I guess this could also be a comment. I’ll save up the /saved post for tomorrow or sunday, today i’d like to visit an idea Scree had over on his blog– to try a summary, he suggests that the big advantage Massively had over normal, amateur bloggers was access to devs/expos/PR and a team of writers. He suggests that maybe, bloggers could do the same job just as well.
It wouldn’t work
Not directly, anyway. First of all, a team of bloggers would take years to reach the same recognition this team has going for it, and justly so. Those writers have dedication and worked hard to get where they are- my guess is that amateur bloggers wouldn’t want to invest that much time in the same kind of work. Even when there were new writers, they’d profit from the respect Massively has attained. Normal bloggers wouldn’t be able to put out the same quality, content wise.
Furthermore, while there are a lot of talented people in the amateur blogging sphere, they wouldn’t put out the same quality of writing. I read a few posts on the topic, and there seem to be quite many bloggers who think Massively was more or less just a press release aggregator.
But i think that’s not true, to be honest. The last year or so has seen an upsurge in stuff like that, but i think that was because they felt cornered- the budget was cut in half and they wanted to prove that they could still reach the goals they were given. As i said in my first farewell-post, many of the writers began using Patreon after these budget cuts, so my guess is that they saw the sword coming down to them.
I always liked the content they put out- maybe i didn’t agree with it every time, but it was worth a read- and Massively was a site that got read by developers. The last developer i saw on some amateurs blog has been Brian “Psychochild” Green when arguing about free-to-play with someone who doesn’t really want to discuss the topic. But we know they’re reading Massively.
Then there’s the cost of things. You could, of course, put out a podcast, it’s not that expensive, and some people do. Still, i think there would have to be some investment in time and money to make it of a good (sound and content) quality as well as fun to listen to.
We now know that, apparently, WoWInsider’s last budget was about $8k/month, since that was the amount they wanted to raise to be “full operational”. I don’t know if Massively’s budget was higher or lower than that, but i don’t think you’d find reliable people who would pull off a Massively-like site without getting paid, because it is work. And you’d probably, even when not paying anybody, need to invest money- since you also need the traffic and reach to get developers to pay attention, so you can’t just let this site rest on some cheap server or on wordpress.com.
And lastly, who’d have the “power” to get the “high-profile” amateur bloggers together in such an enterprise? Who should and would call the banners? Don’t misunderstand, i’d love to see a co-op blog somewhere, and if somebody asked, i’d try to contribute. I just don’t think it would be able to “replace” Massively.
No, “we” couldn’t step in. Thankfully, they’ll continue.
Is it just me?
When the closure was officially announced, i had the feeling MMO devs both big and small hurried to get their news out to Massively while it’s still up and running, and i saw how other sites- namely MMOGames.com and MMORPG.com picked up their pace and tried to rise the quality and involvement of their sites to win as many users as possible in the time the Massively team isn’t able to. By the way, i think that’s ok, but it was noticeable- at least to me. I can only imagine how mmorpg.com might be hurrying along the redesign of their site to maybe get it in place before Massively Overpowered becomes a thing.
Of course, i did something similar. These days, i started using Twitter more- by way of sending out automatically generated Tweets for every post i publish here, by following more bloggers, reaching out a bit more. What this resulted in is, mainly, chaos. I use Feedly to read blogs, but i’ve followed other blogs here on WordPress that aren’t in my feedly, yet. I’ve followed bloggers i recognized on Twitter, but they haven’t made it over to WordPress or Feedly yet.
And i think that Massively’s shutdown brought some people closer together, or maybe that’s just my impression because i have been quite insular myself, before. And really, if that and a good, healthy and financially viable Massively Overpowered come out of all this, we might have won something.
When it still wasn’t clear if the Massively team continued and tried to do something, i found myself thinking similar thoughts as Scree- but in a different manner- i asked myself if a team of bloggers might be able to fill the gap somewhat- at least for the readership. Nothing that would rise anew right now could even hope to get the same recognition by developers and the casual readers alike. But for people who read blogs anyway, it might’ve been possible to shovel a little dirt in the crater that was there when Massively came down.
I’m really glad they’ll continue. And i really hope they’re quick about it, because “next month”…well, i’m afraid to think about what that would mean for the amount of money they’d get through kickstarting.
