I love reading (and writing) MMO blogs. If you’re reading this and you’re a blogger, THANK YOU. I love the level of conversation, the thought provoking writing, the platform for people to explain very different play styles and perspectives, the theorycraft, the rants, and the interaction.
Ever since the development stages of Warhammer, Mythic employees have been actively chatting to bloggers.
So perhaps it isn’t surprising that they’ve chosen to publicise their two long awaited upcoming classes via (not very) obscure gift packages sent in the mail to bloggers. One to Keen and Graev (who have a cute post puzzling about it, of course it’s about Slayers, you berks!!) and one to The Greenskin.
Apart from the side-effect of inciting jealousy in all the other Warhammer bloggers, I can’t help wondering how effective this is for getting the word out.
How many people read gaming blogs?
But how many people really read blogs? We know that most MMO players don’t even read official forums, and blogs are surely a smaller proportion than that.
As a rough guide, when the Book of Grudges was at its peak, we used to get about 1000 visitors a day. We were one of the more popular Warhammer Online blogs but my guess is that blogs like Waaagh and The Greenskin would get two or three times that. (A lot of blog readers will just pick one favourite blog and not regularly read several). A popular but more generalist blog like Tobold’s may get at least that many, possibly more.
And presumably the big WoW blogs may be on 5000+ hits per day. WoW Insider may have much higher numbers, I suspect that as a site they have a lot of readers who don’t typically read blogs.
I am assuming that gamers are more interested in specialist blogs about the game they are currently playing than are interested in general MMO issues/design. And since WoW is the big gorilla on the block, that translates into more traffic for the big WoW blogs than for those of other games. It might be incorrect, there may be some games which just foster a higher level of web activity than others.
This is not to say that I don’t love and appreciate both of my readers 🙂
How influential is the blogosphere?
Obviously it’s cheap PR to send a few pieces of tat in the post. And certainly the pro online gaming news sites do keep an eye on the bigger blogs (this is the story from Eurogamer.net about the Slayer) . It also enhances the company’s reputation for engaging with its players/fanbase on a very grass roots level. (Can you imagine Blizzard doing this? Thought not.)
Anyhow, it is because of being picked up by the larger media sites that this method seems sound to me. It’s just an alternative, cute way of putting out a press release. I thought it was all quite fun!
An addendum about the word blogosphere
I love the word blogosphere. It has a “trendy media talking about web2.0” vibe to it, but according to dictionary.com, the word dates back to 1997 (ie. practically the dark ages.) Now that it’s out of my system I promise that I will never use it again.
At our height I think we got more than 1k visits, I remember some days was 2-3k! But then again, I haven’t looked in a while.
I like that Mythic have been asking a lot smaller blogs for their home addresses. But I am a bit pissed that we weren’t asked 🙂 It goes in MY Book of Grudges, especially coming so soon after we re-opened ;p
Maybe their advertising budget wouldn’t stretch to UK shipping? They have been laying off staff after all!
I’m wondering if community management through the blagosphere is the way forward for MMO companies. Looking at the WoW forums (always remember to wear protective goggles) shows that generally they’re just a frothing mass of complaints, hate and “frist ps0t!!!1” with the rare developer comment spawning 1000 post threads with a 50/50 mix of fawning adulation and raging vitriol. For this cess pit to exist, Blizzard have to employ a staff of ten million (may not be actual figure) community managers to police it.
Now we can be absolutely sure that Mythic have got the word out to their community (maybe not much wider than that, but they hit their target audience) about the Slayer and Choppa, and all they had to do was send Bob the Janitor down to the local supermarket to buy some orange hair dye, a a pair of clippers and a copy of Predator. Add a bit of postage and packing, and the cost for marketing to dream it up, and then compare that to how much Blizzard has to spend every day on just getting their community to shut the hell up about Priest and Druid nerfs long enough for them to announce the other parts of the patch.
