Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snapshots from my life as a blogger

I became a blogger on February 2 2008. I had absolutely no idea of what I was doing or why I did it. I was curious. That was reason enough for me to give it a go.

Three years later I’m still around talking about the same stuff - World of Warcraft. You would think that I’d run out of things to say after +600 posts, but obviously not. I’m not sure if it’s about the size and complexity of the game and community, or if it’s more about my passion for it. Regardless of which, here I am as always, standing in the bar, serving drinks and thinking aloud, occasionally taking a break in one of the cosy armchairs by the fireplace.

Not much has changed over the years. The top picture has remained the same since I redesigned the blog in June 2008. I'm turning my back to the audience on it, which doesn't really look very nice, thinking of it. I think I wanted to picture me and the readers sitting side by side by the fireplace, staring into the dancing flames, sharing our stories from Azeroth. Some conversations don’t require you to look into each others eyes all the time.

However I thought that the three year anniversary would be a nice opportunity to turn around for once and say hello to all guests face to face. So here’s a picture of me, drawn by Vidyala at Manalicious from my Armory page. Pretty much spot on if you ask me, only the pink colour is missing.

So this is me, Larísa, and I'd like to spend this jubilee sharing some snapshots from those years by linking to some of the older posts that were special to me for various reasons. Some of them were particularly fun to write - or hard or painful. Others stirred up reactions. Or they just stuck in my mind.

Before I transferred to my current server, I went through a guild split. It was the first time in the game that I experienced that kind of drama and I took it pretty hard. This post was memorable because it was the first time I shared something personal on the blog and used it as therapy. Many more of this kind of posts would follow.

Onion thoughts
This was a little post which came to my mind as I was chopping onions. I compared the learning curve of WoW to the looks of one of those. What made the post special to me was that Matticus linked to it in a post about some new and “upcoming” bloggers. It was the first time I felt as if someone in the blogosphere had noticed me and I’ll never forget it.

The Big Battle of Mages
When people link to PPI they normally categorize it as a “general” WoW blog, rather than a mage one. I don’t talk much about mage stuff these days. But during my first year as a blogger I had a very enjoyable little discussion going on between me, Gnomeaggedon, Krizzlybear and Zupa, a former blogger. We argued about which mage spec that was the best one, in a pseudo-theorycrafting pretty silly way. I’m not sure it was an all that good read to be honest. However we had a blast doing it (arcane of course, what else?) And I think it gave me a taste of how fun and friendly the blogging community could be.

Discovered: Black Temple
PPI was never much of a diary, but bigger events and changes to my gameplay normally will end up as blogposts. Joining Adrenaline was probably the bravest thing I ever did in the game. This post reflects what I felt about it at that time pretty well. Re-reading it is a good reminder to me to be nice to our trialists.

If I die for real will anyone notice?
My gnome may have a cheerful appearance with her pink pigtails, but PPI has never been just strawberries and sunshine. Sometimes I write about my weakness, my self doubts, my ghosts. Or even death as in this case. Two years later I wrote In the Shade of Deathwing – about those things we normally try not to think about, which if possible was even darker. I struggled to write it, but I was glad that I managed to. It rendered some very beautiful and insightful comments.

Ask Larísa – how do I make my blog noticed?
Gevlon at Greedy Goblin and I have a long story together. He was one of my first readers and as he decided to start a blog of his own, he turned to me, asking for advice, which I willingly gave him. The rest is history. Needless to say, I have disagreed with him several times over the years, like in this post. But he has always a reserved seat here at the inn, regardless of how he’s regarded by the rest of the blogosphere.

Happily building my sandcastle
Most posts you write will be forgotten the next day. Blogposts are like milk, it’s consumed on the spot and come with a best-before-date. But this one was an exception. I still hear people in the blogosphere referring to the “sandcastle post”. For some reason this analogy worked, not just for me.

This post isn’t spectacular in itself, but it’s a souvenir from when I appeared as a guest in Twisted Nether Podcast, which turned out to be way more fun and way less nervous than I had imagined. The major problem was for the poor host to make me stop talking.

A year later I did another podcast appearance, in Blue Plz. Considering the size of the audience, this was scarier, but I needn’t have worried. Totalbiscuit is as nice in real life as he’s nasty in his commentary and he didn’t just make me feel comfortable, he also managed to make me stop talking.

33 things I want to do before I quit WoW
I think list posts are a little bit like choir music; it’s more fun to sing or write it than it is to listen or read. Bloggers who give advice on how-to-blog tend to be enthusiastic about list posts, suggesting you to make posts like “Five reasons to…” “The five best ways to..”
It’s tempting, since it’s a convenient structure to work in, but I try not to do it too often, since it gets old after a while.

However, this post was one that I really enjoyed to write and which I actually went back to every now and then, if I needed inspiration for what-to-do next in the game.

Other list posts I enjoyed to write was 17 excuses to play WoW when you know you shouldn’t and Seven lessons learned from trekking, where I managed to combine my interest for mountain walks with WoW (constructed or not, I leave for someone else to judge.)

