Another example, many people I know that are my age say FFVII is the best Final Fantasy game ever and shoot down any new Final Fantasy for no other reason than the fact that it's not FFVII. They would be content with Square-Enix if they just remade it over and over again because it's what they grew up with in a time when they were younger and happier.
FF7 was good, but it was certainly not the best. FF7 marked the turning point where Squaresoft stepped out of their previous track record of "Story first, graphics second" and launched into a "Graphics first, Story second" mode. The story was still there but if you ask the people for whom 7 was their first, who REFUSE to play any game before 7, why they refuse, it is ALWAYS the same answer. Graphics.
Square has had decent stories but it was the CD-ROM/DVD-ROM era of games that ended up with Square, later Square-Enix relying less on the story and more on the graphics and cutscenes, and the players who ******* themselves over the "awesome graphics" and completely overlook gaping plotholes.
It is for this reason that I cannot take anyone seriously who says that FF7 was the best FF in their opinion when it was also the first they played. Any other FF game; 6, 4, 9, 12, **** even 13 despite the fact that it was my least favorite... But if someone says their FIRST FF was 7 and that they also think it was the best...I just instantly lose any chance of taking anything they have to say seriously from that point on, ever.
It's not that I dislike 7, it's just that it it is one of the most overrated games of all time. Go ahead, look up any "Most overrated games" list ANYWHERE and it ends up in the top 5 pretty consecutively.
This was exacerbated by the fact that 7 brought a lot of new players into the RPG genre who had never played the previous FF games and were unaware of the fact that aside from a few similarities such as chocobos, crystals, moogles, and a guy named Cid, previous titles had very little in common with each other.
So of course when 8 came out, the common complaints about it were the same. "Where's Cloud?" "Why don't I have Materia? "Who the **** is Squall?" There was this bum rush of new players to 7 who hated 8 for no reason than "It's not 7". Again, I'm not saying that 8 was a great game; I liked 7 more than I liked 8 too, but 8 was quite possibly the only FF game that received as much vitriol as it did for not being the same as a previous title (When none of them were). By the time 9 came around, it wasn't as bad and people started getting the hint. 10 became quite popular because, having passed three sequels, the notion of "They're all different" had finally gotten drilled into people's brains. I personally was not a huge fan of X, but I will say that at the same people who were unwilling to give 8 a fair shake were willing to give X a try.
And then there was the movie. Oh ****, the movie.
Take off the first two words and call it "Spirits Within" and it would have been a spectacular success. It was only a failure because of all the reviewers who gave it a poor rating not on the quality or content of the movie, but because "It didn't have anything to do with the game". And by "The game", they meant "Final Fantasy VII", specifically. I read reviews saying talking about how the movie "lacked classic Final Fantasy characters" like Cloud and Tifa or how it "Didn't talk about familiar places like Midgar". COMPLETELY MISSING THE POINT.
No Final Fantasy title has the rabidly blind fanbase that FF7 has developed. It's like a **** cult. Don't believe me? Look at GameFAQs Character Battles. Cloud and/or Sephiroth end up in the top four every single time without fail. Ususally the top two.
In the 9 tournaments they appeared in (they weren't even included at all in two tournaments, but put in a seperate bracket all by themselves away from everyone else), Cloud and/or Sephiroth appear in the top two six times, and made the top four the other three. In two "Best Game Ever" tournaments, FF7 has won once (over Chrono Trigger) and came in second the other time (behind OOT)
The amount by which FF7 is so overrated is just otherworldly that it could quite possibly give Halo a run for its money in terms of fanboys.
But anyway.... back to the topic:
First, let me say that I'm not in the beta yet. Still waiting on P3 beta keys. But, based on what I have heard, here are the things I liked about XI and dislike about XIV:
3) Lack of an Auction House. I could be fine with retainers if they add a workable, robust search feature. But if FFXIV turns into Rollanmart, that's just going to be annoying as ****. I know I'm a proponent of being unique and not copying things just because "everyone else does them" but in this situation, I think SE is trying to reinvent the wheel and has a triangle-shaped wheel that they want us to use because they think triangles are different and more fun. Being unique is one thing, but don't do it at the cost of functionality. Again, if they add in a search feature to the retainers then I don't need an AH. But without the ability to view EVERYONE'S wares at once and scan through a list to see everything that is available, it will not work. I don't want to have to know what I'm looking for before I look and I don't want to have to run around and check 20 different shops to compare prices.
2) Inability to rest/Ctrl+H. Yes, I know Aetherite restores MP. Yes, I know they're all over the place. No, I don't care. MP should either regen on its own or there should be an option to rest and restore MP, otherwise mages will ALWAYS take a back seat to melees in terms of XP rate and invite rate. No one is going to want to invite a mage that needs to run to a crystal every few fights when they can invite a melee that doesn't.
1) Inability to "camp and grind". It's pretty obvious the game wants you to do guildleves. The problem is that I worry there might be TOO MUCH emphasis on guildleves. You know how when Sanction ran out in FFXI, people would rather break party than run back and get it again? Or how when the Candescence was gone, no one wanted to XP at all because if they couldn't have the +10% XP bonus, it "isn't worth it"? That's what I fear; I fear that people are going to group for guildleves, and then as soon as the guildleves are over, the party will just disband. If guildleves offer TOO MUCH incentive to do them then people will ONLY want to XP with them, and will go solo instead afterwards instead of grouping and grinding. It won't be an option if you can't find others to do it with.
Now before anyone says anything, I'm well aware that this is still beta and things can change. That's why I'm not running around like chicken little screaming about how the game is dead and I'm canceling my preorder and blah blah... I still plan to play it and give it a chance. Who knows, despite my objections, I may end up liking it. Or my objections may get addressed. Or I may hate it and in which case I'll just bow out because it isn't the game for me.
I'm not going to judge the game based on the beta, but these are my concerns for retail and for the game's longevity.