Plans Change

My plan in mid-November was to start a new blog about video games with a new YouTube channel to go along with it. As usually happens with plans, disruptions arose. For one, school pressure ratcheted up dramatically; my projected six-day Thanksgiving weekend turned into a lot of driving back and forth between Columbus, Cleveland, Akron and Chicago. The large school project remained due with essentially nothing to show for it from that weekend. So my planned December 1 launch date for the new blog came and went.

As usually happens with my plans, though, I started rethinking them even before the start of the month. Not dramatically — I’m still going to do what I was going to do, just behind schedule. But the perceived need to launch an all-new brand seemed to dissipate.

That means that I will be doing the gameplay videos, reviews and brand-building here rather than somewhere else. Ardwulf’s Lair already has a lot of the infrastructure I need: graphics, YouTube channel, and other stuff.

School is winding down. I have exactly one more day of classes, two projects and two finals before I’m finally done. As in graduating. After that I will have more time for everything else. Meanwhile, I have some content ready to go that you should start to see appearing by midweek. Before too much longer I will set to work on a new look for the site, and into January I should be able to be rolling full-steam.

Thanks to everyone who has been patient waiting for word from me for the last week or so. Your readership and input are appreciated.

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Time is Short, but the Years are Long

Some readers of this blog may know that I both work and go to school. Neither of which I talk about very much here. I have mentioned how little free time I have with some frequency. Well, to make a very long story short, due to circumstances beyond my control, I should graduate a full semester ahead of schedule. This is both good and bad. On the one hand, I’ll get to start to normalize my life again about five months sooner. On the other, I have quite a heavy load this semester and may go insane before Christmas.

It’s probably safe to say that come next year I will get to blog more. The problem, though, hasn’t been time to blog, but time to play. That should also be fixed by the time I graduate. I may also have some thoughts about the closure of Vanguard, which has had me fairly down on MMOs in general of late.

Right now I’m playing a little ArcheAge. I like it. I may have more throughts about it at some point. Come next year I will likely try to settle down with something, and ArcheAge is looking like a good candidate.

Reflection and Redirection

Ardwulf’s Lair began as a blog on a long-defunct site called GAX, a precursor to GameBreaker that never quite took off. Before long (in October of 2007) I migrated here to WordPress, where I have remained since. That was a bit over six years ago. I had begun by blogging about my adventures in Vanguard, and though I soon veered off into many other titles, that’s the game I retain a special affection for to this day.

I have not been blogging much for the last couple of months. Mostly that’s a factor of time; between school, work and family I have had very, very little time to do any video gaming at all, so blogging about it was even lower in priority. But I have been engaged in some other pursuits, including some tabletop gaming and working on some things of my own invention. With Vanguard sunsetting and my own creative urges pulling me in a different direction, it’s probably time to contemplate a change of focus for this blog.

I won’t be going away or anything equally dramatic. In fact it’s likely you’ll see a fair amount of MMORPG content here over the next few months as Vanguard slowly moves toward its sunset. And there will always be video game stuff here. But you’ll also begin to see other kinds of content, in some cases pointers to or reposts from one of my other blogs. So: fair warning.

The NBI Wraps!

Now is is the end of May and the end of the Newbie Blogger Initiative. Thanks to Syp for setting all this up, thanks to all the participants of the sponsor blogs for the volume of great advice, and thanks especially to all the new folks who took the plunge and started blogs of their own!

New Blogs

Sponsor Advice Posts:

The Newbie Blogger Initiative Thunders On

The Newbie Blogger Initiative is going strong… very strong, with dozens of posts from sponsor blogs and a metric crapton of new and newish blogs joining the ranks. The response has been crazy. The reach of Unholy Syp is long.

That’s actually made it difficult for the sponsors, since the number of new blogs is so large it’s hard to keep track of them all. But I’m going to try! Here’s the big list of new blogs started under the NBI’s initiative (I have probably missed some – if you spot an omission let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.)

