I have a feeling that I’ve been doing this all wrong.
Once upon a time, in the days long past, when “World of Warcraft” was still young, as was YouTube, I actually had an audience. It was small, mind you, but my very first podcast (“Full of Fail”, which was on YT until I removed it a few years ago) got a decent amount of views for a very small channel. Likewise, my blog “The MMO Troll” was rather popular for what it was, around the same time.
But now look at what I’m doing. There is simply no comparison, considering how quiet things are around this site.
So, what’s the difference? What am I doing differently?
Well, that original podcast focused entirely on MMORPGs, mostly WoW and “Lord of the Rings Online”. My blog “The MMO Troll”, as well as the video podcast that came later, and shared the same name, also focused on MMORPGs. The only difference between FoF and MMO-Troll was how I approached the subject matter: FoF was rather positive, while MMO-Troll used sarcastic humor to criticize the MMORPG industry, as needed.
Both were fairly successful, for what they were.
But fast forward to the last few years, more than a decade later, and things are quite different. This website hosts a blog, multiple podcasts, and various videos and livestreams, when I was still active on YT and Twitch. But despite all that content, Scormey.com gets way less traffic than my previous websites or YT projects did. Why?
I feel that the problem lies in multiple places.
Well, to start off with, I’m not sure that posting with such diversity of content is a good thing. Three podcasts, a weekly Blog, plus the video archives, not to mention a Discord server… I’m not sure if all that works against me, in some way. Sure, it’s all focused around a fairly central theme (Gaming in general), but it all seems a bit more scattered than previous efforts.
Then there was the MMORPG crash a few years back. Sure, people are still playing some MMOs, but not like they were in the mid-2000’s, when “World of Warcraft” was at its peak. This has caused interest in websites like Scormey.com to drop like a stone, as there isn’t really any market for them. People still playing MMORPGs already have their favorite sites and sources for information and commentary on their game of choice, why would they come here? Plus, we don’t really speak highly of WoW here, so…
On a related note, there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest in Tabletop Roleplaying Games, to be honest. Worse yet, we cover a wide variety of TTRPGs on this site, which dilutes any potential interest even more.
Let’s not forget, this blog and our podcasts just aren’t very good.
Finally, I feel that my online persona has pretty much been shadowbanned by the gaming industry. “Scormus” (or the informal Scormey) is seen merely as a Troll by the MMORPG industry, which has likely spread to other gaming companies, as well. Back when I was just doing “Full of Fail” on YouTube, before The MMO-Troll ever started, I had positive reactions from gaming companies, and solid growth on that video podcast. But while MMO-Troll was popular, it caused the gaming companies to shun me, which has remained the case to this very day.
Now then, let’s set aside the potential “Shadowban” for now, and focus on the other problems. Let’s even set aside the quality of the content, which is subjective, and some have even praised. Sure, I question their sanity, but that’s beside the point. Let’s just look at the other issues, for now.
What about our Diversity of Content problem? Back when my websites and YouTube channels got some decent traction, they covered various topics, but stayed in a rather narrow lane, being MMORPGs. It was rare for me to cover any other topic. In fact, I usually stayed to covering only a few different MMOs, and when I started branching out to other games, interest dropped off. I suspect it is much the same problem here and now, actually. I have been using the Blog here as effectively an online diary of sorts, just recording my thoughts and not really looking to entertain or inform with it. As for the podcasts, those are a veritable mess! Let me look at each of them in-depth:
- Ronin Roleplaying (formerly Knights of the Tabletop) is certainly improved over its former form. The sound quality is better, as I don’t have to clean up bad audio from other people’s microphones anymore, but the content is… well… not exactly riveting. Actual-Play podcasts for TTRPGs are a dime a dozen nowadays, and Solo roleplaying is an even more niche topic that just TTRPGs in general. I don’t think there really is an interest for Solo TTRPG Actual-Play podcasts, not unless it is a show like “Me, Myself, and Die” on YouTube. That is a heavily edited and slickly produced podcast, hosted by a professional voice actor. My little show can’t compete with that.
