Continuing from: Not enough good dragon games in the market
From 2 months ago: /WyrmWorks/comments/fjyjbj/there_are_seriously_not_enough_good_dragon_games/
So I wasn't around to list my ancient tomes of dragon knowledge. But the title still stands, of course. There can never be enough. There's some good bits here and there, but there's still no grand supreme AAA dragon game to rule all.
First off, the games mentioned in that post:
- Spyro 1, 2, 3, SoI, SoF, EtD, AHT /Spyro - The goodest purple boi's collectathon. But apart from Spyro and his statues, there's not much dragon action. There might be other dragon characters in EtD/AHT, though, but I haven't played them yet.
- The Legend of Spyro ANB, TEN, DotD /TheLegendOfSpyro /Cynder - Spyro gets a play mate. I haven't played these either. Might have dragon characters that stick around.
- /Skyrim - The immortal magical dragons that have barely any social interaction with the world. But it is quite dragon-focused. If you're a crazed wyvern nutter, be sure to read the Wyvern Renamer mod's post section.
- Dragon Age - I've known about this one for a while, but it seems to be very human-focused.
- Divinity II - There's a wyvern transform in this somewhere. Possibly with upgradeable bits and pieces.
- Divinity: Dragon commander - RTS with a jet-powered dragon transform.
- Dragon's Dogma - Like Dragon Age, it seems to be very human-focused.
- Pillars of eternity
- All the How To Train Your Dragon games - Of varying quality. DreamWorks Dragons: Dawn of New Riders seems to be the latest and best.
- /Scalebound - RIP Scalebound. A post on there has a link to a Scalebound media archive.
- /draconiagame - Well, it has art. But it's not a game yet. Steam link.
- Monster Hunter - Great game if you want to exterminate dragons as a species.
- Angels with Scaly Wings - Bipedal dragons visual novel.
- Dragon: The Game
- Shadowrun: Dragonfall
- World of Warcraft - An MMO with some dragons here and there. LoneStarDragon says: "You can't play as a dragon (yet), but there are a lot of dragon characters and stories. One of the expansions is basically all about dragons. But there is a monthly payment which makes it hard to recommend."
- Demon Souls + Dark Souls 1/2/3 - Various dragons/wyverns/drakes. Notably, Dragon Aerie in Dark Souls 2, and Archdragon Peak in Dark Souls 3.
- Final Fantasy XIV - MMO, has dragons somewhere in it
- Rune Factory 4
- Dragalia Lost - EmeraldScales: "It's a cellphone gacha, it's not available where I live. You play as a prince with a duty to form bond with dragons. The characters seem to be pretty well developed."
- Golden Treasure: The Great Green - Story-driven RPG of some sort.
- Gothic II
- Istaria - Haven't played this, but I think this is the best dragon MMO to date, because there aren't many. Magic-based, not science-based. And it's ancient. A modern version might be good. Has dragon<=>lizardman transform, for practicality afaik.
- Breath of fire series - JRPG. Protag can transform into various dragons during battle.
My list of various dragon stuff of various quality, relevance, and certainty (NOTE: I have fully played/watched only a very small faction of all known dragon games, so beware of wild inaccuracies):
- Drakan OOTF/TAG + Drakengard 1/2/3 - Dragon/human bond/companionship. Drakengard may activate your feels.
- The Last Guardian doesn't technically have a dragon, but I got the same feelings when watching a speedrun. You can probably guess why I liked the channel. I also watched the one after which has a bit of dragon game talk.
- Dragon Rage (PS2) is a game with a playable dragon. Haven't finished watching the LP of it yet.
- I Of The Dragon. Playable dragon. Can kill, eat, level up, use different breath attacks. A good classic.
- There's an Eragon game. Haven't played it in a loooong time. On the backlog.
- There's a Dragon Booster game on NDS and unreleased on PS2/XBox.
- Altered Beast has a bipedal dragon transform. Not sure how relevant it is.
- Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire has dragons to some extent. All boses, Ending.
- Drakerider, but seems to just be a mobile game.
- http://dragonsofelanthia.com/ and Dragons and Titans, multiplayer games.
- Fading Skies - Eventually!! Dev said this 8 months ago:
- "Fading Skies is still alive! Apologies for staying silent for so long, there’s been a lot of business and financial stuff I had to figure out before I could get back to full time development. The game is still far from finished (Turns out making a story-driven 3D open world game takes a ridiculous amount of work. Who knew, right?), but there’s no way I’ll let this project die. I’ll be back with regular updates once the game is closer to release - I hope to see you then!"
- Might and Magic 8 has dragon allies
- The various Heroes of Might and Magic games have controllable dragon units. It seems King's Bounty has some too.
- Grim Dragons
- Middle-earth: Shadow of War has mind-controlled wyverns or something
- There's Ropes And Dragons VR, but it's basically just cute animated furniture.
- There's some sort of little dragon stuff in ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal.
- From the ancient past: Dragon Fighter on Amiga
- The Dragonriders: Chronicles of Pern game probably has something. It's on my watch list.
- DragonStrike has plenty of dragon riding
- Bipedal dragon protag in Dragons Never Cry
- Battle of the Giants: Dragons on NDS
- There's a dragon in SpellForce 2 that is significant to human protag, but rarely seen.
