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#1 Jul 24 2009 at 6:24 PM Rating: Default
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I know this is a little late, and a little random but if you manage to work your way through everything I would really like to hear your opinions.

Without trying to sound ungrateful; I was really let down by the most recent FFXI update which started me thinking about the Final Fantasy series in general.

There were somethings I liked and somethings that I didn't like about the update, but the thing that I just could not understand was the union rewards.

It's not the amount of currency or the number of people lotting that bothers me, it's the way they presented it to us.
"Square Enix" wrote:

Campaign Gets Reinforcements! (06/15/2009)
Great riches await triumphant Unions, including but not limited to the ancient currencies obtainable in Dynamis, a wide assortment of synthesis materials, and the spoils of vanquished Beastman Confederate captains. Such rewards will be distributed via Union treasure caskets after the conclusion of each battle.

It just seems almost insulting that they would even mention the currency with the way that it was implemented. A little is always better than nothing, but I wish they would have just not made a big deal out of it and left it as a surprise. I think it would have been received much better that way by the community.


Maybe I am just disillusioned because I have been waiting a long time for certain things in this game to be added or changed and I am left wondering:

Will the the biggest problems with this game ever be fixed?
How can we expect FFXIV or future nonmmo-titles will be any better than this game?


I don't know if it was because of the merge with Enix or what but every game since FFX has left me very disappointed in some way. Whether it's more and more Time Sinks being used, characters becoming increasingly harder to identify with, or the tasks that just seem to become harder and harder.


I think everyone can agree that the Time Sinks in FFXI at least have been out of control for a long time. Between four hour events, horrible drop rates, camping against players using third party tools, long repop timers, recapping buffers on multiple jobs, and just the basic task of making gil this game just feels more like a job than a game most of the time to me.

They really don't need to put so many sinks in, people love their games and they will keep playing without them. They would most likely develop a much larger player base as well.


As far as storylines go; I like that characters to be versatile with their attributes, weapons, magic, and abilities in a MMO but when I play a nonmmo-title it is more for the story and I think you lose a bit of who a character is when you give the player so many options.

In my opinion Square have always been masterful story tellers, and I wish they would lead us a little more. Or, at least give us the option to choose which way we wanted to play at the start of the game. Maybe it's just me, but when the timid little summoner is wacking everything for 999999 damage with her staff because shes doped up on strength spheres I think we've gotten lost somewhere along the way.


So what do you think, am i just being a Grumpy Walrus or do other people feel the same way?

Thank you for your time,
SleepyWalrus

Edited, Jul 25th 2009 8:48pm by SleepyWalrus
#2 Jul 24 2009 at 7:06 PM Rating: Default
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SleepyWalrus wrote:

I don't know if it was because of the merge with Enix or what but every game since FFX has left me very disappointed in some way. Whether it's more and more Time Sinks being used, characters becoming increasingly harder to identify with, or the tasks that just seem to become harder and harder.

I think everyone can agree that the Time Sinks in FFXI at least have been out of control for a long time. Between four hour events, horrible drop rates, camping against players using third party tools, long repop timers, recapping buffers on multiple jobs, and just the basic task of making gil this game just feels more like a job than a game most of the time to me.

They really don't need to put so many sinks in, people love their games and they will keep playing without them and hey would most likely develop a much larger player base as well.


Time sinks are an important part of a MMO game. If you can clear the game as fast as an offline game then people will simply finish the game too fast. There is no way that developers can keep up providing content at the same rate as you finish them off so you need to have some kind of time sink so that you don’t finish everything off the bat. Everything they do is pointed towards keeping you playing "longer", leveling takes time, drop rates are bad, you have the outdoor HNM that many people need to compete over, you have dynamis lockout timer and so on.
Imagine if you removed every bit of time sink;

Level up from 1-75; 1 day
Level all crafts; 1 day
Get all drops from a specific place/instance; 1 day
Finish a specific city mission rank 1-10; 1 day
Finish an expansion mission line (for example getting the entire CoP missionline complete); 1 day
Also might as well add 100% drop prate to every mob and also have multiple drop so the mob you kill will give you its entire loot table when you kill it.
There are many more examples that you can remove the time sinks on or shorten the time considerably.

As you can see by removing any kind of time sink you can finish FFXI in 2-3 weeks and devour 7 years of content. Your wishful thinking is simply impossible for a developer to maintain. If we take a look at WoW, which has a lot less time sink then FFXI they have solved the issue with raid lockouts. So instead of getting inside an instance and clear it 2-3 times/day and get your items instantly you can only do it 1 time/week. Even Blizzard with all its might cannot provide you with enough content, so they put a raid lock on you so that you don't finish it too fast.

