The GWJ JRPG Club 2.IV Remastered: Let Us Grind Together! - Voting in progress!

GWJ has a JRPG Club! How does it work?

Each quarter, the GWJ community starts to play a new JRPG and discusses it.

How do nominations and voting work?

- First, we have one week of nominations. Each member is allowed one nomination. To be included in the voting, however, a game must also be "seconded" by another member. Members can second as many games as they would potentially be interested in playing.

In addition, the five games with the most votes from the previous voting round will be pre-selected for voting, so there is no need to nominate them again. One exception to the rule: If one of the five games is in the same series as the winner, then that game gets excluded. (Credits to Eleima for this idea.)

We only accept games with Western releases that are at least a year old (excluding remakes/remasters/ports). It's not law, but please try to consider the availability of a game (either in stores or on PSN/Xbox Live/eShop/Steam/GoG etc.) before nominating it, in order to get maximum participation.

- Next, we have one week of voting. Each participant can vote for as many games as they want, but they have to be RANKED. If not explicitly ranked, we will keep the order in which they were listed. The current version of the JRPG Club is using the RANKED VOTING system used by Godzilla Blitz in the CRPG Game Club. This process is described in this YT video.

How long do we have to beat the game?
We start a new game every quarter, but the thread to discuss it will be open for six months.

How do I join the club?
Send PayPal payment of 49.99USD (in bitcoin) to both LastSurprise and myself, and we will send you a membership card. Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery.

Any member of the GWJ community can nominate and vote. If you want to participate in the discussion, just post in the game's thread to let us know that you are playing. You can then post about the game as much as you want.

There's a levelling system, too!
To gain a level, finish the game and post about it in the game's thread! Thanks to Godzilla Blitz and the CRPG Club for this and other ideas! Levels are only based on games played in the 2.0 and 2.IV incarnations of the club. There is no penalty for not finishing.

LastSurprise and I will update levels when we close a game thread.

2.IV? WTF?

The JRPG Club was created by Damnable Bear. After over two years, he decided to move on. steinkrug then kept things going. LastSurprise and I took over for version 2.IV. Thanks, DB and steinkrug! The previous club threads are linked below.

Also: special thanks to beanman101283 and Fastmav347 for the new thread title! And to every GWJer who offered suggestions!

Current games:
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (October 1 - March 31)
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix (July 1 - December 31)

---------------
JRPG 1.0 Club thread
JRPG 2.0 Club thread

Past games:

Atelier Totori (Q1 2016)
Dark Cloud 2 (Q4 2017)
Earthbound (Q1 2017)
Final Fantasy X-2 (Q2 2016)
Final Fantasy XII (Q1 2018)
Final Fantasy XV (Q3 2017)
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (Q1 2016 Gaiden)
Persona 3 (Q3 2016)
Shin Megami Tensei IV (Q2 2018)
Suikoden (Q4 2016)
Valkyria Chronicles (Q4 2015)
Valkyria Chronicles 2 (Q4 2015 Gaiden)
World of Final Fantasy (Q2 2017)

Members:

Level 2:
Cronox Final Fantasy XII, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
LastSurprise Shin Megami Tensei IV, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix

Level 1:
beanman101283 Final Fantasy XII
brokenclavicle Final Fantasy XII
Chimalli Final Fantasy XII
ClockworkHouse Final Fantasy XII
Godzilla Blitz Shin Megami Tensei IV
Mr GT Chris Shin Megami Tensei IV
steinkrug Final Fantasy XII
Ted Final Fantasy XII
A_Unicycle Kingdom Hearts Final Mix

Level 0:
benign1
ccesarano
CptDomano
Damnable Bear
drdoak
farley3k
Fastmav347
Flintheart Glomgold
fuzzyslug
garion333
Glycerine
Hockosi
JeremyK
JohnKillo
kstress71
Malkroth
merphle
MrMetonymy
Neozilla
Rubb Ed
shoptroll
sikk
sometimesdee
Stele
Wembley
walterqchocobo

And here, I'll reserve space for the people playing each of the JRPG club's current games. I'm keeping this list current as of what people have posted on the particular thread, so if you've told GWJ that you've stalled or that you might play it, I've made a note of it. If you've told us that you aren't playing it any more, I've taken you off the list.

