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   Code Red, and I don't mean the worm  
Alanna - September 8 '01- 5:30 Eastern Standard Time

whuzzat? Oh. I'm doing Q&A this weekend. Come on, brain, we're doing Q&A this weekend. Wake up and at least try to be witty, okay?

Sorry about that; I just woke up. Excuse me, I'll go and find some caffeine now, and then we can get down to the business of some letters.

For those of you who don't know me: hi! I'm Alanna. I run the Fan Fiction department here at RPGamer. I could go through a huge long introduction, but the caffeine hasn't quite taken hold yet, so let's just get onto the letters.

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Shameless sucking up

Greetings, O College One.

1. Alright... I just wasted $5 on a peice of crap called "The Grandstream Saga". Just don't buy it, okay? Bad voice acting, bad story, bad graphics. The game just plain sucks.

2. 2+2=5 (from George Orwell's 1984)

3. I got a copy of Final Fantasy Tactics, finally! What would be the best team, jobs, and abilities for my main people?

4. I bought one of your "Mancerspotting" T-shirts over at And I wear it all the time. You guys really kick major ass.

5. Good or bad?

6. Just like the Goog-Meister, I've become an it. All thanks to the wonders of the Internet!

The person who changed his sex to become a cat and then neutered himself,

1. Don't hold back, Isfacat. Tell us how you really feel about the game.

2. Only for moderately large values of 2.

3. Ah, Tactics. I'll assume that you're talking about the characters you can create, and not the NPCs. Okay, let's see, this is how I did it:

  • For the first few battles, you should stay as a mixture of Chemists and Squires. All your JP should go to learning all of those skills, because they're going to be very useful for a very long time. Squires should learn the JP Up ability, while Chemists should learn Potion, Phoenix Down, and Hi-Potion first. Switch back and forth between Chemist and Squire for each character until everyone knows at least JP Up, Potion, Phoenix Down, and Hi-Potion; this will be useful for secondary abilities.
  • Your first character to max out the Squire ability list should change to a Knight. They will be useless for doing more than attacking at first, as the Knight special abilities take insane amounts of JP for this part of the game, but Knights have decent attack power even without the special abilities, so you should be fine.
  • Your first Chemist to max out their abilities should switch to a Wizard. Be careful when you attack with offensive magic; sometimes the range will hit one of your characters too, which is generally a Bad Thing.
  • Your second Squire to max out their abilities should transfer to a Knight for one level, until the Monk ability becomes available. Monks can kick some serious butt, especially this early in the game.
  • Your second Chemist to max out should do a little bit of switching around. If you've been switching back and forth, he or she will probably be at least a level 2 Squire, which will make the Archer class available. Switch over to an Archer until you hit level 2, then toss him or her into the Thief job class. Thieves aren't very strong attackers, but they have some great support abilities, and can make you a very, very wealthy noble indeed.
  • Your fifth character to max out abilities can choose any one of a number of jobs. Personally, at this point, I'd probably send him or her to Priest school, but you could also take him or her to Wizard level 2 and then to Time Mage. A number of people think that Time Mages are useless, but personally, I think that they're fun.
  • Once your Knight maxes out level and ability, take him or her to Archer school until they hit level 2, then Thief to level 2, and that opens up the Lancer job class, which will let you kick some serious monster pahootie.
  • Oh, and remember that Time Mage I mentioned up there? Time Mage level 2 opens up Summoner as a class, and Summoners can stand off in the corner and pick off whole platoons of enemies.
  • Someone should take the following path of learning: Squire, Knight, Monk, Lancer -- which opens up Samurai.
  • Classes that aren't really very useful until late in the game, or at all: Oracle, Calculator, Geomancer, Mediator, Ninja, Bard, Dancer, and Mime.
4. Sucking up will get you everywhere. Plugging my website without me having to will get you a smooch. *smooch*

5. Yes, actually.

6. ...I think that was oversharing.

(And by the way, I'm not in college anymore; haven't been for a while. Just for the record.)

Selling like hotcakes?


Hey Alanna,
1. Did you watch the VMAs a couple nights ago?
2. I just watched it to see mudvayne win, and that reminded me of a question I had. I don't know if you're a fan, or have the cd, but track 10, "Everything and Nothing" the opening music sounds really familiar, like I've heard it in a game somewhere, but I couldn't figure it out.
3. Also, do you know where I could find sales charts for games? I'm always pretty interested to see how certain games are selling, but I can never find a chart.

