Geez, the end of the Adventure Zone went totally to shit. It started out so good and wound up so bad, I don’t know where the whole thing went wrong, but it most certainly did.
So what happened? Well let me tell you because this is not how you run a role-playing game.Sorry, but Griffin can’t GM worth a damn, which is sad because he used to do so much better, but he’s clearly got a story he wants to tell, screw the players, screw the audience, he wants to read you his tale. Granted, he’s not a very experienced GM and it’s an easy trap to fall into, he used to avoid it, but by the end, he had so totally embraced the control fantasy that it made the show painful to even listen to.
And I get the impression that everyone else was tired of it too. If you notice in the last couple of episodes, most of the action went to NPCs. Enemies were coming and the player characters had little, if anything to do, because he kept throwing NPCs at them without even bothering to consult the players.
I figured I couldn’t be the only one who hated it so I went looking, and surprise, surprise, every discussion I could find on Adventure Zone was negative. Everyone had noticed how bad it had become. Everyone noticed Griffin dragging the players through his story by the nose.
I really got to the end and didn’t want to listen. I had no interest whatsoever in what was going on. I had spent years listening to this podcast, only to reach the finale, convinced I had wasted dozens of hours of my life. And as I said, that’s a shame because the first couple of arcs were fantastic. It was fun to listen to. It actually felt like a game. People rolled dice. People followed rules. By the end, it was one guy reading a story and the rest occasionally tossing in a comment. It’s really depressing to see the whole thing go so horribly wrong.
I’m honestly not saying this to dog-pile on Griffin. I want things to be better, I want them to get back to how it used to be. I want them to have a fun podcast. This just isn’t it. And yes, I used to be really invested in their adventures, right up until The Suffering Game, although I can see, in retrospect, that there were problems starting at the end of The Crystal Kingdom and continuing through The Eleventh Hour. As time went on, it became less and less of a roleplaying game and more of a story that Griffin wanted to read to the audience.
And I guess I hate this so much because I’ve played in games exactly like this, where the player characters are little more than pawns who have to do what the GM wants them to because his story is more important than the group having fun. I’ve told that story before. But yeah, this just got really painful and I wanted nothing more than to get off the pain train and I only stuck with it, really reluctantly by the end, because I had such fond memories of how it all began.
My youngest daughter just got started on The Adventure Zone and I’ve already warned her that when she starts getting bored, as she invariably will about half way through, she should just stop because it doesn’t get any better. Listen to the good parts, avoid the bad parts, try again when they reboot the podcast with an entirely different game. That’s what I’m doing, I wish I had followed that advice months and months ago when it all went downhill.