Celebratory Post: 1000 followers & a New Frontier!


“If complaining is indeed unhealthy for the mind, then become someone who makes a habit out of being grateful.”



The wait is over! I’m pleased to have a big triple announcement prepared for today.

The first part of that announcement is one full of gratitude because we’ve now surpassed the milestone of 1000 followers! Thank you so much for helping to make The Well-Red Mage a place where people come to interact with each other and share their thoughts through discussion, even in disagreement. Yes, I’m talking to you, reader. This blog wouldn’t be what it is today without you. You’re the one who comes and reads our analyses, reviews, opinions, essays. You’re the one who shares our content with others. You’re the one with the contagious passion in your comments. You’re the one who contributes to the organic discussion with your own thoughts. So I sincerely thank you. Wherever you are, know that there’s one family in the world with very warm thoughts toward you: my family.

I am also very happy to thank our contributors!


These are talented people who either helped build The Well-Red Mage from the ground up or asked to join the team out of their own interest. Whatever which way, I’m glad to have met these writers and gamers, and I’m proud to be a part of a team with them. A big thank you to the Timely Mage and the Black Humor Mage for being here from day one as founding members. Thank you to my supportive wife for finding time between raising two healthy and intelligent children to help with editing here and there as the White Out Mage. Thank you to the Midnight Mystic Mage for being our most frequent and consistent contributor of all time. Thank you to the Evergreen Sage Mage for being a wellspring of wisdom and counsel to me. Thank you to our special effects “trifecta of awesome”: the Green Screen Mage, the Silver Screen Mage, the Shamrock Show Mage. Thank you to new friends afar off: the Spoony Bard Mage, the Moronic Cheese Mage, the Five More Minutes Mage, the Final Fourteenth Mage, the Hopeful Handheld Mage, the Brave Blue Mage, the Dapper Zaffre Mage, the Sincere Scholar Mage, the Writing Beige Mage, the Red Hot Chili Mage, and the Over-Caffeinated Nostalgia Mage. Thank you to friends close by whose companionship has been invaluable: the Bearded Board Mage, the Magenta Martial Arts Mage, and the Papa Grey Mage. Some of you have come and gone, moved on to bigger and better things, but your time here on our mage crew has left an undeniable imprint of gratitude on my heart of hearts.

I won’t thank the Rage Mage. Dude’s a sphincter…


ANYways! The second part of our announcement is that we’ve dropped the “wordpress” out of our URL. Yes, we’re now officially thewellredmage.com! This may seem like only a small victory, but I’ve wanted to shorten up our rather long address for quite some time. Reaching this recent milestone seemed like an appropriate time for it. With the custom domain comes something else that’s new to us: overhead, however slight. I’ve always run this blog as a hobby and a past-time, keeping it free for me up until this point, but with the amount of content and the direction that we want to take, it seemed to me that it was time to take this next step.


Now I can make the third part of our triune announcement, which is that we’re officially launching our Patreon today, August 1st!


So why are we opening a Patreon page?

This is huge for us but I want you to understand that this is not a decision I made lightly. The last thing I wanted to do was move in the direction of crowdfunding flippantly without providing what I would believe to be something valuable to the gaming community in terms of writing and journalism. That said, I’ve had many conversations recently with people closest to me about the next step for TWRM

Over a year ago, I thought I was just starting a little place where a couple of friends and I could share our thoughts on some games we played, providing a little extra meaning to all the hours I spent in front of the TV. It was also an outlet for me to write smaller, more manageable chunks of material rather than tackle sprawling stories I usually didn’t finish. Now here we are all these months later and I realize I never anticipated what this blog would come to represent. Writing a critique on The Last of Us in June marked the first time I was unable to keep up with the influx of thoughtful comments from readers.

Feedback that I’ve received from followers indicates that we’ve touched on an angle and style of writing on games, namely long-form, analytical reviews, that’s not commonplace anymore, which has resonated with people and has come to define us. Also, while I wanted TWRM to function as a kind of community hub for highlighting other talents across the blogverse, I didn’t anticipate that this would become a place where people came to have discussions with each other, where people I’ve never met expressed interest in joining with us and writing with us in the same style. I didn’t anticipate the growth and the kind of blog this would become, but now that it’s growing, I can begin to look at the horizon ahead.

And what lies ahead?

For a while now I’ve teased the announcement of a coming podcast called Mage Cast, an avenue where we could bring our conversational and in-depth approach to an audio format. The perspective would be about tackling big questions about the nature of gaming and defending the assertion that games are an art form, in a more accessible way to non-gamers than a dedicated blog. A goal of raising funds through Patreon to help support the purchases of necessary equipment and sustaining the Cast seemed like an appropriate measure.

