“Soon we will fight, for now, we must learn.”
With RIFT on the verge of dropping its subscription fee in favour of a free-to-play and cash shop business model, I think it’s time to update my review of the game, and since the game will cost nothing to play as of June 12th 2013 (the free level 1-20 trial is still in effect in the meantime), I feel zero guilt in enticing and endorsing the game to my friends, so with that statement out of the way, allow me to highlight some pros and warn of some subjective cons in case you were looking to give the game a try, or even if you weren’t yet!
In the tradition of “bad news first,” let me mention what bad I can drag out of one of my favourite MMORPGs of all time, in the interest of full disclosure.
The lore: RIFT has always provided a game first, and a gameworld second. Most of the decisions made in the game seem to prioritize variety of gameplay and player expression (more on those later) over lore and storytelling, and so whatever stories there may be in the game get diluted by the fact that most paths one can take to play the game can lead away from what storytelling voice that RIFT manages to muster. This doesn’t impact me very much, because I tend to “bring my own stories” into whatever game happens to be serving as a backdrop at the time. As I’ve mentioned in my past review of the game, there is a lot of generic fantasy copy-pasting going on, so if you’re looking to be swept off to a new and fresh world with things you’ve never seen before, RIFT will not always provide that. I will disclaim that I’ve done next to none of the Storm Legion content (level 50-60), but there does seem to be an uptick of care taken on the storytelling front (the loudly broadcast war propaganda is an amusing and fun touch) from what I’ve seen. Speaking of which,
the voice acting has also improved, aiding in the storytelling and affecting some much needed focus on this front.
Honestly, in my highly biased opinion, that one long winded point is truly RIFT’s singular weakness. Do keep in mind, that I don’t see RIFT’s “dated” gameplay as a weakness, as I’ve sorely missed non-action combat after tours of duty in Guild Wars 2, The Secret World and Neverwinter beta. My reflexes suck, and I missed playing games that allowed for them to lack while still enjoying a feeling of generally winning, which action combat robs me of. If you MUST be able to duck and dodge and circle strafe for your life, RIFT does not provide that experience, just FYI. (Thank the Vigil!)
Now I will try to play up RIFT’s strengths, which won’t be that hard.
Personal expression: I’m going to make a bold claim that, on the axis of “themepark” MMORPGs, any game would be hard pressed to surpass RIFT on the front of personal expression of character and concept. From the wardrobe (including class-agnostic “costume gear” that functions visibly, even in combat), to the armour dyes, to the robust housing system, to the utter flexibility of the soul tree character building system, if you want to “be somebody specific” in an MMORPG, RIFT has the definitive palette to assist you in doing so. I could go on about each of those features, but we’d be here all day, so suffice to say, while each have their limitations (it’s still generally unwise to go all “lone wolf” as a pure, squishy DPS build) they are more than “good enough” for you to have the tools to carve out a specific concept and a character that looks, lives and plays as you would like it to.
Variety of gameplay: If there’s one place where RIFT has taken their ball and run hard with it, it’s in presenting the player with options from gaming session to gaming session. Don’t like standard quests? You can actually completely ignore them, to a point, once you settle into a groove of, for example instant adventures (seriously the best content facilitation feature I’ve seen in any game) and the gear caches and planar currencies they hand out, allowing for one to gear themselves in lieu of quest rewards. Yes, there are points where the clear best game in town for gearing are the storyline quests (like at the beginning of the level 50+ expansion content), but beyond those rare periods, it really is wide open for progressing your character. Instant adventures, dungeons (starting at two- person parties!), standard questing, PVP, open world zone events and rift battles are all on the buffet table for you to pick and choose from, and while I’ve heard that the best experience is to take a bit from each and mix it up, each are relatively complete and well executed in and of themselves. There are also the staple crafting, gathering, fishing and reputation pursuits to occupy your day, if that’s your thing.
