Space Goats and Paid Content

WoW Chronicles

WoWChroniclesLast Friday I managed to find a copy of the regularly back ordered…  World of Warcraft: Chronicles Volume 1.  One of the huge problems World of Warcraft has had to date is that a lot of the lore just feels somewhat tacked on.  I feel like much of the story was written during some late night unbridled “wouldn’t it be cool if” sessions, and there was a lot of hand waving going on from about Burning Crusade onward.  What the chronicles project is trying to do is to set in stone a true canon about the world, and how all of the interlinking pieces actually fit together.  I wholeheartedly support this notion… I just wish someone had the foresight to do it a decade ago, or at least when they decided to start really mixing things up with the first expansion.  I am sure there has been a penciled together napkin sketch of what the world was intended to look like, that at least partially exists in the minds still of the people working at Blizzard.  The problem is when something is not written down and set into print… it becomes too easy to erase a line here and graft on a new segment of lore there that really conflicts with something that came before.

What I am wondering is how much narrative cleanup are they committed to do to make this canon really a living document? While this project doesn’t exactly burn down what was in place before… it does invalidate a lot of things that happened and in other cases it simply explains things that already exist.  For example… the book indicates that the Spirit Healers that we have used for years are essentially a rogue faction of Val’kyr.  The book goes into depth about the relationship between the void lords, the titans, the old gods, and classifies things that lacked classification like the wild gods which now include the pantheon of August Celestials.  What I really hope to see is some of these lore fixes making their way into the game in either the form of new quests, or old quest revisions.  I will say that having some sort of concrete font of lore that they can keep going back to, makes me at least somewhat excited for the future of the game.  Lore has always been one of the big problems I had with World of Warcraft, and how confused and messy…. and downright incomplete it always seemed.  Hopefully we will start to see the fruits of this project with the coming expansion Legion… which even before this seemed like it was going to be a complete loregasm.

Paid Promotional Content

I am going to take the tail end of this mornings post to complain about something that has been bothering me.  Granted I know it will do absolutely zero good since it is quite obvious the forces in question are not even reading my blog.  For years I have gotten messages from various companies wanting to place paid content on my blog.  There is a practice that is frighteningly common that gets called by a bunch of names… but essentially marketers want to pay established blogs to place pre-written and pre-approved articles which serve as a sort of advertising for a product.  Essentially the practice makes me feel dirty inside that they are even targeting my blog… but most end up getting caught in the spam filter.  Here lately several have made it through on my About page, and I have taken to responding to them directly.  I realize I should just brush these off as the byproduct of having blogged for as long as I have, but it really sticks in my craw.

I get super excited about products, and games… and the other things that interest me in the world.  I’m a geek and a lot of geekdom is geeking out about something.  That said I want to make sure it is understood that when I get excited about something… it is because I am legitimately excited and that there is not some nefarious force behind the curtain pulling my strings.  Sure I would love to make money on my blog, or at least love to reach a point where it is self sustaining… the problem is every option to monetize means I am giving up some of my control.  For example if I were to install advertisements… I wouldn’t be able to curate WHICH advertisements I allowed onto the site, I would have to accept anything the ad network wanted to place there.  So the notion of “supporting” products that I don’t necessarily believe in, really bothers me.  As a result I have shunned pretty much all advertising, and while I freely accept alphas and betas to games… I only end up writing about the ones that really interest me.  I have friends in the gaming industry, and it is awesome…  but no one is paying me to like their product.

Basically what it all boils down to is that my opinion is not for sale.  None of the folks that have been approaching me will actually read these lines, but I still feel like it is important to say it loud and publicly.  Tales of the Aggronaut has been a work of love for going on seven years now, and while my opinions shift and change based on new data… they are still very much my opinions and not carefully scripted speaking points.  That said I will always be open to reviewing products if someone wants me to do so.  That said I will only write about the product when I feel like I have had enough time to see the entire picture, and when I have something interesting to say about it.  I also will never guarantee a positive review.  I am not really a ranty blogger, but I do talk about the points that disappoint me in games or products and that is likely to happen.  If someone finds this in a search later on…  hopefully they will actually read it before asking me to do something shifty like accepting payola for content.  I am extremely luck in that I have a day job that can support my blogging shenanigans, and that I don’t need to somehow turn this into a profit center.  I don’t begrudge those who are trying to monetize their content, but I can’t ever really condone shillery.

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