I love Wizardry 8

At the same time, I hate Wizardry 8. I guess this is just due to my background of the Might and Magic series, but while there are things that Wizardry 6-8 do that are really awesome, there are things about them that really piss me off.

So let's talk about things done right, first. The skill system in Wizardry 6-8 is actually really good. Skills getting better through practice, plus being able to assign bonus points on level up is just really good, and the variety of skills is something that I love. Taking it further, the sheer number of races and classes that are available makes me want to play and keep playing. That's not to mention that 6 and 7 have really neat class changing mechanics that can help you really develop your skills and spells.

But then there's Wizardry 8. In 6 and 7, when you gain level you gain a random assortment of stats and some skill points you can assign to skills yourself. If your stats are high enough to qualify the minimum needed to become another class, you can then change classes to that, which will reset your level to 1 and set your stats down to the base stats for that class. Your skills and spell picks remain unchanged, however, and you will retain whatever spell levels you've already earned. In 8, though, changing classes is a little different. Yes, you need to have the minimum stats for the class you want to change to, but when you do, you retain your stats, skills, and spells. Yes, you are returned to level 1, as well, however, it retains what level you achieved in your previous class and will require you to get the experience needed to get to the next level that would be up next if you hadn't class changed, but using the experience table for the new class. Worse yet, you can never return to the class you changed out of.

Leveling is a little different, as well. Every level you get in 8 gives you 6 stats points and 9 skill points to distribute, and you can allot a maximum of three of either to any one stat/skill per level. Also, spellcasting classes get a spell pick (if any are available). All this adds up to class changing in 8 being a monumentally bad idea.

So how would I fix it?

I've given this some thought, and I think I do like the idea of the game recording your progress in the different classes, but I still think that resetting the experience to 0 is the better solution. But doing this without any kind of penalty would make it too overpowered. To counterbalance it, take the current stats and skills, subtract the base stats and skills, and then multiply the result by 0.75. Then add back in the base stats and skills (base racial stats, but not going below the minimum needed for the class, and base skills for the new class). Keep spells and spell levels. Basically a hybrid of the current system and that of the previous games. Also, being able to return to classes that you changed from, but starting from the level/experience that you left off at.

Oh, and there's an issue with the fact that even if you spend time as a Bard/Gadgeteer, you can't actually use instruments/gadgets after you change out of your class, despite having the Music and Engineering skills. This is a consequence of them not being listed for anything other than their classes. If I were to change things, I'd also make them usable by anyone so long as they have the skill and saved level from the appropriate class, and though perhaps not being able to place points in Music/Engineering at level up, still being able to train the skills with use...

But I get the feeling that it will take a lot to fix all of this. I'm pretty sure the class change mechanics are hard coded, meaning someone would need to decompile the exe and find how it works, then recode it and form a patch for it. I don't think this game has the following needed to do that, though. There isn't anyone out there that would consider this a worthwhile endeavor. Which is unfortunate, as Wizardry 8 could really use the help.

Of course, this doesn't even touch on the other massive problem with Wizardry 8: enemies scale to your level. If you level too fast, you might find that you start running into really strong enemies way too fast, and run into things you can't actually deal with. I don't mind this kind of scaling too much, but there needs to be limits that I'm not sure I've run in to yet. For example: I was just playing earlier, walking along the Arnika-Trynton Road and going a little off road to see if I could find hidden items. What do I see on the road, though, but a group of 7 Juggernauts (basically upgraded Piercer Modais), with some Crimson Poppies and a group of Seekers as well. What worse is that I tried to wait them out and let them pass so I could get around them, and instead here comes this Hoggar out of nowhere, not ambushing me but just being a nuisance. And that wouldn't be so bad if I could kill it before the other monsters approached (nearly did, but the damn thing got blinded while already paralyzed and after coming out of paralysis decided to run away when I probably could have killed it that round). I wound up reloading and trying to find a way to slip between the Hoggar and big group of strong enemies.

