This is my last post on Kill Ten Rats. I am not sure how to say good bye.
I have closed up shop on a lot of games. A great many of them ended on coasting status, limping along and skimming the cream off the top in case I decided to go back. I can think of few cases where I went back and fewer where I went back for very long. The last play sessions were generally clean up, again with the prospect of someday returning. Clean up inventory. Finish off some quests. Complete the event achievement.
I have lost touch with a great many people. I still have a few from Guild Wars 2, a few from City of Heroes. I miss a few from Asheron’s Call and wonder what happened to them. On the other hand, I still get together with people I met in Asheron’s Call. The New Year’s LAN party has been a tradition for more than a decade, even if some years there is not much LAN-liness.
I joined up with Kill Ten Rats as Ethic was expanding to a group blog around the time that I was considering starting or joining an MMO blog. I had been involved in a variety of forums over the years, and I wanted something more permanent, more “home.” I suppose now people would just use social media or an existing aggregated site.
Kill Ten Rats became a group blog. We played different games and talked about them. I started as the blogger for a game that no longer exists. We compared what we were seeing in different games. As time flowed, we swapped between games or maybe played together. There was not a guiding force behind that, just what we happened to be playing. Lord of the Rings Online is where we were most likely to overlap. We had great hopes for Warhammer Online and then greater for Guild Wars 2. Neither was a bad time, but neither was The One.
Kill Ten Rats was probably best known when Ravious made us essentially a Guild Wars 2 fan site, following the game throughout development. Our biggest exposure came from a brief time with World of Warcraft, because a small nod from the big dog is a lot more attention than several other games combined.
Most of our co-bloggers fell away quickly. People had a few ideas to post but not something consistently over time. Some made a half-dozen posts. Some blogged steadily for a few months then trailed off. For most of our time here, it was me, Ravious, and Ethic.
I knew Ravious from A Tale in the Desert. We were in Southren Star Guild, a early typo made permanent name. He stumbled over the chance to join KTR more or less the same way I did. His enthusiasm was always a better draw than my bloodless analysis, plus talking about the New Hotness has a better audience than my habit of discussing a random game from 10 years ago and how its mechanics relate to whatever. Zach was a good friend and a good writer to have around. We knew each other online and played together for about 15 years, only meeting once. He died of cancer in 2017.
I remember some fun stories from games. One about my wife was pretty popular. There was the occasional reach at social relevance and frequent inclusion of social science. There were fun reviews and fables. There were posts that no one liked where I tried to use songs as extended metaphors for gaming. We had a kerfuffle after one of our writers talked about having bought in-game gold, and others talked about having accounts hacked and looted by gold-sellers.
Kill Ten Rats has been my public face for gaming for most of my time online. If you’re reading this, there is a fair chance you are or were a gaming blogger and we met via gaming blogs. I don’t know how much people still read blogs. I don’t know how people still read blogs; I use Feedly, many people don’t seem to know what RSS is.
I could point back to Biting the Hand. The specifics have changed, but has the gaming landscape changed much? Battle Royale games are the flavor of the moment. MMOs remain a niche market dominated by World of Warcraft, which has held the crown for longer than any of us thought possible. The most interesting thing to me at this point is what is happening with the game shop platforms like Steam and its recent competitors, and whether Steam can survive under the weight of its expansion. We are seeing the same sort of refragmentation after accumulation that we are seeing in other markets like streaming video, and I should not let this trail off into another gaming economics post.
Ahem: I could point back to Biting the Hand. Jessica Mulligan closed up shop there with the note that she was repeating herself, watching others repeat themselves. I have had some repeating of myself, although I am more likely just to link back to myself yet again. The archives are still there, but I am not led to believe that people read back through archives much. I do, but I am weird. It is nothing new that “news” is what is new, and there is always more “new” coming in. I have perhaps a few more things I could say, but I have probably said most of it in some form.
Before MMO blogs became popular, similar content appeared on “rant sites.” Some folks have been around long enough to remember those. Tweety and Lum are in the industry now, and I occasionally see something from one of them, whether work-related or still ranting. I think a lot of early MMO blogging was inspired by that, where we had the idea we could help move the industry by shouting about it. I don’t know that we influenced much.
MMOs carry on, probably more than I know. We all still dream of The One, the game that will fulfill our dreams or at least its promises, or recapture that First MMO Feeling. I have lost track of them, which games are out or coming. I occasionally hear about them closing down. I want to make a Dawn joke here, but it seems neither important nor recognizable. But if you’re still reading, again there’s a good chance you were around for Dawn drama.
At some point, KTR and other MMO blogs mostly drifted from being MMO blogs. Some have remained pure, I am sure, but we became online gaming blogs, gaming blogs, online culture blogs, general blogs. And we gradually trailed off.
Kill Ten Rats has long since trailed off. Occasionally something will spur a stream of posts. By our numbers, I know that several thousand of you are still out there. I have seen too many blogs where the last post is “not dead yet,” six months after the previous post. So I am hanging up my digital pen. Ethic opened the gates on the rat hunt, and he gets to close them.
I have seen myself change over time. I was more conflict-prone in my youth. Back in college, I explicitly belonged to a gladiatorial combat theory of dialectic: pit two ideas against each other and see which was left standing. You have probably noticed that my style has less conflict, more analysis and detail. I recently saw a college-age friend write that their preferred style of working out ideas was to confidently assert a position and hold it against similarly adversarial arguments from others. I saw myself and smiled wistfully like old people do.
I have noticed my mistakes and typos over time and wondered whether I am slipping or just more aware and conscientious now. I have a couple million words here, and I occasionally look at an old post and fix old typos. We acquire new frailties over time and realize we may have always had others, just balanced by youthful energy and resilience.
I have reached the point of looking back at a lot of decisions in life. Some of them have worked better than others. There are some that I would have done differently had I known then. There are some I can correct now, others where the time has passed. The return on investment proposition has changed on some. I still dream of making it to Disney as a next career path, and hey, I’m open to any interesting opportunities in project management and technical development. Call me.
We have had a lot of good discussions. We have had fun. We have sometimes met and played together. I am still Zubon on Steam, if you want to find me for a game sometime.
If you are still reading, you have been reading Zubon at Kill Ten Rats for the past 14 years. Thanks for reading. See you around.