And as much as you can be sure that the WAR community knows about the Slayer and the Choppa, you can be sure that they’re all telling their friends how cool this ‘event’ is, and their friends are telling other friends, and cross-game guilds will be passing the message on.
Not only is it much cheaper for Mythic, but it generates bigger hype and excitement than a bland post tucked away on some official release forum by a random blue-named entity.
Anyway, that was a bit long and rambly, but that’s what you get when I post after having just had my first coffee of the day.
Sorry you folks didn’t get any recognition from Mythic yet, Book of Grudges was (will be again) a great site. I think Mythic probably focussed on their most vocal rabid American fan-boys first, even if it means running the risk that it’ll take a little while for the ‘subtle’ message to sink in.
“Boooh, cud it be duh Slayers?”
Sometimes one does panic that Greenskins have actually invaded the real world.
The bigger sites will pick up the news from the blogs too, so really it will get out anyways. Rather then starting at the top with the big news blogs (who may or may not really care), they are starting with the more enthusiastic folks. Seems like a good plan.
Yes the CMs from WAR has been really active and supportive. Maybe it’s because of the lack of an official forum but they are spending way more time in touch with the “small people” than WoW ever did. Sure they might link some of the more prominent blogs but that’s the extent of that.
About the ploy marketing, Blizzard has showed in the past that small teasers work even better than a huge ad in your face. Take for example all the hype with Starcraft II and Diablo III.
When I first released my WAR beta videos on my YouTube channel and interest in WAR was at its peak, my blog was getting about 5000-6000 unique visitors PER DAY. My channel was the number #1 most subscribed YouTube channel for weeks and the most visited for a few days before things finally started to slow down. The spill over traffic to my blog was just nuts. It’s died down to a fraction of that now, since I haven’t played WAR in a while and haven’t made a video, but I say this just to show the traffic potential of a gaming blog if the proper sources are tapped.
Tobold discusses his numbers from time to time – his feedburner subscriber numbers hover in the low 2K’s and he typically says that he gets about the same number of non-subscriber site visits. So yes, BOG was actually up there with the big boys. (I’d count WOWI/Massively as media outlets more than traditional blogs these days, given that they pay people to find all the news that’s fit to print and some that isn’t.)
In terms of the publicity side of things, I think it’s a win/win. The most serious fans will hear about these little care packages, but they’re really just teasers for the big unveil on January 29th. Somehow, I suspect that honor will go to one or more media outlets with a wider readerbase than even the biggest blogs, and people will stil show up to read the story wherever it ends up, because that’s where the details will be.
<i|A popular but more generalist blog like Tobold’s may get at least that many, possibly more.
3,000 visitors plus 2,000 RSS feed readers a day.
@br3ntbr0 & tobold: thanks for sharing the numbers, it’s always interesting to see how accurate the guess work is. I’m impressed at the number of people who followed the youtube videos … interesting stuff!
Construed gets around 80-100 visits a day but that’s not to shabby for a 5 month old blog. I don’t have a niche either, so I expect not to get the visitors, that say a MMO specific blog would get.
Like Tobold & many other bloggers have learnt – getting visitors is good but turning them into regular readers is better.
Mythic may find that bloggers can be more forgiving than corp. sites but blog readerships may not be.
Can’t get anymore specialist then me, and my chosen. On an average day between 200-300 views, once in awhile I spike and hit about 500 when I have something interesting to say, or someone links me for something nice.
I find a lot news comes to our guild forums, via a warhammer news feed, which fed from an unknown source. I am sure our webmaster knows.
How many read these automated posts is beyond me. But I think the number of people reading blogs is probably 1/100 of the 700K (A guess) active subscriptions, if we are lucky. So how effectively it’s reaching the wider player base, I have less hopeful view point.
A lot of you with high volumes will probably be having the same visitor. I know I do a couple of circuits of my favourite blogs a day.
I love reading warhammer blogs, since they don’t fail at the work content filter. So that’s how I get my news and commentary. It’s the commentary I enjoy.
Hello btw, 1st visit here.