Saturday, March 7, 2009

Blogs galore!

I recently read a post on The Middle-Earth Adventurer talking about the numerous LotRO blogs out there. So I started hunting around for other blogs that were doing the same thing as me, and to my surprise I found numerous different ones, although they all seem to be accomplishing the same task. There's LotRO Chronicles, The Hobbit Herald, and MMeOw to name a few. I'm sure there's more out there.

Anyway the reason I mention this is because after I realized that there were so many different ones out there accomplishing essentially the same thing, I had an epiphany. Ok I don't know if it's earth shattering or awesome enough to be called that, but here it goes. Why not instead have one source where multiple people contribute news and information? All the current bloggers come together under one cyberspacial roof, and contribute to the community that way?

We could even have LOTROCast as our official podcast! I just thought of that, heh.

With all of the LotRO Bloggers working together, we'd get much more attention from the community and Turbine as well. And the LotRO community as a whole is pretty mature, so I can't invision anyone who starts one of these up being a bad team player.

I don't think this has much of a chance of happening, but I thought it was a cool idea.


  1. Hi, this is Mike from Under the Banner. I think it is a good idea with a few exceptions. We should not hem ourselves into one small choice, as that is a major issue with the LotRO community already. Instead we should work together such as in an alliance or at least a place where blog authors can come to talk to each other.

    This idea is nothing new, a great model is which is a collection of blogers both big and small surrounding WoW.

    We are starting to see an influx back to lotro, myself being one of those people. With that some frustrations are starting to surface again, and that revolves around the lack of good reliable sources of information, not just news, but guides, howtos, discussion on class mechanics, lore questions and the likes.

    Another HUGE hole is the lack of a really good database. I can not tell you how much I miss for such things and still wish someone in the LotRO community would work on it. I know ala and mmodb are out there, but frankly, they are lacking, and ugly, and not very user friendly. So . . .

    We have a chance as a community to help promote and encourage players and the industry alike. We have the mantle and the desire to make it happen. I will do what I can to help in any way.

  2. The LOTRO community certainly needs a more centralized source of information and better promotion. I think does a great job for the WoW community because it allows fans to find several WoW related blogs and cutting edge game info in one place. It appears that Wowinsider has gotten commitments from several bloggers to submit a new post once weekly (more if they choose)) on a particular day of the week. This provides fresh content every day for Wowinsider while allowing the bloggers the freedom to maintain their own separate sites as well. Win win. Also, I think it would be a good idea to work with Moormur to cross promote LOTROCast with the LOTRO blogging community (maybe have some of them as guests on his podcast?). Perhaps we should conference chat or something and do a little more brainstorming. Let me know what I can do to help.


  3. It's hard to work with LotRO in terms of making a real database like WoWHead. They offer almost no options for webmasters and it's just super frustrating.

    I'm not super big on merging all of the blogs together, I guess because I'm concerned that people will eventually not be as capable of expressing their different viewpoints.

    I do wonder if there would be a way, somewhat like what 2highroad is saying, to combine things without actually combining them. I suppose we could have a separate site that we all can just freely post on in addition to our own sites... but another idea would be to figure out a way to get all of our feeds to post on a universal site so that someone can go there and see what we're all talking about.

    Of course that might encourage people not to bother to go to our respective sites too lol. Who really knows.

    If nothing else I'd be more than happy to host a forum like BlogAzeroth if nothing else.

    In any event, I am really happy to see so many blogs popping up or even just coming back. When I started MMeOw a lot of the existing ones had died out. It seems like a lot of people got interested in it again (or for the first time) around the same time I put MMeOw up. I think that's great and I'm glad there's finally beginning to be more of a community that isn't just in the official forums.

    - Tony

  4. I agree with the lack of a database problem. Neither LOTROMMODB nor Allakhazam serve adequate information. I had hopes for the official LOTRO Lorebook but information isn't updated nearly as often as these third party sites. It's been three months since the release of Moria and still many items from the expansion are not in the Lorebook. I can't think of a solution at the moment.

    As to the combined blog idea. I think the concept is a good one, but implementation would be tricky. We could lose our individual voices in a communal blog. We all tend to aggregate as much of the news about LOTRO as possible, having all of us continue in that capacity in a combined blog would be redundant. Delegating the task to one or two people might be unfair in terms of work load for the blog. Each of us also chose our particular blog layouts, etc for a reason. Coming to a consensus on the site, software, etc might be more trouble than it's worth. For example, I use blogger because it's the one I really knew about. I chose the layout I did because I like to accommodate easy reading with as many monitor resolutions as possible. Furthermore, I don't put pictures on my blog to reduce load times as much as possible, also with the goal of accommodating as many people as possible. The MMeOw blog, for example, does use pictures. I find that visually attractive as do many others. Which do we choose and for what reason. Both are valid. Separate, we have a greater choice of content.

