May I ask for your attention one more time? I’m here to make one more announcement regarding The Pink Pigtail Inn awards of 2010 – the fourth and final. This time we’re taking a closer look at what’s been up in the blogosphere.
I won’t hide it to you that I’ve had a hard time to make up my mind. There have been moments when I’ve been ready to give up. How could you possibly pick one favourite in each category, when there more often than not at least ten other blogs that would be equally worthy winners? No matter how long and hard the jury thinks it over, there will be bloggers as well as readers who are utterly disappointed and can’t understand how I possibly could highlight THAT scrub instead of their own favourite. But that’s life. There is no justice. And remember, this is just a little bit of fun, OK? With no further ado, let’s get started!
Biggest blog facelift
Nominated: Murloc Parliament (“I’m not sure if everyone even remembers who she was before”), Cold’s Gold Factory, Tree Bark Jacket, Just My Two Copper , Disciplinary Action, Oh My Kurenai, Manalicious
OK, I’m probably not the best person to make a judgement about layout changes to a blog. In the end, I've always thought that it’s the content that matters most. You may tweak your blog into the prettiest piece of artwork ever seen, but if you don’t write decent posts with some regularity, I’m not interested.
However: over the last year, even I have noted how much better the blogs look today compared to when I entered the blogosphere three years ago. At that time 90 percent of the blogs looked more or less the same, using either the most basic design provided by Blogger or Wordpress. My blog still looks the same, unfortunately. Call me a slacker if you want! But many other bloggers have given their virtual homes a bit of polish, and they certainly do deserve some recognition for their efforts.
It’s been a tough call between the nominees. Murloc Parliament resurrected from the ashes of a blog drama that we’d rather just forget about, and did it just beautifully. Rhii broke up from I Sheep Things and created a lovely place of her own under the banner of Oh My Kurenai. Disciplinary Action has gone through a fantastic facelift and looks stunning - even with reverted text, which I'm normally not a fan of.
As a matter of fact I almost decided to give the award to someone who wasn’t nominated – to Blizzard Activision. The community website went through a surgical treatment of epic proportions and some of their leading staff can nowadays ad “blogger” to their business card.. However, since they don’t interact at all with the blogosphere, I don't count them as a part of it, and that leaves them out of the list.
The winner is: Manalicious!
Motivation: Vidyala of Manalicious decided to move over from Pugging Pally, where she previously had built a certain readership. It’s not easy to go through a name and domain change without getting lost, but she has succeeded. Thanks to Vidyala’s drawing skills, Manalicious has a distinct look and feeling of its own, while yet sticking to classic, easy-to-read design principles such as white background and an easily readable font. The fact that she also has helped other blogs to go through a facelift, offering them beautiful banners is of course an extra plus.
Most memorable blog post
Special characters by Tobold
Are we all just playing for second place by Phase 3. profit
'' It's not me it's you '' from Issy on Jaeycandco
Why Thresa must die (a roleplaying philosophy) by Orcish Army Knife
A Friend Avenged by Orcish Army Knife
The Gerald saga at Righteous Orbs
Ratshag’s Dangermouse mourns her friend
I Shapeshift therefore I am by Tree Bark Jacket (“Though I personally completely disagreed with the sentiment, a LOT of druids rallied around this posts and the poster image was seen everywhere.” )
Healertrek nominated the posts about the PuG at Greedy Gevlon:
“Just when it looked like Gevlon had blown all out of steam with his economic take on the world of warcraft, he decided to take on a new project with a bold announcement. Following his success in taking down Ulduar in blues, he thought up a PuG guild where his anti-socialist ways and super efficiency are valued above all else. If you want to see raiding treated like a business, this is a fascinating set of entries to follow that continues to this day. In fact, this is really the entry that spawned a whole new Gevlon.”
Prelimar nominated Gnomeaggedon’s series of posts about depression from November: "It was deeply personal and really amazing. i can't nominate this enough.”
There were a lot of good suggestions, but in the end I picked something different, a choice of my own.
The winner is: An open letter to Blizzard by Shades of Grey!
Motivation: There were so many good posts written during the Real ID debacle. But no one was anywhere near as spot on like this one. It gave me goose bumps to read it. It still does. This post is about much more than just Real ID. It captures the spirit of the game. I can’t refrain from a little quote from it.
