Tag Archives: Blaugust

The Labors of Blaugust 2019

Blaugust has come and gone.  Whether or not is was a success, or what impact it had, is pretty much an individual perspective.  My goal of posting every single day in August was achieved, so I guess it was good.

Belghast has a summary post about the achievements of Blaugust.  The basic stats are:

  • 1305 posts were made by Blagust 2019 Participants
  • 66 Individuals Participated
  • 11 Newbie Bloggers Participated
  • 55 out of 66 made at least 5 posts qualifying for Bronze
  • 36 made at least 15 posts qualifying for Silver
  • 31 made at least 25 posts qualifying for Gold
  • 27 made 31 or more posts during the month of August qualifying for Rainbow

We were down in participants, having seen 90 last year, but the post per participant ratio went up, closing in on 20 per, and more people made it to 31 posts this year.

Being in the 31 post club, I get to display the rainbow Blaugust badge.

2019 Rainbow Badge for 31 or more posts

Bel has a Blaugust media page up where you can grab this year’s, or any previous year’s, badge.

As is often the case, I got to the end of the event and then wondered what had really happened.  Sure, I wrote a lot of posts, but did I do anything for the Blaugust community to earn my self-appointed “mentor” title?  I am not sure.  I did make some Blaugust posts that contained some advice, if you could manage to distill it down enough I suppose.

I was feeling a little manic this year, just judging by those titles.  I think I was more on point with last year’s advice posts:

I should probably go back and lump together all the posts about blogging I have made over the years for the various NBI or Blaugust events.

Traffic-wise, I saw an uptick in page views and visitors and likes and comments.  That seems to be the norm here for Blaugust.  Stats show that has happened for the last five years, an uptick from July to August.  Whether that is the impact of Blaugust or other items… last year, for example, Battle for Azeroth hit in August, this year WoW Classic hit, and posts about both attracted search engine traffic… I could not say.

Oddly, the uptick tends to continue into September, with that month being slightly higher in page views than August, though likes and comments tend to fall off.  Just looking at the average views per day, this September seems to be following the trend, though I also do tend to keep rolling on the daily post thing for a few weeks after Blaugust.  Once I get rolling I guess.

I’m not sure what else to say.  I made it.  I read a lot of other people’s posts.  I tried to comment on some, link out to others, but managed to do neither to the extent that I would have liked.  I suppose I should take a moment to get in what has become my baseline advice over the various blogger events, which is:

  • Be the blog you want to read

If you’re not making that blog, then what are you doing?

And, of course, I want to link out to everybody who participated.  Please click on the links and visit these people!

August in Review

The Site

It was Blaugust, which meant a post every day of the month.

And, in my over zealous attempt to ensure that I would have a blog post for every day of August, I ended up with extras.  This is my 49th and final post for August.  At least I hope it is.

You would have thought after I had already posted every single day in July that I would have been more relaxed about Blaugust, but such is not my way.  In fact, if the WP.com insights page for the blog is to be believed, this is my 82nd day in a row of posting.  Go me I guess.

Three month post density chart

The colors go from zero to four posts.

49 posts in a single month makes this my most prolific Blaugust ever and puts this August in third place overall for months with the most posts, falling behind January 2007, which saw 59 posts, and November 2006, which rang up 53 posts.  But in those early days of the blog I was posting a few words or a picture about a bunch of things.

Now will I have something left to post tomorrow?  It seems likely.  I barely had to dip into my backup posts for the month, so I have some things still ready to go.

One Year Ago

I built myself a new computer!

That meant an update to Windows 10, which meant jump starting my ancient copy of ZMud yet again.  You have to hand it to Microsoft that the support libraries it needed were still available and still functioned.  You don’t get that from Apple.

There was a data leak from Steam that gave us some insight into what was popular on the service. (But only if they supported achievements.)  Oh, and Runes of Magic finally landed on Steam.

On Kickstarter there was Stay Awhile and Listen II and the return of the Warcraft Diary, this time with a more reasonable plan.  Also, there was a Togdor board game.  Nostalgia made me back that.

I first heard about Decentraland, which sounded like Second Life combined with Block Chain.

