RPG Classics Mailbag #20

Woohoo! Finally! My exams are over and done with! Now I can look forward to many weeks of doing absolutely nothi... ah crap, that's right, I have to work during the holiday. What a buzzkill. Oh well, I'm sure you don't wanna hear my problems, so let's go and do the mailbag instead. The question: "What are your thoughts on the future prospect of an online Final Fantasy game?" The reason for me asking this: ...I dunno, really, I suppose I was just curious. Usually I like having fun with the mailbag more, but hey... when you do have a mailbag, it's useful when those rare cases when I'm more interested in everyone's opinion than just joking around come up. Alrighty, first up is Sorcerer.

"Well you asked for it, so here it is!! My answer to your mailbag. Alright, your question was what is my take on The Online Final Fantasy RPGs. First off, Square Plans to release Final Fantasy 11 as an Online Only RPG for the new Playstation 2. This is a big leap up for Square. They will have to manage a Network for players to play on. This can create numerous problems, that, knowing Square, may and may not happen. First, they will have to maintain the network, otherwise their phone-lines will be attacked by about 2 million pissed off players that want to know what the hell happened to their lvl. 57 character that was fighting some bad-ass boss in some world that we had no idea that was even in the game."

Personally, if I knew that was going to happen, I'd put all the phone-lines to auto-respond with the message: "Your character went to the john. Please wait, this shouldn't take long. Unless your character is on crack, in which case your character might never come out again. Have a nice day. *click*"

"Second, there will be bugs. Players will have to download constant patches for the game to make sure that it runs smoothly and won't crash the whole PS2 Hard Drive. They will also have to keep the world the players play in constantly updated. Fixing anything that goes wrong, keeping the world up to date with the latest news of the whole players community. They will also have to constantly keep making more and more areas to explore, because, once again knowing Square, they will make some highly addictive game that you will spend months, possibly a few years mastering and playing through with several characters to simply get the whole feel of the game and to know it inside out. Many players of early Final Fantasy games know what I am talking about. Especially 7 and 8. They were some of the most addictive games that I have ever played. I strived for Knights of the Round. Fought Ultima Weapon to the teeth for Eden, and fought to put Ultimecia in her wicked Time Compressing place. The Final Fantasy Online RPG will so incredibly cool, that millions of people all over the world will be playing constantly. Square will have to lay down some major bucks to keep the whole thing going. They will probably open up a few new phone numbers. Tech support, hints. They will definitely have to open up a new wing in the office, the Online department, to keep track of everything that goes on in this digital world that they have created. All in all, in typical Square style, they will produce a product so unique, so horribly addictive that it will keep player pounding for more and more until they reach the point where they have no life anymore. The only light they see is the small streak that comes through their window every morning when the sun rises. And I know, that I sure as hell will be one of those freaks sitting by the TV watching one of the greatest stories ever told by any Square Game unfold before my very eyes, and the fact that I have the power to change any one thing in the game that I don't like, to create my own character, and to lead him/her where ever my heart desires. Square will make a game so worthy of the name Final Fantasy, that you will be begging for more, before you have even started."

Well, that makes one of you. Will there be more with such an optimistic view? ...somehow I kinda doubt it actually, but we'll see. Let's see what our old buddy The Pill has to say about this.

"I think it's a really bad idea. Final Fantasy games are a very personal experience that have no business being played by multiple different users. If you want to play a game like that, buy Everquest, or play live action Advanced Dungeons and Dragons."

That was short, but it does get the general opinion across that a game like this shouldn't be part of the FF series. Something similar was said by someone who listed no name, so I'm gonna go by the e-mail address which makes it "Bblacx2".

"I think that having an online Final Fantasy game will take away from the true nature of the game. All that it can be is a contest of who is better. That is how all the other online games are so this will be no different. It may be fun but it won't ever be a Final Fantasy just like FF7 & FF8, they just have the title to get sales, that's all."

Well, it seems that if you ask a serious question, you'll get a serious answer... but Megaman984 is here again to prove that's not always the case.

"MM984: Megaman984 here, and I’m out on the streets asking people what they think of an online Final Fantasy game. Excuse me sir, may I ask you a few questions?

Man #1: Sure thing.

MM984: Okay, first question: What is your name?

L.H.: My name is L. H. Puttgrass.

MM984: Thank you. Now have you heard of the rumors of the online Final Fantasy game?

L.H.: You bet I have!

MM984: And what do you think of it?


