Posts Tagged ‘Blogs’

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Happy 4th Blogiversary To Me

January 8, 2014

4 bday

Holy crap, as of yesterday this blog is four years old! Time really flies, doesn’t it? It feels more like three, though that might be because I completely forgot my blogiversary last year. Would have forgotten this year too, truth be told, if Rowan (who will be celebrating his own blogiversary very soon as well) hadn’t reminded me. I am just bad with birthdays.

Anyway, since my blog’s anniversary is in January, technically this post could also serve as a look back at 2013. Once again, this blog didn’t see as much activity in the last year as I would have liked. In my defense though, it was a busy year in terms of real life, and quite honestly, it was a pretty tame one for MMOs. Tame…but definitely not lame.

I only participated in the launches of mainly two games — Defiance and Neverwinter — and both released during the first part of the year (though in the latter’s case, an um, open-beta-that-really-wasn’t-a-beta).

nw

Instead, I spent the last year revisiting a lot of old favorites. World of Warcraft, of course, is as ever the dependable standby. I would play a couple months, take another couple months off, then do it all over again. I know I can always count on it being there whenever I feel like a romp through Azeroth.

panda

Star Trek Online saw some play too because of their new expansion. I rolled a Romulan, got to have some fun with the duty officer mini-game, and got roped into doing dailies for their summer event. This was the year I truly came to develop an appreciation for a free-to-play STO.

romulan

A few months ago, I also surprised myself by resubbing to Star Wars: The Old Republic. This was thanks to the revitalization of our guild, which included a faction change to refocus our efforts on the Empire side. SWTOR saw an expansion too, and I’m still hopping in now and then getting in my Galactic Starfighter battles. They’re a lot more fun once you get a hang of the controls and start upgrading your ship.

ops

And finally, there’s The Secret World. TSW Mondays are still going strong, and in terms of social events, it’s probably Mercy Gaming’s greatest success. I don’t think anyone would have believed it a year and a half ago, but it’s true that our weekly group has steadily grown since Secret Mondays first started. To the usual gang, thanks for making this such a great year in TSW.

headstand

Other highlights of the year that aren’t really related to gaming (and in fact, they actually took away from my gaming time, but I wouldn’t change that for the world!) include some of my new hobbies:

1) Pathfinder! I have reason to look forward to Sunday nights now that my friends and I hold weekly games over Fantasy Grounds 2 and Teamspeak.

2) Miniature painting! I’ve always wanted to get into this, and this year I finally took the plunge!

3) Podcasting! Recording Battle Bards with my co-hosts Syp and Syl has been such fun this year.

4) Book blogging! I’ve always read voraciously, and this year I went one step further and started a book blog with a couple of my friends. It has been amazing.

And of course, nothing beats spending time with my family. My little girl is almost two now, and every day she fills my life with surprises and delight. My husband and I don’t get to play video games as much anymore, spending a couple hours a night in our MMOs only after we’ve put the baby to bed. When she’s awake, we don’t want to miss a moment with her!

Finally, to my readers, I want to thank you for another fantastic year. 2014 looks to be another great one with a couple big MMOs on the horizon. I haven’t mentioned these games a lot on my blog the past year, mostly because I’ve resolved to keep my excitement in check going forward, but I’d like to go on record to say that I am very much looking forward to BOTH Wildstar and The Elder Scrolls Online.

wildstar

ESO

I have no doubt I’ll be gracing this blog with my thoughts on both sometime in the future. And perhaps more! Thanks again, and I’m definitely looking forward to another year of blogging. Ciao!

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DAW: Funcom

March 28, 2013
shout out

Shout-out to Funcom

Outstanding. Apparently, my blog’s revival has serendipitously coincided with DAW, or Developer Appreciation Week. This is good, because I would have been loath to miss out on this tradition. Let’s all take part in sharing the love! Originally the brainchild of Scarybooster, DAW is a chance for gamers and bloggers everywhere to show our appreciation for developers, and thank them for their hard work in bringing us the games we enjoy.

Anyway, there are so many devs that deserve a pat on the back, but this year I would like to dedicate my DAW post to Funcom and the team who brings us The Secret World (and I’m not the only one).