It was Blaugust and I was wondering what I should even write about.  I also wrote about consolidating your blog reading via various options and the importance of leaving (and responding to) comments, and something about blogging editorial policy.

Daybreak was closing down the first EverQuest II progression servers.  They don’t last as long as the EverQuest flavors.  Daybreak also told us that Just Survive was destined not to.

Before Battle for Azeroth launched for WoW I was wondering about the now every expansion question about where I should use by character boost.  I ended up boosting a Horde Blood Elf paladin.

And then BFA went live and it was time for the opening tale.  Then it was off to Kul Tiras with Jaina.  Given how they did the zone scaling, I was wondering why they bothered with levels.

BFA sales were about on par for for a WoW expansion.

I was wondering how many people played EVE Online.  It was alleged to be less than EverQuest.  As it turned out, my estimates were not far off from what CCP would tell us a week later.

The August update for EVE Online brought us new Badger models… and a few other things.

I hit 200 million skill points on my main character.  I decided to start working on an alt on that account then.

In EVE Online the Monthly Economic Report was showing how much deploying off to war was costing the Imperium in opportunity cost.

The Rooks & Kings video First Light on the Fifth Day, about how the great war on the China server ended up sending refugees to Tranquility, was released.

Out in null sec on TQ there was a war on, which was focused on the NCDot Keepstar in X47L-Q in Pure Blind.  Titans clashed at the armor timer.  Then we had to wait for the final timer, which meant smaller ops in the area and doing some prep for the final battle.  Asher also drove us back to Delve for some side tasks.

Then more titans died along with the Keepstar.  After that, attention turned to the Circle of Two Keepstar in Fade.

And Gevlon was back with his conspiracy about CCP picking winners in EVE Online, and I only made him angry by suggesting that Malcanis was the one doing the picking.

Five Years Ago

I was marveling at the prescience of some quotes from GDC 2007.

We had a couple more SOE games close.  Vanguard saw some touching tributes, while Wizardry Online pretty much passed without comment.  Then Dragon’s Prophet launched without comment, which I suspected might be a sign.

The last ever SOE Live tried to get us excited about EverQuest Next again.  Otherwise it was sort of business as usual on the Norrath front.  I wished for more than I got certainly.

Project: Gorgon was having a Kickstarter and was asking for $100,000.  I was dubious.

Google was forcing me to make bad referential post titles.

Our months long Civilization V game wrapped up with victory for mattman and China.

DarkFall introduced another PLEX-like currency, DUEL. (Which was alleged to stand for “Do U Even Lift?”)

I was wondering what to do about Raptr.

Blizzard gave us a date when they would tell us the launch date for Warlords of Draenor,  then eventually told us November 13th.  Meanwhile WoW subscriptions were down 800K during the long summer of mild discontent.  But people were in the beta for the expansion at least.

I took my loremaster project into Outland and content from The Burning Crusade., staring with what I consider the worst zone in the game.  Then I had to search hard in Terokkar, and had trouble in Nagrand.

We also had that whole 10 Years, 10 Questions thing about WoW to write about.

EVE Online gave us the Hyperion expansion, which included burner missions that killed a lot of player ships.  I was on about hats in New Eden.  We also deployed to Delve, because we always deploy to Delve at some point during the summer, and hung around towers.  There was also a fight at our staging system.

Nintendo announced a new 3DS XL handheld, and my thoughts went straight to Pokemon.

Amazon acquired Twitch and GamerGate became a thing,

And then there was the first Blaugust, from which I at least got a post out of a questionnaire.

Ten Years Ago

The Matrix Online (MxO for those in the know) was shut down by SOE that August.  Planetside was still around though… for the time being.

Bruce Everiss was getting sued for libel by the makers of Envoy.  That was eventually worked though the next March.  Enovy, LLC dropped their suit, but not before causing Mr. Everiss much pain and hamstringing his desire to be as forthright in the future.

Somebody was granted a patent for something that sounded a lot like podcasting.  How did that ever turn out?  Oh, wait, like this.  Turns out podcasting doesn’t make any money, even for Adam Corolla, so trolling with that particular patent is a losing proposition.

That Wii Bowling Ball made another appearance.  Still no know deaths attributed to it.

