Sunday, 3 June 2012

NBI: In the head of a newbie

Last time you saw me thinking about other blogs, but this time it's the turn of my own little blog. Yup, I am aware that the NBI is over, but I felt I wanted to give a short summary of what the month May was all about. Or wait, skip the 'short' part, it's not exactly one of my strong points... Anyway. A lot of different people participated in the NBI, ranging from oldschool dinosaurs to freshly hatched butterflies. I thought it might be interesting to tell what all the fuss was like for a newbie like me.

What I first thought blogging was:

Blogging? That's like people who post random stuff on the internet that nobody reads.  Mostly about baby pictures/raising a family, RL fashion or house decorations. Boring stuff.

Yes, that's really what I thought blogging was all about. So what happened? I was just innocently browsing the official lotro forums, especially the lore-master section, when I saw a link in someone's signature that I'd seen several times before. I'm a curious girl and I had seen this person posting pretty sane things on the forums, so I checked it out. It brought me to Lothirieth's Wandering through Middle-earth blog and this was an eye-opener for me. It was fun to read: all personal stories about what happens to a girl like me playing Lord of the Rings, and it suddenly struck me. I could do this too!

What I then thought blogging was:

Lothirieth's blog got me so enthusiastic that I started my own. I scrolled through my LotRO screenshots, noticed there were an awful lot of them, and started setting up my layout. It was all pretty exciting, but also a bit scary. So I was pretty terrified when I showed my blog to someone else for the first time, and the victim was my good friend Wynnie. This is point where she could've laughed out loudly at me and y'all would've been spared a lot of reading terror. Instead, she said it was fun, and she started her own blog, Wynniekin's Adventures, so we could keep track of each others adventures (as we're not in the same kinship anymore). Still, at this point I believed that blogging meant this:

You write some articles you like, and if someone likes them, they'll click the "follow" button. In exchange, you follow blogs you like yourself.

That's all there is to it, right? I continued some weeks, looking for blogs with the same interests as I. Blogger doesn't have a good search engine within itself, though (or at least, I haven't been able to find it), so I kept ending up at Star Wars or Tolkien related blogs - fun blogs, and I still follow some of them, but not writing about online gaming at all. And then the NBI stormed in...

What I now think blogging is:

Suddenly, I found there were way more bloggers out there that wrote exactly about what interested me. I had just been unable to find them so far. Also, there were apparently loads of ways to read, address and appreciate blogs, such as RSS feeds, guest posts, reblogging... It wasn't easy to get a grip of everything. For instance: I spent two weeks getting my RSS feed to work. *traumatized* Everyone was really helpful, though, which was great! I also gave each blog that interested me a place in the MMO blogroll in the sidebar to the right and am following these actively. Apart from the newbie blogs that I mentioned yesterday, I also found several great sponsor blogs that I started following (yup, I'm a real stalker now), of which Rowan's I Have Touched the Sky and Xhii's Roll one hundred are my favorite. And that is what the NBI mostly meant for me: discovering that there are loads of blogs out there, that formed some kind of community.

I found out that 111 newbies is a bit too much to keep track of. Matticus suggested in Syp's wrapup thread to make a list with a better overview, sorted by game. I tried doing this, but soon found that this is a lot more complicated than it sounds. Many blogs don't focus on a single game, but write about several, like I do myself. While it is in my case pretty obvious about which games I write (at least, I hope the buttons and tabs give a clear idea), it is often not for others. On top of that, many people are of the 'gaming butterfly' type. They're not loyal to one or two games, but hop from game to game. Blogs are amazingly diverse, and it's damn hard to label them. Nevertheless, I gave it a try for the two MMO's that I play: LotRO and SWTOR. I should've done this ages ago, as I found out there are some I've missed! I searched through all 111 and selected these on the criteria that they have active and a reasonable amount of content on the subject. Make sure to check them out if you like these games yourself.

