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Father! Papa! November 18, 2006

Josh - 6:36 EST

If you've played FFVA, you know what that refers to. Sheesh.

So I just went to my last college football was a win, but the overall feeling was depressing. No more tailgating, no more random acts of violence, and no more jumping to Zombie Nation and causing damage to the structural integrity of the stadium due to the frequency of our jumps. Ah well...hopefully my bro gets accepted here, that way I can con him into getting me tickets in the future ^^.

Possibly some slight FFXII spoilers...

Okay, as I've mentioned in another letter you may also have, I'm 111 hours into FF12, with access to the final dungeon. I'm mopping up some hidden areas and hunts. Trouble is, I'm at an impasse. There's a puzzle in the Garamsythe Waterway that I'm having difficulty figuring out. As for the hidden areas, the enemies are doing so much damage to me (1500 or so each hit) that I feel like I need to level up some more from the average of 60 that I'm at now. Trouble is, not only is defense entirely dependent on armor, I really don't know any good places to level up at this point that won't kill me!

Of course, the easy answer to all of my problems is a strategy guide or FAQ. Problem is, I don't WANT to look at any of them. The least of the problem, for me, is that I might look at something I don't want to look at right now.

So. Do you have any advice for me? The impasse (not being able to figure out the puzzle and faced with a lot of leveling up in places that's probably too low level for me) is kind of draining my motivation to take the final steps, and after 111 hours, that's not good. Thoughts?


Good god, 111 hours? Wow. And you're only Lv 60? I'm 43 and I'm only ~45 hours in.

I've noticed that while level does help, gambits are FAR more important. You must be in some super-secret area of the Waterway, because the guys I'm fighting down there aren't -too- bad. Anyway, some of the puzzles in the game are really vague. I mean, clues are literally LACKING. The Nabreus Deadlands isn't a bad place to level. And if you're taking too much damage, concentrate on dealing more damage quickly so you don't get hit so much. Also, Bubble Belts and Cat-Ear Hoods are amazing accessories that you can't go wrong with.

Like I've said before, I hate mindlessly levelling, so I haven't really sat down to find really good spots. I -like- being low-leveled, since I get a greater sense of accomplishment when I won a battle by a thread than by a wide margin.

Anyway, here are some tactics that I've had work wonders for me, so look away if you don't want to know -

  • Sleep + Shades of Black / Heavy Magic - The enemy doesn't even attack you, and you're free to destroy them.
  • Dagger-wielder + Haste + Berserk + Bravery - Cast all that on one person and let them whack away for massive damage.

Hope that helps!

It's all relative!

Stupid school made this kinda a rough week for gaming. Fall break...finally... One question I had was do the ranks for marks in FF12 mean anything? They really aren't very accurate measures of difficulty, which was what I assumed they were for. There are some tough marks with low ranks and some softies with high ranks. What's the deal?


They are general assessments of their levels. Though for some reason, I noticed that all of the Rank IV marks were easier than the Rank IIIs. However, you also need to see that some of them are Montblanc's Elite Marks, and there are some for each rank, which are much harder than the others.

Seem to remember you said Wild Arms 4 was on your shelf. I was pleasantly surprised with that one. I had played through the rest of the series but wasn't planning on picking up WA4. I happened to find it cheap, and it turned out to be a good buy. The story and characters are trash, and the still-frame cut-scenes are lame. However, the quirky battle system is actually rather entertaining. The puzzles are little sub-par for a Wild Arms game but better than those of most RPGs.


I've heard that the game is relatively entertaining, and most people seem to have enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to getting past my current onslaught of games so that I'm able to go back and get my game on with that one.

I'm trying to figure out what I've missed this year, so I can try to catch up a bit between semesters. Okami's on the list for sure, as well as Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Can't wait for God of War II either! What are some of this year's better RPGs to check out? I missed the new Shadow Hearts, but I enjoyed the rest of the series. Is that worth looking into? And don't mention Disgaea 2...not into Nippon Ichi's one same game that comes in several different covers released every year or so.



I've never had the chance to play Shadow Hearts because I've never...ever...seen a copy. Anywhere. Just eBay, for ridiculous prices.

Tales of the Abyss looks pretty darn good, if you're into that type of battle system. VP2 is hit-or-miss. If you haven't given Grandia III a shot yet, I'd do that as well, it's worth a playthrough. There's also Contact, Rocket Slime, and Children of Mana if you've got a DS. I don't really see anything too worthwhile for the GCN or 360, though.

Sorta stolen. Not really.

Hey Matt,

Long time reader, first time write.
[Mist Quickening stuff...]