Furthermore, related to the personal expression point above, the way one chooses to tackle this content on a character gameplay front is equally varied and tweakable. For example, I favour builds that, for the cost of a bit of planning and sometimes an unnoticeably tiny step down in potential performance, can be macro’ed down to a one or two button combat rotation, to the point that most situations my character will encounter can be handled with a combination of 3-5 buttons. In a game with each calling possessing endless build potentials, each build with many, many situational skills, that’s huge for me! Indeed, the main “spam” button for my melee mage is a veritable paragraph-long macro of situational skills lined up to fire in certain situations under certain priorities. RIFT has many situations allowing for this kind of comfortable short-cutting if the player is inclined to utilize it, and if they’d rather challenge their ability to juggle a bunch of keys for maximum performance, that option also exists! This particular choice is one of my very favourite features of the game.
So, in summary, if you can forgive RIFT’s unique, if archetypical story, and don’t mind a more oldschool feel to gameplay, RIFT’s world of Telara is a solid place to lay down roots and build YOUR character the way you’ve always wanted to, to play on your time in your way, to your concept, to finally relax in your dream home built with your two hands, in your custom dyed outfit that looks perfect on you.
I guess the best way to summarize RIFT’s strengths and weaknesses in a single statement would be to say that the game takes the focus off of the world and puts it on you, the player. The world is lush and beautiful and fun to explore, but the characters that the game enables are by far some of its best features.
In the interest of brevity, I’ve brushed over a few terms in this review that perhaps could use further explanation, and seeing as I hate when a person does that in conversation, I will of course answer any questions one may have to the best of my knowledge, so do feel free to ask!
Thanks for reading, and I hope I’ve helped to clarify why the free-to-play conversion is worth your attention. It has certainly “completed my gaming life,” and I couldn’t be happier to finally be able to call Telara my “home” in the vast variety of MMORPGs I’ve played and/or passed on. Maybe I’ll see you in game!
When we meet again, perhaps *you* will be the master!
Post with 9 notes
In grade 10, so 1991-92… ish, I had a legendary math teacher. He was a well documented hardass named Mr Kush, and I was terrified of him. One day, he noticed that, resting on my desk, was a Dragonlance novel. I had misinterpreted the look he gave me at this, and hid the book. After class, he asked me, in a moment that would forever change my opinion of the man who had the words “this is a dictatorship” posted at the front of his classroom:
“Have you ever read the Wheel of Time?”
If I had a way to contact him now, I would thank Mr Kush for changing my life by putting that unexpected recommendation on my radar.
I wouldn’t actually get around to reading the first few books in the series for a few years after that moment, but when I did, I was an immediate fan of the series. The first time I read through what was available of the series, only five books were out, the second time, only seven. It was at that point that I had decided that I would not touch these books again until the final book had been announced, not out of any disrespectful thought,or marring of my fandom, but because the books were so thick, so…so richly told, and honestly, one reading is an experience.
I have, along the way, always been a fan of the books, always been an advocate, but have always followed anything approaching a recommendation with the disclaimer “but it’snot finished, and you will hate the wait.” I have always maintained the opinion that I would not fully and completely recommend the series until it was done.
Well, it’s done. And now I have a new disclaimer.
I can not, will not recommend this series to anyone without being very very clear that this series, if it grabs you like it did me, will change your life, but it will take a very long, very twisting, exciting, but very long road in doing so.
One should not pick up “The Eye ofthe World” (part 1 of 14… there is a prequel, but I consider that optional) lightly. The series is insanely long for how addictive it is, how detailed, how meticulously planned out it is. Honestly and truly, the late Robert Jordan can rest in peace knowing that this series can proudly and easily be called a “life’s work.”
Borrowing from, and therefore enforcing many, many fantasy archetypes, while providing fabulous new spins on important rules of what makes fantasy FANTASY,the Wheel of Time has been called unoriginal, as, yes, it can be easily paralleled on some fronts with Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and so many other stories and tales that have woven escapist worlds for us over centuries, but, you know what? THAT IS GOOD! In a time when other writers try to be “edgy” and “avant garde” by breaking these rules because “oooh that’s so risque,” it is such a breath of fresh air to return to tradition in such a powerful, respectful way that serves both as a brave new world and a powerful salute to everything that brought this entire genre to the dance.
