17 year old Joe Shmoe walks onto a bus and shouts at the top of his lungs "ONLINE PC GAMING!!"
In the event that this highly unlikely occasion was to randomly occur, I believe the first image or word to pop into peoples minds would be World of Warcraft. What does this mean? Well, it tells us that its a darn popular game that's what. But we here at Destructoid are gamers, of course we all know that. However, different sects of people have varying opinion regarding how WoW built its own thrown and sat on it with no one to suggest otherwise. Some say "because its teh best game on the interwebs, evar" others state "It was just luck. Came out at the right time with no other game to compete with it" The more educated fellow might say; "The lead designers of WoW, where long time players of Everquest. Its a classic case of: taking somethings formula and doing it better" In the shadow of all these opinions, I rarely hear the one that goes "Its because we became enthralled with the world that we played in Warcraft I, II and III, so its awesome to be able to traverse that world we spent all those years clicking on"
That is the core reason why I believe WoW is so popular.
Fast forward the clock to the present day, and we have Square-Enix giving us the damaged goods with FFXIV. We have all played the game and if not, then you have probably seen the reviews and know how bad it was. (Its gotten a lot better since the November update, but I still have a somewhat bitter sensation up my butt from being raped) In my butt. Speaking of butts, lets get to the bottom of things. Apart from being the master of Segues, I have a passionate opinion regarding FFXIV. I honestly feel that SE should have used the brains located somewhere inside them and set the game in Ivalice. Which, in case you are not a nerd like me, is the world that Final Fantasy Tactics, XII and Vagrant Story is set in. To branch off from what was mentioned a minute ago, there are many high points for basing a new game in a world that the players have been involved with before. Familiarity being a key aspect and viewpoint being another. The ability to explore a place that we have been in before, with a different character, in a different genre with a different feeling, is an awesome thing. For the small amount of time that I played WoW for, I loved running around as a Night Elf Hunter because it felt like I was one of those units that I had been poking on the head back in Warcraft III. It was me, who was exploring that world and living out its lore, instead of commanding a mass of guys and marching them to their imminent deaths because I was not very good at the game.
If I bake you a cake and you like it, chances are, you will love my cookies baked with similar ingredients.
This is similar to the case that SE was in. Rather than have a long hard stare at their past FF games and brainstorm which series they could play with apart from Final Fantasy VII for the 19th time, they decided to gift our blistered hands with a straight copy and paste of FFXI, with shinier graphics. Lets be real here, that's exactly what FFXIV is - Final Fantasy XI Shiny Edition. Don't call the police on me just yet. I'm not speaking on the games story or gameplay, because that is fairly different to Squares other MMO. It is only the world and races that inhabit it that I have issue with and weep tears of woe for the wasted opportunity for them to do something so much better.
With the lush land of Ivalice, we have had 3 different games to explore them in. The relationship between the player and the world is there. Even if that player hated all those games. The fact remains they had encountered it. That could of been enough. Lets not even look at the flexibility they could of had with the story of the game, but by just evaluating the races, you will see the magic. I understand that art is very much opinion based and subjective but this will not stop me from defending and taking this statement to the grave with me: The designs of XI & XIV are horse shit. Straight up. Have a look below.
We have the generic elf, the cute lil' munchkin that we have never seen before. Humans also here, but this ones called a Hume. The big strong one who probably has the highest vitality stat and the cat humanoid who is very dexterous because, duuuuhh..cats land on their feet.
For me, I only think the design of the Mithras (cat people race) is decent, but that could be slightly biased because I played as one in FFXI. Apart from that, My artistic eye tells me to go look at another persons poo and have a good ol' time instead of looking at these sorry races. I am a huge fan of FFXII and the Tactics games, but I really am looking at this with a clean slate. Even if I could give 2 shits about MMO's, I reckon I would much rather play in the world with lizard men, bunny rabbit women and fluff balls called Moogles. Although I think the Gria (Winged things) aren't all that great looking, SE wouldn't of necessarily needed to put them in the game at the get go, or even put them in at all. Plenty of MMO's have introduced races later on in the games lifespan, or have a race that exists in the world but is not playable by us. Some may say that they are wacky, look silly or simply "who wants to play as a hunch backed dog that casts magic?"
Well, who wants to play a game where damn near all the characters look extremely human? Isn't one of the many reasons we play games to get away from reality? We throw red and white balls at electric rats and respawn when we are shot in the face, so where is the harm in playing as a Pig that's dressed like a pirate?
