Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Two of the games I've been trying to play recently have both featured a mechanic where you send off party members on missions. In World of Warcraft the sole purpose of most followers is to go on these missions; in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance it's something you do with characters you can use in your actual fighting party. In both cases it works pretty much the same way. You get given a description of the mission and the rewards for succeeding and have to pick a number of characters to send away. After an amount of time (real life time in WoW, world map movements in FFTA) the characters come back and tell you if they succeeded or not.

In FFTA the odds of succeeding on a mission are based on the level and jobs of the characters you send. You're supposed to use the description to figure out who to send. (Fighter type characters should probably go work in a mine while a mage should go help a librarian.) It's really not an exact science though, and I haven't read up about it but I feel like you need to use the mission system to get the really good items. It may even gate beating the game in some way? In WoW it tells you straight up what your chances of succeeding will be for any given combination of characters. It also tells you explicitly which abilities are going to help increase your odds.

I like the WoW system more than the FFTA system because it actually gives me the information I need to make informed decisions. Maybe that word should be in air quotes though... When you know exactly what you need to maximize your odds you should just do that and move on with your life. It can be a little interesting to make sure you have the right mix of followers with a spread of abilities to always have access to what you need, but once you finish that stage of the process it's just doing the obvious best thing.

In short... The system is pretty cool to explore in the short term but becomes a tedious grind in the long term.

It's even worse in FFTA where I'm pretty sure the grind really is the long term. Chains of missions, no idea what will let you succeed, and limited time when the missions are available. Maybe I would have found it interesting to work out what was best for each mission by playing the game over and over and trying different things. But actually, I bought this game the day it was released and started playing it right away... But I didn't end up playing it enough to beat the game once, let alone play it many times to work out who I want to send on what missions.

I'm not really sure what to do with FFTA. I'm not terribly interested in playing it. I am at least a little interested in moving my marathon along, especially if I can play a game I can stream. Like, say, Final Fantasy XII which I believe is next among the games I actually own. I'll dig into more when I get to that point to see if I can easily acquire things like Kingdom Hearts 2.

But for now, I should really give FFTA more of a chance. But I don't want to worry about the stupid mission system. So I think I'm going to do some reading about missions to see what ones I actually need to worry about and see what I can do about doing just those ones. 

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