Matt Demers - 04:24 EST
DID THE INTERNET explode yesterday, by any chance? The fact that I've had
all of two new letters in the past 24 hours would seem to indicate that that is a possibility. Q&A can't exist
without letters, guys! For those of you that are regular-writer-inners, I much appreciate everything you do to help
make this a great column. For the rest of you, I'm not sure what to do! I'm trying to make it fun with an ongoing
contest and some fun opportunities to have some creative input (co-hosting, question ideas, etc), but perhaps these
things aren't what you're looking for.
In that case, what things are you looking for in RPGamer's Q&A? What things am I missing? Is there
anything that you'd really like to see in this column every day/once per week/as a special feature to make it
more interesting? I'm totally open to all of your ideas, guys, because I want it to be a fun place for everyone
to come to every day!
Anyway, I end the necessary beggar's paragraph and start with the question-answering right about HERE.
Maybe this letter deserved its own column, anyway.
Just a note to start: Guild Wars isn't pay for play. Their comment about the economy is a just one and their
action is the right one. In the game, a trader is an NPC to which a player sells materials or runes at the given
market price. This price fluctuates with supply and demand. Of course, the lower the demand, the lower the price
will be for players that wish to purchase that good. By buying for high (lets say 3000) and then selling for low
(like 125) puts a lot of free cash into the system without later it back out. This leads to people stockpiling
such items and re-selling them when the error gets fixed. As a consequence with this cash influx, most things
sold by players will increase in price, leaving the honest players with the need to spend more time farming to
buy things at the inflated price.
This happened in Diablo 2 when the currency became duped Stones of Jordan (all good items required a number of
"fake" items in exchange, most of which had to be purchased on Ebay from someone who just made them).
In other online RPGs, such errors could alter the economy in more drastic ways. Take a look at what happened
in Final Fantasy XI - prices are now 20-100x more than what they were a year ago (they might have went down a
bit since I stopped playing). The economy was being infused with a large amount of cash created and farmed by
gold selling companies, often by not so legal means (as in exploits, etc).
That's all well and good, but the issue that annoyed me much more greatly was the fact that they actually
reset the game to a point several hours earlier in the day at one point (and presumably, at other points, for
other reasons). Whether it was a necessary action or not, it's an action that would be infuriating to me.
I wouldn't want to lose 2, 3, 4, even 6 hours of my precious time because of mistakes beyond my control!
In console RPGs, in contrast, things like this just can't happen.
MMORPG economies intrigue me greatly, though, I'll admit. It would be fun to be a sort of analyst to make
sure that the online economy stays in check over time. I'll bet there are jobs like that at video game companies,
actually. Neat stuff, that is.
On to another topic...
Status effect spells, or debuffs, are very common in online RPGs. In FFXI, it is very common for the Red Mage
to use Blind, Bind, Paralyze, Slow, Dia/Bio, Poison and other such spells on every single enemy. Also, Dispel
to remove positive effects that the enemy casts. In MMOs each and every debuff helps by weakening the ene my
just a little bit. Some like Silence can make a really nasty demon wizard a walk in the park...
Most online RPGs include ways of doing crowd control - Sleep, Stun, Mezmerization, etc. In an online RPG it is
very rare to have one attack or spell that outright kills an enemy, since you are usually fighting something
many times more powerful than yourself. When you draw more than one enemy, it is very important to have means
of controlling the crowd - ie put them to sleep, stun, mesmerize them, etc.
Debuffs and Crowd Control spells are not something that I nomally use in single player games, unless they prove
to be really devestating (should they hit). I am a little disapointed that Rosa casting silence has about a 1%
chance of it landing (ie whenever it isn't really needed) and the enemy has a 100% chance of it landing unless
that character is resistant/immune to it because of an item.
Hear, hear on that one. Admittedly, I don't have the online experience I'd need to be able to effectively
argue or agree with you about status effects in those types of games, but on the second thing you touch upon, I say
"YES! YES YES YES!" I'd personally prefer a system where status effects like those work almost all the time:
on both your party AND on enemy parties. Status ailments give battles a little bit of "crunch", so long as the enemies
use them semi-wisely. I still remember good ol' Golden Sun, and the tendency for low-HP monsters to throw an ineffective
smoke bomb or something else that obscures vision for a single ally with 30% probability... in order to use up their
only turn in battle before being defeated. Designers, take note: If a monster is going to inevitably last for a
single turn only, they should probably do something a bit more effective. I dunno.
