Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
 
Should we stop blogging until Cataclysm?

While I share Larísa's opinion that the MMO blogosphere is in a bit of a rut, I find her suggestion that both bloggers and blog readers should take a break until Cataclysm comes out a bit strange. Yes, World of Warcraft is definitively in a phase of "between expansions boredom", where many players basically finished Wrath of the Lich King and are waiting for Cataclysm to come out. And there is also a conspicous lack of other great new games coming out this summer, unless you count Mortal Online. But does that mean we can't read and write about games any more?

If I understood her correctly, Larísa thinks that if you can't write anything nice about a game, you shouldn't write about it at all. But as she labeled her link to me as "the clashes", she obviously thinks that I have a very different opinion about that. Nevertheless I don't think she really understands what I am blogging about, nor do quite a number of my readers, judging by the comments I get.

The thing is that I am not really blogging about World of Warcraft, about EVE, or about any other specific game. I am not promoting this game, or bashing that one, even if some people obviously think I do. What I am really blogging about is the perfect MMORPG. Perfect for me, that is, obviously different people have different preferences. I am blogging about the perfect MMORPG by looking at existing MMORPGs, and writing about my personal impressions on what features work for me and what features don't.

Thus if I'm writing about lets say real-time offline skill training, that isn't a post about "bashing EVE Online". It is a post about the disconnect I feel between me playing a game and my character advancing in the game if character advancement is in real-time and also works offline. And the same is true when I write about the fast reaction times required in raiding: That isn't me "bashing WoW", nor is it, quote Larísa, the "seasonal Curse of Boredom, Burn-out, Bitterness, Lost faith and Godknowswhat that strikes again". Instead it is me pondering that in the perfect MMORPG the end game should use game mechanics which are similar to (and advanced from) what the game taught you during leveling, and not simply make the skills and abilities of the characters we spent hundreds of hours leveling up secondary to a newly introduced jump & run game mechanic.

I simply have no interest at all in promoting any specific game, or discouraging people from playing another. First of all, I don't even think my blog matters that much; I can get a hundred people to play a Facebook game, but as MMORPG subscription numbers are often discussed in terms of how many hundreds of thousands players a game needs to be a success or failure, I don't think anything I say about MMORPGs is going to have a measurable influence.

Having said that, I also insist on my right to state what I think. Some games simply aren't for me, and in other cases I don't like what some players do in games. I don't see why I would be required to not say anything about the things I dislike. I sometimes get accused of being too sensitive, but that accusation more often than not comes from people who apparently got terribly hurt by some random blogger saying something not nice about their favorite game. Who is the emo if some fanboi starts frothing at the mouth and calling me names because I said I don't like his favorite game or game mechanic, and I delete that comment?

I don't write deliberately controversial stuff just to get comments. Actually I don't even like the sort of comments I get when I write controversial stuff, because most of them aren't about perfect game design, and only deal with stupid turf wars and pointing fingers at the "blasphemers". But getting a good conversation about game design going is rather hard. A typical post of "I did this and that in this or that game, and I liked it" barely gets any comments at all. To get anyone even remotely interested, it appears that instead of writing about a feature that works for me in one game, I have to write about the opposite feature not working for me in another game.

Thus while I do agree that it might be a good idea to play less World of Warcraft until the next expansion (or at least pre-expansion patch) comes out, and I do exactly that, I don't think that this means we have to stop blogging or reading blogs until Cataclysm. Instead there is an opportunity here to play some other games, something radically different, and write about that. Because even if we end up liking that radically different game a lot less, it is by comparison that we learn what we think is missing. And there is a chance that we get acquainted with some feature that the radically different game has, and end up wishing our favorite game had that.

So if I may make a suggestion to Larísa and everybody else who is struck by the "Curse of Boredom": Why don't you go and try out A Tale in the Desert? It is a great game, radically different from most games you know, and it is a true sandbox. It even *has* sand! What it doesn't have is PvP, nor does it have PvE, not in the traditional sense of the terms, so it might challenge your notions about what a MMORPG is. And that can only be a good thing.
Comments:
I think what Larissa's on about is that there's a stage during burnout where people make the extra effort as if throwing themselves more fully into their game will rescue them from being bored by it.

If you're a bit bored of a game then forcing yourself to blog when you're not especially inspired is going to make you crash harder when you do eventually burn out.
 
