Gaming Ballistic – Two-year anniversary

On December 28, 2012, I made my first post to this blog. My first year seemed to go pretty well.  Looking back, over GB’s second year, how did I do? Was it worth it, and is it still?

Content

Well, start with my own content. Including this one, I’ll have made 474 posts total, or an additional 224 posts. Slightly off pace, but averaging 1.6 days between posts, or 4.3 posts per week. That still exceeds my goal of about a post every other day, so that’s fine.

I tried to to continue my posting of one or two actual play reports, and a couple of gaming articles, and some entertainment/inspiration pieces. The birth of my second daughter in June threw me off my pace for a bit; as well, work heated up and I have not had as much time in the evenings to sit down and really focus on content creation. Still, my posting velocity seems good, so it’s really been other things that have suffered. A project that should have been completed a long time ago needs to be polished off, and I’ve got a few articles and books I’d like to write that are still in the “when I have time” stage.


The Melee Academy joint blog posts still occur, as do GURPS 101-type posts. I’ve thrown down a few “opinion” pieces (but not many), which generated a lot of response/discussion/argument. All well and good. 

I’ve also started some commentary and reporting on D&D-flavored games, both S&W as well as D&D 5th edition. Given the overall size of the D&D and derived segment relative to GURPS, it’s no surprise that they are among the favorite posts of all time. In my Top 10 since the blog’s inception, five are Firing Squad interviews, one is my Walther PPQ range report post, one is Technical Natasha, and the remaining three are two posts on D&D5 and one on the S&W B-team – an actual play writeup that hit over 800 views.

That’s not to say my GURPS content is unappreciated, but it’s clear that the market is dominated by D&D.

The big add, and dominating my Top 10 list, has been fourteen additional interviews on Gaming Ballistic’s Firing Squad. These are tremendous fun to do, and get very good response when I do them. They aren’t going away any time soon, though I can always use suggestions – or volunteers, for that matter – for people to interview. I’m hoping that they’re popular enough that I can score a few more big names. I did get Ken Hite and Steve Jackson in the last year, and that was great.

Response

I increased my readership over the prior year. While in my first year, Blogger put me at 125,000 pageviews, this year I increased that to about 318,000, which at 193,000 more is more than a 50% increase in pageviews using their algorithm. 

Google Analytics clocks in lower. It puts me at about 101,000 pageviews in the prior year, compared to just shy of 70,000 for my first year. And from 14,000 to 43,000 “users,” which is a 200% increase. That’s good growth for any business. 

Using the number of “sessions” launched, I increased that from 108 to 175 per day. Great growth, but still a modest total. My best week ever was when I threw down some numbers and thoughts on DnD5’s Basic Set, which earned me something like 300 sessions per day for a week. Again: market matters.

I about doubled the number of comments received, but that doesn’t count people who only comment on Google+. The comments made there are good stuff, but not captured in my records. A brief flirtation with all G+ commentary using that feature on the blog proved unsatisfactory to me.

The big news for the year was that I got some recognition. +Charles Akins pegged mine as one of the Top 10 blogs everyone should be reading in a guest column over on ENWorld, This says something given that a lot of my content is GURPS. +Jeffro Johnson also did me the honor of naming mine the Best Gaming Blog of 2014, thanks in largest part due to the Firing Squad interviews in general, and my interview with +Steve Jackson in particular. I’ll note that his #2 was +Peter V. Dell’Orto, who’s content probably beats mine, but Jeffro’s interest is captured by the “journalism” that I do.

The Future

Once again, I’d like to get back to both running and playing games in 2015. I had a brief campaign going, Alien Menace, which spawned some really good ideas and fun play reports. Also got me involved with VTTs as a GM rather than as a player. I remain convinced that sanctioned VTT support in some or all of the major programs would do a ton to bring people into using GURPS. You don’t need it, but having played some really cool D&D style games on Roll20, it can really help. Even if you’re +Tim Shorts and are a strange attractor for quantum 1’s.

My interview pace was good this year, clocking in more than one per month on the average. They do tend to be “bursty,” and I’ll land a few, and release them pretty much close together, and then pause to catch my breath. I’ve gotten the form and format down better, but the transcribing, even with +Christopher R. Rice‘s able help, takes a long time. Plus, I’ve started adding more “post-production” work to the video itself, as seen in my interviews with +Steve Jackson and +Hans-Christian Vortisch . I like the look of that very much, and will continue to do it – though it makes for several-to-many late nights, plus taking nearly overnight to spool to the final MP4.

I’ll try and get back to a couple play reports per week. I’ve joined +Ken H‘s DnD5 group, and they seem to not hate me. I jumped in at 5th level with a Fighter, so my character is simple but it gives me a good feel for the basics, which is what I wanted. I’ll also continue to play, in all likelihood, in a weekly GURPS game. 

I still wish to join someone’s FATE game, as well as Night’s Black Agents, for enough time to get used to the system. I want to take a look at the most popular games over the last few years and get familiar with them, because if I’m going to continue gaming journalism, I want to be more broad than GURPS and D&D. Though I have played Pathfinder in the past, and participated in a brief Trail of Cthulhu game, both with +Jeromy French at the helm. But there are other games/systems I should probably be more familiar with.

In terms of my other writing projects, non-blog related, I continue to collaborate usefully with +Peter V. Dell’Orto, and will continue to do so, I hope. There are a few other things in the works, and I’ve got, oh, maybe four to six Pyramid articles already in to Steven, if not yet with any sort of idea as to when they’ll be published. Three of them I really can’t wait to get into print; they represent some really good tinkering. A few more are just fun. One big one needs to figure out what it wants to be.

There’s one honest-to-goodness book I’d like to write or help with, as well, that I think would be a hoot. Plus, there’s a short article for another game system that I think could really be a thing

Oh, and one more: I got invited to contribute a freakin’ column somewhere. I have a title/concept, and I’m working some thoughts on topics. I’ll build up a head of steam, a buffer or slushpile, as it were, and then start releasing them. Look for that in 3 months or so, ’cause you know I’ll be talking it up when it comes out.

Parting Shot

Thanks to all those who read (and share!) this blog with me. I’m certain had I not gotten such good feedback from everyone, I’d have just stopped doing it. I hope to grow and grow the blog’s scope and content, and I’m always looking for a line on fun interviews.

I love hearing from people, and even criticism is quite useful, as are suggestions of what to look at next. I’m always itching for more topics! Thanks for coming by, and here’s to another great blog year!

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