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XIV's storytelling issues (with comparisons)-Spoilers aheadFollow

#1 Sep 21 2016 at 3:26 PM Rating: Decent
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As I said in the other thread, there's much that isn't working in XIV's script. I'm keeping out something that is intrinsic in each MMO, that is the "general padding" (quests that just slow you down) because it's done to avoid people completing everything in a couple of minutes. Also this post has dozens of spoilers from both XI and XIV - you have been warned.

XIV's script has quite a few notable issues:

1) Main issue - it's going nowhere at this point. Sometimes they want to be EXXXTREEEMEEE edgy, sometimes they want to be more like classical FF (by bashing the player head with references, not really subtle). Ascians have never been a credible threat. They're Sunday cartoon type villains, who keep plotting for .... something, and keep saying their plans are in motions, except that it's been three years and nothing was really accomplished at this point. HW didn't have them at the center, as the Ascians there were doing basically their own thing. So we got to this point and we still don't know a thing. They summoned the Warrior of Darkness who...did nothing but gloat till this patch (what was even the point then?). Personally speaking, I think they should resolve their presence in the story as soon as possible and move on, they're not a credible threat;

2) Too many times the player character does something stupid, lacking common knowledge or gets into trouble by repeating the same mistakes. Yet for no known reason, he's the Hero. Someone who gets drugged not once, but twice in the same manner shouldn't really be put at the center. Especially when instead of destroying the eyes of the Extremely Big Dragon (TM) which caused issues for ages he/she tosses them in the abyss, promptly to be retrieved by the WoD. Seriously, the WoL is the main ally of the Ascians thanks to the inane stupidity of the plot.

3) Certain plot points are re-coated and re-served. Estinien gets taken over by the eyes....after you kicked his **** in the DRG questline for the same reason, even if the degree of possession isn't the same. This was really stupid. The aforementioned drugging is another example.

4) Too many plot lines. We have the Ishgard turmoil, the Ascians, the Empire, the Ul'dah situation and whatever is planned for 4.0. There's already too many shuffling to do right now, leading to the "This is a Very Important Plot Point but there is another Extremely Important Point you have to do right now" event repeated ad nauseam. This also leads to certain ideas to be almost forgotten (how the Echo works, as shown in the Leviathan cutscene, has almost been forgotten). This also means a lot of characters simply disappear for a long period of time - see Yugiri for example and the Dormans.

5) The sidequest quality, given the limited number of them ranges from the good (Hildibrand, Tam-Tara Hard cutscenes) to the horrible (most class quests).

Allow me to make a few comparisons for the DRK questline in XI and XIV. In XIV there's Fray who is so edgy and DARKNESS because being DRK seems to be Cool Like This (thanks to IV, when the job was defined). Then the level 50+ quests have this emo DRK who just...does stuff. XI had, even in comparison with other FF titles, a slightly different take on the job from a narrative standpoint. The basic setup is the same (using the negative the emotions to obtain power) but save a couple comments made by Zeid when you unlock the job, the whole "getting swallowed by darkness" angle isn't really played. As I mentioned in the other thread, it reminds me of most of Go Nagai's works, in which the hero has to use the same power that fuels his enemies to fight back. Personally speaking, I prefer this approach.

Most of the other class quests have something interesting but mostly go nowhere (see the DRG post-50 quest chain). They feel disconnected from the world and mostly seem there just to fill a quota. In this case I prefer the approach used in late-RoTZ/CoP eras by XI where the sidequests fit nicely in the mission structure (see for example the ****** quests that tie into the final arc of the Windurst missions, or the individual quests for the NPCs in CoP).

6) The game, storywise, doesn't really seem to know what it wants to be. Either tragic or FF-style, with huge mood swings. It wouldn't be bad if there was a clear direction, likable or not. XI, even with the horrible WoTG expansion (save perhaps for the garbage of the mini-expansions) had a simple theme that is usually repeated but it's at least a common point: "There's always another way between two extremes" (see CoP, Adoulin and even Rhapsodies). XIV has nothing of the sort, except throwing FF references with the subtetly of a hammer in the face.

7) Tied to point 2), the NPCs are too active in cutscenes compared to the player. It's absurd that to get a reaction from the GC leaders after what happened in 2.55 you have to talk to them between cutscenes and the player character doesn't do a thing. When the WoD appears the first time the WoL simply stands still to get his/her **** kicked while Thancred arrives to make his Cool Entrance. And that is repeated too many times over the course of 2.0 and 3.0.

HW being self-contained story wouldn't have ben a problem if there was some sort of tangible progress. Instead, we're back at square one with most things (did someone remember the Magical Mcguffin to keep Ascians sealed? Did the Scion forget? Who knows...).

Edited, Sep 21st 2016 11:29pm by xizro
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#2 Sep 21 2016 at 4:12 PM Rating: Decent
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I have no idea what they're trying to accomplish with the plot in ARR/Heavensward. After Gaius was killed it fell off into so many directions, I just stopped caring. Doesn't help that my character feels more like a Trust NPC than an actual living person.

Oh well, that's what we have single player games for.

