Keeping up with the Industry and the Bloggers

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Blog | 1 comment

When I started this site I had some dreams of it becoming the great resource for game news and guides. But I quickly realized that this is not a job for one person alone, since there’s only so much time in a day to read news and to write articles. So I had to quickly repurpose the website and turn it into the blog you see right now. Goal: to talk about everything MMO related. Which still requires a lot of information management.

In order to stay ahead of the subject, I have to look at my information sources:

  • My own gaming experience
  • News from the gaming companies
  • News from aggregator sites
  • Information from other blogs
  • Random tidbits from everywhere

What media is being used to get the information to me?

  • Playing online games (ain’t life great)
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS feeds
  • News sections of the game companies and aggregator sites
  • News and announcement forum
  • other sections of gaming related forums

How can I handle it? How do I tame the beast? The most important tool for me is Google Reader. I am subscribed to about 150 RSS feeds, most of them blogs. The reader allows me to arrange them in folders and highlights those with unread items and tells me how many there are. Which quickly allows me to jump to the right place.

My reader is divided into a couple of sections:

  • Covered Games: Those are the ‘official’ RSS feeds of the game publishers of games I play or have written about
  • Upcoming and Other Games: that’s my interest list, again, official feeds only
  • News and Aggregators: Here I’ve sites like ZAM, Massively, etc. Most of it remains unread, due to volume
  • Blog Feeds. If you don’t have an RSS feed, I won’t find your articles. I will visit your site to comment, or just to see what else is going on there.

A couple of gaming companies don’t provide an RSS feed anymore, or don’t maintain it very well. It’s nearly impossible to jump from one game’s site to the next one and read the news on every single page. To manage this I am using FEED43. With this site I can transform any news site or any web forum into an RSS feed. However, it requires a good deal of configuration and knowledge of regular expressions and HTML helps a lot. I’ve done this for the SWTOR Dev Tracker. Copy the link and import it into your RSS reader. Being a free service, it’s only updated every 6 hours, but that’s still way better than having to check it daily

Belghast at the Aggronaut has just published an article, the Google Reader Blogroll, showing how to turn his reader configuration into a blogroll. I like his timing 🙂

Onto Twitter. Most of you know Twitter as a constant stream, scrolling across your monitor. I am pretty sure every Twitter user has missed at least one important tweet in the stream. It either scrolled off the screen and you didn’t notice, it was part of a tweet zerg rush or it came in overnight. I missed the GW2 beta weekend announcement that way. I’ve found a tool that allows me to sort the tweets by sender and gives me a count of unread messages, more or less like Google Reader. Check out tdash. I also like and, which are pretty good in tracking searches and hashtags.tdash twitter reader

Finally, there’s facebook. Many gaming companies have a facebook presence and have news coming in this way. But most of the time, it’s duplicated on Twitter or in the RSS feed. I don’t check facebook often for gaming related news. But I am signed up to a number of their pages and have organized them in a list in order to filter them.

I am trolling the game forums from time to time, but usually only the ones of my current game, anything else is information overload. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to play the games nor able to write about them.

What’s missing? The inside scoop. I have no established channels through which I could learn that some new game is going to be released, another one being shut down, or that the subscriber number of a third game just crossed 2 mio players. I’ll probably miss that kind of information for quite a while, until some of my fellow bloggers pick something up. I fear that kind of information would again require major time investment and constant digging for it, building up contacts and then (ab)use them. I don’t know if I ever want to do that.

There’s one more thing, I still have to see if reddit or other, newer sites can help me much with my information management. I will have to put some more research time into that. However, I feel that the way I am doing it right now is satisfactory for the purpose.


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Short Status Update Adsense and NBIMMO

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Blog, Guildwars 2 | 1 comment

Maybe a quick status update is in order. My Adsense account is restored. Late afternoon yesterday ads started to reappear. My only conclusion is that the removal of the offending article brought the expected results. I still haven’t gotten any notification from Google. Thus, I am just guessing. It’s on today’s list to do some more research on probable causes. There’s a slight chance that a unconfirmed phone number associated with my account caused this, but it has been unconfirmed for more than 2 years.

Having the Adsense trouble off my plate is a good thing, since I can now focus on NBIMMO, the New Blogger Initative that got started yesterday. One of the things I did last night was to sign up for about 100 blogs on my RSS reader, 80 sponsor blogs and 20 new blogs. I also followed them on twitter if there was an ID posted. I’ve now started to actually read / scan those blogs. The idea is to hook up more with the community, just like it is the intention of NBIMMO.


© Disclaimer: Guildwars 2
© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet,, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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The Newbie Blogger Initative. I am in.

Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

The “Newbie Blogger Initiative” has been started today by Syp on his Bio Break Blog. Throughout the month of May, a group of well established sponsor blogs will help us upstarts with tips and tricks. Of course this will also generate additional traffic on all the blogs involved, giving everybody the chance to become part of the community.

I signed up as a newbie, since I feel I have still lots to learn and this initiative is a great chance to pick up a lot more knowledge. I know I can contribute as well, talking about my experience at the start and my html, php and WordPress skills. I’ve put a lot of thought into my setup to gather news and how to stay informed about the goings-on in the MMO blogosphere. I’ll summarize that in some post down the road, hoping to get more opinions on it and some help on taming the beast that is social media .

For more info about the Newbie Blogger Initiative have a look at their headquarters.

