Tag Archives: game systems

Specialization in Role Playing Games – Throwback Thursday

We’ve been thinking a lot about World of Warcraft lately – more on that to come – but that had me looking back for related posts. I found this incredibly long essay about where games have gone with specialization of roles in role-playing games. Interesting to consider now a couple of years on – with D&D 5th Edition out and as a return to the older style of the game, and with Final Fantasy XV coming out and seemingly action-styled like Lightning Returns. Or to consider a game series like Dark Souls, which I have been playing a bit again lately, where with only one character to control – and the odds stacked heavily against you – you need to be ready for anything! If this all sounds interesting to you, I think my discussion holds up so give it a read! And just to warn again, it’s a long one!

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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Five Great Parts of Final Fantasy VIII – Throwback Thursday

This is a post I look back at fondly, for topic, structure, and concept. This is a post type I may just have to emulate more. And since it’s nostalgia-driven, it’s all still true!

My theory is that most people’s favorite Final Fantasy game is the first one they played. In a lot of ways, this makes sense. Because the series is so self-referential, when you play a later game, the nostalgia you feel takes you back to that first Final Fantasy game you played.

My first Final Fantasy game was Final Fantasy VIII. It was also one of my first console games, back on the PlayStation. So for me, a lot of my expectations of other RPGs, other console games, and other Final Fantasy games, all go back to Final Fantasy VIII.

Final Fantasy VIII is my favorite Final Fantasy game, but that’s something of a rare statement, and the game seems to get a bit of flak from gamers – or is simply ignored. But there are a lot of elements to this game which I love, and so I thought I would write a post in defense of Final Fantasy VIII. Rather than try to defend the plot or game system – which are the parts easiest to be emotionally attached to or turned off by – and instead look at some of the broader items that were interesting in the game.

So here’s my list of five great parts to Final Fantasy VIII!

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