KarlHungis Delivers on Time wrote:
One of the major selling points of FFXIV, visually, is the high level of detail in the environments. S-E did a "Making of Eorzea" segment talking about how all of the environments are hand crafted with each individual barrel or piece fruit placed by a designer. To then turn around and copy-past an entire section of a zone just seems pretty lazy in light of their earlier claims.
They're not the first developers to do it, not even MMO developers. For example, in vanilla World of Warcraft, every cave has one of two layouts, and every mine has one of two layouts, etc. It wasn't until Wrath of the Lich King (the second expansion) that every single building, cave, and piece of terrain was truly hand crafted and unique. However, the difference in quality between vanilla/burning crusade and Wrath is astonishing. Those hand crafted locations (along with higher poly counts and better textures) make Wrath look like a completely different game than earlier WoW areas. One of the things that Blizzard is doing with their looming expansion "Cataclysm" is to go back and blow up a lot of the same old copy pasted old world terrain. Literally the entire old world is being remade or altered by hand. The game will surely look and feel like a much more compelling world because of this.
Copy pasting IS noticeable. Just because you didn't notice it in the first few hours of play doesn't mean that you won't notice it eventually. It Will make the game world less compelling when you enter a cave and that even though you've never been in THAT cave, its the same cave you've been in a dozen times before. It kills whatever sense of immersion you have. It does make a difference, and it's worth complaining about, if for no other reason than to prevent Square from doing more of it in the future.
Also please everyone keep in mind that when we criticize this it's NOT buildings we're talking about. Architectural designs are going to follow the same style when you're talking about the same civilization, so copy/pasted fruit stands and houses I actually EXPECT to happen. When you're talking about landscapes though, the sweeping geographical formations of the world, chaos theory states that you will NEVER encounter the exact same geographical formation twice. When you're talking about the world, you're talking about environments that have been shaped over billions of years by wind and rain and heat and cold into the shapes they have now, there's simply no conceivable way for any of these formations to ever be identical to one another.
Now, do I expect THAT level of detail in a game? Nope. But I expect the illusion of that level of detail. For instance FFXI: I'm sure it used copy/pasting of certain terrain features, but it's hidden well and isn't obvious. It's entirely possible in that game to figure out where you are in a zone you know well purely by landmarks, that isn't possible in FFXIV because identical landmarks are evenly distributed across the entire zone every few dozen yards.
This breaks immersion, and it's also hilarious after the Making of Eorza videos that attempt to demonstrate how exactly this didn't happen. Edited, Sep 18th 2010 2:26pm by Callinon
EDIT: I fail at grammar Edited, Sep 18th 2010 2:27pm by Callinon