TSW enchanted me from the outset to become the biggest and most pleasant gaming surprise for me in 2012. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was expecting at first, but it certainly wasn’t something I anticipated playing past the first 30 days. I think I bought the game out of curiosity more than anything. It was meant to be an MMO to dabble away in for a while, a summer distraction and not much more.

Fast forward almost nine months later, and I am still playing. More importantly, I am still having a blast.

Of course, Funcom has had its struggles and TSW has not been free of issues, but I’d like to think I know a gem when I see one. The guild I am in has even set up weekly sessions to play TSW together, and I have to say that week after week it still never fails to entertain me, to shock me, to make me shake my head and say to myself, “Damn, this game is bloody brilliant.”

So, to the good folks working on TSW, keep up the good work. You have in me a loyal subscriber who does not at all mind her money going to support the likes of creepy Innsmouth Academy occult headmasters or rifle-dancing Marya. Thank you for your ingenuity, for having the guts to push the envelope, and for making one hell of a unique MMO.

Good times:

werewolf

darkness war

Hell Fallen

cat god

templars

 

 

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Quote Of The Day: Judge Not “The Secret World” By Its Beta

July 16, 2012

While first glances make TSW appear to be just another MMO with a horror theme, the reality is the game is much deeper and varied than most of what we have been playing over the last several years.  It was then that I realized I had made a huge error in beta.  I had judged TSW far too early.  I had done a disservice to Funcom as a tester, and almost bypassed what was looking to be one of the best gaming experiences I had had in years.

- Paganrites

For the sake of full disclosure, I would first like to say I did not play The Secret World beta. TSW was the first MMO in a long, long time where I consciously and explicitly made the decision to forgo beta, opting to plunge in blind at launch and play with fresh eyes instead. Of course, those paying attention will remember that I caved during the last beta weekend and played for a couple of hours (dammit, I’m so weak). Still, as it was for such a short time and only barely a week before early access, I’m thinking it hardly counts.

Regardless, lately I’ve been reading up on the game a lot. My research around the net has brought me to many a gaming blog or community forum where I often see a reason commonly repeated by people who have decided not to play TSW, usually something along the lines of “I tried the beta, and I didn’t like it.” This is why this blog post by Paganrites caught my attention today (and also because I noticed that several of my Twitter messages make cameo appearances).

In a nutshell, it’s basically an earnest declaration of love for the game from someone who had originally been bitterly let down by beta. The title pretty much says it all.

You could say that I too judged TSW a tad too early, specifically the combat which I initially described from my brief beta experience as clunky and unintuitive. In live, however, it felt smoother and more fluid, and this was only five days later. At first I thought I’d gotten used to the combat; it didn’t occur to me that vast improvements might have been made to the final build, which appears to be the case. I say most of the time, what we see in beta is pretty close to what we see in live, but according to Pagan, those judging TSW by its beta could be doing the game and themselves a disservice, as apparently the difference between the final product and even the later test builds is like night and day.

Just some food for thought, especially regarding what he also says at the end of the article regarding not participating in any more beta tests. Understandably, most people I know prefer to “test drive” an MMO before making the decision to buy, and lately, so-called beta tests have become the way to do so. Still, there is something to be said about waiting to do quests and instance encounters in a new game for the first time during launch — there’s that wonderful shared experience of learning the fights together with others (even if it does mean dying over and over), and allowing yourself to discover the game as a blank slate and be surprised by things you never knew.

It’s the whole reason why I decided to stay away from TSW beta in the first place; even from the beginning it felt to me like the less I knew about it, the better. Ultimately I think it was the right call, as not knowing what to expect – especially in this game — definitely has its advantages. However, as difficult as it might be to resist, going forward I too will probably try holding off on any more beta tests on general principle. No telling if I will succeed, but I just have a feeling it might bring me more enjoyment in the long run.

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NBI Wrap Up

May 31, 2012

As we come to the last day of May, so ends Newbie Blogger Initiative Month. I would like to thank Syp once again for organizing the event, and by all accounts it was a huge success.

I’d like to wish the best of luck to those newbie bloggers who have taken the plunge. It’s a great experience, and I hope it brings you as much pleasure and joy as it has brought me.