There’s also this future goal that I’ve not publicly mentioned until now, which is that I’d like to take The Well-Red Mage in a direction away from being a blog and developing it into a functionally consistent webzine (I prefer hyperzine, but let’s not pick nits). In July, we picked up six new contributors. While not all of them have made their debut posts yet, I’m currently functioning as a kind of casual advisor/editor-admin. Between this and writing my own pieces, and of course keeping time to actually play games, this has kept me pretty busy.

Right now, I have content scheduled in advance all the way up until the end of the week. I don’t know what August is going to look like but if we take on more talented writers, we could seriously begin looking at scheduled posts with regular consistency. At that point, I’d need to begin preserving our identity as The Well-Red Mage by maintaining a unity of approach and standard of quality between all reviews, even in terms of word count and prescribed content. But I’ve never explicitly asked that much from our contributors before. That’s why I want to pay them.

This again is where Patreon comes in. I want to run a site that hosts talent which I can compensate for their time and energy. I don’t know of too many blogs that do this so I’m excited to stretch the possibilities in this direction. I know that our contributors put a lot of effort and work into writing their posts, and I think they deserve it. Offering some kind of payment for their word count seems fair as we continue to move in this direction, and that’ll effectively turn us into a webzine by building up a staff like this, slowly but surely.

A lot of this is hard for me to express, because there’s always that nagging fear that I don’t want to appear over-confident or presumptuous, unrealistic. At the same time, I don’t want to let my apprehension at what others might think of me, or anything else, hold us back in a world where there are so many possibilities and so many resources available for content creation. I’m excited at those possibilities and I hope to be a positive influence in the gaming/writing community in this new way.

So who should check out our Patreon?

Here’s my philosophy on this: I’m not going to beg for your support. I don’t believe in that. I think someone should only join alongside our work if that’s what they want to do. If you like the content that we put out and you want to see more of it at an even higher quality… if you’re inspired by the idea that writers can find a new way to get paid for their work through The Well-Red Mage… then you can make that consideration to support us. Of course, I’ll be immensely grateful, indebted. I already am for your support as readers, but this is another step ahead and you can take it with us if you are so moved.

Recently, and I’ll conclude all these words with this, I conducted a few polls on Twitter asking people what they were most frustrated with about mainstream gaming journalism. I’ve seen a lot of individuals express some real disappointment in the big names in gaming writing/reporting, but the wealth of replies to these polls really surprised me:

“The fact that it’s not really “Journalism” anymore. It’s either bought ratings, or blatant fan-boyism. No more integrity or non-bias.”

“They lost the eyes of a child. Everything is rated out of the perspective of adults, but children game too… What I referred to are downvoting games that are too easy or simple, because they don’t realize that they’re not the target audience. Or complaining on mechanisms that were clearly made to protect children.”

“Definitely the bought opinions.”

“When they normalise trolling as just a bit of fun.”

“They twist gaming into sheer nonsense where one person is offended about a design in a character and suddenly the game is sexist.”

“How they twist everything into sexism, racism or gamers are dead crap. How they view any hard game like Dark Souls. How they assume all gamers live in their parents’ basement. How one person has a bad experience and gaming is toxic.”

“Also, the fascination with every opinion on gaming being part of some fandom/culture war.”

“How everyone feels inclined to say that *insert random game here* is the “dark souls” of *insert other game here*.”

“Their hatred towards the Japanese in terms of certain games. The fact that they complain about inclusiveness that makes no sense to the context of the game itself. Case in point, Call of Duty: WWII.”

“People who minutely analyze everything in order to uncover problems, issues, reasons why a 30 second blip means the entire game sucks, etc.”

“Things like “I f—ing hate Sonic so I review the Sonic games”.”

“How perfect everything has to be. Back in 64 days glitches were fun and exciting. Now they are negative and mean the game sucks.”

“Just have an open mind when playing games not be so biased because you dislike a game from the series.”

“Titles that have preorder options and reviewers that either praise or criticize said preorder game… then both heel turn when the game’s out.”

“How half of the 10 point scale never gets used.”

“The misuse of a ratings scale. Please use the whole range. If not, then condense the range, or ditch it all together. With games becoming more service-like, and having longer legs as a result, a bit of post-release coverage would serve to better inform.”

“Leaks/oversaturation with information. We know too much about games when they come out – it kills the suspense.”

“The fact that each little screenshot and trailer gets analyzed and spoils sometimes more than half of the game.”

“The lack of coverage for games post-release. Kotaku is good about this, but others tend to move on immediately.”

“Games have no time to simmer. Always about the next thing.”

“The article comment sections…”

“The need to attach meaningless metrics to games that just confuse. Obsession with heavy promotion of games pre-release.”

“It’s the disparity between the general consensus of consumers and of reviewers. The fact that somehow 7’s have become meh and a 5 equates to absolute dogsh-t. In my opinion this helped kill off the middle market titles that were abundant during the PS2’s lifespan. The middle market was where you saw studios take chances. For example games like Killswitch which was a direct influence on Gears of War, wouldn’t have a chance today.”

