Tobold's Blog
Monday, August 13, 2007
The Silence of the Tobold

I listened to Keen and Graev's first podcast this weekend, and enjoyed it. Keen talks a lot more than Graev, but that's okay. They cover WoW, LotRO, PotBS, WAR, and some more general game theory, like Melmoth's excellent tree analogy of the state of the MMORPG genre.

I've been asked by some people now whether I would start to podcast or participate in existing podcasts. Podcasting is the new blogging. But my answer is no. I don't have to participate in everything that is "in". And there are some solid reasons why I prefer writing my thoughts to speaking them:

The most important is that I can express myself better in writing. When I write a blog entry, there is some amount of editing going on. Not just spellchecking, Blogger doesn't have an in-build spellchecker, but editing to make my initial ramblings more coherent. I reread longer posts and rephrase some sentences, or reorder paragraphs. All that is a lot easier with a written text than with a podcast.

Another reason is that I am not a native English speaker. I had people on Teamspeak laughing about my accent and telling me that I sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don't want to be known as the podcaster with the funny voice, no thank you. As I express myself better in written English, I have a better chance of being taken seriously if I stick to writing.

A deeper reason is that I feel that putting my voice on the internet crosses an invisible line I have drawn to protect my privacy. The last thing I want is somebody recognizing my voice and connecting my Tobold identity to the name that is written in my passport. Unlike Lum or Grimwell, who leveraged successful MMORPG sites into a job in the MMORPG industry, I have no interest whatsoever in a game related job. I already have quite a good job, and that one isn't connected to games at all. So I'm trying to keep that identity and my internet identity strictly separate. Games still aren't considered a serious hobby for a grown-up man.

And finally I'm thinking of my readers. Fact is that all my blog statistics show that I get a lot more trafic during office hours than during the weekend. And some people stated that they prefer reading my blog via the RSS feed, because their company firewall or content filter lets through feeds, but not blogs. I even get blog related e-mail that people sent from their company e-mail address, which is sometimes funny when the company e-mail system automatically adds a footer with some legal disclaimer or a request to send feedback to that person's manager (watch out for that if you work for Dell). In many jobs you can get away with reading blogs or feeds during times when things are going slow without attracting too much attention, but not listen to podcasts.

So for all these reasons I'll remain silent. So if you want a podcast, you can try Keen and Graev, or the for a much larger selection go to VirginWorlds. The "Shut Up We’re Talking" series, hosted by common sense gamer Darren, is very good.
Nice points. I would like to add some from a reader's point of view:

- Speed. Reading text is faster than listening to a radio show.
- Selection. When looking on a text you can get a very fast overview. How long is the text, wich words stand out, what it is about, do I really want to read this. You can skip uninteresting paragraphes and continue reading where the subject suits your interests. And it's easier to read your favorite part a second time, than trying to find it in an 30-minute audio file.
- Hypertext. You can't link in podcasts.
- Size. Podcasts and dial-up internet conntections don't like each other.

- Ben
You're mentioned in a lot of this kind of podcasts and you're reasons are more than valid. Especially if you look at the pure content side of podcasts, they still can not compete with the written word. I do not listen to podcasts for quality content but for pure entertainment reasons. I want to recommend the game theory podcast. They sometimes have real developers to talk to. Good stuff.

I still have to find a quality MMORPG focused podcasts. There are too many "i want to be a developer" kind of shows. If they mix the games they talk about, you get those "my game is superior to yours, cause...". If they speak about only one game, you get the "Our game is teh best, cause..." discussions. Avoid MMO shows if you can. We play enough of those, there is no reason to even listen about them ;P Podcasts also lack the efficiency of pure written blogs. Podcasting takes a lot more time and has a way smaller audience. Stick to writing ;)
Just keep it the way it is, its great!

I live in South Africa and the timezones are identical. I love to read a bit when I get some time at work.
I read your blog from my workplace everyday. I've got a government job and they buy the cheapest, crappiest computers they can find which usually don't have sound cards and can't handle streaming audio or anything like that.

So I love your blog as I can quickly browse the articles whenever I have a free couple of minutes.

Even though I don't have time to play MMORPG's anymore (steady job, married, kids) I love reading about whats going on in the industry.

Why is the addition of sound such a big deal. It's the same with voice chat in mmorpgs. This new technology is leaving millions of hearing impaired gamers in the dust.
Podcasts and blogs serve two different purposes I think. A lot of bloggers blog just to write down our thoughts, while a podcast is produced to entertain. Two different beasts.

I will second that Shut Up Were Talking is a great show, and Warp Drive Active is great for anyone who plays EVE Online.
We have a younger guy in our guild who sounds like he has a slight lisp or speech impediment. Lately he's told me his mic is broken so when we raid he logs in to Vent but only listens. Being that he's not a Raid Leader and he knows his stuff (he's been playing since launch) it's all good. A close friend of his told me his mic works fine, he just doesn't use it.

I suspect he's a little embarassed about his speech impediment, but given that I'm an Australian-American, half our Guild is from North Carolina, several members are from Canada including two officers, one of whom is actually a Chinese-Canadian lady (no, she's not a Farmer ;) not to mention everyone else from all over the U.S., although no New Englanders (but I think I have that area covered, too ;) I don't see what the big deal is with different accents and sounding different.

That said, you need to track down the Arnold's Soundboard Vent session. Someone with either good editing software or just perfect timing (or a bit of both) crashed a Raid and using nothing but soundbites messed around with the Raid, who actually took it rather well, and it's a very funny clip.

Tobold, being an Aussie I can understand you not wanting to be compared to Arnie because that's almost all you're going to get if your accent is not the norm. I get a similar thing from people asking me to do Steve Irwin. With him dead now those requests have stopped, but oddly enough people seem to think I should have been devastated by his death. I think many Americans took it a lot harder than the Aussies did.
The gig is up Tobold, we now know you real identity is Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Will we ever see a sequel to Total Recall?
I have been visiting your site almost daily for about a year now. I consider myself one of your loyal readers although I don't often comment. When I first discovered your blog I spent a few weeks reading all of your archived posts. Your blog records a history of inter-related concepts that I found enjoyable to read in the order you posted them. It just wouldn't have been the same if they were in a podcast format. I would not have had the time nor the inclination to listen to them all. Keep the written word!

P.S. I now have the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger narating your blog as I read it.
Can you write an article comparing EQ2 and LOTRO?
Heh...won't be the last time I try and bark up your tree Tobold.

As one of the longest standing MMO bloggers, I will get you on SUWT...either that or you'll get a restraining order on me :)

Can you write an article comparing EQ2 and LOTRO?

No Todd working here. :) But I can try to write something. I do take requests like that, although I prefer people who can write my name correctly. And e-mail is a much better way to ask for an article than a comment in an unrelated thread.

As one of the longest standing MMO bloggers, I will get you on SUWT...either that or you'll get a restraining order on me :)

I have something better than a restraining order. I have the Atlantic Ocean between us. :)
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