I think you're misunderstanding my blog post on purpose, Tobold! But it makes a better clash, doesn't it? I've never really considered you as an example of a Severe Case of WoW burnout. I kind of like your questioning, even though I don't always agree. But it makes good discussions. I've seen exampels though on people who keep informing the world about how horrible they think the game is and that goes into a kind of destructive loop that needs to be broken imo.

About myself: whatever made you think that I'm burnout? No mentioning of such conditions in my post. I'm fine. I mostly stick to the lighthouses and don't let myself being dragged down into the depths.

We agree very much on the doing-something-else-advice for burn-outs. However - if I was burnout I'd rather go outside and enjoy the summer, listening to the blackbirds, smelling the grass, than playing yet another MMO. But that's me.
 
A open thread suggestion (though it's not Sunday!). What is the "perfect" MMORPG? Also, by definition, must a "perfect" MMORPG be "successful"?

One of my theories is that a perfect MMORPG needs to have elements for everyone (e.g themepark + sandbox) but the challenges/rewards from those areas are equivalent.
 
So how about blogging about Red Dead Redemption's Multiplayer Free Roam, or about different F2P MMOs. Could one of them have some part of the perfect formula? Can a light be shone on what games have parts of what you want in your perfect MMO, so that we can slowly cobble together a loud voice to be heard by the developer gods?
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egLQQNq4TH0

I know its reflex based gameplay that an old man like you can't keep up with. But it looks pretty well paced.

(this is the red dead redemption multiplayer I was talking about, video is for the footage, not necessarily for the people talking).
 
So you are blogging about "Tobold's MMORPG" which should have been obvious to all of us since this is "Tobold's MMORPG Blog" and not "WoW blog" or "EVE Blog."

Don't I feel silly now?
 
If you do find yourself running out of specific things to blog about, maybe you could take this chance to transcribe your dream MMO. I’m sure you’ve thought about it and I’d love to hear what you’d describe as perfect without only using other games as references for what to do and what not to do in the context of that game. I think if I had the chance I’d be gushing about the specifics of mechanics, playstyles, and genre of my ideal MMO.
 
Maybe I'm alone in this but I kind of like the schadenfreude of watching other people burn out.

I know it's bad. I know I'm a bad person. But it is part of the whole joint experience thing.

But I will stop reading ONLY if a blog get boring, not just because the blogger is going through a down patch.
 
The thing is that I am not really blogging about World of Warcraft, about EVE, or about any other specific game. I am not promoting this game, or bashing that one, even if some people obviously think I do. What I am really blogging about is the perfect MMORPG.

Tobold outputs alot of content, which is why I can't take such a piece of revisionistic self-delusion too seriously.
 
I'm with Spinks on this one :) Sometimes the most interesting posts are the ones when people are getting fed up with WoW and challenge the status quo.

I also take Larisa's point about not blogging just for the sake of blogging if you have nothing you actually want to write about.
 
"And there is also a conspicous lack of other great new games coming out this summer, unless you count Mortal Online."

Starcraft 2.

In the huge periods between WoW playing I just go and play some single player games. There are other games than WoW you know. But most WoW players seem to forget that.
 
The thing that keeps me reading your blog is that it's not just about WOW. Pure wow blogs are liable to get a bit boring when there's no new wow stuff happening.

I think you should go try out more of the Free MMOs. I had no idea there were so many till I saw this site: http://www.freemmorpglist.com/index-1.html
 
The really interesting thing about Starcraft 2 is not the RTS game so much, as the astoundingly unlimited game engine that Blizzard has created in which players can design and distribute MMO's, board games, Tetris and Diablo clones, or any new game or genre the imagination allows.
 
Tobold,

Obviously, it's your blog, but I find all of the blogging you're doing about blogging painfully boring. You said you blog about MMORPGs, but recently you've spent more time blogging about blogging.

Here's another well respected blogger's (Though in a different circle, programming) opinion on metablogging:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2009/07/meta-is-murder.html
 
But getting a good conversation about game design going is rather hard.

It's kind of like trying to discuss engine design with a roomful of drivers. They're invested in the performance of the engines in their own cars, and in comparisons with other drivers' cars. So the discussion is lively, but they often don't know exactly how the engines work the way they do except in broad terms. So any discussion about the engine design is often conjecture. It will turn into a discussion about Honda vs. Ford.

Discussions about game design with gamers usually turns into discussions about games. Not about designing them.
 
I'd like to see you write a post on the specific topic of, "My perfect MMO." THAT would be a great week long topic, although I supposed it will be 90% people fanboiing anytime you put down a feature that is associated or inherent to their game of choice.

