A brief note before you begin.  This post is long.  It is rambly.  There are no pictures.  However, every word on this post comes straight from my blackened little heart.

Part One: A fond farewell

Over the past couple of months, we have seen two major bloggers say good bye.  Phaelia said her goodbyes while I was on my afk adventure from the world of the internet, computing, and most basic technology (the phone, anyone?), which meant that I did not get the full impact of the event.  Oddly, when you detach yourself from the blogosphere, things just don’t feel quite the same as they did before.

So, until now I have not had the chance to acknowledge all the wonderful things Phae did for the community.  To be completely honest, if it were not for reading the combined works of Phae, TJ, and BBB, I would not have had the courage or the knowledge to have a go at blogging myself.  I started reading blogs simply because I was looking for information on Feral tanking – that was how I came across BBB.  The delightful way in which information could be taken in, chewed up, and regurgitated in a much more palatable, easy to digest fashion was what made me love blogs.  No wonder they gave Druids flight form – the idea of a bird feeding and nurturing its chicks is so apt for Phae and BBB.

I tracked Phae down after doing some research for a Resto Druid friend.  Her mastery of mathematics amazes me to this day – I would scroll through, watching the numbers and the formulas fly, totally baffled as to how someone could have the time and the intellect to work something like that out!  Best of all, Phae truly nurtured the World of Warcraft Blogging Community.  Without her tireless effort and care, I know that I would not still be blogging today.  For every blogger, there comes a point where you know you aren’t just doing this for yourself anymore, but for those numbers you see in your subscriptions, those people that allow you the invaluable chance to interact with them every day.  I credit my (rather insignificant) subscription numbers to the Blog Azeroth community that Phae worked tirelessly on – without the link sharing that happened there, the interaction with new people who could give me advice and serve as a bouncing board for my (many) frustrations, this blog would still be a small WP.com blog with 2 readers and a heap of unprofessional looking images.

Now, BRK has hung up his Nessingwary and stabled Hobbes.  I can not fault the reasons for which he left blogging, as family is perhaps the most important thing in one’s life.  I’d like to direct your attention to a key part of what he said

For the next three months, it is my pleasure to rededicate myself to my family. While I was in Philadelphia, I spent more time with my son in a weekend than I have in a long time. I loved it, and was saddened that I had allowed myself to not do more with him during my WoW-career.

I don’t know BRK.  I am not going to pretend otherwise.  I have never met, spoken to, or in any other way associated with him.  However, I have admired his writing, how effortlessly entertaining it all seemed, and admired what he has done for the Hunter community.  However, I completely understand why he has done what he has done.

Part Two: A Changing of the Guard?

Now, there is this general paranoia in the WoW Blogging community.  Who will topple next?  Everyone is just waiting for another blog to close, for the whole scene to begin to collapse.

Well, I just can’t see that happening.

On the Blog Azeroth forums, there are 681 blogs listed in the introductions.  I am going to assume that only 25% of these blogs are still running.  That leaves us with 170 blogs.  Now, I know that there are more blogs than this – I used to read more WoW blogs than this.  Still, 170 blogs posting about a fairly esoteric subject is a lot of blogs.  Some of these blogs are going to be of a higher ‘quality’ than others.  I think the way we judge this quality needs to be changed.

Quality isn’t based upon subscriber numbers.  Knowledge and expertise isn’t based off subscriber numbers.  While these numbers are a good general indicator of quality, these numbers are also highly indicative of time spent on blogging.  If you spend a great deal of time writing informative, interesting and entertaining posts, you will have many readers.  If you manage to do this at least once every single day, you will have even more readers.  It’s a simple equation: time + effort = reward.   Unfortunately, this also seems to often add up to a loss of quality of life.

I’ll freely admit: I don’t put half the effort into my blog that others do.  I aim for a post a day (I generally end up averaging out 4-5 a week).  Each post generally takes me about 30 minutes.  Some posts take as little as ten, others (like this one) take me much longer.  So, I am never going to have the subscriber numbers BRK had.  And, finally, after the longest time… I am OK with that.  I don’t WANT my friends and family to feel like I don’t have time for them anymore.  I don’t want my every second thought to be ‘How can I work this into a blog post?’, or even more alarmingly, thinking about posting while I should be enjoying time with others.  I don’t want to sit up every night wracking my brain for something intelligent or funny to say.

Sure, my personal context is very full on.  First year teaching is HARD (never in my life have I wept so many tears of frustration as I have these past couple of months).  I live far away from all my established support networks, so in essence I am truly out of the nest.  My first instinct was to retreat into the blogging world, somewhere which was familiar and calm.  Not having the internet did paid to that, and I am glad.

My subscriber numbers dropped, and I coped.  My writing style has probably gone down the toilet, and I am still coping.  I have finally learned that this blog is not meant to be where I focus my ambition and my attention.  This all started out as something fun, and for the longest time it was in danger of evolving into something else.  Something a bit more malignant, a bit less friendly.  Too much of my self esteem was tied up here, and with it, my ego.  Some of it still remains – I caught myself making what I now realise was a terribly condescending remark about linking other blogs.  Sure, I still link blogs because I like them, I like their writing, and I think you guys would enjoy them too.  But some horrid egotistical part of me was thinking ‘if I link these new blogs, I’ll help the little guy out.  I’ll get him/her more hits from my sheer awesomeness, and they shall be thankful’.  Sure, it might not have been explicitly thought.  It doesn’t make it less revolting.

