Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Blog changes

I'm not having all that much fun blogging any more. Just like Larísa in her not-quite-farewell post I'm feeling stretched thin, and can't help but what the heck I'm doing this for. I created this blog to speak my mind and to discuss with like-minded people on how better MMORPGs could be made. Unfortunately the like-minded people are getting fewer and fewer. Instead the discussion is dominated by people who one way or another derive their self-worth from their leetness in some video game, and who need to constantly express their disdain for everybody else in order to keep that up. Why would I even want to talk with somebody whose biggest achievement in life is his gearscore in WoW, or his ability to gank other players in some PvP game? I have nothing in common with that sort of players, except for the bad luck of having frequently to share the same virtual worlds with them.

Post #3387, in the 8th year of this blog, and I not only know how people are going to react to anything I write, I could even write all those comments myself, correctly attributing names to attitudes. Some troll on this blog is actually already amusing himself doing exactly that, writing fake comments with fake identities, which are only slight parodies of the real ones. Not only are the comments predictable, they are also most of the time unwilling to actually discuss anything. People peddle their same old convictions and pseudo-religious unthinking support for "their" games. New ideas are quickly dismissed as "my favorite game doesn't do that, so it can't possibly work", or used for yet another diatribe against all those other "moron" players.

Successful blogging is hard work, much harder than successfully playing a game. It not only involves high levels of various *real* skills (writing skills, creativity, etc.), but also a lot of self-discipline to keep up a steady schedule; in my case about 10 blog posts per week on average. If I weigh that against the benefits I get out of blogging, I have to admit that the benefits aren't much: A couple of hundred friendly "keep up the good work" comments and mails, somewhat drowned in a larger number of negative comments, due to the fact that people are more likely to respond to something they disagree with. A small handful of free games. A few donations (in the last 3 months I got 3 donations for a grand total of $25). My net contribution to global GDP is probably negative, seeing how most of you read this at work. And if any of my writings ever influenced the design of any MMORPG, the lawyers must have told the devs to keep mum about that; but it is more likely that blogs simply don't influence game design at all.

Therefore I have decided to stretch myself less thin, and abandon the daily posting schedule. I'll play more and blog less, just writing whenever I really feel the urge to say something. I'm deliberately targeting a lower number of visitors and readers, in the hope of a less popular blog attracting less trolls (and goblins). I'll also read less blogs, kicking the eternally negative and disrespectful ones out of my feed reader. Peace of mind is worth more than being popular on the internet.
I commented on Buzz, but I'll do it here as well. I'm glad you are sticking with your blog, even if it is in a diminished capacity. I always enjoy reading your ideas, and even though they are not always in line with what I think, it always makes me wonder what could be. Perhaps it is for the best to lose some of the populous weight of your readership.

Perhaps it will lead to the proper reduction in trolls, and elitists. Either way, as long as you're writing... I'll be reading.
Dang! I love this blog and read it everyday. Still, i'd rather few posts now and then, than none at all. I'd get sick of the trolls you deal with and would have given up ages ago
to discuss with like-minded people
they are also most of the time unwilling to actually discuss anything.
Just like with the chicken and the egg, I see a causality between these two, but I'm not sure which caused which.
The trolls need to be banished from the Internet not just your blog. Keep up the great work here and enjoy your gaming.

And as my father often tells me "Don't let the buggers grind you down".
I'm such a newbie as a blogger compared to you. It took me only 2.5 years of blogging and some 600 posts to bring me to the same state of mind as you. You must have a ton of resiliance built into you to have coped with it for so long.

I'm still on the fence, enjoying my timeout, but currently I'm leaning towards the same solution as you: not shutting down the blog, but cutting down on the posting dramatically and see where it takes me.

I'm glad that you've decided to keep blogging, that you're still around. Somehow your presence in the blogosphere is more important than the frequency in the posting.

The question: "all this effort and where has it taken me, what was the point?" is kind of disturbing, isn't it? However I have no regrets of the effort I've put into it. To me it has meant that I've stepped up my skills in English, I've stretched my writing muscles in a new way and I've reached an understanding of the world of online gaming that I definitely wouldn't have gotten without being an active member of the blogosphere. Not to speak of all the interesting discussions we've had over the years. Sure, there are trolls and haters, but there are also a bunch of highly intelligent, interesting people around here, as bloggers and commenters. They've given me a lot of insight, new perspectives and ideas as well as entertainment. In some cases even what I'd call friendship.

