This week I have been mostly playing...

Steve C

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Steve C » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:39 pm

Daemian Lucifer wrote:Thats because,unlike other
That's a spoiler.
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Retsam

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Retsam » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:57 pm

Note to self: don't start large debate before busy holiday weekend. Also, someday I'll finally learn my lesson, once and for all, about typing long forum posts directly into the reply box, then losing them when I've been logged out by the time I try to post it... but not today.
Trix2000 wrote:Apologies in advance for length - the Persona games (4 and 5 mostly, but also 3) are my favorite RPGs so I pretty much HAVE to comment. I'll try my best to keep my bias in-check, though. :P

Also curious... did you get the True Ending? It's not too hard to get but can be subtle if you aren't aware it exists.
Apparently not; I didn't have Marie's social link maxed (or really, more than slightly started), which I thought was a prerequisite. I'm not sure it really matters, the vague synopsis of the True Ending makes it sound like it's just more to deal with the aspect of the story that I really didn't care about: the supernatural cause for the game's events.
I think the main idea is for it to be a player-insert, or at least as best of a player insert as you can manage with a more restricted story/character. It IS still a JRPG in the end, but at least you have plenty of options on how you handle each day, and while many of the dialog options are 'fake' (not all are, technically) they at least grant a level of interaction you otherwise wouldn't have. It's a way to apply your influence and personality into conversations that would otherwise be nigh-impossible to allow player freedom.

Maybe how well it works depends on how well you connect with the protag, though. He does tend to have some of his own personality quirks if you think about it - like the fact that he cooks, manages to have time to interact and listen to everyone (...sorta), can be great in school (or terrible), etc etc. There's at least a lot more freedom with how to take him than any other JRPG (not that that says a whole ton).

In my case I didn't have too much difficulty immersing myself in the character, but it's not hard to see that might not work for everyone. Can't deny he's crafted to be fairly non-descript.

[...]

Personally, though, I liked to think the protagonist was just a good listener, and a lot of the stuff you actually DO with them is off-camera. Maybe much of this was my own mind filling in the blanks, though.
I get that "player-insert" is a long-standing RPG tradition (particular in visual novels); and at least half my issue is that I just don't care for it, personally. (And, yeah, it depends on how emotionally attached you are, which is hugely subjective, too)

But, even given that, I'm not sure P4 actually does a particularly good job with it. I think it's surprisingly similar to Mass Effect (ignoring the Paragon/Renegade system, for now): both games have the player choose the protagonist's dialogue, both attempt to give the player freedom with how to play the main character, and both emphasize building relationships between the protagonist and their teammates. But Shepard never felt boring to me, the same way that the protagonist of P4 does. And largely, I think that's just because Mass Effect has better writing, in this regard[1]: it does a lot better at giving Shepard meaningful dialogue choices, both in terms of content and personality:

Mass Effect gives the player more control over the flow and the tone of the conversation: even though the end result of the conversation was often the same, you feel like you're directing the conversation. But in P4 it was always pretty obvious that any dialogue "choice" had virtually no effect. Usually, you'd get a single line of dialog in response whatever option you picked, and then the conversation continues on its railroad.

In theory the dialogue choices, while not affecting the conversation meaningfully, can at least help you role-play the main character... but in this regard, the dialogue choices in Persona 4 are really tepid, too. While Shepard's options range from "total asshole" to "straight-laced hero", Persona often just gives you three slightly different flavors of the same thing, and lets you be slightly snarky at best. If dialogue options are colors and Mass Effects options are "Green, Blue, or Red", then Persona 4's options felt more like three different shades of grey.

A big part of the issue might simply be a lack of voiced dialogue for the protagonist[2], actually. I suspect that part of the reason the Persona 4 protagonist feels so particularly bland is that everyone else has voiced dialogue but he doesn't.

But I do think it's, to some degree, a writing quality problem too: one that stems from the sheer quantity of writing in the game: I don't think Mass Effect writers are inherently better than the Persona writers, there's just an absurd amount of dialogue in Persona 4. For it all to be high quality with voiced dialogue and varied and interesting choices... well that's probably too much to ask.

But, that just comes back to my point of "maybe blank-slate protagonist wasn't a good choice for this particular game". Blank-slate protagonist would work better in a more focused game where they could really polish the dialogue options: but it felt pretty half-baked here to me. But maybe that's just my bias speaking.

---
The responses DO have an impact, though, because certain responses will generate points towards the next rank (anytime you see the notes, those are the points). It's fairly forgiving, I suppose, since there are few if any ways to completely destroy a relationship (though one or two DO have a couple "reverse" options that basically act as such).
I learned about this mechanic halfway into the game, and honestly, I'm not sure if it makes it better or worse. To continue the Mass Effect analogy, it's a lot like the Paragon/Renegade system, (on a much, much, smaller scale). On the one hand, it does provide some mechanical incentive to the player... but on the other hand, it also rather damages player agency by incentivizing one particular choice. Dialogue choices are no longer "player expression", but a game of "pick the choice the NPC wants to hear" (and a pretty easy one at that.)

It'd work better with a more established personality for the protagonist, because then it'd make sense for there to be a "right answer", which the game could reward you for picking. But it's at odds with "the character is a blank-slate so that the player can choose how to role-play him".


Skipping ahead a bit:
I... wouldn't really consider it a "mons" game, even though it has some aspects of it. You're not really meant to get attached to personas (not that that stopped me from liking a few in particular >.>), and your character's main strength is in having a variety of them at his disposal so he can make decisions about what skills he needs to have and use, what weaknesses/strengths to work with, etc.

