MMO Blogging Dead?


One of the things I have failed miserably at lately is keeping up with my blog feed.  During the heyday of Google Reader I was a voracious consumer of gaming blogs of all stripe, and regularly read through everything in my backlog of posts.  Stuff happened and my attempt to expand my horizons when I was writing a column on the blogosphere saw my feed ballooning to some 700 sites…  a good number of them posting about things that never really interested me on a personal level.  As a result I find myself spending less time reading blog posts and tend to catch up in a flurry of reading on the weekends.  That said I did end up doing a strafing run on Feedly yesterday afternoon and stumbled across a post from Tobold posing the question of whether or not the MMO Blogosphere is still alive.  The short answer is yes, the community is still very much alive.  The long answer however is a lot more complicated.  While there are still a ton of active people that I see when I catch up on my feed, there are also a lot of names and faces that I have not really seen much from in years.  There has been a changing of the guards and I feel like maybe I have done a poor job of catching up with who is leaving the community and who is brand new.  Additionally the “community” aspect is a little on the ropes.  We didn’t have a Newbie Blogger Initiative this year nor did I do anything with Blaugust…  two previously big events that pulled people in.  We barely had a Developer Appreciate Week… and only then because Ravalation was determined to make sure it happened.  I’ve personally failed miserably this year at attempting any sort of outreach into the community because 2017 has been a time when literally all I can seem to manage to do is attempt to keep one foot moving in front of the other.

The other big change I have noticed is we no longer have the big MMORPG game looming on the horizon that we are all interested in playing.  The community as a whole is way more fragmented in their tastes.  In the run up to World of Warcraft expansions, Star Wars the Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, Wildstar or even as far back as Warhammer Online there was a community upsurge of blog sites that sprung up as players attempted to mitigate their hype levels by pouring that excess energy into post form.  That is just a thing that doesn’t really happen these days as the traditional MMORPG outside of South Korean doesn’t appear to be a viable business model that big studios are really releasing these days.  Instead we have the MMO-lite games that have some online interaction capabilities like The Division or Destiny but lack some of the rich imaginative landscape that us bloggers used to feast upon.  Essentially when we started playing MMORPGs it was a novel concept and gave us a sort of interaction that we could not get in any other game.  Now that same concept of being online and playing with a bunch of your friends while working on some long term achievement is no longer really something special… and instead describes almost all of the games on the market right now.  Almost every game has RP elements that allow you to customize or build your character, and almost every game now has an online presence often with some sort of persistent progression system.  MMORPGs no longer really offer something unique that you cannot get in dozens of other places…  that also don’t require the level of community to support them.  The games have changed and with that the amount of effort and time they ask of us… or at the very least the sort of skills that they require.  While I can wax philosophically about the differences between two guns and the way they fire in Destiny 2…  that isn’t exactly something more players even care about.

Lastly I think the players and their habits have changed.  When I started playing Destiny at launch back in 2014, one of my big frustrations was how there were no blogs really dedicated to the game.  Instead that community exists as a combination of Reddit posts and YouTube videos that you then need to somehow knit together to get an overarching picture of what is actually happening.  I wish I could say that this phenomena is unique to Destiny, but it seems more often than not the newer games don’t really have much in the way of a blogosphere presence.  In some ways I think we are aging out of blogs being a relevant experience.  While I have never actually had the “thousands of vistors per day” that Tobold talks about in his post unless some major news site picks up one of my posts…  I’ve had a steady trickle that has stayed pretty stable through the almost nine years I have been blogging.  In honesty my daily readership comes and goes based on what I happen to be posting about.  Each time on get on a Destiny bender, the folks who just do not care about that tend to disappear.  When I pick back up a game they are interested in…  they tend to come back.  Most of our blogs were started during the most fertile period of MMORPG releases to exist… and with that ground turning fallow we are left to turn to other interests.  My blog started as a World of Warcraft Warrior Tanking blog…  with a super narrow focus and over the years has shifted over and over again until finally I don’t really have a “format”.  This blog is me and my ramblings and if you aren’t interested in that you aren’t likely going to be here very long.  I’ve seen many other bloggers shifting to the same sort of thing, and while I personally care about their lives and their opinions…  it makes our blogs harder to digest for those who have not been along for the full journey.

