These posts are always really weird to sit down and write, because how exactly do you summarize something you have done this long. Back in 2009 when the blog formally started I was helping to lead a raid in World of Warcraft as a Warrior Tank… and quite possibly in the worst job I have ever been in. I didn’t feel needed or respected at work, and this blog… and all of my guild/raid-leaderly duties were essentially my way of dealing with the maelstrom of chaos happening in the workplace. As my work condition has improved my game environment has also changed… and it seems like the more responsibility that I take on in my work and home environments…. the less I actually want in my gaming ones. Liore and I used to joke about starting and old folks home for old raid leaders, but there are times that it feels like I am absolutely a candidate. These days I feel like I almost actively avoid the concept of raiding in the first place.
I realize this is probably an odd start to an anniversary post, but after going back and crawling through the last year of blog posts… I am realizing that this is the first year when I did not have some form of active raid going on. Sure we attempted to get something started in Final Fantasy XIV around the Stormblood launch… and in Destiny 2 but neither of those really stuck that well and developed into a proper regular raid night. Instead I have largely opted for solo play on a broader scale this year than I have in the past. June saw the advent of the Robosquid Armada… something we are loosely continuing with our Mythical Nonsense nights… but that represents probably the most serious content that I attempted in this past year. I am not sure if this is sign that I have changed in what I am wanting out of games… or if this was just a situation where no one actually wanted wear that raid leader hat permanently.
In the past year I also experienced a work transition, but it was one of those things that I largely just eased into. For years I have been the unofficial leader of the development team at work, starting with a sort of “team lead” title that didn’t actually exist but very much was the role of assigning projects and figuring out our workload. Around the beginning of this past year I was given the formal title of Supervisor… and then last December my actual manager retired creating a vacancy that I moved into. Now I managed not only the development team, but also data analysis and gis… giving me fifteen other lives to watch after on a daily basis. In many ways it sort of feels like going back to raid leadership… but this time in the real world where I am sorta tanking for these people by dealing with the nonsense and meetings that are required to get forward movement. Guild and Raid Leadership is not exactly one of those things that I would put on a resume… but I will say that the experience does completely equate.
On the home front we are still in the same location we have been since 1999 and we experienced no major upheavals in the occupancy of our home. We still have three cats: Allie, Kenzie and Mollie and one ferret: Shiloh. There was a period of a few weeks when we thought a dog had adopted us… but luckily we found its home because we are just not really dog people. Mollie is still skittish as hell, but has reached a point where she is my buddy instead of running from me whenever I entered the room. She more or less was found as a kitten and grew up in a dog shelter for the first part of her life and wound up scarred from the experience. Now she sorta follows me through the house as I do things… letting me know she wants attention at various points along the route. Kenzie is just as crazy as ever and is currently sleeping on the desk beside me. Allie is still doing okay… but she is definitely entering the autumn years of her life and we are just trying to make her as comfortable as we can for as long as we can. Shiloh is a sweetheart and gets lots of attention anytime she is awake… but ferrets sleep an awful lot of the time which means I tend to give her lots of loving before work, when I get home from work, and before I go to bed… because that seems to fit her sleep schedule.
The other day Tobold wrote a post talking about the decline of his own blog, and while I am not trying to do the same… it is noticeable the slow and steady bleed of readers. I think this is far less a case of people simply getting tired of my nonsense and more a case that tastes are changing. Personally I don’t have near the time I used to for keeping up with blog reading. There used to be a morning routine that I had without fail… and now I never know who is going to ambush me on the way to my desk with some hot button issue that needs immediate attention. Looking my analytics, it appears like my readership dropped by about eight percent… which sounds bad but between the 15/16 year and the 16/17 year I lost sixty four percent of my readers. It maybe seems weird to be happy that the bleed has at least been partially bandaged but the truth is… what keeps me doing this on a daily basis is so much more than simple need to see the numbers go up. I have talked about this before… but I think blogging for me is a form of therapy.
