Before I go any further, no, the title of this thread isn't sarcasm. Also, I know I'm sure my "post count" is too low for anyone to take seriously, so let's set that aside.
I want to have a serious discussion with you all about FFXIV. I want to know things WITHOUT flames, WITHOUT rage, WITHOUT typical internet crap. For the purposes of this discussion, I'm going to throw one thing out the window right off the bat; I don't want to hear anything about WoW in this thread. I don't want comparisons, I don't want "go back to WoW". I don't want WoW mentioned at all with the exception of what I'm about to say.
I want to know what aspect of FFXIV is appealing enough to the players here who aren't jumping ship to keep you playing. I want to know exactly why you find this game fun. I want to understand why you all aren't jumping ship as well, in the face of the overwhelmingly bad press, the bad reviews, then bad personal stories, the bad everything surrounding this game. I want to know if there's a solid reason, then I want it explained.
I'd normally be advocating that reviews are meaningless. There's been a handful of movies in my 30+ years of existence that have gotten horrible reviews which I've seen and said "hey, that wasn't bad at all, I liked it". Not MANY, but a handful. Reviews are there to give you a fair barometer of a game, movie, CD, etc. Obviously mileage varies. I originally didn't read the beta/alpha reports of 14, since it's beta/alpha. Wouldn't give me an accurate idea of the game's plan for the future. I did cancel my original CE preorder because I wasn't financially sure I wanted to pay for the specific extras involved, not because of reviews. I was a fervent believer that 14 would be the solution to my MMO woes, a spiritual successor to 11, which I loved. As such, I didn't realize I'd preordered TWO CE's from two different companies, and thus, I received my CE on release day.
The reviews though, aren't completely meaningless. Like I said above, they should prove to be a barometer of how well the game is doing. If the release product gets high reviews, then typically, the buzz surrounding it is greater. Word of mouth spreads far and wide. People who were on the fence or maybe even oblivious to the game's release end up checking it out. If a game gets a poor review, then the same thing happens, albeit on a more negative scale. In reality, a review can help determine a game's fate. It's just like press for a politician. Just like a performance review at your job. Just like a credit check at the bank.
I've read people on here try to compare 14 with WoW. I've also read everywhere people try to compare anything with WoW. Fine, no problem. Compare it properly though. WoW is a 6 year old juggernaut, and aberration. WoW wasn't expected to do so well. But if one is to compare, let's compare fairly.
Using Gamespot reviews -
Everquest (within first month of release) - 8.4
Asheron's Call (within first month of release) - 8.6
Dark Age of Camelot (within first month of release) - 9.1
EVE Online (within first month of release) - 6.6
(noticing a trend on when they were reviewed? good...not typing that out anymore then)
Star Wars Galaxies - 7.5
Final Fantasy 11 - 8.2
City of Heroes - 8.4
Lineage II - 6.0
Everquest II - 7.8
World of Warcraft - 9.5
Dungeons and Dragons Online - 7.5
Vanguard - 7.5
Lord of the Rings Online - 8.3
Tabula Rasa - 7.5
Age of Conan - 8.5
Warhammer Online - 8.5
Aion - 6.5
Fallen Earth - 6.0
Star Trek Online - 5.5
APB - 6.5
Final Fantasy 14 - 4.0
Every single one of those games was reviewed and given that score within the free play month. Within the FIRST month of it's release. The ONLY aberration in that list is Final Fantasy 11, which we all know was released in the US long after the Japanese release, and first expansion. All of those MMO's listed were massively promoted, long awaited, or in retrospect, considered to be staples of the MMO genre. Two of those MMO's have even failed completely (as in shut down) namely Tabula Rasa and APB, and many others in the list failed due to other reasons after launch, and have had to retool their games in order to stay viable. Examples of that are Age of Conan, DDO, and to a certain extent LOTRO.
So a more adequate comparison based on reviews would be compared like-scored titles, right? WoW is obviously the highest, so comparing it to 14, which is the lowest, doesn't work. Problem is, there's no other title as LOW as 14. I searched Gamespot numerically to find a game that also attained a 4.0 rating. While the genre's are going to be different, I figured I'd be able to compare games that had similar problems at release. Figured if I could also find just ONE game that reviewed low, but later got BETTER, I could use that as an argument to justify 14's potential.
I was wrong.
Games that also ranked in the 4.0 category with 14 are:
Blair Witch Volume 3: The Elly Kedward Tale
South Park: Chef's Love Shack
Guns of Icarus
Catching my drift here? Nothing I've ever even remotely heard of, or played, or WOULD play.
Before I even read these reviews, I installed my CE of 14 and delved into the world of Eorzea. And the problems arose. I won't list them; there's no point. They've been rehashed over and over again on this forum, and many other forums. Graphic stuttering though was one for me, as I barely squeaked past the minimums. So I have 14 to thank for me finally dropping the dime to upgrade my computer. In the end though, my travels in Eorzea (or lack there of), lead me to cancel my subscription before the trial was over. I'm not "done" with the game, not washing my hands of it, just saving my cash. Going to go sit on the fence and see which way the wind blows. Reactivated my FF11 account for the time being. But I will continue to watch developments on 14, and possibly jump back into the land of Eorzea if things are "adjusted".
Point is though, no matter your "fanboi/girl" status, no matter what MMO's you've played or not played, according to the market, and the world, 14 is a failure. It doesn't matter what you PERSONALLY think, the reviews are out there. Reviews are what will be placed in the wiki articles for all to read. Reviews are what the media sites will report. Like it or not, that's the truth. Reviews are also bread and butter for the companies themselves. They're able to slap their scores on ads and claim greatness. SE cannot do that. They don't (so far) have a single positive review to slap on a magazine ad and say "yeah, 14 rocks". They have name recognition, and that's all.
We as fans of the FF series, and the MMO's need to stop the bickering, the backbiting, and the name calling on this and all other forums. If you like the game, and think it's heading in a positive direction, you need to make your pleasure known, and do so without using the ol' "WoW kiddies won't understand" defense. People who are dissatisfied with the game need to stop comparing it to WoW, and stop attacking the few who DO like it, and start writing emails, letters, forums posts to S-E. If you don't let S-E know in the strongest terms possible what's wrong with the game, and what you'd REALISTICALLY like to see changed, they won't change. Then you have to be patient. Give the dev's time to fix it. If a year has gone by, and things haven't changed, then by all means raise ****.
Right now though I'd like to see actual debate as to what the future holds for 14. I'd like it to be a success. I'd like it to be my new MMO home. I'd like to have the same nostalgic feeling about Eorzea as I do when I hear the San d'Orian theme, or wander through the desert of Valkurm, or spit down on people from atop Ru'Aun Gardens. Right now though, we can ALL agree the game needs help. The naysayers and the lovers of 14 are alike in their concerns, you just won't admit it.
Sorry for the tl;dr but I felt it was needed.