But already the excitement is being overshadowed by the realization that SE has shown no 'learning' from FFXI. SE please pay attention, we speak for your own benefit!
From browsing many complaint threads today, some very well written, the pattern is clear that they have exactly repeated if not even worsened many crucial mistakes. For example :
1 - Clearly this is another console (ps3) game that has been badly crammed into a PC port. The abnormally inefficient CPU/GPU use, lack of hardware mouse, etc, are a good sign of this. This is a problem because in FFXI, SE never got around to improving the efficiency of the PC port.
2 - Horrible, HORRIBLE menu setups. Things take more menus and confirmations to get done than FFXI! How did they think it was ok to make something more complicated in a 'casual' game! Crafting is a mess of menus and waiting for laggy interface to load... It's a mess!! I'm confused because FFXI's menus were always very simple, effective, strightforward. Why not just copy it exactly with some improvements on top??
Completely redoing simple menu structures, and the menu lag should be the top of your list.
Fire whoever was the architect of the purchase/crafting/bazaar setup/equipment change interface structure, he's phoning it in bigtime and doesn't know his job. JUST COPY FFXI!
Stop making me click 5 menus to do 1 thing!!!!
3 - Very little guidance on basic game functions like setting skills, levequest cooldown system, properly setting bazaar prices... This wasn't a problem for me because I look things up, but for the 'casual' audience, they will be left with no way to figure any of these obscure things out! Come on SE... You're relying on these community sites to do your job again. Not everyone out there knows there are community sites, or want to spend their time on them!
4 - HORRIBLE UI!!! Skills for your current class NEED to be displayued automatically when you enter skill setting mode. So many people don't know they have skills to set because they don't realize they need to open the pulldown and choose their job. Skills need to be drag/dropable into the slots. And Straightn up the equipment slots for god's sake. Trying to select an earring is like navigating a maze of equipment slots, more often than not the select box will skip over the item you're trying to select.
5 - Not opening a forum to accept community feedback from the NA/EU. Japanese don't complain much. If SE wanted to improve they would open up for us who aren't afraid to tell the truth to a corporation.
Which brings me to my final concern. They don't want to improve, it's clear at the moment.
They want to squeeze by again like they did in FFXI, without making efforts to grow in the most basic aspects of user friendlyness, and banking on the FFXI fans eating whatever mangled thing they serve up. Meaning like FFXI, this game will end up being a moderate success, and never live up to its true potential.
I'm calling you out on this SE. Change. Learn from the feedback and change quickly.
There is a lot of good discussion this thread.
From that thread, this one is a good read for SE too.
The One and Only Aurelius:
Of all the things SE could do to vastly improve the UI, none of them would require offering one UI for PC and something different for console. I'll offer a few examples:
1) Setting action bars. Yes, it can be done with a macro. Pretty shoddy to pass that part off to the player in this day and age, but it is what it is. First thing SE would do well to do is code distinct action bar palettes for every class. You shouldn't even have to key a macro to refresh your action bar when you switch from your mining pick to your sword/axe/bow/whatever. It should be automatic. And when it comes time to tweak and adjust the palette for a given class because you added a new ability or just want to change the layout, you can do a drag-and-drop system for both PC and console that would look and operate identically to one another...the only difference is that PC would do it with a click + drag of the mouse, and console would do it with a button + analog stick movement. If SE can manage that, they'll have overcome one of the more glaring deficiencies in the current system.
2) Nested menus. So, so unnecessary in so many cases. The loot pool -> inventory is one example. Why 5 layers? Why not an icon on screen (same spot as the interaction notification, maybe?) when you have something in your loot pool? One click (bonus points if you can bind a hotkey to it) to open the loot pool. That gets rid of 2 layers right there. And then instead of having a final option to choose whether you want to put the item in your bag or drop it, just have a "Drop" option on the list manu with a confirmation box so you don't accidentally lob your newly acquired Marmot **** +3 into the nether? Simple. Five layers down to two.
Confirming main/offhand for equipping abilities to your action bar is another example. Just on a lark, I decide to see what would happen if I tried to equip Rampart in my offhand slot. It told me it couldn't be done. So if the system can determine that it's not an option, why waste my time forcing me to respond to yet another submenu to select which hand to equip it to at all?
3) Crafting. We're still in the midst of trying to transition to a paperless world. Why no recipe book? They have the functionality for one already in the game, but it's backwards. First you have to enter the materials and then select from the list of recipes. What's the point of that? Looking at the variety in recipes even in the lower ranks, there's not going to be a whole mess of people having everything memorized. I thought SE was beyond the days of MysteryTour's extensive collection of recipes, but apparently not. It doesn't add depth to the game, it most certainly doesn't add rewarding challenge, and frankly I don't anticipate too many people are going to be all that thrilled about scrolling through clunky item lists to assemble materials for multiple-component recipes. Lag or no lag, it's tedious.
4) Repairs. I understand what they're wanting to accomplish. They want players to be the go-to people for having your gear repaired if you don't have the crafting skill to do it yourself. No problem. Regardless, I had to stop by the repair vendor earlier because my gladiator's highly functional cloth armor was torn to shreds. I was briefly relieved that it had the option to repair all gear...until I found out that I still had to go through and confirm each and every piece of gear that I wanted to have repaired. I said repair all, as opposed to specific pieces, so just do it and let me get on about my business.
All of these things and more can be addressed regardless of platform. It's just a shame that SE set it up the way that they did. And the issue for most people doesn't seem to be that it needs tweaking...the issue is that it's crap. It's not even close to where one might expect it to be. It makes you wonder about the thought processes behind the developers if they can so thoroughly bungle something so crucial to the gameplay experience, and with no option to continue to voice feedback in a centralized location, it raises the question as to whether or not we can count on SE to get it right now and into the future.
Edited, Sep 5th 2010 3:04pm by RattyBatty
Edited, Sep 5th 2010 3:05pm by RattyBatty