Fusing higher level things is also your main form of strength, though there's a lot of leeway with levels there - you can feasibly use things significantly below your level provided they have a skill or two you find useful (like hitting certain weaknesses).

The arcanas are what determine fusion results - a certain pair of arcanas will always produce a certain other arcana for the product, with the exact persona determined by the levels of the ingredients (so you get low level stuff with low level materials and such). It's something that can be learned, but it's much easier to manipulate if you just look up the fusion arcana tables.

Beyond that, the personas themselves are all unique in their own ways, so it's really more about experimenting and working with what you find useful from it all. Generally for me, that just means fusing up a bunch of higher level things of varying elements (fusion search helps on this... I think it was in Golden?) to have a variety of potential skills available.

You can really break the game if you know the ins and outs of fusion, though. It's entirely predictable (excluding fusion accidents, which are so rare I can count the number I've had on one hand, in ALL the Persona games I've played). Golden even made it easier by allowing you to choose skills you pass on (original it was random) and adding skill cards.

Again, that's kind-of the point - you're meant to be fusing personas throughout the game as your main means for power. That's part of why the social links are important, because you get better results from fusion with ranks in them.

P4 didn't originally have the cards after battle that let you level up and boost the stats of personas - that's new for Golden. So you actually HAVE to fuse because leveling up a persona takes a lot longer than leveling yourself. Golden's additions actually made it possible to use any persona as long as you want - I actually ended up having a level 99 Yatsufusa because I liked the design and felt like it... but to some extent it kinda breaks the game a little.
Not that I care to get into a semantic debate, but it's hard for me not to see it as a mons system: it's a game in which you collect unique entities which have individual skills, stats, levels, and weaknesses, use them in battle and combine them to make new ones. Persona 5 is even more obvious in this regard, (as you directly recruit the shadows), but P4's the same mechanically.

Anyway, my problem with the system wasn't that I didn't understand that "you're supposed to be fusing monsters as your main source of strength", my problem is that I understood that, and didn't like it. I think that particular aspect of the persona system makes everything else superfluous, and turned a potentially interesting system into a boring one.

In my view, an important measure for the quality of an RPG's mechanics is: can I gain an advantage by using this mechanic? (That's not the only aspect of good mechanic design, obviously, but I think it's at least a prerequisite) Effort in, value out: if I put effort (and possibly in-game resources) into the mechanic, I should get value out. Like buying and managing the party's equipment takes player effort and in-game resources, but has the payout of making the party more effective in battle.

The persona system has a ton of mechanics where this really isn't the case. You can level your personas, raise their stats, teach them specific skills, upgrade their skills. You can carefully balance your team composition, extract skills from Personas so you can teach them to others, try to make the specific fusion combinations, etc.

All of these should be interesting and mechanically rewarding systems, but in practice they're not. You can spend a bunch of time doing that, but at the end of the day, you'll have no better a party (or perhaps a worse party), than if you just took the "fuse together persona at random[3] as often as possible" strategy. Your persona list changes so fast, that any amount of customization (i.e. any of the mechanics listed in the previous paragraph) is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Like, take the "specific persona fusion recipes" thing, like "X Persona + Y Persona, + Z Persona = XYZ Dragon Cannon Persona". In theory, that's a great mechanic: it gives the player a reason to engage with the fusion system, and a goal to work towards. But in practice it's largely a waste of time: the XYZ Dragon Cannon might be shiny and have 2800 ATK points, but it's very quickly going to be obsolete and just mashed together as another fusion ingredient: acquiring one can take a fair bit of effort, and the payoff is pretty disappointing: a persona that's maybe slightly above curve for a short period of time[4].

It doesn't help that I've played a ton of mons games and I'm inevitably comparing this game to games with, IMO, superior mechanics[5]. But the root of my criticism isn't "I'm expecting this game to be something it's not". My criticism is "I'm expecting the mechanics that the game provides to me should actually be interesting". I'm not complaining about about what the game lacks, I'm complaining about the impotence of the mechanics that the game has. (I did learn from your post how many of those mechanics were grafted on in the Golden edition: perhaps that explains their superfluity)

Ultimately, it's not like these flaws actively detract from playing the game - a lot of games could only wish that their biggest mechanical flaw was that a lot of their systems were superfluous - but it was disappointing. The P4 systems seemed a lot more interesting at first glance than they ended up being in practice.
[agnsty-tsundere-poetry-chan] is actually kind-of an interesting character once you get to know her, though she... uh... isn't the most approachable. I wouldn't say she's my favorite at all, but she gets a bit better once you have some ranks in her (though never completely loses her tsun).

The dungeon is... unique, and arguably interesting. But I wouldn't say you're missing too much by skipping it. A good chunk of its appeal depends on connecting with her in the first place anyways.
Yeah, I'm sure her dungeon is interesting, and she's probably a more interesting character than she appears at first. On the one hand, I know that I'm probably being unfair to judge a character solely on their surface characteristics. On the other hand, for the heinous crime of bad poetry, there can be no quarter or mercy.

---

On Persona 5:

To clarify, I watched up until just a bit past here the game begins, chronologically. (I'd guess it's about half the game?)

And, yeah, "edgy" is probably a bit unfair of a word to use. It's mostly a personal thing: I don't really care for revenge stories in the first place, and "teenager revenge against the evil adults" is particularly not my jam.

---

[1] Yup, this is it for me. This is where I get lynched: going on the Shamus Young forums and saying that the writing quality of a beloved JRPG franchise compares unfavorably to that of Mass Effect.

