The GWJ JRPG Club 2018 - Dragon Quest VII

drdoak wrote:

Spoilers for DQ5

Spoiler:

10 YEARS OF SLAVERY FOR THE MAIN CHARACTER WHO WAS A CHILD FOLLOWED BY A YEAR OF HAPPINESS THEN SEVERAL YEARS TURNED TO STONE WHILE HIS CHILDREN GROW UP

Every time DQ5 comes up, I keep reminding myself that I have to play it ASAP. Maybe not immediately after I'm done with DQ7 though.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

After waffling on whether to play in English or Japanese, I've decided to cowboy up and try the Japanese version.

I'm going to get started shortly.

You're a much braver person than I am!

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

After waffling on whether to play in English or Japanese, I've decided to cowboy up and try the Japanese version.

I'm going to get started shortly.

Very cool... I'd like to join you but I don't think my six chapters of Genki I (so far) will suffice.

I want to get going on (the English version of) this, though I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with what seems to RSI issues from work.

I've finished stone people 2: the reckoning and

Spoiler:

Easily the worst island so far. Some awful dialog (hopefully fixed up a bit in the translation from PS1 to 3DS) and a midday soapie story that didn't really make sense. Plus an unrelated dungeon you have to trawl through, that was fairly painless thankfully.

Now I actually get the opportunity to choose classes for my party members. Of course the game gives you almost no guidance about it so you can bet I browsed a guide to get some ideas.

Playing in Japanese always seems like fun but, in practice, it extends my playtime 3-4x. Not good for a JRPG!

I'm just shy of 8 hours in, now, and just got the fourth party member.

Spoiler:

Ruff. I also just restored his ability to talk.

I've been really impressed with how nicely paced this game is. Despite being notoriously long, the time I've spent with it has felt nice and breezy. It's been eight hours of story, not eight hours of wandering and grinding, which is more what I expected. The encounter rate is high in places, but it's never been difficult to figure out where to go or what to do, and the episodic nature of the islands makes it easy to feel like I'm making progress in smaller-sized chunks.

I am really grateful for the fragment detector, which I understand was added in the 3DS version. I'm fairly thorough in my exploration, but I'm confident that I nevertheless would have missed some fragments without the detector letting me know that one was nearby. I'm especially bad about that 16-bit standby of talking to everyone, everywhere before and after every major event, so it's good to have some guidance toward the conversations you need to have.

All in all, I'm really pleased with the 3DS version of this game. It feels like a nice modern lens on a very classic design.

I took a few minutes after lunch to get going.

I'm half playing the game, and half knocking rust off my Japanese, so I'm not sure I "enjoyed" it so much as slogged my way a half hour of play. I'm guessing that I'm about 90% comprehension and moving about half speed compared to English. Realistically, I'll need the speed to pick up to be able to complete the game in a reasonable amount of time, seeing how long it is. I'm going to give it another couple of hours then make a decision whether to stick with this version or buy the English version.

A fragment detector?! Wooow! Yes, that would be incredibly useful. Many fragments are off the main story path (but necessary to continue the story).

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Mr GT Chris wrote:

What did you think about the resolution to the stone people?

I've always found the Dragon Quest games to be surprisingly melancholy. They're not afraid to have random little grace notes of sadness throughout the story even if the overall trajectory is a happy one.

And then there's the ELLIE story, which is just god damn depressing top to bottom. Jesus.

I quite liked this area but one of the oddities is that all the enemies I've encountered since have been weaker than those mechs (lower xp/gold rewards too). I'm interested in Ellie:

Spoiler:

I'm not sure if I missed a conversation or it's a localisation issue but I wasn't sure who Ellie was originally.

I'm still playing, haven't had much time last week, but got through the volcano mostly

Today on my way in to work, I fired up my old save just to see how far in I was when I stopped playing. Pretty far, as it turns out.

My party is in (past) Hubble, about 34 hours into the game. Light spoilers for a little more detail about how much progress this represents:

Spoiler:

Per this guide, Hubble is about 15 islands into the game, and maybe 2/3 of the way through Chapter 2.

A trip through my old emails with a friend who played this at around the same time, too, reveals that I stopped somewhere around September or October of 2017. Last time I wrote him about the game, I was not quite as far as I am now (a couple islands earlier). I'll probably fire up the game again sometime this week, as I'm nearing the end of Pushmo, my other current commuter game.

I've lost count of islands but certainly less than 15, and my in game clock is inaccurate but I'm level 20 and my party of 3 have just mastered their first class. So now I need to go and rotate them to their next class.

It's worth mentioning that if you're not playing with your companions controlled by the AI, then you really ought to. They're actually sometimes able to make better decisions than you can as the player, because they have more information.

As near as I can tell, the AI actually makes a decision about what to do when the character acts and not at the start of the turn, which is when the player has to make decisions about what they'll do. So if you take a lot of unexpected damage at the start of the turn, an AI companion can heal you where you might not have anticipated needing to heal.

