05/20- 7:00PM EST
Where are the entries to the contest? I have
none! I'm very dissapointed, class! This is
a chance to win Class of Heroes 2.
Be the envy of all your RPG-playing friends
as you show off this shiny and rare
UMD (if you have no idea what I'm
talking about check out last week's column).
Anyway, you all have until May 30th to get
those entries in.
On to the letters!
I normally don't get into MMO's, and I
definitely wouldn't recommend Age of
Wushu as anyone's first one... or even
their second or third. The game is
unbelievably hard, requires you to learn
team play faster than you ever did in other
games, the story features are incomplete,
and starving to death is a real danger in
Well, not quite
the best introduction for a game
is it? I've heard of Age of
Wushu, but that's about
it. I have a feeling you have
something positive to say about
this game, so let's see what
First, my reasons for coming to this game...
to be blunt, its the flying skills. I
was a huge Crouching Tiger fan, and
I love being able to fly, run up walls, flip
in mid-air, and run on water. My
reasons for staying... was a fascination
with my own growing realization that the
game was perhaps the most socially-focused
MMO I had ever played.
I loved that
movie! Not sure how those skills
would play out in an MMO game
but it seems like an interesting
idea. The most socially-focused
MMO you say?
Now, I don't mean that it is friendly to
social interaction... I mean they made
social interaction a dead necessity to get
anywhere in the game past a certain
point. Solo play of instances - the
special zones necessary to gain most of the
game's most valuable items such as flying
skills and crafting recipes - is impossible
and proper use of manufacturing skills is
even more impossible without other
people. To be blunt, you have two
choices... you can use different email
accounts to create different characters to
cover all the necessary support to make a
manufacturing character work... or you can
join a guild.
sounds like a good idea to me. I
know that some people do like to
try MMOs single player, but this
shouldn't happen at the expense
of socially focused features in
a game. If you have to force
people to use them , then so be
Without a craftsman, a smith can't make most
weapons, and a craftsman will find no outlet
for many of his wares without the other
manufacturing professions. Thus, even
leveling manufacturing professions can be a
serious pain in the rear, made even worse by
the fact that the game does not provide any
weapons stronger than the three grades
available at the beginning in every single
That does not
sound so fun. I still think it's
a good idea to try and force
people towards that social
interaction, but there has to be
a better way to do it than that.
For battles, being alone really doesn't pay
off. It is time-consuming and painful
to find people to do instances with and the
item drops are completely random, with no
explanation given as to why item drops seem
to differ so much every time an instance is
played through. For pvp, old hands
have an absolute advantage in both skills
(both in-game and in terms of understanding)
and in power. While this is fine for
duels, it can get irritating in School Wars
and script-stealing events, where this
advantage is frequently unassailable.
drops usually random to some
extent in MMOs though? Sounds
like the game has some serious
balancing issues. Then again I'd
expect that from most MMOs
without huge budgets. I'd
imagine it's quite hard to
Ironically, this has created a community
that very much resembles one in real life in
many ways... especially in the sheer number
of bastards and the presence of those who
are willing to lend a helping hand to new
players. This game seems to bring out
both the worst and best in people...
frequently in the same people. I've
been treated quite nicely by a guy who has
killed five hundred people in one-sided
murder duels, and I've been treated like
crap by someone who runs instances with
people all day every day. The fact is,
no matter how much any person plays the
one-faceted character, their personalities
tend to come through over time.
I do not want
to play this game.
Now, for some of the aspects of the game I
find most enjoyable: School Spying and
School War. School spying is an event
a member of a school can take on any time
from the proper npcs to spy on an another
school by going around stealing information
from offline players. This practice is
immensely fun and pretty thrilling at times,
because on the other side are both online
and offline players acting as school
patrols, either to take you down (in the
case of online players) or just reveal you
if you are silly enough to be detected by
them (in the case of offline or online
players both). This can be pretty
thrilling, often resulting in epic battles
(that usually result in spy deaths if more
than one patrol is nearby) or running chases
that sometimes span half an area or more as
you do your level best to run away from a
persistent patrol. School War is
another bag entirely... in this case you
either invade an enemy school or protect
your own school against invaders.
