Tag Archives: Blaugust

The Labors of Blaugust 2021

Blaugust is over, another festival of blogging has come and gone.

Technically, according to the calendar, we’re in the “Lessons Learned” week of the event through Saturday, but I haven’t much else to add, so I will just round out the final week with some summing up.

I accomplished my goal.  I published a post every single day in August, 31 in total.  I am pretty sure I have earned the Rainbow Diamond Award for that.  Go me.

For making 31 post during the month of August

Unlike past years, I didn’t run over.  I have, at times, over planned and ended up with 40+ posts.  This year I made quote exactly, 31 posts in 31 days.  I suspect I made up for the fewer posts by writing more words per post, but I’ll leave that analysis for another day.

As is usual, I didn’t spend a lot of time focused on the event.  I tend to potter along on my own without much input.  I generally have more topics in mind, more things in my drafts folder, than I can find time to finish.  That is just me.

Still, even with that, I did managed to find time to do at least two Blaugust focused posts.  They were:

There isn’t a lot new for me to add to my past blogging advice, but I try to come up with something for the event now and then.

Naturally Belghast, who set up the whole event, has a post summing up how things went and who achieved which goals.  I won’t steal all his thunder, but I do like the overall stats.

  • 981 posts were made by Blaugust 2021 Participants
  • 45 Individuals Participated in the event and made at least one post
  • 2 Newbie Bloggers Participated and both made 31 posts
  • 40 out of the 45 participating made at least 5 posts qualifying for Bronze
  • 31 out of the 45 participating made at least 15 posts qualifying for Silver
  • 22 out of the 45 participating made at least 25 posts qualifying for Gold
  • 20 blogers made at least 31 posts qualifying for Rainbow Diamond

So congrats to everybody who participated.  You should take a moment to visit some of the blogs that were involved in the event.

On Blogging, Motivation, and Passion

It is “staying motivated” week in the Blaugust event and I figured it was about time for me to post something Blaugust related.  I have not been very attentive to the event, wandering off in whatever direction takes me, as is my usual pattern.

On the topic of motivation I have a little story.

When my daughter got to middle-school (which for some reason is 5th through 7th grade in our local district, it used to be junior high school when I was that age, and was mostly just 7th and 8th grades), she was able to pick an elective class and she wanted to take band.

It wasn’t an easy choice.  She also wanted to take art, something she enjoyed and was already into.  But band won out because it was new and different.  She went with flute as an instrument, and we went down to the music store and rented her a flute.

She did well enough in band I suppose.  She practiced at home.  She went to all of the events.  She seemed to enjoy it well enough.  She took band for a second year, sticking with the flute.

For the third year of band she switched to the baritone saxophone.  The flute, which was a rent-to-own deal, was paid off just about the time she made the switch.  A baritone sax is a much more expensive instrument, but the school had one for her to use.  She went with the sax both because it was kind of cool… we were watching Bojack Horseman around then, and the opening theme is heavy on the sax… and because the band needed somebody to play it as the person who had been playing moved on to high school.

So we had the bari sax around the house.

Our cat Rigby making himself at home with the sax

She did that for a year, though I think she enjoyed posing with the sax more than she liked playing it.  She borrowed my sunglasses for performances.

Then came eight grade and when she was signing up for classes she asked me, rather hesitantly, if she could not take band.  She wanted to take art.

Her tone said to me that she was afraid we would be disappointed in her choice, but I told her right away that it was fine, she should take art if that was what she wanted.

I explained to her that I could see she wasn’t really into band.  While she practiced as often as was recommended and took things seriously, I had never once seen her play her instrument… flute or sax… just because she wanted to.  She did her time, then moved on to what she really wanted to do, which was often art.

She had no passion for music.  People I know who do will play just to play, will figure out how to play something they heard just from listening to it.  My step-brother used to sit in his room with his headphones on just figuring out a song for hours on end.

Meanwhile, she clearly had a passion for art.  She had a drawing tablet hooked up to her computer, a copy of PhotoShop Elements along with a few other art and design titles, and would sit for hours just trying to get something right… not because she had to but because she wanted to.

I never had to tell her to put down the flute or the sax and go to bed, but I got up a number of times in the middle of the night to tell her to put down her sketch pad and go to sleep.

If you have a passion for something then motivation will come.  And if motivation does not come… well, maybe blogging or band or whatever isn’t really your thing.

Which I guess isn’t a very motivational message.  But maybe it can be a guide to help find motivation.  We all seem to be able to find the time to do the things we really want to do, so if blogging is feeling like a chore, perhaps it isn’t for you.  Or maybe you just haven’t found an aspect of blogging that works for you.