*He walks off*

MM984: Okay. Hey, I wonder what that familiar looking bum thinks of the rumors. Excuse me sir, but what is your name?

Energon: My name *hiccup* is... is... *hiccuup* is Energon.

MM984: Oh, hi Energon.

Energon: Is that you Megaman984? Could you please *hiccup* get me on another show with Macc? I’ve been down on my luck since the Millionaire mailbag. *hiccup* My wife left me. My kids hate me. *hiccup* And my dog peed on me!

MM984: I’m sorry to hear that. Uhhh. So what do you think of the prospect of playing an online Final Fantasy game?

Energon: I think it is a great idea. I’d buy it if I didn’t have to spend all my money on *hiccup* booze and cardboard homes.

MM984: Well thanks for your answer. Ummmm... See you later Energon. I think I’ll go ask those oriental looking men over there what they think. Hello, what are your names?

Man A: I am Shigeru Miyamoto.

Man B: And I am Hironobu Sakaguchi.

Man C: And finally, I am Isao Okawa.

MM984: And what do you guys do?

Miyamoto: I am one of the main designers for Nintendo.

Sakaguchi: I’m the President of Square USA, but I am representing Sony right now.

MM984: Well, good for you. And what do you do Mr. Okawa?

Okawa: I’m the President of Sega.

MM984: It looks like we’re going to have a heated debate here. *chuckles sinisterly* So what do you guys think of the prospect of an online Final Fantasy game?

Sakaguchi: I think it is great! Nothing can beat the power of the PlayStation 2!

Okawa: You’re right. Nothing can beat the PS2, in the area of the most jaggies that is.

Skaguchi: What?!

Okawa: You heard me. Too many jaggies. I’ve seen better graphics on the Virtual Boy.

Miyamoto: Hey!

Okawa: I didn’t mean to offend you Miyamoto. I’m sorry.

Miyamoto: You’re forgiven. All I have to say is that they should have kept the Final Fantasy series on the Nintendo!

Okawa and Skaguchi: What?!

Miyamoto: You heard me. The Final Fantasy series should have remained with Nintendo.

Okawa: No offense, but Nintendo doesn’t really have many RPGs.

Skaguchi: I know. The best RPG it has is Harvest Moon 64, and that’s not saying much.

Okawa: It’s not like PlayStation 2 can do any better with its jaggies!

Skaguchi: Why you little...

*Skaguchi grabs a hold of Okawa and starts to choke him*

Miyamoto: Hey, let go of him!

*Miyamoto joins in the struggle*

MM984: I have no idea what to say about this. The Final Fantasy games were good single player, but will it be good online? We’ll just have to wait and find out. Now back to you Macc.

*Miyamoto’s, Skaguchi’s, and Okawa’s fight knocks over the camera, and the screen goes black*"

Well, that was certainly enlightening, wasn't it? I'm just glad to see not everyone sent in a serious answer... responses like this are a nice break. But now we really should get back to the arguments as to why the FF online things is gonna su... I mean, we should get back to the opinions about FF online. This one's by JAlf 5412. Is that your name or serial number? Or both? Ah, whatever, let's just see what ya wrote.

"Well... I would have to say whatever person(jackass) decided this, must've been playing an on-line game or wanted to save this when he was out of ideas for games. Why couldn't they just stick to CD's. Short and... *breathes out* What the hell, it sucks. I mean it's so goddamn obvious it's probally gonna make a lot of money out of all the RPG fans who like the FF's and half the under 18 aged people who don't live away from their parents off the net."

Well, that's... an argument... I think. It's gonna suck because Square's gonna make a lot of money off of it. I hate to break it to you, but they kinda made a lot of money with pretty much all their games. I guess they suck too then, huh? Now, I try not to make fun of people, but this IS how it sounded to me. Okay, moving on to StarSoldier.

"I give up. It'd be easier to teach a dead dog new tricks."

Eh? Oh, this is probably about that vampire thing again, is it? Well, whatever. I'll just keep playing Castlevania and watching Buffy, that's all I need in the way of vampires.

"OK, something more serious. This is odd coming from you. Someone else suggested this question to you, didn't they?"

I wish I could say yes, but I'm afraid I really was interested in what you all thought about this. Sorry if I disappointed anyone in any way.

"Oh well, here we go...