Edited, Sep 21st 2016 6:23pm by BrokenFox
#3 Sep 21 2016 at 4:37 PM Rating: Decent
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I agree with most of those points. When the story is good, it's REALLY good, but most of the time it just sort of meanders around accomplishing absolutely nothing. There are a million things happening all at once but none of them really seem to matter.

It's interesting how some of the best stories have been the sidequests. The Ixal beast tribe was better and more interesting than most of the main story.


xizro wrote:
Ascians have never been a credible threat. They're Sunday cartoon type villains, who keep plotting for .... something, and keep saying their plans are in motions, except that it's been three years and nothing was really accomplished at this point.

This so much. After three years they're still just sitting in the dark planning and scheming and we don't even know why. I've long since stopped caring about what the Ascians are doing, because they're not actually doing anything at all.
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#4 Sep 21 2016 at 4:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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It's interesting how some of the best stories have been the sidequests. The Ixal beast tribe was better and more interesting than most of the main story.


I agree with this.

I think it boils down to character development. Although FFXI's story moved at a glacial pace (because of the time between patches), the writers did a great job of slowly building the community's attachment to some key side characters (like Shantotto or Prishe). That kind of character development is vital in order to make fake worlds seem to matter... helps with that suspension of disbelief.

FFXIV does have some good characters. I really like Nanamo Ul Namo, and Raubahn Aldynn isn't far behind. I found Minfilia to be kind of bland, but I like Alphinaud (although the undeveloped relationship with Alisaie is a missed opportunity). And I do like the Hildebrand quests, but that's so far off to the side it's barely even a side quest. I also think the writers of XIV did a great thing by picking up Edda's story, both in the HM dungeon and in POTD.

I'd definitely like to see deeper character development going forward.

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This so much. After three years they're still just sitting in the dark planning and scheming and we don't even know why. I've long since stopped caring about what the Ascians are doing, because they're not actually doing anything at all.


They're trying to resurrect their god, Zodiark, which Hydaelyn banished and split into fragments long ago. They do this by causing more umbral eras, or massive calamities to the earth. Each time they do this is known as a "rejoining," and Zodiark regains one of his missing fragments.

So the Ascians are essentially manipulating events to cause cataclysms in hopes of bringing back their god.

The Hydaelyn/Minfilia cutscene after the conclusion of the main HW storyline was the first time we learned what the Ascians are really up to.

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HW being self-contained story wouldn't have ben a problem if there was some sort of tangible progress.


There was definitely tangible progress.

The WoL regained Hydaelyn's blessing and cleared his/her name. The Ul'dah leadership was reinstated. The Scions found a way to kill an Ascian, and did so twice (but at great cost). Ysayle redeemed herself. We eliminated Thordan and the threat of his power-mad Heavensward, uncovering the origins of the Dragonsong War and bringing it to light, effectively ending the war between Ishgaard and the dragons. (It was a fragile peace that Nidhogg attempted to destroy in the subsequent story.)

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(did someone remember the Magical Mcguffin to keep Ascians sealed? Did the Scion forget? Who knows...).


It isn't forgotten... the WoL uses a piece of White Magicite to trap and kill one of the Ascians at the end of the main HW storyline, before Thordan shows up and kills Lahabrea. But the White Magicite is rare, as are close encounters with the Ascians. We've also been more preoccupied with defeating Nidhogg since the end of the main HW story arc. And now, I'm guessing we're going to finally learn more about the Warriors of Darkness.

I do agree that the XIV storyline has too many moving parts. I think the writers could be a little FFXI-ish and simplify things a bit. On the other hand, I definitely like the HW storyline and I hope they carry on this direction in the next expansion.

Edited, Sep 21st 2016 4:50pm by Thayos

Edited, Sep 21st 2016 4:51pm by Thayos
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#5 Sep 21 2016 at 9:30 PM Rating: Default
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I am going to have a field day with this.

The type of story being generated, I realize, does not appeal to everyone, and those who are not high-minded about this and are willing to delve into the lore and reasoning, and disseminate both are likely to fall off. But for each one of the 'notable issues' you have, I actually have a rebuttle - and in some of them, also a comparison point where your appeal to FFXI falls out of line with my own opinion of FFXI's story good points. Pardon that I will be quoting you in brief for sake of not making this too giant of a post.

As such, I won't be reacting to all of this in one sitting -after realizing just how much I disagree the level of argument you have here. Honestly this sounds less like a criticism and more of a jaded triad mixed with rose tinted glasses of FFXI's storyline presentation.

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1) Main issue - it's going nowhere at this point. Sometimes they want to be EXXXTREEEMEEE edgy, sometimes they want to be more like classical FF (by bashing the player head with references, not really subtle). Ascians have never been a credible threat. They're Sunday cartoon type villains, who keep plotting for .... something, and keep saying their plans are in motions, except that it's been three years and nothing was really accomplished at this point. HW didn't have them at the center, as the Ascians there were doing basically their own thing. So we got to this point and we still don't know a thing. They summoned the Warrior of Darkness who...did nothing but gloat till this patch (what was even the point then?). Personally speaking, I think they should resolve their presence in the story as soon as possible and move on, they're not a credible threat;


It's gone quite a bit, in both directions. In terms of the development of both the player (which we will touch on later, and the current.)