To be frank, it's ridiculous that you can run into such big groups of monsters that are that much stronger than you, and I'm not even playing on Expert! It's just Normal! And yeah, I could pull it down to Novice, but that's ridiculous, too. There's really no reason for it. Unfortunately, Mad God's Cosmic Forge tool doesn't have any patches for 8 the way it has for 6 and 7.

Really, it's kind of depressing how badly made Wizardry 8 wound up being. There was a decade between 7 and 8, and it really shows with how disconnected 8 is from where 6 and 7 were going. I'm actually really doubtful that 8 was where the designers were going when they were first fleshing out the story for 6 and 7...

Anyways, I think that's enough out of me for right now. Maybe I'll revisit this at a later time...

~MaxKnight

My Might and Magic Book 1 experience

The Might and Magic series is probably one of my favorite RPG series of all time. It's definitely my favorite CRPG series, for sure. I first encountered this series renting Might and Magic II for the Sega Genesis, and it didn't take long for me to be hooked. I must've rerented it 2 or 3 times after I first played it, and when I found the game on clearance sale at a Babbage's (and geez, when's the last time you heard anybody talk about that place?) I wasted no time snapping it up. I chose this game over Sonic 3, and never regretted it. Little did I realize it was actually inferior to the computer version (both DOS and Mac versions).

I had a blast playing through it, even if I never did beat it. Cut to a few years later and the family gets our first Windows PC, and not too long after that I get a piece of software called Fantasy 5. This came with five computer games all on one CD! It had The Summoning, Populous, Magic Candle III, another game I can't actually remember, and Might and Magic III. The only unfortunate part was that it had hard Copy Protection, and the manuals that contained the countersigns to actually being able to play the game were, unfortunately, electronic, meaning unless I was willing to print out the manuals (not really possible considering how long they were), I couldn't really play them. I did manage for a couple of them, but in the end, I had to give up trying to play these particular games (a shame, because I enjoyed what little I could play of them).

And then a few years later and I learned of two new concepts: Emulation and Abandonware. Emulation let me experience the NES version of Might and Magic 1, and the SNES version of Might and Magic 2. To be fair, neither are bad, though both have some issues that make them less fun to play. Then I found that there were web sites out there that hosted old computer games, which included all of the old Might and Magic games! I got the chance to finally experience the DOS versions of 1 and 2, and found that they were both difficult to play, but ultimately were better than their console ports. I played more of 2 than 1, if only because I had more experience with it, but still never got around to beating it.

And then I got the Might and Magic Millennium Collection, which came packed with 4 through 7, as well as Swords of Xeen built off of the same engine that 4 and 5 used. I tried each of these, and found myself enjoying them immensely, though 6 and 7 were quite an adjustment. Again, showing a theme, over the course of the next few years I never really got around to finishing any of them. It wasn't until 2007 that I finally sat down and belt out a win on 6. A few years later I sat down and managed to do it with 4 and 5 as well (the two games, Clouds of XEEN and Darkside of XEEN combine together to form one huge game called World of XEEN).

This was just playing the versions that I got all those years ago as part of a single collection. Then came GOG. A few years back there was a sale going on; a few series that I wouldn't buy on any other platform because an unfortunate thing happened many years ago and Ubisoft acquired the Might and Magic series. Ubisoft is utter cancer in the games industry, and UPlay needs to die a fiery death. But with GOG I don't have to worry about any of that. I took advantage of that and got a bunch of the older Anno and Settlers games, too.

With this, I now officially owned Might and Magic 1-9, which gave me a chance I never had before: I could play through the whole series. I kind of sat on it for a few years though, in spite of managing to rescue the saves from the Let's Play I started of Might and Magic 6, I never really did much else with them. It's only in the last couple weeks that I reinstalled them to this computer, and I've had a new desktop for a few months now. I started playing 6 just to get a feel for it and make sure that the latest Greyface patch works and let me tell you, the bug fixes and mouse look are soooooooo nice.

