Week 1: Matt and Wyn’s Critique (and a free blog tip)

Week 1: Matt and Wyn’s Critique (and a free blog tip)

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Image courtesy of cnina

I’ll announce the one blogger who gets cut later on tonight after I get home from work. But first, I wanted to go through each of them and talked about what I liked and what I didn’t like.

The week 1 post format I chose is arguably one of the toughest to do. You have to have some knowledge of what you’re writing about, for one thing. Second, your rant has to be able to stir up a reaction. Rants I read are either humorous (designed to poke fun at something) or motivational (designed to get you to get up off your chair and do something). Lastly, you have to get into the “zone”. Great rants are done when the writer is in the mood and it’s hard to get worked up over something if you’re not that kind of a person.

However, spending an hour in trade chat’s usually enough to do it for me =).

Anyway, enough with that. I’ll announce the bloggers that are safe and the bloggers that are in the bottom 3. And yes, I did say bloggers. I said underblogger before, but all of you have officially written your first blog post and interacted with your first readers. So no matter the outcome, you’ll still be a blogger in my book.

First thing Wyn told me today: “You’re going to have a tough time – the entries were fabulous.”

The Critique

Joveta: Dear Azeroth, I Hate You

Status: Safe

First up is Joveta. The main issue and problem you’re getting at appears to be in both old world and new world content. This rant felt broad to me in that there didn’t seem to be anything specific. There are lots of examples that could’ve been used in old world design and layout in addition to the experience (Remember the runs to SM or Gnomeregan?). You brought personality into this post. The custom images here were okay, and they did add a nice touch. I’ll warn you that you were right on the line here so I’m hoping you’ll be able to step up your game next week as your status could’ve gone either way.

Big props for interacting with everyone like you did and that’s a skill that a majority of the SYTYCB writers all seem to share: Humility.

Wyn’s thoughts:

First of all, I know how tough rants can be – they come off best when your emotions about the subject are fresh – and we forced the style upon you. Although your writing style is inherently strong, this entry just felt dispassionate to me. I’m looking forward to seeing what you can do with a different style; one that perhaps makes you feel a little more comfortable.

Veleda: WoW is Not a Zero Sum Game

Status: Bottom 3

Veleda’s first post refers to Guild bank hijacking and this one did fire me up because it has happened to me before. Not only that, my account had been hacked into a few years back so I know what the experience is like. Unfortunately, the fact that I got a reaction is one of the few positive things I can say about it. This post felt more like an essay than a blog post. It’s a lesson that many bloggers early on don’t seem to understand. The first four or so paragraphs were spent laying the setting and painting the picture of the scenario. The post only really got going towards the end and I would have loved to see some more expansion and more pseudo-flaming at that point because I think you would have been able to build upon that even more.

Wyn’s thoughts:

This is not only something that has happened to me, it was HUGE in the Series of Unfortunate Events that murdered my first, beloved Horde guild. (Estimated retail value of stolen goods: 70,000g. Not a typo.) Given my passion for this subject, I was surprised how little I felt coming from you on this. Rather than a journalistic critique of the situation, I think this would have carried more weight with a more emotional look at the anecdote, even interviews from victims of this kind of thing. You do propose a good solution – requiring alts to request membership on their mains first, but it’s lost in the sea of text. To me, the post suffered more because its subject is so hot right now – it emphasised the cooled-off attitude of the entry.

Tulani: The Dark Side – Expansion Syndrome 

Status: Safe

This is the first post that was set up earlier in the week that detailed the looming shadow of… Expansionitus. It’s a common ailment, usually occurs when players become increasingly bored. The first thing that jumped out at me is that my eyes were at east just reading this post. Formatting is an incredibly key skill to have when blogging and you’ve demonstrated an initial understanding of it. Blogging isn’t all about writing. It’s about how you present it. I liked this post not only because of the attention it brings to current raiding Guilds, but because it acts as a wake up call to everyone else. You didn’t just highlight a problem. You highlighted a problem and encouraged people to go out and do what they can. Sometimes a call to arms is what people need to hear in order to get their butts in gear.

Wyn’s thoughts:

Rather well-executed, in my opinion. From the choice of RaWr as your top graphic – in Sunwell, no less – emphasising your frustration to very concrete personal examples, as well as proposed solutions. You make your point well, and with passion. Stylistically, not your strongest piece of writing, but with a rant it’s much more important to grab your readers’ emotion and attention with well-reasoned arguments than to showcase your literary chops. Great job.

Crutch: The Last Piece of Loot 

Status: Safe

This is a good post. There’s nothing really bad about it but there’s nothing that really stood about about it in my mind either. Loot and the RNG system of WoW will always be an issue to everyone involved. There was a nice touch at the end of the post asking for reader interaction and that did open the floodgates as this post is one of the top commented posts not just amongst submitters but amongst all of my posts combined. I felt that you, Crutch, could have improved more and expanded on some of the points.

The frustration at the end could’ve been expanded more to help illustrate a problem that many raiders are going through: Do I blow the badges, or pray for a drop? Gearing order and choice is another huge dilemma . I can spend some badges now to get a minor upgrade, or wait another 3 weeks to get enough badges for a major upgrade.

Wyn’s thoughts:

Another dispassionate rant – which, by this point, I really do think is a product of it being the first style requested. My Human Priest fought Vashj and Kael with the Prismatic Mittens of Mending from Botanica – because I lost every roll for T4, and the Gloves of Saintly Blessings have never dropped for me, ever. I was very interested to read the commentary around what other pieces eluded players – but I agree with Matt (shocker!) that the strongest point of this post was the overwhelming community reaction. You chose your subject well, and obvously touched a nerve!