How to make an unforgettable guild anniversary

I’ve always been quite discrete about my guild's doings in my blog, reluctant to even mention the names of my guildies. For some reason it feels as if I shouldn’t talk about them unless we’ve agreed on it on before hand. If I’ve been writing, it has mostly been in positive contexts, like when we’ve gotten a very longed for first kill. There has been very little guild drama in my posts, if any at all. This post was about a guild event that was so good that I wanted to share it. And I was actually pretty delighted when WoW Insider wrote a special post about it, giving the officers of Adrenaline credit for all their efforts.

Sad and frustrated
The summer of 2009 was a nightmare, computer wise. My old rig had never been a hit, but at that point I was really in trouble and I couldn’t work out what was wrong. I wrote about my desperation and got so many responses and honest tries to help out. In the end, it turned out that I had to buy a new computer, but oh, how touched I was by the love and friendship I felt from the community.

The Bubble
Some posts are personal and this is one of those. Enough said.

The Picture of the Day
I’ve never been one of the Bloggers Who Talk A Lot about Gender issues and unlike Pewter and Chastity I’m not particularly good in feminist theory or argumentation. But sometimes I dip into the topic nevertheless. Not too often though, it wears me down for some reason. This post was about a picture of the staff at Blizzard which made me realize that WoW in the end pretty much is a boys club.

Coming out as an older player in WoW
Age is another topic that I’ve touched on a couple of occasions. I was floored by the reception of this post and I felt far less alone than I had before. The club of older players was apparently bigger than you might imagine.

Musings over boobs and my liberating lack thereof

This post combined the last two topics – age and gender – into one, and a wonderful discussion followed in the comment section, which left me touched and empowered.

A power demonstration of a GM

I’m probably not known to be the most controversial of bloggers, but there are exceptions like this one. My support for a guildie who had been rude to a GM and deprived of his character name as a punishment provoked a massive reaction, with over 100 comments, of which approximately 2/3 were negative. It didn’t make me change my mind on this, though.

Did Blizzard just miss to do a reality check?
Oh, the community rage of the summer of 2010! Blizzard launched the idea of real name posting on the forums. And we raged and they changed their mind! I would believe it was rather the players who cancelled their subscriptions how made this happen, but who knows, maybe I contributed a tiny, tiny, tiny little as well?

An unfortunate meet-up with the pumpking leechers
Some posts are more fun than others to write, posts where the writing is pure entertainment and doesn’t feel like taking any effort at all. This was one of those. The situation was so absurd that the story had to be told. It basically wrote itself.

WoW is...
Sometimes I can't resist going in clinch with those people who I call the Bitter Veterans. A few times it has been Wolfshead, but this time it was Syncaine I attacked. This was a simple list post with linkage, mostly to my own blog. However it was fun to write and gave me a reminder about how many different ways there are to play WoW and why I still like it so much after all those years.

The Perfect Raid Snack

My final snapshot will be this little post about what constitutes a perfect raid snack. I never intended my blog to be useful, but in the end this post turned out to be, since the commenters were more than willing to share their own recipes and ideas.

I've enjoyed taking this walk down the memory lane and I could go on talking forever about every blogpost I ever wrote, but I think I’ll end it here. 25 snapshots are more than enough. (No, I said snapshot, not schnapps shot! 25 of those would DEFINITELY be enough!)

Only one thing remains: to bring out a toast. Thank you for coming here and helping to make this place into what it is.



Grimmtooth said...

Well, here's to another three years of posts from you!

It seems like you've been on my reading list forever, certainly longer than 3 years, and I mean that in the good way :)

Xaxziminrax II said...

I need to say thanks to whoever posted the 5-minute chocolate cake in the snack thread. I don't play wow anymore, but when considering a holiday present back in december for my brother, I remembered that he is a raider, and so I put together the dry ingredients into five disposable, microwavable dishes, wrapped them up and wrote him a little note to go with. He's been having a lot of fun in the Cata raids, and I like to think some of that is thanks to the delicious treats!

Gevlon said...

Happy Birthday and keep up!

Kurnak said...

Here I am, in a bit dark but comfortable corner of the PPI, raising my mug for you! Congratulations!

Ali said...

Happy 3rd birthday! There are so many blogs that hit the floor running and athen dwindle off to nothingness within the first 6 months, so here's to your staying power and I hope to see you around at tleast 3 more years.

Redbeard said...

Well, I'd rather be here than at ol' Saltheril's party, that's for sure.

We old folks need to stick together, so here's to another three years!

Campitor said...

Kudos on your longevity and blogging enjoyment. This nostalga post always trigger memories of some of my more fun moments in WoW.

I remember back in vanilla when I figured out how to sneak into Hyjal by doing some rock climbing. There was a section of the wall in Winterspring where you could actually jump from rock to rock and climb into Hyjal. I found a good spot where you could slow fall all the way to the Alliance darkshore pier. I went back with some guildies,one was a warlock, and we spent hours trying to see who could slow fall the farthest.

Congrats and thanks for the memories!

Joar said...

Congrats on a great three years Larisa! I think I've been hanging out at the inn regularly for two of those and have really enjoyed it. Looking forward to many more years!

Saga said...

