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ASK ETHOS
Return of the King
November 14, 2008

Ethan Pipher - 03:17 EST

Well my wonderful subjects, I have returned. Your usual, humble, bumbling leader is off being busy as usual, so I must take over this week in a very attractive fashion! Not to say that our darling Oliver "Riddles" Montok isn't attractive, but he cannot compare to my stunning beauty which is not dissimilar to Po, the Kung Fu Panda in the opening sequence of that great movie. MOVING ON...

If you wrote a letter that made it into this column, you may notice that it is not in its full form. DO NOT BE AFRAID. There is no internet letter-eating monster. Unless you consider my heartless edits to be an internet letter-eating monster. While Riddles may be far too compassionate to chop even a word from the original form of your letter, I cannot stand to reply to the 18 pages of text some of you dare to write in. Let's keep it short, snappy, and interesting shall we, beautiful readers? MOVING ON...

All that being said, my perpetual narcissism and cold black heart should not discourage you from writing in. Just remember: even in all my glory and relentlessness, I do not approach the incredible sword of intelligence and mighty blade of words Lusipurr wielded. But I also plan to helm this column more often than at 5 month intervals, so be prepared to have no idea who will answer your letter. Will it be the kind and ill-informed Oliver? Or will it be the snarky and perfectly-opinionated Ethos? This will just be an exciting mystery! MOVING ON...

Anyway, I answer some staff questions in this column too, so be prepared and excited for that. Let's get on with this rubbish.





The Letters
The first victim of the "E"ncredible Ethan Edits


Since my previous letter had better than half it's length cut off, I felt a need to write again. First, I wanted to clarify something. I didn't hate FFX... indeed, my only real complaint with it was how short and easy it was compared to predecessors in the series, though the trend of FF games getting shorter started with FF9, which I finished in a mere forty hours without any problems.

I'll just summarize what was cut off in my previous letter.

Ethan

No, I believe I'LL try to summarize what was cut off in your previous letter. EDITS BEGIN.

-Breath of Fire = Enjoyable series
-Breath of Fire II = You can build towns: extra cool!
-Dragon Quarter = BOO!

Ethan

Oh well this is interesting, I anticipated carefully editing these and trying to keep them true to their original intent, but this is so much more fun!

-Growlanser II & III = old-style feel + context sensitive different endings: neat!
-People judge the series on Heritage of War which is a real shame

Ethan

I'll keep the next sentence ENTIRELY UNEDITED.

The Dragon Quest series doesn't really need my help to give it praise, so I'll leave it be.

Ethan

Well I'm happy you're letting it be either way.

Xenogears... well, what does there need to be said? I still consider this game to have the most interesting plot I've ever seen in a jrpg.
Proof is, I played it through from start to finish eight times. Sad that the makers were forced to cram all that story into the second disc.

Ethan

If you notice, I graciously left that paragraph unedited as well.

Star Ocean... honestly I love this series, despite the hiccups in the ps1 localization of 2 and the slightly irritating aspects of 3's battle system. For some reason, the Star Ocean 2 battle system is endlessly addictive. It actually makes me WANT to grind sometimes.

Ethan

I'm that way with Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Vesperia, and FF9! I have yet to play the Star Ocean series, but my brother (a big fan) agrees with you, Clephas.

The Tales series... I've played through all of the ones that made it over here, and of those, Tales of Legendia and Tales of Destiny 2 for the ps1 stand out as the most enjoyable, with Abyss being my least favorite of the series due to the 'Luke effect'. On the other hand, Vesperia is a good addition to the series due to the 'Yuri effect'. I love ruthless vigilanteism in a protagonist.

Ethan

Yeah, I've had to re-start my Vesperia game due to buying my own 360 so I'm not further than 8 hours into the story, but I agree that Yuri is a refreshingly strong lead.

The Xenosaga series both opened my eyes to what was possible with an almost entirely cinematic rpg, and also to the pitfalls of staff and character design changes in between games. Not to mention how a dream can be limited by the reality of a limited budget. Complex and often strange story with compelling characters and three variations of gameplay. I loved it, but I really wish they had made a fourth game.

Ethan

A game/series that has fallen prey to what I call "Quinitialitis". It's a disease I have that makes me only play through 5 hours of a game, and then return to it later and start from the beginning so I don't forget key plot points or forget the mood of the game only to play through just 5 hours again. MORE EDITS BEGIN...

-Grandia used to be cool
-Chrono Trigger is tops
-Chrono Cross' soundtrack gets honourable mention
-Something about Atelier Iris and Wild Arms...

Ethan

Oh MAN. THEN he goes on about the Suikoden series for about 4 pages, so I just have to cut off this letter here. I know Oliver seems to encourage letters over questions but seriously folks, if you want your letter in tact, please tighten it up! This MTV generation is all quick cuts and tiny tops, and although I'm a good looking guy, I can't imagine that pictures of me in a push-up bra would bring in the letters. Anyway, thank you kindly for the letter, Clephas, truly. I hope you write in again shortly (PUN INTENDED).

I know I forgot some series and games, and others I didn't give justice to. However, I feel the need to leave it at this. I'm tired and it is two in the morning.

Sincerely, Clephas

Ethan

I already said goodbye to you, Clephas, you're out of the spotlight now.



The act of dancing on the line.


Oliver, good tidings. May your sleep have been constant.

Ethan

Hey JuMeSyn. It's Ethos, actually. And my sleeps HAVE been rather constant, thank you! At least more so than usual. I believe it's my use of the Outlook Calendar that has made me start to do things on a regular schedule. Anyway, onto DRASTICALLY EDITING YOUR LETTER.