- Dragonseeds is a monster battle game with various dragon-like fighters
- ARK: Survival Of The Fittest has various dragons, wyverns, eggs, riding, and flying. But it's a sandbox.
- Panzer Dragoon: Remake - SOON. Ridden wyvern companion.
- The Witcher series has various dragons/wyverns. And there's some that transform to human.
- Elder Scrolls Online definitely was wyverns.
- Dragon Saber - Vertical scroller, play as a dragon.
- Ordos - "Drakengard inspired". A small project.
- Neverwinter does not have a playable dragon race
Various steam games:
NOTE: There are customisable dragon assets on the Unreal and Unity stores, such as: Unka
and Dragons Pack PBR
, which you can sometimes recognise. That's why a low budget 3D game would have such perfect dragons. I know at least Chronicles of Galdurvale and Chinbu's Adventure use them.
Links to find more:
So, what should be in a "good dragon game"?
- Any good combination of genres: open-world, RPG, FPS, space, sci-fi, fantasy, dragons, post-apocalyptic, possibly 100% science-based.
- A good story involving all/some of:
- intelligent dragons,
- dragon companions,
- bonded-dragon betraying human or visa-versa (a dragon letting somebody else hop on him is a crime against all dracophiles everywhere: looking at you, Dragon Booster),
- dragons/drakes/wyverns/kobolds/humans as companions/slaves/pets,
- dragon/drake racing (see: Dragon Booster),
- non-human romance (Drakengard got close, possibly TLoS too),
- dragons doing "normal" things,
- dragon law,
- dragon invasions from space or another nation,
- eggs, volcano of egg abortion, fashion, architecture, dancing, celebrations,
- disagreements about dragon<=>human relations (forbidden bonding?),
- dragon poaching for resources (illegal or not),
- small groups of dragons allying with humans against their own kind,
- artificial dragons created to be the perfect companions...
- Here's LoneStarDragon's wishlist for stories involving dragons
- With possible similarities to: Skyrim, Spyro, TLoS, Drakan, Drakengard, Eragon, Scalebound (RIP Scalebound), Fading Skies.
- When it comes to the physical dragon itself, The "Dragon Game Project" is pretty good for a "realistic" dragon. And Lord0fDragons has some nice locomotion.
- Specific examples based on existing things:
- Civ4/other strategy, but with a/multiple dragon Civs.
- Xcom/Chimera, but replace aliens with dragons and kobolds.
- Spyro/TLoS, but open-world/gritty-realistic.
- HTTYD, but if dragons did their own thing and only/mostly helped humans for something in return.
- Drakan, but MORE.
- Scalebound, but released.
- Fading Skies, but released.
- Eragon, but more/open-world.
- Dragon Booster, but modernised and possibly with more than racing.
- A Drakengard 4, but set in the modern-world like Nier Automata and still with a human protog.
- Elder Scrolls/Skyrim, but with actual mortal dragons with lives of their own (not wyverns, as hands would be useful), and non-terrible dragon riding. Dragons as hired horses, perhaps?
- Crysis, but with dragons instead of flying octopuses.
- Half-Life, but with dragons wanting to control Earth.
- A story similar to Halo, but with dragons instead of elites??
- IP adaptation wishlist:
- Dragonriders of Pern
- Activision to remaster the The Legend of Spyro
- Dragonheart?? (yes, there are some olllld Dragonheart games out there, but something more modern and 3D)
- Istaria, modernised
- If I was a WoF fan: Wings of Fire
What are my/the best 3D dragon games to date?
- Spyro before TLoS: Talking dragon protag.
- The Legend of Spyro: Talking dragon protag+antag + protag dragon with dragon companion. One of the few games that does those two things.
- Skyrim: Talking dragons, even if best edgelord wyvern Alduin is the only one with something to do. Best experienced with a dragon spawn multiplier on legendary. And I like the entrance of those ice lake dragons.
- Drakengard 1/2/3 and Drakan:OOTF/TAG: Controllable and intelligent dragon companion. Also has fights between dragons.
- Istaria: This dragon MMO is still going.
- I Of The Dragon: Silent dragon protag killing/eating monsters.
- The Last Guardian: If that... Trico thing... could be called a dragon, then it would be a quality dragon companion. Can even climb it and remove spears.
- Dark Souls: Possibly. No playable or companion dragons, but it has variety, they're reasonably common, and some are intelligent.
Categories of dragon games that don't quite fit me (biases):
- All How To Train Your Dragon games. Very dragony, but I'm just not the target demo.
- All competitive multiplayer-only games. Like Dragons of Elanthia, and Dragons and Titans. Very dragony, but multiplayer ain't my thing.
- MMOs, probably.
- All mobile games. I don't want to drip-feed my hoard into games.
- I tend not to be as interested in indie/crowdfunded/low budget/2D games as I am with AA/AAA games.
