We interrupt this broadcasting schedule to bring you an important announcement.

*cue trumpets*

MMO Melting Pot is a year old today! Huzzah! So we want to crack out the metaphorical birthday caek (we don’t know who Kevin is but we hope he doesn’t mind us stealing his chocolate cake) and the pungent seal whey (mmm) and take a few minutes to share it all with you.

Sharing not just the cake – which we’d send down the router to you all if we could – but our thanks to you all for being a great, welcoming and warm audience. You’ve really kept us going as the weeks turned into months and then a year. I remember back on our first day of doors opening I was terrified that you wouldn’t like my writing style, wouldn’t like the layout (which was oh so different to what it is now), wouldn’t like the colour scheme, would sue us for quoting posts or accidentally speaking out of context. Terrified. Can you guess that this was my first venture into online world domination blogging?

Anyway. Thank you, all, for being great. Both as an audience who picks up discussions and runs with them and an audience who gives us feedback and talks to us – please keep doing all of this. We like hearing from you! And now 592 posts (give or take as we lost some in the transfer to a new theme the other week), 1564 non-spam comments and 150k visitors/month later, we’re looking squarely at a new, fresh year and hoping you’ll stick with us – and we’ll get some new folks coming and joining in too.

So grab a piece of cake and hit f5, as we’ll resume normal broadcasting later today with some more link-love posts…


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Who’s Stirring The Pot Again?

Hey folks! So Hugh and I are back from our week off recuperating, which was quite relaxing thanks to our decision early in the week to have a trip to our local Game store where we found no less than 5 games we wanted to play. We restrained ourselves and came away with just one. It proved a good choice as we spent most of the week stapled to the PS3 playing Elder Scrolls: Oblivion.

We now both have a strong urge to pick flowers for alchemy anytime we see them irl, and frequently feel like our own speechcraft/merchantile/etc skills increase anytime we do anything non-Oblivion related and that we should go sleep to level up.

Anyhow. I know our posting’s been a little different to usual of late, what with me being ill and Hugh taking over, and then us both having a week off. It’s long time no talk from me to you due to the nasty lurgy thing I had for a few weeks. However, things aren’t going back quite to ‘normal’ as me posting all the time. Hugh’s really enjoying taking a bigger role in the Pot and I’m liking what he’s doing, so he and I are going to share posting and general Pot running more than we used to. Posting schedule of 1-3 posts should get back to usual now that we’re off holiday, though.

So, what have you guys been up to while we’ve been saving the world from the planes of Oblivion?

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Holiday cheer

So, both Rebecca and I are on holiday this week, meaning that posting’s going to be a bit sporadic. There will still be new stuff, but probably not every day. After all, there’s this “outside” thing I hear is pretty this time of year.

So, have a great week, I’ll see you through the week, and we’ll be back next week with your regular daily awesomeness from the MMOSphere.

In the meantime, I present you two quick but cool links – Scribblings on the Asylum Wall is questioning whether a grind for 685 – yes, 685 – Marks of the World Tree is really great game design, and in happier news, Spinks is discovering that actually, the RIFT endgame is kinda awesome.

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Report wierd bugs here! (If you can see it)

OK, I’m currently on a bugfixing rampage after the new design went live (and also a speeding-up rampage, incidentally). So, if you see a bizarre bug, please report it here.

Please include:

  • A screenshot if at all possible
  • Details of what page you found the bug on
  • What browser and OS you’re using
  • If you’re using anything like an adblocker, NoScript, etc.

In particular, there’s a VERY wierd missing CSS bug that appears to be afflicting some people – I’m trying to track it down. If you see the Pot looking broken it, and can see this post, please comment.

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New site design live!

Yep, it’s a big day. After a year of awesomeness on the old design, the time has come for a change. And so – the new Pot!

The major changes should be pretty obvious:

  • For starters, in tests, the site loads a LOT faster now.
  • We’ve cleared out a lot of stuff that people weren’t using, and streamlined the page so that there’s more of the, you know, content easily visible.
  • Yep, there’s ads too, because with the kind of traffic the Pot was getting, server costs were starting to become an issue… Let us know if you find an ad particularly irritating or indeed particularly cool, we’ve still got full control.

A couple of things, notably the blogroll, have temporarily disappeared whilst I get them working with the new code, but other than that, everything should be present, correct, and a lot cleaner and faster.

If you find any nasty bugs, please do let me know – I’m going to be on bug-squashing detail for the next few days, I’m sure!

