The Blogosphere Strikes Back

Image stolen from Wookiepedia. And, you know, that movie.

Tobold recently declared that the MMO blogosphere was dead to him (paraphrasing slightly), so I suppose it’s my duty to point out that we’re still here, sort of.

Tobold was one of the first, if not the first MMORPG blogger I read, way back in the olden days when he talked about Vanilla WoW all the time. He was one of the original models for how I thought a blog should look. Then he sort of lost me in the last five years or so when he started panning every single new MMORPG that came out and embraced the jaded “everything used to be better” schtick and moved into pen-and-paper games. I haven’t read him much since then, but I see most of the titles of his articles going through my feed reader, and it’s hard not to notice one that reads, Is the MMO Blogosphere Still Alive?

Hey, I’m in that!

But by Tobold’s likely definition of “alive” (that is, generating ad revenue and getting free stuff thrown their way), probably not. The only way to get to that level is to a) start ten years ago, and b) embrace controversy early and often (like, say, talking about politics, which I’ve noticed from some EVE bloggers). Otherwise you have to branch out into other mediums like podcasts, streaming, or whatever.

But there are plenty of people still writing about MMOs. And even the subset of MMOs known as MMORPGs. (Here on this blog, the editorial standards are that an “MMO” means something very different from an “MMORPG.”)

I’m not particularly good at maintaining my own blogroll (because it is an incredible pain to manually make a big list of blog links in WordPress–for roughly 10 years I’ve wished for a reliable way to tell WordPress “just get your blogroll from my feed reader list and stick it on the side”), but I think the majority of mine still post relatively often. I also have a list of new blogs in my feed reader that I keep wanting to add to my blogroll.

The thing is, though, most blogs talk about their experiences in-game (including this one). Not very many talk about MMORPGs from a wider or philosophical or meta perspective, as Tobold used to do back in the day. There just isn’t that much to talk about on a daily or even weekly basis, that hasn’t already been said a million times before. I’m struggling to maintain a 3-posts-a-week schedule of interesting material here myself. Thankfully Tobold came along with this “blogs are dead” post to give me something to write about. :)

Most blogs tend to stick with one game, too. I jump around to different games a lot so I’m able to change up topics now and then, but it seems like a lot of people park themselves in one game for years on end. I can’t even imagine doing that, myself.

I think Twitter also cut deeply into a lot of blogging. Once potential bloggers discovered that they could be part of a community of their peers while only having to write 140 characters, instead of 500- or 1000-word articles, I think a lot of people said why bother? I can certainly understand the temptation myself. Why write an entire blog post about Kritika Online when I can tweet:

I can also comment on other stories around the gaming world without the effort of writing an entire post:

Those could have been two entire posts, but I couldn’t think of anything to write other than a sentence or two, so that was that. (I still might do a Kritika Online post, but the difficulty will be to avoid sounding like I’m bashing it to death just because I don’t “get it.”)

Not even mentioning streaming and YouTube, which is effectively blogging without the pesky need for structure and grammar.

So yes, there is still an MMO Blogosphere.

Ugh. This one is going to be hard to find a picture for. Another good reason to focus on in-game experiences–you can just use a handy screenshot!

Belghast also wrote about this.

3 thoughts on “The Blogosphere Strikes Back”

  1. Tobold, self-proclaimed man of science, declared things dead only after constructing a definition of his own that matched his desired result. For example, he decided retroactively if you post about non-MMO things like Pokemon Go, you aren’t really an MMO blog. Yet when the title of his blog had “MMO” in it he often ventured into other topics. Was he not an MMO blog then? Is this how science works in his world?

    Also, as I noted elsewhere, Raph Koster argued that Pokemon Go is an MMO with supporting arguments, so Tobold’s dismissal of it seems to more about him not liking it than any sort of rational exploration of its nature relative to our favored video game genre.

    Yes, our little corner of the web is still a thing. People still post every day. While a lot of sites have gone dark enough feeds are still active that I cannot read everything from start to finish every day.

    Anyway, I have a post about this brewing as well, though I shan’t feel the need to refute anything Tobold had to say.

      1. Oh yes, there is what I try to call a “Fantasy MMORPG” which is the child-of-DIKU thing we all sort of mean in the back of our head, and then there are MMOs, a term which has been stretched so far that it almost means “online multiplayer” the way some people use it.

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