I’ll start this off by saying this blog isn’t going anywhere yet. I’m still enthusiastic enough to write for it, though lately it’s had kind of stiff competition from other things I’ve been wanting to do. For this post, I’m really just gonna be thinking aloud to sorta open up potential discussion about what I could do for the site.
Related, this is my 300th published post! So wahey for that!
Never thought this thing would go on this long. My first post is back in 2011 which just blows my mind, where did that time go? In light of reaching this milestone, I guess taking the time to have a little self-analysis might be kind of appropriate. I want to keep making posts, so let’s have a think about how I could make things better going forward.
How It’s Doing
I gotta say, when I began writing this I didn’t expect anyone to read it. Why would they with other sites about? Who’d want a wordy editorial blog when you can get a to-the-point complete picture of the news from other places? Despite this, this place gets a fairly regular amount of traffic. Nothing big, but in the region of about 15-30 views an hour. In total, I’m sitting on 650,000 views. That is over 5 years, so yeah like I say my traffic is minor but to me that’s still pretty crazy. I’ve never made anything that’s gotten that kinda attention before. While writing the blog, I’ve always kinda had it as a personal goal to hit 1,000,000 views and I still kinda wanna hit it.
Point is, while my traffic is relatively small I do appreciate the readership I get and I do feel bad when I haven’t written anything in a while. Thank you very much to all those who’ve been reading.
In terms of my enthusiasm? I will admit, there have been times where I’ve burnt out a bit on the game. I’m sure most of you have, too. Episode 4 has been a particularly divisive one, with all sorts of disappointing features and approaches the development team have taken which has made some people quit the game entirely. Personally, Episode 4 hasn’t been a deal-breaker for me, even if there are things I feel pretty let down by (Stargems I’m looking at you in particular). That might be the subject of its own post down the line though so let’s keep this roughly on topic.
Writer’s block is also a thing that happens!
The Blog’s Purpose
The main purpose has been and still sorta is my opinions on stuff. As I say in my now ancient “About” page, I’m really not suited for picking up on news as it comes out. That said, often I either don’t have opinions on something or I just don’t feel my thoughts on specific subjects would be terribly interesting to read.
That said, I’ve been into Overwatch lately (a team-based hero shooter from Blizzard) and with that I’ve been watching a fair few Youtube channels on it. Things like Unit Lost, Force Gaming and others I forget the name of. They fairly frequently share thoughts on all sorts of aspects of the game, from news to thoughts on features among other things. Most of these things I could do here for PSO2! Seeing them has sorta rejuvenated me but I still feel I need to take a fairly objective look at how I do things to explore the following questions:
- What can I change about how I write blogs that would make it easier for me to more regularly make posts?
- What kind of topics could I write about that I don’t currently that I could write about?
- What kind of topics would I like to write about but can’t due to certain barriers?
Something to make clear. I don’t see this as a competition. For one thing I am no competition to other sites, but really competing for popularity is never what I set out to do. I don’t care if this site gets little to no traffic or even if it got none at all. It’s fun to write and as long as its fun I’m gonna keep doing it. From a more professional point of view, it’s about sharing thoughts on a game I love and want to see do better in the future. In that light, other blogs on the game are more my peers in that we’re all supporting the game in our own ways.
What can I change about how I write blogs that would make it easier for me to more regularly make posts?
I really do want to make more regular posts, but the posts I make tend to be very long and take a very long time to make. Often I have to dedicate an entire day just to writing one post, which would be fine if there wasn’t other things I’d be wanting to do. So one thing I’m considering doing is splitting my posts into smaller chunks or just making a conscious effort to keep things as brief if I can. Brevity is the soul of wit, so it’s said.
So what kinda target could I make? Well I’m not satisfied with one post per month. I really feel like I could bring it up to 4 a month again if I wanted to, but I’m not going to force myself to make posts on things for the sake of posting. That’d make for potentially flimsy posts as I’d have less fun writing it.
So in terms of what I think I could do to help myself out:
- Keep blog posts shorter.
Sometimes a long post is unavoidable and I’m sure the 45th Broadcast write-up will be long. The odd long post is probably fine, but I can’t keep the blog regularly updated if it takes 1 or 2 days just to make the post.Not with other things going on in my life too!
- Techy stuff.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for me. Something that would make life easier would be to have access to CSS features so I didn’t have to copy and paste chunks of html code to make posts or be stuck with the limited contole over the sidebar I have for links to other sites. It’d also be nice to have my own domain so my URL isn’t as long, but that’s a more minor thing.
I might be able to do this in the future, but for now I have zero income so I can’t really. I also don’t really want to stick adverts in here to generate money for it cause I’m not really comfortable with money getting involved in something like this (I don’t really get the traffic to make that a viable option anyway). As long as it’s free, it’s my impartial opinions only subject to my personal biases and nothing else. I don’t feel pressured to write just to keep advertising income up.
Still feel like I could do something to tidy up that mess of links I have though, hmm…
What kind of topics could I write about that I don’t currently that I could write about?
Right now I write about my thoughts on major new features and the odd bit of speculation whenever a juicy bit of data-mining comes up. Occasionally I’ll post some thoughts on the odd bit of info that crops up elsewhere, which mostly comes from G-Heaven but occasionally from other blogs too.
