Ten years ago today I installed WordPress for the first time and decided to put digital pen to paper and roll out the mat of Tales of the Aggronaut. At that time I doubt I had a thought in my head about it lasting anywhere near this long, nor growing into what it has become. Tales of the Aggronaut was not my necessarily my first blog… and the previous incarnation is floating out there still in the ether never to be spoken of again. However this blog combined a bunch of things that I was already doing… namely writing big walls of text. I was one of those folks that would come into a game forum and write big posts talking about my feelings about this thing or that thing… or offering support and advice to those who were in need. I was a fairly active member at the time on the Argent Dawn server forums, and a lot of the people that I am still in contact from those days I met amongst a bunch of lines of text… and the eventual IRC server that spawned from it.
Ten years seems like a momentous number, but I just could not really think of anything I wanted to do to mark the occasion. At this point many days it is a struggle to get myself to log in and make a morning post, let alone come up with some grand promotional scheme. Instead we are going to have a quiet birthday… which is in truth how I prefer to celebrate my actual annuals these days as well. There are many blogs out there that are far longer in the tooth than this one, but I think well aged blogs is a bit of a rarity these days. I know my own blog roll is full of blogs that have gone into the sands of time… that I just cannot bring myself to delete. Blaugust has helped quite a bit, and I am planning on this year potentially outshining last year now that we have a fairly active Discord community surrounding it. I am thankful for my regulars… and I hate to say this because it sounds vain but… anytime I get a notification saying someone liked one of my posts it is a little burst to keep me going.
The other interesting thing about the passage of ten years is just how different my life has become in that time. When I started this blog I was a dedicated Guild and Raid leader making our way through the newly released Ulduar raid and struggling a bit at the jump up in difficulty between it and Neo-Naxxramas. I was also completely devoted to World of Warcraft and namely playing the Warrior class. I also had very definite opinions on raid tanking and various other aspects of the game… thinking myself to be some font of knowledge for the community. I had opinions and I was very willing to share them damn the consequences… because I was in my early thirties and thought I had figured an awful lot of things out.
Now we scan forward to today… and I am a leader of people with fifteen people under me as I transitioned from development to management. As a result I am not longer leading anything at all in my off time and doing really good to be a member of literally anything. While I still organize people around concepts and ideas… I have tried my best not to be the one actually holding the reins. While I used to raid on a near nightly basis… I can’t bring myself to even commit to raiding once a week for a few hours. Where I used to spend every night grouped up with other people and usually on voice chat… I can’t bring myself to communicate with other human beings regularly once I am officially off the clock. Where I used to think I had a clue what I was doing… I am now in my 40s and know that I know next to nothing about most topics and it seems like I am imposing myself when I share my opinions on things. While I am still very much an MMO player… I find myself playing them all effectively on solo mode or maybe with a very small group of people in tow.
Another thing that has changed significantly over the years is how much of myself I am willing to put into these posts. I’ve shared with you deaths in the family, times I am struggling with one thing or another, and things that have happened that brought me joy. I shifted my writing style from being disconnected from the readers… to trying to invite you all into my world for a few minutes each morning as I write. I can’t say that anything I write about is actually interesting, but it is at least grounded in the reality of where I am and what I am doing at a given moment. The truth is I would be far more popular if I would simply stick to a single topic and become an official site for a specific game. Those folks are the ones with the large readership, but me… I am more of an acquired taste. If you are not interested in me as a human being… then chances are you won’t be sticking around for very long.
All of that said… I am thankful for the people that I do have that regularly check in on my world… and it is shockingly a larger number than I ever expected it to be. In ten years almost 200,000 unique individuals have visited Tales of the Aggronaut… and while I am certain a good number of those unique users are bots because internet… it still means that I have introduced myself and my point of view to way more people than I ever expected I would. During that time I have made 2028 posts including this one… which would have been a larger number were it not for the fact that I barely made any posts during the first four years of this blog. Every day however a few hundred of you come and visit my world and I am thankful for the company. It makes me wish I had the fire to do more to actually push this blog and the disconnected community that supports it on a regular basis. In theory I should be pushing a discord or a reddit or some other venue… but instead I would just rather enjoy knowing the fact that I have a bunch of quiet users out there tagging along with me as I do things.
This isn’t exactly the triumphant post you make when you reach a milestone like this, but in truth I didn’t really want a bunch of fanfare. You out there… reading this blog… and an important part of it even though you may have never actually interacted with me directly. Even though I largely write like I am talking to myself, I do appreciate knowing there are people out there that care. As far as words of wisdom to leave this post on… I am not entirely certain I have any. I guess we will see if Tales of the Aggronaut makes another ten years… though at this point I cannot imagine what the world and my life will be like during that time. My blog is as much therapy as it is a purposeful act of creation, and I thank you all for taking the time to listen.