Category Archives: Meta

Moving on… to The Old Republic.

So, that new project I talked about?

CrewSkills, my all-new gaming blog.

CrewSkills is a Star Wars: The Old Republic blog; it’ll have a primary focus on crafting, trade skills, and the crew skills system in general. You can also expect to find other stuff there of the kind I used to post here; general gameplay discussion, guides to in-game content, conversation about whatever class I wind up playing, and all that other good stuff. If you liked Banana Shoulders, and you’re planning on playing SW:TOR, you’ll like CrewSkills too.

…I hope! ;) Feedback is always welcome, of course, and I’d especially love to hear from anybody who’s planning on trying out SW:TOR when it launches in December. I’m really excited about CrewSkills (the blog – and the game system, too) and I’m looking forward to diving in from scratch. I’ve well and truly got the blogging buzz again.

Once More, With Feeling…

*tap* *tap* Is this thing on?

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that it’s been deader than corduroy around here.

It’s not you, it’s me. Well, actually, it’s not me, it’s WoW. I’m just not feeling the love any more, and haven’t for a while now. Honestly, the rot set in, for me, the day of my very last post on this blog. The RealID kerfuffle pretty much broke my heart. I realise it was pretty naive of me, but up until then, I’d honestly believed in Blizzard. When there was forum rage about ridiculous dev decisions, I was always prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt and trust that their priority was making the best game they could. While others scoffed cynically, I was willing to trust them and remain positive.

The RealID debacle changed that, though; it was such a ridiculous plan with zero benefit for gamers and a whole lot of seriously negative consequences, and it was the last straw, for me. Fundamentally, I no longer trusted that Blizzard was different, or that they’d managed to stay independent of Activision’s mad lust for profit at any cost.

Basically, I was no longer a fan of Blizzard.

And blogging – at least for me, for the way I blogged here at Banana Shoulders – was, is, very much an expression of fannish love. All of a sudden I had absolutely no enthusiasm for any WoW-fannish activities, because I wasn’t a fan any more.

That said, I still missed blogging here. But Banana Shoulders was tied too integrally to World of Warcraft, and being a (holy) paladin, and I didn’t feel I could smoothly drop the WoW-talk and start blogging about something else entirely. It’s worked for other bloggers, but it wouldn’t have worked for me. And, too, all of this was on a subconscious level for a long time; all I knew consciously was that all of a sudden I had nothing interesting or enthusiastic to say about World of Warcraft any more.

But I’ve absolutely missed this, and if I thought I still had things to say about WoW I would be picking up the reins again in a shot. (And even now, sitting here with the “New Post” window open, I can’t help but think “do I have anything else I can say? do I have any justification for firing this back up again? I want to!”) I am, however, working on another project that I hope at least some of you will enjoy and find useful. I don’t want to announce it just yet because I don’t want to introduce my new baby (er, metaphorical baby) in a post that’s otherwise basically full of negativity. I’ll post again very soon with the details.

For the foreseeable future, Banana Shoulders is done; I’m not going to take it down, as there’s a lot of words here that I’m quite proud of, and some bits of it may still be useful, but I don’t expect to be posting again, except about new projects. Expect more news on that front soon.

Until then: thankyou all for letting me talk to you about something that I used to love very much, and thankyou for making it such a fun experience. I hope you’re still enjoying WoW, or that you’ve found something else just as fun, and I hope to stay in touch. Thankyou for reading.

Much love,

This is starting to get annoying…

So, on Monday I discovered that last week’s problem had recurred, even more virulently. Unfortunately, in fixing the site we’ve had to abandon the comments on the last two posts, for which I’m very sorry. I do have copies of everyone’s comments, via email notification, and can repost them (with attribution) if necessary.

For the next little while I’ll be running with a default theme (*shudder*) and minimal plugins, in an attempt to eliminate possible vectors for the problem, so if you’re visiting rather than reading via RSS and the blog looks, uh, barebones? That’s why.

Edit @ 1835h: In addition, unfortunately I’ve had to totally disable comments as a temporary measure, as it seems the malicious code is being inserted via WP’s comments feature. Obviously, this sucks, and it’ll be fixed as soon as possible. Old comments are still viewable, though.

Edit @ 0506h July 5th: Comments are back on again, hooray. (Although comments that were lost remain lost.)

This is also why I haven’t been posting for the last week; no point making posts that I’d only have to repost anyway. Hopefully that will no longer be an issue!

Apologies for the downtime!

4 July 09: Unfortunately this post has lost all its comments due to technical reasons. Further comments and reposts are welcome!

Those of you who’ve tried to hit the site today would have noticed it was unavailable, and those of you who’ve subscribed by RSS recently would have noticed some rather unsightly (and thoroughly unauthorised) ads.

Sorry for the break in transmission – I was in the middle of writing a post when a reader email (thankyou, Shasmo!) alerted me to the problem, and I realised that somehow the site had been compromised. I’ve spent all day with the help of a good friend (whom I now owe several strong drinks) trying to chase down the source; I’m still not sure where it came from, but I think all the issues have been patched up, and hopefully it’ll be clear sailing from here.

If you notice anything hinky like that, please let me know so I can try and jump on it much quicker next time!

(And now I don’t have time to finish my post because I’ve got a raid coming up in an hour. Gah!)

…Is This Thing On?