It’s also a wonderful way to meet friends, and for me that’s the best part of all. I didn’t get a chance to do a proper write-up of why I first decided to blog, but I will say now that a big part of it had to do with a lack of people in my real life to whom I can talk about my gaming hobby. It’s not so fun when you’re excited about something but have no one to geek out with. This blog, however, has led me to others who shared my interests. I learned that game bloggers are part of an extremely welcoming community. Some I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the flesh, others I have not; regardless, I consider a lot of them to be my closest friends.

My final piece of advice: keep blogging. Write about what you like, write about makes you feel happy. When inspiration strikes, blog. When you feel burnt out or life gets too crazy, take a break. Just don’t stop.

I wish I had had the chance to write more NBI articles this month, but the schedule just didn’t really permit. But other sponsors have written fantastic advice articles, better than I could have done anyway. Following the happenings from the NBI website, I’ve enjoyed checking out the posts that have popped up. They have been fantastic. If you’re still on the fence about starting a blog, don’t let the end of NBI stop you. You can start anytime, and the advice articles will always be there.

I’m also happy and amazed by the number of newbie blogs that come about because of this initiative. Syp has compiled a list of all the new blogs as well as a list of the sponsor articles, and you can find them below, please check it out! Congrats to everyone involved on a job well done, I look forward to doing this again next year!

New blogs to check out:

Sponsor advice posts:

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NBI: 3 Little Things

May 14, 2012

So, you’ve started a blog, and of course now you want people to read it. Blog promotion is certainly important, and those thousands of hits aren’t going to come after just a day. Readership is something that needs to be built from the ground up.

I didn’t plan on this NBI article being the first I write for the blog, but my schedule is so sporadic these days (read: so dependent on the moods of my infant daughter) that I am driven to bang out the words whenever the inspiration strikes. I got the idea for this post talking to my brother, who is studying corporate communications and is playing around with the idea of starting his own blog. The other day he asked me for some advice on getting his blog noticed.

Look around and you’ll see tons of tips for promoting your blog and networking — tips getting onto Twitter/Facebook/Google+, keeping a schedule and posting consistently, being yourself and honest with your readers, etc. etc. etc. — all very good advice, a lot of which I follow myself. But of course, my brother already knows all this; it’s stuff I’m sure he’s studied in his courses on the importance of social media. What he wanted to know was some of my personal experiences, the other things I do on this blog that I feel has helped increase my readership over the last couple of years. The three little things I told him:

1. Ooh, pretty pictures!

Maybe you’ve noticed, but I love me some pictures. With only a handful of exceptions, all my posts are accompanied by one or more images.

As an artist, I understand all too well the way we humans are drawn to visual stimuli. Sometimes, having a picture helps pull in your audience’s attention. Even if the title of the post doesn’t interest the reader right away, the picture might. When adding images, keep things tidy and neat, make sure it’s not too distracting and that it doesn’t make a mess of your formatting. And keep it relevant to your subject! A lot of people do image searches, and when they find your site they might very well read your post as well. Who knows, it might earn you a new regular reader.

And okay fine, it’s also an excuse for me to show off some of my pretty screenies. Screenshot whore that I am.

Tee hee.

2. Keep it clean!

Opinion might be divided on this subject, but I personally opt not to swear on my blog, or at least, I try hard to keep things PG-13. No, I am not a prude; you can ask my husband, who will attest to the way I swear like a sailor when I’m at home in real life. In fact, maybe more than a sailor (something I am striving to change, now with this whole pesky role-model-for-my-children thing and all). I also don’t have a problem with other blogs that let loose; a lot of my favorite blogs that I read do. Swearing is just something I don’t want for my own blog.

Firstly, it’s because it might deter people from sharing your articles. For example, I used to share all sorts of cool things I find on the web with my boss, because she was cool. And yet, probably not cool enough that I would be comfortable sharing with her an article that had a naughty word every other sentence. Like it or not, I also find people are also more willing to heed your opinions when you’re not spouting them off with a potty mouth.

Secondly, I don’t swear on my blog as an exercise in writing. If there’s a better way to express something without dropping an f-bomb, I challenge myself to find it.

