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One game developer's opinion on FFXIV Follow

#1 Jan 20 2011 at 8:54 PM Rating: Excellent
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Note: I hope I do not offend many people here who do not share the same viewpoint/outlook of this game... The intent of this post is not to "prove a point" or make a claim that, because XXX says so, this is how its gonna be.." I just want to share what I heard from someone who has some experience in the industry.

So I was in a big family dinner last nite and met up with one of my distant cousins who was in the gaming industry.. after learning that he had some working experience with Japanese game developers (he was with Microsoft Game Studios working directly with Sakaguchi and Takehiko Inoue on Lost Odyssey). I asked for his opinion on the current state/future outlook of FFXIV. ..

Knowing my passion with FF (he heard all about how I "ruined" my last couple yrs in high school thanks to FFXI, my parents' favorite story to share among relatives lol).. he was hesitant to voice his opinion at first.. but after I kept on reassuring that I won’t “flip out” or hate him for bashing my most beloved game series, he paused for a few minutes, let out a long sigh, and pointed out the following:

One of his biggest concerns is with the Crystal Tools (sorry if I didn’t get the name right.. trying to remember everything that he said..) engine that SE uses for FFXIV. .. He mentioned a lot of shortcomings with this engine, but one thing that stuck with me was, “more suitable for console platforms”...

He then said that it is not impossible for developers to make radical improvements on UI and game mechanics, but in terms of the global gaming industry, he has the least faith in Japanese developers (especially with larger game companies like SE) to make such drastic changes and pumping out quality product under such circumstance and pressure (which surprised me a bit hearing such comment from him, since he’s half Japanese who’s been working primarily in Japan and China for the past decade)…

According to my cousin he only worked indirectly with SE once, but just from that one experience he had a strong feeling that everyone in SE from an art lead to a game producer seem to have the attitude that, “we educate consumers on what good games should be, by making these games.” “Such mentality, or perhaps pride, would certainly make sense back in the 90s, but definitely not now in this day and age..” my cousin said. And he believes is what ultimately led to the current failure with FFXIV... As SE grew too complacent thinking that they could do no-wrong, since even their first attempt at the MMO (FFXI) was a success… And now they are in a position that they have NEVER been before, being forced to open up to the consumers and start translating feedbacks (which they never really need to care about before) to high-quality contents… they have never worked this way before, and I do not know if they can adjust in time, especially with all the bureaucracy in a big company like SE…

After I told my cousin about what Yoshida has done (player poll, seems open and candid on what needs to be done), he agrees that Yoshida is doing everything “right” in front of the public, but his concern is with all the roadblocks and obstacles that Yoshida needs to overcome on the backend… motivate/push his staff to do stuff that are above and beyond on what they are accustomed to, fighting all the bureaucratic battles in a work environment with culture that resists "change" to get what he needs…

At the end of our conversation he told me, “look up APB, and that’s probably what will happen with FFXIV down the road” After I went home and did a search + read through what happened with that game, I immediately left him a “I HATE YOU...!” FB msg (T.T;)

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#2 Jan 20 2011 at 9:00 PM Rating: Default
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APB is coming back, and K2 promised a non-total wipe (character model, customisation, name and gears will be kept).

So you don't like the idea of a game to make a come back after legal death?
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#3 Jan 20 2011 at 9:06 PM Rating: Good
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Khornette wrote:
APB is coming back, and K2 promised a non-total wipe (character model, customisation, name and gears will be kept).

So you don't like the idea of a game to make a come back after legal death?


...I think the point was that he was intimating the game will collapse.
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#4 Jan 20 2011 at 9:11 PM Rating: Decent
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Khornette wrote:
APB is coming back, and K2 promised a non-total wipe (character model, customisation, name and gears will be kept).

So you don't like the idea of a game to make a come back after legal death?


Unlike APB, Final Fantasy will not be sold to a more capable company.
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#5 Jan 20 2011 at 9:21 PM Rating: Default
KujaKoF wrote:
Khornette wrote:
APB is coming back, and K2 promised a non-total wipe (character model, customisation, name and gears will be kept).

So you don't like the idea of a game to make a come back after legal death?


Unlike APB, Final Fantasy will not be sold to a more capable company.



It was handed to a more capable team though! these games are basically cousins.

aslo APB will be F2P .. FF could follow that path as well... FFF2P? it could work.
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#6 Jan 20 2011 at 10:48 PM Rating: Good
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Not to say anything about the opinion of your cousin (which mostly I agree with) but declaring FFXI a success is a bit dubious in my opinion.

Please don't get me wrong I spent 6 years of my life on that game, I think you can at least trust that I like it, no sorry I like it VERY much. Yet I understand it's not a game for the everyone and it was never top 1 or top 3 or even top 5 in the world MMORPG industry, it scratched top 10 for a couple of years and the simply stepped back with no chance to return to those rankings, for the caliber of company that is SE and the weight of "Final Fantasy" name during 2003-2005, I'd hardly consider that a success, but as I said it's just my opinion.

But I'm willing to say that FFXIV still can come back, for one I will be tremendously happy if it actually happens =D

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#7 Jan 20 2011 at 10:53 PM Rating: Excellent
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theSubligaravenger wrote:
aslo APB will be F2P .. FF could follow that path as well... FFF2P? it could work.


