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Andrew:
1. Well said, Ke. Perhaps I should look into a career as an Asian rat and bee bounty hunter...

2. Well, it sounds like where you live, a spotted wombat might not have plate armor, but could have a treasure trove of breakfast cereal and candy bars.

3. Yeah, but WHY? I mean, normally bandits don’t attempt to waylay large bands of tough-looking warriors, or at least when they do, they usually try to be sneaky about it, and not just run head first into them.

4. I found fantasies involving a hefty math book and a crack to the back of the bullies skull was all that I needed.

 Heroes? More like villains.

1. Lame monsters

A lot of RPG heroes have emotional "issues" (meaning that they're extremely screwed up). Since the heroes are saving the world, they are allowed to use the excuse that "the ends justify the means" when they like to hack up squirrels/monkeys/fluffy bunny rabbits (better watch out, Andrew) to blow off stress. After all, who is going to tell someone with a really big sword that you are reporting them to the ASPCA for cruelty to animals?

2. Impossible drops

In most games, not only do the monsters have no place to put the gold/items/weapons, they have no way to use them. Many monsters, slimes for instance, don't have hands to hold a weapon. Very few monsters can spend their money because discrimination runs rampant in video games. How many shops serve monkeys? This problem is partially solved in games that have a town for the monsters. For example: Monstro Town in Super Mario RPG and whatever-that-one-village-was-called in Chrono Trigger (I'm willing to bet that someone will send in the name of that town in the next column).

3. Human Life

The argument here is that no one would survive at all if the heroes don't save the world, and no one wants to argue with someone who just chopped up 6 soldiers.

4. Random encounters

Some random encounters make sense, such as the ones that happen when you're out of items and all of your characters are down to 15 HP. Presumably in the other cases, the paranoid Heroes SAW the creatures in question first, assumed it meant them harm, moved into a threatening stance, and the creatures defended themselves.

-Buttercup

Andrew:
You really need to create an RPG, Buttercup. The amount of carnage and hilarity that would ensue would make it a sure winner. Way to point out those dastardly heroes for that they really are! I can just a band of townsfolk getting together, determined to help out monsters everywhere! Viva revolution!

 The REAL reason why Antarctica is undeveloped.

Hey Rabbid Bunny,

I just wanted to say that I agree with Tad Ghostly's comment about the monsters as you approach the 3rd, 4th, etc towns in a game, they seem to get stronger and stronger. Why is that? Is it cause the god of this game's world decided to make monsters stronger, all because in this gods great wisdom, he knew, one day that heroes would set out on a quest that demanded leveling so they could eventually defeat the ultimate evil on this planet? Honestly now, sure we have different animals here in Canada then they have in let's say, Africa. But just because I changed continents, it doesn't mean I would meet greater animals. A bear, or a lion would both have the same odds to rip open my stomach and do what they would want with my innards. Maybe one day when I set out on a quest to do god knows what I'll find out why it's easier to defeat a Grizzly bear near my town, as opposed to a lion in some African town...Since this is a Q&A, here's a quick question, how much time do you put in to these columns, on let's say, a column like yesterday's? (Friday).

Genocrakhore

Andrew:
Well, the heroes usually start out in some tiny town in the middle of a cabbage field. What kind of insanely tough monsters live in a cabbage field? But the monsters would have be to be much tougher then in the tundras of the 5th town, because it’s so much harder to survive. And there you go. Crummy answer, I know.

Q&A usually takes around 3-5 hours, if I’m lucky. I spend roughly 12-15 hours a week on Q&A, and yep, I don’t get paid. Isn’t the lure of fame and fangirls great?

 Explaining away the color blue.

Hey, is this Q & A, or A & Q?

1. It's that kind of stupid thinking that always lets the monsters get the upper hand on you would-be heroes. The small groups are GENIUS! Everyone knows that in video games, enemies HAVE to attack you one at a time. It's a rule. You cannot MOB the hero, that'd just be unfair. So, by traveling in small groups, the monsters aren't as bored. A goblin won't have to wait a hundred turns to get a shot in, just a few. A happy goblin is a strong goblin, and will fight much, much better.

2. Monster's are far too vicious to have homes. They burn them down as soon as they're able to 1) Breathe fire or 2) Light a match. They ransack villages, break up tribes, decimate nests, and fill in burrows with unpleasant items. Where do they go when they need to sleep, or rest? They don't! They never need to recharge, because they can just go seek out an evil sorceror gnome and politely ask for a Cure spell! And clearing a monster threat is obviously impossible, because a monster can always "Call For Help!" or "Summon a Friend" at any time.

