Tag Archives: Newbie Blogger Initiative

Hail to the NBI Class of 2016

That time of year has come and passed yet again, and another class of new blogs has been through the Newbie Blogger Initiative.

NBI_Logo_450This year’s class is, so far as I can tell:

  1. A to Zeo
  2. Aunion’s Blog
  3. Chordian
  4. Cookie Cutter Monks
  5. I’m Not Squishy
  6. Just East of West
  7. Pleasant Gamer
  8. Shadows Gaming Blog
  9. SparkoMarco Gaming
  10. Static Refresh
  11. The Wild Core Chronicle
  12. Vyx

I couldn’t find a definitive list, so I merged together what data I could find into a single list.  If I missed somebody, leave a comment.

There are a dozen new blogs to keep an eye on.  Some will no doubt fade soon enough… some may have faded already.  But as like as not one of those blogs will take root and be around for a while and add to our little corner of the internet.

NBI 2016 – The Worst Question Ever and Other Bits of Filler

Here we are, half way through June and I have finally gotten around to writing something for this year’s Newbie Blogger Initiative event.

NBI_Logo_450Why the delay?

Well, I’m lazy.  The event is being handled… differently this year.  Everybody was supposed to get on something called Discord for the event, which I declined to do because at this point I don’t want yet another communication channel.  We are also in the fifth turn around the NBI mulberry bush, and every year I think I have dispensed all the dubious advice I can come up with already.  Also, did I mention I am lazy?

Oh, and a bunch of people have already written some excellent stuff, which I would link to if that information wasn’t locked up in Discord or whatever.  I guess it is all in the Twitter stream, but I am not going to go pick out every post from that.  Laziness has already been mentioned.

But then I received a summons.   I got an email notification that there was a message waiting for me over at secret underground NBI headquarters.  Could this be the call to action?  The moment of inspiration that gets me to join in the event?  So I went there immediately and found this:

Houston, we have a permissions problem...

Houston, we have a permissions problem…

That at least woke me up however, and here I am.  So what do I have to add besides a bit of curmudgeonly bile?

Um… sorry, that’s all I’ve got.  But let me direct it onto a specific topic.  I want to talk about what I consider to be the worst question you’ll get as a blogger, gamer, podcaster, streamer, or the like.  And that question is:

Where do you find the time?

You’ll know you’ve truly arrived when you have been asked that question, or one of its many variations.

Part of what I hate about it is that, as questions go, it seems pretty innocuous.  Or it can.  As I noted, the question (sometimes presented as an implied question with a statement) can come in many forms, such as:

  • I wish I had as much free time as you.
  • I wish I had time to do that.
  • Do you have a social life outside of this?
  • How do you do all this and still have a job?
  • I would have to neglect my wife and children to do all this.
  • Don’t you have a life?
  • Are you some sort of basement dwelling troglodyte that you have time for this?

Those are all variations on the same question.  Some are more aggressive than others, but they all sum up to the same thing, that there is something different or wrong with you.  The implication is that you either possess some secret to having extra free time (which you are not sharing) or that you are neglecting some part of your life that you should not.

It is, when you think about it, a somewhat hostile question.  It annoys me when people ask this question, in all its variations, because I see the implications even if the person asking doesn’t.

What makes that question even worse is that it pops into my mind all the time.

I read about somebody who runs an alliance in EVE or leads a raiding guild in WoW or who plays multiple MMOs or even somebody who has a regular weekly group , something I used to be able to manage but which is off the table now, and I seem to automatically think, “I wish I had the time…”

I think that even though I know both the implications and the real answer.  The question still pops into my head unbidden.

But at least knowing the real answer keeps me from putting it on comments on other people’s blogs… most of the time.

So my meager contribution to NBI 2016 is sharing the answer with you.

Everybody finds time for the things they really want to do.

It is that simple.

In our world of the 24 hour clock and life and responsibilities, time is a constraint and, because of that, we will pick the things that are important to us and prioritize them.  There is no magical way to extend the day, so we use the free time we have to do the things we want to do most.

