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   Timely coincidences  
Mistress Nightshadow, Mistress of Illusion - February 6 '01- 18:00 Australian Eastern Standard Time

Ok, well, what happened was I was at the beach playing beach volleyball during my summer holiday when suddenly the boss rang up to tell me that I was scheduled for Q&A. Coincidently, I saw a lot of clouds form up above just as I was told that I was to do Q&A. Now is it me, or is someone influencing things here? Maybe someone's been influencing nature to make sure I don't think of doing anything else for the day. I'd just like to say that I REALLY didn't need that extra motivation, I'd have gone anyway. :P

Oh, and for our next guest host, you might want to bombard him with questions about mac orientated games, or you can just bug him over his artistic ability, cause he knows a fair bit on both. So all you mac lovers [or PC RPGamers with games ported to macs] it's your chance to ask away. ;)

Anyway, here's the column... have fun!

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In the PC:
Diablo 2
Is it me, or does Diablo run like a dog?
How to get online to play PSO
For Christ Sake! I was all hyped about PSO, but then I went to SEGA and found out that SEGANET is gonna caost me 21 bucks a month!? Uh..do you have to be part of SEGA to play PSO, or whats the deal? I am not really internet smart..and am uh..whats that word..stupid? so could you explain the downlow on what needs to go down in order for me to play PSO?

(Me got my sweet 56 modem and AOL...will that be sufficient in its own?)

Mistress Nightshadow:
Um, I like to point certain things out at this point... Firstly, you don't need seganet to get your DC online, as far as I know, although you can. But you DO need a connection which doesn't require some sort of program [You wouldn't be able to use AOL] or require really unusual [for an ISP] setups. Same would apply for broadband I believe.

Basically, get PSO, a Dreamcast, and a net connection. Configure the connection to your Dreamcast then connect. But remember that once you connect, you won't be able to refund your copy of PSO. It has a security system like Diablo 2's CD key, except you can't erase it from the system, hence making that copy useless to someone else. So make sure you want it. If you didn't like Diablo 2, don't get near it with a 30 foot pole. [Sorry, I'm a D2 nut, and it's the only example which would be close to PSO I can think of.]

For all those broadband people...

Mistress Nightshadow,
I use cox@home, and I have a BBA and PSO. So, basically, I was overjoyed when I saw Googleshng's ingenious solution. I go out, rent Quake 3: Arena, and come home and try what he said. After configuring my BBA via Quake 3 (and subsequently playing), I stick PSO into the Dreamcast and choose to play online. It gives me the same old message "Phantasy Star Online does not support BroadBand".

"What the hell?" ,I say to myself, "but the almighty Goog says it can!!!". So, I now figure that I must have missed one key step in there. I would appreciate it if anyone can help me out, or if Google can go into a little more detail on what exactly he did, and what his ISP and cable modem are like. Thanks a lot for any help.

-XenoFreak

P.S. Why the heck couldn't Sega just have supported the BBA??? Or at least posted a solution so that people can use it if they want.

Mistress Nightshadow:
Um... I wouldn't know myself as I don't own a DC, and the Broadband Adaptor will not be released here so I can't answer this question, but I can certify that Googleshng DID get it online. [In fact he's playing it on his cable as I'm writing this now] and there's an FAQ on how to do it with the PSO import at RPGuides.

Unfortunately, Googleshng is playing PSO now, and I can't pry him off long enough to give me an answer. But the RPGuides' submission is the most informative document I've seen currently.

As for Sega, well, business-wise they haven't been the smartest of the bunch when it came down to it. And it's easier to say "We said it wouldn't work, so we have nothing to do with it if something bad happens." instead of answering half a million more tech calls by people confused as to how to get around PSO's limitation.

 
Make sure you don't overlook other games too!
All hail Mistress Nightshadow! Greetings, I have few questions for you. Have you played Skies Of Arcadia AND FF9? Is so, which do YOU think is better? I think SOA blows FF9 away. Do you think I will go to RPG hell when I die because I played Saga Frontier and loved it? I certainly hope not. That's all of them. Thanks for your time.

Mistress Nightshadow:
Hmm... actually, technically speaking I haven't played either [My FF9 copy I was sent has wandered off somewhere and I can't find it as of yet] but from what I've read [And yes Skies of Acaradia will never see Australian shores.] SoA is something very different. If it's better or not is hard to say, depends if you like a fair change from the norm or not. Read the reviews at Points of View if you're in need of more help.