Occasionally, I’ll think of things to write about but either don’t because I’m not convinced what I’m writing is interesting or I’ll give up because another blog wrote about it already or someone posted about it on a forum. That’s an attitude I need to lose, because my opinions are always gonna be slightly different to others; my insights are going to be different.
- Perhaps be less fussy about specific things to write about.
While there are times when there’s a bit of a drought in content updates which makes for slim pickings in terms of things to write about, there are a few things even lately that I felt I could’ve written about but didn’t. Thinks like the Odin fight, the healing nerf during the Limited Quest, how they handled Beach Wars 2016, what I think about Arkuma slots among other things. To go further back, how the skill rings shook up some classes, the state of my main class (Hunter!)… In short, I think lately I’ve been too short-sighted on the things I could write about for the blog and I could easily fix this.
There’s also game design aspects and thinking about things from a game design point of view. I’m an aspiring video game developer; I’ve made some small incomplete games and most of my time right now is spent studying to sharpen skills to improve my game design. One of my worries has been that this blog may eat up time I could be using to develop my skills, but if anything analyzing a game ought to work to my benefit. I could discuss what I might do to improve it, make thoughts on what the aims of the developers might be for certain decisions and other things. Maybe even throw some game theory in there as I pick that up. As I learn more about that kind of stuff it might actually get more interesting to write about that stuff, so it’s something to seriously consider.
So I think going forward, I need to be less worried about if something’s already been covered or not. I could expand on the topics I cover; making sure that they are in fact topics I can comment enough on and I could expand by approaching things from a game design point of view.
What kind of topics would I like to write about but can’t due to certain barriers?
There’s a few things I’d like to write about more but I simply can’t do them justice. Mostly it’s the language barrier; because as I can’t understand Japanese there’s a lot of blog posts and speculation from Japan that I never get to see or can’t be confident enough in machine translation to write about.
One major topic this language barrier prevents is story. I basically can’t comment much on story stuff; at least not to any great detail. I can get the general gist of a story and get some extra tidbits through machine translation and discussion with other people, but the finer details are very difficult for a foreigner to obtain. Those details could make certain speculations pointless, as it raises questions that may have been answered long ago (such as “where the heck is Matoi anyway?”).
Then there are things like opinions on classes. I don’t play every class equally. I don’t use all weapon types on the classes I do play equally. So often, I have to consider second-hand opinions when discussing things I’m not familiar with. This doesn’t make for terribly good writing, as I’m not confident in the things I’m sharing and the information may not be accurate. It doesn’t help that PSO2 is very restrictive in terms of what builds you can try out due to skill-tree resets being locked behind a pay-wall and affix load-outs being prohibitively expensive to try.
I also can’t comment too much on the meta. I’m not a top-end player, nor do I really communicate with people who are in the top end of things to get some reliable opinions on the intricacies of what’s strongest, weakest, niche or whatever.
Naturally this limits what I can do in terms of guides, though I can at least consider writing guides as a base to help people out instead of worrying about “how to be the best of the best”. “How to be competent at PSO2” not “How to win interrupt Rankings or get 5 runs of Mining Base: Incursion”.
Now some of these things I probably could write about anyway as long as I disclose that the information may be flawed. I can argue opinions on things as if they were true, as long as it’s clear that it’s definitely a “what if” and not a “what is“. It’s OK to be wrong as long as I admit I am and I remain open to the fact that I could be wrong. I feel like I do that anyway, but it’s something to keep in mind especially for the kinds of topics that fall into this category.
Things I Likely Won’t Write About
What I generally don’t post about is news if I don’t have any thoughts on it. I’m not good at it for one thing and I can’t speak or read most Japanese. It’s also not terribly interesting to me to write about anyway, which I quickly found back in the day when I did used to make news posts. It’s fine because other sites do this very well so I’m not letting anyone down.
I’m not interested in writing about PSO2es. It’s not that I hate the game; it’s OK for what it is, it’s just much of it is again a language barrier thing. I also don’t feel I really play it enough to have any real opinions on certain things. There are some really dedicated players of that game however and I’m surprised there’s not an english blog out there specifically for it.
I’m not going to post about PS:Nova… at least until I get to play it. I don’t have a PS:Vita so that’s a bit of a problem! It’s also all in Japanese, though there are rumours that a translation project may begin for that. If I get to play it, I might post about it because honestly it may be interesting to compare it to PSO2 much like it was to compare PSP/PSP2i to PSU back in the day.
I’m not likely to post about PSO2:SEA specifically. The main barrier is the IP block which prevents me from investigating things for myself. I don’t really know my way around VPNs well enough to address this.
If an American/European version ever happens, I would be interested in writing about it. This is assuming there aren’t any barriers introduced like what happened with PSO2:SEA.
I also won’t write about PSO3 or PSU2 or whatever ends up being the followup to this game; at least not on this blog. If that happens and I’m still interested in writing for it I’ll likely just start up a new blog!
Alright, so this turned into a long ramble which yes I know this is one of the very things I said I feel I need to work on. If you made it this far through the article, thanks for listening to my thoughts and I’d be interested in hearing what you might think I could do going forward too.
Ultimately, I write for the joy of writing. It feels good for the soul. I just felt taking a little time to analyse myself and how I do things here may help improve things for me and the blog.