the event with a month’s load of posts.

The list is in order of when people signed up so I can just compare the end of Bel’s list with this list and add people as they appear.  Hopefully he won’t sort the list, since there isn’t a time stamp field or anything.

For those with a social media bent, there is also a Twitter list of participants that Chestnut put together, as well as a Blaugust subreddit on Reddit that Bel launched because there is apparently not enough pain in his life.  (That might just reflect my own experience with Reddit however.)  And UltrViolet has a post up with an OPML file of the RSS feeds for the participating blogs if you want to import them all into your feed reader.

Anyway, there are all the blogs on the list.  I’ve clicked on every single one and only had to fix one URL.  Of course, Bel’s post today also has a list up as well, but I already did the work on this one so I am keeping it.

  1. A Hobbits Journey
  2. Aywren Sojourner
  3. Backlog Crusader
  4. Bio Break
  5. Contains Moderate Peril
  6. Gamer Girl Confessions
  7. Gaming Conversations
  8. Inventory Full
  9. Me vs. Myself and I
  10. Nerdy Bookahs
  11. NomadicGamersEh
  12. Tales of the Aggronaut
  13. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  14. ..in the mind..
  15. Cooler on the internet
  16. Dating Sims on the Holodeck
  17. Enjoying Overload
  18. Everwake’s Internet Journey
  19. Indiecator
  20. Kaylriene
  21. Synthetic Dulips
  22. Where The Monsters Are
  23. Aeternus Gaming
  24. All the Ampersands
  25. Ammo’s Rambles
  26. Ash’s Adventures
  27. Azerothian Life
  28. Beyond Tannhauser Gate
  29. Blog of the Idle
  30. Book of Jen
  31. Can I Play Too
  32. Daily Creative Thing
  33. Dextraneous
  34. Endgame Viable
  35. Galumphing
  36. Gaming SF
  37. Going Commando – A SWTOR Fan Blog
  38. Home of Beau Hindman
  39. I’m Not Squishy
  40. Kabalyero
  41. Knifesedge Blogs
  42. Later Levels
  43. Leaflocker
  44. LeeksEverywhere
  45. Mailvaltar – MMOs and other stuff
  46. MMOJuggler
  47. Nerd Girl Thoughts
  48. Neri Approves
  49. Neverwinter Thoughts
  50. Priest with a Cause
  51. RandomX
  52. Shadowz Abstract Gaming
  53. Shards of Imagination
  54. TechJoy2Day
  55. The Friendly Necromancer
  56. The MMOist
  57. The Parent Trope
  58. Time to Loot
  59. Unidentified Signal Source
  60. I Care a Lot
  61. Wordy Introvert
  62. A Technical Rejoinder
  63. A Missioneer in EVE
  64. Psychochild’s Blog

Blaugust 2019 is Coming

Belghast’s annual blogging festival, Blaugust, is nearly upon us.

For the month of August the call is out for bloggers to unite.  New bloggers are encouraged to join in, faded bloggers asked to revive their sites, and those of us who run off at the keyboard regularly try to energize the event by sharing what keeps us going.

Bel has a post up with all the information you will need to join in on the event.  There is a sign up form, a link to join the Discord channel where we hang out, and various versions of the event artwork as part of a media kit that you can use on your site.

There is even a schedule of events.

Blaugust 2019 Schedule

The schedule is optional of course.  Nobody will tell you what to write, how to write, or when to write.  But if you are somebody who wrestles with the “what should I write about?” issue, this bit of structure can help organize your approach or narrow your focus.

Focus is my problem.  I never have a problem thinking up things about which to write.  I have a text file full of topics I hope to get to some day.  My problem is time and motivation and deciding what I am going to spend time writing about today.

But if ideas are an issue for you, the second week is dedicate to thinking up topics.  There is also a channel in the Blaugust Discord dedicated to writing prompts.

Anyway, if this at all appeals to you, I encourage you to go check out Bel’s post about the event.

Unlike early versions of Blaugust, there is no longer a push to post every single day over the course of the month… unless you’re just into that sort of thing.  We would rather you write a few fulfilling posts that burn yourself out trying to meet an arbitrary goal based on quantity.

And the event is not limited MMORPG blogs, or gaming blogs, or even blogs.  Your blog can be about other topics or you can jump in if you do video logs on YouTube or if you have a regular show on Twitch or whatever.

