The Year in Blogging 2014

For the last few years WordPress hosted sites have received a set of stats aptly called the “[year] in review.” I posted my results yesterday, mainly because this was my best year in blogging since I have been running with this incarnation of my blog. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’ve been blogging since the late 1990’s, but this iteration has been in existence since 2005, and I’ve been hosted by WordPress since 2007. I’ve received the review before, but there wasn’t really anything noteworthy to share. This year was in contrast to that attitude, though I’m still not as big as some of our community, I was still proud to have more than doubled previous yearly highs in views and post. It felt worth sharing this time too, because I know I have a pretty decent readership at this point, largely due in part to my involvement in the community that has sprung forward this year. Many of us may have been around for longer than just this year, but we weren’t as interconnected, and that is the major milestone for the year.

Of course, I can’t take credit for anything on my own. I didn’t create this community, I just became a part of it. I didn’t force anyone to start blogging, though I hope I helped to inspire the sense of community, and maybe someone started or kept on blogging because of it. Blogging has been an integral part of my life for many years now, and though I’ve had points where I slacked off, I have always come back to it, and this year has been awesome because of it. I became familiar with many new people, helped run or was involved in events, started a podcast and joined Twitter. All in all it has been a fantastic year and many of you helped me to get through some rough times by just letting me be me, to vent or rant about what came to mind, and to comment, re-blog or counter post.


None of this would have been possible without the Newbie Blogger Initiative. Had I not decided to get involved with that yearly event, I wouldn’t be in this position today, with so many people I’ll probably never actually meet, yet who I consider friends. I remember points in time previous to this year where I wished to be part of a larger community, be it via blogging, social networking or gaming, and that never came into fruition. Sure, there were communities out there, but they all seemed to be segregated to their own little corners of the web. Sure, our community is probably just as much a small corner of the greater Internet, but it feels like it’s consistently growing and the more effort we put into it, just by continuing to contribute our thoughts to the collective, the more it is likely to grow. No matter how much we might disagree about semantics, we can all agree that growing this community has been a rewarding experience.


It goes beyond just the NBI though. Belghast of Tales from the Aggronaut decided the momentum needed to continue, and formulated the Blaugust challenge. As a daily poster himself, he thought it would be a great idea to challenge the rest of us to follow suit for one month. I answered the challenge, as did many others. It brought us all together, pooling ideas and drawing inspiration from one another to get through it. Most of us (myself included) didn’t keep to a daily posting schedule, but I surely post more now than I did before these events.


I tried my hand in running an event as well, not only to help keep our community busy throughout the year (we still need someone to step up with a spring event), but also to combat gamergate and all of the shitty things happening in the game industry in the months leading up to October. Bragtoberfest was my answer to the negativity, in which we could get together to play games and in turn blog about them. I also challenged folks to brag about their achievements in games, because what better feeling is it than to meet your goals in games? Of course, that didn’t cure the gamergate disease all by itself, much of the foolishness is still going on, but I hope that it at least took people’s minds off the negativity for a while.


December was upon us quickly, and this year Syl of decided that we needed to create a virtual advent calendar on the web. Bloggy Xmas was born, and members of the community wrote posts around the topic of gaming and community. I participated in this, right around the beginning of the month. You can check out all of the awesome posts on the official blog. We were also treated to Listmas (which also happened last year) courtesy of Murf and United We Game. I also participated in this, coming up with a couple of lists that won’t win any awards 😀


It would be remiss of me to not mention the Podcast that myself and Eri of Healing the Masses started back in June. Not only has it been a blast to come up with different ideas and then totally crack jokes and not take anything seriously, but it has also been a way to convey our feelings about various issues surrounding the gaming industry. I’m hoping to be doing this for a very long time, but we’ll see how long she can stand me and my Aussie jokes. We were also kindly invited to a larger group of podcasters from our existing community that came together to form The Gaming and Entertainment Network (TGEN), which has been a fantastic experience as well.


