This is a long one. And before I get rate bombed - trust me, I'm enjoying certain elements of the game very much. I agree with most of the issues being discussed on this forum, but that doesn't make me a hater.
One thing I haven't noticed being talked about are the functions of a party, and how they work co-operatively to achieve a simple goal.
Today I set up a 6 man party to help out a guy. The party consisted of:
Gladiator 10 with Rank 7 Shield skill (Me)
Gladiator 10, Dagger
We try a shared Rank 10 leve on 3 Star difficulty, supposedly a good challenge for a group of our size. We absolutely rolled the leve in a matter of seconds. There was no point in the PT assisting me the main tank, one mob at a time. The healer barely lifted his staff.
We change tack, and try our next leves at 5 Star difficulty. This should prove to be a more substantial challenge, calling in proper use of skills and abilities.
We arranged roles and duties. It's pretty simple: Archer pulls the highlighted mob. I engage and gain early enmity. Then everyone gets in and whacks the beast til it falls. Healer casts nice healy spells. Thaum does enfeebs and other thaumy stuff. Everyone wins.
In practice, we found a cluster@#%^ of mobs that cannot be pulled individually, bent enmity mechanics - shared hate, sure, but this was a total crapshoot even down to blind links. I managed to stay on my feet for a while, but the healer said its very hard to cure individual members as the PT health bars do not highlight your currently selected PT member ala FFXI. Soon we were eating dirt.
Eventually we won out, with seconds on the clock, by zerging the enemy. As soon as we re-spawned, we ran straight back to mobs and engaged, still weakened. Is this the tactic we are meant to apply to all group efforts now? Charge head first and just chip whatever you can from the mob before you have to re-spawn?
This seems totally broken and in all honestly, feels completely unsatisfying. Remember that feeling of getting a solid, and efficient party set up in FFXI? None of that applies here. It's headless chicken, tactically deficient hotkey spam as seen in many free to play MMO's.
I welcome the solo content. It's been very nice to have a chance to work things out on my own for a while and progress my own individual interests without falling behind. But if they can't balance a decent solo system with PT mechanics of FFXI - then thats the trick SE REALLY missed, not chat interfaces, auction houses or anything else. that's a fundamental issue right there, and can render the point of playing with other people of no consequence.
Oddly, the time each battle took felt about right. The damage output of our party seemed convincing relative to the supposed challenge of fighting a leve mob at 5 Stars. The issues came from lack of crowd control (though why all mobs must hold hands and share agro is beyond me) and the damage the enemy attacks caused. It seems totally imbalanced at the moment and devalues my favourite element from FFXI - tactics, working as a cohesive unit.
Sorry for the long post!
Do I just suck at the game or do you guys have similar experiences?
Edited, Sep 28th 2010 9:19am by OneFromSilverLight
Edited, Sep 28th 2010 9:26am by OneFromSilverLight