Six years… wow

Today marks our 6th anniversary of the blog. We have posted a total of 593 published posts (594 as soon as I hit “publish” on this one) which means that we have about 100 posts per years which translates to one post every three to four days. This is not bad!

I often wish I could write down more posts here, but real life happens and it’s been hitting us with lots of non-gaming content lately. I will definitely not complain, though, because I still love my job and I love writing my dissertation thesis. We are also in the middle of preparing our wedding come August. And even though I have fallen asleep more often than not recently while trying to play a game in the evening, I still do have some time left for gaming. It just means that there isn’t a lot of energy left to write down my thoughts on the game I’m playing.

Elder Scrolls Online Dragonknight

But just to give you some information on what I’ve been up to lately: I started playing a magicka Dragonknight in Elder Scrolls Online and a stamina Dragonknight together with bookahnerk (well, we will play together once he’s not in a different part of Germany most of the week with only his non-gaming laptop accompanying him). Thanks to Wildstar offering a free level 50, I have jumped back into the game to check out the Dominion side with my new chua esper. In Rift, I am thinking about starting a new dimension-building project. Not that the first one is finished or even anything spectacular, but I’d really like to have something else. I haven’t really decided what exactly I want, only that its focus will on the training dummies that are available. Kind of like a fighting/training arena, but with some more style… :p And then there is Trove… a game I have neglected quite a lot lately, because I had some weird performance issues and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I think my issue may have come from enabling multithreading in the options and as a result, I had quite a lot of stuttering in the game. After disabling this setting, the stuttering hasn’t appeared anymore, so I hope that this really solved the issue because I would love to jump into Trove again.

Chua Esper Wildstar

Other than MMORPGs, I’ve been trying out Folk Tale again recently. A game that’s been in Steam’s Early Access for a few years already and which has received lots of negative reviews because of that. Once I’ve gotten a good enough impression, I will report here about the game, but I will not focus on the past, but instead I’ll look at what you get if you buy the game now. In general, I’ve gone “back to the roots” with some city-building games like Folk Tale, Cities Skylines etc.

I also got Total War: Warhammer in Humble Bundle March’s bundle, but to be honest, the game felt very overwhelming!

Either way, even after six years, there are no plans to stop blogging! Real life is keeping me from blogging as much as I’d like, but that still won’t stop me from blogging once in a while, at least. :)

The end of Blaugust 2016 (Blaugust Post 18)

I have decided to “stop” with Blaugust. As always, it is a great initiative, but as I initially wrote, I will have to see if it interferes with my other duties, most of all my Real Life. The good news is: It’s not really interfering. The bad news is: There’s this pressure on my mind and the constant thought of “what could I blog about next?” and “I still need to do x amount of blog posts.”

The most important thing for me to do is to reduce the amount of “must do”-tasks in my head. Unfortunately, Blaugust is such a thing and it is also one of the few tasks that I do not have to do, but chose to do. Still, this is the 18th post, so I did more than half of what I had aimed for. :)

In the end, I still really love blogging months as they do encourage me to write blog posts and think about what I could put here in this blog. It is just not the time to focus on writing one blog post per day and that’s why I decide to throw out that (voluntary) goal. I also still have several more topics to write about this month (announcing the winners of the current two open giveaways, for example). So this will definitely not be the last post this month! However, saying that I “stop” with Blaugust takes away the pressure on my mind and that will be a relief. It is supposed to be fun, after all!

We are also doing some planning “behind the scenes”. For example, we want to use our YouTube channel more often (as opposed to not at all currently :p). Though this isn’t my field of expertise. This will be bookahnerk’s little corner who has enough of being be “man for everything” in the background and wants to get creative as well!

Currently, I am also trying to play too many games and this, of course, also interferes with my time I could spend blogging. On the other hand, I cannot blog about games if I don’t actually play them! I just bought Sengoku for bookahnerk and for myself (Paradox is having a summer sale) where I have no clue what I’m doing and I want to give Path of Exile a serious try this time. If anybody can point me at a good templar build, by the way… :p I also don’t really know how I ended up in The Secret World again. This one is definitely not a game that I will play a lot, but something reminded me of the game recently and I want to take another look and see if I can explore a bit more. The setting is so intriguing and fascinating! I just kind of wish it was a single player RPG.

And I also sorted my Steam games library, as there is always this large list of games tempting me. I made a new category where I put all the games that I have no interest in playing. Some because I already finished them and don’t want to re-play them or they became obsolete (Anno 1404, as the launcher is Anno 1404: Venice). Others were part of a bundle and I am not interested in playing them and then there are – fortunately – just a handful of games that I bought and then found out that I did not like them at all! The latter really is the smallest section of games.