[2]The protagonist does have a voice actor, and it's Johnny Yong Boshe, probably my all-time favorite voice actor (of Trigun, Death Note, and Code Geass fame)... but I'm pretty sure his only line, on behalf of the main character, in this game is "Persona!". (He does also voice Adachi)

[3] You do want a mix of elements skills, but with 12 persona slots x 8 skills per person / 6 elements, even before you account for party members... even if you really do fuse completely at random, you're probably going to be fine, anyway.

[4] Also, this is where my complaint about the system being "opaque" comes in. I know I need Personas X, Y, and Z... but there's no way to to determine the intermediate steps for accomplishing that goal. If I don't happen to have two Personas that can fuse to make X, Y, or Z, then I just have to randomly fuse stuff and acquire random personas, until I do. It'd be real nice if they provided you a fusion table or something.

[5] It particularly didn't help that, concurrently to playing P4, I was also playing Digimon Cyber Sleuth, which also has a system very similar to the Persona system... but quite a bit better. (Unfortunately for Digimon Cyber Sleuth, the rest of the game wasn't nearly as good as it's 'Mons system)
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Daemian Lucifer » Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:33 pm

Steve C wrote:
Daemian Lucifer wrote:Thats because,unlike other
That's a spoiler.

You are right.I spoilered all of the rest and this one I was just too lazy to open the full editor.Sorry.
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The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:04 pm

Numbered footnotes! Maaaaaaaan, y'all never get to give me shiy about NUTHIN
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Daemian Lucifer » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:01 am

The Rocketeer wrote:Numbered footnotes! Maaaaaaaan, y'all never get to give me shiy about NUTHIN
Au contraire mon pote.Just seeing how those numbered footnotes mesh with the rest of the text,we will now give you shit every time you DONT use them.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Trix2000 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:23 am

The Rocketeer wrote:Numbered footnotes! Maaaaaaaan, y'all never get to give me shiy about NUTHIN
You need to step up your game. We're gonna take your title. :D
Retsam wrote: Apparently not; I didn't have Marie's social link maxed (or really, more than slightly started), which I thought was a prerequisite. I'm not sure it really matters, the vague synopsis of the True Ending makes it sound like it's just more to deal with the aspect of the story that I really didn't care about: the supernatural cause for the game's events.
The positive about it is that it answers basically all the outstanding questions in a fairly reasonable way, and the ending fight/scenes are pretty cool (some of my favorites). If you still have a save at the end of the game, you can still go for that ending - just keep in mind it's a full dungeon to clear.

Marie's story is not required for anything as far as I'm aware, other than her own dungeon and maybe the Golden Ending (which tbh, you probably don't need to worry about) - it didn't actually exist in the original P4 so in Golden it doesn't have much impact outside of its own contained content (I don't believe you even get EXP or items to keep from her dungeon, though I don't recall perfectly. It's a weird dungeon). It's nice if you care about Marie, and skippable if you don't.
I get that "player-insert" is a long-standing RPG tradition (particular in visual novels); and at least half my issue is that I just don't care for it, personally. (And, yeah, it depends on how emotionally attached you are, which is hugely subjective, too)
That's fair. It's something I take to fairly well, usually, but I know a number of people don't, particularly in JRPGs that do it which tend to be more hamstrung in terms of choices.
But, even given that, I'm not sure P4 actually does a particularly good job with it. I think it's surprisingly similar to Mass Effect (ignoring the Paragon/Renegade system, for now): both games have the player choose the protagonist's dialogue, both attempt to give the player freedom with how to play the main character, and both emphasize building relationships between the protagonist and their teammates. But Shepard never felt boring to me, the same way that the protagonist of P4 does. And largely, I think that's just because Mass Effect has better writing, in this regard[1]: it does a lot better at giving Shepard meaningful dialogue choices, both in terms of content and personality:
I think it has more to do with Mass Effect being a very different style, which much more focus on your story and dialog. P4 seems much more focused on the overarching narrative and plot, plus overall party interaction. In ME, it's about YOU, and in P4, it's about THEM... I guess.

Definitely seems a matter of taste. I liked ME, but I felt it was a little TOO flexible... though I don't think that's a big downside when you're intended to be in full control of Shepard.
Mass Effect gives the player more control over the flow and the tone of the conversation: even though the end result of the conversation was often the same, you feel like you're directing the conversation. But in P4 it was always pretty obvious that any dialogue "choice" had virtually no effect. Usually, you'd get a single line of dialog in response whatever option you picked, and then the conversation continues on its railroad.

In theory the dialogue choices, while not affecting the conversation meaningfully, can at least help you role-play the main character... but in this regard, the dialogue choices in Persona 4 are really tepid, too. While Shepard's options range from "total asshole" to "straight-laced hero", Persona often just gives you three slightly different flavors of the same thing, and lets you be slightly snarky at best. If dialogue options are colors and Mass Effects options are "Green, Blue, or Red", then Persona 4's options felt more like three different shades of grey.
Indeed, different styles. I tend to view ME's as more player-driven and P4s as more plot-driven.

Which now that I think about it, makes it seem like the player insert in P4 wasn't so much meant to give you much control so much as to help make you part of the established narrative. ME let you drive the plot (in what ways you could, at least), but P4 was more about the plot taking you on its own adventure.