Well, as for 1 and 2, I don't have cable OR network TV, and haven't watched TV since 1995 or so, so no, I didn't. ^_^ I'm not familiar with Mudvayne's music; I should check it out. A lot of video game music uses pretty common musical themes, so I occasionally have to stop and blink when I hear stuff on the radio. "That wasn't Uematsu-san playing on WPLJ, was it? ...oh, no, it's just Vertical Horizon." As for #3, the only references I can find all point to The NPD Group, a marketing-research organization that does sales figures for a lot of things, not just video games.

Alanna Landers

Wow! I've never asked Alanna a question. Better take advantage of this...

Ok. I have a friend. She's a girl. I'm the opposite. I really have no best friends, but I considered her one of my closer ones. Today we talked and she wanted someone to go with her to a game, and I needed a ride to said game so we agreed that she would pick me up. She's a nice girl whose hardly ever let me down. But when I tried calling her to confirm when she would pick me up, she said she was now going to be the passenger in her other friend's car.

Now, I can understant if she's closer to him. But she didn't even call me to tell me she wanted to flake out on me. I could have been waiting for her to pick me up all night if I didn't call her. She apologized about it but it just made me feel like I still had no friend I could truly depend on. How would you feel? What do you think I should do? I know this is totally an un-RPG topic, but I read the fanfic updates and you seemed pretty smart. Also, you could think of this as a plot of a fictional story. How would you resolve it?

Second question, were you the one who said you had colored hair?

Tell you what, I'll answer this one if you promise not to tell Googleshng that I'm slacking off and answering non-RPG questions, all right? So, um, Goog, just go look over there for a minute, okay?

I have a bit of advice for you: Girls have the capacity to flake out at a moment's notice. So do guys. A lot of times, people won't realize that other people are counting on them, and a lot of other times, people will think that something is less important than you think it is. Think back -- I'm sure you can probably come up with a time in your life when someone was really counting on you to do something, but didn't tell you how important it was, and you wound up thinking that it was no big deal, while to them it was something seriously major.

If I were writing this as a fictional situation, she probably would have forgotten that she said she'd be going somewhere with you, and made other plans without realizing. Or she'd forgotten that she'd made plans with her other friend, and then made plans with you. People do that; I do it all the time, and then I feel horrible about it. And then I'd have you sit down to her and explain that you feel bad when people don't do what they say they're going to do, and the two of you could talk it over, and she would promise tearfully never to do it again, and then you could both ride off into the sunset with Disney characters singing "What a Wonderful World" in the background.

Er, maybe not the Disney characters.

But seriously, situations like these can almost always be resolved by talking it over. All you have to do is say to her, "Look, Insert Name Here, I was really upset when you blew me off for Insert Name Here the other day, especially since I was looking forward to getting that game. I know you apologized, and I appreciate your apology, but I just wanted to ask that you try not to do that again."

And yes, I'm the one with the colored hair. Since October, which was when I moved into a different corporate job with a VP who doesn't mind (and even brags about it to his fellow VPs at staff meetings: "I have an employee with blue hair!"), it's been light blue, dark blue, green (when the blue faded), purple, lavender, indigo (I looked like Miang), and now it's indigo at the roots fading down to a really pretty pale sky-blue. I look like a peacock. I think I'm going to try burgundy next.

Will no one rid me of those meddlesome monks?

Hey (monks sing) A-LANN-A

I was wondering what games are you looking foward to? Am I the only one who noticed that in RPG's you are only arrested for treason or something related to that and also whatever you're arrested for is never true. Also apperently there are very few laws in RPG worlds since think about what heros get away with. I wonder if you have ever dressed as a magical girl? Google's comments are funny since his/her/it's gender is a secret.

Imperial Mog

Hey, (monks sing) IM-PER-I-AL MOG,

Personally, I think that when you become an RPG hero, you're issued a Get Out Of Jail Free card. I mean, think about it: you can just walk right into houses, take whatever you find, and walk out again, and no one ever says anything to you about it.

Then again, if a bunch of people in weird outfits carrying large swords and whips and guns marched into my apartment, I'd probably smile as I handed over my suitcases full of unmarked bills, too.

