All Geek's Eve

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WhiskeyDisk posted...
How do we get people to pay $120 for a mediocre RPG?

Split it into 3 parts, 20 hours each! Give them one new ability each time they'll use twice in each "game".

BRILLIANT!

--.hack in a nutshell.

To be fair, .hack was more like "How do we get people to pay $160 for a somewhat unique RPG? Let's split it into four games, 20 hours each. And then make a really awesome anime prequel for it."

Though that was only if you bought them all at launch - by the time part 4 was out, part 1 was already down to about $10. It wasn't that hard to come to the party late and only pay about $80 or so for the whole experience (or even less, if you waited even longer).

The GU games were definitely longer than 20 hours each (if memory serves, I think I spent about 40 hours in each), looked WAY better, had better mechanics and a better overall story, had far more memorable moments, and a much improved anime. So even if you bought every game at launch you were only really paying double what most games cost today, for an experience which was better than a lot of games selling today (and certainly better than anything Square has made since 2000 or so).

If anything, I'd almost prefer if more developers today worked via that model, rather than the similar "episodic" design that's popular today, or most of the far more predatory ways developers are gouging players with DLC and microtransactions. At least .hack was pretty open about what it was at the time.

"Wall of Text'D!" --- oldskoolplayr76
"POwned again." --- blight family

User Info: Raganork

Raganork
2 months ago#112
ParanoidObsessive posted...
Manageable, yes, to some degree. Preventable? Not really. Especially not once you start really getting into the game, and trying to get specific cards that are only available in specific regions, at least not without a fair amount of save scumming and wasted time.

Again, I don't remember most of the specifics as much as I remember my own outrage ABOUT the specifics, but I do remember it being a huge pain in the ass at the time. Especially when the Queen of Cards was involved. If there was an easy way to bypass or screw the game over, I'm assuming I absolutely would have found a way to do it (especially since I was already active on the Internet at that point and reading FAQs and the like).

So here's the thing. Whenever you enter a new region and challenge someone to Triple Triad, they'll ask if you want to play with a mix of rules, some unique to their region. For some godforsaken reason, you have to deny playing with them multiple times in succession (I think it's random, but usually over a dozen) before they concede and agree to play without mixing rules. If you agree to their terms, that's when the cancer spreads and you start f***ing everything up. It's a stupid system, that I'll concede, but it's also one that I've started enjoying on my 10th-plus playthroughs, as it keeps things interesting.

The only time you need to fiddle around with the rules is when the Queen of Cards is involved, and that's because you need to lose certain cards to her so father can get inspired to create new Triple Triad cards (???). My gripe there is that I don't think the game ever explicitly states which cards you need to lose to her. She'll tell you when you lost the appropriate cards to her, but only after the fact.

The card collection quest is fairly complicated, but once you learn how rules spread/degrade, and how the Card Queen b**** works, it plays out fairly consistently. The only random element is where the Queen of Cards moves to once you lose to her. If that singular element had randomness eliminated from it, the entire quest would be consistent every single time.

So yes, I would agree that the collection aspect of Triple Triad is f***ed up, but in its f***edness I can still manage to enjoy it upon repeat playthroughs, though admittedly I would never dare to collect every single card again.
ParanoidObsessive posted...
That's one of the things that makes me hate a game, though, not something I would ever see as a plus under any circumstances.

The problem is that most of those sorts of mechanics mostly stem from the bulls*** ante rules for Magic: the Gathering, but there's also a reason why almost no one ever plays ante rules.

It also doesn't help that it's essentially a "The rich get richer, the poor get poorer" sort of mechanic - the worse you do, the worse your deck becomes, and thus, you do even worse. It's not really good game design, or a recipe for enjoyable play.

Granted, it's the perfect mechanic for a developer to introduce if they're selling the card game (Magic does it because it encourages you to BUY MORE CARDS), or if you're a video game developer trying to push microtransactions, but there are far better ways to add replayability to a game.

You have to understand that my thoughts on the game stem from having over a dozen playthroughs under my belt. When you play a game that many times, things that others would find questionable become things that keep things fresh. On a first playthrough, yeah, who wants to lose their rare character cards? On a 15th playthrough, I start using s***-tier cards and mixing plus/random/diff rules everywhere because steamrolling everyone became boring 10+ playthroughs ago. So it says something that in all this bulls***tery, I can still manage to have fun with Triple Triad, and not Gwent or Tetra Master.

User Info: Zeus

Zeus
2 months ago#113
ParanoidObsessive posted...
But at the time, I absolutely remember Tetra Master being easier to play than Triple Triad, at least for me. I didn't find the rules all that complicated at all, and once you get into the rhythm of playing, it's not all that hard to win fairly regularly. It's one of the few reasons I actually stuck with it in spite of my absolute hatred for its predecessor shortly before.


