So Blaugust reborn is happening and ever since reading the announcement I thought about whether- and how I’d be able to join. See, if nothing else, this is the time … Continue reading Joining the #blaugustreborn party
The Newbie Blogger Initiative is here again and after taking a blogging break for a few weeks i thought i wouldn’t have much advice to give to Newbies. But i think one of the main reasons for blogs to be discontinued is when the author stops writing for some reason or another. While that might be obvious, i think many people think that once you lose your rhythm, they “failed”. Once upon a time i read about how to quit smoking and one advice i read was that if you found yourself smoking one cigarette again, don’t think you failed quitting to smoke – because if you do, you’ll end up smoking just as much or more than before, and more than that: each “failed” try will make you more afraid to try again. I know that because i quit smoking half a dozen times and the thought of quitting terrified me in the end. Now, smoking is a bad habit and i’d call blogging a good habit- so let’s turn this around, shall we?
When you fail to deliver content regularly, don’t think of it as a failed attempt at blogging. It isn’t- you can simply continue whenever you like. Nothing got deleted, nobody forgot you and most certainly, nobody is angry with you. I know that because somehow, every year there seems to come a stretch of time when i don’t post. I’m always passionate about MMORPGs, so you might wonder why that is. There are a couple of possible reasons, actually.
What it is
Burnout is the best reason to take a break. Burnout, in this case, is meant as the realization that we devote much more time to the hobby of gaming and writing about it than we are willing to give. Like Ironweakness did last month. MMORPGs are a time-intensive hobby and if you don’t pay attention, it is able to devour your free-time fully. Add reading and writing blogs to simply playing these games and it’s easy to lose track of time spent on the hobby before realizing that it took over your soul. Don’t let that happen to you- if you feel you need to take a break, just do it.
What to do about it
Nothing, this type of burnout is healthy. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate just how much time we spend on playing these games or read/write about them. It’s also one of the best ways to gain some distance and realize that, no, this news/Patch/Update/DLC/expansion isn’t that important and we are able to continue our lives just the same without them. Staying away from all that actually helps in rekindling your appreciation of the hobby- after a while, you’ll want to log into your favourite game(s), and consequently, you’ll find yourself willing to continue to share your thoughts on your blog. In this case, my advice would be to simply take a step back and return when you’re in the mood to.
Less time in game
What it is
Gaming blogs and playing games feed into each other- blogging about games can make you more excited for your games of choice, and playing games can give inspiration on what to write on your blog. However, sometimes, you’ll simply spend less time in game- for me, this is usually in the summer months, as there’s just too much going on aside from gaming so that i’m having trouble finding the time and the will to spend hours in games. This time of playing less can last a few days or a couple of months. If your blog only covers your ingame-actions or out-of-game-but-genre-related thoughts, you might find it difficult to think of topics.
What to do about it
Again, nothing much. However, if you’d like to write on your blog more than actually playing games, there are a couple of possibilities like commenting on news pieces, genre developments, things you look forward to in the next couple of months, commenting other bloggers’ posts. You could also change the range of topics covered on your blog by adding posts about your travels, writing about other types of entertainment (books, movies, tv-series) or different topics altogether (sports, for instance). Now, i do find it weird when i mix my “gaming” and “real life” personalities by writing about travels and i actually feel real life stuff like that has a better place elsewhere, it also helps your readers to get connected to you on a more personal level. As for the entertaining stuff- ever noticed how people who like the same artists/authors/directors/actors tend to share a lot of these? That’s how Amazon’s recommendations for you work- there’s a good chance, actually, that people who enjoy MMORPGs might share a similar taste in movies, books and such.
If you still have no idea what to write about, read other blogs for inspiration or do one of the challenges for getting a blog started. There is that 20 days of blogging challenge floating around. I think it was created with World of Warcraft in mind, but it can be applied to many MMOs.
After the break
As i said, if you take a break, don’t fret about it. You didn’t “fail” in blogging, if there is such a thing. Personally, i’d advise against “i’m back”-posts, because if it turns out your break wasn’t over yet, it looks kind of strange to have a break of 1-3 months followed by a “back” message from 3 months ago. I’d simply get back into writing. In the same way, i’d advise against announcing your exit- because more often than not, you’ll be back, because MMORPGs are a great hobby, writing about them makes it even better and my guess is that once you’ve got bitten by the blogging bug, you’re probably not going to quit anytime soon.
Yesterday, Wolfy chose to write about the same thing, so this post might be redundant (but…but…i had it drafted and didn’t want to scrap it!). Join me next week when i write about reasons for why sharing topics isn’t bad, but great!
So, well, today (05-17) is my birthday. This was a good oportunity to review the About-Page here on Party Business, so i did just that. Since birthdays are a good day to form some goals and look into the past, i’ll do that quickly, as well.
