Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

One shot: Gnomeaggedon

Posted by Randolph Carter on August 31, 2009

MMO community connection:

Armaggedon’s Coming

Please take a minute and describe what your blog is about.

Armageddon’s Coming is a World of Warcraft Blog focusing on Fire Mages, Gnomes, Gnome Fire Mages, Mages in general and little bits and pieces that capture my imagination both in game and out. Often leaning towards the Q in QQ, but always with a healthy dose of appreciation for the excellent game that Blizzard have developed. Generally the out of game entries revolve around my toddler (Ironically, considering this is appearing on Grinding to Valhalla, my toddler’s name is Odin) or my experiences as a WoW playing parent.

What was your introduction to MMOs and what was that experience like?

World of Warcraft was my introduction to MMOs… Neverwinter Nights doesn’t count and that was the closest I ever got to one before.

It turned out that by the time I purchased the 3 sets of NWN to join my mates… they all left to play another game.. something called WoW…

As I had begged to be allowed to play NWN with my Mates, and my wife finally submitted and gave me the leave pass, I wasn’t prepared to try and convince her to let me play WoW right up…

However at Easter after the release of Vanilla WoW, while at a LAN with those same mates, one of them encouraged me to roll a warrior on his account.. just for a taste test… When I was dragged away from the screen some 3 hours later, it was only because my own copy of the game (purchased by my mates) was being waved in front of my face.

To be honest, the first experiences were average… the Warrior sucked… it was boring, and I am not a melee kind of player.

My 2nd experience in the MMO wasn’t much better… see I was mate number 6… and about 30 levels behind my mates, so it was just me and my pet (I rerolled a Hunter) for the 1st 30 levels.

Can you recall that first MMO “wow!” moment?

It was around level 30, I was running down a road and someone running in the opposite direction /waved and buffed me.

OK, this sounds a bit strange, that I am playing an MMO and it was only about level 30 I experienced anything along the lines of the MMO nature… but being an Aussie, playing on a US server, often meant that I was playing alone. I remember doing a /who in the Arathi Highlands one night… I was the only player there.

As for real, OMG it’s so big moment… either running into Org one night to the crowded bank… or when we rerolled and started a guild on Khaz’Goroth server… we were the 2nd guild on the server, and one of the largest for some time, around 500 members… that became a full time job.

At your peak, how much time per week would you say you spent playing? How about now?

At my peak probably about 11-12 hours per week during TBC. Comprising 1 x 6 hour slot on a Friday night with my mates and 5-6x 1 hour slots in the morning while doing housework.. just playing the Auction House. It was the only way I could “grind” my Spellfire and Spellstrike sets.

These days it is pretty much purely the 6 hours per week, with the occasional leave pass to pay while my wife watches Desperate Housewives.

Do you tend to supplement your MMO gaming with other PC, console, or tabletop games?

The basic answer is no. I don’t have any consoles and have no time for other PC games.

Once in a blue moon a mate will organize a game of Space Crusade (or similar) as a “night out”.

Even when I am at my mates LAN parties I tend to spend most of my time in WoW, catching up on all those things I couldn’t otherwise do.

When did you first start blogging? Would you mind taking us up to present with all of your projects?

I started blogging just over 12 months ago, June 23rd 2008 with my post You’ll always find me in the Kara at parties. I actually prepared a few posts ahead of time, so in the 1st 3 days I published 6 posts… something I didn’t intend to do, but I think in the end I was publishing about 1.5 posts on average a day… even though generally I only published on week days, and I was away for 2 months of my 1st year of blogging.

There is really only one blogging project… Armaggedon’s Coming!

To be honest it takes up more time than I can really afford… but it’s a passion. A passion that extends to all Mage blogs, which I love to publicize as I discover them. For some reason most Mage bloggers start because they can’t find any mage blogs… strange as I have about 60 of them in my blogroll!

Do you see blogging as just a hobby or perhaps something more?

It’s purely a hobby… something to relieve my addiction to WoW. I may not be able to play 24/7, but I can still write about it on the train!

Do you have a schedule or some sort of routine you try and follow when blogging?

Not really. I do attempt to write one post per day, but I usually have several in the works (about 20 online drafts and another dozen on the iPhone). My main schedule, or routine is to note any ideas I have in my iPhone immediately, then draft the post up on the way to work. It isn’t unusual for me to knock up 3 posts on my 40 minute train ride.

Would you say there is some grind involved in blogging? If so, what is it and how do you tend to cope with it?

Definitely, but I think it’s an expectation driven problem. The problem is really of perspective, as a blogger you just feel you MUST write something every day, you MUST post something every day, you MUST get those viewer stats up.

My coping mechanism is to churn out the posts when they are bursting, schedule them, then relax. Usually if I am feeling really pressured (it is only internal pressure though), I will schedule a weeks worth of posts. Then once I feel the pressure subsides I will write at a calm, relaxed pace, and just shuffle the posts about.