I'm looking forward to Xenosaga (I loved Xenogears) and Final Fantasy X, personally. I saw FFX at E3, and I was really impressed by it. One of the other games I saw at E3 was Anarchy Online, and I've been giving serious thought to buying a PC just to play it, as there's no Mac port. (Well, okay, I'll add, to make me sound like LESS of a geek, that I want a PC because of a few video-editing programs I know of that are Windows-only. I'm still a geek, though.)

I think that Google would make a much better magical girl than I would.

(PS: Dear IRS. I was kidding about the unmarked bills. Boom shanka, me.)

Third-Party Questions

I don't actually have a question, sorry. But this guy emailed me a question about FF8, most likely mistaking me for someone who CARES. Maybe you can help him:

I heard that you can get griever as a character in he game. I remeber on disk 2 when balam garden and the galbadien garden fought and squall and rinoa are both running and she ask hm about the ring, which had griever on there. there has to be some significance to that. would you know anything about it.

You can get Griever as a character, but you have to do the special quest. First, you have to go down to Centra, and find the spot in the lower left corner of the continent where Squall stands on it and says "Something seems familiar..." Then, take five steps to the north and three steps to the east, and summon Shiva. She will give you the Holy materia. Take that to the ocean, and put it in the ocean. This will revive Aeris, who will give you the Porno Magazine. Take that to Cid, and he will squawk like a chicken and turn into Griever.

DISCLAIMER: I am lying through my teeth.

Oh, woe is me...

Why would Working Designs stop printing the Lunar 2 strategy guide? I just bought the bleedin game the other day...

Clearly, someone at Working Designs just hates you.

Seriously, though, your best bet to find one would be checking in the software or gaming stores by you, and seeing if they have any copies still left. If not, there's always; sometimes they can find things that are out of print. If all else fails, mug a Girl Scout and steal her copy.

DISCLAIMER:, its affiliates, and all concerned parties do not advocate the actual mugging of Girl Scouts. No Girl Scouts were harmed in the making of this column. Besides, the Boy Scouts usually are the ones who buy the strategy guides.


I didn't get any quickies today, so I present to you: Today In History, from the Culture Time: 20 Past Midnight list.


Chinese Lunar: Xin1-Si4.Bing3-Shen1.Jia3-Xu1.Jia3-Zi3
Discordian: Sweetmorn, Bureaucracy 32, 3167 YOLD
Islamic (Hijri): Saturday 20 Jumaada al-THaany 1422 A.H.
English (Gregorian): Saturday, 08 September 2001 A.D.
Hebrew: 20th of Elul, 5761
Mayan (short form): 1 K'ib 14 Mol G7
Persian (Jalali): shahrivar 17 1380

Important events (in Gregorian years):
1157: King Richard I of England born
1752: this day didn't exist in Great Britain (they jumped to 9/14)
1841: Anton Dvorak born in Nelahozeves, Czechoslovakia
1888: Jack the Ripper kills again, Annie Chapman is second victim
1900: Hurricane struck Galveston, Texas, killing more than 7000 people
1925: Peter Sellers born in Southsea, England
1951: US signs peace treaty with Japan, retains military presence
1951: US, Phillipines, Australia, New Zealand sign mutual security pact
1960: Radio wave signals received from Saturn
1965: Lyndon Johnson authorizes 25-mile transit system for D.C.
1966: "Star Trek" debuts on NBC
1974: President Ford pardons Richard M. Nixon

The Last Laugh: (07:15 EDT)

Alanna: Ah, caffeine, you have finally decided to bless me with your powers. At any rate, that's another Q&A column down. I'll be back tomorrow, so, um, send me letters or something! I'd try to start a huge debate about which was better, FF8 or FF9, but the last time I tried to do that was at E3 and FireMyst fired me because he didn't agree with me, so that's probably not a good idea. Especially since Google would still be getting letters on Monday, and then I'd really be in trouble.

At any rate, I'm off to work on my novel some more. I've produced over 200K of text in the past four days. I'm not sure where all this inspiration came from, but I'm not arguing.

Alanna "and besides, I get to blow up Corel in this chapter"
Oooh, wow, hidden text. Now I don't have to mess around with putting comments in the HTML source on the front page. Uh, not that I'm the one who does that, not at all. It's all Goog's fault. And if you reall want to know which I thought was better between FF8 and FF9, you'll just have to ask.

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