Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wherefore Does The Flame Burn?

In winding down my day, I wanted to make a quick inquiry to anyone who might be having some of the same feelings I'm having.

Does it seem the heyday of D&D blogs has passed?  Has the subject been worked to death?  Have some of the great blogs in community ceased to be relevant, or have too many great blogs simply disappeared?

Mind you, when I say "great," I mean other people's opinions, or in terms of nominal importance.  I don't mean my personal feeling regarding their value.

Perhaps I've lost touch.  Perhaps I have been less and less inclined to roam the wastes looking for something of worth, and I have grafted my apathy upon the reality.  If so, correct me.  Tell me the flame wars burn with the same intensity.  Tell me the fan boys still pound the drums.  Tell me that interests have not waned, so that I may believe again.

12 comments:

PatrickW said...

I have the impression that many bloggers are writing on personal projects right now (at least I am). This seems a normal outgrowth of doing a lot of writing for blogs - once you turn that spigot on, it is hard to turn it off and with enough interest/confidence, a writing project seems to be the next logical step.

Johnny said...

I still look into new blogs and medias that cater to my interests, including D&D and gaming in general. I can't speak on flame wars but on an ever changing interest in D&D subject matter. I don't think it ever diminishes for me, and evolves isn't the right word either. I want what gaming goodness I want - and I always want it. If D&D is a bay off the ocean of gaming, then sometimes the tide is out. That's okay. So, spark my interest today!

Dave Cesarano said...

I think a lot of it depends on what camps or factions to which the reader belongs. The "Old School Renaissance" blogs seem to be going strong, like Grognardia. The Alexandrian often has a lot of thought-provoking stuff.

Alexis said...

I have always considered both sites to be vapid, particular the first you name, and remarkably derivative, in that not a single thing is written or produced that I have not heard a hundred times before.

Gravity was a pretty good idea. It lacks punch when Harold Snoddelmeyer tells you he's discovered it.

Icarus said...

I see a few trends right now.

First, there seems to be a constant trickle of new people who are rereading the D&D source materials published between the 70-90s. They're rediscovering new things, giving their comments on the various aspects of the material and generally pouring over it and throwing up interesting nuggets for discussion. Is this resource thoroughly tapped out? I don't think so but I think the main ideas in the core books are being exhausted and people need to go deeper into the material from that era and less people are doing that.

Second, there are people who have grogged the main thrust of the core material and are publishing and marketing their own interpretations of that core theme. This is generating new material and in general I feel this is also good.

Then there are people who are branching off into other published materials from the same era, Chaosium for example, and are mining that source material as well. Concurrently and together with the first group, they're also going further into the source fiction such as the writings of ERB, Moorcock, REH etc. This is most interesting to me right now and I greatly appreciate this. I also think that this trend will probably have the best staying power over the long term.

Then there's people looking forward towards things like 5E and laying down the boundary lines for the next flamewars. This is probably a crucial development and putting down the next crass commercial POS offering is always a necessary if somewhat dirty job. However, I think this is somewhat distracting and I suppose we'll have to put up for some time with the next wave of shills and naive newcomers while at the same time welcoming the disgruntled 4E refugees with the grace one reserves for illiterate and distant cousins.

If I was to be dramatic, I'd say its the calm before the storm but its also probable that the core OSR following engaging in less commentary and more introspection.

sevenbastard said...

1. I use my phone to read blogs 90% of the time, and posting coments using my phone is to big a pain and so i just don't do it.

2. I read and posted on blogs a lot more when i wasn't playing, but the whole OSR blog scene got me back in to playing and not just thinking about games. So now i get my conection to the hobby in person once a week.

3. I see too many kickstarts and sales promos and not enough ideas flowing. I think people have figured out they can make a buck on what they were giving away two years ago and now use thier blog as a marketing tool.

Alexis said...

I have used this blog as a marketing tool. This has not affected what I post here - I post pretty much the same stuff here today that I posted three years ago. The principle difference has been that since relaunching my campaign last September, when I have time to post, I usually dedicate that time to the fellows waiting with their characters to play - which, incidentally, I do not market.

I would if it conceivably paid as much money as I make working. A full out campaign with, say, three parties would take as much time as I spend working.

Now sevenbastard, if you are speaking of people who ONLY use their blog as a marketing tool, there we agree.

Alexander Osias said...

I come to your blog in particular for interesting insights or telling details about historical eras, or economies, or societies.

I'm not sure what triggered the old OSR rush, but I do feel like there is a loss of that early fierce focus on the original meta-topic and a broadening into general RPGs or digressions into other topics.

James C. said...

Most of the D&D blogs I follow are in name or spirit associated with the so-called OSR. In the beginning of my involvement there was a rallying cry... we were taking back our game after having lived through 3rd edition and having seen what 4th edition promised.

If I recall correctly, your stated purpose when you began blogging as Tao was to document how your game is played, Alexis. You've dodumented quite a lot.

Now that we've successfully managed to preserve the game as we know it I suppose half have drifted off to the next thing and the other half are actually playing rather than musing about or arguing over the game. One needs to feel threatened by a thing before standing up to fight for it.

Were I not spending my spare time for gaming on preparing one campaign and playing in another I might have made blog post out of this. I'm OK with that being the case.

Jeremy Morgan said...

I can only speak for the newer blogging crowd (which I have only contributed meager scraps to). The issue revolving around those blogs is whether to continue posting 4E (which is end of life already) or move on to #dndnext. The issue is that there is little official material on #dndnext until the public playtest starts in June.

There's also the normal amount of attrition that comes from start-up blogs that peter out after a short while.

Alexis said...

So I am not the only one.

People have different reasons to explain "it" but except for Dave no one has denied "it."

There is a decrease in blog energy.

noisms said...

I think oversaturation is a problem. There are too many blogs out there to keep track of, and, consequently, it is difficult to pick the ones that are worth reading. This is a disillusioning experience, and makes me, at least, stop bothering to keep up with anything but a handful of blogs.