I was wondering what genre our post apocalyptic future really was.  People assume it is Science Fiction.  Is it?

On the Blizzard front, we learned that we were not going to get StarCraft II for Christmas.  I still don’t own a copy yet, though I did buy that remaster of the original.

There was a lot of speculation before BlizzCon about the next WoW expansion.  My guesses were far off the mark.

I also tried to draw parallels between 2004 and 2009.  It was a Cataclysm in the making.  At least I correctly predicted nostalgia might come into play if the old world changed.

I subscribed to the BlizzCon Pay-per-view event via DirecTV.  That was a lot of gaming coverage to watch.  Also, it was the first year of a big act closing ceremony, with Ozzy Osbourne featured.

Meanwhile in the instance group, we were finally almost all level 80.  It was time to screw around in some old raid instances.

I actually posted the results of that cheating poll I had set up.  I generally mean to post the results of these sorts of things, but somehow I usually don’t get around to it.

And, finally, I was on a re-reading binge that August while making Code Red floats.

Forty Years Ago

Atari released the Lunar Lander arcade game.  I remember playing this when it came out.  It was difficult, single player, and the first game I can recall where you could feed in quarters for more play time.  Each quarter bought you a set amount of fuel rather than a specific amount of time or in-game lives.

Most Viewed Posts in August

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  4. The WoW Classic Name Reservation Run
  5. What Should EverQuest 3 Even Look Like?
  6. The Factions of MMO Nostalgia and Progression Servers
  7. WoW Classic First Night Fun Complete with Queues
  8. WoW Classic Server Names Announced
  9. Chaos Fatigue
  10. All I want to do right now is Play WoW Classic
  11. The Chaos Era is Coming to Cynos
  12. WoW Classic and the Hunter’s Path

Search Terms of the Month

minecraft everquest qeynos
[Yes please!]

will burning down a pillager outpost stop them spawning
[No it will not]

asilomar haunted
[So I have been told]

pokémon go account gehackt
[das ist Scheiße]

why is rasberry so hated?
[if only…]

Game Time from ManicTime

Pretty much a two game month for me.  I was probably too busy writing posts for Blaugust to play much more.  EVE Online was heavy at the start of the month, tapering off until the skill point give away time was over.  WoW ramped up some before WoW Classic, then took over my play time at the end of the month.  ManicTime sees them both as the same app, which no doubt aligns Blizzard’s plan in that because they do not want proof that their old game is more popular than their new.  You don’t want an analyst at the earnings call asking if the Blizz team has basically been wasting the last decade on stuff less popular than vanilla.

World of Warcraft – 54.93%
EVE Online – 39.16%
Teamfight Tactics – 2.89%
Minecraft – 2.17%
Dota Underlords – 0.85%

Auto Chess

While I spent a bit of time with both Dota Underlords and Teamfight Tactics, “spent” is probably the operative word.  They were both interesting to tinker with for a while, but I didn’t really feel the need to keep playing beyond the point when I wrote a post comparing the two games.  Just not my cup of tea, though I will be interested to see how they evolve over time.

EVE Online

The Chaos Era and the Season of Skills login rewards dominated the game in August.  Well, that and arguing about changes to the game, but that seems to be part and parcel of the Chaos Era.  I remain chagrined that chaos was the takeaway for Hilmar from The Three-Body Problem.  It would be like coming away from Game of Thrones thinking, “What I really need is a dwarf in my game.”  Anyway, I persisted through the login rewards and got my remaining ships home safely from our deployment.

Minecraft

I did get log into Minecraft for a bit to play, though less out of a desire for the blocky landscape and more out of a need to find something I could occupy myself with during the wait for WoW Classic.  It is a fine game for logging on and tinkering a bit.  Not sure I still need to keep our server hosted on Minecraft Realms though, as it is just me on there of late.

Pokemon Go

The Team Rocket event was interesting, a change up for the game.  I went through and did what I needed for the event and got ten victories for the bronze badge, but after that I was kind of done.  Unlike a raid or a gym attack, you don’t know what you’re facing until you’ve already picked your team.  I used up a lot of potions and revives for just those ten wins.

