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ASK SEAN
Column 27: Flying Solo
October 19th, 2007

Sean - 5:22pm EDT

Hello everybody! I'm a little sad to see Matt go so soon, but he had to do what his heart told him to. I wish him much success in love, life and gaming. In his case, gaming might just be the other two as well... ^_^

That being said, I am a little nervous to be at the helm of this venture. Matt's shoes are just too big to fill. I hope I fulfill all your Q&A needs! For those not in the know, I will be *trying* to post columns on a MWF schedule. If I will miss one, I will get someone to fill in, if I know in advance. If I can't, I'll get the column up the next day. Seven columns a week was just too much, as a reader comments upon further down. It is too much to read, too much to write, and it just wears thin. I'll keep the format of 5-7 letters + quickies, depending on the size of my mailbox. I hope this new format works for everyone. Please let me know what you think about it!

Enough about the new format. Let me talk about some games. For those that read other things on RPGamer, you'd notice that I finished and reviewed Folklore. That game was simply amazing--it's quality really surprised me. I am a happy PS3 owner. In other gaming news, I've started Bleach on the Wii. For a fighting game, it is really addictive, yet very tiring. Waving the Wiimote around like that... ugh. I need to get in shape to play my video games. I've polished off both Ichigo's and Renji's episodes. I got a way to go to full yunlock everything.

Oh, yes. I am writing this during class again. My exam hasn't been handed back yet, but he did say that he has "bad news". I am worried.

Let's get to the letters!




LETTERS
How can someone not like FFT?


Dear Q&A Host:

I actually agree with the person who wrote in expressing his disdain for the gameplay of Final Fantasy Tactics, and very much consider myself part of that mostly-silent minority. I'm sorry, I'm just not the kind of person who likes spending an eternity on losing battles (which has happened to me very often in FFT) and can tolerate things such as constant random encounters in tactical RPGs (especially when they take a while like they do in FFT and there's absolutely no escape even from random battles), and the inability to undo movement. I know Final Fantasy Tactics Advance improved on some things yet simultaneously introduce Personally, I'll take tactical RPGs like the Shining Force games any day (and I enjoyed other tactical titles such as Suikoden Tactics, the Growlanser games, and Nippon Ichi's games).

-Duke Gallison

Sean

You just went down a few pegs in my book, Duke. I am not impressed. Everyone knows that FFT is the pinacle of the genre. At least I do. It is largely the only one I can tolerate for more than a short period of time. I don't recall fighting countless random battles unless I was actively looking for them. If I didn't want to fight them, I would just run away via hitting reset. The key is to just save often.

I really liked how you can customize characters easily without being bogged down by too much details. They could be customized in many different ways through an intuitive and easy to use interface. Most of all, a character got experience for successfully completing an action--not getting a deathblow! The problem with the last system is that only the powerhouse characters get XP. Prier and Laharl are examples of such heroes. I am not interested in spending hours trying to get deathblows by weaker characters just to catch them up. If they shared XP between everyone that contributed to the victory, it would be a completely different story.

Thanks for writing in, Duke... even though we all know that your opinion is wrong. Damn--I think I've spent too much time talking to Lusipurr! Damn him and his cavemade cookies!



Why does everyone think I should buy Halo 3?


Hey-o Sean,

Well you keep saying to write in so here I am again.

Taking a quick look at the Hot Topic list I find two for which I can respond.

Sean

Goody. I like to hear from you.

First I have played Halo 3. All I have learned from this experience is to not say, "Sure, why not?" to the store clerk when they ask if I want a big name game while I'm buying my RPGs. Seriously what happened. I went to Fred Meyer's buy Eternal Sonata and they had Halo 3 right there at the counter. One question and $50 later I'm wondering whatever could have prompted me to do such a thing. I can't play this game worth crap and the multiplayer has far too many people who are far to low in intellect to string together coherent sentences. Still I like it for mindless gaming I guess. But an RPG? No, just don't see it happening.

Sean

I have had four store clerks ask me, if I want that game. Sorry, I don't. My buying patterns should alert them--they do know me, after all. It is not like I am new to this game-buying thing. You need some willpower though, man.

