Wednesday, October 29, 2008

200 posts and 20 questions with Larísa

The Pink Pigtail Inn has reached another milestone today. This is post number 200 since the start in February. I must admit that I’m pretty surprised when I think about the amount of rants I’ve put together. If you printed it out it would be enough to make a smaller book.

You can wonder why I give any attention at all to it. Isn’t this just another number? Isn’t celebrating the birthday of a blog once a year enough? Do you really have to tell the world about whenever you’ve made an even number of posts? Isn’t this kind of self-centred?

Honestly I don’t have any good reason for it. But I think it’s got something to do with the needs to orient yourself a bit in this constant flow of thoughts and words. It gives me a reason to stop up for a moment and reflect a bit on my own blogging. Why am I doing it, what have I done so far and where am I going? Those milestones give me something to hold on to.

On similar occasions earlier, I’ve made overviews over earlier posts, referring some of my previous posts briefly to get new readers the chance to get some history without having to browse the whole archive.

This time I’ve decided to make it a bit differently. I interviewed myself, shamelessly stealing the format from Matticus famous series. Some of my answers are probably known if you’ve been reading PPI for some time. Some of it may be new. Anyway: here you are, the biggest wall of text ever published on The Pink Pigtail Inn:

20 questions with Larísa, asked by Larísa

1. We know that you’re a gnomish mage with pink pigtails and a big apetite for raiding. But who are you in real life?
If you look at the hard, superficial facts I’m a 40 year old Swedish woman with family including two teenage daughters. Professionally I'm an ex journalist who turned into PR and information. Currently I'm studying though.

The softer aspects of me, my personality and inner life, are harder to describe. I guess it shows in the posts.

2. When did you start playing World of Warcraft and why?
I was introduced to it by my younger sister, who told me I should try it since she thought I’d love it. “I don’t have time for such a thing”, I told her. “There’s ALWAYS time for WoW”, she replied. So I bought the game in the Christmas 2006 and installed it a month later. That was a pain – it was basically my first computer game ever if you don’t count a few sessions of Lemmings and a little bit of Civilization. I was very proud when I finally entered the world.

I the beginning the idea was to have it as a project together with my teenage daughter. But she soon lost interest in it, while I got more and more caught. My sister who made me start in the first place stopped playing long ago.

3. Are you a geek?
A little bit, I guess. I feel at home in this kind of environment. Many years ago I used to be a science fiction fan, publishing fanzines of my own and attending conventions. I remember joining that movement felt like coming home. Suddenly being a nerd was pretty normal. Now I haven’t been active in the science fiction fandom for many years, but I got a sort of flashback when I joined the WoW community. There are definitely resemblances. I’m back to where I belong.

4. What keeps you playing?
I don’t think I would have been so addicted to the game if it wasn’t for the social side of it and the raiding. Levelling, gathering and doing stuff on your own can be relaxing for a while but honestly if that was all there was, I’d never have been caught by it.

I’m fascinated by the team work and the leadership it takes to beat the new challenges they put up to us. No matter how stupid it sounds – I like wiping. As long as everyone is doing their best and you see that you take millimetre steps forward, a wipe night can be totally OK. If it wasn’t for the wipe nights the first kills wouldn’t be as sweet as they are. But of course there are social activities outside of raiding as well. Those online friendships you develop are amazing. When you’re not stopped by prejudices about age, gender and looks, you can get to know awesome people you never would have considered saying hi to in real life. That’s one of the coolest things about the game.

5. What made you start blogging?
I got the idea to blog about the game from a Swedish blogger, Consentire, who now has left WoW for Warhammer. I stumbled upon his blog via a Swedish WoW forum and I thought it was cool and fun to read, and so the idea came into my head to start a blog of my own, not having any clear idea at all about what it would be like.

After that I’ve developed the blog in steps. One big step was decision to turn it into English. Translating all of the written posts from Swedish was a huge grind, but well worth it, looking back. Another big step was to change platform, to Blogger, to get rid of the annoying Google gold ads. I’ve glad I did that too.

6. What keeps you blogging?
Blogging has given me back the fun of writing. I’ve been writing professionally so long that it had lost some of its lustre. But this is done out of pleasure, without any pressure. It’s free and it’s fun and I can combine writing with my favourite hobby – WoW. But I also appreciate the social side of blogging, as well as I like the social side of the game. I didn’t have any knowledge about the Blogosphere when I started. Now I’ve grown into it and it feels like an extra guild to me. I love how we comment on each others blogs. It’s a wonderful network.

And of course I love my guests. The comments you give me, the support, the link love… It gives me daily inspiration to keep going. Lately I’ve got a few letters from people who say that I’ve inspired them to start blogs of their own. I can't understand in what way, perhaps it's that I'm an example of that you can blog even if you're quite an ordinary player and not an expert in any sense. Anyway, it's amazing to hear and makes me very happy.

