Slow Week
Wednesday, February 27, 2002

I'm beginning to think the whole customization topic might not have been the brightest of ideas afterall, judging from the response. Of course, I'm also low on 'normal' letters (low = I have none), so not many people are writing in period, on any topic.

But hey, less work for me. That's been coming in kinda handy this week really, so who am I to complain?

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
Last time I fought one of these duels, my opponent was unarmed (lame joke)

Hey there, Mr. THE Chrono! This is your old friend, Guy Incognito. I saw that you didn't have a lot of letters in this update, so I decided that I should send one. But what to send, what to send? I already wrote in about the prequel thing, and the customization thing isn't till Friday. You need Wednesday material! So I racked my brain like a bunch of pool balls (they jingle jangle jingle!) and I came up with a great idea for a letter! I challenge you to a duel, but not just any duel... this is a duel... OF WITS!

The game is trivia, and the category is Enix! So here's your trivia question Mr. Time Travel: how many games were released in the US for the Super Famicom by Enix (including Tri-Ace and Quartet)? Good luck finding out. And even if you DO answer right, which I know you won't be able to since I am SO much more 1337 than you, (\/\/4t42hi \/\/4 ub3|2-1337 d3su!), I'll be back again to give you more trivia. AHAHAHAHAHA!

Guy Incognito

There's a chance you merely made a mistake in the context of your question here... or rather, since you're so '1337', you're trying to trick me. Either way, the answer would be zero, since you know... in the US, the Fami was called the SNES. Nice little word game, there. Was misspelling Terranigma (among others) developer Quintet as 'Quartet' part of your game too? I hope so. :P
Hmm...free food.


Today I am writing about my hero's. RPG hero's ofcourse! You see, I lead a very sad life in which my only hero's are RPGFan editors and RPG charachters who don't even exist. After playing through Chrono Cross I decided that Serge was my hero for the day. He never talked but got around just fine, so I went a whole day without talking, and with a bandanna on my head. So how did my day go? Well, you better read below!

8:30am: Wakes up, stretches arms and walks towards window, jumps up to open blinds.
9:00am: heads to work, stops at 7-11 to buy a coffee that I can spill on my lap and sue... Forgets I'm not supposed to talk so I take the pain like a man.
9:30am: arrives at work, Luis greets me, I smile.
11:00am: falls asleep
12:00pm: goes to burger king, stares at employee until she gives me a free Whopper.
1:00pm: gets back to work, writes Chrono a lame email to be in the mailbag.

Okay! So that's when I stopped acting like Serge, I'm bored Chrono, what am I supposed to do when I am bored? How many times can I watch Ogami itto on beat the geeks over and over? Chrono... I'm scared, hold me.

-Joey Mikler

I wonder if your little Burger King trick will work around here... I'm a bit strapped for cash, so free food wouldn't hurt any.

Of course, since you're Mr. Flush $60 Down the Toilet (or spent in IGN Insider...same deal), maybe you could just buy me food anyway, hm?

Another Poor EuroGamer

Hi Chronologist,
if anyone in America thinks that Final Fantasy VI only just being released in Europe is bad, they have no idea! (specifically I'm from England, although for the record I don't wear bowler hats or drink tea ^ _ ^;) So here's just a few of the awesome RPGs that have never been released over here, so you can all point and laugh at us British gamers for living in such a useless country...

Xenogears, Star Ocean 2, Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy Tactics, Tales Of Destiny, Tales Of Destiny II, every Final Fantasy before no. VI...and the list just keeps going on! ; _ ; (luckily I've imported almost every game on that list ^ _ ^)

Why does the world hate us Brits so? Have we done something to offend someone? (idiotic royal family aside...oh yeah, and a total lack of patriotism ^ _ ^;)

And we still don't have Final Fantasy X yet...pathetic, isn't it?
OK, bye, I need to go sit in a corner and cry now.
- Allorien

You know, considering how long it took to get Final Fantasy VI, I wouldn't be complaining about getting FFX mere months after the US did. Think about it.
More Final Fantasy X spoilers, yay!

I was reading the April's Egm mag and it said something about a bonus epilogue at the end of the final fantasy X International in japan. It said that (spoilers) Rikku found a sphere recorded by Tidus that shows Him captured somewhere, so the whole crew desides to to set out on a quest to find him. My question is Do you think that square might go against thier tradition and create a sequel to final fantasy X that continues the story of Tidus. I know that final fantasy XI is an online rpg but do you think they might continue final fantasy x story in part XII.


Wow, this came up again awfully quick. Long story short: Said epilogue is on the bonus disc that comes with FFX International, and from what I've seen and heard of it, isn't playable, but merely something to watch, which shows the world of Spira after the events in FFX. Considering how the epilogue ends, and Square's site hinting this 'epilogue' may be a 'prologue', I'd say a real sequel to FFX is forthcoming. However, FFXII's dev team (parts of it) have been announced, and they're not the same team that did FFX, so I don't think XII will be this sequel. I'd figure more of a spin-off or side story is what will happen, rather than integrating it into the main series.

But then, look at FFXI... that should have been separate from the main numbered series as well, so who knows.

