I understand this might upset a few people, but this is my opinion. I think it is being pretty reasonable and fair as well. Just know I formulate a lot of this from the fact that I hate the AH and Crafting. So here is my opinion on how some things should be integrated into FFXIV. This is just an example, because I have no way of knowing if some of this will even be applicable.
First, there are three categories of items: consumables, common items, and ra/ex items. All consumables and common items can bought from NPCs. The ra/ex items have to be gotten from solo, group, and large-scale events: such as quests, missions, BCNMs, and end-game content. The ra/ex type items will be the “uber1337zomg” gear, as it should be. This means the common items will be just as it sounds like: decent for its “level”, but nothing special. The reasoning behind this is that I think it’s wrong to be able to “buy” your way into awesome gear. You should have to earn it through skill, effort, time, and strategy. Otherwise people like Frodo Baggins could have just paid for a bullet train to Mt. Doom, and made his way into the volcano free of all worry thanks to the Armor of Invincible and the Wand of Uberkill he bought from the AH for 50 million gil before he left.
Now concerning how to make money, we will say four ways to make everyone happy: trade skills, crafting, farming, and maybe certain other things like BCNMs. You will be able to buy consumables and common items from the NPCs for set prices that are reasonable for there level. As an example, imagine top tier armor pieces costing 100k gil, but with a reasonable amount of effort you can farm that amount within a month. It could take a lot less time, if you are a hard-core player.
Now another way that could be just as profitable as farming but different, could be trade skills like fishing. This would satisfy people that don’t like farming or crafting. Some people, strange as it sounds, like virtual fishing and what not for hours. The other way is crafting, for those that don’t like farming or trade skills. This is my favorite part, because it puts some controls on the AH. First, make the crafting system just as intricate and challenging as it was before, if not more so. However, in accordance with craft level, let people be able to buy all there crafting materials for dirt cheap (never runs out either). That way they can sell the same items on the AH as you can get from the NPCs. However, they won’t be able to go over the NPC price, if they expect to sell anything. On the other hand, if it takes say 1k gil to make a top tier armor piece, you can still put it up for less than the NPC price and make a killing. This all seems pretty reasonable to me. It satisfies the things people like to do such as crafting, but doesn’t allow for abuse of the AH. At the same time, the separation of common items from ra/ex items makes people have to get the really good items the way they should have to get them: earning it.
The last part covers the ra/ex items. A big problem I had with FFXI was the relationship of effort/skill vs. reward. You camp KA for 2 years and get jack, yet another dude gets the belt the very first time he claims and kills KA……….. Here is another: Join a Dyna shell but because of the waiting list to get the item you want and the god awful drop rates, you never get it. Why? Because even though you always went to Dyna for 2 years, the shell broke before you could get the item. These are just some examples of things that have happened to people I know.
Here is the fix: all quests, missions, BCNM type things, and end-game content will reward you appropriately based on the skill/effort/time/strategy it took you to defeat it. There will be no random 24hr or 72hr NMs. There will just be time frames on when you can do events such as daily, weekly, 2 times a week, monthly maybe, you get the idea. We saw this with things like Salvage and Assault. SE just needs to elaborate on it a bit more. As for drop rates……. ***** drop rates. If you have the balls and skills to beat it, you should get your reward. So while I am suggesting 100% drop rates, this would be according to the difficulty level. Easier = meh, harder = good, incredibly hard = awesome, AV types = congratulations, your new gear just broke the game (kidding about that last part…… sorta). So yea you can get it 100% of the time, but that’s IF…… IF you can beat it. I think this would work well with a lot of situations, but not all.
The other things (and I am stealing this from another post I read in the FFXIV forums) is to treat them like Einherijar’s (sp?) ampoules system. This would take care of SE’s hard-on for making things take forever. If something is just too good to be able to get it right off the bat, then let it take time as you build points from successful runs to “buy” the items. This way you are working towards a goal and you can slowly but surely see your effort paying off. Again, this gets rid of the .000001% drop rate and/or not being sure if you’ll ever get the item because your 50th in line for it.
Again these are all my opinions, and just me trying to take a reasonable stab at some issues from FFXI that I would rather not see in FFXIV. Sorry for the long post, though. Is this plan perfect? Nope. So please feel free to poke holes in it, but try to be constructive. Oh, and useless reasons to not like it because you are greedy and want to make a gazillion gilz by exploiting the AH, or because you like to buy your way to eliteness are not acceptable.