Have you played Tropico 3? Not an MMO, but an interesting game nonetheless. It's SimCity meets the Civilization series on the Carribean islands with a twist of dictatorship. Basically, you are a Castro type(or the opposite), trying to develop your own Cuba/Jamaica/etc.
 
One third of your posts is about you claiming the right to write what you want.

Get over it, Tobold.
 
One third of your posts is about you claiming the right to write what you want.

Get over it, Tobold.


And stupid comments like that seems to be the reason for it. Apparently the message is having a very hard time striking true.

You do know that it is perfectly ok to skip those posts you find offending or otherwise boring right?

(I'll put my Toboldian Templar outfit back in the closet now, sorry)
 
I'm just saying that they start to look like those adverts in the DVD.

"Piracy is a crime... blah... blah... blah..."

"You wouldn't steal your friend's undies... blah blah blah..."

"This is my blog.... blah blah blah..."

I'll now add a smile to turn the comment into friendly mode:

:)

I'm just teasing you, Tobold. Please, Honor Guard, release me :(
 
Jesus Christ. The entitlement that half the posters in this thread have is disgusting.

Do they not know they are free to go and read every other blog on earth and skip this one if they don't like Tobold's blog?

I love how idiots and morons tell Tobold what he should and shouldn't say. What he should and shouldn't blog about. How he should and shouldn't talk about games.

I go and read other blogs, and 95% of the time it is just some video game player talking about how they love their game, and hate the other game.

I come here to discuss video game infrastructure, policy, etc. Why? Because I'm not looking for someone's super cool story about what they did and how fun it was.

If you don't like Tobold's blog, how he writes, or what he writes about, then fuck off. I'm sick of the mentally challenged trolling here every day because they either play Darkfall or EvE, or have a very low intelligence level.

Darkfall/EvE trolls are some of the dumbest, most retarded fanbois in the blogosphere, and it gets god damn tiring dealing with their entitlement posts.
 
One third of your posts is about you claiming the right to write what you want.

I hereby issue an official challenge to you: Look at all the posts I wrote this year and count how many are about "claiming the right to write what I want" or other meta-blogging subjects. If you aren't too stupid to count, you could easily verify that they make up less than 10% of this blog, which is far from a third.

And half of those posts I write in the vain hope of getting people like Tim and Andru to *stop* reading my blog, because I hate these people like the plague.
 
What's wrong with not liking a post and say it? We HAVE to like every post in the same way we HAVE to like every aspect of a game?

Of course not.

Now, I've expressed my opinion, as Tim did, about posts that talk about posts and so on. It's my right as is, i think, my right to comment it even if i don't like it.

That doesn't say a thing about every other post. If i dislike one i dislike the entire blog? Talking about being stupid...
 
What's wrong with not liking a post and say it?

You didn't say "I don't like this post". You said "A third of your posts is such posts", which is a lie. Lying is wrong.

And it is also wrong to demand a specific type of post from me, like "you can only post about games". Not even the people who donate get to tell me what to write. It is your sense of entitlement that sickens me, and not only me. And as you mentioned piracy, piracy also is a typical symptom of a sense of entitlement. "I should be able to have access to all games and films without paying for them" is wrong, just as "I should be able to dictate people creating free content what they are allowed to say" is wrong.
 
>> And half of those posts I write in the vain hope of getting people like Tim and Andru to *stop* reading my blog, because I hate these people like the plague.

Don't you think that's a little strong? You've judged me from one comment and *hate* me?

Don't throw me under the bus. I've been reading your blog for years and it's always been my favorite gaming blog. Look back at my history of comments. While sparse, I'm not a continued hater. I read everything and comment occasionally.

If I didn't like what I was reading, I'd unsubscribe. I just wish you'd talk more about games than talk about your conflicts with other people. That's my right to wish it, and your right to ignore it. I thought you might find it useful to have some feedback about what people want from your blog. I did not expect you to follow it, but again, I even went out of my way to link to a well thought out blog post on the very subject.

I even put out the obvious it's your blog comment at the top.

There's a difference between constructive criticism and criticism, and I would have hoped you recognized mine as constructive.
 
Bravo n1ck, I agree with your post.

*Dons Toboldian Honor Guard armor*
 
Don't you think that's a little strong? You've judged me from one comment and *hate* me?

It is a cultural sort of hate, not a personal one. You know, just like Republicans hate Democrats. See my comment above, I hate the culture of entitlement, where people believe they are entitled to everything for free, and then still feel entitled to badmouth the free stuff they got.