Anyway, it all kicks off next week.  Be prepared.

The Labors of Blaugust

You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Blaugust has come and gone and many blog posts were written.  We can rest from writing all of those posts now on Labor Day… at least here in the US.

Blaugust Reborn

Blaugust was indeed reborn as bloggers old and new flocked to the banner and cranked out in excess of verbiage and videos and screen shots.  According to Belghast the numbers looked like this:

  • 90 blogs signed up in Blaugust Reborn 2018
  • 83 bloggers made at least one post during the month
  • We added 1404 more than new blog posts to the community as a result of Blaugust Reborn
  • This equated to an average of 45 new blog posts per day
  • 26 Bloggers had 31 or more posts

Despite the entry for me on that post I actually posted 40 times during August, which exceeded even my usual excess of posting.

Days I Posted

The days in light blue are one post, the days in darker blue are two posts.  I generally try to avoid three posts on a day unless the situation demands it.  I have only done so once this year.  Those days appear as black.

So I didn’t miss a day in August and, when it came down to it, I only missed one day in July and two days in June… and I was on a cruise for a week in June.  I was on a 55 day straight posting streak until yesterday I guess.

Anyway, getting in a post a day for the event earns you the Rainbow Award.

Rainbow Achievement Award 2018

Now to keep an eye on all those people who joined in on the event.  I know a few quit part way into the month.  Blogging is work.  It takes time from other things.  Unless you’ve been bitten by the writing bug and caught the inclination, fever, obsession, or or whatever you want to call it, it can be tough to carry on.  But that is fine.  Not everybody has to go crazy and we need people to read, like, and occasionally comment as well!  I think the article about finding the time over at Contains Moderate Peril is a good post about that sort of thing.  People generally find the time to do the things they really want to do.

As for posts about Blaugust and blogging itself, I managed to get in a few.  I generally don’t have a problem coming up with something to post about, but making myself post about a specific topic when I don’t feel it is another story, so I strayed from the suggested topics more and more as time went on.

There is probably some useful information to be gleaned from those posts.  Maybe.  Some mentor I am.  But my primary advice to bloggers and aspiring bloggers remains:

Be the blog you want to read

Focus on the topics that interest you.  Write about the things you want to remember.  Be angry or happy or enthusiastic or crazy about the things that bring out emotions in you.  Your blog should bring you happiness.  You should crave to write and enjoy going back over what you have written.  If you write long enough your blog can become a self-sustaining nostalgia machine.  That might even be a good thing. (More on that in another post.)

The month itself even saw a boost in page views, comments, and likes here at TAGN.  As I said before, it is gratifying when some extra work has some noticeable difference.  I even participated a bit in the Blaugust Discord channel.  That is a bit unusual for me.  Despite being a blogger, an undeniably extroverted endeavor, I tend to be very quiet in groups, and the more people in the group the less I am likely to say.  I think Discord worked out better than Anook did in previous years.

Anyway, a hearty cheer to those who participated in some way.  I will list them all out below one last time this year.  While 90 blogs were signed up, only 88 ended up with something to which I could link.  RSS feeds for all of the sites can be found at a post over at Armagon Live.

