This is Chaos!

Actually, that’s a lie. It’s just Anarchy Online, which is pretty orderly and straightforward, contrary to what the name would tell you. As I said earlier, I have been playing this game for around two weeks with Donovan from Donovan Drones. If you want a more thorough insight about our time spent there, I would recommend checking out his blog. That said, I figured I’d point out that the game hasn’t changed a whole lot since I last visited it a few years ago. That said, it’s not actually a bad thing. There’s something oddly nostalgic about knowing something isn’t going to change too much even when you’re gone for a long time. Of course, that’s not necessarily good in the event you’re thinking of a useless significant other, or perhaps your dead-beat father who has somehow mastered maintaining an ugly 5’oclock shadow since the day you were born. But don’t worry about that too much, because this time is the good sort of nostalgic.

 
Now, that isn’t to say that nothing has actually happened in Anarchy Online since I left, there have in fact been content updates and the ongoing war between the Clans and Omnitek still rages on (or plods along, I honestly don’t know if they’ve managed to keep the steam going for ten years). And even then, I think will the time spent away from it, and my time playing modern MMOs has actually managed to give me a new sense of appreciation for what the game does actually have to offer. More on that in my next post…

Riknas, signing off.

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NBI Finale

All good things must come to an end, as the saying goes. Syp has issued the month wrap up and declared the end of the Newbie Blogger Initiative. Although I knew from the start that I was coming in near the end of it, I’m still a little bit sad to see it go. While many people say, “It went by so fast,” or, “It felt like just yesterday,” for me it really was only a few days ago. Even so, I’ve done the best I can to make the most of it. I’ve gotten the opportunity to make some new posts, and see many new blogger names (I’m still going to need at least a week to go through the number of people that participated); I also was given a sense nostalgic relief seeing a handful of names that I recognized still posting. Despite the little time spent with it, this has been a great opportunity for both myself and my newbie blogger friend Donovan, from Donovan Drones.

In fact, I was actually given the great gift of podcasting once again, with an invitation to be on the Contains Moderate Peril show. They were definitely some interesting fellows, I hope I get to work with them again in the future.
While I had two more archive posts on blogging, I’ve decided to hold off on those because I’ve gotten tired of posting up older works and want to write more new things. So, I will be saving them for some rainy days, and probably give them some edits to try and keep them useful for when I do post them. That said, it’s time to move forward now, and I will next be discussing my time with Donovan while we explore Anarchy Online.

Riknas, signing off!

NBI: On Cruest and Goss Posts

I would feel terribly guilty if I didn’t make sure to put in at least one original post for the Newbie Blogger’s Initiative, so here you go.

So, on the topic of Grest and Cuss- erm, discussing Guesr and Csoss… Oh forget it. Let’s talk about Guest and Cross posts for blogs.

Wait, no, I said cross posts! Cross POSTS!

Anyway, for a while there was one idea to better support your blog would be to post it everywhere. This is referred to as cross-posting. And to be honest, it makes sense. If you have to advertise for a concert while you’re on a budget, hopefully you make a large (but well made) poster, copy it, and then start posting it everywhere you can. Given the opportunity, you will also stick a smaller version of the poster onto your neighbor’s cat. You don’t hand draw a flier and then pass it to your mom, and then get started on making a different one to give to your dad, then your sister, then your best friend… At that rate, you’ll never even reach the neighbor’s cat, let alone a new person.  It’s time consuming, difficult, and ridiculous.

Cross posting is essentially the first option. You cross post by typing up your main article and putting it up on your blog, and the on another person’s blog, Myspace, Facebook, a Ning Network, a Giant Bomb blog, in several forum threads, and then maybe because you can’t be bothered to steal your neighbors cat, you elect to just put a picture of a lolcat somewhere in that blogpost. Good going, right?

If only my friend, if only.

 
It turns out that Search Engines (such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo) are not happy with this. In fact, they frown upon your use of all these fliers on their internet. They don’t want to show multiple search results of the exact same post which is only different in the fact that they’re on different sites(though you may be able to keep the lolcat useful).  Thinking about it, that’s not too surprising. Instead of putting up fliers all over the town, to a search engine you’re just putting up a bunch of advertisements in their house and asking them to tell people which of the identical ten is their personal favorite. So naturally they respond by ripping off the posters in frustration. Then, they them into their storage room, and if someone happens to be so persistent that they come knocking on Mr. Search Engine’s door asking, Search Engine will with a sigh direct that person to the storage room to go pick out one of those fliers.