Feels like the usual JRPG vs. WRPG paradigm at work, to me.
A big part of the issue might simply be a lack of voiced dialogue for the protagonist[2], actually. I suspect that part of the reason the Persona 4 protagonist feels so particularly bland is that everyone else has voiced dialogue but he doesn't.
Unfortunately even in 5 they haven't gotten to doing that yet. It's definitely something I'd be a fan of them doing, but then again the specific voice they use might throw some people off if they can't connect to it as 'them'. Maybe that's why they still haven't?
But, that just comes back to my point of "maybe blank-slate protagonist wasn't a good choice for this particular game". Blank-slate protagonist would work better in a more focused game where they could really polish the dialogue options: but it felt pretty half-baked here to me. But maybe that's just my bias speaking.
I dunno, I think it works for the kind of game they wanted to make at least. I would agree that it's not something everyone will take to, though, so it may have room for improvement.

But then that tends to be my attitude with JRPGs in general, which despite P4's deviation from that formula it still very much is one. I personally take to them pretty well, but I know plenty of people who don't (and for good reasons).
I learned about this mechanic halfway into the game, and honestly, I'm not sure if it makes it better or worse. To continue the Mass Effect analogy, it's a lot like the Paragon/Renegade system, (on a much, much, smaller scale). On the one hand, it does provide some mechanical incentive to the player... but on the other hand, it also rather damages player agency by incentivizing one particular choice. Dialogue choices are no longer "player expression", but a game of "pick the choice the NPC wants to hear" (and a pretty easy one at that.)
To be fair, not all choices give points and it's not always a single choice that does. To add to that, the game is not very obvious about what choices will actually get you benefit - some of the choices are deliberately set up where you have to pick an option you might not think is the right one initially, because it better suits their character (there's even one character that, if you pick the 'obvious' choice, it will result in reversing the link a few ranks down the line because it turned out to be wrong in the long run). I see it as a way of actually empathizing with them better, though it can be tricky to tell.

It's also because of this that I recommend the first playthrough to be blind/without a guide, because then it requires the player to actually think about what they are saying and not focus as much on the mechanics. To basically treat them more as natural conversation rather than "what will make them rank up faster?" In my opinion, it shouldn't be expected to max out all (or perhaps even most) of the links on the first go - that's something to save for NG+.

That said, it's not easy even for me to stick to that. Trying that in P5 still ended up with me doing a not-insignificant amount of metagaming, so maybe it's less an issue of the game and more an issue with how we tend to approach such games... or maybe not. I dunno.
It'd work better with a more established personality for the protagonist, because then it'd make sense for there to be a "right answer", which the game could reward you for picking. But it's at odds with "the character is a blank-slate so that the player can choose how to role-play him".
Here's where I think the problem we have is - we naturally want the 'right' answer because we think of it more in game terms, but if we could treat it more in terms of actual conversation it might work better. I guess that could be considered a fault of the game, but I'm not sure there's an elegant way to solve that.
Not that I care to get into a semantic debate, but it's hard for me not to see it as a mons system: it's a game in which you collect unique entities which have individual skills, stats, levels, and weaknesses, use them in battle and combine them to make new ones. Persona 5 is even more obvious in this regard, (as you directly recruit the shadows), but P4's the same mechanically.
Fair, though I think the thing that throws that perception off for me is that they still aren't the ones doing the fighting, your characters are. Maybe that's not much of a distinction to make, but tbh at this point I don't know if it matters.
Anyway, my problem with the system wasn't that I didn't understand that "you're supposed to be fusing monsters as your main source of strength", my problem is that I understood that, and didn't like it. I think that particular aspect of the persona system makes everything else superfluous, and turned a potentially interesting system into a boring one.

In my view, an important measure for the quality of an RPG's mechanics is: can I gain an advantage by using this mechanic? (That's not the only aspect of good mechanic design, obviously, but I think it's at least a prerequisite) Effort in, value out: if I put effort (and possibly in-game resources) into the mechanic, I should get value out. Like buying and managing the party's equipment takes player effort and in-game resources, but has the payout of making the party more effective in battle.
You can do that, because personas pass skills down when fused and skills are much of what define the usefulness of a persona (stats are worth considering but can often be ignored in favor of a good enough skillset). 'Fusing personas randomly' shouldn't be what you're doing so much as testing out combinations (without fusing yet), to see what they can grant you... then picking the best that you think looks good and can take on the skills you want. This is how I usually manage my persona stable in these games, often with 2-4 main ones I use for different elements and a couple lower-level ones that have utility skills I want to keep around (like Rakunda).
The persona system has a ton of mechanics where this really isn't the case. You can level your personas, raise their stats, teach them specific skills, upgrade their skills. You can carefully balance your team composition, extract skills from Personas so you can teach them to others, try to make the specific fusion combinations, etc.
The original game didn't have the cards, so leveling personas was slow and you couldn't boost their stats any other way (aside from equipment). Skill cards also didn't exist, which made it much more important which personas you used and fused because it would determine what skills you could have and pass on to the next.

I actually think both mechanics kind-of trivialized things in Golden, since it let me take any persona I wanted to level 99 with maxxed stats and whatever skills I liked. You couldn't do that in the original games, and 5 also limits this somewhat (despite still having skill cards, though they are somewhat more limited in number).
All of these should be interesting and mechanically rewarding systems, but in practice they're not. You can spend a bunch of time doing that, but at the end of the day, you'll have no better a party (or perhaps a worse party), than if you just took the "fuse together persona at random[3] as often as possible" strategy. Your persona list changes so fast, that any amount of customization (i.e. any of the mechanics listed in the previous paragraph) is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Like, take the "specific persona fusion recipes" thing, like "X Persona + Y Persona, + Z Persona = XYZ Dragon Cannon Persona". In theory, that's a great mechanic: it gives the player a reason to engage with the fusion system, and a goal to work towards. But in practice it's largely a waste of time: the XYZ Dragon Cannon might be shiny and have 2800 ATK points, but it's very quickly going to be obsolete and just mashed together as another fusion ingredient: acquiring one can take a fair bit of effort, and the payoff is pretty disappointing: a persona that's maybe slightly above curve for a short period of time[4].
You don't HAVE to change that much, and even if you do keeping useful skills through the chain is a big part of things. You really can do a lot with careful fusing.