Playing Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (July 2018 - Dec. 2018:

Spoiler:

Finished Kingdom Hearts Final Mix:
Chronox
A_Unicycle

Players:
LastSurprise
merphle
Hockosi
brokenclavicle
Fastman347 (stalled)
drdoak
benign1 (stalled)
Chimalli (stalled)
sometimesdee (stalled)
Godzilla Blitz (maybe)

Playing Dragon Quest VII (Oct. 2018 - Mar. 2019:

Spoiler:

Finished:
No one yet!

Playing:
JohnKillo
Fastmanv347
Balthezor
ClockworkHouse
Bubblefuz
LastSurprise
Godzilla Blitz
bobbywatson
Mr GT Chris
fuzzyslug
AUs_TBirD
drdoak
stupidhaiku
Wembley
kstress71

Oh! It’s so shiny in here. Maybe I will get out of the level 0 status sooner or later.

Congratulations to Cronox, our first (and so far, only) Level 2 member! You may unlock two free spaces on a license board that you design for yourself.

If playing Kingdom Hearts is what it takes to level up, I'm just going to have to be content with being under-leveled.

I'm closing in on level 2 but, damn, DQVII is a slog.

KH, no way :).

LastSurprise wrote:

Congratulations to Cronox, our first (and so far, only) Level 2 member! You may unlock two free spaces on a license board that you design for yourself. :)

Yay?

I'm sitting out DQVII (its hard to find at anything other than full price here and to be honest I have enough games on the go already) so I am sure everybody will catch up.

How long until I can nominate The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel?

ClockworkHouse wrote:

How long until I can nominate The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel?

I second this so that I can second and vote and upvote and do whatever else is needed to get this horse in the running.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

How long until I can nominate The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel?

No need, it was one of the most voted for games in September, it’ll be included automatically!

bobbywatson wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:

How long until I can nominate The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel?

No need, it was one of the most voted for games in September, it’ll be included automatically!

I really hope you guys get to play it even though I will sit it out (I already finished it) One of my favorite rpgs in a long time.

I'll only join in when the thread title becomes truly undecipherable.

Nice!

I got distracted for a few days and am catching up on GWJ things today. This is most excellent, and thanks for putting all this together!

Now to get back to Dragon Quest!

Here’s a question for the club: is there anything that you think we could do better, or differently, to spur more conversation about the games we’re playing?

I’ve looked back through the old club threads, and some games had a good amount of conversation, while others saw barely any. People talked the most about Final Fantasies X-2 and XII, Trails in the Sky, SMT IV, and Valkyria Chronicles. Other games saw way less conversation than I would have expected, especially a gem like Earthbound or a game with as much story and content as Persona 3. I also notice that the CRPG Club seems to have a lot more people joining the conversation.

Maybe that’s just because there are fewer players in this club, which is fine. But looking at the people who have signed up for the club at some point, I wonder if we’re picking games that only a small number of us actually want to play. Consider that only a handful of people finished FF XI, only three people finished SMT IV (and none of the folks who finished FF XII did), and only two have finished Kingdom Hearts Final Mix so far, after about 4.5 months.

One thing I've noticed is that this club gets hit by platform divides a lot more heavily than the other game clubs. (Which isn't to say this is the only issue, but I think it contributes.)

You have the handheld and console split, to start with. Not only is there not a lot of overlap between handheld and home console in terms of games, but there's not a lot of overlap in terms of players. Personally speaking, I'm considerably less likely to play a long JRPG on a handheld than a console or PC.

Looking beyond that, you also run into the problem that most JRPGs are effectively platform exclusives, if you think of it in terms of availability on current release platforms. The current release platforms are: PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and (for only a little bit longer) Nintendo 3DS.

I can't think of many JRPGs that are available on most of those platforms. I'm having trouble thinking of many that seem like good picks for the club that are available on more than one. Octopath Traveper? Switch only. Persona 5? PS4 only. Xenoblade Chronicles 2? Switch only. Radiant Historia? 3DS only.