If I keep blogging, but with a way lower ambition level and intensity, I have no doubt that I'll lose readers and attention and impact in the Blogosphere. But as you say: so what? Maybe there's actually a point in doing that. If we step back into the shadows we might be able to rid ourselves of some the negative sides of blogging and yet keep in touch with the people we care about.

Good luck on your cutting-down-mission! And wish me good luck in mine. With united efforts we might succed in this quest to find the sweet spot for blogging.
I have read your blog since 2007 and I must say it is one of the finest gaming publications out there, both online and off.

While I never see the need to comment on what you write, it does often spur discussions among myself and my gaming friends. It's unfortunate that the majority of feedback you receive is in the form of trolls. I hope you continue blogging, even if it's on a reduced schedule, because I believe you do contribute quite a bit to the general discussion of MMOs and gaming in general.
I wish you all the best :) And look forward to seeing your future posts. I think I've only been reading your blog for just over a year, and found I have similar thoughts and ideas about MMOs (e.g like you, I also don't like PVP).

Hope it works out for the best for you ;)
Like I say to myself, my own personal sanity/health is more important than anything else.
Good on you!
It takes only a handful of annoying people to mess things up for everyone else. Giving them attention only empowers them.

If the fakes bug you, having some benign readers point out the fakes with comments might be a nice way to negate the impact without you personally worrying about it.

I stopped playing WoW, but I still visit your blog daily to see what you have to say today. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on games et al. =]
Sounds good, Tobold. The less you feel compelled to push something out because you think you have to, the more you can enjoy yourself when you do write something.

Write when you have something to say and are interested in feedback. Those of us who like to read your thoughts, and comment constructively on them, will still be around when you do.

I understand the situation (having taken a hiatus from blogging myself)...but it's a shame, since I've long considered your blog to be one of the finest on gaming theory I've read. I often start talking about a topic and go, "Hey, Tobold talked about this, gotta go search his archives again." Go, play, have fun...and never mind the trolls. (Or just log IP addresses and silently ban the worst ones.)
Your blog is part of my daily morning routine. It is one of the few things that I look forward to every morning; that is, a blog that is well written and clearly articulated.

Thank you.
Tobold but have you thought about disabling comments altogether? Bill Harris runs a very successful gaming blog without comments. He does invite emails and he mentions noteworthy ones in his posts particularly in a regular Friday links section. As a reader I do miss the opportunity to comment but I still read his blog.

I wouldn't recommend this lightly because I have always felt that your willingness to accept comments was a great feature of the blog but if those comments are driving you to despair then you have every right to put your own peace of mind first.

For what it is worth you have my thanks for several years worth of entertaining, informative and thought provoking reading.
Keep up the good work ;)
It seems like every year you say you're going to cut back. That always seems to last a few weeks before you come back ;)

You're right that blogging is work (especially as regularly and thoroughly as you do it) but I think people underestimate how much they like working.

I used to raid almost every night in vanilla WoW, four hours a pop. I slowly burned out, grew to hate it, and eventually quit, because I was "accomplishing nothing".

But it’s not like I started climbing mountains or something when I quit. Raiding was semi-miserable (and my guild was mostly terrible) but it was probably one of the more interesting things I’ve done with my leisure time. I certainly remember a lot more about those eight months of raiding than I do about the eight months prior or following.
I seem to always view things from a different angle which is why trolls are amusing to me. When I dislike someone I typically ignore them rather than dedicating the time and effort it takes to hurt them. Trolls are like jilted lovers who cannot accept the break up and continue to dedicate their lives to you (even though in a negative way). Someone out there loves you, Larisa and Gev very much.

"Successful blogging is hard work, .... a lot of self-discipline to keep up a steady schedule"

Which is why I quit. I think blogging should be fun, but it seems most expect you to approach it as a job. I don't want to dedicated a few hours a day, every day, to writing a blog post. I'd rather play something, walk the dogs or sleep even.

And I understand your frustration with the "my game doesn't do that" crowd. Right now there are people on LotRO forums complaining that there are no flying mounts. When we point to the lore as the reason, we get called "nerds", "lore fanboys" and told that the game will either cater to them or die (meanwhile, it's been out for 3.5yrs). All of this for just trying to explain why the game is as it is.

