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)

Impressions from Foostival Germany 2016

NamensschilderAs some of you may know, I am part of the organizing team of the German Foostival. It took place yesterday, on May 7. In the previous two years, we had a location in Hamburg which is in Northern Germany. As amazing as that city is (seriously, there is no better city in Germany than Hamburg if you ask me), it’s just not easy to reach especially for residents in the southern parts. So this year, we switched and had Foostival take place at the esports bar Meltdown in Cologne.

The location was very fitting, obviously. :)

The only downside of this place was that it was dark inside while Germany is currently experiencing a very unusual early summer with temperatures up to 25 °C instead of the usual 15 °C. If we had known that in advance, we could have looked for a beer garden instead. :p  But seriously, it was a very really nice location with good drinks and the pizza place on the other side of the street even brought some of the ordered pizzas in!

What I liked more in comparison to the location in Hamburg was the absence of PCs – well, mostly. The Meltdown actually has PCs and consoles that you can play on, but those were ignored for the most part and did not play a role in our organization of the event (they were used after Foostival was over, though. Gamers will be gamers, after all!). We were also all in one room sitting around a couple of tables whereas in Hamburg, the group had been split in two rooms at times. This way, we could all be together and mingling was a lot easier. It being a bar, we could also enjoy lots of beverages including drinks like a “Headshot” or a “Stimpack”. Not that I think we need alcohol to have fun, but it was still very convenient to have drinks around. :p

So, without PCs and all of us being in one room, it was also much easier to get in contact with the others and as such, I met a lot of new people and had a lot of interesting conversations, not only about Guild Wars 2, but also about other games and “The Dark Eye” (a German roleplaying game similar to “Dungeons & Dragons”).

Once the event was over, the bar opened to the general public, but not all of us left. I really enjoyed just sitting there together with the others who had stayed behind and talking. If you ask me, we wouldn’t even need any programme, quizzes or games. I could just spend that whole day talking and getting to know the others! And as such, I hope to see them all again soon – maybe at Gamescom, maybe at the Foostival 2017! :)

Please excuse the crappy quality of the pictures. I took them with my mobile phone, but I know there will be much better pictures soon and I will of course link you to the picture gallery then!

As always: A huge Thank You to everybody who organized the Foostival with me and to all the helping hands! Foostival would not be possible without us all working together the way we do. :)

Keeping my blogroll up-to-date – Blaugust Day 23

I know I often neglect my blogroll, but it became quite clear when Blaugust started and I saw the amount of familiar names… only to realize that while I do know them and more or less regularly read their blogs (whenever my time allows, at least), I never added them to our blogroll. This is quite embarrassing, to be honest, and I hope nobody felt ignored because of that. It’s just that I always forget that blogroll even exists.

I also wish that WordPress had a more functional “blogroll” as it’s currently basically a list of links I added to the sidebar which I try to keep updated. Every now and then, I go through the links to see if the blogs are still updated. And every now and then I find a new blog that I know I haven’t added yet. But more often than not, it happens that I realize I never added somebody. The next step will of course be to go through my list of blogs I read and check whether I have also added them to the blogroll.

Also, if you have a blog, post about games (it should have something in common with our blog, right? ^^), write mostly in English (or German) and feel you should be on our blogroll, contact me and I will add you! This goes especially to my fellow Blaugustians… Blaugusters? But of course, it’s not only limited to you. As I said, I just often forget the blogroll exists, but it was never my intention to keep anybody off the list. I also quite like expanding the list and giving our readers suggestions on who else to check out! Which brings me to the one “caveat”: Of course, we will reserve the right not to add somebody to the blogroll. But this is usually limited to blogs or websites advertising for “gold sellers”. This is a big and definite “no!” for us.

This post is part of Blaugust 2015.

