Here's my thing:
I played FFXI. There was a lot of endgame content I could do. I tried it all and liked most of it. All of it gave me gear, and most of the gear was good.
I liked this aspect of this game and it was the reason I played as long as I did. Getting gear meant that the gear I got would be worth something a month from now. Or two months, or six, or twelve, or twenty four.
I played WoW. There USED to be a lot of endgame content I could do, until WotLK. Then the gae became divided into "The one true raid" and "The inferior raids that you shouldn't bother with". In every raid that WoW has ever had, with every boss kill, every piece of gear came with the once subtle, now blatant reminder that it has an expiration date, and once Blizzard releases new content in less than half a year, this gear will be worthless, forgotten, trash.
I hated this aspect of the game. There were two reasons I quit WoW, despite being otherwise a good gae, and this was the number one reason. This is the reason I will never go back to WoW.
One can say "Even if the gear is crap, you can still go run Molten Core or Black Temple" or "Gear isn't everything" but to me, endgame is three parts: "Do content. Get gear. Repeat."
It's fine and good to say that "doing the content is its own reward" but to me, it's not. Sure, the content may be enjoyable to me, but the real reward for me will ALWAYS be getting gear for myself and my friends. When the dragon dies, I want to see our White Mage get a new hat, or see our Paladin get a new shield, or maybe even get a new sword myself. Watching the dragon die, spit out his loot, and seeing it all passed on as D2s are passed out is what ruins a game for me. It's what ruined WoW for me, and if that's what happens in FFXIV, I will quit.
Sure, you can make the argument that "Well, WoW makes its old gear worthless when it introduces new gear, and people are fine with that" or "Most gamers want to constantly replace their gear; they don't like hanging on to it".
If that's the case, and most games offer that type of progression, then I don't see why "most gamers" can't just play "most games". FFXI is the only game I'm aware of that offers such a massive variety of endgame content with equally valid gear options. I'm hoping FFXIV will offer the same type of experience; lots of options of what to do, and lots of gear options as rewards. I'm hoping it doesn't jump on the "better, better, better, better, better" bandwagon that other MOGs follow. Because if every game is going to do the exact same thing; where does that leave players who -don't- like it?
It's easy to say "If you don't like the way this game is, go play something else"; it's a valid point. I've tried a lot of games. When I determine that I don't like it, I don't whine and ***** that "this game needs X like that other game", I look for a game that has X.
Now that FFXI has upped its level cap and thoroughly obsoleted just about everything that was "great gear" as of two days ago, I can't even go back to -that- anymore.
So as I said before, I'd like to see a variety of endgame content options, not see them constantly replaced. That whole "New level cap and new gear puts everything on equal footing"; I'm glad it works so well for WoW, but I didn't like it, so I quit to get AWAY from it. I don't want it. I want lots of ways to get gear and I want that gear to last me a long time. That's what I want in an MMOG. Up until two days ago, I only knew of one game that has that.
The last thing I want to see is to find out that a game I've been waiting to play since its announcement as project rapture has taken on the qualities that caused me to quit a game I once enjoyed (WoW). Because the only thing worse than a game's developers implementing a system that causes you to quit a game you like is to have TWO developers cause you to quit TWO games you like.
I don't want to end up on a weekly endgame schedule again, but if FFXIV endgame is a constant reiteration of "This is the only content worth doing for gear, this is the only gear worth wearing, and all your other gear is trash" like WoW had... I'll have no choice but to quit.
Edited, Jun 22nd 2010 6:35am by Mikhalia