Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.
Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Out of the Loop

Greetings Traveler,

It seems like I've done little other than travel, myself, over the past couple months. As you may have gleaned from reading this blog in the past, my job takes me all sorts of places. But from the beginning of September until today, I've been out of the loop for half the season. And it won't really get any better in the coming months. The computer I built earlier this year has proven to be less portable than I would like. And even when I do bring it with me, I run into technical issues like the hotel TV not producing sound from the HDMI connection. Which means no big time gaming for me. Not really much table-topping either. After having played MMOs for so long, I am spoiled by not having to worry about the arcane dice rolls that are at the forefront of Pathfinder and similar pen and paper endeavors.

I should think this would be the perfect opportunity to get some fiction writing done—no need for sound to type in Scrivener—but my muse has proven elusive on that front of late. The inertia of not blogging has taken its toll as well. It's not a superhuman effort to post, but since I'm not gaming much, I don't really seem to have much to post. Nor am I involved in group efforts like MMOGC posting updates with the Battlebards.

I am considering a tablet in order to read and write in more informal settings. My phone is really too small to comfortably read for very long, and so I am halfway through two books that really interested me, because I am reluctant to read them on that tiny screen. But then, I am caught between getting an Android that would be compatible with said phone or a Windows tablet that would be compatible with my PC.

Anyway, hopefully this breaks the non-posting funk I've been in for the past few months.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after publication. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Seven Magnificent Years of IHTtS

This is going to be perhaps a bit lame, but I wanted to commemorate my blogoversary at least in some small way. I'll have a better retrospective tomorrow, since this weekend so far as been a very busy one. Thank you, Dear Reader, for sticking with me for so long, even when the posting gets a bit thin.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Return to Regression

Earlier this month, as part of NBI, I discussed the sometimes futile attempt to correlate the blog author's activity on the blog with that of the readers. In other words, whether posting more often leads to more pageviews. (I made the dark charts in MS Excel, the pale graph is from Blogger.)
Due to an extreme outlier—I received almost 3x the number of pageviews this past month than I did my previous peak, which was May—my posts-to-pageviews R2 is now even less than it was at mid-month. However, I realized I could put in the cumulative number of months I've been blogging as an independent variable instead. The result is much more compelling. As I understand it, there is a 40% percent correlation between my pageviews and how long I've been blogging. Remember however, that "correlation is not causation."
You'll notice, as I've posted less in the early part of this year (just to the left of the 76 month mark), my pageviews slackened as well. While I would say that there is less correlation between my posting and my pageviews than some other bloggers, that is partly because I post erratically, some months posting hardly at all, and a few months posting every day. I'd theorize that if I posted more predictably, my pageviews might stabilize, month to month.
Which brings us to this milestone. A couple days ago, I reached 50,000 hits within a 30-day window, and then, as of the early morning hours of 30 June, I reached 50k in a calendar month. By midnight UCT, I was just shy 52k, and I'm not sure when I'll reach that again. Being a bit of a realist (I'd like to think), I have a feeling this new peak is not a plateau, and I'll be seeing more conventional numbers in the near future. But regardless, it's a heady feeling to have reached such a milestone, whether I earned it or not. If you're a regular visitor, I thank you for reading my little rambles and ruminations.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

NBI: Why a Blog?

Much like MMOs, the commentariat has been prophesying the death of blogging for years. Perhaps more accurately, the "Death of Blogging" has been used  for years as a launchpad for yet another think piece on blogging. Of course, much of online journalism, from the NYT to Slate, Breitbart to HuffPo, is simply a series of blogs, albeit written by "professionals" who are getting paid (hopefully). In any event, individual blogging always seems to be on the wane, despite new people taking up the mantle of "blogger" every year (while others fade away). And many pundits look to social media like Facebook and Twitter—with their somewhat built-in audiences—as the inheritors of blogging.

So why start (or continue) a blog in 2016?


I use Twitter on an almost daily basis, and frequent Facebook to see what my RL friends and family are up to. I have even written fairly lengthy Notes on FB in the past. But I consider the easy accessibility and constant stream of both platforms to be a major weakness as a blogging platform. On each (as well as G+ and other social media), I am but one drop of many flowing past in a user's stream. But if you come here to I Have Touched the Sky, Dear Reader; at least for a few minutes, I have your undivided attention. Instead of me coming to your stream, you have come to mine.