    However, building the community is one of my goals as well. Perhaps there's a way to add a post aggregation tool consolidating all our blog posts on each blog. Add it to our sidebars. This should be completely separate from our blog rolls to single-out this aspect of our community. And whichever blog the reader wishes to visit, every one's is within easy reach and clearly advertised as a part of the community we have and worth reading as well. The reader will hopefully have greater choice, more information and opinions, and us bloggers will have our content widely dispersed and we'll get a greater audience.

    I can look around Blogger's sidebar gadgets to see if something like this exists.

  5. I think we have managed to strike a great chord. The over arching expression I hear is to somehow bring us all together in unity, while maintaining our individual flavors and perspectives.

    We all want to build the community, and I think we are the ones who can make a great impact.

    I will also see what is out there for a widget or sidebar that would like those who chose to be in this together. I also think a forum for us blog authors/podcasters to be a great idea.

    On another note that I think I spurred on :) I was again frustrated at the lack of database. I love the lorebook. Logged in, and did a search for armor. The search system is very good and I came up with light armor 20-25 for my RK. Wonderful, had a nice picture of the armor stats but no where was info on where it came from, where it dropped. I was frustrated. Here is why. Lorebook is a wiki. Wiki is wonderful and great, but only as wonderful as the users that put info on it.

    I am going to write a post tomorrow talking about this subject, MMeOw had a great post tonight that got be thinking. With the new tracker,and the access in game to the lorebook we need to have more user input.

    Ill post more later, but my idea is to use our community building and education skills to help encourage users to add content. That will make the best database we have able to be useful. Another subject is tools that we can use. I feel that if we come as a united front and talk to Turbine they may be willing to take a moment to address our needs. After all, has item stats, and its built on mu.wordpress.

    Ok, sorry for the long post, but you all rock. I am SO glad I am back,

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  7. I would thinking putting together some sort of aggregator feed widget wouldn't be too complex. I can look into that more, not sure how coding capable everyone here might be (maybe more or less than me? no clue lol).

    As for the Lorebook, I think that's a good idea. Maybe we can orchestrate some sort of push to highlight the Lorebook and encourage posting on it. Maybe post more things on there ourselves, first of all, but maybe we can also offer some sort of incentives. Like in-game prizes for exceptional articles for a contest, etc.

    Too bad we're not all on the same server lol.

  8. Ok, I have posted my take on it. Let me know what you all think.

  9. I agree with those who feel that a single LOTRO blog with multiple contributors would sacrifice the great variety of both visual style and content currently available. On the other hand, an index of blogs with real-time updating capability would be a really useful tool, particularly if it could include, say, the first five lines or 25 words of every post; that way, anybody interested could scan the day's new posts from all the contributing blogs, and go straight to whichever item they were interested in.

    Keep in mind that the issue of which blogs could or should be included would sooner or later raise its head - never an easy issue.

  10. - what do you guys think of this?

  11. WOW, I didn't expect all this great feedback.

    Looking back, I'm not too keen on the idea of ONE blog, it condenses things too much, and in my opinion takes away from the work that each individual blogger is doing. Had I known there would be such an interest in doing something about the problem I would have been brainstorming harder :P. I'm going to go over everyone's posts and email replies again and see what happens in the little acorn between my ears.

    Thanks for all the great comments once again.

  12. Tony, I love your proactiveness in demonstrating a combined blog. I still have the concerns I mentioned above but if such an system could be reduced to a feed widget or gadget that would include the first sentence or two (I've found blogger's snippets to be a bit long for my tastes) I think it would be perfect. I've implemented a rudimentary system using a blog-roll gadget on my blog but it's just missing the snippet. Perhaps we can all link to a combined feed where it doesn't link to a combined blog, but to our individual blogs.

    I will say, however, that whatever we ultimately choose to do, I think I'll be on board with it, though I'll certainly come with suggestions. A forum system for all of us would be an excellent idea to consolidate discussion of this issue in the mean time.

  13. I'll look into making a widget. The nice thing about the current setup on the combo blog is that it does have its own feed that aggregates all of our content.

    I'll see what else I can come up with in that sense.

  14. I put two up here. Does anyone like these? I'm relying on 3rd party systems, so if anyone knows another one let us know and we can compare :)

  15. Ya know, after some thought, I'm in favor of the combo blog. In all honesty, I rarely actually visit the sites themselves except to copy links when I'm referencing posts on my own blog. Mostly I'm reading it through Google Reader as it keeps everything in the same place.

    So, I'll be figuring out the best way to announce that over at The Middle-Earth Adventurer. It seems to be the easiest way to go about creative a cohesive whole to the community. We don't lose any individuality and we link back to the prospective blogs.

  16. I've been offline for a little while and it looks like I'm very late to the party! Thanks for the link, btw :)

    All these ideas sound awesome and whatever you decide on, The Hobbit Herald will definitely be on board.