Tobold's Blog
Thursday, June 04, 2009
 
Final Fantasy XIV

So at E3 Square-Enix announced Final Fantasy 14, and it will be an MMO, for the PS3 and PC. I did play many Final Fantasy games, including the Final Fantasy 11 MMO, and I do have some fond memories of FFXI: Gamepad controls working so well; the great blind auction house system; the ability to change class at will; and most of all the cutscenes with my character in them, telling the more important quest stories. But in the end I didn't play FFXI all that long, because it had probably the worst forced grouping system I've ever seen. Not only were you forced to group to gain xp, but also the group had to be in an incredibly tight level range. Be 2 levels lower, and you couldn't hit the mob. Be 2 levels higher, and everybody in the group suddenly got only half the xp. FFXI was the only game I've seen where "Ding", "Grats", was usually followed by being kicked out of your group.

Having to find people of exactly your level to gain xp had some very unpleasant secondary effects as well: While there were several zones of the same level, one was always a bit more popular than the others, so finding a group was easier there, so everybody left the less popular zone and moved to the more popular one. I don't know how many classes I leveled through the dunes, and never ever found a group in the alternative zones. That got old rather quick.

It will probably still be years before FF14 comes out. And I'll probably want to try it. But I'm not getting all hyped about screenshots and trailers full of chocobos before I don't know how grouping will be handled in the new Final Fantasy MMO. Because that will make or break this game in my eyes.
Comments:
I played it on and off for a couple of years and as frustrating as it was, it was the only way to get the FF experience so I stuck with it.
I have been longing for a fresh FF MMO for years and my god I hope they do right by me. On the one hand I relished the "almost" elitism of the old game but you are right, the grouping, xp gains and solo content needs to be there, almost as if they would lean toward the casual-friendly state that WoW is in at the moment. I still play every FF RPG that comes out and done right, a new MMO would get my funding.
 
Eh Sony said FFXIV will be out next year.

So no not years to wait.
 
They would really need to do something about the gold seller problem in that game as well. Having them camping every NM in the game 24/7 made it nearly impossible have any success at the game without botting or buying gold. Not to mention it was horrible being at the level cap of 75 and having to continue wearing an item that I had gotten at level 12.
 
I'll never play this game as long as they continue to support 18 hour bosses.
 
FFXI, the MMO that hates you back!

Nothing quite like dying and loosing a level.
 
I loved everything about FFXI except actually playing it for the same reasons you mentioned: the requirements for grouping were absurd. I loved that it encouraged you to beat up on really tough monsters instead of bunches of little guys, but the necessary gyrations to get a legit group together was terrible. They've since added mentoring, but the game has gotten so slow and stale that I couldn't bother to go back.

If they take the storytelling, the graphical style, and the setting and add a few of the new innovations (instances, faster paced gameplay, less punishment for not having five equal level friends), I'll be exceedingly happy.
 
I think that Square learned its lessons from FFXI. I mean, it did really well in Japan, but in America and Europe, it could be considered a flop. They obviously know what works for international MMOs based on WoW, Lineage (to an extent), and the myriad of F2P games that have worldwide appeal.

I'll give Square the benefit of the doubt and give the game a trial, though I don't think there is anything it can do to keep me as a player if SW:TOR is anywhere near the quality of Bioware's other games. Bioware has consistently had higher quality single player RPGs on the consoles than Square has. Since FFIX, I've not liked a FF game, but I love Mass Effect, KOTOR I and II, and even Jade Empire was well made.
 
I'm not sure what your definition of flop is, but FFXI has been pretty solid for the past 7 years or so. They've had a pretty consistent player base of around 500,000 subs.

Square-Enix did mention the whole 'solo friendly' aspect during their press conferences, and even now in FFXI there's more solo-friendly content. It isn't as friendly as Azeroth is, but part of that is due to the technology limitations and such.

The main thing I liked most about FFXI was the art direction. The entire game looked terrific. Places you went looked good, items you got looked great. It didn't have that overemphasis of visual features so many MMOGs have today. That's probably why the original paladin Artifact armor from FFXI still looks better today than any paladin armor that WoW's ever had.

--Rawr
 
One thing that E3 has really done for me this year ( much to my surprise ) is make me realize just how much I crave something new from the MMO world. I came to FFXI fresh off of a two year hiatus from Everquest ( and all other MMOs for that matter ) and it was responsible for pulling me back into the genre.
However, the ability to solo in WoW pulled me away from it. After having played WoW to death, I realize that I miss grouping a lot, and when a game gives very little incentive to do so ( like WoW ), groups are just not the same.

I cannot wait to see what FFXIV will be like. Hopefully they don't go for fully copying the WoW formula. While that is not a totally bad thing, I would like to see some innovation towards getting people to group more.
 
Personally I would never play a game where grouping is required. I was fairly resistant to mmo's before wow and I would not have stuck with it had the solo aspect not been there.

