Posted in Blogging

Gaming Blogosphere Lull (Creative Encouragement)

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I wanted to take some time today to talk about something I’ve sensed since mid-April, but is just now being voiced by other bloggers in various ways. This is a lull I’ve been sensing in our general gaming blogosphere.

Dat Lull

For a while, I thought it was just me. I’m not so much seeing a dip in readers (it seems that BDO Horse Breeding Guides are much needed right now), but I sensed a lack of engagement, perhaps. I could tell other folks, who usually seem enthusiastic… were less so.

Now, I’m hearing various bloggers speak up about underlying issues, often dealing with a decline of interest in MMOs and MMO blogging. Like it or not, things that happened in the MMO space this year have shaken up even the most dedicated players/bloggers. We got a rash of posts about whether MMOs are dying. Morale overall took a dip.

I read about Bel coming to terms with blogging what he thinks is fun vs. blogging about MMOs that don’t currently spark his inspiration.

I read about Liore who is struggling with feelings of boredom, burn-out and overall discontent with some gaming attitudes.

I read about Weakness who is strong enough to break away from gaming and blogging when he feels like the hobby has overtaken more important things in his life.

Dat Inspiration

My response to all of this: This is good and normal for creative folks!! Don’t let it steal your creativity.

In risk of sounding corny, let me encourage you:

FOLLOW YOUR INSPIRATION!
FIND YOUR THING IN LIFE, AND DO WHAT MAKES YOU SHINE!

do-it-with-passionBecause when you’re doing what you love, it shows. When you’re struggling to do something just because you feel obligated to do it… that shows, too.

When you feel the creative well running dry, or you feel burned out, then it’s time to take a break or change your direction in life. And you don’t need to feel bad about doing it, either. Because you’ll be happier for it, and that joy will reflect in your work, your life, and your creativity.

Writers and creative folks can be fickle minds. I know that, and accept that about myself… though it’s not always easy when you WANT to have the discipline to do something long-term. Then you get disappointed in yourself when you feel burned out or when creativity/inspiration calls you a different way.

But, if you’ve lost the joy in creation, then you’ve lost what moved you to create to begin with. Don’t do that to yourself.

Dat Summer Internet Lull

I also wanted to touch on what I call the Summer Internet Lull.

This comes from being a webcomic creator for over 14 years. I can confirm that no matter how consistent your updates and how much you engage with your audience, summer time is a lull for everyone online.

You’d think it wouldn’t be — kids are out of school and should have more time to be online. But that’s just not the case. Folks are out on vacations. The weather is nice, and actually entices people away from their machines. Whatever the reason, there’s always a consistent lull that only seems to let up starting in late August, about the time when school starts again.

This effects everything: Blogging, MMO guildie logins, guild recruitment…

This is why I always thought that the Newbie Blogger Initiative was quite strategically placed at the beginning of this summer lull. The event drums up excitement as new folks get involved with existing bloggers, and that momentum seems to help carry the gaming blogosphere over the summer.

I was a tad bummed that it didn’t happen in May this year — but I just discovered we’re going to have it in June instead, so that’s fantastic. Let’s make some waves and encourage new creative minds! Sometimes giving to others refills our own creative voids. 

Still, don’t be surprised if you find this a lull time for your bogging numbers, if numbers are the metrics you measure success by.

Be Free to Be You

creativityAnyhow, if you’re still feeling inspired by gaming and blogging, do your thing. If you need a break, or want to expand to different types of content, do that, too.

Part of the reason why I don’t call this a gaming blog, even though that’s what I tend to write about, is because I learned my lesson about pigeon-holing myself into a specific topic. I want to give myself the freedom to be whoever I am at the point in time when I sit down to write a post.

The truth is, we are people who play games (gamers), but we’re more than just that. I love reading about games, but often, I’m following a blogger because I like reading about a person.

So, don’t be afraid of being a person, instead of just a gamer. That’s fascinating to your readers, too! 🙂

Posted in FFXI, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXI: Collecting Trusts and Level 30 Dark Knight

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It’s been almost a month since I began playing and writing about my return to FFXI. At this point, I’ve already far surpassed anything that I did back when I played FFXI over a decade ago. I have a level 30 Red Mage, a level 30 Dark Knight (Advanced Job), unlocked chocobos, earned mounts, and am progressing in my city ranking.

Everything from here on out is brand new to me, so I no longer feel like I’m in the state of “returning”… if that makes sense. I’ve also been slacking off my progression in the game quite a bit in favor of trying out other games lately. I’m still very interested in checking out these storylines that are dangling before me, and I want to put that cheaply-purchased box of expansions to some use. So, I’m not ready to call it quits yet.

However, I am changing the slant of my posts from being a “Return to Vana’diel” to something more like my normal progression posts. So, I’m officially bringing that series to an end.

Collecting Trusts

My little Trust collection. I also now have Shantotto II from this month's login rewards.
My little Trust collection. I also now have Shantotto II from this month’s login rewards.

With that said, one of my new favorite things is to collect Trusts in FFXI. Yeah, I know they should technically be called Alter Egos, but folks seem to call them Trusts, and that’s rubbed off on me.

Last month, there was some Alter Ego Extravaganza going on that I wasn’t totally aware of until near the end of the month. Once I learned about this, I picked up a whole slew of new Trusts, including that really awesome tiger at the top of the post! Say what you want about dated graphics, I think this NPC looks pretty darn good!

Apparently, Ciphers are normal rewards for things like log-in events – I picked up a Shantotto II Trust from log-in rewards this month, for example. Being a solo player and a collector, I have to say that I really, really like the whole Trust collection system.

Since up until last month, the game didn’t have things such as mounts to collect, Trusts kinda seemed to be the collectable thing to me. You know, that thing you summon, run around with, and feel accomplished having? I know I feel tough with a huge tiger following me around… and he’s pretty strong, too!

My only beef with Trusts, and it’s a small one… is that you have to re-summon them every time you level up if you want them to be on level with you. It’s not terrible, but when you have a full party to individually dismiss and re-summon, and you gain levels as quickly as I seem to, it’s something I ended up doing often.

However, if the alternative is to not have Trusts, I’ll totally take the inconvenience of re-summoning. Yes, I will.

Leveling Dark Knight

One of my goals for May was to level my Dark Knight to 30, in order to match my highest level job from before. In the process of doing so, I have discovered Dark Knight is… really not that exciting of a job. Honestly, Trusts do all the fighting for me since my attacks are super slow. At least with Red Mage I was able to cast spells and feel like I was adding something to the fights my Trusts were carrying me through.

Not to mention, Dark Knights aren’t exactly considered the most wanted classes later on. I know that really shouldn’t effect my thoughts on it since I have no desire for end-game group content. But, still…

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So, as much as I love the scythe, I don’t know if I’m going to continue leveling this job or not (at this point). I’m curious about Beastmaster, however, which was another job I had always wanted to unlock and try. I also hear that Geomancers are highly desired, and a job that attacks with a handbell is… well… interesting.

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Oh, and I got my first housing decoration from the monthly login, as seen above. Apparently there’s some whole mog house expansion/decoration system that I know nothing about yet… but should really get involved with!

Aaaand that all being said, I’ve completely caught you guys up on all my progress in FFXI! I do want to write a quickie post about the scripting I’ve learned with Windower 4 that’s been a huge help, but from here on out, I’ll be posting progression as I make it.