I'm not going to post anything fancy about the Trenched's quests stats, or give it a fancy theme or anything. I haven't bought it, and I'm not likely to. You want to know why? ...nothin'. It's a bit personal.
...well, OK, here's what happened during PAX East.
The Trenched Truth: How One Innocent Man Lost All Hope in the Face of Hatred and Injustice
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED DURING PAX EAST, AND IS BY ALL PURPOSES BLATANT EXAGGERATION TO UNFAIRLY DEMONIZE DOUBLE FINE AND ITS AWESOME STAFF. DO NOT TRUST THE WORDS THIS USER TYPES. EVER. BUT ESPECIALLY NOT NOW.
It was a glorious day in Boston, and as the third day of the Eastern Penny Arcade Expo was wrapping up, after adventures and demos full of excitement, thrills, joy, and some of the nicest people I've ever met, I was hurriedly rushing around the expo floor trying to take in all the games I'd missed in my first two days. I knew the Giant Bomb staff had spoken highly of Double Fine's latest title, Trenched, and as I stumbled across their well-carpeted booth, I noticed a calm crowd of excited gamers surrounding the Double Fine staff, everyone smiling and laughing uproariously as attendees worked through the demo.
Clearly, this was a game I had to try. I waited eagerly in line as questions raced through my head. Trenched looked so much like an expanded version of Monday Night Combat's co-op mode, and I wanted to ask the developers whether there was any truth in my notions. Were all the levels defending a set point? Would there be any objectives that changed over the course of a level? How customizable were the mechs, and how interesting could custom builds become? My thoughts built up to a delightfully feverish pitch, my anticipation much like a young child on Christmas Eve.
As the previous demo finished up, it was my turn. I approached the third station from the left, where Geoff Soulis was sending off a satisfied attendance with a a pat on the shoulder and a wide grin. I stepped up to the controller, removing my backpack and examining the controls quickly so as not to hold the other attendees up.
Glancing at Geoff, I could see his wonderful grin had since faded, replaced by a solemn stare, as if he was staring through me. Whether it was time for his break or something else had removed the joy from our situation, I could not tell.
"You know the controls?"
I nodded, and began to speak to him. Before I could finish my thoughts, he cut me off.
Geoff walked away without another word or glance. This only confused me further, but I thought nothing of it. After all, sometimes exhibitors have long days. Maybe he was tired. Cranky. Recovering from a hangover. This made little sense given his affable personality mere moments before, but I couldn't fathom anything I had done ruining his day.
The demo continued, and as we worked through the waves, I noticed all the enemies were electronics. We were picking up what appeared to be televisions as a sort of currency, and the main villain kept declaring his broadcast would not be silenced. I glanced over to another Double Fine exhibitor working with the player to my left, and decided I'd make a lighthearted joke.
"Boy, you guys sure have something against TVs, don't you?"
The exhibitor laughed, uttering, "Yep, sure," before shooting me a glare. He said nothing further to me, but his expression seemed to say, "Shut the hell up and stop letting your teammates down, asshole."
I helped wipe up the final wave, reasonably enjoying myself amidst the confusing mixed messages from the Double Fine staff. I had overheard Brad Muir mention to another attendee that he was from Michigan, much like myself, so I thought that would be a great opportunity to break the ice, introduce myself, and maybe learn another thing or two about this very intriguing game.
Approaching Brad, I extended a hand, blatantly ignoring PAX's no-handshakes-because-of-germs rule, and introduced myself in a cheerful manner, twinged with a smattering of awkwardness.
"Hey, Brad. My name's Trace. You said you were from Michigan? So am I!"
He stared for a moment, glancing down at my hand with a bit of a sneer before slowing lifting his head up to look at my face. After an uncomfortable pause, he grasped my hand firmly, staring me straight in the eyes, and spoke in a quiet, angered tone.
"Get the hell out of my booth, and get the hell out of my state."
My heart sank even further in waves of confusion and heartbreak, as I stared agape and aghast at Muir, dumbfounded by his words while still shaking his hand. Could he really have meant to be so harsh? Was this all a nightmare, spawned by a previous night of heavy drinking? Had I done something to offend Tim Schafer or Double Fine? Before I could even ask, Brad yanked my arm, pulling me within inches of his shoulder to whisper in my ear.
"If I ever come back to Michigan and I see you walking around my state, I will ram my fist so far into your face, your teeth will have a brand new residence in Ohio."
My expression began to tremble, yet Brad's expression remained the same, continuing to stare straight into my eyes with the purest hatred I had ever known. I stepped back slowly, fearing that he might decide to harm me at any moment, before turning and running. I dashed through crowds and lines, up the stairs out of the expo hall, down the extensive hallways until I was a safe distance away from this frightening man's rage. I sat on a bench, my legs and lungs burning, and gasped for air as I collected my thoughts.
As reality dawned on me, I wept openly. PAX East had been an adventure, full of memories and new-found friendships, but in a matter of minutes, Double Fine had taken it all away from me: my joy, my friends, my innocence, and my ability to love. I knew from that day forward that I would never be safe again.
The Graph and Stats
The yellow line at the top is our goal, the red line's the average pace we need to exceed to succeed, and the green line's our progress thus far.
Look at that. Amazing consistency! It's slow-going, but it'd take something crazy to cause us to fail this quest now.
Stats as of the last graph update:
- We're 109.8 hours in, with 96 or so hours to go.
- Over the last 24 hours, we earned 225 completions. That's about a 17.6% drop-off from yesterday. Still surprisingly stable.
- As of the last update, we needed at least 4.54 completions per hour to succeed.
- Currently, we're averaging 24.4 completions per hour. In the last hour, the average was closer to 8.6 completions per hour.
- From this point forward, we need an average of at least 3.33 completions per hour to succeed. Slowly, but surely, we're working towards the goal.
- If our short-term pace (8.6 cph) remained stable, we'd succeed in 147.2 hours, or just over one and a half days from now.
- The Pessimist's Estimate, using an 18% daily drop-off, estimates we'll succeed on day 7.
- My CURVE estimate is finally estimating success, and predicts we'll succeed 43 to 59 hours from now.
- My Arbitrary Estimation of Success is currently 99.9997%. Nothing could possibly hit that 0.0003% chance and ruin us. NOTHING.
Any questions, comments, or criticism (not counting my completely accurate description of my time with Double Fine at PAX East)? As always, feel free to reply to this thread with any thoughts you have. They're always appreciated.
I'll be back sometime early tomorrow afternoon or late morning with the next stats update. Until then, thanks for reading.