as some wise sage once said... in fact right here on this forum... THIS WAS A BETA. beta's are inherently flawed, filled with errors and prone to quit, crash, fail and get under your skin! :) that's why i love being part of a beta - you never know what you're getting yourself into! Open beta's, or as some are called these days, "Demos" can be a tough pill to swallow for some, those of us now used to an open beta being more like a slightly unpolished version of the game - with a few minor issues. this was a real Open Beta.
how do you review a beta? well, if you're talking points don't include technical jargon, back-end server issues, client interfaces, loads, dumps and beta-tester day-to-day notes and feedback, then it must be the game we're talking about!
i'm a life-long fan of the FF franchise... not one to play mmo's until i was introduced to FFXI - it was love at first sight. the one thing i know is that FF has always changed up it's game with every new entry into the franchise. FFXIV is no exception.
so, while FFXIV borrows, steals and occasionally pulls something out of the air, it is without a doubt an FF game. it's beautiful, fun (if you don't include the tedious menu nesting) and eludes to a wide, varied and deep story-line. issues in game play for me were in no particular order...
1. running around and seeing the sites - with the keyboard it sucked, it was a lot easier with my 360 controller... obvious to most i ran across in-game, this is a game designed for the console being released first on the PC to iron out as many issues as possible before the PS3 launch.
2. fighting was tough as i could never really tell what lvl a mob was! it ranged from a tiny squirrel, easy prey to a tiny squirrel incredibly tough... and now i learn the possible addition of spikes on or around the shield to indicate that while a mob is an EP, if it has some additional spike or shield - it may have attributes that make it a tough battle. ok - that's new, and once i get used to it - it'll be obvious which mobs i'll fight solo, and which will slap me around silly! :) i switched between my controller and keyboard when in a battle, controller for moving around and keyboard for the numerical pad.
3. getting around the menus was tedious - "NESTING!!". nothing to do with server response times... which at times was unbearable, but more about how many times you gotta click to get to something that could be a little higher in the hierarchy - such as selling to an NPC or or setting up your bazaar. again, i chose my 360 controller for these tasks. i'd be interested to know if users found a healthy middle-ground between their controller (if they used one) and their keyboard.
4. no hardware mouse was the reason i reached for my 360 controller in the first place! just saying.
5. market wards, retainers are fine... just gotta get used to them and the system. have to say though that if there are 50 retainers in any given area, there's got to be a better way of knowing who has what and how much without clicking on each and every retainer... there was so much stuff i wasn't looking for - i felt as if time was wasted looking. a few people were smart and named their retainers "CRYSTALS", or "LINEN", or something like "MEATS" - naming what they MOSTLY sold... not of course saying they didn't have a few gems hidden in their inventory! :)
6. anima, teleporting - or lack of anima - but it seems as if this issue has been or will be addressed by retail this week - as well as the hardware mouse.
summary: i loved the beta/game - was as addictive as FFXI was when i first ran into Jeuno !! graphics are gorgeous and i love the new mobs. the races available as well as the options in creating characters are great... and now i hear there may be more on retail launch. yummy. who knows what we'll have for the PS3 version. fighting is fun... i like not just having to sit back and watch auto attack roll the dice for me... i have to interact - and for me that's a big plus. the vistas in the game are incredible... running between the cities, boarding the ferry and discovering hidden caves, valleys and mobs! players who didn't get a chance to participate in the Open Beta, did miss out, but will be well rewarded either on the 22nd or 30th, when they pull the plastic off the box and enter the world of Eorzea.
Arduino Edenfell, Lancer
Disciple of War and Magic
Black Shroud, Gridania