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SOCK'S OFFICIAL RULE GUIDE
Updated June 29, 2006


OVERVIEW

Sock 2 is a fun competition that combines (usually video game-related) trivia and bitter duels in a quest to obtain some neat prizes or chances to host Q&A yourself! To get involved, players must sign up with their nickname by sending an e-mail to slimey@rpgamer.com on or before May 31, 2007. Players who sign up before the contest begins on May 8 receive a bonus level in any class of their choice, but this will be explained below.

The Basics

Sock 2 is an ongoing competition that will literally take months to complete. In order to participate, simply enter your nickname, guesses to the current day's Sock Questions, and any actions taken, on the online form. An uncharacteristically stern warning: Suspicious entries will be followed up by an e-mail, and contestants found to have submitted answers fraudulently will be summarily disqualified from the contest. Make sure that you are timely about your submissions, too! Submissions that are sent within an hour of the next day's column might not be considered, so be forewarned.

Scoring
Contestants are rewarded by answering questions correctly, attempting questions unsuccessfully, and defeating opponents and/or monsters in battle. Contestants will accumulate the following:

Sock Points
Points are the most important element of Sock 2, and contestants are ranked on the scoreboard based on the number of points they have accumulated. Once a sufficient number of points have been obtained, they may be spent on rare Benchmark Items or "real-life" Sock Prizes such as cohost positions. (Note: You must spend points on one benchmark item to gain access to the next benchmark, and so on!) However, points ALSO represent a contestant's health, and contestants may lose points when attacked by opponents or monsters. If a player's points ever fall to zero, they are KO'd, and lose half their gold and experience. When KO'd, a player misses their next turn, or the next day of the contest (whichever comes first) to be revived with the "Points Upon Revival" displayed above the battle window every day.

Gold
Gold is the currency of Sock 2, and is accumulated chiefly through defeating opponents and monsters. Gold is not used to buy any real-life Sock Prizes, but it may be used to purchase Weapons, Armor, Items, and Accessories from various shops throughout the game. If a contestant is KO'd, however, they lose half of the Gold they hold. If a contestant KO's another contestant, moreover, they obtain that lost Gold for themselves. A player starts Sock 2 with 50 Gold.

Experience
Experience is obtained from defeating monsters and, occasionally, from answering Sock questions correctly. Experience represents your achievements in Sock 2, and upon reaching a pre-determined amount of Experience, contestants will automatically spend their Experience to gain a level. Upon gaining a level, a contestant may choose to invest a Job Level in any job that is available to them; at the start, Fighter, Defender, White Mage, and Black Mage are the available classes. When a contestant gains a level, they may learn new special abilities. I'll send an e-mail to you in that case to describe to you the new skill(s) you've learned. If you don't hear from me, please give me shake to make sure that I'm not faltering. A contestant begins Sock 2 with 0 Experience.

Experience Chart for Levels 1-50:
Level Experience Required Level Experience Required
1 5 26 1625
2 10 27 1750
3 20 28 1875
4 40 29 2000
5 70 30 2150
6 100 31 2300
7 150 32 2450
8 200 33 2600
9 250 34 2750
10 310 35 2900
11 370 36 3050
12 430 37 3200
13 490 38 3350
14 550 39 3500
15 625 40 3700
16 700 41 3900
17 775 42 4100
18 850 43 4300
19 925 44 4500
20 1000 45 4750
21 1100 46 5000
22 1200 47 5250
23 1300 48 5500
24 1400 49 5750
25 1500 50*** 6000

***Note: After Level 50, each subsequent level will require 500 additional experience; past Level 58, each subsequent level will require 1000 additional experience, until Level 98; then 10,000 additional experience will be needed until Level 102, when 100,000 Exp is needed to level up. Past then, the amount required will DOUBLE with every level. There is, however, NO level cap.