You will find the time to do anything you really, really want to do, and all the more so if it is something you enjoy and that makes you happy.  If all you can do is wish you had the time to do something, you’ve prioritized that something already and it didn’t make the cut.  The “fucks budget,” if you will.

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t people who neglect important aspects of their lives, but if your assumption is that anybody who has time to do something that isn’t important to you is doing so, then you are wrong.

Let’s see, what can I tack on to the end of this post to distract from that rather bland bit of so-called wisdom.

Hey, there is this post about why you should read blogs.  It is short.

Bhagpuss has a post about blogging that links out to other NBI posts.  Go read that.

Oh, and there are the actually new bloggers in this year’s NBI.  I had better link to them… I was at least able to find that list… so go visit them.  Now!

Hrmm, this year’s list isn’t all that long, is it?  And no EVE Online bloggers, and I know there have been a few new EVE blogs that have popped up lately.  I guess the word didn’t spread far.

Well, go click on everybody on the list twice I guess.  It won’t take you long.

And, since I haven’t even crossed the thousand word mark yet in this unisightly ramble, how about I link back to all my previous NBI posts from past years so you can wade into the shallow puddle that is my wisdom on the topic.  Here we go:

My dedication to the event over these last four years has been pretty low, but there are a few bits of sage advice in all of that… and links to other blogs.

In the end, I really only have the same advice I hand out every year.

Be the blog you want to read

And even that seems a bit “duh” to me.  Why would you be anything else?

Anyway, who else should I link to here?  It is, in the end, all about the link whoring.

Addendum: See, even Syp doesn’t have all the time in the world.

Hail to the NBI Class of 2015

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

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

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

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

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

NBI 2015 – Blog to Game, Game to Blog

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

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

What can we do about that?

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

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

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

My response was:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it works.

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

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

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

So that is it, for what it is worth.

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

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

Newbie Blogger Initiative Class of 2014

The Newbie Blogger Initiative has run its month of new blogger recruiting this year.

NBI_Logo_450

While I haven’t contributed anything to this year’s event, aside from pointing at it briefly a month back, I thought I would take a moment to list out all of the new blogs that have joined the ranks of the insane over worked those who came before.  It looks like a total of 35 45 new blogs participated in the event. (Did I miss anybody?)  Please take a little time to check out our new neighbors in the blogesphere.

Past history says that only 25-30% of this group will still be blogging a year from now.  Who looks like they will make it for the long haul?

Too soon?

Addendum: I missed a few blogs, only finding the definitive list long after I wrote this post.

Newbie Blogger Initiative 2014 Starts Today

Over at the official, permanent NBI HQ site, the kick off for the 2014 campaign has begun.  There are community building activities planned for people who want to start new blogs as well as current bloggers who want to help a new crop join their ranks.

NBI_Logo_450

I am not planning to do much myself as part of the 2014 NBI campaign.  I’ll join in a group blogging topic if one comes up, but I haven’t signed on for anything in particular.

Mostly that is because I am not sure I have much to add… certainly nothing new since last year.   Or the year before.  And for all my talk about community, I am bad at community.

I wrote a post almost two years back that had nine items I thought were useful to consider if you going to start a blog.  And of those, I only felt one was important.  I’ll repeat that one, so you don’t even have to go back and look at my old post.

Be The Blog You Want to Read

Even that seems to be sort of a “duh” statement.

But seriously, I presume that you have decided to jump into MMO blogging after having read some other MMO blogs.  And those blogs have probably made an impression on you.  And I bet some of those sites had aspects you did not like.  Don’t do those things.  Your blog should be the example you want others to follow.

Anyway, if you want to start a blog, the NBI is a fine way to get some support and advice on blogging.  The only thing I would flag is that most everything is opinion based on what has worked for that individual.  Certainly my own list linked above is pretty much what has worked for me.  It may not work for you.  Hell, you might not even want to write a blog you want to read for all I know!

As an example, over at Contains Moderate Peril, there is a post up about starting a gaming blog that has a very heavy emphasis on writing as a craft.  Excellent stuff in that post.  If you are starting a blog and you want to be taken seriously as a writer… say you want to become a paid games journalist or find a way into the game industry… you should live those rules.  They are excellent.