While there is no definitive, on-paper correlation between Square-Enix's recent 92% earnings forecast decrease and Final Fantasy XIV going free-to-play for the foreseeable future (outside of vague references to certain games not meeting expectations in publicly released documents), I think that should be hint enough that they would be incapable of going free-to-play with FFXIV without leaking enough extra red ink to fill an entire Olympic-sized swimming pool. Even going with a micro-transaction model at this point does not seem feasible, nor do I think that it would be wise. While yes, some other MMOs have moved to a free-to-play/micro-transaction hybrid and actually seen their efforts not just succeed but also go above and beyond what their expectations ever were (see: Dungeons & Dragons Online), the difference is that while D&D:O had a rough start like FFXIV, the response to it was more lukewarm than vitriolic, and many times less condemning than FFXIV, meaning they at least had their foot in the door, so to speak.

It's basically a public image sort of thing, really. After a certain point, no matter how much a company may improve a product, players would very well scoff at having to nickle themselves here, dime themselves there, and so on, to get the "full" experience.

Admittedly I've never been much for micro-transactions in the first place however, so my opinion may be biased against such a direction. That's just my perspective, though.

Edited, Jan 20th 2011 11:59pm by Satisiun
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#8 Jan 20 2011 at 11:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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As for XI, I considered it a success, even if it wasn't some massively popular behemoth, it had, and still has, a decently sized player following that is enough to keep the game alive and thriving, and keep the devs pumping out quarterly content updates. That's successful enough for me to be happy with it.

I don't look at success in terms of popularity. So long as a game is designed well enough that there are a good amount of people who want to pay to play it, and the developers are earning more money than the game is costing them, I consider that a success.

The only way I consider a game a failure is if the company simply cannot make more money than the game would cost them to maintain, which forces them to abandon the game entirely. That would be a failure.

Will WoW ever be dethroned? Possibly, but not by FFXIV. Does FFXIV have "top 10" potential down the road? Maybe, that depends on a lot of factors.

Whether XIV lives or dies is in the developers' hands right now. There are still die hard fans who would play the game for another five years if SE never touched another thing in the game from today forward. Most of the fans are putting SE on an hourglass in terms of expectations, and the sand in some hourglasses is less than what is in others.

There are many players that SE will lose because FFXIV hasn't been fixed yet. I am sadly confident that everyone who is expecting "major changes within a month or I'm leaving" will be leaving us because the changes they want won't come in time. The question at this point is not "Will FFXIV be a success?" so much as "Can SE fix XIV in time to stop hemorrhaging customers soon enough to save the game?"

And your cousin has a lot of good points. I'm not sure I like all of them, but that's not to say that I disagree. There are a couple that I agree with, but don't like them anyway, because I know they're true.
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#9 Jan 20 2011 at 11:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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“we educate consumers on what good games should be, by making these games.”


I've said many times over the years that SE obviously does not take player psychology into account. I've always thought they took more of a trial-and-error, experimental approach to game design, which was the obvious culprit to their hit-and-miss results, but I'm not surprised to hear that they have a backwards approach to game design. I assume that this statement/sentiment was conveyed to your cousin by people like Sakaguchi.

Hopefully SE will learn that players already envision good games-- their desires are products of a mostly basic human psychology, and that they need to harness this understanding if they want to consistently put out successful titles. Even when I see successful game companies, it quickly becomes apparent that they don't know exactly why they are successful-- they have a few good ideas that they artfully pull off, or they have some intuitive sense of how to make a good game, but without a conceptual understanding of how humans have fun, they doom themselves to a hit and miss roster.
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#10 Jan 21 2011 at 12:11 AM Rating: Excellent
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Kachi wrote:
I've always thought they took more of a trial-and-error, experimental approach to game design, which was the obvious culprit to their hit-and-miss results

On this particular statement, I agree with you and have felt the same way for most of FFXI's existence. While it was also evident to some extent by the drastic over-haul of final fantasy in each iteration (entirely new game mechanics where the only link is the genetics of the world's creatures, the hero roles, and the general 'vibe' for example), FFXI actually started to make me feel like I was a lab-rat in an experiment. All the different styles of 'end-game' eventually were so varied that it broke up the 'end-game' population's focus almost entirely and forced S/E to rethink the approach and re-unite the player-base (enter: Abyssea).

I was O.K. with being a lab-rat in the experiments as long as they were 'going somewhere' - I thought, if it didn't climax in the most awesome mix of the cherry-picked 'best of everything' end-game when the final level limit was set in place in FFXI (or at that time, I thought a final set of obtainable gear - the level cap raising surprised me, though I welcomed the idea), I would have felt taken-advantage of and abused. I currently put Abyssea at that stage, it may not be a complete climax, but its a pretty damned good 'reasonable from every angle' style of gameplay past the current level cap.

I thought "All right! These guys have stopped the lab-rat tests and decided what they feel is the most desirable game-play style by the general populous, I can't wait to see them implement a fully finished collaboration of these ideas take root in what will be FF14!". I then played the FF14 beta... OMG. What a dissapointment. It was litterally like they took everything, all those years of testing on us, and threw it down the drain in favor of a 'whim' that a producer on a high-horse felt was better 'just because it's different'. In that regard, it makes you reflect back on FFXI and think... were we really 'lab-rats' - or were they literally implementing each new drastically different feature because FF designers feel that, no matter what is fun or not fun, different will be the right option? I can tell you from experience that each new 'end-game' event in FFXI just spread the player-base apart further and further, having different quality rewards that didn't coordinate with the required effort for each of these events also made it feel 'broken'.

