Category Archives: Blogging

Blog fixes and self-hosting is killing me

Returning to a self-hosted blog is always an adventure in and of itself. That is one way to put it.

When I think back on my very first blog in 2001, the world on the interwebs was still simple: make a Blogger account, automatically host on blogspot, don’t worry about being spammed, invaded or sued. Publish posts to your heart’s content while the sun is shining down on your keyboard. Somewhere between 2010 and today, I made the decision to self-host after Google bought Blogger and gradually dismantled everything to do with the service, support and feedreader. I realize people still use Blogger for convenience but Google treated it like an ugly stepchild and that never sat well with me. I was also suspicious of the copyright situation around blogging on a hosted platform and I really wanted threaded comments. Hence my journey to export my then blog, Raging Monkeys, to a self-hosted WP blog.

I recall this being a relatively painless procedure thanks to the fact that a) many other bloggers, including WoW bloggers had done it before me and b) there were plugins to help with things like feed redirection, perma-link redirection and importing posts and comments. It’s pretty amazing to me now really, considering things have become such a headache ever since.

Security headers, blogrolls and where the hell is my feed?

Nowadays of course, nothing comes easy anymore. Self-hosting means I am running version updates for WordPress, Jetpack and many other essential plugins on an almost weekly basis. I’ve had to figure out how to buy and install my own SSL certificate for the blog because my webhost doesn’t automatically take care of that. Oh, how I love the CPanel!

Site health

Since returning to the blog this year, I’ve also noticed a new cockpit feature telling me about my overall site health. This seems wonderful but is actually every layman’s worst nightmare because half of the recommendations might as well have been written in a different language. What are security headers? Why do I need a persistent object cache? What or who is “utf8mb4” and why do they need an update? I am not prepared!

After consulting mates, browsing the forums and opening my own threads to deal with the more important risk factors, I’m now at a point where the relevant security headers seem fine at least. Or maybe not but that’s what is telling me, anyway. I’ve also been dealing with the uncoupling of my blog’s feed from the old feedburner which has become buggy and slow. Whenever I publish new posts, they seem to take hours or days sometime to show up on feedreaders or blogrolls, so I had to reverse-engineer what I’ve done (apparently, because I don’t remember!) several years ago on feedburner. I now know where to find my .htaccess file and what to do with it, it’s a whole new world!

My blog’s feed now seems to work the way it should, that is /feed does no longer redirect to anything. It is found at “” which is the standard for most blogs. I’ll have to see if that fixed all issues (feedback is appreciated!), either way it’s good to be rid of feedburner. Speaking of blogrolls, I have given up any attempt to simulate the old blogger blogroll on the sidebar. After too many frustrating attempts with different plugins, all of which seem to NOT work one way or another, I’ve had to content myself with some block-code widget. It’s not pretty, it’s not alphabetic and it won’t change order according to time published which is why I’m calling it the “Bad Blogroll”. Still, it’s essentially the information I want and a semblance of normalcy. I’ve started adding more blogs now and shall be on the lookout for more as I rediscover the gaming blogosphere!

Two years, many games!

Two years is a long time to be absent from blogging but it’s never too late to return to a good thing.

Maybe I will write about everything that happened down the line some day. For now, I’m happy the blog is up and running (including the dreaded SSL) and I look forward to some more regular writing about games again! I’ve not been idle on that front, even if MMORPGs have taken a backseat in recent times. I tried Palia some months back and I’m currently signed up for the BitCraft Alpha in April for which you can join via my buddy link, just in case you’re interested.

Other than that, I’ve played many an indie game as well as some interesting titles from the open world survival crafting genre which doesn’t seem to lose its popularity. Enshrouded is a very promising game that’s taken notes from Valheim and that my partner and I are currently enjoying quite a bit. I imagine I will write more on this in the coming days.

The most exciting thing right now is no doubt Dragon’s Dogma 2 releasing on March 22nd. The first title having been a cult classic among high fantasy RPG fans forever, it’s only taken Capcom 12 years to release a sequel. I guess they too felt it’s never too late to return to a good thing. While we wait, the free character creator has already been unleashed on Steam and judging from all the player creations already out there, the game is very impressive in the visual customization department. For me, it will need to bring back the magic of the golden days of yore – the dust of long and dangerous roads to travel, the fear around the campfire at night, the sound of dragon wings up in the sky. That just never gets old, that said I’ll keep managing my expectations until I’ve been able to sink some hours into the game.

