Blaugust 2019 Wraps Up

August just flew by, didn’t it folks? For those of you who made it through the slog, congratulations. This is I believe the third or fourth time I’ve managed to do the full gamut of posts during the event, so I’ll pat myself on the back for that. Some items learned during this year’s Blaugust:

  • I didn’t follow the schedule at all. I made one post that was on theme with Bel’s schedule with the developer appreciation bit.
  • I didn’t really mentor anyone, don’t know if that means I should lose the status.
  • I was in my own little world, not mentioning WoW Classic once. Well, now I just did.
  • This year was the most difficult to get out all 31 posts. Having a vacation in the middle of the month made for a mini-marathon just to have posts scheduled.
  • I enjoy blogging, but I cannot keep up this pace. Some days I was reaching for something to write about.
  • Despite many passions, sometimes I don’t feel like writing.

It was a long month that passed quickly and I am glad that the marathon is over. I’ll be returning to my 15 or so post a month schedule that has served me well in the past. I’ll probably go silent for a couple of days unless the bug strikes me sooner. I know there were some drafts I didn’t end up publishing that I may work on, but for the most part I am spent at this point.

That’s really all I have. It was nice to see the community come together again around this event, but once again the attrition will likely set in. Not to sound like a downer, but these are facts. Hopefully some of you stick around for the long haul. I need stuff to read.

Blaugust 2019 Kicks Off

Allow myself to introduce… Myself.

This website has been long standing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all that many people have seen it. That is to say that I’m not presumptuous enough to assume that I have a huge reader base. Based on stats and interaction, I know there are some regulars but we’re not raking in piles of affiliate link dough around here. Doing something for a long time doesn’t necessarily garner success, but this blog and the writer behind it both feel good about the small successes they have had. With that said, welcome to Me vs. Myself and I — one blogger’s space on the interwebs to talk about things that matter to him. I’m Izlain, by the way.

I’ve participated in Blaugust each year it’s been a thing. This year is no exception. I’m not normally a post-every-day kind of person, but I’ve taken up the challenge to do so each summer, and each summer it has been a rewarding experience. With my current work schedule I expect this year to be more of a challenge than those passed, but I will soldier on regardless. Here’s what you can expect around here during August:

  • Video Games and Magic: The Gathering posts. This is the format the site has taken for the last couple of years and it works. Expect more of the same with some caveats.
  • This month the annual Commander pre-constructed decks release, and with that spoilers are coming. Typically when a new set is being spoiled, I will just follow along and notate cards I want to talk about and then make a post after the spoiler season is complete. This time, in an effort to help out with Blaugust post counts, I’m going to do multiple posts on the topic. Spoilers are slightly more relevant the day they are spoiled as opposed to a couple of weeks later as well.
  • I will be on vacation for almost two weeks during the month. I suspect there will be little time for posting on those days, so I am going to get posts written and scheduled ahead of time. You shouldn’t notice that I’m gone at all.
  • Where am I going? I will be at Magic Fest Las Vegas for 2nd year in a row (thought last year they were still referred to as the Grand Prix despite being the same thing). I seriously doubt I will be able to live blog, but it’s likely that I write something about the event once I’m back at home.
  • One major difference for me personally this year is that I feel like I’m a bit spent on the “mentor” aspect of the event. It was a welcome idea last year when Belghast threw this event together and included dead events like the Newbie Blogger Initiative, but honestly I don’t think I have anything else to say on the topics of what or how to write. So for me at least, there will be less focus on the writing prompts and mentorship duties. However, you can have a gander through my archives and I’m sure there’s something helpful in there. I’ll be in my corner over here doing my own thing, but that’s how it’s always been — for nearly fifteen years now!

I’m not the only one doing this thing though, Belghast has rallied the troops new and old, and there’s a significant list here of things to read and I’m sure some of the other mentors will still have sage advice to give:

Here is a quick summary of the Blaugust 2019 Links as well. It’s not too late to sign up, from my understanding you can even sign up late and do catch-up posts to meet the participation goals.

