Blogger flockers

I find it interesting, and by that I mean sometimes fascinating, other times depressing, how MMO bloggers seem to travel in packs at times (and I’m pointing at myself just as much as at others). The past week or two, Runes of Magic seems to be the place to be. For a while it was Wizard101. Then of course it was the WAR -> WOW transition.

Why do we travel in packs like this? RoM isn’t news…it’s been in open beta since December. The WAR thing made sense; it was a brand new game and everyone was curious. Ditto those in Darkfall now. And the bunch of folks going into CoX to play together is different, too. That’s a bunch of friends looking for a game they all feel like playing.

I’m talking more about this hive-mind mentality that suddenly some MMO that’s been cooking along is the kewl place to be, even though the various bloggers playing don’t seem to be actually playing together.

It’s just weird, and for some reason tonight, it really kind of bugs me. I guess because I don’t understand’s a mystery I can’t unravel. Why Runes of Magic, now? The game’s been in open beta since December and no one deemed it worthy of a second glance until the last couple of weeks. Now suddenly its The New Thing. Why? What changed?

It baffles me. I hate stuff that baffles me… 🙂

9 thoughts on “Blogger flockers

  1. What changed was Saylah writing about it and lifting it from the “WoW-clone” hell. That’s what bloggers DO. We play the games and tell their stories from the player perspective, not the game journalist perspective, not the reviewer perspective, and certainly not the PR perspective. So until a blogger takes up a game, who really knows anything about it? And once you do know about it, maybe then, you want to try it.

  2. The game is free. Any blogger can download and play it. I played it in December as did a lot of folks when the open beta started on the 15th. OK actually I attempted to play it in December but I think it was early January by the time I got all the kinks worked out.

    I guess it depends on what we (bloggers) feel our place is. I try (money permitting) to try everything just so I can share what I find. If we all just sit around and wait for someone else to discover something… well we wouldn’t get very far, would we?

    Meh, never mind. The more I get to know this community, the more apparent it becomes that I’m kind of an anomaly and approach everything from the opposite direction that most do. 🙂

    I’ve only had this blog for 7 years… I guess I’m still learning what bloggers are supposed to do. 😉

  3. Bah, I’d like to apologize if I’m coming across snarky, Tipa. I’m not fit company these days, to be honest. I should just take a break from blogging and commenting until some personal stuff sorts itself out.

    You’re right, of course. When someone finds a new game and writes enthusiastically about it, it’s only natural for others to try it out.

    Maybe that’s why my traffic levels are still so low after so long… I try to “cover” MMOs rather than writing about the fun I have playing them.

    Anyway again, please accept my apology for being so vile.

  4. I think you’re right, I know when i read about a game I’ll tend to try it out. There is a lot of noise out there and blogs tend to be the signal.

  5. While I have nowhere near your experience in blogging, I also don’t have time or disk space to try every game that comes out. I *LIKE* playing MMOs, and so when I find a couple I like — like EQ2 and W101 for now — I stick with them until I have time to try another. When between games, I do like to try a lot of new games until I find another winner, but mostly, I rely upon other bloggers to let me know what the games are really like. I was able to avoid WoW, AoC and WAR last year because of what I learned from bloggers.

    So, apologies from a somewhat less experienced blogger. I only do what I do, and I do it poorly.

  6. Different strokes for different folks! I’m more like Tipa in that I focus intently on one or two games at a time — for me, it’s EQ2, and now Animal Crossing — but I’ve been reading over Pete’s shoulder for long enough now that I clearly see the pattern he’s speaking of.

    Peter, I think you’re selling yourself short; yeah, you jump on these games as soon as they’re available, but people don’t often flock to try them on the word of just one blogger about a game that’s brand-spanking-new. It takes some time for the rest of the world to catch up, and that doesn’t make you an outsider…it makes you a pioneer. 🙂

  7. Are bloggers trying new games because other bloggers are writing about them, or are players trying games due to broader market conditions and then blogging about them? Between the Warhammer launch and November expansions for WoW, EQ2, and LOTRO, players have had just enough time to explore whichever game they were playing for the last few months. Meanwhile, ROM has technically been in open beta for a while, but it seems like the hype factor on sites like Massively has picked up of late. They’re in the right place at the right price at the right time, and thus they’re getting some attention right now.

