I can't help but notice that this game, since it's release has, as more of a community, but by development as well, has changed the meaning of RPG from Role Playing Game to Raid Progression Game.
While, I do like the challenges that some of the dungeons offer, the idea of the joint quests, and the shared content (which has been very limited in this game to only being the main storyline, and Quest starters for dungeon raids) has been reduced down to "Complete this dungeon to go to the next dungeon".
I have made it through, playing 1.0, only to find that the game that they finally settled on is one I am losing interest in very rapidly. The irony is, there are now a ton of things I want to do in the game, however, everything in the game simply leads to the Coil. Everything else in the game is treated like an inconvenience. I haven't seen Wander's Palace, I haven't gone into CC. I haven't spent any time the Beastman camps except what was needed to advance the storyline, and to advance my relic.
There is nothing like running out to Altepa to complete a quest, or to go through Sea Serpent's Grotto to find a new town, or even farm Sahagins. There is no riding a ferry to fight skeletons to get a necklace, or going back and forth between towns to help a budding chef prove to his father that he is worthy as a cook.
There is nothing like tracking down Rare Summons you can only find in bizarre and strange locations. Or an optional fight you don't even need to do that is nearly impossible to win (short of Odin or Bahamut, which is a COMPLETE JOKE). 99% of the game is obsolete by player discretion and development progression.
I can't think of a moment in 2.0 where I felt anything remotely close to the way that I have enjoyed any Final Fantasy. And I am including games like X-2, and 9 (both of which I found to be unenjoyable, X-2 was the first Final Fantasy I never played through, and actually it, and 11 were the last Final Fantasy I played until 14 came out).
Even the combat mechanics have reached the point where they are not only almost like RTS, Titan is purely an RTS fight. You can literally defeat that fight by simply knowing exactly when to move. Because you know the next move will happen ~X seconds after the last move. So, it becomes a combination of dealing X damage between event A and event B, rinse and repeat. This also goes for the Wall, Garuda, Hydra, and Titan HM to name a few. Where you do still have a few mobs that have classic RPG style combat (Such as the bosses in AV, the first two bosses in CM for the most part, and the beginning dungeons.
But ultimately the game caters to Raid progression. I guess I am just getting turned off to the game, and I can't believe I am saying this, but I think I am losing interest. The worst part is, there is a lot in the game I would like to do, but it comes down to the point that there is no point in doing anything else. With all of the wonderful content added to the game, all of the quests, all of the places to go, things to craft and gather, the fishing, the fates, there really is no point in it all. Just get to 50, get your main storyline done, and bash your head against the same dungeons over and over and over and over and over...
One Last Note:
Something interesting about Raid Progression games is that it is not a new genre. It is actually as old as RPGs, they were called Dungeon Crawlers. For the most part, I played a few of them (Wizadry, Zork, Dungeon Master, Might and Magic, Gauntlet, and the such). So, in a way, I guess one of the issues I tend to have is when the comment about "This is the new way of gaming" is basically saying "This type of Retro is in". And while there are always new tweaks to existing game, new ideas, and even new styles of game play. And in many ways, 14 is combining Dungeon Crawl, MUD, and RTS into a linear progression game, and taking out the optional development paths. Combine that with the push and the drive to not only skip the story, but leave parties because someone in your party is bothering to watch what is going on.
I guess, rather than venting (and I admit there is quite a bit of ranting here), I am just trying to see if there are any people out there that are actually trying to play this as an RPG rather than a Dungeon Raid game? Or am I just an old fogey who should just stick to my ROMs, as it would appear the age of my favorite genre appears to be in it's twilight years?