I can’t say that the year has been entirely positive though. Aside from the gamergate fiasco and some of my own personal woes, we lost an amazing guy who was a fellow blogger. River passed away this year and the community was devastated. We took to our blogs to say our goodbyes, and posted pics of scantily clad women as was his style, as tribute. He is still missed. Another passing of the torch occurred more recently, when Roger, Brian and Sean decided to throw in the towel on the Contains Moderate Peril podcast. I was personally affected by this, as my guest spot on the show was my first podcast experience, and Roger had been a mentor in the field of podcasting for me, but I know that he’s still active on his blog so it’s not a total loss.

There have been some other great round-ups of the year, and here are a few of them:

Satisfaction of the Year – Belghast
A Year in Blogging and Podcasting – Roger
Link Dead Radio – A Blogging Year in Review – Eri

Here are some of my best posts of the year, that sparked dialogue amongst the community:

Foot in Mouth
Nice Guys Can Be Killers Too
PvP Uncensored

Overall I feel like it’s been a great year to be a blogger and a podcaster. Here’s to many more to come!

#blogging #podcasting #community

Bragtoberfest Final Recap


October is almost over and that means that Bragtoberfest is coming to an end. It actually feels like it has already ended, and as such this post is going to be a short one.

For the past three weeks I have recounted our weekend event that would be hosted by either me or J3w3l, and then go on about either what achievements were earned or what was upcoming. Finally, I would give a round-up of all the posts I could find about the events or people’s individual bragging points. Today, I scoured the community and saw a single post. J3w3l reported that this past weekend’s event saw one participant. That’s either due to the fact that the game chosen was ArcheAge and no one wants to play it (even though the community voted it in), or because on the same day everyone and their mother were doing Extra Life gaming marathons. We did not anticipate that, so I’ll take the blame there. Either way, Bragtoberfest feels to have ended early, and as such there isn’t much else to report.

I think that the event was fun, and I hope that people enjoyed playing games together, and writing about them. Due to the extra organization (on top of maintaining a blog and podcast) of this event, I’m ready to be done with these sorts of things for a while. I intend to do this again next year and maybe it will be even bigger and better then, but I’ll judge the community’s interest level when the time comes around again. Otherwise it’s looking like we’re on our own until the next NBI, unless someone comes up with something the interim. I love the community building feel of events like this, but when something seems done it’s best to leave well enough alone.

I still have a bunch of games that I was planning on giving out to those who earned achievements during the event, and I’ll do finally tallies at the end of the week. I’ll contact you if you won something. Otherwise, it’s back to business as usual. I hope you all had a great month!

#Bragtoberfest #roundup

Bragtoberfest Week 3 Round-Up



Another week down, and we’ve had another big event, several mini-events and more bloggers writing about what they’re accomplishing in games. It’s been a fun month but we are nearing the end. That means for the month-long competitions you only have a week left to make that final push. This upcoming weekend will be the final big group event. You only have a week to earn the rest of the potential achievements and at the end of the month I’ll be doing the big giveaway. So stay tuned for all of that!

Gaming Events


This weekend we got together to play some Team Fortress 2. Being free to play, easy to understand/jump into, and goofy fun, it seemed like a good choice. One of the only things I failed to think of ahead of time was the fact that the participants were all over the world, and that meant ping could be a factor. In a game that didn’t require accuracy, this might not have been an issue, but it was in a game like this. Welshtroll, his wife, Roger from CMP, and Jeromai joined up for the session.

I spent a lot of time as the sniper.

Starting out, Jeromai had some issues with ping, but eventually we got that all sorted out and it wasn’t much of an issue (at least it was tolerable). The only other issue is the fact that the game is a little dated, so there matchmaking system leaves much to be desired. We worked around it though, and I chose to set us up in Mann vs. Machine matches so that we could cooperatively shoot shit. It was also the easiest way to get us all on the same server. We did end up with some random players here and there until eventually Doone joined up with us and we had a full 6 man team.

These tanks were annoying!

Overall it was pretty fun, but I have to say that I’m just not really a fan of the game. The classes don’t speak to me. I enjoy the style and the goofy factor, but the gameplay is a little lacking. This is mainly because I’m more partial to newer shooters, but it is what it is. I had a good time regardless.