Level: 37 (+1)
Pokedex status: 438 (+6) caught, 461 (+4) seen
Pokemon I want:  Any of the ones that need Sinnoh stones
Current buddy: Feebass, for the current special task event

World of Warcraft

I was feeling quite the malaise when it came to Battle for Azeroth.  I thought with the Rise of Azshara update I would get in and unlock flying, but I wasn’t really thrilled with the Nazjatar zone.  Like the Tortallian, I am not down with the Naga.  It wasn’t until I went to Mechagon that I found something I liked… just in time for WoW Classic to show up.

WoW Classic

Given how many posts I had up this month about WoW Classic, you’d think that was all I played in August, but it didn’t even go live until the last week of the month.  It hasn’t even been up for a week yet.  But it is finally here.  You don’t have to listen to me pine for it any more.  We’re trying to get the band back together as we wander through a version of the game more than a decade gone.

Coming Up

WoW Classic.  WoW Classic.  WoW Classic.  The highs, the low, the queues, the memories, the complaints.  I am sure there will be a lot of WoW Classic talk.  It is the event of the season.

Still, while that will no doubt be a regular feature, other things will happen.

I am sure I’ll have something to sum up from Blaugust.

Some of us are waiting for various bits of news from Daybreak, from release and expansion info to the status of the company overall.  Some of that will show up next month I am sure.

The Chaos Era continues in EVE Online.  There will be the September update and the first CSM14 summit.  Reavers might even do a thing as well.

Also, there is a milestone coming up for the blog.  All that and more… hopefully more… coming in September.

My Gamer Motivation Profile Once Again

I was tagged for something for Blaugust, and right at the last minute too, so I am going to have to squeeze in just one more post in the month.

Angie at Backlog Crusader did the Quantic Foundry Gamer Motivation Profile survey and then tagged some other bloggers to give it a try.  I’m game… so to speak… but here is the thing.  I’ve done this before, back in 2015 when the survey was new.  Still, I figured I could go through the questions again.  The test itself is built around some assumptions about gamer behavior.

The Motivation Model Overview

As I said previously, it reminds me of the Bartle model, with a few more dimensions.  It does rely on the common personality test dynamic of paired behaviors that are placed as poles in a given motivation.

I had even made a profile back in 2015, so was able to log in and go through the test again.  It remembered my answers from back then, though a couple more questions had been added.  I also changed some of my answers, ending up with a chart that looks like this:

My profile summary graph – 2019

You can compare that to the last time around.

My profile summary graph – 2015

In 2015 there were only five factors, now there are six.  If you want to see how the test has changed you can compare my 2015 post, where I wrote about each of the factors, and my 2019 results available here.

In 2015 I was “Calm, Spontaneous, and Grounded.”

In 2019 I am “Calm, Driven, Gregarious, and Grounded.”

The problem I have with this sort of test is the somewhat generic set of questions asking how important certain things are to me.  I sit there and read the question and think, “Well, this is important to me under specific circumstances, but at other times I could care less.”  So the strength of my answers is not very strong at all.  I went through and changed a good chunk of them as I passed through the quiz once again, but never by more than one notch either direction.

Basically, my mood at the moment could alter many of my answers at least somewhat, to the point that I am pretty sure if you wiped all my answers and had me take the survey again in a week, the results would change some.

But for an afternoon in August, that was how I was feeling.

And at the end of the survey the site offers up some games that might appeal to you based on what other people taking it who scored similarly to you ranked as their favorite games.  My top game was No Man’s Sky.

Seems appropriate.  I actually own it, having picked it up in a Steam sale.  Couldn’t get past the forever loading screens though.  Maybe that has gotten better.

The game recommendations come in three levels.  To get an MMO result I had to select “niche” as a parameter, because MMOs remain a niche genre.

Anyway, if you want to take the survey as well, you can find it here on the Quantic Lab site.

Blaugust and Keeping the Words Flowing to the Site

Dans ses écrits, un sage Italien
Dit que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

-Voltaire

Here we are in the last week of Blaugust and the topic of the week is about staying motivated.

To write a single blog post is pretty easy.  We all have something to say, some opinion to share, something to complain about, or some entertaining tale of challenge, victory, defeat, or shame.  It probably isn’t a chore to get to maybe half a dozen posts.  The world is, as I noted a couple weeks back, full of topics if you look closely enough.

