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About Skillchains and playing solo.Follow

#1 Jun 04 2009 at 8:04 PM Rating: Good
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With the lack of information and the mass speculation, people are bound to post thoughts on the same subject multiple times. Regardless I apologize if there's been an overabundance of talk on skillchains in relation to Final Fantasy XIV.

Skillchains were one of the most interesting things about FFXI's battle system. It took the simple early MMO format of auto attack or sit back and cast spells repeatedly into an engaging and tense affair. By forcing the players to work together in order to produce the amounts of damage needed in order to safely off a monster, SE managed to enforce a strong party structure while simultaneously further promoting individual character development. Working on multiple weapons and mastering new weapon skills sounds like a chore, but it was really a thrill to be able to set up complex chains with any given party's fighters and mages. I expect some other MMO has copied the idea by now, but personally I've never seen that kind of teamwork in any other online RPG.

Sure, it could be a hassle to look up which WS's work with what and make sure you had a worthwhile chain to burst off of (Ex: Why would you bother making a skillchain to burst Aero when your black mage's highest spell is Water II? But if you didn't have the WS's to accommodate that spell, it sort of killed the enthusiasm) but in the end, a strong skillchain with a powerful burst was a beautiful sight to see. I'll never forget my days in the Crawlers Nest as a Samurai, setting up with Enpi for a SATA'd viper bite, enjoying the **** out of the Distortion damage alone and laughing as the black mages finished things off. Nor will I forget when you first get into the 50's and your black mages go from casting steady spells throughout a fight to blowing **** to pieces with an MB'd Freeze. Having to time your skillchain in the middle of your black mage's casting so that everything comes together within an exact amount of seconds is magnificent, and as you repeated the skillchain and burst with each fight, you fell into a sort of groove with the party that proved entertaining no matter how often you did it.

Nowadays you have mages who've ended up nearly soloing to 75 and have no idea how to magic burst, warrior's who've been /NIN since 20 and don't even know what Raging Rush is, and newbies never learning how to make a skillchain because no one cares to teach them. It's depressing.

How does all this have a darn thing to do with FFXIV, though? Well, that's a good question. They seem to be heading in a more solo friendly direction--as the direct statements explaining that, "We want FFXIV to be more solo friendly" seem to say--and that's a far reach from what FFXI started as. We've also been told that they want to have content for all types of players...I wonder what that means. For me, the greatest joys of FFXI were in two completely different areas. I loved a solid, well structured party with members that were eager to work together. To me, a party is a group of individuals who apply their singular skills to achieve a goal. On the opposite side of things, I loved adventuring. Taking the time to wander around the world, to explore places people don't often visit and hunt the lesser known notorious monsters was how I spent a lot of my free time. Just me and a vast world. I'd meet a lot of people and see a lot of things, and I made quite a few friends while simply adventuring alone.

Based on my experience with FFXI, the game had an incredible amount of solo content that many don't recognize. Solo play isn't only about getting experience points and leveling up. I loved that you were forced to party if you really wanted to level up--people who wish to play an online game in order to spend the brunt of their time alone make no sense to me. And even then, there were jobs that catered to such people. But I'm starting to go off on a tangent. The goal to make FFXIV more solo friendly is a curious one. Because of the way FFXI is designed, it became pretty much the most group oriented MMO of its time. You were literally forced to play with other people, and despite a lot of issues and hardships, in the end it probably left you with countless memories of people you met and experiences you had. I worry that FFXIV will lose a lot of these aspects. Meeting people and sharing experiences is an event that can be replicated in ANY multiplayer online game. But FFXI placed so much emphasis on it that, unless you quit early on or were one **** of a jerk, you were guaranteed to meet some interesting people.

Skillchains. Those wonderful explosions of color and damage, built on the blocks of your clashing weapons. There is heavy speculation on the importance of weapons in FFXIV--I think that it's possible for a skillchain like system to return. If that's the case, I'll be very happy. Even if the game is very solo-friendly, it will also have a system in place that encourages people working together.