I really like this game. It’s such a simple concept, but the 6 man co-op takes the zombie killing fun to the next level (as opposed to say, CoD Zombies modes with 4-man teams). There are annoyances such as shitty voice overs that declare you are reloading every single time you do so, and the graphics are a bit dated (it did release in 2009 after all). I joked that the majority of our group would enjoy the game because the voice overs were complete with British accents and your in game currency is pounds rather than dollars. It’s apparent the game was developed in their country. This game also had a dated matchmaking system (that or I have been completely spoiled by matchmaking in Steam or on consoles) that took a minute to figure out, but soon enough we were in game. Doone dropped out of the group at this point, as did Welsh’s wife, so it was just me, Roger, Jeromai and Welsh going into it. We ended up with two random friends each round though, so it wasn’t an issue. We also sucked hard at the initial claustrophobic level that we started on, but things leveled out once we got onto the farm level.


We had plenty of room to move around, though we ended up finding a farm house and next thing I knew the group disappeared and come to find out everyone had died. I managed to survive the wave, and next thing you know we were all dying. It was rather difficult to stay together and kill everything that moved.


We tended to stay together while the other random people would wander off. We would usually end up together again once it was time to do the shopping in between waves, that is if we made it there in time.


At this point we were in a run down version of London, and I had dual “Love-Cannons” with which I smashed in many heads. Later in this match I would end up buying a pretty awesome sniper rifle.


We ended up actually completing this level including taking down the boss (who was a zombie with a chest-burster and a big ass gun). We lost all previous levels because we weren’t prepared, and I actually turned the difficulty down. But whatever, we finally got a victory screen:


All in all it’s a rather fun game. The sequel is currently in development, so I think I’m going to try and convince these folks to pick that up when it comes out so we can do this all over again with prettier graphics.

Mini Games

After last week’s PoE event, Doone was nice enough to gift participants with the screen-saver-ish “game” Mountain. It seems we have all been coaxed into naming our Mountains and Doone is planning something with them at the end of the month. Mine has been named “The Devil’s Teat” and so far has managed to gather a baseball, padlock, and a bunch of bananas. Aside from when I make it rain blood or destroy it altogether. It’s a weird concept but it can be enthralling at times.

2014-10-11_00001 2014-10-11_00002 2014-10-11_00003 2014-10-11_00004 2014-10-11_00005 2014-10-17_00001 2014-10-17_00002 2014-10-17_00003 2014-10-17_00004

We’ve also been running an on going score attack challenge in Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+, where I am currently leading with just over 3 million points on the Championship II (first course of the game) 10-minute run. Proof:

I understand that some others have been getting involved, and you are welcome to post whatever scores you like, but this was the officially sanctioned one for the month. So beat my score, and rub it in! Also, this week’s flash game was Feed the King, and it appears that Murf has been the winner, as I can’t find any higher score than this one. J3w3l will be announcing the new game soon.

So congrats on that Murf. I couldn’t ever get past 40k. As far as achievement tracking goes, check the list and let me know if I missed anything, as usual.

Post Round-Up

Here’s what’s been going on in the Blogosphere for #Bragtoberfest:

Aywren hits level 50 in ArcheAge and makes a bunch of gold in the process. Also on Clean Casuals, Aywren’s counterpart Almonihah clears The Last Federation.

Moderate Phil gives a rundown of this past weekend’s gaming event.

Rowan Blaze plays TSW and earns a bunch of skill points and a new set of gear.

In his weekly round-up, Mr Luvva Luvva talks about Bragtoberfest high scores.

Murf tells us a story about a server first in WoW.

Welshtroll’s recap of Saturday’s gaming event.

And here’s Jeromai’s as well.

Finally, Doone talks about Mountain.

That’s all for this week. Catch you for the finale next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.

#Bragtoberfest #roundup #community

Bragtoberfest Week 2 Round-Up



The first full week of Bragtoberfest finished up yesterday, and with it, we had more gaming, more blogging, and most of all, more bragging! The Path of Exile event saw more familiar faces join in the fun, with some new additions as well. The Axon flash game challenge finished with Jeromai taking the crown after dethroning me and Murf. Mr. Luvva Luvva is winning the Pix the Cat challenge that Murf put forth, and I just keep posting screens of my triumphant League of Legends games. It’s been fun, and there’s still a couple of weeks to go!

