The Revenge of Blaugust

What is Blaugust?

A few years ago I started down this path of madness that I have referred to as my Grand Experiment, where I started blogging every single day.  It has been a grueling experience at times, but also something I would not trade for the world.  I learned a lot of things about myself because when you are writing that many posts… something interesting happens.  At some point in the process you break down the walls you are holding up between you and your readers and start being completely and often brutally honest with them.  I sit down at the keyboard each morning and share a chunk of myself, and this bond I have developed with my readers is something pretty special.  Last year I wanted to channel just a little bit of this with the rest of the blogosphere and started the Blaugust challenge.  The idea is simple… during the month of August blog something every single day.  If you succeed in thirty one days of posts… you are a Blaugust winner.

I had this idea that the only folks that would participate were seasoned bloggers.  You know folks like me with years of blogging under their belts.  The reality however is that a lot of new bloggers took up this banner as their own and produced some amazing stuff as a part of it.  As such Blaugust has become this strange event that allows a lot of folks to essentially rededicate themselves to the craft of writing.  After last year I was uncertain if I would be doing another one of these, but I was not so subtly urged by my readers that they were expecting it to happen once more.  Last year we had 28 Challenge Winners that managed to make it through the month without missing a post, and another 21 Challenge Survivors that participated in the contest.  I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of participation… but in the tradition of all internet things…  lets make this year even bigger.

The Topic

First off let me get this out of the way.  This contest is all about longevity and frequency and not necessarily about what you are writing.  The idea is to get folks in the habit of regular posting, so that after a month of posting every single day… they can settle into a more reasonable schedule after August and do regular posts a few times a week.  So as far as your blog goes… you can tell us whatever you feel like.  These can be game posts, post about some other hobby you are really interested in, or just posts about your life.  Somewhere along my path to madness I reached a point where I am essentially immune to writers block when it comes to Tales of the Aggronaut.  I can sit down at the keyboard and start writing without any preparation and within a paragraph a theme starts to form and I am up and running with a new blog post.  Inspiration is a fickle thing, and essentially I brute forced my way around it.  The plan is to make you realize that you don’t need some magical muse to crank out interesting posts.  Everything you say is already interesting so long as it is genuine and comes from your personality, and the rest is just simply taking notes.

The Guidelines

Last year… the month of August was a blur for me, and it was honestly hell for me to go through.  When you had as many people blogging as we did, a good chunk of my morning was spent tabulating who blogged and who didn’t.  Then when you factor in the international nature of this competition it was extremely hard to actually determine what day a given post was supposed to represent.  As such this year I am going to be quite a bit more strict on the guidelines, because I would really like to exit the month of August with at least some bit of my sanity intact.  I love you guys dearly… but I really need your help on this.

  1. Write a new blog post of no less than ten sentences in length.  This is essentially two large paragraphs and is a good solid minimum size.  If you are doing a screenshot/photo blog just make sure your description explaining what the image is all about fits this constraint.
  2. Include a link back to the 2015 Blaugust Initiative Page.  My hope is that this will allow other people to join in the challenge and play catch up.
  3. Advertise the post on the Blaugust Nook.  When you join the nook I will be elevating everyone to “Blogger” access to do this.  This is extremely key this year, because this is going to be how I log all posts, and if you do not do this you are not going to get proper credit.
  4. Either in the title of your post or the first heading inside of your actual post.. please denote which day this post is for.  Something like “Blaugust Day 21” just to make sure that I am giving everyone credit for the correct day, and this should help to stop the oddities of folks in vastly different time zones getting dumped into the wrong slot.
  5. If you advertise the post on social media, please include the #Blaugust hashtag.  Again we are trying to help spread the word and get folks to join in process… and at very least get folks reading the posts.
  6. Over the course of the month, write 31 posts.
  7. ????
  8. Profit!

The Vlogger Clause

Since this contest is far more about longevity and doing things on a schedule… I thought I would open it up to a slightly different audience this year.  Blogging is awesome, and I love it dearly… but Vlogging is also awesome.  Being willing to put yourself out there, and on camera…  on a regular basis is quite the daunting task.  As such I wanted to open this up to folks who are vlogging, and essentially allow them to count a daily vlog as a valid post for the month.  As such I am going to throw some loose requirements around it.