- Monster training/battling, JRPGs, visual novels (of those that currently exist)
Waiting for a good look at:
- Dragonriders: Chronicles of Pern
- Dragon Rage (PS2)
- Eragon (it's been so long since I played it)
- Divinity II
- Fading Skies (unreleased)
- Draconia (unreleased)
- Panzer Dragoon: Remake (unreleased)
- Some of that stuff on Steam
Also, a side tangent: This problem certainly isn't specific to dragons. There is a
post rant on /Games about horse games
, and /werewolves
is also waiting for their dream game, which may yet turn out to be Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood
. But dragons are probably the bigger market. Surely. Dragons are waaaay better than werewolves, right?
submitted by fortsnek47
Maximalist 2019 board & my 85 pedal tour de GAS
In March I only owned a few pedals. I now have about 30. Sometime in the spring I bought an EHX Canyon on a whim, started researching other pedals, and promptly fell headfirst into pedal-land and acquired an acute case of adult-onset GAS. This year I went a little bit crazy buying, trading, selling, and, most importantly, learning about pedals. For me, 2019 was undoubtedly the year of guitar pedals. My final board for 2019
feels like the culmination of a project in maximalism. I basically made my dream do-everything board from scratch. When it started I really didn’t have such an elaborate (or expensive...) project in mind. It just kind of snowballed and I ran full steam with it. If 2019 was my maximalist pedal boot camp, I’m thinking 2020 will be more of a wander towards something more reasonable and maybe a more minimalist mindset.
It was mostly through trading on letstradepedals
, but I ended up testing out a grand total of 85 pedals this year. For each of them I have written a little bit below describing my experience with the pedal and how it fit into my ludicrous pedal tour of 2019. Here’s a little album showing the evolution of my board.
Thank you all for maintaining these great online pedal communities. I only partially blame you for my gluttony and questionable financial choices.
And away we go!
- TC Electronic Polytune 2 Mini: Does its job. Tiny footprint. Bright display. Keeper.
- Keeley Compressor+: Maybe my favorite compressor I tried this year. It’s either this or the Mini Ego. Board space scarcity bumped this off not too long ago, however, and it was effectively replaced by the Neunaber Neuron’s built-in one-knob compressor, which I’m content with for now.
- MXR Dyna Comp Mini: Only had it briefly. No strong feelings one way or another. Traded away quickly.
- Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone GE Gold LTD: Got as part of a great bundle trade. Cool grit knob but I wasn’t super impressed by it. Only after I traded it away did I realized that I wasn’t running it at the correct 18v. Whoops. Lesson learned too late.
- Seymour Duncan Vise Grip: The first compressor I got this year. Perfectly adequate. Blend knob is nice. Traded. Replaced by Wampler Mini Ego.
- Wampler Mini Ego: Great little compressor. This or the Keeley tops my list of the bunch. Traded, but only because it was needed to make another trade happen and compression just isn’t as fun as something new, shiny, and loud!
- EHX Pitch Fork: Great pedal! Very useful and versatile. Tracks amazingly well and has a solid number of modes and options. No major complaints. Top jacks would be nice. I’m definitely eyeing the Pitch Fork+ that’s supposedly coming out soon.
- EQD Arpanoid V1: Enjoyed this pedal a lot but the one I got at first had a very loud mood-killing CLLCKK, so I upgraded to the V2 with a silky smooth soft c l i c k.
- EQD Arpanoid V2: Soft clickity switch. Super unique and surprisingly versatile pedal. Great for textures or adding some movement underneath your playing. In combination with other pitch shifters and some reverb, this thing can create entire choirs of weirdo ambient worlds. I probably won’t make this a permanent fixture on my board, but I’m keeping it around to sub in when the mood is right.
- EQD Pitch Bay: I thought this was maybe going to replace the Pitch Fork, but in a shootout it just didn’t stand up. Things I liked: it offers more versatility in tweaking the pitched up/down voices, has top mounted jacks, has separate blend knobs for the 3 voices, and has built-in gain/distortion. Things I didn’t like: even with the gain knob all the way down it still distorts the signal a little bit, it doesn’t track as well as the Pitch Fork, and the foot switch has a super loud click compared to the Pitch Fork’s, which also offers momentary or latching options. I really wanted to love this pedal and hope EQD makes a V2 with some tweaks, but I’m sticking with the Pitch Fork for now.
OVERDRIVE and DISTORTION
- Abominable Electronics Russian Hail Satan: Supposedly based on the Russian Big Muff, but this thing has a really great, aggressive character of its own. I always have the distortion boost engaged, which also makes the red devil eyes light up in sync with your playing. Gimmicky, but still cool! This pedal won every A/B shootout I put it in. Similar to the EQD Hoof, but not quite as versatile in its tone shaping. Still, overall this is hands down my favorite fuzz of the year.
- DOD Carcosa: The first fuzz I tried out. Total winner for the price. Lots of low end. I hated the artwork. Capable of a decent range of tones but it always sounds like itself. Unique character I guess. Traded away, but this was my gateway fuzz and I’d still recommend it any day.
- EHX Green Russian Big Muff Pi Reissue: Not breaking news around here, but this pedal is awesome. Sooooo much low end. There really isn’t a bad sound in this thing. At the end of my big initial fuzz tour I ended up picking this and the Hail Satan, which can sound similar but can’t quite achieve the heavy low end of the EHX. Traded away knowing there are tons of these in circulation and I could get one again for cheap if I ever really needed to.
- EQD Cloven Hoof V2: I thought I would really like this, but it’s not as versatile as the standard Hoof and the voice has a treble-y-ness to it that I don’t personally prefer. Still a great pedal, just not for me. I still have it but will look to trade soon.