Another great bonus of blogging is that it improves my English. I’m aware of that my readers have to put up with a lot of errors, but I feel that I’m developing. When I began I sort of translated my thoughts from Swedish. Now I switch over to thinking in English while writing right from the beginning. That’s a huge step forward.

7. What’s your blog focus?
If I only knew! I’ve never been able to find a special niche of my own. I guess it’s because I know the game to little in depth to have any valuable information to provide that you can’t find better on other blogs and websites.

I blog about things that I come to think about, about my everyday life and about the game from the perspective of a somewhat newbie mage who’s lost her heart to raiding. I refuse to put any restrictions on myself only to blog about gold making or pets or crafting, even though I know that specializing is advisable if you want to succeed as a blogger.

8. How important are the visitor numbers to you?
When I started to blog I thought I didn’t care at all about it. I told myself that I only blogged for myself, which is what most new bloggers think. Now I can admit that I care to some extent. I don’t think I’d be happy if no one cared about what I wrote. Then I could as well write a diary on paper for myself. If you publish something on the net you mean something by doing it. It’s like you’re starting a conversation, hoping that someone will find it.

On the other hand, visitor numbers aren’t so important to me that I’d change the blog in order to attract more readers or start to advertise it a lot. Since I don’t have any ads or aspirations on making money on my blog, I don’t have that kind of pressure on me.

I’m happy with the small but loyal audience I’ve got. Lately it’s been growing quite a bit and that's nice of course. I couldn’t believe my eyes when the number of subscriptions broke the 100 limit, they're now about 120. And there are some 100-140 daily unique visitors. That’s peanuts if you compare it to the Big Name Blogs, but it’s enough for me to feel that the inn is inhabited, that it’s appreciated and alive.

9. Have you any advice for a fresh blogger?
I repeat what I’ve said before and what Matticus always preaches: keep writing. A blogger who doesn’t blog isn’t a blogger. Don’t get paralyzed by your own ambitions when it comes to advanced layout or writing The Most Awesome Theorycrafting Post of Your Class Ever. Don’t put ALL of your energy into one incredible post and then get so exhausted that you can’t think about writing anything more. Keep it small and simple and keep the blog posts coming. It pays off in the long run. Comment a lot on other blogs. That helps you grow into the Blogosphere naturally.

10. Tell me about your plans for future development of The Pink Pigtail Inn.
Honestly I don’t have any. Of course there are things that could be improved. The layout isn’t exactly what I’d call fancy and there are no fancy widgets at all. It would be cool to have a real .com address instead of having a domain under Blogspot. But I don’t have the time and knowledge or the commitment to do such changes. I think this level is OK for me.

What I would like is a few more guest posts. It gives variation and it gives me a little break. Zakesh has been a bit lazy lately. I’ll see if I may come up with someone else to help out a bit. Otherwise I’ll keep it up on my own. But I should probably try to cut down a little on the writing. Writing five posts a week is a little bit too much to me, considering my real life commitments.

11. Does your guild know about your blog?
They definitly do. I’ve never tried to hide it, on the contrary I advertise it in my signature on the guild forum. I honestly don’t know how many of them that read it – I think most WoW players prefer to spend their WoW time actually playing the game rather than reading blogs.

But to me it’s an important principle that I never ever write anything on the blog that I couldn’t tell my guild. I don’t go behind backs. If you ask me I think bloggers who do that are taking huge risks. Sooner or later someone will find out and people will be hurt.

Luckily enough I’ve got a great guild, so I don’t feel restricted at all. There are no meaty guild drama stories to vent, so my policy of openness doesn’t change the content of the blog.

12. Which are your favourite WoW blogs?
Oh dear, that was the question I feared would come…. It’s really hard to answer. Look at my blogroll. It’s huge. And there are a bunch of other blogs I read as well, following links from other blogs, I’ve just been to lazy to add them to my own. How can I mention someone and not someone else? It doesn’t feel right. But OK. I must give a little extra love to my mage colleagues, the participants of the Great Battle of the Mages. Gnomeaggedon, Krizzlybear and Zupa (the latest hopefully coming back from the dead soon, I never stop hoping). You all entered the blogging scene a little later than I did and something happened at that point. Blogging suddenly went much more fun and inspiring.

13. What are you up to in WoW right now?
I’m still raiding two times a week, even though it’s different to what it used to be after the nerf. We try out our specs, we make sure everyone can see bosses they have missed and we pick up gear that is nice to have, even though it will be replaced before we start raiding in WotLK. Apart from that I’m levelling my first alt, a rogue, which is great fun. I particularly love her moves and her rogue tricks like vanish, pick pocketing and lock picking. Recently I trained Cloak of Shadows, a spell that any mage definitly would envy the rogues. It's fantastic.

I’m not a part of the Achievement Circus. I don’t feel I have time to engage into that.

