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ASK LEAPER & MATT
Puce Kneecap September 28, 2006

Leaper - 22:17 EST

HEY HO, all you out there in RPG land. This is Leaper, RPG/SOCK fanboy extreme, here for a co-hosting. Now, I'm an aspiring writer by trade, but I don't often get to do this interactive non-fiction stuff. But I'm certainly willing to give it a try!

It's a pretty exciting time for us RPG fans, as a previous guest host so ably pointed out. It's gotten to the point where I'm seriously thinking about springing for another system, once I can afford it (perhaps one of the Game Boy related machines). Why do I love RPGs so much? I love puzzles, for one, and I love a good story. I am also a completist of some stripe (some stuff, like trading card type subquests, I'm more likely to be inspired to complete than others, such as ultimate weapons), so RPGs definitely give me more bang for my buck than any other genre. When I encounter a game like DQ8, with a rich world to explore, or Final Fantasy V, with its myriad of character development possibilities, or Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, with a story that makes me want to skip over all the gameplay stuff JUST to see what happens next... It's a feeling like nothin' else. I'm sure y'all know what I'm talking about!

Speaking of what you're all talking about...




LETTERS
Do we actually have parting gifts available...?


~Magic Emperor Matt~

Leaper

Oooh, almost! But we have some lovely parting gifts for you...

I will strive to make this interesting, yet concise, to avoid lengthening your column to any great degree, though I cannot ensure my success.

Leaper

Hey, as any reader of this column knows, you probably won't be the most long-winded by a long shot! :)

First of all, though I was already planning on investing in it, after reading RPGamer's review of Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria, my inclination toward buying it is greatly reinforced. It seems to have an interesting story, and the high-quality graphics and creative battle system have received enough exposure already to give many gamers reason to purchase it. What is your impression of the game?

Leaper

Actually, I just picked it up today!

So far, I'm having fun with it. It still retains elements of the original VP battle system, and has more to it besides to emphasize the "action" elements. The graphics are *very* nice, and the voice acting seems tolerable to good so far. My only gripe so far is the occasional audio playback static mentioned in the official RPGamer review.

As for the story, I'm enjoying it so far, but my knowledge of the original VP's story greatly enhances this; I'm dying to see if they provide an explanation of a few odd happenings. But I can't tell yet if the enjoyment for those who didn't play the original will diminish severely. I don't think so, myself, since the game is a prequel, which helps alleviate that to begin with. Perhaps readers who fit the bill will keep us updated...?

Anyway, to take part in the ongoing conversation, I must write, quite frankly, that FFXII is not an action RPG. I recently bought Dragon Quest VIII. (Thank you for being so adamant about the series! I'm definitely enjoying it so far.)

Leaper

As a longtime Dragon Quest booster, myself, DQ8 only confirmed my feelings about the franchise. Go slimes!

After playing the FFXII demo, I must agree with you that the battle system is most certainly advanced, but I must also agree with Chris, that the combat's base is the ATB system, and at its roots, is very similar to other incarnations of the system. First of all, aside from automatic physical attacks and real-time fleeing, it is strictly menu-based. Both you and your opponent(s) have a specific amount of wait time between attacks, which varies according to what actions are executed. That wait time is displayed as a meter, which fills over time, just like any other version of ATB, the major difference being that the meter begins filling when an action is chosen, instead of choosing it after the meter is full.

Either way, moves happen after the meter fills, and the cycle repeats itself, making it decidedly turn-based. Real-time movement does not change the core of the system, but adds a more adventurous feel, giving more freedom, and essentially, "action" in a turn-based game. I must say, though, that regardless of how it is classified, Square seems to have created a very good battle system that will encourage exporation of the expansive worlds that are rumored to stretch before you in the vast world of Ivalice. I say this, because instead of sticking to the tradition of random encounters while travelling, which, in my opinion, seems to break the flow of a 3-D game more than one that is 2-D, they reward your exploration with free MP. In other words, they want to encourage you to keep moving, adding more to the "action"-like feel they seem to have successfully implimented into the game.