Newbie blogs in 2012 sorted by game

The Adventures of Danania, Supergirl of Lorien
Beyond Reproach
Brazokie's Blog Space 
Glimpses from Middle-earth
The Horn & Ivory Gates
Landroval Style
Lotro Cinna
Lotro Family of Flosin Nightsong
Middle-earth Initiative
MMO Juggler
Newbie Hobbit
Real Adventures In Fake Worlds
Windy Acres Ranch
Wynnie goes Free to Play
Wynniekins' Adventures

The Altoholic
Conveniently placed exhaust port
SWTOR from scratch.

I sense a distinct lack of SWTOR blogs. If you're looking for a target niche, this might be the place to start!

Finally, I'd ask you to check out the Gaming Blog Nexus (and especially so if you write a MMO blog yourself): a congregation of NBI blogs. You can easily sign up by sending an e-mail to Roger and get added to the feed.

A final farewell the NBI that is, not to this blog! Many bloggers wrote posts featuring blogs they liked to celebrate the fruits of the NBI. I was really surprised when I found that people had been featuring Ravalation as well. I'm probably breaking some sort of unwritten blogger rule of humbleness here, but whatever. This is what some of them wrote:

Real Adventures in Fake Worlds: "Currently covering Lotro, Swtor, and Mass Effect, which are wonderful choices, this blog is full of beautiful screenshots and entertaining commentary. Her appreciation of these games really comes through in her writing."

Shards of Imagination: "If I had to describe Ravalation in a few words it would be “a feast to the eyes”. Not only her posts are filled with beautiful screenshots (some times with her own drawings too!) but it is all accompanied with very interesting text too. It is like a combo of pure bliss! Right now Ravanel is writing about Lord of the Rings Online, Mass Effect and Star Wars: The Old Republic. I highly recommend her blog to anyone interested in any of those games."

I also got selected for Syp's NBI Awards in the category "Best newish blogger", which was sweet. There's no way I'm going to win that over those librarians, but feel free to vote if you like this blog.

I even got mentioned in I Rez Therefore I Am in Awesome Lookin' New Blogs: "Ravalation has a beautiful masthead image that sets the tone, a great menu bar that runs thru that image and lets me select a particular virtual world if I like, and then scrolls down thru a series of nicely laid out and illustrated posts. All that and a great content-filled sidebar including a “Wordle of the week!”

All these nice words just made me blush so much. Every blogger that I've met has been very helpful and nice. The NBI might be over, but this blog isn't yet. I got to know some very great blogs and people. Thanks for all your support, it encouraged me and I'm certainly determined to keep writing!


  1. Hahah, that's so excellent! You deserve all the praise. :) And you're so dedicated to reading other people's work as well. It's no wonder you're always so well-informed and full of knowledge about bloggy thingies.

    1. Not sure about that, but people are certainly being nice, you too for that matter. And about reading blogs... be careful there, I can tell you from my own experience that it easily becomes highly addictive! ;)

  2. I really like the though bubble, P-in-P style pics you've had the past couple posts, very cute. And thanks for the shout-out, I'm certainly glad I found your blog.

    1. Happy to hear you like the thought bubble images. I thought they might be a bit childish, but I couldn't think of anything else to illustrate the topic. ^^ And there's no thanks for the shout-out needed, it's just the truth. :)

  3. Wow, thank you so very much! :O That was entirely unexpected. Also thank you for your nudge encouraging me to start posting again, plus your enthusiasm here is a little contagious. ;)

    My inspiration was xhii. She had been in a kin I joined so I knew of her from there but then saw more of her on the official forums. We eventually ended up being kinnies. I had always taken screenshots, but her pictures inspired me to try to make them even better... and eventually I figured I'd try sharing them, even if it's very few people who pop by my blog.

    1. Sorry for my horribly late answer! *blush*

      I'm happy you liked the nudge (I for one am very happy with the result!), and all I said was just simply true. I remember that I found it really scary to write a comment on your blog to tell what I thought... silly me! ;-)

      That's cool, I had no idea you knew Xhii from in-game! It must've been fun to both write a blog being kinnies. And don't be so modest and say nobody reads your blog, I can't imagine that. I know that at least one person follows all your posts regularly. ;)

  4. welcome to the blogging community :)


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