14. What real life consumables do you bring to a raiding night?
A glass of orange juice and a banana mid-raid.

15. What was the last movie you saw?
The new one by Woody Allen, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona".

16. What’s your favourite addon?
Cryolysis, the number 1 action bar slot saver for mages. They've finally released a new version, Cryolysis 3, which seems to work for me. Yay!

17. What are you looking forward to in WoLK?
I’m looking forward to seeing all the new sceneries. Entering a new area has always been like opening a Christmas gift to me. And I long for the new instances, everything from 5 man to 25 man.

18. What are you NOT looking forward to?
I’m NOT looking forward to the process of installing it – I’m not skilled at the technical stuff and if anything goes wrong I’m lost. I’m also a bit worried if my computer will be able to handle all the new stuff without lagging too much.

19. What’s your happiest WoW memory?
That’s a difficult question and memories are tricky – often the latest event comes into your mind. But I must say that the killing of Archimonde was very memorable. We finally did it after all those wipe nights! And I was proud to still be alive when he died.

20. Shoutouts to:?
  • All of my friends at my former server Kul Tiras (EU), no one mentioned, no one forgotten.
  • My guild Adrenaline, home of awesomeness and great spirit.
  • My co-innkeeper Zakesh. Stop being so lazy. Write me some more evil posts please!

Further questions?
This interview has come to it's end. Is there anything else you're wondering about Larísa that didn't get answered? Ask me in a comment and I promise I'll make a follow-up!


Green Armadillo said...

Grats on the milestone! It's funny how they creep up on you like that. :)

Funeral said...

Grats on making it to 200 posts. Most people don't have the dedication to blog for that long, let alone blog that long and not fill their site with pointless spam posts!

Just to let you know, I'm a regular reader who checks every day to see if you've posted something new, it was nice to find out a little bit about the person behind the blog =)

Gevlon said...

200?! Oh my god, I'm not even halfway there. (not to mention your awesome visitor count)

I was one of those you inspired to start blogging, exactly by showing that one can do it! In other words: you unleashed this evil selfish goblin to the good-hearted people of Azeroth :-)

I hope you'll never grow tried writing posts. I'll never go tired to read them, that's for sure!

Anonymous said...


I´ve been taking my first morning coffee here for quite a time now , and I plan to stay as the cold of Northend grows.

Anonymous said...

Grats on 200 Larisa, but be warned... I have nearly caught you... might overtake you next week...

Of course the difference is Quality (yours) over Quantity (that other Gnome's).

I have basically stopped reading blogs at the moment... maybe a quick cherry pick here or there, but I still come back to yours.

You can be assured that when I return from O/S, I will be doing a mass "Mark all as read" on most, if not all blogs... except yours of course...

Thanks for inspiring me!

Anonymous said...

It was great reading a little about who you are outside of WoW!

And at the risk of only repeating what others have already said: You have many times put words on my feelings and thoughts about WoW related things, especially on the social aspects of the game and you have inspired me too, to keep on blogging, because we will never run out of interesting things to talk about!

Big grats on the two oh oh!

Unknown said...

Grats on 200 post! I've been reading some of the older post, really nice read.

krizzlybear said...

200 posts, 20 questions?

I might as well complete the trifecta. You have earned yourself TWO whole internets! Yay!

Fish said...

I've always liked reading your blog, not because I always agree with you or understand what you're saying, but because it is a good read.

Grats on #200, here's to 200 more keeping me entertained while at work!

Anonymous said...

... And all of my friends are popping bye to say hallow, can a 200 post anniversary be better? I don't think so.

@ Green Armadillo, Funeral and Herc: thank you!

@Gevlon/Ghostboci: I'm so glad if I in any way have contributed to the birth of your wonderful evil, selfish goblin blog! You've found your own voice so incredibly fast and you're really a great addition to the Blogosphere. Just a shame you dwelt at PPI so long without opening your own place!

@Eishen: a table is always reserved for you, one of my oldest and dearest readers/commenters. Cheers!

@Gnomeaggedon: Don't be too sure PPI will still be around when you're back... It honestly will be much harder to run it without the inspiration of your presence in the Blogosphere. I'll try to stick out but... pleasy hurry up starting blogging again once you're back!

@Aendi: thank you so much. I recently found your blog and immediately realized we had some interests and views in common!

@Krizzlybear: I like figures of three as well and you're right, something is missing... But two internets??? I don't get it to be honest. Damn it. My lack of knowledge is showing once again.

@Fish: thank you very much! This is the keeper of work escape at your service.

Loronar said...

Congratulations Larísa! You've come a long way since I first found your old blog. :) Sorry my comments on your posts have been lacking since I went away, but PPI will always be on my list of blogs to read whenever I have a chance to catch up.

I still say bloggers should create our own set of Achievements.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Loronar! I believe you just inspired me to another blog post. I feel it coming...