Casual Aggro
SWTOR From Scratch
The Poison Mushroom
My Staff Is Bigger Than Yours
Musings of an Altoholic
Neurotic Girl
Geo’s Ironman Challenge
Crafty’s Corner
TL;DR
Saali in Taborea
Unwavering Sentinel
MMO Compendium
Windy Acres Ranch
Bad Tauren
Scattered Thoughts
Vagabond goes for a Walk
EVE All Night
Dreadblade
Priest All the Things
Brazokie’s Blog Space
Warp to Zero
Altaclysmic
Wynniekins’ Adventures
Wynnie goes Free to Play
Toastman’s Blog
Ravalation
The Incidental Analyst
FunSponge
Bloodthorne
AntiPlasmaFrequency
Aggrolicious
Conveniently Placed Exhaust Port
Adamant Nomad
World’s End Tavern
Diminishing Returns
Warrior Needs Time Badly
WASDWay
That Was an Accident!
Middle Earth Initiative
Kemwer
The Adventures of Danania
Unliving a Death Knight
Death Stomp
MMO Juggler
White Charr
Not Too Heavy
Raspberry Jammed
Click to Loot
Kaw Kaw Get in the Bag
TFScribbles
The Blue Haired Geek
Omens of Onterion
MMO One Night a Week
Malefic Incantations
Flask Half Empty
Mistress of Illusions
Healing Mains
Gaming for Introverts
Glimpses From Middle-Earth
Goetia’s Letters
/con mmob
Gaming Abroad
Backseat Game Design
Divinity’s Reach
Big Numbers!
Trippin Tyria
Eons and Eons Away
Horrible Ball of Fire
Image Heavy
Casually Vicious
The Frugal Gamer
Gaming Brew
This Roaring Silence
MMOARprz
Game Delver
The Diverted Muse
Newbie Hobbit
Red’s Roid Rage
Battlemastered
The Not So New Noob
Noob Raider
The Altoholic
Auction House on Farm
Giddeon’s Hammer
Commentarilies
Inside the Magic Shop
Beyond Tannhauser Gate
Argus or Bust
Lotro Cinna
WarlockeryStabby McStabStab
Warcraft Street
Real Adventures In Fake Worlds

That’s just the new blogs. And there’s some great blogs in there — be sure to support them by adding them to your feedreader and commenting on them. And for those on the fence, it’s not too late to check in at NBI HQ and start blogging.

It’s Newbie Blogger Initiative Month!

Have you ever thought about writing your own blog? Well, the team of writers and editors going under the alias “Syp” have suggested an effort called the Newbie Blogger Initiative to encourage interested folks to try their hands at writing blogs of their own. MMORPG blogs specifically, but there no real reason anyone has to be limited to that. During the month of May you’ll see posts like this here and on an array of other MMO blogs, offering advice and encouragement to new bloggers.

If you have considered writing your own blog, even in passing, head on over to the Newbie Blogger Inititaive forums, read and register and maybe say a word or three there. And just start yourself up a WordPress or Blogspot site while you’re at it. When you want to say something, say it. As a blogger, you can say what you want, when you want. A journal of your in-game adventures, tips and tricks, a running commentary on the state of the industry, ruminations about the underlying philosophies of game design, or digging into the numbers behind the game… all are fair game. There are no limits.

And that’s the whole point. I got started back in 2007 by chronicling my adventures in Vanguard on a site called GAX. It didn’t take long to move on to my own site on WordPress and start commenting on a variety of topics, mostly MMO stuff but other bits that interest me as well. Along the way, I have done a lot of great things and made some blockbuster memories. I’ve been featured on a number of high-profile sites, broke the news worldwide about the World of Darkness MMO, was asked to be on the very last episode of the Shut Up, We’re Talking podcast, and best of all have become acquainted with a lot of quality people from the MMO blogging community, some of whom I now consider good friends. It’s also been a learning experience from a writing perspective and it’s encouraged me to write in a more disciplined way.

So why not join us? There’s no pressure, no editor, no dictator hanging topics or deadlines over your head. You can write about games or other stuff in whatever proportion you like. You can be as mild or analytical or provocative as you want. The initiative runs through the month of May, and you can get support and advice over on the forums, and probably a nice head start on hits from all the established bloggers (over 70!) linking to you at the end of the month.

Like the Thin Man Says

Those who visit Ardwulf’s Lair directly rather than using a feedreader will no doubt have noticed the site’s new look. Hopefully you’ll like it, and yes, it’s reflective of a somewhat changed trajectory.