I never saw this as a blog on how to make MMO's better. I saw it as a gaming blog where you discussed games, changes, etc. I guess because I looked at it as more of a "review" blog, I never get offended if you say gameA is better than gameB. Your views, and any bloggers, are only a point of consideration for me.
Some very good stuff here Tobold. There comes a time in a WoW blogger's life when they start realizing that they are having more fun actually playing the game than blogging about it. I'm one of those too.

Good luck in your endeavors man! Yours is one of the few WoW blogs I still take the time to read.
Tobold, I was sad to read your post today. Being a recent reader, within the last 2 or 3 weeks I will miss your daily comments. I understand after 8 years you are tired of writing and reading the same replies and putting up with the crap, but I will continue to check for your posts. I would enjoy reading a blog in which you list and briefly describe some of the blogs that you are enjoying (and real heresy, some of the books your are reading in your now increased spare time, lol). It is hard to sort out the wheat from the chaff and as someone new to the blog world it would be nice if someone literate, intelligent and with experience with the blogs out there could point out some blogs that he considers worth reading. Thanks and good luck, I'll continue to look for your posts.
I've been reading you since before TBC, Tobold, and obviously read your entire archives of those posts before I even started reading.

You literally can't get rid of me man, I'm going to be here forever, checking for new blog posts multiple times a day regardless of how forthcoming they may or may not be.

Sad to hear you say this but hopefully this fugue is short lived.
Yours was the first MMO blog I ever read Tobold and I've been following it for about 5 years now. It's always been a pleasure to read and has given me a lot of inspiration. Saying that, if you're not enjoying it then you need to take whatever actions are necessary to get yourself back on track.

Couldn't you make it members only or something?
All fair and reasonable i suppose. I suggest you maybe consider do what Spinksville is doing , by simply combining 4-5 thoughts/snippets in one post once a week or so.

While it's nice and interesting when you have daily updates about whatever game you're playing [Tale in a Desert to name one] , i personally don't always appreciate [and many others i'm sure] the effort it takes to do that.

Even bloggers like Syncaine who were posting about Darkfall everyday, great, but that kind of real-time updating tend to fly under the radar and i'm sure would make one feel over-blogged instead.

Besides, if Blizzard announce a release date for Cat, i don't see the point in dedicating a blog post about it with in-depth analysis on why the day is good or bad or ugly. Rather combine it with whatever else is happening at the end of the week I don't think anyone gets points for "blogging about it first" or having a 1000 word opinion about a release date.

I must finish with also stating "quality > quantity" . Biobreak for example posts some little paragraph or tidbit almost hourly , which tends to create that need for a blog post with a little more opinion or thought rather than idly commenting on it. This is something i tend to find on here though BUT it gets lost inbetween all the other daily posts [which most likely is not really needed] .
Take a rest; recharge those batteries! We'll miss you but we understand and will adapt!
I gaurantee you that in the months to come not only will your blog become a better read but it will expand far beyond the readership you have now. I know you don't want this but it's just a secondary effect of improving your blog.

WHY you ask? Well it's simple really, you are going to start interacting with blogs you haven't even come across yet once you dump some of the shady characters you've collaborated with in the past. Who you link to, post about and give credit to determine the audience you develop. If you want players who are more mature then you need to find blogging communities and forums which house those players. Blogging about blood elf porn for instance may have seemed funny to you but it definitely attracts the wrong audience to your blog in my opinion.

I would stop commenting about trolls as well. The more you talk about how they are getting to you the funnier they think they are. If you are deleting them quietly and ignoring them then eventually they just quit. I too had people annonymously posting on my blog for a good two or three weeks but by simply ignoring them (tough for a loud mouth like me) I managed to make it boring for them and they stopped.

Good luck to you and I hope everything works out for the best.
Have a relaxing break and I hope to see you back for Cataclysm!
Changing from a daily format to a weekly or ... when it suits you time frame is the typical transition for a not-for-profit blogger.

If anything it will probably weed out some of the ... trolls.

I was surprised that you mentioned that you sought out discussions from like minded people. I've always looked at blogs as a way to share one's thoughts only, with limited discussion via comments.

Limited because .. after 20+ comments, most people stop reading due to the sheer numbers. Who has time to read 10 pages of comments afterall.

