Blogging Cowboys of the Modern Age

Modern cowboys ride spaceships...

Lately, the MMO “blogosphere” (if it actually exists) has been asking one question.

Where have all the blogging cowboys gone?

The answer’s obvious, isn’t it?

Some grew up and got older and prioritized other things to do with their time than write blog posts – like start a family, begin a new job, play non-MMO games, continue playing MMOs but not bother to chronicle or document it.

The others, well, they haven’t gone anywhere.

But as both the genre and the blog authors get older, interests have diverged, with a myriad variety of games to sate them.

Take a look at the sidebars of the two blogs I check out (MMO Gypsy and Inventory Full)  in lieu of Google Reader to see recent updates of other blogs (I’d love to do the same but default WordPress is crummy) and just scan the subject matter.

Bloggers are talking about WoW, TSW, GW2, Eve, SWTOR, Rift, LOTRO, Firefall, World of Tanks, Civilization, Minecraft, Sims 3, Planescape: Torment, etc.

I scan a good number of these because I’m an inveterate and totally unchoosy game sampler. I own or have played a good number of these, thus understanding the specific jargon used and have a moderate amount of interest in checking out how others are getting along in them.

But to be honest, my greatest attention and most in-depth read throughs are of my immediate game of choice, which firmly ensconces me in a teeny tiny community of three “regulars” – Ravious and Bhagpuss my other partners in wall-of-text-crime, and I’m beginning to worry that Bhagpuss is losing interest in GW2, which is going to leave Ravious and me in a lonely little echo chamber.

Semi-periodic updates and comments by Syp, Syl, Paeroka, Kichwas, J3w3l, Rakuno, Tremayne, Valourborn, Lothirieth, João Carlos, Ursan, and any others I unfortunately missed, let me know there is a mini-community of irregulars who still dabble with GW2 and/or are interested in reading about other people writing about it.

As part of a wider MMO blog community, I lurk around and read and idly comment on a whole bunch of other blogs from time to time: in no particular order, Rowan Blaze, Stubborn, Klepsacovic, Telwyn, Liore, Azuriel, MMOgamerchick, TeshRohanPsychochild, Tobold, Spinks, Saylah, and of course, Wilhelm Arcturus, who got this round’s topic discussion ball rolling.

And if you look at any of the latter blogs, you will see that they too have their own mini game specific communities of TSW people, or Eve Online players, or WoW stalwarts with whom they interact and whose paths I would rarely cross, being not a current player of any of those games.

In the so-called previous heyday, there was mostly only one game to talk about. World of Warcraft. Then later, the “generally understood” peak was the hype surrounding Warhammer when everyone leapt on the blog bandwagon.

Nowadays, you might say that MMO blogs have lost focus, or diversified, depending on how kindly or unkindly you wish to term it.

Personally, I think it’s just an unavoidable symptom of the genre maturing and more games being developed for different niches of MMO players. Progression raiders and sandbox PvPers and themepark achiever tourists all move in separate circles.

As the genre matures, commercialization takes over. News sites like Massively aggregate content and develop their own community. MMOs themselves create forum boards and form their own community nuclei.

And as the younger generation muscles in on older veterans’ territory, they bring with them their Youtube videos and their social media like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, et. al. all of which form different communities to compete with the blogging one for audience attention.

The community I frequent right now  (GW2 Reddit, GW2 forums, Tarnished Coast forums) will not be the same one as an Eve player, or a lost soul looking for the next MMO to satisfy them (Massively’s full of those.)

And that’s as it should be.

Blogging is only one niche of many. But it has a function that is hard to replace by other competitors. It serves as a repository of independent voices – subjective opinion and editorial, personal feedback and reaction, game design analysis, pretty screenshots and commentary.

A post takes less time to consume than a video, there’ll always be room for blogs, if people care to visit and write them.

In short, if you want a blogging community, it behooves you to form your own. Go visit and bookmark your favorite sites to read and leave a comment here and there. Develop your own circle and fellowship.

Some blogging cowboys have settled down, perhaps started families, and become townsmen and farmers and merchants and businessmen.

A few others have hung up their hats, having gotten tired of the existing trail, but still are itching to become pioneers, looking forward to the next gold rush.