We're starting to see more dual releases on PS4 and PC: Ni No Kuni II, Dragon Quest XI, Nier Automata, Final Fantasy XII, etc. But that still mostly leaves handheld players out in the cold.

The other clubs have a de facto understanding that everything nominated and chosen should be on PC, and that works since this is a pretty PC-centric forum. You can join in on whatever platform you want, of course, but a game won't get ruled out if it's only available on PC, and it won't get consideration if it isn't on PC.

Maybe this club needs to consider something like that, although whatever platform is the standard, someone is going to be unhappy. (It seems most logical to me that the PS4 be the standard platform here, but it pains me to admit that.)

I can say one barrier for me is trying to align where I am with the game with the current discussion. These are big, sweeping RPGs, making it hard for any of us to get on the same page.

Games that have chapters seemed to help keep the conversation going, its easier to lets say, you have a month to finish first 4 chapters then its open spoilers for those four chapters. I'll be honest, I've struck out on last couple club games, they just ended up not being for me, I gave them a fair chance but after 10+ hours you gotta decide if you want to keep forcing yourself to do it. I am glad I gave each game a fair chance though.

I agree with the platform divide. I'm handheld only and no Switch so that narrows my options.

I like the idea of limiting the use of spoiler tags. I've tried to do that more myself. I think only the most significant story spoilers really need spoiler tags and, even then, they should be well signposted as to what they refer to.

I've given this a bit of thought and, perhaps, dropping in to ask a few questions about contentious, controversial, or interesting points in a game's story/gameplay portion/other could help keep the conversation lively. Much like a moderator in a round table?

EDIT: Heck, even a monthly or weekly survey, and one at the end of the 3 month and 6 month milestones to gauge what people thought about the game, etc, could be worthwhile and interesting.

Thanks for the suggestions. Clocky and Mr GT Chris, I think your point about platform divides is a really good one. It seems to me that, for the most part, the threads with the most participation involve games available for PC and/or that have have new, remastered editions: -- Final Fantasy X & X-2's HD Remaster, FF XII: The Zodiac Age, Valkyria Chronicles, and Trails in the Sky. Trails of Cold Steel, which has almost won a few times, is in the same boat as these, and probably would be a good choice. SMT IV, only available for 3DS, is an outlier, but the last 6 pages (out of 10) were all Godzilla Blitz, Mr GT Chris, and me talking with each other -- which, to be fair, helped me have more fun with the game.

Fastmanv347, I hear you about giving the games a fair chance. I think that's all that any of us can do, especially with these JRPGs being such a large lift. No one should slog through dozens of hours for a game that doesn't really click. That's part of what motivated my question. I wondered if in picking some of the old classics (Earthbound, Dark Cloud 2, Suikoden, Persona 3), people vote for these games because they feel like they should want to play them, start playing them, and realize that they'd rather play something newer. It's certainly happened to me before, when shopping at a used game store.

I also think a bunch of discussion questions like in a book club, or guide posts for when to use spoiler tags and when spoilers are fair game, will be helpful to spurring conversation. How we do this will probably depend a lot on which games are picked. But, I'm all for experimentation!

The point about chapters and guide posts, as well as playing a game with a more modern flair (and that's available on PS4), makes me think strongly about nominating Persona 5 come December.

LastSurprise wrote:

I wondered if in picking some of the old classics (Earthbound, Dark Cloud 2, Suikoden, Persona 3), people vote for these games because they feel like they should want to play them, start playing them, and realize that they'd rather play something newer. It's certainly happened to me before, when shopping at a used game store.

I can say that the reason I dropped Earthbound is due to some game mechanics that frustrated me way, way more than I was willing to tolerate (and I'm pretty sure I've bitched about them in the thread as well), and did not have anything to do with the graphics or the age of the game. Then again, I'm sort of an exception because I mostly play older games and rarely buy anything that is not discounted. I can't remember why I stopped playing Dark Cloud 2 after a few hours. Probably FOMO or something like that. Really liked Suikoden though.

The good news is, assuming Trails of Cold Steel wins next quarter, the game is available on Vita, so people who play on handhelds AND people who play on consoles should be happy. (I will be the contrarian playing on both Playstation TV and Vita.)

