Tobold's Blog
Monday, December 04, 2017
Is the MMO Blogosphere still alive?

Back in the days when I was still blogging about MMORPGs and had thousands of visitors per day, I would get regularly pestered by various sites who made their living just aggregating content from blogs and other sites. Two days ago one of those sites contacted me again, telling me that I had been awarded a (virtual) medal as one of the Top 75 MMO Blogs on the web. Given how I haven't blogged about MMOs for a long time, that made me wonder about the state of the MMO Blogosphere. If my dead blog is one of the top 75, then how does the rest look?

I surfed to a selection of those "top 75" MMO blogs, as well as other links I knew, and found they more or less all fell into two categories: Either they were dead, or they had changed to report on all sorts of multiplayer games, up to and including Pokemon Go. I didn't see a single site still exclusively discussing the type of MMORPG that I would recognize under that term. Even right now as I check has the latest article being about Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, which really doesn't fall into the definition of MMORPG for me.

Now obviously there are still millions of people playing MMORPGs. But blogging about them doesn't appear to be a thing any more. Unlike other trends we know the exact date where MMO blogging peaked: The decline started on September 18, 2008, the day WAR was released, as the expectation had swelled the ranks of the MMO bloggers, and the reality let the air out of that bubble rather quickly. But as far as I can see that decline has continued over the last decade, powered both by the general decline of blogging as a form of expression on the internet in favor of tweeting, and by the decline of MMORPGs as a form of gaming in favor of other multiplayer games.

Am I wrong? Have I just overlooked a thriving MMO Blogosphere somewhere on the internet with thousands of daily readers? Or is this all a thing of a past that won't come back?

"Is the MMO Blogosphere still alive?"

I think the thousands of readers a day bit is gone. There are some of us still refusing to give up the ghost. Even though as you said we often started talking about lots of other things instead of just MMO games.
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The amount of content and interest in mmos is diminished, but not the desire for reading thoughtful writing, even when it is on topics I don't know/follow. Thanks for continuing to be a great blog after all these years.
I think the main reason MMO-exclusive blogs don't really exist anymore is because the genre hasn't given people much to talk about. Innovation has stopped for the last few years, and all of the old topics have been beaten to death and back.

Additionally, even writing about what you do in-game, EVE aside, is a repeat of the same old now. Everyone knows about themeparks and their structure, and everyone more or less knows what to expect out of a poorly executed sandbox attempt (LiF launch that just happened, the same story as so many others).

If Star Citizen surprised and is awesome, or Crowfall brings something that works and is truly new, or Camelot Unchained is a successful modern-day DAoC, I'd expect people to blog and read about it. Until then, not so much.
Of course it is. If you had an active blog roll you'd be able to see how lively the scene is. Thirty-five blogs in my blog roll have posted at least once in the last week, fifty in the last month.

I would agree that not many blogs are exclusively MMORPG-related these days, with coverage of other games and non-gaming topics being common, but that's a strength, not a weakness.
I would agree that it is a strength. But then it isn't really a MMO Blogosphere any more, but rather a Gaming Blogosphere. There is a reason I scratched MMORPG from the title of my blog.
I have to agree with syncaine. The problem isn't the topic, it's the state of the industry. Look up "best MMORPG 2017." Every list is filled with games that were released years ago. How long ago was the last major AAA MMORPG release, especially if you exclude imports? I don't see any on the horizon either. The only developers still making MMORPGs are indie developers, who frankly just don't have the resources to deliver anywhere near the content you need in this type of game. Star Citizen looks amazing, but the smart money is on it being the next No Man's Sky.
I think your experience says more about how mindless those aggregate sites are than about how lively the MMO blogging scene is. As Bhagpuss says, there is still plenty going on. Personally I've observed a certain shift in media though - I see fewer written blogs about my favourite games pop up, but there seem to be way more podcasts and YouTube channels dedicated to the subject than there were 5-10 years ago.
Your sample set is also not necessarily representative of the MMO blogging community. You said you chose the top 75 blogs back then. It's quite reasonable that many of those blogs would have stopped posting or have changed topics. (I did for a while.)

What you don't appear to have done is to have looked into the new MMO blogs that have opened. I know there are a few, at least from the Blaugust event a year or so ago, that started. While I haven't kept track of them myself, there should be a churn of new/old blogs over time.

I came for the MMO blogging, I stayed for the D&D and the gamer psychology. :) It's reassuring to read these posts and see that what's left of the blogsphere has more to do with substance than with flash. "It is the wind that passes, but the sea remains." ;)
Sure it’s alive. Bhagpuss’ blogroll updates every so often, and MassivelyOP’s Global Chat column collects some highlights every now and then.

But a) it’s fragmented - the time when everyone was playing the same MMO at the same time is long past us. Most people only have enough time in the day for one primary MMO at a time, and some stick with the same one for months/years, while others tourist around and sample a few week by week. Not to mention, other games that also might take up mindshare and game playing time dilute the focus somewhat (many games are incorporating MMO-like concepts these days and blurring the genre lines.)

b) there’s less readership - I think it’s reflective of the times. The newer generation reads less and watches more videos. Twitch is in, Discord is in, Youtube and Teamspeak are already a little passe. Reddit has replaced forums and blogs somewhat, providing the sense of community with less words or extradaneous background formatting. We lost Google Reader as an aggregator of blogs. Not only is there generally less patience/interest to sift through a wall of text, it’s harder for the average person to find a blog and keep returning.

c) there’s less frequent updates of said blogs. Writing is hard, who knew? Or at least it takes up more time than just streaming unedited video. Combine a) and b) and the passage of time having said everything there is to be said, and I suppose blog authors are less motivated or inspired to keep at it - given other alternatives that might suit them more. (Some have taken to the echo chamber of Twitter, for example, and some stream - both mediums are more social, community-centered affairs, imo.)

Blogging suits the introspective writer more - the people who are in love with the written word to begin with. Those will keep on keeping on, and keep the flame alive...if a little smaller and more flickering than before.
Hasn't the heyday of blogs passed not just in the mmo scene but in everything? I know that I get most of my gaming information from Youtube these days. I search for blogs and other written sources but outside of Reddit and a few other forums there isn't much.
I'm a text addict, but I'm not sure it's entirely healthy. Maybe the compressed data-dumps of text are an artefact of our low data communication bandwidth in the past.

But in the realm of MMORPG blogging, I suppose the real question is: are there MMORPG video blogs taking the place of the old text ones? Or is it just that the genre has matured and there is less new exciting stuff to talk about?
I have 132 blogs in my "MMO Games" section in Feedly. Not all of them are still extant, but most of them seem to post at least once a week. Between them all there are usually about 120 new posts per day. I'll admit I simply mark most of them read without reading them, but... there's still plenty being written about.
It's a dead genre. Gen X is too busy and Gen Y is playing LoL and PUBG and Millennials are playing Minecraft and Roblox and life goes on.

I think all of us still visit a couple of favorites...You and K and G remain in the rotation. I think for me the mmorpg blogging scene died when KiaSA quit.

Maybe it had something to do with the plugs being pulled on the worlds we spent so much time in. I digress but that is certainly why I went to WoW and stay there...that the game is going to stick around.

Anyway, thanks for always having something thoughtful to say Tobold.
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