Good post! I've never heard anything really except ARGGHH about alpha battle so cool to hear someone actually say something intelligible about that. Macros are sort of like queuing though, aren't they? I've made super workable "auto-attack" style macros that allow for me to focus on things like positioning and such, and would probably be good for helping chat mid battle
Well, there's a key difference between macros and queuing, and that's versatility. A macro has to be planned well in advance. With queuing, you can select several actions in ANY combination. Assuming you can somehow cancel a macro, both options will allow you to change that set of commands. But in a game that touted how strategic the battles would be, there's a problem when your attacks can be planned well in advance.
The problems with the alpha system were too many to make it anything worthwhile.
It was incredibly slow. You had to wait for a cooldown for every ability. After the cooldown you had to wait for the effect meter to fill. The worst thing was that if the meter went over it reset instead of going back down incrementally. Also, the effect was only useful on certain skills and these skills were the minority for the first 20 ranks or so unless you were a caster. The problems for casters though was having to select the target of your spell. The way they set the order of actions didn't make any sense. When it came time to stop the effect gauge it completely disappeared so you could select the target. Once you finished selecting the target it would reappear, usually too late for you to get the best effect.
I really think they should have had the effect work on 3 levels like it did, but instead of the boring old cooldown they could have just added the stamina bar. You'd lose more stamina based on which level of effect you selected. The problem with having a queue system is that they'd have to scrap the battle regimen thing they have and I don't think they were willing to do that. In theory it could have been exciting and I think people were really intrigued, but in practice it sucks =/
Well fundamentally, the alpha system wasn't that different from the current one. But your criticisms are pretty much spot on. They needed to remove the timer for the effect gauge and create an actual balance between the different effects. Different stamina costs is a simple way of doing it-- ideally they'd go beyond that, making the abilities have different effects, accuracy, range, MP/TP costs, etc. There was so much potential lost. And then, particularly if you take away the timer, there's no need for an annoying confirmation on the effect.
However, they wouldn't have to scrap the battle regimen system to allow queuing. Queuing would always be an option-- not a requirement. But honestly, the battle regimen mechanic is so broken, it could use an overhaul, or for all it's worth now, scrapping it wouldn't mean much.
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...
Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.
Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.