365 days ago, I opened this blog to create a space for my endless thoughts on online gaming, my passion that is virtual fantasy worlds and role playing games. I also opened it so I would commit to more regular writing and to have a project that would keep me in touch with close friends who walked Azeroth’s paths by my side for many years. My journey into the world of MMOs did not begin here, but it has certainly taken a turn for the more serious with World of Warcraft and opening Raging Monkeys, by now known as Raging Monkey’s.
It is odd considering the blog is one year old. It certainly doesn’t feel that way, maybe because there were never set expectations, except to walk the road to see where it takes me, as long as I am enjoying it. When it comes to writing, I trust that you should write what you know and that’s what I attempted here and still attempt every week. Especially during the past three months, I have felt more and more relaxed with my posting schedule and believe I have somewhat found my voice – if not my zen when it comes to editing typos.
I have been told that blogs not dedicating themselves to one strict topic, have a harder time out there – that may be true. Yet, I have found that there are a great many voices and ears to be found in this blogosphere who have a similar, more generalist interest in MMO worlds, their complex design and fascinating dynamics. There is an endless list of topics to write about, so diverse is this phenomenon uniting millions of people around the globe. I have come across a great many bloggers during this year who share my fascination and appreciate a variety in discussion, whether their own blogs have a more game-exclusive focus or game design-centric one. Some topics concern us all. I was surprised and delighted about the positive feedback and warm welcome RM received from the very beginning and I am happy to find myself in the company of so many insightful and passionate bloggers in a blogosphere I am still exploring.
I know about common “bloggaversary traditions”, but we all deal differently with birthdays. In real life, not all of us like to celebrate in the same way, or less and less every year. I used to be this kind of person the past few years – one not raising much fuss about her birthday, no big parties, no lofty presents. I don’t know why or when exactly I lost my enthusiasm so completely, but this year I have decided it’s going to be different. In fact, I just invited my first bunch of friends to the party (still 3 months away) yesterday. It will probably end up being a very casual, cosy event anyway, but I will make it a day worth a memory, at least. Sometimes we should turn back the pages and allow ourselves to dwell on what we achieved. We tend to easily forget.
I guess by now more regular readers of Raging Monkey’s know me a little by the way I write and the topics I choose and God knows why it is you keep reading. That’s the big, eternal question for every writer, even the most famous and acclaimed: why do people like to read this? Maybe that’s what really keeps you writing and keeps your writing fresh. I truly think knowing the “recipe to success” would be the end – trying to copy old achievements, paralyzing yourself and thus putting an end to all growth. To write great texts is about being afraid. Just like a pro actor still feels nervous before stepping into the limelight. We reveal a lot of ourselves by publishing our thoughts.
Now, if you were only just chancing upon this small space in the blogosphere though, if this was the first day you ever set step on Raging Monkey’s – what would I tell you?
I could tell you maybe that I strongly believe MMOs should be about a journey into wonderland; that we should be travelers and adventurers on a fantastic road; that we should be pioneers there; heroes and creators, not just consumers. That for me, our time there is about stories and memories. Sometimes memories most of all.
Or I could tell you how often I laugh at the ironic and silly, that some of my favorite articles are those that made me laugh while writing and hopefully achieved the same with a handful of readers. I like to give my serious eyebrow a rest sometime which is why I often dedicate Fridays to more frivolous enterprises. There’s many blogs that I love for their author’s humor alone.
I should point out that I have a deep interest for the social mechanics and psychology behind MMOs; the idea of virtual communities, the reality and struggles of guild leading, the social acceptance of gaming as a hobby and pastime. I could tell you that I feel no shame to be a gamer and neither should you.
My most controversial post? Probably one on playtime. The most popular? Hard to say as joystiq & Co. have had too big an impact stat-wise and we are usually not the best judge of ourselves. As far comments go, I should probably leave exploration diaries to others though. My most personal posts? Here, here and here. My personal favorite? Easy. Other bloggers I read regularly and recommend? All on my blogroll, all awesome writers on their own account. Be sure to pay them a visit!
If you asked me whether I am the wiser for any of the 120+ articles I have written, I hope I am not. I’d write each of them again the same way, je ne regrette rien. Very rarely have I felt the nervous tingle about a line of mine and then decided to run with it no matter what. I believe in authenticity and that the best writing takes courage at times. The few times very popular sites linked to one of my articles, I got a troll commenter or two, that was it. But whether it is a huge gaming network or single blogger linking to something I said, I feel equally flushed and humbled every time. There’s no real accounting for why somebody links to you or comments on your articles, but it would be a lie to claim that it doesn’t add a lot of meaning and joy to what you are doing. To me, the ideal article is one where dialogue and discussion spring from, be it on site or somewhere else. That and laughter and mirth of course – those above all any day.
I want to thank all of you for your support (and tolerance for textwalls!), those lending this blog their ear from the very beginning, as much as those joining in later or stepping by once, be it as a reader or commenter. I thank those adding their own thoughts, supportive or critical, inspiring me to more of my own, during many enlightening discussions. I have come a long way in some of my judgments on MMO aspects, thanks to people speaking up, offering alternative views or pointing me further. This is what I write and comment for and what keeps things fresh and interesting.
With that I close this first bloggaversary on Raging Monkey’s. As for the next year, I don’t believe in forecasts and promises – I can only promise that absolutely nothing will change on this blog. And now finally for that cake!