I like writing long winded narratives about what I did in this game or that.  I enjoy telling a story.  I almost always feel I have to establish my relationship with a topic to write about it.

But that is just my style.  There are lots of options.  Some people like to do reviews or game guides or write in the voice of their in-game character or track statistics or complain loudly and make up irrational conspiracies.  There is room for all of that and more.

When you find your niche, motivation will follow.  And if blogging isn’t it at all, then maybe videos or streaming or screen shots or something else is.

Or maybe just cute cat pictures.

Anyway, if you haven’t found motivation here… and I’ll admit that I didn’t have much to offer in that regard… maybe one of the other Blaugust participants can help you along.  There are 46 others from which to choose:

 

One Blog or Multiple?

Aywren Sojourner brought the idea of multiple blogs back into my brain with their new blog Spot of Mummery; is it better to have multiple, topic focused blogs or one sprawling somewhat generalist blog?  This seems like a Blaugust aligned post, so let’s at least pretend it is part of that theme.

I must admit, as somebody who gets turned on in the organizer section of office supply stores, the idea of having nice, neat little silos of content segregated out by topic does have some appeal to me.

I have, over the years, experimented with multiple blogs.  This was actually blog number two for me, after I did a test blog elsewhere.  And since the founding of this blog I have spun up a number of others, including:

There were a couple others I have since deleted, including an RP tell all of what really happened with Vanguard and SOE.  That whole “Stuff” topic was a meme about a decade back.  I think “Stuff MMO Gamers Like” could still be a decent group blogging project, or a weekly column at Massively or some such.

Of those, only EVE Online Pictures is still active, and that is largely due to it being just a screen shot blog.

There are certainly benefits to the idea of having a blog with a single focus.  Being a one topic blog helps you cater to your audience because they know what they’re going to get, at least in some general way, with each blog post.  If you have a WoW blog, they can safely assume that your next post and the post after that and so on is going to be in some way tied up with WoW.

And, in some ways, I think having a single focus blog is a bit of an enabler to really go deep on various aspects of your game of choice, from lore to fashion to mechanics to all the various peripheral topics that add up around a title.  You can do that because your audience has self-selected itself to be attuned to all of that.

Meanwhile, not having a single focus has caused me a bit of bother over the years.  I have missed out on being “in the club” on a few fronts. I have been refused links from WoW blogs and was kicked out of the EVE Blog Pack due to my lack of purity.  WoW players come here and tell me this really and EVE Online blog and EVE Online players tell me it is actually a WoW blog. (And occasionally an EVE player will say this is an EVE blog, but then will complain it is a null sec blog and they only like wormhole blogs or whatever.)

They’re not right… but they’re not totally wrong either.

TAGN isn’t WoW or EVE or EQ or LOTRO or whatever MMO title you care to mention blog.  It isn’t even a genre blog anymore, as I have strayed off the MMORPG path more than a few times.  Look at all the posts about Valheim and Minecraft. Think of all the Pokemon posts!

Given the amount of stuff I have written about movies, TV, and other topics I suspect that you could make the case that this isn’t really even a video game blog.  Should I change TAGN to mean “Tales About General News” already?

If you come here you think you might know what I am going to write about, and you’ll probably be right a few days out of the week, but at times if will be a surprise.

And, because I can go off on various games and other topics, I do have to be a little opaque in my writing.  I cannot assume that everybody knows the jargon of whatever game I am writing about.  I often spend a bit of time explaining what I mean rather than just diving into things.  That isn’t a bad thing, and I am sure some of my EVE Online posts could use more explanation at times, it being a title rife with jargon, but I do have to write for a more general audience.

On the flip side, the minor problems that arise from my lack of focus aside, my generalist approach to blogging has a few advantages.

Being a bit more explanatory also makes for easier comprehension on my part when I go back and read old posts.  This I knew or which were current in that moment do not always last.

I am also less constrained on topics.  I write about video games in general and MMORPGs specifically most of the time, but if I get the urge to write about old computer hardware or a typewriter I still have or a road trip to LA, I can take a detour and go down that path.  I used to feel a little self-conscious about that back in the early days.

That and there are times when I don’t have a lot to say about a given game.  If this were and EVE Online or a WoW focused blog I am not sure I could manage more than three or four posts a week.  Maybe.  Or I would have to drop into more detail, get more into the nuts and bolts.  My posts now tend to be general sweeps and tales of my own misadventures.

And, of course, given the number of times I have changed games, having a game focused blog would inevitably lead to long dead periods when I was off playing something else.  Over the last ten years I have only remained subscribed to EVE Online the whole time.  Other titles tend to come and go.

