Frontier Update #15: Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning…

It’s Saturday. I’m sitting here in my office watching my cat sleep soundly amid a beam of sunlight on the carpet floor. The desk is littered with paperwork from the two business that I run. I’m downing a protein shake. It’s unseasonably warm in the suburb north of Toronto, Canada where I live with my mother and little brother and I have the window cracked open. The latest season of House of Cards is streaming on my iPad next to me while my mom catches up on Daredevil in the living room.

“Your stats are booming! From The Frontier is getting lots of traffic.” the WordPress app on my iPhone tells me. I don’t believe it’s ever told me that before.

Because it was the last chapter that I’d just posted, I created a thread/advertisement on the Bungie forum, as well as a few subreddits. I’d done it a few times before but found no traction. This time, for some reason, was different.

“Your stats are booming! From The Frontier is getting lots of traffic.”

For the first time in 15 months and through the weekend I am awestruck and humbled by the responses. Some are dumbfounded as to why I’d spend so much time writing a fanfic. A few ask me for writing advice. 99% of the responses are either bumps or praise. One person only agrees to read it because of my K/d ratio. They’re devouring the story fast! I respond to as many of them as I can because if I don’t release some of the pressure, my heart is going to explode.

Praise. For me. For my work. I’m literally shaking my head as I write that. It’s hard to fathom at moments. My fiance asks me if I’m tracking the numbers. Six minutes pass during that convo, and in that time I got 19 views. I often go six days without 19 views! Is flabbergasted a real word? I’m flabbergasted. Sunday is bigger. Monday was bigger still with over 20,000 views and over 6,100 original visitors! PlanetDestiny.com just picked Frontier up a few hours ago. I can barely handle this…

“Your stats are booming! From The Frontier is getting lots of traffic.”

THANK YOU. So many thank yous to so many of you amazing guardians that I wish that there was a better word for what I’m feeling for you. I’m a writer, so shouldn’t I have better words?

People have compared my work to Bungie’s. I have nothing but respect for their creative team. Do I think my work could be translated to the game? Maybe. As is, I don’t expect Bungie to throw any attention my way. Know what? That’s OK. I’ve reached so many readers at this point that I don’t really need Bungie’s bump to feel acknowledged. Sure, I can dream of a Community Focus article, but I won’t lose sleep over it.

Someone compared me to Ian Banks and Frank Herbert, which just writing now makes me want to break down into happy tears. How anyone could put me into the same camp as those gods is beyond me.

How much do I like Frank Herbert? This is my back.

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Yeah. 6 1/2 hours. A symphony of pain. Worth it.

Now the question is, what happens next?

Firstly, Frontier is complete. It took me a long time to figure out how to wrap it up and I didn’t like the idea of having it open-ended. Frontier wasn’t the type of story and Warden were not the type of heroes that get to ride into the sunset. I needed to tie it up, without being bleak and outright killing fireteam Warden off. Going back now and reviving them wouldn’t sit well with me. I learned what a good death was after watching masterpieces like Cowboy Bebop and playing games like Mass Effect. Death has merit. Besides, I think they’ve earned some rest, don’t you?

Thanks to some great feedback I got on the Bungie forums, I’m going to format Frontier for ebooks. PDF, ePub and Mobi. It’ll make the story easier to read for a lot of people, not to mention having it available offline. I love my Kindle and I love the idea of having my story on it. I’m going to try and have them done as soon as possible. Please follow me on Twitter or subscribe to this blog so you’ll know when those formats are ready to be downloaded.

Two people asked for an audiobook, and while that sounds like so much fun to make for a former podcaster like myself, I simply don’t have the resources. That said, if there’s a group out there that makes audiobooks for fun, I’d be happy to talk to them.

