Archmage Callinon wrote:
I really think they would have been better off making the trip to endgame a total grind.
Not in this market. They couldn't sell 2002's FFXI today.
Look, I appreciate that there are people who really enjoyed the prospect of FFXI leveling to cap taking years. It took me about two years to get my first job to 75. But please understand that in order for a game to sell well enough to justify supporting it, it has to be appealing to more than a handful of people. FFXI doesn't have to care now (although the level grind has been drastically reduced even there) because it's made all the money it needs to make. It's all just gravy for them now.
If you'd like a game that punishes you for playing it though, try Wizardry Online. That game is built around that very premise.
The counterargument to that is the the glut of modern themepark MMORPGs we've seen come and go recently. Lotro, SW:TOR, Rift, GW2, among others - they all came out of the gate strong and promised to be the new MMORPG on the block, yet none of them have managed to latch on to any significant amount of marketshare six months after release.
There's no need to point and contrast every MMORPG released in the past decade, specifically in regards to old school FFXI/EQ mechanics, but to state a FFXI-type game wouldn't make it today I feel is incorrect simply because we haven't really seen any MMORPG released in recent years that's had significant success despite excluding those 'grinds' as a notable part of the core gameplay. World of Warcraft pioneered this trend, and it's obviously successful, but history has shown us WoW is the exception, not the rule.
It's difficult to make the correlation between what mechanics drive a successful online role playing game vs what hinders it in today's market, but given the absolute inundation of soloable, quest-based, easy and non-meaningful leveling MMORPGs recently compared to what we had 10 years ago, one could just as much make the argument that a publisher couldn't sell a WoW/Rift/SW:TOR-type FFXIV today based on those similarities alone. I don't profess to be smart enough to know what the best MMORPG released today would look like, but recent trends show us "it can't have a leveling grind" isn't any more correct than "leveling has to be fast and soloable."
As for the personal side of "will you be here in 12 months?": Despite being a 1.0 CE and legacy member, I've yet to subscribe to 2.0, and I doubt I will. Meaningless, fast and solo leveling doesn't appeal to me, and I absolutely despise "face the boss toward the blue wall and stand in the purple circle, unless the boss turns red, then face him toward the green wall and stand in the orange circle" gimmicky type MMORPG mechanics. If FFXIV had included a significant and lengthy group-based leveling requirement, I would have subscribed for life as it's an incredibly polished and well made game. Right now though, it's just another modern MMORPG with forgettable and trivial leveling content where the game starts at endgame and is nothing but instanced dungeon raids for better ilvl stats. There's dozens of MMORPGs like that on the market right now, I have no interest in adding yet another one to my library. Edited, Sep 13th 2013 8:09am by Whales