Then there is the number of blogs I would need to keep going.  Look at the category list on the side bar.  If I had the foresight to roll up a fresh blog just for the titles about which I have posted 200 or more times, I would need an easy half dozen blogs.

Being honest, I would have no doubt lacked that level of foresight, so would have ended up with at least a couple dozen blogs, most languishing without updates, focused on titles from Warhammer Online to Neverwinter to Vanguard to EverQuest Next.  Pretty much assume that any game that is a category that has a dozen or more posts would have ended up being a blog.

Not a viable path for me, though that says more about me than about blogging I am sure.

That doesn’t even begin to explore what happens if the company that develops your game of choice turns out to be run by horrible people.  That was the case for Riot previously and Blizzard currently.

Finally, it has been my experience that readers of this blog at least tend to be as much creatures of habit as I am, so jumping around between multiple sites or starting up new ones would break their routine as much as my own.  Better to just let everything land here.

I do admire the focus of single game blogs.  Sometimes I think it would have been nice to have gone deeper on one game or another, to have been able to maintain that level of focus.  What if I had gone all in on EQII at launch or something like that?  But it just isn’t in me.

So I carry on with a single blog for words, where all my posts are collected.  It is a bit chaotic and finding what you’re looking for depends on me correctly and consistently categorizing and tagging my posts.  (I do the former fairly well, but the latter can be a bit of a crap shoot.)

But this is Blaugust, so I wonder what others think about having multiple blogs or blogs that manage to focus on a single game.

And since this is a Blaugust related post, here is the list of those participating in the event.

 

Welcome to Blaugust 2021

The time has come again, the annual neighborhood blogging event has arrived.

As I mentioned previous, back in the day this was a bit of a hardcore event, an attempt to get people to blog every day for a month.  But the blogging neighborhood was a bit different in 2014.  That can be a bit daunting for some.  We all write at our own pace and along the way the event became more one of cross-pollination, bloggers coming together to meet up, share a few ideas and opinions, and to link out to each other.

So I will get right to that first bit.  Here are the bloggers signed up for the 2021 event.

That is 47 bloggers as I write this.  We’ll see if I remember to update that number if the list grows.  And it could grow, because it it NOT TOO LATE to join in.  You can do it.  Just go read the informational post about the event, fill out the sign up sheet, and join the Discord server to say hello.

Believe me, it is easy to get started because you can just write a Welcome to Blaugust post like this and you’re already on your way.  It is practically a freebie, something a lazy person like myself appreciates.

There is, of course, some loose structure to the whole thing.  It isn’t required, but it there to give you something to chew on if you’re looking for a post idea.

The 2021 Calendar

The ambitious will be out the gate on day one with the theme of the week.  And then there is me, who will get to it on the Saturday, hitting the publish button at the last minute.  But you don’t have to get on board for that.  I just feel mildly obligated because I signed up as a mentor, so ought to lead by example or something.

Actually, I guess I am ahead this week.  As I said, “Welcome to Blaugust” is a bit of a gimme.  Others have already done theirs, but I am not as late as usual to the party.  If I were feeling ambitious I would list them all out, but I just put in a list of links to all the participating blogs, so you can just click on that if you want to see who is already on board.

There are still achievements to be earned, if you so desire.

  • Newbie Blogger Award – You did it! You created a new blog and we are extremely happy to welcome you into this raucous community. As a result we are going to recognize your efforts just for signing up.
  • Bronze Award – You made at least 5 posts during the Month of August 2021.
  • Silver Award – You made at least 15 posts during the Month of August 2021.
  • Gold Award – You made at least 25 posts during the Month of August 2021.
  • Rainbow Diamond Award – You did it, you posted 31 or more posts during the month of August 2021.

I personally aspire to the Rainbow Diamond Award.  I will try to post every day this month, proving both that it can be done and that you can make a bunch of blog posts and still not have anything profound to say.

Every blogger has their own style and standards.  Some sit on their posts and polish them.  Some won’t post unless they have something new and different to say. (“Should I repeat myself?” is often a topic of discussion on the Discord server.  I say you should, and certainly if you have had any change of heart of feel there is more that could be added.)

And then there is this blog, where everything is a first draft, a bit of a gut reaction, a memory jotted down in the moment that can be reconsidered at a later date.  For me it is better to have written and posted and the only posts I really regret are the ones I did not make.

Anyway, I’m already a post into the month, so I am on my way.

For those interested in the event… and I must stress that it is NOT TOO LATE to join in… you can find all the relevant information here.

The Return of Blaugust 2021

That time of year is upon us, the month of August, traditionally a slow time for many thing, video games included, when we get together to celebrate, focus on, and write about blogging.

It is time for Blaugust!