As far as not calling the Acian's a creditable threat, need I remind you that the game started with them in the advantage, and we've done little more than eliminate the of them, and ONE of those eliminations remain questionable (Lahabrea may, in fact, still be alive.) They are the driving influence behind all of our enemies accomplishments, which, for the benefit of those here, I will list.

1. The Calamity, and Bahamut in general - they are the reason why that Elder Primal exists, they are the ones that influenced Nael Darnus to bring Meteor down by planting the Tomestones in his family's possession. The Calamity would not have existed if the Allagan Empire were not given threat.

2. The summoning of the following Primals: Ifrit, Titan, Garuda, Leviathan, Ramuh, Shiva, Bismark, Ravana, Bahamut and Odin, and Knights of the Round. Of all of these, the only ones that have reached a permanent solution is Shiva, Bahamut and KtoR. All three of which were only possible because their faith base was removed, either from the revelation of the truth behind them to their people (Shiva, KtoR) or have had said worship base eliminated (Bahamut) - neither of which are solutions that can easily be applied to any of the remaining Primals.

3. The revival of the Triad - The Holy See and his Heavensward were not lead to The Aetherchemical Research Facility out of the goodness of the Ascians hearts. They orchestrated the disruption of the Warring Triads' prison and seeded an ambitious Imperial General there to continually bear the threat of both releasing these said Eikons upon the world (each capable of mimicking the devastation of Bahamut individually if allowed to recover their power.) AND endowing the empire with the means of duplicating said threat.

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Keep in mind that the above is a continual impact on the Game's World. Eorzea will never fully recover from the Calamity within the game's lifespan, the resulting corrupted aether, the impact of exposed Allag secrets such as the Crystal Tower and Omega - which forces the Eorzea Alliance to play at war in order to keep the later and similar secrets in contention and out of the wrong hands.

Primals continually drain the Aether in the surrounding elements EACH time they are summoned, and eliminating them does not return the full amount back into the realm. Meaning, even though the WoL wins the day, it's a win at a loss - especially as it only serves to continually escalate issues - often at the cost of lives.

The Triad's and the Imperial threat are also continual issues. Even if we were to defeat all of the Triad, the secrets of the Aetherchemical Research Institute remain a constant thing to protect from the Primals. Even if we successfully destroy them, the Ascians have set in motion the ambition of the Emprie to crave Allegan secrets - secrets of which that have already been proved to be dangerous for both empire and the world at large (Circa - Ultima Weapon)

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"But what threat has the Ascians proved to me!?" You ask?

Ascian's influence has slain your compatriots on multiple occasions. It was an Ascian that enabled the empire to ransack the Waking Sands, slaying characters that were as old as 1.0, to those who were wise enough to catch onto it.

It took the death of a supporting character to claim our first High Ascian kill. Our second kill ripped the key to Azys La directly out of our hands and gifted it to the Holy See, which we were only able to penetrate ourselves in and approach at the sacrifice of yet another character, one we had spent the bulk of an expansion journeying with. To say nothing of Lord Haunchfant, who may be alive right now if the Holy See had dismissed his plan to try to one-up the Ascians by taking their offer of power and turning it on them.

And let's not forget the Students of Baldessean - who were wiped out save for Krile, including their entire island base - leaving us bereft of those who were funneling us Intel for every major Primal incursion up until that point.

Whatever 'progress' we have made has always come at cost, at sacrifice - and even then, our progress is tainted by the fact that we're simply perpetuating the cycle of violence for short-term gains. Only have we ever been able to achieve countering their most heavy handed plays, and only then after a major and significant loss in the Calamity. It's not as if they're not a credible threat - more that they're a constant threat who's danger is often foolishly overlooked - which fits their motif.

We've only scratched the surface of their plot and their motives, and already we've leader, from the confession of the Word of the Mother herself (yet another loss on our part) that this war is a one of continual loses. We're only now growing aware of why there is a conflict and a goal to begin with. Ascians aren't so much the Cartoon villains, that was Lahabrea and those who sided with his methods. As a larger entity, there is far more going on.
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2) Too many times the player character does something stupid,


Thus is the consequence of trust. We think it stupidity because we are the audience, granted secondary perspectives an access the information the Warrior of Light does not have. It's easy being an armchair critic - but I would wager you would make many more mistakes than our esteemed WoL.

Also, when were we drugged twice? The first time we were drugged, at least in the main plotline was in Falcon's Nest, in plain public - which was directly contrary to the first time we ever SAW someone drugged, which was in the privacy, and presumed protection, of the Sultana's own bed chamber.

See the difference here? The situations were completely contrasted - and it was completely feasible for the WoL to have their guard down in either case. Keep in mind, WoL did express distrust and fearfullness of having a private drink with Ameryc.

As far as the Eyes - they were at this point presumed devoid of both power and spirit. And after a heated battle, and desperate attempt to save a friend from a horrid fate (to the point of possibly hallucinating) In this state, vritually anyone would be inclined to listen to the command of a trusted friend. Especially seeming those four were presumably the only witnesses to the act.