Granted that it is from a Blogger template, what you see on IHTtS is curated by me, Rowanblaze. When you write on your own blog, you control the content. You control the layout. You are free to control who gets to participate. It is your own little corner of the internet, just as this is mine.

Also, unlike those other platforms, which seem to be a bit ephemeral, your blog can be an archive of the way you felt about things in the past. In writing this article, I spent a good couple of hours this morning reading several of my own past posts. It is interesting to go back and see what has changed and what remains the same in my life. What I was thinking a year ago. Or six.

There are many pluses to writing your own blog. It can be frustrating, and occasionally seems like a lot of work. You'll probably never get rich or famous doing it. But it has many intrinsic rewards. That's why I blog. And I think that's why you might enjoy blogging, too.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, June 10, 2016

NBI: Regression Analysis of Posting and Page Views

Instead of Warcraft Movie hotness, my Dear Reader, you are going to get graphs today.

So it's time once again for the Newbie Blogger Initiative. In the spirit of delayed events that seem to be a running theme this year, I have neglected to discuss or promote the NBI until almost a third of the way into the month. I don't participate as much in NBI as I have in the past, for various reasons. But I do think it is worthwhile endeavor, bringing together the MMO blogging community, both old and new.

Statistical Navel Gazing

A little over a month ago, Ravanel Griffon celebrated her fourth blogging anniversary with a bit of analysis. Curious as to the impact of posting on page views (or "hits") Ravanel did some regression analysis, and decided posting more accounted for a little over 40% of any increased visits to her blog.

I was also curious, and so decided to do a little analysis on my own blog.
For the first few months after I started my blog, Google/Blogger was not tracking my pageviews, so that is the reason for the gap on the left end of the orange line. Unlike Ravanel, my two graph lines don't seem to correspond that much. In fact, I haven't even posted this second article of June 2016, and my hits for the month already higher than all but two months going back to June 2015. You may also notice, that I have been very inconsistent with posting over the years, some months, I have been very prolific; others, I've hardly posted at all.
Doing a little Excel magic, I learned a bit about  regression analysis on a scatter plot. I included my whole run from the time Google started recording my pageviews because I actually got a stronger correlation, something Ravanel did not find. The line represents the rough prediction on whether posting more get me more pageviews. The R2 score indicates that increased posting accounts for only about 15% of any increased hits. In fact, the analysis predicts that if I don't post at all, I should still get 4556 hits in the month. I did fail to post anything in February 2015, and got over 6000 hits.

Analysis of My Analysis

Now, I want to point out a few flaws in this sort of analysis. Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut posted every day for several years, breaking his streak only recently. For him, comparing posts to hits in this way would be futile, the time line chart would probably be better to see whether he is gaining audience. Also, the ebb and flow of pageviews does not always correspond to calendar months. My hits for last month totaled almost 18,000, but most of that was in the second half of the month. That surge has continued into June, and so over the past thirty days, I have gotten almost 30,000 hits. I reached 10,000 hits in thirty days back in November and December of 2012, but didn't crack 10K in a single calendar month until the following August, when I had posted 60 times in two months (July & August 2013), and the next month September 2013 was a longstanding record for me, on the strength of a single post that got shared on Reddit.

My point in illustrating this is to say simply: Post what you want when you want. You will gain a small following of loyal readers, which will increase over time. Posting regularly will help, but is not a guarantee of popularity. Blogging is not a race, it is a series of morning jogs. And like those morning runs, it is mostly something you do for yourself.

[EDIT: Adding my sawtooth hits graph for the past day for Bhagpuss. It's been like this for weeks. The aberration about 9 a.m. is when I first published this post.]



