Is Every Paid MMO Service Evul?

Is every paid MMO-service evul?

There. I said it. I don’t mean below the belt paid services, wink-wink, nudge-nudge. Those are just disturbing and every MMO’s version of the Lion’s Pride inn is … let’s just not go there.

I’m talking about other services, mostly created by players or fans, or even other companies, and I’m curious what you think. Specifcially I’m curious about MMO services that aren’t provided by MMO companies themselves – so for example, count LoTRO’s Turbine points shenanigans or Blizzard’s pet/mount sales out (though I’m curious about those too, come to think of it). I’m not really looking at gold selling/buying here – most people would agree that’s bad (though if you disagree do say, and why – you won’t get lynched). But is it thatgold selling gives the rest of paid services a bad name when some of them are actually useful and above board, or is it simply that they’re all bad and wrong and should be taken out back and burned at the stake?

So what sort of things am I thinking about? Well, let’s see… off the top of my head, these are the kind of ‘paid’ services I’ve seen floating around:

  • Guild websites and hosting – HAH! Weren’t expecting this one, right? Surely there’s nothing wrong with people providing your in game community a website – or is there?
  • Consulting/coaching – helping you play better, whatever ‘play better’ means to you as a player. Is that bad n’ wrong or a useful service – or something you wish half the idiots in your randoms would do?
  • Various e-books – gold guides, levelling guides, class guides, raid guides. I’ve seen opinions on these widely differ depending on the type of ebook, too.
  • Advertising
  • There are probably more – feel free to talk about them too.

I’ve been wondering this on and off for a while now and have never quite been able to put my finger on what the general feel in the community for this stuff is. Reading round the blogosphere I regularly see both people vehemently against paid services and others trying to provide them while getting all kinds of feedback, both positive and negative. Tobold’s post today – which we highlighted earlier – just brought this back to mind as something I’ve been meaning to throw out there for a while.

So. What do you think? Are all paid, extra, MMO services filthy trickses from the legions of Mordor, or are some of them acceptable and theoretically useful?

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Follow Up Debate – Is The Blogosphere Insular?

Thanks for the responses on the discussion I started last weekend about how insular the MMO blogosphere was or not, everyone! We got a lots of responses and they were all very interesting – given the sensitivity of the topic I’m really grateful you all took the time to reply. Heck, the responses were so interesting I started writing a comment in reply to that and it turned into a bit of a mammoth response, as I found I had follow up questions to ask lots of people.

So. I figured what I’d do is post a follow up post and invite you all to continue the discussion, whether or not you replied to the original post last Saturday.

The post’s format is a bit weird, I know. I thought I’d try it though and see how it goes down. It’s basically several direct responses (think really long comment to a post) aimed at individual commenters from last week, asking them specific questions. If you’re one of those people, I’d love to hear back from you again. If you’re not one of those people, feel free to read through and if you have any thoughts on a particular point or question I’ve asked, feel free to respond to it as well! If it’s interesting but you have no idea what the nitwibble’s going on, check the original post from last week here to get up to speed.

So, hope you enjoy the discussion and it’s thought provoking. Check behind the ‘read more’ cut for my questions/responses. If it’s not your cup of tea by all means pass up on it and have a very Happy Easter!

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@Pathak – you make a lot of good points – the ideas of the effects of attention span, and potential journal studies out there on the whole topic, are particularly interesting. I wonder if there’s any way an accurate, actual conclusion can be drawn. Anyhow – as to your million platinum answer – theoretically speaking you’re right. Asking open questions is a better way to invite feedback or discussion than not asking at all, but going on from that – what if those open questions don’t result in all that much discussion happening, either in comments or the blogosphere at large? How would you encourage more, either with different strategies or improving those questions? ๐Ÿ˜‰

@Alto – I hadn’t thought of the idea that some elements of the blogosphere are in a unique position of needing to balance how much readership they have in order to ensure the content they’re providing remains effective for the readership they do have – like gold bloggers. That’s a really interesting thought – thank you!

@Doone – interesting, and I can see your point when I look at blogs vs. forum useage. Though I don’t get *why* it’s panned out that way. There is nothing to stop non-bloggers leaving their opinion on a blog post (which probably gives them just as much food for thought if not more than a forum post); forum posts and blog posts share the same emphasis. It’s not necessarily about the blogger’s intentions for writing (though that can affect the style they produce); their posts are there to either share hard information or an opinion on a topic which the reader is likely to be interested in, otherwise s/he wouldn’t be reading them – just like a forum post. It’s still a gamer talking to gamers, and the info therein is applicable to the reader regardless of their blog-status. Do you think there’s any reason for this divide despite the similatity of content, or do you think there’s a way to combine the results we see in both forum and blog useage and achieve greater interaction?

@Cold – mmm, you’re right, various subscribey type things help. Though I think some things benefit some types of blog more than others. Incidentally, we did try an email subscription list for some time, and it got nada uptake. We’re about to start playing around with google optimiser in the coming weeks but I’m less sold on email subscriptions over RSS subscriptions for MMO blogs – although there’s something to be said that non-bloggers may be less likely to go for RSS feeds than they are to check their email. Any thoughts?

@Tya – thank you for answering – that’s really useful and somehow quite calming. I think you’re right – and one of my main tasks for the Pot next week is to go back to basics and get out there on other blogs starting next week. It’s very easy to forget to do that when you’re trying to make site improvements and whatnot! Just out of curiousity – if non-bloggers read an interesting comment, do you think they often click on the hyperlink in the commenter’s name to arrive at their blog, or do you think they just keep reading the comments on the post and don’t think to click through to individual commenters’ links? (that question’s a bit clunky – let me know if I’ve not quite got my point across!)

