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   and Jaraph one last time  
Googleshng - January 25 '02- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

Mint.

Jaraph: Wow, a third week...I guess MLK day had more of an effect on the US postal system than I would have guessed. In any case, I have accepted an offer of Tactics Ogre, and it's been in the mail for a couple of days now, so by tonight or tomorrow I should be eating my tactics-loving heart out. I guess there isn't much else to say, so onward we plow.

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Levels

To the assorted beings answering this letter, one of which might be human and the other one of which might be something you'd find in the pipes underneath your toilet:
Why would people brag about leveling to max in an RPG, when all it amounts to is how much time you've spent leveling up on it? I can see bragging about pulling a 60,000-point combo on THPS2 or winning a Godlike Deathmatch on UT, since both rely on skill and reflexes, but where is the fun in leveling up to astronimical power, since the main thing influencing that is the amount of time you pour into it?
Speaking of which, why does strategy and difficulty in so many RPGs amount to "level up until you can beat them"? I've read your comments on that Hirogashi-whachamacallit[sic] game, and I find something disturbing about a game where the main strategy is building up XP for a couple hours. (Sure, it was acceptable in earlier times, but today?) Surely RPG developers can churn out more games where winning is more a matter of strategy than level-building? Any such games that you know of?
Finally, what is the funniest way that one of your characters has died? My personal one would have to be when my B-TECH battle armor overheated, turning me Well Done.

-Mike Lemmer
"Die, Commie scum!" *zap zap zap*

P.S.Today's strange piece of trivia: In which RPG can you kill off Harry the Bunny Master in an Agriculture Dome?

Jaraph:
I *might* be human? Strange how merely co-hosting with someone who's gender/species is murky can bring one's own chemical makeup under suspicion. I'm afraid I have to disagree with your "all it amounts to" comments about leveling up. First of all, just because it doesn't require great hand-eye feats doesn't mean it's nothing. Sometimes being able to make yourself just sit there and level-build is quite a challenge (see Dragon Warrior). Second, character development is one of the main points of role-playing. Seeing your little sprite grow to demi-god like levels of power is just plain fun. This is true especially for games with cool class systems like DQVII and FFT. Oh, and I don't think goog was suggesting that you should just level-build your way through Hoshigami. It was merely offered as an option. As for RPGs you can't just level-build your way through, there's Brigandine, for one. Ogre Battle, as well, if you want to have even a half-way decent ending. As for funny deaths, I always thought Aeris's was pretty amusing...

Googleshng:
Here's my philosophy. Games should either A- Have fun complex ability trees to advance at your leisure, like FFT and DW7, or B- Not have an experience system at all and just concentrate on things like challenge. Of course, games where experience is a limitted resource can be interesting too.

 
OSC

Heya Google and Jaraph *bows*,

Simple questions, not so simple answers...well, some might be, but anyway (oh, and Jaraph, if you haven't read these books, read them. For this question, just insert some other Science Fiction books ^__^):

1. Which of O. S. Card's books did you enjoy the most?

2. Which series did you think was better? The original saga, or Ender GAIDEN (aka the Bean stories)?

3. Know when he's going to put out another Ender (or should I say Bean) book? He needs too, or I'll have to read his other books...oh wait, that's not a bad idea.

4. RPG related: You've held back on your "snide comments" (as you've said yourself) about FFXI. I want to hear them. Now. ^_^

5. That praise letter you got today (1-24) set my mind a buzzing. I know there are readers and contributors to the column that have been around since Brad, and some since Thor....but am I the only one left that remembers Q&AK? (Andrew Kaufmann, in other words) *grumble*

Ok, I'm done.

Jaraph:
Wow, google suggested being polite, but I don't think I'm worthy of a bow. As you correctly guessed, I have indeed failed to read the mentioned selections, so I'll allow my much-informed co-host to field those Qs. As far as Final Fantasy XI, I will say this: I've played and loved every single Final Fantasy, including IIIj and VIII. However, I will never, ever play FFXI. MMORPGs just don't offer what I consider to be a real RPG experience. While I do enjoy chatting with 'the guys' online, I don't need to buy a $50+ dollar game *and* pay a monthly fee to do it. Oh, and I'm much more of a newbie than you, it would seem. The faithful g has been doing Q&A all the time I've been around.

