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6:53 PM on 06.12.2008

Tales of Etrian Odyssey

Let's get one thing straight: I didn't love Etrian Odyssey from the start. I thought the battle visuals were too static and any animated effects too rare. I wasn't even attached to the first five silent characters I had just created at first. Even the robust skill allocation system and the wonderful option of charting my exploration felt like an excuse for the game's assumed lack of plot. Pick any minor detail and I probably would have scrutinized it just because I had a slow start. Also, that inn keeper got on my nerves.

My initial skepticism probably would have impeded any further progress had I not already spent several hours on both character creation and cartography of the first floor. Obviously I had to adjust to the style of gameplay (which I would later applaud) by that point, otherwise that time would go to waste. I also didn't notice that I was spending more time simply considering which abilities my preciously few skill points would be placed, foreshadowing an oncoming obsession with proper point placement. So on the topic of points, at what point did I finally embrace this game for what it was? You would assume that very turning point stood out and shook the reins of what I had believed to be an ideal RPG. But it didn't. It is simply the turnover that would encompass my experience with Etrian Odyssey as a whole, and thankfully that moment repeats itself several times to both my pleasure and ire.

When I play RPGs, I follow the paranoid route of over-leveling to avoid a dreaded "Game Over" screen. This is particularly easy with those of the Japanese variety. Once I can eliminate a group of enemies in a given area without a scratch, I safely move on to the next. What I wasn't expecting was that this method of play was going to fail me so soon after I had begun. Etrian Odyssey (hereafter shortened to EO) also has a boss system where bosses, charmingly named F.O.E.s (Foedus Obrepit Errabundus), show up on your map as an arrow similar to yourself. They may move for every step or battle-turn you take. The F.O.E.s are also ranked by colour: Warning-I'm-Orange, Alarmingly-Red, and my favourite, You-Are-Soon-To-Be-Significantly-Depressed-Black.

So our scenario is set: my warrior team is in the process of endangering a species of deer on the second floor as I descend to the third, whereupon I meet my first red F.O.E. One move forward and its navigating icon also turns red. In video games, where action is involved, I tend to associate the colour red with terror. However in RPGs, the colour red signifies an enemy's palette change. Likewise I didn't give the red ball too much thought until I finally stepped into it and action game theory began to apply. Now I didn't lose and get my first game over, but I wasn't expecting the difficulty of that fight to be high given my current level. Nor did I expect to have only two of my five characters left "alive" without a warp wire to take me back to town. Also, even at this point in the game it isn't easy to gather 2000en to revive dead characters (500en each; 2000en as my survivalist died on the way back), especially with only an alchemist on call.

Due to this setback I couldn't play the game with my former cocky mindset. Of course I would over-level, only this time I felt I really needed to so as to avoid surprises. A game over I can handle as it's just a matter of pride, but being scared of my surroundings in an RPG is a feeling I was not used to. High levels weren't enough as I now had to move around difficult F.O.E.s and spend even more time reconsidering my skill sets. This was the point where I realized that all the simplicity that had annoyed me earlier was just a facade meant to lure me into a false sense of security. Where I thought I was being given a cake walk I was given a prompt fist to the face.

That's not to say that encounter ruined my play through EO making it an experience of frustration alone. Yet due to that very frustration I could actually feel a sense of accomplishment when I reached a goal or beat any given boss encounter. Before I could begin to think there was no challenge left, a new stratum would open up where I would happily have trouble handling random encounters. If I were to personify Etrian Odyssey and put it in a relationship with myself, EO would be my loyal loving husband who routinely beats me in a drunken rage. And I, being the 1950's housewife, would just work harder so EO will still love me and give me presents. Suffice to say I am an in-game masochist, and I'm glad that at least one modern RPG isn't going to hold my hand through it.   read

1:47 PM on 05.28.2008

Greetings from a newfound contest whore

(Foreword: As someone who recently joined due to the current contest, I figured it would be polite to make an introductory post first rather than jumping directly into the contest itself. Also, the contents of this post contain varied levels of pretentious tone and prig-words, as I thought it would help increase my word count :) Any patience/endurance while reading is happily noted.)

Destructoid, Destructoid, you sneaky steel seductress. Quite content I was, lurking and observing your daily activities through the peephole known as my laptop. I didn’t expect to have a liaison with you this way and so soon.

I once made an account here simply for the sake of having one, but I long since abandoned it as I never used it or needed it to view any of the content within the site. I never even would have considered starting a c-blog. Generally I’m a shy person and fairly uncomfortable with large crowds. The large crowd in this case being you, Dtoiders with "cred," of course.
That’s not to say I’ve never participated in online communities (which I like to believe I was dedicated). Though they were generally forum based or I wore the mask of anonymity. I even dabbled in MMORPGs for a time. But each website was eventually usurped by cash whores or my eventual apathy.
You could say I gave up on investing serious time on the internets.

Then this certain contest article came rolling into my RSS feeds.

The protector alone radiates high levels of cute and blind lust. You would need to be mad to refuse a chance to win even one of the prizes. Unless you hate Etrian Odyssey, free stuff, and overall satisfaction.
Not I. The original game made my socks fly off due to the amount of rock it induced. And I wasn’t even wearing socks.

Yet the rules state I must create a blog entry. That in turn involves revealing my existence to you, where I had no prior intention to do so. Not to mention I had already given up on committing myself to another online group. But that chance, small it may be, for a protector figure is just too enticing to resist. Community aversion be damned!

Lured solely by that idea, I believe the term "contest whore" is applied. And my addition to the potential flood of newcomer contest entries is likely to sour any first impressions. Then again, my internet penis can't ejaculate offline anyways.
I could simply take my exit once the contest is over. But, could I in good conscience leave after I’ve taken the time to write a page full of words (read: wall of text) and doodles? No, because once I’ve put my foot in the door I have to step inside and close that door behind me.

So I joined for purely selfish reasons. I have come to terms that I will be placed in the same boat of new users who have joined for the same purpose, and shunned as a materialistic douchebag. But that’s okay as I have a guilt complex to keep me in check and not let an unused username lie forgotten without good cause. Even that implication of sticking around is selfish: I don’t want to feel bad. That said, I look forward to your robotic guidance :)   read

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