If the idea of Eorzea was tossed out the window and we had Rabanastre as one of the starting nations that players could choose - that ALONE gives room for so many plot devices that could of been pulled from FFXII. Maybe if Ivalice was on their minds, It might of been an easier game to develop? I mean, to have 3 games (with 1 of them its own mini series) and use them as source material for a new game, the only way that game would take extra long to make is if the developers are "monkeys flicking peanuts on a wall and trying to catch it" - Jim Sterling.
Ironically, maybe if they went down this road we, they wouldn't of released an unfinished game in October to get the jump on WoW: Cataclysm. (Yes SE, I see through your guise!) I understand their motive for releasing a game very similar to the one that their fans have been playing for over 7 years already, but they also clearly want people to still play FFXI, so why make a shiny clone of it? They may aswell have taken that risk and made something either completely new or played out the actions that this article is asking. Either way, the XI players would have gone back to that game if they didn't like XIV so it could of been a win/win scenario.
Leave your thoughts, tell me what you think. How do you feel FFXIV would of worked if it was set in Ivalice?
If anyone is in the process of building a time machine, please get in touch with me so I can go back about 3000 hours and show SE this post. My heart still wants to go to character creation, make a sexy Viera, slice Vaan in half with a hammer and accept quests from Balthier.
Haven't played this game in a looong time! (not counting the pc version that i came across in HMV one fateful day)
Many feel it was the megadrive games but i strongly feel that SA1 was the last good sonic game to reach our homes. I did like SA2, but the first game has a special place within the walls that my heart resides in.
Ironically, people didn't like this game because of the emphasis on story, but if you look closer, you would see that the team developing this game have always wanted to tell a grand tale. Sonic & Knuckles contained a plot. Even though nobody spoke, it still contained lots of crumbs of a wannabe story driven game, such as Knuckles' relationship with sonic. The emphasis on the Chaos emeralds, angel island, etc.
Sonic was never just about speed. As im sure we have all heard Jim Sterling mention at some point. Only the first level blessed the players with freedom in a green plaza of some sort, allowing the players to run really fast and bump into a badnik with little care because the level was so easy. Every stage after the first became less and less about speed and more about slower paced sections involving jumping on a switch, pushing a brick and running up a corkscrew.
Somehow the 'fans' told SEGA that Sonic is all about speed and that's all he needs to be successful.
Like some kind of school playground peer pressure, Sonic Team became confused and was unsure of what to do with sonic, giving him a sword in one game and were-hogging him in another.
If you ask me, they should just do what they have always seemed to want to do, which is tell a decent story with some awesome levels, amazing dreamcasty music and a bit of cheesy dialogue. Everything that Sonic Adventure did good should just be done again. Adventure fields and all. Next gen, Uncharted Typed seamless cinematic's into gameplay and you'll have an awesome Sonic game on your hands.
That's my recipe for destruction SEGA.
And another thing that... Oh.. the downloads finished.
<p><sub>[<i>For his Monthly Musing, CharlieKun shares how games helped him after his older brother moved away. Want to post your own article on <a style="color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.destructoid.com/monthly-musing-the-great-escape-175009.phtml">this month's topic</a>? Publish it now on our <a style="color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.destructoid.com/elephant/my_post_new.phtml">community blogs</a>. - JRo</i>]</sub></p>
<p>When it comes to bragging about things that I have, I never really had anything to mention. My family wasn't sorted in the cash money department due to the many negatives of having a single mother. At school, I was unable to say how fun it was at the park because most of the time I wasn't allowed out. Girls didn’t dig my nerdyness and willingness to always talk about games or anime, so you can be sure I couldn’t brag about dating the hottest girl in school. <br /> <br />What I could brag about though, was the fact I had an army of older brothers. 6 of them, to be more precise. My mum was pumping out babies like a plumber! I love my brothers to bits. I see them as the people who raised me and was like having 6 best friends who taught me everything I know. <br /> <br />Among these awesome guys, I had a favorite. I won’t say his name since its irrelevant, so let’s refer to him as 'DeepThroat'...</p>
<p>Hit the jump to read more.</p><p>Actually no, let’s call him 'Mr X' <br /> <br />Mr X was the coolest of them all. He's the one who got me into most of the things I do now. It was he who bought all the consoles, the Megadrive, the Saturn, the Dreamcast, Xbox and Gamecube. Everyone looked up to Mr X. Not just because he was the 2nd oldest out of all of us, but also because he made cool of the things that would typically be referred to as nerdy. <br /> <br /><img src="http://bulk2.destructoid.com/ul/user/4/40398-175937-observe2jpg-620x.jpg" border="0" /> <br /> <br />I admired him so much, that I preferred watching him play games as opposed to playing with him. The moments I spent observing him play as a kid are shockingly some of the best experiences I’ve had as a gamer. I remember watching him play Street Fighter games on the hardest difficulty setting, struggling to beat the last bosses and emitting a shout of satisfaction when he won. He used to stand