Happy Anniversary :)

You've written a lot of good posts through the years, and here's to many, many more :)

SpiritusRex said...

What a wonderful journey through your earliest posts - made my day, much like reading your blog makes my day on many, many occassions. May your creative writing fountain never run dry!

Happy Birthd...Anniver.....?

Oh, hell, whatever it is you wanna call it, congratulations!!!

Issy said...

Happy 3rd Blogversary :)
It's very interesting to look back..

Now, do you serve champagne by the glass? If so, treat yourself :)

lonomonkey said...

Here's to you and another three years of awesome posts!

Phil said...

I just discovered this blog and I am enjoying reading it. Hope you keep it up for another 3 years.


Klepsacovic said...

Time flies...

Disciplinary Action said...

Many happy returns! May we get many more years of thoughtful blogging :)

Fimlys said...

Happy Three Year Blogoversary! And you are ALWAYS welcome back on TNB anytime.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

Happy Anniversary! I must say, that I am one of those people who still reference the sandcastles. It is the most perfect description for what is going on in an MMO.

Syl said...

Happy Bloggaversary Larísa!!! ^^

Larísa said...

: Thank you!

II: Oh I don't dare to go back and check that chocolate cake but I remember it clearly... Way too yummie!

@Gevlon: Thanks!

@Kurnak: Cheers! Have another one!

@Ali & Redbeard: 3 more? I doubt that to be honest. But thanks for the appreciation!

: Thank you! Yes, looking back at my old blog posts definitely gives me some nostalgic vibes. I hever knew about that wintersrping thing. But I remember trying some daring jump down to... Azhara? I failed miserably.

@Joar: Thank you! If you've hanged around here for two years, you're one of my older regular customers. Have another one! It's on the house.

@Saga: Thanks!

: Blogoversary perhaps? Thank you very much! You're one of my most frequent commenters since a very long time and it's very much appreciated. Without readers like you I doubt I'd still be blogging.

@Issy: Thank you. Of course we have! With strawberries as a snack for this occasion.

: thank you!

@Phil: Cheers! I hope this post inspired you to check out some of my older posts.

: Indeed. Can't believe I've been doing this for so long.

Action: Thank you! Can't guarantee many years tbh, but I don't have any plan on quitting right now. Time will show.

@Fimlys: Thank you very much! I'd be happy to come back, just give me a shout whenever you want me!

Fallstar: Thank you!

Tessy said...

Happy blog birthday! May there be many more posts to come! =)

xJane said...

Happy blogday!

Abette said...

Thanks for the re-cap! Very interesting, especailly for me as i have only been following you for about a year now.

Thanks for sharing, and not that this matters, i always pictured you as being a little younger. :-)

Shintar said...

Happy blogoversary!

And thanks for the recap, made me realise that I've been reading you for quite a while now. :) Also, back when you guest-starred on Twisted Nether and Blue Plz! I wasn't interested in podcasts... after this reminder I went back and listened to those old episodes. Was nice to hear your voice as well!

Tam said...

I'm raising my glass to you, Larisa :)

Larísa said...

@Tessy & xJane: Thanks!

@Abette: Hm.. I think I've been pretty open about it. I guess those pink pigtails are deceiving.

@Shintar: wow, you actually went and listened to them. Especially the one in TN feels a bit like history... But at least I had fun.

@Tam: Cheers!

Utakata said...

A belated congrats to the pink and pigtail'd one....from another pink and pigtail'd one. Hopefully my credentials as such will show properly by clicking my name. :) said...

Only 3 years hunh... feels like I have known you forever.

As always, raising a glass of top shelf conjured Mage water.

May all you wipes be learning experiences and your boss kills memorable.

Azryu said...

One thing in particular I remember is this:
I keep smiling
The Wall of Apathy passed me at safe distance. I’m not doomed yet. And when I think about WoW and the WoW community I still have many reasons to smile. How about you?

From this post:

I liked that post quite a bit. Your optimistic side really shined through on that one!

Azryu said...

Because I thought it was relavent, I remembered that quote while randomly reading through some of my old blog posts on my old wordpress blog.

I read the words there almost as it they are not my own. I can't believe raided so much or so seriously. I also look at the posts are smile because I knew how hard I was trying to make something I felt was worthwhile.

Thats the post where I quoted you, Larisa. I did a little picture to even accentuate my "Quotes of the Day" back then. Man, sometimes I miss it. Blogging often, that is.

I don't know why I've taken so long to return to this corner of the internet. I think it's primarily my newfound interest in other areas, but it's hard to say. There isn't a lot out here in the wow blogosphere that was fashioned for the PvPer. At leas that was the case back when I read WoW blogs on a daily basis... I really haven't tried since.

I'm glad to see your still writing. I know over the years you've had your ups and downs, and as someone pointed out earlier you are bringing up feminism and other serious topics far more regularly than you have before. Coming from someone who also sees a world worth changing, I hope that you keep sight on what is right while also seeing the wrongs. Takes some time to revisit the Hinterland and fish for awhile! Take the boots off and metaphorically dip your feet in the water ;)

In any case, Happy (now belated) Birthday, best wishes to you and yours.