As for my question. I agree that one of the best parts of this game is the ability to roam freely throughout the world and choose where you want to go. And although I hated the battle system at first I really enjoy it now that I sort of understand what gambits can do. Do you think we'll see some of these new systems implemented in FFXII in other games now? Is this the future of RPG gaming or will we still get more of the old decide and wait format?



Yeah, I agree. While back when FFX came out, I liked the whole running around massive areas thing, but you were restricted to paths...maybe a hidden side path here and there. But with FFXII, you have large, wide open areas full of places to explore.

I actually think that based on this system, we'll start to see more multiplayer RPGs. Could you imagine playing FFXII with two other friends? I think that would be pretty sweet. Sure, there are always going to be limitations to any implementation, but anything is theoretically possible. I expect that we'll see both types of RPGs surface, solely because there are those that are going to try to make money via massive innovation, and those that are going to try to make money giving the public what they already know they like ^^.

Ark Blast!


[More Mist Quickening Stuff...]
If you get three you receive an additional attack, Inferno. That's the best that I've got.


I've gotten several attacks other than Inferno. I think there's a correlation to the amount of each level attack you perform (2 level 3s, 1 level 1, etc.), but I couldn't begin to tell you what the exact numbers are. I did manage an 11 chain once though ^^.

Now, still on FFXII, I have run into an extreme level curve. I don't know if it is just me or not, but it is really annoying. *Possible Spoilers* I fought the boss in the Viera forest at level 23ish and survived, then I go to the next place in the story and suddenly I'm fighting level 30 guys. Like 4 of them, against my small three person party. I hate games that require you to level up several times just to barely survive against foes. It is quite frustrating. Not to mention that you have to use the people in your party for them to level, so now I've got 3 level 25 members and three level 15. Which, if I were to level my guys evenly would double my time I spent leveling.

Ah, well. That was my ranting for the day. Time to get back to the game!


Like I mentioned above, level does matter a bit, but I certainly haven't had any issues where I've had to sit down and start powerlevelling in order to progress. Well, except for my three characters I don't use as much, but that's a different story >_>;

I do wish that the reserve members at least got a fraction of the XP. It's going to be irritating when I finally DO have to go back and level Vaan, Basch, and Fran. Sigh.


Hi guys!

Great move limiting letter size. I found myself reading less and less as the letters got fewer and longer. Just a quick question: Which are you more looking forward to playing; Twilight Princess on GCN or Wii? Iím going for the traditional left-handed Link on GCN myself.



I'm looking forward to the Wii version, if only so I can see just how these controls are really going to feel. The GCN version would be fun, just because it's technically the same game and I already know the fundamentals of playing a Zelda game with the GCN controller. Either way though, I just can't wait to play, because...come on! It's Zelda! Hooray!


Everybody seems to have their issues with FFXII, be it Mist Quickenings, hectic battles (Wait Mode all they way, baby!), or whatever. I can tell that you all are decent non-fanboyish gamers that can get over it and enjoy this great game. Am I the only one, however, who is annoyed by Square's design decision regarding the cut scenes?

I don't know about those with 4:3 TVs, but the game supports 16:9 widescreen, which I have. Why do the cutscenes (especially the CG scenes) not fill the screen? I, and I'm sure plenty of other people out there, have subtitles turned off. That means that every time there is a voiced cutscene, I'm alerted to it by having a sixth of my screen blacked out and used for absolutely nothing! I can get over it. I'm a decent, non-fanboyish gamer. But it is annoying.

I'm probably answering my own question when I figure that Square designed everything with 4:3 in mind and changed to 16:9 at the last minute. But still, I'm sure they could have fixed that. We are gone from the days of the Saturn when CG was in a small box in the center of the freaking screen. Can't you tell I'm a complete audio/videophile?



I play both 4:3 and 16:9 because I switch between my crappy CRT TV up in my bedroom and the massive projection HDTV downstairs. The cutscenes work the same for both sizes. It's a bit irritating, I suppose, but the bar is just ultimately there for the use of subtitles. I guess it's feasible that S-E didn't really think about the ramifications of moving the format to 16:9 widescreen, because the only real reason for the bar would be to make it 'widescreen' on a 4:3 TV. So yeah, it's probably just a goof on their part, but honestly, does it take away from the game? I don't really think so.

Thanks for writing in, Jonezy!


I need to know if my girlfriend (ex girlfriend) and I will be getting back together soon... I feel like I have no air to breathe and she says she loves me, but that she needs time to heal from her ex-girlfriends that have wronged her in the past. Please let me know what to do! Thanks
-Dying slowly

Well, not only am I an authority in the textile industry, but I'm apparently a love doctor as well. Here we go.

