Archive for the “Blogging” Category

Posts which outline information that I would find useful for blogging, or my experiences which are directly related to blogging.

Once upon a time, I started a little gaming blog.  I stuck with that for quite a while – basically until I fell out of love with the game I was playing, and started to run out of things to say.

However, I didn’t fall out of love with blogging.  So, I started a general blog about my life, and issues that I thought were important.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really do well with the whole unfocused thing, and so that didn’t work out so well either.

So, finally, I decided I had to start another blog.  One which let me put my life as a mother front and centre.  One which allowed my other blogs to become more focused again, hopefully allowing me to write more productively on all of them.  People can pick and choose what version/s of me they are interested in – the geeky me, the political, social issues focused me, or the mother.  I can (hopefully!) write more easily, and get back into the habit of writing what I like best.

So…

If you want to read my rantings about… well, anything at this point, try Snarks and Ladders

If you are interested in reading about my adventures in parenting (so far, breastfeeding, not sleeping, cloth nappies, etc) then try Poop and Goop

If you do want to read about my geeky adventures, stick around here.

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I kinda cheated and announced this on Twitter (in a manner of speaking – you know, there were no tooting trumpets, or blowing horns, or anything like that.  Just a little note chucked in there, somewhere, surrounded by all the other Sar babble) well before I decided that perhaps it was a good idea to say this here after all… and of course, in typical OMG wall of text!!! fashion.

I’m officially on hiatus.  For an undisclosed length of time.  It could be a few weeks.  it could be a year.  It could be forever.  While I haven’t played in months, I finally took the scary step of freezing my account a few weeks ago, and, I must admit… I haven’t looked back.

So, here you get it, a final dose of everything I think about the game I no longer play, the community I am no longer a part of, and the blog I will no longer write on.

Firstly, knowing full well that no one from Blizzard will ever ever ever read this… I have a few words to say to them anyway.  Then, some things for the blogging community.  Then, most importantly, you guys that actually bothered to read my drivel for the last however long (really, let’s not think about how long I have been doing this for. It scares me).

To Blizzard

Of course, I have to say thank you.  Thank you for creating such a wonderful, immersive game experience.  Thank you for making said experience affordable, accessible, and entertaining.  Thank you for somehow, magically, creating something that I was willing to passionately argue for.  Fight for.  Wax lyrical over.  Ditch numerous social events for (wait… is that a good thing? /shrug)

But, with all the praise and the glory, of course there comes some criticisms.  I just can’t thank you for making the game more ‘casual friendly’, or less ‘time sinky’, or however you want to put it.  I’m sure you didn’t intend to spawn a giant batch of angry drooling gearscore quoting gremlins of doom, but, well… you kinda did.  And it wasn’t fun.  Suddenly, the quality of a player wasn’t judged by the person behind the keyboard (unless, of course, they were somehow so misguided as to how to play their class that they selected spells at random, clicking frantically with their mouse [keybinding wot?] all over the screen like a drunk guy trying to undo a girl’s bra but failing oh so miserably and spilling his drink down said girl’s front instead).

I’m ever hopeful that this has been fixed in Cataclysm, but the loss of immersion in Wrath was strange and horrible for me.  Oh sure, the quests, they made sense, they tied together, they linked everything up comfortably.  Then, all of a sudden, raiding just went weird.  ToC?  Really?  Your rationalisation for that was weaker than a Jenny McCarthy argument (oh yes, I totally referenced something people haven’t been talking about for months.  You guys are really going to miss the cutting edge controversial nature of this blog, no?) 

Yeah, yeah, it was all about sorting the weakest from the strongest, the wheat from the chaff, etc etc.  Since, for some reason, they wanted to kill off all the weak ones, and send in the strongest… while, in the meantime, the Horde and the Alliance got to engage in some idiotic pissing contest while Jaina wept about all the mess on the floor she’d have to mop up later.

Two words: Cannon fodder.

Why would it be tactically sound to kill your weakest soldiers?  Use them as distractions!  Send them in to get annihilated!  Surely they’ll achieve some small goal while they are at it, and if not, they would serve as a great distraction.

They should have started with the gearscore gremlins.

Finally, well… heroic and normal mode.  Yes, I know you guys liked it.  And we all know I hated it.  We all know I was the only person in the whole damn universe to hate it as well, so I guess we’ll just ignore this whole passage.  See, when there was just one mode of raiding, well… you beat your face against the wall.  And you beat it some more.  And more again.  And then, eventually, you damned well got it down pat.  And you felt awesome.

Instead, now, we have some weak arse watered down version.  With minimal head beating.  You get it down, and you put your game face on, and you walk into heroic.  You beat your head a little against the wall.  Then, lo and behold, all of a sudden it’s ‘too damned hard’, and everyone whimpers and whines and you go back to farming normal.