I still remember... "Damnit! Lavos just confused Crono again!". I hate final bosses that just overload the party
with status effects and go for the "cheap" win, which of course the party can never do, since the enemy is immune
to pretty much everything.
Perhaps so, but I don't mind it when final bosses are ridiculously hard. They should be! They're the ultimate
evil, the big bad guy, and (hopefully) the greatest challenge of the main game. Status effects put a bit of an interesting
spin on the stereotypical final boss, I think. Perhaps it would be interesting, though, to have bosses (final or
regular) that can indeed be afflicted by bad status. If they had remedial or dispelling spells to counter such things,
I wouldn't mind; it would make the battle a little bit more "realistic", in a way, perhaps, if you know what I mean.
Girls in video games... Yes, Metroid id a good example - it stunned me when I first played the game. I find myself
playing Super Princess Peach lately, a game on the NDS that had Peach running around saving Mario and Luigi. While
it is not that difficult, it is a terribly fun game! It was about time she got her own game...
Yes! I am certainly playing through Super Princess Peach right now, in fact, and I'm quite happy that we
finally have a new 2-D sidescroller to enjoy for the first time in far too long.
I think that most developers think one of two things about female lead characters - either is will be a girl game,
or it will be a super-deformed-top-heavy female lead to draw in the male crowd with bo... err eye-candy. Using a
female lead in a game discourages a lot of the tween boys from buying a game, so the game companies feel a need
to avoid the lo wer sales from making a game in that way. And I am sure that most of us RPGamers don't want to
see an RPG created just to show off someone's near naked physical form *cough* Sudeki *cough*, but would rather
see something with actual entertainment value.
I know what you mean. I guess, though, that things have always kinda been this way. If you look back at the
character art from Final Fantasies long ago, many had questionably-attired female characters as well. Heck, even Dragon
Warrior II's original cartridge (and box?) art included a Princess of Moonbrooke whose legs were quite bare and
uncovered to a startlingly high level. Females aren't all, though; look at Kuja and his lovely thong, for instance,
next time you gaze at him in Final Fantasy IX, or Tidus running around happily with bare chest for all to see, even on the
slopes of snowy Gagazet. I guess that it's more noticeable, though, now that we live in a world
filled with nothing but eye-poppingly gorgeous CGs.
Like you, Matt, I keep a list of games that I would like to play next (mine is about 30 long, just including the
ones I currently own and haven't finished), but whenever it comes to choosing the next game to play... I never
take the next one off of the list. I usually second guess myself about ten times before finally deciding on one
to play... does this every happen to you?
Up until the last couple of years, I've really been able to stay on top of my own collection. I guess that because
of that, I've only truly experienced a backup of games-requiring-attention only in recent history. So, I'd have to
say no; in the past, if I had more than one game to play, I'd have them all balancing on the go at once, and it worked
And... Have you seen what Cailintz is wearing in Magna Carta? I wonder what the designer was thinking about when
he was designing that outfit...
I am going to stop ranting now - a prof that was absent for two weeks decided to assign the two remaining
assignments and a project and make all of them due on the same day. The same day that I have a midterm in
another class, as well as an assignment in my third one. Fun. Guess I better start now... :(
Well, best of luck, Sean!! It's good to hear from you again, as always! As for Cailintz, I took a peek after
a quick date with google.com, and Sean's absolutely right: It looks as if the character got lost on the way back from
the polygonal lingerie shop, because yikes...if any of you readers decide to take a look yourself, you'll know what
he means, too. ^^
Concerning FFVII being the revolutionary RPG that made the genre popular, I
actually think that FFIV was that game. It's certainly the most influential
RPG ever, with its gameply inspiring coutless other games (and it also
doesn't have that 14-19 year-old youth star syndroum that was mentioned
yesterday). The reason it was so influential must be attributed to how
popular it was. In 1991, it the game that everyone had to have played to be
considered a gamer (those with a SNES, anyway). It was probably even the
game that started Square fanboyism, drawing many people into RPGs for the
first time and attributing the Square name to quality RPGs, so much so that
they wouldn't play much else. True, FFVII brought RPGs into the limelight
for the 32-bit era in ways that we never expected, but I thought FFIV was
the game that did it for the 16-bit era in an equally comparable revolution
of great magnitude. That's my opinion, anyway.
