We yell about the grind. It's FF, it's always a grind. That one you're going to have to let go. From FF1 to now. You have grinded every single game. Is it long? Yes. Is it annoying? Yes. Is it repetitive? Yes. It's Final Fantasy. If you did not grasp that it was going to be that way, you have never played an FF game in your life.
I don't think anyone has a problem with the grind, per se. It's just that it's a pointless grind. They gave us this unique method of designing our own characters, and a game that only requires you to use one or two main attacks and a weapon skill. If there were a reason to kill anything higher than green and blue mobs, then players could begin to define their own rolls in the party tactics and battle regimen usage.
Also, the story content is thin and the missions brief up to at least Rank 26. People get frustrated with how long it takes to rank up because it seems like the meat of the story is just around the corner, but it takes so long to get there.
If they'd just give us some other things with which to occupy ourselves, it wouldn't seem so bad.
And a final point on this one: people have realized that the grind doesn't end at Rank 50. For some players it may end when they have three or four classes at 50. For the general population, maybe one at 50, another at 40 and a few at 30. No matter how you look at it, though, that 1.7 million SP to get to Rank 50, dolled out at about 80-150 at a time, is just the beginning. A beginning that to some, is like climbing Mount Everest.
They've changed leadership, added new content, ACTUALLY listened to player concerns. To expect a snap of the finger fix is absolutely absurd.
No one is expecting an over night change. But a lot of what folks are frustrated with is that most of what they don't like about the retail version of the game is layered on top of issues SE was informed about vehemently since May 2010 and throughout the entire Beta process. Since they haven't been able to charge us money for this, yes, they've made some drastic improvements. But it's not like SE was caught unaware. They initially tried to stay the course, and it blew up on them.
Did they release earlier than they should have? Yes, BUT we all know if they had pushed the release date, these forums would have buzzed with screams and yells about how we want the game now.
In the early days of these boards, I think most people were hoping for a Dec. 2010 release and that was considered "too soon" by some conservative folks. So, yes, the September release came as a shock. I doubt anyone who played beta though, which was a large part of this board's population at the time, would have complained about a push back after what they had seen.
We are spoiled gamers who expect the world in an instant handed to us. (Figuratively speaking.) We set deadlines, expectations, even personal standards, and the game companies MUST satisfy our every individual, personal need. And that is not too much to ask, but we as consumers also need to realize that they are doing something. If they were sitting and just watching us as we spent 15 dollars a month. Yes, then there would be issues. But we haven't paid a dime. We bought the game. We paid for the glass. Let's give them some time to fill it.
I really disagree with the notion that gamers are "spoiled." We're consumers. Perhaps it can be argued that all consumers in the first world are spoiled, but that's not exclusive to gamers.
The thing is, as with movies, books, music; there's a standard. Each genre, each franchise, has a mark that it needs to shoot for if it wants to be considered "good." Granted you made the point that the finer details of standard are subject to personal perception, but there still is an overall agreeable bar that games need to meet if they want to be what SE was trying to make XIV be.
This doesn't necessarily mean that it has to innovate in any way. Look at the success of the recent side scrolling Mega Man games that were released on the Playstation Network. Capcom took the game to its roots and it worked. But players didn't have to pay for the game then wait for them to add the robots. If Capcom had done what SE did, players would have fought their way through levels just to get to an empty room at the end. Would it make those gamers "spoiled" to be upset if they were told "We'll be adding the boss robots in about three months"?
Fact is $50-75 is a lot of money these days. And Square-Enix has its own bar that it created through its own hard work. That is what got gamers, even those who were a little put off by the beta experience, to buy this game. The "It's an MMO, we need to wait" line is no excuse. Square Enix knew they were releasing a game into a saturated market. XIV doesn't need to be like XI, WoW or any other game. But it should have been designed to compete. Not released then fixed to possibly compete a year down the line. There is plenty of evidence that this model does not work and will send a game to an early grave.
I've said it in a few other posts and I'll echo it here. There are more game developers making more quality titles chipping away at the disposable income of a market with less and less time to dedicate to games. For anyone to think that a traditional MMO release can survive today's market is ludicrous. And to lambaste those who see enough potential that they stick around but remain vocal about the inadequacies is just a sign of fanboyism. We criticize because we care.
The age of hardcore is dead. If a developer is going to pour the kind of man hours and financial resources SE did into making XIV, MMO or not, it better be a Thoroughbred triple crown winner out of the gate. Gaming isn't a niche market anymore. Developers need to pull in new clientele.
The most recent PS3 action/adventure PS3 game that blew me away was
Demon Soul's Demon's Souls. It was hard, challenging, complicated and I wanted to break my controller. I loved it.
Just wanted to point out that this speaks volumes about what kind of gamer you are. This game required folks to inch and crawl to become a better character. Each "level" was a single stat point. Then you had to go back and repeat everything you just did. Kill the same exact mobs in the same exact fashion to progress further. It should be noted that, in the almost two years since its release, this game has sold only about 500,000 units. This is an old school, hardcore game. The difference is it was billed as such, and was designed to make a profit off poor sales. Altus was surprised by its "success."
It's no surprise to me that someone who enjoyed Demon's Souls would be pleased with XIV in its current state. And content to wait for their glass to be filled.
As I've also said numerous times. There's nothing wrong with making a hardcore or classic game. Those making it just need to have it in their business plan that it's not going to sell like a Modern Warefare that caters to its players' every whim. Believe it or not, most people don't regard controller-destroying rage as "quality entertainment." Most people just want a good story and some interaction with other people.