@Bangkok bill – While I think there are ways to reach out to the playing community at large as bloggers, I’d not thought of your point – that Blizzard (and ergo other gaming companies) could also really do a better job in promoting the vocal, blogging section of their community so gamers can find them. That’s a very good point. It’s really sunk into my head and I think it’s one I may be using/coming back to at some point in the future if you don’t mind.

@Nienna – okay, that’s a really thought provoking comment you’ve written. I’ll just go with one thought for now tho. Thanks for telling us what you’d like to read more of – not only is that useful (and probably of great interest to most of the blogosphere) but I’m now wondering about ways for non-blogger readers to ‘request’ more posts around the blogosphere on topics they want to read about. For example, would you engage in a forum thread/category that basically said “tell the blogosphere what you want to read about” and that bloggers could read the ideas people leave and write posts if they fancied, and then leave a reply with a link to the post? It’d be kind of like a think-tank where readers get some of the posts they want, bloggers get some ideas for content (maybe stuff they’d not thought of) and also get to promote their blogs?

@Eric – thanks for following along – if you only read 4 WoW related blogs and we’re one of them, I feel honoured! You’ve got an interesting (and sensible) take on what motivates a non-blogger to read/follow a blog’s posts. Just out of interest, I’m guessing that when we post community-based things (kind of announcements) like new blog round ups etc your interest wanes – are you happy with a happy medium between content that engages you and content that doesn’t, or do you have a “walk away” threashold for stuff you don’t find interesting?

@Mhorgrim – You’re right; as a blogger it’s helpful to define a niche and cater for those folks – particularly if you know what you want to write about. For example, boomkins are likely to be over the moon with a balance druid blog while others are likely to go ‘meh’. But at the same time, I think it’s not essential to define a niche – it really depends on why you’re blogging, and for whom – as that answer varies from blogger to blogger, and maybe between how confident you are with what you’re doing. I’m finding your thoughts abotu forum world/blogging world interesting though – do you think they should definitely be kept seperate?

**That’s it for reponses – remember, you’re welcome to answer these questions whoever you are, I’m just aiming them directly at specific people because it relates to their individual thoughts on the topic from last week!

Til then, see you on Tuesday post Easter – have a good weekend folks!**

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How Geeky Is Your Hometown?

Win.

So our kitchen is nearly done. The weekend’s been quite, quite mad. But in the middle of it all we went out for breakfast into a hitherto unexplored row of Edinburgh cafes, and we stumbled across this grafitti.

That’s got to be the coolest, geekiest scrawling I’ve heard of/seen since Lord of the Rings was published and “Frodo Lives!” messages apparently appeared in subways and the like.

Leeroy himself lives in Edinburgh and signed off next to his most beloved cafe as he was chareging home for a raid? Probably not. But Edinburgh just got a little cooler.

Have you found anything like this in your hometown?

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Ever Thought About Tipping Bloggers?

Blogging. Money.

Two words that don’t get used together often in the WoW blogosphere. When they do it usually causes a hush followed by a calamity of people shouting both for and against those words being used together. If that’s what happens here then that’s grand – I want to open up this can of worms and see what the community does with it. And whether Cold’s reasonable post can change any opinions about whether bloggers should get tipped for their work.

Cold’s going out on a limb and saying that when you read a blog or post you enjoy you could consider tipping the blogger. Just like you do in any number of places where people spend a lot of time maintaining a service so you can do what you want; be it have a great time out, get from A to B safely or not have to worry about your car being ned‘ed (yes it’s a word… now) while you’re not looking.

We as bloggers put a ton of time and effort into keeping our sites maintained.ย  Providing quality content on a daily basis is hard work.ย  Many readers reap the benefits from their favorite sites, but never leave anything in return, not even a comment, much less an actual tip.ย  There a few other ways that you can “tip” your favorite bloggers to show that their work is appreciated.

Cold points out that a lot of blogs already display various ways you could tip them. He talks through things you could look out for on a blog to help support the blogger. They’re all good ideas, though I’d note that you probably don’t want to click on too many adverts on a blog each day as google might decide it doesn’t trust the blog.

Sure, Cold’s post doesn’t mention any games but in talking about blogging itself it focusses on a topic that’s just as essential as whether WoW’s on its knees or dancing in the street. If bloggers didn’t pour their hearts into sharing their opinions and adventures then we wouldn’t have the pleasure of reading them and reciprocating: of being a community of gamers.

What do you think – should we be more open minded about this, or is blogging just a labour of love and should stay that way?

_Quote taken directly from Cold’s post

You cna find Blogging Vitals’ homepage here and Cold’s Gold Factory (his WoW site) here_

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Thought for the day – why can’t we friend people in the Dungeon Finder?

Rather than a full-fledged editorial today, I thought I’d post something that’s been bugging me as more of a topic for discussion – I really want to see what the opinion of the blogosphere is.

Why, oh why, doesn’t Blizzard seem to have any interest in including a “friend” or “favourite” function in the Dungeon Finder? You can ignore idiots, but you can’t say “yay” to great people.

That means that you can’t use the DF for the positive experience of building a social circle. It makes the experience center more on avoiding idiots than finding awesome people. It prevents strong social bonds forming, bonds that would make Blizz lots of money as we come back to WoW for our friends.

Why doesn’t that seem to be something that’s even being discussed?

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