These events are only available at certain
times on Fridays and Saturdays and give
great rewards... Though it usually
ends up with the defending side getting
swarmed under. (well, unless a bunch
of idiots keep resetting the boss characters
you are required to kill to finish the
I really want
to play this game (no seriously,
these events sound incredible).
That brings me to perhaps the most annoying
aspect of the game... the way boss battles
reset. More than once, I've had ten to
fifteen minutes of fighting ruined by a
single member drawing the boss out of field,
thus resetting its hp and leaving us
exhausted of life, chi, and items.
Also, the 'out of field' zone is often
extremely narrow and easily crossed without
realizing it, not to mention that there are
sometimes random 'blank spots' that might
set off a boss's reset despite having hardly
moved from their starting position.
That is some
bad game design right there.
Again, I know this game
obviously doesn't have the
budget of World of Warcraft.
Regardless, something like this
is completely unacceptable. Boss
battles need to work right, and
I'm shocked this issue is still
in the game.
For those who are interested in pvp, I
should mention that it is more than possible
for a mid-leveled but more skilled (in terms
of actual game-playing skill) player to
slaughter a max-leveled doofus. I've
both seen it happen and done it once or
twice myself. While it is difficult,
it is possible and it is immensely enjoyable
and satisfying if you can make it happen...
while having it happen to you is both
embarrassing and frustrating. A lot of
this is because defense from armor items
does very little to cancel damage and a
character's own defenses are relatively
weak, regardless of their level. This
game does not provide much difference
between the levels of players... a single
level of your inner skill (which basically
represents and enhances your base stats and
adds a special effect to your character)
makes relatively little difference and even
a ten level difference represents not much
of a barrier between players of equal
thought that someone needed to
find a way to make an MMO where
leveling doesn't make much of a
difference. Grinding your way up
to the end game is just not fun
in a lot of the games. Doesn't
sound like this is completely
fixed in this instance, but
Overall, this is the most infuriating,
frustrating, and immensely enjoyable MMO
I've ever played... which is probably why
I'll put it down the moment I stop having
fun running up walls and killing people for
bounties... or kidnapping them for unbound
coin. (did I mention you can kidnap
offline players and sell them to human
traffickers for unbound coin?
Immensely fun and immensely hilarious...
though it does make you a target for anyone
looking for a free kill).
incredible right there, I may
seriously have to give this game
I'll be honest, this game is not for
everyone. Quite the reverse.
Most people will give up within hours, as
they realize their level doesn't increase no
matter how many monsters they kill and that
little ticker marking your skill cultivation
is going way too slowly. This is
a game for those who can appreciate its more
unusual aspects while enduring its more
annoying ones... and learning to sit back
and enjoy things even when they are
the issues (and it sounds like
there are many) at the very
least this game deserves some
credit for trying some different
things. Too many MMOs try to
just rip off World of
Warcraft without changing
very much. Being free to play
doesn't hurt either, so you can
give it a try without paying a
dime. I think this is exactly
what I'm going to do. Thanks for
bringing this game to my
attention! I don't pay too much
attention to the MMO scene, so I
never would have heard much
about it otherwise. I'll let you
know what I think!
Defend the indefensible! Dragon Force 2
never came across the ocean. Explain!