What was it you said later on in this thread? That the WoDs showed up briefly and then did nothing for so long? By what rights would WoL have to presume to be suspicious? Your assertion also presumes that the WoL had the direct and immediate means to destroy both eyes right then and there. If such were so easy, do you not think that Estenian's speech in ARF would have not been to destroy the eyes as opposed to hide them away as he spoke before being possessed? Presuming that you know better than the dialogue is often a reader's mistake.
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3) Certain plot points are re-coated and re-served. Estinien gets taken over by the eyes....after you kicked his **** in the DRG quest-line for the same reason, even if the degree of possession isn't the same. This was really stupid. The aforementioned drugging is another example.


No, actually this is the incorrect perspective. Estenian once was so consumed by his quest for vengeance that he gave his will, temporarily, over to Nidhogg's influence in trade for more power - that is when he lost himself the first time. It was then feigned off as Estenian losing to the Dragon's influence, as opposed to his own weakness. One was temptation, the other was takeover - the them was the same - Vengance - but the nuance is important here. And the truth of the matter was, there was no 'repeat' of themes - this was a continuing theme. But you're entitled to your opinion on it just the same. But, without it, a lot of the tension in the story is lost - as is currently the point of Estenian's story which was very neatly pointed out in his bed-ridden speech to your perspective. His was the story of the dark temptation of vengeance, that was never concluded in DRG's storyline, and was given far more importance in Heavensward - as, IMO, such a lesson should be.

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That's going to be it for this section. I will reply to the next tomorrow sometime. I won't be entertaining replies until I've completed the whole thing, as a gain, a whole is both comprised of all of its pieces, and greater than the simple sum of - much like the way FFXIV continuously attempts - even if it does not universally succeed. I'll touch more on that later.
#6 Sep 21 2016 at 9:56 PM Rating: Good
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Hyrist wrote:
I am going to have a field day with this.

It's gone quite a bit, in both directions. In terms of the development of both the player (which we will touch on later, and the current.)

As far as not calling the Acian's a creditable threat, need I remind you that the game started with them in the advantage, and we've done little more than eliminate the of them, and ONE of those eliminations remain questionable (Lahabrea may, in fact, still be alive.) They are the driving influence behind all of our enemies accomplishments, which, for the benefit of those here, I will list.


However, it doesn't feel like that. Too many times the story forgets about them in the patches while you go and do other things. That's not a threat. To make an example, Nidhogg (although not in a good way) was a threat the player can feel. The Ascians...not so much. Their direct presence is too low, too many times the result of their actions is not shown directly (as in seeing them tampering, that is). I almost forgot about Eldibus because he physically did nothing for most of HW.

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It took the death of a supporting character to claim our first High Ascian kill. Our second kill ripped the key to Azys La directly out of our hands and gifted it to the Holy See, which we were only able to penetrate ourselves in and approach at the sacrifice of yet another character, one we had spent the bulk of an expansion journeying with.


That was one of the lowest point of the main HW story as the execution was so unintentionally comical that I had to force myself to try and stay serious.

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And let's not forget the Students of Baldessean - who were wiped out save for Krile, including their entire island base - leaving us bereft of those who were funneling us Intel for every major Primal incursion up until that point.


Again, never shown. While it's certain a budget reason, it doesn't feel it's something it really happpened. "Oh a great piece of land I never ever seen got wiped!".
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We've only scratched the surface of their plot and their motives, and already we've leader, from the confession of the Word of the Mother herself (yet another loss on our part) that this war is a one of continual loses. We're only now growing aware of why there is a conflict and a goal to begin with. Ascians aren't so much the Cartoon villains, that was Lahabrea and those who sided with his methods. As a larger entity, there is far more going on.


It took three years to get a grasp of their basic motives and actions, and the delivery (via Minfillia) was so stilted people still now are thinking there's a conspiracy going on (personally don't believe that).

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Thus is the consequence of trust. We think it stupidity because we are the audience, granted secondary perspectives an access the information the Warrior of Light does not have. It's easy being an armchair critic - but I would wager you would make many more mistakes than our esteemed WoL.


Sorry but since the character is basically emotionless and without any will (rarely shown doing something in cutscenes) it doesn't really look like this. The drugging really had me groaning since it happened fairly recently in 2.55 and at least the audience shouldn't have been insulted by telling their main character is an idiot.

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As far as the Eyes - they were at this point presumed devoid of both power and spirit. And after a heated battle, and desperate attempt to save a friend from a horrid fate (to the point of possibly hallucinating) In this state, vritually anyone would be inclined to listen to the command of a trusted friend. Especially seeming those four were presumably the only witnesses to the act.


The argument doesn't really hold. It would have been fine with throwing them away if they didn't show the WoD getting them like 2 minutes later. A patch later would have made more sense. This way is simply "The Script Said So so it must happen".

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What was it you said later on in this thread? That the WoDs showed up briefly and then did nothing for so long?


It was introduced at the end of HW as a possible threat, shows up once, then disappears completely save some minor cameos. Again, this is due to the game having too many storylines to follow and having a limited budget for quests and story.

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No, actually this is the incorrect perspective. Estenian once was so consumed by his quest for vengeance that he gave his will, temporarily, over to Nidhogg's influence in trade for more power - that is when he lost himself the first time. It was then feigned off as Estenian losing to the Dragon's influence, as opposed to his own weakness. One was temptation, the other was takeover - the them was the same - Vengance - but the nuance is important here.