Path of Exile Event


For the uninitiated, Path of Exile is a free to play (and I do mean free — no pay walls here) action-RPG set in the world of Wraeclast. If you’ve played Diablo, Torchlight, Marvel Heroes or any of the other multitudes of ARPGs, you’ll be right at home. If you haven’t played one in over a decade, you will feel at home still — provided the last one you played was Diablo II. It actually seems to draw more inspiration from that game than any other I’ve played since the late 90’s. Where it differentiates itself is in the HUGE passive skill tree, and the innovative currency trading system. Many an orb and scroll can be used to buy items (and given in exchange for items you sell), and they also have their individual effects, such as identifying items or changing stats on weapons and such. Skills aren’t very traditional either, in that they are tied to gems, and those gems have to be socketed for you to use them. They level up as you do, so keeping them equipped is the only way to grow in power. This can make for some interesting — or frustrating — gear management scenarios.

I gave a small recap of what happened in my last post, but I think that Jeromai’s word wall of a post is the best account of the day I’ve seen so far. I’ll just leave that here, and move on.

In lieu of listing more achievements earned here like I did in the last round-up post, I’m just going to re-link the spreadsheet of what I’ve tracked. Again, if I missed something you think you earned, let me know. Otherwise, I’m going to save that for a post towards the end of the month and hand out all the achievements when I do the final rolls for sweet, sweet loot. What can I say? I’m feeling lazy.

Post Round-Up

Jeromai has been participating whole-heartedly in Bragtoberfest, and for that I’m thankful. If only a handful of people take up arms to play games together from around the world, I’m doing my part towards creating world peace. Or something. Aside from the PoE recap I posted above, she also writes about Minecraft, Mountain, which is less of a game than a semi-interactive screensaver, and Tower Defense games such as Orcs Must Die and Defense Grid. Apparently I inspired the Orcs Must Die play, and we have toyed with the idea of playing the sequel in co-op mode if we ever get around to beating the first. Mountain was a gift from Doone for those of us who played PoE this weekend, and it’s pretty cool despite being one of those “it’s not really a game, games.”

Speaking of Doone, he also made a round-up post of his own with various achievements he’s earned in games he’s been playing. Kudos, keep ’em rolling in!

Simcha recalls our Strife event from the weekend prior, and also talks about Dragon Age: Origins in her latest post.

Mr Luvva Luvva writes about streaming Alien: Isolation, being a guest on Couch Podtatoes, and his triumph in Pix the Cat on PS4, per Murf’s challenge from last week.

Neri of Mama Needs Mana shares some of her achievement hunting stories from World of Warcraft in a Bragtoberfest post.

Welshtroll made a brief mention of the Strife event and the game Phantoms in a rather light writing week, for him that is.

Aywren writes about finally completing her house in ArcheAge. Apparently there is another writer on her blog as well, that goes by the name of Almonihah, who also bragged about beating the game Xenonauts. Congrats!

The Ancient Gaming Noob got back into bragging mode today with a post about hitting 130 million skill points in EVE. That sounds ridiculous, but when you play a game for 7 years, I suppose it’s doable!

Last but certainly not least, J3w3l wrote up a post about what types of things you can brag about when playing MMOs, and I think that’s great for this group, who is made up of MMO bloggers! I guess I forgot to throw out writing prompts before like I said I would, so there’s some for ya!

And that’s about all I have for this week’s round-up. This upcoming weekend is the TF2/Loadout event hosted by yours truly, so hit up Anook to sign up and I’ll see you there! No matter where you find yourself, happy gaming!

#Bragtoberfest #round-up #community #events #pathofexile

Bragtoberfest Week 1 Round-Up


It’s been a short week, but nonetheless we’ve completed the first weekend of events and it’s the first Monday, so as promised, here is a round-up post of things that have been going on.

Strife Event


A new MOBA on the scene, Strife is calling itself a “2nd Generation MOBA.” J3w3l aptly named it “Baby’s first MOBA,” as its distilled features and focus on combat rather than depth of strategy makes it far more accessible than its more established counterparts (think League of Legends and DOTA 2). In a separate conversation I said that their tagline should read: “Less strat, more combat.” Regardless of your preconceived notions based on what I have said here, Strife is actually rather fun. It’s light-hearted, in that the graphics are rather cartoony, the sense of humor and character design is juvenile, and the focus on action combat is found throughout the mechanics. This is relaxing for a seasoned MOBA player like myself, because rather than having to focus on the vision war or which lane/objective to worry about, I can mindlessly last hit minions and roam for ganks. It still has the traditional 3-lane set up but they have shifted the meta focus to a 2 top 2 mid 1 bot setup, or at least that’s the behavior they push the bots into and show you in the tutorials. There are plenty of other differences as well, but you’d have to play to get the whole scope of things.

