I’m generally a very empathic person, and that’s true in my ‘real life’ as well as my gaming one. When it comes to board games, my friends know I’d rather play one where we all work together rather than compete. It’s a big reason why I took to MMOs so readily. Oh, I’ll PvP sometimes, but what I love about MMOs and what I love about WoW is working with a group of other people towards a common goal. It’s kept me engaged in this game for almost three years. When you laugh, I laugh with you. When you cry… sometimes it’s hard for me to recognize that the reason for your tears isn’t actually anything wrong in my life, I become so upset on your behalf.
Learning to recognize when the emotions and feelings of others are affecting me too much is probably going to be a lifetime thing for me. It comes and goes, and it depends on where I am in my life. As Voss and I have dealt with his father’s illness and the natural fears and feelings that arise from that, it’s been a bit harder for me to detach myself from the feeling of the WoW community fracturing, diminishing. For a few weeks, it felt to me like every time I opened my feed reader another blogger was closing their doors. It began to be draining. It makes a person wonder, “Is there something I’m missing? Am I still here only because I refuse to admit that I should be leaving?”
I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been struggling to write here, not for lack of ideas – I’ve started at least six blog posts over the past week, each one that I think would make a great post! But I get distracted, and I don’t seem to be able to finish them. My writer’s block is not the same thing as being ready to leave or ready to stop, although I think it could have picked a better time. (Is there ever a good time for writer’s block?) I’m sure it’s especially difficult to be one of the ‘old guard,’ bloggers who have been at this for many years. It’s always tough to see your contemporaries leaving. That feeling of loss and uncertainty has threatened to drag me in, too, but I realized something today.
I still have things to say. I still have people to talk to, and the WoW community brings me so much. You’re not even remotely done listening to me ramble, and I think that’s okay. In the wake of Tam leaving, and again with Larisa’s decision to stop blogging, I’ve heard people say things like “We can’t ever be the same without them,” or suggest that the end of their blogs is somehow a sign of the end. It’s bothered me that some comments seem to be that there will be nothing of quality left. In a way, people are right. The community can never be exactly the same as it was when Tam brought his philosophic ramblings to bear on it. We will miss Larisa’s cheerful hearth. It won’t be the same, because it’s going to be different, but not because it’s ending.
New bloggers are opening their doors all the time. Some of us are still going strong and nowhere near ready to quit blogging. There was a series of blogaversies that has stretched from December through January, and these are the people whose enthusiasm for blogging I have shared, contemporaries and colleagues, friends and friendly rivals. We haven’t gone anywhere, our voices are still here. Don’t miss reading an excellent blogger because he/she isn’t a blogger that’s come before. We can’t duplicate the exact approach or personality of those big names, but there are plenty of us still well-worth reading, and new ones joining our ranks all the time.
The unfortunate thing with being empathic is that it’s easy to read others with complaints or feeling tired about the game and to “catch” that feeling. Then you start to wonder if it’s you, too, if it’s just time to move on, if you’re finished. It’s okay to wonder that, and it’s okay to stop blogging too. But make sure if you do that it’s actually your feeling you are addressing, and not just a reaction to change. I hate change, myself. I hate when voices I’ve come to expect are no longer here for me. But I also feel that there are many voices left that I love listening to; many of us with a passion for the game and the words we write about it.
I have a challenge for you, whether you are a blogger or just someone who enjoys reading blogs.
If you’re a blogger: Find a new blog today that looks promising, that you enjoy. Link to it on your blog. Leave an encouraging comment! The Blog Azeroth author introduction forums are a place where new bloggers can introduce themselves, and you can surely find a gem there. What I’m talking about doesn’t even have to be a new blog, though, even just ‘new to you!’. You can find great treasures in people’s blogrolls if you browse around. Link love, recognition, and feedback are what make us more than just a random grouping of people talking to nobody in particular. They keep us together, they make us a community. Instead of being upset that some of the paragons of the community have moved on (although of course, pay them a respectful, loving, or tearful farewell) – today I intend to focus on people that are still here. It’s our attitude and recognition of each other that will ensure we continue to be engaged and enthusiastic about blogging.
For my part, I’ve started reading Stubborn over at Sheep The Diamond recently, and I’ve found his words funny and insightful. His is a new voice I’ve been quite glad to hear!
Here’s my second challenge, for non-bloggers. If you have found a blog recently that you enjoy reading, if you appreciate the content there – whether it’s guides, points of view, or just something to make you laugh – leave a comment. It doesn’t have to be a LONG comment, and you don’t have to leave twenty comments a day on various blogs. But taking the time to comment is a huge part of what encourages bloggers to keep going. Knowing that people are reading but not saying anything can be worse than knowing that nobody is reading. Even if it’s just a comment saying, “Thanks for taking the time to compile this information, it’s been really helpful.” Knowing that I’ve helped someone, or made them think or even just brought a smile to their face makes my day. It’s part of what has kept me blogging for over a year, and why I see myself continuing to blog in the future. I don’t know any bloggers that don’t love to receive a comment. We thrive on it, because it lets us know that people care about what we have to say.
So leave a comment, link a blog, read a blog, and remember that there is a vast community of players of all stripes writing about a multitude of topics – and that’s what makes our community so awesome and will keep us strong for a long time to come.