Category Archives: Blogging

Podcast?

This is day 18 of Blaugust.

This post is based on a writing prompt from Void.

If you were to create content for a different medium what would you choose? Videos, Streaming, Podcast, Something Else? What about that medium appeals to you as a content creator?

Apple_Podcast_logo

I really want to do a podcast. I’ve guested on a number of podcasts over the past few years and always really enjoyed it. A had a very, very brief stint as a regular co-host (if you can call 2 episodes regular) which I really enjoyed as well. I like writing here and I’ve really been getting into videos lately, but they’re both very solitary mediums. There are comments which I love getting and responding to, but it’s still not really a conversation – the content is created solely by me. I really crave the opportunity to sit down and talk and collaborate with people about video games on a regular basis. I think a podcast would be the best way to do that.

What stopping me? Hmm. Indecision. Fear of commitment. I don’t know what kind of podcast I want to have. Do I want to do the usual – what’s the news? What are you playing? One of my favourite podcasts I’ve been on was my first appearance on Justice Points where we did a deep dive on the latest Tomb Raider game. A podcast where I get to spend an hour or so really dissecting a single game per episode really appeals to me.

Who do I want to do the podcast with? Ask one person to co-host? Two co-hosts? A rotating selection of co-hosts? How would we split responsibilities and control of the podcast? I don’t really want to be in another situation where my (I use that term very loosely) podcast ceases to be and I don’t have a say. So I want control, but I also want people to bounce ideas off and collaborate with.

While I sit here wallowing in indecision, here are some great podcasts I listen to regularly and recommend:

Cat Context

Justice Points

Match 3

Spawn on Me

The Heroine’s Journey

The Smartest Man in the World

Niche

This is my 11th post for Blaugust.

I’ve been having a bit of a blogging identity crisis of late. Actually, it’s been going on for a while. There used to be a clear reason people came to my blog – I had a niche. I was a WoW player. I wrote about resto Druids, and sometimes hunters. I wrote guides on how to heal, tips for boss fights, the odd bit of theorycrafting, or gear advice. I got a fair amount of traffic to these kinds of posts, from search engines, regular readers and people linking to them from forums and such. My Warcraft Logs guide (which is actually up to date) and Resto Druid guide (from way back in MoP) are still, kinda sadly, two of my most popular posts each day.

It’s been a year since I’ve played WoW so, obviously, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it any more. Even in my last year playing Warcraft, I was pretty burnt out and posted sporadically. Over the last few years, my blog traffic has gone down…down…down. I’m a bit of a stats nerd and this graph is pretty depressing:

Cannot be Tamed yearly stats

It’s not so much that my views are low (they’re actually not bad), but the fact that they’ve been steadily dropping for the last 3 years, and dropping by a lot. I know, it’s not about traffic. It’s certainly not about money, as my one google ad I’ve hidden at the bottom of the page so as not to be obnoxious has earned about me about 5 (unpaid) dollars in the years it’s been there. Write for yourself, blah, blah, blah. But honestly, I like knowing that people are reading what I write. I appreciate the people who are regulars and friends, who stick around and comment more than those who come from search engines, but still, I feel like I peaked in 2012 and it’s disconcerting.

When I bring up the topic of falling blog traffic, people usually offer me two reasons for it. First, that blogging as a whole is becoming less popular. I’m not sure I believe that, and I really have no frame of reference other than my own blog. Second, I no longer have a niche. People don’t know what they’re going to get when they come to my blog. Sometimes I write game reviews – could be on a 4 year old indie game, could be on the latest Call of Duty. Sometimes I write about feminism, or what I’m playing, or The X-Files. I write about whatever’s on my mind rather than try to stick to a certain topic. The thing is, I like it that way. Just like with my videos – though my retro reviews are by far the most popular, I also want to talk about new games. Now that I’m not confining myself to WoW, I don’t want to confine myself to anything.

So… I guess I’m really just whining that my traffic has gone down, because I don’t really plan to change anything.

What do you think? Does a blog need a niche to be “successful”? Do you like when blogs stick to one topic rather than act as a stream of consciousness?

Hey, I have a food blog

I’m still playing catch up from my missed post yesterday. I didn’t really have any ideas for another post here today, so I cheated a bit (is it cheating?) and posted something on my neglected food blog instead!

If you like nice pictures of great food, then go on over to Damn Good Food and take a gander.

