Browsing the blog archives for June, 2007

Worldwide Adventure Writing Month

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RPGs

Apparently, it’s Worldwide Adventure Writing Month, or at least, that’s what I gathered from checking up on Treasure Tables. I’ve been wondering when exactly this was going to come about, because I half-remembered “signing up” so-to-speak, for the event.

Checking back on Martin’s forums, I notice that I only expressed my desire to participate. Excellent! Because I really don’t have time for something like this right now.

I’ve actually been thinking about this recently, most specifically because I’ve been tossing around the idea of running a Fear the Boot-style Aarakokra campaign, just for the kicks of it. I don’t think I’d be able to do justice to the box canyon setting with my own limited descriptive abilities, or handle the complex nuances of plot as the initial conflict with Aarakokra transmutes itself into a new and greater threat — Aboleth.

Seriously, though, I don’t see myself having time for this until later on in this month. And I don’t know if, at that point, I’ll be up for throwing myself into another project. Then again, it’ll be a big change of pace from my current work, so maybe. I still have a lot of ideas that I’d like to develop. Chances are that I won’t put in the effort to do a full thirty-one pages, unless I decide to do full d20 statblocks, but who knows. If I do end up doing anything I’ll probably put some updates here in case anyone may want to use my material.

Final Fantasy XII, Part 4: Grinding Pains

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Games

Back in part 3 I expressed my worries that this game was going to ramp up the grinding significantly, with monster-given experience not matching up to the growth in experience needed to level — I was right. It’s kind of disappointing to me, because the game started out fairly promising with regard to grinding … I could either choose to wipe out mob after mob of small, easy bad guys, or blow all my resources and fighter bigger bad-guys for more reward. Earlier in the game I was going for this latter strategy, and I was managing to level up every ten or so fights. Though a level every ten fights might be too easy (depends on how hard they are!), a level every twenty or so challenging fights seems about right. Consider that a challenging fight means at least a minute of prep time and perhaps a minute of fighting and a minute of downtime, this means a level every hour. I think that’s respectable, both in terms of time invested and challenge.

Instead of that, I find myself fighting hundreds of bad guys to level up. Good for my license points, I suppose, but bad for my interest in the game.

Currently my three main characters are roughly level 40. I’m supposed to be heading towards Mt. Bur Omisace, and have Larsa in my group as a guest. Most of my characters have completely explored the augmentation side of the license grid, gotten all of the magic spells I currently have available, have half the technicks and half the accessories. Most enemies I can wipe out with little thought or care. The exceptions to this might be (a) Creatures in the Feywood (b) Creatures in the Garamsythe Waterway (the Malboros) (c) Some of the creatures in the Zertinian Caverns.

I believe I mentioned this in my previous post, but I find running around and exploring more rewarding than following the story in a linear path. For the most part I’ve explored everywhere I can get to — I explored all of the Sandseas, all of Raithwalls tomb, all of Ozomone Plain, all of Olmore Forest, around Mt. Bur Omisace, into the Feywood (but I had to turn back because the monsters were too hard), into the Garamsythe Waterway (see previous), into the Mosphoran Highwaste, the upper Estersand, defeated the Wyrm guarding the pass between the Estersand and the Westersand, and explored up to the Salikawood.

Here’s what I find irritating: My characters are level 40. I am fighting basically every creature I come across. I’ve explored almost all of the license grid. I have the best equipment I can buy or steal* with money left to spare. So I fight this Wyrm between the Estersand and the Westersand. This fight takes me literally something like 20 minutes because the boss clearly has something like 50,000 HP or more and my attacks only do 100 damage to him. Meanwhile, my characters, though they all have about 2,500 HP, are taking 300-500 damage from his attacks.

I don’t mind the hard fight, and it was a hard fight, but I got no experience for it, no obvious reward. It’s like the game is saying, “Here’s a boss monster, he’s only 100x harder than a normal monster fight. Have at it.” This isn’t the only time this has happened either. In the Salikawood there is a King Bomb boss monster who I simply cannot kill because he has a renew ability that restores all of his HP and activates nearly instantaneously. As soon as I get him down to 50% HP, or 25% HP, he activates Renew, restores himself back to full health, and laughs in my face. Even though my characters have level 3 Quickenings, I can’t do enough damage with them to kill him outright, and every time I get him down low enough that I might be able to, he Renews before the Quickenings activate.

So what can I do? I can run around and kill hundreds more monsters to level up, then try to beat the boss after levelling up. For some reason that doesn’t sound enjoyable. Either way, it’s kind of obnoxious to be running around an area with level 29 Bad Guys who I can defeat in two hits and then be faced with a boss monster who is so strong that I can’t beat him no matter how much I prepare or how many resources I burn.

*Note: I haven’t been able to buy new weapons for about 20 levels now, but I have found some new stuff from chests and stealing. I also have my suspicions about how the “Loot” system works with the “Bazaar” to introduce new equipment, but that’s another post.