Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Pink Pigtail Inn List of 2009 - The Blogosphere

Fanfare! Time has come for the fourth and concluding part in the series of The Pink Pigtail Inn List of 2009.

Before announcing the winners I'd just like to vent a little bit about sitting in the jury. It's been hard work to put together the previous list posts, thanks to all those excellent suggestions I've got from the community. And this post, where I'm putting the spotlights on the WoW blogosphere is no exception. As a matter of fact it's been worse this time. There are hundreds, or I should probably rather say thousands of excellent WoW blogs out there. I only manage to follow a minority of them, and even within my little sample, there are just too many posts, too much talent over the place to pick one in front of the other. No matter what I pick, I'll make the wrong decision according to someone.

But I'm no coward and I promised you a list, so you will get one.

In the last minute I decided to add a couple of new categories. I know, you haven't been able to nominate to the new classes, but you've inspired me there too and you'll get the opportunity next year, right?

Ready? Here we go!

1. Biggest blog facelift

Nominated: WeFlySpitfires, The Rawrcast blog, The Hunting Lodge, Paladin Schmaladin .

" I believe Nibuca of Mystic Chicanery did a some tweaking and layout changes this year, which look fabulous. I love her blogroll buttons!"

"Tree Bark Jacket had a major face lift earlier in the year and the new site looks fantastic. While there wasn’t anything wrong with the old look, the overhaul has categories and additional pages which makes finding information simple. The header is also very beautiful."

"Daniel Howell, BRK to Brain Needed Space. Still follow him as often as he posts. He can write."

Miss Medicina is cheating a bit by nominating two. But she does it in such a good way that I have to quote a long passage:

"I'm going to give this a somewhat liberal translation, and assume it means something beyond just a new "look". In that case, Forbearance and Righteous Orbs are a tie for me. Forbearance for combining the forces of the illestretpally Jong with the random rapping of OOMegan. Righteous Orbs for throwing together Sissy Robe donning Tamarind with math geek Ideathtard Chas. Both are perfect examples of combined forces in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

Since he wasn't nominated by anyone else I also would like to mention Krizzlybear at Frost is the new black. He moved from a standard blogspot platform in january to his current wordpress and while at it he threw out the white-text-on-black-background, which I'm really no friend of at all, changing it into a bright, easy-to-read layout. It's a facelift indeed.

The winner is: Righteous Orbs!

Motivation: I'm all with Medicina. The marriage of the blogs I deathtard and Standing in the back in my Sissy robe, was the happiest we ever saw in the blogosphere. We spotted their talent before, but when this new blog was launched, it sparked something more. Righteous Orbs is also very close to my ideal picture of a WoW blog. It's very simple, it's bright, it's easy to read, it doesn't make my eyes hurt and it draws my attention to the very posts and not to anything else, such as ads and banners

2. Most memorable blog post

MMO champion's predictions on Cataclysm,
Gevlon's clearing Ulduar in Blues,
The good bye post from Resto4Life - "I was very sad to see her take her leave, but extremely happy to know that she was embarking on a new and exciting quest in her life!",
BRK's goodbye
"I'm Coming Out" at Arkslaw - "I have never seen such a mixture of true confessions meets wow insight."
Rawrcast called the reworking of old world before it was announced.
Scourge chat log #1,
Miss Medicina’s Healing Survey,
Tamarind's first time in Ulduar: Flame Leviathan v. Golf Caddy,
Ixo's trip to Blizzard,
Mortigan the Lock’s Single Set of Raid Rules
Greedy Goblin calling out Markco - Miss Medicina's motivation: "Perhaps this is only because it is somewhat recent, but the Gevlon v Marko post (in which I learned that *popcorn* is, in fact, a valid emote), which elicited commentary from multiple wow blogs was immensely entertaining."

All the nominated posts were really brilliant, for very different reasons. How could you possibly chose between Gevlon's already classic post about raiding in blue gear or Ixobelle's fearless recounts from his equally fearless attacks towards the Blizzard headquarters?

However I decided to go for a different post, nominated only by myself.

The winner is: Archetypes of the Female Gamer, revisited by Sydera at World of Matticus

Motivation: This post wasn't only thoroughly researched and thought out and very well written. It also sparked a following debate. The 200 or so comments are just as readworthy as the post itself, and Sydera did what I wish more bloggers would do - throwing herself into an engaging discussion with her readers, making us THINK. I love personal, opinion style blogging, and Sydera did it just splendidly - and actually made me rethink my own position about feminism and stereotypes a bit. And besides - it must have taken quite a bit of courage and integrity to do challenge her fellow blogger at World of Matticus.

