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976  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / The Burning Crusade on: October 31, 2006, 07:30:38 AM
From my experience Ramparts and Blood Furnace aren't a serious challenge with the right class combinations, in fact they're downright short. the gear that drops is whoa nice, but honestly, if you have no problems with DM, you'll find these new ones pretty much on par. If you don't have adequate CC, you're fucked though. Nothing like getting gang banged by 2 level 63 rogues with stacking poisons - I ended up with a 1108 point DoT and not a druid in sight to cleanse it - yuck. I'll throw up some pics I took in beta for you guys to check out.
977  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Phantasy Star Universe on: October 27, 2006, 08:28:09 AM
I had a chance to play PSU on the closed american beta, and I wasn't impressed. The combat system, while "enhanced" still feels terribly canned and inflexible. The game is still little more than a sci-fi Diablo clone, and i'll be suprised if it holds the attention of even its most devout fans for more than a few weeks. I had a profound sense of nostalgia, but from an objective point of view I was bored senseless within an hour. The interface is still as clunky as ever and the servers suck, and sounds like retail release didn't help any.

I'm sure the game will be a modest distraction from those of us who have moved onto other more developed MMORPGs, but I doubt it'll make converts of any of us. The game still feels terribly claustrophobic, and that opening song makes me want to drown kittens.
978  Media / Single-Player RPGs / FFXII Limited Ed. Strategy guide on: October 27, 2006, 08:18:01 AM
I highly suggest that you refrain from looking at the guide unless you absolutely need to. The game itself is monstrously large, and quite challenging - but you will lose alot of the magic of the experience by "prepping" for the game. A guide is absolutely necessary for the epic weapons and some of the esper fights, but you shouldn't touch one unless you're at the end and decide to do the subquests (which you really can't do till you're level 50 or higher).

I can tell you the guides will not speed up the game time at all, only lessen your experience. The game pretty much holds your hand for the main quest but leaves you to massive exploration at any time. Its not uncommon to get lost in all the wonderlust - and having a roadmap completely diminishes the experience of openness that this FF has acheived.

There are ALOT of dungeon puzzles that the guides will help with, but after having played through the game without such assistance - I can say that it would have completely ruined my appreciation of the cleverness of some of the harder puzzles. That is, unless you're a complete idiot or hopelessly lazy...

I think we've waited far too long to spoil the experience by having it spoonfed to us with a guide.
979  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Console RPGs with MMO style mixed in on: October 27, 2006, 08:06:15 AM
just FYI, FFXII is nothing like .hack, though it does share a very large open ended world and impossibly challenging side quests that are reminiscent of FFXI. There are some MMO elements such as item gathering and unbeleivably epic encounters (like fighting Fafnir and King Bahamut). Sadly, there IS mob camping involved due to some of the more outlandish monster hunt quests or  epic item/weapon attainment. Read the review when it goes live on ship day and judge for yourselves. The game is not for the casual RPG player, that's for sure. I've sunk over 100 hours into the reviewable and i'm still not done with all the content.

I can tell you that if you loved FFXI, you'll have a screaming orgasm over FFXII. The storyline isn't for girly men or people with limited vocabularies. They poured more love into this game than I've seen in all 20 years of the series. Just be prepared to get your ass kicked. Ruby and Emerald Weapon were pansies compared to some of the baddies in Ivalice.
980  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Gasp! An anime-styled RPG for Xbox 360... in August!!?!? on: July 02, 2006, 10:49:53 AM
I agree with you completely on that aspect Chris, except for one point. If i remember correctly (and please correct me if i'm mistaken) Konami released Snake Eater (arguably their biggest title in recent years) in the American market before the Japanese market. It was only by a few days, but the implications were significant.

I remember the 1999-2000 debate well, but we're looking at a doubling of the cost of the home console and probably a 20-25% increase in software cost for the user. Its not a matter of difficulty of the architecture, it has everything to do with creating and licensing game engines as well as the tremendous art and support staff needed to tap the machine to its fullest. If you look at Assasin's Creed. Developed by the same team at Ubi that did the Prince of Persia games - had to increase their staff to over 100 from 25 to meet the needs of developing a PS3 title, and they're still hiring.

With every console generation, despite the 'ease' or 'difficulty' of a particular platform - there is an expectation by the consumer for bigger and better experiences - and this in turn requires alot more money. The PS2 has done really well, but you'll notice that there's a very very large difference between software that taps the machine's potential, and those that merely scratch it. In any business model - you have to invest money in your product if you hope to sell it. With the PS3, the costs are going to go up, especially for devs and publishers who want to use it to its full potential. This is going to be paramount if they don't use the cushion of developing multi-platform. And if the PS3 doesn't establish a solid user-base due to cost, then publishers will move onto greener pastures. There's a clear financial line of demarcation that i'm afraid Sony has simply crossed with their announcement.

