More Bloggers Unmask Themselves

More MMORPG bloggers are taking advantage of this summer’s lull before the storm to tell us a little bit about the person behind the keyboard.

Yes, Ambermist aka Battlechicken’s challenge to the blogosphere to talk about things a little bit more personal than their opinion of the Pandaren dance animations is really bearing fruit! Six new bloggers have taken up the challenge over the weekend, telling us things about themselves from the interesting to the very personal:

  • Dragonray at Azerothian Life talks about a very personal and upsetting experience, and how it informs her views and the things she fights for and against – triggering warning, this post discusses rape and sexual assault – “It is not something people walk away from in the next scene – and it is certainly not something that has no effect on you. “
  • Matty at Sugar And Blood talks about her real-life as opposed to her online identity“With the advent of social media, blogging, and all that it offers, I had what is both a liberating and highly combustible combination: immediate gratification for writing.”
  • Rakuno at Shards of Imagination reveals a number of interesting details about his life“I am a brazilian. Or if you want to get technical about it, half-brazilian, half-japanese. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about japanese culture. Or even eat japanese food. “
  • Eva at Image Heavy shares a number of quick things about her“I met The Boyfriend on WoW. Conveniently the huge, huge family loves him! Playing with him is when I have the most fun on the game by far.”
  • Kamalia from Kamalia Et Alia tells us about her hobbies, including her remarkably mathematical knitting“I learned to crochet from my maternal grandmother when I was in my late teens, and I only really know the one stitch that she taught me. “
  • And just in case you missed it, the Melting Pot actually jumped on this meme ourselves earlier today

Are you planning to join in the unveiling?

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WoW bloggers expose their real selves

“World of Warcraft Isn’t Real, And My Name Isn’t Ambermist.”

It’s an odd call to arms, but that is the phrase that has started a really fascinating movement in the MMO blogosphere. Started by Ambermist, who blogs at Battle Chicken, bloggers are “uncloaking” themselves, telling us a bit about the person behind the keyboard.

So far, we’ve had:

  • Ambermist herself, who tells us about her personal journey through Warcraft“In WoW, I was becoming a decent moonkin, my dps improving little by little as I grew determined to become a better player. My raid awareness improved leaps and bounds. I was writing boss strats for this blog, so I knew the fights inside and out. I was succeeding in Warcraft at the same time I felt like I was failing in the real world.”
  • Ivy at Ivy For Life tells us about the part WoW plays in keeping her connected to the world“All my friends are else where in the country, hell the world, so the only way to talk to them without phone bills is WoW. “
  • And Erinys at Harpy’s Nest tells us the story of her two coins“I’m not sure what I believe these days, the rational side, the side I inherited from my father along with his eyes fights regularly with the other side, the part of me which sees things in shadows, which still trusts a little in her Great Grandmother’s Gods but I suppose that’s just a part of being human.”

Sadly I don’t have much time to write about myself today (although Googling my name will get you a fair bit of information!), but I might well write a post along these lines as part of the Pot’s birthday celebration next week. In the meantime, I’ll be really interested to hear from other uncloaking bloggers as we all become more than just the pixels on the screen!

Are you planning to write an “…is not my real name” post? Did you write one already? Let us know!

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Guest Post: 3 Voices To Follow

This is a guest post whilst Hugh’s away on holiday

I’ve been gaming since my early teens, which means I’m approaching thirty years of pushing buttons on keyboards. This makes me somewhat of an ‘Old Timer’ compared with a lot of you young whippersnappers other gaming types… it also means reading about my interests is sometimes more important than actually playing them. I am constantly adding to my Blogroll, and although there are always people I come back to again and again, I have begun to actively seek out new people on a daily basis. All these individuals possess distinct and enjoyable voices, whose opinions I love to listen to and whose personalities have become as much a part of my gaming experience as the MMO’s themselves. I can’t list them all (or we’d be here for a week), but I have three of the best to share with you.

Enough gabbing, let’s get to it!

If you asked me to nominate my favourite Blogger, after a great deal of due care and deliberation I’d have to say that Ratshag wins hands down. Need More Rage is unlike any other Warcraft blog I read, and frankly long may this continue, because there needs to be more actual characters writing blogs than real people (what do you mean, you people aren’t real?) As a perfect example of his unique style, Rat has his own distinct take on the question doing the rounds of the Warcraft Lorefiends: ‘Does Garrosh deserve to die?’ When put like that, frankly, death means that Garrosh gets off lightly…

Then I have to tip my cap to The Grumpy Elf. He’s another utterly distinct voice, and one which (quite frankly) isn’t best pleased sometimes. I don’t blame him either, playing Warcraft can often be a mug’s game. However even when he’s living up to his moniker he has a lot of extremely intelligent and thought-provoking posts, and nothing is beyond his critical eye. Don’t be deceived by his long and detailed posts either, it really is worth taking the time to immerse yourself in these trains of thought. There’s always something that makes you think (well, there is for me) He got an invite in the post too: sadly, Gromit, it was The Wrong Beta :(

Finally I have to mention Decoding Dragons. I’ve stalked followed Pewter for a while, and would like to make sure her relaunched site gets as much exposure as possible. She was the person who introduced me to the term ‘Geek Feminism’ for which I doubt I will ever find the opportunity to properly thank her for. Her site is the absolute right mix of news, opinion and thought-provoking individuality. I’m glad people like Pewter are about because it means that people like me don’t need to feel uncomfortable being what we know we are. Posts like this one only serve to reinforce that this is a site to get immersed in, and that dares you to think.