I don't know how you could find Tetra easier to play, given that it was more complex in almost every conceivable way and many of the mechanics seemed byzantine.

ParanoidObsessive posted...
I also seem to remember there were a number of unique cards that you could basically only get once, which you then had to effectively give up in order to acquire OTHER unique cards that you could basically only get once, which is like a massive middle finger pointed directly at the completionist part of my personality, which is the only part of me that would ever want to play the game in the first place.


I thought there was a way to get some of those cards back later?

ParanoidObsessive posted...
"This thing that is s*** is slightly less s***ty than this other thing which is also s***" is never a valid defense, though. The optimal scenario is to not have s***ty things in the first place.

It's part of why my philosophy about optional minigames is that they should ALWAYS be completely optimal, and that it's straight up bad game design to make them mandatory in any way


While I can emphasize with that argument, it could also be viewed as a complaint against obstacles of *any* kind which deviate from the primary gameplay (ie, puzzle solving or a timed section)

ParanoidObsessive posted...
even in cases where "mandatory" translates to "only mandatory if you want the best weapon" (FFX was the king of this, where every character's ultimate weapon required you to play DIFFERENT minigames, most of which were kind of s***). Your sole reward for playing a minigame should be playing the minigame. Full stop.


If the only reward for playing a minigame was playing the minigame (or rewards associated with the minigame), things would be more boring. And, quite honestly, locking the best weapon behind something is meaningless because you don't necessarily *need* the best weapon anyway, it's more of an extra in the same way that secret bosses are an extra. More importantly, content-locking (via minigame, hidden boss, subquest, etc) the best-possible weapon *makes* them feel more special or unique vs picking up the final super-blade at a shop. When I'm able to just get the ultimate thing in the course of the main quest chain I feel a little cheated.


ParanoidObsessive posted...
(Then again, I'm a HUGE proponent that game design should always be additive/positive rather than subtractive/negative, where rewards absolutely shouldn't be presented in ways that they could be seen as punishments to players who refuse to participate, so minigames are hardly the only way in which developers have pissed me off in that fashion over the years. Basically, side activities shouldn't force players into behavior they would otherwise avoid solely to gain advantage in the main game, they should stand alone and be a value in and of themselves.)


Which is like saying that driving a Camry is punishment for not being able to afford a... well, I don't keep current on fancy sports cars, but you get the drift. Not getting the best possible thing isn't automatically a punishment.
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In Zeus We Trust: All Others Pay Cash

User Info: Zeus

Zeus
2 months ago#114
ParanoidObsessive posted...
Yeah, but that's part of what I was referencing when I mentioned it being a cultural thing. The Japanese have a thing for young protagonists, so Squall being an emo-teen appeals more to them than it would to a Western audience. The Japanese also tend to have a strong preference for pathetically dithering males who are absolutely incapable of making forceful decisions or being active protagonists, which is why it shows up as an archetype in so much manga and anime.


But is it strictly cultural, though? Pretty much every fantasy book -- particularly YA -- goes the wish fulfillment route where the protagonist starts off as a meek loser who the average reader is supposed to identify with and project onto (and the same is true of many high-profile superheroes, who often wallow in self-doubt after the fact -- such as Spider-Man, the Hulk, etc). Granted, when that trope is used in the West, *usually* the protagonists improve over time whereas Shinji doesn't see as much development.

ParanoidObsessive posted...
In a similar vein, the concept of hikikomori is a more accepted (or at least more familiar) thing in Japan, which makes it easier for them to accept those sorts of characters in a story, whereas it comes across less sympathetic to Western audiences who have been culturally socialized over generations to idealize a more proactive, dynamic, active protagonist who kicks ass, takes names, and rarely looks back to question their own choices.


There's still a dedicated subsection of the gaming community which strongly resemble hikikomori and, in some cases, NEETs as well. Keep in mind that rather strong stereotype about gamers being losers who live in their parents' basement.

Keep in mind that the action-oriented jocks in American society either don't game or stick to other facets of gaming, so your Duke Nukem fans (or, rather, CoD or Halo because Duke Nukem doesn't really have fans any more) often won't be your Final Fantasy fans.
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In Zeus We Trust: All Others Pay Cash
(edited 2 months ago)

User Info: WhiskeyDisk

WhiskeyDisk
2 months ago#115
Ok, not jumping into this quote chain on mobile, but A) making something like the Zodiac Spear in FFXII inaccessible by merely opening 1 of 4 random treasure chest is inexcusable, and B) in 99% of games, any "penultimate weapon" one can get is absolutely worthless once acquired since there isn't a damned thing left worth killing with it once you've gone and gotten it.

This is exactly why my top 3 games of all time are what they are.
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http://s1.zetaboards.com/sba/ ~there's always free cheese in a mousetrap.