Leaper

Hmmm, that's an interesting take on it I don't think I've seen before. If you're right, then certainly the differences between Gambit and plain ol' ATB is more limited than it may appear on first glance. Myself, I'm torn between trying something new, and wanting to stick with the traditional, for fear that the new is everything the naysayers claim. But I appreciate that the game's gonna let me choose that for myself!

My original reason for writing in tonight is that I'm fairly certain my deductions are correct regarding the excellent reader-submitted SOCK question (#326)

#326: After quite a while of contemplation, my answer is [d: Tidus]

Leaper

Exactomundo!

#327: I'm am still unlucky enough to never have played FFVII, but my wild guess is [e: 4], because "A" seems to be a likely addition to the name of a summon.

I now have a strange request. Please do not put me in the SOCK contest. I'm not very interested in it at this point, and I was really just showing off the fact that (I believe) I figured out the correct answer to #326, and if I did, this letter is proof of it, being sent before the answers were available.

(Yeah, sometimes showing off is fun.)

Leaper

Awwww. You should give it a try sometime; it's a lot of fun! Matt puts a lot of work into it, and I'm about as big a booster for it as you'll find around here (maybe - I accept that there may be bigger fanboys than me).

Nevertheless, here's your gloat for the world to see!

Matt

Oops. I really actually meant to cut off the last part of that letter, but hey, if you're going to sell my little game, I'm all for it! And yes, you should try sometime, if you ever get up enough interest to!

Oh, I almost forgot! How do you like the look of Lost Odyssey?

~Jopin~

Leaper

From what I've seen so far, it doesn't look to bad! Definitely got a FF vibe to it, especially in the originally released trailer, and it's certainly got a lot of talent behind it. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with it.



I hate this fall.


Hello Mr. Slime man

Matt

Hey hey, 'tis me. What's up?

I have a bit of a dilema, and I hope that you can help. Im a ratehr big fan of adventure games, ever since my mother first bought me The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. You know, back when the PC wasnt just for MMO's, FPS's, and RTS's. Anyway, I was wondering what you think about that Touch Detective game. It looks good to me, but what with all the new games coming out, its hard to choose between them. Currently, Im planning on getting two of the following: Touch Detective, Contact, that Rocket slime game, or the Castlevania DS game. Which do you think will be better? I know you'lle probably go for the DQ game, but after the awesomness of DQ8, I can undertstand. Those guys at Level 5 really know thier stuff, huh? Cant wait for Rouge Galaxy.

Matt

I don't know. I've heard a lot of great things about Castlevania on the DS, but of course I'm looking forward to Rocket Slime. It's not really because DQVIII was so amazing, or because Level 5 is amazing, which they are; it's because Dragon Quest is probably my number one all-time favourite series, and I feel compelled to invest in it. Plus, I've heard it's really fun, too.

Contact, though, pulls at my arm a lot; I'm really disappointed that it hasn't caused more of a stir up until this point. Do you know what really sucks though? I have almost no time at ALL this semester to do any gaming at all ANYWAY! Of course, this has to be the very semester that every game I want is being released. It's like fate is teasing me. Teasing me!! And it's so unfair!

As for your Touch Detective, I have to confess to you that until I read your message and went hunting, I'd never even heard of it before! It looks exactly like something that was meant for the DS though; absolutely unique from anything else out there, yet potentially quite involving. I'll have to keep my eyes open for that too!

Also, whats up with SE? Specifically, the GBA FF's. Not that I MIND them releasing reports, especially for a system I actually still play, but I always thought SE had a "we wont make a remake if the game is still playable on a current system. Thats thier excuse for not remaking FFVII-IX. Except FFIV -VI ARE playable on the PS1 as well. Soo...whats up? And VP:L was technically still playable on current gen systems back on the ps1...but they remade/ported it to the PSP. Its like SE's "we will never release a sequel" policy...all lies.