There are tons more places I hang out in, and many, many people who make my online experience a constantly enjoyable one. If you’d like to know who else I read/follow, there’s a handy Blogroll link on my own homepage.

*This was a guest post from The Godmother, who blogs at ALT:ernative on the MoP beta and the trials of having many, many alts!**

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Editorial: Please Answer My Million Gold Question

Let me tell you a secret. I’m worried. Okay, not breaking news given I worry about things every day, like anyone else. Y’know, I worry that I’m getting fat (or as I like to put it, “going floom”). I worry that my new I Am The Intersect T-shirt looks silly because, while it wins geek points, it only came in mens’ sizes. I worry that overnight my country will morph into  something in which citizens have no basic rights and there are knocks on the door at midnight.

Those are silly things to worry about. Except maybe the last one. For the most part they’re things I don’t need to stress over. But what I want to talk about today is something I’ve been wondering about for a while and which affects you. At the end I have a question for you, whether you’re a blogger or non-blogger.

I’m worried because the MMO blogosphere is said to be an insular community. It’s a well known fact that there are loads of blogs out there, most of them WoW-based, and only a fraction of all MMO players read those blogs or even know they exist. Blogs tend to attract other bloggers as readers first – though to be fair there are a few exceptions to the rule, mostly larger blogs. Generally, working out how to attract non-blog readers is a constant conundrum acknowledged by many gaming bloggers out there.

By extension, I’ve been wondering whether MMO Melting Pot is going that way: it seems that bloggers interact, discuss and comment more, and that non-bloggers are more passive – I’m wondering whether they feel less welcome. Or simply whether I notice this trend more than I should because I know who out there is a blogger 😉

Some of the things we do at the Pot are focused specifically at bloggers, like the blogger map. On the other hand, many of the things we do are focused at both bloggers and non-bloggers: simply featuring posts or highlighting new blogs on the site gives bloggers some extra limelight, and gives non-bloggers something interesting to read (we hope), for example, and the upcoming features are very much for both non-bloggers and bloggers to interact simply as fellow gamers. And of course, there’s loads more. Either way I think (without solid prove) that a lot of our readers here at the Pot are bloggers, rather than non-bloggers.

Don’t get me wrong – I love that bloggers come here and interact, and we couldn’t be this blog without you. But maybe we, too, are falling into the insular “blog read by bloggers” state. And given that our #1 purpose is to be here to serve the community – which includes both bloggers and non-bloggers, I want everyone to feel welcome and included, and like we’re a resource for them. Bwah. Maybe I’m worrying for nothing.

So anyway. I figured I would open this can of worms and find out how you feel both on a single blog level and on a wider blogosphere level. I know there are no good solutions to helping gamers to find a blog or website if they don’t have any way to know you exist (though if you think I’m wrong and have ideas on that, feel free to share). Basically what I’m asking is this:

If you’re a non-blogger, do you feel welcome here, or do you feel a bit like there’s an exclusive ‘blogger’ club and that you’re not as included as you might be? Why? Do you feel that in general about gaming blogs? Is there anything you’d like added/changed to this site to make you feel more at home to share your thoughts, or anything you think the blogosphere at large can do?

If you’re a blogger, do you think this is a problem in the blogosphere? Have you noticed it, do you worry about it, do you wish there was more we can do to reach out to non-blogging gamers? Do you have any ideas? Or should we, primarily, follow the age-old addage: write for ourselves and not worry about who our readers are or where they come from?

But the million gold questions – firstly this “gaming blogs are an insular community” thing has been around for ages but are we worrying for nothing – is it a vampire myth and untrue, or is it actually true? And then if it is, surely we’d hypothetically like to reach out to include more people in our community – and surely there’s something we can do about it?

Let me know what you think. I’m listening.

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Call To Action: Bloggers Please Read

There’s a cookie in it. If you take a sec to answer the polls, that is.

I’m looking for some answers about the idea to make a map showing where bloggers are around the world, mentioned in yesterday’s maintenace post. It was Syl and Larisa’s idea, but I think it could be really cool to be able to see at a glance where everyone comes from – and you never know, you might find other bloggers live just round the corner. You can read about the idea in full here – it’s also on Blog Azeroth here.

There’s no pressure to take part in the idea but I do need to know whether there’s enthusiasm for the idea. If you’re a blogger – WoW or any other game – please fillthe polls out however you feel about it.

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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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