I should be wanting to play this game, and thinking logically to myself, well it's beta, so I shouldn't invest that much time, but the game should make me *want* to invest time in it, beta or not.
I think their a few main things from keeping this game from being great.
The world seems large and small at the same time. The zones themselves are huge, but at the same time there aren't many of them. I think most of the huge feeling comes from being a new game, with new uncharted territory. Example, whenever I play a new level in an FPS, like Halo for instance, the level seems huge and complex, once I learn the level, it seems much smaller. I can only assume the same will happen with FFXIV, the main starting cities are right next to each other, zone wise.
They said earlier about how they wanted the combat system to be like this party vs party thing, where you would have your party, vs a group of mobs, and have to mind your positioning and such, I have seen nothing of this prevalent in the beta as of now.
Aggro seems random, I was doing one of those leve's with a couple of friends, where the last mob you had to kill would run away and you had to chase it, and 2 more things spawned once you go there. We made sure to have our tank go in first figuring they would aggro on sight/proximity.
So the tank goes in first, me (Mar) and the other guy (thaum) hang back a couple seconds, and then dive in. As soon as our thaumaturge got within say, 10 meters the 2 wolves automatically switched aggro to the thaumaturge, basically killing him with TP moves before he could even throw a heal out. It's also worth mentioning that our Gladiator used an AoE TP move and dealt around 100 damage to each mob before this.
As a Marauder they're giving me AoE weapon skills, and AoE regular attacks at very early stages of the game, yet i've found little to no use for these AoE skills. I tried to fight 2 mobs at once, using only AoE, the problem I found was if I was fighting mobs that were high level enough to give me any weapon skill I would be dead, even using abilities like defender, and bloodbath.
I figured, well, since you can't really solo multiple mobs down at once, it's most likely intended for group play, so I got together with 4 friends, and we went xp'ing. The mobs aggro was so wildly random that I could never line up an AoE cone attack, and had to resort to the AoE around me, attack. When I would use it, I would pretty much immediately draw aggro and take a ton of damage, and either die right there, or get healed, and the healer would die. I was also being smart not to use my TP skills until after the Gladiator had used a couple of his own.
A few times I would run up, after the Gladiator had initiated on the mob, using red lotus blade, and a couple normal attacks (around 200 damage total) and I would pull out my weapon, hit it once for 50 damage, and immediately pull aggro.
The new skill chain system isn't very good from what i've experienced of it. I'm not just talking about the glitch where it doesn't go off either, i'm just talking about the system in general. It takes longer to setup than a skill chain, and yields a worse reward. Would I rather have a big burst of damage that's equal to or greater than the last weapon skill used in the chain, and give the mages a chance to capitalize on it with a big damage burst.... or do I want to Bind the mob? The FFXI system feels more intuitive and satisfying.
I think this game has a lot of potential, if they fix the aggro issues, which i'm sure they will, and make party play worth while, I think I would enjoy the game very much, but at the moment, it's not really holding my attention like FFXI did.
TL;DR Go back and read it.
Edited, Sep 13th 2010 12:05pm by FeanaroOnPhoenix