But at some point the white hot rage or whatever drove you to start a blog will diminish.  You will have said the things that were on your mind at the beginning and will have to face the fact that if you want to keep writing you will need both a source of topics and the motivation to keep going.

If you are happy with what you have written, if people are reading, if you’re getting comments that turn into thoughtful discussions or interesting counter-points to your posts, it will be easier to carry on.  Attention is a powerful motivator.

But what if you post your well crafted opus on the evolution of housing options in Runes of Magic and nobody responds?

There was a time about a decade back when you could reliably count on somebody showing up for a comment if you had managed to pass what seems now like a fairly low bar of notoriety.  The stats that WP.com shows me say that there was a stretch when I could count on an average of 8 comments per post.  Even with some percentage of those being my own responses in comments, that is a lot of discussion going on.

As SynCaine pointed out in my July month in review post, there was a link to a reference to a fairly simple post he did back in 2009 that ended up with 40 comments.  That was the golden age, where a rant or a controversial opinion might get your comments to overflow.

But now a days the threshold for getting comments has risen quite a bit.  The advent of other social media channels like Twitter and Reddit, and other gamer outlets like Twitch, not to mention the whims of Google, has made blogs much more of a niche than they were.  Comments per post here, which peaked at 9 a decade back, are a lot closer to 3 these days.  And if it wasn’t for Bhagpuss that number would probably have sunk to around 2.

What do you do now?

Well, first, go leave a comment on another blog.  They’ll appreciate it.  And, if they don’t, you know not to bother going forward.  There are still plenty of fish in that sea.

But after that, you probably need to evaluate why you were blogging in the first place and work towards that as a goal.

If you started blogging in order to get traffic and comments and whatever, you can still do that.  It is more difficult than it was a decade back, but you can still swing it.  You can work on your SEO, you can promote your blog on a wide range of social networks, and you can tackle controversial topics or take radical stances on more mundane things.  You can get attention.  Whether that attention will make you happy is your call.

Or maybe you set out simply to craft a gold plated edifice of perfect text that you expect to stand the test of time and and serve as a shining beacon to future generations.  You might manage that with a few more revisions of that post that has been sitting in your drafts folder for two years already.

My own motivation is much more mundane; just to remember.

Even if you have your writing goals nailed down and you can think up topics left and right, there can still be times when motivation lacks.  Do I want to write about another move op or quest run or achievement?  Sometimes the words just won’t come, or dribble out half halfheartedly.  It is around then that I feel like I need to prime the pump.  The one thing that seems to get me writing is to be writing already.  So I have a series of regular posts I do, or events that I will write about, which I can fall back on.  I mentioned a few in my prep week post.

Probably the most common on here at TAGN is the month in review post.  I have managed to do one on the last day of the month, every month, since I started the blog.  But I don’t have to write it on that day.  It has a standard format and, save for a couple of entries that require the end of the month, I can start writing it any time.  I often start writing these posts weeks in advance when I have some time to write but don’t feel I have something to write about.  Doing the 1/5/10 years ago section often sparks ideas and leads me off to some topic about which to write.

Another post type I find I can get running with are Quote of the Day posts.  Somebody is always saying something.  Take their quote and run with it.  And then there are “Summer Re-Runs” posts, where I lump together a series of posts on a specific topic that bring together a story or a bit of history.

There are some other regular posts, like a look at the EVE Online Monthly Economic Report and the SuperData Research digital video game revenue chart.  EVE Online also releases a patch/feature update most months, which is an easy item to write about.

And then there are the items that trigger posts for me, things like announcements, patch notes, expansions, and the sort of headline news items that come around once in a while.  There are times when I get in almost a reactionary style of writing, where these sorts of bits that I feel I ought to write about start showing up all of a sudden and I am just writing about them.  The blog starts to feel like a news site as I try to cover these sorts of things.  But I am not about news, but about context, the idea that all sorts of things are going on even if I am only playing EVE Online or WoW in a given week.