Its a good thing they make such good games. (Generally...I still havent forgiven Unlimited Saga. Thank god got it free)


Matt

Well- would you really call the PS1 a current system? Surely, despite the fact that PS1 games can be played on the PS2 and the PS3, there has to be some line that can be drawn somewhere. Besides, I definitely wouldn't rule out seeing a FFVII remake sometime before the end of this decade. Square Enix bends too much to fans to not do a full remake one day. People whined for direct sequels; they got 'em. If people are whining for FFVII, they'll get it. It's just a matter of when.

Thanks for the letter!



Water, water, all around, but not a drop to drink!


White Knight Matt,

Matt

Who's over there, a-sitting on a gate... (There's a literary reference for you folks...)

Matt

I'm a White Knight AND a Magic Emperor! I love these multi-class systems, don't you?

Have any of the latest showing from the TGS changed your mind about the PS3? Level 5's White Knight game looks extremely exciting, even more so than FFXIII. Level 5 has been so impressive, it would be hard to not get excited about this game.

Leaper

Actually, it has, somewhat. In a letter to Matt, I mentioned that I'm always a little nervous when a new platform comes out, that the rise in graphics quality will mean that developers will take our beloved genre less seriously, or make fewer of them. Assuming that the White Knight movie shows actual gameplay (and it certainly looked like they were at least trying to approximate it, given the menu screens), then I have nothing to worry about with the PS3 - it had a lot of traditional elements, and just used the graphics to enhance gameplay and tell the story better. And that is a great relief for me.

Still it's probably a good ways off, so there is still no reason for me to get excited about the PS3. The Wii however...Zelda: TP of course, a new Fire Emblem game (though I would rather have a portable FE, I like to play these on the go), and maybe soon we will hear more about the FF:CC and DQ Swords games. Then you have the Mistwalker games, Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon, which seem to be countering FF and DQ respectively. Both of these titles look interesting and with Blue Dragon actually coming out in Japan this year, that's a good sign that it's closer than the rest. Well, it looks like next gen is really coming into its own, let's sit back and watch it play out.

Leaper

Indeed. In just the batch you mentioned, it certainly sounds like a lot more quality RPGing than I've seen in a long time for non-Sony platforms. This may finally be the time to buckle under and get another system, depending on how it all plays out.



Are you unklear about nuklear energy? (Inside joke for Ontarians)


Dear Matt -

Matt

That's okay!! Q&A isn't an obligation, by any means. This isn't like, you know, Catholic mass or anything (I was born and raised Catholic, for the record).

I totally hear you, though. I can't even believe how long this assignment is taking me, and a lot of it is because I just don't remember a lot of my differential equations stuff from the last time I took a DEs class, two years back. My brain hurts all the time these days.

328) B

329) E

Matt

...spells "BE"! Tee-hee.

Black Mage rocks, but that may be because my imagined personality for him would be very, very similar to how BM is portrayed in www.nuklearpower.com's cartoon. Man, that stuff is seriously whack! *ponders why he is imitating stereotypical 80s blacks*

Matt

I think that's why almost everyone voted Black Mage. I really should have thought about that before I came up with the question, but what can I do now? Oh well!

Honestly, if you haven't read any of that comic, you should mosey on down there and take a peeksie. So, anyone, what do you reckon is the best fan/unofficial rpg-related....stuff? You know, like comics and fan fiction and pretty, shiny pictures....

Matt

It is fantastic! I have the site bookmarked, though I stopped reading somewhere in the 200s. I should go back there sometime; a lot of those comics were really clever. Thus, I highly recommend it to all ye readers as well!

I don't pay a whole lot of attention to a lot of those things, but a friend of mine sent me a link to a site with all sorts of Flash movies spanning a broad array of subjects; several of them featured spoofs on Final Fantasy, and the best one was this fifteen-minute affair that was actually starring real people who dressed up and videotaped themselves to make fun of Final Fantasy IX. I wish I still had the link to pass around, but I'd guess that someone around here knows what I'm talking about...