On downloadable content; I'm all for it. I didn't buy Blue Dragon because too many reviews and word of mouth said it was easy. Way easy.

But now they've got free difficulty downloads. And new game plus. So now I'm probably going to be buying it.

Anyway, off to other ventures

Ken

Sean

When/if I get my 360, I would buy Blue Dragon for at most $30. The reviews haven't scared me away completely, but I am scared enough to save $40. The additions to the game are nice though--more games should include features like that. Thanks for writing in, Ken!



More evil plots


Hows it going Sean?

An RPG where you play the big bad would be great. Crossing the world map, slowly but surely destroying everything in your wake.

Sean

Destroy everything? Why? I would much rather secure future taxation (read: protection money) and only destory those that refer to pay me and/or worship me.

I could see the story developing quite nicely. The first small village you go to would be where you earn yourself a nemesis; perhaps the only remaining survivor? In any other RPG, this guy would be the main character.

Sean

I would like that actually. The evil goblin passes a little kid a sword and tells the kid he would return later to finish the job. The little guy can then grow up and cause problems for the mega-goblin.

And then, as you continue on your way, the protagonist follows you all the while building up a small group of ragtag adventurers to stop you. At the same time, you might be gathering up a small army of slaves and followers as well.

Sean

A real bad guy needs no allies, but he needs lieutenants. One that betrays him and gets killed for it would be a nice touch. I like betrayals. Even better though would be a scene where the betrayer is rewarded for it, as he must have guts to do so.

And then, the end of the game would happen and the final battle would begin. That would be epic, finally a final boss where YOU are the biggest thing on the screen.

And if you win, the world plummets into darkness that you control.

And also, just as a bonus, there would be a bonus ending if the good guys win. You know, the type of ending that you would normally expect from an RPG.

Anyways, I think itd be cool at any rate.

Until next I write in;

Shawn

Sean

I like the idea of having the dual ending. It would be nice, if you can play a few parts as the heroes. It would be a bit like the Laguna scenes in FFVIII. Being a huge boss character? No thanks. I'd prefer the little level 99 goblin facing up against a party of heroes on his lonesome through sheer guts.

Thanks for writing in, other Shawn. I sent out your book a few days ago--let me know when you get it!



Used games--a good thing?


Hey Sean,

Well this is my first time writing but i felt i needed to voice my opinion on the used games issue. I personally find it both a blessing and a curse.

Sean

I don't see the blessing side of it, but please go on.

Curse- Yes used games tend to short developers and publishers which leads to less funding for more games.

Blessing- Unfortunately some smaller companies only produce limited quantities of certain title (Atlus, Nis, Nippon etc.). So without businesses selling used games it would severly limit the amount of gamers who can get their hands on certain titles and these could end of being gamers who go on to become big supporters of these companies. This was the case with myself when i just happened to get bored and curious and pick up a used copy of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne for the PS2 and now i hugely support Atlus.

Sean

True enough. Limited runs can hurt a company financially, as well as help them. How? Atlus releases games that don't necessarily have a large following here. They take a risk releasing some stuff here. By making them limited runs they save themselves from the danger of taking a loss on unsold copies. If they are really successful, they can always bring out a second run like Atlus did with Disgaea. The thing is, used games sales don't broadcast your interest in the company--they won't know that there is another person interested in their games.

A good solution would be to find a way to make used game retails wait until companies have stopped producing titles. Once titles are no longer produced then stores could sell the used versions, By then they have already made so much that the rare used sale wont hurt so much.

Well i just wanted to float that by you. Now im off to play some Persona 3 then hit the sack to snuggle with my stuffed Chocobo

Sean

That would never work. How would you stop the ebay market? How would you convince retailers to drop their most profitable business model? It will never work. In any case, this wasn't really the point of Matt's discussion. We were more distressed by the price point of used games. A recent used game is sold at $5 less than a new one! This is horrible for the consumer. It bothers me to my core.

Thanks for writing in! I am happy you found love with the SMT games!



My 100th letter...


Hi Sean,

I haven't been able to keep up with all of the columns lately from you and Matt. I'll have to set aside some time to get caught up as I was on a canoeing trip this weekend and was nowhere near a computer.

Sean

Well, you had good timing--you just won a prize! This is indeed the 100th letter since my stupid little contest started.

