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Andrew - December 14 '02- 4:00 Central Standard Time

Much better letters today. Iíd have thought that people would have reacted poorer to my outburst of hatred yesterday. Instead, the majority of readers love me for it. Oh well. Back to pissing off groups of small sub-cultures until all my readers are gone and I can use this column space for a comic strip and hentai.

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Pittsburgh represents!

Presents? Well, I know my girlfriend's already custom-tailored a new Hawaiian shirt for me... though, as I don't live in Hawaii, that sorta doesn't count... Allright. So it's a Pittsburgh attempt at a Hawaiian shirt.
From my family, though, I expect CD-R. Writable optical media in copious quantities. I have way too much on my poor laptop as it is and need to burn. (Read: Too much MST3K, too much Chobits, too much Star Ocean EX, too much Trigun, too much Space Ghost...)
Item creation? I think it's often more fun than just slapping money on the table. You can get more fun things faster (AKA the "2800 HP by Dollet" trick in FFVIII by refining Tents into Curaga), get better things than you'd normally find (because who wouldn't want to go through a game with your Eternal Sphere/SDUGA Punch/Crimson Diabolos), and have a use for otherwise pointless items (else Jeff from Earthbound seems a bit useless).
All in all, though it can get a bit tedious at times, Item creation is a good thing.
Nerdboy "For being such an unlucky smurf, Ashton sorta 0wnz...." Himself.

A CD burner is a must for any real nerd, since weíve always got a few cool things lying around on our computers just eating up space. Like the entire HomeStarRunner website.
And yes, Ashton rocks. A dragon slaying bad ass whose last name couldnít be more common? Sweet.

Fringing butterflies.

I have to say that Friday's column was one of the funniest Q&A columns I've ever read in my life. Who would have thought that insulting everybody involved could be so much fun?
Anyway, I just wanted to offer my two cents on the Item issue...I hate...HATEHATEHATEHATEHATE combining items/spells/weapons/armor to create even better items/spells/weapons/armor. I might be a bit traditionalist, but I think that if it can't be bought in a store, won from an enemy, or found in a dungeon, it's not worth getting. That includes spending 6 zillion hours in monster arenas, catching 60 zillion butterflies, and combining items that you would have to buy a strategy guide for if you wanted to have any idea what you were doing. And isn't selling strategy guides the whole reason they put these item hunting/combining expeditions in these games, anyway?
Also, for my nerdy Christmas gift, I actually asked my girlfriend for socks. Can't get much worse than that.
Robust Stu

Good answer. When games start going crazy with the idea of special items for ludicrous collection quests, no one enjoys it. Frankly, I think this is one of the problems that Final Fantasy games suffer from. No one should have to suffer that much to get the final weapons for their characters. Or at least, not in the form of dodging hundreds of lightning strikes.

You canít ever go back!

Hey Andrew,
Look what you've done! I write one letter to you and now I feel obligated to write you one every week. Ah well, maybe you'll consider this a better read then some of yesturday's helpings. Or maybe not. Anyway, though, thanks for your comments on my ideas last reaffirmed a few of my suggestions and made me reconsider a few others.
1: I don't honestly have many friends who are into anime or video games like I am, but I am getting one of my friends Suikoden II, which I think has one of the best stories in any RPG I've ever played. The Jowy / Nanami / Riou plotline was really well executed, and I loved the entire concept of being able to see so many returning characters from the original Suikoden come back and get developed more. I'll also be getting Suikoden III for Christmas, but I'm a little worried that it might not fulfill my post-Suikoden II expectations. I'm one of those people who'd prefer the series to have stayed in 2D, I really enjoyed Suikoden and Suikoden II's 2D look. Have you played Suikoden III yet, and if you have, do you think I'll be elated or disappointed with it?
2: As for item creation, I tend to view it as a waste of time. It's not so much a horrible idea in concept; it's just horribly implemented in the games I've played. As you pointed out, most the items you can spend a few hours making end up being available at a shop to purchase anyway. For that matter, there's no item that you absolutely have to create in order to progress through or beat the game, so I find it a pretty easy process to just skip. If I'm really digging an excellent RPG's story, the last thing I want to do is spend a half hour "break" from the plotline to construct an item I really don't need in the first place.
3: I actually never really used the steal option in any game I've played. Except FF6, I did use it with Locke a few times in FF6. Honestly, however, I never bothered with the steal materia in FF7 for the same reason I never bothered with item creation in other RPGs; it just seems like a waste to spend time trying to steal stuff you can buy anyway.
4: Where would you recommend me to go find fellow programmers, artists, designers, etc. who might be interested in helping me bring my RPG script to "life"? I'm more than willing to pay some (though admittingly, not a heck of a lot) of money and I'm not looking for any hot-shot professional, just amateurs like myself. I'd make up a list of what I need and what I'll pay in a future letter to you in the hopes that you'd publicize it, but I'd imagine you'd think of that as an annoyance (wouldn't want to turn your Q and A into a classifieds).
(In related news, I suppose, I just finished my long-as-hell first draft of a basic RPG script...took me long enough. Even if my chances with this are non-existant, I figure it's better to try than to never try at all. For fear that you'd berate the plotline, like you did to that guy's yesturday, I won't share it here, though I think it's above average).
5: Finally, Andrew, I'd like a little bit of input from you concerning a plot twist towards the end of my RPG. I'm being purposely sparse with plot info, but just for the sake of argument...if "Hero" (not his real name) sees his wife and child die, would that alone be enough to inspire him to become a lich? My Hero's fall into the "art" of necromancy is a very important plot twist, but I'm having trouble figuring out exactly how much horrible crud I have to put the poor guy through before his transition is substaniated.
Thanks for your advice,
~ Bryan "Ace" Montany