Since, right now, i can’t help out with money, i’d like to try and help them by keeping them in our minds, so i’ll find some links to articles that i liked.
The Massively Legacy
So for today, i’ll go with one of Jef Reahards pro-virtual-world articles, this one from the column Some Assembly required. It touches on the subjects of balance and fairness in MMORPGs and, as one would expect, the author doesn’t think everybody should be on equal footing.
10 thoughts on “Not so easy”
I had a very similar reaction to the announcement of their closure. The first thing I did was put Twitter back on my phone and not only follow the writing staff but also start to be vocal on Twitter with the hopes of eventually connecting with other Massively readers. My Teitter circle is still tiny but in hoping it will grow.
The other thing that happened was I finally started a blog. I’ve been thinking about it for a while but kept putting it off. For some reason knowing that Massively was going away was the kick in the pants that I needed to get started. I not only wanted to write, but I wanted to find other MMO bloggers. I didn’t want an mmmorpg.com or a Ten Ton Hammer. I wanted voices like I found at Massively, so I used the list of people who wrote farewells to the site as a starting point.
But as much as I’m enjoying the blogging community, it’s a different niche. It’s not the same, Massivey was more journalism than personal blog and it showed. There was a professionalism to the writing, a mix of news and editorial/ opinion pieces, and the relationships with studios and access to conferences that set them apart.
I’m glad MassiveyOP will be a thing. I’m also glad that the loss of Massively has sparked movement and change in the MMO community that will hopefully settle in a way that leaves us better than before.
I guess the first issue I have with your reply is that you think the blogging community can’t match the quality of writing of the Massively staff. With that I take issue the most.
You are flat wrong. I’ve read countless articles on Massively that were clearly matched by their “amateur” peers. Moreso, what qualifications do these professional writers hold over the rabble masses of bloggers? I could find no degrees or distinctions beyond a love of games anywhere in the Massively staff descriptions. At least none that would quantify your statement of quality superiority that Massively held.
As for building a site without the legacy of Massively propping it up? I think you underestimate the access granted them by being AOL owned. An amateur restarted site might get some initial points from readers and devs, but that is likely to quickly dry up as we move away from D-day.
First, let me be clear about this: i didn’t mean to use the term “amateur” in a derogatory way. It’s just what you are when you don’t earn money by doing something.
Also, i’m fully aware that there are awesome bloggers out there, and i’ve read lots of articles on amateur blogs that had a lot of research and work going into them. There are also more and more amateurs going professional, on sites like MMOgames.com. I think, though, that you have to have a certain skillset to write something short, concise and entertaining. Maybe you could be able to get 8 amateur bloggers together to provide high-quality content.
As for the AOL-part; i don’t think it was AOL opening doors for them (maybe the Joystiq-moniker), they seemed pretty hands-off. I agree, though, that the team should be quick- i mentioned that. The beginning’s up, though.
Their monetization scheme is a topic for another day, but i think- their Kickstarter just started- they have a good plan by using Kickstarter as well as Patreon and ads.
I didn’t mean to seem offended either. I am completely okay being called an amateur blogger. I’ve never strived to turn it into anything beyond a personal place for me to rant and rave and comment on game-related topics.
Making “money” from blogging isn’t exactly what Massively’s bloggers were doing either. If you think about it, they had to be running at a loss each year. Why else would AOL close it out (They kept TechCrunch going!!!). So even if the bloggers were being paid, it was far from a successful venture.
Neither is their Kickstarter indicating that they could run revenue neutral. They are asking for ongoing monetary donations to support the operation, beyond the initial $50,000 (!!!!) investment from the community. Being “paid” and being “profitable” is what distinguishes pro’s from amateurs-gone-wild in my book. I’m pretty sure they are going to fall into the later column.
At this point I am nitpicking the language and your point is well stated.
I just think this whole thing is going to leave a raw taste in the mouth of many supporters. I also don’t think the project is going to be successful beyond the first year, but I am always a pessimist when it comes to things like this. I guess part of it is me being slightly stunned at the $50,000 figure necessary to launch a blog site. Sorry, I don’t see that being necessary.
I tend to think this as well. Some of the bloggers out there are great; write well thought out pieces with a lot of research. Some even have better prose and grammar. But, it’s not just having one or a couple of those but having it all while also the work ethic and motivation to write as much as they do and as consistently.