I also picked up and started Might and Magic 1 and 3 in the last few days as well. I got my hands on a tool called Where are We that provides an automapping feature and identifies places of interest as well as giving you a quick and easy way to sort through your party when you need to (also gives a nice listing of party effects and what, if anything, the current location prevents you from doing). For 3-5 it also shows you the enemies that are on the map around you and if you've gotten their attention or not.

But enough about all of that. This post is supposed to be about the first game, and I've barely mentioned it! I started it up and just took the default party out, which is a mistake since 5 out of 6 of the party are male, and that's actually a severe disadvantage in this game. Further, their stats aren't all that well balanced. Although I've spent a couple hours with these characters, I'm thinking I'm going to create a new party and use them instead. Fortunately, unlike in 3, maps repopulate every time you reenter them, so creating new characters and using them isn't a detriment. Doing that with characters in 3-5 means that you've stolen experience from the new characters by letting the old ones get it, and you can't get that back.

At this point, right at the start of the game, you have basically have to find a fixed encounter square and just keep going between it and the inn to save your progress, just slowly grinding out the experience for a few levels before being strong enough to be able to brave at least 4 consecutive battles in the cavern under Sorpigal. So, slow going to begin with, but I know it really picks up after you clear a few places.

You'd think that as old as the game is it would prove too difficult to navigate, but the Where are We tool really helps, since there is no map in this game in any fashion. I really recommend it for at least the first Might and Magic, though it works with the first five, as well as the first five Wizardry and three Bard's Tale games. If anybody chances on this Journal and wants to give these games a go, try them with the tool and see if it enhances you gaming experience!

~MaxKnight

Yeah, I don't like the PSCave forum

I was checking out the thread on the translation for Phantasy Star: Generation 2 and while I found the collaboration fascinating and enjoyed watching the difficulties be surmounted, I found that once again I was getting annoyed at certain people... especially the lone moderator for the site. The translation was basically done and being beta tested, and what should happen? BenoitRen shows up complaining about choosing Dark Force over Dark Falz.

As it turns out, neither of these is an accurate translation for the Japanese name. An accurate translation would be... Dark Phallus. Clearly this wouldn't fly as an official translation, so it needed to change. In Phantasy Star this was Darkfalz, which was necessary because it was limited to 8 characters. In Phantasy Star 2, 3, and 4 this was Dark Force, because the name was no longer as restricted in length, and lets be honest, Dark Force makes a whole heck of a lot more sense than Dark Falz or Darkfalz.

However, there are certain people on that forum that have a massive stick up their butt and refuse to see reason concerning this choice of name. They would rather force the localizer to use a completely nonsensical name because it's "more faithful" to the original work. This is patently untrue. If this was supposed to be a completely faithful work, we'd just use the name Dark Phallus and call it a day. Of course, then this translation effort wouldn't be taken seriously at all.

And admittedly I have no part of this; I'm an observer who read through several years of posts after the fact and never really had a say in what was going to be in the translation. This doesn't mean I can't express my dissatisfaction with certain people who, right as soon as it was released complained loudly and immediately got their way forcing the translator to bend to their wishes on the matter, and then later was more or less telling everyone else off for doing the same thing and stating that we should just let the translation be finished now and once it's finalized people can look to create edited versions to fit their liking.

That's a pretty scummy thing to do in my opinion. This person needs to be purged from this forum and an actual impartial moderator appointed; someone that won't force their views on everyone and tell them their theories are wrong without giving sufficient proof and won't make arbitrary decisions on projects that they really had no part in and had no business making any changes.

Yeah, my frustration with this place is pretty high. I might have registered on there, but I have no intention of posting any longer, since I know my beliefs, theories, and viewpoints will just be slapped down by self-serving jerks who can't let anyone voice opinions and ideas that don't agree with their own.

~MaxKnight

Phantasy Star Theories

To be honest, I wanted to post these over on the forum at Phantasy Star Cave, but after reading several threads on that forum, I've come to realize that one of the moderators there, BenoitRen, is a toxic person who cannot accept any other person's theories but their own and basically won't allow anyone to voice their beliefs about the series, going so far as to just always pointing back to their own flawed arguments and posting heretical statements supposedly taken from people who worked on certain parts of some of the games and claiming them as gospel truth in complete contravention of evidence given in the games themselves.

