A Lantern in the Dark

A Lantern in the Dark

Tony “Minus” Guidi, Ben “Kilsin” Walters

For those that have been following Pantheon since it’s early inception, the look behind the curtain of development is something many have never experienced. It generates unsurmountable curiosity, and with that comes many questions. Scouring videos, articles, blogs, and social media is at times a full time job for those heavily invested in Pantheon’s development. However, some community members, like today’s featured rockstar Bazgrim, are trying to make that easier for those looking to dig in.

Development is and will always be fluid. Ideas will change and evolve from the time they are put on paper until the moment gamers experience them. Missing a few updates, could mean you have an out of date thought on what may be happening in Pantheon’s development. Bazgrim has been a lantern in the dark for those in the community looking for quick updates, strong factual information, and has now expanded his available tools to allow easy access to any and all topics surrounding Pantheon. Join us as we learn more about Bazgrim, his YouTube Channel, and his newest project, the Library of Pantheon.

Welcome Bazgrim, why don’t we start off with a bit about yourself?

I once pulled someone out of a burning car, ran the largest Perry the Platypus Facebook fan page, hung out with “actual cannibal” Shia LeBeouf, and I’m really not interested in Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. Three out of those four things are true. I’ll let you decide.

How long have you been gaming?

Almost my whole life! My grandmother actually introduced me to EverQuest shortly after it launched when I was 5 or 6. It immediately captivated my young mind and several other family members jumped onboard too so we could all play together. Gaming runs in the family – I had no hope of being anything other than a huge gaming nerd!

What games does Bazgrim play when he is relaxing waiting for Pantheon?

Well, I’m not the type to just wait around and hope for the best. I follow Pantheon’s development step by step every day, which leaves little time for other games. But I did recently get an Oculus VR headset as a gift, so when I do find myself with some downtime, I’ve really been enjoying hopping into virtual reality for a bit, particularly Beat Saber and Echo Arena.

How did you first hear about Pantheon?

I saw an article online saying that Brad McQuaid’s new game would be having its first live Twitch stream. This of course was in early 2016. I had stopped following EverQuest Next and I recognized Brad’s name from EverQuest 1, so I tuned into the stream. I liked what I saw and the rest, as they say, is history!

What class and race will you main when Pantheon goes live?

This is actually something I’ve been going back and forth on lately. I know I want to main a Dwarf. In most MMOs, I main a Dwarf Cleric. But in Pantheon, out of the handful of classes available to dwarves, I’m intrigued by the Cleric, the Paladin, and the Enchanter. That’s quite the spread, so I’ll be keeping an eye on all of these throughout the testing phases to see which one ends up sticking with me the most.

What’s your most memorable Pantheon moment thus far?

On a Monday in September 2017, I rolled out of bed and checked my email to find that I had won a free ticket to TwitchCon 2017 from a random giveaway I had entered on the Pantheon forums. It was Pantheon’s first convention appearance and I decided to vlog my journey so that everyone else in the community that wanted to be there but couldn’t would still get a taste of what it was like. Not only was I lucky to be at the convention at all, but when I got there, I had the insanely fortunate opportunity to sit down with Brad and play Pantheon at the booth for hours. Several other community members got to play that weekend, but I just happened to be the first one there. The fact that we could go anywhere and do anything for as long as we wanted, all while a group of developers excitedly looked over our shoulder and talked about the game is so surreal. I’ll definitely never forget that. I also got to witness firsthand the announcement of Pre-Alpha 1 and Roenick’s legendary on-stream death! Those vlogs from that weekend were the start of my YouTube channel, which I still use to help keep people in the loop about Pantheon.

Your Youtube channel has been a huge source of community engagement across all Pantheon topics. Over the years of building the channel, what have you learned and how would you characterize your goals with your videos?

One of the main reasons I make videos is because I love learning and I’m constantly learning from the community… like how people perceive things from different angles, how to get my facts straight, how to listen to understand what people really want to know, and how to communicate to those people clearly and concisely so that we can get on the same page and work together. My dream is to be a part of a thriving game community that is well-informed and helps each other out. I hope that my videos will in some way contribute to that.

Looking into the future, what do you see your channel evolution looking like once Pantheon goes live?

Certainly a lot more of my own gameplay! 😉 Aside from that though, it’s hard to predict exactly since my main goal is just to provide value to the community, so what that ends up looking like will largely depend on what the needs of the community are at that time and what I can do to help. For now, that mostly means making it easier to follow the game’s development. But in Alpha and Beta, maybe that will mean doing overviews of each of the game’s systems and classes, making it easier for new players to settle into the community, and proving that you can truly enjoy Pantheon even if you only have 2-3 hours to play at a time. Throughout all this, to launch and beyond, my ultimate passion is showing how playing a challenging and cooperative MMORPG can allow you to hone skills that can improve your real life, like teamwork, problem solving, and perseverance.

In regards to your YouTube channel, do you have a favorite video you’ve put out? What is it about that video that makes it stand out for you?

