I have some questions about FFXII, and I hope that you are able to answer them. They all concern your character design choices, an area in which you've had some noted successes and some terrible failures, but for which you are generally well-known and reasonably respected.
I've put a lot of time into understanding the function of the leather spines on Penelo's outfit, but their purpose still evades me. Does she use them to hang herself up in the closet at night? Does she keep her MP in one and her HP in the other? Please clarify their existence.
As for the lead female, Ashe, I appreciate her straight-forward attitude. Our heroines have been almost unfailingly gentle, self-sacrificing and somewhat retiring as of late, so it is refreshing to see one who has no problems with telling people to shut the hell up, albeit in more polite language. Yet, I cannot comprehend her outfit, no matter how hard I try. She dressed so prettily when she was a princess, so it comes as a shock to see her fearlessly sporting so little. Is it a disguise? It does not seem to be, for the townsfolk in Rabanastre do not dress as she does. Then again, perhaps this sudden change in attire should not surprise me at all, as you thought booty shorts were in character for FFX's Yuna.
Putting the strange mating of a sailor shirt and a decollete` neckline aside, let us focus on her black leather waist cincher. "If you've got it, flaunt it," the saying goes, and perhaps you designed her attire with it in mind. This particular piece, however, defies that principle. Her waist is not in need of the slimming effects of dark colors nor the physical reduction the tool could theoretically apply, so the cincher has no apparent reason for being. Does she have an outie belly button that she is ashamed of, and feels that she must hide?
Really, Square Enix, when you designed Ashe, what was so wrong with pants?
I must tell you that I feel very sorry for the poor Viera you burdened with the name "Fran." Why did you choose to make her wear her lingerie outdoors at all times? A black leather thong, sexy though it may appear, seems more appropriate for the bedroom than for wandering about in a desert clime. Did you think of the sand? Did you think of the sunburn? It seems you had other concerns of your own in mind. This strategy guide that I hold attempts to rationalize Fran's stiletto heels by saying that a Viera's arched foot makes them the most reasonable choice of footwear. I find this logic to be somewhat of the "shortbus" sort. Problems of sinking into sandy soils aside, why does a Viera need shoes period?
Thank you for your time. I hope you can bring the reasoning behind these choices to light, unless they are personal matters best kept behind closed doors.
Member of the Pants Promotion League
I can't be the only one who has noticed that there's something terribly odd about the way Square Enix rendered Vaan's six pack ... it's like they're indentations on his torso.
Whenever I leave Rabanwhatever, I am immediately reminded of the barren environment not too far from the territory of Windurst in FFXI ... especially the mountains, whose proper spelling I have long forgotten.
I knew that going after the third mark, a flowering cactus out in the middle of a relative nowhere, was probably a bad idea. I had exhausted the new inventory of all the shops, which meant that I really should have been continuing with the plot instead of wandering around in the middle of the desert. When I found the sabotender, I was faced with a decision. Should I smack it and quite possibly cause Game Over, or leave it alone? Hmmm. While there can be an element of planning in my actions, I am much more prone to running in for the hell of it, and my gaming history proves it.
In Ragnarok Online, Parsley, being a Crusader, sometimes had the HP to withstand her whims. If not, she usually had her friend in the form of Menko, the Flamenko Wizard, or Samuel Darck, the Soft and Fluffy Priest, to save her ass ... or to at least come back and revive her when the storm had passed.
In FFXI, Wenwren was a Black Mage. She could do quadruple digit damage as her abilities increased, but if a monster so much as looked at her funny, she would fall over in fear and die. Despite this, she stuck with her chosen class through thick and thin, through spell costs painfully high and surprisingly low, even when number-hungry fools, irritated with the "RNG nerf" which had "ruined" the easy damage capability of the Ranger and still seeking to prove their supposed superiority, swarmed from that job into her beloved kingdom of ether. Oh, she was a good BLM to have in a party, for she managed her hate well, and while she certainly did not have the best gear, she made sure she was always more than adequately equipped for her level and stuffed to the gills with INT-increasing pies. Wenwren was also Hume, for which she was often mocked. "Your MP pool isn't as large as the TaruTaru! Your INT isn't as good as the Elvaan! You're not as funny-looking as a Galka!" She never let this discourage her, however, for two reasons. One, the traditional stripey pants of the Black Mage looked really hot on her. Second, while she was physically incompetent and could, would and did get her ass handed to her, she was usually able to at least scream or get off one last nuke for pride's sake before she went down. Screw the naysayers, she knew what she was doing!
This attitude meant that when she was on her own or in the company of friends, she was always the "let's do crazy stuff" advocate. She was the one who, at lower levels, liked "going slugging" for Bibiki Slugs on the isle of Bibiki, and of course was the one who would get bored with that activity, and subsequently try to fight the local oozes ... which would then chase her round and round the circular island while she screamed for help. Cast Bind and run like hell!
I probably need not mention the death-prone Nalili, who ran from Bastok to San D'Oria to Jeuno to Windurst at level 5.
So it really isn't surprising that while I knew better, I went ahead and smacked the cactus anyway. I knew I should have had a full party. I knew I wasn't properly equipped nor of adequate level. I knew it was going to be hell, and I was very well aware that I was in all likelihood going to die.
I won. I did. It seems hard to believe, as there was quite a good amount of death, bleeding, cursing, and Penelo being stupid. A cornerstone of FFXII's mechanics is the "Gambit" system, by which one can exert a reasonable amount of control over the AI of other characters. The game chose to withhold knowledge of and capability to use these until a certain plot point, which might be reasonable if one went ahead with the storyline like a good child, but me? Never.
And so it was that when the cactus took off from the scene of confrontation at least twice during the fight, Penelo hauled ass after it, no matter my wishes. In the process she aggroed nearly every other monster in the area, which made a difficult battle nigh impossible! I could not leave her to die on her own, so I leapt into the fray again and again, though I really did want to rest my poor, abused MP.
When we finally defeated the monster, we had already climbed out of the grave once and were more than ready to fall back in.
I said to myself, "That's way too convenient." and Lo! Did the Flan come from the left, from the right, from the front, from the back, and from the above. Er, from above, that is.
abiona So dude. Care to give me your theory as to why there was a flaming pony in the sewers?
silvermask I... am not really sure.
abiona Her outfit is really ugly, like bad undies.
silvermask haha. Yeah her outfit could be better.
abiona And of course... that godawful name.
silvermask Yeah, it's really...
abiona Like a Flan.
silvermask I mean, Fran?
abiona FRAN THE FLAN
abiona Her thong reveals that she's got enough junk in the trunk for TWO FLANS!
abiona Did I just type that? ::spits out her water::
abiona It's like, Dear S-E, please don't name your sexy mage people after people involved with The Nanny?
abiona HAHAHAHA dude you so did.
[Edit again: OMGWTF did I just find the FFXII equivalent of an NM? That bat's kicking my ass!]
[Edit again again: Yes. Yes I did. The "Aerieel" is four levels above me and I'm in that awkward trying to find a party that will work for me stage, so the asskicking is all on the bat's side, not mine.]