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   Gieef Lives!  

Rob Hamilton - September 21 '02- 9:55 Eastern Standard Time

Who Gieef is, why people might be surprised by his living, and what horrible events he will effect: these are questions I am as yet unable to answer. We are investigating this Gieef, that is all that need be known.

The bulk of questions I recieve always seems to go up from Friday's column to Saturday's column. (That is, the questions sent on Thursday are always fewer than those sent on Friday.) Interesting! Possibly insignificant, but interesting. Today's batch is good, says I.

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Random nonsense!
Not Drawings of Chimerasame

Too much plot and not enough story! - Sam Goldwyn

Hello Chim,

It seems like lately that there's been a lot of complaint about the difficulty level of RPGs recently. It truly is a valid point, especially as they grow more and more story based. As I've watched the field progress I've noticed that it's not the overall difficulty of the games that have changed, but the everyday combat parts that have grown easier. I can easily think back to early Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy 1, where the only thing that separated you from very difficult parts of the game were exponentially harder monsters. If a normal monster can kill you easily, then you really have to pay attention to battle. If you increase difficulty and reduce amount of combat somewhat, it would easily make the game more difficult without a huge annoyance factor (or just some stupid boss who is way to overpowered for the section). In the end its not the single bosses or the puzzles that make a game difficult, that just makes it annoying. But if you feel that survivors instinct every random battle, just hoping that you can possibly make it to that next save point, low on magic and items, you've achieved something more than <yawn> 'should I save? Well might as well, finished this area off after all.' While older games were notorious for building up necessity, making random battles difficult make you have to choose whether or not you should press on or level up. If you like fighting with overpowered guys and spending hours leveling up, the choice is up to you. If you like to press your odds, try to make a run through an area you really, really, don't belong in. I know this isn't a new idea, but I wish it hadn't been shelved as badly as it has in recent years. Cheers,

Mark

p.s. I've actually been really impressed with the difficulty of early Kingdom Hearts on the expert setting. Haven't died this many times in years. Funny that that would make me happy.

Rob:
While there are some people, yourself included, who might enjoy a good challenge in each random battle, there are quite a few people who'd just as soon coast through--largely because of what you mentioned: games are now more story-based. With those earliest games you mentioned, the plot was no amazing tale of suspense and intrigue, but each battle could be quite suspenseful and intriguing (at least until you've been "challenged" by the same monster or set of monsters so many times it's not interesting anymore.)

All things considered, I'm not entirely sure of the worth of plot in an RPG in general. It's odd to say that, because among other things, one of the reasons I thought I preferred the RPG style was their inclusion of plot. Recently, though, I've been thinking that such low-plot games as Might and Magic V were quite fun to play. Conversely, some high-plot games like Xenogears, though the story was amazing, could be downright boring when the gameplay got stale (which was often).

 
Comment and Correction

Hi,

Thanks for straightening that out for me, I think I was trying to pronounce it could-elk-ah or could-del-ka but at first it was more like coulg-del-ka but it was really screwing with my mind. Now I can sleep at night and not sound like an idiot when I try to buy the game. (right now I'm playing Shadow Hearts and she shows up in there)

~Silversol

Rob:
Actually, I was slightly off on this. It seems that it's Koo-del-kah, not Koh-del-kah. Of course, when you get the game, it'll be pronounced for you--many times, I believe. I haven't played it, myself, I still have Valkyrie Profile hanging over my head, and a mysterious lack of a PlayStation power cord.

 
Questions of Music

Well I'm back again and this might take awhile. First of all I have one of the numerous Cowboy Bebop soundtrack cd's, and it is awesome.The cd I do have is borrowed but I saw all of the Cowboy Bebop soundtracks, I think there are four of them, at 2002 anime expo; and I was going to buy one but I had very little money and each one was at lowest 36$! So why are they so expensive?

Second, why is it the death of Aeris touched everyone so much where other games failed? I played Lufia 2 before FF7 and the end of Lufia 2 was a little sad, but FF7 made me down right depressed. Aside from FF7 being a better game on probably every level why is it only FF7 seemed to touch everyone? Thanks!