3. Reply to comments!

Before I go on, I just want to say that when it comes to replying to comments, I believe in doing it for its own sake. That doing so has had a positive effect on social networking and building readership is just a side effect. A happy side effect. Never mind that if someone took the time to read my writing and leave a comment, I feel I should also take the time to acknowledge and reply. I just love comments, period. And I very much enjoy replying to them, it’s one of my favorite things to do in my day. I’m a little sad that I am not so good with it now, due to time constraints.

Plus, one reason I started blogging was because I wanted to be part of the community. Sharing opinions and having discussions is what it’s all about, and for me that was the whole point of this blog. After all, it’s not as much fun when the interaction is only one way, at least not for me and probably not for the reader as well. I know that personally, I am more likely to revisit a blog again and again when I know the blogger will have a response to any question or comment I might have. I also feel a stronger connection to that blogger.

Believe it or not, I owe many great friendships to those little conversations in comment sections!

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Dive Into The World Of Blogging With The Newbie Blogger Initiative

May 1, 2012

Ever wondered how this blog came about? Well, once upon a time, MMOGC’s passion for gaming and MMOGC’s passion for writing hooked up at a wild party over a line of tequila shots, and it was hot, steamy love at first sight. Not long afterward, this blog was born and they all lived happily ever after.

Okay fine, so maybe there was a lot more to it than that.

In truth, in the days leading up to my decision to start a blog, there were plenty of false starts, questions without answers, not to mention a shameful amount of procrastination. There were also moments of agonizing doubt. Will anyone even read my stuff? What if they do and hate it? What if I run out of ideas? Hmm, come to think of it, maybe there actually were some tequila shots involved. At least I think. Anyway, my point is, there definitely wasn’t anything easy or certain on that day a little more than two years ago when I finally decided to take the plunge, but I have to say this: Looking back, I’m damn glad I made the decision. Blogging is one of the most gratifying hobbies I’ve ever chosen to take up.

That is why I’m very pleased to be involved with a program called the Newbie Blogger Initiative, which kicks off today. Headed by Syp of BioBreak and sponsored by over 70 bloggers, the NBI strives to encourage new and aspiring bloggers to get their own blogs off the ground. So if you’ve always wanted to blog and need advice, support, or just some of that plain old motivation to get yourself started, we invite you to head on over to the NBI forums and dive right in. We know that venturing into the world of blogging can be a terrifying notion, but it needn’t be! Introduce yourself and make yourself at home, we’re here to help.

That said, look forward to seeing some articles related to tips and advice for blogging-hopefuls here on MMOGC during the month of May, because I sure look forward to writing them. I may not be gaming much these days but by golly you bet your publish button I’ll still blog, and I’m happy that it’s to support such a fun and wonderful initiative.

I already have a few ideas for posts lined up, but as always feel free to leave a comment here to ask any questions you may have, or better yet, join us for discussion on the forums! And it’s not too late for current bloggers to sponsor and get in on this either; during this exciting time, newbies and veterans alike will be sharing ideas and learning from each other. With so many of us involved, you’ll no doubt be seeing a lot of great posts popping up around the blogosphere dedicated to the NBI this month. Truly, there is no better time to be a new blogger.

So what are you waiting for? Push aside those doubts, skip the tequila hangover and start your blog today!

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2 Years Of Blogging

January 9, 2012

On Saturday January 7, 2012, MMOGC turned 2!

I’m a little stunned to think I started this blog two years ago and that I’m still blogging today. I’m sure I’ve already mentioned this, but when my life gets busy, writing is usually the first of my hobbies to go out the window. This was certainly put to the test several times in 2011, especially during the crazy summer. I definitely did not post this past year as much as I would have liked.

I admit, sometimes I still feel like I’m in way over my head. I am also astounded — but grateful and touched! — whenever I look at my WordPress stats to see that there are actually living, breathing human beings who read this thing. I am deeply humbled and honored. To me, being able to connect with other gamers and to be a part of the gaming community is the best thing about blogging. It’s the people, as well as the discussions that take place here that make it all worth while.

To my readers, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. 2012 promises to be even busier, but I’m looking forward to year 3!

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