Basically, while a search engine normally won’t go so far as to delete all the results for your blog, they will instead knock down the search results for them, and try to put up some less annoying pages in their place. In the age of viral marketing with with Twitter, Facebook and Digg, search engine’s would much prefer you try sharing your site/posts that way. Now, onto the Guest Posts…

I don’t think you can call yourself a “guest” in another person’s clothes…

If you look at the image too long, you start to imagine how you would look in it yourself. So let’s move on while we still can.
As I was saying, guest posts. A guest post can have a few meanings depending on how you view the word “guest”. But this time let’s just look at one definition, yes? The general idea of a guest post is (to stick with the concert analogy) to be the opening act for another band. You perform at someone else’s concert in order to promote your own tour, the only caveat being that you need to play a new song (remember, this isn’t actually a cross post, you need new content!)  And the great thing about posting on another person’s blog (with permission of course) is that you’re significantly less likely to be booed off the stage or have bottles thrown at you in the event that they hate you. Of course, if you actually need that thought as a safety blanket we might have a different problem at hand.

Regardless, the great thing about guest posts is that both sides will benefit, so be sure to try and guest post on another person’s blog, but also try and have guest bloggers yourself! The guest has an opportunity to promote themselves, while the host is given the opportunity to spice up their blog with something different. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with that.

And then of course, there is also the warm and fuzzy feeling from working together.

Riknas, signing off!

NBI: By this (Key)board I rule!

“By This Axe I Rule!”- Kull, Exile of Atlantis (Robert E. Howard)

Although it began with chisels and quills, writing has since been championed by the keyboard in case you haven’t noticed (Get out from under your rock, I mean really.) Never mind that though, the medium is not what matters, but what comes from it. Since we have invented writing (Be it traditional English, Cyrillic, or some type of cuneiform) you still need to follow the same general rules in order to interest people. Can you use grammar, can you spell? Use correct punctuation? If you can’t do any of these, your writing career is no doubt a short lived one. However after that, you choose how you play the game. Be it a visceral style like Robert E. Howard, or the excruciating details of JRR Tolkien, statistically, you have to find someone who doesn’t think your writing sucks.

But that may be going in the wrong direction, for I digress. If I may, this here is a blog for the fellow bloggers once more. Just as it works for a sword, the keyboard is only as good as the one wielding it, sure you can create a handi-cap to make your faults less visible, such as a hand guard for your blade (Ergonomic design, or Spell-check in terms of the keyboard). But frankly, if you’re bad, there’s really no getting around that with just some nifty tools.

In a previous blog, I did indeed mention that its good to get your name out there by talking on other people’s blogs and contributing, however I now feel I must clarify this further. Imagine, if you will, someone who is a complete shut-in, anti-social, the works. Now in order to improve on this person you want to convince them to just talk to people more, else they will never know the light of progress. Now, by some form of deus ex machina they have blossomed into a social butterfly and are talking to everyone. One problem though, they never shut up, and talk about the most absurd things (ie, he’s trying to pick up the hot blond with his l337 skills in World of Warcraft). You now fear that your previously anti-social friend will find their head jammed in a locker or toilet (High school still isn’t a pretty place). And so you now must explain the concept of moderation.

Moderation is important to all things of course, too many video games, too many candy bars, even working out too much can be unhealthy if you’re not careful. That said, let’s assume you have a blog now and are getting used to working with other bloggers plenty, great! Now imagine you’re the imaginary friend who is about to have his face broken in for not shutting up. Bad. To translate this analogy, it’s good to get out there, but just like in real life you need to be wary of what you’re saying. Much as we want to say we can, there is no walking into someone else’s blog and getting all buddy-buddy with them like you’re a big-time blogging vet like him. If this person is blogging about how much RMTs are the work of Satan, even though you may think you’re a great blogger (And you might be), the odds of you being able to show the heathen your amazingly enlightening views so that they completely re-think their opinion and, impressed by your fantastic writing prowess, talk about you on their blog nearly every post and now have you on their blog roll…is remarkably small.