Genjuu may have caught the bug going around. He's holding it hostage until Pestilence pays its ransom!!!! Bwah hah hah hah haaaa!


Matt

Oh noes! If you want to be a real kidnapper, you're going to have to newspaper-clipping-ize your ransom notes. No one's going to take you seriously, otherwise.

Thanks for writing in!



He WAS a pretty unbelievably amazing youth...


I'm troubled by this sudden influx of RPGs for the XBox 360. This after the XBox, that had what...three RPGs total in its entire life span? If that?

Leaper

I get confused too. Maybe it's because of all the MMORPGs that have gotten so popular in recent times. Sort of a jumping on of bandwagons and all.

Now I'm completely confused. I know I'm getting a Wii, but I also know I'm going to get one of the other two at some point...maybe this is mean-spirited of me, but I'm only really thinking of the PS3 and XBox 360 as the "real" consoles, whereas the Wii...I don't know. It seems like a fun little gadget more than a serious console. I think that's a stigma that Nintendo earned for itself after marketing practically its entire GameCube lineup at gamers 13 and under. Not that there aren't a handful of exceptions (the Resident Evils, Killer 7, Eternal Darkness, and the inexplicable Metal Gear Solid remake - why on the GC, of all things? And why JUST the GC? And why JUST THAT on the GC?)

Leaper

Well, the Wii may or may not be the "real deal." I'll be waiting for the games. Maybe because the PS3 and Xbox 360 are "sequels" to established, proven consoles, while the Wii feels more like new ground, especially after the mockery over the name.

As for porting... I wish I knew. I got confused myself with all the switching around with various other titles in the past. Must be marketers.

I think I may just let Silent Hill point the way. But oh God, what if it's on multiple platforms?! And oh GOD, what if they jump consoles after doing one game?!

Leaper

Don't panic! Breathe!

You know what? I'm stepping out of the thing. I may not even get a Wii at this point. I've got a dozen games backed up and half of them are RPGs; I could be tinkering with them until the NEXT console generation. I'll wait for all the typically lame launch titles to do their thing, and see which way the wind blows after that.

Leaper

That's what I'll be doing. I rarely go for launch stuff anyway, unless it's backwards compatible with a console I already own, AND I've heard enough to make me think it'll be worth it in the future.

Matt

Hee hee, Adam~~

It's so fun and funny to watch your inner wrestlings over your feelings for the console world. It sounds a little like the voices in my head, warring back and forth, except they're coming from somebody else. You're definitely one of the most vividly emotional writers I think we have around here, and for that, I give you 50 points (not SOCK points, I'm afraid- more like Claude-style points like the ones in mentioned in Ouro's THONG question awhile back).

Plus it'll be fun to watch Sony twist in that very same wind. Lower the price in Japan but not here, will you? They must know something I don't, because everything they've done since announcing that obscene price tag has seemed like woefully bad business.

-TV's Adam


Leaper

Yeah, it does smack of arrogance. Maybe they still remember what happened when the PS2 first launched. But who knows? If White Knight and games like it become the norm, they might just be right about the gullibility of the American game-buying public. :)



He WAS a pretty unbelievably amazing youth...


Dear Matt -

Leaper

Or a reasonable facsimile thereof...

They gave a frickin' BLIND kid a copy of Zelda: TP? That's like giving a parapalegic a soccer ball!

Love, Josh.

Leaper

Hey, at least a parapalegic has a head! And if blind kids canplay pinball, they can play Zelda!

Matt

x_x

*this column does not represent the views of RPGamer, nor does it uh, something*





THE NEXUS

This is Matt again, and I know I talk a lot about Fire Emblem here in the Nexus of little purpose, but that's just because it's one of the few games I've been playing lately. I just want to say that I think the game is made even better because the music suits the game so well. Even with Game Boy Advance quality, it sticks with me in a haunting sort of way; especially some of the more dark and creeping themes.

