Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
MMORPG blogging in 2014

There is another Newbie Blogger Initiative ongoing. I wasn't going to participate, but ended up being quoted as old fart wise old man of MMORPG blogging. Occasion to say a word about blogging in 2014: The reason why I wouldn't encourage newbies to start blogging in 2014 is the same reason why I wouldn't encourage them to take up typewriter repair or steam engine design. The world has moved on, and blogging has become outdated. That isn't saying that I'll stop doing it, or that there aren't excellent reasons to blog. But the whole bubble of "I'll blog and become famous on the internet" certainly has popped.

What the current fashionable internet platform is changes all the time. Facebook is past its prime, and last week The Atlantic posted an Eulogy for Twitter. Blogs have been out for years now. In the case of MMORPG blogs the effect is compounded by the fact that MMORPGs are out of fashion as well.

Now of course there are many different view of what exactly a blog is, and what it is good for. These days I mostly blog for myself, as a kind of public diary of the games I am playing and my thoughts about them. And that is perfectly okay, still works great, and will continue to work great until Wordpress and Blogger shut down. What works a lot less well these days is using a MMORPG blog as a platform for discussion, either between blogs linking to each other, or between a blogger and his commenters. Traffic is way down on all blogs, which due to a negative network effect has a profound effect on the liveliness of the discussion. It doesn't help that the MMORPG isn't exactly a hotbed of great gaming innovation, but rather evolves slowly, feature by feature. If you keep reading MMORPG blogs and discussing on them, like I do, you meet a lot of grumpy veterans, like me.

Thus for somebody who wishes to have lively discussions on the internet and meet lots of new people, I cannot really recommend MMORPG blogging. There are newer, more modern, and more fashionable platforms around. Not that I would be in the know enough to recommend you one.

Not entirely sure how much of that is true outside of MMO or games blogging specifically. In the UK craft blogs are huge, especially cooking. Political blogs are still important. Blogging remains a route into mainstream media - TV, radio, publishing - in a way that no other social media really offers.

Listening to the radio, I hear "experts", commentators and columnists introduced every day by their name and the name of their blog. It's not unknown to hear such people introduced by name/Facebook Page or Twitter handle but its far less common.

As far as mainstream media is concerned, I think blogs still carry a form of authority that other social media lack, simply because they look like magazine or newspaper articles. Editors and journalists find the form familiar and comprehensible.

Whether this is relevant to anyone starting a new MMO blog I very much doubt, but I think it's a little premature to claim that the age of the blog is over.
Well, it's definitely obvious that the MMO blogs out there are a vast sea of disgruntled vets who don't know what else to do with their time so they keep chugging along. Tabletop RPGs however thrive in the bloggosphere, and if it weren't for the million tabletop RPG blogs I'd suspect the hobby was dead.
The reason to blog is because you have a lot to say on a particular subject, both in how much you have to say and how often, such that you find merely commenting other places insufficient. And there just isn't that much to talk about with MMORPGs right now (and sadly hasn't been for a few years). So I somewhat agree with Bhagpuss that the issue may be the topic more than the format.
I pretty much blog for myself, and anything that come from it is pure bonus. Like being linked by one of my favorite bloggers. ;)

Whether blogging is dead or not, it's true my numbers use to be higher, but then again I remember the number of readers I had was just one...that's me.
As one of the organisers behind the NBI, I would like to clarify that the May event and long term remit of the site is not solely focused on getting people to blog about MMOs.

We encourage people to blog, podcasts, livestream and use pretty much every platform available to discuss gaming in general and develop communities. As soon as a new medium comes out, we'll be all over that as well.

I would broadly agree that perhaps writing exclusively about a handful of MMOs in the way you describe, is somewhat archaic. However that is not what we are about, nor would I personally advocate it if I were asked.

Many of the new NBI contributors have blogs with much broader scope and don't restrict themselves to just focusing exclusively on the traditional analysis of certain key titles.

It is my long term hope that the NBI will eventually be a source of information and resources for all kinds of social media based interaction. A lot of what we discuss and advise with regard to writing about games is equally relevant to writing about basket weaving, river widening or Kabbadi.

Oh and after the recent NSA revaluations typewriters have become very popular again.
The great wheel of time turns endlessly. Fashion goes in cycles. What was cool yesterday might be unfashionable today, but it will probably be interesting sometime in the future.

I like blogs because I can control it easier. It takes a bit of technical knowledge to set up your own blog on your own website, but that's an option I have that other media doesn't.

I think the problem with MMO blogging has more to do with MMOs than blogs, myself.
Since when has blogging been about being cool. It is about saying what you want to say and if anyone wants to read it then great, if they don't then that is fine too.

PS. Typewriter repair is quite theraputic, has a decent hands-on feel about it and you get moderately mucky. There are also quite a few typewriter users (fortunately frustrated editors are now able to scan type into screen text as long as they are prepared for pornagraphic conversion errors).
PPS. STEAM ENGINES DESIGN!!!!! I'll probably spend the all day dreaming up steampunk Ironman outfits now.
I would disagree :) Networks such as Gawker, Weblogs, Inc and more recently Vox have found continued success through blogging. It isn't the personal blog of yesteryear, but I think the platform has taken a fundamental shift since they started. They're just taking on a new role in journalism and sites which are run by individuals for hobby with no interest in actively using it as a business venture are having a tougher time competing.

It's an interesting transition to watch.
It's less "blogging about MMORPGs" and more about having fun talking about gaming and other geeky things in a community and a way that you enjoy. That's not about being popular or successful.
I have never blogged but it seems to me like it is a way to think out loud to the world and let others chime in if it suits them. The motivation being to find/ share/consult with others topics of common interest. I don't see that going by the way side regardless of the method in which that is accomplished. I would say more but I have things to blow up in up World of Tanks!
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