The way I usually handled it was to only fuse personas at the beginning and/or end of dungeons, and then only if it seemed necessary. Persona levels aren't always that crucial, at least compared to making sure you have the skills you need to succeed in combat. The game doesn't really require you to keep your personas exactly at your level all the time - heck, I'd often use ones as many as 10 or 20 levels away just because they had a nice set of immunities and/or skills.

Actually thinking about it, immunities and weaknesses are also another consideration to make when fusing, since knockdowns suuuuuck.
It doesn't help that I've played a ton of mons games and I'm inevitably comparing this game to games with, IMO, superior mechanics[5]. But the root of my criticism isn't "I'm expecting this game to be something it's not". My criticism is "I'm expecting the mechanics that the game provides to me should actually be interesting". I'm not complaining about about what the game lacks, I'm complaining about the impotence of the mechanics that the game has. (I did learn from your post how many of those mechanics were grafted on in the Golden edition: perhaps that explains their superfluity)
Yeah, that may well be a large part of the problem. With the end-of-battle cards alone, I went through the first half of the game with the same Persona (Ame-no-Uzume I think) because I was able to stack its stats and level so ridiculously high... and I'd gotten all four main elements on it too. I only swapped it out when I got to Yatsufasa, but even then it was trivial to bring it up to level 99 with 99 in all stats, which is stupid broken.

Was entertaining for me since I'd already played the game a few times before and enjoyed breaking things a bunch, but it took away a significant amount of challenge and nuance from things.
Yeah, I'm sure her dungeon is interesting, and she's probably a more interesting character than she appears at first. On the one hand, I know that I'm probably being unfair to judge a character solely on their surface characteristics. On the other hand, for the heinous crime of bad poetry, there can be no quarter or mercy.
Nah, that's fair. If anything, it's good to play the game in a way that you'd actually want to interact with these characters, rather than just taking every option because "I don't want to miss the content".

At least for a first playthrough. I tend to do later runs with the intent to max everything. >.>
On Persona 5:

To clarify, I watched up until just a bit past here the game begins, chronologically. (I'd guess it's about half the game?)

And, yeah, "edgy" is probably a bit unfair of a word to use. It's mostly a personal thing: I don't really care for revenge stories in the first place, and "teenager revenge against the evil adults" is particularly not my jam.
That's more like the 2/3 mark, actually (assuming you mean the day when the prologue bit actually happens). Think around level 50 or so when I usually hit 75-80 at endgame.

Maybe it's just me, but it never really felt like a revenge story to me, at least not as a whole. There's an element of this in it, but there's more to the way things play out than just revenge (and in fact, that is something of a plot point).
[1] Yup, this is it for me. This is where I get lynched: going on the Shamus Young forums and saying that the writing quality of a beloved JRPG franchise compares unfavorably to that of Mass Effect.
I mean, Mass Effect (the first, at least) is written pretty well. I suspect it's a matter of taste which works better.
[2]The protagonist does have a voice actor, and it's Johnny Yong Boshe, probably my all-time favorite voice actor (of Trigun, Death Note, and Code Geass fame)... but I'm pretty sure his only line, on behalf of the main character, in this game is "Persona!". (He does also voice Adachi)
He also can say all the persona names, when he gets crits/weaknesses.
[3] You do want a mix of elements skills, but with 12 persona slots x 8 skills per person / 6 elements, even before you account for party members... even if you really do fuse completely at random, you're probably going to be fine, anyway.
True, and I think one thing about 5 that helps is that it has a lot more elements. In 4, it's a lot easier to get full coverage on both the attack and defense angles. It's also worth noting that 4 only has a single physical element, whereas both 3 and 5 (and Q) have multiple.
[4] Also, this is where my complaint about the system being "opaque" comes in. I know I need Personas X, Y, and Z... but there's no way to to determine the intermediate steps for accomplishing that goal. If I don't happen to have two Personas that can fuse to make X, Y, or Z, then I just have to randomly fuse stuff and acquire random personas, until I do. It'd be real nice if they provided you a fusion table or something.
Definitely with you on that. I assume they mean it to be mysterious or something, and maybe not something to worry over the specifics initially... but having some better way to learn the fusion table in-game would be nice. It says something that I almost always go to a guide to get the fusions for the social link. :/
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The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:34 am

Daemian Lucifer wrote:Au contraire mon pote.Just seeing how those numbered footnotes mesh with the rest of the text,we will now give you shit every time you DONT use them.
Yall ain't get to give me shit[1]

[1]bout NUTHIN
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Ringwraith

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Ringwraith » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:37 am

You can definitely assemble personas that can hit way above their level bracket, at least for a while.
Sometimes you also might keep certain ones around due to rare/unique skills they have (Die For Me! ends up being a personal favourite of mine for this purpose).
And yeah, if you manage to stuff one full of utility it can be hard to let go sometimes, like Neko Shogun can be an excellent healer with a weakness that's not overly difficult to negate, then you have a heal/support bot for all occasions (due to how many resistances it has normally) that takes quite a while to get completely outscaled.
You do have to let things go eventually however. Very much a recurring thing.