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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Zabrak Twins

You'd think I'd have enough SWTOR toons by now. After all, prior to the two you see here, I had thirteen on The Ebon Hawk, and another four spilled over onto Begeren Colony. The "problem," of course is that BioWare has created a-cheese-ments for taking one of each race all the way through a story, which also unlocks that race for hitherto inaccessible classes. For example, thanks to Silverleaf the Bounty Hunter, I now have a Rattataki Jedi Knight. For the most part, though, I have stuck to Humans, Cyborgs, and a couple Mirialans. Since I have pretty much all eight classes accounted for, do I really need to complete more races? Which brings me to these two. Ionanthe the Knight and Ukunga the Agent are my two Zabraks. (Just yesterday, I spent a little coin to change Ukunga into a waif and altering her face a bit. But these pics are from last week.)
Ionanthe (a Greek word for "Violet") is a Zabrak from the southern continent of Iridonia. After training on Ossus, she traveled to Tython to undergo the Trials necessary to become a full Knight. This coincided with the uprising of the native "Flesh Raiders," led by the fallen Jedi Bengel Morr. Ionanthe was instrumental in quelling the Flesh Raider threat, including the first recruitment of a Force sensitive Flesh Raider shaman into the Order. She later stopped the Sith Lord Tarnis from launching the Planet Prison weapon over Coruscant, which would have trapped the capital of the Republic behind a ship disabling ion field.

Ukunga (from a Swahili word meaning "fog" or "mist") is an Imperial Agent, originally from the eastern continent of Iridonia, trained at the Imperial Academy on Dromund Kaas, and initially assigned to Nal Hutta in a bid to gain support for the Empire from the Cartel, represented by Suudaa Nem'ro. Following her first assignment, Ukunga returned to the Seat of the Empire and assisted in foiling a terrorist plot to destroy the generators powering Kaas City. Unfortunately, the terrorists had a secondary target in the form of the Imperial Dreadnought Dominator, destroyed in a the skies over Dromund Kaas, with the loss of 3,000 people aboard and a number of the planet's inhabitants on the surface. Thereafter, Ukunga was promoted to the rank of Cipher Agent and given the assignment to track down and dismantle the Eagle terrorist network, who claimed responsibility for the Dominator attack.

I  know, I know, these are basically the Prologues of the class stories. There's not a ton of stuff on Wookiepedia about the Zabraks, and and I created these two to occupy a little time when Scooter is otherwise indisposed. As it turns out, Zabrak are the only race besides human who can be any class. On the other hand, I am curious to see if the red and purple tattoo pattern of the imperial Zabrak and the earth tones patterns of the Republic will translate to the other faction once I have completed these.

On an unrelated note, despite this only being my third post this month, I have been getting a steady heartbeat of traffic—perhaps influenced by the upcoming Warcraft movie—making May 2016 my most heavily trafficked month ever, as of some time last night.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

ARPil and Other Business

Well, this week certainly has been interesting (not really). I returned from a lengthy business trip last Saturday, and fully expected to have a post or two up this week. But it didn't happen. Honestly, I barely even played video games; as Scooter's schedule has also been funky this week, and we've chosen to do other things with our limited time together.

So I may try to cram two question a day into the second half of ARPil. Meanwhile. Belghast was asking the other day on Twitter about what happened to Developer Appreciation Week this year. I had completely forgotten about the event, what with my being out of town and preoccupied with work. Normally, I've aimed to promote it towards the end of March, perhaps pushing into April, but upon consultation with the gamer formerly known as Scarybooster, who originated the idea in 2010, we decided to encourage people to participate from 24 April through the end of the month.

In the meantime, on with the ARPil questions. I decided to make Darth Morrenia, the Empire's Wrath, my subject for ARPil. Like Pizza Maid, I will answer in character.
What are your most prominent physical features?
I am admittedly petite and slight of frame, not exactly what one might expect of a Warrior of the Sith. All the better to surprise any opponent. As my connection to the Dark Side of the Force has become strengthened, my green eyes have turned the characteristic Sith yellow. And while not a physical feature, per se, I am never in public without wearing traditional Naboo-style cosmetics.