Anyway, I am writing a paper for my Intro to Psychology class on the topic of "the psychology of blame in relation to videogames" or something like that. Basically, I want to write about why people blame violence on videogames when in reality a videogame is not the sole cause of people being overly violent.

Sean

Interesting enough. You can always ask old Jackie for his sources, but then again, I doubt any of them would be reliable.

I was wondering if you or any of the readers know where I can find some sales numbers. I want to know how many games on the top of the sales charts were rated "M" or "AO". I know that various gaming news sites make reference to sales statistics so I was wondering if you could point me to some numbers.

I need to go do some more work now but I will try to catch up on the QnA columns later.

Happy Gaming,

Annalou

Sean

Sorry, Annalou. I am not sure about where to get this information. Aethelred, a fellow staffer, might, as may some of the readers. You can try to ping him on the forums--he likes to lurk there quite a bit, or send him an email. Check his bio for it. If you have some infomation, pass it on to me and I will get it over to Annalou! I might even post it, too! Thanks for writing in, Annalou--good luck with the paper!



A letter to Matt!


Hey Matt,

I'm gonna miss your Q&A - I don't think anyone else can talk about DQ as much as you.

Sean

Sorry, I grabbed this letter. If I didn't, it would never see the light of day. At least we can hope that Matt lurks somewhere and keeps reading this now that his stint is over.

Now, to make this letter relevant, some hot topics and a question!

1. Main charas: I try to enjoy all sorts of main charas, although I can't stand the silent ones - it's not logical to stand like a log when you're the proactive leader of the story. I just put words in Chrono and Serge, but somehow it doesn't feel the same.

Sean

I dislike braindead characters too. That is my term for silent heroes.

2. RPG world: I want to be able to save and reload and replay from New Game +. Imagine screwing up and reloading with everyone having no memory of the last stupid thing you did, then when your life's up, you get to come back and live it again with all that newfound experience.

Imagine how much life would change!

Sean

It would suck though, wouldn't it? Knowing what is around the corner every time would kill me. There would be no surprises. Now, if I can come back as someone else, that would be an entirely different story!

And now a SOCK question: If you're not making columns anymore, how will the AEGs and such be applied?

Good day to you, kind sir, and may life be filled with more gaming!

Cheers,

DMJ

Sean

I had the same question. Matt did answer that in the SOCK column. He is just going to award them as bonus points for correct answers. Thanks for writing in, DMJ. And I am sure he will enjoy his newfound freedom!



QUICKIES

Sean!
Volsung - does he or does he not spend the ENTIRE GAME sitting on his ass? I can't think of a single scene where he is not sitting on that throne.
Carabbit

Sean
Not the entire game of course. He is sitting in just the scenes that the player gets to watch. He does need to eat and go potty too. And fight, of course. He didn't get the allegience of his sentinels through sitting alone, you know!

Hey Sean,
I bought Fable because I decided it would be quite cool to be evil for a change. But I suppose, old habits really do die hard and I finished the game with a halo and butterflys constantly swarming me and my angelic aura. *sigh* I tried, I really did, the whole being evil thing is really harder than it looks.
Whitney

Sean
I have the same problem. Being evil is not second nature, but I like it when the game forces it upon you, as they did in Overlord. You are still given the choice to do evil, but it is just a choice between varying degrees of evil. Man, did I enjoy being worshipped though!



IN CLOSING

Well, that is for this week. It turns out that the "bad news" is really bad news. We are not getting it back today. Instead, the prof offered us two choices: write a replacement exam, or write some extra questions to help boost our results. It sucks that he won't tell us the results without first hearing our choice. This means we will have another exam, or exam-like thing. This is what happens when the exam really doesn't have much to do with what we discuss in class. And actually do, for that matter.

My weekend will be a mix of studying for my exam and hopefully getting in some gaming time. What game(s)? Bleach, Guild Wars and Dungeons and Dragons Tactics are the three biggest contenders. I think I will be dropping Persona 1 from my playlist. I am just not happy with it at all.

Enjoy your weekend, send some letters, and peace out!



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gorne@rpgamer.com
Sean is contemplating murder


Dropping a class sure seems like a good idea now.

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