Googleshng:
Ender's Game is a very good book. Ender's Shadow is a very good book. The sequels to both are good except for that nasty little habit of chopping off the last chapter and turning it into yet another book. So, the next book will be out once all but the last chapter is finished.

Don't remember the context of the FF11 thing, but here goes. I don't like MMORPGs to begin with. In practical terms, they honestly don't offer any advantages over playing a paper RPG with a bunch of friends, or pulling out Secret of Mana and a multi-tap. And that's the high end of the spectrum. There's a few added perks to those too that a MMORPG can never achieve. Like having a GM there to change the world on the fly to suit your needs. Then of course there's the added problems of MMORPGs. Online problems: Lag, bugs, random illiterate losers from AOL, people who hunt newbies for sport, etc. Financial problems: Paying monthly fees, and STILL having to buy expansions occassionally. And then of course the problem that the game keeps going on while you aren't playing, so every second you're not in the game you're falling behind the pack in experience, and paying for a game you aren't playing.

FF11 compounds these problems by being on a console, which adds more restrictions than I'd care to delve into to the experience. More importantly, there's the concept. The FF games are not linked by a common setting. They are linked by common proper nouns (which don't really translate too well into a multiplayer environment), and common game mechanics and special effects, which flat out don't work at ALL in that sort of environment. Consider that in each FF game there is a spell whose special effects destroy the earth. Consider how often this would be cast if you had 5000 people running around with it. You'd get seasick. So, naturally, those would have to get more or less thrown out. Plus the FF series is famous for linear character driven plots, which don't work in this context either. So, honestly, the only thing remotely FF like about the whole experience would be the names of classes, which are used by about 50 billion other online RPGs I'm sure.

Oh, and for the record, I've read every Q&A column ever posted on this site, and wrote in quite often before getting this job. Although come to think of it, when I wrote in it was almost always to correct the host...

 
When When When?

hiya

do you know when konamis suikoden 3 and yu-gi-oh duel monsters will be released in the u.k.

Dafydd

Jaraph:
Hiya (Rho? Bren? Ma?), I've admittedly not been much of a Suikoden fan thus far, but III does look cool. As far as I know, though, there isn't even a US release date yet, beyond the ambiguous '2002.' As for yu-gi-oh, I think I heard March 18 or somewhere around there. Oh, and speaking of Konami games, does anyone remember that code that you used to be able to use on all the old Konami games? Sweet memories of yore...

Googleshng:
No I don't. European release dates are nearly impossible to find, most often because they do not actually exist. When they do pop up though, we DO throw'em in our release dates database, which you can check a lot faster than you can ask me.

And...

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A (Select) Start.

 
Quicky

Doesn't Bowser say "FUNGAH" in Mario RPG?

Jaraph:
Hmmmm, I love that game, but I'm afraid I can't tell you..

Googleshng:
Yes. Oddly enough, that's what I was quoting too. Have a mutant tilde. ^




The Last Laugh:

Jaraph: And so ends my stint (for keeps, this time) as RPGamer Q&A guest host. Short questions, and even shorter answers, I'm afraid. And I didn't even get a chance to tell another barnyard tale. Ok, here's one for the road. My best friend and I go out to the pasture to collect a cow that's been dead for a while. It's summer, of course, and that bugger is swollen up big time. Anyway, my friend thinks it's pretty hilarious, in spite of the horrendous smell, and he goes over and gives it a little kick, and the beast's huge stomach bursts open, spewing who-knows-what all over the place. Pretty? Nope. Worth telling to a bunch of RPGamers who don't give one old boot about barnyard stories? Certainly.

Google: Yet another lesson in why everyone should stay the smurf away from farms from Jaraph. This was a short easy column and I started at a decent time, so why is it almost 6? Because someone linked me to some personality tests. Evidently today I'm the other 2 Cham members from Perfect Blue (yes, that's right, one result was 2 people), and my ideal boyfriend would be Xellos, followed closely by Zelgadis. A demon for each of me it seems. Much better than the results I usually get, which tend to be characters never actually present in the show, creators of the show, and, I kid you not, ROCKS.

Googleshng "There's 2 of me and we're datin' demons." @rpgamer.com
So do I have no personality or what?

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