Experience also serves as a means of casting magic spells and using certain skills. The Experience cost will be automatically deducted from the user's Experience if one of these skills is used. If a contestant has insufficient Experience to use the skill, the skill fails.

However, if a player is ever KO'd, they lose half of their current Experience; if the killer is another contestant, that contestant gains the lost Experience for themselves.

Prizes

If you manage to win a real-life prize by spending Sock Points, then congratulations! I'll get in touch with you to discuss things from there. If the prize is a Q&A cohost, we'll conspire to put together a column through e-mail. If you win an actual tangible prize, I'll send it in the mail once you provide me with an address. Allow one week for delivery to most places in Canada, 2-4 weeks for places in the United States, and 6-8 weeks if you live elsewhere.

Winning
The conditions to win the GRAND prize are held under strict lock and key! There may be ways to discover the secret to how one may emerge victorious, though, during the contest...



That's all you really need to know to play the game! If the rules seem daunting, play it safe, and try answering a few questions first without worrying about actions and the more complicated aspects. Ease into the hot tub of goodness. One important thing: It is a good idea to keep track of all of the skills you have learned and items you have received! I will happily tell you what you have at your disposal if you absolutely need to, but remember that there are 80 of you and only one of me, and further, I don't get paid. So, do your best to keep track of the game. Once you're interested in learning more, proceed to the next section, which deals with some nitty-gritty details of the game.

The Not-So-Basics

Active Time Battle (ATB)
Sock 2 follows a Matt-developed ATB, whereupon actions are performed in the order that they are submitted. Thus, if your move is carried out early one day, it would be wise to submit the form as soon as you can after the day's column goes up. If you would rather go later, it would be desirable to wait as long as you can before submitting (but don't push your luck!)

Actions
At the beginning of the competition, every contestant is entitled to one action per day. That action may be as simple or as complicated as desired. Certain things, however, do not take up an action. An unexhaustive list follows:

Things that take up one action:

  • Unlimited shopping (buying or selling) at one/many shops.
  • Attacking a monster
  • Attacking another contestant
  • Using an item
  • Casting a spell/using a special ability
  • Passing an item to another contestant

Things that do not take up an action:

  • Obtaining Benchmark Items or Sock Prizes
  • Equipping weapons, armor, or accessories (though you may not equip AND unequip the same item in the same turn)
  • Discarding an item
  • Gaining a level/choosing a job level
  • Joining a guild
  • Asking me a question about the contest

If you aren't sure, don't hesitate to ask me about it... preferably through e-mail.

Examples of Valid Actions:
"I want to equip my Wood Sword and attack Honeybunn-B with it!"

"If Honeybunn-B is alive, I want to attack it. If not, I want to buy a Mythril Sword and equip it."

"I want to buy Eye Drops, two Antidotes, and a Wood Sword, but ONLY if I don't have enough Experience to cast Fire on Honeybunn-B."

"Yay, I gained a level yesterday! So, I want to increase my Job Level for White Mage. Then, if I have enough Sock Points, I want to spend them on the Benchmark Item "Guild Permit". Then, I want to use the Guild Permit to create a new guild!"

Items
Items are an important part of the competition. From the beginning, everyone will have a maximum capacity of five unequipped items, but no one will hold any or have any equipped. However, space may be freed up at any time by selling them to shops, discarding them, or equipping them, if possible. Items come in a variety of forms, including Weapons, Armor, Accessories, and regular old Items. You may equip one weapon, one armor, and one accessory. They all have a wide variety of effects. You can give an item to another contestant who has the space, but to do so, both contestants must first let me know that they agree to the trade. Thus, you must know the contestant to whom you're planning on giving an item (this is another benefit of being in a guild).

Weapons, and Bashing Others with them
Throughout Sock 2, a variety of weapons will be available to purchase and equip. One weapon may be equipped by any single contestant. However, the contestant must have the prerequisite job classes in order to equip any weapon. Every weapon has a specific Attack Power and Break% value. Attack Power influences the damage dealt with the attack, and Break% determines the likelihood that the weapon will be damaged beyond repair in any single attack.