I think this "all online" RPG crap sucks. Does this mean that everyone is a character in this world? So people are stuck being merchants? That would be stupid. And what about all the hackers with Game Sharks? Not fair to everyone else in the gaming world, especially if that person is stuck with the role of a monster or bad guy. The hackers could crash someone's PS2 doing that. Not good at all. And is there even a storyline? With the entire Internet world on this game, there may not be an ending at all. It could just continue on and on. Doesn't sound that fun to me, really. I think it's all a CONSPIRACY, yes, a CONSPIRACY! I SAID IT! I DON'T DENY IT! CONSPIRACY! CONSPIRACY! CONSPIRACY!"

I never met anyone who was so blantantly asking for it. Okay, actually I did, numerous times.

"If you want to drop the infamous 1000-ton weights on me, let me give you the Sypha pic so you can use it. Now if I can find it... *starts digging around in her Item bag* Let's see here... Drill... Vigor Ball... Carrot... ...hey, I was looking for that! Hmm... ah! Here it is!"

Okay, I take it back... you ARE more blatantly asking for it than anybody else. Even giving me a picture to work with... well, I guess all I can say now is: You asked for it!

Hey, I'm beginning to understand why you keep dropiing those on me, it looks fun when it's being done to someone else.

It does, doesn't it? But enough of that particular brand of silliness for now... let's see what Dr. Nick has to say.

"What's this? FF online!?! Has Square gone insane? I guess FF8 would answer that question. I love the idea of playing Final Fantasy online as much as I hate the idea of playing the online game Square is going to try to pass off as Final Fantasy. This game simply can not be like the rest of the series. If you thought FF8 was different from the rest of the series just wait 'till FF online. I wouldn't be surprised if they made it an action RPG. And another thing: How can you have a game with a linear plot and be fully online functional? As far as I know you can't, and that means one of the two will be seriously missing out. Okay, even if the game is nothing like Final Fantasy, will it be good? I doubt it. I bet Square will make it too easy. I have not played a challenging game by square since FFT (and not one before that since uh, maybe as long as Secret of Mana). If the game is too easy, I would rather play Asheron's Call (or an equivalent like Everquest). But if FF Online is free, well, they might get my business. Hey, even if I am a Square hater now, I'm still going to buy FF9. Aren't you?"

If there's a PC port, yes. Otherwise, most likely not, since in case one of the peope reading this doesn't know yet, I don't have a PSX. And it's not like I'm desperate enough for RPGs to buy one either. I still have a bunch of unfinished RPGs on other systems to go through, so it's not like I'll be bored if I can't get my hands on any new stuff. Anyway, you did add a couple more good points to the mix. To make things pretty much complete, here's the final response from Jacob Zulpes.

"Greetings! I am... some... guy... More specifically, that guy who sent in the mailbag Arena thingy that camped Jessie & James... What can I say, except, that darn show brainwashed me..."

Another victim... that makes 67% of the world now. Rast better hurry if he wants to beat Nintendo in taking over the world.

"Anew, I have decided to answer your mailbag! ...You can stop screaming now."

Oh that wasn't me screaming. It was Ultros. I couldn't help myself, I just had to make him fall through that trap door one more time. 'cept this time I filled the bottom of the pit with lava, for fun.

"*Hem* Anyway, I believe the question was 'How do you feel about an Online Final Fantasy?', correct? Well, here's my answer... It's gonna suck. =/"

That sounds familiar.

"Well, that's not entirely true... I'm sure it'll be pretty cool, the idea is good, and all kinds of other spiffy things, but... Well, I'll just make a list of the pro's
and con's, and save you all a bunch of time."

That's a nice touch... look at things from two perspectives. I like that.

"Good points to an Online Final Fantasy:
* Team Up! - You'll finally be able to go out on adventures with your friends, thus being able to heal each other when your life gets low, team up against that nasty red dragon, or just talk about how pathetic that Tonberry looks... until he waddles up to you and kills you in a single hit. And then you can scream out in surprise, accompanied by mutual screams of mutual surprise by two or three partners.
* Little to No Responsibility - In all the other games, you had to be the one to kill the vampire, get the medicine to save your sick friend, collect the crystal thingies, and stop the bad guy from obtaining the relic of ultimate power. Since you aren't gonna be the main hero in an Online RPG, you won't have to worry about anything like that! You can do what you want, when you want. "The town south of here's under attack you say? Eh, let someone else take care of it... it's poker night in the Seventh Heaven!"
* Tons o' STUFF!! - Eh... Maybe I'm the only person who likes amassing huge amounts of items, having 99 potions at all times, and seeing how many of those super rare Ribbons I can get. But I'm pretty sure I'm not. And that's another reason why an Online RPG would be great. Lot's of people means... lots of stuff. LOTS of STUFF!! There will be caves and castles literally overflowing with treasure, and since at least five hundred people are connected to any and every online Anything at any given time, even the bad ones, there's a very good chance that treasure chests will refill, caves will be reset, and you'll be able to go back and get all that stuff again a week after you took it the first time. Of course, you'll have to get it before anyone else does...