If she says she needs time, give her time. If she says she loves you, then it's up to her to show that. If she comes back, then she meant it. If not, then don't worry about it. Go eat a tub of ice cream, cry for a little bit, and then go back to the bars (or if you're underage, and see if you can't find someone else! It'll all work out in the end!


Alrighty, here's a list of the items I SHOULD have soon. Don't know why they haven't gotten here yet, but whatever. It happens. I said, if you want one of these at the Item tile, just let me know and I'll reserve it for you until it gets here.

  • Liquid Poison Babble Slime keychain
  • Tabula Rasa Skull Cap
  • 2x Bumpy Trot harmonicas
  • Harvest Moon Magnet
  • Soul of the Ultimate Nation Binder Organizer
  • Potentially one or two more things

Hope that clears everything up, and I'll get some pictures up once they get here.

Combat Log

Luca Phase:
Luca Blight takes a moment to rest (3.7% HP remaining).

Movement Phase:
Bainick moves to Tile 5.
Leaper moves to Tile 36.
BLG moves to Tile 25.
Arros Raikou moves to Tile 2.
Draconn moves to Tile 40.
Alan Tse moves to Tile 19.
Slashlen moves to Tile 35.
JuMeSyn moves to Tile 26.
Arpijy moves to Tile 32.
JDX moves to Tile 38.
Aurelius moves to Tile 33.
Aylee moves to Tile 26.
Tabor moves to Tile 38.

Previous THONG Rounds!

Selections for characters can be found at the following sites:

Suikoden Characters

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Click here for the rules and lists of items and prizes!

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Luca Blight

Wow, did we really already have 60 questions?!?

Answer to #L30: B. Ted
Ted Woolsey performed the translation for Final Fantasy VI, and mistakenly translated "Biggs" as "vicks."

Which of the following has not been portrayed in the infamous FF logos?

A. A giant frickin' meteor
B. A dark paladin wielding his sword
C. A girl in a giant robot
D. A shining crystal
E. A large dragon
F. An evil enforcer of the law

THONG Question

Answer to #30:B. Radiata Stories
You have to fight a guy named ELMO before he joins your team. ^^

#31.Difficulty: Easy, Potch: 150
The final RPG released by Working Designs was...

A. Vanguard Bandits
B. Lunar 2
C. Arc the Lad Collection
D. Growlanser Generations
E. Lost Kingdoms II


JuMeSyn takes the stage with me on Monday, so be sure to send in your letters to him! I'm absolutely positive there are plenty of you that want to harass him, so by all means, here's your shot (just kidding. Ask him actual questions too! :P).

Did any of you have any stories to tell if you bought a PS3 or a Wii (by the time tomorrow's column is up, it'll be out)? Were you victims of any of those drive-by-shootings? I certainly hope not. But, as you all know, these systems are now upon us...for better or for worse.

And if you don't want to blab about the new systems, how about something goofy? If you could live in a place in an RPG, where would it be? Galbadia City? Miltia? Let's hear it. :)
***Josh can't wait for Thanksgiving!

Current Max Level: 43 (Ashe/Penelo)
Current Time: 47:21:07 (I've been busy)

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RPGs I'm currently playing:

1. Final Fantasy XII!

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THONG Players:

1. Roku
Flik  TP: 2

2. Bainick
Hero 2  TP: 14

3. Leaper
Antonio  TP: 25

4. Macstorm
Mazus  TP: 1

6. BLG
Sid  TP: 15

7. Arros Raikou
Kage  TP: 13

8. Xlash
Gijimu  TP: 0

9. Donovan
Clive  TP: 2

10. Slimey
Gadget  TP: 11

11. Bucket
Millie  TP: 15

12. Draconn
Mondo  TP: 21

13. Genjuu
Pesmerga  TP: 6

14. Alan Tse
Hoi  TP: 10

15. TheBluick
Fu Su Lu  TP: 0

16. Gouden Draak
Rubi  TP: 1

17. Slashlen
Lorelai  TP: 24

18. JuMeSyn
Odessa  TP: 13

19. PureLunatic
Viktor  TP: 25

21. William.T
Killey  TP: 1

22. Arpijy
Hix2  TP: 11

23. Spiffyness
Badeaux  TP: 2

24. Reivax
Kasim  TP: 1

25. Carabbit
Viki  TP: 7

26. Vicissitude
Clive2  TP: 7

27. JDX
Kuromimi  TP: 10

28. Kupomogli
Kinnison  TP: 7

29. Aurelius
Kahn  TP: 17

30. Omm
Yoshino  TP: 2

31. Aylee
Luc  TP: 14

32. Tabor
Ted  TP: 7

33. TvsAdam
McDohl  TP: 2

34. Sundoulos
Hai Yo  TP: 15

Anyone else?

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