- EQD Hoof: I super dig the particular V1 version that I got in a trade. Unique white color and knobs. Lots of great sounds and tonal range in this here fuzz box. This and the Hail Satan will stay in my collection.
- Fuzzhugger Doom Bloom: Cool artwork. Lots of doom on tap. Traded away because I didn’t enjoy how hard I had to work to pull out tones that I really liked.
- Keeley Fuzz Bender: Similar experience to the Doom Bloom. Versatile fuzz but almost too much so. Opposite end of the “there isn’t a bad sound in here” spectrum. Some bad ones in there and some good ones, and I’ve learned that I want a simpler fuzz that’s easy to dial in.
- Lone Wolf Audio Dominator: This one was a fun adventure. Another user on here had it and thought it might be defective, so I offered to test it out and troubleshoot. Man. This pedal has more output, more oomph, more soul-crushing evil power than anything I’ve tried. I don’t think I ever turned the output volume up passed like 3. Totally unusable with more than one note at a time. But that one note has this great, almost synthy quality to it that just rips your face off...in a good way. The selectable clipping switch wasn’t very useful, and I didn’t see myself using that one (however glorious) sound very much so I moved it along the trading route. I also hear the maker is an a-hole, so I’ll just mention that here so he can get pissed about it.
- Rainger FX Air Space Invader V1: Wacky little fun filter-y fuzz and white noise box. I’d like to try the V2 because it seems like they made the new and improved fuzz less harsh, which is my main complaint here. Novel tones. Still have it but it’s not on my board. Fun for some afternoon noodling but not for me beyond that.
- Spruce Effects Rainier Fuzz: I liked this pedal but traded it after the big fuzz tour shootout. Helped me learn that I don’t particularly like gated fuzz. Super pretty artwork.
- Abasi Pathos: I had prior mixed experiences with Wampler (who collaborated on building the Pathos). As you’ll see below, I loved the Tumnus but wasn’t into the Sovereign V2. Regardless, I adore Animals As Leaders and dug the demo videos of the Pathos, but when I did a shootout between this and the BE-OD it was no contest. Traded shortly thereafter.
- Boss OS-2: Super affordable and I guess versatile, but I didn’t really like any of the tones too much. I’m not a huge Boss fan, but ymmv.
- Friedman BE-OD: So much gain. Definitely has a ton of punch and a decent amount of clarity if you roll off a bit. Can’t do subtle. Pretty noisy. This one could chug like nothing else I’ve tried, but it was kind of a one-trick pony. To be fair, I never did try to adjust the internal gain pot, so I might have missed out on everything this pedal can do. In any case, I traded it for the EVH 5150 and couldn’t be happier. The BE-OD is still a sick pedal and I’d definitely recommend it.
- Fulltone OCD V2: Plenty has been said about the OCD so I won’t say much. I like it a lot, but it’s currently on the bench until I trade it or for some reason swap out the 5150.
- JHS AT+: One of the first pedals I bought when I got infected with GAS this year. In hindsight I see that I jumped the gun and bought something I didn’t really understand because I was just so hyped about guitar pedals again. I think I saw some YouTube video about it and got the consumer itch (before I understood that there are amazing videos trying to sell you every pedal in existence). I have conflicted feelings about the whole “JHS is inarguably scum” thing. I think JHS makes quality pedals. I didn’t miss this pedal after I traded it away.
- Mooer Black Secret: I was able to get this at the same time as a ProCo Rat 2 so I could compare the two. Honestly, and surprisingly, they’re not that different. I traded the Rat and kept this. I don’t love the Rat sound as much as some others but I kept the Black Secret as a cheap, small footprint tool in my toolbox.
- MXR Distortion+: I actually bought this pedal years ago and forgot I had it until it appeared in a pile of old gear I was cleaning out. Trying it again with fresh ears I didn’t love the tone options (too nasally and not very tweakable), so I traded it.
- MXR EVH 5150: I know I’m going to say this like 30 times in the post, but man this pedal is awesome! I had been hunting around for an aggressive but versatile distortion and this hit the bullseye. Will be my go-to heavier sound for most contexts for the time being.
- MXR Super Badass Distortion: : Also very affordable and much better than the Boss imo. 3-band EQ is nice. Covers a lot of ground. Solid budget option. It got booted off my board by the OCD, which then got booted by the 5150.
- Neunaber Neuron: Holy heckin’ heck this pedal is cool. Built-in one-knob compressor. Built-in noise gate. Extremely versatile EQ with a tight knob, low, mid, high, and presence. Built-in cab simulator. Crazy amounts of gain and up to six presets on the pedal itself. This could easily be someone’s only drive pedal and cover an amazing amount of ground. I’m using first in my drive section. I have a bunch of presets dialed in: clean with just a smidgen of sparkle, squished compression clean, bluesy overdrive that breaks up when you really dig in, classic rock crunch, treble-y high gain, and heavy low-end high gain. If it wasn’t glaringly obvious from this post, I like options. Even if another drive captures my attention, I can see holding onto the Neuron for years as a swiss army knife of tone and functionality. One of my favorite pedals of the year.