“We don’t want to be John Smith.
We don’t want to be Jane Doe.
We don’t want our friends to just be John Smith, or Jane Doe. That’s not the point. That’s not the point of what you’ve given us. What you have given us is an awesome, amazing, awe-inspiring game where we don’t have to be ourselves. Where we can pretend we are Kronk, gruff and oft-misunderstood orc warrior with an odd penchant for interior design. Where we can pretend we are Gisella, noble paladin of the Light and kidnapper of baby wolvar . Where we can forget about the real world, the real world’s problems and issues, the real world’s pressures and annoyances and just settle back and kill some internet dragons.”
It's simply awesome and I must admit that I'm a little bit envious. Just a little. WTB writing skills!
Most noticed blogger breakthrough
Nominated: Just My Two Copper, Vidyala -- formerly Pugging Pally, now Manalicious, Life In Group 5, MMO Melting Pot, Murloc Parliament, Disciplinary Action, Postcards from Azeroth.
Syl from Raging Monkeys was nominated by several:
“Yes, I know she's got co-bloggers... but it was mostly her that I noticed commenting on other people's blogs when they'd only just started up and I've seriously never seen a blog skyrocket in popularity so quickly. That's what I call successful networking!”
And here's a vote for Lathere and Cassandri at HoTs and DoTs:
" Although the sisters from Australia had more entries in six months of 2009 than they had in all of 2010, their fun style has put them on many blogrolls of others I follow. That's as good an indication as any that this blog is having a major breakthrough. And how could you not appreciate the name?"
The winner is: MMO Melting Pot!
Motivation: There was something missing in the blogosphere. We just didn't know it until MMO Melting Pot swept in from nowhere and started to share their findings from the most obscure corners of the community. Under the command of the energetic Rebecca, MMO Melting Pot has established itself as one of the major institutions that brings glue to the community and helps us stay together. It's as if they've always been there. It's a remarkable breakthrough.
Most solid content provider
Nominated: Cold’s Gold Factory, Warcraft Hunter’s Union, Just My Two Copper, Mana Obscura, Murloc Parliament, Killing them slowly “For the fabulous combo of outstanding RP and useful Warlockery”, Righteous Defense, Krasus Kronicles,, Righteous Orbs, MMO Melting pot, Shy At Wow, MMO Champion, Tree Bark Jacket.
Healertrek nominated Matt Low both at World of Matticus and WoW Insider:
"Matt Low is probably the face of the healing wow community, and although he does get some assistance from co-writers at WOM, he still manages to produce multiple quality articles every month. Plus, his perspective on raiding and leading a raiding guild provide valuable insights to other guild officers and even the regular guild members of other guilds who wonder what goes on behind the scenes."
Fidjit suggested Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual:
“Updates might be a bit slower than other blogs, but I've found every single post on "Cynwise's Battlefield Manual" to be absolutely top notch. Extraordinarily detailed, insightful and entertaining."
Shintar nominated Klepsacovic from Troll Racials Are Overpowered:
"Sometimes he strays into crazy rambling territory, but he does update more frequently and more reliably than anyone else I read. That's worth a lot, especially on a quiet Sunday afternoon."
OK, I admit it. This category gave me a severe headache. The previous winners - Tobold and Spinksville were so obvious and outstanding. This year we had several strong candidates and I just couldn't make up my mind. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Righteous Orbs, and they’ve provided a ton of excellently written walls of text over the year, how more solid can you really get? But on the other hand, they've already gotten plenty of other awards.
I hesitated for the longest between Klepsacovic - who indeed is reliable in his updating, although possibly not so "solid", rather a little unpredictable and crazy - and Keeva at Tree Bark Jacket, who all year long has provided posts on a constantly high standard level, along with fantastic guides for resto druids. But in the end, I ended up with someone else.
The winner is: We Fly Spitfires!