3. As much as monsters want to drink and perform acts of senseless carnage, they can't. Lacking any sort of internal organs whatsoever (they disappear when they die, and have no trace of blood or any such bodily tissue when sliced with a sword), the monsters would quickly die from alcohol poisoning. If they could somehow use a special command, such as "Grow Kidneys", then maybe. But it would probably cost too much MP.

4. Because then we'd have a naked knight. And we can't have naked people in games. And who the hell wears "skivvies"?Chocobo Hot and Cold owns us all.

- Feep

Andrew:
1. Oh, admit it. You’d love for you and your brave friends to valiantly fend off an army of goblin tribes bearing down on a small, undefended village.

2. Gah! Why can’t the heroes use the “call for help” ability? Down on our luck in battle, our comely black mage yells a plea for help, and a traveling band of minstrels coming running to her aid, bludgeoning the oncoming monsters to death with their fearsome array of instruments and bladders on sticks. How sweet would that be?

3. That’s why Diablo 2 rocks. Nothing like clearing out an area and then having to walk around, and over, all those piles of dead monsters. Talk about squishy. By the way, who else loved that the King of the desert area had two giant floors of harem girls? Lucky bastard.

4. We need more naked people in games! Bring on the pixilated nudity, Square!

 Too MUCH money?!

AD,

If there was one fundamental gaming logic flaw I cannot stand, it is not being able to use a dead enemy's equipment. It is especially absurd in games such as Metal Gear Solid, when you are forced to run around and hide from enemies for 10 minutes before you get your first gun. "Hello? I just broke that guy's neck, and he's armed with an AK-47, a few grenades, clothes I could disguise myself with, and a radio-headset that I could use to monitor the enemy's communication. Surely the super-secret spy could possibly USE some of this gear? Oh. The body disappeared...nevermind."

I could understand perhaps that Snake might not have realistically had space on him for all that gear, but really, what game or RPG featured characters who did NOT have pockets which opened into extradimensional spaces able to contain 99 of every item regardless of size while also allowing storage for literally metric tons of gold/ammunition? By the end of FF7 I had a few billion gil; assuming that it is actually physical currency somewhat like gold (“Bank of Midgar? Yeah, I killed a monster so could you transfer another 200 gil to my off-shore account? Thanks.”), I’m sure the Highwind would be incapable of flight no matter how powerful its engines are. I mean, we’re talking about kilotons worth of gil here!

Bah, my suspension of disbelief can only be stretched so far…although admittedly console RPGs are not exactly the best place to look for intelligent gameplay design…

-Red Raven

Andrew:
We all feel that way about games. Especially early on, I always find myself wishing I could take down all those cool weapons hanging in people’s houses. Oh well, guess my hero’s will have to buy a bunch of overpriced crap from the local weapon store instead.

Banks in games make extremely good sense, and even better, creators should really give the player TOO MUCH to buy. I’m talking neat extras, houses, vehicles, all sorts of cool non-essential stuff that people would love to have. I would have killed to buy some neat extras for the HighWind, or some cool armor for my chocobo. How about getting to purchases new outfits for your party members? *sigh*

 The feral connection!

Well for your first question about why monster don’t always travel in packs I think there’s a fairly decent explanation. Just look at animals, wolves always travel in packs, hunt in packs, and do everything like that, but what about bears? The only time you see more than one bear is when you see a mother with her young right? (for the most part at least) Same goes for insects, look at ants compared to spiders. Anyway, this could easily be applied to monsters, goblins could travel in packs while trolls (much larger) travel mostly by themselves, occasionally in pairs.

Antimodes

Andrew:
Well, monsters aren’t all stupid. I mean, supposedly orcs are just below human intelligence, and then on the other side of the coin, there are packs of horrible creatures that are mindless killing machines, that probably breed at an amazingly high rate. There really needs to more thought put into monsters and how they’re designed to act.

 Wham bam, thank you reader!

1.Trolls are notorious for having low IQs and poor knowledge of battle tactics.

2. In a few games, there ARE villages (Super Mario RPG and Chrono Trigger are the only ones I can think of).

3. No idea why. Presumably it's another case of monster discrimination and none of the inns will sell the monsters any booze.

4. Despite their misleading appearance, Armen the Knight's armor and weapons are very poor quality and are would not fetch any money if you tried to pawn them at a weapon/armor shop.

