One thing that is absolutely weird to me about getting older is the passage of time and how things feel both short and long at the same time.
I can remember, on this day in 2017, starting this blog – the very same one. I remember thinking I needed to write and I needed as low a barrier to entry as possible. I launched a free site with a basic template, did some modest tweaking, and that very day, started writing…weird, not-good theorycrafting about playing Demon Hunter.
Yet that same day 5 years ago feels like an eternity ago. So much has changed in all ways since that day – for me, the blog, and just everything in general. Despite a small, almost immediate break from writing at the time, this blog has been the longest I’ve been at a single creative project – I had a prior WoW blog (on Tumblr in 2013, no less!) and I’ve done podcasts and YouTube, but this is the thing that stuck and succeeded.
Today, it is a fun look-back to see why I started, how I started, and how things have evolved since then. Besides the theorycraft, I started this blog purely as a passion project – Legion was out and I loved World of Warcraft in that moment. It was a passion I wanted to share, because there was so much for me to do in the game that I was enjoying and I felt like I needed a place to share it. The theorycrafting gave way to news before I finally settled in a groove of analysis, which is where I feel like I’m strongest and most comfortable writing, and now, 5 years later, here we are.
The great irony to me today is that the blog started under polar opposite conditions compared to now. I loved WoW and was on the edge of just not getting FFXIV after falling off in the post-2.0 original “horrible hundred” MSQ string, and now today, I’ve fallen off of WoW pretty sharply and FFXIV has become my main play game, where the bulk of my time playing games in general is spent.
As with any anniversary or milestone post I’ve written, my first actual order of business is to thank my readers, from drive-by search engine hits to link-clickers to subscribers to friends. I do get a lot of value from knowing I’m not actually shouting into the void, and after a year where 200,000 people came to read my stuff, I feel even more energy to keep writing and sharing my thoughts. I hope that reading my stuff is enjoyable, because writing it is!
In truth, a lot of my future planning for the blog is somewhat hazy because I’m definitely going through a phase with WoW, as I’ve been documenting – I want it to be better and I have hopes that it can and will be, at least for now, but I’ve also given up on playing it for the time being because there are too many other good things away from it to enjoy. At the same time, absent any conversation about WoW, I’ve definitely hit a stride in FFXIV, going from perpetual second place to getting what so many people see in it as a main game and deciding it fits what I want out of my MMO playtime. I won’t lie, it has been a bit of an identity crisis for me, and I’ve often wondered what I should even say or write about either game. In the end, I think the message I want to convey is this – I still, perhaps foolishly, have some hope that WoW can be a better game in the future, that 10.0 and beyond can better capture me and other lapsed fans who still follow the game, even as I acknowledge that the current game works for a lot of people. To that end, I haven’t given up on WoW blogging. Now, if 10.0 is a dud, well, I mean, that could change my mind for good – but I’m keeping an open mind, even as I am unlikely to preorder the game or commit to playing it immediately at launch in the same way I have for nearly 2 decades now.
Luckily for me, the natural evolution of the blog has worked that you all keep reading posts that branch out, from the more dense FFXIV posts to technology stuff to even pro wrestling! For that, I am appreciative – it breaks the “rules” of blogging to have what is presented as topical and then kind of just discusses whatever I’m interested in at the moment, but rules are meant to be broken and I appreciate so much that people engage with those posts.
In a lot of ways, having a running log of my gaming and what I am enjoying and feeling about games and my hobbies is a fun record to have, to look back on and see, and even to help remember certain aspects (reading some of my Legion posts, particularly about Tomb of Sargeras, helps cut through the rose-tinted glasses of how Legion was the best expansion I enjoyed the most!). It is also helpful to recontextualize a lot of how I felt at given times – in reflection, I was starting to feel Shadowlands burnout last spring, but the game had been a constant for so long that I wasn’t ready to blame the game for it completely (yet) and while that did lead to some correct discoveries and improvements in the play environment I was in, those improvements didn’t fix my core dissatisfaction with the game.
So for the next five years? I’d be lying if I said I had a plan (most cognitive analysis puts me pretty low on organization or structure, and I tend to be a lot more spontaneous in that way) but I have a vague outline of what I want to do. Firstly, I’m going to keep documenting my playtime in analytical write-ups – FFXIV will likely see as many as 3 major patches this year and I want to document them all, and should I return to WoW, I’ll be doing the same there. I want to write more technology posts and keep looking at the market there, no matter how bleak it seems it will remain for much of the year due to the silicon shortage. I’ll even keep writing about wrestling! In terms of stuff I want to do more of, I plan to document more of my creative hobbies – I’ve still been learning 3D modeling via Blender in more depth and I want to post some more of that work, and as that work expands into basic game development stuff, I will write about that as well! I’m also working on some more media analysis type stuff (including a piece about ideology in World of Warcraft I’ve been playing with a draft on) and some more indirect gaming analysis (I’ve been looking a lot into crypto and NFTs and that hellscape and that draft will likely be my next post out – spoiler alert, I hate them).
I do feel a need to close on the same note I like to open such posts on, appreciation. Over the last two years in this historic pandemic (god that’s too close to an “in these times” like EVERY commercial in spring 2020), so much has changed in the world, for me specifically and the world broadly, and it hasn’t always been easy. Writing has given me some measure of constancy, the idea that in spite of all the dumb bullshit happening in the world, that we can just talk about games and hobbies, and that is something I value a lot for the sanity and stability it brings to have those anchoring interests. For everyone who reads my work, enough so that it remains something that feels worth doing to the reward centers of my brain, I thank you.
Here’s to another 5 years (of the blog, not the pandemic oh god please not that)!