- ProCo Rat 2: Another classic drive I had to try out. It was cool. The Mooer Black Secret covered basically the same sonic territory with a smaller footprint, so I kept that and traded the Rat. Not my personal favorite overdrive, but I’ll give props where they’re due.
- Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive: This is where I learned I don’t prefer tube screamers. Cool pedal, 3-band EQ, but I don’t prefer this particular mid-hump in my default overdrive and have opted for the klone route instead. Top jacks were nice.
- Stone Deaf FX Warp Drive: I really liked this pedal and how the EQ section works. Footprint is a little too big for my preference, but I can easily see this being someone’s main distortion. Made me want to try other Stone Deaf drive pedals with the same EQ system. Traded away but I miss it.
- Strymon Sunset: I love this pedal in theory but was largely underwhelmed by it in practice. So many drive options! The built-in noise gate was one of my favorite features, tbh. I ran it after my fuzz and before all other drives, basically as my base tone. When comparing the “GE” mode (which is supposed to be somewhere in the realm of the Klon) to the Tumnus, the Sunset didn’t have the same feel. The attack wasn’t quite as sharp/percussive/responsive. It just didn’t feel as good under my fingers. Overall I simply didn’t bond with any of the heavier tones and felt like I was underutilizing it. In a roundabout way I replaced this with the Neuron, which I’m enjoying much more.
- TC Electronic MojoMojo: Another affordable, common drive that seems to have a decent following. It felt really dark and muddy and the low end was intense in a way I couldn’t get into. Traded (as part of a bundle for the Sunset actually).
- Wampler Sovereign V2: After the AT+ this was my next attempt at something high gain. I did not gel with this pedal. It’s nice and all, and I feel like if it tried it again today I would be better able to describe what I didn’t like about it, but it just didn’t hit the mark and I traded it.
- Wampler Tumnus: Hooray for the Tumnus. I really liked this pedal, so much so I upgraded to the deluxe. Highly recommended.
- Wampler Tumnus Deluxe: I love this pedal. Top jacks. Active 3-band EQ. Optional buffer switch on the side. I run this at the very end of my drive section as the gatekeeper of my drive tone. It focuses everything and makes it super easy to sculpt my tone or add a little extra sparkle with the gain knob. I see this staying put for a long, long time.
- Boss CE-2w: Chorus is my jam, and the CE-2w was tasty. Super simple to use. Quality tones. I hold a semi-rational bias against Boss, but this was my favorite Boss pedal to date. I had a ton of chorus when I ended up trading this, but I’d recommend this one to anyone looking for classic chorus tones and no fuss.
- EHX Mod 11: There’s a lot here, and I wanted to like this pedal, but I really didn’t. It felt cheap and kind of corny. I’m sure if I spent more time with it I’d find enough usable modes to appreciate it, but compared to other options this one kinda felt flat for me. Probably an amazing pedal for anyone getting into modulation for the first time. I’d buy one for a teenager learning to play guitar without any hesitation, but it wasn’t for me this time around.
- Empress Nebulus: Excellent multi-function modulation pedal. 3 types of chorus, univibe, vibrato, 3 types of flanger, and there’s both a tremolo and compressor hidden in there. Presets if you want to use them. Great build quality. Great sound quality. I’m honestly surprised I don’t seem more of these on people’s boards. I still have it, but I fell in love with the Strymon Ola and that effectively bumped this one to the bench. It’s super fun to run in the effects loop of my Rubberneck or Plus Pedal too.
- Flower Pedals Dandelion V2: Amazing tremolo with both standard and harmonic trem, tap tempo, dual tremolo mode, ramping, and other bells and whistles. I can’t imagine wanting more from a tremolo. Well, actually if this had an envelope following mode like the EQD Night Wire it might be the ultimate tremolo pedal. But still...amazing pedal. Top jacks too. A+.
- M.D. Effects High Tide: I would preorder the Hide Tide V2 in a heartbeat, if it ever came out. I reeeeeally liked a lot about this pedal. Chorus is my jam, and this has 3 modes with their own reverb or delay: Mode 1 (my favorite): chorus and reverb, Mode 2: chorus and modulated delay, Mode 3: 80s chorus and digital delay. Mode 1 is an ambient dream, offering HUGE clouds of washy reverb and chorus. My only gripe was that the reverb size could only be set using the tap tempo switch. It was difficult to get anything in between super short and enormous. I experienced a slight volume drop from the pedal overall too. Really cool concept, all tones that I would use, but these couple of quirks had me moving it to the trading block. I’ll keep an eye out for V2...
- MXR Phase 95: Phaser is not my jam.
- Stone Deaf FX Tremotron: Monster tremolo. Dual mode. Insanely fast if you crank the rate up. I traded this for a Walrus Audio Monument V2 so I could try out harmonic tremolo too. The Tremotron is a great pedal, but I don’t really miss it now that I have the Dandelion.
- Strymon Ola: As mentioned, chorus is my jam, and this is the chorus for me. It’s got everything. Classic chorus. Super lush, instant moody nostalgia vibes on the multi mode. I don’t use the vibrato too too much but it’s there and still great. Ramping and envelope modes. One preset slot. Stereo ins and outs. Sounds killer with distortion. Beyond happy with this pedal. Another favorite pedal of the year for me.