Motivation: Gordon is one of those rather rare bloggers who manages to combine high quality writing with a good frequency. He has a wide perspective and doesn't only write about WoW, but also about other MMO:s. But even when he writes about games that I don't play and have no plans on ever trying out, he manages to grasp my attention. His writing is solid, smart and sometimes personal. As a matter of fact, the more personal he becomes, the better are his posts. Sometimes I disagree with Gordon; as a matter of fact quite often, which is one of the reasons why this blog is so worth to follow. When I look for blogs, I look for those that not only tells me what I already knew, but who also challenge me once in a while.
Most hugged blogger
Nominated: Miss Mediocre, Vidyala (Puggin’Pally and Manalicious), Cold’s gold factory, Rhii, Issy, Gnomeaggedon, Apple.
Tobold got a nomination in this category, which took me a little by surprise. He's one of my favourite bloggers, that's for sure, but it hadn't occurred to me that he had hugging potential.
"One of the most solid content providers of the past two years has gotten into some battles but keeps blogging and coming back strong because his community supports him well. There's nobody that stands out like Phaelia and BRK from a year ago, but Tobold deserves all his hugs as well!"
Pike from Aspect of the Hare got a lot of love:
“The outpouring of support when she brought up having financial problems recently was quite impressive. Though not as impressive as that in response to her favourite pet's model getting changed... Hunters. They like to stick together”
"Sweet girl, great site, loving fans."
The winner is: Gnomeaggedon!
Motivation: How do you sense that a blogger should be hugged? You just know it. Frankly I can't think of anyone more huggable in the entire blogosphere. Gnomeaggedon is one of those who make the blogosphere into a better place. He's got an eye for details, a sharp pen and a sparkling sense of humour. But also a big heart. If he ever spots something written between the lines in a post of mine, that might indicate that I'm a tad low, you can bet that he'll write me a worried letter, wondering what's up and if I want to talk about it. In November 2010 he brought his writing to a new level with a series of posts about his personal experiences of suffering from depression, including good advice to others who might be in the same situation. I think it was the bravest writing I've ever seen since I started to blog. It's about time that someone gives him a hug.
Hottest blogosphere topic
Nominated: Markco vs Gevlon. Gevlon’s Undergeared project, 10 vs 25 man raiding changes coming in Cataclysm.Fail PUG stories, Hillarious misrepresentation by GTFOOTF for the JMTC blogging carnivals. Whether being an asshole is bad or not.
Real ID got a couple of nominations:
"Not only does it count as the most controversial happening in the community at large, but Real ID set the blogging community on fire more than any Cataclysmic announcements. Whether you were for or against the changes, everybody had something to say."
Shintar and many with her suggested "the whole feminism debate":
"There was some good and thought-provoking stuff in there, but it went on for so long and got so heated after a while that I just wanted it to go away eventually.
"Frostheimgate" or whatever you want to call it would probably make a pretty decent runner-up though. And if bronze medals were to be given out as well, I'd give one to the whole "harassing bad roleplayers" affair early in the year."
The winner is: The giant sexism kerfuffle!
Motivation: Ever since I started blogging, gender related topics have been on the agenda a few times every year. How is it to be a woman in a male heavy guild? Is it an advantage or disadvantage, are their differences in how we're treated or not? Do or don't our boobs make us different to other gamers? However, the summer and early autumn 2010 was different. It was the year of the "giant sexism kerfuffle", as Rhii named it (thank you very much; I fumbled for a label that was wider than just "women" or "feminism".)
We didn't just talk about players this time around; we also looked into the game design and discussed the stereotypes, female as male. Chastity at Righteous Orbs explained why he found it easier to identify with a female avatar than with a male, whose neck was thicker than his head. The discussion was heated to say the least, and chainlightened between a great many blog, including those posts at The Pink Pigtail Inn. Eventually I think we were all so exhausted that we needed a break for a while. But I have a feeling it won't be long before someone picks it up again.
Nominated: Inkobah of Twinkinfo.com, Klepsacovic of Troll Racials are Overpowered, Saga at Girl's don't play WoW, Vixsin at Life in Group 5, Gnomeaggedon, Cynwise from Cynwise’s Blog Empire, Miss Mediocre, Ratshag, Pewter at 'Mental Shaman "for analytical writing", Rades at Orcish Army Knife "for evocative lore filled, beautiful posts".