Once a bit of a hardcore event… the 2014 goal of the first Blaugust was to publish a blog post of some minimum length every day for a month… oh, and gaming blogs only… the whole thing has relaxed over the years (and sort of absorbed the Newbie Blogger event we used to have) to be more of a reflection and discussion of blogging, even for blogs that are not about video games.  It is a reminder that we have a community of bloggers.

The calendar for the event has been posted, which covers the suggested topic for each week of the event.  The topics are purely optional, but it is often interesting to see how multiple people approach each of them.

The 2021 Calendar

These days you don’t even have to have a blog to join in.  You can use the sign up form and designate yourself as a “supporter” and just come hang out on the Discord server if you like.

Which isn’t to say the event lacks any push to post.  It is still focused on blogging and promoting interaction between blogs and bloggers, and there are still badges to be earned for different levels of participation.  For 2021 they are:

  • Newbie Blogger Award – You did it! You created a new blog and we are extremely happy to welcome you into this raucous community. As a result we are going to recognize your efforts just for signing up
  • Bronze Award – You made at least 5 posts during the Month of August 2021
  • Silver Award – You made at least 15 posts during the Month of August 2021
  • Gold Award – You made at least 25 posts during the Month of August 2021
  • Rainbow Diamond Award – You did it, you posted 31 or more posts during the month of August 2021

So if you are an old school blogger, a new blogger, want to start a blog, or just want to talk about blogging, this is an event for you.  The range of participants generally runs from brand new bloggers to grizzled blogging veterans, all of whom seem to have opinions on blogging platforms, style, topics, and the trivia of the blogging process.

Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut, who runs the who thing, has all the current details up in a blog post on his site, so go check it out and get ready for the coming of Blaugust 2021.

August in Review

The Site

It was Blaugust and Promptapalooza this month.  I participated a bit in the prompt thing, though not very much.  I kept myself busy elsewhere.  There was plenty to post about without additional prompts.

August means some sort of Blaugust

Belghast, who set the whole thing up, has a summary post about the event up with links out to everybody’s prompt post.

I did, however, stick closer to the old school meaning of Blaugust by posting every single day over the course of the month.  In fact, I managed to do that from the start of April, which was Blapril, all the way through August of Blaugust.

A post a day keeps… something away…

153 days in a row of blog posts, so “go me” I guess.

One Year Ago

I wrote way too many posts.  49 in one month, and not a bunch of short ones either.  But it was Blaugust, so I was in the mood.  As usual I went on about all sorts of things like what to write, and burning things down, and how to crank out posts.  Oh, and that gamer motivation profile thing again.

Daybreak was setting up Twitter accounts for its new sub-studios.  They also brought DCUO to the Nintendo Switch.  And they were sketching out some plans for the EverQuest II 15th  anniversary.

PlanetSide Arena also resurfaces with a new plan.

I explained the difference between Team Fight Tactics and DOTA Overlords.

There was more talk about lock boxes and bad analogies.

I hit three years with Pokemon Go.

The August update brought community fittings to EVE Online.  A big cyno nerf was also announced.  EVE Fanfest Home also happened.

Out in null sec the blackout continued, though not without issues.  Local came on for a bit, even in WH space.  The MER showed a big hit to NPC bounties in null sec.  I was starting to wonder about chaos fatigue from the stuff CCP was doing.

Meanwhile, I was in low sec with Liberty Squad, flying Abaddons.  Some days we didn’t get a fight.  Other days lots of stuff blew up.  But we tired of the locals refusing to fight unless they had the numbers to overwhelm us us, so we flew home.  The “hell dunks or blue balls” routine gets tiresome and there was nothing really at stake.

I was also on about the absolute nature of some things in New Eden, warp core stabilizers, interdiction nullification, and the things that they counter.

There was also announcement of the the alpha for EVE Echoes, the mobile version of EVE Online.  Could you play EVE on your phone?  Should you play EVE on your phone?

There was another round of EVE Aether Wars to try, this time with prizes.  It seemed to go pretty well.

I also celebrated 13 years of playing EVE Online by going down the list of all the places I had called home in the game.

But mostly I was wetting myself about WoW ClassicThe count down to launch was on.  They announced the server names, a list which ended up expanding greatly.  The crowd trying to reserve names on various servers proved Blizzard was not thinking big enough.  PVP realms seemed popular.  Like, very popularSuper popular.

Blizzard was trying to get the word out on what you should know.  They even did a Reddit AMA and explained things like layering in detail as well as some videos with the game’s creators.

I tried to define the different factions of players these servers attract.  I also had some predictions about what would happen on the eve of the launch.

The instance group eagerly played the last load test just to get a taste of it, because all I really wanted to do was play WoW Classic.  I was wondering about addons, which have come a long way since back in the day.  What would enhance the experience and what would ruin it?