Sidegrades are a bit of a different story all together - rampant in FFXI, but I think we can all agree here... FF14 IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A SIDEGRADE TO FFXI, I don't think any of us want to see an 'equal' game to FFXI, but that doesn't necessarily mean we want it 100% different either. What we want is a product that is superior, not a revolution, but an evolution of something that has grown so much that it required a complete redesign of it's toolset to make happen. Please, no more 'sidegrades'. Make FF14 the climax of all the knowledge you've taken in over the last seven or eight years from FFXI and use the tools that YOU BUILT to make things happen that make sense for the player-base.

And not to put salt in the wound, but.. one last note: The races of FF14 being the same as FFXI was a stupid and seemingly lazy idea. If you wanted people to cross over from XI you had an opportunity to do that. You literally could have just moved all the XI content over to the new game engine and built new worlds from there - at least then with your complete lack of explanation to what is actually happening with 'numbers' in the game, XI fans have already done the math and built a wiki over the years to help rationalize the situation. Right now though, in your current situation, it was like naming a three legged pitbull with rabies that you adopted after your Grandma... even though you will have to put it down because it bit and killed your Grandma. I'ts just a disgrace to everyone involved, from every angle they could be involved..
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#11 Jan 21 2011 at 1:42 AM Rating: Good
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kenage wrote:
Yet I understand it's not a game for the everyone and it was never top 1 or top 3 or even top 5 in the world MMORPG industry, it scratched top 10 for a couple of years and the simply stepped back with no chance to return to those rankings, for the caliber of company that is SE and the weight of "Final Fantasy" name during 2003-2005, I'd hardly consider that a success, but as I said it's just my opinion.


Can you possibly back this up with a link? I seem to recall back when I was playing ffxi at its peak that it WAS top 3 in terms of subscribers. I remember seeing a graph that showed WoW as #1, something else as #2, and I think FFXI as #3. Granted, this was a few years ago so perhaps I am just remembering the chart wrong, but regardless of that, you really don't think it was a success?

It was their FIRST attempt at an mmo, it cracked at LEAST the top 10 in terms of subsribers, and after 10 years, STILL has over 100,000 paying customers and is being regularly updated. I'd be really curious as to what your definition of a successful MMO is. It was always going to be somewhat of a niche game because, quite frankly, it was very challenging and extremely complex. It also, to this day, has far and away the most content to any MMO I've ever played. I've played WoW and it certainly has a fair amount of content, but certainly it did not compare to ffxi in that way. I did all but 2 of the WoW raids and a very large portion of the quests in less than 6 months. In my 6 years of ffxi, there were still many things I had barely even scratched the surface of.

Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent. As to what the OP's cousin is saying, I tend to agree. SE has known very little failure in their time. Sure they've had some games that have flopped, or had minimal success, but never on a project even nearly the scale of ffxiv. They've always held the mentality of "This is how it's going to be whether you like it or not", and unfortunately for them, people have grown tired of that approach. People want a game company that listens to them, and even if it doesn't give them everything they want (which it absolutely shouldn't, since most people don't really have a clue what they want), there needs to be more give and take than what they are used. I sincerely hope they can adjust in time before they alienate too many more players and are forced to just scrap the whole thing due to lack of interest.

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 2:42am by BartelX
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#12 Jan 21 2011 at 2:35 AM Rating: Good
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This was an interesting read. I'm not going to add insult to injury but the general consensus of a lot of other developers opinions on FFXIV are all too similar sadly.
#13 Jan 21 2011 at 4:08 AM Rating: Default
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“we educate consumers on what good games should be, by making these games.”


So, they act like a developer should act like- not a loyal servant that does what they are being told to do by the gamers, but an artist.

No book writer, no movie script writer, no game developer is supposed to be the man to copy others' ideas in his product. That makes him a bad developer without a spine, a copycat, plain and simple. There are exceptions of course, and a good developer should be aware of them.

That doesn't mean player feedback shouldn't be considered. A good developer can look past his ideals if it is for the good of the product.

Like with XI, that went from strictly group based mechanics to something more forgiving post-2006. I do not agree that SE has no experience of this sort of situation. Now it is just much larger in scope than in 2006.

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 1:12pm by Hyanmen
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#14 Jan 21 2011 at 4:22 AM Rating: Decent
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Yumiechan wrote:
According to my cousin he only worked indirectly with SE once, but just from that one experience he had a strong feeling that everyone in SE from an art lead to a game producer seem to have the attitude that, “we educate consumers on what good games should be, by making these games.” “Such mentality, or perhaps pride, would certainly make sense back in the 90s, but definitely not now in this day and age..” my cousin said. And he believes is what ultimately led to the current failure with FFXIV... As SE grew too complacent thinking that they could do no-wrong, since even their first attempt at the MMO (FFXI) was a success… And now they are in a position that they have NEVER been before, being forced to open up to the consumers and start translating feedbacks (which they never really need to care about before) to high-quality contents… they have never worked this way before, and I do not know if they can adjust in time, especially with all the bureaucracy in a big company like SE…


Although this atitude can cause some drawbacks and customer "agro" I for one, applaude this atitude, if everyone just jumps on the same bandwagon then we would have have dozens of clones, be them WoW or not.