The people joining us for the group games were Welshtroll, Jaedia, Simcha and Jeromai. Counting myself we had a full group to tackle some bots to get everyone comfortable with the game. Simcha admitted that this was her first time playing a MOBA, and Jaedia had only skimmed the surface in the past. As a result I tried to throw some helpful tips their way, and thankfully they started to understand pretty quickly. Welsh and Jeromai both seemed comfortable with the mechanics and overall scope of the game, so after playing (and winning) a bot match, I decided to pit us against each other. By this time, J3w3l had finally joined us, so I made a custom game and we were randomly split into a 3v3. Perhaps I should have left it that way, as we could have each manned a lane and had 1v1 matchups, but I decided to fill up the groups with bots. The bots were both a boon and a detriment. They seemed to be a boon if you read Jeromai’s account of the game, as they were giving her trouble and always defending a lane she was solo pushing. To me though, they were a detriment, especially when I rallied the group to their location and tried to push a generator (like an inhibitor) and in mid fight the bots just fucked off, leaving us to die. The game was a challenge as it was Simcha, Jaedia and myself vs. J3w3l, Jeromai and Welshtroll, so of course J3w3l rallied the other players into ganging up on me. We took an early gold lead and had pushed their lanes quite well but the tide started to turn as death timers increased and saw us watching helplessly as our lanes were pushed back. Thankfully, I managed to catch out Jeromai on a bad engage and we flattened her, while J3w3l and Welshtroll attempted to back her up and were also killed off. This left their base open (as we had cleared our way in earlier but couldn’t make a final push til this point) and only their bots to defend. We juggled damage between them and the base and eventually got the final blow dealt.

It was getting late in Europe at that point, so Simcha and Jaedia bowed out for the evening. The rest of us soldiered on with more bot matches, bringing in a random player each time. Those went off without a hitch, despite me playing some champions I wasn’t so good with. Overall the group seemed to have a good time, but I don’t think any of us liked it as much as other MOBAs that are available. I’m going to take this time to announce that I want to get a full 5 man group going in LoL for a regular weekly meet-up. Jeromai and Doone have said they are ready and willing, so after counting me I need two more people willing to take the plunge. We can start off easy with bots and ARAMs for training purposes, and then move into actual PvP. None of us really likes dealing with randoms on the internet, so it is preferred to play with a regular group so we can all advance together.

Achievement Earned

At this point I’d like to point out that I’ve made a spreadsheet regarding the achievements for Bragtoberfest. I’ve looked around the web and found as many people as I could that have earned an achievement at this point. I’m not sure if I got everyone though, so if I missed you, let me know. Here’s some achievers thus far:




Mr Luvva Luvva
Rambling Redshirt


Mr Luvva Luvva


Mr Luvva Luvva
Rowan Blaze
Ranzington Scouts


Roger (CMP)

Feel free to use these images as you wish on your blogs if you already earned the achievement.

Post Round-Up

There’s been quite a few posts made in the name of Bragtoberfest, and here’s most if not all of them:

Wilhelm kicks of the month by bragging about a new mount earned in World of Warcraft.
Murf issues a Bragtoberfest challenge for PS4 users.
Mr Luvva Luvva wants you to join him on PS4 in some Destiny raiding.
Ikralla brags about WoW achievements earned.
Aywren welcomes us to Bragtoberfest, then brags about progress in ArcheAge and The Secret World.
Finally, J3w3l has done a post about the details of Bragtoberfest, but also adds in a community poll to pick the game for the last weekend of October. Go there, vote now!

There are also many forum topics going on over at the Bragtoberfest nook, including the sign up for next weekend’s event in Path of Exile. Make sure you head over there to keep posted on upcoming events. As always, follow this blog and Healing the Masses for coming information, and Happy Gaming!

#Bragtoberfest #roundup #community #events