User Info: Entity13

Entity13
2 months ago#116
WhiskeyDisk posted...
Ok, not jumping into this quote chain on mobile, but A) making something like the Zodiac Spear in FFXII inaccessible by merely opening 1 of 4 random treasure chest is inexcusable, and B) in 99% of games, any "penultimate weapon" one can get is absolutely worthless once acquired since there isn't a damned thing left worth killing with it once you've gone and gotten it.

This is exactly why my top 3 games of all time are what they are.


I agree to an extent. Some major piece of gear, be it weapon or armor or accessory, needs to feel rewarding upon getting it. The Zodiac Age version of XII eliminated the chance to get the Ribbon from one chest in a field, leaving a handful of ways that require a ton of mindnumbing effort, by which I mean running from place to place and spamming recovery items (unless you set up Gambits to do that button spamming for you). Then by the time you get one or two ribbons, you should be so OP you can run through Trial Mode and try to steal more ribbons (in excess even) from #49's stage. It's not rewarding. It's like coming home from a bad day of working at a call center for a horrendous company, narrowly escaping several collisions from traffic because of potholes that simply won't ever be covered up, and realizing you get to do the same thing the next day for s*** pay because that's your life now.

In any other FF that has the ailment-canceling Ribbon, even the "International" version of X that we finally got in the US recently (and the ribbon ability on armor is a pain in the butt to acquire), it's rewarding to get one, and you get to use it whenever or wherever after that. In XII, it's more like the vast majority of crap you would want the Ribbon for is already behind you, and the only things ahead of you are the main story's ending and a few side bosses. But oh hey, the super bosses don't give a damn about your Ribbon so they'll kill you with random bulls*** anyways as though the Ribbon isn't even there; enjoy that 4-hour battle of whittling down one boss's health!

No, just no. Stop it. That is terrible design, and people who defend XII ought to feel bad.
http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb179/EntityXIII/entityfn7.jpg

User Info: Raganork

Raganork
2 months ago#117
The ribbon has always been a bulls*** item to begin with. You wanna talk about bosses invalidating the need for having ribbons, how about the ribbons themselves invalidating vox, blindna, poisona, stona, esuna, and all of the status curing items.

So I'm all for making such a stupidly overpowered piece of gear difficult to obtain, or only obtainable in the late game. Such gear shouldn't exist at all.

Zodiac Age brings along something with more bulls***tery than the Ribbon anyhow: you can steal the Karkata from one of the early trial stages right at the beginning of the game, and it will carry you through the entire game. Steal as many as you like. The mere existence of the trial mode allows you to bypass the need to hunt rare game, and obtain easy duplicates of powerful gear.

So of all the things to complain about in Zodiac Age, the ribbons are at the bottom of the list.

At any rate, I've a bone to pick with gear progression in almost any game ever made, in that you almost always just replace old gear with new ones that output more damage. The reason why I adore Vagrant Story is precisely because they eliminated shops. Every piece of gear you obtain can be disassembled and refashioned into new gear, and the longer you use a weapon against certain enemy types, the more powerful it becomes at killing those enemies, giving you yet another reason to hang onto old gear. It's a beautiful system, and it's a damn shame most games opt for the generic "buy better loot as you progress" formula.

Even the ultimate weapons have to be created, and are not found easily or purchased. And even still, you've a reason to create ultimate weapons of each blade type (edged, pierce, blunt) and not just one f***-off sword.

User Info: knivesX2004

knivesX2004
2 months ago#118
Entity13 posted...
No, just no. Stop it. That is terrible design, and people who defend XII ought to feel bad.

Speaking of... was that rerelease any good?
I hated the original but I hear they made a bunch of changes.

User Info: Raganork

Raganork
2 months ago#119
It's quite good, though it certainly won't convert those that hated the original. My favorite addition is the 4x speed option, which significantly cuts down on grinding time. The remastered ost is also a pleasant change.

I also like how the Cerobi Steppe chest rates have been nerfed to hell, if only because it pissed off people that wanted easy bulls***-overpowered equipment.

The part I didn't like was the decrease in difficulty. The original game was quite difficult, as it was balanced around everyone being able to be anything at any time, forcing you to make use out of all your tools.

The international edition had the job system, but limited each character to a single job. This required a balance change. Now, with Zodiac Age, it kept the same balance as the international version, but allows for two jobs per character, and that breaks any semblance of challenge.

But hey, the level 1 difficulty setting is there for those wanting a challenge, so it's not all that bad.

User Info: Entity13

Entity13
2 months ago#120
knivesX2004 posted...
Entity13 posted...
No, just no. Stop it. That is terrible design, and people who defend XII ought to feel bad.

Speaking of... was that rerelease any good?
I hated the original but I hear they made a bunch of changes.


It's still quite bad.
http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb179/EntityXIII/entityfn7.jpg
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