One year ago today, I posted my very first post here on Adventure Rules.
“Ian, why didn’t you wait until September 1st? Wouldn’t it make more sense to start something on the first day of a month?”
Of course it would. But back then, I was just a starry eyed 23-year-old who decided on a whim that starting a blog would be a good way to become a better writer. So I threw caution to the wind, renamed an old blog I had started as a project in college but never actually gotten off of the ground, and wrote a post about what Super Mario can teach us about the current political landscape of the United States. Man, if new-blog-starting-me had known where that race was headed, I would have compared our politics to something a little less innocuous.
Back then the tagline of Adventure Rules was something like “Video Game Solutions to Real-Life Problems.” I had a mission in mind and I was gonna stick to it. Until I wasn’t. The new year rolled around, I did some rebranding, and that worked for a little while. And then I changed some more stuff, and then I took a break, and then I didn’t want to take a break but I had to – it’s been a messy year, adventurers. But that’s okay. If video games can teach us anything, it’s that life isn’t cut-and-dry. One day you think you’re going on a quest to impress a pretty girl and the next day you’re fighting some long-haired self-styled god who wants to blow up the universe. That’s life, ya know?
Adventure Rules has changed a lot over the last year, and honestly the past month or two hasn’t been too great for the blog. I mean, the views are pretty solid: this summer has seen a huge increase in my viewership compared to past months, despite my lack of posts. That can mainly be attributed to the completely unanticipated success of my Fire Emblem Fates guides, particularly the children guides. But as far as me being consistent with posts and content, that has been pretty awful.
I could blame my job. Or my kid. Or moving to a new city. But ultimately the blame rests on my priorities. A lot of nights when I get home, I could choose to write an article about my favorite Zelda game or why Kirby is actually the most powerful character in Smash Bros. Instead, I play a game. Or work on a tabletop session. Or play with my son. Or watch Stranger Things with my wife. At the end of the day, the blog hasn’t been a priority lately, and that’s been the reason for the poor posting schedule.
Some of this was due to a rather poor philosophy on my part. I would look at my posts and see that “oh, this reaction to the new Pokemon I posted only got one hit, but that old FE guide got 17.” I kind of decided that posting new content didn’t MATTER because hey, people aren’t gonna read it so why waste my time? Maybe when I can buy a new game I’ll post a guide for that and it will get a ridiculous number of views over the next few months.
My outlook on the blog became view-centric. It was a numbers game. And I didn’t need to waste energy on a post that wouldn’t get great numbers.
Here’s the thing, though. That’s a pretty depressing way to look at blogging. I started this as a way to express myself, to hone my craft, and to have some fun. When did it stop being about those things? Why? I don’t know. But what I do know is that now, at the start of Adventure Rules Year Two, it’s the perfect time to go back to basics.
I’m not gonna do some crazy rebranding or form a new mission statement or anything (saving that for New Years!). Instead, I’m going to take a few steps back towards what the blog was when I first started – just me, having fun typing stuff. None of this “journalistic integrity” nonsense, and no more views-centric thinking. Because while my opinion posts may never be paid attention to beyond tomorrow, those are the ones that the adventurers comment on. They’re the ones that get new adventurers to join the community. And that’s worth spending some time on a post that’ll only get three and a half views.
Whether you started following Adventure Rules last year when I first started things up, or whether you just started following last week, you’ve been a big part of my first successful year as a blogger and I want to thank you for that. My hope is that you’ll continue to stick around for the highs and lows. Sometimes I’ll be less active. Sometimes my posts will have mistakes. Sometimes you’ll disagree with my opinion. But I’ll always do my best to deliver content that is straight from the heart and that does its best to engage the adventurer community.
“Well don’t just stand there talking about it! What are some things we can expect?”
The first thing is that I have cleaned up the blog a little bit. There were a LOT of categories laying around just taking up space, so I removed some tags in order to create a more manageable archive. The categories that remain are either completed fanfictions, or tags that I see myself continuing to use for the foreseeable future. I also fixed the goals page to more accurately reflect my real goals for the rest of the year. The tabletop RPG project Sixteen is going to be on hold for awhile, so I felt trying to finish in 2016 no longer reflects my plans for the blog. I’d like blog goals to really focus on the growth of the blog itself, and not just on personal goals for myself. So for now we’re focusing on the two listed stretch goals and Goal #3.
What I’d like to do soon is get some kind of posting schedule together, maybe three days a week or something. I mean, a full seven-day schedule would be awesome, but I honestly don’t think I can promise that without seriously compromising the quality of my work (or losing sleep). I’d also like to get back to having weekly segments. At the very least, expect Tabletop Tuesday to come back. I’ve been super into tabletops lately, playing with a new group and doing research into new GM techniques and campaign structure. So I definitely think I can keep up with a once-per-week tabletop post at this point. So next Tuesday, be ready, because the dice will roll!
I’m thinking about potentially bringing back Fanfic Friday, but that’s a decision I don’t want to make lightly. There are already too many unfinished fanfics floating around this blog somewhere. However, I know I definitely engaged some adventurers specifically with fanfiction, and those of you who followed for that originally may be missing it. We’ll see.
Also, there is a Nintendo Direct this week focused exclusively on 3DS, so I’ll likely post something where I fangirl a lot about all of the new games coming out for that. Particularly if they talk in more detail about anything with the words “Dragon Quest” in it.
Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite part of an Adventure Rules update: the part addressed to those of you who are reading this post but have never been on Adventure Rules before. There is now a year’s worth of content here. Some of it is okay, some of it is laughable, but if you’re interested in gaming and want to stick around, scroll through this stuff and see if reading my work is something you’d be interested in doing more often. You can follow Adventure Rules on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, or right here on WordPress. You don’t even have to have an account – there’s a nifty button that allows you to follow by e-mail so you get notified when I post something. I hope that your decision to randomly read this post might be the gateway to you reading many more and becoming a part of the adventurer community!
Thank you all so much for your support over the past year. Let’s start Year Two off with a bang!