I was considering maybe trying out the ones that I did not sort “away”, because I may be interested in trying them but that I have never played and writing about my impressions about them here. That way, I do actually play them and don’t feel like I wasted money (even if they were part of a bundle), but I still do not commit to playing them for a long time. I usually don’t even start most of these games, after all, as it feels silly just to start a game and play for an hour if I then never even want to continue. But this way, they have a purpose. ;)

NBI 2016: Blogging can be life-changing

Yes, I admit, the headline is probably a bit too dramatic. ;) So before you get too excited: Blogging will not make you rich and it is very unlikely that you will become famous. However, looking back at the past five years with this blog, a few things happened that did influence our lives in positive ways.

Even though writing, and thus blogging, per se is a solitary pastime, having a blog ultimately leads to being read. If you allow comments on your blog, then the interaction with your readers can be a very direct one, obviously. In case you are wondering: Should I allow comments? – I can recommend this post by Contains Moderate Peril. If you opt for a wordpress.com blog, I would suggest enabling the feature that when somebody comments for the first time, this comment will be put in “moderation” and you manually allow it (or not). This way, you can catch trolls and delete their comment without it being public. No harm done. As soon as you allow somebody’s comment, future comments will not be put in the moderation queue and will appear immediately. So far in the five years, this setting has helped us a lot – not that we actually did get troll comments. We only sometimes get spam comments that the automatic spam filter doesn’t catch. This is still a very good feature for these situations.

But back to the topic of this blog post: If you allow comments, then you will sooner or later get a few people who will comment on your blog. It will very likely not be a huge amount as the vast majority belongs to the “quiet readers”. What I personally really like is when people comment and add their thoughts that a post of mine provoked.

On top of that, blogging about specific games also means that you are part of a gaming community. This is also where comments come into play. Reach out to other bloggers that you like reading. Comment in their blogs, add them to your blogroll or reply to a post they made with a post of your own (always remember to link to them and use trackbacks as that is a good way to notify them of your post).

In my case, some other person (Marc, the founder of GuildMag) had noticed our blog and when ArenaNet was wondering who to invite to their European community gathering before Guild Wars 2 launched, the UK community manager at the time reached out to us and invited us to come to Brighton. Now this was probably a lot of luck for us! This trip was back in 2012 when I was still relatively new to the blogging world, but without this blog, I obviously wouldn’t have been able to go because all of us were bloggers or writers for Guild Wars 2 fansites. I accepted the invitation (gladly, of course!) and then found myself on a plane to the UK. I had never been to the UK before (and still haven’t returned which is quite sad, because I really want to visit that country), so I was even more excited. Finally! Even if it was only for a bit more than 24 hours. And I’ll be eternally grateful to Tasha for pulling me back when I had forgotten that cars drive on the left side over there.

Group picture EUFanDay

While there, I got to know some Greek dude who had mentioned his Guild Wars 2 guild. Once back here at home when we were trying to find a good guild for us, I sent him a message and asked if we could join. And that’s how we got accepted to Dragon Season. This guy (those who know Dragon Season probably know by now that it’s Tilion that I am talking about) has become a very close friend of mine and if nothing goes wrong, we will finally get to meet again this summer!

Another example is the Foostival. Foostival is a real life event from fans for fans of Guild Wars 2 which has taken place in several European countries for a couple of years already. It is mostly organized by those of us with Guild Wars 2 fansites. Since we are German but blog in English, we did not actually have any connections to the existing German fansites. But when GuildNews joined Foostival back in 2014, I was invited to help organize this event (by Tilion, actually) and I happily accepted. Through the Foostival, we have met several more great people and hope to stay in touch even outside of Guild Wars 2. Since they are all German, meeting in “real life” is also a lot easier since there is less distance to travel!

Last but not least, being one little blogger with one little blog can also lead to something more “professional”: Justin from Massively mentions that a lot of them started off as individual bloggers. And some of the Massively staff actually ended up working for game companies (like Rubi who now works for ArenaNet and Celestrata who joined Turbine and later switched to TrionWorlds).