Edited, Jul 24th 2009 11:10pm by Maldavian
#3 Jul 24 2009 at 7:28 PM Rating: Good
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SleepyWalrus wrote:
I think everyone can agree that the Time Sinks in FFXI at least have been out of control for a long time. Between four hour events, horrible drop rates, camping against players using third party tools, long repop timers, recapping buffers on multiple jobs, and just the basic task of making gil this game just feels more like a job than a game most of the time to me.


Yeah I can agree with you on this point... I'm kinda stuck with endgame and it's hard for me to get really really nice gear due to the fact that I just don't have the kind of time required for those events.I 'm stuck in this loop of 'level a job to 75, start over and level another to 75 etc'... but players still comment on my gear, asking 'why don't you have such-and-such a piece'. I do the best I can do, and I know my jobs well... but some people only seem to look at gear. {/sigh}

I also agree that there are times this game can feel more like a job, and players feel they have to or are required to do things. I hate wasting time trying to hunt NMs or do BCNMs and such only to get crap drops over and over. I don't like players that use 3rd party tools, if they can't play using their own skill and fairly then why even play?

That's why I'm excited about FFXIV, because they are basically saying we can play the game they way we want. If you want to do big fights and group stuff then do it, if you want to solo or duo then do it. Much more friendly to my very busy schedule, but we will have to see exactly how it works once SE gives us more info.

Ah well... yes I see where you are coming from and FFXI isn't all bad. I love the game... but the time sinks and endgame are annoying if you have a smaller play time than others. I know you need SOME content (story lines etc) that takes time to give a point (and interest) to the game... but seriously do we really need 30+ hour pop rates on NMs?

All we can hope is FFVIX pleases the hard core and casual players!

Edited, Jul 24th 2009 11:36pm by YfandesofBismarck
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#4 Jul 24 2009 at 7:32 PM Rating: Decent
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Maldavian wrote:
Time sinks are an important part of a MMO game.

Important in the way AIDS is an important disease. Time sinks are the absolute biggest problem in MMORPGs. It is something every game struggles with and wants to get rid of entirely but is unable to due to practicality.

Where we disagree is that you seem to believe that time sinks are a necessary evil--that they aren't great, but needed to extend the game. I believe that they're utterly pointless. If a game has 2 hours of content, then it should be a 2 hour game. It doesn't make the game better to add 10 hours of time wasting; it makes it worse.

Edited, Jul 24th 2009 10:33pm by Allegory
#5 Jul 24 2009 at 7:38 PM Rating: Good
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You have to look at SE's trajectory here...

How long have you been playing FFXI? I started at NA release and retired in 2006 because it took at least three hours to accomplish anything in-game.

Since then SE has lowered the exp required to reach level 75, introduced events like Campaign, actually made soloing viable, etc etc etc.

If anything, it seems like SE has spent the last ~five years developing FFXIV at least in part to correct many of the things they got wrong in FFXI. I've heard more than a few posters speculate that a lot of the recent additions to FFXI are being used by SE as "test-runs" for content that might appear in FFXIV.

When I look at where SE started and compare it with where they are now, I actually end up feeling pretty hopeful about FFXIV.
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#6 Jul 24 2009 at 7:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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Methinks I should interject,
Time Sink =/= Time Spent

Time Spent is taking a long time to get through Content.
Leveling and Crafting are Time Spent. They just happen to be more time spent in some games than others.

Time Sink is the artificial lengthening of Content.
Waiting for a NM to pop is a Time Sink. Your time is being wasted with no additional content by design.

Accessibility, the ability to be productive in a short period of time, is a term we're coining in this new casual MMO age. Something can require alot of Time Spent and still be Accessible. Something that has a Time Sink often can not.

Time Sink is a lazy leftover from the time when reaching the Endgame levels in an MMO was quite literally the end of the game. It was only acceptable back then because MMOs and MUDs were so niche and low budget (if it had a budget at all) a developer just couldn't afford to make enough Content to keep people interested for an acceptable length of time.

The lone guy tinkering with an envyMUD sourcecode to match his favorite theme in his free time gets a pass on Time Sinks. Multibillion dollar international corporations do not.


Edited, Jul 24th 2009 11:59pm by Zemzelette
#7 Jul 24 2009 at 7:47 PM Rating: Good
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Maldavian wrote:
Time sinks are an important part of a MMO game.


