The FF7 guide is coming along nicely, with almost everything done except for actually re-playing the game. Things are about to get crazy at work, so I’m going to try to finish this one soon, but we’ll see. I definitely want to make a guide for I am Setsuna, but I may need to put that off for quite a while.
In the meantime, while writing up all the data models for FF7, it struck me that FF6 had much more complicated data. This seems odd, because FF6 isn’t actually that complicated a game. I believe this is mostly due to FF6 having a dozen different types of abilities that all shared some basic structure. In FF7, you basically only have spells, and individual character abilities are covered by limit breaks. These are fewer in number than all the Blitzes, SwdTechs, and whatnot, and all function in the same basic way, so it cleans things up a bit.
Nonetheless, it has made me appreciate FF7 a bit more. The materia system allows enough complexity that they could surround it with relatively simple systems and the game still ends up being incredibly deep. I still have some issues with the balance of the materia system, which I’m sure I’ll post about some time later, but it does a good job of creating interesting mechanics without a bunch of convoluted systems.
I’ve had a Final Fantasy VI guide in the works for quite a while, but my complete and total addiction to Final Fantasy XIV has gotten in the way of its release. Well, now that FFXIV is in a bit of a lull until Heavensward, I managed to finish up the data collection. There’s still a bunch to be done, mostly in the form of adding various graphics to the cards, but it’s still a lot of data. I put in a number of features I like but haven’t seen elsewhere, like average magic points per encounter group, and a by-item guide to everything you can bet for it (both to get it and using it as the bet) at the Colosseum. Enjoy!
The FFVI guide data collection was going well until FFXIV patch 2.3 came out and derailed all my momentum. Them and their fun quests!
Fortunately (?), I’ve done most of the basic content in 2.3 and I (still) have no particular interest in grinding out any of the high-level stuff, so hopefully I can get back into the FFVI groove.
First, though, I wanted to mention the updates I’ve made for FFXIV. All of the new items, recipes, dungeon drops, and so on are in. Unfortunately a lot of the newer systems use a lot of data I can’t practically gather. Desynthesis (or “desynthisis”, apparently) is a good example – even if I had the time to desynth everything, I’d need three characters to do it. I did at least add whether an item can be desynth’ed to cards. I’m trying to decide if it’s worth adding a desynth column to item lists themselves, or perhaps having “items this class can desynth” lists on class pages. That seems largely redundant with crafting lists in general, but perhaps “items this class can desynth that it can’t craft” would be better. Of course that wouldn’t tell you that culinarians can’t desynth food and alchemists can’t desynth potions, both of which seem pretty relevant. I’m open to opinions here.
Final Fantasy VI may be my favorite games in the series. Final Fantasy 7 is my least-favorite. This started as backlash to its popularity, but I’ve refined my criticisms over time. There’s just one problem: my issues with FF7 generally apply to FF6 as well.
FF7 isn’t really high fantasy, but nor is FF6. Sephiroth is an overwrought villain, but less so than Kefka. Both games’ translations miss many series references. The characters in FF7 are effectively interchangeable due to materia, but FF6’s esper system has similar problems. I find Cloud distractingly angsty, but I feel the same way about Terra.
I had to rethink my position on both games once I realized this. Is my analysis of FF7 wrong? Is my love of FF6 simple nostalgia? Perhaps, but I think this is more straightforward: it’s easy to criticize things you don’t like.
I could pick apart any game in the series, including the ones I love. Indeed, I would use many of the same arguments as haters of the series. I still love the series anyway.
The truth is, I don’t know why I like FF6 or dislike FF7 as much as I do. I think people are generally very bad at identifying why they feel the way they do about something. For almost any singular criticism of a game, you can name a game that’s great despite doing the same thing. As a Final Fantasy fan in 2014, I remind myself of this often.
Gamer Corner Guides exists in part because I wanted to avoid some of my issues with many typical guides. In particular, I don’t want to focus on the end result of character customization.
In Final Fantasy VI all of your characters will naturally reach almost 9800 HP and 990 MP at level 99 without any influence from espers, so the general sentiment is not to bother with many esper HP or MP bonuses. I haven’t seen much discussion of the value of having a bit more HP or MP at any point during the game, and this bothers me.
When I was younger, my goal in every RPG was perfection. In college, I was playing FF4 and stumbled on a “perfect levelling guide.” It revealed that the stats you gain after level 70 are somewhat random, and how to maximize them.
It didn’t take all that long to get Cecil and Kain each to level 80. Before starting a third character I wanted to see what would happen if I took on Zeromus with just those two. I figured they would be crushed, but shockingly this was not the case at all. I had to use some Elixirs (Big Bang is still Big Bang, after all), but I won the fight easily.
It was at that point that I realized how pointless what I was doing was. Zeromus is the hardest fight in the game, and I could annihilate him with a party of two, so why was I still leveling?
Since then, I don’t bother with perfection. I find games are much more fun when you focus on the journey, not the destination. There is a balance to be struck: I’ll choose espers in FF6 based more on stats than spells for some characters, but I’m not likely to leave an esper on a character once mastered (because that would be wasting magic points). It’s not an optimal decision in the long run, but I will have completed every challenge in the game long before optimal becomes required, so what difference does it make?
Since I’ve started tweeting site updates, I haven’t really updated this blog much. I’m going to experiment with some actual blogging rather than just using this for site updates. I recently decided to make a Final Fantasy VI guide. FF6 was my favorite game when I was younger, but it was also the game that made me decide to stop playing the same game over and over and branch out a bit. I have beaten it quite a few times. I’ve cheated on that promise a bit – I did play through the GBA release, for instance – but it’s been a very long time since I played FF6.
One of the interesting effects of not having played the game in so long is that I no longer know where it would sit in my Final Fantasy game rankings. I really love FF12, but that game is pretty flawed in the gameplay department, and I only really like half of FFXIII. (Well, two quarters of it – the first half of the story, and the second half of the gameplay.) FF9 might be a contender but it’s been even longer since I played that than FF6.
It will be interesting to see how I feel about the game now. My biggest worry is that the last time I played FF6, I really broke the game’s systems. My characters’ stats were ridiculous and nothing was even a challenge anymore. While many FF games are exploitable, the problem with FF6 is that using the mechanics at all (especially the Esper bonus stats) is basically exploiting them.
I have a lot to say about FF6 and how it fits into the series, and I’ll be blogging my observations and experiences while playing through this time to make the guide. It will be interesting for me to gather my thoughts on this game, and hopefully it will interest you as well.