Again, it was done for purely dramatic purposes. The difference doesn't matter that much.

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The Ul'dah leadership was reinstated.


That was one of the worst 180 turns of the story, as it took one - ONE - cutscene to basically undo everything that was done in 2.55 regarding this particular subject. Again, what was the point of that? To show there are political machinations? If so, the storyline utterly failed in execution.

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It isn't forgotten... the WoL uses a piece of White Magicite to trap and kill one of the Ascians at the end of the main HW storyline, before Thordan shows up and kills Lahabrea. But the White Magicite is rare, as are close encounters with the Ascians.


The fact that it's "rare" is a plot device that again, gets lost because there are too many threads. Similar to Urianger's possible "betrayal" that seems to come in this patch - it was hinted for far too long, and I stopped caring.


Edited, Sep 22nd 2016 6:02am by xizro
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#7 Sep 21 2016 at 10:27 PM Rating: Excellent
Wow Hyrist, looking forward to Part 2!

This thread isn't exactly what I thought it would be, but oh well. It's nice seeing all the plot point refreshers -- much has happened since 2.0 launched.
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#8 Sep 22 2016 at 9:27 AM Rating: Default
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BrokenFox wrote:
I have no idea what they're trying to accomplish with the plot in ARR/Heavensward. After Gaius was killed it fell off into so many directions, I just stopped caring. Doesn't help that my character feels more like a Trust NPC than an actual living person.

Oh well, that's what we have single player games for.

Edited, Sep 21st 2016 6:23pm by BrokenFox


At this point, I think they only keep a storyline for sake of commitment to the fact this is still an "RPG", otherwise remove the storyline and realistically, nothing about XIV changes. Some of the better writers haven't touched XIV in awhile and the content they did write, people complain the content is too hard in order to enjoy it (then again, it is the same playerbase that can't handle even easy mechanics most of the time) so when you don't really have to try hard with the content design, why would you really put much effort into the storyline?

It feels like they want to go one direction with the storyline, but due to player complaints about the game being too hard, they have to spend a lot more focus making the storyline "accessible" so we get...well, what we got.

The story was going into a decent direction with 2.55 for what its worth, still doesn't realistically beat the 1.x storyline since it actually felt like there was consequence. Just us being these overpowered beings with almost no rhyme or reason (since you know, content too hard so technically coil/1.2x storyline isn't canon anymore) is just..terrible.

I liked XI's format because the world itself felt like a world so when all of the storylines converged into each other in some format, be it side quest or actual mainstory, it actually felt like the world was progressing even if there's no actual phasing to show it. They keep XIV's storyline so segmented it's really hard to keep up because the quest format is the generic MMORPG format so when you actually do get into the storyline...you're tasked with handing out tea..that serves no purpose to the plot whatsoever.

When it's related to side quests, it's fine, but the main storyline does a terrible job keeping things coherent because they have twists for the sake of twists, not when it's relevant.

For example the end of 2.55 and how it was literally a "it's just a dream" scenario. Leaving her dead would have done far much more for the storyline than that pointless twist, which up until now, literally served no purpose to the story other than to set off Raubahn, which already had rage for other reasons they could have played on, considering the direction they're clearly taking us with 4.0

Omega being unearthed and shoved into a plot point...was completely forgotten because it was the basis of the PvP storyline much like Shinryu was completely forgotten about (that epic air battle we're supposed to be having at the end of the dragonsong war..yeah...) As for the ascians, they are actually fairly worthless and only used when there's glaring holes in the plot. In 1.x, they were nothing but basically a type of a specter that everything and everyone feared for reasons unknown, in 2.x, they're akin to organization XIII..only without real relevance since you just send in the warrior of light, do an easy storyline fight and well, 3 years of build up will be shattered in 10 minutes or less since there's only so much they can do without "stonewalling" players in storyline.

At least with XI's storyline, the progression of your character felt more natural. In both cases, you're "special/chosen one" but they kind of shot themselves when they had to take into consideration players who never played XIV versus players who technically existed since 1.0, so the storyline had to be sacrificed at some point in order to make even a little sense. Which I honestly do think largely because with FFXI, they didn't care if a player found something too hard/easy when it came to storyline since back in those days, developers kind of expected players to either sink or swim, not give them a boost every time something is seen as too hard. XI's storyline wasn't difficult to do, but some fights were actually pretty challenging at the points they should be challenging. For example Final Steps of Faith in XIV, should be an intense final fight against Nidhogg, why wouldn't it be expected to be challenging? Even using plot armor as a false means of making it "easy" could still have been tough, it just made the end of heavensward feel so anticlimatic honestly.

Then comes the job quests....

Originally they all tied into the overall storyline (and being originally written by the XI team it made sense) which is why the 50-60 ones (written by XI team again) actually had some good moments, except for Dark Knight. That storyline will forever irk me because it just....made no sense. Darkside can do quite a few things to you, succumbing to it and controlling it can be a good thing but also bad thing, similar to the Blue Mage storyline in XI, but there's no going back when you succumb.

