Cookie cutter builds will show up. Its just a matter of time. I expect end game to have cookie cutter dps, healing, and tank classes. I mean its inevitable since it happens in all games.
Well, probably, but not necessarily. It happens in games because games lend themselves to it, but games can be effectively designed without that problem.
Much of that comes down to style and cosmetics, and what I mean by that is that when people gripe about the inevitability of cookie cutters, what they're usually complaining about is that everyone ends up being the same. There are a lot of ways around that, and a main one is just in making more cosmetic customization. If you can customize your clothes and weapon stats, then you can create effectively the same gear without ending up looking like everyone else, or for that matter, anyone else. And that can go further with abilities and spells that are also cosmetically different but functionally the same. Basically, separate the math from the graphics.
And another big factor there is enemy status and AI. In most games, FFXI being no exception, mobs are fundamentally very similar, as are the battle situations you find yourself in. But even in FFXI you begin to hear more advanced players, even after all of their statistical analysis, saying things like ********** is situational." The more situational **** is, the less cookie cutter builds become.
Finally, there's the importance of player skill. The more important player skill is, and the less important player build is, the less likely people are to fixate on optimum builds.
Take those three major traits away, and you will see a lot less discussion over which cookie cutter is best, and a lot more baking and eating cookies.
That's definitely what I hope they mean when they say they're avoiding the traditional job names. The trouble is that so far they've seemed quite happy to label playstyles with other names, like this Thaumaturge business. So are there still rigid jobs, with the ability to switch easily between them, or is the job system so seamless that titles are just suggestions? As far as I can tell, they aren't saying.
Yeah, I'm hoping its the latter, but we just don't have enough to go on (and if I had to guess based on what's out so far, I'd guess the former). I'm really not going to be impressed by the fluidity of a system that allows you to switch freely between rigid jobs.
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...
Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.
Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.