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Mounted Archers Can Block Creatures With Flying! January 15, 2005

Andrew Long - 9:50 EST

SO ANYWAY, I think I may be doomed to follow in my grandmother's footsteps and incur incurable insanity someday on account of my terrible sleeping patterns. As such, you'd better get your fill of me while you can, because it's only a matter of time before I start driving on sidewalks, climbing crabapple trees in my declining years, and squeezing grasshoppers for the sweet, sweet juices within.

And margarine tubs? You better believe I'll be hoarding those!



Ramblebox
Now where does that text go? I sure hope it's here, cuz if it isn't I'm gonna look pretty ridiculous! Not that that ever stopped me before...

-AL  



L E T T E R S

OH, YOU BETTER BELIEVE THAT'S A PADDLIN'

Quit yer bitchin. You asked for a letter about any random subject so here goes...

At another rpg site, I was recently reminded of a bygone series called Breath of Fire. Now I love BoF. No, let me rephrase...I LOVE BoF! but Breath of Fire V was terrible, innovative but terrible. I've never been so disappointed in a single game. So, my question is: Taking into account the sales performance of the BoF series should Capcom even attempt another effort in this line? Should they sell the series to some other company better equipped to make quality games (WD, Square-Enix, mayber a little Tri-Ace)? Or should they simply update the greatest game in the series, Breath of Fire IV, and hope for a nostalgic sales coup? What would you do?

- Captain


ANDREW

Random subjects are all well and good, but such blasphemy as this wasn't part of the deal... IT WASN'T PART OF THE DEAALLL!! In related news, you need to sign the deal. At any rate, your question is incorrect, and for several reasons. First, you assume that for some reason Capcom lacks the resources to produce a kickass game, which is pretty ridiculous, seeing as how Capcom has produced some of the kickassest games in kickassdom, and is by no means hurting for money, given little things like... Oh, I don't know, Mega Man and Street Fighter?

Secondly, just because BoF IV was your favorite in the series does not mean it should be updated ad infinitum until the end of time. FFVI is my favorite Final Fantasy, but just because I like it more than the others doesn't mean I wish to see the series beached on the oily sands of perpetual remakes, and it would have sucked had FFVII-X not been made (we'll just pretend FFX-2 and FFXI didn't happen for now, yes?) You're well within your rights to dislike BoF V, but I don't think it constitutes reason to end the series, regress into remakes, or even garner the intense dislike you seem to bear it (BoF V, for the record, is teh awesome as far as I'm concerned.)

So what would I do? Well, I wouldn't remake BoF IV, for one, and I wouldn't remake BoF V either, because it pretty much stands on its own. I'd do what the series creators seem to be doing - make each game strive to be different and advance the genre in its own little way, which I am reasonably confident that both your favorite BoF and my own did.




A DAY LATE, BUT NOT A DOLLAR SHORT

Whats up andrew,

I've been wondering if by any chance that either you or any other person their has had the chance to play though suikoden 4 yet, and what are your empressions of it. I've been a huge fan of the series ever since I played through suikoden 3, which is still one of my favorite games, and to me, better than 2 and 1, although 2 was very good. I hope 4 lives up to some of my expectations. I cant wait to get it.


ANDREW

I'm not too sure how well it's going to hold up against those expectations, unfortunately; besides the fact that the game was clearly rushed, there's also been a whole lot of iffy reaction to it among reviewers, and while I haven't personally played it yet, a fellow staff member who shall remain madhtr said "I didn't like it much." Of course, if you'd like to surround yourself in happiness and fluffy clouds, I can recommend the following thread, which has several hardnosed Suikomaniacs pleading their case. Then again, it also has a number of people who agree with those reviewers I mentioned, so who knows how much comfort it will actually be?

At any rate, if you liked III, what I have heard thus far seems to indicate that IV is similar to it, so you shouldn't be too disappointed, though I don't think you'll see an improvement.




THE TRICKERY OF SIMILARITY

Hey cast,

I decided to write a letter because you seem be not getting many or something, I dunno it was pretty un clear. (sarcasm)

Well anyway I am a stupid retard because I assumed KOTOR was an MMORPG. I got a Xbox and fable for Christmas, and fifteen hours later while pawing helplessly at KOTOR2 at blockbuster I decided to turn it over, to find out it was a one player stand alone RPG. I then immediately preceded to my local EB games to buy the original.(My local EBgames being in the same shopping center(How lucky am I?)) I have almost beaten KOTOR and plan to get the origional soon. Anyway, on to my QandA question, do you know of anhy rpg with the same style as kotor but that don't make me feel dorky for paying money for something star wars realated??

