First - good, thoughtful discussion. FWIW, I've struggled with the same kind of questions on my own blog, and am also trying different things, with varying (mostly little) amounts of success. But here's my 2 cents anyway. :)
I think first, it's important to decide which of the two following goals are you trying to accomplish. Do you want to increase traffic? Or do you wish to increase engagement? Because while related, I think the strategies you undertake will differ based on which you prioritize. For instance, you can have huge traffic, and almost no engagement. ie., most YouTube videos and a significant amount of twitch streams. You can also get terrific engagement from a small, but loyal set of readers. So your traffic won't necessarily go through the roof, but you could still have really thoughtful, provocative discussions.
For myself, I've decided for my blog I want to increase traffic. If increase engagement comes out of that, it's just gravy - and I try to engage in anyone that does actually leave a comment, but I have realistically very little expectation of any discussion at the blog. I'm looking for eyes on the page. To that end, I've adopted a couple of strategies:
- for awhile now I've had a policy of no blog without pictures. It's cliche, but it's true. I think photos help break up the flow of the wall of text, and just present more appeal.
- I've also tried to incorporate more video. Honestly, you did some great "commentary while driving" videos awhile back, and are pretty prolific with the streaming. I'd try to tie those things together - make the blog sort of a media hub, with your other outlets (twitch, youtube, twitter) branching out from that.
- write guides. The blog posts that have, by far, generated the absolute most hits for Of Course I'll Play It have been the small number of guides and how-to's I've written. The Defiance Weapon Mods guide I wrote like 3 years ago continues to generate hits. Ironically, my most successful blog post today is the one I wrote about GW2 Karma farms, which people apparently flocked to thinking I was passing on hints about Karma farming, when in reality I was bitching about it and telling people not to do it. Hah - joke was on them.
Anyway - dunno if that helps or not, but if it's any consolation, this is the longest comment I've left on anyone blog for anything in like, oh forever. :)