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Clean My Wounds
March 7, 2005

Hello, everyone. Long time no see. I swear, just when it looks like the Mailbag is on pace to start getting more frequently updated, we have to go off and take a while to move over to a new server. That a way to kill the momentum. :P

I tend to make bold statements. That's just my nature. When I said I was done with World of Warcraft, I did so with fervor and gusto. I meant it...at the time. But as you all know, things have a habit of changing. Sure enough, I'm back in the grip of this fantastic game, and I actually plan to stick around for a bit this time. If any of you are ever on the server Shattered Hand, send my lovely mage Alisandre a kind hello. Same goes for Dark Iron; Myshella the druid needs some love, too. :P

Just a few weeks until this lovely little gem makes its way into our homes. Although I fear I won't be getting Oblivion anytime soon, I'm very excited, seeing as both Daggerfall and Morrowind are two of my favorite computer RPGs. Be warned, if any of you spoil the game for me, I'll...I'll...do something sutiably mean, I promise. :P

To the letters! =^.^=

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
 
 
I can't wait till they release Tales of Tales. That's just about the only final word still available, right? :P

Rpgfan.com,
I honestly have only two RPGs I'm really looking forward to this year! Tales of Phantasia and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess! I wanna get Tales of Phantasia because the Tales series kicks ass! Twilight Princess is probably more of a given as to why I want it: it's a Zelda game! By the way, I've read on numerous message boards of people saying that there's some connection story-wise between Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Symphonia. Do you know what I'm talking about? If not, that's fine. It's just something that's been on my mind for awhile now...

Kevin Veighey

P.S. By the way, I love the Soundtracks section! It's awesome!

You know, for some reason I keep forgetting about the new Zelda. Twilight Princess just slips my mind completely until I see it mentioned on the boards, with the word "delayed" typically appended to the end. :P But yeah, I have yet to play a bad Zelda, so it's bound to be good. Even Zelda II is a good game in hindsight.

As to any ties between ToP and ToS, you couldn't have possibly asked a worse person about that. I dislike all but one of the Tales games that I've played. For some reason, I never had a problem with Tales of Destiny, except for the insane encounter rate. But the rest of them? Two thumbs down, baby. :P Although I freely admit that Tales of Symphonia would have more enjoyable to me had I not played Star Ocean 3 before it. Movement seemed far too restrictive in the wake of Fayt and that goofy looking girl with the unzipped pants whose name I forget.

 
Hi, Mister Game Developer. Meet Dead Horse and the Beat Stick.

I've played a few RPGs and I've noticed how in a lot of RPGS there are protagonists are normally some cliche teenage male who somehow saves the world or something of that sort. Can you tell me any RPGs that do not fit this stereotype?

I'll assume you're talking CONSOLE RPGs, since I can't think of any computer RPGs that fit into that overplayed plot point.

Three out of the four Suikoden games would qualify, I guess. While the games generally do feature young protagonists, the only one that had a real "save the world" element to it was Suikoden III. The rest of the games deal with conflicts that are of a far smaller scale. Oddly enough, the aformentioned Suikoden III is one of the few Japanese RPGs I can think of with a protagonist that's actually out of their teens: Geddoe. I think that's why I enjoyed Geddoe's story far more than the other two: it was actually, you know, different from the norm.

I thought for sure I'd be able to name more games than that, but I can't think of anything else. :P Readers, if you can think of any games that would qualify, make sure you let me know and I'll share them.

Dur, game make think box hurt. :(

Dan,

I'm now playing Romancing SaGa (started with Gray) and I was shocked at the sheer complexity and difficulty of the beginning. I've lost and been forced to retreat countless times in only 10 or less hours of the game (most of which I spent training to raise stats, gain Jewels, and Gold).

Though I'm wowed by outstanding music (battle theme) and graphics. I feel out of my league all the time. I've read and re-read the game book countless times. My point is, I believe I'm seeing this far too much now-a-days. Creators are making RPGs overly complex or leaving no room for unconventional tactic producing gamers like myself. Games like Wild Arms and the FFs give my plenty of simple rules so that I can bend them and break my foes. But with Romancing SaGa, I can only follow the rules and hope for a victory with time, luck, and more time. I believe simple rules allow boss battles to be hard but fun. Soon people who are die hard RPG fans will look away for most games for good.

If there's one thing I loathe, it's needless complexity in an RPG. Nothing turns me off more than some sort of attempt at innovation that ends up as one big mess. While I could name quite a few games that do this (Tsugunai and Xenosaga come to mind immediately), the worst offender I've ever seen would be Unlimited SaGa. I kid you not, I read and reread the manual several times, and nothing stuck in my mind. It might as well have been in a foreign language. The problem wasn't in how the manual was written, but in the fact that Unlimited SaGa has some of the most unwieldly gaming mechanics you will ever find. The whole game is literally one overly large, convoluted, archaic menu. It was painful.

You don't always need large-scale innovations in order to make a decent product. Look at Shadow Hearts. There's nothing remotely complicated about the Judgment Ring system, but it works out beautifully. As I've said time and again, designers shouldn't pursue innovation only for innovation's sake; enjoyment should take priority.

 
Closing Thoughts

Some of you might be saying "Hey, what happened to my letter?" Well, I got them...they just didn't make it off the old server. Oops. You can feel free to send them back though; it's not like I turned them down or anything. I'm just forgetful. :P

That'll do it for this update. Can't wait to hear from you, boys and girls. :P

~ Daniel Stringer (mailbag@rpgfan.com)



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