I’m going to word it this way: if you’re irked by mainstream gaming journalism then support citizen journalism that’s not bought out, that’s not a propaganda machine, that’s not obsessed with clickbait headlines. It’s smaller but it’s put together by people who actually play and enjoy games.

We’re going to call our Patrons “Warriors of Light”! Gotta stick with the Final Fantasy theme, after all. There will of course be exclusive content available to provide some extra value. Exactly what we’re offering additionally can be found here on our new page set up as a roster for Warriors of Light, where they’ll have their names and links forever immortalized, or you can also find out more information by visiting our Patreon page. If there’s something else, some new content, you’d like to see then know that I’m open to having that conversation with you. I can’t run the best blog around but I can be the hardest working. Onward into this New Frontier.

The secret’s out and that’s our big announcement! Thank you for everything, readers, followers, contributors, and friends.
-The Well-Red Mage


Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Warrior of Light and join us in restoring integrity and quality to entertainment journalism. We specialize in long-form, analytical reviews and we aim to expand into a podcast and webzine with paid contributors! See our Patreon page for more info!



40 replies »

  1. Lord C only reads Official PlayStation Magazine & GamesTM mags cos A, they’re all I can afford, B, PS fanboy (but I love ALL games & consoles!) & C, obvs OPM is PS bias, but you know that goin in, while GamesTM doesn’t publish the names of reviewers & it is presented as more an ‘opinion’ than a review, plus they are maturer (in a good way!) than OPM!
    But, realistically, due to depression, my mags are sittin there, while I tear through a couple months of Well Red Mage every time I open the bookmark!
    Congrats, Lord C loves you, & Keep Up The Glorious Work!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on hitting 1000 followers! That is awesome. Even though it seems like I’m *always* behind on the blogs I like to read these days, I always look forward to reading new posts from you!

    Overall, I avoid all the “major” sites. At least I know when I’m reading a review from you or one of my other blogging friends, it’s more sincere and there aren’t going to be a bunch of ridiculous comments where people troll each other. Keep up the good work! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Thank you for being so diligent to read so much of the content on this blog! I’m blown away by that kind of much appreciated dedication! 😀 You’re very kind and encouraging. I think what brings value to these smaller blogs is they’re personality driven. Whatever TWRM becomes in the future, I want to be able to preserve that core and protect it from the sterility of the mainstream. I know I can also create a space where people don’t just troll each other, too. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very well done man, I’m glad to have been at least a little involved in this great website. We at ol’ Stuff and That also have ambitions of webzine status and slowly but surely we’re developing towards that (ish). But we’ve been around for 2 years and you? Like, a year? It’s damn impressive that you’ve come this far in so little time, but I suppose it’s no coincidence considering the brilliant quality and consistency of your content and all that shizzle. You are truly the king of WordPress, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for the encouragement, I really needed that today! We’re all the kings and queens of WordPress, my friend. I’m glad to be a small part of this very creative community. Thank you also for being a part of our work, and for that Rocket League contribution!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on the 1000! I think the Patreon decision was brilliant. You’re putting out regular, consistent, and quality content with numerous writers on board. I was also going to suggest an Amazon affiliate, but don’t ask me how to do that myself lol, though I’m looking into it, too. You could have people go to the giant site through a link, and it generates revenue for you. I’m tossing these options around myself even though I’m just a little over halfway to where you are (please dear God don’t think that’s a humble brag. NOT MY INTENION 😫). I look at it like this: people who want to will become patrons. There’s no pressure or involved, and if you do garner some that’s more advantage for you😊

    I barely read “big” reviewers anymore. That Screenrant FFVII article was the last 🙄, and then there was a comparative article about how many FFVII motifs are highly indicative of the times we’re living in, which I wholly agree with, but the comments made me wonder how many people live under rocks. All narratives are worthy of discourse, and all narratives make some statement on current society. Not trying to sound elitist, but a lot of gaming articles seem to appeal to the shallowest level of thought, and any discussion that delves deeper is met with ridicule, as if having an intelligent opinion is something to mock, but citizen journalism, as you’ve called it, does what mainstream either cannot for fear of alienating an audience that doesn’t think as complexly or will not because the authors are in the same camp.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you again so, so much for your support for the future of gaming journalism (tentatively!)!! I did shoot you over a PM on Twitter with some detail talk.

      Thank you for the kind words. We actually are trying to do the Amazon affiliate thing but it doesn’t seem to be working at all, for months now. Our account doesn’t even register clicks we know are going through. We just haven’t had a chance to sort of work it out or reset it. I wholeheartedly agree that people who want to, will, and that’s fine with me. No pressure at all!