  1. A Green Mushroom
  2. A Hobbits Journey
  3. Aeternus Gaming
  4. Ald Shot First
  5. Arc’s Oddities
  6. Armagon Live
  7. Ash’s Adventures
  8. Athernes Adventures
  9. Aywren Sojourner
  10. barely readable diary
  11. Beyond Tannhauser Gate
  12. Bio Break
  13. Book of Jen
  14. Brain Dump
  15. Built on a Daydream
  16. Calamity Jess
  17. Can I Play Too
  18. Casual Aggro
  19. Cinemaxia
  20. Contains Moderate Peril
  21. Daily Creative Thinking
  22. Deez Wurds
  23. Diary of a Guild Leader
  24. Endgame Viable
  25. Fully Automated Luxury Space Communism
  26. Galumphing
  27. Gamer Girl Confessions
  28. Gaming Conversations
  29. GamingSF
  30. Geeky Dad Fitness
  31. Glyffe
  32. Going Commando
  33. Gray’s Cozy Nook
  34. Heattanu’s Game
  35. I’m Not Squishy
  36. Inventory Full
  37. JVT Workshop
  38. Knifesedge Blogs
  39. leaflocker
  40. Learn Japanese Online
  41. Leeterati
  42. Magen Tales
  43. Mailvaltar – MMOs and other stuff
  44. Me vs. Myself and I
  45. MMO Syndicate
  46. Mmosey
  47. Moonshine Mansion
  48. Municipal City
  49. Murf Versus
  50. Nerdy Bookahs
  51. Neverwinter Thoughts
  52. Nomadic Gamers, Eh!
  53. Ocarina Farms
  54. Party Business
  55. Pizza Maid
  56. Plan B Better
  57. Princess in a Castle
  58. Professorbeej is Awesome
  59. Psychochild’s Blog
  60. RandomX
  61. RunningShoes.tv
  62. Ryuh Note
  63. Scarybooster
  64. Self-Distract Sequence
  65. Shadowz Abstract Gaming Blog
  66. Shards of Imagination
  67. Simply Janine
  68. Soul of the Forest
  69. Stabbed Up
  70. StarShadow
  71. Stropp’s World
  72. Symphony On A Chip
  73. Tales from the Backlog
  74. Tales of the Aggronaut
  75. TechJoy2Day
  76. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  77. The MMOist
  78. The Parent Trope
  79. The Path They Walk
  80. Thinking Play
  81. ThisThingIsNeat
  82. Through Wolfy’s Eyes
  83. TroytlePower
  84. Unidentified Signal Source
  85. Welshtroll
  86. What’s Occuring
  87. Why I Game
  88. WoW Alt Addiction

We shall see who comes back for another round next Blaugust.

August in Review

The Site

I think the big news for the site in the successful conclusion of Blaugust.

Blaugust Reborn

I managed to post every single day in August and then some, for a total of 40 posts including this one, so met the highest bar set for participants.  Unwilling to waste a posting opportunity, I will have a summary post about the whole thing later, including one last listing and linking of all those who joined in.

I did put up a feed for Blaugust participants post in the side bar, down towards the bottom.  I used RSS Mix for it, which is very easy to setup, but is not as reliable as I would like.  It shows as down about half the time I look at it.  But it is free and isn’t meant for a dynamic side bar situation, so I can’t be too critical of it.  It is better than it has any right to be.

They don’t really have a logo…

As tends to happen during Blaugust, with my posting a bit more, every day of the week rather than mostly on weekdays, traffic to the site was up.  It is always gratifying to see more results for more effort.  We shall see if that holds come September when the event fades and some of us will no doubt stop actively checking up on other participants.

However, as happened last month, the most viewed posts list for August and Blaugust is again dominated by old posts.  Some I understand as they are Google favorites.  I realize there is a bias towards individual posts popular in Google searches as new posts can be read via RSS or on the main page without clicking on the post itself so may not get traffic.  But why my February in Review post from this year is getting search traffic I cannot say.

One Year Ago

ArenaNet announced the Path of Fire expansion for Guild Wars 2.

In Lord of the Rings Online the Mordor expansion went live with all sorts of new… activities.  I was able to get in and claim my expansion items.

In a Friday Bullet Points post I was looking at financial numbers from Blizzard, NCsoft, and SuperData.  I was also wondering if Raptr was dead.

Age of Empires IV was announced, or hinted at, or something.  I wasn’t sure it was a good idea.  And StarCraft Remastered was launched.

The summer blogger Fantasy Movie League wrapped up, with Liore winning.

I was feeling the urge to go play a flight sim game.  The problem is that I am bad at flight sims game, no longer having the patience to get good at them.

In EVE Online there was the Hakkonen deployment, where the Imperium went to go tangle with NCDot and Pandemic Legion on their doorstep.  I will just list out the post rather than trying to weave a narrative from all the links.

As part of the ops, and because of the seeming impending demise of POSes, I did a post about blowing up POS towers from each of the four empires.  As of this writing the Player Owned Starbase is still a thing in New Eden.

There was also an update for EVE Online in August, which among other things remove the captain’s quarters.  There was also the Alpha Strike event later in the month.  The monthly economic report showed Delve was still booming.  I hit 180 million skill points.

In other news, Vince Draken was asked to step down from CSM12 and Andrew Groen’s Empires of EVE came out in audiobook form.