Machinist storyline also was kind of terribly paced and done. You can tell when they transitioned from Musketeer to machinist they just basically retrofitted the story to fit "technology" better.

The Dragoon storyline is another example of how disconnected this game's story really is and how they seem to...well......forget certain story arcs actually exist, but it's likely done for the reason some people may or may not do all stories, which is unfortunate, because this game's storyline could come together so beautifully if they stopped worrying about "leaving people behind."

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#9 Sep 22 2016 at 10:32 AM Rating: Excellent
Hio, you should start a blog about things you enjoy about FFXIV. I'd read it out of sheer curiosity.

That said, a few points about storyline in XIV:

- Content difficulty doesn't affect storytelling. No explanation needed.

- The Heavensward storyline was a big improvement over the ARR storyline in terms of flow and delivery of the main story. Far fewer fetch quests than in ARR, and looks like that's the direction going forward, which is great.

- The Heavensward storyline FELT like a Final Fantasy game. Good emotion, erring a bit on the side of emo/melodramatic, but not so much that it was annoying. This is a problem with recent FF single-player games, and I'm glad this hasn't spilled over into XIV. Also, HW had great character development. The only thing about the HW storyline I really didn't like was that Ysayle died... (I only say I didn't like it because I enjoyed her character so much. But her death seemed like the ultimate price for bringing a peace between man and dragon.)

- The transition content since the end of the main HW expansion story has been MUCH better than the post-ARR transition content. The Final Steps of Faith battle was tuned just right for being challenging without being frustrating, and the quality of the cutscenes that followed was a nice reward. Yeah, if that were me in real life (and if there were such things as dragons, etc.) I wouldn't have thrown the eyes into the abyss. If the eyes couldn't be destroyed, I'd have commissioned Gerolt to build me an epic treasure chest that nobody would ever be able to open, and I'd have found someplace secluded to bury the eyes deep beneath the earth, perhaps protecting them with an intricate web of traps and wards... but look at "common sense" from a storytelling perspective, and it's much simpler to just throw them into the deep abyss where they'd likely never be found.

- Hey guys, this is a video game story... a Final Fantasy story, no less... perhaps lighten up a bit? I'm finding the tone of the recent story content to be right on the mark. If I want dark and gritty, I'll play Dragon Age. (The first one, btw. The second one was "meh" and I'm not as impressed as I thought I'd be with Inquisition.)

- The ARR storyline felt a little too contrived at times, especially after the seriousness of Yoshi-P's storyline to bring 1.x to an end. Too many fetch quests in ARR, too... the complaints about the WoL spending too much time running errands and waiting tables were legit (even though most didn't know him as the WoL yet, that was still bothersome). Very glad they fixed this with HW.

- Job quests aren't a huge factor for me in judging overall storyline. Let's face it -- they weren't that great in FFXI, either. I enjoyed the paladin and ninja job quests, and bard was fine, but I wasn't impressed with the dragoon quests (which I only did to level 50).

- Sidequests are improving. The dev team hit a home run by building out Edda's storyline, and they need to do more of that going forward. Hildebrand is a fun diversion, but I prefer the more thoughtful storylines.

I don't want to spend too much time talking about FFXI, but you can't have a XIV thread without making comparisons to XI. So I'll throw in these points, too:

- I enjoyed much of FFXI's storyline, cover to cover. There was never an "ARR" phase where I felt the writers were stumbling, but XI also didn't have the early upheaval that XIV did.

- In hindsight, I think XI's storyline would have seemed overly simple and possibly unfulfilling if not for the long delays between content updates.

And one more comment about both FFXIV and FFXI, and really about storytelling in the modern gaming industry:

Technology plays a role in how we perceive storytelling, and I'm a big believer that stories that involve more imagination are almost always better. That's why even the greatest video games will never touch the greatest books.

To a degree, video games have always robbed us of the opportunity to visualize, but this has grown "worse" as graphics have improved. When we play games like FFXIV, there's much less to the imagination about character appearance/movement/etc. than back when we played the original 8-bit FF. Heck, even the difference between FFXIV and FFXI is pretty striking.

Now, not only are we increasingly robbed of visualization, but we're also robbed of other senses. What would this character sound like? How would that line be delivered? We're no longer given complete freedom to let our imaginations fill in the blanks in the perfect ways we envision; instead, it's up to a game developer to do it for us... and that's always going to be problematic.

Yes, this is veering off of script quality (we already veered away from that), but considering technology absolutely matters if we're going to compare FFXI and FFXIV. A lot of those short, low-dialogue cutscenes and NPC texts that we loved so much in FFXI would probably seem inadequate or downright silly if brought to the technological standards of FFXIV.

Edited, Sep 22nd 2016 9:48am by Thayos
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#10 Sep 22 2016 at 11:15 AM Rating: Default
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Thayos wrote:
Hio, you should start a blog about things you enjoy about FFXIV. I'd read it out of sheer curiosity.

That said, a few points about storyline in XIV:

- Content difficulty doesn't affect storytelling. No explanation needed.


It does actually, but when the info is translated it's more akin to "we know the storyline wasn't the best but we were pressed for time with balancing multiple versions of the content." Was said again as recently when people asked about Alexander's storyline. That's why there isn't "two" versions of the storyline even though technically Savage is the actual storyline (as you're actually recovering the manifesto.)

