I love the battle system very much. Its so **** deep, especially since you have to take in Meter management, position, rhythm, aggro and et cetera. While the fundamentals and the ideas of the system are there, There are a couple of issues that I know many of us face with it. First off, i would like to hear what are your likes and dislikes of core system, the class balance, and the battle content. I want to get to the meat of what you guys really hate in this system i love. I'll go through the easy stuff first.
Targeting system: I do not know how they're going to deal with this one, but they have to. Back in the day when every fight was designed to be 6 people versus one monster in FFXI, The targeting system worked pretty **** good (fantastically on the controller). They need to find a clever way to deal with this for both PC and gamepad controls. It gets real annoying when you have a cluster of people on the screen and you cant deal with it at all.
Party Vs. Party Battles: These are more headaches than anything. With a targeting and exp system that does not support it, i am saddened that this is not as fleshed out as it could be. There are plenty of great crowd control skills out there and potential to become really good at controlling a crowd but the targeting system holds it back . They need to come up with new monster group exp formulas that don't discourage you to ignore all the other monsters that are claimed and unclaimed that are attacking your mages.
Battle content: I know that you all ***** about Guildleves and you have every right to. I find guildleves to be an excellent mechanic that isn't tapped into its full potential. They can easily become very engaging pieces of content if only the encounter designs within them were thought out better. They should be treating every encounter in a guildleve like a hunt in monster hunter or the best BCNM's; thrilling, difficult, satisfying and rewarding. Hopefully in the future, the team gets these encounter designs right and get more intricate with the system. But the battle content does not end with guildleves, most of the other monsters in the field are balanced so strangely to be either too easy or too hard. That and the appropriate SP rewards and monster group mechanics fall flat.
Now for the real reason why I created this post. I've been thinking about the problems with the system and i find that the root of the problem comes from the game's roots. Originally in Alpha, the battle system WAS VERY DIFFERENT. The devs say they had the current system planned all along, but i do not believe them. The original system was your classic final fantasy ATB system, where you wait for your bar to fill up and then you pick your action. This original system would've allowed you to do a couple of things due to the wait time. There was plenty of time to reposition yourself, talk to party members, move your cursor to the next ability, set up battle regimens and so forth. Another thing that we have from that battle system is the way the animations worked. You picked your action, and the long animations made sense for such a methodical battle system. Not only was it animation length, but the properties of the animations included animation stun, where you could not reposition your character yourself. Sometimes the animations would reposition your characters. Switching to the new system (and ditching that stupid as **** effect gauge) was for the better, but the mechanics around it never caught up with it. It all has to do with animation. They used the same attack animations, which were caught by motion capture and probably hand tweaked by real animators, as they did in the alpha. These animations were not designed with the current system in mind. Many games feature attack animations with movement stun, even street fighter, which has a top notch battle system, The different between those games and FFXIV is that the attack animations were much much shorter. FINAL FANTASY XI did not have movement stun for normal attacks. They had attack animations of your character moving around and attacking at the same time. Even if you were in the middle of the animation, the game still let you reposition yourself and simply (and cheesily) let your character slide across the screen. In FFXIV, the game has moved away from purely ATB into semi-action ATB. It isn't exactly an action game (and i don't want it to be an action game), but its approaching that rhythm (the current battle system was based on user feedback that they wanted the tempo to be like the attack animations in Dirge of Cerberus, which is an action game.). When you have a full stamina bar and are wailing on the monster, you notice that the game often cancels its own animations to start another one. Do you know what we call this in Street Fighter? A combo. There should be combo animations that lead your character from one command into the next. This could also be a opportunity to encourage smart stamina meter play.
Simply: They need to get rid of animation stun on at least normal attacks by either simply letting our characters glitch slide or add in move and attack animations, so we can engage in strategically repositioning and responding easier. And there should be combo animations at least if not a combo mechanic.
I do not know of the possibilities of them going back and creating new art assets, as those are possibly the most costly thing to produce, but hopefully they do not rule these things out in their reboot of the game.
Edited, Jan 4th 2011 3:47pm by zhinse