It is this kind of thinking that actually brings improvements to all industries and schools of thought. If it wasnt for people/companies who try new things we would all be eating MCdonalds, drinking Coke and living in a flat world!
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#15 Jan 21 2011 at 4:31 AM Rating: Good
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Hyanmen wrote:
So, they act like a developer should act like- not a loyal servant that does what they are being told to do by the gamers, but an artist.

No book writer, no movie script writer, no game developer is supposed to be the man to copy others' ideas in his product. That makes him a bad developer without a spine, a copycat, plain and simple. There are exceptions of course, and a good developer should be aware of them.

That doesn't mean player feedback shouldn't be considered. A good developer can look past his ideals if it is for the good of the product.

Like with XI, that went from strictly group based mechanics to something more forgiving post-2006. I do not agree that SE has no experience of this sort of situation. Now it is just much larger in scope than in 2006.

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 1:12pm by Hyanmen


Comparing game and software development to artistry is like comparing apples to oranges, but if you insist on doing it, at least evaluate SE properly.

There's a lot of things every good writer has in common. A good writer will have fresh ideas and dialogue in his book, but it will still be written coherently, with quotation marks (or other proper delineations) where the dialogue is, with proper punctuation and spelling, and a smooth plot flow. The SE writer writes 4 page long paragraphs in 3rd grader English, minimal punctuation marks, and with an excruciatingly hard to follow plot.
#16 Jan 21 2011 at 4:43 AM Rating: Default
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Comparing game and software development to artistry is like comparing apples to oranges, but if you insist on doing it, at least evaluate SE properly.


But that's what it is in the end. Maybe you don't think of Hollywood movies as art, but that's what it boils down to either way. Money rules everything obviously, and the larger the budget the less artistic the games will be. S-E seems to let it's artists work pretty freely in this regard.

Quote:
There's a lot of things every good writer has in common. A good writer will have fresh ideas and dialogue in his book, but it will still be written coherently, with quotation marks (or other proper delineations) where the dialogue is, with proper punctuation and spelling, and a smooth plot flow. The SE writer writes 4 page long paragraphs in 3rd grader English, minimal punctuation marks, and with an excruciatingly hard to follow plot.


And yet I haven't seen a truly bad title made by them before this game (and some of their 90's and early 00's spin-offs). I think you are greatly exaggerating. They are not great "writers", but they are not bad either- and most importantly, unlike in other companies SE's "writers" are given more freedom to express themselves. Some companies have the marketing team basically decide how the game is made (for maximum profit), and the developers simply follow the directions.

I'd say from the big development studios out there, Bethesda's, Bioware's (aside from TOR) and SE's developers have the best working environment out there. Maybe Konami as well. And all three(four) studios excel in different type of games, so that's great for different type of consumers too. Bethesda makes very open and sandbox like games where plot is not the main focus, while Bioware excels in making more traditional (and true) RPG's with lots of dialogue choices and great stories. SE makes "alright" to "good" action games for the big audience on the other hand. Nothing like MGS storywise and nothing like DMC/Bayonetta combat wise but a good middleground either way.

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 1:59pm by Hyanmen
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#17 Jan 21 2011 at 5:05 AM Rating: Excellent
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Hyanmen wrote:
But that's what it is in the end. Maybe you don't think of Hollywood movies as art, but that's what it boils down to either way. Money rules everything obviously, and the larger the budget the less artistic the games will be. S-E seems to let it's artists work pretty freely in this regard.


At the risk of sounding like an elitist, if you are not a software developer, this is pretty much wrong. It is pounded into your head until it throbs in physical and moral anguish: software developers first and foremost provide a service, which is not art. You are there to make money and to make your product succeed, with artistic design coming in at a large distance behind those two. Only indie game developers can claim that their product is art. The moment SE, or any game development firm for that matter, turned into a corporation supported by stock holders, they generally stopped making games for any reason other than to turn a profit.

Yeah, there's an art team and a story team and blah blah, but their job, like the developers, is to come up with something that will appeal to as many people as they can, regardless of how artsy they would like to get with their material. Thankfully, SE's art and story teams are not completely out of touch with what average people consider good art and story, and art/story teams in general are given more freedom with their designs. I can't say the same about their game design team and what average people consider good game mechanics.

Quote:
And yet I haven't seen a truly bad title made by them before this game (and some of their 90's and early 00's spin-offs). I think you are greatly exaggerating. They are not great "writers", but they are not bad either- and most importantly, unlike in other companies SE's "writers" are given more freedom to express themselves. Some companies have the marketing team basically decide how the game is made (for maximum profit), and the developers simply follow the directions.

I'd say from the big development studios out there, Bethesda's, Bioware's (aside from TOR) and SE's developers have the best working environment out there (for developers). Maybe Konami as well. And all three(four) studios excel in different type of games, so that's great for different type of consumers too.

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 1:43pm by Hyanmen


SE was good in the 90's when "western" developers were still in their infancy and toying with overly complicated game play systems. SE's game model worked amazingly for consoles with limited hardware and input options. But they really haven't made a lot of amazing games since 11, and even 11 barely just made it before the "new age" of gaming.

I'm saying this as a person who enjoyed the **** out of PS1 FF games and FFX/FFXI: SE is a mediocre developer compared to the other well known developers. SE seems to still be stuck in the '98-'03 era, whereas everyone else evolved alongside modern platform technology, modern player expectations and needs, and modern game play mechanics.
#18 Jan 21 2011 at 5:27 AM Rating: Decent
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The moment SE, or any game development firm for that matter, turned into a corporation supported by stock holders, they generally stopped making games for any reason other than to turn a profit.