    One thing that us bloggers do share in common, though, is that most of us have a game that we played in the past and enjoyed enough to blog about. Perhaps that makes us a tougher sell for a new game than people who are less invested in their current games – the new one will always be competing against the old favorite.

  8. I’ll make an attempt at offering some advice.

    First, regarding your content and traffic levels… don’t worry about it. I used to get depressed about my traffic hits but I realized I’d rather have a few people commenting and conversing than thousands of anonymous hits. Way before I had my MMO blog I ran a tech blog with tons of traffic and I quickly got to the point where I felt I “owed” my readers daily posts, etc. even if I wasn’t really in the mood for it. The eventual outcome? Bitterness and burnout. In some ways I see that with Tobold as well. His forte is doing the technical breakdown and analysis articles, and his traffic level is so high that it seems he submits to this expectation that “Tobold does technical articles and at least one per weekday, usually three.” As a result, sometimes I read the articles and feel like he’s stretching a bit and posting fairly weak content just because he feels he “owes” his readers those 1-3 articles per weekday. All this despite the quarterly “it’s my blog, don’t tell me what to do, I don’t owe you anything, you can all go to hell” post that we’ve come to expect from him.

    Write about what *you* want to write not what you *think* we want to read, and the audience will start appearing. You do a great job of “covering” games or breaking down mechanics, etc. But if you’re not fully enjoying being put into that little corner, then don’t do it. Break out and write about what you’re playing. If your heart is in it, that shows through in your writing and it will inspire that “warm fuzzy” feeling in the readers as well, thereby growing your audience. Personally, I enjoy that much more, especially for games I’m not playing. Tipa and Stargrace cover both EQs with the occasional splash of Vanguard or some others (W101, etc.). Openedge is the only AoC blogger I’m aware of (or that I care to read). I’m one of a handful of LOTRO bloggers and the only one I know of who dabbles in DDO (and admits it) on occasion. John and Potshot right about EVE all the time. My only personal gripes about reading blogs on games I don’t play is if the authors get too technical with acronyms and other terms that only players of those games would understand. The EVE and EQ1 articles often go down that route. They lose me at the point when I have no clue what the article is trying to communicate so I skip to the next blog on my reader. I take that into consideration when I’m writing my articles and I hope I tone them down so that non-players can read and follow along just fine.

    As for the horde mentality of game-hopping, yeah it’s noticeable with the bloggers but also with the general MMO forum populace as well. Every time there’s a “new shiny” everyone drops what they were doing to go check it out. I was just as guilty last year with AoC and especially WAR. I was at least curious and interested in AoC on my own. I had zero interest in WAR until very close to release all the bloggers’ positive articles convinced me to pre-order. That was the straw that broke this camel’s back about getting caught up in hype and following the crowd. Especially when we see the crowd is just flocking from shiny object to shiny object. If I flocked with them, it’s because I wanted to play along with them. What happens when I like a particular shiny object and decide to settle down there while the rest of them flock to the next shiny object on the horizon? I’m done being a flockin’ follower. It’s my money. It’s my time. I’m doing my own thing, when and how I want to do it. If people want to read my articles and participate, that is awesome and much appreciated. If not, so be it.

  9. I march to the beat of my own drum. (I don’t even need a drummer, dangit!) I’m constantly surprised that people even read my walls of text, and more, often offer intelligent comments.

    I’ve written for classes before, and I’m toying with writing for a (small) paycheck, and they are very different animals. I blog because I want to get something out of my system, and because I hope somebody learns from it. So far, I’ve been pretty lucky to find some likeminded folk.

    But yeah, I’ll just keep doing my thing, and see what happens. The day my blog feels like an obligation is the day I do something else, even if it’s just temporary. 🙂 Good on ye, lad, and best of luck with your efforts in whatever you’re after.

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