I summed up my year of playing Pokemon Go.  I started late.  I was tempted to do that again this year… but I had too many posts already in August.

I was pondering replacing my aging Logitech G15 keyboard.  I haven’t yet, mostly because I would miss the LCD display… and because it still mostly works, even if it doesn’t light up quite the way it used to.  A year later and it is still there on my desk.

And, finally, a game dev was arguing that a good video game ought to cost $1,000,  which got me into rant mode as whiny entitlement tends to do.  And I was pretty sure we already had a game that expensive in the form of World of Warcraft.  Blizz was just smart enough to not ask for all the money up front.

Five Years Ago

I wrote about the hunter class in WoW, and how things used to work in the old days.

My summer in Lord of the Rings Online found me finishing up the waterworks and arriving on the far side of Moria at last.

We were trying to do something in Neverwinter.

There was the announcements that both The Elder Scrolls Online and WildStar would be going with the monthly subscription model.  I tried to tie this all up into one neat conspiracy theory.

We had the big EverQuest Next announcement, which I summarized with two pictures.  A lot of people were blogging about SOE’s big new MMO plan.  Cyanbane even put up a site dedicated to tracking EverQuest Next news. But I wondered, given SOE history, if they could keep the excitement going.  No they could not.

All that talk by SOE about voxels reminded me of NovaLogic’s Delta Force series of shooters.  So I went back and played the original.

And in EVE Online, the war in Fountain petered out a we took TEST’s last system in the region and began deploying to Delve.  We’re always in Delve during the summer.  The CFC changed long standing policy and created the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere in order to rent space in null sec.  We were also being encouraged to train for dreadnaughts.  And I also wondered who had the longest standing sovereignty claim in null sec, along with other bits of space trivia, including dumb ways to die.

And finally there was the Star Citizen Propaganda Video of Strongly Beating Spirit.  Is Star Citizen really a thing yet?  As far as I can tell it really isn’t anything more than a few isolated semi-playable alpha level pieces five years down the road.

Ten Years Ago

After what seemed like endless delays, Darkfall went looking for beta testers for real.  Many asked if this product would shed its “vaporware” reputation and see the light of day, and if the feature set would be anything close to what was promised.

Warhammer Online was rolling on towards release with a preview weekend.  The CoWs were gathering.  I looked at races and classes as well as my general opinion of the game as I saw it.  I thought I was generally positive, though I wanted to be able to open up the quest log with a single keystroke.  Rabid fans sensed faint praise and whined a lot in the comments.  Still, Google liked me as I got the top spot for the search on “WAR Preview Weekend.”

Suicide Ganking was the plague a EVE OnlineI suggested that the Secure Insurance Commission be given the power to extract the cost of insurance payouts from high sec gankers as a way to make this “throw away character” exploit a bit less lucrative.  In the end, CCP just made CONCORD a bit more responsive to attacks right under their noses and, eventually removed the insurance payout.  Didn’t change much, but there it was.

Meanwhile I was getting fat selling overpriced Kernite needed for story line missions.  I also gave ice mining a try.

In World of Warcraft the instance group we were hitting level 70 and starting on the Caverns of Time dungeon Escape from Durnhold Keep. We managed the Auchenai Crypts before that, but instances were starting to get tough for us and it would take a revamp of our talents and some work on gear before we would be able to take on an at-level instance on the first try.

Also in WoW, Zhevra fever.

We went down to LEGOLand for vacation, but I left a vacation cliffhanger post to keep people amused.  The cliffhanger was another problem with the World’s Collide mission.  I blew up again.

LEGO Indiana Jones came out, and while it was a lot of fun, I wasn’t sure if it was worth list price.

And finally, people were fretting about Diablo IIIIt was too colorful!  Internet petitions were deployed and accomplished what they generally do… nothing.

Fifteen Years Ago

Motor City Online, something of a spiritual ancestor to Need for Speed: World, went offline.  But it was an EA produced MMO, and we know how EA can get.

Most Viewed Posts in August

  1. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  4. Do You Wear the Mask or does the Mask Wear You?
  5. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  6. Extra Credits – Picking at the Lockbox Thing Some More
  7. Honest Game Trailers – Animal Crossing
  8. H1Z1 – Going Live in Time to be a Zombie
  9. February in Review
  10. SuperData and the Rise of Fortnite
  11. Rift Prime Time
  12. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!