Let the festivities begin!

Blaugust 2019 is Coming

We’re just about fifteen days away from the beginning of August, and just like years prior our amazing starter-of-fires-under-our-asses, Belghast, has once again announced Blaugust for 2019. It’s something I’ve participated in since its inception, and thought some years have been harder than others (this year is going to be tough with my schedule), I have been proud to make it through this blogging challenge multiple times. I have signed up to be a mentor again, as I have been blogging for almost 15 years so I know what goes into it and know how discouraging it can be when traffic dips or it seems like many of the blogs you enjoy reading go dark. I also know how rewarding it can be to get involved in these community events, and since Blaugust has evolved to encompass other events like The Newbie Blogger Initiative and Developer Appreciation Week, it’s a great way to get in touch with other people who like doing this writing thing! Last year Belghast introduced a loose schedule of sorts, and this year is following the same of formula:

Rather than putting my own spin on this, I’ll just quote the man himself:

  • Blaugust Prep Week – July 28th – August 3rd: This is a time for those of us in the community who have sorta figured this blogging thing out to help get you started with some tips and tricks style posts. Additionally this is a time to sign up on the Discord and start mingling among the folks. It is designed to ease you into the month with some helpful advice.
  • Topic Brainstorming Week – August 4th – August 10th: This is a time to for mentors to throw out ideas for posts to help you when you run out of things to talk about. This is something that hits all of us and having some familiar topics to revisit often times helps to defeat the tyranny of the blank page.
  • Getting to Know You Week – August 11th – August 17th: Tell us about you and your preferences as a gamer or whatever it is you happen to like doing. This is the time to dip into the well of stories and tell us something interesting that has either happened to you or something about your specific footing in your real or digital life.
  • Developer Appreciate Week – August 18th – August 24th: This one is specifically targeted at the gamers among us, but could be re-purposed to talk about any industry. The idea is to give appreciation for some of the folks who have created the things that you love. In the past we specifically talked about publishers and game studios that create the games that we are enthralled by, but it could be authors or artists or anyone who creates something that you love. It is a good time to give some thanks.
  • Staying Motivated Week – August 25th – August 31st: The final stretch. The idea is to post some help to keep folks motivated as they run towards the finish line. Also some general tricks and tips on how you keep motivated if you are one of the more seasoned veterans of the blogging community. If you are fresh to the initiative you could talk about some of the ways you have kept yourself engaged and creating content.
  • Lessons Learned Week – September 1st – September 7th: A reminder that the goal is to refresh the content creators out there and not necessarily to run a sprint. Some folks are going to cross the finish line and immediately go dormant for awhile, and others are going to want to talk about the experience. Creating a space to hold those discussions and hopefully keep folks from dropping off the face of the earth immediately following the event.

I tend to do my own thing during Blaugust, which essentially amounts to what I would already be doing, just amplified due to the increase in posts. This year has been a down year for blogging as most months I have barely reached ten posts. However I know that this event has always been good for me and my writing mojo, so it will be a challenge but one that I’m up to facing. I have pushed myself to get all thirty one posts out for a few years now, and I have noticed that my output remains higher than normal for the following months. The only reason I’ve slacked off a bit this year is due to a graveyard schedule fucking up any sort of semblance of a normal schedule for me, but I have been slowly but surely ramping up and I think I’ll be able to persevere to round out the summer.

The two major links you’ll need to get started are here:

  • The Sign-Up form for Blaugust 2019 can be found here. Only those who have signed up will be given credit towards the awards.
  • The Invite Link to the Blaugust Discord can be found here. Participation in the Discord is entirely optional.

The Discord has been a great way to connect with other bloggers and chat about things outside of writing, but if nothing else it’s a great place to share your content to more eyeballs. You should also head over to that sign-up form if you plan to participate, otherwise Belghast might miss you for his tracking purposes. Hope to see you all writing away next month!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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December was upon us quickly, and this year Syl of MMOGypsy.com 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 😀

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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.

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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 Week 2 Round-Up

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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

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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