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ASK HEATH
All the Schools in Korea July 17, 2005

Heath Hindman - 11:26 EST

SO I'M THE GUY answering your emails until Jake is pulled out of that crater that Meteor left where his house used to be. If you don't like it, I'll gladly fight you on the schoolhouse roof.




L E T T E R S
From My "Other" Column


Hey Heath.

Good to see you filling in for Googleshng while they tear down his house and try to rebuild it.

Anyway, a question or two, preceded by a statement: I have never thought seriously about playing an MMORPG, because the masses tend to annoy. Are there any MMORPGs out there that actually reward anti-social behavior? Or, more realistically, a game where you can be the evil characters? I watched the "OK video" you linked to in the last MMORPGamer column, and to my perspective, the the game assumes that you want to be the good guy.

Also, can you link to the Leeroy video, for those QNA readers who don't read MMORPGamer? Classic clip.

-Herandar


HEATH

Yay list!

  • EverQuest II was the first game that came to mind. It's pretty good for soloers and small groups. Like most MMOs, partying is the way to go for hardore levels (and I mean hardcore like those nerds that measure their EXP per hour). Once you get on the higher end, though, it gets a lot harder.
  • I've heard from friends that one can solo almost all of World of Warcraft as well as City of Heroes.
  • Sweet delicious Ultima Online.
  • While Guild Wars doesn't emphasize solo play, it certainly is a lot less "massive" than other MMORPGs, even such to the point that some don't consider it one. Anyway, it's divided up into "districts" much smaller than what a typical MMO is, and once you get out of town, everything is instanced, so you don't have to worry about dealing with people if you don't want to.
  • Nobody plays Asheron's Call anymore, but that's okay, because it's a pretty solo-friendly game. I've heard the same about Horizons.
  • The original Lineage, but um...you don't really wanna play that >_>

    Link to the video again? You got it!



  • Zenogias


    Hey there! Well I just finished xenogears the other night. It only took me around a year ( with a six month break in the middle). Good story and everything just a little too much text.

    HEATH

    Actually, I had a similar experience with Xenogears. You see, I got FFVIII and played it for a while, then set it on the shelf for months (dunno why. Probably because it was boring?). After then playing Xenogears until some time right before the end, I stopped that project also for a month or so. After kicking myself in the pants, I got to playing both again. I was playing FF8 more heavily though (again, unexplainable). After clearing it, in my excitement--cause love or hate the game, that ending was cool--I thought "I wonder if I can beat Xenogears in the same night...?" I only had a few hours to pull it off, but I ended up doing so.

    In fact, I made a journal entry right afterwards. For fun, I photoscanned it. Here, look at it. And with posting a journal entry not intended for an audience comes embarassment, so now I must explain that bit about "bailing out the emergency exit." That was from a bus ride. We really hated our bus driver, so on my final bus ride (I got my drivers license the day before), I bailed out the emergency exit and ran. I can't believe that was 5 years ago >_>



    Penis Envy


    Okay, so there have been all these attempts at Chrono Trigger remakes that have been shot down by Squeenix. Chrono Trigger Resurrection and that other Chrono Trigger remake done in the Unreal Tournament engine…Anywho, Squeenix CRUSHED both remakes by sending them letters to Cease and Desist. Now it may just be my wild Chrono Trigger fan boy-ness, but whataya think about it? Could perhaps, our beloved Squeenix FINALLY be working on something in its deepest, most sacred bowels? Look at how secret Chrono Cross was! I remember the whole rumor of “Chrono Cross” didn’t circulate until about a week before it was actually unveiled. And at that point it was the time Legend of Mana went on sale in Japan. I’m just curious of what you think the likelihood of all this really, truly means…

    Godspeed you Black Emperor…
    Big Daddy McWhiskers


    HEATH

    Oh man, I was so rooting for the Chrono Resurrection gang to pull it off...but deep inside, I think we all knew Square was going to step in sooner or later and shut down the project.