This is not a good state of affairs, people!  sure, it wasn’t everyone’s experience, but it was some.  I know you guys won’t fix this… so meh.

To the Blogging Community

You guys were, in some ways, the biggest reason for me sticking around for so long.  Even when I felt like the game went to shit (or at least, my experience of it took a turn for the sewer), I loved the fact that I was part of a close knit, wonderful community.  In the other blogging I have done, I have never found anything quite like the WoW Blogging Community.  Hell, the ‘general life babble’ blogging world is like some weird horrible desolate land compared to the oasis that is WoW blogging, and that is entirely due to the wonderful people in this community.

I hope that you guys can keep up that sense of community.  Helping each other out, talking about things with each other, and, for heaven’s sake, not letting things get too serious.  I can see some of this crumbling away at the edges, and that scares me a little… but I think you guys will make it through it anyway. 

You guys all know the people that influenced me, that helped me out, that made my way through this vast blogging landscape a little easier.  Sure, a lot of them have done exactly what I am doing now, and that makes me sad and happy… which, frankly, is weird.  But some of them are still around, writing away.  Some of them were important influences and faded away from my blogging outlook as our views diverged, some of them became more inspirational every day.

So, who or what was important to me over my blogging career?

Blog Azeroth:  I stopped hanging around there a long time ago.  I didn’t have time, I was lazy, all those things.  However, it was this wonderful place that got me started, that allowed me to meet people, get a better grip on the whole blogging thing… and, of course, let me into the infamous BA Chat (a place where, in its day, moved so rapidly with masses of conversation that one could not look away for more than 2 seconds without missing half the conversation and getting confused).  BA Chat has been and always will be the absolute highlight of my time as a WoW Blogger.

Twisted Nether Podcast: I’ve talked about these guys time and time again.  If you want to see what caring about the community is all about, this is it.  Personified.

Every gosh-darned Warlock blogger out there: really.  I love you guys.  Nib and Hydra get a special mention, for the mere virtue of having been around longer than me, and thus being the only two Warlock bloggers I can think of who have blogged about ‘locks the whole time I have.

World of Matticus: when I started blogging, Matt scared the shit out of me.  I had a serious case of ‘Oh my muffins, this guy is so damned good at what he does that he makes me babble like a nervous idiot’.  Then, I got to know him a little better, and he scared me slightly less.  Now, of course, we have a totally different outlook on blogging and all the stuff that goes with it, but Matt is still a little inspirational.  And intimidating, although he’d probably deny it.  More importantly, I made some great friends out of his blog… who, I swear, I totally will have drinks with next time I’m in the US.  Pinky swear.

The only blogger to make me honest to goodness cry: When Fulguralis said I was an early influence… yeah, I’ll admit it.  I wept.  Like a Mage who just looked at the damage meter.

Ratshag: for many reasons, the biggest of which is showing you can make people laugh without using actual words.

Stop: for being my poor, long-suffering Blizzcon room mate, who had to put up with me sleep talking, sleeping in, and being drunk and so not going to sleep.  That’s a whole lot of sleep related suffering right there.  I would not have blamed him in the slightest for trying to push my bed outside so he could just get some rest!

So, guys, I will miss you all.  Seems we hardly ever get to talk, and what with me not writing and therefore causing mischief, well… I’ll admit there’s a big damned hole in my life.

Remember: WoW blogging isn’t about numbers, readers, hits, or blog-epeening about how many people read you.  Seriously, who gives a fuck about any of that?

It’s about celebrating the fact that we are a bunch of WoW loving nerds who aren’t afraid to don a writer’s cap and talk about the game!

To My Readers, Wherever They May Be

When I started blogging, I figured that, if I stuck with it and didn’t totally suck, I might be able to get, oh… 50 readers or something?  Such an amount seemed far too large to hope for, but that was my foolish goal, and I was carrying it.

Now, at least, if Feedburner can be believed, there’s something like 500 of you.  Still small taters, blogwise, but amazing to me.

I feel like I know some of you from your comments left here.  Others may not have commented, but hey, if you kept coming back, we clearly have something in common.  Which is amazingly awesome.  Fantastically astounding even.  I mean, to think… there’s 500 people out there who like some of the things I like, think in a similar way to me, and who don’t object to my extensive and rather ridiculous use of parentheses!

Thank you for reading.  For raging at me when I write something inflammatory and making my little trollish heart happy. For supporting me when things have seemed difficult.  For pointing out the frequent flaws in my logic, my math, my reasoning, and everything else I manage to screw up.  For your unending generousity.  And, of course, for reading and giving this place some sort of purpose.