Sure, development tools will get simpler to work with, and licensing of already developed engines can save some bucks in programming - but when you have a machine that can push an incredible amount of artwork, sound etc. - you're going to need a hell of alot more people, and that costs money. No doubt,  the PS3 can follow the same legacy as the PS2 - but I think that they're going to have a rough go of it, especially in today's economy and rising energy costs. Sony is banking on Blu-Ray, and if they fail (like they've failed with every format they've tried to push on the consumer), they risk losing the entire PlayStation franchise in the process.

edit - as an aside, the fact that we haven't seen any inflation in the gaming market in over a decade might be one reason why the completely realistic cost of the PS3 is so shocking. I was thinking of how this mirrors the gasoline price issue in North America. We're now starting to pay what other countries have paid for gas for decades - but look at the outrage. The technology has advanced in gaming so very very far, but we still expect to pay $299.99 at the end of the day and call it done. Let's be realistic - Sony did set an appropriate price point, however, it remains to be seen if the consumer can swallow it. If they can't - they're in trouble. The price will come down eventually, but either through market acceptance, or denial. Hopefully it's acceptance.
981  Media / The Soundroom / Song of the Moment on: July 02, 2006, 10:10:11 AM

Been enjoying A.F.I.'s new album December Underground.

I'd have to say the song "37mm" for my song of the day.

Fans of the band might be in a bit of a shock with this new album - they've really expanded their range of music style. Some of it is Pop-worthy, some good punk tracks, and some really retro - with more than a solid nod to The Cure.
982  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Did Final Fantasy really save Square? on: July 02, 2006, 09:53:15 AM
Quote from: "Ark"
Quote from: "Dios GX"
Quote from: "James8BitStar"
RPG Lore.



are you for real



*Monocle pops off and lands on the floor*



And that sir - made me spit up my morning coffee laughing.

*puts monacle on*

983  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Has anyone heard from Victor Ireland lately? on: July 02, 2006, 09:47:37 AM
Quote from: "Mana Knight"
I'm thinking he's going to work for MS in translating Japanese games or he's going to work for Hudson Enterntainment, working on translating Far East of Eden Ziria.  Those are just my guesses, so far.

very good educated guesses, but you'll have to wait a few more months to see if you're right. Anyone care to take a bet? ^_~
984  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Gasp! An anime-styled RPG for Xbox 360... in August!!?!? on: July 02, 2006, 09:38:30 AM
Well, this thread got off topic lol - but I always enjoy a good debate, so i'll throw my hat into the ring ,and play devil's advocate.

I entirely agree that the 360 isn't being well received at all in Japan at the moment, though it is getting much better Japanese software support than its predecessor. You all know as well as I do that Japan is very, very brand loyal - the fact that Microsoft is trying to gain a legitimate foothold there is laudible in itself. I partly feel bad for the Japanese market due to this inflexibility because some of the software released on the Xbox 360 are incredible experiences (Oblivion for example), and some of the upcoming titles like Gears of War, Halo 3, Alan Wake etc. are very very strong releases. Yes, I'm full aware of the difference between Japanese and American tastes in games, but if we can revel in their software, I don't see any reason why the opposite can't happen.

On the flip side, the Xbox 360 has been received remarkably well in the US, and judging from the showing we saw at E3, they really will give Sony a run for their money for the next console king, especially since the North American market is now the crown jewel for software publishers (see: Konami). I think the old standard of belief that a console is doomed to fail without the undying support of the Japanese software community is finally fading. With developers the likes of Bungie, Lionhead Studios, Silicon Knights, Bethesda, LucasArts and Rare among others supporting the 360 in a big way, we honestly have a contender for our market.

Please don't think that i'm bashing the Japanese market, i'm a fanboy just as much as the rest of you, but let's be realistic. Currently the North American market contains a much more lucrative market for gaming due to the sheer demographic, in no small part to the massive installed userbase of Sony's systems. There is also a final emergence of U.S. developers proving that they too can provide great gaming experiences without living in the shadow of their Japanese counterparts - (see: God of War). While companies like Square Enix still set the standard - there are plenty of US devs out there who are ready to meet that challenge. This is where Microsoft is in a great position with the 360, because they're reaping the fruits of what our market has available for our audience.

Do I think the Xbox 360 is in an RPG hole? Not at all with a triple A RPG like Oblivion available within the first 6 months of the consoles release. I think the quick follow-up of Enchanted Arms and Culdcept Saga before the fall is a good sign for RPGs on the console IN OUR MARKET. Look how long it took us to get FFVII on the PSOne and FFX on the PS2.

Also, let's not forget Mistwalker and Tri-Ace, and the fact that Square Enix and Microsoft did release FFXI on the 360 - certainly it's a port, but it means that there's rapport between the two companies. It's nice that Hudson is bringing FEoE here, but the game honestly looks and plays no better than a Dreamcast title, and hasn't a single drop of innovation.

With the development costs for the next gen consoles being expected to be much higher than the current generation, expect to see alot less third party exclusive titles - and more ports to maximize their audiences. Hell, even Kaz Hirai said to expect the PS3 software to be more expensive than the current norm ($49.99). If we look at the Xbox 360 titles at $59.99 - seeing PS3 titles for $65.99 or even $69.99 isn't that far fetched.