But I wouldn’t say they were strictly necessary to be a blogger.

Liore of Herding Cats once asked me on Twitter how I find the time to write so many posts.  My response was:

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

It made an impression on her, and has worked for me because if I spent the time to work at my blog like it was my profession, I would drop to about 10% of my current output.  Instead of a few quality posts, I push out a lot of crap. (Unfortunate comparison intentional.)

Most of what you read here is banged out and posted in pretty much a first draft state after something like an hour or less of work.  You can pretty much assume I have pushed the “publish” button too soon for any post.

Sometimes I have a post that sits for a while and I add to it over time, but that often ends up looking just as bad.  My thoughts change over time, and you can see, sometimes in the same paragraph, or even the same sentence, where I went away and came back with a different impression of what I was about.  And the typo density remains the same.

So my stuff tends to be short bits… short being a relative term here, I seem to be able to bang out a thousand words pretty quickly… that often reflect not only something that happened recently, but how I feel about it at that moment in time.  And that latter can change over time.  Part of what is interesting about the blog for me is charting my own opinion on things, my focus, my enthusiasms, and how they shift and change.

So it is important for me to say what I want to say when I am as close to the moment as I can possibly be.

That said, I do go back and fix my typos.  I am embarrassed by them.  I find them distracting.  I do not want them to be there.  I am just incapable of seeing them until a post has been published.

As an alternative to the CMP post linked above, there is a more philosophical post on starting a blog over at ALT:ernative Chat.

My point is really that you shouldn’t take anybody very seriously who says you must do “X” to be a blogger.  The blog will be your own and, if you stick with it and enjoy it, you will work out what is important to you.

Finally, I will say that my only real regret as a blogger is that I did not start sooner.  I really wish I had a chronicle that went back to the launch of EverQuest II, or to the early days of EverQuest, or my time back in TorilMUD, or my days back in the 80s playing games like Stellar Emperor or Air Warrior back on GEnie. (Of course, there were no blogs back then, but you get the idea.)

I can write about those times as bits of history, but I can never really explain how I viewed those games and the people in them at the moment I was there.  Lots of little bits of detail and color have been washed out of my brain over the years, to the point that I can now remember a sense of a feeling of excitement over something that might very well have happened to somebody else.  See what getting old does?

So, if you’re going to get to it… well… then get to it!  You may regret the time you waste.

Oh, and link whoring.  Must not forget that.

See?  I totally had nothing to say about the NBI. (Word count: ~1,000)

Small Items for a Wet Friday Morning

Mother nature seems determined to keep my lawn from dying during the drought out here, so delivered some more rain last night.

Of course, this is supposed to be the start of an El Niño year out here, which traditionally means a wet, wet winter is coming.  So expect us to flip the record over from side A (“Not Enough Rain”) to side B (“Too Much Rain!”) come autumn.

Meanwhile, I couldn’t think of anything worthy of a full post… and you know I’ll make a full post out of almost nothing… so here are a few tidbits that have been rattling around.

ArcheAge Founder’s Pack

Free to Play MMO titles have begun to develop their own traditions as they have evolved.  One seems to be the “Founder’s Pack,” a pre-order of sorts granting various benefits, usually including guaranteed beta access and some of the local currency.  As this has become a staple, the only parameter left to explore seems to be how much will the market bear when it comes to price.  Trion is testing the upper limits with ArcheAge, asking for $150 for the top tier pack in the shop.

ArcheAge

Take that SOE and your $100 Trailblazer’s pack!

ArcheAge Thoughts

I have had very few thoughts about the game.  This has been primarily because of the long tradition of bad Asian MMO imports over the years that has so thoroughly poisoned the well of expectations on that front.  And billing it as the “Ultimate Fantasy MMORPG Sandbox” just stokes the fires of skepticism in me, as does the long list of “be all the things!” features.

ArcheAge_logo_450Others seem less skeptical.  It looks like Cuppy and Liore are going to go give it a try, so you can read up about it on their sites.