Allow me to take a moment to discuss the depth of this series’ cast. It has been called both the series’ greatest flaw and its greatest strength that, in essence, there are no “bit parts” in the Wheel of Time. Oh sure, there are degrees of importance from character to character, of course there are, but part of the entire theme of the series, which plays out so strongly in its final crescendo, is that no life is a small thing, no person in the world any less than a singular, miraculous perspective capable of changing the world. That character bringing the hero his ale in a tavern? He’s got a role to play in the finale, fourteen books from now, you’ll be hearing about them again. This situation happens in the most unexpected places, and is often a key theme in the actual story! Jordan gets shamelessly and entertainingly “meta” in his implementation of “this is why you’re caught up in fate, you met the protagonist,” and it’s an amazing device (which I won’t spoil;) )!
This brings me to an important moment where I provide a spoiler-free assurance that the investment in the uncommonly long series pays off. This is where I discuss the final volume, which I just finished, right before I started typing this.
With Jordan’s untimely passing, the torch-passing to Brandon Sanderson, and the way he handled Jordan’s work, made me an immediate fan of Sanderson’s writing. Utilizing Jordan’s notes, and taking direction from Mrs Jordan, Sanderson took the final moments of the series… well… three novels of “final moments”… and truly, completely ran the torch to its most burning, bright flare of storytelling with the passion of a true fan. I dare say, that while Jordan does an amazing job establishing his epic ensemble cast that the reader gets both invested in and confused by at times, Sanderson takes the quality of inner and outer dialogue to a whole new level. It’s a stylistic difference, but it’s so well suited to the Wheel of Time, and if Jordan himself couldn’t finish his books, Sanderson was absolutely THE man to carry the honour.
My biggest fear going into the final volume was that, because of the nature of the themes and the direction of the story, one leading to confrontation and potential character deaths, that Jordan (via his notes that lead to Sanderson’s writing) would “go all Deathly Hallows,” or worse, “go all Game of Thrones” on the cast. By this I mean death for the sake of death, senseless, investment-abusive tragedy, and a damaging liberty with the reddest of red pens. Particularly with the multiple,varied, and beautiful love stories that establish over the series, there was a LOT of room to truly break some readers’ bleeding,escapist hearts. There was also a serious possibility to cheapen what deaths potentially could happen because of the otherwise well handled high magic setting. Jordan could have literally played the “it was all a dream!” card in the Wheel of Time, and it would make sense. But it would suck.
He doesn’t play that card. Just getting that out of the way now.
The cards Jordan does play… whew… I can tell you that death happens. I can tell you that some choices made as to who dies and how were shocking, I can also tell you that the strength of the aforementioned ensemble cast of “non bit parts” shines bright when a writer needs to start deciding who gets cool deaths, and who gets to be an unexpected hero!
I can also tell you that Jordan skirts the edge of “too far” in these choices, but does not cross over that edge. Of course, depending on who you are invested in most, your mileage may vary, but I can say that the ultimate choices of how things play out, who lives to hold their loved ones, who dies bravely, and which villains get fitting comeuppance had me cheering out loud and, yes, pleasantly crying by the end. There were many cases in the last book when I took off my reader cap and spoke in my writer voice at my phone (I read via e-book), saying “ok, that’s fair, painful, but fair” or “ok… now you tie this up quickly and correctly, Jordan, or you’re a GRRM level asshole!” and in all cases of the latter, I was satisfied with the results.
I can only give one remotely negative criticism of the series’ complex latticework of character interaction, and that’s that story is BUILT to be read again. Yes, after going on about how long it is, I’m seriously saying that. There are some moments in the last few novels where stories that were apparently being told all along are revealed with a retroactive sense of “what? Weren’t you paying attention?” (that may or may not actually be a paraphrased character quote…), and while this is a highlighting point of appreciation for Jordan’s meticulous planning, I’d be lying if said that I didn’t grind my teeth and say to myself “so… I have… to read it… again?” Incidentally… I will probably read it again. Just throwing that out there.