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Times, They Are A’Changin’

Quick note to let you guys know of a few small changes at the Pot. Firstly, I’m kinda ill at the moment so Hugh’s going to take over the Pot for a bit and he’ll be the primary updater. Please be as nice to him as you are to me! 😀

I’m not going to disappear by any means, though. I’ll still be kicking around on twitter and the comments here, and when I’m feeling better – soon, hopefully – you’ll see me back here more regularly.

Secondly, the Pot’s going to start changing a bit. Don’t panic – we’ll still be providing the same sort of content we always do and might even make some of the content we’ve got tucked away in the Pot’s darkest and dingiest corners easier to find (did you know we have some class guides? And are about to have moar?)

What I’m saying is that we’re going to be trying a bunch of new things, mostly relating to layout at first. It’s a while since we changed things up and it’s about time to do it again. Hugh will be setting these changes off and I’m happy for him to do this while I wander off to the realms of duvets and other soft things.

So. Please bear with us guys. Keep your eyes peeled for New Stuff ™ and feel free to let us know what you think of the changes. As always, we’ll be happy to hear feedback so long as it’s constructive, and will take it into account when we attack the Pot with paints!

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School Is In Session

Extra geek points if you can identify which boss says the quote from the title.

Anyway, it might be more accurate to say that the Pot’s back in session. We’re back from our trip to see family – during which there was a fair amount of WoW playing as my mother also plays WoW. A huge big thanks to Doone and Saif for guest posting for us while we were off gallivanting down the country!

We’re now back “oop nort’” as they say, and things will resume as normal around the Pot from today-tomorrowish (and if you’ve emailed us expect a reply tomorrow). Meanwhile, I’ve got a few real quick things to share with you.

  • We’ve upgraded our WordPress and Headway theme installs but we’re still testing the new versions out. You can find the test site with the upgraded versions here (you’re looking at it, hi!). We’ll be keeping both this normal site and the new site updated with content for the next few days. It doesn’t look much different at a glance but please feel free to go, poke around, test it out – try to break it. Let us know any bugs you find/anything you like/anything that breaks. Or whether it’s just plain snail-slow.
  • The folks at Logitech have sent us a G110 gaming keyboard so we’ll be reviewing it just as soon as I’ve had time to put it through its paces in a couple of games. Watch this space for said review – it’ll probably appear in a week or so. Meanwhile a quick question – what’s the single most useful item you’ve bought for gaming, other than your copy of Rift/WoW/etc?
  • Feedback! Mwhhahahahahha. It’s that time again. I’ve got a hankering for feedback and it’s ages since we asked you guys what you’re thinking. But I’m aware the sun’s out and the trees are singing so lots of folks are out enjoying Real Life so this time I’m leaving the call for feedback wide open. If you have anything at all you want to say in regards to the Pot – whether you want us to set up a community site, whether the layout could do with changes, whether you wish we did content a bit differently – say what’s on your mind, so long as it’s constructive.

That’s it for now folks. Hope you had a good few days – we did. What’ve we missed around these parts though? Let us know!

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This is our kitchen.

Yes, it’s all in boxes in the living room, as is the new fridge freezer which is taking up the half of the room you cna’t see. Oh yes, we’re trying a new interior planning style. No, seriously, we’re refitting the kitchen this weekend and the kitchen itself was delivered earlier today by someone who looked and sounded disturbingly like a Terminator.

I thought I was going to have more time over the next few days – it turns out it’s looking unlikely. We’re putting the kitchen together ourselves and there are over 60 boxes in that pile. Refitting the kitchen itself is going to take some a few days, some friends and some handymen for the dangerous fiddly electric bits. And before/around that time the old kitchen contents need to be packed up and moved somewhere safe, which in itself requires making space in the rest of the flat, which is already starting to resemble a building site. And so on, and so forth. It’s all good fun.

What I’m rambling about here is that the posting schedule will probably be a bit off from now til Monday/Tuesday while our kitchen is transformed into something shinier. Or possibly disturbingly space-shipyer (it’s a word now) given the colour scheme we’ve gone for.

During that time if you’d like to suggest posts we should feature, go right ahead and mail us using the contact form (we’re working on fixing the spacing on it). We might be able to respond to those mails and get a few posts up here and there. Also, we’re accepting guest posts for those few days, so if you feel extra creative then you’re welcome to throw a guest post about any MMO our ways. Those will be prioritised over article suggestions, but we’ll try to get  to both.

