I heard recently that Squaresoft (a big name, I know, just bear with me) was planning on making the eleventh installment of their wildly popular Final Fantasy series an exclusively online "roleplaying" game. Now I've been a loyal fan of Final Fantasy and Square in general since the advent of the Playstation, but the thought of Final Fantasy going exclusively online frightens me. A lot.

The first edition came out in the 1970s, and featured a system that was heavy on the charts and dice rolls. The second edition, released in the '80s, was a revised, cleaned-up version of the first, and helped to improve the game's acceptance among role-players. However, it was not as successful as might have been hoped, and the game quickly fell by the wayside in the '90s as higher-profile games pushed their way to the front of the line. Role-playing fans eagerly awaited a third edition for years, and under a new publisher they're finally getting just that. And no, it's not Dungeons & Dragons. It's the forgotten Villains and Vigilantes.

When I first decided I wanted to write an editorial on twinking (loosely defined as providing a character with equipment they would not normally be able to achieve at their level), I thought I knew exactly what to say. I planned on ranting from the vast depths of my experience with one single EQ character. But then...

With the Convention season starting to kick into high gear, we'd like to know where your loyalties lie. Which cons do you plan to go to? Which ones aren't worth the price of a one-day admission? Do you dream of GenCon and fantasize about Origins? Let us know.

Few fantasy writers (and computer role-playing game designers) have the time or the patience to create an entire working language for their worlds, and use it to create wholly original, intelligent names. There's nothing wrong with that. Even without an original language, there are still plenty of good ways to create plausible names... yet how do so many people get it so wrong?

Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings is hot property at the moment - everyone is buying into it. Hate it or love it, movie merchandising and related advertising is big bucks, and as such, bound to happen. Certain movies have a better chance for a successful franchise, based on a number of factors.

There's conflict over the best way to prime a miniature, which goes to suggest that people will fight over any damn thing that has more than one option available. And while this perhaps doesn't have the broad, metaphysical qualities of a debate like Coke vs. Pepsi (vs. RC vs. Chek Cola vs. etc.) it's just the thing for the mini-gamer who's sick of the typical: a balanced approach.

For the new year, we're starting a brand new feature here at Gamegrene.com. Our Open Forum is a place for you, our readers, to post your comments and chat with other readers about whatever strikes your fancy. Got a game-related website you want to plug? Want to talk about this summer's glut of fantasy and sci-fi sequels? Interested in discussing a console or PC game that's slipped our notice? This is the place to do it.

To get into the spirit of Gamegrene.com, I figure I'd best begin with a rant. A rant about ranting, in fact: a metarant. This metarant is about a topic that's repeated time and again, online and off -- the call for a boycott of Games Workshop.

I've known for a long time that online gaming is not what I, or any other number of dedicated roleplayers, want it to be. EverQuest and its ilk make it paradise for those who want to beat the crap out of a never-ending stream of monsters, but it's not exactly anyone's first choice for good storytelling and memorable characters. But for awhile there was a wonderful little program called WebRPG that I thought had the potential to revolutionize online gaming as we know it. But along the way its creators made a fatal mistake, and things were never quite the same after that.

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