My sincere apologies for the protracted radio silence. A combination of health issues and RL issues conspired to shut me up for several weeks — and then I managed to totally bork my WP database such that I couldn’t make new posts. After some hammering (and some begging of help from an SQL-savvy friend) I think this should finally work again, although let’s face it – if it doesn’t, you won’t see this!

Anyway: I have a lot of catching up to do, so meaty posts might be a little thin on the ground until I’m up to date again, but hello, and I’m back, and I shall attempt to be relevant if there’s anyone out there still reading.

Incidentally, I shall be attempting to catch up with my RSS feeds, but if there’s anything important I missed or should know about, drop me a line in the comments!

(And thankyou to those people who pinged me via email; I’m sorry if I worried anyone!)

Normal Service May Resume Shortly!

So, you may notice it’s been a bit quiet around these parts lately (and I’m overdue with Part 3 of the Argent Tournament guide, for which I apologise).

Two reasons; first, I’ve had some RL health issues to sort out, which are still bugging me. Second, and more engagingly:

I’ve been playing in the Arena Tournament with Stop of The Stoppable Force and Llanion aka Bob of Mad Cow Chronicles aka Bobbing For Cows. We’re terrible – but it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages.

Banana Shoulders in 2008

As so often happens, I’m taking a leaf out of Leafshine’s book (hah, sorry).

As with so many other WoW blogs, 2008 was the first full year of Banana Shoulders’ existence. I took a long hiatus across May – I posted only six times between mid-April and mid-June – but despite that, traffic numbers returned to their previous levels and grew well beyond them thanks to what I hope, at least, was some useful and relevant content.

A lot of my traffic comes from search engine referrals, and as a result my most popular posts tend to be those laden with crunchy data. Still, nothing compares to the sense of achievement when I see someone recommend my blog as a good source of information. On that note – if there’s something you want me to discuss, and I’m not covering it, please ask!

So, on to the most popular posts of 2008:

10. Brewfest – Preparing for Achievements (September) 2,600+ views.
The timing on Brewfest this year was funny; it was just before we were expecting patch 3.0 to hit, so people knew what the Achievement system involved and were starting to prepare to get as many Achievements as possible.

9. Sunwell Dailies: the Guide (February)
This was basically a complete guide to all the new dailies in patch 2.4, helping people navigate all the confusing daily chains. I really enjoyed the SSO world event, and I hope Blizz does more stuff like this in future.

8. Breaking News: New Facial Models (September)
At one point in the WotLK beta, all the skins and facial models for a number of races were changed, and I was one of the first people to present visual examples. (I got bombed with hits from WoWInsider.) Not long after the community started freaking out, Blizz reversed the changes and said they were just testing something (which I still don’t credit). I actually quite liked Sailan 2.0, and I wouldn’t be sad to see those changes introduced for good.

7. Jewelcrafting Quick Reference Sheet for WotLK (November)
The original TBC version of this quick reference sheet was something I put together for my guild to see exactly what I could do (as I was, and still am, our most active jewelcrafter). On impulse I threw it up here on the blog and people loved it, so I felt a WotLK version would be just as useful. Given the plethora of cuts in WotLK, I couldn’t get by without it.

6. Wrath Jewelcrafting Dailies and Epic Gems (August)
This was where I broke the news about the new mechanism for learning Jewelcrafting patterns in WotLK, and it still gets a heck of a lot of google traffic. Now we know how things work it’s not terribly helpful, which is why I wrote yesterday’s guide to the JC dailies.

5. WotLK Wallpapers (July)
Back when everyone was hungry for glimpses of Northrend, I provided these wallpapers from the beta. Interesting to note how some of the scenery (especially Dalaran) has changed.

4. Professional Advantages (October)
This is a post I still refer to now; it grew out of me trying to work out which professions gave what benefits in WotLK. I’m glad other people found it useful too.

3. Pre-Raid Holy Paladin Gear List, v.1 (December)
Only posted in December and already it’s in the top ten posts – ah, the mighty Googlepower of gear lists. Not that I wrote it as Google-bait; it was mostly a case of me poring over WoWhead and putting together some gear lists for myself, and then thinking “hang on, I bet other people would find these useful”. Of course, since I hate writing gear lists, it took about three weeks longer than I intended.

2. Spellpower and You: Gearing in WotLK (August)
This is another of those posts that grew out of me working something out for myself. I’d read up on the gearing and mechanical changes fairly early in the piece, but a lot of other people seemed to be confused or misinformed, so I felt a summary and guide to the changes wouldn’t go astray.

1. The Inscription Levelling Guide (September) 14,000+ views.
(and in fact the companion posts scored thousands of visits themselves, but I didn’t list them here as that’d make the list rather boring). New content on this kind of scale is tremendously popular, and I’d already seen that with the Jewelcrafting guide I wrote during the TBC beta. At least this time around I knew how best to tackle it! Dropping and relearning Inscription five times got tedious, though.

And there you have it; the high points of 2008. I hope I’ve stlll got things left to say in 2009!

But I’m Having So Much Fun!

So, it’s been kind of quiet around here lately, hasn’t it?

Yeah, I thought so.

I’m sorry, guys, I really am! I have all kinds of posts lined up mentally – gear lists, jewelcrafting guides, rep guides, wallpaper posts, paladin mechanics discussions, et cetera… and I can’t tear myself away from the game long enough to write any of them.

So, yeah. New content within 24 hours, I promise!

(This post was written while waiting for the rez timer in Wintergrasp. ‘Scuse me, time to go get my face smashed in by Horde some more. Damn that Tenacity buff!)