The internet is full of stuff I find "painfully boring", as you called my post. Guess what, I just skip the stuff that bores me, and look for the next post. Or the next blog, if all the content of a given blog bores me. If you find blog posts about blogging so boring, WHY DO YOU READ A POST THAT HAS "BLOGGING" IN THE TITLE, FOR GODS SAKE!!!
 
Don't let the morons convince you otherwise - they are trolling, or just being morons.

They can couch their words any way they wish, but the people who continually complain about what Tobold is writing about are either trolling, or are idiots who criticize for the sake of criticism (and it's also likely that they aren't creative and can't come up with their own unique idea).

I don't comment on about 3/4 of Tobold's posts. Sometimes I'm not interested in what he's writing about. Sometimes I agree or disagree, but feel others have stated everything relevant already.

But the last thing I would ever do is come to someone else's blog, and tell them their opinion is wrong...or even worse...that I don't want to hear their opinion.

If you want Tobold's opinion, read his blog. If you don't, then don't come here to complain about his opinion.

Unfortunately, idiots and morons feel the need to come here, read what Tobold writes, and rather than agree/disagree, they just complain. Literally.

I'll disagree with Tobold. I'm not trying to kiss-up and earn brownie points. In fact, I disagree with Tobold almost as much as I agree with him.

But since I'm not a god damn moron, you won't catch me here telling him that he should/shouldn't talk about something he wants to talk about. It's his blog. If I don't want to read what he wrote, I don't read it.

Morons read it and then tell him they don't want to read it.

Which is exactly what makes them morons.
 
"You didn't say "I don't like this post". You said "A third of your posts is such posts", which is a lie. Lying is wrong."

Come on. It was an exageration. Besides, i'm in no position to demand anything. In fact, i haven't made any demand. Did i? Point it, please.

I have the right to dislike some of your posts. End of story.
 
"And half of those posts I write in the vain hope of getting people like Tim and Andru to *stop* reading my blog, because I hate these people like the plague."

As you often remind us, it IS your blog. If you want specific people not to read it, couldn't you ban them? Or you could go the other way and make the blog an opt-in, member-only deal.

I know you went through all this before with the discussion on how the comment thread should work, and I do think that the open comment system has been more interesting for we the readers, but if it's YOUR blog, it really shouldn't be about what's good for us, should it?
 
Opt-in is a horrible idea. I see an opt-in blog and I skip it. I don't want in, I don't want to bother.

Also, Tim and Andru ftl. I quote what you guys wrote:

"Tobold, I don't want you to blog about blogging anymore! I'm soooooo bored! I can't NOT read your blog because I'm incapable of skipping a post, even though the word blogging is in it. Here is someone who agrees with me that blogging about blogging is boring, regardless of the fact that the only reason you post about it is because of douche-bags like me."
 
And 1 more thing, Andru, adding a :) the way you did, made it sarcasm. In other words, you failed to make a good joke if that was your intention, and came off as a complete dick.

It is difficult to do sarcasm on the internet in type. It is even harder when you do /sarcasm, or a Here's a :) to make people know I'm joking. The :) is then viewed as you being a jerk about it.

So this is a comment about posting comments in blog posts about blogging. :) (see that smiley face makes what I just said into total dickery).
 
If you want specific people not to read it, couldn't you ban them?

A) No, banning anyone from *reading* is technically impossible.

B) Banning specific people from commenting is also not possible, but I could selectively delete all their comments. Which would technically only ban their *name*, because its easy enough to avoid by posting under a different name.

What I'm considering is to install a policy that any comment saying that I shouldn't blog about {blogging | politics | economy | technology | world events | whatever} will be instantly deleted. That is really the worst kind of comment.
 
Advice you never asked for can be kind of annoying. (Especially if the advice is on the lines "don't blog about that topic) I was looking for a blog post that TJ wrote and finally found it.

http://temerity-jane.com/blogging/the-1-peril-of-blogging/

She hits the point pretty well
 
I think the point people are missing is even IF posts about writing what he wants made up 100%, that would be fine.

Tobold's blog, he can write about whatever the hell be wants.

The only thing that could be said if this were the case is the title of the blog would be slightly misleading.

But in any case, if you don't like the blog or a post, don't read them.

@Tobold

I think maybe however that you sometimes take comments meant to honestly discuss/debate things are taken the wrong way, or too seriously. And certain contentious things are focused on to the exclusion of the real discussion.

But in the end it's always your blog and you can say and do what you want.
 
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