One year ago today I made a snap decision to pick up video game blogging, set up a blogger.com account, and within minutes started typing away at my first real post. If you had asked me back then about my blog I would probably have told you that it was simply an outlet for my thoughts and that I didn’t expect it to go anywhere. I certainly didn’t expect it to be sitting on 170 posts a year later and going ahead boldly at three posts a week. Allow me to take a break from real content today and to talk about this past year instead as well as my plans for the future.
When I started out I was still playing World of Warcraft and most of my posts revolved around it. While I never really got into the whole “How to play the game” type of posts (which I’m sure would have given me quite a few more readers than I got with my style) I did cover a lot of raid leading issues. I even went so far as to dig deep into what I know about philosophy, dissecting Machiavelli and others (yeah that’s 4 links) for insights into how to best deal with those pesky raid members. The depth that some of these posts had is something I’d really like to get back at some point but it is hard to achieve when combined with a regular update schedule and, you know, actually getting things (or gaming) done as well. Additionally I got the feeling that those posts were a little too deep for the majority of the readers – or at least my visitor counts tell me so.
October marked the first surge of posts that dealt with game design principles and the dissecting of game mechanics for their entertainment value. The topics from back then are pretty much still valid today, dealing with itemization and classes among other things. October also had a terribly named post on content for different player types and what I find to be an under-appreciated post on the two dimensions of the casual-hardcore scale.
November then started out with the first instalment of my 10 good/bad things series of game reviews. Personally I like this style of looking at games and my visitor statistics would agree with me, but the low amount of comments I get on these makes me feel like maybe they aren’t as appreciated as I think they are. How about you, loyal reader that made it this far, do you like these types of posts?
November ended with me getting Dragon Age and subsequently realizing how much I actually like playing single player games and, conversely, how bored I was with playing World of Warcraft. December mostly consisted of musings in the same direction as well as complaints about Icecrown Citadel. If you skip a month in my archives, December should probably be it.
January is, in my opinion, a much better read. You’ll find musings on interaction in MMO combat, games that are worth telling stories about, holding the player’s hand, and creating a better raiding experience by designing your game around command structures.
February saw the post with the most immediate (first-day) visits I’ve ever had on the blog. The post talked about micro-transactions and how to do them right. It wasn’t a bad post, but it only got these high numbers of visitors because I got a link from the Starkington Post, a Magic the Gathering news aggregator. Thanks guys for the link and apologies to all those who expected a more Magic-centred post. I also touched on death penalties and vertical advancement that month as well as talking a whole lot about Mass Effect 2.
Death penalties came up again (and were actually discussed in the comments, hooray!) in March in my post on making failure acceptable. I also talked about a concept of what I consider the best MMO not yet made, my inability to vote with my wallet where good games are concerned, and what it would take to make me go back to WoW.
Moving on to April we don’t find a whole lot, but there is a post about the concept of a home in an MMO that stirred a bit of interest around the net as well as the arrival of That Retarded Horse in which I call my readers stupid and get called out for it.
In May I talked about how there are way too many items to be found in games these days. According to a friend of mine, my two-parter was way too short to do the topic justice though. Maybe I’ll revisit this someday. I also for the first time wrote a “part 1″ post that never got a part 2 for completion. My post on how to survive Starcraft II multiplayer simply didn’t gather remotely enough interest to warrant writing a follow-up.
In June I first realized how good controversial posts are for your statistics. I wrote on the topic of paying to keep the casuals away, a title that was far more controversial than the rest of the post but it was good enough to get me links and comments galore. I might be known as an elitist jerk to some people now, but hey, at least they know me now, right? In less controversial territory I had a row of what I consider to be interesting posts that didn’t really see much traffic at all. My response to Keen’s series on MMO mechanics of old got a decent acceptance but my suggestion of a Dungeon Keeper MMO and my musings on the fairness of esports weren’t really considered at all by many people.
June brought us the RealID scare of course in which I stood almost alone in a sea of hatred. Interestingly enough the numbers of readers I have went up since then instead of dropping as I feared they might do. Apparently being honest about what you believe is appreciated even if no one shares your beliefs. I like that.
I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who has linked to me, commented on a post, or even just read one in the past year. Readers are really what keeps me going and motivates me to improve. I’d especially like to thank those other bloggers who have me on their blogroll, first and foremost Larísa who has linked to me since what feels like forever. Then there’s Tesh of course, and Chris, and Joar as well as Gordon who doesn’t have me on his blogroll but does link to me from time to time. Your help is much appreciated guys!
If you don’t have a blog or don’t feel like giving me the honour of a link you can still make me quite happy by commenting on my posts. I love me some praise, of course, but dissent is also fine. As long as you keep it civil I’m really happy to discuss with you in the comments. And hey, maybe we’ll someday even see some discussion among the commenters on here. Wouldn’t that be something?
Of course I’d love to get more links, comments, and especially readers and I must say that looking at the statistics can sometimes be disheartening. We’ve had a steady growth in readers since launch but it is really slow. While I don’t get anything substantial out of additional readers (No ads or anything. The only direct result of additional readers is additional traffic on my server which costs me money.) you guys are what I (my blog persona) lives by. If I don’t get read, my work here seems pointless. So hey, tell your friends – and leave a comment when you like or dislike something. It may seem like nothing to you, but I cherish even the smallest comment of them all.
Enough of the doom and gloom, as long as I have readers, this blog is here to stay! I have a lot of ideas for the future, but most of them rely on me getting more readers first. I would love to do more interactive content in which you influence what I write as well as maybe actually getting something productive out of a community of people who are interested in game design. Until then I will continue to write about whatever comes to my mind as long as it is somewhat game related. I have yet to find a game that sparks as many interesting topics for debate as World of Warcraft did when I still played it, but I am sure that will come sooner or later.
Next up is Starcraft II, of course, but I have already realized that the interest of my readers in it isn’t as high as my ow, so I won’t dwell on it too much, I promise. Summer will therefore be filled with a variety of theoretical topics until new and interesting games hit in fall. I will be on vacation for two weeks in August, but don’t fear! WordPress will be filled with scheduled articles for your perusal even if I don’t really know where to take topics for two full weeks from just yet.
On to a second year my dear readers!