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