I can tell you from what I heard at E3 from many developers (both Japanese and domestic) - that the price point of the PS3 has caused many of them to re-evaluate their publishing relations with Sony. Not only will Sony's next-gen console market shrink dramatically - but the costs of developing for the console with exclusivity contracts will be such a business model nightmare, that developers and publishers will have no choice but to branch out to remain profitable. With the Wii being a very marginal improvement over the Gamecube in terms of visuals etc. - even Japanese developers will have to consider all their options (even the 360) if the consumer demand for a comperable experience to the PS3 is high. Currently, only a very very small handful of PS3 titles look better than the recent generation of 360 titles.

Anyway - we really won't know until at least a year after all the next gen consoles are released and we get into the real software. Everything else is conjecture, but stimulating conjecture all the same.


About Enchanted Arms itself - I wasn't trying to put the game a pedistal, or try to compare it to something like FFXIII (OMG, I want it now!). I was simply sharing my enthusiasm at having a Japanese RPG coming to the 360 in the US in a little over a month. It gives me a next-gen RPG to play with until October when the big guns finally come out (VP:S, FFXII, etc.). The Mistwalker titles etc. are a year away at least - what's so wrong with enjoying what's here now eh?

Is it just me or does it have a Shadow Hearts vibe?
985  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Has anyone heard from Victor Ireland lately? on: July 01, 2006, 09:47:47 AM
Vic's going to be making a return to the industry, though some of us are sworn to secrecy. There'll be news of it later this year, I assure you.
986  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Gasp! An anime-styled RPG for Xbox 360... in August!!?!? on: July 01, 2006, 09:39:22 AM
I was fiddling around on Xbox Live this week and found the E3 trailer for a spiffy new RPG for the 360, developed by FromSoftware, published by UbiSoft - to be released.... in August! The title is called Enchanted Arms and looks pretty cool, in an quirky sort of way.

While the E3 trailer was brief as hell, can probably find it on GameTrailers.com, I dug up this rather long video of the Japanese version here: http://www.em-game.net/wvx/pv_shop_ver.wvx

Be interesting to see how it turns out.

edit: and here's one that shows more actual gameplay - nice little nod to Gundam in there.
987  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / FFXI: Chocobo Raising on: June 09, 2006, 08:27:56 AM
Let's not forget the most important facet, is the fact that this "minigame" does not equate to giving the player a form of convenient transportation ( something that has been a standard in almsot every other MMO on the market). Instead, it's yet another distraction  to create yet another distraction (racing) in a game comprised of distractions - having lost player direction and "fun" since the release of Chains of Promathia.

Aht Urghan is a promising new expansion, but SE's habitual release of incomplete content in a retail package leaves much to be desired, especially after the year we had to wait to have CoP completed, and hated almost all of it.

Dio's right, most of us have grown up and expect alot more from the gameplay experience in the MMO market, and that's an arena FFXI has failed miserably to adapt to.
988  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / WoW - What UI mods are the cool kids using these days? on: June 02, 2006, 08:46:03 AM
Titan Panel with package addons
TitanPanel: Durability
Cast Party
KLH ThreatMeter

I highly recommend CT_Raid for all players, and AutoBuff and Cast Party make playing healer/buff classes a snap. AutoBuff pretty much takes the "stare at the buff timer" chore out of your hands, and will rebuff all the selected buffs on the party or raid when it expires (or earlier depending on your options). Cast Party allows you to bind spells to mouse buttons and in turn gives you a new GUI that allows you to cast these spells on party members (and raid members via CT_Raid compatibility) by hitting the corresponding mouse key when over their life bars. You can even have it chose the more mana efficient spells and rank levels depending on how you customize it. It allows me to main heal without overhealing and fussing with hotkeys and panels.
989  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Fuck WoW....I'm going home. on: April 14, 2006, 06:23:16 PM
The server login issues and lag have borked countless raid nights for us o Uldum, and come peak server time (around 6 PST), the ques are daily and the instance lag unbearable.  With the amount of money Blizz is getting from its subscribers, you'd think they'd have an army working on this worsening problem - but it doesnt seem the case. Thankfully I still have FFXI to play (and enjoying quite a bit more than WoW recently).
990  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / World of Warcraft OH MY GOD CURRENT EVENTS THREAD on: March 24, 2006, 08:18:09 AM
Amazingly enough I came back to WoW (while still enjoying FFXI) and joined up with an accomplished raiding guild after ditching the headaches of guild alliances. For the first time I was able to finish MC (Rag went down in 8 minutes), downed Onyxia, as well as capped Hakkar. We're still learning AQ20, but have gotten through 4 of the bosses with some work. BWL is on hold till all the new recruits get geared up. Loot-wise, absolutely fan-fucking-tastic week for me.


Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds

 Gauntlets of the Immovable

Breastplate of Might
Bracers of Might

I'll have to post some pics later ^_^
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