By choosing to attack as an action, you are automatically assumed to be attacking with your equipped weapon. If no weapon is equipped, a barefisted attack will instead be performed. Total Attack Power is calculated by adding your weapon's attack power to your level, and then by factoring in any other bonuses. The damage dealt depends on whether the target possesses Physical Defense, obtained chiefly through equipping armor. If you attack a target that has already been KO'd, your attack will be automatically redirected to the leftmost monster on the monster board. If you attack a target on the scoreboard who has already been KO'd, your attack will fail.

Armor
One piece of armor may also be equipped at any time. Every piece of armor comes with a special effect, and most of them have something to do with lessening or preventing damage that is dealt. Armor also has a Break% that refers to the probability that it will break upon receiving a blow. Pieces of armor, like weapons, usually have prerequisite job level requirements that must be met before you are able to equip them.

Magic and Special Abilities
Most magic spells and special abilities come with a certain power that, unlike with physical damage, does not change directly with the user's level. Spells can cause damage, grant bonus points, or inflict status ailments on others. Magic Damage can be lessened if the target possesses Magic Defense, obtained through certain pieces of equipment.

Public versus Private
Now here's a biggie. Actions that are taken are displayed every day in a public Action Window, updated daily. Thus, be careful, for many actions you take will be visible for all to see! Certain skills, however, are "private", and so I'll communicate to you strictly through e-mail if so. For example, the spell of "Libra" reveals information about the target for the whole world to see, whereas the spell of "Librara" reveals target information so that ONLY you can see it!

Examples of Public Actions

  • Attacking a monster or contestant
  • Using an item
  • Casting most spells

Examples of Private Actions

  • Shopping
  • Equipping or throwing out items
  • Casting some spells
  • Choosing a job level at level-up

GUILDS

In Sock 2, contestants can band together to form guilds. Guilds are a way to establish alliances and open communication networks with other people. Any contestants who are in a guild will gain credit for any others that are KO'd by any of the members of the guild, though the Experience and Gold are divided among all members. Items dropped by foes will be secretly obtained by the individual who gets in the final blow, however.

Starting a Guild
Anyone who obtains a Guild Permit may start their own guild and be immediately placed in charge as the Guild Leader. They may name the guild anything they choose, and they must announce their own set of guild rules. Three types of guilds may be created:

Open- Anyone other contestants may freely choose to become a part of an open guild. They only have to tell me, and they will be added to the guild roster on the next day.

Semi-Open- Anyone who wants to be a part of a semi-open guild must ask permission from the guild leader, who may accept or reject the requester's membership. Alternatively, the request could be put to a vote among all of the guild's members before a decision is made.

Invite Only- The guild leader may only extend invitations to others of his/her choosing. They simply give me a message to give another contestant, and I will pass it on to see if they accept.

In any type of guild, members must submit a request for leave before they actually leave the guild. Joining a guild is like a contract, and the guild leader must accept before the member is "free." If, however, the Guild Leader is KO'd or otherwise incapacitated (for example, sucked away forever by a Vacuumare), a member may leave the guild freely by notifying me. Any single contestant may only belong to a maximum of one guild.

The guild leader may change the type of any guild at any time, and the Guild Leader has the power to kick out or permanently ban anyone he or she chooses. The guild leader also has the ability to lay down any House Rules though it is his/her responsibility to communicate them to the other members and enforce them. For example, an obvious rule might be "Don't attack another member of the same guild!" If this is not followed by a member, then they may be kicked from the guild or banned permanently, at the Guild Leader's discretion.

Communication
Communication in Sock 2 is key, and joining a Guild is a great way to establish alliances (secretly or publicly) with other people. Anyone who joins a guild is welcome to volunteer his/her e-mail address. This e-mail list will be kept on a special guild-specific web page that I will send to all guild members. The webpage will also contain other information pertinent to the guild in particular, such as the type and the House Rules.