So.  This is goodbye.  But, never fear, I’m leaving you a present!  You only have to listen for about 30 seconds (although it’s worth listening to the rest, even if it is totally irrelevant to anything here), and … if you don’t think of your favourite Hunter (or something… I know it makes me think of Hunters) you’re doing it wrong.

Oh…

Mages Suck!! <3

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Comments 16 Comments »

LFM: one poor sap who I can use to make this place look like it actually has something to do with Warlocks again.  Must have writingscore of at least 5k. 

That’s right, I want a co-blogger!

I’ll admit it, I have always been kinda hesitant about having a co-blogger.  I’m a bit of a control freak, and I always had the fear of having someone around who sucked.  Or, even worse, someone who was so awesome that they made my writing look bad (not overly difficult, really).  But, I think this place needs a breath of fresh air, and it would be fun to have someone else around.

Let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we?

  • You’d be expected to play a Warlock.  Preferably as your main, but I can swing with alts if you know the class well.
  • Please don’t be as dumb as a sack of hammers.  ‘Course, if you are reading this, you probably aren’t.  We can effectively consider this criteria checked.
  • I’d obviously prefer you to be of the Destructive persuasion, but I can handle another spec around here.  A Demonologist would be kinda awesome.
  • I’d expect you to post at least twice a week.  Now, this is scary, but having someone else around would force me to work out a schedule.  I’m willing to negotiate that, of course, since I don’t really care much when I write.
  • I’d also expect some form of ‘useful’ post once a month.  That means a guide, a spec or talent critique, an indepth look at a strategy, whatever floats your boat.  Before you cry double standards, I do plan on trying to improve on this myself… but yeah. 
  • If you PvP, that would be bloody wonderful.  Be nice to have someone around here who knew crap about killing others!
  • You’d have to write your own about page.  With a picture.  I don’t care if it is a picture of your toon (I know that your real face might just cause a group of insane swooning men and women to hang round), but it NEEDS a picture.
  • You can’t get snippy if I edit your posts for grammar and crap.  Especially if I change things to Australian spelling.  However, I would never change anything else (if I didn’t like a post, we’d talk about it, then I’d just write a contradictory point of view).  You can also write posts contradicting me, I don’t mind in the slightest.
  • You have to put up with my supposed excessive chattiness.  Yeah, if you write here, you get stuck with my endless scary IM conversations.

I think that’s enough for starters.  I really do not want to make it sound any scarier than it does already!

If you are interested in applying, use that handy dandy contact form link at the top of the page.  For fun, I’d like you to address your Warlock experience, why the hell you would want to work with a crazed loon such as myself and write here, and provide an about page.  I don’t care if it’s serious or funny, I just want to know a little about you.   Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

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Comments 11 Comments »

There is a perception within some parts of the community that Blog Azeroth is a giant circle-jerk where we all have nothing better to do than pat each other’s backs and tell everyone how awesome we all are.  I thought that a lot of this hubbub and general resentment had died down, but it was mentioned by someone (whose blog I can’t link simply because I have no idea where they write!) in a chat room today that they have issues with BA, and see it as a giant circle jerk.  I’ve heard it referred to as this before, and I’m sure I’ll see it again.  However, I do also believe that this is entirely incorrect.

Oh, and yes.  I am probably very biased.  I should probably mention this right up front.  I used to moderate the BA community for quite a while, before I took a step back because, believe it or not, school teachers tend to be amazingly busy people with very little time for extra activities.  It was either BA moderation or sleep.  I have also been a fan of BA throughout my entire blogging career (as small as it may be).  However, I think my perspective as a moderator of the community gives me, if anything, more insight to how the community works and what it is all about.

“All you guys do is agree with each other!”

Uh.  No. 

If you really like, I can go through my own blog as an example and find posts where I disagree with other bloggers.  And not ‘small’, ‘unknown’, ‘brand new’ bloggers either.  I’ve never been particularly afraid to disagree with the big bloggers, or to write something which might be seen as contentious.

“But those posts are all so old!” you might counter.  And you would have a good point.  I guess that’s mainly because my enthusiasm for the game is waning, people are much less likely to write stuff I disagree with because, hey, hardly anyone writes anything of massive import anymore (yes, I went there!  Link me a post I’m likely to disagree with – and be passionate about – and I might write something).

I see people disagree with others all the time.  I guess the only thing you are really going to notice is that the disagreements, for the most part, tend to be polite.  As a community, most WoW bloggers don’t like to write nasty things about one another.  It’s fine to disagree with someone, but it’s not fine to be an asshole while you are doing it.  If that’s circle jerking, then get me a rubber glove and a bucket and lets get to it! (Seriously -  I don’t like cleaning up mess after my circle jerk sessions).

