Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 DTP Year in Review

The year of 2013 has come to an end and we are entering 2014. As has become a tradition, it's time to reflect on the year past and review how things have gone in relation to the blog, my miniature hobby, and things in general. I liked the January 2 release last year, so I am going with it again this year. Welcome to 2014!!!

Happy New Year!!!

2012 was a tough year on the personal, work, and family front; and due to that I did not actually set any hard goals at the start of 2013. At the most I had decided to "play things a bit more casually" as a quote from a year back. Did I succeed at that goal, I'm not sure as 2013 went in a very different direction than I expected overall.

During 2013 my miniature hobby took a beating followed by being assaulted and then kicked while down. This was directly reflected in the drastically reduced amount of miniature games I played during the year, dropping from 174 games played in 2012 to only 84 in 2013. I don't have X-Wing included in there, so this number might be as high as 90 with X-Wing.

It's pretty easy to find the disruption in my mini-hobby when you look at when the bulk of my games were played in 2013. 65 of my games were played between January and the end of April last year, with the remaining 25 games being spread out across the other 8 months of the year. Some who do not follow the blog closely or who are new to the DTP reading will be wondering what happened in April of last year, what was it that ruined my gaming?

Changes in Systems, Changes in Attitudes
April and May 2013 are when the attitude changes in my gaming community really started to show their true colors. Earlier in the year (and at the end of 2012) I began getting involved in updates to the primary game system I was playing (Malifaux) with an eye toward the upcoming edition change (from 1.5 to M2E). I was part of a small group working with the game developers on balancing the tournament and organized play systems for the game. I was a Henchman (volunteer helping build the game community) who contributed heavily to supporting my local community along with supporting the global Henchman community. I was also, per the developer comments, part of the core team of play testers for the game.

It was with great concern I watched Wyrd turn their back on the established game and those who had helped develop the game in lieu of new blood and a new direction. I was part of the "old guard" who were branded trouble makers by this "new blood" and I watched as the concerns of the "old guard" were dismissed and attacked. It was with great sadness that I watched it become popular among the "new blood" to assault any opinion that hinted at concerns with the new direction of the game.

True to form on the Internet, things quickly became incredibly vitriolic with poisonous attacks and accusations killing off any potentially helpful discourse. I was very sad to see the deep fracturing in a community that for years had been held up as a paragon of helpfulness and friendliness among gaming communities. I was further surprised to find an equal amount of poison originating with individuals at Wyrd as with the community on the internet. I was additionally shocked to find previously trusted members of my own gaming group duplicitously contributing to the attacks, specifically targeting me (personally).

As you can imagine, attacks from all front's will quickly drain most enjoyment you may get from playing a game. To see such traitorous behavior in a group of people you thought of as friends will kill off any additional desire to spend time with those people as well. All of this contributed heavily to a drastic decrease in my gaming, especially on the miniature front.

Moving On, Moving Forward
The summer was eaten up with a search for new activities to fill in my hobby time. As things settled down a bit heading into the fall of 2013 I picked up new interests. Let's take a look at some comparisons between 2012 and 2013.
Comparison 2012 to 2013: The Blog
Overall I saw a decrease in blog posts from 2012 to 2013, but not a drastic one. 2012 saw 53 posts while 2013 saw 51 posts, keeping in the same neighborhood overall. I increased the prevalence of specific types of posts, especially when it comes to showing off models. At least twice in 2013 I ran a week long series of "Picture Week" threads, showing off the painted models I have. These seem to have been well received, along with the less-common battle reports (with pictures) which were posted. 

Looking at Google Analytics I see an upward trend in blog visits. Comparing 2012 and 2013 shows an overall increase of about 3%, totaling up to a little over 24,000 visits. The spread of visitors around the world has stayed pretty consistent overall, with the only country showing a drastic change being New Zealand which grew considerably in readership this year. It is interesting to see the new visitor vs return visitor totals shift a bit, with the move toward return visitors indicating a more dedicated reader base.

Comparison 2012 to 2013: The Hobby
I would remind the readers of this post, my hobby in relation to this blog is defined as the building and painting of miniatures. This is the statistic I track on my spreadsheet and with the point system I adopted back in January of 2010. This is a great place for my shout-out to Rushputin (great blog) for the spreadsheet I update and use.

So what does it look like comparing 2012 to 2013? Statistics for hobby month to month looked like this:
2012 Hobby Tracking by Month

While in 2013 we look like this:

2013 Hobby Tracking by Month

2013 had some increased activity in the start of the year but the trends stayed fairly consistent through the year. The largest change was the complete stop of modeling and painting from September through November, which directly correlated to my decrease in Malifaux and the December arrival of Wild West Exodus.

2014: Whats Next?
Looking forward into the new year is always an interesting exercise for me. I am not sure what I can predict for the future and am only really comfortable setting goals for the near future when it comes to gaming. On my personal and business front there are lots of things changing this year and my hobby and gaming must adapt to those changes. Hobby is an important stress relief for me, but always comes third behind family and work.

On the family side, my youngest daughter has an increasing interest in games and gaming. My daughter has a growing fondness for X-Wing and we have a shared set of ships to play games with. She still has her Malifaux models and we will probably get a small number of games in with those over the year. I also expect to see a game or two of Puppet War's through the year, despite Wyrd's complete lack of support for the game.

My wife has developed a taste for Netrunner in addition to expanding her own desire to play games. We have developed a new friendship with another couple over the last year who enjoy playing games with us, with the wives sharing a fondness for many of the same board games. I expect to see an increase in games with my wife and our friends such as Zombicide, Super Dungeon Explore, Catan, Quarriors, and Takenoko.

And then there is my own gaming. I am still trying to get in the rare game of Malifaux Classic when another player is available. I also just received (in December) my Wild West Exodus models and am starting to play games of that. Later in 2014 I will be receiving two factions of Wrath of Kings and will be playing that a bit as well. I am hoping to return to a regular miniature gaming schedule, which will now balance against regular games of Netrunner and a variety of board games. I expect I will get in a handful of Warmachine/Hordes games through the year as well.

I have also discovered that I enjoy building and supporting a gaming community. I will be putting some effort into building a new gaming community in the area that I can enjoy playing games with. I will certainly move more cautiously in terms of building friendships with those I game with, as I really don't need more drama.

All said, 2014 is a new year and the future is certainly bright!

Happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. Ahem ahem... Challenge still accepted?

    BTW, looks like 2 of mine dropped out... so Chris, me, and T and J. Maybe B can join us as well?