Later games running on SMT-like mechanics, including Persona 5, do include sacrifice fusions, where you can burn a person to give experience to another, and this can powerlevel your solidly-built ones and keep them current for a while longer.
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SpammyV
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by SpammyV » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:30 am

DARKWOOD! Man there's like... at least seven- No, eight things wrong with this village. And my progress is being impeded now because... I have to find a chain. No, it doesn't matter that my character said a rope or chain would do, I have to find a chain. I must find a chain.

Also Bitterpark you don't need to say anything just blink twice if all these car parts I'm getting means I'm going to build a car and dose up to the gills on mushroom juice and ride out of the forest blasting Russian hip-hop at max volume.

KERBAL SPACE PROGRAM! I read enough space news that I had to redownload my mod suite (Mechjeb, Docking Alignment Indicator, Kerbal Alarm Clock, Station Science) and start playing again. I set Science rewards to like 130%, that felt like a good setting for my preferences last time I was playing.

POKEMON SUN! alright hapu let's go no there wasn't another time DON'T TALK ABOUT THE PREVIOUS TIMELINE THE UNIVERSE IS DELICATE
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The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:54 am

SpammyV wrote:POKEMON SUN! alright hapu let's go no there wasn't another time DON'T TALK ABOUT THE PREVIOUS TIMELINE THE UNIVERSE IS DELICATE
On restive nights, your team can hear, as if from behind thick walls, a scream in their own voices, frozen forever, that they will never comprehend.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Trix2000 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:48 am

Ringwraith wrote:Later games running on SMT-like mechanics, including Persona 5, do include sacrifice fusions, where you can burn a person to give experience to another, and this can powerlevel your solidly-built ones and keep them current for a while longer.
Though you can only do that once per persona per day in 5, so it's a bit limited.
SpammyV wrote:POKEMON SUN! alright hapu let's go no there wasn't another time DON'T TALK ABOUT THE PREVIOUS TIMELINE THE UNIVERSE IS DELICATE
SHE KNOWS WHAT YOU DID.
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Ringwraith

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Ringwraith » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:53 am

Trix2000 wrote:
Ringwraith wrote:Later games running on SMT-like mechanics, including Persona 5, do include sacrifice fusions, where you can burn a person to give experience to another, and this can powerlevel your solidly-built ones and keep them current for a while longer.
Though you can only do that once per persona per day in 5, so it's a bit limited.
Considering there is a somewhat abusive, but expensive, loop you could do with it otherwise, that's rather understandable.
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mwchase
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by mwchase » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:18 pm

RECURSED! For like 5 seconds at a time, long enough to check whether the September 30 update has come to Mac yet.

So, I've been getting a bit more back into...

THE BRIDGE! Once I watched a playthrough of Mirrored Menace, and accepted in my heart that it was possible, I was able to solve a whole bunch of puzzles. Currently near the end of Mirrored World IV, and now I mostly just have to figure out what's the deal with the "wisp" things that the achievements mention... I'm pretty sure I haven't gotten any, even by accident.
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Narratorway
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Narratorway » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:13 pm

I only bought a couple of games during the last steam sale, but I also found out there was a Deus Ex overhaul they had on there for free, so guess the fuck what!

Image

I only just finished the initial mission, and so far, this isn't really feeling like it's much more than a graphics mod. The key thing is whether or not it includes contextually activated augs. I'f not, I'll just say fuck it and go back to another run I attempted a few years ago.
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Lachlan the Sane » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:46 am

The Rocketeer wrote:I can tell you from experience that greatsword/greatshield is a fine way to play the game. The King's Ultra Greatsword is one of the most overpowered weapons in the game, with some of the highest base damage of any weapon and S-scaling in Strength. Actually, I relied on it so much that I'm not as aware as I should be of all the other Strength-based builds, aside from needing the Smelter Sword every now and then.

As for magic, I think DS2 might have been the Golden Age for casters. I had a very, very fun magic build, with an Enchanted-infused katana that I loved using on anything that couldn't be killed with blue lasers. I'm sure I at least started a couple of miracle build, but I don't remember them well, and I've heard that hexes were badly nerfed after being greatly overpowered on release, and are now kinda worthless.
The King's Ultra Greatsword is mitigated somewhat by the fact that you need to beat Vendrick to claim it, of course. I didn't try that on this character, but I did collect a few Giant Souls -- maybe I'll round up the rest of the collection (or at least get 4 out of the 5) and see how beatable he is as practice.

As for spell builds -- my girlfriend already ran the game as a pure sorcerer (she barely used any weapons at all, and didn't even use hexes, which made some areas laughably easy and others ridiculously hard depending on the magic resistance of the enemies). I am kind of tempted to try a miracle-based build, although looking at the wikis you'd need to take a bit of an odd route through the game to optimise it quickly (the vast majority of the good miracles & chimes are on either the Earthen Peak or Grave of Saints paths from Majula). My other concern is that, being limited to offline play, I wouldn't be able to get enough Sunlight Medals to earn the Sunlight Spear. Still, a lightning-infused version of the Disc Chime and/or Witchtree Bellvine sounds like a lot of fun.

EDIT: Changed my mind about the best chime to equip; I would find Darkdiver Grahal and murder the shit out of him for the Dragon Chime, because I tried going after Darklurker on the Dex-build character and the black NPC phantoms in the Pilgrims of Dark areas were absolute class-A bullshit.
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The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:35 pm

Yeah, I'd never be in a hurry to fight Darklurker again; definitely one of the most frustrating bosses in the game, on par with some of the expansion bosses, which are almost all bullshit.