“Sometimes, people suck.  Yet you guys just don’t say it”

OK.  Why is it the place of me, or any other blogger, to inform someone that ‘their writing sucks and they should just give up’? 

You see a kid on the sidewalk.  The kid isn’t in your way – they are actually across the road from you.  The kid is trying to learn to ride a bicycle.  He’s pretty wobbly, he can’t go in a straight line, but he has his helmet on and a giant grin on his face.  Are you going to walk over there, drag him off the bike, and tell him that he’s never going to be able to ride worth a damn and to get another hobby?

If you think a blogger sucks, that’s fine.  If you think an illiterate flailing octopus could write better than them, that’s also fine.  However, there is nothing that says you have to say that to them.  The internet is a fucking big place, and you can ignore anyone you damn well please.  Blog Azeroth is a big enough community that anyone but the moderators can ALSO ignore anyone they wish to as well.

But when we give someone advice?  Try to help them out a little?  It’s not fucking circle jerking, it’s being part of a COMMUNITY.  Tips on writing, on blog design, on most anything else people ask for advice for on BA… they are there to help people try to be better.  If they are ‘never going to be better’, what does it matter?  Who are they hurting?  I know it’s not hurting me – I just don’t read you.  No biggie for either of us.

Links spread faster through BA than nits in a primary school

Yeah, there’s a LOT of link love in the Blog Azeroth community.  Blogs link each other, get linked back, all of a sudden there’s linked text all over the fricking shop.

So what?  If a blogger over-links, it might make you think they are a bit nutty.  A bit weird.  They probably don’t have much to say.  So your opinion of that blogger might go down some.  Again, you aren’t forced to read their work.  Nothing says you can’t skip over a post.

(Truth? – I subscribe to hundreds of blogs.  Each day I only ‘read’ a fraction of the posts in my reader.  I skim posts by EVERYONE)

Bloggers like to link to other bloggers.  This isn’t only true of WoW bloggers, or of BA bloggers in general.  I read a lot of different types of blogs, and many of those blogs link amongst each other! 

 

At the end of the day, I think a lot of this stupid idea happens because people obviously can’t tell when people disagree unless they are being outright assholes to one another.  Blog Azeroth bloggers have disagreed with each other before.  We will disagree again.  It happens.  However, the Blog Azeroth Community is NOT the following

1.  Twisted Nether Blogcast: BA and TNB are not the same god damn thing.  At all.  One is a forum, one is a podcast.  One has the input of all members, one has the input of two people plus the guest of the week.

2.  An organisation: I can say with a fair amount of confidence that ‘organisation’ and ‘BA’ basically do not belong in the same sentence.  An organisation has an administrator, a ‘vision’, and some form of goal.  BA is merely a forum where bloggers can seek advice and feedback, and organise collaborative events.

3.  A weird closed circle of protection: No, we do not close ranks and bash people up when they criticise another blogger.  There may be commentary on that sort of issue on people’s blogs, but there is never a ‘directive’ or even an ‘understanding’ that we ‘must protect x because they are a BA blogger’.  What a fucking load of hooey.

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Comments 9 Comments »

I don’t do enough shout outs.  People don’t like shout outs – there’s no drama, they are really boring, blah blah blah.  However, as I really can’t call out the umpteen billion bloggers I don’t like for no other reason apart from the fact that I think they can’t write for peanuts… I guess I’ll have to talk about the very few who are left that I do like.  For some reason, all the bloggers I like seem to end up quitting the game.  Bloody bastards.

By the way.  Not being on this list doesn’t mean I think you write like an octopus on drugs with its tentacles tied together*.  I may have just forgotten you.  Or, yeah, I may just think you suck.  Time to get paranoid!

So, in no special order…

Dechion: because he tells it how it is, and tells the community to shut up and stop being a pack of cry babies, whiners, or whatever the hell else they may happen to be doing.  He is also insightful, occasionally funny, and agrees with me more often than not.  Which is totally a requirement for my list of awesomeness.

Kestrel: He wins at English, and it makes me smile.  I should win at English, but after a day of marking essays and drawing waffles and writing “Noooooooooooo!” in giant letters on kids work… my English skills take a massive dive.  He also makes me want to kick ass at writing instead of splashing people’s faces in the kiddie pool.

I shouldn’t lie.  I don’t write “Nooooooooooo!” on kids’ work.  A teacher did that to me in high school (very closely followed by a giant red “No No NO!”), and it made me cranky.  Instead, I draw a picture of a Mage.  They know that is synonymous with fail.

