I have been fighting with myself for many months now about switching Raging Monkey’s to wordpress or not; or rather, I have been struggling bigtime with blogger – mostly for still not featuring the most essential feature: individual commenting / replies. For years it has cracked me up how blogger would not add this to their top priorities and how, after having had the probably most abysmal service in terms of customer care and responsiveness forever, very little changed after the Google takeover. I cannot recall how many hours I spent looking at wordpress templates this winter, although I was still reluctant to make the switch for various reasons.
Also, I had this strange hunch: “what if after so many years, they introduce a better commenting system right after you switch to WP? It could happen – think how annoying that’d be!”
And so I didn’t. And so they did. I couldn’t believe my eyes yesterday when blogger comment sections were suddenly showing up with individual reply links! That settled the decision for me (because overall I’m still happy with blogger’s simplicity) and also finally gave me the kick to update Raging Monkey’s overall blog appearance. Still true to its original, minimalistic template, it now comes with a slightly more polished, fresh look. And best of all: threaded commenting! Blogger bloggers rejoice – it’s alive!!!
My honorable blog mentions for 2011
It’s tradition on some blogs and networking sites to hold nominations and blog awards towards the end of the year; the MMO Melting Pot has taken up the Piggies this winter (are they finally all out?) and other blogs have either posted their nominees of the gaming and blogging world or run their very own “awards”. I’m not too big a fan of the term “award” honestly; in general I find it rather problematic and often presumptuous. However, the idea behind nominations is fun and personally I appreciate annual summaries and honorable mentions. It’s basically just another way to spread link love and that’s why I’ve decided to present my personal blog(ger) mentions for 2011 – to look back, to give kudos and recommend further. I’ve linked newcomer blogs a couple of times before, but never actually dedicated a post to my most frequent reads!
I keep a very active, regularly updated blogroll though, so in that way I’m already giving out recommendations every day. Still, I’d like to turn the spotlight on a few fellow bloggers I appreciate for various reasons, and who’ve been blogging alongside me (some longer than me, too) through the past year. I’m also taking this opportunity to give thanks to all of you who have been providing me with wonderful reads and inspiration and for active, interesting debates. So, without any further ado, here are my honorable blog mentions for 2011 in no particular order –
Most solid content provider / allrounder
Some bloggers excel at starting discussions in the community, writing frequently on various topics, if not always too in-depth or long. I use several such blogs as a resource for ideas or simply to keep myself in the loop on more general topics. One blogger who keeps managing this task with consistency after such a long time is yes – Tobold, as boring as it might sound! Despite not always agreeing with him, I appreciate his analysis and frequent counter-voice to teh l33t kids.
Best game design analyst / critic
My honorable mention goes to Nils here whose astute, rational (often plain mathematical) analyzis of many an MMO design topic and grumpy veteran blues have inspired some great discussions and also smiles over the past year. We’ve somewhat lost him to the world of politics lately, but I’m sure he will return as soon as there’s anything interesting happening in the world of MMOs! 😉
Biggest game design insight
When it comes to profound, professional insight on game design, we are lucky to call both Tesh and Psychochild our blogging neighbours. They’re the ones that will make you feel terribly “young” as you browse through their archives and realize that they’ve already written about your latest design epiphany 5 years ago on their blogs. Consider each a goldmine for interesting MMO design reads and discussion.
Great player commentary and writing
Some bloggers I appreciate for their unique, authentic voice and dedicated writing. Both Shintar and Stubborn will regularly make you smile, grieve or nod along enthusiastically as they share their personal gaming experiences and perspective very openly and honestly on their blogs. I will even read topics on alt-play or SWTOR for their intelligent and well-structured thoughts (!)
Wittiest / funniest / most comically enlightened blogger
If you happen to be a more regular reader on my blog, you will know that I’m drawn to the ironic and cynical. Not just that, I love laughing at things (especially when laughter is the alternative to crying horribly) and I consider well-delivered, witty and subtle humor a high (and most courageous) art – be it in literature, movies/theater or song. There’s no middle ground for the comical: you can only deliver or fail horribly in making others laugh the right way, while working it into layers of meaning.
Best (formal) writing
A similar class of writing that makes actual blog focus secondary, is masterful storytelling as much as elaborate and eloquent writing. Again, kudos go to Melmoth here for being such a distinguished writer (with a dose of very British charm). I would also like to mention Rades for his fascinating, well-researched (and voluminous!) storytelling of WoW lore (which I’d otherwise never read).
Most missed bloggers
There are a few bloggers who have either completely disappeared in 2011 or gone very quiet; they have left very sad, noticeable gaps in my daily blog reading. A warm /wave goes out to Gronthe, Issy, Scrusi, Epic Ben and all those with “more wit than honesty, (…) more villainy than virtue, more passion, more revenge and more ambition, than foolish honour and fantastic glory”. You are deeply missed.
While I’m at it, I would like to give a (in places belated) greeting to a few newcomer blogs who have caught my attention in more recent weeks/months. Pay them a visit sometime!
- Doone and Ahtchu who both appear to join our ranks of general MMO critics / design analysts.
- Flosch of Random Waypoint; an “ex-hardcore raider” providing general commentary and design analyzis on various MMO topics (and he has awesome plushies!)
- Play from Play:Life Game Style, a personal game commentary blog that also focuses on mastering gaming as a passion while maintaining a “healthy lifestyle”.
That was it for my 2011 nominations! Cheers to all of you out there who make this blogosphere an interesting and lively place – and of course: happy blogging in 2012!
P.S. Due to my template update, I actually lost my entire blogroll and also the image I thought I had stored of the old one (duh)….I believe I was able to reinstall most of the links from pure memory, but should you spot a grave oversight or yourself missing there (which totally can’t be because you’re awesome!), please give me a heads up! 🙂