I can respect that you think that... but don't think time sinks are an important part of a game. I actually think it detracts from the game and makes people not want to play. I know tons of people who have left FFXI because it just took too much time to get things done. That aside, what attracts me to MMO's is the community, leveling jobs and having fun doing the quests and missions. The story line is also fun, having party's with my friends and interacting with people all over the world.

What I don't like are 15-30+ hour NM pops, or having to be on constantly to do fifty million events and spend 5 months (and tons of gil) to get one piece of armor. I mean just look at things like the relic weapons and mythic weapons... I know people who have spent tons of money and years (on relics) of their time trying to get those. I'm sure people wouldn't complain if SE made it slightly easier to achieve stuff like that. I'm not saying take all the challenge out of it, but seriously... years?? Yeah... time sinks like that don't really help the game in my opinion. I'm sure people will disagree, but the nice thing is we are all free to have our own opinion. =D
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#8 Jul 24 2009 at 7:56 PM Rating: Good
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Allegory wrote:
Important in the way AIDS is an important disease. Time sinks are the absolute biggest problem in MMORPGs. It is something every game struggles with and wants to get rid of entirely but is unable to due to practicality.

Where we disagree is that you seem to believe that time sinks are a necessary evil--that they aren't great, but needed to extend the game. I believe that they're utterly pointless. If a game has 2 hours of content, then it should be a 2 hour game. It doesn't make the game better to add 10 hours of time wasting; it makes it worse.


Totally agreed. I'd love to see content that lasts because of good design rather than content that lasts because it's been artificially bloated.
#9 Jul 24 2009 at 7:57 PM Rating: Decent
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akirussan wrote:
How long have you been playing FFXI?

I have been playing since mid 2004.
akirussan wrote:
Since then SE has lowered the exp required to reach level 75, introduced events like Campaign, actually made soloing viable, etc etc etc.

This is very true, I tried to focus on the things that were currently bothering me rather than older problems which have been remedied because I thought they would distract from my overall point which was that I worry about the future of the series. (Which I think was also probably for the best considering the post was already pretty long.)
akirussan wrote:
If anything, it seems like SE has spent the last ~five years developing FFXIV at least in part to correct many of the things they got wrong in FFXI. I've heard more than a few posters speculate that a lot of the recent additions to FFXI are being used by SE as "test-runs" for content that might appear in FFXIV.

This is what I have been hearing as well, and I can only hope it's true.
I don't think I would be able to play FFXIV if it is like FFXI.
#10 Jul 24 2009 at 8:01 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
The lone guy tinkering with an envyMUD sourcecode to match his favorite theme in his free time gets a pass on Time Sinks. Multibillion dollar international corporations do not.


I could not agree more with this post, it's nice to see I'm not the only one who feels this way.
#11 Jul 24 2009 at 9:12 PM Rating: Default
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Quote:
Important in the way AIDS is an important disease. Time sinks are the absolute biggest problem in MMORPGs. It is something every game struggles with and wants to get rid of entirely but is unable to due to practicality.

Where we disagree is that you seem to believe that time sinks are a necessary evil--that they aren't great, but needed to extend the game. I believe that they're utterly pointless. If a game has 2 hours of content, then it should be a 2 hour game. It doesn't make the game better to add 10 hours of time wasting; it makes it worse.


Just re-posting this to let everyone read how dumb it is twice.

I had something to say on this, but it is unimportant really.

Unimportant statement:

What would be nice is if we had fun things to do while the time sinks were in effect. Like crafting, soloing, or maybe even a fishing mini-game. (wait, has that already been thought of?) You know, like something that was fun to do (even if it is repetitive and the 'content' is about 1 minute) while waiting to get back into the core gameplay.

Quote:
If a game has 2 hours of content, then it should be a 2 hour game. It doesn't make the game better to add 10 hours of time wasting; it makes it worse.


Yeah, I suppose online games should have more than 2 hours of content... WAIT A TIC.. ever played a FPS? I bet in solo play there is about 10 minutes of content, but they rely on the player to make that 10 minutes of content worth spending hours of play. Yep, those hours spent designing a level in a FPS for multiplayer definitely made the game worse because we are required to play the same content over and over.


END UNIMPORTANT STATEMENT.

Quote:
Methinks I should interject,
Time Sink =/= Time Spent

Time Spent is taking a long time to get through Content.
Leveling and Crafting are Time Spent. They just happen to be more time spent in some games than others.

