Second year of blogging is in the books!

Ding, two years of blogging done!

I’m going to try and follow the format I used in my previous yearly review in order to make the comparison a bit easier. Like last year, the overall ‘Blog Stats” are up first.

Blog Stats 2009

Total views: 335,842

Busiest day: 11,852 — Thursday, September 6, 2007

Posts: 523

Comments: 5,393

Blog Stats 2008

Total views: 104,123

Busiest day: 11,852 – Thursday, September 6, 2007

Posts: 253

Comments: 1,658

Totals views are up (duh), and at a much faster rate than last year. When we look at the top posts the ‘why’ will become a bit more clear, so I’ll wait till then to really get into it. Perhaps not all that surprising is that the busiest day statistic remains the same, as 11.8k views in one day is a major outlier compared to any other day. I doubt we will see this change in year three, short of another major, major site linking the blog for some reason. Total posts are about on-par with last year, which I’m overall very happy about. It shows that even a full year later, my approach to the blog has remained consistent (one post per business day average), and that even after all this time, I’ve still got stuff to say that people consider worth reading. Comments are up big time, which directly relates to the sites overall increased traffic, and is perhaps my favorite statistic. The more people that comment, the easier it is to keep writing. Thanks to everyone for dropping a line, from my faithful regulars to the one-liner trolls.

Top Posts for all days ending 2009-06-22

The love and hate game, WoW style. -17,285

iPhone MMO, Field Runners, and a slow Friday – 9,437

Blizzard’s new focus for WoW, just as soon as Mythic finishes it – 7,259

EQ2, trial of the neverending download. – 5,982

Warhammer’s major problem, the players. – 4,767

Screen shot comparison. – 3,848

Level 4 missions in EVE, and my silly Rohk – 3,314

Burned out on WotLK already. – 2,902

Looking in the mirror; the sickness that was WoW raiding – 2,773

Help coming for low population servers in Warhammer Online – 2,526

Top Posts for all days ending 2008-06-25

The love and hate game, WoW style. – 16,875

Screen shot comparison. – 2,636

Looking in the mirror; the sickness that was WoW raiding – 1,918

EQ2, trial of the never-ending download. – 1,632

Throwing down the gauntlet, the great MMO challenge – 1,414

Ebolt anyone? – 1,230

Funcom to AoC players, GTFO! – 1,176

Can my toaster run AoC? – Concerned Walmart Shopper -1,143

Stuck in easy mode. – 1,059

Ghost town, population you. – 704

The BBC-linked post about WoW remains king, although its margin of victory is shrinking as the Google-feed Field Runner/iPhone MMO post continues to gain ground. The sad part is neither post is what I would consider real quality posts, but you can’t control who links you or when Google front-pages you. The “Screen shot comparison” post takes a dive from #2 to #6, but still gets half-decent Google-feed traffic, which is probably why it was able remain in the top 10 at all. The current #3 post is one that I actually enjoyed writing and think that it does brings something to the table, both for comedic value and because it’s a good reflection on the genre; copy/paste your way to financial success and design mediocrity. This is even more fitting with Aion right around the corner, a game whose current high-praise is that it’s like, a really good copy/paste job of WoW with lot-o-shiny. Sad what passes for the success formula in the genre in 2009, but at least we have niche titles for those looking for a bit more in their game. And just a quick note about the current #4 title: Fix your downloader SOE!

Referrers for all days ending 2009-06-22

virginworlds.com/home.php – 11,315

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/defaul… – 11,015

google.com/reader/view – 4,346

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/defaul… – 3,159

wowinsider.com – 2,914

keenandgraev.com – 2,701

tobolds.blogspot.com – 2,598

killtenrats.com – 2,097

bdadv.blogspot.com – 1,386

massively.com – 1,338

Referrers for all days ending 2008-06-25

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/default – 11,015

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/default – 3,159

wowinsider.com – 2,922

virginworlds.com/home.php – 1,831

google.com/reader/view – 1,288

tobolds.blogspot.com – 1,055

eq2-daily.com – 838

keenandgraev.com – 650

killtenrats.com – 499

crazykinux.com – 398

This is the category where I feel a major upset occurred, with Virgin Worlds passing the BBC as the #1 referrer. VW is my favorite ‘all MMO’ site on the net, and its ever-increasing popularity feeds traffic to all blogs that it links. The list remains somewhat similar to last year, with a few sites switching spots or being just edged out of the top 10. Surprising that the blog Overlord is no longer the top referrer out of all bloggers, but that’s what happens when a blogger gets traffic from games he no longer plays. Gushing with blind faith gets you noticed kids. One odd error is the stats for WoWinsider, as it somehow LOST 8 to its total. WordPress; free and easy, but not exactly perfect I guess.