I'll always be ther for you when you need useless jabber and idiocy to fill up free space,
Joe


ANDREW

It's easy to imagine that you might have been tricked by KotOR into thinking it was an MMORPG, because it plays exactly like one in most respects, from item purchasing to its battle system to pretty much everything but the absence of six hundred other people prancing about doing exactly the same thing as you at once. As to avoiding the Star Wars dorkiness quotient, may I suggest: any MMORPG out there? They all play pretty similarly, and aside from the gratuitous monthly fees and the fact that many would tell you that MMORPGers are bigger dorks than Star Wars nuts, it's a pretty good substitution. I personally recommend World of Warcraft.

P.S- For bonus points, if you'd like to combine the dorkiness of Star Wars with the trollery of never leaving your basement, there's always Star Wars: Galaxies!




MMOMANIA

Heya, I have a few questions for you.

First of all, I tried FFXI awhile ago. At first I was psyched, it was shiny and new, but around 12th level I wanted to scream. It was a great idea but the implementation really needs improvement, The death xp penalty is frustrating, the monsters are out for blood, in a big way (I remember running from a goblin only to have it chase me for about 15 minutes through the entire area...it just wouldn't give up.) I am so glad that I didn't buy a Hard Drive and Network Adapter just for it. Don't get me wrong, there are some good things about FFXI I just couldn't handle the time investment, after dumping a full week into the game I came away feeling under rewarded.
ANDREW

Now, now. You don't have to kid yourself on my account.. I hate FFXI like pestilence!

So far I have heard only good things about WoW, but haven't had a chance to play yet. My question is this, Does Blizzard have what it takes to avoid the myriad of problems that FFXI has encountered? Spawn camping the big xp giving monsters, bug abuse, and other forms of jackassery are hard to combat. I have faith in Blizzard, they have created awesome products to date, but there are many problems assiciated with MMO development and,upkeep.
ANDREW

I'm happy to report that WoW takes pretty much every issue that I had with FFXI, stomps on it, pours gasoline on the remnants, sets them on fire, dumps the ashes into a vat of concrete, and then blows that up with dynamite while rocketing it directly into the sun. As far as those universal MMO problems, obviously you're always going to have to put up with the elements introduced by other players, but Blizzard has addressed the spawn-camping by creating instanced dungeons, which basically means that every person or party who enters a significant dungeon gets their own version of it, replete with personal big-monster of doom.

The jackassery, sadly, is unavoidable; I was once abandoned in one of those instances by bastards who claimed that I'd been taking all the items on rolls, despite the fact I got nothing. They left me to die, but I got the last laugh, because me and the other guy they cut off were the healers, and they ran smack into some raptors who were doing a very good job of tearing them to shreds as I was teleported out of the instance because I was no longer a member of their group. I love poetic justice!

With the recent and pending releases, we are in the middle of a flood of MMO's being brought to market. Which one do you think will will win out in the end(My money,..if I had any, would be on WoW)? FFXI and WoW all ready have a jump on titles such as Matrix, and Middle Earth Online, but both of these have humongous fanbases that could turn the tide.
ANDREW

Your money, if you had any, would probably be in the right place; WoW busted up sales and subscription records over the holidays, and its userbase has already exceeded 600,000, or 3 times Square's initial goal for FFXI subscribership.

This isn't really a question per say, but I figured I mights as well put it here anyways.I really enjoyed Nippon-Ichi's games so far, I played trough Rhapsody, La Pucelle, Disgaea, and Phantom Brave. But, playing Phantom Brave after Disgaea, was a little disapointing. I expecting the same twisted (But stupendously funny) humor. Instead they presented an almost sugary-sweet story. I didn't mind too much because of the stellar gameplay, but I hope Phantom Kingdom brings back the horse weiner (...In a stricty plutonic way.).

Anyway, thanks for your time, and may the coming weeks be filled with a cornucopia of questions.

-Toran


ANDREW

Thanks for sharing, Toran.




ERRATA

Hey Andrew, I've got questions for you.

1) Which do you prefer: Fire1, Fire2, Fire3 or Fire, Fira, Firaga? and
ANDREW

Call me old-fashioned, but Fire1 through Fire3, thank you very much. And would it kill them to put Omega Flare in things a little more often?

2) Who's in charge of FFXII since Sakaguchi no longer works for S-E?
Rob.


ANDREW

That would be the stalwart Development Division 4, aka the fourth-stringers that are pretty much all Square Enix has left from the Square side of things now that most of the main talent has wandered off in search of greener pastures. In charge of said division is Yasumi Matsuno, a fellow who is apparently very fond of 100-hour-long games for some reason. Now, I'm no time-serving punch-clock monkey, but it seems to me that 100 hours is just a slightly excessive amount of time to be spending on a game, even if it does end up being awesome. Granted, I spent more than that on FFX, but I can't help but feel nostalgic for the good old days when you could get through a FF game in under 40 hours.




NOW THAT'S DEDICATION!