You sound like you WANT me to condemn you for liking SaGa Frontier. I hear it's bad, but if you're REALLY wanting to be condemned, go play Secret of the Stars on the SNES. Then you can raise your head and say you deserve to be condemned to RPG hell, [Trust me, it is weird, and it's bad to the point of making you feel sick. And yes, I have played it and finished it. ^^;] and if you LIKE that game, I think you should bid for Satan's job. :P

 
A multi-system letter.
Hey MN. Like most people writing in for the first time, I feel obligated to tell you that I am a long-time reader and a first-time writer. But anyways, let's get to the main questions of this letter, shall we?

1. I am disturbed by all this recent bad news about the Dreamcast. I just bought mine (before it dropped to the $99 price tag, argh), and now I'm afraid I'm going to have to turn back around and sell it again. I mean, as far as RPGs go, Skies of Arcadia and Grandia 2 are great, but they're not good enough to make me keep my system. So I guess my question is, should I be worried by all of this news? What's to come of my newly-unwrapped DC?

2. I'm not sure whether you have played it or not, but is Phantasy Star Online worth getting? I'm not terribly familiar with the series, and I don't (as of yet) have any way to browse the Internet with my DC.

3. Why does it seem that FFXI is going to suck horribly? I can understand how Square is trying to incorporate the whole "teamwork" aspect of things, but c'mon. It seems to me that Square is trying to make a MMORPG, not the type of RPG that you can just sit down and savor by yourself.

4. Maybe I'm not seeing something here, but what's getting people so damn excited about the Game Boy Advance? I mean, c'mon, I have a high amount of faith in Nintendo, and I'm sure the GBA and GameCube will sell quite well just from the specs alone, but I don't see why everyone is looking at everything through rose-colored glasses. Not to mention the fact that the Big N made a serious blunder with that Square deal, in my opinion.

Well, thanks for listening, hope you get plenty of letters today. :)

~~James

Mistress Nightshadow:
Well, firstly, I saw the release list for the DC, and I counted quite a few games. Although they're abandoning the DC, it doesn't mean they decided to stop releases altogether. There's still quite a lineup left to go, and there's always PSO.

And if PSO is worth it is depending on if you like games such as Diablo 2, except from a first-person view, except with up to 3 partners instead of 7. The storyline is... well, kinda basic, but it works. It's definitely a Phantasy Star game though. If you played the series, you'll see many references to them all.

As for Square? I think they're trying to tap into the Online market, [hopefully for them] similiar to PSO's successes. Which I might add was probably brought to their attention by Diablo 2, which is a game with online support which can be played and finished on its own, but you can drag your friends into it. [Although in PSO's case, rather hard to finish solo.]

I personally think that's the way it'll go in the future for most RPGs for companies with a desire for making an RPG with online support, unless they're looking for the massively online versions. [like Ultima Online and Everquest]. Honestly though, it's still a bit early which model Square is going to adapt, so wait and see for a bit.

Ahh, the Gameboy Advance. Well, it IS the most advanced hand held around currently. [The portable Neogeo and the Wonderswan are behind that.] And of course it's 32 bit, which [theoritically] allows for Snes ports. If this fails [near impossible, considering Nintendo's near perfect domination of the portable market], it's highly likely that the whole portable industry will collapse.

As for the big push and shove between Square and Nintendo, you have to keep in mind that Nintendo's director is probably very familar [and I suspect] practices some parts of the 'old' Japanese culture, specifically loyalty. You rake it in if you're loyal to your company or partner, but you break ranks without reason, don't expect any mercy if you want to come back to the 'fold' at a later date. Sounds stupid, and it's pretty archaric stuff, but that's Japan for you. It's a pride thing.

 
You wanted to know MORE on PSO?
Could you give me a little basic info on Phantasy Star Online as far as gameplay, characters, battle system, and overall high and low points? Thanks.

-Sailor V

Mistress Nightshadow:
Ok, basically it's a action RPG similar to Zelda, except you can create specific classes which have different sets of abilites, stats, and weapon choice. [Similar to Diablo 2, except you can REALLY customise your character's appearence.] The battle system is real-time, with a Zelda feel [behind first person view] where you whack buttons to attack people and all. Spells have to be bought or found, and you got a little robot which you can feed for various results.

The good points of this game is that although it's supposedly online, you can play it offline as well, it does have a story, and it definitely has an ending. It also has a definitely secure server and is mostly anti-cheating [Well, no one's managed to make a program which can find and hack PSO characters that can be stored on a Dreamcast VMU yet] and it's just fun when you drag 3 of your friends and kick some monster, or you can play with 3 strangers across the globe and enjoy it too, since in it's in your vital interests to keep them alive for your survival. From what I hear, it seems that it's normal for PSO players to be nice, compared to other online games like the Diablo 2 Realms (Yes there are nice people in Diablo 2, but you do run into lamers who are intent on killing people starting up just for no particular reason.). Oh, and the graphics aren't a slouch either. :P

Low points? Well, it's essentially like Diablo 2. You won't find an absolutely in depth plotline, shops are graded to your level [and I think you need a certain level and/or requirements to equip items] so you can't get a super-character at level 1 by transferring items from one to another, and you can't beat each other up in a duel or something. (Although that last point being seen as bad is debatable.)