Describe your relationship with your mother or your father, or both. Was it good? Bad? Were you spoiled rotten, ignored? Do you still get along now, or no?
I was raised among the nobility of Naboo, so I guess you could say I was spoiled. I certainly had all my material wants satisfied. My parents doted on me when they were around. But they had many social commitments, and much of my upbringing was conducted by governesses and other servants of the household. My parents brushed shoulders with the leaders of the planet, and I was involved in the Legislative Youth Program. However, I was deemed too volatile for leadership. I was in my early twenties when I was approached by representatives of Overseer Tremel of the Order of the Sith. Since I began my training, I have not returned to Naboo, nor communicated with my parents other than to reassure them of my well-being.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

30 Days of ARPil

Yes I am already behind. A few days ago, Ravanel Griffon suggested that I participate in a blogging event being "sponsored" by Pizza Maid, wherein you take one original character and answer questions about them (Pizza Maid is doing it in character), filling in background information along the way. I'm highly in favor of developing backstory for player characters, even if you're not really much into RP in the actual games you play.
My problem is that I am sort of between characters. While I really enjoy playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, so much of the story is being told by the developers that I don't have the strong connection to them that I have had in the past with my characters from The Secret World, Star Trek Online, and even World of Warcraft. Maybe I'm lying to myself, these are some pretty in-depth blurbs.

So mostly with this post, I am promoting the event and the idea. Along with my busy schedule for the first third of the month, I think my participation will be spotty. I need to decide on a character, preferably one I have not written too extensively about. But I plan to have an answer to yesterday's and today's questions by the end of the evening. We'll see how it goes from there.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Where's Count Rugen When I Need Him?

Someone was looking for you...
Because, otherwise, I have to start using two hands to count how long I've been at this blogging thing. Yes, Dear Reader, this post marks the sixth year of IHTtS. With an extremely prolific birthday month—countered by a singularly negligent valentine month—on average, I managed to post less than once every three days this year, for a total of 116 posts.

I spent some time, early in the year, reacquainting myself with Star Trek Online. But my voyages there were brief. The bulk of the year from May on has been dominated by Star Wars: The Old Republic.
The only time I'll be able to use a personal picture for the puppy motif.
Interestingly, my biggest post of the year is almost two years old, with an embed of the awesome machinima short, "Death Knight Love Story" by Hugh Hancock. Of those I have actually posted within the past year, my recent spoilerific discussion of the latest entry of Star Wars canon has already shot to the top of individually accessed posts, but that may simply be a combination of the popularity of "The Force Awakens" and the fact that I hid most of the post behind a break. With most of my posts appearing in full on the main page and in RSS/Atom readers, it's hard for me to gauge the popularity of what I write.

As has become a regular feature of the blog, I feel the need to publicize my appreciation for Scooter and her support of my hobbies and eccentricities. She puts up with my foibles, and helps me do better. She regularly proofs my writing and spares you, Dear Reader, some pretty rough drafts. I'm not sure where I would be without her, but I am sure I would not be nearly as happy. Anyway, we have Lulara and Heliantha on Corellia; and hopefully, we will be able to finish their Original stories tonight—our first on the Republic side. Hooray!
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Updated MMO History

Every once in a while it's time to update my personal MMO CV and I sort of get a free post out of the deal.

If you've read any of my posts, you probably realize that I spend a huge amount of my game time partnering up with my lovely bride, known here as Scooter, who is also an avid MMO gamer.
Most recently, we've been subscribed to Star Wars: The Old Republic since April of 2015. Previously, we played from the headstart in mid-December of 2011 into August of 2012, pushing to achieve 50 (max level) and finish up the story on my Imperial Agent. Despite issues I've had in the past with BioWare's customer relations, the game has a lot going for it. Since our return, we've enjoyed several class storylines, and most recently, have been loving the new Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion.
Star Trek Online is another game I return to with some regularity, playing from just after its release in February of 2010 until May of 2011. I dipped in a toe again in June of 2012, checking out the Duty Officer system and other developments to the game. With the recent Legacy of Romulus expansion, I started up a new Romulan Captain and got my Main up to max level. Most recently, I played for a few months in the winter and spring of 2015. Amongst all my MMO characters, I am still most attached to my STO crews in many ways.
Sonnenblume (Scooter) and Girasol
Scooter and I have drifted in and out of Rift a few different times. We played regularly from the beta tests in January of 2011 through October of the same year. I cannot say enough great things about this game, or the developer, Trion Worlds. It's not perfect, but the polish and responsiveness of the game and company are things other devs should aspire to. For reasons not really clear even to me or Scooter, when our Mains hit 50 (max level at the time), the wind went out of our sails, and we really had no desire to continue playing the game. We got involved again in summer of 2013, with House Stalwart, but discovered that something about the game caused us both eye strain. We were back again in the autumn of 2014 in for the Nightmare Tide expansion, but quickly drifted off again.