DaiLo beed carpaccio

This is my 8th post for Blaugust.

The Game I’m Most Excited For

This is my 7th post for Blaugust.

Oh dear, I’m only at the end of week 1 and I’m falling behind. I meant to post something yesterday, really I did. But I got caught up playing Witcher 3 for a few hours – I found Ciri, I must be getting close to the end, yes? Then I had some late night testing to do for work which went until well after 2am. So when I woke up this morning (can you call noon the morning?) I had no post for Friday.

Being in a bit of a rush, I’m going to go with one of the writing prompts. Void asks: What is your most anticipated game that will release in the next year, and why?

Rise of the Tomb Raider

I’m going to have to go with Rise of the Tomb Raider. 2013’s Tomb Raider was one of the most fun games I’ve played. It wasn’t a game I liked for its deep and meaningful story but the gameplay, combined with some excellent visuals and set pieces, was so exhilarating. There was a particular sequence where Lara had to climb up this immensely tall tower and I felt like I myself was on top of the world. Super smooth controls made everything feel very natural and intuitive, and I just had a great time running around raiding tombs and shooting my bow. As long as Rise of the Tomb Raider offers more great gameplay, I’ll be happy.

I’m also looking forward to Fallout 4, which comes out on the same day, but I think I’ll be tackling RotTR first. I’m more excited for it and the fact that it’ll likely take me a fraction of the time that Fallout will is also a big draw.

Gaming To-Do List

This is my 4th post for Blaugust.

Izlain came up with the writing prompt to create a gaming to-do list. I’m a big fan of lists, I’m making them all the time, so this seemed like a good blog topic to take on. In no particular order, here are the gaming things I want to get done.

  1. Post at least 1 video a week. I’ve actually been fairly consistent with videos, and have certainly posted an average of at least 1/week, but I occasionally miss a number of days and then catch up by posting 3 in a week. Further to this, I want to make sure I’m posting a retro review at least once every 2 weeks.
  2. Get back to my “Doing it Right” series. Games are full of not so great representations of women and a lack of racial and sexual diversity, but rather than always dwelling on the bad, I like to point out the good examples too. The problem is, they’re not always easy to find. I’ve got a video about XCOM floating around in my head, but need more. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
  3. Play some PC games. Between retro games and Witcher 3, PC games have sort of fallen off my radar (other than HotS). After the last summer sale my number of unplayed Steam games has been creeping up to an uncomfortable number. Yesterday I started Dead State, which unfortunately didn’t impress me much, but I’d like to finish at least 1 PC game this month and take a look at a few more.
  4. Finish The Witcher 3. One day.
  5. Get to rank 18 in HotS. Why 18? I dunno, seems like a good number and a realistic goal. For far rank 20 is the best I’ve done.
  6. Find an assassin hero I like in HotS. Right now, it’s basically Valla or nothing, and I’d like to be more adaptable when it comes to the ranked draft.
  7. Find a tank I like in HotS. I do like some warriors, but I don’t like being the tank. Somehow I’ve gotten away with never being forced to do it in ranked, but I’d like to be prepared.
  8. Figure out how to capture game footage from retro consoles. I have a Roxxio and a Hauppage, but so far have only used them with consoles that I can conenct with HDMI. There are a lot of games I’d really like to review on PS1/PS2 and Sage CD, but I haven’t figured out how to record them yet.
  9. Finish my unfinished games. Or make the decision that I’m done with them forever. Mirror’s Edge, which has sort of outstayed its welcome. Persona 3, which I played for about an hour (JRPGs start so sloooowly). Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Invisible, Inc., Hand of Fate, Lone Survivor.
  10. Play Journey. It’s finally out on PS4. Time to play.

Blizzard and Free to Play

This is my 3rd post for Blaugust.

It’s been a year now since I quit World of Warcraft. For a while I thought I was done with Blizzard games forever, but apparently not quite. First there was Hearthstone, with which I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship ever since the alpha. And now there’s my new go-to game, Heroes of the Storm. In the 9 years I played WoW – between monthly subs, expansion costs, server transfers, and race changes – I’ve put quite a bit of money in Blizzard’s pocket. So, since I quit, I decided I was done giving them money. I would only play for free.