10 thoughts on “MMO Blogging Dead?

  1. Playing MMORPGs is a hobby but writing is a vocation. I’ve been writing since I was maybe eight years old, so half a century or so now. Blogging is just the latest platform for it but I have to say the format suits me very well. I don’t have any aspirations to write fiction or poetry these days but I have loved reviews since I was a teenager, both reading and writing them, and I also like essays – both of which are the staples of blogging.

    I totally fail to understand the negativity thing, though. What is there to be negative about in this hobby? MMORPGs are as good as they ever were and there are far more of them than there used to be. My main complaint is that I still have to go to work so I don’t have as much time to play and write about MMOs as I’d like. Another few years until I retire…

    • To be honest that is my only legitimate complaint… that I just don’t have enough time to play near as many things as I would have liked to 🙂

  2. I personally still love the written word. Yeah I did try to listen to pod casts for a time, but it’s not something I can do at work, and life consumes a great deal of time. So I follow a good deal of bloggers, try to keep up with mine if I have something to say. I do fear it’s all going to Twitch and the like. Which is kind of sad.

  3. I’m with Pete. There was a time Way Back When when I was really trying to be upbeat and positive about stuff, but that just got more and more difficult, and now I can sometimes not muster the energy to say good things…so I don’t, because I don’t want to complain about stuff. Not that I don’t have good things to say, but I guess the good things I DO have to say aren’t energetic enough to make me want to rush to the keyboard.
    Scopique recently posted..Xenoblade Chronicles 2My Profile

    • The biggest problem I have is that I feel like I have probably said everything I could ever say about games in the nine years I have been done this. Like Syl has this magical ability to remember every single thing she has ever written and be able to summon it forth to link it at a moments notice. Once something leaves my brain and travels out through my fingers to the text editor… I largely erase it from my memory. As a result I feel like I have been repeating myself for the better part of a decade.

  4. I’m a cranky old guy so I’m going to blame social media (a little) and video (a lot). Which is kind of the same thing you said when you talked about having to use Reddit and YouTube to stitch together a picture.

    I don’t blog much anymore because I’m unhappy when I don’t get traffic and unhappy when I do. There is so much anger and negativity that I feel like we’re all on post away from having something we say actually go viral and then having to deal with death threats and doxing. I mean I know REALLY the chance of that happening to my is minuscule. but either you write stuff for your self (which is mostly what I do these days) or you write for a wider audience and the price of success doing that is too emotionally high for me these days.

    I don’t READ many blogs these days because very few people write blogs about the things I’m interested in. I read Levelcapped, Aggronaut sometimes (depending on what your subject is) and Aywren just because she spins a good tale.

    If anyone knows of any good blogs that talk about console gaming and are generally upbeat (I read enough game-hating content in comments and reddit), I’d love to add them to my feed.
    Pete S recently posted..Raph Koster has my back (more Pay4Power discussion)My Profile

    • I mostly get freaked out when I suddenly have a bunch of traffic… gamergate did that. That event in essence was the death of innocence and from that point forward it sort of colored my opinion of what exactly this interaction is like. Is every reader potentially someone who is going to share my useless ramblings with some hate group that ultimately gets me attention from a bunch of assholes that I don’t want to have to deal with.

  5. I’ve personally kinda sorta considered maybe thinking of possibly someday soon giving up the electron quill, mainly because I have had less and less of an urge to talk about stuff. Some things that are relevant to me are relevant TO ME and as you stated might not have an audience who is interested in that niche thing or this particular take. In the end, the best use for blogging these days, IMO, is just therapy for those for whom writing is a viable outlet.
    Scopique recently posted..Xenoblade Chronicles 2My Profile

    • There is not a week that goes by that I don’t consider just stopping. Then I keep getting up the next day and posting again because it is habit. As you said in many ways it is a form of therapy and as a result I am constantly shocked when someone has read this thing that I expunged from myself.

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