-JuMeSyn TALKS FOR A BILLION YEARS

Ethan

Seriously, I like you JuMeSyn, but that was the longest letter I've seen in my entire life. Better luck next time. Truly.

I believe I am out of material for the moment. Either that or I'm tired of typing, take your pick.
JuMeSyn

Ethan

Neither, I just took out the vast majority of your letter. 'Til next time!



He is to Oliver what Glenn is to Ethos


Ollie M! What up man! The fresh jive linguist is in the hizzie yo!

Ethan

I like this guy already.

So! Dude, I played the demo of Valkyria Chronicles, and might I say.
Wow. It's about time the PS3 gets an exclusive RPG that totally rules!! I've yet to pick it up yet, as I am waiting for the day of pay. But what a fresh idea for a game! How's it playing out so far for you? I noticed that it is the only game you are playing right now...

Ethan

Et tu, ENWB? I don't have a PS3 yet, but perhaps I should keep my eye on this one... Also, as a side note: may I call you Enwib? It saves me syllables.

I picked up a copy of Eternal Sonata. It's ok. It's rather slow though, at least at first. It's picked up a little...but I just don't know man. The battle system is really killer, but everything else is soooo slow, and there really is a lack of customization. I guess this is one where my expectations were just a little too high. Played it yet?

Ethan

I can't speak for Oliver, but I just picked up a 360 (I'm aware you're playing the enhanced PS3 version) and was considering this title, so I'll keep you posted!

Dissidia, any opinions?? It could be pretty cool. Though I can't see the battle system being as engaging as Soul Calibur's. I was wondering why I hadn't heard anything about it on Rpgamer, but then I found out it was a fighting game. Ha. But, while we're on the subject of Final Fantasy...I wonder how many people actually saved right before the Aeris death scene and replayed it infinately. It's funny to hear other's say that. But hear ye hear ye, VII will never be as good as VI. Why? The story and characters. I would say that it relates more to our world than any in the series. They are all good, aside from X-2 and 2, anyone who dislikes any of them should really give them another shot. VIII rules, the music, the story, the babes *Quistis* I mean, come on, you know she's hot!

Ethan

Ha ha, well yes. Quistis IS hot. But so is Dagger and Tifa and Lulu and Ashe and Rikku (albiet annoying). VIII DOES have some stellar songs by our man Nobuo, but I think as a whole the soundtrack isn't nearly as inspired as his work on VII and particulary IX (his and my personal favourite). Anyway, I didn't save before Aeris died. I really, really like FFVII, but I don't like Aeris and was glad to see her go. Bring on the hate mail. Anyway, I'm intrigued by Dissidia, but my lack of PSP dampens my excitement. I'll keep my eyes on it, however, since Kingdom Hearts may finally force my hand to get one of Sony's handhelds.

And that's it man! You rule Ollie. Great hosting, truly. Only one who's ever matched up and matched down Brad the Oracle.

E N W B

P.S. PS3 is better than Xbox 360. ;P

Ethan

I won't knock you for loving Oliver since he told me to go easy on you, and I also kinda like the kid. Also, this was the shortest (pre-edit) letter yet, so I must commend you somehow! Hope we meet again!



A cop-out and self-promotion all at once


Give each RPGamer staff member an RPG job class based on what you feel is most fitting of them and explain why. Lusi passed this challenge, now you must. - Mac

Ethan

AH! SHORT AND SWEET! ENTIRELY UNEDITED! Of course this is from our beautiful and glorious head of PR, Macstorm. He is perfect in every way. My answer comes in the form of Lusipurr's Fountain of Perpetual Disappointmnt spoilers.
The classes of party members in LFoPD:
Oliver Motok - Red Mage - I know this is your title, Mac, but this is what Riddles will be in the game. ISN'T THAT DISAPPOINTING?
Ethos - Warrior - I'm making the game, of course I have to be badass.
Paws - Saboteur - She wanted her attacks to explode. She got her wish.
Glenn - Jester - Bah-ha ha ha ha ha ah aha
Macstorm - Knight - I've already expressed my respect for you, so you have to be a valiant knight.
Sabin - Strategy Guider - You'll have to wait and see for this one...
Castomel - Thief - Bah-ha hah a ha ha ah ah ah!!!
Okay, so this was a bit of a non-answer, but it was more to get more people to pester your usual host to finally answer this question for Mac. I'll answer properly if I ever become the proper QnA host.
MOVING ON...



In which Ethos continues to dance around a true answer.


[15:33] <@sabin> Dear Ethan,
[15:33] <@sabin> Why do you keep leaving the podcast early?
[15:33] <@sabin> --sabin1001
[15:34] <@Firemyst> P.S. And show up late?

Ethan

Ooo! A letter that's actually for me! And by letter, I mean copy and pasted IRC conversation. Either way, there should be more of this. But perhaps I should actually answer, so here goes:

Whateva! I'll do what I want!

But seriously. Those days are over. Unless I have a legitimate reason, I will not leave the podcast early anymore! You heard it here first, folks! Look forward to full-fledged Ethos!
In fact, if I'm lucky, I'll get my own ridiculous RambleCast with just Riddles and myself. We can only hope, readers.



IN CLOSING

Well that was fun!

See how there is more of my text than any of yours? That's because this is meant to be a narcissist column!
Disagree? Write in and tell me so!
Agree? Sing my praises in a short reponse of glorification!

In either case, I truly enjoy this column, and hope to see many of you soon. Until then, look forward to Oliver taking back the reins and apologizing profusely for how I tore you all apart.

Goodbye, good luck, and never stop reading RPGamer!

_ethos



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