Ok, so from what I've garnered perusing the forums in the past two weeks since I've returned to the game, I'm just about the rarest thing in the gaming world right now--someone's who has come back to ffxiv and is pleasantly surprised at how much fun I'm having with the game. I played ffxi for five years, and I was among the first group to login to ffxiv at CE release. Obviously it was disappointing. I played for about a month and then essentially forgot about my account. I even went back to ffxi, but when the nostalgia effect wore off it was easy to remember why I quit that game in the first place. So two weeks ago, burnt out on console rpgs and broke, I decided to give the game another try seeing that it's free and already on my computer.
I was wholeheartedly expecting to hate it and declare myself done within hours considering what I'd read since I quit, but I was hooked back in right away. The only reason I'm taking the time to write this post is because of maintenance. Let me be clear: This game has a long way to go if it ever wants to be a top mmorpg, but let me be equally clear: the assertions that the game is completely devoid of fun and enjoyment are simply not true. I have not made a serious attempt to wrap my head around every argument and point by point breakdown of what is wrong with the game (because frankly, I don't have the patience), but here are a few things that caught my eye returning.
Market Ward Search
This was by far my biggest problem with the game at launch, and the search function alleviates most of my frustrations. I still wonder precisely why SE didn't simply give us an AH, but at this point browsing is at least fixed if not optimal.
Side Quests and Behests
Levequests were virtually the only thing to do in this game at launch, and I was excited to see they'd introduced some variance. Obviously both of these concepts need to be fleshed out before they're complete, but it's an encouraging start to diversifying the grind. Up until the recent introduction of fields of valor, ffxi almost entirely spurned questing, and it's clear SE had trouble bridging the gap to a game built around it. Yet these along with the coming introduction of instanced dungeons shows they're at least moving in the right direction.
This rounds out the three things in the game I considered so bad they were broken when I played, and all three have undergone major changes. As I stated for the first two, the addition of modes does not make the targeting perfect--far from it--but it's a huge improvement to an integral part of the game, which brings me to...
Perhaps the most encouraging thing about my return is simply that the game continues to move forward, and obviously my timing couldn't have been better with the biggest patch to date right around the corner. Obviously we'll have to wait and see just how well these changes are integrated, but when you have a struggling game, the most important thing is that you have a development team that is not afraid to make fundamental changes.
This is to say nothing of a strong crafting system, promising main story, gorgeous environments, and all the trappings of final fantasy lore that I love. I'm not saying this game is anywhere close to done improving, but in my opinion it has a lot of things going for it. Enough so that I was drawn back in and am not going anywhere. I wanted to give everyone the chance to hear a positive around here. I encourage anyone who agrees with some of my points to comment on something in the game they feel works really well right now, or something that has the potential to.
And feel free to hit me up anytime on Wutai. Hector Gaze.