Contains Breath of Fire II Spoilers

I took heart to what you said the other day, and i do love the Q&A panel so I decided to send in a letter.

I recently beat Breath of Fire II and i got the ending that i think is the best one, but there is one major plot hole I can't overlook. It has to do with the main characters sister.

Before you fight the main priest dude (sry i forgot his name) in front of the dragon in Gate, the priest says he needs to sacrifice someone from the dragon clan to open the seal, and he is going to use Patty (the bat-theif girl). I thought for sure that she had to be your sister then, because there aren't very many people that are members of the dragon clan in the world (not underground). Well before you fight the priest guy he throws Patty into the grass and you don't see her for the rest of the game.

Well then you pick whether or not to fight the demon underground and i chose to fight it. Then the dragon turns out to be your mom and she sacrifices herself to open the seal. Then later when you do the flashback where you control your mom, you are already born and your mother is pregnant, but then she goes and turns into the dragon. WHAT? Your sister wasn't even born yet and she turns into the dragon? How does that happen, and is Patty your sister or not?

Sorry for the length, but i do love the Q&A and read it every day of my life.


ANDREW

That's... puzzling. Having never played all the way through BoF II, I can't really tell you one way or the other what's up with that, although I can offer an educated guess based strictly upon videogame logic. You see, it follows that if your mother, in a game, becomes a dragon, then chances are each female relative in the line also possesses the ability to become a dragon. Herego, your sister was clearly born as a dragon after the fact and changed into a human so she could protect you in the absence of your mother.




UMM... I'll GIVE YOU THIS SLINGSHOT FOR YOUR WAGON!

Sup Andy,

So here's the scoop. I buy Koudelka from EBAY, beat it, order SH:C and get it with my free copy of SH. I play SH, beat it, then I'm kind of all SH out cause of playign the two games right in a row. So I decide to take a little break.

Then I get WoW. You'll probably laugh of something cause you're not into MMOs but I dig the game, I can't stop playing. I just bought Suikoden 4 (I loved the other three games, yes, even number 3, although 1 and 2 were superior) and Minish Cap, but who knows when I'll play them.
ANDREW

Laugh? Hardly! I'm just as addicted to it as you are!

I'm thinking I'll go Suikoden 4 first, then move onto SH:C. I know the reviews for Suikoden 4 are lukewarm (spelling?) at best, but whatever, it's Suikoden, therefore I play it. It's not like Final Fantasy that has become such a heaping pile of crap that I don't have any loyalty to the series anymore. It has yet to make a poor game in my humble opinion.

In order to acquire Suikoden 4 and Minish Cap, I stopped by the local Game Crazy with a bunch of used game to sell back. I would like to tell you, if you have any old GBA games you don't want anymore, bring them back. they hold their value VERY well.

Not sure about questions exactly. What RPGs have you gotten lately/are currently playing? What RPGs on the horizon do you look forward to? Hmm, kind of boring questions, but whatever, you wanted letters, you got one.

Gryphon


ANDREW

Boring or not, it's mildly different from the one I had yesterday, so I'll bite. I am currently playing Paper Mario 2 and World of Warcraft with some degree of seriousness, and FF:C, Shadow Hearts 2, Disgaea, Suikoden, and Star Ocean 2 with considerably less urgency. This is largely because Zeromus continues to defeat me. Hateful, hateful hardtype! As to looking to the future, to avoid inconsistency, I will repeat my answers from yesterday and go with DQVIII, FFXII, and FFIII. You may have given up hope on the FF series, but I liked X, so I'm still waiting for a game too terrible to continue.




THE RUMOURS: TRUE, UNFORTUNATELY

Well, since you seem to be in desperate need of letters...

I was wondering what type of battles your prefer in an RPG. There are the random encounters where you walk around and after so many steps or whatever you get into a fight, and then there are the mobs walking around that you can see and avoid if you want to.. Just curious which one you prefer. Most of the time, I think I prefer the random encounters for some reason. However, in Valkyrie Profile, it was fun to shoot the mobs with my ice beam thing and freeze them!
ANDREW

It really depends on how the game does it, to be honest. Random encounters tend to be my preference, but if done right, visible monsters such as those in CT or BoF V can be just as good. Basically, I like anything that's fun, which seems, all in all, pretty reasonable to me.

On that note, what do you think about the rumors of FFXII's battle system? From what I read, I think the mobs will be there for you to see, and when you encounter them, it's straight real-time? (Kind of like in Dark Cloud or FFXI?). If so, I don't think I will like that game much. I don't know what I'm going to do it all the new RPGs go real-time with the battle systems. It's hard to micro-manipulate and strategize that way.

Anyway.... Thanks for reading :)

Kelley


ANDREW

No problem :) I can unfortunately confirm those rumours for you, since my fellow staff members have in fact played, and been horrified by, the battle system in FFXII, which is pretty much exactly as you've described it.