On this blog, i’d like to improve three things:
- i’d like to write more “column-like” posts to add some structure. I’ve said that before, but in the past, i tried to let the gaming inspire the blogging- maybe it’s time to do it the other way round
- connecting: i really need to comment more on others’ posts and blogs.
- my writing: it must be painful to read for natives. I think my english is good enough, but usually, i don’t need to use it actively- as in writing, speaking and such. I watch most movies and tv-series and read books english, so if i were to watch/read something that was written in the way of this blog, it would be obvious to me that the source isn’t a native speaker. The key here is more editing- i’d like to think i could do better, but i’m lucky to get as many posts out as i do, so re-reading and editing is the part where i save the time.
There’s more in terms of blogging, though: i’d also like to get some other topics out there- like books, movies, and general life stuff. I think movies and books would fit in here, as well- i often find that people who share one interest at least tend to enjoy similar stuff in other parts of entertainment. So maybe it would be of interest to you why and how i became a Marvel fan (the word “fan” is hyperbole, but still) or why my favourite fantasy author is Joe Abercrombie, but the highlights (and darker moments) of being a dad or our next family holiday won’t interest anyone who’s visiting here for the MMO stuff.
I think i’ll end up occasionally talking about movies/series/books here and keeping the private stuff to me.
This marks post number 100 that is going to be published on this blog, 59 of them this year. All in all, i think one can call this blog “active” and i have to say that so far, it’s been a great ride. I’ve had some ups and downs with the ups mainly being my experience with the larger blogging community- they’re great people that are very welcoming and help out, sometimes knowingly, sometimes just by clicking “like” here or there on one of the scribblings i tend to publish. The downs are just stretches of time when i don’t know what to write about or don’t have time.
Thankfully, this year so far hasn’t had any major breaks in posting. I’m just coming out of a time of lower activity due to some private stuff, generally not playing any one MMO with enough investment to warrant a post and other things. Right now, though, things are looking good since i started what i from now on will call “Project trinity”- selecting three MMOs to play each month and ignoring all the rest, even if they have updates or somesuch. I just hope i won’t be in a situation at some point where either an expansion (GW2) or a business model change (Wildstar, not confirmed of course) hits one of the other MMOs i’m interested in while i chose different ones.
Anyway, back to the round number of posts. I want to thank every one of you who made my blogging experience a pleasure- all those who linked to one of my posts, came here to comment, like, conversed in some way via Twitter and of course all who still read that.
My personal top highlight on this blog is the “Dual Wielding” series Ironweakness and i are doing in cooperation. The first edition has been great fun and i’m very, very positive that it will continue to be so in the future, as well. So i want to take that opportunity to thank Ironweakness for the suggestion and sharing this path with me!
Going forward, i’ll try and put some structure in place here on this blog, as well. Dual Wielding is one of these projects, the “Milestones” – series with its first post being published yesterday is another one- “Milestones” will simply be a project to share some ingame-progress i made, like another 5-level-span, for FFXIV it will be about the MSQ (Main Story Questline)…whenever i feel i have reached another interesting step in venturing through an MMO, it’s a Milestone, to me. Other things are on my mind, as well- guilds, roleplaying, community and ingame stuff not related to progress to name a few. We’ll see how it works out in the end, since i only have so much time to spend here and last time i shared my projects, it didn’t work out so well.
Again, thank you for being here, for making me feel welcome and maybe even liking what you read.
Now why would a person that only reached max-level once in an MMO care about endgame? Why would a notoric game- and character hopper look for an MMO to settle nicely into? Well, we’ve been through the reasoning, i tried to make it work in one game or another and lately, i’ve been thinking about how to find “that game” in a different way. Even for someone like me, who doesn’t reach endgame quickly or ever, it is important to know what’s waiting at the end. The options on what to do- either delivered by developers or by making my own fun. And you’d be surprised (i was) how very few MMORPGs would really work as a home MMO for me when viewed through this perspective.
Credits. Gold. Pax. ISK. Call it what you want, but that’s where my endgame is. But if i can’t do anything with it (Pax), the currency given to us in an MMO doesn’t really matter. If your gold has but one purpose- for instance, to buy a sub for a month, it doesn’t work for me. So on the other side of the coin there have to be.
Gold sinks. Housing (Strongholds), Crafting, Unlocks, cosmetic outfits and so on- there should always be something i can spend my ingame gold on, to try and achieve some measurable goals in a way i like. See, Gold as endgame really is the only currency to allow us players to choose how we want to play by ourselves. If it’s dungeon gear, you have to do the dungeons. If it’s crafting, well, you have to craft. If it’s luck, you have to grind.
So gold it is. An MMORPG that i’d consider as a candidate for my personal “home MMO”, it needs to offer stuff in exchange for gold- and multiple ways to earn said gold. All those alternative currencies you gain by doing dungeons, pvp and whatnot might allow you to choose the way to play and get you rewarded- but it’s a tunnel system- you get rewarded for doing stuff you like with stuff that helps you perform better in said stuff. There’s a reason we use money as “universal currency” in the real world instead of giving tools to the handiman, computers to developers, frying pans to cooks and so on. Virtual worlds should follow suit.