up while playing harder opponents. He said it helped him concentrate. No doubt I started doing that when I started playing fighters myself. I watched him play through games like <i>Guardian Heroes</i>, <i>Resident Evil</i>, <i>Final Fantasy 6</i>, <i>StarCraft</i> and <i>Shenmue</i>. I even willingly witnessed him grind through <i>Diablo 2</i>, sometimes helping him by pointing out missed treasure chests or gold. <br /> <br />During these joyful times, I was indeed playing games myself when Mr. X was at work, but upon his return home every evening, I always got excited and ran to his room to see what he would do. If he went on his computer it either meant he was going to load an emulator, play <i>StarCraft,</i> or load Macromedia Flash or Photoshop and do work, in which cases I would get upset and go back to my room, maybe to do some drawings and then show him so he could praise my improvements or give constructive criticism. People say that school days are the best days of your life. I agree with this fully since they were for me, but not so much because of school itself, but because of the awesome times I had when I would get home. Nobody in school knew as much about games as I did. And if they did, all they would know is <i>Crash Bandicoot</i> and <i>GTA</i>. I went to a school where if you mentioned <i>Sonic</i> or played <i>Final Fantasy</i> or spoke about games for more than 5 minutes at a time, you were considered a Neek. (pretty much an old slang equivalent to: Nerd but feels a lot like being called a loser at the same time) Getting into fights, being excluded or being the kid who smokes and brings the knife to school is what was considered praiseworthy. You can imagine how good it felt to be with a bunch of brothers who blew that narrow-minded way of thinking out of the water with the dolphins. <br /> <br /><img src="http://bulk2.destructoid.com/ul/user/4/40398-175937-observe3jpg-620x.jpg" border="0" /> <br /> <br />So, I carried on watching my brother play games, picking up more gaming mannerisms from him such as exploring every corner and edge of the map in an RPG and observing his use of shortcuts and micromanagement while playing <i>Warcraft 3</i>.</p>
<p>As time eased on, naturally, things changed. Mr. X graduated from University with flying colors and swiftly decided to pursue an M.A in Digital Games. <br /> <br />In Liverpool. <br /> <br />Now’s a good time to mention that I live in London and Liverpool isn’t a bus ride away. <br /> <br />I was gutted. Not only him, but slowly all my brothers had begun to migrate from the nest, for studies, change of environment, needing the space, etc. One of them went to prison around that time and another was kicked out of home. (Im going into debatably necessary detail to paint a picture.) All of a sudden, it was just me, my mother, and my younger brother who was still at crawling age living at home. <br />Life took a U-turn. Like one of those hairpin turns in <i>Sega Rally</i>, except in this instance the game commentator didn’t warn the driver as he usually did. <br /> <br /><img src="http://bulk2.destructoid.com/ul/user/4/40398-175937-observe4jpg-620x.jpg" border="0" /></p>
<p>Thankfully, Mr. X left the Dreamcast and his computer for me to jive around with. I'd never compare the slight depression I went through with the likes of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.destructoid.com/the-great-escape-a-hard-day-s-night-175440.phtml#ext/">Chaotical's</a> Monthly musing for example, but it was hard getting used to a house that was once full of fun and life to be stripped down to its bones. I no longer had brothers nearby to ask for advice and I had nobody to observe and learn from anymore. My younger brother was too young and my mother was an old school, old generation african woman, who typically didn't show the same kind of affection to her children as other parents may do. There was also a culture and understanding gap between us, so I never got along with her. There are those who are single children, with no siblings at all, and I understand being alone is something they have always faced. But it's kinda like the beef between Naruto & Sasuke. Naruto was alone from birth but Sasuke had his family taken from him, so that makes it much worse. <br /> <br /><img src="http://bulk2.destructoid.com/ul/user/4/40398-175937-observe5jpg-620x.jpg" border="0" /> <br /> <br />In this period of feeling alone, I became the gamer I am now. I played every single game I had watched my brother play and then some. Slowly, my love for storytelling blossomed as I played RPGs. My strategic cherry was popped through playing <i>StarCraft</i>. Tougher I became, venturing into beat 'em up games. Aiming and shooting was burned into muscle memory thanks to the FPSs. I couldn't wait till I next met Mr. X to show him how much smarter and better at games I had become. <br /> <br />People are different and thus handle things differently. I was slightly more emotional back then when compared to now so it was a very hurt filled time period, but the games is what kept that connection between me and my brother. He might not have been there physically to play 40 matches of <i>Soul Calibur</i> with me anymore (and win 39 of them) yet I still felt like I was playing with him --maybe because it was his console.</p>
<p>For certain though, the games gave me a serum that helped me cope with learning how to rely on myself and not to get used to having people around me. <br /> <br />If the games were not there, there are many other routes I could have walked down.</p>
Being attached to someone can give birth to quite a few problems. A best friend can be a dick in the eyes of other people, but to you, heís a saint and his dick moments are easily forgiven... Sometimes. But for those few times you do detect his doucheness and have a fall out or argument, its only a matter of time before youre boys again.
