The New Bloggers Initiative: A Startling Success

Longer-term readers will remember last year’s New Blogger Initiative, an effort from Justin Olivetti, aka Syp, to encourage new bloggers to join the MMO community.

Well, it’s been a year – so how has the NBI turned out? Are many bloggers from it still going?

It turns out, as a number of bloggers marking the anniversary report, that the NBI was a sensational, spectacular success:

Congratulations to everyone who started blogging in the NBI 2012, and I look forward to reading your blogs for years to come.

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NBI Spotlight

As the Newbie Blogger Initiative closes, I thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight some great posts specifically from NBI bloggers.

We’ve been reading NBI blogs all month, of course, and whether you were aware of it or not, if you’re a regular reader you’ve already read some great pieces from NBI writers. But this time, we’re just featuring the NBI – so enjoy these new voices:

  • Why I Game writes a lengthy but extremely interesting piece on A Tale In The Desert’s various minigames – making charcoal, alloying and more – ATITD is quite unique in MMOs, and this piece gives a good insight into it – “And the automatic macro either breaks, or eats so much wood over manually controlling the ovens that I end up wincing and being that guy who snatches the controller and says “Let ME do it.””
  • Casually Vicious looks at the time commitments MMOs demand, and offers some experience-based suggestions for the time-limited MMO gamer“I realize SW:TOR’s big selling premise is that they focus on the story. This is done through having voice-actors perform while you wait. They blab on while you just sit there and dumbly stare at the monitor instead of participating.”
  • Diminishing Returns looks at the male-character-as-power-fantasy issue that Doone identified a few days ago, and discusses whether the concept’s worn out“When we start to question the assumptions around power and delivering thrills in video games, I believe that we can start to see more multi-faceted depiction of men and masculinity.”
  • Dreadblade looks at “E-Sports” from the perspective of a professional sports coach“From an emotional standpoint the anticipation of battle, the frustration of failure, the rush of success – it’s all there. In my guild I have found my place in a team again.”
  • And lastly – if you’re looking for more NBI action, Syp’s closing the month out by hosting NBI awards – go vote!“I wanted to host a quick award show to highlight some of the many, many amazing blogs that has come out of this.”

Spotted any gems from NBI writers this month?

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The Newbie Blogger Initiative concludes an incredible month

I’d like to extend a big hand of congratulation to everyone who has participated in the Newbie Blogger Initiative this month!

For those few who haven’t heard – the NBI was started by veteran blogger Syp, aka Justin Olivetti, as a way to encourage new voices into the MMORPG community, and give them advice from respected veterans.

It has succeeeded astonishingly well, as Syp’s roundup of the new bloggers who’ve joined us attests. Over 100 new voices have joined the community, and dozens of experienced bloggers shared their knowledge and insight into how to do what we all love doing better.

Syp rounds the entire event off in his concluding NBI post:

“Starting out a blog is hard. It’s a lot like starting a serious exercise program: You can’t just fiddle about with it and hope to see results; you have to jump full-in, work through the pain and struggle of getting used to this new routine, and stick with it. New blogs require strong, regular injections of content, and then they require exposure to gain readers. The NBI was our answer to both of those: We would dole out advice as seasoned bloggers to the newcomers, and then lavish on them some link love. It wasn’t a guaranteed formula for a successful blog, but it was a major leg-up for anyone who’d want it.

So I thought, why not? I sketched down some thoughts and then started contacting bloggers, sometimes doing quite a bit of detective work to find an email address. I thought that out of the 60 or so that I contacted, we’d get a score on board. I had no idea if this idea would be poo-pooed or if it had merit, but I guess there was something to it, because just about everyone I emailed replied in the affirmative.”

It’s been fantastic to watch all the excitement and enthusiasm that the NBI has generated, and Justin/Syp deserves huge congratulations for pulling it all together. I look forward to reading many of the voices who have joined us for years to come.

And as a final note – if you are in Syp’s list of NBI bloggers, and you have an accessible RSS feed, we at the Melting Pot have added you to our feed reader and are reading everything you write! I’m looking forward to seeing all the cool stuff that the NBI produces – and welcome to the community.

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Blogging Advice from the NBI – Criticism, RSS and more

As I’ve mentioned before, MMO bloggers have seemed somewhat diffident about offering blogging advice in the past – but the Newbie Blogger Initiative has really brought a flood of advice from some of the ‘sphere’s top bloggers right to our door.