We also dipped our toes into ArcheAge for a few weeks in the autumn of 2014. It's a beautiful game with an interesting class/skill system, and I'm told the open-world PvP isn't as bad as some have made it out to be. However, due to technical difficulties, we decided to drop the game before getting too far.
We played WildStar in the summer of 2014, but have not returned for the free-to-play transition. Scooter and I have two duos of Exiles, plus I have a few solo toons. It's a fun game with an engaging storyline and a delightful art style reminiscent of World of Warcraft, but some ways an even darker tone. Despite the colorful cartoony look, this is not a game for young children.
Judging from the shear number of posts tagged with The Secret World, it may be my favorite game. It's the smartest story and skill/ability system on the market, in my humble opinion, though the additions of the Augment and Aegis systems make an already complicated system unwieldy. The issues from 2013, "The Last Train to Cairo" and "A Dream to Kill," feature the most enthralling storylines I have followed in an MMO. I currently have a toon in Egypt's Scorched Desert, one in Transylvania's Carpathian Fangs, and one in Tokyo, having completed the main story through "The Venetian Agenda." I stepped into Tokyo, the new zone that opened up with the release of Issue 9, "The Black Signal," but became discouraged with the AEGIS system. I haven't logged into the game in almost a year.

Scooter and I spent a bit of time in the Landmark alpha in the spring of 2014, but the exigencies of the plot rental during early beta—plus technical difficulties with my computer—led to a sharp drop-off in our participation. We may go back someday, but that ship may have sailed without us.
Between Christmas and New Years Eve, 2013, we decided to try something a little different, after looking into a couple F2p titles, we started playing EverQuest II. Our first two characters were OK, but we chose poorly on our starting area and tired quickly of the polar tundra around New Halas. Picking up again with a Ratonga Conjurer (me) and a Half-Elf Warden (Scooter) we restarted in Greater Feydark, but are stalled in the second zone of the continent, Butcherblock Mountains.

Guild Wars 2 is a ton of fun (the most important thing in a game), easy to jump into and play for a few minutes or a few hours. The game has a good skill/progression system, great graphics, plenty of lore, and just a touch of whimsy—without going overboard. I have a human Engineer at 80, and several other characters at lower levels. I haven't actually played in a few months, though.

I played World of Warcraft from June of 2006, when a friend got me hooked, until October of 2011. I have two level-80+ characters, plus many more lower-level ones. I tried the Pandaren starting area in the Mists of Pandaria expansion (in October, 2012), but got a "been there, done that" feeling from the experience.

Neverwinter is a fun third person shooter/D&D hybrid, and I love my half-Orc Great Weapon Fighter. I didn't get very far, but it was a nice diversion.

I have tried Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, Defiance, and The Elder Scrolls Online, but found them not to my taste.

Please see also my character pages. Links above.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Back to Commentary Logins

After over a month of allowing anonymous comments, I am back to requiring some sort of sign-in. I am sorry for any inconvenience or discouragement of genuine commenters, but I can't remember a single anonymous post that wasn't spam. I may be mistaken. There are a variety of ways you can log in, so I doubt you would have to sign up for anything new at this point:
  • Google
  • LiveJournal
  • WordPress
  • TypePad
  • AIM
  • OpenID
I'm sorry if this causes any inconvenience, but dealing with spam has been an inconvenience to me with no benefit.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Blaugust the 32nd: Did Blaugust Drive My Traffic?

Bwahahah! you thought, we were DONE, did you?