Regardless, you'll have followers.
Well, I'll admit it's been a one-sided conversation, but I've always enjoyed and looked forward to what you have had to say. I suppose you're right, I've only posted once or twice because I generally agree (as you say, only disagreement engenders comments).

Glad you'll be cutting out the negative - I hope that increases your enjoyment of both playing, working, and blogging! I never understood what power they were exerting over you anyway.

I've been reading this blog for approximately four years - I'm going to miss your consistent and thoughtful voice of reason!
I will continue to visit you daily Tobold, if a new post arrives or not. I suppose in a way blogging must be like playing WoW in a way: having done so for 8 years, nothing can make it new again, you know what to expect, and some burn-out is understandable.

So too is taking a break and returning at whatever level you feel comfortable with, whenever you are ready. Their are many of us out here who just love to hear your thoughts on Cataclysm, Civilization 5, or whatever else is new in the gaming community.

And perhaps we are guilty of being too quiet and simply enjoying your thoughts and the discussions that occur, but we are here, and we - and I - thank you.
The fact that people don't comment "this post made me think a lot" or even that keep on disagreeing does not mean they did not think.

I'm absolutely sure that your contribution to the World GDP is positive. You made people think. We became smarter, more able to create GDP in the remaining time.
I don't comment often, in fact, I hardly comment anywhere, but I do enjoy your blog.

It is entertaining and the stuff you do in relation to behaviour and how systems of incentives and costs shape the actions of individuals has always interested me.

I am glad you will continue to do the blog, and I guess I should make an effort to engage in conversation to try and make it more worth your while.
This is why we can't have nice bloggers.
Damn trolls, ruining it for everyone.

Well, cant say I blame you for wanting to play more. Not to mention probably wanting to spend more time in the real world. But it is good to hear that you will continue to blog even if infrequently. Been following you for just over 2 years now and while I don't always agree with you, you never fail to bring up interesting topics. As I have said before. Very few blogs, in any topic let along gaming, are good enough to keep visiting daily over an extended period of time.
Good call, Tobold, and I commend you for your decision. Not that the quality hasn't been here, but I can certainly foresee the quality of your articles going up, as you (hopefully) are more focused on each one.

And enjoy the added playtime!
Works for me! I look forward to your less frequent posts, and hope that it leads you to get the fun back.
I'd say take a two month break. Not a single post during that time.

Come back around cats launch in the right frame of mind and enthusiastic again.
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Yaknow what's funny though? When you have a less regular schedule of posting, writing the first post again after a week or two weeks... is hard.

But once you have the first one written you feel like writing another. And so I sometimes end up with two or three posts in a day and then two weeks of nothing.

At least that's how it's been working for me.

I hope this does for you what you hope it will do :)
You should end it clean.

Man up, you don't want to do this anymore. Just say it and move on.

Tobold, you are obviously a very intelligent thoughtful person who enjoys meaningful discussion.

Looking for meaningful discussion on a public blog is like looking for love in a bar (pub). You have to know in your heart that this is a waste of time but you try anyway.

Go start blogging in your professional area for awhile have your 0-2 comments per post. When you get tired of no feedback blogs that nobody reads... Come Back

The Trolls will still be here... Although I suspect some of them will be Orcs actually

OR MAYBE if we are VERY lucky they will turn into SITH and we can have more Science Fiction like discussions!

Adios Amigo
I have noticed an increased negativity in the comments section around here lately. What it comes from... who knows?

Anyway, I wish you well and I hope you'll find more fun in game and out.
I can see how dealing with trolls can be taxing and understand how blogging can change from fun to tedious. I had the same problem with WoW which is why I quit. I loved running dungeons but after awhile I couldn't deal with the idiot kiddies. There are good people out there but the bad far outweigh them. Once I realized that I was no longer having fun the decision was easy.
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I must admit, i don't think i've ever commented on your blog before, but that doesn't mean you didn't get me thinking. 'Cause you got me thinking a lot.

I see this blog as one of the few sane, intelligent and thought provoking forums on the internet, and i salute you to creating it.

Have fun playing, and whenever you get a good idea, we (or I) will be ready to read it and think about it.

where were all this positive commenters earlier?
Way to go Tobold! I have appreciated your insight into the gaming world more than any other voice, but I actually think that scaling back will make you a better writer because the things you share will be deeper to who you are.
Just don't stop, or go the way of mobhunter, where you post like 2 times a year.