5. Great Q & A comic, I hope Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is even better than the other books.

Buttercup

Andrew:
1. According to Terry Prachett’s Discworld series, trolls are only stupid below the snowline. Fear the snows, mortal!

2. Yeah, but they were FRIENDLY monsters. Which kinda ruins the point. Wouldn’t it be a weird jolt to go into a monster’s town and have to slaughter them? From crying orc mothers clutching their babies to stupidly brave gnome storekeepers trying to stop their town’s destruction? Oh, the humanity!

3. But they can make their own. Look at all the inbred hicks who could create moonshine! Monsters, can’t all be that stupid!

4. Armen takes offensive to that, and is now crying in his room. Thanks a lot, Buttercup. *sigh*

5. Here’s hoping too. I can’t start reading my copy until I finish writing this column. >_<

 Looooooooooong.

Greetings:

Ah, well, first time sending a letter here. But, anyways, onto my point. Which, with any hope, hasn't gotten dull. Ah, well, just, excuse my babble, ne?

1. Small packs of monsters? Ah, well, I never thought of it that way. I just kinda always thought that, in most cases, monsters are just in small hunting groups, enough to overpower but not enough to be noticed really easily. It works by that logic, for most monsters anyways, those numbers you fight them in must just be the magic number for them. I mean, forgetting how powerful our little group of heroes are, the monsters in the area MUST be the dominant species. I mean, citing a monster from the Final Fantasy games, a Malboro could probably easily take down any prey, meaning any other animal or even monster that's weaker than our heroes, just by using it's amazing ability to completely cripple it's prey. So, the way I see it, they're still in small packs because they're used to being the dominant species, and the heroes aren't around long enough to pose enough of a threat to their lives so they must change this. In essense, it's also just plan old intelligence. Assuming that the monsters in question are fairly intelligent, hearing that a group of people are going around killing entire groups of even stronger creatures with a single slash, they're not going to waste all those lives just to take down a group of three, maybe four people that can take the place of an entire army and then some.

2. This is one of those things, it's odd one can rarely find a monster colony. Maybe they're just hidden really well? But, that's a lazy answer. Referring back to the first question, maybe monsters live in those tiny groups you fight them in and don't have a central place to live. Perhaps the majority of monsters are sent off with a few others and spend the rest of their lives with them, as a tradition of sorts? That would explain the rarity of monster colonies, I guess. After all, even though most games don't show it, there's likely both geners in the group, and you're just lucky enough to never catch them when they have their child with them. Plus, let's not forget the possibilities that monsters can produce babies just with one member of their species. It's an interesting solution, ne?

3. Well, with all of my other theories, this is a nice contrast. If warlike behavior was against most monster's behavior, this would be easy to explain. However, most monsters don't really show off peaceful tendencies. Towns, from the standpoint of a monsters, would be a MUCH better target than a group of a couple of heroes. However, from that same standpoint, towns are chock full of people, which probably greatly resemble a certain band of people that happen to be going around and slaughtering their race. This, from the standpoint of a monster with fair intellegence, would be extremely logical. However, from the standpoint of a really intellegent monster, this would appear to be a deathtrap at first sight. It's fairly logical that, if a town is attacked, that small band of humans would go and whoop on their ass, and that's not good even if they do know the humans in towns tend to be weaker than those who travel around the world and loot the bodies of monsters they've killed for cash and a lovely parting gift. But, this doesn't work from the standpoint of a less than intelligent monster. Sure, it could be explained through sheer numbers, which would work with my theory of small little packs of monsters. But, eh, well, umm, I agree though, it would be pretty cool to fight off a small, or large for that matter, army of monsters that are raiding a town...

4. Well, the first thing I could say about this is that, well, it's just plain nasty to do that. Wearing another guy's armor, after he's sweated in it? Bled in it? And probably done other things in it? Plus, it might just not fit. The whole thing of not fitting would explain the rarity of getting good armor from certain enemies, they probably have to find the right sizes. And, plus, for weapons, what's to say they didn't break suddenly? Which would further explain random drops for good weapons. However, then again, that still doesn't explain why you could just snatch them and sell them. Eh, guess they have to be in good condition to sell, or something. I guess some people just don't carry much with them. Either that, or the rest of their stuff is so nasty they just don't want to touch it...

I hope that covers everything, and that I've provided some interesting thoughts. I hope that this letter meets standards for grammar and spelling that you've put forth. And, please, have a nice day...