I guess you could say that Final Fantasy IV made a slight breakthrough on what was, at the time, a brand new
system, but I'd argue that a roughly equal number of North Americans found new joy in Secret of Mana, which was
released right around then too; that was an unbelievable fifteen years ago, now!
My point is, while both of those were relative "hits" as far as RPGs are concerned, they didn't spawn vast numbers
of clones and millions of new players to the genre; Final Fantasy VII, though, turned the RPG world upside-down in
comparison, I think, and truly carved out the path that has led us to where we are today. Yuck, it sounds so crazily
BTW, do you know where the Square name came from? Why did the company decide
on that for a name?
Wow, good question. I'll have to do a bit of hunting for that one, I must admit.
Nothing! I can't find a darneded thing. I can only assume that it was chosen for coolness' sake;
as far as regular polygons are concerned, triangles are a bit too pointy while pentagons and up, well, they
just sound kind of dumb for a video game company. Plus, "The World is Triangle" doesn't really seem to have
the same effect, does it?
Revolutionary, perhaps... but great for everybody? Perhaps not!
How art thou, slime of perplexed-ness? Okay...before I start, I have to do one thing.
*dons his karate gi for battle*
Ooh, exciting. All-new Q&A, now with uniformed martial-arts masters?? This is SO cool. Oh, and I'm less
than fine; Seminar of Death coming up on Thursday and bacteria invading my inner systems are keeping me from
being 100% happy. Oh, well, I guess that's life...
Okay. Here's the deal. I really didn't like FF VII that much. Yes, it is a good game. Yes, I have it. Yes I've
beaten it. My favorite part of the game? The crystal theme on the title screen. I didn't care much for Materia.
It just seems so much more difficult to learn spells than it needs to be. Do you not think it's a little taxing to
Yeah, but it's just so exciting. The Materia system was one of my favourites, just because it was so flexible
and full of interesting possibilities. Mastering Materia wasn't really necessary, either, unless you're an obsessive
maniac or just intent on doing as much as you can in the game. The first two times I played through, I made no
special efforts to master anything and progressed with ease simply by playing "naturally". So, nah, I didn't have a
As far as the story...it's different. I love the fact that Vincent uses a gun. Y'know what though? I like VI's
story much better. If they did a remake of VII...mind you I said if...I'd probably buy it, just because Advent
Children's looks make me melt, and I'd love to play a game that gorgeous. But...more importantly...it would open
the door for more remakes...*stares hard at his copies of Crono Trigger and Xenogears*.
Anyway Matt, I just wanted to toss my coin into the kitty. To quote Setzer: "My life's a chip in your pile.
The story is interesting, but it isn't very clearly presented, in my opinion. Perhaps, a remake of Final Fantasy
VII would make some very central plot elements more evident; as it stands, Cloud's past remains somewhat enshrouded
except to the very careful observers, but perhaps unintentionally so. Maybe I'm just slow, but a few other key plot
elements (i.e. the nature of the Sephiroth you're chasing through half the game) really escaped me until I had played
it through a few times. The game could also use a much cleaner translation, obviously.
I personally like VI's story better as well, but as similar as the two games are, they're almost incomparable to me.
I find it difficult to say WHY I like it better, necessarily. To me, one thing is for sure: The villains of FFVI and VII are
two of the strongest antagonists that any game or series has ever seen in the history of RPGaming, and that alone
makes both titles very appealing, plotwise.
Thanks for writing in, Donovan! Good old Setzer... hearing quotes from FFVI makes me desire an announcement regarding
that alleged GBA remake very highly.
First off I would have to say #147 d) H and #148 e)
Final Fantasy 7 was their first big attempt at 3d and
they steadily honed their talents raising the bar with
each game. Because of this, I feel there is a
precedent for a remake as long as it stays faithful to
the original story. Honestly I would rather have
them working on a whole new FF but I will not deny
what's in my heart of hearts, fanboyism be damned. I
will say though, that as much as I welcome rumors of
said remake I hope they don't keep recycling the whole
line or it will be 10 years before we see 13.