I don't think you understand me correctly. Game development firms' purpose is to turn a profit, but that doesn't mean the developers or any other individuals purpose in said firm is to only turn a profit (their ideals should be in line with making products the customers will enjoy, of course). Companies go about this in different ways. Some let their developers be creative, some don't.

It's the same in Hollywood and most every other form of commercialized art really.

Quote:
SE seems to still be stuck in the '98-'03 era, whereas everyone else evolved alongside modern platform technology, modern player expectations and needs, and modern game play mechanics.


SE also evolved; and the proof of this is the long-time fans complaints about "bringing back the good old times" which, in fact, have been long outdated by a mile. SE didn't get stuck as much as fans wanted it, but they also haven't evolved as fast as other companies out there. But as long as they make games that get an average score of 80+, they are hardly mediocre, but they are not great either.
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#19 Jan 21 2011 at 6:02 AM Rating: Decent
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FUJILIVES wrote:
If you wanted people to cross over from XI you had an opportunity to do that. You literally could have just moved all the XI content over to the new game engine and built new worlds from there - at least then with your complete lack of explanation to what is actually happening with 'numbers' in the game, XI fans have already done the math and built a wiki over the years to help rationalize the situation.

I would actually not have minded this one bit, however, you don't seem to realize how much work it would be. Sure, the concepts are already there, but re-building this much content, including the game systems, from scratch is just that, building from scratch. You can't just copy-paste maps and dialogue, etc, and touch up the graphics.
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#20 Jan 21 2011 at 6:11 AM Rating: Good
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kenage wrote:
Not to say anything about the opinion of your cousin (which mostly I agree with) but declaring FFXI a success is a bit dubious in my opinion.


Um, considering FFXI generated the most revenue for them between 2004-2008 I'd pretty much say XI above all (with the fact being ran for almost 10 years) is a success.

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#21 Jan 21 2011 at 7:40 AM Rating: Excellent
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Hyanmen wrote:
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“we educate consumers on what good games should be, by making these games.”


So, they act like a developer should act like- not a loyal servant that does what they are being told to do by the gamers, but an artist.

No book writer, no movie script writer, no game developer is supposed to be the man to copy others' ideas in his product. That makes him a bad developer without a spine, a copycat, plain and simple. There are exceptions of course, and a good developer should be aware of them.

That doesn't mean player feedback shouldn't be considered. A good developer can look past his ideals if it is for the good of the product.

Like with XI, that went from strictly group based mechanics to something more forgiving post-2006. I do not agree that SE has no experience of this sort of situation. Now it is just much larger in scope than in 2006.

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 1:12pm by Hyanmen

I think the problem is the philosophy itself. It appears to be an extension of what they ended doing with FFXIV. They built the game in a very odd way and then proceeded to assume that we would like whatever they put out because they think it's good and they know what's best. That cost them dearly. At it's best it's a crap shoot. Perhaps their ideas will translate into something the players will like but it's just as likely that it will blow up in their face.

If nothing else, I'm hoping FFXIV was a reality check for SE. From what Yoshida has been writing it sounds like it really was.
#22 Jan 21 2011 at 8:47 AM Rating: Excellent
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SE strikes me as a company that does "Whatever we want, and you will like it". Usually we do. Sometimes we don't.

In this particular case, I'm confident when I say that SE was of the opinion that they expected us to like the game and are genuinely surprised that we didn't. The thing is, if they had listened to feedback, they would not have been so blindsided.

It's like making someone a steak and lobster dinner and they tell you "I'm a vegetarian". You can say "Oh, you'll love it!" and you can put all the best wishes behind it, but don't be surprised when they don't touch it and start getting defensive because you think it's fine and can't possibly see why anyone could possibly not be happy with it.
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#23 Jan 21 2011 at 10:37 AM Rating: Default
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Risk and reward. Using an industry-wide formula for success can produce a decent game; breaking the rules and forging your own path can produce a great game - or one that just doesn't work.

Konami had a cult hit on its hands with Silent Hill 1-3, but decided to go with more conventional game play and story elements in SH4, Japanese arcade shooters, cell phone games, and ultimately killed Team Silent and farmed its sequels to foreign companies, stressing "more action," turning a series of respectable cult hits into a series of mediocre, but pretty playable, action titles. I've lost all interest in the series, and only today learned that a new game (and a new film) will appear in the near future.

I respect SE for keeping FFXIV unique in an age of yet-another-MMO, although they should have realized FFXIV needed a lot more time. It was just too ambitious an undertaking.
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#24 Jan 21 2011 at 11:49 AM Rating: Excellent
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There is no rational excuse for SE's old mentality. They were arrogant and out of touch and it bit them in the ***.

If you're making something for the people, you need to take what they have to say into consideration.

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 12:50pm by BrokenFox
#25 Jan 22 2011 at 4:34 AM Rating: Good
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BartelX wrote:
Can you possibly back this up with a link? I seem to recall back when I was playing ffxi at its peak that it WAS top 3 in terms of subscribers. I remember seeing a graph that showed WoW as #1, something else as #2, and I think FFXI as #3. Granted, this was a few years ago so perhaps I am just remembering the chart wrong, but regardless of that, you really don't think it was a success?
Apparently my understanding of the word success was wrong, my idea was that you call a success something that surpasess what is expected of it, however it actually means simply "to accomplish what is expected"

Athough the original intention of my post was to express that with a final fantasy name in 2003 nothing less could have been expected about the game =)

Ken
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#26 Jan 22 2011 at 7:21 AM Rating: Decent
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They built the game in a very odd way and then proceeded to assume that we would like whatever they put out because they think it's good and they know what's best.