-Kojiro of the Autumn Fields

Andrew:
1. A good point. However, heroes usually show up, go into a dungeon, which is usually swarming with monsters, kill and loot as much as they can, and ultimately, kill the dungeon’s boss and steal the hidden treasure. Now, if I was a monster, I’d want to get some kind of plan ready to defend my lair and my family and friends from such vicious foes, and yet, it never seems to happen. Think about it. Once the dungeon boss is dead, the monsters are leaderless, have nothing to protect, and have lost the majority of the creatures they’ve known. Now me, I’d be hella pissed, and want to go hunt me down some hero.

2. Well, in my opinion, dungeons are most likely the closest thing monsters have to “homes”.

3. Monsters need food and shinies. Towns offer both, in large qualities, and yet, monsters never try to invade. Argh.

4. I think I’ll once again blame sheer laziness on the creator’s part. Though I suppose most heroes are moral enough not to strip their opponents down, though that doesn’t explain all the gold they receive and the occasional piece of equipment...

 And I thought RPGs were bizarre.

think about platformers for a second.

1) Coins, gems, fruit, etc. that spins forever. How come not one of these lunkheads has seen an energy source for a perpetual motion machine yet? Just wrap a coin in copper wire, put a big magnet around it, attach a big capacitor or whatever, and boom: lightning cannon. But noooo...the hero has to smash bricks with his hat, and jump on mushroom people one at a time.

2) Why do the heros run and jump and fall into pits when there's a perfectly reasonable anti-grav flying machine _right next to them_? That's right, the camera. Just lasso that little doggy, and go through the levels in style! Or heck, with enough spinning coin batteries you can turn H2O into H2O2, and use that as rocket fuel.

My work here is done...away!

Ohako

Andrew:
1. Well, generally in platformers, like Mario, you’re not dealing with the kind of people who could invent such things. I mean, Mario is a plumber by trade, after all. Besides, when the coin/fruit/monkey is touched by the protagonist, it disappears. This means that the invention would have be assembled by an NPC, and we all know they’re too stupid for that kind of thing.

2. Well, if they did lasso the camera, then the player couldn’t see where they were going, and they’d probably die anyway. Damn you foul player, learn how to jump!

 A familiar story.

Dear Rabbit-

I understand what you're saying about school shootings. If someone is insensitive enough to bully someone to the point where the victim goes nuts and shoots the bully, then that bully is a dumbass. I think bullies are assholes no matter what, but everyone should know there is a limit. So, when you said that they deserved it, I got what you meant. You weren't saying that everyone should go out and shoot their bully for the slightest little comment. You were just saying that you understood why someone would shoot a bully. I do too.

Consider this, when I was a sophomore in high school, I had a best friend, Nate. Nate is one of the sweetest guys on the planet and he's geeky. There was this football/wreastling jock in our class who was a Junior in our sophomore English class. This was second semester and my friend had an earlier lunch last semester so when the bell rang for the earlier lunch, he thought it was time for him to go. He quickly realized it wasn't our bell and then he lightly punched his desk. We thought this was funny, so every day Nate would punch his desk whenever the bell rang. Well, Mr. Jock didn't like this and started calling Nate a faggot. So, we all started doing it, just to annoy Mr. Jock. Maybe that wasn't the best move, but it was really fun. The next year Mr. Jock was still in Sophomore English and we had moved on to Junior English. Every time Mr. Jock saw Nate he called him a faggot. Nate acted like he didn't care, but it made me mad. Then one day at lunch I was walking by Mr. Jocks table when I tripped on a chair, of course, they were all laughing at me. In my infinite wit, (being sarcastic), I tried to sound scary/funny and said.

"Yeah......yeah that's pretty funny isn't it. I wanted to hit them so bad, so I was looking around for a weapon, but all I had was my water bottle. You know, I know how to kill people with a water bottle."I pointed my water bottle at them menacingly and they were actually scared. This is how dumb they were! Nate saw that I was saying something to them and started laughing. The jocks made fun of Nate and said. "Ha, look at Harry Potter laughing over there!"

Nate doesn't look like Harry Potter at all! He has blonde hair and he wears glasses, but they aren't black rimmed. I walked away at that point, but I came back and said.

"You know what? I don't appreciate you making fun of him. Nate is a great guy and he has never done anything to you! I don't understand you people at all!"

"Yeah so, what."

"You know that's your biggest problem, you don't care. One of these days you're going to piss off the wrong person and they are going to shoot you. You know what? I hope they do!"