There are four major “lore brands” that have forged my own little personal sphere of fantasy preferences and expectations over the course of my life: The Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance, Final Fantasy and the Wheel of Time. Of these four, only one of them is a singular tale told from beginning to end in my lifetime, relevant to me as a man growing up and defining myself and my perception of the world through comparison to a beautiful escapism that unfolded as I evolved as a human being. The Wheel of Time gave birth to some of my favourite stories, which I then incorporated into stories of my own, and these stories have defined me among my fantasy escapist peers. To read the Wheel of Time is to share a bit of what makes me me, and while I am not about to tell you that that’s an objective selling point of the series, I can tell you that I recommend the series to any and all fans of traditional fantasy literature, and if you have the time and the interest to follow Jordan’s tale of love, magic, good and evil, you will not be disappointed.
Is it long? Oh hell yeah. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Thank you Robert Jordan, for improving my life.
I don’t write much these days. Canadian winter’s mental hibernation factor set in like clockwork, and with rapid fire Steam sales, MMO releases and my most recent return to my Final Fantasy roots creating a powerful sense of gaming choice paralysis (first world problems, I know), my passions haven’t held still long enough to finish writing anything substantial.
I’m currently bouncing between GW2, The Secret World, TERA, Final Fantasy 13-2 (recently finished its predecessor… sorta) and maintaining my custom season in WWE ‘13, while a ridiculous backlog of Steam sale acquisitions beckons me… like I said, choice paralysis. There is one MMORPG title on the horizon, however, that’s making me look both forward for to its release, and backward, to both analyze my interests and stoke the fires of nostalgia tied to its release.
I’m talking about “Final Fantasy 14: A realm reborn.”
I’m so excited for this game, and yet simultaneously cautious, being personally analytical of this excitement. See, there is a lot about this title that should and does play right into the core of my interests, and yet, at the same time, I am not blind to how fickle I am, and how that fickle nature has cost me so much money in unplayed, and “half played” games. It’s very possible that this is a “shiny new toy scenario,” and I really am more about the hype, more about the hunt than the kill, and I really should think twice, even thrice before committing to FF14, because that’s what I’d need to do: commit.
Buy-to-play is all the rage to me in MMORPG culture. It’s really hard to justify “server expenses” in 2013 at $15 per head a month. Technology has shrunk and advanced, playing with others on the internet isn’t the new, rare, expensive novelty it once was, and unless your name is Blizzard, and you have 7-8 digits of players with “the koolaid” on perma-drip, it’s next to impossible to justify a mandatory subscription to get people to play your game. There is, however, one other gaming giant that has pulled off this feat with not one, but two games, and that’s Square Enix. It’s a safe bet that, on a justification and loyalty front, SE could make the subscription model work simply by expecting to both retain most of the original FF14 crowd as well as perhaps cannibalize some of the FF11 crowd. This takes the common plan of “wait for the game to go F2P/B2P” and makes it a real long shot for those Final Fantasy vets like me that have followed 14’s ascension from quirky niche game to accessibly familiar but still flavorful resurrection.
Which brings me to my next point: pros, cons and forgivable niche aspects and features, tolerated for the sake of “it’s Final motherfucking Fantasy!”
In the tradition of “bad news first,” here are the pillars of my trepidation with Final Fantasy 14, followed by some of the rebuttals I hand myself:
-The subscription. This is the big one, and yet, if all of the pillars of my excitement (which I’ll list in a moment) hold up, not only have I maintained 3 WoW subscriptions in the past (something I did for friends), but since adopting all B2P titles in my MMO habits, I have GONE INSANE with buying games because “I have time for all of it now!” Except I don’t. I honestly haven’t had stability in my MMORPG or gaming habits in general since leaving WoW, and I’m wondering if playing a subscription title again would address this. I love my GW2 guild Sunday events, but for the rest of the week, I’m almost miserable with having all ten fingers in different pies.
-Niche flavored content elements. I recently watched the “levequests” (yes, that’s a word in FF online speak… my point exactly) video released by SE, after hearing that this vital form of Xp-rich repeatable content came with a timer, which, if you know me, you know that being timed sounds loud air raid sirens of “DO NOT WANT” in my head. I watched the video and resolved that, in the implementation thusly presented, the 30 minute timer for a task done in 3 minutes was more a technicality than anything… But that’s only the low level, alpha game, mind you. *Tight* timers for core content would be a huge turnoff, one I might not realize until the “endgame.” That’s not cool.