Allow me to disagree with you here, and explain why.

I don't think they assumed we would think it's that good. I think they assumed that we wouldn't mind it's shortcomings and that those who did wouldn't play the game before those things were fixed. In other words, they thought the playerbase would start off small but raise steadily during the years, just like in XI. They also had the thought that whatever the problems are, they could fix them during the game's lifespan (which they seem to be able to do looking at big Y's plans).

But they failed at two things in this process. They underestimated the sheer scope of problems in the game, and the people who wouldn't have played the game in it's current state bought it anyway, got frustrated and quit.

On top of that, the reviews obviously weren't as good as they had thought (although I doubt they were expecting more than a 7 at the stage of release honestly).

Edited, Jan 22nd 2011 4:33pm by Hyanmen
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#27 Jan 22 2011 at 12:03 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'd say that the whole "Don't review our game!" that they were putting out there for a while spoke volumes toward this.

Whether they lacked confidence in their product because they thought it was low quality, or whether they thought it was a good quality game and hoped people could look past its problems, outright telling people to NOT review the game yet pretty much says everything you need to hear.

Any developer who thought they had a great title that everyone would love would be chomping at the bit for reviews.
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#28 Jan 22 2011 at 12:09 PM Rating: Good
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I can see how SE has their pride and likes to do things their way.

Personally, I see two sides to that coin. Yes, it leads to over confidence and might result in big mistakes...

But it also means that they will do things their way, which, in an industry plagued with decay, clones, and lack of innovation, is welcome in my eyes. So many games today are complete garbage, they just copy whatever is currently selling best.

Want an FPS game? Hope you like military shooters... Want an RPG? Well it'll likely be linear and not at all challenging.(and yes, the FFXIII team clearly went that way too) How about Puzzle or 4x games?.. Oh wait, those practically don't exist anymore... And MMO's are largely based around WoW clones today. etc.etc.etc.

I don't like any of those games. As a result, I play very few games now a'days. The ones I do play come from SE, Tri-Ace, Bethesda, several teams from Capcom and Valve(now that they started porting to the consoles)I can't remember the last game I played and enjoyed by any other team. Probably Okami.

So if SE wants to say to **** with it, and make the game they want to make regardless of who says what, more power to them. Now they have a great foundation with which to improve upon, since they are finally opening up and taking feedback. It's a rough path for all at times, but I think it will ultimately lead to a much better game than if they just stuck solely to either route.

Also, keep in mind all things gaming are completely subjective. Just because that guy is somewhere in the industry doesn't mean his opinion matters any more than yours or mine. Technical advice, sure, opinions on who should do what, nah. Yes the engine might be better for consoles, but SE's fans mostly prefer consoles, and I think that was the right move for them. And also keep in mind that there are plenty of people in the industry who have utterly terrible ideas with where to take things. From the lowly bottom rung developers, to that head honcho from activision who draws hate from have the gamers out there.

It's all just food for thought though. Ultimately, where FFXIV goes and whose ideas are listened to is SE's call, and if you want to follow them and play their game, it's entirely your choice.
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#29 Jan 22 2011 at 11:45 PM Rating: Excellent
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Just to add about the "Our way or the highway" attitude.

I think that it's been taken out of context, and more of a pride in their creations thing, rather than an exposition of hubris.

When Square was Square I think real passion went into their games. When Square became SE and they started branching out, it became a money making machine and that was the goal.

After a while people can tell the difference.

#30 Jan 23 2011 at 12:43 AM Rating: Decent
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Kierk wrote:
Just to add about the "Our way or the highway" attitude.

I think that it's been taken out of context, and more of a pride in their creations thing, rather than an exposition of hubris.

When Square was Square I think real passion went into their games. When Square became SE and they started branching out, it became a money making machine and that was the goal.

After a while people can tell the difference.



Square and Enix design ideologies clashed is pretty much what happened.
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#31 Jan 23 2011 at 10:46 AM Rating: Excellent
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Whether you like them or dislike them or are just ambivalent towards them, if you look keenly, you can notice subtle nuances between pre-merger and post merger titles in therms of the way things are done.

Whether for better or worse is debatable, but the merger did change the company.
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#32 Jan 23 2011 at 11:55 AM Rating: Good
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kenage wrote:
declaring FFXI a success is a bit dubious in my opinion... I spent 6 years of my life on that game... it was never top 1 or top 3 or even top 5 in the world MMORPG industry, it scratched top 10 for a couple of years... I'd hardly consider that a success


So according to you there are only 5 games every few years that are "successes?"

I would say any game that made a decent profit, that steadily provided content over times, that held my attention for six years, and that still has a moderate playerbase after more than eight years is an undeniable success.

Your definition of success makes no sense, especially since you seem to place great worth in rankings, yet also seem to disparage those that are "only in the top ten of the world" if they're not the top one. Really, top ten is "hardly a success?" If everyone defined success like you, very nearly everything would be an utter failure.
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#33 Jan 23 2011 at 12:06 PM Rating: Decent
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The races of FF14 being the same as FFXI was a stupid and seemingly lazy idea.