- Telesonic’s Trembling Fish: I got this in a trade bundle. It was fine. A bit noisy. Had some cool ways to dial in different types of tremolo, but it didn’t really do it for me overall. I traded it away once I knew I was getting the Dandelion.
- Walrus Audio Monument V2: Excellent pedal. I would have kept it, but it was needed in order for me to trade for the Gamechanger Plus pedal (which in hindsight was totally worth it). I really like harmonic tremolo and this was a really lovely and lush soundmaker. My tremolo needs are now fully met by the Dandelion, but this would be my favorite option otherwise.
- DOD Rubberneck: What a neat pedal! Seriously though, what a neat pedal! I got one in a trade and was curious to see what all the hype was about. It happened to be one of the “Bate” misprints, so that’s cool in a totally irrational and inconsequential way. I really appreciate how flexible this pedal is. You can easily dial in straightforward delay lines and sculpt the tone to be either that dark, murky analog mood or clearer brighter, sharp attack repeats using the tone and gain knobs. Plus modulation. Plus the Rubbernecking. Plus tap temp. Plus runaway oscillation at your toetips. Plus the effects loop. One last time for good measure: what a neat pedal! I’m not sure this will be permanent fixture on my board, but it’s a solid candidate for 6th man of the year on my bench.
- EHX Canyon: Of all the multi-function compact EHX pedals that came out in recent years, the Canyon is my favorite. It’s not perfect, but for the price and the footprint it’s pretty dang handy. Lots of delay options, pitch shifting, looper, (somewhat awkward) tap tempo, deep secondary functions to explore. Lots to love. It’s not on my board right now but I’ll keep it around as another swiss army knife pedal that will surely come in handy.
- EHX Grand Canyon: I loved the Canyon so much I figured I’d love the Grand Canyon even more. No such luck. It’s still a great pedal, but something felt off about it. Maybe it felt cheaper than its rich feature set would imply. EHX pedals are kind of hit and miss in this regard. The reason I traded it away: I was running my two-looper setup with the Flip Flip (see below) and trying to send loops back and forth between loopers. For reasons unknown, the Grand Canyon didn’t play well with this setup so I traded it.
- EQD Avalanche Run V2: I had this only briefly when my acute-onset GAS took hold and drove me to spend way too much way too fast. After a moment of clarity I returned this to the local shop where I bought it. I’d be stoked to try it out again now that my pedal powers have grown stronger, but I don’t feel like I’m missing out if it doesn’t happen. I’m already drowning in delay and reverb as it is!
- Empress EchoSystem: This was supposed to be my be-all-end-all mac daddy forever delay. I drooled over it for months before finally finding one within my budget on Reverb. To be clear, this is a truly astounding pedal. It sounds phenomenal and has so so so much to offer. In fact, for me at least, it had a bit too much to offer. I found myself regularly overwhelmed by the sheer depth of delay options available. Total option paralysis. Also, I really liked the dual delay options in theory, but I was extremely bothered by how the interface works. You set up one delay line, then switch to the other and use the same knobs to dial each in. So once you set up the first delay line you no longer have any reference points for knowing where all the knobs were unless you write it down. I’ve learned I do not like interfaces that have hidden secondary parameters (see comments on Meris pedals below). Overall, the EchoSystem is an absolute beast of a pedal but I was bothered enough by the workflow to trade it away for a Volante, which I’m very very glad I did.
- SolidGoldFX Electroman MKII: This was the first pedal I got through a trade, so there’s some irrational sentimental value here. I dug it, but traded it in the same bundle that yielded the Strymon Sunset. It was a good digital-but-analog-sounding delay with some cool bells and whistles, including an effects loop for the repeats. If I didn’t have the Rubberneck I wouldn’t mind having this again.
- Strymon Volante: One of the top pedals of 2019 for a lot of folks, including me. I love how the Volante is simultaneously a super deep pedal with lots to explore and also offers a very intuitive, easy to dial in, and useful interface. It can be as straightforward or as weird as you want it to be. I LOVE the sound-on-sound function. I used to set up my Ditto X4 with a medium decay time to do the same thing. The onboard spring reverb is an excellent addition. The Volante sounds great, offers so many fun ways to explore and create, and I don’t know any other delay I’d prefer to have on my board. A++.
- Bananana Abracadabra: Total wackiness. I like it. It offers a whole bunch of truly unique reverb modes. Pitch shifting reverbs. It has two freeze-like modes that you can capture a short drone-y tone and tweak chorus and reverb on it alongside some wild octave up or down layers. It also has this crazy “sh+noise” mode that feels like you’re transported to a candyland forest of spacial blips and bloops. Especially considering the mini footprint, I love having this on my board for all the psychedelic nonsense it offers.
- Caroline Meteore: I’ll be honest, I did not like this pedal. The pronounced predelay that couldn’t be tweaked combined with the generally unpleasant lo-fi gain tones were just not working for me. Maybe the most disappointed I was in a pedal all year. I’ll leave it at that.
- Cusack Resound: I only had this pedal briefly from a trade bundle. I think there probably was a lot to like buried in there, but I didn’t find the controls or interface very intuitive so I didn’t end up investing much time into figuring it out. I barely remember much else about this one.
