Rynguy: This is perhaps one of the best posts I've seen on these forums in quite some time.
First and foremost, class balance. With the number of classes in FFXI and the varying roles (arguably more DPS than Tanks/Healers), this created a problem. In order for a group to start, you needed the right number of players and the right roles (1 tank, 1 Healer, 4 DPS). With so many DPS classes (compounded by needing 4 per group, I'm sure), you ended up with two problems out of this. With less healer & tanking classes than DPS classes, player preference on tanks & healers weren't established while player preferences for DPS were...and heavily. This leads to classes with less-than-desireable DPS output or abilities left out in the rain due to preference to other DPS. This was a primary reason BST was so popular...and later, the challenging DRG solo setups. So when creating groups, if you didn't have your (few and far between) healer & tank, but a plethora of DPS...you wait, and wait, and wait in LFG. Likewise, if you're a DPS that isn't desired (ie. DRG, for a while it was DRK, etc), you're going to wait, and wait, and wait in LFG.
To fix this, SE needs to create a better balance of classes/jobs (the way most other MMO's that have followed do) to allow even for player-preference in any specific role (Tank, DPS, Heal) to allow for non-player-preference for more than 1-2 classes. Ideally, this would mean (out of the gate) 3-4 Tanking jobs, 5-6 DPS jobs, 3-4 Healing jobs...instead of say 2 Tanking jobs, 6-8 DPS jobs, 2-3 Healing jobs. Likewise, the classes have to be well balanced within their roles on a comparative basis while still maintaining signature & unique abilities that make them fun & exciting to play. This is the primary plague of any MMO, regardless of a PvE or PvP orientation. Class balance makes or breaks a game on so many levels.
Generally, I agree with this. There are a couple of easy fixes. The first is to make parties smaller. Wait, what? That doesn't fix anything! That just makes it harder for the DPS to find a party. Generally untrue. Yes, a smaller percentage of DPS would be in any particular group, however, you'd end up having more groups. How many times have you been able to find 5 people for a party but not a 6th? Often enough, I'm sure.
Now this alone won't do it. The next thing to do would be to include more healing and tank classes. They would need to play differently enough to be distinct from each other, but still balanced. This would entice people who don't like how Healer Job 1 works, but might like Healer Job 2.
Lastly, the game shouldn't be find X job and go here. It should be find X,Y or Z job and go to here if you have X job, there if you have Y job and over there is you have Z job. One of the biggest failings of FFXI (which to SE's credit has been significantly fixed) was that from level 13 to level 70 you fought crabs or beetles. I never want to see another crab again. Ever. EVER! If you have a certain job that excels at killing something, you'd go to a zone with that something in it. I don't see any reason to be boxed into Dunes -> Qufim -> Jungles -> Garlage (sp) -> CN... etc. I want to go somewhere new if a job can do better there than somewhere I've already been. (And admittedly, this is just as much the players' fault as it was SE's.)
Second, time-to-level (TTL) and experience loss (EL). For "average" FFXI players, it took some time to get to the level cap (75) compared to other MMO's. This was restricted and compounded on other factors (ie. see my first point). Any problematic issues stemming from class balance runs over. Non-preferred DPS classes take longer to level. Period. Same with Tank & Healing roles that aren't preferred. Furthermore, a more gradual and natural feel to level progression (ie. 1-75) was worked on at different points in FFXI through adjustments, but needs to be there from the start in FFXIV. This issue is further compounded with "EL" through consistent playing of the same job. You would be forced to enter back into group play to maintain your level cap after so many deaths. This isn't necessarily a bad thing except on a mental level. Mechanic-wise...it's fine. But when you "feel" like you never really achieve and maintain the level cap, it weighs again end-game risk taking (mentally) and the desire to group after losing a level. The newer systems (ie. Merit Points, etc) were a GREAT step in making end-game grouping relevant for means other than maintaining your level cap. This needs to be there out of the gate, also or "EL" needs to be absent in FFXIV. All or nothing here...because the medium just sucks.
EL should be absent or significantly reduced. Other games with EL loss made it into a experience debt. You died, you lost exp. You could choose to keep going (making up the lost exp) OR you could call it a day and log out. If you did, the experience you lost would gradually come back.
And the idea of hitting the "level cap" and then having to grind more exp just in case you died? That's silly. End game activity shouldn't be about grinding yet more exp. I'm level capped, my exp days should be over! (And I'm willing to make an exception for Merit Points. Those are essentially more levels, so grinding those out means you're not truly level capped.)