For now, a very warm /hello! to all of you out there who may chance upon this post and everyone still lurking or actively blogging in this old neighborhood of ours! It feels good to be back blogging.

Blaugust 2016 Review

You know the old blogger saying: I was gonna write more but then life happened. There are at least another six topics I’ve been meaning to tackle this Blaugust but I’ve enjoyed myself nonetheless. The goal I initially set for myself was a month of non-gaming related and more personal blogging which proved to be more challenging than I expected. I’ve been an MMO blogger for over 6 years now and I didn’t even mention where I live for the first three, let alone share more intimate details or real life pictures. I guess I’ve gotten more comfortable in our blogosphere “neighborhood” over time (only very few of you bite!) and I’ve also come to see the value of sharing certain things that go beyond in-game diaries and MMO screenshots. In summary, my blaugust posts of this year:

As always I give thanks to everyone who commented either on the blog or twitter, or shared a more personal story of their own! I believe I will continue writing more off-topic articles in the future, although I will likely start using my Medium profile for that in case you wanna add me or follow me there.

And now, big congratulations to all the new and returning Blaugust attendees this year, especially those who went for the 31-days of blogging achievement!

This year’s list of blogs in alphabetical order:

Thanks Bel for keeping tabs and coming up with a super relaxed edition for Blaugust 2016 – I believe this made it easier for a lot of people to participate in the fun! Let’s do it again next year!

Blaugust 2016, Windows 10 and Gamescom!


Spotted along the coast in Italy this July

I am back from the burning sands along the Mediterranean sea, well-nourished by sun, great food and the warmth of the people. Whenever I am back from a trip abroad, the post-holiday blues strikes and it never strikes more fiercely than when I’m coming back to grey clouds and Swiss rain. Yet there were three happy cats to welcome us back and all the comforts of our lovely home, so I am content. There are books to read, movies to catch up with and things to write –

While my gaming enthusiasm is burning low during summer, I’ve decided to sign up for Blaugust 2016 on an irregular schedule and with a different goal in mind. I beat the daily posting challenge last year and it was good fun but I’ve never been a schedule blogger. Instead, what I’d like to do is dedicate my personal Blaugust to a month of non-gaming related topics with very pragmatic titles.

There is a whole archive of thoughts and halfwritten “off-topic” posts simmering in my backlog and articles I never got to publish because they weren’t topical for MMO Gypsy. These days, I am not sure I care about that so much. I’ve always written for myself here and supposedly there’s a handful of folk who enjoy my off-topic writings too, so you shall be my audience! I won’t be following a logical order and I won’t balance or polish opinions; I am not particularly interested in that kind of writing right now. I don’t think it’s where my strengths lie, either.

That Win 10 Update

I’ve had a borderline irrational fear of the Windows 10 update which has been pestering me and everyone else for some weeks now. I decided to get it done the night before Italy and it was probably the smoothest Win update I have experienced ever. This is how software updates in 2016 should go – quick and smoothly without any re-installing and re-adjusting required! Everything down to my taskbar icons and browser shortcuts have been saved and left where I expect them to be. It appears this windows is much faster too and I like the new organization within the explorer a great deal better. *Phew*


Gamescom 2016!

I am going to Gamescom this year! Same as for Jae, this is my first time and I look forward to visiting a games expo of this magnitude! Me and my buddy will be staying in Köln on the 18th and 19th of August and hopefully meet up with some fellow geeks and bloggers too, while checking out new games and collecting all the swag! Which reminds me: I have NO idea what to wear yet and I’ll have to get a pixel gypsy avatar printed out for a facemask – I can’t have anyone deliver proof I actually exist in HD!

Anyone else planning on hitting Gamescom this year? Let me know!

The Free and Easy Forever Status Report for Your Blog (and other Media)!

I think it was Billy Connolly who once joked in an interview that the only weather forecast you’ll ever need was this: “It will rain and after the rain, there will be sunshine until it rains again”. I have to paraphrase a bit because the clip is gone from youtube but anyway, it made me laugh as his dry sense of stating the obvious always has done.

