I wrote much less often in recent weeks. Here's what's going to happen in 2012.
As you know, I started looking for a new job this year. To my honest surprise this was quite a job in itself because apparently employers really liked me. This resulted in traveling all over Germany in the last few weeks and, yesterday, finally deciding on which of the jobs I liked most - after some haggling. The result is a new job which begins in March and pays some whopping 40% better than the last. It's not like I need the money, but hey, I'm sure I'm going to find a way to spend it ;)
As for the blog, this job will necessarily, and actually hopefully, require more time investment than the last one, and before it starts I will have to move to Northern Germany. And this means that the blog will be updated less often; at least in the beginning. This isn't such a bad thing because, as you know, I don't play MMORPGs for quite some time now and I don't really see this changing anytime soon. I will, of course, pick up Guild Wars 2 and all other AAA-MMOs, maybe even Darkfall 2.0 at release, and I will write about them. But I'm also skeptical.
Here's a purely subjective perspective on MMOs, and my history with them. My first MMO was WoW and I was, like many others, truly in love with it. I was also deeply convinced that MMOs would, over time, become ever better at the simulation. I remember that I was troubled by the fact that 'bosses' could not be stunned by rogues, for example; it was inconsistent. I did understand the gameplay reasons, but I, also, was sure that these kinds of inconsistencies would soon be addressed by Blizzard. Maybe they would make stuns, generally, dependent on the size or endurance of an enemy? Call me naive because I was.
The more I entered the realm of MMOs, and ultimately game design, the more I understood that a game is just a designed activity that people like to pay money for. Sure, not all such activities are called games - but this describes what a company starts out to design when it wants to make money with a game. This process of understanding what a game is, was itself a rewarding activity and as such I spent more and more time blogging about MMOs than actually playing them. But, eventually, this had to stop. With the release of Star Wars it did. Nowadays MMOs are not rewarding activities for me anymore. When I look at them I don't see a fantastic place but rather an attempt at keeping the logical, emotional, social and 'executional' parts of my mind busy without being directly 'frustrating'.
But without the magic, without the fantasy, without the possibility to 'learn' something which isn't just a rehash of something I already know, MMOs are just empty shells with no ghosts. Now, part of this is nostalgia - we all know that. But a part of this is also the deep conviction that a MMO which doesn't rub game mechanics into my face and relies on player-generated content, instead of designer-created content, could be fascinating again - if only because I have never played a AAA-MMO which relies on player-generated content: a virtual world. I've only played WoW, its clones, and a bit of Eve; and Eve is a flawed diamond; I don't call it a AAA-MMO.
I am convinced that eventually designers and investors will understand that player-generated content (not player-created content!) in virtual worlds is much, much more profitable than those (superficial) designer-created narratives without a good arc and without even good actors. Sure - there's a gem here and there - but mostly the stories in games, especially MMOs like Star Wars, aren't epic: they are manufactured by so-called "game designers" who mass-produce narratives for little money after having taken a single course in creative writing.
Anyway, here's what this means for the blog. First, I will continue to blog about anything that crosses my mind, including politics and economics. Second, I will continue to write about major milestones of the MMO-scene. As for the frequency, this will be scaled down; maybe even to just one post a month. But I'm certain that there will be periods when I blog much more often.
So, no, this is not the end. It's just a transitional period until one company, eventually, creates a place whose magic is renewed every day by the creativity of its inhabitants.