Category Archives: NBI

NBI: Join the Poetry Slam!

The MMO blogosphere is a colorful place full of talented people: writers, reviewers, podcasters, machinimists, painters, musicians, scientists, yes even cooks, just to name a few. And then there are the poets: bloggers who enjoy playing with the formal aspects of the written word as much as (and sometimes more than) message and meaning, people who engage in wordplay and subtle witticism to serious or more frivolous effect – quite often just to provoke a smile from their audience. It’s a beautiful thing to be creative in any shape or form and poetry is a way to be creative with language.

My love for languages and poetry is no news to more frequent readers. Every now and then I let it shine through some parts of my more serious posts, even if way too rarely or then I experiment with different writing styles just because. Poetry doesn’t only happen on the surface even if it’s easier to detect via verse, rhyme and other stylistic devices. A well-written piece of prose full of poetic magic feels like molten silver or a warm hand01blanket on the soul. I cheer every time a fellow blogger makes me feel in such a way about games.

Alas, let us shake the bonds of srs blogging bzns this lovely NBI October! Let us engage in some lighthearted forms of lyricism – the spontaneous and experimental, the ironical and conversational or if you so desire, the classics (or a parody thereof)! Too many people shy away from the ivory tower that is poetry but creative writing happens in all shapes and forms and anyone can join in for some fun and experimenting!

Let this second NBI be your opportunity (newcomers and sponsors alike) to contribute to an around-the-MMO-blogosphere poetry slam!

You could, for example, go with something simple: A haiku or limerick about your favorite NPC, your worst dungeon run, your most beloved MMO zone –

Elwynn, my lovely
How I miss your gentle tune
Too long I’ve been gone.”

“I’d rather have epics than gold,
A mantle or sword for the bold.
To tell where I’ve been,
The things that I’ve seen.
No coin tells my stories of old.”

Or, you could always check out examples on other blogs for inspiration, such as –

Any and all NBI poetry slam entries will be rounded-up on MMO Gypsy as well as the official NBI site by the end of October 2013. Feel free to leave me your URL in the comment section or the respective NBI forum thread. Challenge yourself and try something new! There’s no right or wrong ways and no winners – only participation.

And now let loose those creative juices – Happy slamming!

NBI: Blogrolls and You

I’m a blogger who enjoys discovering new blogrolls as much as updating my own. The blogroll is an important part of my blog’s layout; it deserves a prominent spot and serves different purposes. In many ways, it tells my readers that I consider myself part of a community while recommending other bloggers I enjoy reading to them. The MMO blogosphere is a small place – but my blogroll tells me every day that I am not alone. As someone who greatly values the exchanges between my own place and others, as someone who believes that my own writing can only get better thanks to blogger interaction, I can only recommend keeping an up-to-date (!) blogroll somewhere on your blog where it’s easy to access.


Whether to keep a blogroll and what kind, is a frequent concern for newly starting-out bloggers. What benefits are there to having a blogroll? How long should it be? And how do I get other people to link to my page?

…There’s not one correct answer to any of those questions. I have my own reasons to blogroll and so have others. Whether you set up a blogroll or not and what your personal approach to linking is, depends on the type of blogger you wish to be. It’s about how you see yourself, the purpose of your blog and how much you wish to connect with others. If you do however currently entertain the notion of adding a blogroll to your own site, let me share a couple of thoughts that will hopefully prove useful to that decision.

A) Why to keep a blogroll
There’s a variety of things a blogroll can do for you, more than meets the eye at first. A blogroll…

  • a personal statement; it tells your readers where you position yourself within a greater community and that you are part of it. It tells them what blogs you enjoy reading, which other bloggers you associate with and consider resources. And it tells linked bloggers that you follow them.
  •  ..spreads linklove; linking to other bloggers keeps the blogosphere alive. It lets your readers discover new resources and helps fellow bloggers to receive attention. Most bloggers wish to be read by many people and appreciate being linked – so linking to other blogs is part of a fundamental give & take. If nobody gives, nobody receives.
  • a personal resource; besides promoting other bloggers from your blogosphere, a blogroll can serve as a reader or eye-catcher while you are busy with your own blog. I use my own blogroll that way and seeing new posts from fellow bloggers pop up is always exciting and keeps me in the loop.
  • a “hub” for others; bloggers that keeps particularly long and up-to-date blogrolls are often used as a hub by readers who frequent other sites from there. I’ve been told before that my blogroll gets used this way and I can see the outgoing traffic I generate via my blogroll (as much as the traffic I receive from other blogrolls). Not all of your frequent visitors use dedicated readers for their daily reading – instead, they use your blogroll!

