Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Gaming by Design for 2 Years!

Two years. It doesn't sound like a long time when compared to the length of my life, or even that long compared to how long some of the old guard has been blogging (such as TAGN, Tobold, or Rohan), but I'm one of those people who love to start projects and move on to the next shiny, so two years at blogging is awesome. I have stamina.

I've been an indie game dev for a year and a half now; I presented my game Eon Altar at PAX Prime; I've had an Early Access release of Eon Altar; I got Reddit-bombed (in a good way!); I started playing FFXIV with a little seriousness; and I've had an immense number of awesome interactions with folks over the year.

As I did the previous year, I'll go into some stats that my blog has accumulated. I've actually had Google Analytics running for the entire year this time, so I'll be able to get some more accurate numbers and make queries to eject spam numbers.

Who's Sending Me Traffic?

For funsies, here's some raw Google Analytics data. Note that stats like new sessions versus returning sessions aren't perfect. They rely on fallible techniques, and similarly with the pages/session and average session duration. But with the larger numbers they give us a decent idea how things trend.
Last year, Google was king. This year? Well, Reddit. But that 20k views is basically a single post, no less, as we'll see later. The other kings are Twitter and Blessing Of Kings. If you add up most of the BoK's different geographical permutations, it brought in almost precisely the same amount of traffic as Twitter did.

The interesting bit here is that the vast majority of folks coming from BoK are folks who've been here before. Basically, people (still) using Rohan's blog roll as an RSS feed. Twitter, however, was about 50/50. Good at bringing new folks in, and others who return time and time again. Both Twitter and Blessing of Kings exhibit a long average session duration, meaning folks who click on my links there are sticking around to read, which is fantastic.

Google is 4th on the list this time instead of first, but compared to last year the context of the results are a fair bit different. First of all, google.de (Germany) is what brought most of the folks to my blog, and France is a respectable second. But even more interesting is the bounce rate for Germany and France are both quite low for that number of users (60%), compared to 87% for the *.com domain. They also have a high pages/session, which suggests Google bringing users in, and actually getting them to stay and check the blog out. Compared to last year where the vast majority of Google hits was literally people stripping images from my blog, this is pretty interesting.

Facebook comes in at a solid fifth place, right after Google, and interestingly enough a higher number of new sessions than I'd have expected (70%). I'd have guessed that Facebook was going to be almost entirely friends and family, but a number of said friends and family did share my posts. The power of social networking is real!

Blogger.com is probably entirely me clicking links in my blogger.com view of the page. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Alternative Chat, Liore, Murf, and Balkoth all sit in the 100 - 200 visits range, and each of them show a large number of returning users. Much thanks for linking me in posts and generally just making our community a tighter-knit place :)

Nestled in the middle of there is the Something Awful forums. I think they had also linked to the same post that got Reddit bombed if memory serves.

Feedly.com also shows up at 120 sessions. Clearly the death of Google's RSS reader hasn't necessarily pushed people to using alternatives. At least, not my audience, despite me putting pretty much entire posts without jumps, which should make it RSS feed friendly, if I recall correctly.

Other honorable mentions include ravenholdt.net, Belghast of aggronaut.com, mmorpg.com (thanks Liore!), Ross of fecklessleader.blogspot.com, Chase of fluiddruid.net, Tobold of tobolds.blogspot.com, Izlain of gdub4.wordpress.com, Braxwolf of braxwolf.com, and Joseph Skyrim of josephskyrim.blogspot.com. I really like that I have more cross traffic now, and I can only hope I'm also driving traffic to other folks as well. It's nice to get that cross-chatter and mix of opinions.

Finally, I'm just going to say that duckduckgo.com beat out Google Plus for referrals. Which is really, really sad since I post pretty much everything on Google Plus. But hooray for DuckDuckGo!

Most Popular Posts by Page View

First, you can tell which post got Reddit bombed: "Is Raiding With 10 Harder Than 30?" Kind of got everything bombed, really. Lots of direct links from guild sites, forums, etc. That single post makes up literally more than half of my total page views this year.

Can you guess when Reddit linked my post?
The next one on the list is my post on Cities: Skylines, "Come On In! The Traffic's Fine! A Case Study in Pictures", which got an immense amount of residual search traffic even months after I wrote it. Traffic in that game was a Big Deal. The Kotaku article that called it broken was pretty off-kilter, and I showed that it was totally manageable.

#3, "How to Create Your Own Projected Texture" is a How-to I wrote exactly a year ago for Unity, but never really "posted" it. Those pageviews are entirely from search traffic and random linking on Unity forums/quests/etc. Projected textures were finicky, what can I say? Clearly I wasn't the only person who needed help figuring them out.