My hope from what is happening is that the blogging community becomes a little less involved.  A little more real life friendly.  Sure, if you cut back a little, you might lose some readers.  In the long run though, you will appreciate things that you had long since forgotten.  You will learn the lesson from BRK and his family, and you shall prosper for it.  Having a day off from blogging wont kill you, and it might serve to make the community stronger.  Once out of the shade, flowers can begin to bloom.

For BRK and Phaelia:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rain fall softly upon your fields until we meet again,
And may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

8 Responses to “A Mixed Bag of Metaphors Springing Out Everywhere”
  1. Ïn a sense I feel for the families and close ones of the people who get succumbed into the World of Warcrack: I know that I’m only marginally there, but I’m already getting the remarks from my kids. The answer to the question “Describe one thing your daddy is better than your friends dad” was simply “my daddy plays WoW best”.

    /shivers

    Take into account that I don’t do any theorycrafting as I’m lacking the skills, I’m not raiding nor am I working on a new post constantly…

    So yes, it’s the thin line between hardcore fanaticism and casual hardcore which separates us gamer-daddies and -mommies from our families.

    As I mentioned up there, I’m not theorycrafting, either, so I hold BRK, Phaelia and Veneretio in very high respect. But as it goes in nature, when one strong creature disappears, another will rise: in this case, BRK, Phaelia and others have paved the stage which someone else will enter with their act.

    It’s more like:

    Hello, thank you, sorry, goodbye.

    For the rest of us still left blogging, the question is: what will be our role in blogosphere? And what will be our endurance in reporting our (mis)deeds in the game, other games and life in general.

    And will that be in the expense of our Real Life ™?

    Copra

    Copras last blog post..My thoughts on roleplaying

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  2. Reading this now, I fear that my writing can be misconstrued as a put down of the ‘big guy’. The blogger who does have 50 million hits and zillions of subscribers. That was not at all my intention. These bloggers are amazing writers, experts in their field, and deserve every accolade they get for their blogging.

    I wanted to communicate how I feel about blogging myself, and how I fear that blogging combined with playing the game can leave little time for anything else in life. I wonder how people can manage to balance everything (something I myself can not do anymore), and sometimes I think that some people perhaps do not. I admire BRK the most for this – for admitting that he can no longer do it all, and for having the wisdom to choose the right things.

    @Copra it is indeed a veritable tight rope. I agree with you – where there is a gap, someone will move to fill it. I have already seen potential in so many blogs where they can do the awesome things that I can not, whether it be RP, theorycrafting, or just plain awesome writing. I just hope people learn that they don’t need to sacrifice everything to do so.

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  3. It is very easy to become very ambitious when it comes to blogging. I started extremely small, then some high profile tanks discovered me and I went boom. There’s an amount of pressure involved to keep the readership that high. Sometimes I want to pull out my hair because I have no idea how to entertain the tanking masses.

    It’s usually when I try the least that my posts evoke the most interest. I am unapologizingly casual now, but try to prove the point that casual only means that I have a life, not that I don’t play seriously when I play.

    Kadomis last blog post..Honest Scrap, eh?

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  4. I think you make a good point in that we often fail to recognize that for each large (or even not so large) blog that is closing its doors, there are a handful of new, fresh ones popping up to fill the void. Not that anyone could truly replace a BRK or Phaelia, because their marks on the community are widespread and lasting, but we need not worry that the community will fall apart just yet. Though it may be the time for those individuals, it is not the time for the community yet. At some point, it is inevitable that we will all move on. But, for now, there are still plenty of words left in this story. Perhaps the page has been merely been turned to a new chapeter…

    Fulguraliss last blog post..Give Me The New Rotation Already

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  5. Great stuff, Sar.

    My take on it is exactly the same. Sometimes, our focus gets out of whack. And occasionally, we need a big, swift kick in the head to get our attention back into what’s important in life. BRK apparently received that kick (and Phae too, though to a different degree) and did what he had to do. Will he be replaced? I dunno that we can “replace” BRK in that sense within the blogosphere. But as others have said, someone else will rise up and take the mantle, just as it would be done if anyone of us decided to quit the game (again, for folks like me :D).

    Arrenss last blog post..Ohaithar!

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  6. I have found myself churning over the last couple of days… wondering whether I should just pack up the blogging bags…

    I doubt the answer is stop, but at least I am doing a lot of thinking & prioritizing…

    This may be BRK’s longest lasting legacy.

    Gnomeaggedons last blog post..Mages to get healing tree, PvE Frost spec, PvP Fire Spec plus more in 3.2 patch notes

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  7. Well, as one who mixes playtime with family time, I can understand all too well how hard it can be to mix the two. I am lucky enough to have a fiance who plays WoW and also blogs (she is the infamous Battlechicken). Even so, it’s still hard to balance meeting the needs of each other and those of the kids while still being who we are and taking time to do the things we love.
    As to blogging, she is quite active and I am starting to pick up the pace with my own mage blog, ArcaneAsylum, so I feel that we are doing our part to keep the ranks alive with word-slinging goodness.

    Ultrakings last blog post..Running with Knives

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  8. WOW does chew up a lot of real life times. Reading BRK’s farewell post makes me think that I should cut down more (not that I play all day and night) and should spend more quality family time.

    Most bloggers write for readership rather for themselves. When they feel worn out and feel the need to quit or on hiatus. Perhaps rethink about the purpose of blogging. Write for yourself rather than worrying subscriber number dropped because it’s not interested to them. It’s probably easy for me to say this because I don’t get much traffic.

    thelyses last blog post..dusted off, temporarily

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