True enough! I remember back in my high school days where I was totally convinced that we'd see a Final Fantasy
XXIII by 2020. Now, we'll be lucky to get to XV! Actually, on that topic, what does everybody think about
the enumeration system of Final Fantasy games? I've thought about it quite a bit, recently, and I wonder if Square
Enix will continue to number them forevermore. How offensive would it be for them to switch to subtitles? The
idea is somewhat disturbing to me, for some gut-wrenching reason, at first thought, but can the numbering really
Here are my answers to Blade's questions:
1. Every Final Fantasy contains a Prelude Theme, but
in which Final Fantasy was the theme put to use in the
game's quest and what was it used for?
FF7 to get Tifa's final limit break
2. Yoshitaka Amano did some amazing concept art for
the Final Fantasy games, particularly the monsters,
however, what monster did he draw for a specific Final
Fantasy that was not put in the game until later
Tonberry would be my guess too
3. In Final Fantasy X, Kimahri's Celestial Weapon,
Spirit Lance, had an alternate name in the Japanese
release, what was it called?
Longinus, I heard this before but had to check
4. In Final Fantasy VI, Terra's father Maduin,
appeared in a later installment of Final Fantasy, what
was it and where did he appear?
Most likely Madeen from FF9
5. What's the name of the Moogle you encounter in FFIX
that gives you rare and useful items if you
financially contribute to his travel expenses?
6. Red chocobos cross mountains, Blue chocobos cross
oceans, Gold chocobos can fly long distances, what can
White chocobos do?
8. Sabotenders are sometimes found in the desert
regions, and often drop luck or speed related items,
what is this monster also known as?
9. What culture is said to have invented the first
I would guess Lufenish from FF1
10. According to Final Fantasy II, what is the name of
the first historically known Dragoon?
Can't recall so I'll say Kain
Bah, most of your answers are the same as my guesses from yesterday, and your #9 sounds about right.
I'd contend that at least one of us misunderstands Blade's Question #1; to me, the Prelude theme of every
Final Fantasy game is the crystal theme. Perhaps you're right, though.
Finally, while I haven't played any of the games Dice
referenced I too have become bitter towards the
younger generation of video game heros. For me though
it's just a sign that I am getting to old to identify
with the youngsters nowadays. I'm twice as old as
most of these wannabe saviors and have a hard time
caring about their teen issues dealing with authority
figures and first loves among others. I'm more likely
to connect with an old grizzled warrior than a teenage
farmer chosen to save the world from the latest Big
Bad. Maybe this why prefer Wizardry and Neverwinter
Nights style games. I can make my characters however
I see fit at the time and can replay a whole new way.
Maybe I want a righteous paladin crusading for justice
or maybe I want a mercenary that is in the main quest
just for the gold or an evil mage that takes on the
quest cause he wants to take out his competetors. I
can't wait to get my hands on Oblivion. Eh I got off
track with my point there but really who needs teenage
angst when you can compete with the Big Bad? As far
as those console games that follow a set list of hero
characters I prefer characters at least in their 20's
if not older. Maybe thats a sign of youthism and
wrong, but thats how I feel.
Xlash the dwarf berserker
Of course, there are many different RPGs out there to suit the preferences of many different types of players.
Young or old, grizzled or not, old-school or new-age, I think that there really is something for everyone.
I'd agree that it's nice to get away from the canonical spiked-hair teen boy-hero every now and then, though, sure.
What I'd personally like to see is a main character of a console RPG that is NOT a physical powerhouse in any way;
for instance, a white mage hero would be kinda cool. Perhaps that's one redeeming quality of Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana.
It did break that mold by making the hero the only really magical character with nary a muscle to be found. Klein,
though? Honestly, what a stupid name.
More thoughts on the big one.
Hi there, Matt!
As I wrote in the other day, FFVII is probably my least favorite of the Final Fantasy's that I've played.