  1. Vlog must be at least five minutes in length.
  2. Include a link back to the 2015 Blaugust Initiative Page in your videos “dooblidoo” and mention the Blaugust initiative at least once during the video.
  3. Advertise the vlog post on the Blaugust Nook.  When you join the nook I will be elevating everyone to “Blogger” access to do this.  This is extremely key this year, because this is going to be how I log all posts, and if you do not do this you are not going to get proper credit.
  4. Inside the “dooblidoo” mention what day you are posting for.  Something like “Blaugust Day 21” just to make sure that I am giving everyone credit for the correct day, and this should help to stop the oddities of folks in vastly different time zones getting dumped into the wrong slot.
  5. If you advertise the post on social media, please include the #Blaugust hashtag.  Again we are trying to help spread the word and get folks to join in process… and at very least get folks reading the posts.
  6. Over the course of the month, write 31 posts.
  7. ????
  8. Profit!

Some Revisions

Last year I did some madness that I won’t be doing this year.  Essentially the deck was stacked against anyone who was not ready to go on day one.  Inevitably there were folks that started one or two days late, that got knocked out of the running for the big prize for not being there from day one.  I didn’t really feel like this was fair, because ultimately they put the same amount of effort in during the course of the event, it was just that they had to play catch up a bit.  As such I basically have three categories that I am going to be dividing people up into.

  • Challenge Winners – Anyone who makes thirty one blog posts during the month of August.  I will be tallying the Results on September 2nd as to allow for all possible time zone strangeness.
  • Challenge Survivors – Anyone who makes at least  fifteen blog posts during the month of August is going to be considered a “survivor”.
  • Challenge Participant – Anyone who did not quite make it to fifteen is still awesome in my book and deserves some recognition for showing up and joining in the fun.

The Rewards

As with last year I will be keeping track of these things in my big spreadsheet of blaugust, and at the end of the month on September 2nd I will be tabulating the results.  From the contest winners I will be doing a drawing for several prize packages.  I hope you enjoy games, and want to acquire more of them…  because that is what we are going to do.  Last year someone summed up the contest as “write awesome stuff and get games!”.  Over the course of the years I have acquired a bunch of spare game download keys, so I will be dipping into this grab bag of awesome to get some prizes for folks.  I will be using a secure dice roller to determine one Grand Prize winner and three additional prize winners from the pool of Contest winners.

  • Grand Prize!

    I hope you follow me on Steam, because I will be picking a game off of your Steam Wishlist and purchasing it for you.   Nice and simple.  If there is something you have been craving like a special store mount or something of the sort from your favorite MMO, we can probably work that in instead.

  • Three Also-Awesomes

    Additionally to a grand prize winner I will be picking three other individuals to get to choose something from the grab bag of awesome.  May the odds ever be in your favor… because once again I will be relying on the dice roller to determine who gets first picking order from the grab bag.

  • All Participants

    All participants are going to get sidebar badges to denote that they participated in Blaugust 2015 with special versions for the Survivors and Winners.

If there are any companies that would like to sweeten this pot, contact me because I would most certainly love to give everyone who participates in this contest something for doing this challenge.

The Sign-Up

In order to participate you need a few things.  Firstly you need go over to the forums on the Blaugust nook and post your intention to participate in this handy forum thread I have created.  This is going to help me prepare to start reading your posts during the month (if you are not already in my blog reader).  Then as the month goes on post your new entries to the Blaugust Nook so that you get proper credit for them.  The nook also serves as a jumping off place for the Blaugust community that builds up around this event.  Share your struggles and your victories, and lean on each other for ideas.  We are all in this together, and the hope is that at the end of the month each of us is stronger for the participation.  As always if you have any questions feel free to pop me a line on any of the many avenues that I leave available for folks to contact me.  Lets have an awesome August and a truly phenomenal Blaugust!

Sponsors Unite

Class of 2013


Yesterday the 2013 Newbie Blogger Initiative officially kicked off and the new blogs are starting to trickle into the forum.  Yesterday I updated my blogroll to include the five blogs that had signed up to date, and over the night another two have joined the fray.  Here is hoping that the effort will continue to grow throughout the month.  Last time we ended up with I believe 110 new blogs starting the process, so we have a long ways to go before we see those numbers.

I will update my blogroll accordingly later today… but currently this years crop looks a little something like this…

Check them out and give them some link love.