By contrast, what do you find pleasurable about blogging?

There is no particular order for this, but numbered anyway…

1) The readers: Firstly it’s the page hits that really drive me, as much as I like to deny it. Luckily I have some guides there that just generate hits even though they are 12 months old now. So now I really enjoy the discussion with my regular and loyal readers, particularly the non-blogging readers (but definitely not excluding my fellow bloggers). People like Prelimar, Larisa and Jong, to name only a few of my very much loved readers, keep me coming back with more.

Recently my mother died, and it has been fantastic the support the community has given… best yet, they were all there waiting when I started writing again.

2) Brain dumping: I love to talk… I love to sprout rubbish, most of all I like to know people are listening to the rubbish I spout. The blog gives me the opportunity to QQ, dream, brag, cry etc in a relatively meaningful fashion… especially since my mates are tired of hearing my voice…

3) Reading other blogs and leaving comments. OK, not strictly blogging, but I challenge any blogger to say they don’t read and feed off other blogs. The community of WoW bloggers is amazingly close for such a disparate bunch of people and they really encourage you to push yourself to write again and again. So much of the stuff that is written is mind blowing… maybe not the best grammar, maybe sometimes a bit off center, but it is all worth a read.

Would you care to share a particularly memorable moment from your blogging past?

4 things come immediately to mind.

1) My 1st comment came from Larisa from the Pink Pigtail Inn (actually it was the first 3 comments). She was the primary reason I was inspired to start blogging, so this was a great start, and the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

2) My 1st linkage from WoWInsider (now WoW.com), which was for a silly little post about the similarities between parenthood and WoW: WoW is like bringing up kids.  I thought the WordPress stats were broken when I first checked, then it dawned on me.

3) The loss of some of my favorite bloggers. They come and go of course, but they were inspirations to me (both to blog and for post concepts), so it was sad to see them go (and reappear… Jong & Megan!)

4) For my 1st blog anniversary, I decided I would let my readers write the posts… for a couple of days. I thought this would be a nice way for me to have an easy blogging week. It turned out I received a pile of quality responses and screenshots and it took about 2 weeks to get all my “Blogday Presents” posted. It really struck me that I had some quality readers out there, that were prepared to go to serious lengths to reward/thank me for my efforts over the previous 12 month… I love you guys!

Have you ever considered branching into podcasting?

No.. I have contemplated guesting on a podcast or two, but the reality is I don’t have any time to even do that. The Aussie timezone difference makes it hard to contribute to US podcasts as their recording time is usually midday Aussie time when I am either at work, or with Family… and I am a family 1st WoW player.

Are you pleased with how your blog has been received in the MMO blogosphere?

Pleased… Yes..

Amazed… Yes..

Stunned – you wanted to include me here, on Grinding to Valhalla!?!

I keep getting told how positive Armageddon’s Coming is, which strikes me as strange as I wouldn’t say that I am the most positive person in real life. That said, I do enjoy the game and I am constantly seeing the fun aspects of WoW.

If you had a chance to do it all over again, would you do anything different?

Not much that I can think of.

If I had more time I might go self hosted, but I don’t, and I think WordPress.com (or any of the 3rd party hosted blogs) is the best way to start, just to see if you are up to the constant grind.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to try their hand at blogging?

1) Write. Write what you love (or hate) about your subject matter.

2) It is certainly easier if you pick a niche, even it’s as broad as “everything about WoW”, but it is better if you are even more refined (yet don’t limit yourself too narrowly and run out of subject matter by the end of the 1st week)

3) Read other blogs, leave comments, make friends.

4) Bounce off other blogs, respond to them via your own posts, expose them to your readers etc.

5) Write as much as you can while you are enjoying it, slow down when you aren’t

6) Stats don’t make a blog, they may encourage you to write more, but they aren’t important in the whole scheme of things. If you need that sort of external acknowledgment, write a guide, preferably a timeless guide, so the hits come in even if you are AFK (As I was for a month recently)

7) People that comment are your friends, acknowledge them… the new ones, the old ones, the lurkers. Yes the lurkers will come forward every now and then, they deserve to be recognized for coming forward.

Can you picture a future where you will hang up your keyboard and no longer blog?

Yes, that time nearly came a few months back… but the real reason for that wasn’t that I was tired of blogging, rather that I thought I was giving up WoW. When I give up WoW there will be no good reason to continue with Armaggedon’s Coming and it is unlikely I will write a personal blog, so unless some other game inspires me to the extent WoW does, the keyboard will be binned.

You wake up to a world where you are the head of a company developing an MMO. You have unlimited funds and resources available to you. Please describe the kind of game you would make.

Mmmmm, well there would be two factions containing multiple races that can perform as different classes. They would be able to solo grind, run group quests and instances and closer to the end game form into larger groups, or raids, to take on the toughest content…ohhh… errrrmmm… sound familiar?

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One Response to “One shot: Gnomeaggedon”

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