As such, despite having just registered on the site a few days ago, I'm not going to actually post my theories there. I'll put them here, and if there's anybody out there that chances upon this journal, they can comment on it to debate things. Though I won't tolerate holier-than-thou people coming along and outright calling my theories completely wrong without truly concrete proof that invalidates one of my theories...

Gonna cut them, though, as I have a lot of them to postCollapse )

And that's all I've got for right now. I've been thinking of these over the past... maybe 4 days, though many of these I've believed for ages and I only started writing them down a couple days ago. A lot of it came from the many posts that I was reading over on PSCave, and admittedly some was written in response to some of the really stupid info being slung around that I recognized contradicted what I remember from actually playing the games...

So yeah, I'm sure I'll come up with some more stuff later. Might link this entry to a post there someday, if the atmosphere ever clears up enough so that alternate fan theories are actually accepted and are allowed to be posted without the people in power just coming along and slamming it all down as wrong without the proper evidence to back it up...

~MaxKnight

So, I've been playing a game lately...

The one I've played the most recently is Oxygen Not Included, a game that takes place in the center of an asteroid, where a group of three Duplicates are "printed" and find themselves having to survive, and ultimately, thrive. You start digging yourself out to give yourself the resources to construct the necessary structures to form your base; everything from tiles and ladders to move around, to outhouses and hamster wheels and "microbe mushers", which make the most simple kinds of food.

I picked this game up a few months ago, back before it was fully released on Steam Early Access. At that time it was labeled as Alpha and it was pretty simple and straightforward. There was less that you could do compared to now, fewer types of food, less options for generating electricity, etc. A little while after I got it, they released the Thermal Update, which added more temperature related gameplay, including keeping your dupes at moderate temperatures, while introducing specific biomes such as ice zones and molten zones. It also brought us the ability to make new clothes for dupes so that they can stand different temperatures better, or just make them look super snazzy.

The latest update is the Agricultural Update, which added more options for growing and making food, bringing us new plants and recipes in the regular cooker, and new grow tiles including one that allows for fertilizer and one that allows for both fertilizer AND irrigation. Also, certain plants require clean water for irrigation and some require polluted water, so now it's not just a given to purify all water and add it back to the reservoir. It also introduced Natural Gas and a generator that uses it for power, and new Natural Gas vents that create more of it. Also, some dupes create Natural Gas all on their own if they have the Flatulence trait.

I've had a few attempts to make a successful base, and I think I've hit on it with this latest one. I'll admit my base has a large amount of polluted oxygen, but on the other hand, I have the single most stable power network I've ever had. Since learning about Transformers and how Heavi Watt Power Lines can't go through tiles and doors, I've had to rethink how I handle power networks. It's been fun, though!

In addition to this, I picked up the DLC that I was missing from Cities:Skylines, though I've hit upon a snag with that game... Even on the lowest graphics settings it gets slow, even with a relatively small town. As such I'm going to hold off on doing much else with the game until I can afford a new desktop that can handle the game. Which is too bad because I was having fun with it.

Finally I picked up a new game called Thea: The Awakening. This is a game that makes you think of Civilization at first, but you only get one town. The game also has a gathering economy, where the map is littered with resources, but you have to manually gather them each turn with your town and expedition groups that you send out. Combat is different as well, as it's card based: each character has a card where the stats are taken from the character stats. Cards are split between offense and tactics, and tactics depend on character stats what they are allowed to do. You earn experience and research from basically everything, and once you earn enough experience, every one of your recruited characters get a random statup. Further every character must eat every turn and if they don't a few different things can happen. Also the town and any camping expeditions need something consumable to burn to keep the campfire lit. So if you don't have wood/straw/coal, you might wind up in trouble. Starts are also randomized, so you might not have easy access to food and wood right from the start.