-The bad elements of playing safe and “cloning WoW.” Let me get this out of the way: for the most part, I WANT, desperately, a Final Fantasy WoW clone. WoW was my home for almost 5 years. It gets copied, and became “the standard” because, on many fronts, it WORKS. I am sick to death of the action combat movement. I play and enjoy two well developed, quality, accessible (F2P/B2P) “action combat” MMORPGs. I and everyone else have access to action in many forms in gaming. I want my final fantasy game to remain a throwback of decision making and strategy. I ALSO don’t want to compete for monster tagging, and would like to feel like I can play at the time and pace of myself and sometimes my small core of friends that I may talk into playing without feeling like a second class citizen. I also have become too accustomed, pleasantly so, in keeping a consistent visual character appearance not at all tied to whatever stat upgrades I come across, and have no desire to start “wearing my power” again, with no choice. In short, I want all the classic gameplay (so no twitch combat, and “choices over reflexes”), and none of the antiquated ethics (like “raid or die” or “we were here first, get in line”).
Those are the most prevalent sources of doubt, now here are the admittedly unclear pillars of my excitement, which, if you are in the know and reading this, I would appreciate validation, clarification and/or correction upon.
-Housing. They’ve promised it within 3 months of launch, give or take a week or few. Sign me up.
-One character can see and play the whole game, classes and all. As I understand it, there is ZERO story or gameplay based reason to make a second character in the context of content access. One character can (and potentially should) level as each and every class/job, the only attraction to alts being “I want one of the other race for looks or RP,” which, while respectable, isn’t enough for me to pay another few bucks a month (1-character subscription fee is cheaper). I just don’t have the time or drive for extreme altoholism any more.
-Two player, two Chocobo dungeons. Every player gets a faithful Chocobo companion that serves as a mount, a Pokemon-like raised animal companion, and a role-flexible ally that is so powerful it can potentially fill a spot in a four-player dungeon. Not since RIFT or LOTRO have I heard of a feature that plays so well to the most under-supported, personally relevant (to me ) demographic of gaming party: the duo. The existence of 4-player dungeons that two players can fill out with NPC companions, on par and rewardingly, is a promise that I’d hoped SWTOR could pull off, but failed at miserably. I really, really hope this works out in FF14.
So that’s where I stand with “A realm reborn,” I intend to buy the game and review it for my friends who join me in non-subscription titles, some of whom once joined me in WoW, before many of us felt sick of a world and IP that just wasn’t drawing us in anymore. As a lifelong Final Fantasy player, I’m biased in hoping that they love the FF IP enough to join me there, but one thing is for sure, if “A realm reborn” plays like “World of Final Guild Warcraft Fantasy 2,” it’s very possible that this will be my next big obsession in gaming.
Honestly, I desperately need one. All this freedom is bloody expensive!
Some screens from episode 1 of “The Delilah chronicles,” hosting here so I can show them off elsewhere, enjoy!
My name is Delilah, and I am a cat.
Now I know what you might be thinking: first, cats can’t write, and second, cats certainly can’t write clearly, they’re all “I can haz” and “nomnom” and stuff. That’s actually a load of crap. Well, the second part is crap, you’d be less silly to think we can’t write. Most of us can’t. How can I write this, then? Well, that actually ties into exactly why I’m writing this.
Because, right now, I’m not a cat. Well, I am, but it’s complicated. I’m actually standing on two legs in a tavern on yet another world much like the others…
Ok, ok, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll back up so you humans can keep up.
My human, bless his big ol’ heart, is a gamer. He’s done LARP, tabletop, countless video games under his belt, you name it. He’s not the best at video games, mind you, but boy has he been around. In the years I’ve spent with him, I’ve watched him and his games closely, and there are so many repeated themes and tropes and ideas between all of these games and stories, you wouldn’t believe it! There’s always an aged wizard, there’s always a shady figure with the flowing cloak, there’s always the scarred veteran with countless stories of his martial prowess. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s certainly a thing. An interesting thing, a… curious thing.