A friend of mine who shall not be named is currently contemplating to shut down his blog; as you might have guessed, I am decidedly against it. I’ve witnessed the rare occasion over the years, and it’s been six years of MMO blogging for me now, that a fellow blogger actually quit his or her blog for good (I miss you – Tam, Chas and Larisa!) and am still grumpy they deleted it. More often than not however, blogging and/or gaming malady is a temporary thing, fickle and multi-causal. More importantly, there is simply no rational reason for chucking your blog, podcast or whatever just because you’re feeling out of steam for a while, heck even a long while. Blogging is not a pact with the almighty that terminates the contract as soon as you’re not a good girl. Even better, your blog is just a bit of code on the internet (ya rly), it takes no space in the apartment and you won’t have to dust it off! So what is this obsession with constant status reports? This is LIFE, yo!

On quitting blogs

Okay, I get it – sometimes we just need an excuse to talk about ourselves and what’s going on in our lives. That’s cool. As far as audiences go however imagined or otherwise (I imagine mine is fairly well-dressed, wearing top hats and monocles), you don’t owe anyone regular or final-ish status updates and there is certainly no requirement for grand quitting gestures. In fact, most people don’t really care much if you take three weeks off or three months and whether you’re on time every Monday morning or not. That said, it’s completely nice to announce a longer AFK but do yourself a favor and stop the quitting business! It will save you from “oh guess what, am back…again!”-followups and potential content losses (because you didn’t backup, did ya?) when that writing, ranting and rambling mood strikes again. And for most writers and oversharers on the internet, it always does!

Don’t do it, okay? I hate broken links to deleted articles!


Since it’s Friday and I’m in a good mood, I’ve decided to provide my neurotic friend with a “forever status report” for his blog. I don’t know if he’ll actually use it but it’s a pretty great substitute for whatever he was coming up with instead:

“Dear readers, blogging friends and commenters,
I will be blogging a little less, until I blog more again! This is going to happen forever.
Thanks for taking note, you’re all great and should totally like me on twitter! XOXO”

THE END. You’re welcome, “Bob”! Happy Friday quitters and welcome back forever!

Happy Holidays from MMO Gypsy

A very happy Xmas from MMO Gypsy and thanks to all my readers, commenters and blogging buddies who make the MMO blogosphere what it is! Here’s to great new games keeping us engaged in 2016, adventures to be shared and stories to tell among fellow world wanderers. Above all, be safe wherever you are, spend time with those that make you happy and let go of anything that brings you down.

*cheers!* – Syl ^^


Down Memory Lane Blogging Bonanza! My Bestest Posts

Blaugust is over and I am already blogging again – what is this madness??

One of my prompts I didn’t get back to in August was a sort of memory lane thing where I’d browse my own blog for my top 3 to 5 favorite articles of all time. Seeing how more bloggers have done similar lately and also Murf telling me about his blogging bonanza for MMOgames, I thought this could be a fun if not entirely easy thing to do.

What are top posts anyway? Are they our personal favorites or our most popular posts? The ones with the most hits or the most comments? I guess that depends on who you are as a blogger. For me, my best posts are those that stand the test of time and where I feel I was being particularly insightful or well-spoken. I can already tell you that my most-ever visited post on both and (for those who don’t know my former url) was this guide on Skyrim clothing. Yes really, over 161’000 hits on a guide with some pictures that no one else had uploaded at the time (and which are now offline due to me losing the old webspace). That’s a third of my all time hits on the old blog. It took two major tumblr and pinterest re-blogs to spiral matters out of control.

See, this is why I really don’t give a big toss about stats – they are completely out of order. If you ever posted a guide on anything particularly popular, such as WoW or other bigger titles, you’ll understand. Stats have no meaning toward my enjoyment in writing and not even toward more sought-after things like content quality or popularity (not a personal one anyway). I enjoy interactions and great discussions, not even just the number of comments but the quality; my most ever commented on post was one ravaged by a troll. Who wants that?

Anywho, without further ado I present to you some of my alltime favorite posts from the last 5 years on this here blog in no particular order, chosen because they still stir something inside of me, make me care and resonated with others too. Maybe also, because I feel they represent me most as a person, blogger and MMO player.

1) Holding on to your Escapism

“When less informed people talk about game-related escapism (for that still seems to be less established than the literary form), they only ever focus on the escape; the negative distancing, the social estrangement. Hardly ever do they understand that when we do, when we need to, we escape to a better place – maybe to the only, currently right place in our life. That it’s only there where we find shelter, safety and peace of mind. For a little while. And that it may save us from something. That it gives us hope.”

2) The Deathbed Fallacy. Or: Spare me your Gamer’s Remorse, Thank you!