I agree with the commenter who said recent FF games have been busts. FF 7, 8, and tactics were great, everything since has been lackluster at best.
 
me too toby, me too. Forced grouping was FF11's watchword too, and it was unpleasant.
 
They added level sync, so now the whole level range complaint isn't an issue, you can group with someone level 75 when you are 18 and get full exp benefits. You just sync your level down to 18, and your gear scales down with you.

They also made FFXI a lot more solo friendly by adding bonuses to signet which increased your strength against even match or less monsters. There is also an entire system of large scale non-instanced battles called campaign designed for when soloing becomes harder, at 60+, with no penalties at all and a pretty cool experience with allied NPCs and waves of incoming enemies.

FFXI nailed the rmt hardcore. They added many things that RMT camped into instanced fights while making the camped ones non-sellable. They also added gear that bridged the gap between uber and not, and managed to siphon enough gil away from the economy to reduce the prices of some items almost tenfold.

Anyways, you need to force group in FFXI mostly so you can learn how to deal with people and make connections. Those same connections will help you in turn, and it really fosters friendships and a tight community. Which you need because SE likes to make things hard XD.

It has changed, which is my point. So I wouldn't use your memories of FFXI as a basis to judge FFXIV-SE really changed a lot about FFXI for the better, so it's going to be interesting to see what they plan.
 
During the Square Enix Press Conference, they were asked what influence games like World of Warcraft might have had on FFXIV, and they replied that "as with WoW, we want to aim a bit for the casual user." Which implies they have learned their lesson. Also, recent changes in FFXI such as the Level Sync system and even some repeatable soloable missions implies they are moving away from the hardcore niche.
 
I recently tried FFXI and quickly left due to the UI/controls. It was so bad I never got past the area you start in, just wayyyy too clunky. Trying to remap stuff the way I wanted it was a pain in the ass to.

The lack of anything resembliung useful tutorials or even tips was another.
 
FFXI was the first MMO I really got into and it is still ranked as my favorite.

I hope they keep the job system in place and fishing =( for some reason I loved fishing.

Also Red Mages need to come back the only real debuffer class that actually worked in any mmo i've ever played.
 
Quain put it PERFECTLY: "I loved everything about FFXI except actually playing it"

That sums up my feelings for the game entirely. I would say that I perhaps enjoyed my time in FFXI, but I won't even play it again. I harbor no ill will towards it, and really love some of the stuff they do, but playing it at times was just plain not fun.

I will give XIV a chance, but unless a lot has changed to be more mainstream, I doubt I will stick with it.
 
FFXI was the only game I've seen where "Ding", "Grats", was usually followed by being kicked out of your group.

lol
 
"I'm not sure what your definition of flop is, but FFXI has been pretty solid for the past 7 years or so. They've had a pretty consistent player base of around 500,000 subs."

He said "in America," not total subs. Although I also disagree anyway, as I think the population is split around 50/50.

"They also made FFXI a lot more solo friendly by adding bonuses to signet which increased your strength against even match or less monsters."

You're commenting on this as a seasoned player who probably understands most of the game mechanics and isn't a penniless newbie. More solo friendly than it was before these changes, when that could be measured at zero. Solo friendly? No.

"They also added gear that bridged the gap between uber and not, and managed to siphon enough gil away from the economy to reduce the prices of some items almost tenfold."

Except that so much of the best gear was added to the game 5 years ago(relics, Kings bodies, dusk gloves, elemental staves).

Also, deflation doesn't help anybody. True, everything is cheaper, but you make less too...
 
Just the idea of an FF mmo sounds sexy, but it's almost impossible to live up to the expectations. You have to make it solo friendly, but you also have to make people want to be in parties. You have to make it fun and uncomplicated for casual players, but you have to make it challenging for more serious (mo' betta lol) players. I have no idea how to help them with those problems... but the customization has GOT to be better in this game than it was in FFXI. I can't even remember how many times I was in a party of 6 Mithras and we were all, but one, wearing the EXACT same armor. Laaaame. I want more than 6 faces and 6 types of hair to choose from too. I get more choices than that from mmos I can play for FREE. The job system was cool but the worst part of the game for me was that there was nothing to do....but grind. I guess that has to be the problem with all mmos right now though anyway. I wouldn't call FFXI a failure, but it def didn't live up to expectations. Not here in the states anyway. If it's worth anything though, I had more fun being frustrated while playing FFXI than I did being bored while playing WOW.
 
"but you also have to make people want to be in parties"

I know a ton of people disagree with me, but I'd be perfectly happy with an mmorpg that didn't provide any extra incentive at all to be in parties.

I like being online in the same fantasy world as my friends and guildies so I can chat with them and be sociable, but I would love it if 100% of the actual content of a game was available whether or not you actually joined a group with other people.

For more difficult quests, let me have a choice of hiring mercenaries or bringing along other players ... and just get rid of raids entirely.

I'm certain they'll never make an mmo that is 100% percent soloable -- even the mere mention of such makes people yell at me and tell me to go play an offline game -- but I can dream.... *sigh*

Rin
 
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