Wednesday, October 28, 2009

UWoW Update

I've been loathe to bump the lovely Ms. McCain from the top post, but I owe it to you good people who keep visiting to give an update.

We've been getting back into the groove over the last two weeks. We've been trying a few new things, including one that I love where the three of us sit around listening to a podcast and we comment on it in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 sort of way. That still needs some work but is showing some genuine promise. However, I don't have decent editing equipment and the fact that my microphone makes me sound like I'm in the space shuttle doesn't help either. Any tips/recommendations for quality equipment would be appreciated.

Since our last set of reviews were all done independent of each others' opinions, we're going in the opposite direction this time around. In fact, the only time we seem to be able to motivate ourselves to listen to a lot of these shows lately is when at least two of us are together. A sort of safety in numbers thing.

So watch this space, plenty of good stuff to come.

Friday, October 16, 2009

With All Due Respect To Melissa...

You have to cut conservative mouthpiece Meghan McCain some slack. I mean, the girl's been blessed by the heavens and she obviously wants to share her bounty with the world. Nothing at all to be ashamed of, it's sad that she was probably browbeaten into giving an apology by her family/handlers.

Core Lore?

I'm putting together a reading list for some future columns. Have any suggestions for essential core lore reads to add to:

Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
Rise of the Horde
Beyond the Dark Portal
Lord of the Clans
Tides of Darkness

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Realm Famous

You have to give it to these days for providing easy-to-read summaries of MMO Champion and linking to interesting content from other sites. But with that sarcastic opening out of the way, I actually rather liked the little nugget that Mike Schramm unearthed this morning about being "Realm Famous" and so thought I'd share.

Not a very dynamic first post back, I know. Nor was it all weepy and misty like Melissa's heartfelt post. But the three of us are still pretty much attempting to figure out what's going on in podcast land and so no real schedule has been worked out yet. It seems like half of the shows I have listed on iTunes are either on hiatus, on a new feed and so haven't been updating, or have stopped production altogether. So we're in the process of re-assembling our list of regulars. And pretty much all casts that are active will be in the crosshairs, even if Jim or Melissa or I personally don't care for them.

So if you're a podcaster look out - there's an inverted red arrow bouncing up and down above your head!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Easing Back Into Things with an Apology

Hiya! It's my first post back with the blog!

Before I start I want to say thank you to everyone who sent notes either to me or to Jim on my behalf while I was away. It was completely unnecessary because if you've been a long-time reader here you can tell the blog hasn't exactly been on fire since it was left solely to Jim, but flattering nonetheless. There are still some folks that I owe emails to too, namely Stompalina, and I'll be taking care of that outreach sort of stuff in the days and weeks to come.

One of the most surprising things to me, though, is that despite Jim's erratic output these days, according to stat-tracker this blog is still getting hundreds of hits per week from unique ISPs. I'd like to think that the continued activity is more of a testament to the sort of unfiltered opinions that we built the blog on, and not Jim's less-than-thrilling three part series on using Blizzard's faction change service, or his idiocy at not installing his Champions Online key properly and losing a whole day's worth of game time. Whatever the reason, it is much appreciated that some of you are sticking it out.

The early incarnation of the blog was an intense experience for all of us. The five of us barely knew each other, and rather than getting to know each other we had "The Code." In some ways it was exciting. When one of us saw the other around campus there would be a knowing smile or gesture between us that made me feel like I was apart of something bigger than myself.

But when Jim had to do his job and edit our writing, the lack of communication in those instances wasn't exciting. It was often misinterpreted as "Jim wanting to write the whole blog" or Jim not living up to the honesty portion of The Code. Our reviews were supposed to be just that, our opinions on that particular day. And while Jim certainly wouldn't change the spirit of our opinions, he would sometimes phrase things to be a little more diplomatic, which is what we thought he wanted to avoid at all costs.

So, like children, Pete (who you'll notice is now officially back as a contributor) and I used Fred's illness as a perfect time to run off. We already knew behind-the-scenes that Toothy's studies were taking up almost all of his free time and that his presence on the blog was probably going to end, so Jim was already going to be a writer down. But Fred's illness took everyone by surprise. The night we heard Fred had gone into the hospital, Pete and I both, on our own initiative and without each others' knowledge I might add, also told Jim that we were leaving.

Why am I saying this? Because I need to clear the air publicly before I feel right about writing for Jim again. Because in one day Jim went from heading up a team of bloggers that was pumping out new content daily, to it just being him left holding the bag alone. And he came under a lot of unfair criticism from our readers and some members of the WoW community when he made the decision to shut the blog down to readers as he tried to contact us and plead with us that we didn't know what we were doing.

Maybe in retrospect it wasn't the smartest thing to do because people saw a note that the blog was now "invite only," but people were making obscenely insensitive comments on the blog at a point where Fred's life was basically hanging in the balance and two other writers had just resigned and so he did what he thought was right.

Jim Surge is one of the most open-minded, funny, sincere people I've ever met and I apologize to him for not speaking with him personally when everything went down. I'm happy to put this chapter behind me, as it is something I'm far from proud of in my real life. Many of my fears, I've realized, were just misconceptions based on us not communicating.

Hopefully I've grown a bit since then.