WHAT'S IN A NAME

Hey!

This might seem like a stupid question - I thought it was, too, until I tried to answer it. I showed my aunt (who's only 5 years older than me) a trailer for Advent Children and she really wants to see it, so I was trying to catch her up on the story of FF7. As I'm explaining it, this conversation starts:

Aunt: Is that the one with the guy with scar on his face?
Me: No, that's 8.
Aunt: So what do the guys in 7 do in 8?
Me: Nothing, they're not connected.
Aunt: But they're both called Final Fantasy, so I thought they were sequels.
Me: Nope. The characters, planet, and story are all completely different.
Aunt: So why do they call them the same name?
Me: Um, 'cuz they're made by the same company and they're RPG's and they have Cid and chocobos.
Aunt: Huh?

Really, why is it? What started it? You can't say it's a name given to RPG's from Square, 'cuz they make more than that. Was it because it was the only RPG they made when it first started? Is it because the first one was a hit and they decided to make people think that number 2 was a sequel to get repeat business and it just sorta stuck? I even had one person (a gamer but not an RPGamer) tell me that XII looked cool but that he didn't want to have to play 1-11 first. Any thoughts/facts on the origin of the arguably most recognized name in RPG's?

Jo-Chan


ANDREW

The origin is simple enough, but the trend in naming them similarly probably stems from the fact that I and II were allegedly somehow related, though how remains a mystery to me. After that, you've hit on the answer already; name recognition sells in the video game world, and it's a heck of a lot easier to market a series of similarly-named RPGs than to market a group of differently named games that, while they may share certain similarities, are pretty much completely unalike. Granted, it's exactly the same thing, but at least putting it in a series gives us some consistency with the naming of items and junk, if nothing else.

Anyhow, many of the themes of the Final Fantasy titles are similar, from overall story construction to the actual battle systems to, of course, Cid and chocobos, so I think you've pretty much done all you can to explain it to your aunt. If she still doesn't believe you, have her sit down and play through a few of them. She'll get the idea after a while.




FEIGNED IGNORANCE, EH?

Tell me a story, Castomel!

I've had RPGamer as my browser start page since the last millenium, and it occurred to me that I never knew how the site started. There's no history page or anything explaining the origins of RPGamer. Who were the major players in creating the site? Are they still around? Did the site's readership spike suddenly or was it very gradual? Did RPGamer ever have any doom-filled moments of danger (ie. has the site ever been almost sued by anyone?).

Just curious after all these years,

KnightAV


ANDREW

For someone professing not to know anything about things, you sure do have our forefather's initials down pat. RPGamer began as such back in the heady days of 19dickety8. We had to say "dickety" because the Kaiser had stolen the zero...SO I goes after him in my fine striped suit, with an onion on the belt, as was the style at the time... And J.G. Rockefeller goes flyin' overhead, droppin' silver dollars from his zeppelin! And my ma, she says "Abe, run and get the bathtub!"

Where was I? Oh, right. RPGamer began as the UOSSHP, which was effectively a repository of FF and other Square-related midi files. Then it became square.net, which was different but pretty much the same. A petition/editorial later, Mikel took over, renamed it RPGamer, set up most of the fine sections you see here today, and declared awesomeness the official language. The rest, as they say, is history.

As to your other questions: Andrew Vestal was the original creator, but he quickly lost interest and went to form some crappy site for jerks, which begat this little.. thing and so on and so forth. He sold RPGamer to our current owner and no, there haven't really been any doom-filled moments of danger, aside from when our server went down in March of 2001 thanks to some...issues relating to certain shady characters, which I am not at liberty to discuss. As to the readership: gradual is the word, though there have been a couple of periods where it shot up sharply. Again, I'm not really sure I'm supposed to discuss this sort of thing, so if you're that curious, check Alexa.




THIS AGAIN?

So yeah hey Andrew/Goog/Someone,

I've never wrote in and I know you hear that alot but you know what your the one dying for letters here. And since you want anything....I had a choir performance last night....and I ate a burger...and maybe I should just throw in a question for good measure.

With Square's goof in making FF:CC (yeah that's right goof in controls, gameplay, story, etc.) how do you think the battle system in FFXII will work out? Because god forbid we get another CC.

~ DJ Nunya Business


ANDREW

Your prayers are answered, for the misery of FF:CC is not likely to be repeated. Regrettably, the torture that is FFXI will be. So sorry!





C L O S I N G
MINIONS:

For tomorrow, let us speak of many things, including but not limited to the upcoming Fullmetal Alchemist, the awfulness of FFXI, and cheese, sweet, delicious cheese! Can you tell I need breakfast? I know I can!

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long definitely smells a pork product of some description.


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Or I will once I get that bacon a 'frying.

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