GW2 Pink Day Plaza - Aurora Glade

I guess what this post aims at is that blogging is actually not so much a solitary pastime, but a very social one with lots of opportunities to reach out to others, connect and find friends who share your interests. Thanks to the internet – and if you use a widespread language like English – even all over the world. But even if you decide to blog in your native tongue, you can still reach out to a lot of people you would probably not meet otherwise. And I personally just really enjoy participating in something bigger, something community-driven (“Pink Day in LA” should also be mentioned here which I once helped organize on our server Aurora Glade).

(Side note: I had originally wanted to be a lot more active during NBI, but due to health issues concerning my fingers and a strict “NO TYPING!” from my doctor, I tried to restrict typing to my day job. :p)

Newbie Blogger Initiative 2016 in June!

nbimediumNot too long ago, I saw a short conversation on Twitter about how NBI would most likely not be taking place in 2016. Not because nobody wanted to do it per se, but most of all because it requires time and dedication to get this initiative off its ground. That dreaded real life again making us unable to do the fun things we would really love to do. ;)

However, there is a happy ending: We are going to have another round of Newbie Blogger Initiative this year! Doone from XP Chronicles announced the NBI 2016 starting in June on May 12th, actually. This totally went over my head here, but I’m so happy to see it happen either way! I really love this initiative and I love that it makes people come together and support others, because blogging can be an awesome and fun hobby!

The person running it isn’t alone, though. As with all the recent years, a lot of us “veteran bloggers” are joining, lending our helping hands and answering questions to those of you who want to start blogging, who recently did start or even those who want to get back into blogging. While most of us, if not all, blog about games, it is not a requirement for you to do so as well. If you’d rather blog about cooking recipes or your daily life, then do so! We will be here encouraging you to blog either way.

 Tyrannodorkus has a great post introducing you to the most basic questions like “what is a blog?” and links to where you can get in touch with all of us and with each other, because I do hope that we’ll be able to greet a lot of new bloggers this NBI! Just so that you will not miss the most important links, I am going to put them in here, too:

NBI forums
NBI twitter
NBI Discord

Others have joined Doone by now with announcing the NBI and welcome prospective new bloggers: Eldaeriel from StarShadow, jewel from Healing The Masses, Aywren – and probably more that I forgot now or haven’t seen yet (sorry if that’s the case!).

On a personal note: I was looking through my blog to find the posts from the previous two years only to see that I have tried to support NBI since 2012 already making this the fifth year it’s running. Back in 2012, this blog here had only been around for one year, so I felt a bit newbie-ish myself!

So, if you ever thought about starting your own blog, now is the perfect time! Get started and join us. Don’t hesitate to ask your questions! :)

Edit: I am going to list all announcement posts that I find here. The reason is pretty simple: Those who announce the NBI are also very likely open to listen to your questions or give advice if you need it! So go check out their blogs and don’t be shy!

Doone from XP Chronicles
Tyrannodorkus
Eldaeriel from StarShadow
jewel from Healing The Masses

Aywren
Iogro Merrybelly from A Hobbit’s Journey
Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut

NaBloPoMo 2014

NaBloPoMo_NovemberJust as I did last year, I have joined November’s National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) again. Just as last year, I would not have the time for National Novel Writing Month, so I’m going to substitute it again with this initiative.

I had wanted to make this “announcement post” yesterday, but then the Trove developers published their unlimited access key and I figured that it was more important to spread the word than to tell my readers about NaBloPoMo. I find it quite funny that last year, I did the same. I had published a different post on November 1 and only talked about NaBloPoMo on November 2. ;) I sense a pattern there! You may also go back to November 2013 and see what the last post was… you may or may not expect something similar for the end of November this year, depending on how busy we’ll be by then in real life.

I still remember how last year, I didn’t think I could make a blog post every day without using some lame short posts with no real content, but in the end, everything had turned out fine.

Of course, November is also going to be the busiest month at work with several projects and a research meeting that I am organizing with colleagues. All exciting stuff that, unfortunately, keeps me from gaming and blogging sometimes. ;) We will see how it’s going to turn out.

You can expect me to write about the usual stuff. I have been playing Rift and Trove a lot more than Guild Wars 2 recently which is why the focus has turned towards those two games here in the blog as well. However, I haven’t left Guild Wars 2 and I don’t intend to do so! I am also looking forward to the return of the living story and while I do know that the game will very likely not get the features that I want in an MMO (like housing – I’ve got Rift and Trove for that urge now :p), I am expecting some cool fights because for me, the combat system is still where Guild Wars 2 shines the most. Being able to move while fighting, having to use dodge and all that. I also miss fights like the marionette one (yes, despite its flaws it was by far my favourite… especially when the people on the lanes did manage to fight together and coordinate).