What I’ve noticed is that the FTP experience is completely different in HotS than it is in Hearthstone.  Last week, there were two good articles on Hearthstone that touched on the FTP aspects. On Polygon, the thought was that Hearthstone, now multiple expansions in, is becoming less friendly to new players. Steve at Multiball! is of the opinion that being a non-paying Hearthstone player and earning cards slowly isn’t the worst thing in the world, and is actually making him a better player. As someone who played Hearthstone quite a bit in Beta (and spent some money on packs at that time), then stopped playing until after 2 expansions had come out, I found the huge increase of new cards a bit overwhelming. While Naxx only introduced 30 new cards (along with a bunch of solo content), the Goblin xpac introduced 143 new cards. Going up against all these cards I had never seen before, never had a chance to play, made games difficult. The only decks I had luck with were budget, rush-type decks (which, incidentally, a lot of people look down their noses at). I got to work doing my dailies for gold and I think I was able to get the first 2 wings of Naxx, along with the cards that came with them. I was also able to craft some cards with dust, but I definitely still felt at a disadvantage. Plus, having to make the choice between spending my meager gold on the Naxx content vs. packs that would net me more cards and options, wasn’t really fun. Even arena mode, which doesn’t rely on crafted decks costs at least 2-3 dailies worth of gold. I got tired of it, and uninstalled. Again. Now that The Grand Tournament is coming out, with another 132+ new cards, it’s pretty much guaranteed I won’t be going back to Hearthstone. While the slow and steady approach to card collecting is certainly viable for some, I don’t find the rewards for the time and effort put in are enough for me.

Heroes of the Storm shop

So what about Heroes of the Storm? This is another FTP game that’s full of things you can spend money on, but you don’t really have to. Heroes need to be purchased, for either in-game gold, or real money, though there is a free rotation that you can play each week. There are also many ridiculously overpriced skins and mounts that can be purchased for real money only (for the most part), but since these have zero effect on gameplay I don’t consider these something I’m missing out on by not spending any money. Heroes is nice in that there are a few ways to earn gold. First, just completing the tutorial gives you 1000g, to help get you on your way. You also get a nominal amount of gold for each game completed (more if you win). There are also daily quests, which give between 200-800g each, when you reach level 5 on any hero you get 500g, and as you level up from 1-40 there’s another 16k gold to be had. So it’s much easier to gain currency, especially in the beginning, in HotS than it is in Hearthstone. There’s really only one type of content that is gated, which can be overcome with money or gold, and that’s ranked mode. You need to own 10 heroes before you can play that. The reason why I don’t mind this gating is that it makes sense. Due to the drafting process, you need 10 heroes in case the worst happens and every hero you like gets taken before you get to pick. It really makes sense that you need to own the heroes because then, ostensibly, you should know how to play them. This being a team game, you don’t want people trying out new characters in ranked mode.

Heroes of the Storm is a game I feel satisfied about not spending any money on. I don’t feel like it’s holding me back, or that the people who throw money at the game are having more fun or outperforming me because they spent money. My one concern, for the future of HotS, is that too many heroes get added. Right now there are 39 heroes which seems like a reasonable number. What I don’t want to see is over 100 heroes in the game, like LoL has. One of the strengths of HotS is the low barrier to entry, and adding dozens more heroes would negate this. In order to be really good at the game, you need to not only know how to play your own hero, but have at least an idea of the abilities of the heroes you’re up against, or playing with. 

What do you think? Do you play either of these games? How do you feel spending real money impacts them?

Blaugust Day 1

This year I’ve decided to join in on Blaugust, an attempt to blog every day in the month of August. It was started last year by Belghast, and though I didn’t take part then, I’m motivated to do so now. My blog has been kind of neglected lately, as I’ve been spending a lot of time making videos instead (or playing Heroes of the Storm). I only posted here twice last month and I’d like to try to re-invigorate the blog, since it’s been floundering a bit since I left my WoW niche.

So, I’ve got plans. I’m going to do both blog posts and videos this month. I’m going to try to write some Heroes of the Storm tips posts here, since I’ve been spending so much time playing it and I want more people to play with me. I don’t really know what else I’ll write about though, hopefully something come to me. As for videos, I’ve got a few in the works already – a recap of my time at ConBravo, a couple new retro reviews. I’d really like to add another video or two to my Doing it Right series, since that’s what I started my channel with, but it’s been proving more difficult than I thought to come up with positive examples and those videos are even more work than reviews.

So, I hope you’ll read and watch along, and take up the Blaugust challenge yourself if it appeals to you. Happy Blaugust!