Rusco: It’s not you, it’s me. Yea, no. Really.

Status: Bottom 3

You went from STV to Lordaeron to Darnassus down to Silithus with this post. I browsed through the comments and noticed a few people say that this post felt kind of “rantish”. That’s actually the main point. You’re supposed to rant. I liked the tone you brought in and the aggressive personality that you displayed. The main problem was that I wasn’t sure what you were pissed off at the most. Any of the topics from raiding preparation, consumables, and encouraging 1st class raid performance would have been excellent points in their own right.

It looked like what you did here is that you took all of the main points of raiding and scrunched it up into a ball. I felt that it lacked a lot of depth. Lots of potential here but you went off on a wild tangent and that’s where you lost points.

Wyn’s thoughts:

I get frustrated with the lowest common denominators in WoW, too, and my guild has been treated to a front-row seat to my thoughts on appropriate prep for raids on multiple occassions. I still felt like your organization and direction were lacking in this – to me, it feels like you did your initial brain-dump first draft, but never went back to polish up the flow of your thoughts. A good topic, and one near-and-dear to my heart, but I’m quite sure you can execute this better.

Sydera: An Open Letter to the Badge of Justice

Status: Safe

For not following a typical Matticus like post, I think you did a damned good job, Sydera! You chose a problem that many players can relate to. You mixed a letter post into a rant post which I found innovative. The path of evolution from the Badge of Justice, I felt, you illustrated well. I also loved the references to pop culture like Beverly Hills and US Weekly. The pictures and screenshots you took helped accent your post and break up the monotony the text.

I can’t knock you on formatting on this one because it’s logistically difficult to do something like that. You can’t really put headers or convert this to lists or bullets. I’d like to see some emphasis throughout your posts in the future.

Wyn’s thoughts:

There is a LOT I really like about this post. I liked that you explicitly addressed it to the Badges, so that your readers didn’t feel like they were being accused, I liked your overall humerous tone, and I liked that you made it so personal to yourself and to your guild – both now, and in Wrath. Great job, and, for my money, the best post of the week.

Jen:

Status: Bottom 3

Jen, you went after my own heart when I saw you use my heading formats. I do think this is also the first time in World of Matticus history that a video has ever been embedded that was WoW related. The ones I tend to use are from TED or hockey clips to help make a point.

But, there’s an important reason why you’re in the bottom 3. You failed to cross reference and check your sources. Uber is a word in the German language (I think) which picked up here amongst the community. Gosu, although you didn’t mention it, is another word coined by Koreans in Starcraft. A lot of words we see are unique and strange because they never originated from the English language.

This rant had potential and I’m a little disappointed in the way it ended up.

Wyn’s thoughts:

For me, it was a little all over the place. I’m a grammar-nazi myself, so the subject is fine – but in complaining about non-standard words, avoiding them in your own post is a good idea. Unless you can pull it off with some irony, but I didn’t get a sense of that here. Also, as Matt pointed out, there are a lot of explanations for the sources of this kind of language – and they are very well documented. Disliking their rampant use in an imperfect context is one thing, but assuming they’re made up or a product of shared cultural ignorance is, well, ignorant. I’ve seen you write better, and I know your goofy personality is probably not best showcased in this format. I can’t wait to see you take on a format that better-suits your style.

To everyone

Don’t be discouraged. You’ve all got blogging potential. The last thing I want to do is kill anyone’s hopes and dreams of being a blogger. My intent here is to give all of you a chance at some exposure to get an experience of what it’s like. Some days you’re getting to get a lot of back slapping and other days you will get tomatoes in the face. If you can take the hits to your pride and confidence and continue to walk with your back straight, that will have made all the difference. I’ve had my share of days where I thought I had written something brilliant only to come back later to see that it had nary a peep.

Wyn’s thoughts:

We really did choose this week’s theme by Matt asking me for a random number. In retrospect, we could not have chosen a more difficult style for the first week. Rants are best when the emotions behind your reaction are fresh – and ranting on command is not easy. Thanks for hanging in there, and we can’t wait to read what you say next!


Free blog tip (and big hint)

I’m sure some of you have heard the elevator pitch. You’re scheduled to deliver a big presentation to your CEO or exec but something happens and you have a minute to go from the top floor to the ground floor briefing your boss about the wonders of your product.

Now apply it to blogging. Our eyes are cued to notice things that stand out. I’ll frequently highlight important terms in my textbook if I know they’re examinable.

If your readers only had 30 seconds to read your post, what is the one concept or idea or message that you want them to take away?

When I’m reading posts, my eyes will slow down and lock onto anything out of the ordinary. A passage that is in block quotes, or in bullet points, or is emphasized is something that has a higher chance of getting noticed. I know most people take the time or book mark the page later to read it in depth, but there are scanners like myself who blitz through a whole page trying to ascertain the gist of a post.

Formatting. It matters.

My birthday’s coming up soon and my eyes are going (On another note, Vegas is legally allowed to bask in my presence).

At the very least, when you’re reading your favourite blogs, take a minute and step back. Don’t read the blog. Just look at the blog. What is it about the author’s style that captivates you? What makes it visually appealing? Don’t be afraid to apply those elements accordingly to your own posts. Sure it’ll take some extra time, but the effort will be noticed.

I’ll announce the cut tonight. Congratulations to the ones that advance to week 2!

About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

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