I've thought of writing something for this years before and I have expressed my thoughts regarding breaks, but since I am currently dealing with actual burnout, I thought it's a great opportunity to finally do so. I still have no idea whether this subject title is fitting, but I suppose it will become clearer as I write this post.
Those who already know the rough outline of my journey up to this point can skip straight ahead to discussion, be it here in the Forums or, preferably, on Discord. If you still want to read the post in its entirety or be filled into this, here you are. Before going on with my story, I'll just mention that my memories at this point are fuzzy, so not everything might be accurate, especially early on.
With that said... Rewind noises
1. It's rewind time
My experience with Marble Blast as a whole starts somewhere in late 2000s, around '07 to '09.
I have yet become a teen and I find Marble Blast Gold when RealArcade was still functioning well, featuring other memorable games too. Being fascinated with Marble Blast itself and its content on YouTube (especially Hildron's and Matan's videos, among others) I start playing this game on and off. A few years later I discover Marble Blast Platinum, though I still had yet to gather enough patience to figure out how to run it. Those were wacky years lol
I remember discovering ProBoards at this time as well, and not too long after, the Shoutbox of then in-development marbleblast.com, but not much else.
2. Starting out as an unfamiliar player
After discovering the Shoutbox I waited a while for the website to be finished and then some more until, shortly before my 13th birthday, I created this account in late August 2014, about to start middle school. I can't remember anything noteworthy from the first few months, as I had yet to get comfortable with the community.
My first efforts as a regular began in the first half of 2015 where I achieved my first top 10 on March 6th that year, and that was apparently on Shock Drop with a time of 4.162. River Course was another level of interest at the time. Later on I grinded some more personal bests and became slightly more competitive in the Singleplayer scene.
3. One of many summits
The very first world record I achieved was on a level in recently released Packs 40-49 - Random Things, with a final time optimized to 5.191 on April 14th 2016. I held the record for years with several improvements until finally being taken down in late November 2020. That is by far my longest standing WR (If you exclude Nockess' time), though not the only one, as soon I was excited and ready to try for more records.
One of first MBP records I grinded for was Downhill Racing, I achieved decent PBs hovering at around 1.85, and in December 2016 - a record time of 1.836. That time is probably what kickstarted my grind for MBP World Record Rampage #3 as my first debut in such a community event. To this day it is still the achievement I'm most proud of, but some individual level grinds do come close.
I remember that somewhere around this time people were actually attempting to improve upon my times, which was, until recently, the reason for me to keep pushing for more records. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention it's about time for high school now.
As a side note, I participated in several Multiplayer events over the years where I didn't really feel experienced enough, but eventually developed enough skill to play somewhat decently in tournaments and whatnot.
Labor Day Madness events were tons of fun as well while those were held, but alas, Torque Game Engine can only handle so much.
Anyways, several hundreds of WR announcements later I peaked (twice) at 58 first places in the Leaderboards, the 2nd time on April 2019... but that's roughly when my steady decline would begin, and taking breaks would become more frequent.
4. Loss of momentum
Marble Blast never was my only game of choice whenever I wanted to pass the time and/or have fun. On top of that, seemingly random personal issues also started affecting how often I played the game... especially in the year 2020. tl;dr COVID-19 and the last year of high school
2018 and 2019 are so far the best years in my history of this game, though I feel like my mental health has suffered throughout the last 2 years.
I have taken several breaks before lasting around a week, but also up to a month in rare cases. My attention was slowly shifting towards other games as they became fun to play too.
There's also the Rewind tool for MBG that was released in late 2019. That definitely helped me get through the pandemic so far. And there's the MBG Webport, released in October 2020, where I managed to achieve more notable records but with slightly different physics.
While I still had some records to beat and/or improve on the Marble Blast Leaderboards, that drive wouldn't last for much longer.
5. Coming to a standstill
The months leading up to January were a bit less eventful in terms of my records. I ended 2020 in late November with a top time on The Mountaintop, a bunch of runs for the Easter Egg WRR I grinded for around 2 months prior, and a couple of new flairs (Gold WRR and Ultra WRR) which effectively complete my current WRR flair collection, that is until the PlatinumQuest WRR is realized and whether the Egg WRR participants will receive a flair there as well.
That would be about it until January 2021 when I would only tackle Boscage and Bubblegum Blitz shortly after grinding the newly released Packs 60-69. The release was poorly timed in my opinion, as the community was just about to discuss a very contentious topic regarding how it is, was, and will be moderated. 2 months (with change) later we managed to start again with a new moderator roster. But alas, the way the problem was handled was enough for me to, for the first time ever, worry about the state of the community and adjust priorities accordingly. So I did just that...
All that in exchange for my drive towards setting new online records effectively going extinct. This is where burnout finally kicks in. At least for the next several weeks.
Webport is also a thing and I did set several records there, but the experience can't really be compared as we're dealing with slightly different physics. And Rewind times (not Webport Rewind) are done offline, thus I treat most of them merely as proofs of concept for speedrunning.
I'm still around in the community (almost entirely on Discord), though new records set by the latest contenders and veterans alike are simply going under my radar as I don't pay attention to them and can't feel as much excitement towards those achievements anymore. I hardly ever check the Webchat, let alone launch PlatinumQuest.
Here I am turning 20 later this year (which to me is sometimes wild to come across), 3 months on complete burnout (maybe half a year if you consider the dip in my activity), feeling like I have seen and done pretty much everything I needed throughout the 6 years in the community, unlike those who joined later on and still have plenty of content to go through and potentially more tweaks to come up with. On the other hand though, recently I actually started appreciating my runs, whether they still stand as world records or were eventually bested, for how long they stand (or stood) and how some individuals tend to be perplexed by them.
Now I am in no rush to accomplish anything, as I think most of my accomplishments speak for themselves.
And that for once leaves me content with my legacy as it stands today.
Is that the end of my career? Probably not, but I have no idea whether I would mind it to be. Some just come back without rust, be it a month, or even several years, and some just stay as legends of their time.
Anyways, I'll commit to speedrunning once again whenever I see fit, hopefully with full force.
Last edit: 04 Apr 2021 14:45 by [email protected]. Reason: Minor addition in Closure and correction re: flairs... also a spelling mistake lol
The following user(s) said Thank You: Nature Freak, Nockess, Eclipsia, petalflurry
A! what a cathartic message! I agree with many of the sentiments shared here. I still suffer from fatigue, frustration and whatnot at times, even if I'm not cast in a heartily competitive mould.
We must all be proud of our credentials, regardless of how strongly they pale to the best of their kind.
May you find fulfilment and fervour in another hobby, if it is inevitable.
"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."