Time Sink is the artificial lengthening of Content.
Waiting for a NM to pop is a Time Sink. Your time is being wasted with no additional content by design.


Very true, but the majority of 'Time Sink' complaints I hear are about how long it takes to level. The NM respawn timers were inexcusable wastes. Looking for Group is a time waster... but if there are options to do something productive while waiting, then it really isn't such a waste. Like crafting,fishing,soloing while the LFG flag is raised. (obviously all 3 of those need to be more viable options than they were in FFXI)


Edited, Jul 25th 2009 1:16am by Shazaamemt
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#12 Jul 24 2009 at 10:46 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'm inclined to agree,

Whatever extracurricular activities you pursue while LFG has no bearing on your success. But the design of NM hunting favors sitting there, in a specific spot, staring hawkeyed at the screen just ******* your life away. They're both annoying wastes of the player's time, but I'd only point a finger at the developer for intentional Time Sink on the latter.

As for using Time Sink to describe leveling, I'm kind of on the fence about that.

I don't have anything against folks who want to use the word that way. But I don't think it's fair to call FFXI's levelling a Time Sink. For it's time, FFXI actually had a very forgiving grind. So while it might seem intentionally inflated by today's standards, historically FFXI had done alot to remove the time investment of the leveling process.





Edited, Jul 25th 2009 3:09am by Zemzelette
#13 Jul 24 2009 at 10:54 PM Rating: Decent
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Shazaamemt wrote:
Just re-posting this to let everyone read how dumb it is twice.

CapnCrass wrote:
Allegory wrote:
Stuff Allegory said.

Totally agreed. I'd love to see content that lasts because of good design rather than content that lasts because it's been artificially bloated.

It appears you are in the minority when it comes to that opinion Shazaament.
Shazaamemt wrote:
Yeah, I suppose online games should have more than 2 hours of content... WAIT A TIC.. ever played a FPS?

I know you don't get it and probably won't get it, but I'll try. You're failing to understand for two important reasons.

1. The objective of a game is for the player to have fun. Any activity that directly achieves that objective, where the player is having fun, is not a time sink; it's not wasting the players' time. Any activity that does not achieve the activity, a span of time where the player is bored or not enjoying herself, is a waste of time. Repetition doesn't matter. Duration doesn't matter. All that determines whether something is a waste of time or not is whether the player is having fun. If people enjoy themselves while playing an FPS game, regardless of how repetitive you assert the content is, then their time is not being wasted.

2. For some reason you failed to realize the important detail that FPS games are usually multiplayer competitive games. Thus while the exact content of the map may take 10 minutes to explore, human opponents supply a constant stream of new content to the player. FPS games don't have 10 minutes of content per level, they have an indefinite amount, like poker, tennis, or chess. If you remove all other human players from the map, then I suppose you could say there is 10 minutes worth of content, but you're not really describing an FPS game anymore.

It is acceptable to miss details. It is a shame to deliberately ignore them hoping to pawn off your point.

Edited, Jul 25th 2009 1:55am by Allegory
#14 Jul 25 2009 at 7:27 AM Rating: Excellent
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Shazaamemt wrote:
Yeah, I suppose online games should have more than 2 hours of content... WAIT A TIC.. ever played a FPS? I bet in solo play there is about 10 minutes of content, but they rely on the player to make that 10 minutes of content worth spending hours of play.


Multiplayer in a FPS is a great example of limited content that remains fresh and engaging for a long time. It's fun, primarily because it's dynamic. I'd love to see a similar concept applied to all time-intensive aspects of a MMO (doesn't have to be PvP, either; PvE benefits just as much from a dynamic environment).

By contrast: Blowing the living **** out of Giddeus for days on end to get enough Norg rep so you can level NIN is not fun. Killing 200 mobs with a sword that swings once every three years is not fun. That's the kind of "time sink" we're opposed to: The mindless, repetitive, only-there-to-waste-your-time variety.

If I made a FPS where you were required to put 10,000 rounds through a gun on the firing range (not the "campaign mode" or whatever; a stand-in-one-place-and-shoot-one-target firing range) before you were allowed to use it elsewhere in the game, people would *****. Why should a MMO be any different?
#15 Jul 25 2009 at 10:42 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:

2. For some reason you failed to realize the important detail that FPS games are usually multiplayer competitive games. Thus while the exact content of the map may take 10 minutes to explore, human opponents supply a constant stream of new content to the player. FPS games don't have 10 minutes of content per level, they have an indefinite amount, like poker, tennis, or chess. If you remove all other human players from the map, then I suppose you could say there is 10 minutes worth of content, but you're not really describing an FPS game anymore.