Search Terms for all days ending 2009-06-22

field runners – 3,106

hardcore casual – 2,011

syncaine – 1,117

wotlk – 998

darkfall account – 762

warhammer online server population – 749

warhammer online collectors edition – 711

field runners for pc – 670

wheel of time mmo – 583

sandbox mmo – 536

Search Terms for all days ending 2008-06-25

Syncaine – 334

vanguard trial – 312

hardcore casual – 267

eq2 – 259

wow progress – 219

hardcore – 195

warhammer podcast – 132

eq2 trial – 119

sotnw – 92

switch mmo – 77

shadowbane reset – 70

The Search Terms, or “What has Google done for you today” category explains a little about why certain posts have seen their overall numbers increase. That ‘field runners’ is the number one term, over both the name of the blog and the author is a bit telling. That ‘darkfall account’ is so high on the list shows us one of two things: either DarkFall is huge, or getting an account required a lot of Google work. Care to guess which one is the real reason? Warhammer Online is next, with its biggest issue being one that many wonder about. Who would have guessed that population would be a problem when you hard-code two sides to go at it in an MMO… That expansion adding a 3rd side can’t come soon enough Mythic! Field Runners making a second appearance on the list shows just how much demand is out there for the game, and just how big a game for the iPhone can get. It’s a great version of tower defense, and anyone with an iPhone should already have it. Rounding out the top 10 are people looking for a Wheel of Time MMO (yes please), and those who are curious what the world outside of a themepark looks like. Combine the last two and I’m a happy camper. I also found it interesting that this year’s #10 has a higher total than last year’s #1 by a good margin, further reinforcing the fact that it’s only a matter of time before Google rules all of mankind.

Outside of all the numbers, the major events since the last review have been the release of a major surprise (DarkFall) and the solid but somewhat flawed WAR still trying to get itself where it needs to be. For DarkFall, the core of the game is extremely solid, and the ideas behind the game just work. It’s not surprising that a niche title of its type has some rough edges that need to be smoothed out, but despite all the flaws, the release of the NA-1 server is my most anticipated MMO event on the calendar. As for WAR, LotD will be a fun bit of content, but won’t ultimately fix the issue plaguing the game; the need for a third faction. Until that’s added, it’s hard to really remain excited about WAR’s RvR, especially now when it’s compared to DarkFall’s PvP. Still, with a third faction added, WAR will become a fun, casual PvP title that I could see myself playing 1-2 nights a week, if nothing else than to take a break from the ‘it always counts’ PvP of DarkFall.

Not really surprising is that ‘RMT is the future’ has once again not happened. Aside from the twist of failed sub games adding RMT (DDO, SOE games on Station Access life support), RMT is still ‘that kid’ in the MMO genre, and I just don’t see that changing next year either. The ‘free and pray’ model might work for shady products of dubious quality, or games that otherwise could not attract enough attention to warrant people paying for them, but it’s rather clear that if you have a solid title that you believe customers will find worth-while, you make them pay a monthly fee.

And that about wraps it up; another year of blogging is in the books. Hopefully everyone has enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it, and I can’t wait to see what year three brings!

15 Responses to Second year of blogging is in the books!

  1. Slurms says:

    Wow, impressive number, grats Syncaine!!

    I can only hope our numbers ever get that high hehe.

  2. Bonedead says:

    I feel bad. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who clicks through my blog to come here (save maybe 1 or 2 others). Is it time for me to reconsider my priorities or what?

  3. Very nice, dude. Grats on it all and very well deserved – it’s a great blog!

    Just curious – how come you posted figures in views rather than visits?

  4. skarbd says:

    Massive numbers. I would be very happy to just hit your referrals from virgin worlds alone.

  5. Wilhelm2451 says:

    Congratulations! Yes, Google can be a strange friend when it comes to search results.

    @WFS – WordPress.com’s integrated stats gives you page views as your measurement of activity rather than unique visitors. I ran an external stats package for a bit to see how close views and uniques ran. For my site, unique visitors ran consistently at 80% of page views. Most people show up, read what is on the front page (if that) and go away.

    • syncaine says:

      It makes you wonder though. Google usually does not link to the more thought out, hopefully higher quality posts, yet it loves to pick up the little side-comment ones and put them on the front page. If you are someone doing the searching, how helpful is that? If I’m looking for say, honest feedback about Field Runners, why would I be sent here to view a few sentences instead of (assuming it exists of course) a longer blog post breaking down the details and giving in depth opinion?

      The traffic is nice, but it would be much nicer if the traffic sent was more interested in the actual topic, as that would mean a lot more comments and discussion.

  6. Anjin says:

    Congrats on rounding out your second year. I’ve found that about 90% of all my hits come from Google, especially since I’ve been blogging Free Realms while it’s the big thing.

    • syncaine says:

      I got a decent increase around the time WAR was released, and since DF has gone live that’s been steady as well. I’m thinking when NA-1 is released DF-related traffic will increase further.

      That said, you never really know. I mean I only made a few throw-away posts about Field Runners here, yet that’s been a big traffic source since, so it’s a bit random.

  7. Werit says:

    @bone: I click through my blog too, as it is also my rss reader.

  8. WG says:

    Grats on the milestone.

    As far as a random post driving big traffic, we see the same thing from time to time. For us it’s typically because we’re near the top of the search results for a timely topic that hasn’t been around long enough to give older sites a long time “baked in” advantage in in the search results.

    Your Field Runner post is the #8 Google results. For almost any level of search, a first page result is going to drive traffic.

  9. theerivs says:

    Congo Rats!

  10. A very interesting read – thanks for posting

  11. [...] Actually it turned 3 years old a few weeks ago, but that whole getting married thing prevented a timely update, so this one is a little late. 3 years is a rather crazy length of time when I think about it. It’s more time than I’ve played any one MMO, it’s longer than all but one of my RL relationships, and it will shortly be longer than any one job I’ve ever held. I think that says more about me actually than anything else, but regardless, 3 years is a long time in SynCaine land. Anyway, on to the numbers, in similar fashion to last years update. [...]

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