I think XIV will fix alot of the problems of XI for two very important reasons.
Excerpt from RPG Fan
around the time XI was released:
"The eleventh installment of one of the most heralded and successful franchises in videogame history went online over a month ago. Already prior to the launch, Square announced that Final Fantasy XI will have an offline successor sometime next year. This has very little to do with the various problems that accompanied the launch of PlayOnline and Final Fantasy XI, but rather with economics. Even though Final Fantasy XI's development cost Square "only" 12 million USD (compared to 30 million USD for each PS installment of the series, and between 30 and 40 million USD for FFX)
100,000 subscribers to Final Fantasy XI are obviously less lucrative than a potential three million sold copies of Final Fantasy XII. Apart from FFXI, don't expect a lot of online titles coming out of the Arco Tower. Square CEO and President Yoichi Wada in a recent interview commented on a light-hearted online RPG scheduled for a 2003 release, but declined to give any details. Square's objective with online gaming right now is to gain experience
and increase its popularity (otherwise the company could have opted to make, let's say Seiken Densestu Online), and make profit only in a long term."
My outlook is largely positive.
XIV's five year production cycle implies something to the tune of triple-to-quadruple that of XI's budget. As cold as this may sound, I'm a firm believer that money makes the world go round. Although I'm unclear whether the second bolded part is the writer's assertion or gleaned from interviews, it's something I agree with.
While 12 million is actually pretty **** good for an Everquest-era MMO, it's was a pittance to SquareEnix. It really gives the impression of testing the waters. Not that I blame them, this was years before WoW popularized the genre, everyone
was testing the waters. But the fact remains I don't think XI is a thorough example of what SE is capable of.
Everyone who could afford to write the development cost check settled down to make an MMO after seeing the success of WoW (SE included). And the fruits of their labor will come to bear in 2010. The market will be more competitive than it's ever been, and each company knows it. When companies compete, customers win.
But that doesn't mean I don't keep a critical eye.
While I can understand from a financial perspective why SE's customer service has notably slipped recently, the fact remains at no point should a company rely on my understanding. Some kind of communication was required, and it's absence is something I'll remember. Also I have some aesthetics concerns; the races primarily, but I've made no secret of that. Edited, Oct 12th 2009 8:08pm by Zemzelette