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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Six Years of Blogging Part Two: Content


Yesterday, I posted the first of a three-part series celebrating six years of blogging discussing the Community. You can check it out here. Today, I'm going to talk a little bit more about how my own content has evolved through the years and share some of my personal blogging philosophies, then I'll wrap up tomorrow with a few contests.

I tend to post about what I enjoy, and I tend to do posts that I enjoy creating. It's my feeling that if you follow me, you probably also follow the official game pages, so instead of rehashing news here, I like to provide analysis, commentary, or my own ideas about a topic.


Years Past

The first blogoversary I really shared news on that I recall was my third, and it was also my most memorable. I was surprised by a group of friends and caught totally off guard. It really was a moment that highlights why I enjoy this community so much and love to connect with the people here and see what they're up to. In recent years, people have become more and more open in the Twitter community in particular with their lives, and it's great to see the amazing things they do.

From that point moving forward, I tried to do something fairly unique each year. For my fourth blogoversary, I did a site redesign and showed several of the concepts and mock-ups of potential designs from years past. For my fifth year, last year, I did a few site updates and highlights with an emphasis on contests, including the second portion of a Quest Contest where I had a couple of community members do artwork and voice work for characters. I hope to wrap that up in a third portion later this year.


Highlights

Over the past year, there have been plenty of interesting things to come out of Swordroll's Blog (I suppose I'm a little biased), but here are just a few:

  • Why Wizard101's Empyrea Will Be the Last World in Arc 3 | If there's one thing I love, it's theorycrafting. I'm not often correct, but I love to guess and to examine the lore and connections to real-world people and places. In this post, I discuss the Luphilim and where they're from, the Arcanum Scholars, ancient beings, and which NPC we've already met might be the Bat! Of course, I also propose that Empyrea will be the last arc 3 world. Just a guess.


  • A Panoramic Journey through Mirage | Mirage was released late last year, and it was one of my favorite worlds to date and absolutely packed with content. I went around and collected a bunch of screenshots which I composited together to create panoramas that follow the narrative. It's not just pictures, though, there's quite a bit of writing on that one.
  • September Guest Post Lineup | A couple years ago, I started to entertain the idea of guest posts. Generally, I like to do as much of my work as possible by myself, but I did a contest and eventually made the winner the first guest poster ever. Since then, I've had five guest posts per year in September. I encourage you to browse the September archives to see them.
  • Acropolis House Map | I've done a surprising number of art posts over the years, from gear concepts to castle block models and textures, but one of the favorites is always house maps. I started with the Amber Estate several years ago, and followed with the Polarian Shipwreck, and most recently, the Acropolis. 
  • Best Level 120+ Gear | I started a project late last year to answer one of the questions I heard asked most often: What's the best gear out there? So, for the top level tier, I started putting together the best gear, collecting screenshots, farming for items, and preparing posts. It was a lot of work, but I'm pleased with the results. It'll have to continue to evolve, or perhaps I'll make another set when we hit level 130.


  • All Packs | All Bundles | I have been doing bundle breakdowns and pack reviews for awhile now, and I'm pretty open and honest with my thoughts on them. I've created pages with all of these things and hope to continue filling them in.



My Philosophies

I wouldn't say there's any right or wrong way to blog, but I have definitely developed a lot of personal philosophies over the years and things I strive to do and to avoid. It doesn't make them right or wrong; it's primarily just my personal preference.

Create something original. 

This is key for all content creators, and the most successful ones employ it on a regular basis. I talked about a few in yesterday's post. I always strive to provide a unique angle or take on something that everybody might be posting about or sharing.

Sources matter. 

In general, people deserve to know where your information came from. In journalism, anonymous sources tend to be frowned upon. If you, say, mod files in to create your bundle guides, people at least ought to know where that information came from, then they can make their own call. If someone starts copying or stealing your work, that's when it's time to evaluate whether sharing sources is still a good course of action.

Put in the work. 

I try to write blog posts that are always over 500 words. I know that you might not read all of every single one, but the content and information is there if you want it. And maybe you don't, but maybe some other wizard or pirate somewhere does. I try to be thorough and put in a lot of effort with my posts.

Respect boundaries. 

I talked a little bit yesterday about being a Community Leader, and that I believe one of the responsibilities of leaders is to be aware of what's happening in the community, including on other sites. Sometimes we're all reporting on something new, but respect boundaries. A friendship or an act of kindness is often more valuable than your content and personal promotion.


Do your own work. 

We've all heard the phrase, if you want something done right... Wherever possible, do your own work, not just because it's original and new, but also because you'll be surrounded by people who are doing their own work and it's not fair to them for you to take those shortcuts.


Be a helping hand. 

As discussed yesterday, we all started out small. Even now, there are plenty of content creators who could use a helping hand and it's our responsibility to be that helping hand wherever possible.

Remain honest and open.

Never say something just because you feel like you should or because it's the right thing to say. Be open and honest. I'm here promoting KingsIsle games, but if I feel a pack, for example, is done poorly, I'll be honest about it. Our job goes beyond regurgitating new information, it's also about helping people process that information. Be open-minded and willing to admit when you're wrong.

Stay tuned for contests starting tomorrow!

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

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