And then it was LAUNCH DAY and we queued up to get in the game, then queued up again once we got in.  My hunter tamed his first pet just a couple days in as I wrote about the strange ways of the class.  Good times.

Five Years Ago

It was Blaugust and a lot of people played along.

I told the strange tale of my first automotive test drive.

Project: Gorgon had Kickstarter success at last, then there were stretch goals, the grand total, and mapping out a plan going forward.

Blizzard, on the other hand, was facing bad news as WoW subscriptions dropped to 5.6 million, the lowest since December 2005.  In order to drown that out, Blizz had a big WoW announcement planned later in the week.  There was much anticipation.  I speculated on what it might be, but it turned out to be the WoW Legion expansion announcement, sans cinematic.  Of course, once they announced it, everybody wanted to know when we would get it.

In EVE Online, it was all about Fozzie Sov.  People were complaining.  We had to take sov from allies in order to transfer it, at which point MOA temporarily scooped up a couple systems. Crazy days!  The Galatea expansion addressed some of our issues.

Then the Imperium went to Providence to test out the new sovereignty mechanics… and to purge the Jamylites with the blessings of Maximilian Singularity VI.  The resulting conflict is all under the Provi War tag here.

Meanwhile, CCP was doubling down on VR, adding EVE Gunjack to their lineup.

Turbine was warming up for the great LOTRO server upgrade and merge effort.

Daybreak was also planning server consolidations, these for EverQuest II.  They were also working on a server for misfit players, which seemed like a dubious idea.  And on the Stormhold server, the first expansion unlock vote came up.  The players said “no” to the unlock.  And in EverQuest, on the Ragefire and Lockjaw servers, the inevitable enforced raid rotation schedule was implemented, with an eye to keeping out casuals it seemed.

In Minecraft, I was discovering fire and putting our world up on a hosting service to share it with friends.  Xydd joined up and began working a lot on the nether, while Skronk began his own building project, as I tinkered with dungeons.  We had a setback with our hosting service.  It was a good thing I was keeping backups.

ArenaNet made the base version of Guild Wars 2 available for free, no doubt hoping to sell expansions.

And I wrote a little something about the passing of Robert Conquest.

Ten Years Ago

Let’s see… people were hating on GameStop for selling used games, which was equated with stealing.  That was before GameStop started officially stealing.

Massive Blips went away.  I miss it.

I made my position on raspberries perfectly clear.

Yahoo had a couple game related lists.  I love lists.

Cryptic and Atari announced they were doing the game Neverwinter.

Runic started talking about Torchlight II.

Stunt Rock.  I need say no more.

EverQuest Next was announced at Fan Faire, and I was wondering about the lessons SOE has learned after a few turns of the EverQuest wheel.  Pity nothing came of it.

In the real world, boars were starting to become more like their MMO counterparts.

WoW account hacking was still a big deal, though getting to be common enough as to not be news on an individual level any more.  People have their views on whose fault it is.  But was any game facing as much account hacking as WoW?

My daughter got into the WoW Cataclysm beta.  She got me some screen shots of Stormwind,  Southshore and the Barrens.  This, by the way, probably killed her interest in Cata when it finally did ship. Indulging early can take the edge off of things.

Blizzard got a serious judgement against somebody running a for-profit WoW pirate server.

The instance group, done in WoW and on the now usual summer hiatus, was spending some time in Middle-earth, which required a bit of selling.  We made it through Othrongroth, and to the North Downs and the Lone Lands.  I finally found my way to Evendim, which I had never  managed to visit before.  It was in a state of change, pre-quest revamp but after they added in the boat routes.

And, finally, in EVE Online, there was the PLEX story we had all been waiting for.

Twenty Years Ago

The Age of Empires II expansion, The Conquerors, launched.  Good times.

Twenty-Five Years Ago

Command and Conquer launches, an RTS game that spawned a franchise and gave us the hell march (with Red Alert at least).

Most Viewed Posts in August

  1. The Fall of Niarja and the Shape of High Sec
  2. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  5. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  6. The Ahn’Qiraj War Effort set to Begin in WoW Classic
  7. Remembering Brian Green
  8. Reflections on the Eve of the 20 Year EverQuest Anniversary
  9. Campaign Medals
  10. Burn Jita 2020 Seems Unlikely
  11. The Coming Metaliminal Storms May Decloak You in Null Sec
  12. WoW Tokens Five Years Later

Search Terms of the Month

project discovery 40 million isk per hour
[Tell me more]

eve online notoras
[They have icecream]

can a drake null sec rat
[A Drake can do anything… except light a cyno]

felwood or un’goro first
[Un’goro]

Spam Comment of the Month

Hey mate are you selling your blog by chance?
[Everything has a price!]