3. Most noticed blogger breakthrough

Nominated: Life in Group 5, Hots and Dots, The Hunting Lodge, Restokin - " Lissanna posts regularly and has a fantastic balance of both fun entertaining entries alongside informative and engaging pieces", Sideshow and Syrana, Killing'em Slowly, Dungeons and Daenei, Outdps - "He’s filled the void for me from BRK leaving. He’s not as serious and certainly not quite the writer Daniel is, but his blog is really well organized and full of useful information. And he posts often and with enthusiasm.".

"Miss Medicina certainly got the spotlight’s attention with her fabulous Circle of Healers questionnaire! I thought it was innovative, and she did a super job of keeping track of everyone’s answers!"

Tamarind and Chastity at Righteous Orbs. Rarely do you find a blog where every post is going to be insightful, or screamingly funny, or both. They deliver.

"A toss up between Righeous Orbs, Spinksville, and Ms. Medicina. I think this might be the single most difficult category. Ro has the best writing, Spikns has the best coverage, MM has the most useful information. An extremely close contest. I'm forcing myself to chose here but I am going to go with Righteous Orbs. I do think that they had the most noticed *breakthrough* even if they don't get the hits that MM does. In other words, when they came on the scene they came with a splash as opposed to MM or Spinks which have grown slowly."

There were also a number of nominations for Gevlon at Greedy Goblin.

The winner is: Greedy Goblin!

Motivation: Greedy Goblin started to blog in 2008, but it was in 2009 that he had his big breakthrough, so I think he's eligible for the award this year.

I know everyone in the blogosphere doesn't love Gevlon's writings, and especially not his political views. But no matter where you're standing you can't deny that he has made quite an impact at the community. Just have a look at the nominations for this list for instance. Which other blogger has provided so many posts which will come up spontaneously when you ask people about what blog posts they remember?

Or as two readers put it:
"He might turn your screws a bit, but he does keep bringing in readers for the politics, the challenges, and the gold making skills."

"Undoubtedly Gevlon takes this prize, if for no other reason than that he has made some of the most memorable posts, inspired some of the most rampant drama, and gone to great lengths to provide evidence for his stances."

4. Most solid content provider
Nominated: Wowinsider, World of Matticus, Tobold, Greedy Goblin, Honor's Code, OutDPS and Warcraft Hunters Union, EpicAdvice.com, Gnomeaggedon - " He posts regularly and often has epic length posts that are full of information and humor.", Restokin, Tree Bark Jacket, World of Matticus, Bio Break, Critical QQ - "Euripides has some downtime, but when he's writing he's writing GOOD STUFF.", Tanking Tips, Tank Like a Girl, No Stock UI blog,

Killing'Em Slowly: "My favorite thing about Killing 'Em Slowly is that I know there will be a post every weekday. I may not know the exact timing, but I can rely on the fact that there will be something, and it won't just be a "sorry no time to write today!" post."

Welcome to Spinksville - "Frequent posting, multigaming interests, lots of thoughtful posts too.", "Lots of updates and always interesting".

Tamarind wrote: "as a healer I am naturally biased but I don't know what I'd do without Miss Medicina. But if I was more 'serious' about raiding, I'd have to pick Beru from Falling Leaves and Wings. And for a wider perspective on gaming as a whole then it would have to be Spinks!"

Elnia pointed out that the category is a bit unfair and should be broken down into commentary vs useful information."I think that the most solid commentary is a toss up between Spinksville and Tobold. If you are asking for useful information then I would say either Wow.com or MMO champion."

I agree that the category probably needs a clearer definition. Even though I too use and appreciate resources such as WoW.com and MMO-champion, I regard them as news providers rather an as blogs. And it was blogs that I had in mind for this category. However I might add another category next year, focusing on general news resources.

The winner is: Welcome to Spinksville!

Motivation: Spinks combines interesting ideas and a wide assortment of topics with depth, wits and overall high standard writing, covering not only WoW but also MMOs in general in a way that it makes them interesting even for a WoW-only-player. When the next patch is months away and there's nothing more to say about the current one, you can bet that Spinksville still has some new perspective to add. She is simply amazing and I didn't hesitate for a second about who I would give this title, especially not since Tobold was out of the game because he had the title last year.

5. Most hugged blogger
Jong, Gnomeaggedon, Pike of Aspect of the Hare, Gevlon, Tamarind.

"The bloggers that I most feel like hugging and in one case, drinking a Peach Bellini with, are Beru from Falling Leaves & Wings and Tamarind from Righteous Orbs."

"Should be me. But nobody ever hugs a panzercow".

"Sorry, I can’t pick just one! Keredria always makes me laugh, even if she is a “chick” , I absolutely adore Tamarind and can’t get enough of his humor and keen insight into the WoW universe, Lath and Cass are just fantastic…and love peachbellinis! And…last but not least, I don’t know how I can’t hug Lash: He’s a troll with a dog named Lunchbox irl."