However, I'm somewhat intrigued by the idea of a remake. Probably my biggest gripe with FFVII was what I
considered to be a terrible translation. Awkward, cliched (especially Barret's nonstop swearing Mr. T
impersonation), I just really didn't like it. FFVIII was no cup of tea translation-wise, but FFVII just
absolutely rubbed me the wrong way. So, for that reason alone, I'd be interested in a FFVII remake, but
not if it means another five year delay until we get FFXIII.
I'm really hoping that a little more effort is pumped into Final Fantasy XII's translation. FF has always
been a series that has suffered through atrocious translations, with the climax, for me, occurring during the
Playstation era. So much was lost, left unclear, garbled, or massacred... it's really a shame! Final Fantasy X
really wasn't perfect either; I was ready to put my fist through the screen at one point if I heard Tidus say
the words "my old man" just one more time. There were several other irritations about it too, but all in all,
it was a fairly clean translation in comparison to its older siblings.
To address your other point: Square Enix, if you're watching from above, take note!! We want more original
Final Fantasy games, and not just re-regurgitated/re-re-regurgitated material! Some of the latter is nice, but
more of the former would be sweet, like brown sugar pie.
Seminars suck! A few hours tonight, and I managed to throw together an eight-page monster of mathematics
for me to muck through come Thursday morning. I'm worried that I'll have to bring harsh stimulants in order
to keep everybody regular- er- awake. Funny, how the worlds of consciousness and fibre-capsule induced bowel movements
collide sometimes, hmm?
Aha, it's time for the answers from yesterday! Question #147 is something that I've just picked up over time,
for no real reason other than crazy obsession. I don't actually have a link or anything, but the correct answer
is just through the power of my own observation over the past months. It's true that c) G is not a letter
that appears on any new non-personalized Ontario license plates, along with the letters I, O, Q, and U. The poor
guys probably feel really left out, too. 160 points for those of you who guessed correctly! Sorry, by the way,
for the local bias.
#148 was Erika's question! 140 points were yours if you could identify b) Aura as the name of an ethereal
girl, who happens to hail from the .hack series. Thanks, Erika, for the question submission! You'll receive 280
points to your name.
Which is least valuable? (150 points)
a) 1 coin
b) 1 jewel
c) 1 talon
d) 1 credit
e) They are all of equal value.
Ask ????????!-->Who submitted this question? (175 points)
A little bit of clarification on the new item additions: You can only obtain these new items, indicated by
a double asterisk (**), as you pass the required amount, and you can only obtain one of them. Your score will not
decrease by buying them; it's more like "winning" right now. I might introduce new items later that will indeed
be up for "actual" purchase. ;)
Things to work for (the SOCK item shop!):
500 points: **Point Tripler (4 remaining!)
500 points: **Auxiliary Point Generator (3 remaining!)
800 points: Tilde (infinite number remaining!)
2,000 points: **Point Tripler (2 remaining!)
2,000 points: **Auxiliary Point Generator (2 remaining!)
5,000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #3 (5 remaining!)
5,000 points: **Auxiliary Point Generator (1 remaining!)
20,000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #4 (5 remaining!)
**These items may only be obtained upon reaching the required amount. Point Triplers good for one use only on any
one day's SOCK submissions; APGs will work forever and add bonus points whenever actual letters are submitted to the column,
whether they are used or not. Offer not valid in Uzbekistan.
I touched on something I've been thinking about for awhile, up above: What's your take on the enumeration of RPGs
within a series? Does it make a difference whether games continue counting up forevermore? Or is there a point where
things just get too out-of-hand to consider the notion of numbers? Please, write in and tell me what's itchin' inside
your RPG-loving minds!
***Matt produced the von Koch curve tonight!
Eeeeheeheeheehee, I said "Koch"! He was a funny German, he was.
Mar. 21: Matt
Mar. 17: Matt
Mar. 16: Matt
Mar. 15: Matt
About the Host
Matt's Newest Unhealthy Addiction
Another Unhealthy Addiction
Matt's Top 3 Current Games:
1. Dragon Quest VIII
2. Mario Kart DS
3. Wild Arms: Alter Code F
Matt's Top 3 RPG Desires:
1. Final Fantasy III
2. Mother III
3. Final Fantasy XII
3. Erika W.
5. Arros R.
15. Alan Tse