I'll miss reading your stuff, but i don't know i ever saw boggs as a conversation, they seem to me as more opinion pieces.
I wonder if there is a way to charge a subscription to post comments? I'm sure that would eliminate most of the trolls!
Coincidentally, I chose today as the day to end my blog altogether.

I got to the point with World of Warcraft where I wondered "what the heck I'm doing this for".

I decided to quit the game first. Then as days went on I realized I was freeing myself even more by relinquishing the all-encompassing activities that go along with playing WoW, such as blogging about it.

I never had the blog audience that you have so I can only imagine the huge burden that will be lifted by you scaling back.

Here's to finding balance. Here's to finding peace of mind!
Tobold, just wanted to say that I'll read your stuff even if you post once a month. I was drawn to your site because of your intelligent, thoughtful style.

Trolls may never be gone forever, but if you don't throw out the raw meat every day maybe you're right and they'll go searching for food at some other hand. I shudder to think who will "benefit" from your curtailing of posts.
Just post about what you want, when you want. Even try removing the comments section altogether for a while.

It's your blog; take ownership.
Take heart Tobold, you are one of several factors that actually inspired me NOT to blog. While that may sound negative, my thinking, after reading numerous blogs around the interwebs (gaming and otherwise), is that my temperament and patience is not such that I want to deal with the trolls and the everyday frustrations that are inherent to the process.

In effect, you assisted in saving me a lot of headaches. While I enjoy writing and love spirited banter in all forms, too often that is not what happens and unfortunately I am not possessed of your degree of patience. So, cheers and thanks for helping to save me from myself!
Sounds like a good plan. I tried blogging every day and just couldn't do it. On top of a normal life it just takes way too much effort. As soon as I decided to post whenever I felt like it, instead of on a schedule, I started loving blogging again.

I really like your insightful posts, but your comments section has grown rather negative. Good luck with the new posting whenever schedule. I'll be your reader no matter how often you post.
Crap. I might get more done at work, But I won't like it.

Cheers to you for setting limits.

BTW it's commenting on your blog posts that takes me so much time at work, not reading them. Trying to write a coherently worded comment that might contribute to the topic can be damn hard.

Gives me huge respect for how much and how well you write. Reading and commenting on your blog has made me a better and more careful writer.

And it's helped me commit to trying NaNoWriMo this year. Gonna do it. Or my wife gets her ironing done for a month. Ick.
Sad to read that.

But on a (rather large) side note: I do not think that trolls and similar commenters really are the problem. After all I read this and other blogs on a fairly regular schedule during the last few years and the amount of trolling is minimal - even if comments are posted before they are moderated.

I guess your reader numbers do not go up anymore - probably due to a limit in potential reader numbers that goes down right now. There just isn't the kind 'atmosphere of departure' that has been here during the exponential growth of the market (=WoW).

All the discussions we ave had over the years are stale; they have all been had before.

In MMO terms we (most readers of the blog and Tobold in particular) are old. We know our different PoV - most commenters are bloggers themselves.

What made your blog stand out was the predictable upgrades and the interesting topics you chose. Reading Tobold was usually one of the first things during a boring morning - and in my job most mornings are boring.

I made a comment or two to wake up :)

To revive this blog and, may I say the blogospere, we need new MMOs.

.. And now you will probably call me nostalgic. How predictable ! *grin*

I'll enjoy reading a post every now and then - especially if you concentrate on taggling topics in holistic manner. This is the real advantage of blogging 'rarely'.
If you're not obligated to anyone (and from your description, you are not obligated with regards to blogging) then go ahead and change your blogging schedule. Sounds like you are feeling a bit burnt out and have probably been forcing yourself to find things to say in order to maintain a daily update schedule.

It seems to me that you will not really lose out by blogging less often or taking a needed break from time to time. And in the long run the blog may benefit as well. The best time to experiment is when there is not much to lose by doing so.
Your blog has always been a big influence on me. Good luck with whatever you decide. (I like Gevlon's notion that you increase world GDP .. or was that fake Gevlon?)
@Spinksville. It's the real Gevlon. You can tell the difference from the about-page.
Hey tobold,

loving this blog too. I always asked myself how it is possible for somebody to write that much and to write nearly everyday. You even write more than I am able to read sometimes so I have to cut my sleep from time to time to read all the articles I missed.
In summary: respect *bow*

I think it is a good decision to cut down posting and continue writing less frequent. But I still wonder where your creativity will flow into then...