Gaming Time from ManicTime

I was away for a week… pretty much all of last week… so my overall hours played were at their lowest since February, when I was also away for a week.  I was in Portland, Oregon both times, as that is where my daughter goes to college now.

As an aside, I was downtown a couple of times last week and it is not the dystopian landscape of destruction that the President or Fox News would have you believe.  In February we stayed at a hotel that is at the mid-point between the park where the nightly protest forms up and the two federal buildings where the protests take place.  Unless you’re in about a four block area, you might never notice a thing, and during the day nothing looks out of place.

Anyway, game times:

  • EVE Online – 50.33%
  • WoW Classic – 33.31%
  • Diablo II – 13.93%
  • World of Warcraft – 1.01%

Both Minecraft and EverQuest dropped off the list in August, with no time recorded for either.

Diablo II

I kept on going through Diablo II, if a bit more slowly than back in the day.  I am through Act II, so a post about that is coming this week, and into Act III.  I think the challenge will be Act V, the expansion act, as I have zero memory of it.

EVE Online

World War Bee continues.  The invaders have taken all of Fountain and have moved their supers and titans into the region.  Querious remains a skirmish zone around the gate to Catch and the hostiles come through into Period Basis as well, but our core home region of Delve remains mostly unscathed.  Oh, and Niarja fell to the Triglavians and people wonder what that will mean in the long term.  We shall see.

Pokemon Go

A good month for Pokemon Go.  A friend of my wife’s is part of a raiding group and she got us on the friend’s list, so we get remote invites to raid now.  Have to save up coins for remote raid passes though.  (Good thing they are selling some cheap ones soon.)  On the down side, I haven’t hatched anything new or useful from an egg in months now.

Level: 39 (70% of the way to level 40)
Pokedex status: 572 (+16) caught, 601 (+12) seen
Pokemon I want: Need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Fraxure

World of Warcraft

As has been the pattern for a while now, I went and did the Darkmoon Faire stuff on my main and then mostly did not log into retail WoW.  We did get some big WoW news though; Shadowlands will launch on October 26th, which means the big 9.0.1 patch will hit some time before then, introducing the level squish.

WoW Classic

The instance group did the ground work for quests and then dove into Sunken Temple for the first time.  I had to miss a couple of weeks due to travel, but we have another run or two there to finish up the instance.

Coming Up

More World War Bee in EVE Online is a given.

More instance group in WoW Classic for sure.  Also, we’ll probably get the retail WoW pre-expansion patch with the big level squish.

More Diablo II certainly.

And some sort of anniversary post.  I’d better start working on that.

What else is coming up in September?  I am sure I missed something.

Promptapalooza and Writing a Blog Post

This Blaugust is Promptapalooza where we spend the month chasing a series of daily prompts… if we so desire.  I opted in, but only for the minimum effort, which meant writing about the prompt I had drawn on the day it was due.  Mission accomplished.

August means some sort of Blaugust

It isn’t that I am against any of the other prompts on the list, but I am not sure I really have anything to add.  But the prompt from  August 9th prompt, led by Paeroka over at Nerdy Bookahs, felt like something I could address in some way.  It just took me most of the month to get to it.

The pompt itself is:

Share the process you go through in order to create content, both mental and mechanical.

Which sounds a bit pretentious to me.  I am not a fan of the idea of “content creators” as it is both over broad if you interpret it literally and often extremely narrow in the vision of some.  A few weeks back somebody asked on Twitter for “EVE Online Content Creators” to speak up and be recognized.  The person really wanted Twitch streamers and people who make YouTube videos.  People who write stuff?  Not content creators to them.

So I am a fan of saying what you mean on that front.  I am a blogger.  I write a blog.  I do not “create content.”   How does one even define “content?”  How many units of content are created by a Twitch stream versus a YouTube video versus a blog post.  Some of my posts are remarkably content free, so will likely not spoil your diet if you’re trying to cut back on content.  You will not get your USDA recommended minimum amount of daily content by navigating to my URL.

In fact, I would argue that, 300 word in to this post I have created no content so far.  Maybe I should stop grousing and move on, eh?

So how do I write blog posts, which is how I am going to interpret the prompt?

First, there are three types of posts on my blog.  They are:

  • I did a thing
  • A thing happened
  • I have an opinion about a thing

The first is the meat and potatoes of this blog.  The instance group runs a dungeon, I write about it.  I am in a big fleet battle in EVE Online, I write about it.  I do something new in Minecraft, I write about it.

Easy.  I generally write about it as a story, a tale of how I or we started in situation A and ended up in situation Z.