Krizzlybear: because he doesn’t mind that I tell him all the time how much fail he is.  When Blizzard come to their senses and fix the Mage problem, I’ll save his character by providing him with a Succubus disguise.  I’m sure he’ll enjoy it, really.

That and he stupidly stubbornly um… well, he always sticks up for his spec.  No matter what.  Which, I guess, is kinda cool.

(SPOILER: The reclaiming of Gnomeregan?  Really a front to get all the Gnomes together so we can fire bomb them out of existence)

Tamarind: Yeah, he hears it all the time.  I have tried to deny my fangirlism, but he shares my love for Dorf mounting, he’s funny, he’s crude… I guess I just can’t deny it any longer.  Also, I haven’t linked (I think) to Tam before on this blog.  Yay for popping THAT cherry.

Avalonna: THIS POST.  As in the one linked on her name.  Not the one linked on the words THIS POST, because there is clearly nothing linked there.  Yeah, I can see how that could be confusing.

That and she said that purple hair is awesome.  I may be totally susceptible to flattery, especially when it is in regards to my hair.

Ratshag: fricking virile Orcs are hot, OK?

 

Everyone else out there?  Well, you might be OK, I guess…

*For the record.  An octopus on drugs with it’s tentacles tied together trying to write could indeed be awesome.  However, it would probably also be animal cruelty, and, unlike people and bloggers… I like octopi and animals.

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Comments 7 Comments »

Seriously, I am going to turn this bloody car around and go home, you hear me?

I don’t know who this is directed at.  It could be everyone and anyone online.  This is just the violent rage that has built up in me thanks to the game community, the blogging community, and that god damn bitch that keeps letting her animals get into my fucking recycling while I am at work.  OH MY GOD, at least pick up the mess!

1.  Play nice.

How hard is it?  Don’t bitch, don’t get involved in power plays, don’t decide that you are suddenly superior to everyone else because you and your epeen say so.  Feel free to disagree with each other, but don’t turn your damn opinions into outright irrational wars where you call each other names.

If you want to disagree with someone else, fine.  Hell, people disagree with me all the time.  Just don’t be insulting while you are at it.  No need to call each other every name under the sun, to draw other people into your mess, and to be a general pain in the backside.

2.  Cut the passive-aggressive bullshit.

If you have an opinion, god damn say it!  No more ‘some people think…’  That’s not what ‘some people’ think.  That’s what YOU think.  Stand up and own your opinions, rather than hinting around and never getting to the damn point.  No one is going to give you any respect if you can’t even own your own opinion.

If you have an issue or a problem, say so.  Being all passive-aggressive about it just makes you look like a whiny little bitch.

Oh, and those people?  Who have ignored people in the same damn guild/chat channel as them?  And then make you pass along their messages like we are in primary school? (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE).  /bitchslap.

3.  Lose the ego, it just makes you look stupid.

Seriously, I imagine every sad sack who thinks he/she is God’s gift to the WoW universe to be some pathetic fool who stands in front of the mirror every morning quoting corny movie lines to feel tough (I do this often).  Simple truth:  the world will go on without you if you up and quit.  No, you aren’t a damned celebrity because you own a blog.  Oh, you have a 6k gearscore?  No one cares!

There is nothing worse than a pretentious egotistical git.  When you whine about how crap everyone else is, or how you hate how popular you are, or how everyone wants you all the time, all you are really saying is “Guess what?  I’m better than you, and I know it!”  And to me, that just screams ‘I am actually a giant walking talking penis!  Who is frustrated because, while I say everyone is jealous of my walking, talking penis self since I am so HUGE… I can’t get laid!  I’m too big!  NO ONE WANTS ME!” /wail

4.  Obsessive fanboy/girling is kinda gross.

Occasionally I see this, and it makes me want to vomit.  Really violently.  Projectile vomiting even.  Especially since it causes the afore mentioned problem more often than not.

That guy there, in that guild.  Yeah, THAT guild.  With the kills and the shinies and stuff.  Guess what?  He’s just a damned person.  Who plays a damned game.  Who probably has a job like the rest of us, a family like the rest of us, and hates his commute/job/house/mother in law JUST LIKE THE REST OF US.  Same for that blogger there.  Just people, guys!  Sure, admire what they do.  Congratulate them even.  But becoming the WoW equivalent of a psychotic Backstreet Boys fan?  Stop.  Now.

BSB-the-backstreet-boys-2204916-400-298Seriously.  Who ever made this makes me want to invent the rusty spoon gun. 

And, really? The whole ‘I’d get your face tattooed on my ass, but that would be disrespectful, ‘cos poop comes out there’ attitude actually freaks me out a little. 