I'm inching towards getting to the end of Disgaea 2, too, though I've heard there's an incredible number of extra things to do in the game. Additionally, I'm "sort of" replaying Dragon Warrior II, if you haven't guessed, though I've averaged about an hour per week lately. I hate my life. :P


Caption


For complete contest rules, click here!


Answers to September 27th's Questions

#328. a) Select - 650 points/1,350 for JokingChimer
A fair number of people actually got this right! The "Lords of Lunar" game is contained on The Making of Lunar CD, and the sequence was Up, Down, Left, Right, Triangle, Start. Thanks for the interesting submission, JokingChimer!

#329. e) Black Mage - 650 points
The numbers were actually astounding here. Take a look at how the tally shook out:

a) Fighter: 9 votes
b) Thief: 3 votes
c) Black Belt: 5 votes
d) White Mage: 1 vote
e) Black Mage: 21 votes

It wasn't even close! Black Mage was the veener, and even got a majority (53.8%!) of the votes, amazingly. Congrats to everybody who guessed correctly!



Today's New Questions

#330:
The first boss of Dragon Quest VIII is styled after a monster that has appeared in a couple other Dragon Quest games. In the first game that featured them, a less common green and yellow version of that monster had command of which spell? (700 points)

a) Beat
b) Firebane
c) Blazemore
d) Firevolt
e) IceBolt


Leaper's #331:
Four of these five items can be strongly tied together in an RPG-specific way. Which one is the "odd man out"? (Hint: This is related to an RPG love of mine mentioned in this column!) (700 points)

a) The Orient Express
b) Sad Animal Shelter Duty
c) "The Rainbow Connection"
d) A Bill Paxton/Helen Hunt movie
e) Object you use with a pestle


And we bid farewell to Procne today, as she has been bested by a competitor. Another Golden Sun summon, Boreas, has topped the scoreboard to take over! What will the days to come bring?

Also, it's a co-host day! Thus, everyone that gets both of today's questions correct will be entered into a draw for Leaper's Scroll of Blue Magic.

This is what the item does: You may cast any spell on the following list. Whenever it is used, any affected players have a 40% chance of "learning" the spell and gaining his or her own Leaper's Scroll of Blue Magic. If a summon is affected by a spell, its summoner has a chance for a Scroll copy.

  • Angel's Snack: Removes all status effects from every player in the Top 35.
  • Bad Breath: Choose up to five players in the Top 35. Each of those players have a 15% chance EACH of gaining each of the negative statuses: Confuse, Burn, Curse, Freeze, Poison, and Slow.
  • Death Sentence: Pick a player in the Top 35. That player has four columns to get both SOCK questions in any one day right. If that player fails, he or she loses half of his or her SOCK points, rounded down.
  • Earth Shake: Pick up to five consecutive targets (i.e. they must all be next to each other in ranking - a Summon creature is considered next to the #1 player) in the Top 35. Those players take 2500 points of earth elemental damage and have a 25% chance of becoming Confused.
  • Guard Off: All items and statuses that would reduce, reflect, or prevent damage cease to function for all players (not Summons) in the Top 35 for the next two days. Statuses affected in this way still wear off at normal rates, but breakable items like Gems and Shields will not break.
  • Magic Breath: Deals 5000 damage divided equally among your choice of up to five targets, including Summons. This damage is considered to be fire, ice, and lightning damage.
  • Poison Claw: Deals 5000 non-elemental damage divided as you choose among any number of targets. Each of those non-Summon targets has a (100/number of targets)% chance of being Poisoned.

Wow, that's quite something, isn't it? And of course, you might have noticed that earth elemental damage is involved here. That's because Earth and Wind are now both considered elements as of today! Be the first to grab an Earth attack by obtaining this scroll!



SOCK's Item List

Obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!