I was going to point out that, yeah, the King's stuff is really late game and not something you can build around as you're coming up, but a pure STR/VIT build is far from the most obscure direction you can take your character; there are plenty of good greatswords you can start swinging around from the start, and then plenty of good UGS or Greataxes you can pick up without much trouble. From what I remember, the Greatsword UGS is both one of the earliest to acquire and easiest to wield, stat-wise.

I wouldn't worry about Vendrick's Hollow at all. He hits like a runaway train, but he's really, really slow, and telegraphs the hell out of every swing. Just watch that giant attack range. Then, you, too, can wield the weapon with the most satisfying critical animations in the game.

That issue of the occasional enemy with high magic resistance is why I lugged around an Enchanted katana; Enchanted infusions add normal damage, unlike Magic infusions, and scale off INT, so my pure-spellcaster had some vicious physical damage for backup. Enemies with high Magic resistance tend not to be the most physically resilient. The trouble is building a pure-INT character that wield at least some kind of decent weapon (or especially a shield) proficiently without stretching your stat spread too thin, but I wanted an excuse to carry a katana for once, and if you can hold out till Drangleic Castle, you can get the Llewellyn Shield, a small shield with 90% physical block and some other really great resistances for its class.
Steve C

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Steve C » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:56 pm

I'm still playing Rimworld. Have been since September. I don't really have anything to add other than it's great. I always wanted to play Dwarf Fortress and never could due to the ASCII UI. Now I can and I'm happy. I've been waiting to post about an interesting story of something that happened in my game. Except nothing that makes a good story has happened. Just normal old fun for me.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Trix2000 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:55 pm

Steve C wrote:Just normal old fun for me.
I've always gotten the impression that "normal old fun" for Rimworld is... interesting, given how it gets referenced sometimes.
Steve C

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Steve C » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:16 pm

Yeah that is true. For example the last thing I did was beat a prisoner with clubs/shivs (lowest dmg) for some melee xp. I had been performing unnecessary medical procedures on him all winter to level up my doctors. He fought back against his beating which makes him "guilty". That means I can execute him with cause. I wanted that because it is a mood penalty when "innocent" prisoners die. He had a minor infection and I didn't want to treat it. So I had a character with a terrible doctoring stat remove his liver. I like to use her because she gets a mood buff if she kills people. She failed the liver extraction (which is always fatal) so he survived. That just means she can try again for double the xp. If she fails again though, she'll probably cut him in two as his torso is very low on hp now.

I was interrupted at this point by a raid by four tribals with spears. Not much of a threat. I put my baby animals between my colonists and them so I can shoot the raiders without them charging into melee range. I haven't finished that combat yet but I'm confident I'll be refilling the prison and the freezer. Oh and one my artists finished an art piece about this prisoner's buddy (who also lost his liver and other organs):
Wooden large sculpture (superior): A person sized piece of material sculpted into an artistic form.
Title: White Vengence
On this work is an illustration of Mitchell 'Mitch' Everson putting Canto Koala to sleep with anesthetic while surrounded by scary looking surgical tools. Koala is shaking and writhing. A trader floats beneath the main subject, and the image is devoid of both privation and contemplation. This portrayal relates Koala's surgery on the 5th of Aprimay, 5501.
Like I said, normal fun Rimworld stuff. It can really go off the deep end though. That's when the real stories start.
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The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:31 pm

Ah, Dwarf Fortress and Rimworld players: the only demographic that even CKII and WH40k fans agree we should deport.
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Lachlan the Sane » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:14 am

The Rocketeer wrote:Yeah, I'd never be in a hurry to fight Darklurker again; definitely one of the most frustrating bosses in the game, on par with some of the expansion bosses, which are almost all bullshit.

I was going to point out that, yeah, the King's stuff is really late game and not something you can build around as you're coming up, but a pure STR/VIT build is far from the most obscure direction you can take your character; there are plenty of good greatswords you can start swinging around from the start, and then plenty of good UGS or Greataxes you can pick up without much trouble. From what I remember, the Greatsword UGS is both one of the earliest to acquire and easiest to wield, stat-wise.

I wouldn't worry about Vendrick's Hollow at all. He hits like a runaway train, but he's really, really slow, and telegraphs the hell out of every swing. Just watch that giant attack range. Then, you, too, can wield the weapon with the most satisfying critical animations in the game.

That issue of the occasional enemy with high magic resistance is why I lugged around an Enchanted katana; Enchanted infusions add normal damage, unlike Magic infusions, and scale off INT, so my pure-spellcaster had some vicious physical damage for backup. Enemies with high Magic resistance tend not to be the most physically resilient. The trouble is building a pure-INT character that wield at least some kind of decent weapon (or especially a shield) proficiently without stretching your stat spread too thin, but I wanted an excuse to carry a katana for once, and if you can hold out till Drangleic Castle, you can get the Llewellyn Shield, a small shield with 90% physical block and some other really great resistances for its class.
Yeah, I actually started another run as a Faith character, and have completely neglected my Faith stat thus far in favour of getting what I need for some of my standard melee gear (Drangleic Shield & Armour mostly, as well as beefing up my Dex to the point where I could wield the Heide Knight Sword). I am carrying around Heal and Emit Force, but I really ought to get my Faith to 22 so I can throw lightning spears around.
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The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:24 am

You know, now that you mention it, I'm sure I played through this game at least one complete time as a cleric... Hold on a second, here...