All in all, it's a fun game, and one that actually seems to be running pretty good on this craptop that I have right now. Supposedly the company that made Thea is making a sequel now, so we'll see how it works out...

Anyways, these are what I've been doing recently. Oh, and I moved into what amounts to a separate apartment at my parents' house, meaning I have my own space, but they can just enter whenever and I can do the same to them. Less privacy in exchange for a third of the bills each month is not a bad exchange. I've already managed to save enough to replace some things that badly needed replacing, including my desk, which could be delivered as soon as Wednesday!

Definitely doing better, now.

~MaxKnight

I think I've hit upon a new pet peeve...

Going through a number of pieces of Harry Potter fan fiction I find myself having a little trouble with the way people handling questioning with Veritaserum. I'm finding far too many people falling into the trap of "too much information" when the target of the potion is being questioned. From what I remember and can tell the person under the influence of said potion is supposed to answer questions directly and not volunteer more than what is being asked. If it's a yes or no question, the answer should just be yes or no; saying anything else beyond that just seems completely wrong.

I know there's some amount of creative license, but that seems too far. Ah well...

~MaxKnight

Geez, it's been awhile...

Haven't posted since my birthday...

Okay, let's see... Got Phoenix Wright Spirit of Justice a few weeks back, and kind of binged to finish it as soon as possible (including DLC case). It added some neat new stuff to the lore of the series and gives me more to play with in regards to my own story ideas. Also in game news, I was clued in on a great deal on Star Ocean 5, so I went ahead and got it. About 12 hours in, playing on Galaxy difficulty and got my first game over... it seems there is an alternative game over condition meaning I have to keep a particular character alive at all costs... which is hard, because she can basically do nothing to protect herself, and further the boss battle I GO'd on is in a really cramped space and I'm down my main healer, meaning I have to use the backup that doesn't have very well developed healing abilities...

Okay, with that out of the way, I have an idea (or two) to get down here. As usual, I'll be cutting these, as I have no idea how long they may get...

Spoilers for... pretty much all of Phoenix WrightCollapse )

Okay, I'm done. I'll come back to this when I'm not falling over tired...

~MaxKnight

So this idea just came to me...

Read something that made me think I could apply a similar thing to a different fandom. What I read was a Power Ranger story where Tommy and Kim had a baby they named Kira while they were still in high school. Kim passed her powers to Kat when this happened, and didn't get them back after giving birth, and then at some point after that she gets kidnapped and held for something like 14 years. The person holding her drugged her up and prostituted her, forcing her to have abortions every time she would get pregnant, and it was only after many years of torture that she managed to get away.

Following a similar thread, I figured I could apply some of this to a Digimon story, where Fem!Daisuke is taken shortly after the defeat of BelialVamdemon by a black-ops government organization that resented all of their data about the Digimon World being erased out from under them and decided the only thing they could do is capture a chosen and do tests to determine what makes them chosen and how to exploit it. They will hold her for four years, doing tests, injecting drugs, and some of those with fewer morals rape her as well. When those in charge notice her miscarrying the second time, they decide to stop the drugs and after a harsh detoxing, intentionally impregnate her in order to test if any kind of special powers or abilities will breed out of a chosen.

It's shortly after giving birth to a daughter that Daisuke manages to break free. Her powers react after being denied contact with her baby, and she winds up breaking out, finding her Digivice and her daughter and largely destroying the facility she was being held in. She flees and finds her way back to Odaiba, specifically the Yagami apartment. Hikari answers the door and sees her best friend standing there holding an infant and looking badly roughed up wearing the same thing she was when she disappeared.

Now it should be said that all of the chosen were worried, especially Hikari, Taichi, and Ken. They'd all been looking for her since her disappearance. Chibimon was with her at the time, but the only things he knew was that they were walking to school one day and Daisuke suddenly stopped talking and started to tip forward, then nothing as he got knocked out too. He woke up when Hikari found him, but they could not find Daisuke anywhere. He stayed with Hikari and Taichi after that.