5.  Funny thing – we don’t all play the game the same!

So stop telling everyone to be hardcore!  If someone only does heroics, they only need gear GOOD ENOUGH for heroics!  If someone doesn’t have the time to do everything you do, that’s not your concern!  And if you don’t get to play as often as you like, or wish you had better gear, don’t take it out on those who do raid frequently.  Worry about your own bloody game, let everyone else sort theirs out (unless, you know, you are the officer in charge of that and that’s your bloody job.  Then, yes, carry on.)

 

You guys are supposed to be adults.  Rational, normal, SANE people most of the time.  How’s about we act like it once in a while?

<3 a very frustrated, tired, cranky Sar who is mad at everything right now.

P.S.  If you get my face tattooed on your ass, make sure you get my good side!

Comments 18 Comments »

I had a friend send me an email today, wondering if I had any pearls of wisdom about getting into blogging.  Now, I certainly am not one of the best bloggers out there, or the biggest, but I guess I learned a couple of lessons along the way that I could share.

Getting Started!

I started out on a free WordPress blog, because I wasn’t sure if I had the commitment to keep writing.  Nothing at all wrong with free WordPress either (although I did find the design restrictions and what not to be a little irritating).  After a few months, I changed over to self hosting.  I went with Dreamhost, because I knew of a couple of other bloggers who used them.  That sets me back around $130 a year (hosting and domain registration), or a little over $10 a month.

Self hosting can be scary occasionally – you do have the potential to break things (especially if you suck as badly as I do at CSS), although you can usually just throw up a new theme and you are set.  Almost everything that is involved can be learned fairly quickly and easily – took me about 2 months to have a functional knowledge of everything that was involved.

On Writing

I believe that the most important thing in the beginning is to just write.  Write whatever comes to mind.  Write often, write as much as you can, just practise putting fingers to keyboard and get going.  Don’t worry too much about the quality of your content – that will improve as you practise.  In fact, this is SO important that I am not even going to really give much more advice on writing than this.  Polish can wait until later.

Save drafts!  When I first started out, I could write two or three posts a day.  Rather than publish them all, throw them in your drafts folder.  You will get to a day, or a week, where you just don’t have time to write.  Drag a couple of drafts out, give them a polish, and you are set.

On Design

Some people believe that the appearance of your blog is one of the most important things about it (probably true, although it’s clearly not something I really fussed about).  You have a few options when it comes to your blog’s theme:

1.  Choose one and use it straight out of the box.  I do this on my personal blog, and to some extent on my Druid blog.  There are plenty of functional themes out there, and if you just can’t do one of the below options for whatever reason, this is a great way to go.  It’s probably also a good way to get started.

2.  Choose a theme and edit it.  I’ve done this for Destructive Reach (albeit badly) to suit the whole ‘Warlock’ thing.  I just used Photoshop to change the images in the theme, and made a few minor changes to the CSS.  The more you want to edit it, the more knowledge you need of CSS and/or Photoshop.

3.  Buy a theme.  There are a stack of places out there that sell fantastic themes, although you are looking at a decent outlay to buy a good theme.  There are plenty of reputable websites that sell themes, such as Zidalgo.  Personally, I haven’t found a theme anywhere that is worth the money, but I am a notorious cheapskate. 

4.  Write your own from scratch.  Don’t even ask me about this, because I’ve got nothing.

Personally, I think there are only a few important things you need to remember: 

Make sure the writing is clear and easy to read!  Again, something I probably fail at, which would explain why most of my readers read me through my feed.

Have an easily locatable RSS button, search bar, and archive.  These can usually be found in your sidebar.  The search bar and RSS button should be near the top.  Using the easily recognisable RSS icon is generally a good idea, but by no means is it required.

Try not to use colours or fonts which hurt the eyes.  ‘Fancy’ fonts should only be used for headers.  Colours like fluoro orange rarely work well in my experience!

Make sure you have a way for readers to contact you.  Oh, and an about page is usually nice.  Browse through blogs to see how people approach the sticky problem of crafting the perfect about page.

I like to write using Windows Live Writer.  That way, I can see what my posts will look like as I write them, and if my browser crashes, it’s no biggie.  There are also other similar programs for Apple, etc.

On Community

The best thing about WoW blogging is the rich and diverse community.  You’d have to be insane to not be part of it.

Join the Blog Azeroth Forums.  BA is a collective of WoW bloggers with varying ranges of experience (some have been around for years, others are just starting).  The forums contain helpful posts on just about every blogging problem or idea you could possibly imagine.  It’s also just a good way to meet a great bunch of people (not to mention get some great stories…).

Don’t take all your comments to heart, and don’t let yourself get carried away with the hype.  Remember that you blog for you, not for everyone else – if they like it, great, but don’t feel pressured!

