Today we’re trying something new in these here parts: Handing out Flushies to the MMO community (and, more specifically, the blogging side of it). In the past I’ve been reluctant to do so, because for every award I dish out, there are many sites that are perfectly good, entertaining, well-written, and interesting — but don’t make the list. In other words, I hate excluding folks. So these awards come with the caveat that there are loads of terrific MMO blogs, many of which are listed on my blogroll to the right (and many more of which are in my daily RSS feed). That understood? Good. Let’s begin.
Funniest Blog: Killed in a Smiling Accident
While not the most prolific of bloggers, every (sizable) post by Melmoth and Zosu is to be welcomed — because a laugh is assured. The KIASA crew tackle MMO topics and games with a decidedly tongue-in-cheek manner that always impresses me with how witty and verbose it can be. I have a hard time not making their posts the quote of the day every time they put out a new one, and I curse how clunky I feel in comparison to their style.
Saddest Departure: The Pink Pigtail Inn
Blogs come and blogs go with steadily regularity, but the established, well-liked ones are the ones that you hope last forever. While I might not have been into World of Warcraft at the same time Larissa was, I did appreciate her excellent insights and thoughtful presentation. When she closed the doors to the inn in July, it was definitely a loss for the MMO blogging community.
Best New Blog: Mana Obscura
This may be somewhat of a cheat, as Mana Obscura actually started in 2010, but during a two-week period in 2011 this blog shot to the top of many of our radars as MMO bloggers started linking to Gazimoff and pointing out how enjoyable his writings were. Bonus points for a cool site design and a nifty name!
Best Podcast That I’m Not In: Mos Eisley Radio
Due to time limitations, I don’t listen to a lot of MMO podcasts, but out of my current roster of favorites, Mos Eisley Radio stands out. It may be one of several SWTOR podcasts, but I feel it gets an extra nod because its crew takes turns talking (no one person dominating the conversation, a pet peeve of mine), they’re pretty entertaining, and the show feels tight. They made the wait until SWTOR’s release bearable.
Best MMO Comic: The Jedi Gambit
Greg Moran did excellent work when he was doing a webcomic on Warhammer/World of Warcraft, and it’s great to see that he brought his talents to a new game: The Old Republic. The Jedi Gambit is well-drawn and -written, and you can even download the entire first issue as a PDF file.
Best Retro MMO Blog: The Ancient Gaming Noob
TAGN’s Wilhelm is unafraid to look back when everyone else is looking forward. From talking about Star Wars Galaxies to TorilMUD to EverQuest, he kept these classic titles in the limelight and did so with panache. Bravo, I say. Bravo.
Best Specific MMO Blog: A Casual Stroll to Mordor
Between podcasting, covering Lord of the Rings Online news, and writing up guides, the husband-and-wife team of Merric and Goldenstar have come to dominate the LOTRO community scene. And I’m not just saying that because Merric suffers to do a podcast with me; CSTM is the gold standard by which game-specific blogs should aspire. They make it hard for me to top them on a weekly basis with my Massively LOTRO column, and that’s a good thing.
Every once in a while the pseudo-married couple of MMO bloggers get into a public spat and we all benefit from the fallout. Tobold and SynCaine may be polar opposites — Tobold has a cool tone while SynCaine cackles like the Joker — and it shows in their opinions, attacks, and counter-attacks upon each other. If they stopped, I’d honestly miss it.
Groovy Discussion: Game By Night
Each MMO blogger has his or her own focus, tone and style, and Game By Night’s Chris just gels with my own very well. Any time I read a post from him, it’s usually well-thought out, levelheaded, and interesting — and more often than not, gets a discussion going on other blogs.
Best Roundup: Welcome to Spinksville
What’s this award about? Some bloggers are very insular and only write in their own universe while others are social butterflies and keep the link love flying. Best Roundup goes to Spinksville for doing a consistently awesome job rounding up blog community quotes, discussion and news while adding her own unique thoughts on top.
Best Bloggernalism: Kill Ten Rats
Bloggernalism is a completely made-up word that I’m using to describe a fan blog that manages to get in some legitimate investigative or interview journalism in there somehow. Kill Ten Rats had several exclusives over the past year with ArenaNet and Guild Wars 2, and that’s to be applauded.
Sharpest Analysis: Player Versus Developer
Player Versus Developer has made a name for itself by providing spot-on analyses of MMO games, packages, options and other features. If you want to know how free-to-play titles stack up against each other or what in-game festivals have to offer, PvD is the place to go.
Sometimes you just want an MMO blog that simply focuses on the day-to-day play sessions of the author, and in this regard two blogs equally share top honors. MMO Gaming Chick and ETCmmo.com have become favorites of mine due to a readable writing style, attractive use of pictures, and keen insight.