Way back on Blaugust the 10th, Ysharros asked the blogger's eternal question: Is this going to raise my pagehits? (I'm paraphrasing.) Someone, I can't figured out who, mentioned Syl had talked about sharing our stats, so that people don't feel like they're alone. [Syl clarified in the comments below.] As was pointed out, we're really all just small fish. So, I got 15,963 pagehits in August—several which I am sure were actual readers. As a contrast, I have a work friend who just started a blog about current events and biblical prophecy, and he's already getting 4k hits a day.
In case you're curious, my highest month ever is that first huge peak from September 2013, almost 17k and largely stemming from this post I did in late August of that year, in which I discussed barriers to entry and other economic concepts as they related to MMO revenue models. Digressing further, it's interesting what I got right and what I didn't in that post. As predicted (and I wasn't alone in this), The Elder Scrolls Online and WildStar were not the second coming of the subscription model—though it seems that Final Fantasy XIV may be. On the other hand, I was pretty sure I would never play or SWTOR ever again. And yet here I stand, having paid six more months of membership dues. And counting.

The second peak is May, just a few months ago, where I got about 16.6k as I was coming off of Developer Appreciation Week and got a bit of a boost (I think) from the Newbie Blogger Initiative. Don't feel bad if you're just starting out. You may note the cute little initial peak from July 2010 (the first month Google actually started counting, despite the graph beginning with May). In July 2010, after blogging for about 6 months, I got 997 pagehits, and in August I got only half that.

Following the Ancient Gaming Noob's lead (who I am sure gets waaaaay more hits than I), let's look at page referrals.
  • Google tops the list, plus Google France and Germany, so lots of searching people are finding my stuff. (It just occurred to me, that may also include people coming from G+.)
  • My own url is second, so a lot of people are just coming straight here, that's cool.
  • Twitter's own shortener, t.co, is next, so that's a good place publicize my stuff.
  • Feedly is, of course, a common RSS/Atom client, but it's nice to see that show up in my stats.
  • Anook, social media for gamers and home of Blaugust, rounds out the the top five, perhaps the best indication that Blaugust as an organized event had an impact this past month (as opposed to the simple uptick in my posting).
Rounding out the top ten are Blessing of Kings (Rohan) and Inventory Full (Bhagpuss), so a special thanks to both of them and whoever is reading them in Canada and Germany. But note something interesting: all these sites account for only 887 of the almost 16k hits I got this month. Considering the lowest two sources on the list are only 27 apiece, that's a very long tail.

My graph is pretty jagged, even though there's a steady trend upward over the long term (about five years on the graph). While there are outliers, the biggest indicator of how many hits I get in a given month is how many times I post that month, sometimes adjusted for posting a lot at the end of the previous month. There's no real magic to it, to be honest. I don't know if I obsess about my stats more or less than the average blogger, or really where I stand in relative popularity. Going back partly to my post yesterday, I fall somewhere between extrovert and introvert. Popularity is nice, but my self worth doesn't depend on it. And I am happy with the few gamers and bloggers I surround myself with in my little corner of internet.

And with that, I put Blaugust 2015 to bed on this blog.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Blaugust the 31st: The Masks We Wear

Well, here it is, the last day of Blaugust. Unlike NaNoWriMo, there wasn't a strenuous thirteen hundred word pace to keep up. But developing the habit of posting every day is good practice for that endeavor, I suppose. I did miss one Saturday, but made up for it by posting twice the next day. Congratulations to everyone who managed to post 31 times this month. I doubt I will keep up this pace, but I don't feel nearly as exhausted about it this year. So hopefully, Slacktember won't be the two-post month it was last year.

Scooter challenged me to make this final post of Blaugust a deeper post than some of the others I've written during the month. I was reading Xanziee's post the other day that was, in turn, inspired by Syl's post about the masks we wear, and whether they allow our true selves to be displayed. This thread of posts goes back even further to Jeromai and Psychochild, if you're interested in delving that far.

Syl and Xanziee both quoted from Oscar Wilde (if you can't see the pic): "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." Wise words, to be sure. But another wise man once said, "What I told you was true... from a certain point of view." There is a darker side to this story. "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." Nothing insulates people from the consequences of their actions quite the way the internet does. From relative safety and anonymity, people harass and harangue others, threaten them, and even cause serious situations, all without apparent consequence. The mask can be a powerful, freeing thing. But is it the truth or a fantasy? And if it is your fantasy, how can you be sure people won't understand it to be the truth? What we do or say in cyberspace can have consequences in meatspace.