You can use this e-mail address to your advantage; by making a friend, you might set up an item trade by chatting with them through e-mail, for example, as long as you notify me. (Unlimited) Item trades will require one action. For example, you can trade one item with another person as your action for the day, or you could trade four items with another person as an action.

Further, each guild will have the opportunity to make public announcements. These announcements could be anything from a warning to other members to "stay away from their enemy or face the consequences" to a plea for a White Mage's healing spells from among other Sock 2 contestants. Use your creativity!

Dissolving a Guild
A guild may be dissolved at any time by the leader. In that case, the guild's webpage is taken down, and all benefits previously gained from the guild no longer exist for any of its members.

Replacing the Guild Leader
The guild leader may designate another member to become the new guild leader at any time. Since a guild cannot act if its guild leader cannot act, members may be chosen to make guild-related announcements and decisions if the leader is afflicted with bad status such as Disable, Paralysis, Sleep, Knockdown, or KO.

A guild member may even decide to call an election, or have regular elections, in which case an election day will be decided. On that day, everybody in the guild has the opportunity to vote for the next leader by sending their pick to me. Guilds are designed to increase communication and interactivity between many players, but remember: There will only be one winner! Everybody is welcome to work with others to try and achieve that end, however.

COMMON ITEMS

The following is a list of some commonly available items. Watch for them at shops.

Alarm Clock
Creates the most annoying sound in the world; however, it relieves the target of Sleep status.

Antidote
A little bit bitter as a salad green, but at least it relieves poison.

Armor Protector
A magical gloss that halves the Break% of the target's equipped armor next time he/she is attacked.

Echo Herbs
Relieves Silence, if you like to babble.

Eye Drops
Do you see what I see? Relieves Blindness.

Flex Herb
Stimulates nerve endings to grants pleasant tingling sensations; also cures Immobilize and Disable.

Golden Needle
Poke, poke! Causes people to yelp in pain while relieving Stone or Paralysis.

Healing Herbs
Tasty little suckers that grant a bonus of between 25 and 40 Sock Points.

Holy Water
What kind of sacrilegious person would market Holy Water? This versatile stuff heals Curses and Haunt status.

Metronome
Get up to speed by using this to relieve Slow status.

Smelling Salts
Feeling loopy? Stick your head into a pouch of these exotic salts to knock your senses back into reality and cure Confuse status.

Soothe Lotion
The "Icy-Hot Rub" of Sock 2, this gel restores the target from Burn or Freeze status.

Vaccine
Get rid of viruses faster than Dr. Mario by injecting yourself with this.

Weapon Protector
Handle with care no more! Halves Break% of the target's equipped weapon for next attack.

RARE ITEMS

Guild Permit
These allow you to start up your very own guild... if you can find them.

Iron Safe
If you are holding an Iron Safe and you're KO'd by a monster or another competitor, your money will remain safe and sound. The one who KO'd you will not receive half your Gold.

Level-Up Star
Use a Level-Up Star to instantly advance one level of experience! These are very valuable little items.

Point Multiplier
Use one of these, and your points obtained that day will multiply by two, three, or even four times!

Rare Candy
Rare Candies level up other items to become more powerful. Some rare items can only be obtained by using a Rare Candy on another. If you use a Rare Candy on an item that cannot level up, it will fail, but you will get the Rare Candy back. It is rumoured that a few weapons or pieces of armor that can be leveled up this way...

Spell Motes
A mote is a single-charge item that contains the essence of a spell. Anyone can use these to cast spells, even if they are not versed in magic. However, they have other uses too...

STATUS AILMENTS

During Sock 2, you may become afflicted with one of many status conditions. These can be either good news or bad news, depending on which one you have; they change the way the game works for you. A comprehensive list is as follows:

Blind
Blinded contestants are unable to land physical attacks with accuracy. All physical attacks carry a 75% chance of missing while a contestant is blinded. Blindna or Eye Drops will relieve this status ailment. Blindness has a 20% chance of wearing off every day on its own.