#4, "Just How Much Damage Could a Backdoor in an Addon Do?" even had a video to go with it. That was a pretty comprehensive post altogether, and I got to play "hacker" to boot, which was a neat exercise.

#5 "Speculation Station - The Legendary Ring Proc" I'm actually sad is on the list. That was datamined legendary rings, rather than the actual ones. Meh. I almost wanted to pull that post after I wrote it.

#6 "Epic Blog Battles of Gaming: FFXIV vs. WoW" and 9 "FFXIV vs. WoW: Content Delivery Comparison" are good comparison posts between the two games. Decently popular when posted across all mediums, still get residual search traffic.

#7 "WoW: Fiction Has a Horde Bias" is a post I wrote last year! But between the link on my side-bar, it coming up in conversation on Twitter a couple times, and some search hits, it accumulated a fair bit of views this year, too. It's actually accumulated almost as many hits this year as the year I wrote it. Clearly a popular subject.

#8 "My First WoW Arena Foray" mostly got residual traffic from the Reddit bomb as it was written right before "Is Raiding With 10 Harder Than 30?".

And #10, "Overwatch: Diversity Done Better", got a lot of traction on Twitter, hence why it ranks so highly in page views

Most Popular Posts by Comments

But as we did last year, what if I used comments as the sorting mechanism rather than page views?

A very different cross-section of posts, similar to last year's results. Not sure why, but posts that generate page views seem to generally differ from posts that generate comments. Heck, given the sheer volume of views for the Reddit-bombed post, I'd have expected it to have the most comments, but it actually comes in at second place.

#1, "Blizzard and the Mythical Man Month; Or Why WoD is a Transitional Expansion" was amazingly fun to write, and seemed to catch some more prominent eyes than other posts I've done, which is also neat. Granted, talking about the intersection of game design and game engineering is something folks don't often see (sometimes even within the game development sphere, too, sadly).

#4, "[FFXIV] Extrapolating the Subscriber Count" was definitely controversial. Granted, I had to make a few cognitive leaps which some folks apparently disagreed with. I stand by my assessment though. After the discussion I felt my logic actually stood even stronger, which doesn't usually happen. Normally other viewpoints give me more to think about, like #8, "[WoW] Why Rando-Secondary Stats Matter Less Than You Think" which was a great conversation between myself and Balkoth. I went back, got more info, did more analysis, and my conclusion also came out stronger, but this time I wasn't so sure offhand until I performed the further work.

#5, "[Indie/EonAltar] Gender Diversity in our Workplace" was relatively controversial, but not as much as I expected. Anytime you mention the words "gender" or "diversity" often causes Internet commenters to flood your page. I really only had one poster, and we had a good conversation.

The others were for the most part not really controversial so much as just folks adding to the discussion. Lots of great points and ideas in all of them really.

Two Years of Blogging

69 posts over 52 weeks, or 1.33 per week, which is actually only 75% of the posts I wrote last year. I still try to get 2 a week, but some weeks--especially the past couple months--I only managed a single post. I think I even missed a week in there. Part of it is this year has been tumultuous from a personal perspective, and crazy busy from a professional perspective. But I really ought to try and get back up to two a week most weeks.

WoW still makes up the vast majority of my popular posts, and I am still playing WoW, even if it's only raiding once a week now. But as I get more personal time again, I should start writing about the other games I'm playing. There's a fair number of them.

So thanks everyone for reading and following, and I look forward to another year of this lovely community! 


  1. Congratulations on two years! Every new milestone is... well... a new milestone!

    I am bummed to see I don't send you more traffic. I checked my outbound stats and WP.com believes I have sent you 19 referrals, all to the post "WoW Features are Legion," which I gather I linked to. Aced out by Blessing of Kings on the Singapore domain. I never link out as much as I want to. After nine years I need to get better at that. (Also, Blogger blog roll FTW! My hack attempt to copy it isn't as good.)

    Anyway, congrats on the second anniversary! On to year three!

    1. Thanks Wilhelm!

      I'm not too concerned about actual traffic numbers incoming, and trying to compete with Rohan's blog roll is probably a losing proposition. I'm not sure how it happened, but all evidence points to his being THE blog roll people in blogging/blog-reading community use. Interesting social phenomenon, really.

      Mostly I just like getting that cross-pollination between folks to establish a community. It's nice to hear different opinions and thoughts on subjects.

      I don't know that I have access to how much traffic I send other people. I can't seem to find any on Google Analytics, but that'd be an awesome metric to have. Another + for Wordpress, apparently.

    2. Internet says I need to add more code to my page and tag all of my links with a new onclick event. Maybe one day I'll get around to that.

  2. Congrats on Two years! Your first two years look great already, and you get the added bonus of having made an actual game on top of it!

    Here's to two more!