“….but spare me and the rest of the happily ever after gaming crowd. Spare me the underachiever complex and lamentation of failed grandeur which you so graciously bestow on everyone around you in one sweeping, condescending blow of rotten hindsight wisdom. I think videogames are fucking great – they have been for the past 28 years of my life!”

3) What the Players want – Who can say?

“”What the players wanted” and any variation thereof is a commonly used phrase and reaction to MMO design, more often MMO design changes, that vexes me on a personal level. And oh, I have done it myself: how many times did I not do the “now reap what you sowed! (and I hope you suffocate on it)” fist-shake in gloomy retrospective whenever WoW changed for the worse over the years since 2004, in my very personal opinion? In a less considerate moment I’d love to blame all of you out there who are still playing for the state of the game. You ruined WoW for me or something.”

4) Achievement Hate, Exploration and Mystery

“The epic quest of kill ten rats has humble beginnings. Once upon a time the explorers of virtual worlds received hardly a hint of where to go or what to do but such are not the times we live in. Those who embarked on this journey before Blizzard’s time will remember that era of glorious uncertainty but early WoW players too, know how considerably the questing experience has changed over the course of a decade. The “kill ten rats” of yore and the “kill ten rats” of today have precious little in common.”

5) Placeholders for Real Things, Shortcuts to Nowhere

“Many good things in life, surprises and chance encounters happen while we’re not on plan, not on time. They happen while we’re waiting. They happen on the side of a winding road. They happen because we got distracted and our eyes weren’t fixed on one point in the distance. Maybe “timesinks” are where life really happens.

If we remove all the “unnecessary detours” in games that people consider a nuisance, what exactly are we “saving and optimizing ” that time for? When you arrive faster at treasure and glory, where do you go from there? And just how much have you missed on that shorter journey?”

(P.S. I suck at title capitalization.)

Thus concludeth Blaugust 2015

I had a lot of plans for this final Blaugust post but instead I find myself meanly sabotaged by sea sickness and headaches which is why I will be cutting this short. That’s the rather inconvenient thing about blogging every day, sometimes you got nothing to share but real life. But hey, blaugust is all about putting it out there no matter what, right?

I can’t believe it’s August 31st and that I actually managed to stick with an entire month of daily blogging! It was an experience worth having and taught me a few things about how easily I can get into writing if I really set my mind to it and also, that it really helps to plan some topics in advance. That said, I am not going to turn into a daily blogger after this – I still appreciate the time to flesh out my thoughts and wait for a topic or theme to itch badly enough for me to dig deeper. Some days it’s nice to get home after work and not feel pressured to write or just spend time commenting on other blogs instead. I’ve always put time aside to interact with the community which is much harder to keep up when you’re also supposed to write on a daily basis. Oh and play games, that’s right.

A big high-five to everyone who was along for this mad blaugust ride and congratulations to all who saw the challenge through! I am proud to have been a member of the party. A special thank you goes to Belghast for being the organizing wizard behind this, I promise to add my last few post links to the forums asap! I still intend to do another blogroll update post after today with more bloggers I’ve come across thanks to blaugust. There’s also an AMA question I received from Bel and at least two more prompts I didn’t get a chance to write on (it will happen!). Seems I won’t be running out of topics for a while to come.

Seeing how Wilhelm already comprised a complete list of blaugust bloggers for this year, am shamelessly going to copy that and signal-boost everyone one last time:

  1. A Green Mushroom
  2. A Technical Rejoinder
  3. Adamantly Complacent
  4. Aeternus Gaming
  5. Ald Shot First
  6. Alexandria Mack
  7. Ash’s Adventures
  8. Aywren Sojourner
  9. Battle Priestess
  10. Beyond Tannhauser Gate
  11. Bio Break
  12. Blue Kae
  13. Cannot Be Tamed
  14. Comics and Cookies
  15. Contains Moderate Peril
  16. Couture Gaming
  17. Diary of a Mom Gamer
  18. Endgame Viable
  19. Fickle Fangirl
  20. Floor Tank Gaming
  21. Game Introspection
  22. Gamer Girl Confessions
  23. Gaming Identity
  24. Goobbue Crossing
  25. Hello Kitsune
  26. Herding Cats
  27. I Have Touched the Sky
  28. In An Age
  29. Intermittent Daily Posts from Howard
  30. Jamie’s Blog – Daily Vlogs
  31. JVT Workshop
  32. Kateri Morton
  33. Knifesedge
  34. Lair of the Wolf Dragon
  35. Leaflocker
  36. LFGryph
  37. Light Falls Gracefully
  38. Lock and Bolt
  39. Me Vs Myself and I
  40. Memoirs of a Lady
  41. MMO Gypsy
  42. Moonshine Mansion
  43. Murf Versus
  44. My Epic Fail
  45. My Life in Azeroth
  46. Nerdy Bookahs
  47. No Market Collective
  48. Nomadic Gamers
  49. Pizza Maid
  50. Pleasant Gamer
  51. Psyche Plays
  52. Psychochild’s Blog
  53. Pumping Irony
  54. Sagacyte’s Digital Adventures
  55. She Rides Dragons
  56. Soul of the Forest
  57. Soulbound Life
  58. Soultamer Gaming
  59. Sparks in the Horizon
  60. Star-Fired Beef
  61. Starshadow
  62. Stars of the Spiral
  63. Static Refresh
  64. Stropp’s World
  65. Stylish Corpse
  66. Tales of the Aggronaut
  67. Thalen Speaks
  68. The Adventures of Xinrae
  69. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  70. The Driveling Dwarf
  71. The Friendly Necromancer
  72. The Mystical Mesmer
  73. The Tankquisition
  74. Through Wolfy’s Eyes
  75. Trail-food for Thought
  76. Tyrannodorkus
  77. Why I Game

Congrats everyone! And keep that blogging spirit rollin’!

Blogroll Updates! (#Blaugust 2)

As my second act of #Blaugust, I am in the process of re-viewing and rejuvenating the blogroll. While I’ve never had the world’s shortest blogroll, I have always kept a well-tended list of handpicked blogs on my sidebar since my blogroll is also really my personal reader.

blogroll luv

Love your blogroll!

As part of the NBI in 2013, I wrote a longer post on how I handle my blogroll and why I think it’s an important feature for anyone looking to engage with blogging communities. As an MMO blogger, you’re part of a niche inside the greater gaming world and most of us don’t thrive in a vacuum. Besides giving you a chance to promote other blogs or identify with a subset of bloggers, a blogroll is about exchange. With that in mind, I seek out blogs that align with my thematic interests but are also run by writers that approach their blogging in ways I can respect or admire. If you’re by any chance still somewhat new to blogging and setting up your page, my advice is still the same: run a blogroll. Decide what you want from it, be patient when it comes to other bloggers adding you to theirs and don’t take it too seriously/personally, either.

According to the latest blaugust update no less than 77 blogs have signed up, so I am still in the process of browsing and getting to know “new” bloggers. For some early blaugust linklove, I like to highlight the following recent additions to my blogroll:

If you’re currently reviewing your blogroll thanks to blaugust, share the love on your blog and let others know when you add them!

Momentarily out of Action, Temporarily out of Gas

Life is busy. Between demanding work assignments, getting better after a heavy flu crisis and preparing for a big move at the end of April, I’ve been struggling to get much writing in these past weeks. It’s not even lack of time – it’s energy, feeling mentally drained or preoccupied to the point of preferring a session of casual, trivial FFXIV in the evening over anything else. Writing, blogging on this here blog, has never been a casual gig for me; I don’t do casual blogging nevermind the speed or quantity of my posts compared to others. Blogging about MMOs and social topics, finding the right words and engaging with my readers are matters of passion and dedication. They deserves nothing less.

While I’m not blogging so much right now, I’ve found some needed distraction lately catching up with TV series and the culinary arts (did you know we have a food blog?) and I am still enjoying my time in Eorzea immensely. I hit level 50 on my black mage several weeks ago and have been quite invested in the main storyline, the dungeons and raids and of course collecting shiny armor of which there is so so much in FFXIV, I don’t know where to start! Oh and chocobo dyeing…..which is the single most annoying and frustrating process I have ever encountered in an MMO. My bird, Dandelion, has gone from plum purple to razor blue and back so many times by now, I wish a curse on all the guides ever written on “how to” recolor your chocobo in FFXIV! Once when I was young and naive, I set out to achieve gloom purple but there is only so much disappointment one can take.

Sylberry, settling for plum purple…alas!

Anyway. I don’t do meta life-messages very often but this blog is part of a community that I have come to value a great deal and miss. This is to let all my friends and readers know that MMO Gypsy will resume business as usual as soon as normality has been restored in what we all call the “IRL”. I am still here – and I look forward to chatting, laughing and arguing with y’all again soon!