Search Terms of the Month

wow bfa is a let down
[ten days before launch and already calling it…]

baltec fleet
[A Megathron and Apocalypse doctrine named after Baltec1]

eveonline best mining corp
[KarmaFleet maybe?  I don’t know.]

eve online capsuleer insane lore
[It’s all pretty insane frankly]

pedipowered posterior punter eq2
[Yes, this was a thing in EQII ]

wow is main bag upgrade account wide
[Yes, you get the four additional slots on all characters]

EVE Online

The War in the North continued to be a focus.  We had a couple of titan-killing Keepstar fights, which are always exciting… at least to read about.  And to write about, really.  Being there though can be a trying experience for many.  But for the most part we carried on trying to sap the will of the defenders with an ongoing entosis campaign in Fade with Circle of Two’s Keepstar as our eventual objective.  Will we get there in September?

Minecraft

I have been pottering around in Minecraft a bit, enough to put it back up on the “games I play” list in the side bar.  After finding my way to a warm ocean I had to find my way back home again then figure out a way to get from one to the other.  That always means more road and rail work.

Pokemon Go

I was having the login crash problem for a bit this month, though deleting the app and installing it again from the App Store seemed to fix it.  I have six friends on my list in the game and several of us send gifts back and forth regularly.  Each gift shows the PokeStop from which it came, which is interesting.  Not all that enthusiastic about 7km eggs.  They seem to hatch 5km stuff but take longer to get there.  Ah well.  Also, I finally got the 400 candies to evolve Swablu.  Now on to Wailmer.

Level: 33 (+0)
Pokedex status: 335 (+2) caught, 354 (+3) seen
Pokemon I want: Still Lapras, still don’t have one
Current buddy: Wailmer

Oh, and if you want to friend me/enable me on Pokemon Go, my trainer code is: 3216 2939 2424

World of Warcraft

Battle for Azeroth went live, as you probably know if you read any MMO blogs during Blaugust.  Those playing it are generally gushing about it, while those not are posting about not playing it.  I suppose that is a measure of popularity, when people feel the need to point out that they are not involved.  I have been playing and enjoying the expansion.  How long the new expansion smell will last and how things will evolve once I hit level cap remains an open question, but I am good for the moment.

Coming Up

It will be September.  The days will be getting shorter, the last blasts of summer heat will hopefully die off, and my state will hopefully stop being on fire quite so much.  I am surprised there isn’t a variation of the “This is fine” meme about the north end of the California this year.

Battle for Azeroth enthusiasm will likely continue.  I will keep on working through the quest lines and such with my main.  Alts will figure in later, though maybe I will move my hunter into Kul Tiras sooner than later.

In EVE Online the war in the north will continue.  We will see what the Monthly Economic Report for August has to say about its impact.  There could be another Keepstar fight.

CCP will be starting to prep for what will likely be their autumnal release.  While we get patch updates about every month, they see to be back on the “two named updates a year” schedule.  I expect that we will at least get a dev blog about the end of player owned starbases and the final plan for the structures that will replace them this month.

And speaking of expansions, we are now drifting into the time frame where  Daybreak usually announces expansions for EverQuest and EverQuest II.  There was that rumor, now mostly discredited, about this being the last year for expansions, but we’ll see.  There is also alleged to be a new Norrath-based game in progress, so maybe we will hear about that.  Probably not, but we can hope.  It would offset the news about Just Survive.

Finally, I will probably get back on a more normal writing schedule.  I wrote so far ahead of myself for Blaugust that I still have a five days worth of posts to run before I need to get back to work.  Expect a few topics to arrive a bit late to the party, and a couple more to be of dubious merit, but whatever.

Blaugust and Editorial Policy

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

James Nicoll

Another Blaugust feature, but now I have completely parted ways with the suggested topics and am wandering aimlessly through strange locations.

Blaugust Reborn

For some reason I want to write about editorial policy.  But not in any particularly helpful way I am sure, which probably keeps this post in line with the editorial policy here at TAGN.

At one point the LEGO Group had issued a set of guidelines for anybody setting up a fan site on the web.  This was ages ago, in the late 90s if I recall right, when companies were still suspicious of the web and worried what letting a bunch of randos talk about their product might do to their ability to protect their trademarks and such.