Likewise, the AI seems to know how much HP each enemy has remaining and will usually switch from using magic to using physical attacks if it's within a certain range of zero. Obviously, the player can't see hit points on enemies, so you have to guess.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Likewise, the AI seems to know how much HP each enemy has remaining and will usually switch from using magic to using physical attacks if it's within a certain range of zero. Obviously, the player can't see hit points on enemies, so you have to guess.

This part is definitely true. I think order of operations is still a combination of agility and randomness.
The fact that they made is super easy to change in and out of tactics makes me use a ton in this game. All NPCs are set to AI for me at all times and I am mildly annoyed I can't set the MC to AI control now that my number of abilities to choose from has ballooned out with the new professions. It's only in boss fights that I start to engage tactically.

In DQ11 you can even set the MC to AI, so I think they understood.

You can do that with 8 and 9, as well, and I took full advantage of it.

Yep, I've had AI players heal a party member who only actually got injured during that turn. On the other hand, some of the new skills my party has been getting haven't been touched by the AI so I'll have to look into them myself at some point to see whether there's any value there.

I usually use manual for bosses or when I definitely want to target particular groups first.

The one thing I don’t notice the AI to do reliably well is buff or rebuff, probably in part because you never need to do it during random encounters. If there was a “strengthen the party” AI setting, I could probably use the AI for boss battles too.

But Clocky, that’s a great point about the AI responding to current, within-the-round information. I’ve noticed it but always forget how great an asset that is.

To each their own! Anticipating how your attacks will land (and taking the risk you'll be wrong) has always been my favorite part of any DQ game.

Only thing I wish is that AI didn't burn through all their mana so quickly.

Had one of those annoying JRPG moments. I knew I had to talk to this NPC to progress the story. I knew exactly what I needed to say and I'd gathered adequate supporting evidence for that. But, no, until I talked to another relatively random NPC, not once, but twice, I wasn't given the dialog option. Sure glad I finally gave up and checked a faq.

Do you mind putting it in spoiler tags so that I can watch out for that?

Fastmav347 wrote:

Only thing I wish is that AI didn't burn through all their mana so quickly.

Yeah, I wish there were a setting for "Use some MP, but please don't cast Boom at the top of every battle." That said, many fights can reliably be won, without suffering damage, on "Don't use MP."

My complaint above occurred on the island... (minor spoilers to describe the island)

Spoiler:

...with a town that has a big clock tower and there is a new bridge being built nearby. Reached using fire shards.

I can go into specifics for anyone that gets stuck at the same point and doesn't want to risk being spoiled by browsing a faq.

Edit: sorry for initially using a quote tag instead of a spoiler tag :(.

LastSurprise wrote:
Fastmav347 wrote:

Only thing I wish is that AI didn't burn through all their mana so quickly.

Yeah, I wish there were a setting for "Use some MP, but please don't cast Boom at the top of every battle." That said, many fights can reliably be won, without suffering damage, on "Don't use MP."

I admit that I have a bit of a fascination with AI-controlled companions and use them even when it becomes suboptimal to do so, like in boss fights. I blame Persona 3. But yeah, fiddling around with the Tactics menu for individual characters and individual turns can offset some of those issues.

The one thing that does throw me a bit is that I can't see much difference between "Fight Wisely" and "Show No Mercy". In the later DQ games, someone on "Show No Mercy" will always attack and never heal. Here, it seems like Maribel will spend her turns healing even when she's on "Show No Mercy" if the other characters' HP gets low enough. Which is somewhat annoying when I'd rather have her damage output and use the MC to heal.

LastSurprise wrote:
Fastmav347 wrote:

Only thing I wish is that AI didn't burn through all their mana so quickly.

Yeah, I wish there were a setting for "Use some MP, but please don't cast Boom at the top of every battle." That said, many fights can reliably be won, without suffering damage, on "Don't use MP."

Absolutely. The AI often uses Maribel's Blaze spell when her whip attack actually does more damage and can hit multiple targets. Weird...

Have any of you noticed if characters controlled by the AI will use healing items? I haven’t dived too deep on this, but a friend playing DQ XI suffered a very early loss, on “hard enemies” mode, when the AI-controlled hero wouldn’t use medicinal herbs. Once he learned heal, problem solved!

I have never noticed the AI using any items of any kind.

I haven’t either. They use magic more than I would like, but no consumables.

Double posting, sorry.

I was playing this today as I was waiting for my car at the garage, and one thing I noticed is that this game has a hard time of keeping my attention for extended periods of time. I will start playing it and, 30 minutes or so later, I just want to put it down and do something else.

Maybe it's the fact that, so far, each new island that I unlocked is its own little story, and I haven't yet seen anything that connects them together. Or the fact that it's a portable game and I just don't play a lot of those, I'm not sure yet.

O Carraway.

Spoiler:

This story line was 1) a bummer and 2) involved a repeated pattern of searching the entire town for the next person to talk to continue the story line. I can handle #1. We all know an idiot who tried to the right then and then, for some explicable reason, did exactly the wrong thing. #2 bothered me, though, especially since you couldn't save in Greenthumb Gardens. I just kept searching, talking, and searching again as characters ran off into another section of town. At least there was a fetch quest that required going to another island!?? Ugh.

I'm ready for some more combat.