In today’s roundup, we’ve got pieces both specific and general, but always useful –

  • Criticised or flamed? Syp at Bio Break offers advice on what to do next“I respect those who respond without making it personal, but that’s a hard thing for a critic to do. No matter what, it puts a sour taste in your mouth and can make you say to yourself, “Then why did I spend all this time creating this article if this is the end result?””
  • Njessi of Hawt Pants of the Old Republic offers some great advice on things to include or avoid“I know you want people to come to your site for precious hits or advertising (more on this later), but truncated feeds are not the answer to getting more traffic. Many people read in a feed reader, and don’t want to click through – or can’t if they’re behind a firewall.”
  • Goldenstar of A Casual Stroll To Mordor talks about writing for the Internet“In the first couple seconds of opening your article, your reader will judge if they will actually read your article. They will look at your opening paragraph and scan down the page and see if this is something of interest to them.”
  • Lono of Screaming Monkeys offers his top five tips for blogging“An active blog will grow faster than a rarely active one. Sounds simple when said like that but you’d be surprised how some new promising blog dies simply because the author posted once in a blue moon. Your topics don’t always have to be revolutionary, just talk about what’s on your mind.”
  • And Rowan at I Have Touched The Sky explains RSS and blog lists“The thing about hits—and what is behind at least my own advice not to worry about them—is that not all of your readers will do so by visiting your blog directly. Many do so through RSS readers, including Google Reader, Bloglines, and various smartphone apps. “

A couple of thoughts from me here, too. Firstly, whilst I agree that if possible it’s better to win a critic over, if you’re being criticised or flamed, it is perfectly possible to fight back and win. However, it takes some skill with argument, and it’s definitely important not to simply vent onto the screen – respond calmly and with good measure, as my fencing instructor would have said. The number one way to lose an argument online is to overreach.

There are some great resources out there on the tactics of debate, and those are the ones to study if you want to learn how to fight and win against harsh critics. Also, remember – whilst you may not convince the person flaming you, it’s the people reading both sides of the argument who are the important ones a lot of the time.

As far as RSS feeds go, I can tell you that you’re about three times as likely to be featured on the Pot if you have an untruncated RSS feed. Sure, if you’re a brilliant headline writer you might get more visitors to your site with a truncated feed – but let’s put it this way: Copyblogger is the go-to resource on the Internet for headline writing, and they still run a full feed.

Any great tips to share?

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Sausages, Painful LoTRO, and MMOs vs Dating – Wednesday Links

The last few days have seen a flood of awesome posts, partially inspired by the NBI, so we’re still running a backlog here! Don’t worry though – anything that we can’t fit in the week we’ll stick in a weekend post or the Weekly Digest email.

In the meantime, enjoy this fine flood of MMO thinking:

  • Is there any space left for new MMOs? Gazimoff of Mana Obscura demonstrates just how much untapped potential is left in the genre“That complexity doesn’t just have to come from mechanics. It can be choices like art style (realistic versus simplistic), story delivery (text quests versus fully voice acted), action style and so on.”
  • Spinks writes a really interesting post about how in-game morality choices make characters evolve“Suddenly I saw him as someone who was a brutal, efficient operative, but not completely heartless or unsympathetic any more. More of a hard man doing a hard job (which is still not a morally strong position) than the total emotionless psycho that he’d seemed up to that point.”
  • From well outside the MMOSphere, a really interesting infographic about how MMOs stack up against dating sites as a way of meeting your future partner.
  • Want to help out the New Blogger Initiative? Syl at Raging Monkeys writes a resource post on how you can contribute“This is what Syp’s initiative is about, highlighting newcomers. Besides receiving tips, it’s a wonderful way for them to get some exposure and attention, to feel seen and part of a greater circle of real and approachable people (most of them anyway!). That’s where your support comes in, very directly at the roots of the idea.”
  • And Syp at Bio Break tried to play LoTRO as a strictly free-to-play game, but discovered it was just too painful” It’s nice that it’s a possibility, but it’s way too much work — and, after all, that’s how Turbine wants it to be. The company doesn’t make money from you not paying them, so they’re going to try to ride that fine line between offering you freebies and the way to earn more freebies while tempting you with the easy road of a credit card payment. “

Enjoyed these posts? Please consider sharing them with your friends!

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Great New Blogger Advice from the NBI

Amongst the many benefits that the Newbie Blogger Initiative is already having on the blogosphere (did I mention what a great idea this is?, I do wonder if the flood of advice posts will be one of the most lasting.

Unlike other subject blogospheres, the MMO community has tended to be a bit short on advice posts – partially, possibly, because there’s not so much real-world money at stake here. But with the NBI, some really great writers are coming out of the woodwork with great advice for their fellow bloggers:

  • Scary at Scary Worlds writes a fascinating story of how he came to blog, and some unique advice on blogging from a phone“Most of all, I do it because I love to. Over the years my phone has become the only way I can write. I write upwards of 1,000 words an hour on the sucker.”
  • Stropp has a short, sweet, and vital piece of advice for any venture – just do it“Don’t wait. Take action now. Just Do It.”
  • Starshadow offers some generally useful tips for anyone writing online“Read your posts back to yourself, make sure it flows. Ask someone to proof read for you if you’d like an opinion before you publish. “
  • And Chris at High Latency Life offers some advice on just how to find your blogging voice“For me it was an evolution, but it starts with a vision. My vision for this blog has always been to entertain. The world loves a fool, and I am that fool. “

What are your top tips for the new bloggers at the NBI?

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