There is one major issue that many people are bypassing, and that is time sinks wont necessary disappear with the accessibility that SE is talking about, on the contrary I think SE will *add* time sink in order to compensate on the lost time sink by adding things like hearthstone and making travelling trivial.
Let me point out a few examples of what is not considered accessible;
1. Waiting for a long time to form a party
2. Having a character that is not needed in parties
3. Taking too long time to arrive to the destination
4. Getting back to your home point easily
All these and probably some others I have not listed make the game "less accessible" meaning you will end up killing a lot of time by _not_ progressing.
So here is a basic line up on how to solve these issues;
1. You make seek party and LFG similar to other MMO: s that have far more advanced tools then FFXI has. You can implement level sync. You can also make solo playing available. All these will basically eliminate that time sink that many experienced.
2. That can easily be fixed through a better job system, better subjobsystem and better balancing between the classes. I think SE has solved the issue in FF14.
3. This can be fixed very easily, I don’t need to give details.
4. Oo Hearthstone ? Hehe
Anyway, my point is this, if you as a casual player think that you have won, if SE have implement all these features that makes the game more "accessible" then I think you are in for a big surprise. SE is smarter than that. Let me make an example;
You login one day in FF14 and start looking for a group and **** since you character is balanced and the tools that are at your disposal you will immediately find a party. Oh and nice, that party can even summon you so from the time that you logged until the time you start actually killing the mobs and gaining xp, only 5 min have elapsed. You then start to kill the mobs and after 30min you say you have to go because you don’t have any more time to play. No problem amigo, you just pop your hearthstone and then warp to your home point and log of.
This scenario will take a lot longer if it was FFXI, say you need to add 1-3 hours extra just to find the party, travelling or even having the right job for leveling.
So 40 min VS 2-4 hours. As you can see, with the FF14 you have increased the accessibly enormously, but IMO I don’t think SE will let you get away with that so easily. So what can they do to make you _pay_ for this kind of accessibility you might ask? There clear and simple answer is of course, the time that you won from all those have to be inputted into your growth process.
How? You would ask. Simple.
Lets take FFXI for example. In the days when I played FFXI, even though I was a hardcore player back then in 2004 it still took me roughly 3 months to level 1-75. Many casual players back then fought for 6-7 months before reaching level 75. What SE will do is that it will take a lot longer to level up now that the accessibility has been implemented. So, instead of you wasting time on LFG, run through zones, and doing all kind of things that doesn’t actually let your character progress (aka level up) you need to spend that time on content to progress. Sure, now you get to the content instantly but the time it takes to gain the same amount of growth compared to before will be increased to compensate for the loss of time sink that the "accessibility" brought forth.
So, this is exactly as SE said, we will make the game more casual, more accessible. I think this is the way SE has planned for us, so in the end FF14 will actually be a hardcore game more than a casual type of game. Time sinks will still be there. Nothing has really changed in the end.
Edited, Jul 5th 2009 10:21pm by Maldavian