Then I walked away and for a day or two I was hailed as the coolest person in school. Mr. Jock stopped making fun of Nate. The other day he saw Nate at Walmart and struck up a conversation with him. That just proves that if you stick up for yourself, sometimes it stops the bullying. I would have never shot the bastard, but I'll admit I may have fantasized a little.

Cera

Andrew:
Wish the bullies at my school had been that easy to deal with. It’s a pretty similar thread that runs through everyone I know though. See the thing is, I don’t hang out with any bullies. In fact, I don’t know anyone who does. They’re just not the kind of people most of us want to associate ourselves with. But everyone, and I mean EVERYONE I know has been bullied at some awful point in their lives. For girls, it’s usually incredibly mean-spirited taunting and harassment, usually from large groups. For guys, it’s usually an unexpected kidney punch in the gym locker room. Wherever, and whatever it is, it always leads to bad things. Hurt feelings, depression, I’ve got friends where bullies turned them from out going, friendly people to withdrawn, despondent shells.

And to everyone who says killing someone isn’t an answer, well what about all the stories of those poor souls who are unable to take it any more and killed themselves? Is that better? We’ve all read the news stories of teenagers just like us who couldn’t take the abuse anymore, from violent bullies, uncaring school officials, and helpless parents. I for one, am sick of it. I have no sympathy for bullies and their pathetic attempts to fit in, and I can’t see a damn reason why any of you would stick up for the people that make everyone’s lives miserable. It’s time to match their level. When a bully hits me, I hit him back, and I fight dirty. This isn’t about honor, or fisticuffs. This is about fiercely showing the meatheads of our lives that we have every right to LIVE. We are not to be harassed, attacked, or demeaned.

I for one, will never let the bullies win again, and neither should you.



Quickies

Hey Andrew,

With Xenosaga II well on its way I can't waith for Xenosaga IV: The Antichrist.

Boy, the Christian Coalition is sure going to give Namco Hell about that one.

-YJ

The Christian Coalition IS hell. -_-;;

I'm sorry but I can't read english very well and your Q&A had to many words in it. Is there any way you could give a brief explanation of what it all said?

~rudyxx

Transcripts of Q&A can be bought for $5.00 each, and come with my official autograph. Please contact your resident gender less slime representative.

I don't know if this was mentioned in yesterdays letters or not but in the game Lunar Silver Star Story Complete, as you get stronger throughout the game the monsters will actually get scared of your party and run away rather than blindly attack you. Just a thought.

~rudyxx

Good point. I just wish it didn’t force your party into a battle if you touched the scared monsters and just gave you the measly amounts of exp and gold. Then again, I wouldn’t have the pleasure of blasting the monster with an obscenely powerful spell...hmm.

You don't want to strip Armen to his skivvies, trust me. He has back hair like you wouldn't believe.

--heart of ice

Ugh. I probably shouldn’t ask how you know, eh?

What I would like to know is why all the small baby monsters always around the hero when they begin their quest? Why isn't there one randomly powerful monster hanging out there? Is there any kind of monster food chain? I need to know!

~M

Actually, in Suikoden 3, there were randomly super tough monsters wandering around. It was great fun to slaughter them.

The Final Grumble:

1. Haven’t I seen you before?- Alright, maybe I’m going a bit nuts, but am I the only person who severely dislikes that when I fight a thief, that thief will always have the same graphics? Now yes, I know the development team is under time constraints, but wouldn’t it be nice to a male/female variant? How about different outfits? Younger/older thieves? I really don’t think it’d kill the creator to fo a couple of variants per enemy, and it’d be a nice change of pace then fighting quintuplets in a battle.

2. Can’t we just get along?- RPGs need to seriously change and start giving the player more choices in battle. Instead of just “kill everything in sight”. How about giving monsters the ability to plead for mercy is the hero is too strong, or even ask to join the hero’s party? How cool would it be to align yourself with an orc tribe for an adventure or two and clear out a mutual threat?

3. Surprising battles!- Wouldn’t it be more fun if monsters were a little cleverer? Players would have to avoid traps, surprise attacks, and even have to negotiate to save hostages! Much more exciting then your everyday hack and slash!

4. Mmm, human!- Wouldn’t it be interesting to have an RPG from a monster’s point of view? Start off as a lowly peon, work your way up to chief, wage war on humans, take over larger and larger parts of the world...it’d be so much fun! And think of all the babies you could devour!

Andrew "Fried?" DuffClaire Belton

Harry's got quite a short fuse in book 5.

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