Of course, the problem with standard posts is that they can start to feel routine.  If they get stale then they are less likely to spur you to write other things.  Sometimes you have to shake things up in order to find a new balance that can keep you going.  For example, for the EVE Online MER I kept reporting on the same charts for over a year.  When that got stale, I decided to find something specific to focus on each month, something related to events in the game to see what influence they had.

And then there was the weekly Fantasy Movie League posts, which grew to be immense, 2,000 word ventures each week.  That started to feel like a burden.  So I looked at what was the most interesting bits and focused on that… for me it is probably the look at the new movies that show up each week… and cut other parts back to no more than what was probably really needed.

But all of those together, the regular posts and the fall back options, give me just enough structure that I seem to be able to build up a week’s worth of posts, one week after another, until another year has gone by.  And then they find their way into the Month in Review post where I look at them and often find inspiration from them yet again.

Or I suppose you could just to what WordPress.com sent me this morning about writing more.

Blaugust and Burning Things Down

Here we are into the third full week of Blaugust and another topic of the week.

I have tried to keep up and do something on the right theme each week, though I failed a bit last week.  I mean, you got to know me some, but maybe that wasn’t what you were looking for.  And I felt, looking at the calendar, that this week was going to be another punt.

Blaugust 2019 Schedule

Developer appreciation things never quite resonate with me for a variety of reasons I’ve been over in the past.  I neither revere nor dismiss game devs or their work, or so I tell myself.

So I was going to give this week’s topic a miss… and then INN posted an article with the title, Why EVE or CCP Games Needs to Fail and I felt maybe I had an angle.

The basic premise is that CCP has done so many things wrong with EVE Online, made so many errors in the face of players telling them what would happen, been so tone deaf in their relations with customers, that the whole thing, game, studio, and all, should be burned down and scattered to the winds.

I have run across this attitude many times, the idea that things are so bad that we need to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.  Only then can we get something good.

I think there is a class somewhere that instructs young developers, when faced with taking over somebody’s code, to say that it would be easier just to re-write it all from scratch.  (Oh cute little dev, if we trusted you to do that we wouldn’t have handed you that code to maintain.)  But even old salts fall into that trap, the idea that it would be easier to go back to a blank sheet rather than start with code not their own.

Starting from scratch is a hazardous path, one that I’ve been down before.  It can even kill whole companies.  Microsoft gets the attention for the fall of the Netscape Navigator web browser, but if Netscape hadn’t decided to rewrite everything from scratch… in Java… it might have remained viable, or at least capable of keeping up with the features of Internet Explorer.

I’ve watched devs get their wish to start from scratch only to have to spend their time on a long voyage of discovery as they have to relearn all the wisdom that went in to forming that mess of code they are trying to replace.  Instead of spending time adding to the product that dev is stuck redoing something we already had.

Which isn’t to say there is a lack of code that deserves a fiery death.  There was a fax form editor I had to work with about 20 years back that was so problematic that it might actually have been better to restart from scratch.  But you never know until you’re waist deep in things and begin to regret your decision.

Anyway, my point here is that EVE Online or CCP failing would not automatically result in something better coming along.  If anything, the opposite is likely true.  Who wants to create a harsh, dystopian internet spaceship sandbox game if the premier example of the niche has failed?

And what other options would former New Eden residents have?  Star Citizen is not ready for prime time, Elite: Dangerous requires docking skills I’m too old to want to work on, Prosperous Universe is all the bad UI and spreadsheets of New Eden without any of the pretty pictures, and the handful of spaceship MMO startups are so far from being anything close to the scale of EVE Online that we would all be clamoring for an EVE Online emulator five minutes after the game went down.

Appreciate what you have got.

That doesn’t mean you have to be satisfied with everything.  One of the more dynamic aspects of EVE Online is the discussion of what it is, what is wrong, and what it could be.  And it can be tough when “chaos” is the new flavor of the month.  But EVE Online with chaos is still better than no EVE Online at all.  Space is still pretty, the scale is still epic, fights still happen, and chaos cannot go on forever.  Maybe Hilmar will read Ringworld Engineers and become obsesses with stability.

Leave the wishes for financial failure, closure, and all that to the people who find the game’s mere existence to be an affront.  There is enough hate out there already.

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