How do you feel about skillchains in general? Do you want some sort of similiar system to reappear in FFXIV's battle system, or would you rather FFXI's battle system be completely ditched in every way?
#2 Jun 04 2009 at 8:22 PM Rating: Good
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I think skillchains were a fantastic aspect of FFXI...I remember my first xp party after I learned Slug Shot with my RNG and taking a crab from ~60% health with Slug Shot + chain damage.

Trouble was, it was implemented in such a way as to be too tedious. Call me crazy, but asking me to know not only what other WSs a class other than my own has, but also what elements are associated with them so that I can build a skillchain on the fly without having to consult the printout of a chart at the start of every xp party was a bit much. In 3-4 years of FFXI, I never did memorize the whole thing (and the regular use of skillchains had already become mostly obsolete anyway.)

I would love to see a combat mechanic implemented in FFXIV that allowed the character skills of different players to build on one another and create an effect greater than the sum of its parts. My hope is that if something to that effect is implemented, it's done so in a way so that it requires a bit of skill and a bit of timing but isn't such a cumbersome thing to use that most players eventually stop using it in groups.
#3 Jun 05 2009 at 2:25 AM Rating: Good
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Call me crazy, but asking me to know not only what other WSs a class other than my own has, but also what elements are associated with them so that I can build a skillchain on the fly without having to consult the printout of a chart at the start of every xp party was a bit much.


The following comment is not directed specifically to you. These are just my thoughts in regards to that line of logic.

I'm the kind of person who, when I'm interested in something, wants to learn as much as I can. As such, I'm rather partial to the complicated and tedious nature of elements in regards to weapon skills. I feel that having each WS work with another in its own separate way encourages one to study the system and learn more about the game, so they'll be able to function better in a party. Information is freely available, and while a newbie isn't going to be pressured to know everything right away, I don't think there's any excuse for a person who's been playing for a while to have not learned the ins and outs of common systems.

The same can be said for most video games in general, but for some reason people sometimes seem to feel that MMO's are an exception to such a rule, and that they shouldn't be condemned for not knowing how things work. Usually with common excuses vindicating themselves through the vector of "having a life," and "not sitting there and playing all day long." You can learn as you play--Why does that make sense to me but not to other people? Again, that doesn't apply to you. I understand that some people don't feel the need to memorize such things, especially when over time they fall out of common use. But such an important party function needs to be at least understood for what it is; a tool which can only be utilized by an understanding of how you can combine your abilities for a powerful result.

In the end, I really just hope that some sort of teamwork element is present in FFXIV. Even if no one utilized it but my friends and me, it would make the game's potential skyrocket in my eyes.
#4 Jun 05 2009 at 5:10 AM Rating: Decent
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I'm the kind of person who, when I'm interested in something, wants to learn as much as I can. As such, I'm rather partial to the complicated and tedious nature of elements in regards to weapon skills. I feel that having each WS work with another in its own separate way encourages one to study the system and learn more about the game, so they'll be able to function better in a party. Information is freely available, and while a newbie isn't going to be pressured to know everything right away, I don't think there's any excuse for a person who's been playing for a while to have not learned the ins and outs of common systems.

The same can be said for most video games in general, but for some reason people sometimes seem to feel that MMO's are an exception to such a rule, and that they shouldn't be condemned for not knowing how things work. Usually with common excuses vindicating themselves through the vector of "having a life," and "not sitting there and playing all day long." You can learn as you play--Why does that make sense to me but not to other people?


The reason MMO's are considered an exception from this norm, is that they are being used by many people as the virtual substitute for "hanging out". Its basically an activity they do while they are also doing something else, like watching TV. Personally, I am not a fan of this approach, as it reduces the intensitiy of both the gaming experience, and whatever else I might be doing.

Skillchains were and still are amazing aspects of FFXI, and although they are no longer "needed" to advance, they are still very useful. They do however require one to be paying attention, even if playing a MMO in general doesn't.
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