Too, there is a new addition. The top of the right-hand sidebar now contains my Google+ feed, to which you can subscribe if you like. The Twitter feed remains active but I’m not using it much anymore, except stuff that’s autoposted to it and the occasional offhand remark. The Google+ page, on the other hand, is now home to a fair amount of content. It’s given me an outlet to say things that won’t fit in a Twitter post but don’t warrant a full writeup here. Setting it up as an RSS fee was rather more trouble than you’d expect, but now it’s done and it works.

Milestones

Two milestones of interest occurred today.

First, in EQ2, I reached level 20 with my eighth tradeskill character. There’s one more guy still in Tier 2 (the Alchemist.) It’s not hard to reach tradeskill level 20, but I’m tired of working the low levels with all these characters and will be very happy to be out of crafting Tier 2 forever. So I just have one more, and a couple of characters still in Adventuring Tier 2 to work on. I still have a character in the Qeynos burbs and would like to finish them before they go away, assuming that next year’s Qeynos revamp will more or less mirror what was done to Freeport.

Second, this is post #900 here at Ardwulf’s Lair. It’s been right around four years, so at a rough average of 225 posts per year I’ve managed close to a post every wekday in that time. I haven’t been blogging as regularly as usual over the last couple of months just due to schedule pressure, but the last few weeks have been pretty steady and I’m sure to get a fair amount of posts in in December. A couple of dead weeks can probably be blamed on Skyrim.

Support Ardwulf’s Lair!

Now’s the time when I issue my periodic reminder to readers that if you read my blog and would like to support it in some way, you can. Doing so will help the site get bigger and better, and those who like hearing from me will get to hear more. You can do this in one of three ways.

First, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial of EVE Online, by clicking on one of the ads on this page, or through this link. If you end up converting the trial to an actual account, I get a little something, and eventually the little somethings add up to a slightly larger something that CCP will send to me.

If you don’t want to bother with that, you can contribute directly, through PayPal, by clicking here. No amount is too small, really, but significant contributors will get mentioned on this blog, in a podcast, or both.

If you have your own site, podcast, YouTube channel or whatever, and you’d like to promote it, e-mail me (the link is in the right sidebar,) and we can talk turkey. I’m willing to make arrangements for anything more significant than simple tit-for-tat reciprocal links – which I simply don’t have room for on this page right now.

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Out of the Closet and Into Social Media

To take a little bit of a break from the recent bunch of heavy commentary posts, I have a few blogging/real life/identity items to talk about.

To begin with, I’m taking a science writing class this quarter. The class itself is largely concerned with energy policy, but a lot of the techniques it uses are applicable more broadly. This has just started to trickle in to the last week or so of blog posts. Which is interesting, because the last post, in which I used techniques from the class most heavily, garnered one of those rare “wow, that was really well-written” comments (elsewhere) that are always nice to read. If anyone feels like commenting on the actual writing of a post instead of the content, feel free.

Which brings me to the second item, which is “elsewhere.” I’ve found that the rise of Google+ has led me to largely abandon not Facebook but Twitter; G+ lacks many of Twitter’s more retrograde limitations and is a nice outlet for me to say things that don’t warrant a blog post but which need more characters than Twitter allows me. Plus some other neat features. I forsee this trend – less Twitter, more G+, and with Facebook largely left to non-gaming stuff – intensifying in the future. I do, however, plan to keep gaming commentary largely here, non-gaming stuff mostly to Facebook, and minor notes that are marginally relevant to this blog or to gaming in general on Google+. Generally.

Which shifts us to item the third. Google+ has a well-publicized and much derided “real names only” policy that may be loosening a bit in the future. But that policy reminds me that I’ve been online for many, many years, and pre-Ardwulf I never saw a need to go by anything other than my real name. I’m easier to find under my real name on Google and several other social media outlets, and I’ve never kept my identity or my interests any kind of secret. So I think that it’s time to more or less shed the Ardwulf identity and just go about as myself. Future posts here will be bylined appropriately. I’ll still be Ardwulf here and there, mind, where it’s too much trouble to change – this isn’t an “identity change,” and this place will stay Ardwulf’s Lair – I’ve merely decided to just be Gary again.

And so the last. If you’ve a hankering to follow me on said social media, you can find me on Google+, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. I’d be good to mention that you’re coming from here so I don’t think you’re just a random weirdo, or perhaps a pervert lusting after my tender man-flesh.

As a final aside, I’ve got a new PC which will be my workhorse for work, school and play for the next few years. It is very shiny.