3,500 points: Point Doubler (3 left), Mythril Armor (2 left), or A.P.G. (2 left)
5,000 points: Any Gem (1 left), Mythril Shield (2 left), or Firaga Spell (2 left)
7,000 points: Slowga Spell (2 left), Item Destroyer (1 left), or Reflect Spell (1 left)
10,000 points: Gold Armor (2 left), Point Tripler (1 left), or Item Magnet (1 left)
14,000 points: Any Gem (1 left), Force Field (2 left), or Hastera Spell (1 left)
19,000 points: Esuna Spell (1 left), Blizzaga Spell(3 left), or Wait Mode (1 left)
25,000 points: Call Bead (3 left), Demi Spell(2 left), or Light Converter (1 left)
32,000 points: Mythril Shield (1 left), Mythril Sword (1 left), or Hastega Spell (1 left)
40,000 points: Item Bomb(1 left), Sean's Dictionary of Doom (1 left), or Blizzaja Spell (2 left)
50,000 points: Regega Spell (2 left), Rebirth Stone (2 left), or Hyper Sneak Glove (1 left)
61,000 points: Dark Converter (2 left), Drainga Spell (2 left), or Apocalypse Spell (1 left)

STRAGGLERS:
(people who I love, but who still need to check their e-mail or somehow get in touch with me because they have unclaimed items- if you fall off the list after a week, it's TOO LATE FOR YOU! Check your spam/trash folders for my messages if you're not getting them, and I'll check mine, too!)

  • Dermot


SOCK's Prize Shop

Obtain enough points, and you may buy items, merchandise, or guest-hosting positions.

Click here for the current list of potential prizes!


IN CLOSING

Leaper did a great job, did he not? Thanks very much for joining us today! We have one more column before the weekend gets here; there aren't many more weekends before one of the most anticipated RPGs of the decade is finally unleashed upon us! Yes, Contact will be hitting store shelves, and I want to hear more from those of you who will be first in line to obtain your very own copy! If there are any other hot games on the way that you'd like to blab about, feel free to write in too.

That's all for today!


slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt likes roasted chicken!


Send a Question

And potato wedges. From the hot deli at the grocery store. Oh yeah. The best instant dinner ever!

Most Recent

Sept.27: Matt

Sept.26: Matt

Sept.25: Josh

Sept.24: Josh

Resources

About the Host

Quote Archives

Matt's Top 5 Most Wanted Games:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Final Fantasy XII

3. Xenosaga: Episode III

4. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

5. Final Fantasy V

Top 3 Games Matt's Playing Right Now:

1. Disgaea II

2. Fire Emblem GBA

3. Grandia III

SOCK's Top 35:

--Boreas--
HP: 12,500
----------
1. Aurelius
45,349 pts

2. JokingChimer
38,983 pts

3. Draconn
37,883 pts

4. Kanato
35,461 pts

5. DMJewelle
34,500 pts

6. BigWook
33,249 pts

7. Alexander
32,298 pts

8. LufiaLvr
30,449 pts

9. Boojum
29,936 pts

10. Alan Tse
27,147 pts

11. JuMeSyn
25,549 pts

12. Purelunatic
24,249 pts

13. Belthasar2
24,008 pts

14. Erika
22,921 pts

15. Arros Raikou
20,856 pts

16. MagRowan
20,516 pts

17. Bainick
19,339 pts

18. TV's Adam
17,521 pts

19. Thinkfreemind
17,486 pts

20. Cap
16,888 pts

21. MrMSty
15,870 pts

22. Hunter B
15,331 pts

23. BLG
15,062 pts

24. Arpijy
14,845 pts

25. Dermot
14,636 pts

26. Erunion
14,435 pts

27. Vigilante
12,990 pts

28. Kharamain
12,515 pts

29. Prismatic
12,455 pts

30. Bucket
12,201 pts

31. Leaper
11,615 pts

32. Ourobolus
11,123 pts

33. DDX
11,098 pts

34. Gaijin
9,338 pts

35. William T.
8,910 pts

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