B) Things to consider when setting up your blogroll
Once you decide that your blog is going to have a blogroll, there are both formal and more qualitative aspects to consider. Popular concerns include:

  • Where to put my blogroll? Will you give your blogroll a prominent spot on the sidebar or is there going to be a dedicated stand-alone page? Some bloggers feel that long blogrolls ruin their layout. On the other hand, blogrolls don’t get frequented and used nearly as much when they’re not visible on your front page. It sounds lazy, but readers don’t usually go for that extra click. Ask yourself how important effective linklove is for you when making that decision.
  • How long do I make my blogroll? Are you going to be selective with your linking and if so, what criteria do you employ? Some bloggers share their love generously in an attempt to unite as many bloggers as possible. Others only link to thematically similar blogs, to blogs they read daily, to bloggers they call friends. A few bloggers keep multiple blogrolls for different interests. There is no right or wrong way here as long as you keep in mind that a) blogs you link to = blogs you are essentially promoting, and b) all selectiveness is a statement of personal preferences (it will be interpreted as such even if you don’t think so).
  • What type of blogroll do I choose? Both blogger and wordpress allow for different blogroll layouts: alphabetic order or recently updated, blog title only or including latest post title and date, with snippets or not. You can also restrict the number of blogs that are displayed in a “most recent view”. If you’re looking for a minimal and light-weight solution, alphabetic and non-dynamic blogrolls work fine. Personally, I prefer “most recent on top” with added post title and date because I use my blogroll like a reader. While blogger has always offered this type of dynamic functionality, WP users require to install “WP Link Manager” (new versions) and “WP Social Blogroll” plugins to get the same result.
  • What’s my personal blogroll “philosophy”? Over time you will develop a routine of when/why you add a new blog, as well as when/why you remove a link, be it due to inactivity or other. Again, there are no correct or wrong ways to handle this, although I would recommend to tend to your blogroll regularly and keep it updated. Horribly outdated public blogrolls don’t serve much purpose, except maybe a very sentimental one to the blog owner.
(artwork by Martin Handford)

(artwork by Martin Handford)

C) How to get on other blogrolls
This last question is often raised by beginners since naturally, you would like to start appearing on other blogrolls and get word out there of your existence. However, there are as many ways to get on somebody’s blogroll as there are different bloggers and in almost every case this process isn’t one to be rushed. So, a few basic tips from my humble experience:

  • Be patient. Keep in mind that all bloggers handle their blogroll differently; some link everything, others are picky about topic, for some it’s all about friendship and others only link in return. A mixture of all of these points probably applies to most of us, so there’s not really one way of getting on someone’s blogroll. This also means you cannot intentionally cater to somebody’s selection process; it’s too complex (and you don’t wish to do that anyway).
  • People can only link to you if they know about you. The absolutely best way of getting noticed is to read other blogs and then comment on posts you enjoyed. Almost every blogger checks out more frequent commenters and where they came from. Another way to make yourself visible is via pingbacks; include links to articles in your own posts where appropriate to reference. In time, more and more bloggers will notice you. It’s also okay to send blogging neighbours a friendly /wave via email (what I wouldn’t recommend however is linking your blog URL in comments for no good reason or asking to be put on a blogroll). For more ways to get yourself noticed, also see this article over at Liore’s (and take point 7 to heart!).
  • Be patient. Getting on a lot of blogrolls takes most people years, during which their posting frequency, quality and consistency will either win more and more people over or not.
  • Accept that you won’t be linked by everybody. Some bloggers may never link to you, even if you’ve been linking them. Don’t over-analyze this either; there could be all sorts of reasons for this, most of which aren’t personal. Sometimes your blog (=/you) just doesn’t fit someone else’s blogroll philosophy and there’s nothing you can do about it.
  • Really, be patient. Write on. Be the best you can be.

I wish you lots of fun with your new blog and good luck in choosing the right blogroll. Luckily, there are no final choices here, so you can always change your layout and approach as you keep finding out what works best for you. Allow yourself to experiment! I’ll see ya on the next blogroll!

The Newbie Blogger Initiative is back!

A year ago Syp from Biobreak launched the NBI project to get fresh blood into the blogosphere and spread link love. Many new bloggers took heart and rose to the occasion, while blogging veterans gave helpful advice as sponsors (or otherwise). Over a quarter of those participating remained, which I would personally call a great success; blogging regularly over a longer period of time takes persistence and a wide array of other skills, no matter your topic. Last year’s NBI brought us people like Jeromai, Ocho and Ravanel – just to name three wonderful writers from my blogroll.


We want you for this colorful neighborhood that is the MMO blogosphere! We are here to stay and we look forward to a new crowd of bloggers who will no doubt be inspired by newer titles, such as FFXIV, EQNext, TESO and Wildstar. For this reason, Doone from T.R. Redskies and Roger from Contains Moderate Peril have joined forces and revived the NBI with a brand new page and forum. Newbie bloggers look no further – sign up for a month of fun activities, special opportunities and extra blogosphere exposure!

Join the NBI-2 today! I look forward to many new faces.

P.S. If you would like to be a guest poster on MMO Gypsy, feel free to drop me an email or contact me via twitter.

I want my global Village!

It’s the new old latest achievement: global servers and they all have them – The Elder Scrolls Online, Everquest Next, Shroud of the Avatar. Or so it is said. One of the biggest, if not the biggest item on my personal MMO wishlist right now, is global servers across regions so I can play with fellow bloggers and friends no matter what side of the Atlantic. In these modern times of online gaming and communities, nothing feels more overdue than the removal of one of the last barriers in gaming: regional servers.