Anyone want a MUD pie? Well, me either.

Customization is one of those things that makes an RPG stand out. It gives you a sense that every time you play, you're not playing the same game that your friend 4 states away is. Case in Point, my favorite game of the PS generation, the king of customization: Star Ocean 2. Although it does have a few flaws in its customization, like Perserverance, it's still a gargantuanly deep system.
You can't count out simple customization, either, though. As most of you on the MBs know, I MUD. There tends to be a great deal of customization in MUDs, on my MUD, www.ancients.org (Yes, that was a plug), there are over 1000 different class combinations. But it's the simple things that make it go. I can change my prompt if i want more complex or simpler. I can change off all the colors, hell, i can even change what the channels look like.
I guess my point is, since it wasn't incredibly visible in the first two paragraphs, is that Customization is one of those things that make an RPG stand out. Oh, wait, that was the first sentence. Oh, well.


Yeah, Star Ocean 2 was pretty darn customizable. I remember spending plenty of time making items in that game. Most notably, those forged checks and stuff that sold for a LOT of money. Of course, you'd frequently get the bounced check that drained your income... which is why I always stayed near a place to sell the checks at all times. How many RPGs let you live a life of crime and use forgery to make money? What a game.
I love the Power Glove. It's so bad.

Being able to customize things in a game is kinda important to me. That is one of the few things that I liked about the newest DW game, how you could customize your characters by giving them different jobs (though FFT did this long ago...I liked almost everything, except the dialogue, from FFT). I wish more games gave the kind of flexibility that FFX, FFT and DW7 do. Even the first FF game let you choose the class that you wanted to be at the beginning. That was rad.

I also think that being able to customize the windows is important, because there are some games that I HATE the way the windows look.


Five extra brownie points to anyone that catches the movie reference in the letter's title.

Changing windows can definitely be a nice feature, for a few reasons. I mean, after 20 or so hours, you're bound to tire of that same blue box. Plus, as you said, some games just have some really really... not good-looking windows. Reminds me of Final Fantasy IX... I sure loved all the window options in that one. Gray stone, or... blue stone. Bah!

Define 'moderate opinion'

Basically, as an old school gamer I have a moderate opinion on this issue. I personally like it as compared to completely static characters in the past for the most part. As long as a game doesn't take it to an extreme, either too limited or too vast, and makes the system easy to use, it usually enhances the fun. I also prefer that a system is included in the game's plot, a reason for its existence.

Some great systems are the Esper system of FFVI, Suikoden I and II's Rune system, the materia system of FFVII, etc. These are all good as they are easy to do, make sense since they are tied to the plot, and most allow for an insane number of combos or spells or both. FFT's job system doesn't really make it into its intense plot, but the insane number of combos makes it fun too play and customize. It really brought strategy RPGs back.

Some bad systems are the limiting junction system of FFVIII, which allows for a lot of customization, but offers so little command and ability slots for it too be nearly meaningless, and very little junction slots too unless one is card-moding a lot, or buying a ton of items in Esthar. Which means you are erasing other abilities to use these on GFs as well. The limiting of commands to four was a huge mistake. Even basics like draw/magic/item/gf require five slots, and adding in other new commands like Recover, Treatment, and Revive, the limited command slots really hurts gameplay. Junctioning took a lot of time, since the computer/AI was incompetent on Auto-Junction. Chrono Cross has way too many slots on its elemental grid at high star levels and the same problem, incompetent auto-fill. Changing characters required changing grids alot, meaning you either limited your character usage or spent a lot of time reconfiguring grids, since trying to switch grids was a futile proposition with so many different grid styles. DWVII is horrible in customization. Tons of classes and abilities. However, each battle is only worth one point towards character class levels. If you outclass an enemy in experience level by too much no points towards character class levels can be gained from them and you have to find tougher opponents who yield more XP and compound this problem. After reaching Level 8 in a class, you master that class, but have to hoof it to Dharma Temple to change to a new class (hopefully better than the last). This makes for too much random battles, since mastering a decent class could take up to 200 battles, powerful classes can go up to the 500s. Anybody see a problem here? I also dislike no one in the game explaining how any of these systems came to exist. There is no plot link at all. Sure there are tutorials on how they work, but WHY do they work in these game worlds? This is an especially disappointing feature of FFVIII, since the previous two systems had a plot link to them.

An Overview: If a game has customization, but limits it in any way, that is bad use of customization. If a game is so big and vast in its customization that it takes forever to actually get done customizing, that is way too much. A moderate customization with no limitations on it and easy to use is best.

-Steven the Old School gamer

Hm. This letter made me think about FFVIII. While the system was interesting, now that I think about it, it really was pretty flawed. Aside from the inane task of drawing spells, I'd forgotten the hassle of switching characters and having to re-junction everything. And really, how does one 'junction' spells? At least with materia, they'd put the orbs in their weapons, but...

Good last point too... I'd think FFX might fit in the second category of being big and vast. But then, once you learn how to work the system how you want, it does take away from the 'taking forever' thing, as I've learned recently.

Closing Thoughts

Yay done. Later folks.

~ Chronologist (chronologist@rpgfan.com)


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