The guidelines looked to be a variation on what was likely their internal brand guide, a sort of document that I have seen at many companies, that makes sure that the company name, logo, and products are all used in a consistent and appropriate manner.

So it was full of things like the fact that the name LEGO should always be in all caps and should have the registered trademark symbol after it in all cases and that the company logo should always use a certain set of colors and always be at the correct aspect ratio, never cropped or stretched, and that you should never refer to LEGO brand construction blocks as “LEGOs” and so forth.  It had a bit of a thuggish air about it, the implication that if you setup a LEGO fan site and did not comply with all of this that they might come shut you down.  And hell, Nintendo has done worse from time to time in the name of protecting their trademarks and such.

Wired wrote an article about the whole thing and, on reading it I asked an acquaintance who worked there why they wrote out the company name as “Lego” when the company had, if not politely, at least made itself clear that they preferred “LEGO,” which was, if not an acronym, the conjunction of two words mashed together.  He told me, in not so many words, “Lego doesn’t write out editorial guidelines, so we’ll call them whatever we feel like.”

I don’t know why this little tales has stuck with me over the years.  That print media has editorial guidelines about usage is hardly news to me.  I had professors in college rant about correct usage.  I’ve witnessed holy wars between adherents of The Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Stylebook.

And “holy war” is the apt term, because either of those books, or any other pretender, is primarily a matter of belief as opposed to any objective fact.  The English language is chaotic and cannot be tamed.  But that chaos makes it a hell of a lot of fun at times.

So while this blog has a staff of exactly one person, that person fills all the roles.  I am writer, editor, publisher, and the person who empties the waste bin at night.  And as such I have, over the years, developed what I think of as my own set of editorial guidelines to which I attempt to adhere.

In the early days I wrote just to write and embraced the chaos.  But the accountant in me will ever show up and I began to organize a bit, working with categories and tags, because what is the use of writing something if you cannot find it again.

I also started in on what became recurring features, regular milestones on this journey through and around my video gaming life, the first of which was the month in review post.  That started as a whim but quickly evolved into a pillar of the site, at least for me.

My writing, the way I approach posts, evolved as well.  In the early days I wrote a lot of shorter posts.  In 2007 I wrote 490 posts that averaged 482 words each.  Last year I wrote 350 posts which had 932 words each on average.

I also started adopting some standards for how I refer to games.  At one point I decided that I needed to put game titles in italics.  Somewhere one of my English teachers probably sleeps a little more soundly.

I also decided to make sure that I wrote out the name of the game which I was writing about in full near the start of each post.  I have read many a post where the game in question is mentioned either as an unclear acronym or not mentioned at all, leaving me to wonder what the writer is going on about.  Sometimes I can guess from context, but not always, so I wanted to ensure that anybody who showed up here would not find themselves likewise vexed.

So I write out the full name, in italics, then use a short form after that, so World of Warcraft becomes WoW and EVE Online becomes EVE.

There are also bits of usage that are just because I like it that way.  I always capitalize EVE in EVE Online, mostly because that is the way CCP styles it.  On the other had Trion Worlds can spell out Rift in all caps from now until the end of time and I’ll never follow suit.  It just ain’t gonna happen.

And I always write out acronyms in all caps.  It irks me when the BBC writes out Nasa rather than NASA, like it was a word.

And none of it has to make any logical sense, as though much in the English language ever does.  It just has to please me.  And, likewise, what you do on your blog just has to please you, even if you don’t write out Nasa in all caps.

Blaugust and Making Comments on Comments

In which I try to write another post that is somewhat relevant to the spirit of Blaugust.

Blaugust Reborn

I have admittedly fallen completely off the writing prompts for the event.  I think we’re supposed to write something nice about developers or something this week, but I don’t have anything for that, so I am writing this instead.  This is why I write a blog solo and not as a collaborative effort or, heaven forbid, for a site run by somebody else.  I will write about what I damn well please when it damn well pleases me.

So I am going to write about comments.  Blog comments.

As noted elsewhere, getting a comment on a blog post… at least a comment that isn’t trying to sell you Cialis or a school public address system… why are there even spam comments for school public address system… does a lot to keep a blogger motivated.