Yay! Return writers! That makes me so feel so warm and fuzzy inside!
1. Well, I wouldnít say itís as good as the former games in the series, but Suikoden 3 is by no means bad. You wonít hate it, but itís a letdown. Stupid pointless graphical changes.
2. Worse is when you do need it for the plotline. I just love it when I need some vital, really stupid sounding item to complete my airship/death cannon/Googleshng that requires my party to go halfway around the world to find the parts for a transgender cyborg that shoots lasers out of his hands and flies.
4. Eh. I suggest you start doing the footwork. Even if youíre a crummy artist, design the costumes, weapons, and skills of your characters. Outline what the world will look like, including key cities and dungeons too. Otherwise, your script work will all be for naught, since you wonít have any idea how to visualize it.
5. No. Hell no.
If someone fell into the dark arts, itíd have to be through at least a good push of force. Grief by no means replaces sheer idiocy here.
Hey, thanks for writing in about the progress of your game. Iím looking forward to next weekís letter.

Flattery of the forgetful.

Greetings Google.
First off, I must say I immensely enjoy your ragging on the dipshits that bomb your mailbox, like the column for 12/12. Your jokes are witty and obviously inspired by bad final exams, I can relate to that.
My question to you is if RPG players are really supposed to harbor increased intellect than the usual human. I used to think this was true, but after reading the incessant e-mails you receive I must purge that thought from my mind. Seriously, I have read Christmas cards to Santa Claus with more reading incentive compared to the puerile loads of crap you seem to receive and enjoy shooting down.
Another question is if hack and slash games are going to get any better. I mean, haven't they reached their pinnacle with such greats as Icewind Dale and Divine Divinity? What else is there really to add to games like these to make them better? Well, other than advanced plots, but even there they might fall flat.
I also must comment on how professionally done this site is. I applaud all the writers on this force. You guys are creative, humorous, and deliver good news all at once. I especially like the reviews, not a drop of bias to be found in them. They are as fair as any reviews can get, and smite anyone who flames you guys for either being too harsh or generous. From one reviewer to you guys, I can definitely see the heart and intelligence you all put into your writings and your site is far from juvenile.
Child of Bodom

I was really flattered by this letter until I realized it was addressed to Google. But since Google never prints stupid letters,(hence, why her columns are so short) Iím going to assume this is for me.
No genre in gaming will ever go stale as long as new ideas pop up. What we have today in hack and slash will seem basic a few years from now, you can count on it.
The staff would like to thank you for your kind words, and also for your donation of fluffy armchairs. Finally, we get to spruce up the office!


Hi, Andrew!
In Google's column, in the quickies, someone guessed the quote that is in the site title. He almost got it right. :P Let me inform everyone that the quote comes from one of the villagers in Paseo in the game Phantasy Star. That's all. See you later!

Google- ďIt's a robot guard technically.Ē
So you get NOTHING. NOTHING! Ahahahaha!


Too bad the question was how many meters wide your ass is.

i dont know much about ps2 right now but can you play regular ps games on ps2?

Playstation 2 not only plays PS 1 games, but also DreamCast, Saturn, Sega CD, GameCube games, and poptarts! Itís an all in one home entertainment system.

"[2. Okay, ass.] FFMQ was a pretty damn good game for the time, and if you donít like RPGs where you can jump, then feel free to go to hell"

People who hate Final Fantasy Mystic Quest are the same people who hate kittens and rainbows.

Who came up with the idea of the old Fight, Magic, Defend, Run, Item menu? Becuase it seems so simple, yet so very limiting at the same time. I'd call it visionary, except for the fact that it's not at all visionary.
Moogle "Hey, it told me to whine to you" Child

I doubt an actual person created the battle menu. More likely, it was a combined effort of game designers thinking of what theyíd do if they were in a fight, and going from there. As for limiting, Iíd think the system was a remarkable step towards freedom in early games, where awful graphics and poor designs were king, so having a action scene where the hero fought the 3 story tall lord of darkness would have been impossible, or at least, really ugly.

Hey Andrew,
You need to find a better gig. With your wit you could support your own site. i find your Q&A the best part of the site.
Best Regards,
Rollo Tamasi

Actually, this column is a combined effort of every angst ridden employee at RPGamer. Andrew Duff is merely an acronym of our names. So, I guess this really IS my site. Or, our site. Whatever.

You're a negative person. I know some people can be morons but there's a difference between constructive critcism and unnecessary cruelty. I don't know if it's your shtick or what but I don't really agree with it.
~The Mayor

Itís not my shtick, itís simply me standing up for the rights of this column. If you want to write a letter to me without thinking it out first, without checking it over, without bothering to look for answer, then expect the worst. I am not your mother. I do not care about your feelings. I do not care about you, and I'm certianly not here to babysit.

The Final Grumble:

Some reader just Imed wondering when the column would be done. I hope he wasnít staying up for it. Craziness.

Andrew "Manky" Duff

Off to buy me a christmas gift!

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