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   We'll Go Separate Ways Till the Next Time  

Rob Hamilton - September 15 '02- 3:46 Eastern Standard Time

While writing the title of this column, I somehow caused a small discussion about the correct spelling of "Till." Most people spell it "'til," and though this is appropriate, scholars claim the double-l version is older, and appropriate as well. Of course, older by itself doesn't really mean much inherently--many words were misspelled many times, a couple hundred years ago, and a millennium ago the English language was such that most modern speakers wouldn't understand most of it.

Just thought I'd toss that in! Now, forward (not backward)! Upward (not forward)! And always whirling, whirling, whiiiirling towards freedom er, the letters.

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Not Drawings of Chimerasame

Well, it says I have... it says I have blue, but I decided I wanted grey eyes!

I gotta say, I think the new rules in D&D 3rd Edition that take out race/class limitations are awesome! I pretty much did that in 2nd Edition anyway, but now it's legal! Yessir, nothing quite like playing as a minotaur bard who sings so badly that the elves chased him out of their capital for mutilating their epic history (by rolling double 1s of course, for a critical failure). Monstrous races are fun.

If you feel like answering an RPG question: Have you played Summoner? I wonder what it's like considering it was popular enough to be spawning a sequal, even though I heard nothing but badness about it.

--GoblinKing

Rob:
I consider 3rd edition better than 2nd in most respects. The only thing I really prefer about second is that it makes multiclassing into two magic-using classes actually worthwhile, whereas in 3rd, a 10th level cleric/10th level mage is leaps and bounds weaker than a single-classed caster with the same amount of experience.

 
No Future

Heya Chime,

You like SA too? Cool. Photoshop Phriday is great! Oh, and I hope you've looked at the legal threats section. There is some hilarious stuff in there.

I'd like to comment on RPG difficulty. RPGs generally become less difficult with more customization. However, you will only notice how easy a game is when you master the game system and thus, are able to fully utilize all the customization options.

Ex: Consider FFT. At the beginning of the game, most people find it tough. But, as they get used to it, it get's more managable. But, then, in chapters 2 and 3 many hard battles force you to come up with better ideas and use the customability allowed more effectively. The result is that the player gets better at the combat system and, as a result, even if they don't use special characters, they find most of chapter 4 to be easy. After playing the game through once, the level of mastery of FFT becomes even higher. The player knows what classes/abilites to get/learn and what goes together well. Then, the game starts to become very easy.

FFT has so much customization that, after the game system is mastered by the player, the normally challenging parts won't be hard anymore. Beside that, if a player were then to pick up another TRPG, they would find it easier because they already are good at one TRPG and some of the skill transfers over.

The problem with RPGs is that the game does not get difficult enough throughout to reflect the vairiety of options the player is given. There are far too many games that are hard in the beginning, but then the middle and end of the game are easy as pie. In many cases, the game never gets difficult enough compared to the variety of options the player is given.

My opinion of Choron Cross and Suikoden II are about the same as yours. I've found that Suikoden II has a lot of options which make most of the game easy. Upgrading weapons, equipping tons of runes on the characters, using the 'good' characters, and using equipment that increases str and tech -- I find all of that leads to creating a very strong party. Speaking of difficulty, my friend won't beat Suikoden II unless he does the final level with the 5 squirells and Riou. It's not very likely that he'll ever finish it. He's nuts.

One last thing: after checking many sources on the net, I'd say that Wild Arms 3 is slated now to be released in mid-october, despite what the EB web page says. (normally EB is very reliable)

- Mike "Rahlious" White

Rob:
I don't really have a problem with the fact that the ends of a lot of games are easy. Many recent games add in plenty of tough, optional monsters and quests at the end, which are enough of a challenge to make it worthwhile to build your party up however you can. But if someone is playing for plot, the game isn't so difficult that their progress through it is hindered. I would be irritated if a game got me excited to know what happened next, but forced me to spend three hours levelling before I could kill the monsters standing between me and the next plot scene.

On the other hand, the enemies should remain on level with the characters rather than getting so easy that battles are more tedious than enjoyable. It is also rather anticlimactic when the final boss of a game, who's been threatening the world and such, can die in one or two hits. It occurs to me that some RPGs (and many non-RPG games) have difficulty levels of sorts--perhaps this should be something more companies should consider.

 
Buy Precious Roy Products!

Hello Chimerasame,

So is tomorrow (or today, by the time you answer this) really your last LAST column? If so, then great work and we'll miss you.