I'm afraid I don't see the logic in this. There have been moogles since the second (first?) game. Likewise with Chocobos. The decision to include the same designs from a previous entry is not a sign of laziness in my opinion, but a sign of wanting to establish a long-standing mythos.

I think that the characters of XI were brilliantly done and they all contribute to SE's 'homey' feeling. I'm glad they were re-introduced. (Though miffed that the names changed as, to be frank, I see such a decision as superfluous.)

#34 Jan 23 2011 at 1:50 PM Rating: Excellent
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“we educate consumers on what good games should be, by making these games.”


You know, I actually kind of admire that attitude, however I currently think they are delusional in thinking that they are producing top of the line games.
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#35 Jan 23 2011 at 4:27 PM Rating: Good
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So, they act like a developer should act like- not a loyal servant that does what they are being told to do by the gamers, but an artist.

No book writer, no movie script writer, no game developer is supposed to be the man to copy others' ideas in his product. That makes him a bad developer without a spine, a copycat, plain and simple. There are exceptions of course, and a good developer should be aware of them.


From the OP's description, it's not the work of an artist, but of a bureaucracy. Which honestly is exactly what I would expect. There's not an artist at work here, but a bunch of semi-artistic employees struggling to appease the people who sign their paychecks.

Comparing video games to art is similar to comparing sports to art. We shouldn't forget that while there are artistic elements to video games, inherent to them is the recreation and play aspect. Is chess an art? Is Scrabble an art? Is football? While video games have many opportunities for artistic elements (in the visuals, sound, story), those elements we often critique most strongly (the gameplay ones) aren't very artistic at all. They're not really that subjective, and design efficiency is far more important than originality.
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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.
#36 Jan 23 2011 at 4:41 PM Rating: Good
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Hyanmen wrote:
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“we educate consumers on what good games should be, by making these games.”


So, they act like a developer should act like- not a loyal servant that does what they are being told to do by the gamers, but an artist.

No book writer, no movie script writer, no game developer is supposed to be the man to copy others' ideas in his product. That makes him a bad developer without a spine, a copycat, plain and simple. There are exceptions of course, and a good developer should be aware of them.

That doesn't mean player feedback shouldn't be considered. A good developer can look past his ideals if it is for the good of the product.

Like with XI, that went from strictly group based mechanics to something more forgiving post-2006. I do not agree that SE has no experience of this sort of situation. Now it is just much larger in scope than in 2006.

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 1:12pm by Hyanmen


The amount of stupid that spews out of your mouth is just obscene.
#37 Jan 23 2011 at 5:27 PM Rating: Default
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design efficiency is far more important than originality.


Since this is part of the experience industry, I disagree.

Originality is what gives people experiences. Why was the first Final Fantasy the best Final Fantasy? Because it felt original, and something you hadn't experienced before.

If you keep doing the same thing, playing the same kind of game, the experience is watered down. This is not rocket science. New concepts are needed to give us the same kind of experience we felt before.

Making games is not like making cars. Right now the gaming industry is like the TV industry- among few good hospital shows there are a dozen watered down copies. Among few good crime series there are a dozen bad ones. The TV industry hardly gives us experiences anymore- it's more like filler among few original series (the good ones).

Maybe you don't consider games an art- but anyone who can give me the kind of experience that blows my mind, whether through a game, movie or book- is an artist to me.

Edited, Jan 24th 2011 2:27am by Hyanmen
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#38 Jan 23 2011 at 6:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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FUJILIVES wrote:
And not to put salt in the wound, but.. one last note: The races of FF14 being the same as FFXI was a stupid and seemingly lazy idea.
The mistake was more them not going beyond the known limits on XI's playable races; in other words, no female roegadyn and no male mi'qote. We already had barely-workable excuses the last time around, and it was a bit disappointing to see them go that same route again.

As for the OP, I agree with their cousin's look on things. I also have the feeling that saving the sinking ship will involve some battles behind the scenes. No real way around it. Just have to wait and see how much the backlash over XIV has affected the company as a whole. It's one thing to make changes for the public eye, but another one to change the logistics through which these games are made.
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#39 Jan 23 2011 at 6:31 PM Rating: Good
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kenage wrote:
declaring FFXI a success is a bit dubious in my opinion... I spent 6 years of my life on that game... it was never top 1 or top 3 or even top 5 in the world MMORPG industry, it scratched top 10 for a couple of years... I'd hardly consider that a success


So according to you there are only 5 games every few years that are "successes?"

I would say any game that made a decent profit, that steadily provided content over times, that held my attention for six years, and that still has a moderate playerbase after more than eight years is an undeniable success.

Your definition of success makes no sense, especially since you seem to place great worth in rankings, yet also seem to disparage those that are "only in the top ten of the world" if they're not the top one. Really, top ten is "hardly a success?" If everyone defined success like you, very nearly everything would be an utter failure.
Please read the other post I made after the one you quote, I already said that my understanding of the word "success" was wrong.

Was I was trying to point with my comment is that "nothing less could have been expected from a final fantasy online in 2003" the name of the game was huge, the fan base was strong and the online MMORPG industry for consoles was almost virgin.

Regarding your comment the point is not to make it to the top 10 or top 5 or any other predefined ranking, is just go farther than is expected, perhaps a game made by a new company without a lot of resources that becomes top 20 is simple great because is doing better than expected, and that was my only point, although wrongly expressed, in my opinion FFXI only did what was expected of it.