Page views are nice, but they are sterile.  A large percentage of the traffic that comes to this blog arrives via Google and is likely made up of people who, if not here by a complete mistake, are unlikely to stick around and become fans of the site.  By my own estimate there are maybe 80 to 100 regular readers of the site, not all of whom visit every day.  So if I have a day with a thousand page views I am pretty sure at least 90% of that are people who are just passing through, never to be seen again, an estimate sustained by how often “gay elf porn” shows up in the search terms that bring people here.

And 90% is probably optimistic.  As like as not that number could close in on 99% some days, and it might as well be 100% if the only feedback I ever see is page views.

But a comment… a comment if affirmation that somebody showed up and read what you wrote and was invested enough to write a response.  A good comment can be a motivator, inspiration to carry on blogging, a source of ongoing topics, and a reason to check your notifications.  Comments help sustain blogging.

So as a blogger, and one who has some level of feelings for blogging and the local neighborhood of blogs, I ought to be out there leaving comments.  I am pretty sure I’ve brought this up before, but most recently Syp mentioned it in a Blaugust post of his own.  He is, by his own admission, a hypocrite on that front, but at least he admits it.  A Syp comment is a rare item indeed.

I am not as bad as him on that front, but I do feel I could comment more often.  Whether or not I comment often depends on my mood, the time, and which device I am using to read a post.  I am extremely unlikely to leave a comment from my phone.  On the other hand, if I am sitting at my desk at home in the evening and trying to write a blog post for the next day I am very likely to wander off to other blogs and leave comments in an a not too subtle method of avoiding the work at hand.

But, as a blogger, there is a whole different aspect of comments to consider, which is the reply to comments on your own blog.

I am, again, not as good at this as I probably should be.  Going back once again to last year’s Syp-scaring statistical nightmare of an anniversary blog post, I write about 13% of the comments on this blog.

Viewed from the “motivating me as a blogger” point of view, that seems like a lot.  It is me typing away more than one in ten times, like I don’t spew enough words in my posts to begin with.

On the flip side, as somebody who leaves comments, that seems like it might not be very much at all.  I likely do not respond to comments often enough, and I measure that from my own experience and reaction to the affairs on other blogs.

To pick on Syp again, because he is a famous actually-gets-paid-to-write person in our blogging neighborhood, as well as a convenient scapegoat, I often pass up leaving a comment over at Bio Break because I know he almost never replies.  What the hell is up with that?  He rarely even leaves a comment on his own blog.

And I have to admit if I go to a blog and leave comments on any sort of regular basis and never see any response, then my motivation to keep it up diminishes over time.  I mostly comment on Syp’s blog because I recognize most of the people who also comment and it is more to have a conversation with them than to respond to Syp who, so far as I know, rarely even reads the comments.

I compare this to leaving a comment over at Inventory Full where I know that Bhagpuss will respond to nearly every comment left.  By his own admission this is directly related to his pre-blogging time when he used to just comment on blogs and explained how much getting a response motivated him to continue leaving comments.

So, while not the worst at responding to comments, I could stand to improve.

Part of my issue there is a general problem with acknowledging praise.  If somebody goes negative or disagrees I will dive right in, but if somebody says something nice I am silent.

And that sort of applies to leaving comments as well.  It isn’t all that common for me to just say something nice unless I have something to add to what was written.  I feel as embarrassed leaving just a compliment as I do when getting one.  Generally I will try to find a way to link directly to a post I like as a sideways way of acknowledgement rather than a comment.

Anyway, I have meandered around for a thousand words now to say that we should all leave more comments, myself included.  And replies.  More replies.

Also, if you’re going to leave a response to a comment and you’re on a blog that doesn’t have threaded comments that sticks replies directly to the comment in question, at least give some hint as to the person to whom you are replying.  If you don’t like using “@heyyou” in your comments, at least mention the person in passing.  The tidy aspect of me hates the ambiguous reply where you aren’t sure who the reply is aimed.

Finally, to get to this week’s real prompts; game devs, thanks for doing your thing.  Sorry some of the community goes nuts every so often or thinks that you have to tailor every single game ever to their needs.  But that is ever the flip side of passion.  Everybody loves when people are hyped up about their product, but hates it when that goes wrong.  If you ride the lightning you’re bound to get shocked now and then.  Also, sorry about the crappy pay and that I likely didn’t buy your game.  But if you wanted money you could have sold your soul to enterprise software like I did.