When you think about that, there really aren’t that many MMORPGs that offer this- i could list a few. I know prompting for comments is a cheap move, but i’m really curious and might get some suggestions for games- so i ask you; which MMO lets you spend your earned gold/pax/credits/ISK in multiple (ingame) ways? On what can you spend this gold? How do you earn it?
In the short time since i started blogging regularly, big things happened. First of all, i didn’t expect to be connecting quite so fast as it happened now. Even when i restarted writing more regularly in the end of 2014, after the news broke that Massively would shut down, i doubled down on that. My goal right now is to publish something every day, although i have to confess that this might not be the best of ideas- see yesterday’s post for reasons why. While i liked the topic and stand by the argument, i had to hurry somewhat and the post developed from one topic to the other. And now it’s quite a mess, but that’s ok.
I started following more blogs via WordPress and Twitter gave me new blogs to see, as well. Furthermore, i wasn’t alone in this line of thinking- Ironweakness’ Blog exists because of the impending shutdown (and, reading it, one has to wonder why he didn’t start earlier). Right now my following of blogs is a mess- some of them are only in the WordPress reader i don’t use, some of them are only on Twitter and despite the fact that this is an MMO-exclusive account the stream runs by very fast. And then there’s Feedly, where i do read and i’m slowly migrating everyone over there.
So, the social connecting thing works in this regard. I’ll also have to thank many of the “real bloggers” for that. You really visit my blog from time to time, comment, like, write posts answering some of the posts i made or even link to me. This is a great experience, and i’d really like to thank you for being such an inclusive breed of gamers!
Playing and Writing
Of course, these connections make me want to write even more. But then there’s another thing: i found that my writing and gaming feed each other. Sometimes i’d think about a topic for a post and realize that i should go and play something, focussing the attention during the session on the topic i want to write about. And sometimes it’s the other way round- i play something and a topic opens up.
As someone who is, sometimes literally, playing a different game each day, this connection between writing and playing has given me a focus i didn’t achieve before. Yes, i’d resolve myself to play “just this one” MMO for some time, but it never lasts- and why should it? When you don’t have strong social ties in a game and are playing solo, mostly, why should you be “faithful” to one or two games? There are reasons, of course. Social ties, for instance, grow while staying in one game- it’s more difficult if you switch every other week.
But now? I want to write about things- and i want to experience things in the games. I also found out that i look at games differently- even when not thinking about making something a topic, i feel like i experience these games more intense. Right now, inspired also by comments here and some blog posts in other places, there are a few quite focussed projects i’d like to take on. We’ll see how it goes, because time is still limited.
Lord of the Rings
As i’ve mentioned, i fear a little bit for Lotro. I’m not overly optimistic that it’ll last longer than 2017. I might be wrong here, and i do hope i am, but when the gates close on this one, we’ll lose access to the best realized Middle Earth in MMOs and maybe games in general. I don’t like that to happen. I planned to visit Vanguard when i had a “bad feeling” about it in the beginning of last year only to sadly be right and have the world yanked from us. When you don’t have lots of time to play, a project like “visiting the world” can take months, even years. So when i begin this now, there might be a chance that i’ll get to see the Middle Earth of Lotro before it shuts down.
My plan here is quite like something a tourist guide writer would do- see the places, know some things about them (i’m not going to graduate in Middleearthology) and present them here.
Final Fantasy XIV
This is a game where a second, third or fourth look on crafting and economy is going to be interesting. I’ve read several times now that there’s kind of a barrier in the mid-30-levels, and i’m quite interested to see how it goes. I’ve experienced similar things, mostly in Lotro, where i always seemed to be stuck in the mid-30s.
So it’s going to be crafting/economy for Final Fantasy XIV, but also general gameplay experience. I guess i’ll continue to cover this for all the games i play, but if the last two weeks are any indication, it seems as though FF14 is my favourite game, for now. And it should be – it is good, after all, and i’d like to be ready for Heavensward without hurrying along.
Not much focus here. I also stopped playing it outside of my guild group, because my guild group character progresses much faster than my other character and i’ll transfer her over to Antonia Bayle when the guild project is over. But there’s something about EQ2 that’s really great- and from time to time, you’ll read about how it has so many features, how it is almost a sandbox in themepark’s clothing- i’d like to flesh that out a bit and look at the different features.
This has been a topic here for quite some time- how to connect to other players- what can we, as players, do to make our gameplay experience more social? What can developers do? I’d like to take a look into that and also want to make my personal gameplay experience more social. You’d like to do that, as well? Goody, just head on over to Group up and give me a /tell.
So this is it- in the two months since i restarted blogging here i found that writing enhances gameplay experience, and you’ll get to know/talk to/discuss with great, like minded people…or not so like-minded. Doesn’t matter as long as discussion is civil.