Others have become spacemen or conspiracy theorists.

But they all still have interesting stories to tell, if you care to stop by and listen.

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11 thoughts on “Blogging Cowboys of the Modern Age

  1. bhagpuss says:

    I’m definitely not losing interest in GW2. I see myself playing it for many years. I never wanted to play it to the exclusion of other MMOs, though, so while ANet drag it in all directions, several of which I actively dislike, I’ll happily take the opportunity to scale my GW2 hours down and spend some time in other worlds.

    I like the latest update more than most so far, which surprised me. What I really don’t like, and it’s taken me a while to work it out, is feeling like I’m being given homework all the time. These two-week content drops are already feeling like assignments and the Achievements are like the grade you get. That’s not really what I come to GW2 (or any MMO) for.

  2. kichwas says:

    Losing interest no. Getting mad at choices that I think will cause me to lose interest, yes. I feel like I am a mile away from another train on the tracks coming my way, and just realized neither of us has breaks, but we’re only doing 20mph… I can see exactly where this is going, and there’s nothing I can do about it, and I can probably tell you about when it will get me (I’m guessing I will not last past October).

    The name of that train: Living Story.

    • Jeromai says:

      Do I want to ask which particular choices in the Living Story make you feel like you’re looking at the light of an oncoming train?

      • kichwas says:

        If there were specifics I’d be out already. Rather it is the overall ‘concept I feel is flawed’. The episodic nature that prevents lore and plot from moving forward.

        Wooden Potatoes in his recent video put it very well, only my concern level is higher than his:

  3. lothirieth says:

    I’m very bad at updating my own blog (you should see all the screenshots I have that I took with plans to share :P) as I don’t feel I’m a good writer and I suppose many of my posts are frivolous. :P I’m certainly glad there are those of you who are actually good at updating and have interesting things to say. :)

    • Jeromai says:

      Nonsense. You can develop your own style. :) Nothing wrong with short, frivolous posts. They’re a lot faster to write too and help to keep updates going!

      Try a screenshot then a caption or two or a paragraph talking about it, then post. Voila, done.

  4. Ah, I couldn’t agree more – you said this beautifully :)
    the MMO sphere was freakishly united during WoW’s hayday and has changed since, but it’s nowhere near the doom and gloom some make it out to be imo. it’s diverse and flavorful and personally I don’t worry about it. we go through our highs and lows with game and temporary blues, but there’s always going to be MMO bloggers with something to say. I’m going through a bit of a down phase myself with GW2 right now but that’s not the end of the world – plus there is always sarcasm. ;)
    that said, I love reading your GW2 WoTs, whenever there’s an update I usually check if you’ve commented on it already.

    I’m always happy to hear people are using my blogroll by the way – I tend to it quite regularly! and I really wish, once more, you were on twitter so I could re-tweet your posts with more ease! :)

    • Jeromai says:

      I’m beginning to think a person can tell how much I like the update by how long the delay is before I post about it. Quite a while goes by = too busy playing it. Can’t wait to slam a post down = bitching forthcoming.

      Twitter is my nemesis. 140 characters?!

      The comment above is already longer than that!

      • I was on the exact same boat as you for a long time in terms of twitter. :) however, in retrospective I must say I was wrong to stay away from the MMO community (mostly also ppl from our blogosphere) for as long as I did – although I can understand if someone feels they got no time for it.
        essentially, don’t think about it in terms of post size and discussion; rather it is amazing for sharing links around, staying on top of releases and generally spreading link love among bloggers. I like that I can track my favorite writers and people that way and not miss so much, especially important updates. I have often been given ideas for posts and replies that way too.

        In any case, I’d be happy to see you there someday!

  5. […] Jeromai believes the mmo genre and bloggers interests are just maturing and I would have to agree. Games that don’t just include mmo’s and the genre itself is changing to become more focused on particular playstyles and interests. So many wonderful experiences out there that it would be a shame not to have the broadest possible outlook you can. […]

  6. […] three more MMO bloggers, namely Jeromai, Azuriel and Jewel, have tuned in on the debate and made some excellent points each on why exactly […]

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