I haven't really got a question. I've got more of an announcement for the three people out there who are actually Fire Emblem fans. I e-mailed Nintendo about whether or not Fire Emblem: The Sword of Seals is going to be in English or not and unfortunately, this is part of their reply:

"Although a Fire Emblem game for the Game Boy Advance has been announced in Japan, there are no current plans to bring the game to North America. You never know what the future might hold, so be sure to keep checking our web site at www.nintendo.com for news on all upcoming products. [...]"

I left out the rest since it was just a plug for their website.

I also sent this to the head of the news section, but upon reflection, they probably get enough rumours and junk from the fans that I seriously doubt they're going to do anything with it.

To all you Fire Emblem fans out there, I strongly suggest you e-mail Nintendo about this. If enough hype is generated, maybe, just maybe we'll see it translated...

Anyway, have a great life, wherever you may go. And remember, in the immortal words of Roy: Shin-no tatakai-wa...korekare da! (One of the only Japanese phases I know. "The true battle starts here!" (very rough translation)).

Vyctori

Rob:
I really don't know if it's really my last column! Keep your eye at the bottom of Goog's on Thursday. There's still been no word from the catalyst. The absence is causing a bad buildup of ADP molecules. (I think that makes sense. I've studied chimistry, but very little chemistry...)

A Fire Emblem translation would be very nice. There are likely many people who'd be interested, mostly because Roy and Marth were in SSBM.

 
Peep-oh, Peach blow, Pandora, Pompadour

Apparently the fates must demand such that you must not leave till I bid you farewell, Chim.

Anyway, maybe it's best that you stay a temporary sit-in Q&A guy. It seems that when most of the RPGamer staff become permanent, they tend to cop out quite a bit with all kinds of PC problems.

Which brings me to a question: Why is it that everyone else's computer seems to be dying out except mine?

DMJ

Rob:
If Chesh stays in limbo, I might get dozens of farewells over the weeks.

My computer isn't dying! Not on a permanent basis, anyway. I wouldn't use that as an excuse because I'd almost always be fixing the computer as soon as I possibly could. If I come up with an excuse, it's more likely going to be lack of time, or lack of knowledge about recent RPGs (*cough*), or something.

 
Grokking Queso

Your title would be from none other than Heinline's Stranger in A Strange Land. A great book. On to the question.

What are your thoughts on Kingdom Hearts? I think the game is a nice change from Square's "Everything Final Fantasy" period, not that I dislike Final Fantasy, I just think we need a change of pace. And although I have a spoken hatred for Disney, I think it will be a fine game nonetheless. Well, happy last column.

Snoogans,
Takare

Rob:
Stranger in a Strange Land had interesting concepts, characters, tone, and whatnot. In my opinion, the plot wasn't very coherent, but it was still an enjoyable and meaningful read.

Kingdom Hearts looks like it should be pretty entertaining. If all you want is a non-FF game, though, Xenosaga is also upcoming. And all those games out there Square didn't make...

 
Probably meant for Saturday's column

Wow, I guess it was a good idea to send that letter yesterday. Anyway, I'm hoping that doesn't happen again but just in case I'll write again. Is there in existence an Akira RPG? Or were there ever plans for one? Because I just read all six of the manga's, (I've owned the movie forever.) and I think that if not an RPG then at least a cool game should be made from it. Any info would help! Thanks!
P.S. Kaneda kicks ass!
P.P.S. Thanks for the info yesterday!
-AlbinoMonkeyKing

Rob:
I'm not really sure how such a thing would work... most RPGs tend to have a relatively steady increase in power, but with Akira you'd be dealing with normal human beings, or suddenly-near-omnipotent people who probably don't have sufficient self-control to make good PCs. Or maybe those old children. What was up with them!




Chiming out:

For some reason, I'm heading my responses with my actual name instead of the nick. I might phase that into more places. I've heard that people who use their real names seem more professional than nick-based columnists, in general, and while I certainly don't think it'll help me give better answers to anything (which is really more important), it won't hurt, and cosmetic changes sometimes have unexpected effects. Yeah, so, anyway. If anyone noticed that I did that, there's why.

{Goodbye, Until Next Week}! Due to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, the member of the set expressed here that will be accurate is not yet known.

chime "One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster / The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free / You'll find a god in every golden cloister / A little flesh, a little history / I can feel an angel sliding up to me" @rpgamer.com

Hooray for long ending quotes.

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