People need to understand that there is a difference between wanting FFXIV to play like WoW, and wanting Square-Enix to employ Blizzard-level customer service. Correlation does not imply causation... okay, wait, that saying doesn't exactly fit here. Nonetheless, it's two entirely different things.
I don't want FFXIV to be like WoW at all; I was hoping for a second generation of FFXI, plain and simple. That, however, is a statement which solely addresses gameplay and nothing more. Blizzard set the bar high when it comes to customer service and developer-interaction for MMOs, and whether anyone here liked WoW or not, that is a simple fact. Hate WoW -- fine. Hate Blizzard -- fine. Firmly believe that FFXIV should not be made to play like WoW -- fine. But denying that the level of customer service here is abysmal does note interfere with any of those.
The Japanese game development sector has been in a pretty downward spiral, and unfortunately Square Enix has become a prime example. During the NES / SNES / PS1 days, for me everything Square made was gold. During the PS2 days, it became "Well, the FF games are at least still awesome." And then with FFXIII and FFXIV -- well, even the FF games aren't exactly awesome anymore, and that makes a lot of people sad.
Most of my best friends are pretty hardcore gamers, and every one of us has shared the same opinion lately: Any time I fire up a Japanese-developed game these days, it feels... dated. They play like PS2 games, at best. Even if they have amazing graphics (which they often do not), the actually core of the gameplay hasn't really changed since PS1. And it's not just us silly Gaijin gamers out west who feel like like -- some of Japans most noted developers have been lashing out at the Japanese gaming industry, saying "We're falling behind, it's time to stop being arrogant." All the while, sales of games in Japan (sans Pokemon and Monster Hunter) have plummeted. http://www.joystiq.com/2010/09/20/keiji-inafune-remains-critical-of-japanese-games-deems-even-cap/ http://www.joystiq.com/2009/02/20/inaba-western-devs-superior-to-japanese-devs/ http://www.joystiq.com/2010/09/02/inafune-japanese-devs-have-to-get-humble/
Square, unfortunately, has been an extreme example in a lot the factors that have many people frustrated with Japanese game development. In the Western market, dev studios have really opened up -- they have forums, dev diaries, communication with customers, and make an effort to show that they are listening. Square keeps completely shut off, and if you do not like their game, they're happy to tell you that's because you "don't understand it." I had also hoped Square would change its anti-Westerners approach with FFXIV, but sadly, that did not happen. Maybe it's okay for some people or they don't feel like it matters, but I really do not like the second-citizen treatment. Servers once again only in Japan? Check. Things like Character limits not resized for regions? Check. Lead game designer blasting off about stupid Westerners on his twitter? Check. Events with interaction with the dev teams only in Japan? Check.
Square could address every major complaint I've seen, be it in the game design or customer service areas, without making the actual game "more like WoW." I don't want WoW, but I want better than a 4/10, as well. Edited, Oct 9th 2010 10:57am by jsteimel