I don't have a whole lot planned yet after Daisuke arrives at the Yagami apartment. The idea is that Hikari is surprised at the sudden arrival, especially with the infant. Daisuke won't be able to talk about everything that happened, but Hikari will be horrified about what she can talk about. Ultimately, this story is about a rogue government organization infiltrating the Digimon World and the chosen needing to mobilize to stop whatever their plans are. Oh, and Daisuke and Hikari discovering their feelings for each other during that time that Hikari is nursing Daisuke back to health, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Um... I think the only other thing I've thought of on this is the name Daisuke gives her daughter... I'm leaning towards Yukino, but that's not final. She'll play a small part in helping Daisuke and in getting the two of them together. Other than that, though, I don't know what else to do with this. I guess it's just another odd story idea to play with...

~MaxKnight

Going nuts with this new idea...

So, assuming that Daisuke and the others aren't dead in Tri and that there's a Big Bad out there that everyone will converge to fight, I've got this thought about Daisuke and his Crest of Miracles... And the idea that he doesn't believe in miracles at all. I know I've mentioned this for another story idea, but this one will go along with Daisuke being missing after some sort of mission alongside Miyako, Iori, and Ken. In this case, during the final battle things aren't going well for the Chosen. When things start looking especially grim, Daisuke will dig deep into his own power, but because of his disbelief he will not have any sort of control over it. Lacking focus, when trying to bring the power of Miracles to bear, he will instead detonate it, quite literally erasing the entirety of the Digimon World.

A shield will form around Hikari when this happens, not due to her own powers, but because even with no control at all, Daisuke will still instinctively protect Hikari, even from his own power. All that is left is Hikari, Gennai, and a few select Digimon in a disconnected partition, utterly blank and unable to reconnect back to the Human World. Gennai will explain to Hikari about realizing that the Chosen would be unable to win and setting up this space in case anything could be done to circumvent the coming tragedy. Gennai explains about Daisuke, Iori, and Miyako receiving their crests, as well as Ken recovering his crest, but Daisuke being the only one unable to activate the crest. He'll then describe discovering that when in the digital space, human beings are connected to themselves, both past and future, and Gennai used that connection to discover just when Daisuke stopped believing in miracles: right after the defeat of BelialVamdemon.

This surprises Hikari, but then she recalls what Daisuke was like at that point, and comes to realize that she hadn't treated him very well that year they fought together, despite him being her best friend. She was off-put by his affections for her, and she reacted by turning away, to someone that she knew would set off his jealousy. It's at this point that Gennai tells her that they might be able to send her mind, no, her very being back into herself at any point that she was in the Digimon World. Hikari accepts and they get to work. Gennai orders her to enter her body right at the final battle with BelialVamdemon, but she has already decided to go back further, to right before she left the Digimon World after her first adventure. She has a plan!

Going back is disorienting, and very sad because she arrived in her body right after gifting her whistle to Tailmon. She gets through the tearful goodbye and the Chosen return to their world via the tram car. Hikari gets reacquainted with being back in time, then asks Taichi to have a talk with Daisuke, who at this point is her friend, and really almost her best friend. Basically, she wants Taichi to talk with Daisuke and get him to realize that he doesn't need to act out to get her attention; he just needs to be himself. After they talk, Hikari decides to tell him all about Digimon and her adventure and everything.

Daisuke will mature a bit from these conversations, and he and Hikari will grow closer because of it. I'm toying with the idea of Daisuke getting a Digivice early and joining Ken and Ryo on their adventure, but I'm not sure how to go about it. And I'm not sure if I wouldn't be stepping on toes by doing that.

Anyways, that's as far as I have it thought out. I'm not going directly for the Daikari 'ship, but it'll be there eventually. Daisuke toning things down and being himself will allow Hikari to grow more comfortable with him, and that in turn will allow her to entertain thoughts of being together with him. Perhaps not while they're still 11, but let's just say that Daisuke will not be given a chance to lose his belief in miracles...

~MaxKnight