-AlbinoMonkeyKing

Rob:
CDs imported from Japan are expensive for three reasons.

  1. Everything from Japan is expensive. There are a few random exceptions, such as batteries.
  2. They were imported. This adds cost.
  3. People are willing to pay these prices.
One thing about anime conventions is that it's often possible to haggle things' prices in the dealer's room. I'm not great at it, myself. The process requires both an interest in anime, and a lot of charisma--stereotypically, these things don't overlap much! (Don't get me wrong, I know plenty of stereotype-defying individuals.)

Well, I don't think FF7 is a better game on every level, or even most levels, than Lufia 2. However, it was certainly a lot more successful--this is probably due to the innovation of the 3-d polygonal RPG style, the mainstream audience's love of graphics, and perhaps marketing and the Square name. Apart from that, though, the reason FF7's death scene was "touching" was largely the cinematics and the music. Lufia 2 had a lot of things going for it, but its music was restricted with its system, the SNES. A few games, like FF6 and Chrono Trigger, really pushed the SNES's limits on music with their creativity, but Lufia 2 didn't have this--one of vary few failings in the game, in my opinion.

 
Points about Experience

Hey chimera.

I hope we can put a stop to this silly exp debate right now. The way I see it. If someone LIKES to build of levels and awe inspiring power, let them. Thats how they enjoy playing games. If on the otherhand, you like well paced challenge, just fight random enemies between you and bosses, and enjoy the challenge of a non-leveled up fight. The beauty of the exp system, is it allows the choice. And if you dont have the willpower to avoid level up fighting to get the challenge you want thats your problem, not the games'.

My personal feelings, are that it is VERY irritating when a game tries to "keep" me at a certain power level by overtly preventing me from gaining experience. Vandal Hearts was a perfect example of this. If I want power let me have it! Exp lets every gamer enjoy the difficulty they want.

-Doug

Rob:
I agree, for the most part. More than I like to see rewards for diligence in exp-gaining, though, I like to see rewards for ingenuity. I appreciate it when a game throws in a few things that you're not supposed to do early, but you can, such as getting Futch and Humphrey in Suikoden 2, or modding a bunch of tents into Curagas and then hp-junctioning them in FF8. I'm not much for mindless battles. I'm the sort who actually tries to find a way to make them really mindless. Fear my ascii pad, Lete River denizens! Watch out, random monsters immediately south of Bonro and/or Telaine, whose inns are directly above the town exits!

 
Experience Counterpoints

Chimerasame,

I just have a few things to say about the EXP debate, if that's okay.

I thought of a way to prevent overly powerful characters at a given point in the game: level caps. Oddly, Brave Fencer Musashi (remember that game) did this rather well, prevent good ol' Musashi from getting to, say, level 30 (the highest level) in the second chapter. BFM /was/ divided into chapters, so it was easier to see when you could increase beyond your level cap, and this might be slightly harder to implement in a normal RPG.

Unless...Sorry, thinking on my feet here. Someone yesterday...or at some point, brought up the idea of using items to gain levels, which, to be frank, doesn't work. But what if...the player had to find an item to increase the level cap. Or had to find someone willing to train them (and only if they were powerful enough in a given ability) to increase their level cap. It would be somewhat realistic. "I've been pumping weights and crushing monsters of months now, but I'm just not getting any stronger." "Well, that's because you need to refine your techinque, kid. I can give you a few pointers, if you want." "Cool!"

I don't know. Like I said, just thinking on my feet.

Phoenix

Rob:
Level caps seem kind of odd. "You can't become more powerful because you're not supposed to yet!" I would prefer the existing system used in most games, in which it takes more and more experience to gain each level. (Or the variation found in Suikoden, and others: as you gain levels, weak monsters give less and less experience.)

The idea of requiring NPC help seems halfway reasonable, though. It's much more explainable than a level cap that simply rises with the passage of plot points.