Just as you all predicted, this relationship can be related to fighting game characters. Ever since super street fighter 2, i have always been a Ryu player. I had this thing for basic plain all rounded characters. Ryu always felt solid. He didnít need fiery fisted shoryukens like Ken had and he didnít have lightning lit legs as Akuma did in MvC2. At times I didn't like his lack of combos (At the time I thought he didn't have a lot) and got plain bored of him now and again, but I always came back to him. Ryu was just raw barefooted white gi'd bad assery.
After a few birthdays, christmases and new years, we came across Street Fighter 3: 3rd strike. This is where me and Ryu demolished our vows and said our goodbyes. He was a good character in the game and after seeing high level players use him well I retained lots of respect for him as a character but after playing my friends Ken in over 100 three round matches and losing about 70 of them, i felt it was time to jump ship.
I donít clearly remember why I became so interested in Makoto. I donít remember the fateful day on the character select screen where I chose her and stayed with her. All I know is that everything I loved about Ryu, was within her. She was even more raw and basic. From her karate styled walking animation to the fact she had no projectiles. Pure goodness. But what really had me going was the way she screamed CHESTO! Every time she did a hayate. Chesto... What does that even mean? Is the move is so raw that she has to mention a part of her body that has nothing to do with the attack itself? Or maybe sheís referring to the inner strength in her chest that is required to move at that speed? Either way, it was just awesome. And that grab! The karakusa... If you get chocked your getting a chesto afterwards, without fail!
There were so many cool things about Makoto. I think the way she is so over the top about all her moves, has such a basic design, is slow but quick at the same time and was so underrated at a point in time, is a few reasons why I stuck to her.
But now we come to a new era in ssf4.
After getting over the changes that im sure every 3rd strike Makoto player had to adjust to, i became very upset. For me, one of Makotoís strengths was her spike damage and how you could punish opponents with it. One parry and one karakusa was all it took for a hard punch into an off the wall kick juggle into an axe kick and a raging chesto! Bam! 50% health in the gutter trash. However, due to the absence of parrying in sf4 in place of its cousin; the focus attack, the chances for makoto to punish after anticipation or making openings, was cut in half.
Certain cancelable variants where done away with and her walk speed is now the slowest in the game.
Still I played her online, and for the most part, got my ass spanked with bamboo.
Discouraged i did not become. Thanks to regular reads on Eventhubs and Shoryuken.com forums and watching videos along with hitting the training mode, ive now become a decent C+ makoto.
Being skeptical on the changes that Capcom made to her at 1st Iím now fully embracing the fact that as makoto players, we have to work slightly harder. (against most opponents anyway) Many times have i won a match against a hard match up and received a message saying 'good makoto' or 'nice to see a makoto player'. Iím very sure thatís something a lot of us see.
I still lose quite a bit though. The gift (and curse) of makoto is the constant need to be mixing up your game. Sometimes it comes down to a smart guess or a full on random gamble to win a match. And if you guess wrong or they guess right, your eating a whiff sandwich with some fries. Recently my PP dropped from 1200 to about 400. Just from losing to the most cheesiest tactics or my mind not being sharp enough, etc. In the end, my resolve for playing her has and will never change. I used to play a bit of Ibuki back in 3rd strike and was going to try and main both her and makoto, but after playing makoto for sooo long and simply walking forward with Ibuki, it felt so weird. I was like 'why am I moving so fast?! That cant be allowed right!'
Its going to be a while before I fully decide to pick up someone else. Iím way too attached and love the way she plays. Why do you use Makoto? Is there something special about her to you personally that hasnít been mentioned here? Iíd love to know how Makoto players feel, or even those who have tried picking her up and didnít really like her much or gave up after losing quite a bit.
Right now, using the character i use feels like playing a game called 'Makoto' in a game called Super Street Fighter 4. She is that fun in my eyes.