As for me, I am still trying to figure out how to even pronounce the name.  Is that first “e” silent or not?  If it is, then the name reminds me of ArchLord, another on the long list of poor Asian imports, which isn’t exactly a good association.  But if you pronounce the “e” then it will sound like Archie Age, and I will be gravely disappointed if it doesn’t take place in Riverdale.

EVE – The Death of High Sec Industry

CCP posted a dev blog about proposed changes to industry for the summer expansion.  And, as usual, drama/rage/hilarity ensued.  That is just the nature of things in EVE Online.  The net net, if I read things right, was that, aside from changing the UI and removing some serious annoyances, if everybody just kept on doing what they did now, prices could go up by as much as 15%, but there would be incentives, in the form of lower production costs (to offset the risk) to start building things in null sec space.

A few people went the drama route, exemplified by Mord Fiddle, who attempted the Smothers Brothers routine of “Mom always liked you best!” for his big exit post.  Only it wasn’t actually funny, and wasn’t trying to be.  It was just drama.  Meanwhile, Dinsdale Piranha, in a “broken clock is right twice daily” moment, was clearly feeling vindicated in his long standing “CCP and the null sec barons” conspiracy theories.  Even Jester seemed to be straying off the range a bit with what sounded like a “go null or go home” conclusion. (And a bit of drama in the post title.)

Meanwhile, in the strange bedfellows department, the issue drove usually bitter foes Gevlon and Mynnna into the same camp on the topic, putting many on the lookout for a plague of frogs or some other biblical level event.  Lots of numbers and logic involved in their arguments.

My own point of view is that the strongest force in the universe is laziness, and that most people who have set up an industrial operation will just stay in place, the markets will correct a bit, and life will go on pretty much as it has before.  A few people will slip out to null to see if things can be done more profitably.  But considering that the three biggest 0.0 slumlords (Northern Associates, Brothers of Tangra, and the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere) have alone opened up over a quarter of null sec (963 of 3,524 systems) to rentals (and have agreed not to fight over those bits), there looks to be space for those who want to give null a shot.

Others weighing in on the topic:

I suppose we will see come the summer.  That is my answer for everything lately.

GARPA – A New EVE Tool For You

In a what was a bit of a surprise, Goonswarm’s science and research division released the GARPA Topographical Survey app for general use.  This is the space map and route planning application that, along with DOTLAN EVE Maps, sustained me during my first year in null sec.

Of course we all use a newer, web based tool, from the fine minds in the Razor Alliance, for route planning and navigation in-game.  But the GARPA Topographical Survey app is still pretty neat.  I can tinker with it for hours.

EVE – Burn Jita Begins

Burn Jita kicked off at some point last night.  There was a big convoy op to fly all the last-minute slackers from VFK to Jita.  And then there was an emergency in Fountain and another fleet had to run off in that direction.   I showed up late, but was able to join the fleet thanks to the fact that I kept a jump clone and a few random doctrine ships in our old staging base from the war last year.

Anyway, be advised that, if nothing else, time dilation will be hell in Jita for the balance of the weekend.  And if you want to make people laugh, link this image in local and tell people you paid a lot of ISK for it.

Burn Jita 72 Hour Pass

Burn Jita 72 Hour Pass

Some days it is like people aren’t even trying.

Lord British – Shroud of the Avatar Continues to Be a Thing

Pre-alpha release 5 of Shroud of the Avatar was made available to some level of backers this week, which included me.  I patched up and logged in just to see the state of affairs.

I now have a mustache

I now have a mustache

The game is still in a very raw and essentially unplayable state, but you can poke around and see what has been done.  I couldn’t recommend trying at full screen and full resolution though.  The graphics look good.  I am not keen on the movement controls, which are the FPS style “steer with mouse, move with WASD where A and D are strafe and not turn” configuration.  Anyway, things move on.

Newbie Blogger Initiative 2014

The NBI is back again for 2014 and I have been slacking on doing anything about it.

NBI_Logo_450But rest assured, things are happening over at its permanent home on the web.  If you are interested in started a gaming blog or want to help out those who do, go over and join in on the fun.  The official start date is May 1, so I still have time to catch up.  You can go ask them anything if you like.

And that about covers the items I had.  Now to go back to staring out of the window at the rain.