 
...Though, it wouldn't surprise me if he were a factory-made clone.

Dear Chimerasame,

First off I just bought Kingdom hearts and I had to ask a question that's been bothering me for a while. Do you think that Cloud stole Vincent Valentine's role in it? I mean it was probably written for vince, but they had no place for cloud. So they replaced Vince with cloud. What do you think?

Further unto KH, do you think it was a wise idea for Sephiroth's voice to be played by..... Lance Bass?

Okay, lastly besides KH I also bought PE2, wild arms, Vampire hunter D, and Legend of Mana. (I had a surplus of cash) What order do you suggest that I play them in?

Rob:
Eh, it doesn't seem too likely that they'd write a part for Vincent. I mean, Cloud is popular, that's why he's there. Then again, I haven't gotten the chance to play yet, so I could be wrong--if Cloud is sleeping in coffins, mumbling about Lucretia, and has rage-style transformation attacks, then you are likely correct!

I want to see someone do a good photoshop job of Lance Bass stabbing Mandy Moore in the back with a big sword. C'mon, people! I challenge YOU!

PE2? Hm, hm, interesting. I'd play Wild Arms, LoM, VHD, then.. play LoM again, and Wild Arms, then LoM a third time--see if you can beat it on No Future! Keep playing LoM. Go back to some old SNES games. Did you ever play SMRPG? That game owned! LoM some more, maybe SoM and SD3 to accompany the LoM experience. Then you might want to get around to PE2.



Quickies

Lance Bass as Sephiroth? <font=sakura kinomoto>HOEEEEEEEEEEEE???!?!?!?</font> Another reason to run away screaming for me. Card Captor Ribby

The Sakura Kinomoto font doesn't seem to show up on my system. I think the American producers tried to pre-empt its importance with the male lead. *mutters words of annoyance with American television's renditions of anime*

That is incorrect. Pushing is the answer. Pushing will protect you from the terrible secret of space.

Do not trust the shover robot. Shoving will protect you. Stand at the top of your stairs so I can protect you from the terrible secret of space.

NO
Pushing is the answer
Pushing will protect you from the terrible secret of space

Glass Onion

You know, I never got why the pusher robot shoves, and the shover robot pushes. These guys have terminology problems!

Greetings (Misaki Matsuya sings with fanservice shots) Wait a minute, you said my full name Moggy (blasts Imperial Mog with a laser gun)
I'm not sure and wonder if you know, how much would it cost me to get to Anime Central? I need to know since I need money badly and have a hard time finding a job. Am I the only one who wonders why do they spell it SeeD's in FF8 and why is the last letter capitalized? Am I the only one who would love RPG outtakes where certain scenes are messed up. Actually I am making a call for people to send me silly RPG pictures showing scenes that didn't make the final cut in a silly, sick, or strange way.
Imperial Mog

It's hard to say how much that would cost without first knowing where you live. The convention is in Chicago, so add the price of a hotel room (About $180 for two nights, divided by how many people share it) to the price of the convention (roughly $40 or so), and however much you plan to pay for food and/or dealer's room merchandise, to the price for a round-trip plane ticket from wherever you live to the Windy City.

Actually, I don't need to specify round-trip, probably. Round trip tickets seem to be cheaper than one-way, these days, for reasons I fail to understand.

Chiming out:

Is there any good reason that clerics should have the Divine Power spell? It removes all disadvantage of having a lower attack progression and hit dice than warriors. On top of that, there's Righteous Might and Divine Favor. Between them, it's easy to get a net +10 or more to your attack roll, not to mention damage. If you have a decent charisma, you can invoke the feat Divine Might as well, and really start tearing up the place. Gorath's charisma is only 14, so he hasn't been too concerned with Divine Might--but man, the rest of that stuff has been amazing!

chime "Sue itchy guys, uh-huh~ Ohoemi Kureta~" @rpgamer.com

Colin Mochrie will RULE THE WORLD!

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