There is a school of thought that games and other activities online allow us to live out fantasies that we would never dream of doing in reality. I'm not a murderer, but I can play a ruthless Sith Warrior on my PC. I'm not a street thug, but there is a game for that, too. Is the set of pixels that I control in the game a role or an avatar? Another school of thought, reflected in the Wilde quote above, is that these games offer us the opportunity to act outside the normal constraints of civilized society. Some people take that opportunity too far, becoming assholes—or worse—online. Are you a dick? Or do you just play one on the internet? Is there really a difference?
There's yet another side to the discussion of online masks. While they are not completely separated, I have one online persona that is represented here, on Twitter, and on G+. Rowan Blaze, intrepid gamer and blogger. I don't advertize that persona much on Facebook and other places, where I use the name I was given by my parents and where I still communicate with family and friends, despite any differences in philosophy we may have. Which is the "real" me? Is either? How am I different at home with Scooter or with my kids than I am here on the blog or at the office? Am I an extrovert? An introvert? Something in between?

Do I talk about the dark thoughts that occasionally run through my mind? [I've edited this sentence a dozen times, still trying to keep the mask in place.] I know a few bloggers who have discussed their depression (and other ailments, other conflicts) that they can escape for a while here in cyberspace. But that escape has its consequences, too. I wish we could gather for one big group hug, and that that would solve everything. But it won't, and many of you would probably recoil from the crowd anyway. We can find solace with each other here, and offer our meager support with words of kindness. /Hugs to you all until we can find a way to shed the masks forever.
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It's over! Congratulations again to all the Blaugustian Aggronites. For hundreds of awesome posts, head over to the Blaugust Nook, where Bel is keeping track of everything and community members are sharing encouragement and ideas.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blaugust the 24th: My Own Favorite Posts

Murf is looking for some great non-Blaugust posts to talk about for his Blogging Bonanza column on MMOGames. We often worry about how popular our posts are, but what are the ones we are particularly proud of? Including this entry, I have posted 727 times on this blog. Perhaps not as many as some others out there, but enough that I don't even remember off the top of my head everything that I have written. This list may not even include my best work by some measures, but these are the ones that stood out in my mind when I read Murf's appeal. In no particular order:

"Developing Character Backstories in MMORPGs"

OK, it says we need 10 kobold candles.
In which I share my philosophy and advice on how having backstories enriches character development and, perhaps, player immersion and enjoyment of the game. One of my first "guide posts" and also the first time I guest-posted on someone else's blog. I posted for Steve "Slurms" Lichtsinn of Multiplaying fame, and co-host of the recently retooled MMO Show podcast.

"Ascended"

Go Forth, Ascended
In which I relate the first moments of my Guardian Warrior's rebirth into the world of Telara. One of my many attempts at creative writing. Again, perhaps not my best, but it's the one I immediately thought of. "Ascended" is as much a word painting as a story of any kind. I had an impression, a few images and sounds, that I tried to convey through the written word. You can judge if I was successful or not.

"A Little Player in a Very Big MMORPG"

No more runnin'. I aim to misbehave.
In which I discuss how I do not need to be the Big Damn Hero of the world in an MMO, and how I think MMOs miss the mark when they attempt to make the player feel that way. Strangely enough, I am right now heavily involved in a game that seems to do just that: SWTOR. One of my gaming design philosophy posts, and one that involved quite a few respondents.

"Cloud Atlas"

Who's going to pay for all that?
In which I try to encourage folks to see this awesome film. One of the few movie reviews I have attempted, and by far the best, partly because of the way the movie itself affected me. Perhaps by coincidence, this was also by far my most popular post for a long time, and even now it is my third all-time most popular.

"My Lovely Bride"

One of my few treasures
In which I defend this term of endearment for Scooter. Another post that had a lot of commenters; some for, and some against. It was a lesson to me of how our own personal gestalt tinges the way we see the interactions of others. Any long-time reader of this blog knows how much Scooter means to me, this post may have been the first time I articulated it in writing.

So that's them, my personal favorites. As I said at the top of the post, you may think I have written better posts than these. I certainly have written posts that got more hits or comments. Let me know what you think of my list in the comments below.
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If you're interested in joining the madness (Vloggers are welcome, too!), Belghast has a set of rules for qualifying for any prizes at the end. Your second stop should be the Blaugust Nook, where Bel is keeping track of everything and community members are sharing encouragement and ideas.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.