This is going to be a rather long post, so grab a coffee!
As the title suggests I've been playing XIV for about a week. I have a long history with MMO's playing everything from Neocron (Cyberpunk FPS MMO) to FFXI with Eve in the middle (among the many other MMO's I've played). One of my friends from XI convinced me to give XIV a try (I was in Alpha but at that time due to health issues couldn't play much) so really this is my first *real* playtime for XIV.
Currently my char has a fair few levels, rank 20 botanist, 16 carpenter, 16 conjurer and a fair few others with a physical level of 27 which after a week is terrible, I should be physical level 50!
I've been trying to figure out a word that best describes FFXIV and the word that comes to mind is potential, if we look at potential, Michael Schumacher had the potential to be the worlds best F1 driver ever, Roger Fedderer had the potential to be the worlds best tennis player, but England had the potential to win the World Cup, the difference is that Michael and Roger actually fulfilled their potential, England on the other hand has not managed to fulfil their potential so the question is, can FFXIV fulfil it's potential or is it destined to be like England and reach only the last 16?
Lets break it down. Visually FFXIV is stunning, there are graphical glitches but it is a pretty modern engine, even using bloom, the attention to detail, the way my lalafell's hair will fall forward when I start to craft, the leaves on the ground in Ul'dah, monster behaviour, pretty nice. Music, I don't know, some of it is good, some misplaced, one wouldn't seem out of place in a Tim Burton fantasy horror animation.
Crafting is fun, in an OCD kind of way, it's not as intricate as Vanguard: Saga Of Heroes but it is fun, what isn't fun in the haphazard way SE implemented the different recipes, if I'm crafting a rank 4 weaver object, why the heck is one of the ingredients a rank 10 weaver object? To improve trade? How? Without an AH and with a mostly useless retainer system it's a case of "I really hope someone on the wrong floor has the item I'm after".
Retainers, it's a good idea, but it could be so much more. How about giving retainers the ability to buy stuff? If I give my retainer 100k and say "buy me 99 brass nuggets at 100 gil each" if someone puts brass nuggets in a retainer for 100 gil or less, my retainer will purchase them which would solve the issue of a lack of AH, you could also get your retainer to put out an order for 99 brass nuggets at 100 gil each, then a passing crafter could see that someone wanted it, craft it and sell it to my retainer, a simple system like that would reduce the need for an AH and wouldn't remove the use of a retainer, retainers have... potential, but will they end up an England?
The storyline, so far it's not pulling me in, I feel like I'm sitting on the sideline watching a soap opera, in FFXI I was part of the story, for Bastok I prevented the Shadow Lord from coming back... twice. For Windurst I did weird stuff with Star Sybil. For San d'Oria I got some elvaan incest going. For Zilart I did some stuff which I can't remember. For CoP I died lots enjoying an amazing storyline. For ToAU I prevented ragnarok. For WoTG I travelled in time to meet a weird half elf, half hume chick with a Tsundre complex and we did more weird stuff, but in all those stories I didn't feel I was watching a story unfold around me, I felt that I was a part of the story, a key player, so far with the (rank 20) storyline, I don't feel that I'm part of the story, I feel the story could quite happily play on even if I sat on a bench eating popcorn, heck, my "partner" has the same echo thing I have so she could just complete the story for me, it doesn't grip me.
Back to crafting, leve's, amazingly good idea, leveling up crafts without using cash, brilliant! Just wish the rewards for normal leve's were selectable rather than random.
So far the game is pretty decent, it could be pretty amazing, it needs a bit of polish here and there to make it the game that it wants to be, but it's also addictive as **** so I'm going to have to stop writing and go play, ******, I got to send off my maths assignment which is going to be late now, silly game, gah!