*opens up SotFS*

Image
"Howdy, my sons!" Wow, remember Dark Souls II, where the character creator could actually make dark skin and blond hair? Also, proof I actually have dressed Rosabeth in something decent at least once.


So it turns out I have a SL136 cleric that I played all the way up to Aldia's Keep and just left it hanging while playing Golden Phantom for people at the Guardian Dragon. And I have no memory of it. Previously, the only DSII Faith build I could have avowed was one in which I wanted to reprise my DSI Faith-Scythe build, which I abandoned and deleted after finally getting a scythe and realizing I hated the new moveset. This one? Nothing. Stats:

| SL 136 || VGR 14 || END 15 || VIT 25 || ATN 52 || STR 16 || DEX 7 || ADP 4 || INT 4 || FTH 52 |

I have 8 spell slots and no idea what used to be in them, since I cleared them all out except for Great Lightning Spear for simplicity's sake during the dragon fight. I do remember that the Lightning-infused Priest's Chime is the best casting focus for lightning miracles in the game, but that may have changed since this unknown point in history. So, uh, definitely try this build out! It'll definitely get you to the Dragon Shrine, at least. Somehow.
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grahams_xwing
Location: Mansfield, UK

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by grahams_xwing » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:55 pm

Crusader Kings 2 -
Parents were up for eldest's 4th birthday so had the laptop running CKII in the evening when everyone was exhausted.

Started up a new game at the early start point, as a lowly count in Brittany, furthest west in northern France. Most of mainland western Europe is West Francia at this start, but Brittany is still individual counties. I set about spreading into the De Jure territories of the Duchy/Kingdom of Brittany (They are the same) until our borders met. This seemed to take FOREVER as the other Brittany Counts were always fighting the Spanish Muslims and I couldn't afford the penalties to attack.

At this point I made a bit of a leap of faith. I HATE having a liege to order me around and get me in trouble, but there was no way I was going to be able to stay independent next to that monster of a realm, especially when the West Francian king granted the two counties within the Duchy of Anjou that I didn't hold to a young ambitious newly minted Duke. So I bent the knee voluntarily to the king, joined West Francia and promptly attached the 2 county Duke (who had no pacts or alliances)

One county down, I thought I'd have a long wait for either the truce timer to expire or another Duke or upstart Count to try and take the remaining Anjou De Jure county. Instead, the plucky Count started up an independence faction, which, thanks to the West Francian King's insistance on war after ridiculous war on both the eastern and southern fronts, got a surprising amount of support straight away. In the end, it was my 17% support that tipped the faction over 100% and fired the rebellion.
I didn't cover myself in glory (partly thanks to wandering into the King's doomstack returning from the Spanish border - I like to think I pined them down long enough for the Duke of Burgundy to assemble his forces and attack from the east. But the war was pretty brief and suddenly West Francia had lost a good 35-40% of it's territory. Us, Anjou, Burgundy and Bohemia, all going our separate ways.

But, what was the last action of our part in the war? Getting raided by Vikings, having our morale smashed troops attempt to drive them off and getting myself killed.

15 year old takes the throne and tries to tidy up while the new realms settle down. When the regency ends we sweep back into Anjou, completing the Duchy/Kingdom title of Anjou and making me a double Duke.
Major worry then is what the King of West Francia is going to do ...... die, and split his kingdom between his three under 10 year old children. So now we have a tiny 10-12 county West Francian ruled by a 9 year old with claims to some of my land, an 8 year old East Francian King with a massive bone to pick with his older brother, and a 4 year old king of a newly formed kingdom in the south.

Lovely.
Oh and randomly I lost an alliance in England as the AI decided that when fighting against a rebellion it would just send the same army over and over again to get smashed by a numerically inferior force, and not wait for either morale to improve, or me to turn up with THREE times the numbers. I did manage to install my Grandmother into a tribe on Tutorial Island as well, but my father's half brother fled there after a little uprising and now stands to inherit it, so lost out there.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Trix2000 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:00 pm

Steve C wrote:Yeah that is true. For example the last thing I did was beat a prisoner with clubs/shivs (lowest dmg) for some melee xp. I had been performing unnecessary medical procedures on him all winter to level up my doctors. He fought back against his beating which makes him "guilty". That means I can execute him with cause. I wanted that because it is a mood penalty when "innocent" prisoners die. He had a minor infection and I didn't want to treat it. So I had a character with a terrible doctoring stat remove his liver. I like to use her because she gets a mood buff if she kills people. She failed the liver extraction (which is always fatal) so he survived. That just means she can try again for double the xp. If she fails again though, she'll probably cut him in two as his torso is very low on hp now.

I was interrupted at this point by a raid by four tribals with spears. Not much of a threat. I put my baby animals between my colonists and them so I can shoot the raiders without them charging into melee range. I haven't finished that combat yet but I'm confident I'll be refilling the prison and the freezer. Oh and one my artists finished an art piece about this prisoner's buddy (who also lost his liver and other organs):
See this? This is exactly what I was talking about. Interesting.

One of these days I need to actually pick up the game. I never managed to get too deep into DF in the past (largely due to not connecting well with the interface/visuals), but Rimworld seems like a more palatable romp through the same sort of madness.
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Narratorway
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Narratorway » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:03 pm

Quake. As in the original. And for the first time ever, with the actual soundtrack!

Honestly, it hasn't made much of a difference. The music so ambient focused, that I often forget its there. I suppose there's something to be said for texture and to be fair, I've only played through the first episode so far, but still...it's not exactly gripping me.
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