The Backtrack Block is over… or is it?
When I decided to take my short “break” I didn’t realize how much of a “not actually a break” I’d be taking. With 6 Backtracks out for the whole of November, I was 2 under my desired goal, 2 over my bare minimum, and the schedule was… everywhere. For that I apologize.
For those of you who missed it, and yet for some reason are reading this, despite the videos being like… right underneath this post…
First on the Block was Pangya. A game I kept forgetting to look back at, and I would tend to go months without playing until someone reminded me it existed. Attention being brought back into the game also got me to finally find a way to stream it. (First draft of the script was awash in me lamenting the fact I couldn’t stream it, until it bugged me so much I found a way, and was then forced to remove those lines.) With the advent of the Pangya stream finally in my grasp, I was also able to make it a semi-regular thing, leading all-day Pangya streams with Justin “JewWario” Carmical and MegaGWolf. Such streams did tend to eat up a lot of my time this month.
Afterward, I decided to look into Rusty Hearts again, as I’d been getting nothing but doomsaying since the review, claiming the game was far behind in updates, and that they felt Perfect World was letting something they once treated as a flagship stagnate and die, since they’re now firmly in bed with Cryptic, shifting all focus to CO, STO, and Neverwinter. I can… kinda see where they are coming from. Keep in mind, the alternate avatar thing had been around since very shortly after my review. Seeing that ALL that was added was a skill revamp, some more of these avatars, and a new area for said avatars, it’s disconcerting… especially considering the kind of updates that need to be made to that genre. It stagnates FAST. With DFO and DarkBlood shut down, and Elsword players consistently pissing me the hell off, the Beat-em-up MMO is slowly becoming a thing of the past, it would seem.
Afterward I was in a bit of debate as to the direction I’d go, thinking Vindictus might be too early too look at in the block, having just done Rusty Hearts, but after much debate, I settled on SMITE. (Vindictus keeping me from creating a new character without waiting a week to delete the old one also helped that.) I say SMITE was in debate of being backtracked, since it was STILL in Open Beta, but so many revisions have been, and are still being made, that I just had to do it. Since the video… like about 2 weeks afterward, Hi-Rez finally announced the official launch date of SMITE being March of 2014. Expect something when that date hits. Those of us in Grindstone (which is slowly becoming a catch-all term for the game-playing community of this show) are debating on doing a “SMITE Night” where we spend a good while on a set day of the week playing SMITE as a community, either in custom matches, or 3-5 man groups against other players in casual matches. I’ll make something more of an official announcement if we go through with it.
After the debate of “what do I do now”, I ended up firing up a bunch of scripts, and making notes on things I KNOW have changed in many of the games I wanted to Backtrack. Unfortunately streams, and excessive multitasking meant I released pretty much nothing for the next week and a half, leaving a ten day gap between the SMITE backtrack, and finally getting around to Vindictus. When i went on my min-rant at the end, it was pretty much brought on by a very recent YT comment (oddly enough, NOT left on the Vindictus video, but still about the fact I couldn’t run it (at the time)). I fail to see how anyone could consider themselves a PC gamer and STILL not understand that some games run better on certain setups then they do on others. There’s stories of “uber-machines” barely able to run some of the games created years ago, all because of how the game was set up. Baffling more that the same people who chastise me for having a hard time running Vindictus, would somehow be in disbelief that I could run The Secret World smoothly, as if it was some sort of fluke. Vindictus runs ok on your PC, and “my hardware is just garbage”, but when Secret World runs poorly on your PC while I have no trouble with it, now it’s the game’s fault? Sod off.
Off and on during this month, I had received an email from a PR rep from OGPlanet, saying they saw my video on YouTube, and asking me to look at La Tale again now that it’s been revamped. Oddly enough it was unquestionably on my plate, and I had no problem looking at it again, so I was in correspondence with them for a while. It was pretty easy to cover Season 2 of La Tale, as the PR rep did send me an all encompassing list of the changes, and even without it, so many of the changes were readily apparent. I really do enjoy La Tale far more than I did Maple Story, and despite it’s pretty bland questing system, I feel it at least does the platformer MMO correctly. We are also considering starting a guild in that game as well. Granted, it’s a far tougher sell, and initially setting up your controller is a serious PITA when you do’t know what button does what, but once it’s down, it’s a pretty fun romp if you bring a friend along. And again, while I didn’t show it in the video, (as I didn’t have a place for it) one of the very first things that happened when getting out of the tutorial was a higher level player requesting a trade and giving me a TON of higher quality potions for free. There are decent people playing this game, and for once they seem to really enforce that decency. (Interesting considering that from what everyone is telling me from everywhere, OGP’s Rumble Fighter is the polar opposite of this.) Although, I did get an initial storm of dingbats on YT from my first video, who again spend more time shouting at all the things I got “wrong” rather than take the tone of the video as a whole. Anything to show how “superior” you feel to someone, eh kiddies? As for the new posting of the video on YT, OGP’s Facebook and forums? Much better reception… unless you count the people shouting how the game is “dead” on the Facebook listing.
Finally, with three videos being dumped out on Thanksgiving week, I suppose that’s something to the credit of my earlier note-taking and multi-tasking, I decided to cap it off with Age of Wushu, as I was meaning to do more videos, and possibly a secondary tutorial video series on the game when we were all being very active with it. It was a pretty damned fun “Grindstone reunion”, which players that haven’t touched the game in ages joining those who are still active and left the guild to play in a more active one. Talk of “bringing the band back together” was tossed around, but until the holidays and everyone’s schedules clear up, I honestly don’t see that happening any time soon. Don’t let me discourage you from playing the game, or re-starting up the guild if you want to, of course, but I know a LOT of us aren’t quite ready to make that commitment again.
Something I’m not sure people are catching about Backtrack… Just like MMO Grinder itself, is that’s it’s NOT an all encompassing guide. I’m not going to cover everything that’s been changed, because unless it’s been laid out in black and white in a press release somewhere (like it was for Wushu and La Tale Season 2). I get just as many “you missed this” comments, if not more when I do this, but again, if I can’t immediately notice it, or if I feel it’s really not that important, I might just cut it out for the sake of time. I don’t want Backtracks to go anywhere near 10 minutes, as they’re essentially news posts. Even if a game goes under an update a few weeks after my video, it’s usually not enough to warrant making an entire new video about. Let the content breathe for a bit… let it dig its heels in. Had I Backtracked SMITE the minute the “focus” mechanic was implemented, I would have felt hella stupid when it was (thankfully) demolished a few weeks later. Also remember… if you want to know what I feel about the game, that’s what the link to the original review is for.
That being said, while I claimed Backtrack was “All of November” and I pretty much did that, I still think I need to say a few words about games I wasn’t able to get to in time… some, like Neverwinter, entirely on purpose, considering the next class is hitting early December, I will be releasing maybe one or two more before the next MMO Grinder, which is slated to be around mid-December. Whether that will be the ONLY MMO Grinder that month remains up in the air.
Biggest ironic sidenote? The end of the “Backtrack Block” trailer stated “Because he’s not getting enough time to play Dragon’s Prophet.”…
I haven’t played it once since that video. (Not that I’m not meaning to!)