Once again – apologies for the interruption in posting schedule. See you back properly next week – unless we manage to cut off the electrics or y’know, exploom the flat. Meanwhile have a great few days, and have fun in whatever world you call home.

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Blogger Map Is Live

Quick announcement to let you know that the blogger map’s live and working. You can find it in the top navigation bar above the header – alternatively here’s a link straight to it.

Beneath the map you’ll find a few notes on how to use it and some ‘fun’ facts, like how many markers there are on the map at the mo, and where the most blogger-populated places are. For now though, the main things to know are that while the map might appear a little crowded at first, cursor over and scroll in with your mousewheel to get a more manageable zoom. Then you can click and drag around the map to your heart’s desire to see who’s from where.

I’ve ussd the pin markers because they’re the best of the default bunch. They’re a little big and there’s a slight issue of markers part-concealing each other – particularly in heavily populated areas. It’s possible to create custom google map markers – maybe something flatter, like a small dot or other shape that doesn’t “stick out” from the map would be good – but I don’t have the clever coding fu needed to do this. So to anyone who fancies making some custom markers: go right ahead and mail them to us using the contact form – you’d be a star. I won’t be able to respond about it immediately but will get to it. It’s not essential to have our own markers but it might make it look even just a bit more special!

For now though, enjoy. Let me know what you think – as always I’m happy to take ideas, suggestions and comments for improvements. Also if you’re not on the map and should be (or if you are and want your info changed) let me know in the comments or via email.

Happy March, guys :)

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Monday Maintenance: Putting You On The Map – Needs Feedback

Wow, it seems an eon again since I last wrote a Maintenance Mondays post, telling you what technical gremlins were befalling the Pot and what we were doing to shoo them away. While I don’t have gremlins to report – and it’s not, y’know, Monday – there are a few actually interesting site maintenance things I’d like to bring to your attention. All of them should be of some interest to everyone, but I’d especially like you bloggers out there to pay attention to at least the first two items on the list.

Links/blogroll – I’ve finally revamped the links page. It’s still a little messy but it’s a whole lot better than it used to be. It’s now split into categories with links to all the individual categories at the top of the page: clicking on a link will take you down to the category. It’s aimed so that anyone coming to look for a specific topic can find resources just for that. As a result, some blogs are listed in multiple places as they fit multiple categories.

  • As a general question to everyone out there – what do you think about it, and do you have any further ideas for its improvement (other than adding categories for games other than WoW, which is already on the to-do list)?
  • Question to bloggers specifically – check the blogroll to see that you’re on there and in the right place. If for some reason I’ve missed you or you want to be in different/more/less categories, please either leave a comment to this post or contact us using the contact form. Happy to correct mistakes!

Community map – where we are around the world? – This is an idea from Larisa and Syl who thought we should get it running here at the Pot. Basically, a map pinpointing where all the bloggers are around the world. I think it’s a great idea. It doesn’t have to be game specific – in fact, it shouldn’t be game-specific. It’s for all bloggers to get ‘on the map’ if they want to. I’m currently looking into websites that would allow me to create such a map – unfortunately Frappr shut down so I’m looking for other options. What I’d like from you is:

  • If you’re a blogger I need to know where you live. Mwhahahha. No really, only so I can add you to the map and I don’t need all the details. Just your country, (and if you’re in the US your state), and preferably city as well as a lot of maps seem to want to place markers on specific cities. If you blog by your real name I’d suggest also submitting a psydonym. Sorry non-bloggers – I’m currently only adding bloggers to the map to see how it goes. I mgiht, later, add non-blogger readers as well if there’s a way to differentiate between bloggers/non-bloggers, and if the map’s not already crazy-full.
  • Do you prefer a map that shows our country or our city in that country? I don’t think any harm will come of a city-specific map (you all know I live in Edinburgh and I haven’t had bouquets of flowers turn up yet. Well, once, but that was Hugh’s initiative) but if you’re really uncomfortable with that idea and want us to try to find a country-focused map to use (if such a thing exists), let us know. (ideas for sites that do this kind mapping thing, like Frappr used to do, also welcome).

Ads – watch this space. No 100% promise yet but there should be something actually happening with the leaderboard ad space soon (which normally sits above the articles, but today is broken on the main page. GREMLINS!). If it goes through it’ll be for something that looks really cool. And that I’ll have more details on later. Yeah, I know, I’m teasing.

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