Before I can do any of that, I need to go back and do some editing. The vast majority of you didn’t notice anything or didn’t say anything when you did, but the first 17 chapters are lousy with errors. I’m a horrible editor of my own work and Vasily coming on to edit after chapter 18 was such an enormous boon, but I never asked him to go backwards. Now it needs to be done. When I put out offline versions, they need to be as perfect as I can make them.

Also, I’ve asked Vasily to compile some of his own thoughts on the project, so expect that post in the near future.

If I’m going to write more at this point, I should be focusing on original work. I feel that while writing a fanfic is a great way to cut one’s teeth, in the end I’m just playing with Bungie’s ball. I can do better. Not that I hadn’t considered other fanfic projects. Overwatch has my head spinning at times. I came up with a dark, alternate universe Street Fighter story concept that I sometimes think might have an audience. I could always crank out a Dungeons & Dragons tale. But in the end those are still fanfics and still based on other people’s work. Frontier set up a lot of challenges for me and I met every single one. I can create something that is entirely original and build off what I learned from Frontier. I want to do it, but it’ll take some time.

My next writing project will be my wedding vows. Beyond that, I wouldn’t mind just taking in some other people’s work for a while. I’m eager for Patrick Rothfuss’ next book in the Kingkiller saga, and there are some story-driven games that I have yet to play because it would have taken me away from writing. I think I’ve earned a bit of a vacation, just like Warden has.

In the meanwhile, fire off any questions you might have for me in the comments section! Topics like Frontier, my thoughts on the world of Destiny, gaming, writing… I’ll be happy to answer you either in the comments, or as standalone blog posts!

Again, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you!

Frontier Update #12: 2015/2016

Happy whatever you do! Do it well and with people who love you. Here we are at the end of 2015. Few things to go over.

Firstly, I bought TTK. Yeah, I said I wouldn’t. A good friend of mine got a PS4 as an early Christmas gift from his awesome wife, and he asked me to explain Destiny to him. That convo went something like:

“Yeah sure. You just… Um… I should come over. It’s complicated.”

So I did, and saw that I was the only person on his friends list. After hooking him up with a few clan contacts (big thanks to Knight of The Dawn to taking him in) I decided that I should get TTK to play with him.

It has been almost a month. Have we played? No. We’re busy people, which is part of the reason I didn’t want to buy TTK to begin with. Oh well.

Did I ever post my PSNID? It’s PsycheDiver. Friend me.

Moving on.

SRL. That was… interesting. Designing tracks and boosts specifically to keep everyone in a crazy pack and give everyone a chance of pulling out crazy wins made for an interesting beta. I’m going to call it a beta as much as the first few Iron Banners were betas. Live-testing ideas via the grinder of the Destiny community is really one of the best ways for Bungie to work stuff out.

Besides there being only two maps, I’d say it was fun. I played until I ranked up to 3 and completed the main quest, and by that time I had a almost-320 helm and almost-320 class items. Good enough for me. I also got a Lumos sparrow though to be perfectly honest I was hoping for a Sol Scout. I’m not complaining. The Lumos is cute.

What would I do to make it better? Obviously more maps is at the top of everyone’s list. Earth, Mercury and Saturn (on the outside of the Dreadnaught, please) are my hopes. I don’t care about The Moon because it’s just too grey for me, and I’m not sure how The Reef would have a map that wasn’t Rainbow Road from Mario Kart (or maybe you want that. Maybe I want that…).

Another thing I’d change would be a higher chance of sparrow drops, and new sparrows that include factions as well as sparrows that are not just trick-enabled but boostable ala Timebreaker. Some ship drops would be cool as, since this is Amanda Holliday’s thing. The horns are silly and can be done away with because nobody cares about them. I understand that SRL was deeply connected to micro-transactions, so I’m not sure if increased drop rates would be smiled upon by Bungie bean-counters.

Is there a way to make sparrows more interesting in the core game? If you have ideas, feel free to discuss them in the comments.

I’m excited for Iron Banner. My sub-300 light level may be an issue, but I am determined to get my loot. I’m expecting Mida to do well by me and I’m proficient in Control playlists.