Set yourself a limit as to how much you want the community to know about the real you when you start.  Everyone has their own comfort zone.  For example, my readers know my real name, what I look like, and where I live, but they don’t know where my personal blog is.  Occasionally it’s tempting to post more, but remember to think about how you’ll feel in a couple of weeks time with everyone knowing that about you.

Similarly, don’t post anything about anyone that you wouldn’t say to their face.  Bad bad bad idea.

When talking about other blogs, it is good etiquette to link back to them.  Avoid copying and pasting massive chunks of text from them (even with acknowledgement; never do so without a link!) – people tend to get peeved, and sometimes it is against their copyright.

Read, read, read!  Other blogs can give you some great perspective on things, and you might often be able to write a great post inspired by someone else’s idea.  A good 50% or more of my posts are just stuff I borrowed from another blogger and put my own spin on.  Again, remember link love!

Advice from the rest of the internet

“If you put it on the internet, be prepared for the internet to talk back” – Gnomeaggedon

“Be sure to include as many Red Dwarf references as possible” WoW in an Hour.  Pop culture references can be awesome amounts of fun (although less fun now that Matticus has seen The Princess Bride and actually understands what everyone is saying).

“My suggestion, keep a somewhat routine schedule. "Every other week" or "every Friday", something. Just keep with it!” from Ndmiko.  However, do not beat yourself up if you break it every so often.  Life happens!

Most important advice of all?

Don’t take yourself or blogging too bloody seriously.  (Because, you know, you guys haven’t worked out that I think this is important, right?)

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I get asked all the time ‘Why do you quit and come back ALL the time?  What is WITH you?’  And, you know, it is probably really annoying for you guys as readers that I do that. 

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Anyway, I guess blogging is often the first thing to go when life suddenly becomes a little more than I can handle.  The first time I quit, I was at a low point with the game in general.  I wasn’t interested in playing, I wasn’t interested in anything Warcraft related.  I thought ‘If I’m not playing, I bloody well can’t write about Warlocks, can I?’.  Then I transferred servers, rediscovered my love for the game, started messing around some more with my Druid, and lo and behold I was happy in the game again.

The second time, things were a little more complicated.  My real life had taken some significant beating: Work was going down the shitter because my new boss is an asshat, my personal life kinda sucked ass (let’s just say that, like any other Warlock, I don’t take rejection well, and leave it at that), I was in possibly the worst financial trouble I had ever been in, I was having huge family dramas… things weren’t looking pretty.  I just couldn’t handle all the responsibilities I had online on top of all that drama, and I snapped and went ‘OK, that’s it, I quit!’.  My inspiration had been flagging for a while anyway, and I was finding it hard to care. 

I was also getting driven insane by how the community had become all ’you need to be hard core and take this shit seriously and OMFG don’t have a life outside WoW and blogging or we will track your ass down and beat you up with our keyboards like the incompetent blogging bitch that you are!’’  Seriously.. oh my god.  People, I say this ALL THE DAMN TIME.  It’s not about subscriber numbers (please don’t unsubscribe!!!)  It’s not about page views (although you had better all click through or else!).  It’s not about being a bloody B-grade internet celebrity, because, guess what, no bastard out there is actually going to know who the hell you are.

So, why did I come back?

Well, I was going kinda stir crazy.  Without blogging to keep me entertained, I was telling my pets all of my problems instead of spouting them on the internet.  I found dealing with rejection is even HARDER when you don’t have an internet to distract you.  Without blogging, I was spending way too much time worrying about work.  And I needed something to keep me entertained during my insomniac hours when the WHOLE BLOODY WORLD is asleep.  Seriously.. WTF.

And, I thought… there has to be some sad loser out there who will write any old shit on their WoW blog.  Who won’t get into page view and subscriber competitions.  Who won’t start a podcast because it’s all FotM and awesome and shit.  Who won’t live their life desperately waiting for wow.com links and seeing that as the be all and end all of their blogging success.  Who will just write random shit because it’s fun and she enjoys writing and mouthing off.  And you all know that you need someone to irritate the WoW playing masses by ranting and raving about shit that everyone but me loves. 

So, down with serious business!

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At the risk of sounding like John Farnham*…

The time has come for me to hang up my writing pen (at least, my WoW writing pen), and take a step back from the community.  After a lot of soul searching, I have realised that I simply spend far too much of my time focused on the game and immersed in this online community.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but I have stopped thinking so much about the ‘Real World’, and it has begun to affect things it quite frankly shouldn’t be affecting.

I guess people might have a few questions….

