Tag Archives: Final Fantasy XI

Gaming when you’re not Gaming

I love my games. I love the social time of playing a game, for sure. And the challenge while playing, for sure. But there’s more than that for me.

I love my game systems.

I love my deck building, my RPG builds, my character creation, my army building. For many games, maybe for most that have this sort of external component, I spend as much or more time on these aspects than I do actually playing the game.

My early experience was probably just in playing party-based video game RPGs. Figuring out which party would be best, creating the characters, playing a bit… then deciding there was something missing, and heading back to the drawing board.

It carried on into Magic: the Gathering. We would play at lunch at school, and whenever we could sneak a game. So we played most days… and most nights, I was home, changing my deck, or building from scratch. I would rebuild to try to meet my friends’ challenges, or to try out some new card I got, to try some interesting-seeming combo, or just to try to take them by surprise. You change it that often, and you change it for all the reasons you might…

I moved on from Magic to Warhammer, where I was constantly building new armies, new lists. Sometimes, that drove my purchases… sometimes, my purchases led to my army building. Oh, so many of those armies never got played – unlike Magic, I wasn’t getting anything close to daily games. It’s hard, then, to decide what to actually bring to bear when you do finally get a game in…

From there I moved on to MMOs, to Final Fantasy XI and then even moreso to World of Warcraft. In FFXI, you could switch around jobs on your one character, but you also always needed to be working with your party… so I didn’t need to strategize too much, but did some between gaming sessions with friends. In WoW, I did a lot of playing with friends, but also plenty on my own. You played different jobs by playing different characters, so lots of characters… and even more characters that I dreamed up, built skill trees for, and planned out all the way to maximum level. A moving target, as they released patches and expansions and changed the game…

So why am I saying all of this?

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Specialization in Role Playing Games

This is a post idea I’ve had for a long time. My initial thought is this: lately I feel like there has been an increasing move towards specialization in characters in role playing games (RPGs). Meaning that before you often had characters who needed to be able to handle a multitude of situations, need to be able to heal and do damage and take a hit – all in one character, or all in each character.

However, that has been decreasing of late. Instead, we see the rise of roles like Tanking, Healer, and DPS. You see it in party-based online situations especially, and with the rise of MMORPGs, there’s a lot of this going on online and in big-name games people are putting a lot of time into. However, a further place you see this happening was in Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition, which was built to in many ways play like an MMO.

So I will look a bit at both of those – MMOs and D&D 4th Edition – but what really has me thinking about this is that I now have an even better case study. the Final Fantasy games. In Final Fantasy XIII, they hit the most specialized that they ever have; however, in breaking away from that in Lightning Returns, they are moving back to a place where you have far more control over customizing your character. So have we hit the far extent of the trend? Are we moving back away from specialization? That’s the question I will close with!

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On On Being Nineteen by Stephen King

Today is my birthday, so I figure that means I get to write about what I want. Holly pointed out that I basically already do that, so maybe that doesn’t mean much.

The GunslingerOf course, being able to pick just anything to write about is not the easiest thing. It’d be easier to just write something basic. Just another post. Or else, to write just a completely geeking-out post about one of my favorite things. A lot of these ideas went through my head. But that got me thinking of a post I’ve been wanting to write, but I never knew what context to put it in. Stephen King’s concept of nineteen.

I’m turning 29, so I’m a decade out from nineteen myself. And yet, the further I get from it, the more that King seems to be right. And a birthday is just the thing to put into context this idea. So read on, and join me in considering that most interesting of ages, 19.

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10 Best Spells

Magic is a great part of fantasy. As much as I am a Science Fiction guy, and the definition I work off of does not allow for magic (check out the definition here), the escapism of Fantasy (check out the definition here) can be a lot of fun. Fantasy and that level of escapism better lend themselves to gaming, because in gaming you can work outside of the bounds of reality, outside of our normal physics.

A fun sort of thought experiment, here I have a list of the ten best spells – with the thought being that you’re coming up with a spellbook and using them all together. Many spells or spell effects are duplicated, in various ways and various manners, in all sorts of books, video games, and tabletop games. So many of these have a variety of analogs, and are a good bet in most of these circumstances.

There are some spells, of course, that are a bit much. Are almost too powerful for regular sorts of use. The king of these spells is the Wish spell, from D&D – basically, it does what all these spells do, and just about anything else. It’s a plot-changer, game-breaker, and is a bit too much. So maybe it’s better to say, these are the tops of spell types, the best for use, for your gaming wizard or fictional mage of choice! Continue reading

My Gaming Past – Game Systems, Strategy, and Rebuilding

Nope, not playing the app. Not yet, anyway... Image found on http://store.steampowered.com/app/208832/ Though I would probably get the game on my iPad

Nope, not playing the app. Not yet, anyway… Image found on http://store.steampowered.com/app/208832/ Though I would probably get the game on my iPad

I have been playing around with my Magic cards recently. Building decks, seeing if people want to play.

Dangerous, I know. Magic is one of those games that can suck up your money, time, and life. However, since I’m approaching it mainly from a place of nostalgia, I hope to avoid at least some of those effects.

Anyway, this has gotten me thinking about my gaming past. I call myself a gamer, but thinking just how far back I have been a gamer, and the different sorts of games I have worked through… well, let’s do a little nostalgia.

This post, I want to talk about how I have moved through various games as a strategic thinker, and how I have engaged with various games and game systems strategically. I think of strategy as building up a plan in advance, as opposed to tactics, which is what you choose to do in the moment, actually playing.

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