      “Not trying to sound elitist, but a lot of gaming articles seem to appeal to the shallowest level of thought…” does it count as elitist if you’re correct? We as writers can raise that bar, and I know you’ve really been doing that! I think that citizen journalism can’t match the success of corporatized, mainstream journalism but it can provide unique content that’s much more personal and thoughtful. I can’t remember the last time I was moved by an IGN or Kotaku or Forbes article, but that happens all the time to me when I read across the blogverse!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did receive your DM (why do they call them DMs anyway?? I know the “M” means message? Or does it mean “master” so DM means “dungeon master.” Oh, how boring…it stands for “direct message psh…) I’ll check it out tomorrow. It *should* be the $10.

        I think I could sound both elitist AND be right. If they’re doing reviews like that, it must be what their audience wants or they wouldn’t continue to do them like that. Of course it’s also possible that the audience just expects that or that’s the audience they’re catering to, but I wouldn’t be too shocked if they started to lose readership once citizen journalism becomes more mainstream and rises to the same level as IGN, Kotaku, etc. I think it’s going to happen eventually, because of smaller blogs getting more following and Patreon making things like this more possible. There’s a definite dearth in the market, and a (older) population who still holds onto their biased beliefs about video games. I’m sure the same thing was said about film criticism when that first came out. Everything new is scoffed at by the skeptics.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I believe it’s DM for Direct Message, similar to PM for Private Message. I’ll do whatever I can to ensure that that issue works out. Can’t be having wrinkles like this during Launch Week!

          “I think I could sound both elitist AND be right.” Hahaha that sounds like a T-Shirt I need. I’d guess it’s largely due to audience expectation. A lot of readers and gamers probably don’t even know about private journalism.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh I’m drowning in confetti! Haha thanks very much for sharing your excitement! I’m excited too! Three new Warriors of Light already signed up for exclusive content and I’m looking forward to a future of saving journalism. Thank you for being a part of this blog, commenting and participating in that epic interview! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you exceedingly much! I’ll never get tired of saying that. You’re supporting the future of gaming journalism. I won’t let ya down, CBA! Thanks for the kindness and the encouragement, for being here along the way!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much! We are super thrilled by this vision for what’s ahead and commenters, discussers, readers like you are a part of that. I really feel like you and I have become good conversationalists together, since our civil disagreements with the Last of Us, and I appreciate your many comments throughout July’s Elemental Challenge event.

      Here’s to the future! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! Really exciting stuff Well-Red! Congratulations on 1000 followers!!! And for getting that nifty custom domain! Awesome awesome stuff!! 😀 Good luck on your Patreon!! This is all such a huge step for you and the mages, and I wish you the best moving forward!! Keep up the great work, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for you! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good question and that’s not something our team has nailed down yet, but I think it largely depends on the success of the Patreon campaign. One of our three goals at the moment is working toward reaching a point where we can begin to reimburse writers for their time and energy. I’m leaning more toward payment based on word count rather than per post, since this will involve having to maintain a higher level of quality especially as it fits our long-form style.

      If you’re interested in how the contributors would be paid, Patreon deposits funds at the start of the month so that would be the time to divide up the funds based on work from the previous month. Venmo, PayPal, what have you are ways to digitally distribute it all. This isn’t going to happen immediately, but you can check out details on reaching the goal of paying a staff on the page:


      Liked by 1 person

      • I see. I’d love to write for The Well Red Mage, and that kind of opportunity would be all I’d need to start (since I have nothing going on at the moment). I have a lot of contributions to make, so I hope this is something you’re able to do.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Awesome! I’d suggest you check out the Patreon goals for more of an idea about when payment possibilities can become available, and also check out the Join the Party page for more information on contributing. Then feel free to send me a PM through FB or Twitter, or on Discord, somewhere that we can talk business details. Looking forward to it!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations! That sounds awesome and I really admire your vision of wanting to pay your hardworking contributors. I know that announcing a Patreon can be a controversial decision – lots of folks like to complain and act like you’re begging them for their life savings – so I just wanted to say that I agree that this seems like the right move for what your blog is becoming. I look forward to seeing it grow even greater!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you and thanks for your comment! I don’t know what the future will bring but I don’t want to waste this vision while it has energy. I also don’t want to beg. I want to inspire. I definitely understand why Patreon has that negative connotation to it but I’m glad you can see that it’s not a decision we made lightly. I’m not expecting some kind of huge financial wave to come in but this is merely one aspect of laying the tracks down for the future. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’m looking forward to the BloggerBlitz as well, and I finally got my word count right 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are correct, of course. Write divisive, angry, ugly content and that’s the sort of comments they’re going to get. Mainstream gaming journalism has become so politicized and divisive in terms of fandoms and culture wars, that it’s no wonder that their comment sections turn into flame wars. That’s not what the world needs right now. It’s not discussion.

      Liked by 2 people

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