Sponsors Unite

Similarly, yesterday kicked off quite a number of “advice” posts from the sponsors.  Like always these varied in topic greatly covering general tips, where to find inspiration, and various technical tidbits.  I am sure in the coming days we will be seeing a lot more of these posts but so far here is the run down of topics that were posted as of this morning.

I am sure as the month rolls on, we will see quite a few more sponsor posts as well.  I think for the first day, the program was pretty well represented.  My goal is to do a short daily synopsis of what all has been happening on the days I am not posting an advice article myself.

Heroic Characters

EverQuest2 2013-10-02 06-22-05-44

A few days ago I had posted about the fact that October 1st was the beginning of the ability to create a free Heroic Character in Everquest 2.  Most of us initially thought this was for subscribers only… or in EQ2 nomenclature “Gold Members”.  However yesterday Stargrace of MMO Quests pointed out that ANYONE can log in and create a free level 85 character during the October 1st – October 15th period.  Additionally they have once again tightened the reins of the free to play restrictions.  Previously it was extremely frustrating to play a free to play character, because you could not equip Legendary or higher items…  which meant that essentially you could not equip anything that came from a dungeon or most world drops.

With the introduction of Heroic Characters, all of these item locks are gone… as are the various items that were sold on the store to unlock the ability to equip them.  Additionally as of yesterdays patch… much like they did in the past with other expansions… Destiny of Velious is now included for free.  This gives you access to content up to level 95, and covers all of the newer zones added into the game.  They have also broken up the Age of Discovery features into bite sized chunks that allow you to gobble up only the pieces you want, for example you can buy access to mercenaries only, or just the beastlord class.  Since they are removing some of the appeal for remaining a gold member, they have added in a permanent +15% coin loot bonus and +10% mount speed bonus to all existing gold members.  They have also mentioned they will be adding more perks into the equation to keep maintaining gold level a valuable thing.

The Swash and Berserker

EverQuest2 2013-10-02 06-37-39-56

Wanting to take advantage of the free promotion, I logged in both of my accounts last night and created and or upsized characters on each.  For some time I had been trying to level a dps character on my main account, and had created Belgrifter a Ratonga Swashbuckler.  Namely the Swash is a very high survival dps, and I was having a decent time leveling him.  Ultimately I ran into the same roadblock I ran into with all of my characters however.  Once you have had flight in EQ2, you simply do not want to level a character without it.  So essentially I was stuck with a decision… either grind up tradeskills or grind up levels.  I managed to push him up to 55 before something shiny caught my eye and I abandoned the effort.

Since I could not really see myself returning to playing him until I had flight… I decided to go ahead and use that accounts token to super size my Ratonga.  The gear that they give you is extremely nice… far nicer than the gear I have ever started velious content in before.  I seriously doubt if I will replace any of it during the Othimir quests, it seems to be on par with that level of item.  The weapon choices were a little wonky, giving me a sword and a mace… but I can live with that.  The big problem is I have NEVER used a mace on my rat… but they auto leveled all of my weapon skills for me… so that really is not a problem.

If you look at the image from the above paragraph you will see Belglaive my new 85 Iksar Bezerker.  On my second account I mostly had support classes, as I used to regularly dual box before the release of Mercenaries.  As a result I really did not have anything “tanky” on that account.  If I ever wanted to dual box again, I figure it would end up extremely handy to have access to a tank, and Bezerker is the one I have never really played to high levels.  I have a very small dwarven one on my main account, but I think he is somewhere in the 30s.  The best thing is… the changes give me full access again to my Dark Elf Warden, since I had stopped playing him due to the item restrictions and not wanting to maintain a second subscription.

Wrapping Up

The ability to create a free level 85 character is an extremely amazing offer.  If you have ever considered playing EQ2, I highly suggest you make an account during the 1-15 period and create a level 85 even if you do not intend to play it right now.  You can do a lot of cool stuff with an 85, and even use it to feed lower level characters items.  I have always loved EQ2, and I will admit the prospect of fresh high level characters has gotten me pumped about playing it some again.  Just not sure how often I will do so… given my current addiction to Final Fantasy XIV.  If you do end up rolling characters, I highly suggest Antonia Bayle the Roleplaying server.  It has probably the best community I have seen in any game… other than potentially Landroval in LOTRO.