Ask Your Doctor
For those who play the preview pane game, the snapshot for today’s comic must certainly rank high; with no crass art gumming up the works, only my intention remains. But you can hardly parody these fucking names! Even so, people are probably more likely to take something called “lunesta” than they are to orally ingest (S)-6-(5-Chloro-2-pyridinyl)- 7-oxo-6,7-dihydro-5H-pyrrolo[3,4-b]pyrazin-5-yl-4-methyl-1-piperazinecarboxylate. At least, I would. It’s a real mouthful. Where would you put the pill?
I said you should grab the Bravely Default demo on Monday, and I’m going to reiterate this recommendation today in more detail.
“Final Fantasy” is a crystalline structure that means a bunch of things. We can invoke it, and communicate a week, or a month, or a lifetime of information. That’s the part we knew going into Bravely Default, that contained within its fractal structure there was this other shape. But! There are things which are not that, and wouldn’t that be more interesting to discuss?
It has MP, which is used by the various classes in its Job system to “set it off” in various ways. But there is another resource, called Brave Points, which - combined with Default, the new “guard” option - make up the name. Generally you get one per turn, but it won’t surprise you to learn that there are ways of getting more than your linear share. So now that there is another way to gate powerful attacks, there are abilities which use BP instead of MP. You can also choose to go into debt on Brave Points, giving up future turns in exchange for immediate use. “Turns” as a resource, congealed into these points, is a cool idea. Managing a boss who is stockpiling turns to paste your crew works as gameplay. It works.
The challenge for these fundamentally single player games to incorporate friends in some way is omnipresent, but has a few successes. Outside of letting people play together directly, which can be nettlesome as people are rarely at exactly the same level as one another, Dragon Quest IX’s Treasure Maps were global obsession. Bravely Default has a nice twist, here: you equip your friends to characters, who then grant them access to whatever passive abilities your friend has unlocked. With some coordinated planning, this could be incredibly fun. But in addition to that, during your turn in battle, you can choose to “send” an action performed by a character to the people you streetpass with. It’s completely streamlined: you choose Send, and then do everything normally. You can use it to bottle up a powerful party heal performed by your best White Mage, a Fira delivered by someone decked head to toe in fire boosting equipment, whatever you want. Then your friends can have this waiting in the wings for a big fight. It’s parallel play done in an interesting way.
I’ve left a couple things out here on purpose, but this is a day one download for me. I try to avoid grinding in RPGs, I like to be at about the right level where the time investment is commensurate with my enjoyment and the bosses feel like true puzzles. But I am grinding the shit out of these jobs, so I can build strong interplays with all these passive abilities. I think it might be… fun fun, and not just “scratch your brainstem” OCD medicine.
Oh! And I’m ready to bite on Warframe, I think. One of the more effective freemium fly lures is the “come back every day for a present” thing, little feathers swirling around a sharp hook, and I’ll be God Damned if it ain’t working here. There’s one that is essentially a coupon for the premium currency, platinum, or molybdenum, some other top shelf metal, and as soon as that happens I’m gonna stock up. They win. And they’re winning because they’ve made a game that works without it, at least for me, which is a tricky business. They could be substantially more cruel, and they have chosen not to be.