The second is the structure that holds the blog together.  Weeks can go by where this is mostly what I post about.  There are lots of these, an you probably recognize some of the common ones.  EVE Online releases a update or the Monthly Economic Report.  SuperData sends me their digital revenue chart.  An MMORPG I am interested in announces, reveals, or actually launches an expansion.  An anniversary of some sort arrives again.  Something new and relevant to my interests launches.  The last day of the month arrives.  It is Memorial Day.

This is interrupt based blogging.  Stimulus, response.  These not only give a month structure… unsurprisingly, I am usually aware of when the last day of the month falls… but gives me filler to chew on when I haven’t done something I feel like writing about.

I have an opinion covers most everything else.  Quote of the Day posts are generally vehicles for an opinion.  Book reviews, movie reviews, posts about shows we have binge watched during the pandemic, those are all opinion pieces.  They are not stories and, while they can be timely, they are generally not as locked into a time slot as, say, an expansion launch or the end of the month.

As for the mechanics of how I write blog posts, I wish I had a process I could share.

I tend to sit down and just start writing.  If I am writing about something I did, I will generally at least go and look at any screen shots I may have taken along the way.  You will find some early blog posts about the instance group where I talk about taking notes, but that fell by the wayside for the most part.  At best I’ll jot a sentence or two into a Notepad++ document, usually some small tidbit I want to remember.  Maybe I will write very simple timeline… we went here, A blew up, B said something funny, we went home… but that is about it.  Screen shots are usually my reminder.

And then I write the story.  I might revise it a bit, especially if I think about it over night, though that can be a mixed blessing.  If you see a horribly mis-matched sentence in the middle of a post, that is usually the result of my thinking about the post in the middle of the night, obsessing about some phrase, getting up in the morning and adding it in, and then not checking to see if it actually made a damn lick of sense.  There have times when I have tacked something on to the end of the sentence that mirrors a revision I put at the start of the sentence, but forgot about.

So it goes.

When I write about something that happened, those are the posts that involve the most research.  I go back and look at how the SuperData chart changed since the previous month.  I open up the .csv data files to get regional numbers to compare against past months.  When an expansion launches I try to mention the theme, how much new content is being added, and if it is a WoW expansion, how long it was since the last expansion with a list showing other expansions for comparison.

I take “a thing happened” and try to apply some context.  That is my value add, though the value may only be seen by me.

These posts not only give the blog structure, but also have structure themselves based on past posts, which also makes them easier to write.  My Month in Review posts follow a pretty strict format. Even ones that change up a bit, like patch notes, generally have a formula that lets me put things together quickly.  Practice and all that.

And then there are the opinion pieces.  Aside from Quote of the Day posts, which tend to be quick and spontaneous based on something that popped up, these are usually things I think about in the shower or while trying to get to sleep.

I can hear an objection out there.  Yes, these three post types are not mutually exclusive.  I have written, as an example, about an event the CCP launched for EVE Online, told the story of my own experience with that even, and given my opinion about said event, all in a single post.  Rare is the post that does not have an opinion, stated or implied.

But the posts generally are written for one reason, and the other two may or may not tag along.  So that EVE Online event post example would be “A thing happened” primarily.  But you can tell which is which by what the theme is based on; a story, some facts, an opinion.

Promptapalooza and a Quote of the Day

It is August, which means it should be Blaugust, but since we effectively did that in April (which was Blapril), Belghast decided, based on some feedback, that encouraging people to post every day for another month might be too taxing on some.  So, instead, we have Promptapalooza, where each of the participants gets a writing prompt to drive a post.

August means some sort of Blaugust

Yesterday was Everwake’s turn, which involved rituals.  You should go and take a look. Today it is my turn, and my prompt is:

  • What is a favorite Quote/s, and tell us why

This seems like a bespoke prompt for me as somebody who has a blog category devoted to quotes.  (Reminder: If you click on that link, you need to scroll down as this post will appear first, being the latest post about quotes.)

And I certainly have a lot of quotes to choose from, ranging from some Smed classics (there is a whole Smed tag to look at) to Chris Roberts and optimism of developers to Derek Smart and his own influence to some Gevlon staples to perennial developer complaints and F2P discussions and prescient quotes about the genre so on.  Lots of things to work with.

But I am going to go with a quote that I have used before but has never quite made it to the Quote of the Day status.

Being an elf doesn’t make you turn off the rational economic calculator part of your brain.

Edward Castronova

Dr. Castronova is known in our circles for his study of virtual worlds… though “synthetic worlds” seems to be the vogue term at the moment… and their economies, often covered by his posts at Terra Nova and on his own blog, both of which has been pretty quiet for some time now.  He has written a lot of interesting, thought provoking, and occasionally wildly optimistic things about video games over the years, but I like this one the best.