It works in essence like Diablo 2, with quite a few modifications. It's certainly appealing to me... but I probably will never see it.

 
He's so confident...
Hey MN, noticed you were hosting the Q&A section for today, and I decided that I had the time to write you a few questions.

1. Whatever happened to these rumors of the CT with anime coming to the States?
2. Why the heck did I ask you about an American game being brought over if you're in Australia?
3. Do you play any games online? RPGs? FPSs?
4. How are you today?
5. Whatever happened to the conceptual style used for FF6 and FF5? Those were just awesome looking. I try drawing things like that and they look like crap. I need more references. (Yes, I do know Vampire Hunter D had similar conceptual art.)

Well, I'm out of questions. But I'll be back soon enough. After all, a Q&A guest spot is one of the prizes for winning the Editorial Contest.

Ender

Mistress Nightshadow:
1. We'll just have to wait and see if these rumours are substantical, or it's a load of air by a bunch of fans who REALLY want the game. I'd be inclined to say the latter myself, because it would have been better if they released it before Chrono Cross, due to the hype around it. But anything can happen I guess.

2. Well, actually I'm assigned to do Australian news as well as Editorials and um... well, just to say, they closed the post down due to lack of activity, so I end up following US news. So you probably asked me cause I'm supposed to know.

3. I happen to like Diablo 2 and Counterstrike [If you didn't know about CS by now, you haven't been reading eds. :P] and I haunt the USwest server for D2, and play at random servers for CS.

4. I missed out on having my daily suntan cause of Q&A and it started raining. Coincidence? I'm not sure. But I'm fine, if a little put out.

5. Hmm... well Amano did do FF9 as well, so you could look at FF9 art to give you more references. Also, you might want to go to http://www.amanosworld.com as it has some more of his work.

And just a quick thought. "It ain't over till it's over." You'll all find out sometime... that day being after the 15th. ;)

 
 
You take some, you give some.
Miss Nightshadow, I had a couple of comments/questions, and help for the one guy with the FF9 problem, okey-dokey?

When that thing uses his mustard-bomb attack, make sure all of your characters have -Body Temp- equipped. Then they won't die when they do something when their hot, and things that crush them when their cold won't kill them either. Or if they don't know body temp, and the thing makes them hot or cold, just don't give them commands, skip over them, and in a couple of seconds, they will be fine :-)

And the guy who was talking about the Akira Toriyama art, the people from Dragon Warrior games look like em' too. Except I think the main guy has a cape or wears a hat or something.

So, on to my Q's:

1) Have they set a date for DDR yet?? I want that SO bad!!!
2) Were the remakes for FF4-6 for the PSX, or the Gameboy? I'll be mad if their not for my PSX, cause 4+6 are like my faves!!!

-----Kitty ^_^

Mistress Nightshadow:
There you have it, the extra help if you still need it. As for the questions...

1.Um, I wouldn't know about DDR [Dance Dance revolution] but it does look good.

2. The remakes were released for the PSX, but Final Fantasy V and VI were the only ones released for the US version. If you wanted IV, you have to get the Japanese version. Note there were ideas suggested that Square wanted to work on a GBA re-release of FFIV-VI, but apparently Nintendo flatlined any hope of that.

Quickies

MN,

So. Are you allowed to say which editorial is in the lead?

-Red Raven


Let me see...

*looks in her suitcase after going through 42 security checks and passwords*

Sorry, that's classified information.

*looks at the rest of the file*

I can tell you though that no ed is THAT close to perfect yet though. Isn't a game and a chance to guest host here enough to tempt you to enter or something? :P

Hey (monks sing) MIS-TRESS NIGHT-SHA-DOW I was noticing on the editorials for the last 3 years one topic consistantly keeps showing up and we all know what it is. The old school, new school debate. I just have to say this to everyone, "shut up and just enjoy the games." I'm sick of the debates which are so anal retentive it's just silly.

A good way is to have the debate as a new segment I have an idea for which is based on one of my favorite type of programs, "political talk shows". There they have a liberal and a conservitive talk the issues and have guests, on this idea we have the two ideas of thought in the RPG world. We have an old-schooler and a new-schooler talk about issues and things in the world of RPG's.

Imperial Mog

Imperial Mog, if you did that, we'd be out of topics in next to no time. Anyway, editorials aren't EXCLUSIVELY about "old" and "new" school bickering, we do get constructive. Like FF7 ending debates, difficulty, spoilers and games themselves.

anyway, there's a couple of little problems with that idea...