Bad points to an Online Final Fantasy:
* Connection Fee - In additional cost to the game itself, you'll have to pay for all the stuff that you need in order to actually play online. And since it's going to be a strictly online game, with no 1-player, that'll mean that only people who are willing to shell out monthly money on something besides bills are going to actually play it. That's gonna take out a good chunk of the games popularity right there.
* No Responsibility means... - Sure, it could be fun not being the center of attention, free to do what you want and such... But after awhile, it'd lose it's novelty. There'd be no mega evil bad guy to search for, and even if there were, you wouldn't be expected to be the one to do it. You'd be equal to everyone else, just a face in the crowd, unless you can think of some really good way to get noticed. Furthermore, lack of an actual purpose would cause people to think of other ways to pass the time... Such as walking into a bar and picking random people to cast 'Toad' and 'Mini' on. This would make the game more annoying/aggravating than anything. And you'd have to put up with it every day.
* Cheaters - In every game created, a way to cheat is created as well.. This is especially true to Online RPGs, where I have only seen a few that were cheat proof. Even then, someone usually manages to find a bug in the system, and exploits it to their advantage. If Square decided to try porting FFOnline to the PC, and you know they would... trainers, hacks and such would be created faster than you could say 'Holy Hackers, Batman!'. Diablo is an infamous example of the number of cheaters out there, being a game where you have to cheat simply to survive the cheaters! Of course, there's the chance that FFOnline might actually become one of the few 'Unhackable' games out there... But don't count on it. Cheaters always find a way.
* Stupid People - Twinks. Lamers. Whatever term you use, they all mean the same thing. Stupid people. Ever been on Battle.Net? As fun as the game StarCraft is, I have to be in a real open minded mood to manage to stay on there for longer than ten minutes. For every single cool, skilled, intelligent person you meet, there's guaranteed to be five hundred idiots who have no clue as to what they're doing in the game at the exact same time. Just imagine entering a new town, having never been there before. You've decided to look around for a bit, and then head to the armor shop to by some much needed protection. You walk in said store, and the first words you see are "yah tifas hot i wanna (*Ahem*) her hard hehehe" Not a pretty thought, is it? Well, you'd probably see such a thing daily, and it wouldn't have that nice little censor '*Ahem*' thingy there either. Most people don't even attempt to spell right, Capitalization, punctuation and such are dead arts, and on B.Net, I've actually been asked a couple times why I bother to use proper grammar. Hanging around people like this in a Final Fantasy game? Heh. No thanks. I think I'll pass.

And... That simply covers it. Geez. That took longer than I thought. Eh, well, I seriously doubt this'll get printed, due to either the obscene length, or the bashing, nagging, 'This game is gonna SUCK!' tone of the e-mail."

Nah, no matter what the length or the tone, I just print what I like. Or in this case, I print what I get, since these eight reactions happen to be the only reactions I got. And I can always make fun of certain responses if I feel like it. :)

"Whichever one, it hardly matters. I just thought I'd add my two cents. =/ I mean, if I sent this just in an attempt to get printed, then... well, that would be... basically the whole point. Darnit! Ah well, I'll be seeing ya. I'm gonna go play Pokemon now. Must... Catch 'em... all..... Bomb... Pearl... Harbor..... Pi... ka... chu..."

Well, hurry up and bomb Pearl Harbor already then! Quickly! Someone's going to beat you to it! Errr... ahem.

Hey Macc, howzit going?

Eh? Gilgamesh? Why the heck do you always show up when the mailbag's over?

Why not?

Um... good point, I guess. Well then, now that you're here, care to repeat next mailbag's question for me?

Heck, why not. I already got some practice last week. *ahem* The question for the next mailbag is: "If playing RPGs ever became considered a crime, punishable by death, what would you do?". There, how was that?

Just fine. Heh, I've only had a contract with you for a short while and already you're more useful than Ultros ever was. Unless you count being a punching bag as useful, which I suppose it kinda is, in a way. Well, seeya all next time, mailbag fans! That is, assuming there ARE any mailbag fans...