Who has them truly? While everyone (minus Carbine who need to make everything complicated) is speaking of smart mega-servers pairing friends via friendlist features or other mechanics, it doesn’t seem like global MMO servers, as in global global (not regionally global) will see the light of day anytime soon. I’m no expert on state of the art world servers and cloud technology, so I can’t judge how much of the old “ping issues” argument rings true in 2013. I’ve played on both Japanese and American servers before and it was never an issue but that’s not to say that what works for few (willingly sleep-deprived) individuals, would work with everybody on board.

All is not lost though; like GW2 and FFXIV, TESO will feature free server choice no matter your game version. The folks over at the official @TESOnline twitter account were so kind as to actually shed light on this matter and clarify the question for me and others –


It’s a start and who knows, maybe one day at least guesting features will become cross-regional in MMOs. For my part, this means rolling my future main character(s) on NA, or both NA and EU if such should be possible, to be able to join many of my blogging friends out there. I really look forward to explore Tamriel in some proper company although I won’t likely be around much for prime time. Ah well.

At this point I’d also like to whine a little bit in public (who knows who’s listening!) for still not having received my TESO beta key – surely something went wrong there?? Pfft.

Two more things before the weekend

Before we’re all off to our weekly panem and circenses, two more tidbits from the world of bleeps and blurbs for all the resistant non-twitterers out there:

– The NBI is back! Head over to CMP and become a sponsor once more or for the first time! Let’s keep the MMO blogosphere alive!

– Handwriting memes are fun and everyone should do them (yeah yeah, life/world whatever)! Happy weekend global blogosphere!


NBI – Different ways to contribute

I’ve noticed people on twitter asking how they could show their support for the ongoing NBI which no doubt you must have noticed by the amount of blogger advice currently being offered all around this colorful bazaar we call the blogosphere. Maybe you feel like adding another voice to the list of topics where bloggers share their personal experience and helpful tips – maybe you feel reluctant about this or dubious how to possibly contribute anything that hasn’t been written already. The reply tweets included a link to the NBI forums and how to sign up for becoming a sponsor. What if you’re not looking to sponsor though but support the cause in a different way?

I remember when I started blogging; I had been a reader of the blogosphere for some time before that which was partly an inspiration to open an MMO blog (not my first blog ever, but my first gaming blog). I remember reading some blogging advice at the time by Larìsa and Matticus among others and helpful as they were, I knew that in the end I had to find my own way of writing and doing things. I knew I needed to give myself a chance to experiment, to not heed any rules or famous do’s and don’ts and most of all to screw perfectionism. Truly. I don’t believe in guidelines much; I believe in authenticity, learning by doing and that any type of blog has its audience. The only mistake you can make (technical aspects aside) is to try and copy someone else. In general, the world would be a much better, happier place if people learned to compare less. That’s what some bloggers mean when they say “write for yourself”. And be patient.

I remember therefore how happy I was when my first posts received some reactions, be it another blogger stepping by to say hello or leaving a short comment. Every blogger starts out the same way, alone – so receiving comments is like an acknowledgment of your existence at first. They prove that your blog is getting attention and that there are readers, real breathing people, even if the big majority of them are silent. I will always remember my first post ever and the people commenting on it; and up to this day the comments we leave one another, the insightful discussions that spring from one blog to the next, the linkbacks and exchange are what makes blogging such a rewarding experience. Blogging is a social medium that thrives on more active interaction and social dynamics. As with all good things, establishing such channels and bonds takes some time but they are worth it.

This is why I try to make small welcome round-ups on MMO Gypsy every now and then; to put the spotlight on newcomers (newcomers to me) that caught my attention and in memory of how it feels to start off. There are more bloggers who regularly do this too, like Spinks, Tesh, Liore or of course Hugh from the MMO Melting Pot who does not only share linklove daily but features specific newbie blogger round-ups. When I have less time or don’t manage a list myself, I try leave a comment and /wave on blogs I spot for the first time. That’s no chore for me or ‘job’ – but then I am lucky in that I enjoy leaving comments (long ones too as some of you might know!) on other people’s blogs as much as I love to write my own articles. The two inspire each other.

And this is what you can do for the NBI too, without specifically signing up as a sponsor: visit newcomer blogs and leave your blogging neighbour a note, a warm welcome or heads-up! Have a look at the collective topic where they’re currently signed up (and where you can also find short blog descriptions usually). There are many different blog focuses and you will easily find a few that might correspond with your personal preferences – or maybe you like picking some at random and see where it takes you. 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. Hopefully, some of this will make a more lasting impact in the blogosphere, too – the month of May won’t last forever, but there will always be newbie bloggers around the block. By visiting them, commenting on an interesting point or including them in a round-up, you are actively contributing to what makes the blogosphere a vibrant and dynamic place to inhabit, full of interesting encounters and crossroads. All in only a few minutes.

This is not exclusive to older bloggers, by the way: whether you feel like a freshman or not, visit your next or favorite blogs, let them know you exist (don’t be shy!) or link to articles you enjoyed reading. Before you know it, attention and feedback will find you – what you send out will find its way back to you and more (and in different ways than you might think).