This is not to discourage people from getting to know the community, but is a reminder on perspective for the ambitious of us. You won’t hit fame right from the start, and it won’t go any faster (Quite the opposite really) if you try to compensate for time lost by commenting that much more. Most importantly though, while a blogger might not agree with you right from the start, you do have the potential to rub off on these guys if you keep at it. Have a thoughtful comment every week or so, but don’t hammer them with your thoughts every day. Fast forward a few months or a year later? Now you’re one of the big boys too, so hop to it!

NBI: The Blog Rings

No, there isn’t one to rule them all or one to find them. This isn’t a LOTRO post. While I appreciate comments about how awesome I am (I have a self-esteem issue you see), and appreciate zealots following me and tell me I’m right the entire way, I hardly think it would kill me to make a post that goes out to the fellow bloggers. Now, I don’t know how many of you have your own blog sites for when you post, be it a professionally done one with private hosting on that (Kudos to those of you that do,) a basic blogger or wordpress website (Like myself, or the famous Tobold) maybe you post on a social network site or on to a LiveJournal. Perhaps you feel you don’t write enough to be worth putting up. Or do you just want to keep the thoughts in your head (No problems there)? Suffice to say, I want to talk about the MMO rings of the blogosphere, and a bit about getting involved in them.

First, before you try and figure them out, notice them. Not just seeing it, but being consciously aware of them. Originally, MMO Voices, and GAX before that were the most obvious kind of a blogging circle. Really,  just about all of the Ning networks are a blogging circles, a social network. Not quite MySpace, it creates a room for us to all essentially boost our ratings (Though not purely for that of course) by compiling people of like interests into one site. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Even for the most narrow minded, it’s nigh impossible for us to put up our own blogs and not read those of anyone else. It’s that much easier to notice some other posts text, and that much easier to become a regular reader of a certain blogger.

The real power, of course, is friendship.

The other two phase are debatable on which is more visible, however I will start with what is the most visible in the literal sense. Blog Rolls. The above image is a good example of Blog Roll. Now, this is most frequently used on personal blog sites, or custom designed ones. Quite frankly, it would be sort of awkward if Ning networks tried to make an apparent blog roll for everyone. Even with tiny text, it’s already sort of cramped there. Regardless, it’s the next best way to keep a constant shout out to blogs you recommend. It’s a kind gesture to put someone on your blog roll, and you get the warm fuzzy feeling when you see yourself on another person’s.

OKAY, NOW IMAGINE A DARK ROOM WITH LOTS OF SINISTER FIGURES IN A CIRCLE

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to properly convey the last kind of ring, so I trust in your imagination and your literacy skills. The last kind of ring is the least official of the rings, but can be by far the most effective. I’m not even sure what you’d call the name, however if I had to give it a word I would make a toss between “Friendship” and “Partnership.” I would consider the former the most likely rationale, however Partnership would be the most broad way of explaining it. What I essentially speak of is a bond between bloggers, that they essentially exist as a group of friends, all sharing support as much as they can. These folks may very well also have each other on blog rolls, but they also comment on each other frequently. Unfortunately I can not point to a clear person or place where this is frequent or obvious, but isn’t too hard to pick up on if you follow a large number of blogs and note how shout outs relate into blog rolls.

So, what does that have to do with anything? Well, again. I put this out to all the people who really like to blog, want to get, be, or are serious about blogging. This has been done before no doubt. But I’m not actually aware of one for this specific topic, at least not in the blogosphere. I essentially speak of the design of an unofficial blog pack. Akin to VirginWorlds, and the EVE Blog Pack. I’m not saying leave whatever site your part of, no. But I do encourage the bloggers to go to Blogger, WordPress, or SOMETHING. It doesn’t have to be crazy hand drawn graphics on a tablet or some premium site, but go there, get together, and post stuff there. Heck, it doesn’t have to be different. Hit up your fellow blogger and smack their new site onto your blog roll and start your own blog rings to make the community that much more active.

This is my call to arms, and I’m signing off!

((This Archive post has been edited and had added content for new readers))

The Newbie Blogger Initiative (A bit late)

Get ready for another two-post day (don’t get used to it) folks!

