Just a preface, words of warning - this is a negative post. I don't mean it to be, I'm simply responding on how my XIV weekend finished just now. I usually try to keep my posts brief, but here I think it best that I really lay out in detail how things went.
Tonight I experianced my first exp party that originated from the "search" function. I was a nearly-25 Marauder, and saw a promising group on efts in TamTara. Upon talking to the leader, I tried to join the party. However, I got that message that I couldn't join, because they were engaged with a mob. Fine, I just teleport to Bentbranch and walk there to get an invite in person.
The party was nearly full (the max is 15), so getting them all to stop fighting to invite someone was a hassle. But finally, after awhile, I got in! That much had felt like some kind of triumph, because I only had a split-second window for it to work, before they started attacking the next eft.
So, I start the grind. I remember SE touting the strategy that this game would employ, but the only "strategy" involved was the Conjurer casting Shell on us, so we wouldn't quickly die to its TP move. What it ended up as, as expected, was 10 or 15 players playing by themselves, simply trying to manipulate the system to gain as many individual skill points as possible. It didn't seem gratifying to me to particupate in this; it felt like I was stuck in some weird mix of solo and party-based play at once.
Eventually it became apparent that my Spiked Bronze Labrys needed repairing, as both my accuracy & SP gains had diminished noticably. However, the party didn't seem to care much about gear damage, as they just kept soldiering on. I leveled Blacksmith specifically to help me repair, however.. Changing classes is a risky proposition. Switching to Blacksmith would require good timing between their mobs, and who knows when I'd be able to get back onto Marauder? So, I chose to just keep going without repairing. Considering that I in part invested the time to be able to repair "in the field" so to speak, I felt like again, the system had spurned me.
After a couple hours, the party had started to thin out, and as such the SP gains continued the downward trend. We still had 8-10 people, but that won't bring in the bonus that having 14-15 will. It became apparent to me that this game either wants you to play by yourself, or with a whole slew of people, to be most efficient at whatever you're doing. I think this is unfortunate, as things are very (arguably overly) hectic when you have the full 15.. Yet detached when you're solo. Duo, trio, even the old standard of 6 from XI appears to not have a place in the structure of this game.
Well, finally I'm not only tired of pressing A a kajillion times, I'm also just tired.. So I give some notice, and then I try to log off. Guess what? Yup, can't log off while your party is engaged. Oh, maybe it's as simple as disbanding? I go to disband, and get that message yet again. What a way to cap this first (..and perhaps last) party experiance. The party did stop for a second so I could log, but if they hadn't obliged, I could still be stuck there...
Edited, Nov 8th 2010 3:06am by Coyohma