1.  Why you quitting?  That above answer seems kinda vague.

Well, it is.  I don’t really want to go into all the nitty gritty of the things blogging has changed in my life (some for the better, some for the worse).  Essentially, I’ve just decided that it isn’t healthy for me to have my focus lie here, so I am going to drop WoW blogging and spend the (great deal of) time I worked here and in other places focusing on my job and saving some money.

2.  Does this mean you are quitting WoW?

At this point, no, I’ll continue to play the game, hopefully at least until Cataclysm.  I’ll also hopefully feel less obligated to be all serious and mathy about it… hell, I might even spend time on alts rather than my main.

3.  Will the website be staying up?

I am 99.9% sure my hosting dies in March.  At this point, I’ll either pay to keep this page here (probably useless, as there is no relevant info to be found here), or I’ll transfer all the content over to my old free WordPress site and let the hosting expire.  I’ll always keep hold of the name, just in case.  We all know I haven’t done well at quitting in the past, but this time I have a much better incentive.

4.  What did you mean, hanging up your WoW writing pen?

I do have a personal blog, and I’ll continue blogging sporadically there.  I’m not going to link it here, as the writing standard is (unbelievably) even lower than here, and most of the posts consist of me emoing out.  However, it’s not hard to find, I am pretty sure I have links to it here and there on the community, so if you are interested enough to track it down, feel free to have a look.

However, I will be ceasing all writing at this point in time on Destructive Reach, and more than likely Tree of Doom as well.  If I do happen to post on Tree of Doom, it will be without fanfare, and I certainly won’t be expecting readers!

5.  What about your involvement with the WoW Community?

Most of my involvement with the community will also be coming to a close.  I am more than happy for anyone to have a chat to me about, well, anything at any time, and if you want to do so, you can look at my Twitter page for my contact details.  I will probably eventually be withdrawing from the WoW twitter community as well.

As for Blog Azeroth, I am also planning on withdrawing from that community as well.  So, I am hoping that a couple of motivated bloggers want to step up to the role of moderating and helping the BA community.  If you are interested, please please PLEASE let me know.  In this regard I am quite disappointed, as there were a couple of things I was hoping to achieve in the community this year.  However, it will be nice to see new people take on the role and achieve something :-)

So, this is the part of the post where I should do thank yous.  However, I am absolutely terrified of leaving someone out, so I would just like to thank those in the WoW and Blog Azeroth communities who have been so kind to me over the past two or so years, and who have helped me through SO many things.  I’d also like to of course thank every person who reads this blog, and those of you who are kind enough to comment, regardless of whether you have agreed or disagreed with me.  You have all been truly amazing, and I consider myself blessed to have such wonderful people actually interested enough to read what I have to say.

Thank you all again.  It has truly been wonderful fun, and I will miss you all immensely.  Best wishes in the World of Warcraft and beyond for you all.

Love, Sar

*Oh… and who is John Farnham, you ask?  Well, he was a singer in the 80’s and 90’s in Australia, who has probably now made a large amount of money of countless ‘One Last Time’ tours.  I think he has been quitting performing since I was about 10… and is still trekking around doing ‘last shows’.  The man just doesn’t know how to quit.

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If anyone finds it, I’ll pay good money!

You may have noticed that posts are a little thin on the ground as of late.  I think I have managed, what, two or three over the past month?  I could make a whole bunch of excuses, but I guess it all really comes down to the following:

I feel rather inadequate as a player and a writer right now.

You know how in movies, people talk about having a crisis of faith?  You know, they suddenly realise they don’t believe in God/Buddha/the Staypuft Marshmallow Man/whatever deity they happen to believe in.  Well, since I am one of those evil cynical types who doesn’t have one of those faiths, my little crises tend to take the form of suddenly being unable to believe in myself.

I still will occasionally have a bright sparkling idea for a post.  A really incisive look at UIs, for instance.  Or a gritty post interrogating talent points (I have Shadowfury tied up to a chair, with my evil attack minions poking it with a fork as we speak).  Unfortunately, the minute I go to write the bloody thing, my mind runs out screaming “You don’t know what you are talking about, you moron!” 

Luckily for you guys, there are SO many Warlock bloggers now (seriously… to think I used to feel like I was the only Destruction blogger – there’s a zillion of them around nowadays, and for the most part they are bloody fantastic), so you don’t really need me to be writing that stuff.  You can find it elsewhere, and it’s all really solid content that is written in a much clearer way than I ever could.

So, until I can somehow start believing that I’m not a brainless twatwaffle with a verbal diarrhoea problem, posts might be a little… infrequent.  Or, there will just be lots of random drivel like this. 

Re-do time!

So, it comes down to the following:

My inner writer is emoing out like a 14 year old who just discovered black hair dye and razor blades.

I’ll get back to writing when my common sense returns.

<3 Sar

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