Ken
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#40 Jan 23 2011 at 6:47 PM Rating: Good
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Hyanmen wrote:
Quote:
design efficiency is far more important than originality.


Since this is part of the experience industry, I disagree.

Originality is what gives people experiences. Why was the first Final Fantasy the best Final Fantasy? Because it felt original, and something you hadn't experienced before.

If you keep doing the same thing, playing the same kind of game, the experience is watered down. This is not rocket science. New concepts are needed to give us the same kind of experience we felt before.

Making games is not like making cars. Right now the gaming industry is like the TV industry- among few good hospital shows there are a dozen watered down copies. Among few good crime series there are a dozen bad ones. The TV industry hardly gives us experiences anymore- it's more like filler among few original series (the good ones).

Maybe you don't consider games an art- but anyone who can give me the kind of experience that blows my mind, whether through a game, movie or book- is an artist to me.

Edited, Jan 24th 2011 2:27am by Hyanmen


Correction! The first FF was a rip off of DW/DQ :)
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#41 Jan 23 2011 at 7:33 PM Rating: Decent
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Since this is part of the experience industry, I disagree.

Originality is what gives people experiences. Why was the first Final Fantasy the best Final Fantasy? Because it felt original, and something you hadn't experienced before.

If you keep doing the same thing, playing the same kind of game, the experience is watered down. This is not rocket science. New concepts are needed to give us the same kind of experience we felt before.


Originality is not the defining element of a good or bad experience. There is some truth to what you say-- novelty and variety are important predictors of enjoyment; however, they are far from the only ones, and the correlation is far from perfect.

What you're talking about is hedonic adaptation, something I've mentioned on the forum several times. However, an important aspect of hedonic adaptation is that it does take time. That's why the "same old" can be successful for so long. Just because something isn't completely original doesn't mean it's tired. In fact, often times we don't like something until we've been exposed to it a few times. The first time we hear a new song, or try a new food, we might hate it-- only learning to like it after being exposed to it several more times.

Both games and art are in the experience industry, but that does not mean that all games are art.
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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.
#42 Jan 23 2011 at 11:18 PM Rating: Decent
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Originality is not the defining element of a good or bad experience. There is some truth to what you say-- novelty and variety are important predictors of enjoyment; however, they are far from the only ones, and the correlation is far from perfect.


Well yeah, of course, "a good game" is more than a sum of it's parts, and it's not like every person is looking for a (same kind of) experience out of games, so the same rules don't always apply.

Focusing solely on quality can work, but even more-so if you play your cards right. Even though Starcraft 2 wasn't that different from Starcraft 1 it was received well.. because 12 years had passed. I can see the same happen with Diablo 3. You can "relive" the same experience you had already forgotten like that.

I like your definition of hedonic adaptation. In-fact, if you polish the same old enough it can become something completely different over-time. Like let's say for example action games for consoles, which weren't really that good at all during the 90's, but became a lot better (almost like a rebirth) during the 00's.

Granted, and this is just how I've perceived it, West seems to be more focused on the technical aspect of games (like engineers) while the East is more concerned about the artistic style in both audiovisuals and even gameplay. If you want a game that runs well and the systems demand number crunching and micromanagement (RTS for example), you can't go wrong with a Western game really. The innovations are largely technical in nature, too, when the East focuses on the design aspect a lot more.

Not always though. But it's what I've noticed.
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#43 Jan 24 2011 at 1:22 AM Rating: Decent
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While it's interesting to suggest FFXIV's failure is due to a faulty corporate mentality. You can't blame simple things like why the game can't re-install and run on an upgrade workstation. I was ready to hang around until the game improves to at least XI level, but no, it just doesn't work. It was a lot easier to hit the cancel button than to troubleshoot why a game can't run on a clean install. Changing the development team isn't going to help them much...too little too late, for rolling out a "beta" product and then trying to patch their way out of it.
#44 Jan 24 2011 at 12:27 PM Rating: Decent
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Hyanmen wrote:
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design efficiency is far more important than originality.
Since this is part of the experience industry, I disagree.
Well, FFXIV is the result of originality in gameplay at the cost of efficiency and playability.
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#45 Jan 24 2011 at 12:35 PM Rating: Good
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Well, FFXIV is the result of originality in gameplay at the cost of efficiency and playability.


Well, personally I'm not a fan of lumping "rushed release" and "originality" together when thinking what went wrong with this game. They had ideas that were doomed from the start, and they had ideas that when fleshed out would be great features worth having. Due to not letting the developers polish the game properly they A) couldn't replace the doomed features with (old) features that worked nor B) couldn't flesh out the features that when finished would end up being great features.

In comparison to, for example ArenaNet, who polishes their game properly. That results in them being able to A) scrap features that were doomed from the beginning for something more functional and B) flesh out the features that end up becoming good and worth having. All this is the result of originality but without rushing.

It is why I think SE sent the gamers and companies of the world a wrong message with this game. Being original is not a bad thing at all, but a rushed game sucks regardless of whether it has original ideas or is straight up copy from some other game.
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#46 Jan 24 2011 at 5:01 PM Rating: Decent
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It's possible it was only rushed because it was so original - originality takes more time than rehashing, especially with MMO game mechanics.

What ideas, in your opinion, were doomed from the start?
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