- Loot Mechanics (formerly Pixels & Dice, which in itself was formerly Pthppt, then before that The MMO Troll) is probably our best show. My brother Beoulus and I cover video games of all sort, TTRPGs, even board games and collectible card games. Diversity of topics works on LM, because I do more with the production and editing. Not much, but enough to make it stand out. Still, LM just doesn’t have much of an audience, especially not since Ryleia left the show a while back.
- +1 Podcast of Slaying (formerly Roleplay Domain) is a show I do for fun, and that’s it. This is a venture I never expect to grow, because, much like the weekly blog, it is simply a place for me to talk about whatever I like, when it relates to Roleplaying. Much like RD before it, though, I’m not certain if +1Pos will continue forever, as it simply has limited interest and I can vent my spleen on these topics elsewhere (such as this Blog).
All of the above podcasts are pretty much a mess in their own way, and yet… here I am, pushing them out into the Void every damn week. Why? Because I can, and the idea was to use them to draw interest to the site as a whole. Obviously, that hasn’t worked, at all. But then again, I do this website ultimately to entertain myself by making content, so it really doesn’t matter if anyone sees it, right?
But aside from all of the problems with the podcasts, not to mention the blog, the topics we discuss here are really very, very niche. The main MMORPGs we discuss are very small overall, same for many of the TTRPGs. While we do talk about some rather big games, too (especially D&D), I don’t think that’s enough to bring in a consistent and growing fanbase. Don’t get me wrong, we do have fans here, and I very much appreciate you all. What I’m saying is that the content here just isn’t catching on with the gaming community in general.
So, what do I do about it? Wipe the site and focus entirely on a single, major game? Limit my scope to only a few, very popular games? Give up and just play games on my Nintendo Switch in my free time, instead?
I don’t find any of those options to be acceptable.
That said, I do feel like now might be a good time to take a look at what I’m doing here, and see if I can adjust it some. For example:
- Maybe it would be a good idea to re-focus +1 Podcast of Slaying a bit. Instead of just throwing out commentary and opinions on a wide variety of Roleplaying-related topics, maybe I need to just stick to TTRPGs? Even so, maybe I need to keep the TTRPG talk to more popular games, for the most part?
- As for Loot Mechanics, I have a few ideas on how to improve this show. Like with +1PoS, we could tighten up our focus some, cover games that are more popular, and might be of greater interest to the general gaming public. Also, we could see about adding in a third voice to the show, as we once had. Tenknife, I’m thinking we need to have a chat about this…
- Finally, let’s talk about Ronin Roleplaying. Ugh. I love this show, and it is consistently our most popular podcast (seriously!), but there is also some work that could be done here. First of all, I’m a bit stuck, when it comes to this show, as I already have it pre-recorded through all of 2021! Seriously, I do. I was done through the first quarter of 2022, in fact, but decide to re-record that content, based on some changes I wanted to implement. Now then, I could just scrap and re-record some of the content in 2021, as well, but that seems a bit extreme. While some games played aren’t the best (“Rifts”, I’m looking at you), on the whole I’m fairly happy with the stories being told. Also, that’s a whole lot of work just being tossed out, and I just can’t do that! But I can add in more diversity of content (yes, seriously), starting in 2022! The plan is to change games monthly. Yes, this means shorter overall time with each game, but more games each season, and I think it will work out fine.
- As for the Blog, well, maybe these stream-of-consciousness style posts should be curtailed, or given their own space on the site? I’m thinking on focusing the blog to more serious (or less, depending on if I embrace the Troll again) gaming articles, which might bring readers in more. Since I’m only posting weekly right now, this shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish, right?
Anyway, I think Beoulus and I need to talk about the future of Loot Mechanics as a whole, as well as if we need a third voice on the show, even if they come and go, as they will. I see a lot of similar shows follow a casting lineup like this, and it works for them, so why not us? I also need to think a bit about what I can do for my other podcasts, and adjust them as necessary, even if it is only for a trial run.
In then end, I do all this just for my own fun. We don’t have ads here anymore, and haven’t had for some time, so it isn’t like I’m making any money on all of this. So as long as it remains fun to put content up here, I’ll do it. But if growing interest in the content means not enjoying myself to do it, then fuck it, I’ll go back to ranting about obscure roleplaying games and renaissance faires!