Why would you make me do that? I
guess I have no choice. The
Saturn was already in a
tale-spin when Dragon Force
2 came out in Japan. With
only a limited number of games
slated for release in the US by
Sega, there was just no room to
fit it in. Sega had to go out of
the way just to bring a third of
Shining Force 3 to the
US. So there was just no way to
do Dragon Force 2 in the
West without sacrificing another
game. They made the tough call
to cut it loose, and Working
Designs didn't have an interest
in doing it considering they
were still trying to finish Magic
Knight Rayearth. There you
go! (Wheels note: After
writing this JuMeSyn informed me
Working Designs was actually
estranged from Sega by this
Oh, you want to know about the game in
question? Lucky you, cuz I actually did play
with all 8 characters, probably putting me
in the top 100 of people worldwide who spent
time with it. I guess I'd better enlighten.
Yes please, I'm sure the readers
would love to learn more of this
The single biggest difference just from
looking around is that the computer no
longer fights itself. Remember how all
the kingdoms not under your control in Dragon
Force 1 would keep trading castles
between each other? That no longer
happens. Once a kingdom controls
territory, it stays there and will only come
out when you attack. It makes things a
lot quieter, and to my mind not nearly as
Yeah that doesn't sound good at
all. The computers attacking
each other made it feel like
there was an all-out war going
on. Without that, the world
would feel quite stale.
Another change is that a draw does not
render the two commanders ineligible for
further fighting. It's really win or
lose this time around, and just getting a
draw nets such piddly experience that it's
not worth your while unless there really is
no way to win.
Sounds like a decent change to
Yes, there are more troop types this time, a
total of 17. You can also have two
types simultaneously under one commander,
and that definitely alters the
dynamic. Several of the new troop
types are mechanical, and even the old ones
are different - mages and archers no longer
fire all the way across the screen,
weakening them considerably.
Well that's a shame. More troop
types sounds like a good change,
even if they nerfed a few of the
old ones. Not that the original
was severely lacking, but it
could have used a few more.
There's also the ability to learn up to 5
spells, but only the most important
characters get that high. Most settle
for 3 or 4.
Those are the major differences I remember
offhand. The plot is pretty much a
rehash, at least from what I could discern,
but without that Working Designs touch since
it's still in Japanese.
all in all mostly more of the
same? I guess we didn't miss out
on much. Sega seems to fail with
following up on some of its good
ideas, so a sequel that's mostly
more of the same doesn't
surprise me. A bit of a shame, I
think if they mixed in some
ideas from the Ogre Battle
series they could have produced
something even more interesting.
Y'know, for some reason I'm tempted to grab
the first two Summon Night games and
Summon Night X Tears Crown. The
games that are on the DS and never got
localized. Gonna try talking me out of
it, or just shrug and wish me luck?
will shrug and wish you luck,
but also ask you to report back
to me. We only got the action
offshoots of the series, and
I've always wanted to know how
good the original SRPG Summon
Night entries were. I've
heard good things so I think
you're in for a treat.
What do you know about Growlanser?
I know I'd have to get the first and sixth
so I can plow through the whole series
before I'm finally ready to take the plunge.
I've only recently begun to dug
into the Growlanser series.
I can say that they play a bit
like a 2D version of Final
Fantasy XII. I've had a
lot of fun with what I've played
so far. The battle system is a
refreshing change from the
usual. Hopefully you'll find
them to your liking as well.
You need more SRT
music. Here's one boss that freaked me
out the first time I played the game.
That is some fantastic music!
I'm guessing I won't be finding
this in the GBA games I'm
playing of course?
TO BE CONTINUED...
Next week we see the shocking conclusion to
JuMeSyn's letter. Will Wheels finally
complete that connection challenge?
Tune in next week!
About the Host
What I Can't Wait For:
1. Ys Vita
2. SMT IV
3. Rune Factory 4
4. Lords of Shadow 2
5. Tales of Xillia
On my Playlist:
Less Than Jake
1. Does the success of Fire Emblem
Awakening indicate main stream turn-based games
are still possible?
2. Will Dragon Quest VII 3DS come to the West?
3. Dragon Quest X hasn't been a huge success,
will this be the first and last Dragon Quest
4. What RPG series would you like to see revived
5. Now that Thief 4 has been revealed, what do
you want to see out of the game?