Fitz at Healer Trek wrote:
"Well it's certainly not Gevlon. I'm going to go with Phaelia over at Resto4Life. While she stepped out of blogging near the beginning of 2009, she went out on a high note and had lots of virtual hugs on her way to becoming a mom. She also got a hug from blizzard in naming a piece of gear after her"

The winners are: Phaelia and BRK!

Let's face it: bloggers come and bloggers go. There are equally many new popping up replacing the ones that are leaving. And very few of us leave any long lasting footprints. But there are exceptions. When Phealia and BRK left the blogging scenes, we saw the most touching farewell scenes ever. BRK:s farewell post had over 1 000 thankful, hugging comments, and the community even put together a special video as a gift to him. Phaelia was celebrated in a beautiful farewell photo album and a wonderful interview at the Twisted Nether Podcast. They even got recognition from Blizzard in form of in-game items named to their honour. That's what I would call a well hugged blogger!

6. Blog drama of the year
The blogosphere wouldn't be the same if there wasn't any interaction going on. A little bit of popcorn-drama if you put it that way. Obviously I'm not the only one to find it rather entertaining, since several of the nominations about the best posts were for ones relating to some sort of drama. So I decided to make up a new category this year.

First a couple of my own nominations:

Tobold's revelations that he in fact was Gevlon was hilarious to read. Gevlon never took the bite, so in the end it didn't turn out quite as dramatic as it sounded from the beginning. It was hugely entertaining though and also a bit thought provoking, as a statement about the trustworthiness of our online characters. Are we really what we claim that we are? We never know, do we?

A dramatic incident indeed was the little war fought between Gevlon and Markco during the autumn. It was fascinating to watch it from the side - especially since also Tobold engaged himself in it. The whole thing reminded me of the fights between the capitalist ducks in Carl Bark's comics: Uncle Scrooge and his equally rich and cheap opponent.

But the winner is a different piece of drama: The Ferraro debacle.
While the other suggested dramas were isolated to the concerned blogs, this really shook up the community. The whole story about identity theft and a blog identity that was inherited, going from person to person, was intriguing. Amazingly enough Paladin Schmaladin survived all this turbulence and is still going strong. And I wonder if anyone will ever know the full truth about it.

7. Best Writer
This is also a new category, invented by me on the fly. For me the writing skill of the author is essential when I evaluate a blog.

I don't care about if the blog provides news - I still get it quicker from MMO-champion anyway, so why bother to compete? I don't care if a blog gives useful advice since I get my need for strategies and theorycrafting covered by other resources such as Tankspot and Elitist Jerks. I don't care if the blog has a lot of fancy screenshots - most of the time they're just annoying and distracting.

But I care a LOT about writing - about the style and beauty in it, about how the author manages not only to make himself understood, but also to really touch me, making me laugh or cry, using no other means than letters and words. We have a few magicians out there, the ones that can make me interested and enthusiastic about things that I normally don't care about , let's say for instance PvP, just because they're such brilliant writers.

For outstanding writing skill I would like to nominate three mage bloggers: Gnomeaggedon, Krizzlybear and Euripedes. They've all impressed on me: Gnome with his humour, which is impossible to resist, Krizzlybear with his special talent for personal writing and Euripedes who is like a firework, never entirely predictable, always full of energy and temperament.

But the winner will a non-mage, who also won another category in this list and was nominated for several others: Tamarind of Righteous Orbs.

Motivation: Tamarind doesn't give a crap about the general advice not to write long blog posts. He writes walls of text which never feels like walls of text, because they're so hilarious, touching or thought provoking, and always, always formulated very elegantly, in a consistent and interesting style-of-the-day. If I wasn't so old and hopefully mature, I would actually feel a bit jealous seeing his abundance of wits and intelligence.

The End
This fourth and final part in the series of the Pink Pigtail Inn Awards 2009 was probably the longest in the history of this blog. If you're still reading this, thank you for staying to the end!

Now it's time to close the door to 2009 and look forward. Who do you think we'll see in the PPI list of 2010? Actually I have already an idea from Miss Medicina. She suggested a new category: "Blogger Most Likely to Succeed in 2010", defining it as a "new WoW blog that shows an extraordinary amount of promise". Her vote vent to Life in Group 5, a new healing shaman blog "which doesn't make overly frequent posts, but the posts he does make are extensive, thorough, and very informative."

Falling leaves and wings suggested another new category for the list: Worst Dressed. "My vote is TOTALLY going with Druid T10 - wtf is UP with that helm?"