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Shooting Yourself in the Foot with Dual Pistols

Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

My Guildwars 2 beta weekend wasn’t much fun, because I was distracted by troubles with my blog. When I wrote my first post on Saturday morning, I noticed that there weren’t any ads visible. The Google Adsense console also showed that they hadn’t served any since the day before, but Google Analytics showed normal site traffic. Strange. Two other websites I am working on didn’t display any ads, either. Fearing the worst, I expected an email telling me that my Adsense account had been disabled, but that hasn’t happened as of the time of this post. I created a trouble ticket with Google hoping to get some help there.

Things like this can mess up my weekend. I ended up checking my email for answers from Google frequently. And every time I checked my email, I looked for other ways to fix the problem or reasons why the account should have been blocked.

This continued until today and will probably last a while longer. However, I have one scenario which is most likely: The Adsense policy clearly states that your site has to be squeaky clean in regards to content. No adult content, no hate speech, no drugs, tobacco or alcohol. In short, everything an advertiser wouldn’t want to be associated with.

So what’s wrong with an MMORPG blog? Nothing. It’s completely acceptable. Except when you write an article about Hardcore gaming. And use that word frequently in your article. And it is used in the comment section as well. Add a link to a blog who’s got the offending word in its title. And use that word in your post title, the tags and meta tags and -descriptions. Meta tags and -descriptions is text that’s visible to  Google and other search engines to make it easier for their bots to analyze your content. And I just told them I have content on that page they don’t like.

I should have written that article about guns in MMO’s. Guns in general, and perhaps dual pistols in particular. But no, I have to shoot in my own foot.

I’ve taken down the post in question, hoping the problem goes away. Perhaps there will be an acceptable way to repost. But just to be clear, I haven’t gotten any communication from Google if my troubles are caused by this single article. But I have some more indicators pointing in this direction. Until then, there are backup ads from another provider. Plus a single Adsense ad below the blog roll, which is currently not being served.

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Excuse our Dust

Posted by on Apr 15, 2012 in Blog | 4 comments

This blog has gone through some changes in its appearance since I started it, somehow indicating its change in content. So why stop now? I am an able programmer, know the basics and some of the inner workings of WordPress and I am having fun working with web site designs and layouts. Oh, and it might get a business started, or at least it might get me a job.

I am not much of an artist or graphics designer, but it’s fascinating anyway. Ever since I joined Google+ and saw their changing layout, I’ve been trying to recreate the style, but wasn’t very successful. Look at this website for my first attempt: It’s all white, and that’s about it. But now more and more sites have popped up using and improving the theme, Guildwars 2 among them. The style is called “Minimalist” which strives to reduce a design to only elements that are needed for the object to function. Among the websites on my blogroll, Milady’s Hypercriticism has a perfect Minimalist design. I’ve been looking at the layout of that website with envy ever since I noticed it. Of course, I have been staring even more intense at that web page over the past weekend when I finally made up my mind about a new layout.

I’ve been experimenting with various WordPress themes over time, some of them premium themes (Gabfire Themes, Elegant Themes), and some of them free like Arras and Suffusion. I wasn’t much of a friend of Elegant Themes, since they don’t handle ads in a way I like it. But the more I looked at their Aggregate and Minimal themes the more I wanted to use them, until I finally caved in and added my own coding to support ads. I also made some other changes while I was at it.

What you see here now is the result of a couple of hours work this weekend. I have a few more things to change and move around, but the basic layout is there already. Hope you’ll like it.

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Vanguard and I

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in Blog, Featured, Vanguard | 4 comments

I feel the itch. Now that free-to-play has been announced for the game, it looks like a couple of former players are already returning, in hoping the community will grow quickly. There’s been some activity among the bloggers regarding Vanguard, too: Ardwulf’s Lair has a couple of articles and Bhagpuss @ Inventory Full has some honorable mentions as well.

I have to say, I’d like to return, too. A few days ago, I signed up for another Vanguard trial. This screen shot is the result of 2 hours of playing a bard. Vanguard is one of the MMO’s I regularly go back to, when other games turn sour on me. I just love some of the games mechanisms: You’ll eventually have to decide if you want to skill up one weapon over the other: long- or short sword, piercer or a mace. At some point you won’t have enough skill points to keep them all maxed. My bard can “compose” his own songs. In combat there are skill combos and situational abilities I need to act on.

I am usually not much of a trade skill kind of guy, but I often do the basics and come back to it every now and then. The trade skill sphere has some interesting concepts. Your trade skill level is independent from your adventuring level. You can only advance through work orders, which will not produce any usable goods. You can make usable items, but they won’t advance your skills. You have your won set of trade skill gear and tools. The same is true for harvesting.

The game has a third sphere, diplomacy. To make it short, I’ve never been using it much, but it does have its own rewards.

The world of Telon is huge. Three massive continents offer enough room for content, cities, dungeons and places to just go Ooooh and Aaaah. You can have flying mounts and you can build your own ship to travel oceans and rivers.

Vanguard is certainly old school (now without corpse runs), but you will respawn elsewhere and have to run back, if you want to continue working on your current goal. Mobs will respawn on your way, if you don’t hurry or if you were in way to deep into a dangerous area. Grouping is often recommended.

There’s more to the game, like nice race and class selections or meaningful NPC factions. But I’ll leave that for another time, to be discovered as I get further into the game.



© Disclaimer: Vanguard

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