I like it best because it explains a lot of player behavior.

We will tend to do things in order to maximize our progress, however we choose to measure it. There are always exceptions, but that tends to be the way of things.  We will work towards the things we are focused on and do the things that reward us in the ways that we most desire.  Currency, kill board stats, battleground achievements, levels, whatever is our prime motivator, that is where we put our efforts, and we will focus on this things that most optimize the best results for us.

Why do the immortal god-like capsuleers of New Eden shoot NPCs in anomalies?  It is the easiest way to earn ISK, which is the foundation needed for other activities.  Why did we rush off to do battle grounds in Warhammer Online?  That was the fastest way to level up to get into the “good” content, the city raids and such.

The problem is that we live in this world and not the world of our games, and are driven by the desires and needs and goal we have here and not by what our character, elf, orc, capsuleer, or otherwise, might find as their own motivation if we were able to give them life and consciousness.

So it goes.

Next on the list for Promptapalooze is Stignite at The Friendly Necromancer.  Go visit their site tomorrow to see which prompt they got for the event.

Others taking a crack at this prompt:

Blaugust Promptapalooza Arrives

August is here, which usually brings with it the Blaugust festival of blogging event.

However, as I mentioned at the tail end of yesterday’s post, we already did Blaugust back in April… Blapril… because everybody was home, pandemic, free time, blah blah blah.  And not everybody is up to doing an event like that two times a year.  So, instead, we will be having the Blaugust Promptapalooza.

August means some sort of Blaugust

The plan, which is laid out in detail by Belghast, is to have a chain of posts, each connecting back to the previous blog that posted and linking out to the next one on the list.  A set of writing prompts were handed out to those who raised their hand over on the Blaugust Discord, but those were optional.  If you didn’t like what you were issued, you could go with something else.  And, if you saw one you liked you could jump right in and write about it as well.  The prompt list is linked from Belghast’s post.

I happened to get one that fit in with me, so ran with it.  I’ve already written it and it will hit later this week.

The list of blogs currently participating, and the dates of their posts are:

You can see me tucked in there on the 5th of the month.

So look for this coming to a blog near you in August.

The Labors of Blapril

April is over, more than two weeks gone at this point… not sure how that happen so fast… and with it went Blapril, which encompassed the book end weeks before and after April.  So it is probably time to sum that up and move on.  Belghast already has his event summary up, so I am lagging behind as usual.

The Blapril went

For the six week run that was Blapril I managed to post 43 times, which adds up to once a day with one additional post.  That was more than enough to qualify me for the rainbow award, which went to people who posted 31 times during the event.

The Rainbow Award

Out of the 48 people who participated in Blaugust in some way, 20 of us made it to the 31 post mark, with Bhagpuss topping the list with 48 posts.

There were clearly some of the usual suspects on that list, myself included, who post regularly, if not daily, most of the time anyway.  But there were also some who pushed themselves to get in that many posts.

While most of my own posts were just me rambling on in the navel gazing way to which I have become accustomed, I did spend a bit of time focused on Blapril topics.

That, for me, is a lot of posts for this sort of event.  I tent to wander off on my own.

As for lessons learned… I think there is something to be said about how the pandemic is affecting us all in different ways.  Blapril was very much a reaction to the strange days we find ourselves in and, while some things seem to be close to universal… how oddly long March felt and yet how fast time has seemed to go by since gets echoed a lot… we’re all in out own little worlds with our own special problems.  As I pointed out in my post on motivation, I am actually busier than usual and that working from home all the time, sitting at my desk there all day, has actually diminished my gaming and writing time as, by the end of the day, I want to get up and go somewhere else.

So my drafts folder has filled up with post ideas and starting paragraphs, but actually finding the time and motivation to finish a post has been difficult some days.  Some bigger posts have been lingering, waiting for me to get back to them while I crank out some shorter items, often at the last minute.  It is one of those things that I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody else noticed a change, but I see it.

The sameness of the days and the new at home all the time routine bleeds into the sameness of the games I generally play, leading to a desire to break routines.  But routines are also the structure that keeps me going some days.  So there was no doubt some good and bad in the extra bit of pressure that Blapril brought.  But some people found it too much, and I can understand that.

So it sounds like Blaugust will be different this year based on feedback.  Some ideas are being bounced around and I fear that July and the gateway to Blaugust will be upon us before we know it.

But for now we celebrate Blapril and all of those who joined in.  The official final list of blogs:

I think for Blaugust I will put my other blog on the list.  It could use a bit more traffic and screen shot posts count these days.