1. I don't happen to have enough money to host a TV talk show.
2. There's no real 'perfect' outlook on the "old" and "new" schools, so I'd be holding them week in and week out because of challenges.
3. It'd turn out like Jerry Springer after a short while, with fistfights, revelations and sneering. Ok, not bad for ratings if it was on a network, but I'd like a little more in terms of morals and relatively intelligent conversation.

Heya MN, Just wondering what your thoughts were on the current Dreamcast situation. Do you think there are enough games out to justify buying one? Will you buy one? The world is waiting for your answer...

--Rico, proudly annoying Mistress Nightshadow since 2000

There's 20 or so releases still scheduled for this year. After that, it depends on if Sega sees it as a viable option to release on it. But with quite a few RPGs on the DC in America and some still to come, and several other non-rpgs games worth looking at, I'd certainly keep an eye on it. The price is pretty low, so considering it isn't a bad idea.

And I won't personally buy one cause the Australian DC has no support to begin with. Now quit annoying me. :P

Xenogears spoiler.
Hello Mistress Nightshadow,

I have stumbled upon yet another little piece of info on Xenogears that makes the game .0000006% easier to understand. When you meet Elly in the forest and you have that dream where Fei is a little kid and he's in the middle of the desert and Elly helps him. Well, that's Fei's very first life as the only Eldridge survivor. And those weird egg-headed people are the Gazel Ministry. AND I can prove this cause it's all on page 158-159 of Xenogears Perfect Works: The Real Thing. Another small little confusing piece of Xenogology.

-Radrisol-

Is Xenogears REALLY that deep? Why didn't they release Xenogears in PAL? ;.; [And anyone who dares answer why is asking for it. :P]

Hey, I have a rhetorical question for you. Wait, rhetorical means question with no answer, right?..........yeah, OK, rhetorical.

What has a better chance of happening?
1) Xenogears 2 (heard the team broke up, mediocre sales, cult hit)
2) Final Fantasy Tactics 2 (same thing as Xenogears, but getting re-released?!?!)
3) Sequel to FF 4,6,7 (I'd love a sequel with the same characters, and it seems like Square is all about the benjamins (yeah) now, so maybe.....)

So there you have it, give me your honest opinion, i can take it. Now, off to play Xenogears.....

Mino

It's a rhetorical question. I won't answer it.

But to EVERYONE else who's listening, this is my take on his rhetorical question, which he wants to answer himself. [My advice to Mino: Don't read the next bit. It's a spoiler. :P]

The first two are impossible, cause of what he said [no team willing to work on it, and no smashing success means no sequels]. The sequels for FF IV, VI and VII wouldn't make much sense, or you'd have to be awfully good of spinning up plots that don't look tacky. Basically they're all standing on a 0% chance.

Ahh, sweet Nightshadow, let me sleep upon your soft bosom....
And while we're on the subject, would you try these on? (holds out a black lace bra)

~Happosai
"I can't train a girl!"

*Draws out her flare gun*

Can you repeat that... wait a second, how did you know I was...

...

Get BACK here!

The Last LaughWord:

I have a certain slime knocking on my door demanding I inform the public about the fact that he has a new rant up at his homepage. It can be found at http://chrysm.dhs.org/~googleshng/

But you all got it bookmarked already right? Go on, read what the slime has to say!

Anyway, this was a whole load of fun, and I wouldn't hesistate doing this again, and I got a heap of letters. I just don't need whatever up there to shove me to do it. Oh yes, our next set of guest hosts include Merripen for tomorrow (Who starred briefly in this column) and Chimerasame who you should know somewhat will be taking along a couple of guest hosts, one being JWH who sold his so... er, charitably gave a game away for his fame. If you want to be next, you'd have to find Snatcher on Sega CD or an imported copy of Persona 2: Innocent sin and want to part with it.

The other I'm told should be one of my regular writers at editorials who now happens to work here. It's not definite, but hopefully she'll be here for her first very public appearence.

Well, that wraps up this column. Now treat our shy shadow with care, (Don't, whatever you do, let him near a set of matches. He's a silly thing.) and be nice to Chimerasame. (Don't feed the wrong head!) Now I'll catch you in editorials, with some good eds later this week.

Remember to enter the editorials competition [With a free game and a chance to guest host with Cheshire Catalyst what are you waiting for? ;)], and make sure you read the rules before you enter, Ok?

Just a thought.






Mistress "Hey, I wanted a suntan!" Nightshadow@rpgamer.com
I wanna copy of PSO as well... ;.;


I should also turn off my pager... but work's so fun!

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