Well, if it's any comfort, I don't think it can be any worse than the mage equivalence. Why would a spell caster try to frighten the enemies dressing up in animal teeth? I didn't include this category in the list of 2009 but let's keep our eyes open for ugly clothes for the year to come and save it for the list of 2010.

Because now it's time to call it. Thank you all for participating! It has been a pleasure. And for the records - here is the final, short version of The Pink Pigtail Inn List of 2009:

1. Best raid instance: Ulduar
2. Least successful raid instance: Eye of Eternity
3. Most longed for instance: Ulduar
4. Silliest gold sink: The Dun Niffelem Mammoths
5. Biggest addition to the game: Dual spec
6. Best quest: The Quel'delar chain
7. Ugliest tabard: Wyrmrest Accord
8. Favorite non combat pet: Onyxia Whelpling
9. Most juicy guild drama: The Martin Fury incident
10. Most charming Blizzard employee: Patric Beja
11. Best podcast: Blue Plz!
12. Biggest blog facelift: Righteous Orbs
13. Most memorable blog post: Archetypes of the Female Gamer, revisited
14. Most noticed blogger breakthrough: Greedy Goblin
15.Most solid content provider: Welcome to Spinksville
16. Most hugged blogger: Phaelia and BRK
17. Blog drama of the year: The Ferraro debacle
18. Best writer: Tamarind at Righteous Orbs


Klepsacovic said...

Not even a mention, clearly I need to start trolling more.

Thanks for an excellent start and end of year posts. I liked your bit about Righteous Orbs; the format really is great and the posts are usually something I can respond to.

Fitz said...

And extra kudos to Righteous Orbs for dealing with their comment system problems, making it easier to "troll" them as well!

Thanks for considering all our nominations Larisa and for writing a great series here. Now it's time to jump right into 2010, the year Azeroth changed forever.

Dw-redux said...

I never even heard of the whole ferarro debate :(
Paladins pff.

grats to all the winners, and with one other exception i wholeheartedly agree.

Monsieur said...

Yay! This series of post was the best ever :D Kinda like wow blogging Eurovision!

Gevlon said...

Thanks for the prize and I can promise to keep on creating lot of controversial comments making M&S and their social supporters angry/sad/outraged!

Keredria said...

Awesome choices! I totally agree with Sydera's post and the Ferraro debacle. I still miss Phaelia as well and I'm so glad that Tamarind has gotten all his much deserved recognition.

Anonymous said...

If it was ever on the internet, it will be around forever. Mort's raid rules can be found at http://almaster-luxlegis.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-to-raid-anything-by-mortigan-lock.html

Larísa said...

Awww Klep. I'm sorry about that. You just didn't fit into any of those categories. You've not had your big breakthrough yet, even though I wouldn't be surprised if it came with the talent you have. Just keep writing and the audience will find you wone day. And while you've got a high general standard, there wasn't THE post that would qualify for most memorable post of the year. But 2010 it will come, I'm certain!
Btw you're in very good company. To my surprise Big Bear Butt for one didn't get any nominations either. Perhaps you two are the kind of blogs that we sort of... take for granted.
Hugs! And don't forget that I'm a big supporter of the troll blog.

@Fitz: thanks Fitz! Please help looking out for things to nominate next year. You could as well start now, it will be hard to remember it in december, so take notes!

@Dw-redux: the ferarro thing was HUGE, it exploded on every blog during on a couple of weeks.

: glad you appreciated it!

@Gevlon: I wouldn't be surprised if you were nominated for 2010 as well. It remains to see if it's for the most memorable post or for some blog drama though...

: thanks, I'm glad there are others who agree with my choices.

: oh, thanks! I'll check that out and correct it if it works.

Tam said...

I am lost for words, and very very touched. Thank you.

And thank you, Larisa, for organising the nominations and making such perfect decisions (obviously I'm not just talking about myself here =P).

And huge congratulations to everyone who was nominated, won stuff, and nominated other people.

Tam said...

Also there wasn't a category for most thought-provoking blogger, for which I would assuredly have nominated Klep.

Hatch said...

I can visit every other WoW blog just fine, but for some reason my work network blocks out righteous orbs. I'm tantalized about how NSFW it must be!

Keeva said...

Congratulations to the winners and everyone nominated. Heck, to anyone who sits down and maintains a blog.

I saw my blog's name nominated and my heart started thumping... /blush

I suppose we are all our worst critics, but I feel TBJ has been lagging behind a bit for a few months, while things have been so hectic for me IRL and in-game. In 2010 I'm really going to endeavour to post more frequently, and make sure there's a good balance of posts. Ironically, I wanted to post my own list of best-ofs, but didn't manage to make the time to do it....

So for this year, it's my goal to be in that list of nominees for solid content providers :)