It is acceptable to miss details. It is a shame to deliberately ignore them hoping to pawn off your point.


Yeah, remove the human players from the map then there is 10 minutes of content. That was my point.

Remove the human players from a MMO and 2 hours of content sucks, add the human players in and it all of a sudden becomes a vibrant world.

Does it not count because it is a RPG?

Quote:

1. The objective of a game is for the player to have fun. Any activity that directly achieves that objective, where the player is having fun, is not a time sink; it's not wasting the players' time.


Yes, and if you don't like playing the same game over and over, then you quit. Unless you enjoy the repetition and covering the same '10 minutes of content' over and over again. That is why FPS multiplayer and poker are both continually popular games. If you don't have fun playing repetitive tasks to earn reputation, experience points, ability points, or just to perfect your strategy... then maybe a MMORPG is just not the game for you.

Edited, Jul 26th 2009 2:46am by Shazaamemt
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#16 Jul 26 2009 at 2:45 PM Rating: Excellent
SE kinda screwed themselves when they introduced the relic weapons. In effect, they imposed a cap on progression. When you're talking about gear that takes hundreds upon hundreds of hours of currency farming and/or farming gil to buy said currency, what they basically did was ensure that at no point in time could they allow any gear to advance beyond that standard.

There is a camp of people who look at another alternative to that kind of artificial progression cap (ie. constant progression the evolves as the game does) and denounce it as a bad system because all of your "hard work" winds up meaningless when the next major batch of content is released and better rewards are made available.

Considering the concept of relics as they were introduced to FFXI (and I'm using relics as the best example I know of for a ridiculous time sink based on my own personal MMO experience), I think SE would have been much better off drastically cutting the cost in terms of dynamis currency for upgrading the weapons, and only including the first upgrade with Dynamis in all its incarnations. Then, when CoP was released, in addition to "AF2" they would have released another phase of relic upgrades. Then another with ToAU, and another with WoTG, etc. Having such an epic, drawn out process tied to old, old content (ie. Dynamis) was a poor choice on SE's part.

Having it so that in most cases their were weapons that were easier (and cheaper) to obtain that were better than all but the second to last upgrade to a relic weapon was also a mistake. In addition, each relic upgrade would ideally have been something that would have made players say, "Wow! Cool!" instead of useless weapon -> useless in Vana'diel/mediocre in Dynamis -> mediocre in Vana'diel and Dynamis -> good + WS -> awesome. 2 epic grinds for upgrades that are crap before you end up with something decent before the final step to something truly worth an extended grind? And when that extended grind takes place over years in the same zones? Even worse.

I'm hoping with FFXIV that SE abandons the notion that they have to force players to revisit content for years if they want to continue progressing their characters. I don't know anyone who loads up FFX to play Blitzball twice/week for three hours and has been doing so since they bought FFX at retail release. Why? Because most people can only stand so much repetition before it's no longer entertaining. They might repeat for a while until it's a bit dull, take a break, and then go back to it months/years later for ***** and giggles, but when you dangle such an enormous carrot that people don't feel like they can afford to take a break without setting themselves back, something is wrong.
#17 Jul 26 2009 at 9:19 PM Rating: Decent
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Yeah relics are a very good example of the worst of the time sinks.

I think it points out one of the most glaring flaws in FFXI, the lack of itemization.

I like the idea of certain weapons only being held by a few players, it allows players to become more involved, ie: 'Do you play with Elmer? OMG he is the only person with the staff of the pointy stick on the entire server!'

There is a desperate need for more 'in-between' weapons dividing things like joyuse and excaliber.

I don't mind having relic weapons that only a select few can obtain, but don't dangle it in every players face (like that proverbial carrot AureliusSir mentioned), and don't let the majority of players miss out on things like relic weapon skills just because they don't know a player like (for example) Elmer with the pointy stick. Just let the 'staff of the pointy stick' have its epicness, and allow players to obtain 'staff of the not-quite-as-pointy stick'.



EDIT: oh and dynamis was a fail on design. The developers themselves said that they would have removed it years ago if they could, but it was too much a part of the economy and gameplay to excise. (meaning, 'we screwed the pooch on that one, add it to the list of things to change in the next MMO')



Edited, Jul 27th 2009 1:21am by Shazaamemt
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