Ok, SOME of what you’ve deduced about us cats is true.
So, I did some digging. We cats can see, hear, smell things that you humans can’t. Not boasting, just pointing out fact. Some of us even can utilize these senses to find things, find places, new places, distant places. Ok, I’m boasting, but it’s true! Anyway, there’s a reason that all of these repeated themes keep showing up in your imaginations, in your stories, in your games. I mean, sure, a lot of the momentum can be attributed to this or that author writing books, which plants seeds for more books, which planted seeds for games. Anyway, my point is, this isn’t coincidence, there are entire worlds aside the one you humans live in that have existed in parallel for a really really long time. Well, I found some.
My human spends half a day at a time at work. He then sleeps for a good chunk of time. That leaves a resourceful and bored cat like me with lots of time to dig, lots of time to explore. In the corners of the basement, under the rumpled stacks in the linen closet, between the washer and dryer, countless places, a curious, resourceful cat can find little cracks to fit into these worlds that crackle and hum with welcoming energy in the homes of those who dream of them, and for cats, who spend so much time sleeping, we can do really awesome things with the stuff of dreams!
I invite you to watch my adventures, maybe even have a say in where I go and what I do. It’s the least I can do for the friends of my human. I mean, I can’t promise to always save the world or anything, some people deserve for stupid to hurt, I mean, just look at dogs. I invite you and I welcome you to have a hand in my adventures, to share in my victories and my triumphs, and to watch me interrupt these clockwork worlds of tradition and magic, of song and story.
Just don’t get me killed. I can find out where you live.
Download episode 1, right now! A “learning curve” game while I figure out how to build games with RPG Maker VX ace!
It’s been awhile, but I have huge exciting news to report for those that read here.
I make video games now!
Awhile ago, I began closely watching a program called “RPGmaker VXace” on Steam, waiting for it to go on special (because it’s 60 bucks, and I’m patient), but there were many times during that wait when I almost clicked “buy” just out of excitement! Well, the holidays hit, VXace went down to 50% and at least one friend and I finally caved. I’m so glad I bought it!
It shouldn’t come as such a surprise to me that, somewhere on the internet, someone had established a program, or series of programs, designed to crank out the simple but satisfying JRPG style games of my youth. I mean they’re all over mobile platforms now, they pale in complexity and visual quality next to today’s Skyrims and Dragon Ages, but they’ve always scratched a very specific, aching itch in my gaming desires.
I’m going to make a not-so-painful confession right now. My reflexes suck. I hate platformers, I generally only tolerate “action combat” in GW2 out of my appreciation for absolutely everything else in the game, and I only ever got good at the twitch-based reversal system in my annual WWE game purchases when they dumbed it right the heck down to my level. Incidentally, I love WWE’13! My point in saying all of this, is that I absolutely love turned based games that let me take my time, have lunch between turns, and (before you recommend chess) have a story of long and epic proportions to them, a story only gated by my willingness to spend my time in the game knocking over random encounters and bosses that are mostly a matter of “when do we risk using a healing potion?”
The first video game I ever played that truly and notably captured my imagination, grabbed me right by the heart and mind and said “this is for you” was Final Fantasy for the original Nintendo entertainment system. Since then, I’ve played and enjoyed the stories for the vast majority of the franchise, and have recently collected the titles I’ve never played before from the series. I’ve been in a “turn-based” mood for the last little while, grabbing up oldschool Final Fantasy titles and playing them on my phone and my PS3, so VXace hit at the perfect time! I bought it and immediately set to work making a game for a friend of mine whose video card fried just in time for Christmas, hoping to brighten her day once she was operational again. While building this inside-joke laden beginner’s masterpiece, I discovered countless features that committed me to making another game. While making that second game, I learned so much more, and now I’m brainstorming for my third game!
I have my weaknesses. In the community of people that make these games, the “linear” style I enjoy writing for (and playing) is largely frowned upon. It seems that these people want the Skyrims and Dragon Ages of JRPGs, which is fine for them, and if I ever get good enough to build something like that, maybe I’ll speak up amongst them and say “Hey! Look what I made!” but in the meantime, I’m absolutely ecstatic flying low, building simple games that read like books, and honing my craft.