    What sucks is that whether SE is planning another Chrono or not wouldn't affect their decision to threaten the Chrono Resurrection. They'd do it because they wouldn't want someone getting fame, money, bling, or hoes by using their copyrighted material. But then again, when I picture myself in SE's shoes, I might be the same kind of prick. If I were making a Chrono game, my main reason for stopping someone else would be because I was afraid of getting one-upped. Do you think Square was...I mean cause...those trailers of the Res...they were...naaaaah.



    GameFAQs


    Dear Andrew,

    I keep hearing about how incredibly awesome Tales of Symphonia is and found that even on gamefaqs the lowest review it got was 5/10, so I'm REALLY curious to try this game out, but I don't have a Game Cube. However, a friend of mine said I could borrow his to play it. Unfortunately, I also bought Star Ocean 3 not too long ago and have been dying to play that as well... I don't think I'll have time to play both because once school starts again I know that my free time will once again be very limited.

    So which one do you think is more worth playing: Tales of Symphonia or Star Ocean 3?

    -KBE


    HEATH

    For the recommendation, that mostly depends on you, friend. If I were picking for myself, I'd go with Symphonia for sure. To get a feel of how the whole staff feels, I polled our IRC channel.
    Star Ocean 3:
    +Awesome graphics
    +Battle system had its moments...
    -...but was pretty mediocre overall
    -Sophia's freakin' voice
    -The crappy "blocking" system
    -Didn't care for the story

    Tales of Symphonia:
    -/+Story somewhat poorly told and predictable, but good
    +Awesome music
    +Awesome everything else
    Phil Bloom of our Editorials section added, "Truthfully, SO3 has a better battle system, but I enjoy Symphonia's more because the AI work is just significantly more sensible."

    For now, it looks like I'll be doing Q&A again tomorrow, so if you want to write again and tell me more about what other games you like and why, I can make a more solid recommendation.



    Tunes


    I was thinking of buying Tales of Symphonia for the GC, but I have mixed feelings about the Tales series, and I'm not sure if it's worth the investment. My mixed feelings are basically this: I loved Tales of Phantasia for the SNES (I played it illegally on an emulator), but I hated Tales of Destiny for the PSX (uninspired storyline, boring and long dungeons). What's your thoughts on Symphonia in comparison to Phantasia and Destiny?
    HEATH

    For one thing, Symphonia's got that "Multi-Line Linear Motion Battle system" thing happening, which sounds big and complex, but it supposedly feels like previous Tales games. I'm not able to *fully* testify to that, because the only older one I ever played was Tales of Destiny, which I absolutely hated and have had the Men in Black erase my memory of.

    Some people made a big deal about Kosuke Fujishima's character designs, as he did work in both Symphonia and Phantasia. That can go either way though. I suppose if you like the look of the characters in Phantasia, that can be listed as a bonus. But getting away from all that hooplah, let me just say this: go get the game. The only Tales game I'd played before Symphonia was Destiny, which sucked, and I still liked Symphonia. I only played it while my friend was home from the other side of the state over a weekend, but what I got into, I loved.

    Secondly, what's your favorite type of game music? A "type" might be: dungeon music, town music, battle music, boss battle music, forest music, etc. I'd have to say I'm quite fond of pub themes, but colloseum themes rule, in general.

    Nanawind


    HEATH

    Scenario music!
    The "Theme of Reflection" in Skies of Arcadia, "Interrupted by Fireworks" from Final Fantasy VII, that music-box-sounding stuff from Xenogears, "Pain" from Final Fantasy Tactics...oh man, the tracks that play during story segments are just plain cool. Also, I'm a big softie, so the sad ones kinda get me.




    C L O S I N G
    GAME OVER:

    So I never imagined I'd be photoscanning my journal onto any website, let alone use the scans to answer letters about video games. How about that?

    Looks like I'll be back again tomorrow, kids. Feel free to keep running with any of the above topics, or maybe pick up on topics generated from any of those recent columns or Editorials I've written. That way, you know I'll have an answer worth reading. :D

    rage@rpgamer.com
    Heath Hindman will crash your head in


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