Ano wrote two long motivations for his favorites:
Vidyala (formerly of pugging pally, now blogging at Manalicious and guesting raaaaather a lot at Sword & Board) is consistently excellent. She's always been witty, informative, irreverant, playful, serious and a bunch of other adjectives which should be contradictory but aren't in her case. Plus it's all accompanied by her wonderful illustrations. Who else could offer an entirely useful recipe and give it true Azerothian flavour?”
Rades at Orcish Army Knife has always written well, but particularly over the back half of the year, seems to have caught fire a little. Nowhere is this more evident than the letters to Northrend series he did for NaNoWriMo this year. I was worried earlier in the year, when I found myself actually caring about some lore or other having read one too many of his lore-related posts. I was exasperated when, having thought I'd come up with blogging gold ("Deathwing is just a stooge - there's something behind him and I can write about it!") he proceeded to write about the same subject with such depth and skill I deleted my draft in self-disgust. And then I read the Letters to Northrend series.
Healertrek nominated John Patricelli at Big Bear Butt:
"I'm not a tank, this I accept. Sure I find it fun on the Death Knight from time to time, but my attempt to tank with my druid have been fail fail fail. However, Patricelli explains things so well about tanking that even I feel like I can get it (as a healer). That's a great achievement, and he's entertaining to read to boot. Definitely my favorite read of 2010."
This was yet another very difficult category. All the suggestions are excellent choices. I’m particularly intrigued by the fact that there seem to be so many good shaman writers. Is there some kind of chain lightening going on there? Apart from the already mentioned Pewter and Vixsin, we also have Charles at Planet of the Hats. He’s not one of the most productive bloggers and he’s not in the centre of the action, but oh, that man can write!
In the end though, I settled for a non-shaman.
The winner is: Chastity at Righteous Orbs!
Motivation: For some reason people tend to mix up Chastity with his fellow blogger Tamarind and I thought it was about time to make it clear that they’re two different persons and two different writers, with different writing style and temperament. Tam, who got the award last year is a brilliant writer - but so is Chastity. It isn’t just that his writing is fluid and pleasant to read, and that I think Chastity could write a good blog post about just any topic you tossed to him. He also has the ability to really get through to the reader, to touch them, set them on fire, make them feel, think and react. More often than not, Chastities posts will spark a discussion, as for instance in the case of The giant sexism kerfuffle. And when this happens Chastity goes into his PvP mode and keeps writing in the comment section, even more furious, precise and poignant. But even in his rabid-dog-who-never-lets-go mode, he always remains sharp and intelligent. The blogosphere would be quite a deal duller if Chastity wasn’t there.
A few final words
So this was it. The Pink Pigtail List of 2010 is complete. I will post the final look of it in a summary below.
But first I want to thank everyone who contributed with suggestions. While we do have a one-man jury, I have taken a lot of inspiration from the nominations.
As I've been working with this list, I've realized that it's somewhat incomplete. Why do I award podcasts, but not videocasts? Wouldn't it be appropriate to have an award for the best WoW comic? Or what about giving out genre awards: the best druid blog of the year, PvP blog, gold making blog or guild leadership blog of the year?
There's a lot more you could do of this yearly event. If I’m still around blogging next year, I might do a few changes to the list. Feel free to come with suggestions!
Only one thing remains: to bring out a toast for all the winners. Congratulations to your well deserved awards!
- Best raid instance: Icecrown Citadel
- Least successful raid instance: Ruby Santcum
- Most longed for instance: Black Temple
- Silliest gold sink: The Sparkling Pony
- Biggest addition to the game: The Dungeon Finder Tool
- Best quest: The retaking of Gnomeregan and Echo Isles
- Ugliest tabard: Loremaster’s Colors
- Favorite non combat pet: Core Hound Pup
- Biggest community controversy: The Battle of Real ID on the forums
- Most charming Blizzard employee: Nethaera
- Best podcast: The Obscurecast
- Biggest blog facelift: Manalicious
- Most memorable blog post: An open letter to Blizzard by Shades of Grey
- Most noticed blogger breakthrough: MMO Melting Pot
- Most solid content provider: We Fly Spitfires
- Most hugged blogger: Gnomeaggedon
- Hottest blogosphere topic: The giant sexism kerfuffle
- Best writer: Chastity at Righteous Orbs