Tell us how you really feel (Episodes 41, 42, and 43)
Today brings us to a very special block. Despite starting with something that’s not entirely related or connected to the show, we’ll be going over the game that spawned Grindstone in the first place, bringing MMO Grinder from “Me vs. the MMO I’m playing” to a community project that’s been written by committee ever since. Kinda. It took a while to get there, but this was definitely the catalyst. Also there’s a third game that was a horrific disappointment. Let’s rock.
Episode 41: Hawken
God this game is fucking ugly, isn’t it? It’s like, seriously unpleasant to look at. It’s the intended aesthetic and all, but god, it’s like looking at 3D rendered, playable depression. I dunno, I have a weird aversion to industrial overload and urban decay. I can’t even drive by the nearby oil refinery a few miles south of town without cringing.
That said, Hawken was much more fun for a Mech game to me than Mechwarrior Online, but they game’s a twitch shooter with robots. It’s almost an apples and oranges situation. I was actually pretty good at it, too, and the “NoobTube” was seriously the best mech in the game. I never performed better than when in the starter mech, and nabbing first place was rarely out of my reach.
Shit got really rocky for a while there, didn’t it though? A few months ago, I thought this game was done, over with, and dead in the water, but apparently it’s still kicking… even if Steam is still listing it as an Early Access title. Positively reviewed, and well deserved of the praise it gets. I should get back into it now that it seems to have its head above water again.
Episode 42: Age of Wushu
All together now…
Snail, where do I even begin with you blissfully stupid bastards? Bringing over and saturating the media and internet with marketing to the point of spamming, over one of the most convoluted, broken and simply CHINESE games I’ve ever had the pleasure of looking over. I had no idea what I was doing for WEEKS…and suddenly, we all showed up… and Grindstone became a thing. Together we tackled this ridiculous puzzle of Engrish, and got to a point where our names were feared and respected throughout the server… until the next time it merged.
I played it for MONTHS after the review was over, and got so much further than I ever thought I would bother. Some members of Grindstone still play it.
Sandbox in the extreme, pretty as all hell, an amazing soundtrack, with a world that was a joy to explore, but so painfully difficult to comprehend in so many ways, from the confusing leveling system, to the 3 hour puzzle-laden dungeons and boss fights. Wushu is a classic for us. It’s hard to say it’s a good game, but it’s remarkable in so many ways.
Without WoW there would be no MMO Grinder, but without Wushu there would be no Grindstone. It’s an important title to me and us, even if it’s a glorious mess.
Tangman tank OP.
Recommended?: It’s a Grindstone right of passage. YES.
Episode 43: Neverwinter
Conversely to the previous entry, if Wushu was a game I expected to hate and ended up loving, then Neverwinter was a game I expected to love and ended up hating. I don’t hate it in the same way I despise GW2, or TERA. I hate it because it’s wasted potential the MMO. What I saw in the beta was fun and challenging. The tours we got showed us great promise. If there was any game I wanted to form the crucible of Grindstone in, it was this one… but this game just fought hard to make sure that never came to light. A game that grants roleplayers solace in so many ways, like a long and forgiving name entry system, decently complex character creator, the ability to craft and create your own dungeons and quests… and yet, the channers came, made a mess and ran off, leaving the game a smoldering husk of tedium.
The gameplay itself was… taxing after a while. Absurdly linear questing, and awkwardly stiff combat that got to feeling repetitive really fast, while level progression would hit wall after wall. Dungeon difficulty curves go from, “That was the boss?” to “OH DEAR GOD DID THAT DRAGON JUST SUMMON ANOTHER ARMY OF ARMORED SKELETONS?!” in the span of 5 levels. It’s a complete mess of pacing.
Part of me really wants to enjoy this game. Part of me knows this can never be.