It's not that SE isn't creative, having to scale content with storyline something is going to suffer eventually. Coil had one difficulty level and people loved the storyline of it (that actually did it) because they could spend more time focusing on refining the content around the story...but newest sets of content it's more like the story is the afterthought.

Quote:
Hey guys, this is a video game story... a Final Fantasy story, no less... perhaps lighten up a bit? I'm finding the tone of the recent story content to be right on the mark. If I want dark and gritty, I'll play Dragon Age. (The first one, btw. The second one was "meh" and I'm not as impressed as I thought I'd be with Inquisition.)


When you actually analyze all FF storylines, even the early ones, they seem light hearted on the outside, but they're all actually dark and oppressive. Some are more blatant about it than others, but it also depends on how you personally view it. FFV's worlds colliding and merging? Nothing light hearted about that. FFVI, no need to explain. FFVII's impending apocalypse and all of the NPCs dialog following it? FFVIII's....not even going into VIII. FFIX's overall storyline and how pretty much your actions lead up to and will lead to either the survival of existence or not. (As one plot point.) and so on. "lighten up" falls more on side quest rather than main story. Especially with XIV in mind since it's a world constantly tipping between complete destruction or momentary peace, literally at the drop of a pin.

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Job quests aren't a huge factor for me in judging overall storyline. Let's face it -- they weren't that great in FFXI, either. I enjoyed the paladin and ninja job quests, and bard was fine, but I wasn't impressed with the dragoon quests (which I only did to level 50).


And that's your personal opinion, there were no "job quests" in XI *****, only the unlock quests and the AF quests were mostly side stories that hardly went into detail with some exceptions, until the later job additions when their backstory was actually told much more through them and the 70 cap quests - for example BLU/COR/PUP/DNC/SCH/GEO/RUN had far more story elements compared to the original Vanilla and Zilart jobs, which was more of a product of SE getting better as they went.

However with XIV, the "jobs" are more closely tied to the storyline than in FFXI (aside the story element of the Crystal War and Adoulin) which you'd expect the main story to really touch on a lot more than they do.

Quote:
Technology plays a role in how we perceive storytelling, and I'm a big believer that stories that involve more imagination are almost always better. That's why even the greatest video games will never touch the greatest books.


Which is why XIV's story should be so...so much better than it is. Even in delivery, I still find some of XI's cutscenes and storytelling far better even if it's not the best graphically, just like I could find sprite based games far better than XIV's story telling.

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#11 Sep 22 2016 at 11:52 AM Rating: Good
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Thayos wrote:
In hindsight, I think XI's storyline would have seemed overly simple and possibly unfulfilling if not for the long delays between content updates.

I don't know about that. While some of the story pieces were pretty straightforward (nations, ToAU) others were stupidly complicated and often nonsensical (CoP, WotG.) I did the later parts of CoP in fairly quick succession and to this day I'm still not quite sure what happened there. (And if I hadn't already beaten RoZ I would have been even MORE confused.)
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#12 Sep 22 2016 at 1:56 PM Rating: Excellent
Hio wrote:
It does actually


Only if you cherry pick the savage raiding content that so few people do, then maybe, since it literally has separate dialogue options. But even that's kind of a strawman. You're essentially arguing that Content Z's storyline is weaker because the writers also had to spend time on Content A-Y.

So no, content difficulty has no impact on storytelling. You're letting your bias get the best of you here.

Hio wrote:
When you actually analyze all FF storylines, even the early ones, they seem light hearted on the outside, but they're all actually dark and oppressive.


HW's storyline at is definitely dark, but it's not over the top and it maintains that FF feel. But FF is not Dragon Age, and SE is not Bioware. Final Fantasy stories aren't usually dark at their cores... they're usually quite optimistic.

Hio wrote:
there were no "job quests" in XI


The job unlock quests are what I was referring to. Those are XI's versions of job quests (and we called them "job quests" back in the day). And they weren't all that great.

Hio wrote:
Which is why XIV's story should be so...so much better than it is.


Actually, the opposite. The further you get from words on a page, the more you replace imagination with someone else's interpretations. And we all know the "best" solutions/stories/designs are the ones in our own minds.

The better technology gets -- and with it higher-resolution graphics, voice acting, more fleshed-out dialgue, an expectation for more quests, chat options, etc. -- the more the optimal storyline is watered down.

Hence why I say XI's storyline would probably take a dive if the game were updated to XIV's standards. Imagine how bad the FFVII remake would be if it got a verbatim rewrite. The cutscenes would be super short because the dialogue that passed the test in old-school cutscenes was required to be so short and sweet.

Karlina wrote:
I don't know about that. While some of the story pieces were pretty straightforward (nations, ToAU) others were stupidly complicated and often nonsensical (CoP, WotG.) I did the later parts of CoP in fairly quick succession and to this day I'm still not quite sure what happened there. (And if I hadn't already beaten RoZ I would have been even MORE confused.)


That's in the realm of what I was getting at. The long gaps between content updates in XI -- along with the difficulty in finding parties to get through content -- put lots of space between story missions and changed how we perceived the story.

