Blaugust 2015, Day 10 – A Blast from the Past

This writing prompt brought to you by Syl of MMO Gypsy:

Down memory lane: 3 posts from the blog / past / revival

Or however you wanna call it – just pick 3 of your older posts that you want to highlight because you think they represent you the best or that you’re especially proud of. Highlighting older content on your blog is cool not just for a newer audience but because it’s so easy for others to miss good stuff.

I’ve gone through my posts and selected a few which I think stand the test of time, have something interesting and well-thought-out to say, and generally have a comparatively higher number of page views due to having been featured on a news site or cited by other bloggers.


The first post is A World Without Levels, in which I talk about why I wanted to see more MMOs attempt to do things without relying on a character level to drive everything. Here’s a snippet:

And thus we have levels, which while not necessarily random clearly provide an incentive for progression, which is a major driver for those who seek to accomplish in MMOs, myself included. If I’m 85% of the way to the next level, well, why not stay up another half hour to try to grind out the rest of it? While I’m getting to know the game, why not have me go up in levels so that I feel like I’m becoming more powerful? Levels, after all, function as a prominent part of tutorials these days such that players feel like they’re doing something meaningful which hooks them for the inevitable sprint or marathon to the Elder Game.

I wrote that one in October of last year and everything in there still looks pretty good to me. The only qualification I’d make to that post is that, upon reflection, it appears to be more than anything a damning indictment of the personal MMO bubble I was in at the time: games without levels existed – I just wasn’t taking the time to seek them out and play them.


My second post, The Stench of Nobility, is a rather whimsical and somewhat apologetic fictionalized blow-through of whatever episode of the Living Story was in play in mid-Blaugust last year. It involved Anise, myself, and my favorite fellow Mesmer Kasmeer Meade. It has the most pageviews of any of my August posts from last year, so clearly there was a hook in there somewhere that kept attracting people. See if you can spot it for me:

The game’s designers were apparently quite aware of my intentions and correctly predicted my likely response with Kasmeer in tow. All I can say is that had I for some reason not chosen to head out for a night on the town with Kazzy, I would definitely be up for a roll in the hay with this flaxen-haired farmer’s daughter-turned-nobility. (Minister Nitalie was recently voted by the Tyria Times as the “best bang since the Big one.“) Sorry if I got her background wrong – I’ve actually never met her before.

I like to imagine it as a precursor to some of the fictional writing I’d start doing later on. It’s mildly interesting to note that none of my GW2 fiction ever generated as much interest as my rapscallion pot-shots at Lord and Lady Autumnbottom did.

The third and final post I’m highlighting is Ganksters and Carebears from December of last year. Everything I’m highlighting is from last year because #1 I haven’t been blogging for very long and #2 things get a bit wacky in the beginning of 2015 when I began to try my hand at being a GW2 news site for a bit without advertising myself as such. (It didn’t work out for me so well.) In Ganksters and Carebears, I wax philosophical on the subject of PvP and bullying in response to Doone‘s article, “Is PvP a Cover for Bullying?

One of the most important things to think about in any particular set of circumstances is the range of possibilities that exist – in other words, self-awareness. If I’m being ganked repeatedly by someone, how do I know what they’re up to? How can I know that the person who just killed me three times in a row while I was trying to finish up this quest isn’t actually a Nobel Peace Prize-winning mother of twelve on the other side of the world who just so happens to find it convenient that she can streamline her play experience by altering mine while her adorable treasures snore away the twilight hours? We must keep in mind the range of possibilities that exist – which is admittedly difficult if we think we’re being bullied – and think of the ways in which they might apply to the current situation.

I’ve highlighted this one because it reflects one of my favorite things to do: writing about something philosophically based on emotions and impressions. I realize that this is the exact opposite of what some people like to read, i.e. they strongly prefer logical analysis, properly researched sources, and context-appropriate citations (and may even scorn or outright reject pieces which do not do these things). The challenge for me then, is to continue to engage in my preferred method (which just so happens to be a style of writing that apparently appealed to the statistically most significant number of people among anything I’ve ever blogged about) without being too flippant or sundering my own credibility in the process. It’s a product of passion and sometimes I forget about these things in the heat of finger-smashing.


Well, that’s it for me. When it comes to writing, I’ll leave you with a little tidbit from Neil Gaiman on writing and inspiration which is quite appropriate in the context of Blaugust:

“If you only write when you’re inspired you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist because you’re going to have to make your word count today and those words aren’t going to wait for you whether you’re inspired or not.

You have to write when you’re not inspired. And you have to write the scenes that don’t inspire you. And the weird thing is that six months later, a year later, you’ll look back at them and you can’t remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you just wrote because they had to be written next.

The process of writing can be magical. …Mostly it’s a process of putting one word after another.”

Blaugust 2015 Initiative Page

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