LastSurprise wrote:

The point about chapters and guide posts, as well as playing a game with a more modern flair (and that's available on PS4), makes me think strongly about nominating Persona 5 come December.

Nooooo! I don't have it and my budget can't take it! (j/k! Also it's on sale on PSN at the moment.)

One thing to keep in mind is the confusion with the a game's catch-all thread and the one for the game club. I think we struggled at bit with this during the Final Fantasy XV game club, where the discussion in the catch-all was still relatively active as the game club was going on. (I don't know if that is the case with Persona 5.)

Note to self: Quote != Edit.

I actually have Persona 5 (PS3) but by reaching back a bit further I feel like you can catch both people who have it on their backlog and those who played it when it came it but are ready for a replay (or even a NG+ in this case). I know P5 is at least a year old which fits in the club rules. Probably should have mentioned something a bit earlier huh :).

I know for me, a few of the games I haven't tried because they just didn't interest me (FFXV, World of FF, SMT off the top of my head), a few I dived into and fell off for one reason or another (I think FFXII was just in a busy release season for other games), and for me, my hand-held time is very limited as I barely have a work commute and when I am home I would rather play on a big screen than a tiny handheld. I also hate the form factor of the 3DS/DS line and wish the top screen didn't exist to constantly tilt my hands.

I made a good effort on Dark Cloud 2, but that one felt like I was the only one playing and for me it was a game I love that I was replaying. As others have stated, platform may have made a big difference in who actually jumped in, and with the older voting/bingo systems, while unique and cool, may have led to lower interest overall.

These also being story heavy games, people may not know exactly what to talk about without causing a "SPOILERS" backlash. Some kind of guidelines or talking prompt/question may go a long way to spurring conversation in the thread. Monthly goal-posts help a bit, but a month is also a long time to remember a point you wanted to talk about. We can't get too short though as we need to be accommodating of various play-time schedules.

As others have said I think given the platform splits, personal playing preferences, long playtime and high pricing/low availability we are always going to have a situation where a certain portion of club members just don't start a selected game.

I like the ideas of monthly/weekly check-in or goals and having some book-club style questions or discussions to try and promote more activity during the playthroughs.

I concur with a lot of what’s been said about participation and the lack there of. I do think having more active leaders prompting and organizing conversation will make a difference. Finding that I wasn’t really doing that was one of the reasons I decided to pass the reins. And hopefully the changes to the voting system will help get games in that will see more participation.

For anyone who wants to get in on the current game, Dragon Quest 7 is 19.99 on the Black Friday sale for a few more days. Based on my initial impressions, it's well worth buying this version and just shredding your PS1 copy.

Hey everyone, bobbywatson and I decided that, for the Q1 2019 game pick, we are going to accelerate the nominations and voting a bit. With so many great end-of-year sales, and so many different platforms on which we might play JRPGs, we want to make sure you all can take advantage of any deals out there when securing our next game.

Nominations will begin on December 1, and voting will begin on December 8. We will determine results on December 15. We'll start discussing our new game as normal on January 1, 2019, though.

My only objection is that Trails of Cold Steel isn't out for PS4 until Jan. 22nd.

Yeah, that's going to be a thing for me too if Trails wins. I'd rather get it for PS4 than PC, but I'm not sure if I want to wait that long -- and it's also pretty deeply discounted on PC right now ($23.99). That's less than half the price of the PS4 release, as listed on Amazon.

Hey everyone, to give everyone time to take advantage of holiday sales, nominations for our Q1 2019 game start tomorrow.

Borrowing a page from Eleima's Adventure Game Club, the five runners-up from last time are already in the mix, and there's no need to nominate them again. We also exclude games from the same series that just won -- here, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. They returning nominees are:

Xenoblade Chronicles (8 votes) - Wii, New Nintendo 3DS
Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (7 votes) - PC, PS3, PS Vita. PS4 version to be released on January 22, 2019
Breath of Fire IV (4 votes) - PS, PC [though not released for PC in North America]
Fire Emblem Echoe: Shadows of Valentia (2 votes) - 3DS
Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC (2 votes) - PC, PSP, PS3, PS Vita