Burn
A burned contestant receives only half the normal points when points are earned. Burns have a 20% chance per day of going away by themselves, but Soothe Lotion or the Esuna spell can be used to heal any burn instantly.

Confuse
A contestant who is confused is a danger to himself and others. A confused contestant has a 50% chance per day of guessing options for the trivia other than those that are desired, and a 50% chance of taking a randomly selected action per day rather than the desired action. Smelling salts or a physical hit will relieve confusion, and there is a 20% chance of day that it will go away by itself.

Control
In Sock 2, it is possible that a monster or contestant may lose control of his/herself entirely, and that the control is instead taken by another monster or even another competitor. The controller will have full ability to choose reponses to questions and perform actions, and remains in control as long as it does not wear off; there is a 50% chance that this will happen every day. Only a direct physical hit will cause Control to wear off immediately.

Curse
Contestants that are cursed are doomed to receive damage whenever they fail to answer a question correctly for any reason. The points lost are equal to the value of the question, no matter whether the question is for points, Gold, or Experience. There is a 20% chance that this will wear off every day, but Holy Water or Esuna will clear it away instantaneously.

Deflect
Deflect status is a wonderous status ailment that abuses Newton’s Third Law by sending the force of any physical attack back to the attacker. Every attack has a 50% chance of breaking this barrier after being deflected. The effect may be removed with Dispel.

Disable
Disabled contestants may not take any actions, and may only answer questions every day. Thus, they rely on time (or other kind souls) to heal them. Flex Herbs or the spell of Flex will rid such unfortunate souls of this potentially disastrous status.

Freeze
A frozen contestant receives double the normal damage when attacked by monsters and other contestants. Freeze has a 20% chance of wearing off per day, but it can be healed instantly by using Soothe Lotion, the Esuna spell, or by being hit by a fire-based attack.

Focus
Focus status doubles the damage that one does using magic, and has a 20% chance of wearing off every day. It may be removed early with Dispel, however.

Force Field
Force Field status generates a field around the affected that absorbs all damage, turning it into bonus points instead. Any Force Field may dissolve when hit by an attack, however, with 50% probability, and it may be removed with Dispel.

Float
Floating contestants avoid all earth-based attacks and are immune to being knocked down. Float status has a 10% chance of wearing off every day on its own, but may be removed with the spell of Dispel or alternatively with a gravity spell.

Haste
Haste is a powerful status that allows a contestant to guess twice as often as normal for each of the day's questions. There is a 20% chance that it will wear off each day, but it may be removed with a Slow spell or Dispel.

Haunt
The shadow of death follows anybody with Haunt status. Each day, there is a 10% chance that the user will be KO'd. Holy Water will cure this dangerous condition, but it will not wear off on its own unless the victim is KO'd.

Immobilize
An Immobilized contestants may take actions freely but may not answer any questions. Obviously, this is a dangerous status ailment when paired with a Curse. There is a 20% probability that this will wear off on its own each day, but Flex Herbs or the spell of Flex will restore mobility.

Knocked Down
If a contestant is knocked down, they must take the next day off, not participating, in order to get back on their feet. There is a 100% chance that this will be healed after one day.

K.O.
A contestant is KO'd if at any time their points drop to zero without Reraise status. In this event, the contestant loses half of his or her Experience and Gold and is revived after missing a day, or their next turn (whichever comes first) with the current "points upon revival." If another contestant causes the KO, they obtain the Gold and Experience that is lost. If a monster is KO'd, they may be revived with a Raise spell.

Might
A character under Might status does double the damage that he or she would normally do when physically attacking other contestants or monsters. Might status has a 20% chance of wearing off every day, but may be removed by casting Dispel.