Guild Wars 2 Community Event – Blaugust Day 9

GW2 Community Event 2015As you may already know, on Thursday, we went to gamescom and then went to the Wildstar Community Event in the evening. I already told you about the Wildstar event. My write-up of our visit to gamescom is taking a bit more time to get finished, though. So I figured I could show you the pictures I took at the Guild Wars 2 community event. Keep in mind that I am not a professional photographer and I only had my mobile phone to take pictures. I actually like the quality of the pictures the phone produces. Hey, I’m a kid of the 80s/90s, I have seen SO much worse quality in pictures. You young ones out there have no idea what a luxury it is to produce this amount of pictures with such a good quality at no cost! Ahem, I digress, don’t I? And I made myself feel old. Well done… What I want to say is that the restaurant we were at was apparently too dark for my camera. But the light wasn’t an issue for me throughout the event. What was really bad was that the whole room was packed (although, apparently, we were not as many people as we were at the Wildstar event) and it felt crowded and there was only one fan at the ceiling and no air conditioning. But outside, it had been really hot, too, so there was no cool wind coming in.

We had not been back at gamescom on Friday. Thursday was enough for us. Cologne is about a 1,5 hours drive from where we live, so we drove there again on Friday afternoon for the Guild Wars 2 community event. For the last three years, it has now taken place at the same location. Thankfully, this year we had a bit more variety with food. I certainly don’t want to complain about free food! However, the food they serve there is that typical German kind of food. Lots of meat, actually, meat everywhere even in your baked potatoes and your sauerkraut (yes, there has to be sauerkraut – typical German food, remember?) and greasy fatty meat. But this year, we also had some salad consisting of lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes as well as some vegetarian dish. I am not sure what exactly it was. It looked a bit like pieces of a wrap with a vegetable filling. It was super tasty! After we had all finished our dinner, ArenaNet handed the teams that competed in the World Tournament Series their jerseys and used this opportunity to introduce the players to us. Afterwards, the famous “raffle” began. Everybody present had gotten a raffle ticket and they gave several prizes away. We did not win anything, but that’s not too bad considering everybody who came to the event got a little goodie bag. Let me show you one thing from this bag.

GW2_Rytlock shirt

It’s pretty, isn’t it? It shows a huge Rytlock and the Heart of Thorns logo. The back of the t-shirt is plain black. And yes, I just like bragging that I have something that you cannot have! Or… actually no. You probably know me better by now, right? :) I am only showing you this little gem because we will soon(ish) have another giveaway and this t-shirt (size “L” – the one shown in the picture is size “S”, but that one is actually mine :p) will be one of the prizes you can win! I wish we had many many more of those for you guys. The colours are so fantastic! If you look closely, or not so closely even, you may see the green colours on the left and the right of the picture. That’s our living-room sofa. I am a great fan of light green. :)

The giveaway is still some time away, though. I just thought I would put a little teaser in here.

But even though we got free food, free drinks and a loot bag, we would have also gone there if it had only been to meet everybody. Not even necessarily the guys from ArenaNet and NCsoft. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great! But it’s always a great opportunity to meet others from the community and talk about games – or even about what you’re up to in your offline life. So there is actually not that much I can tell you about. Just as with Wildstar, we were also not told anything exclusive here either. No, still no release date for Heart of Thorns. :p But we could meet the famous Gaile Gray – and she is as awesome and friendly as I thought she was! And with this, I will leave you to have a look at the picture gallery below. Now there is only one more gamescom-related post coming and that one, yes, will actually be about gamescom! ;)

This post is part of Blaugust 2015.

Trove Pirate Class Giveaway by Kiwi and EnemyEX

Trove_Pirate CaptainThis is what I love about online games: The community around them. In this case, Kiwi and EnemyEX are having a “launch party” for tomorrow’s “Fish’n’Ships” update in Trove.

Read the post by Kiwi in the Rift forums where she posted an explanation on what is given away and how it’ll work.

The short of it:

  • From now until the servers go live with the update, you can follow @kiwidream101 and retweet her tweet for a chance to win the new Pirate class
  • She is going to level the new Pirate Class to level 20 and you can join her doing so.
  • On the way to level 20, there will be more giveaway
  • You can watch EnemyEX’s stream as they will play Trove together tomorrow (and where you can win robo raptors)

There is more to win. If you want to know what and how, go read Kiwi’s post! :) Also, if you want to level a character as well, don’t forget that you can join them! Having a level 20 character in Trove also means that you will get a pretty black budgie in Rift. So here is your chance to tag along and have fun!