The video that I’m most proud of is my Saga of Pantheon’s Development video. I think it’s really important that we as a community have a mutual understanding of what led Pantheon to where it is today. While we can never know the future for sure, the past is something that is knowable. And if we can’t agree on that, we can’t have a productive conversation about where to go from here. I put weeks of research into this video to ensure that it was entirely factual and it was during that research that I realized how much info there is out there that is vital to having an accurate understanding of how Pantheon got to where it is, but is really hard to find. It was this realization that spurred me to start assembling the Library of Pantheon to put everything in one place.

What are you most looking forward to with Pantheon’s release?

I’m most looking forward to using the retrospective of Pantheon’s development process as a perfect example for how anyone can accomplish a monumental task that many would consider impossible if you truly believe it’s worth doing and always press onward no matter how long it takes and even when things go wrong.

You have recently launched the Library of Pantheon, a project you and a team of fans put a lot of blood sweat and tears into, tell us a little about this amazing resource.

Soon after I started following Pantheon, I realized how the publicly-available info about it is spread out across many different platforms, and how most people don’t have the time to keep up with it all. I was and still am fortunate to have more time than most to read and watch literally everything about Pantheon out there, so I began my journey of trying to make it easier for people to learn what I had learned, first with written stream summaries on the official forums and later moving to YouTube. But as time went on, I realized that wasn’t enough, and how critical it is for literally everyone to have free and easy access to all of the original developer quotes out there. This would give anyone the opportunity to have more fact-based conversations wherever they may be, make more informative content to spread the word, or just satisfy their own personal curiosity. But that’s a gigantic task that I couldn’t do alone. Recently, I found the right group of people to help make it happen. That’s when the Library of Pantheon was born.

The Library of Pantheon is an independent website that houses a massive, organized, and searchable collection of links to all publicly-available information about Pantheon, straight from the developers – everything from each gameplay stream, video newsletter, interview, and roundtable on YouTube since 2014, each section of every newsletter, including archived newsletters dating back to 2015, an Alpha tracker, Patch Notes log, and much more. Everything has been meticulously sorted and labeled to make it as easy as possible for anyone to find an answer to their questions about Pantheon.

Who was involved in helping the Library of Pantheon project come to life?

The Library curators are a dream team of volunteers who also happen to be some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated people in the Pantheon community. Thewritersean has been my right-hand man in all creative projects since we were in high school, including my YouTube channel, so he was a natural choice to help get the Library project off the ground. He’s been involved in every aspect of it from the start: from planning to researching, to building the website and graphic design. Evoras has been my friend in the Pantheon community for quite a while. I’ve always admired his knack for taking big challenges and elegantly breaking them down into manageable tasks. His ridiculously detailed organization skills and insight about Pantheon and its community have made his advice invaluable throughout the whole process. GoofyWarriorGuy has written many great articles and summaries about Pantheon on the official forums for the past several years, something that I appreciate a lot because that was my first foray into creating Pantheon content as well. His ability to highlight important facts and share them in a way people can understand is a perfect fit for our team. Shortly after we started laying the groundwork for the Library, I noticed that Moxie VS Games had been quietly making some awesome updates to the Pantheon Gamepedia wiki. That talent and commitment to keeping the community informed are rare and exactly what our team needs. I immediately invited her to join our team and she’s been rocking it ever since. BitCrunzh and Kyrais are the newest members of our curator team. They both bring the deep technical knowledge, which is much-needed as it allows us to work toward advancing the capabilities of the website to make it even more powerful and easy to use. BitCrunzh has also already pioneered the creation of an interactive Discord bot called the Librarian of Pantheon, which can answer your questions about Pantheon and retrieve content from the Library on-demand without ever leaving Discord. We hope this will allow for even more productive conversation about Pantheon and we’re excited to start testing it in the Library of Pantheon Discord server soon!

Prior to the Library, you could be seen scouring social media related to Pantheon across a variety of platforms trying to answer questions for those seeking information. What are some of the most common questions you find yourself answering in the community that the library can provide clarity around?

Unsurprisingly, one of the most common questions is “When is Alpha?” So we created an Alpha Tracker section of the Library, which takes the latest info from each newsletter about the Alpha to-do list and puts it in a centralized, organized place where anyone can easily check back to see the progress.

Lastly, what would you like to say to your fellow community members?

To my fellow optimists, I would like to say: patience isn’t just waiting. It’s what you do while you wait.

And to my pessimist friends, I would like to say:

“Flight by machines heavier than air is impractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible,” – Simon Newcomb, physicist and US Naval Director, 1902

“While television may theoretically be feasible, I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.” – Lee De Forest, father of radio, 1926

“It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology,” – John von Neumann, physicist and computer scientist, 1946

Just remember… It always seems impossible until it’s done.

Thank you Bazgrim for sharing a bit about yourself, and discussing your various media projects surrounding the development of Pantheon. You have been an amazing part of pulling the community together, and helping create new fans of Pantheon.

We are thankful for the amazing stories our community has shared thus far with us. Do you have a story about how MMORPGs have made a difference in your life? Has it driven your creative urges? Has it made you a better leader? Has it helped you overcome difficulties in your life? We’d love to hear your tale, and show why community truly matters. Drop us a line in the forums.

Producers’ Letter Monthly Recap A Lantern in the Dark
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