In light of the recent conversation about the state of MMO blogs, I thought it was about time I popped in and reminded you that I’m not dead. See? LA DEE DA DEE DA! Now that you know I’m not a zombie, I think it’s about time for an update!
To get to the topic presented in the post title, when I read Wilhelm’s recent post, I felt a little guilty for contributing to the perception that MMO blogging is somehow on the decline. I don’t think that’s the case at all, but I can see where it would come from. A lot of the veteran bloggers have disappeared or moved to social media. Content consumers are radically shifting their focus over to Twitch, YouTube Let’s Plays, and podcasts. It is a changing landscape and blogs are the old guard that was and is and ever shall be.
That last part is important. MMO players are an opinionated, devoted bunch. Our games are deep and we like to sink into them. I don’t worry about MMO blogs disappearing because when we’re not playing them it’s damn fun to get into the mental gymnastics of theoreticals and what-ifs and adventure journals. It’s a vicarious means of play. I don’t keep track of daily page views much any more because I don’t update as often as I used to. Look to the right, though. My subscribers are higher than they’ve ever been. My blogroll is longer than it’s ever been, and needs to be updated with at least a dozen others I’ve added to my RSS reader since my last update. Every week day, there are no less than 10 MMO-related blog posts to read. We may not all know and interact with each other as much as we once did, but the scene itself is stronger than it ever was. Even in the Warhammer era when I and many others got started.
Why did I make the jump to bigger sites and columns instead of staying independent? Maybe I value independence a little less, especially when I can pay my car insurance doing what I’d spent years doing for free. For my part, I hit a point where I needed to assess how I was spending my time. I enjoy blogging. I will always do it. But is it benefiting my family? Am I contributing to my own personal growth? No on both counts. You could argue that engaging in discussion an open thought is character building, but that’s not what I mean. My writing skills haven’t improved as a result of this blog in a long time. I can crank out a paper quicker than your average grad student, sure, but voice and mechanics aren’t going anywhere. I benefit from working with an editor like MMORPG’s amazing Bill Murphy. Just as importantly, it’s nice to be published and to have your name out there. I’m under no illusions that I’m someone anyone anywhere knows and that’s fine with me. But I would like to get a body of writing work under my belt so that if I want to sell an article, I have the experience to do that.
And I got into this for conversations. Writing at different outlets opens the doors for meaningful interaction with fellow fans. I like that.
The moves I have made have been good for me. I’m producing more content than I have in the last year and it’s not just limited to writing. Ferrel’s and my podcast was picked up by MMORPG not long ago and has allowed us to talk to some really wonderful guests. I’ll be interviewing RIFT’s Bill Fisher in just over an hour. That excites me. I’ve spent so long thinking about MMOs that being able to have a conversation with key people who make them, and then realizing they’re just people — gamers like us — is fulfilling every time. I even like the business side of it: emailing marketing people, coordinating with fellow writers, the works. It’s the next level of what I started here.
Things have happened in the last year that I never expected nor sought out when I started writing about video games almost five years ago. The forward movement has been fantastic and really fulfilling.
And on that note, I’m happy to announce that I’ve been brought on to write at ZAM. If you’ve ever been to WoWhead (and who hasn’t) then you know the company. I will be doing a weekly column titled Experience Points as well as covering some news. They are a fantastic team and I am overjoyed to be a part of it.
So for my part, I’m not going anywhere. This blog will stay hosted and it will stay updated, even if less frequently than before. I just hope you guys continue to follow me into the new wilds of different websites. This is where you can find my writing:
And of course, Game On: Epic Slant Press Edition. The podcast from a couple of MMO bloggers/blog readers like yourself that happens to have industry support (we’re so lucky with that — still amazes and humbles me).