TTK in general is enjoyable, though I have yet to go through the raid. The questing system and new focus on story is most definitely a step in the right direction, and I feel that things have been streamlined well.

As for Frontier, I’m still writing this thing. I have two chapters in the pipe for next week, and others in varied levels of drafting. I’m planning on getting a lot of it done over the next few weeks if I can tear myself away from Iron Banner. I estimate that I have less than 10 chapters to go in order to wrap this thing up, after which I’d post some final thoughts. After that, I don’t expect I’ll have much to do with this blog and I don’t expect that I’ll get a sudden surge of interest after it’s completed. I’ll leave the blog online indefinitely and if I decide to dedicate myself another story, I’ll let you know.

I am considering how I can let people know that the project is completed, or exists in the first place. There’s the usual Twitter contacts and Facebook groups, but Bungie’s attention is elusive at best. I can only imagine how things would change if I got a bump from them. I hesitate to cross into spamming territory. I don’t want to be that guy. On the other hand, it’s nearly impossible to get noticed by Deej or his kin. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

WordPress usually gives each blog a cool infographical breakdown of a blog’s performance at the end of the year, so I’ll share that. It’s usually quite interesting.

One last thing. If you’re reading this, I want you to know that you are loved. People don’t hear that nearly often enough. It may not feel like it every day but we all have a unique ability to spread love through our actions, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Please remember that.

Until next time.

Frontier Update #6: Vanishing Act

Here are the articles that will soon be deleted from this blog, as discussed in Frontier Update #5:

White Knights and The Backup Ribbon Project

The “What Ifs” Destiny Players Are Asking

How Does Destiny Treat Female Characters?

Assassinations: Up Close And Personal

I Don’t Know A Thing About Game Development

Sparrow Racing: Options and Challenges

Are You Still Playing?

Rear View For Better Vehicles

Grimoire Cards And The Search For A Story

Not Everyone Loves Xur

Frontier Update #5: Big Changes

Things have been a little quieter than usual around here, and I should apologize for that. Rest assured, my desire to write has not been sated just yet. In fact, it’s that desire to write that I need to discuss with you, my wonderful readers.

Years ago, I co-produced a podcast and website devoted to nerd culture with a friend of mine. It lasted for about three years. The only remnants of it still floating out there is our Youtube channel, but it was doing alright for a time. It ultimately fell apart for various reasons, not the least of which was difficulty in finding contributors.

Recently, I had someone contact me via Twitter and offer me a writing job on his new website. Normally I would not be interested, but I gave him a chance to make his case and it turned out to be compelling. I ended up signing on with his crew as a contributor. I’ll be covering gaming, tech, science, movies, TV, comics, anime and plenty of other nerdy stuff. I’m also hoping to tackle Twitch and other multimedia. The site’s called Nardmode.com (nerd+hardmode) and I hope you’ll give it your patronage.

It’s a bit of an amusing turn-around. I’ve been writing for a long time, and it’s only the second time in my life that I’ve been asked to write.

So what does this mean for Frontier? A few things.

Firstly, I will continue to write Destiny-related creative works and post them here. They don’t fit in on a news site. I hope you’ll still come by and enjoy the story, Exotic Concepts and the upcoming Lore Breakdown posts.

The biggest change will be that some of the non-creative posts will disappear from this blog. I’ll be taking them down and reworking/updating them for the new site. I have to take them down for ad reasons. I’ll post a list tomrrow of what will be vanishing, and I’ll leave them up for a while so that everyone can get some last-minute peepers on them. I’d like to thank you for reading them, and I hope you’ll check out the new and improved versions once they post.

That’s it for now. Posting frequency might be a little wanting in the near future while I get all my ducks in a row. I’m also adjusting my story plans a bit to get to the good stuff sooner, and considering how to attack the first batch of Lore Breakdowns. Good stuff is coming, I promise.

Stay tuned!