Hoping for further inspiring articles and thank you so far..
Hi Tobold, I read your blog everyday, and it always seems that most of your problems are derived from posts. I know turning them all off didn't work, and moderating it wasn't working out well for you, and letting everyone post without moderation hasn't worked out well either. It's too bad that there isn't a way to create a whitelist of people you allow to post, and also have a way of allowing new people to submit posts that allow you to review them, and then decide to block or whitelist them. That way creating a nice block of real people to interact with instead of the extremes of all or nothing posting.
Tobold I have enjoyed reading your blog. It is one of the better ones out there for the very reason that you do offer lucid and cogent analysis, arugments,and opinions on your subject matter. Blogging doesn't have to be an all or nothing affair. Blog when you want to or don't blog when the mood takes you. There doesn't need to be any artificial weekly quota you need to stick to. Do one blog post a week or 20 - just let your mood take you. And don't read into the trolls arguments so personally. Your blog is here in order for you to share your thoughts and make us think. Arguments, and winning them, shouldn't be part of the calculations unless your intention is to engage in polemics.
No hard feelings Tobold, I read every one of your blog posts, but I rarely read comments these days. To be fair, that has at least as much to do with time limitations as with quality issues.

Honestly, I think most of the problems you're talking about are endemic to humanity as a whole. When you look at politics, you get people talking about their position the way someone talks about their favorite video game. Same in sports, and I suspect same (to a degree) in academics. People aren't all that willing to be truly open minded. When I look at myself honestly, I can admit that I'm not all that open minded except when I really work at it. It's just that it's so much easier to be shallow and negative.

So I've been playing more and reading less too. Have fun!
You get a more rarefied commenter group if you don't talk about WoW. Talking about the biggest game in town attracts its players, detractors, etc. If you are writing mostly about A Tale in the Desert, you get a different, smaller crowd. As you do playing A Tale in the Desert.

I'd personally like to thank you for your wonderful blog, of which I've been a reader for several years. I don't comment - however please take heart form the fact the majority of readers are supportive and enjoy your writing.

Blogging is hard work, and like a MMO if it feels more like a chore than fun then by all means take a break.

I'm a WoW player with a busy career, a young daughter and other interests. I don't raid anymore as I grew to hate the grind. Some people love it, and that's fine. If you love raiding, then raid. If you love PvP then PvP. If you love collecting pets, collect pets. If you love levelling alts, then level away. I've also tried WAR, EVE and about to jump into LOTRO F2P.

The most liberating thing for me was giving up on the thought on "winning" in an MMO and just set my own personal goals. After playing one toon (ret/holy pally) for four years I decided to level alts on both horde and alliance, run PvP, try tanking... I've had more fun in the last six months than ever.

I stopped worrying about Gear Score, Recount stats, having "the best gear" and thinking my MMO hobby reflected my value as a human being.

It's a game. I make what I want of it.

Every time I come across a person fretting over MY gear score, dps, healing I put them on ignore. Life's too short for the epeen of others!

I look forward to reading your blog, even if the posts are less frequent.
I'll miss the daily posts, I definitely look forward to reading what you have to say every day... but I understand that it can take a lot out of you. Very glad you'll still be posting occasionally still though.