- EHX Holy Grail Max: I already owned this pedal from years ago. Still sounded great, but the foot switch had a very loud click that drove me nuts. Out with the old, in with the new.
- EHX Oceans 11: Another super versatile EHX pedal. Deserving of the hype it gets. I already had the Immerse MKII and all these other crazy reverb options, so this felt redundant, so it was traded.
- EQD Afterneath V2: I owned 3 different Afterneaths at various points of this year. It was one of the first pedals I got when I got back into pedals this year, but I didn’t really gel with it at first. I ended up getting another one months later and something clicked. I now love this pedal and chose to keep it above a bunch of others, including the Walrus Slo. It’s great at creating washy, pad-like textures either underneath your playing or as full-on, out front, in-your-face reverb waves. I run it immediately after my drive section and before all modulation so I can effect the long tails and create all sorts of tones and textures. Ambient powerhouse. A+.
- Keeley Caverns V2: This seemed like a popular pedal and I hadn’t tried it yet, so I agreed to a trade for it. My favorite option was the lightly modulated delay. The reverbs didn’t super wow me, but they were still solid. Neither the reverb nor delay were spectacular enough to replace other pedals that I already had that did similar things, so to the trading block it went.
- Meris Mercury 7: Gorgeous reverb. For a little while I had this and the Enzo together on my board. I’ve written out my gripes against the Enzo below, and those largely apply to the M7 as well, but not quite to the same degree. At some point I had way too many reverb pedals and some things had to go, so this got traded. I’d still recommend it for anyone doing big, ambient guitar any or synth music.
- Neunaber Immerse MKII: My bread and butter, meat and potatoes, deep space and heavenly choir reverb. Another candidate for my favorite pedal of the year (I think I’m up to half a dozen or so favorites so far...). If I could pick one reverb pedal this would be it.
- Walrus Audio Slö: Beautiful sound maker here, as you likely know. It came down to this or the Afterneath in a battle for a board spot, and the Afterneath won out in the end. I’d still recommend this any day, but honestly I don’t really miss it. Maybe it’s because I’m still drowning in reverb without it...happily drowning, but still...
- Boss RC-3: When the dust settled, this ended up as the main looper on my board. I’m not usually a big Boss fan (I know they are something of a gold standard in many ways, but I don’t prefer their foot switches and often don’t get along very well with their pedals), but I like that the RC-3 lets you store 99 saved loops (the EHX 720 only has 10 slots). The rhythm tracks are nice to have but not something I usually prioritize. I think the winning factor was how much is packed into a standard compact sized footprint. I also prefer loopers with a dedicated stop switch over the double tap ones, and there are features I really miss from my Ditto X4, but I’ll deal until my unicorn looper gets made. This is perfectly utilitarian for now.
- EHX 720: This was my first attempt to downsize from the Ditto X4 and I was pretty happy with it. I eventually traded it away and ended up with the RC-3. Fine looper. 10 slots to save loops. Reverse and half-time effects. Respect.
- TC Electronic Ditto: I have this first in my chain so I can record riffs or simple loops and then experiment with all my other effects on it. Then anything I really like I can save on the RC-3. Tiny footprint. Does its job. Good job, Ditto.
- TC Electronic Ditto X4: Aside from how freaking enormous the X4 is I think it’s my favorite looper. I just couldn’t justify the board real estate once my board started getting cramped. I really like doing sound-on-sound stuff with the decay knob turned down. I also miss the reverse and half-time/double-time features that the RC-3 doesn’t have. If they made a Ditto the size of the X2 with these features and the ability to save loops, I’d be all over it. Or if the new MXR Clone could save loops that would be wonderful. I’m sure it’ll come out eventually.
SYNTH, GLITCH, and MISC
- American Loopers Flip Flop: This is lowkey the center piece of my board. It has 2 send and return loops, and I have one containing almost my entire chain and the other containing only my RC-3 looper. In the Flip Flop’s default state it sends loop 1 — > loop 2, making the RC-3 effectively the last pedal in the entire chain. Engage the Flip Flop and it sends loop 2 — > loop 1, so the RC-3 is effectively first in the chain now. I can create loops using all my effects and then re-run any loop I like back through the entire chain again. Pretty pretty cool.
- Dunlop DVP4 Volume X Mini: With my cramped board I appreciate the small footprint. Works as a volume or expression pedal. I usually use it as a volume pedal for swells or as an overall kill switch. Built like a tank. Keeper for sure.
- Meris preset switch: This helped a lot with my Meris frustrations. I had it connected to the Enzo with four presets (one for each mode). It went away when I finally moved on from the Enzo. Highly recommended if anyone is using Meris pedals and not controlling presets with MIDI.
- MXR Tap Tempo: Not much to say. It taps tempo and is tiny.
- Tapestry Audio Bloomery: I got the active version of this volume pedal. Super heavy duty metal parts and overall build quality. I didn’t like the feel of the sweep. Traded.
- TC Electronic Wiretap: Got in a cheapie trade, I think for the OS-2. Good tool for recording practice sessions and then sifting back through to document anything worth saving.
- True Joy Devices Big Expression Knob: I can’t really justify having both a dedicated expression pedal on my board, so this lets me play around with any pedals with expression capabilities.