Now, did I say a bit late? Sorry, I meant very late. I just recently found out about the Newbie Blogger Initiative, where Veteran bloggers help out the Indie or “Newbie” bloggers. It’s almost like a humanitarian outreach program for bloggers, only with less implications of poverty and racial tension. That said, I think it’s a fantastic way to expand on the blogosphere to promote gaming and put new life into the community. That said, I’ve since decided to participate in it. Of course, no one knows whether or not to call me a sponsor or someone to be sponsored since while I’ve obviously been involved in blogging before, I’m starting completely fresh again and I’m not even a valid search result anymore.

Even then, I’m level-headed enough to know that the popularity of my blogs have paled in comparison to my time in the Free Play Podcast and the Multiverse podcast. Now, some of you might call this cheating, but with that in mind I’ve decided to try my hand at both because I can’t decide what to pick. In my archives I had already made some posts about proper blogging and blogging tips, so it seems silly not to repost those. It is possible I might be excommunicated from the blogging community for this treacherous act of lighting the candle on both ends, but what is life without risks?’

Make sure to read the next post, “The Blogging Rings”
Riknas, not-quite-signing-off-but-will-in-the-next-post-so-keep-reading-please.


Retaking Goal #1

This is a special occasion readers, an archive post and a real post in the same day. Wonderful, no?

I remember the frustration I dealt with when I found out that searching “Riknas” on Google would lead to the search engine asking, “Did you mean Diknas?”That said, my first goal as a blogger/podcaster had been to make my name prominent enough so that Google wouldn’t try to correct you when you type “Riknas”. I remember feeling quite proud of myself and asking my co-host Andras to give me a pat on the back (because only a jerk would actually pat themselves on the back) for when that goal was reached.

Unfortunately, it seems that since then, likely with the disappearance of the original Riknas Rants and the plug being pulled on the feed for the Free Play Podcast, the number of valid searches for Riknas have declined, as well as the number of people searching me in the first place; Google decided that “Riknas” stopped being a real name again and started recommending people to search Diknas.

To this day I still don’t even know what diknas means, or if there’s a difference between “Diknas” and “diknas”. Maybe it’s actually an acronym and is really D.I.K.N.A.S. And you know what? I don’t care. DIKnas is my enemy. DiknAS is my rival. I fought DiKNas once and won. And I will defeat DIkNas once more. Bring it, DIKNAS.

Riknas, signing off!

Archive: Goal #1 Accomplished!

((This Archive post has been edited to be easier to understand for new readers))

You know, I never thought that I would use a blog post that also acted as a link. ((Link now defunct)) It’s really quite nice to make use of it, sort of like the person who buys something just because it’s a really awesome deal. “Hey, I totally got three gallons of milk for the price of one!” says the lactose-intolerant individual.

Actually, I take that back. If that guy actually did drink it to get his money’s worth, I shudder to think what would occur. My guess is that the results would be tragic.

Moving on though, I thought I’d point out that the link you see is the Google result for the name “Riknas”. (No, you don’t need to point it out, narcissism police. I apologize) Note that it does not ask you, “DO YOU MEAN DIKNAS?”

The name “Riknas” is now a valid search of its own, and yours truly is at the top of the list. Apparently, my good readers and affiliates like me enough that I actually exist! Despite being a very small milestone, I sincerely appreciate all my readers and affiliates see the next visible sign of progress since I first started MMO blogging in the august of 2008 on the Free Play Blog.

I’ll hopefully be tearing myself from my (still) obsessive playing of Mass Effect 2 and start writing real blog posts again sometime in April.

Again, I thank you all!

Goal #2? Make the search for “Diknas” result in, “Sorry, did you mean RIKNAS?”

Riknas, signing off!

Hello, World (again)!

Hello again bloggers and readers! Miss me? No, I didn’t think so. But thank you to the people who politely considered acting  like they did just a second ago. If you don’t remember me, I’m Joshua (more commonly known as Riknas) from the (now defunct) original Riknas Rants and the Virgin World’s Free Play Podcast. If you don’t know me…well, I’m still Riknas.  After an extremely long hiatus of working on other projects and just doing my own thing, I’m back to blogging with a fresh site. There’s not a lot on it now, but expect to see new posts and features added to it soon.

However, things are going to be a little different. Since I removed the original Riknas Rants site, over time I will be reposting some of my earlier stuff from there that I happen to like or thought might be good to look at again. Also, it’s not always going to be about MMOs. But that’s still going to be the majority of it, so no worries there, just expect a little more variety in the posts every now and again.

That’s all for now, Riknas signing off!