I feel like the “death of blogging” as it has been touted so many times is just a shift in tastes. Folks are turning to YouTube for their gaming information whereas they used to bond with a forum or gaming blog in the past. This sucks for those of us who prefer to read their information rather than have to watch a five minute video to get thirty seconds of information. I first started encountering this myself when I would start playing a newer game… and find it completely impossible to find any sort of a blogging community that I should be reading. When I started playing Destiny heavily… I found I had to trade blogging voices like Syp, Rowan, Liore, Syl and Grace for Youtubers like Mesa Sean, My Name is Byf, Holtzmann and Arekkz. As the gaming tastes have shifted so have the communities and maybe you can find a Reddit for a game like Destiny 2, The Division or Monster Hunter World… but you aren’t actually likely to find a proper blog for them. The truth is the era of YouTube might also be coming to a close as a lot of folks are preferring to just interact directly with the personalities they are entangling themselves with direction over Twitch.
The trend seems to be moving towards more and more access to the person making the content, and while I dabble in streaming and have been adopted by the very amazing Moogle’s Pom stream team… it is still very much an ill fitting glove for me. Blogging is about opening yourself up to the world with a comfortable distance from the reader. Sure I sit down each morning and write my thoughts for you… but I am not having to interact with you directly as you read them. Comments exist and so does pinging me over twitter… but there is a layer of separation between what I am doing and what you are doing that makes the experience feel more cozy to me. When I have encountered a reader before in a game or something like that… I never quite know what to do, how to interact with them. The same is true on streams… interacting real-time with people is fine so long as those people already exist in my monkey-sphere of people I am prepared to interact with. When someone new enters the room I never know how quite to do things… that they might also find entertaining.
As far as gaming goes this past year… I did a quick run through of what I seemed to be playing the most for each of the months since the last Anniversary…
- April 2017 – Star Wars the Old Republic
- May 2017 – World of Warcraft
- June 2017 – Final Fantasy XIV
- July 2017 – Final Fantasy XIV
- August 2017 – Guild Wars 2
- September 2017 – Destiny 2 (PS4)
- October 2017 – Destiny 2 (PC)
- November 2017 – Destiny 2 (PC)
- December 2017 – World of Warcraft
- January 2018 – World of Warcraft
- February 2018 – Monster Hunter World
- March 2018 – Monster Hunter World
- April 2018 – Project Gorgon
Not shockingly I tend to be extremely MMO-Centric in my gaming habits. I tend to have some primary game that is my central focus at any given time and then a bunch of other games that I am also sorta playing. Weirdly enough I spend so much more time playing an MMO solo… than I ever do actually playing solo story games. I think the core reason behind that is two fold… firstly I don’t like when games end. I find the ending of the game to be the most sad time because it is over. MMOs never end… so I can never need to worry about running out of ways to interact with that world. Secondly I find single player story driven games to be a very lonely experience. Even if I am not interacting with other people… I like knowing they are out there and changing my gameplay in sublte and interesting ways. Just seeing chat scroll by in the background makes me feel like I am part of something bigger than the tiny window into the world I have carved out for myself. In theory streaming single player games can provide a similarly multiplayer experience… but I never know how to handle that. I don’t like reading out all of the text outload… and it feels weird to pause what I am doing to read text as it scrolls by on screen while there are other people “in the room”.
I realize this is a bit of an odd anniversary post but it is what happened to come out of my mind this morning as I sat down to type it up. One thing that I completely have not addressed is the amazing artwork that I have above at the top of this post. That is of course by the very awesome AmmosArt who is more or less the official unofficial artist of all of my en-devours. Since I am a member of the Moogle’s Pom community, I wanted a few streamer moogles to use for decoration elements… and having seen her moogles before I knew it would work out swimmingly. I have not actually used them in the method that I was intending yet… but regardless they are amazing and I thought I would use this opportunity to share them with the world. It’s time for me to wrap this up and head to work, but I wanted to close with one last thing. Rather you are a regular who reads my post religiously, or a random drive by… thanks for nine years of this interesting experiment. I do this each day… because in some way I am having an open dialog with each of you and the fact that you are out there somewhere is very important to that formula.