Third, is camped area's for leveling parties. This got extreme at some points in FFXI, whereas if FFXI had open world PvP...certain area's would have turned into battlefield's of dead groups from fighting over pulls (Bibiki Bay comes to mind...). The world has to have an expansive zone set that allows for predetermined leveling groups as well as sliding-scale mob spawn regeneration based on kill rate (ie. the rate at which they're removed from the game world). This is something Blizzard implimented in WoW during TBC (expansion) to help fix issues with heavily camped area's where people were leveling or killing specific mobs for quest(s) (ie. item drops, etc). This is something every MMO developer should consider coding into their games to help with adjusting player population & area popularity without patching the game every month based on new population and area data.
Yes. Just yes.
I'm going to grant some leeway for SE on this though. Being their first MMORPG and not knowing how successful it would be lead to some rather serious issues. Above all else this was one of them.
Ideally, they'll add faster respawns. Even better though, would be to not have to camp things at all. From what I understand about Leves, this is exactly what's going to happen. SE has figured out that camping mobs just isn't as fun as hunting down mobs to get a quest done. WoW's system isn't perfect, but it was simply more FUN to play. It didn't feel like a grind. From about level 50 on in FFXI, started to have this sinking feeling whenever you went LFG. "I have to kill HOW many mobs to level?" By level 70 it was enough to scare a LOT of players away. If SE can make the grind "not feel like a grind," then they'll have many MANY more people playing this game.
IMHO, FFXI had the most comprehensive and interesting combat/grouping scheme I've seen in a game. The idea of requiring groups to overcome mob NPC's is fantastic, and is great for building community & reputation (as well as controlling it from a player-level). Add to this the skillchain system (which also needs to remain, IMO) and other combat specific mechanics (ie. Rogue threat-transfer, etc) and combat in FFXIV has the possibility to be extremely rewarding and fun.
Agree. As far as grinding games go, FFXI was THE game to play. SOOO many different ways to do things. I too hope they keep skillchains, though they have to make them meaningful this time around. Do the math, make sure SCs are better than TP spam.
But, as mentioned already, there should be the accessibility of Solo/Casual play...just with lower Exp rates and lessening risk compounding with a longer time difference to gain levels (as seen with low to mid lvl BST in FFXI).
Yeah, they need to find a nice middle ground between FFXI and WoW. In FFXI you needed a party for just about everything (though this has gotten better). In WoW you could actually get more exp by soloing quests than by doing groups. Guess what people did to get exp in WoW? They soloed to level cap then had no CLUE how to play their class in a party. ><
Another thing FFXI did very, very well is their level cap. Unlike WoW and other MMO's that have increased the level caps with multiple expansions...FFXI did not after they adjusted to the level 75 cap and maintained progression through gear & content rather than level. Ironically...grouping never went away...and in fact increased at end-game levels once additional point system(s) (ie. Merit points) where added. SE found the way to keep grouping purposeful and fun, while not being forced to increase the level cap and simply use a sliding scale for adjusting each end-game content addition from the previous point without readjusting for 5-10-15-etc new levels of stats & abilities. Quite smart of them, IMO.
I actually completely disagree with this. We've had a level 75 cap for years now. All the end game gear (or 95% of it anyway) that's been added since hasn't been better than anything that existed way back then. Maybe its just me, but when I get the Epic Sword of Twirly Doom on a Stick I want it to be better than whatever my last weapon was. In order to have that, you NEED to raise the level caps. Even just raising it 5 levels per expansion would be enough. And if need be, you could always cap the new Sky at level 60, then add Sea for level 65. Is getting better loot REALLY too much to ask? :)
From elsewhere on the thread...
I believe group play has several strong points ... it's the vocal proponents for grouping that seem to question its sustainability without some sort of developer assigned advantage. And that makes me question if they really believe anything they are saying to begin with.
If everything was equal, then this problem arises. It takes TIME to find and co-ordinate a group. If that time could be spent gaining exp from solo play, then there has to be some advantage to group play in order for it to be sustainable.
For example: If I can get 5k exp while playing solo or in a group over an hour, everything is great. But, it may take 20 minutes to find a group, get it set up, talk about how to best get exp, etc. That means, that I've only spent 40 minutes actually getting exp from the party. This in turn means that for the hour I've played, I've only gotten 3333 exp while in a group. Compare this to the 5k exp I'd have gotten soloing and anyone can see it is better to solo than to party.
Given all that and that people naturally want the best exp/hr than can get, do you REALLY think partying would still be viable? I certainly do not. Edited, Aug 17th 2009 2:05am by Caia