As a young(ish) person with a vested career interest in the game design field your blog has done a lot to improve my critical thinking about game design in general and also about the psychology of the gaming community. Thank you for that.
Something that you might enjoy which I have seen work well is kind of like a blog collective - where you and people who are somewhat likeminded can all kind of weigh in on issues/topics of the mmo gaming world and then everyone's responses/articles are released together once a month. I think it could be pretty cool - you all could also have a chance to respond to one another's articles - and then it would kind of be more like the community that you seem to desire. Other people could see what you all have written but not comment on the site. Could be cool. I like your posts, and agree with you for the most part (though I am a sucker for the more sandboxy old hardcore games than you seem to favor - but you more just say that they wouldn't be successful than say that they are 'worse' which I do agree with.) Anyhow just want you to know that I appreciate your effort.
To be honest Tobold, I think what you need is a good gimmick. Like gevlon has his M&S. You see every time gevlon can't think of anything new to post (or there simply isn't anything new) to talk about, he goes back to his library of examples why M&S are bad (i'm positive he has one!) and writes a post about it. It's kind of like a blog sub-theme. And it sure beats the hell out of trolling other people and starting blogosphere-wide feminism discussions.
I've made it a point to read your blog daily. I'm hoping your posts don't become too few and far between. Regardless, thank you for your time and efforts.
Your's is typically the first post I read every morning when I fire up Google reader. Will continue to read, regardless of your posting schedule. Would be interested to hear any further thoughts on ATITD. Keep up the good work. :)
good post i look forward to following your blog now. i started my own mmo blog at i would like you and your readers to check it out :)
Thanks Tobold. I may not write comments often anymore, nor read every blog post in it's entirety, but I'll still keep your blog in my reader, just like some others who have closed up shop. Never know when they may come back.
Besides, I may actually post a story I've been writing - even though some parts are a bit 'R' rated, if not 'NC-17'.
Sadly Tobold, the underbelly of the games we play is a dull noise always there and always the same decibel... it's just always an overtone for anything we play anymore. The joy is and always has been in the games themselves. I think someone taking themselves out of the joy and into the noise would cause a person to loose perspective. I may have disagreed with you on points but, I never disrespected your point of view. You will be missed on a daily basis.

Play and be happy the noise will be there droning on as usual.
I appreciate the substantial work you've put into this blog. That you have found the feedback to be so negative says a lot about the culture of the internet, since the one you've cultivated here is much better than average.

I hope you find more infrequent blogging to be more satisfying as I would be sad to lose your perspective and this forum.
It seems to me that you really like writing and that's probably the reason you ever started the blog.

Just keep that in mind and try to go back to that original feeling and don't let the bastards keep you down :). And if you don't feel like writing for a few days / weeks / whatever than just don't do it. The urge will come back.
Thank you for your efforts.

This is sad for me but clearly better mental health for you. I frequently notice that I feel much, much better when I don't read the bloggers and forums for my MMOs. Which raises the question why I read them.

Alas, I suspect a smaller audience will still contain at least as high of % of goblins and the "let me assuage my insecurities by berating others" crowd. But if you encounter it less frequently, perhaps it will not be as draining.

I totally understand. No point in trying to keep blogging a lot if you don't enjoy it. Just write when you feel like it.

I would be very sad if you stopped altogether though. :)
sounds like you're a little burned out and indeed you have posted so often for such a long time, it won't hurt to slow the pace a little. I enjoy writing and blogging a lot but I honestly never got how you could keep up with such a schedule, it always seemed a bit of a 'race to get everything covered' to me which must feel like a huge pressure to an author. I couldn't do it at least, I spend a lot of time on individual posts, posting 10 times a week would feel like a job to me.

hopefully blogging a bit less and having more space to breathe will rekindle your enthusiasm. =)
I met you years ago on Grimwell's message board (why do all my posts lately seem like an old man saying "When I was your age...). I was impressed by you even then. Heck you're the reason I stopped blogging, cause you were saying everything I was saying only more elegantly than I ever could.

But it's not like you're getting paid for this. If you aren't getting anything out of this, then stop. But by the looks of the comments in this thread there were many folks around the internet who were getting something valuable out of what you were saying.

Good luck to you man. No matter where you end up. My your games always be filled with interesting bad guys.
An so it comes upon us. Black Thursday - They day that Mr. Tobold went silent.

We check the the page hoping he was having just a bad day but...

Silence. Eerie Silence.

We reach for our coffee, take a sip, hit F5 and still...



From whence shall come our daily philosophical gaming cognitive fix?

I am already staring to feel restless.
Enjoy your break Tobold! Like many others I will keep visiting from time to time as your blog is always interesting and informative.
I read your blogs every day and enjoy them. Glad you're taking a break if it feels right.

Remember that you require a login to comment. Many of us folks with whom you would like to have a dialog have lives and responsibilities and don't care to be found posting on a gaming blog.

I would say "keep up the good work" every day, but I thought that would get annoying, so I didn't comment at all most days.

But in my heart, I commented "keep up the good work" repeatedly over the past four years.

Your blog was the first personal MMO blog I encountered, and my first step toward my own blog.

