I, like you, have no numerical basis to my point. Just because there is a "healthy population" doesn't mean it isn't a small fraction of what it could be had it launched successfully. It's hard to evaluate the subscription level of a brand new MMO. What I can evaluate is the overwhelmingly negative reception, abysmal reviews, and topics about cancelling preorders and unending lists of complaints. Then I figure that out of hundreds of thousands of potential players of FFXIV, I can't be the only one who feels this way.
MMO launch. Really, the expectations that have come with FFXIV are balanced against what? I really can't understand the logic behind all the rage
BS going on. There is one major fact with MMO's in general, that forums are going to be lit up with constant flaming and raging. Why? Because that's what they're there for, and because the people who aren't complaining are playing the game.
Look at any
other MMO forums. They're full of complaints and arguments of how it could be better. Players calling devs morons. Players declaring their idea's would make the game the best game out there. Look at the World of Warcraft forums...especially their official boards. Doing so alone would make my point.
FFXIV launched in the exact state I hoped for. It's playable and enjoyable, as long as you don't expect it to be something it's not...a finished MMO. Because what is a finished MMO? Developers that pin all their hopes on defining the permanent characteristics of their game prior to launch are helpless to their own constraints. Look at APB (All Points Bulletin). That game launched with a 6.5 Gamespot score. Better than FFXIV, right? Yet it was down the tubes in a month. AoC released with an 8.5 Gamespot score...yet that didn't stop the complaints on their boards...and it still isn't a huge success. It took Vanguard years, literally, before the fan base decided the game was good, and for better reviews to come along. Everyone wants to rush to judgement, but the bottom line is...MMO's are constantly evolving games. They aren't single player RPG's with worlds defined right from the start. They are open ended.
Some of the best MMO's to date are what they are because they evolved. The "good" developers build on what they start with, without defining the barriers before. Square-Enix is taking their development in stride. They took 4-5 years to create a great game engine, gorgeous world and in game lore, baseline systems and ideas...and now they will tweak/rework/redefine things as needed. They expected
the market issues because they wanted to work from the ground up...but as it is, I see people on my server in new, shiney gear...and I see packed market wards with people selling things. In essence, things work as they are, they just aren't optimal. I won't defend a lot of things because I feel the same way...but I didn't go into it expected a game that could duke it out with other games that have been released for 4-8 years. I expected a game fresh and new, with new systems and things I don't understand.
IMO, a lot of gamers are trying FFXIV and complaining because it's not what they expected. But what they expected was a finished game for them to beat
...not the birth of a new MMO with room to grow and new things to understand. Everyone is so caught up in having handed to them what they expect and feel is right
, that they totally ignore the potential that's there. I can't get enough, despite all the problems...I look forward to logging on every day. So those claiming Square-Enix is down for the count...feel free to do so. It's not going to stop the people that enjoy the game from enjoying it.