Paralysis
Paralysis prevents the affected contestant from participating at all. It has a 20% chance of wearing off per day, but an Esuna spell or a Gold Needle will restore feeling.

Poison
Poisoned contestants lose points every day. The points lost always equal the current consolation points. There is only a 10% chance that poison will wear off on its own, so it is crucial that it gets healed as quickly as possible, either with an Antidote, or the Poisona spell.

Protect
Contestants under Protect have all physical damage reduced to 50% of normal. There is a 20% probability per day that the effect will wear off, but Protect may be rid early by using the spell of Dispel.

Radiant
Radiance grants the affected contestant incredible powers. He or she becomes invincible to all attacks; any attacks bounce off to random targets. In addition, obtained points are boosted by 50%. However, the affected contestant may not take any actions other than answering questions while Radiant. There is a 50% chance per day that the effect will wear off.

Reflect
With Reflect status on, any spells that are directed at you will bounce off and hit the user instead. Few spells can penetrate Reflect, but one of those is Dispel, which will cancel its effect. There is a 50% chance that any spell will remove the effect after being reflected, "breaking" the barrier.

Regen
The opposite of poison, Regen increases your score by the consolation points every day until it wears off. The effect is often long-lasting, too, with only a 10% chance of wearing off every day. Dispel will end it immediately, however.

Reraise
Reraise status acts as an emergency cushion. Upon KO, the affected contestant is automatically revived with twice the current minimum point level without losing any Gold or Experience. The status may be removed by Dispel, but it will not go away on its own until the affected contestant is KO'd.

Reverse
A contestant who is affected by Reverse status will have the roles of point loss and point gain reversed. The contestant will LOSE points if questions are answered correctly, and gain points if attacked. The effect has a 40% chance of wearing off per day, but may be removed with Dispel.

Shell
All magic damage to a contestant is reduced to 50% of normal while under Shell status. There is a 20% chance that Shell will wear off every day, but Dispel will end the effect immediately.

Silence
The bane of every mage, Silence disallows the use of any magic. There is a 20% chance that this will wear off each day, but Echo Herbs or the spell of Vox can provide instant relief.

Sleep
Sleeping contestants may not take any actions or answer any questions whatsoever until they awaken. There is a 40% chance that a sleeping contestant will wake every day, but a direct physical hit, an Alarm Clock, or the spell of Esuna will bring the contestant to their senses early.

Slow
Contestants with the depressing Slow status may only guess the answer to one question every day. There is a 20% chance that this will wear off each day, but it can be instantly healed with a Haste spell or by casting Esuna.

Stone
Stone status prevents contestants from participating at all in the competition, and it may last a very long time as well. There is only a 5% chance of having the status wear off by itself every day, so it would be wise to set up a contract with a skilled White Mage before this awful status actually hits.

Vanish
Contestants who are "Vanish"ed disappear from the scoreboard. All actions taken while under Vanish status are done so secretly, and will not appear on the public action board. Physical attacks will not hit a Vanished competitor, but spells may; the effect wears off if so. Left alone, Vanished competitors have a 20% probability of having the effect wear off each day.

Virus
One of the most damning status ailments of the game, a Virus prevents the afflicted contestant from gaining any Experience; also, all shops close their doors to one who is infected by a virus. A Vaccine or the spell of Cleanse is necessary to be rid of this disability, but there is a 20% chance that it will disappear on its own.

Randomness

This competition contains a lot of randomness, usually having to do with item targeting or status effects. Anything requiring randomness is determined by using random.org. Thanks to the people that run that site!


PARTING WORDS

Above all, do remember that this is just a game! If you receive a bout of bad luck, you never know; you might have a better day the next time. Just have fun with it! Remember, the game is designed specifically so that it's very easy to re-ascend through the ranks if you do take a major hit or if you spend a lot on a prize. Just keep persevering and plugging away, and you can rise to the top!

Thanks to all of you for playing!


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