You've always brought interesting ideas and a sharp critical mind to the blogosphere and I hope that you feel like you have something to say more often than not. :)
Why don't you start s new blog under a different name? I know a blog is like a character you leveled and each reader is a new level. Thank back to your first few loyal readers, those are the people you want to write for. You can add another "character slot" and do it differently. You have so much to say, might as well tell a different story in a new world.
It is hard to think of starting fresh, but think of it as a social experiment. Maybe, you can be a girl or an American? It is the Internet use the autonomy in your favor. You will always be Tobold, but there is more to you than this tiny space. You wouldn't believe how many different people I am and how many blogs I have. Just a suggestion

Just remember to never tell anybody you are Tobold. It's fun try it :)
Hi Tobold,

Though I'll feel the loss of your not posting every day, I certainly understand you decision. It's hard work and in the end we all have to find our own reasons for keeping at it. Yours was, literally, the first personal MMO blog I found when I started playing WoW four years ago. I'd copy and paste your blog entries into a word document to get around the rules about reading websites at work, hehe. Though, at a call center, calls were coming no matter what, so the GDP didn't take a hit on my account.

Enjoy your extra time gaming and taking time out for yourself. Those of us who have always followed your site will still be here whenever you choose to pop in. We keep coming because we appreciate your friendly voice adding to the conversation. For my part, I hope it keeps coming for a long time to come.

- Chris
To be honest if you post opinions in an open forum such as this you should take the rough with the smooth.

Yeah it sucks there are idiots out there... but that is the nature of the beast.

Take a break maybe?

But if you love it, you'll come back to it.

I believe that is just what you will do.

Don't take it from me, but look at all the support you are getting above... that says an awful lot sir.

These people want to read your daily thoughts and opinions.

Whilst I don't agree with your 'rose tinted glasses' view of a certain MMO it makes interesting reading... stick to your guns and don't let the half wits out there bring you down.
Keep up the good work Tobold, this is a great blog and it would be sorely missed as a voice in the game blogosphere.

Also, trolls will be trolls, they have a tendency to come with success, the day they decide to leave your ship is the day you might have to start worrying.

Until that day, I hope you keep blogging, and I'll be checking in every other day.
Your blog is a great one! Hope you get a well-deserved break and come back refreshed!
I wouldnt have too high hopes about intelligent discussion on the net, Tobold:) Also when blogging -which is basically a passtime- begins to feel like work you should probably stop. I dont know if that is the issue in your case, but assuming you have a fulltime job you are putting a very large amount of your spare time in blogging. That is OK of course, but maybe a bit monomanic. But perhaps your time management and writing skills far exceed mine:) and this wasnt an issue. Also MMORPGs are a very niche subject. Perhaps diversifying may be the key, as you tried before with posts about politics or economics. Good luck, i keep on reading your blog, whatever the frequency of posts.
A couple of hundred friendly "keep up the good work" comments and mails, somewhat drowned in a larger number of negative comments

I think if you counted them up, in any of these hang-wringing-tobold blog articles, the positive comments dramatically outweigh any negative ones.

If you really can't handle discussing things with the occasional disagreeing opinion, just turn off commenting. Although that would make this blog a lot less fun to read.

And I thought a couple months ago you already said you were going to try to cut back on the number of posts?
A lot of my favorite blogs don't have comments. You'd probably do well to go the same route. People want to read what you have to say, not the long list of crap that may or may not follow it.

Don't let the no-lifes ruin your blog. Just turn them off.
Just started looking at your blog again. Does this mean there'll be less lectures on how us dern kids should orient our personality to be more socially conforming?

Because I remember that causing issues with some commenters...
I would like to read a post by you Tobold and your MMORPG experience. When did you start, the game you played, the game you tried and your opinion about them.
Long-time lurker, infrequent poster: Thanks for this.

It's always better when people create when they're inspired instead of just to pay the bills or fulfil an obligation. Ask any artist - and make no mistake, writing often requires just as much creativity.

(Trust me. I've written a few popular pieces in my time, which people have said repeatedly, "You should sell this and use it to do this all the time! I'd pay to read that!" To which the response is, "Yes, but I only have about one of those in me a year. The rest you wouldn't read if you were paid.")

For the record, we agree a lot. I just don't tell you. :)
Hehe, I always wondered how really smart guy like you survives the Truth-About-Homo-Sapiens :)..

This is my first comment ever, although I read your blog since quite long time. Keep it up :)
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