I’ve actually designed my first “series” to reflect that I’m learning in short leaps, by devising a storytelling arc around a transient heroine that moves between worlds and snarkily solves their problems in an episodic fashion. The heroine is a humanized version of my cat, Delilah, and she’s been a fun character to write for, something like a female version of Bruce Campbell’s “Ash” character as hilariously misplaced as he was in “Army of Darkness.” I just completed her first “leap” last night, and I’m pretty proud of it. It’s in a sort of beta version as of this writing, so I’m passing it around among my close friends first, but I just now discovered how to post links to download, so I’m pretty psyched to share them here once they’re tested a bit!
I’m very excited about this new hobby, in case you couldn’t tell, and look forward to sharing what I can. There are some people that go as far as to make money from the fruits of programs like VXace, but I can’t see me doing that, as I’ll be borrowing this or that scripting, and honestly couldn’t justify charging for something so co-operatively assembled (not to mention it being likely illeagal or immoral, which totally crosses it out) and amateur. It’s a labour of love, and I can’t wait to tell stories for any and all interested parties!
I am an innocent man! Innocent! I’ve never done anything to anybody. I’m harmless, so why is everybody always out to get me, huh?! Why am I the one they didn’t want in school? Why am I the one that got expelled? Why didn’t that kid get expelled for making fun of me for my Halloween costume? Why is it such a bad thing that I shoved a stick from my candy apple down his throat because of it? What was I supposed to do? Why am I the one who’s dangerous? Dangerous?! Me?! Why am I the one who needs help? Help?! I don’t need help from anybody. I never have, and I never will. There was a girl though, once, she told me she loved me. She used to tell me that all the time. She had this really adorable dog. It was a Boxer, and he used to bark really loudly through all hours of the night. He never shut up, and he kept her up at night before her big, final exam. And I just wanted her to do well on her exam, so I shot the dog, and all of a sudden I’m a bad guy, and you don’t love me anymore! I’m so sorry. I guess I never do a damn thing right! I’ve given 5, 6 years of my life to this sport. Ever since Les Thatcher caught me out behind his building trying to jack his car. Nothing I ever do is worth a damn. Everybody thinks I’m gonna cause problems! Nobody wants Jon Moxley in their company! Because he’s gonna do all this stuff that’s gonna make everything so bad for everybody! ‘Cause he doesn’t know how to just sit there and keep to himself and wrestle. Yeah, okay, whatever. But Elite Pro, February 28th, in Oakbridge Illinois is gonna be a big night. There’s a Gauntlet match, number 1 contender for the TV Title. A Gauntlet match. Somebody’s gonna have to RUN THE GAUNTLET. I know about running the gauntlet. This! (He points to the street corner) This is a gauntlet I ran every damn day of my life! I lived in an apartment right around that corner. And everyday when I came home, I had to get through this damn little gauntlet, and all these obstacles. The first one was right here. There was a big, scary guy named Levon. He used to stand right here. And when he saw me coming, I would have to put my hood up and walk really, really fast because if he saw me, he would give me dope and make me sell it. And then he’d beat me up and take all the money. And over here, over here asshole, come over here. (He moves to to corner of the street) Crazy hobo I used to call Jack used to live right here. He was a crackhead. I had to walk really fast to get by this little obstacle, too. Because if he thought I had anything of any value on me, he’d beat the crap out of me and take it. Over here, over here, this is the worst. (He moves further down the street to another corner) This spot, this corner right over here, right around the corner from my old house. This is where my mother worked. And I had to walk really fast, and try really hard not to look at this corner. Because if I saw the way food got put on our table, I’d wanna jump into that damn river. There are five other guys training really, really hard. They’re in the gym right now, they’re running around the tracks. They’re wrestling hard, they’re lifting weights. They think they can run the gauntlet. You take a good hard look into these eyes, and realize you can’t win. You don’t have what it takes to win. You don’t even know the rules of the game.
Her grace the Queen, looking amazing in Lannister Crimson!
Page 1 of 3