- Alexander Syntax Error: I got this early in my GAS journey and honestly I didn’t really vibe with it. If you’re into this kind of thing I probably can’t tell you anything new. Cool concept, well-made pedal, just not for me.
- Bananana Matryoshka: Cool synth pedal but it couldn’t remotely fill the void left by the Enzo leaving my board. Lots of wackiness and creative possibilities to explore here, but I didn’t really bond with it. Traded.
- Gamechanger Audio Plus Pedal: Gosh, where to begin with this one? I’ve posted on here before that the learning experience with the Plus is really, really satisfying. It’s such a versatile pedal and has a really simple, intuitive interface. Drones on drones on drones. Crazy texture possibilities with the effects loop. Gorgeous space-filler between chords. Just an excellent ambient music tool and really useful performance tool. I got it in a trade, but I’m not sure I would ever buy it due to the price point. Still, very happy I got it and will keep it on my board for a long time.
- Mantic Flex XS: The only PLL I tried this year and my final trade of 2019. Who wants to start a noise rock band?
- Meris Enzo: Oh Meris, why must you be so...you? I love and hate the Enzo. It’s a legitimately groundbreaking synth pedal that is legitimately hard to get along with. Pros: Great tracking. The 4 modes make it a powerhouse of versatility. It can be pretty, it can be wild, it can be utilitarian. With the filter options you can coax out a huge variety of mono and polyphonic synth sounds. Really incredible when you do it right. And an attractive and pedalboard-friendly pedal to boot. Cons: Seriously Meris, if you’re going to make a pedal where some parameters are crucial to shaping every tone, maybe don’t make them unlabeled secondary parameters behind other knobs? Is that too much to ask? I could find the best synth sound of my life and irreversibly lose it before I didn’t immediately write down knob positions for all the alt functions. Really not intuitive at all. People are making entire software programs to navigate these pedals. It’s like they locked a treasure behind a gate that you have to solve a riddle to open. Not fun, and, for me at least, ultimately not worth the frustration. I’ll still my eye out for new Meris stuff because it’s amazing, but I won’t pull the trigger on anything that doesn’t have some user interface improvements.
- Red Panda Tensor: I haven’t had this for too long so I’ve only scratched the surface, but I can already tell that this pedal is special. Really awesome feature set and easily the best pedal I have for consistently producing novel “happy accident” samples and interesting short phrases to play with. I’m really looking forward to working with it more this year.
- Strymon Deco: Another candidate for maybe my favorite pedal of the year for creative concept and sheer versatility. Is it a modulation pedal? A delay? Doubler? Overdrive? Sound design tool? Luxury music tool for adult noisemakers? Yes yes yes yes yes and yes. Aside from being an absolute fingerprint smudge magnet, the Deco is a jack of many traits and a master of most of these. The flanger is honestly better than any other I’ve tried. Paired with the saturation turned up is killer. The tape saturation side can be so warm and crisp. The flexible usefulness of the Deco is what makes it so special and difficult to categorize. Props to Strymon for the unique concept and excellent implementation. A keeper among keepers.
- Skychord Sleepdrone 3: I got this for $20 off of Craigslist. It has 3 oscillators that produce a simple tone with a volume and frequency tweaking knob for each. Cool for creating harmonizing drones but not really anything else. $20 well spent!
- Zoom MS-70CDR: I noted the hype around the multi-stomp line and jumped on a trade for this. I found I don’t have the patience to go menu diving or do the preset building it would take to make full use of this. It has a gajillion sounds, but nothing that really got me excited. I also notices a high pitched whiny tone coming from it regardless of if the pedal was engaged. In hindsight I wonder if this was a power supply issue, but in any case this went in the trade pile and I don’t really miss it. Sorry u/slap_me_thrice!
- Strymon Zuma: What more could anyone possibly want from a power supply? Just perfect.
- Walrus Audio Aetos: I got this in a trade thinking I would maybe use it to power a second, smaller board, but until that actually comes together I’ve incorporated it into the big board so nearly ever pedal gets its own isolated power slot. And now I don’t have to run a daisy chain, which is nice. I have the Aetos connected to the main AEC port on my board and I’m using the Aetos’ wall outlet type jack to power the Zuma.
- Temple Audio Duo 34: I love this pedal board. I have it set up with an external AEC port with an on/off switch. I like that I boot up the whole board with the flick of one switch. I also have a 4-way jack module for my main guitar in and the out to my amp. I dig the module system that Temple Audio has created here. I’d definitely consider getting the propriety power supplies they’re now offering too if I didn’t already have the Zuma. Here’s the thing with the “Quick Release” plate system, it’s fantastic once you know exactly what’s going to be on your board. It’s not compatible with trying out 80 pedals in less than a year. I quickly stopped putting the plates on pedals until I was convinced I was keeping them for good, but even then I ended up removing a number of plates once a pedal suddenly ended up on the trading block for various reasons. Once the plates are taken care of and the board is arranged, the whole system is wonderful. Every pedal is secure and solid. The OCPD in me is very satisfied when everything comes together on this board. Very happy I went with the Temple gear this year.
That’s my year in pedals. It was a great education and a whole lot of gorgeous tones and musical experiments.
I’m happy to answer questions or nerd out with y’all, so AMA!
submitted by andYEETandYEET