Remember, I actually enjoyed XI's story, but if delivered in the same style as FFXIV it probably would have seemed rushed and inadequate.


Edited, Sep 22nd 2016 1:17pm by Thayos

Edited, Sep 22nd 2016 1:21pm by Thayos
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#13 Sep 23 2016 at 9:22 AM Rating: Decent
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Thayos wrote:
Hio wrote:
It does actually


Only if you cherry pick the savage raiding content that so few people do,


It's not cherry picking, it's what the guy in charge said as recently as gamescom and interviews posted on major Japanese media publications this past week. Just because the exact example was something someone asked about, doesn't negate the fact Yoshida has said that content difficulty does affect the storytelling in some fashion especially because like some players on the OF, he's said "people could just go to youtube anyway" and if something blocks your players from story, a lot of people won't experience the story. No one really asks about the faceroll content because chances are there's no story related to it in the same format. Majority of the dungeons don't even have accompanying cutscenes, especially optional dungeons, you usually get the story before (then unlock dungeon) then you get the story after if it's main storyline. With the raid content, you're usually getting the story in between floors.

That's why people asked specifically about Alexander's story because they were curious about the direction in 3.4, we already know the MSQ direction in 3.4. So it's not biasness, unless you'd consider someone asking about the Eikon storyline as being biased because they want changes to it, which someone did ask, and yoshida explained that Sophia will be easier than Nidhogg Ex but more mechanically driven. Think back to all of the complaints about the final 3.0 dungeon and how people were ****** off that you couldn't progress the dungeon until EVERYONE has viewed (or skipped) the cutscene. Yoshida said he'll never do that again for a storyline dungeon. So the ONE time they actually use a new format, the "majority playerbase" complained. So as much as some people love to say "biased", people tend to ask about certain things for a reason, being biased isn't one of them.

Quote:
HW's storyline at is definitely dark, but it's not over the top and it maintains that FF feel. But FF is not Dragon Age, and SE is not Bioware. Final Fantasy stories aren't usually dark at their cores... they're usually quite optimistic.


Yeah, that's why I said when you really think about the storylines, they're really not all that bright and happy kind of things they appear to be. They have good endings, with the exception of a few, but it depends on how you immerse yourself in it, which is why I like the FF games and why XIV ARR+s story irks me so much, there's a lot of potential that seems to just not get met.

Quote:
Actually, the opposite. The further you get from words on a page, the more you replace imagination with someone else's interpretations. And we all know the "best" solutions/stories/designs are the ones in our own minds.

The better technology gets -- and with it higher-resolution graphics, voice acting, more fleshed-out dialgue, an expectation for more quests, chat options, etc. -- the more the optimal storyline is watered down.

Hence why I say XI's storyline would probably take a dive if the game were updated to XIV's standards. Imagine how bad the FFVII remake would be if it got a verbatim rewrite. The cutscenes would be super short because the dialogue that passed the test in old-school cutscenes was required to be so short and sweet.


With the way they showed us how they compose the cutscenes of XI and all the work that goes into them, I think it'd actually be the opposite and would be vastly superior to XIV's given the right tools. For example 1.x's cutscenes were considered better in some aspects because the engine used was purely cinematic which unfinished nature aside, is why it had the problems it did (think of making a game on a calculator, it can work but it wasn't designed for it) a lot of XI's cutscenes were broken down in parts because of the custom engine being something developed in the mid 90s, I'm sure you've redone or finished up some of the recent XI storylines, comparing Vanilla/Zilart to ToAU > RoV shows an obvious improvement, that's what I mean by the comparison job quests in XI had an obvious quality improvement as they got better developing and why you'd figure XIV's would be the best given not only experience, but tools available. They already cherry pick when to actually use voice acting, which technically shouldn't degrade the quality in any fashion, even if it is an MMORPG because there's different teams working on different parts of even 1 cutscene, so that's why yoshida was saying sometimes things aren't that great because of time restrictions, Alexander was used as an example because people were asking about the decisions behind the Coil > Alexander jump and how the story hasn't been well received.

The branched Luminous engine they used for XIV can handle quite a bit, someone on 2ch even ported the first "20 minutes" of FFXI onto it, which clearly due to the fact it's a licensed engine by SE it can't be posted, but needless to say, SE is really giving the "bare minimum" for XIV, it shows and it's obvious and their last reports mysteriously left out DQX and XIV despite always using it for reference points. People hate to see things like "don't waste time with x" but in 4.0 it just won't be surprising if we only get 1 dungeon per update since they already dropped dungeons in the path to 3.x in order to give us "better, varied content."



Edited, Sep 24th 2016 8:12am by Theonehio
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#14 Sep 28 2016 at 12:41 PM Rating: Excellent
Funny enough, this patch's storyline content is the first in awhile that kind of missed the mark for me. I really enjoyed the story, but thought it was too rushed. I'd have loved to have seen it extended over another patch or two and given more of a suspenseful buildup. That would have also allowed for a more natural progression of character attitudes. (Not going to give away spoilers here.)

However, the storyline was a huge hit in my FC. Everyone loves it. I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. to finish it just to avoid getting spoilers because everyone else was so jazzed.
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