There is still a small chance that FFXIV might succeed with 2.0. Although one of the key factors (I have listed quite a few in the past) is that the folks that Yoshida is targeting for Version 2.0 welcomes and accepts Final Fantasy XIV-2 with open arms. I have talked extensively about some major points in the past about the MMORPG genre as a whole and today I would like to cover two additional topics.
Basic Ingredients that go into an MMORPG and the key word: Trend and give some examples. I will break up this post in 2 parts. A. Part I and II. B. Part III and IV.
Some folks have made in the past valid complaints about "The Grind" 'The Community" "The Challenge" and many others. But it goes much deeper than this.
Many folks here who have played FFXI, and especially folks in MMORPG.com, have been waiting for that next MMO to capture their hearts like the so called "first love." This is especially true if your first MMORPG game was released somewhere between 1996-2004. Companies trying to "bridge" the casual and hardcore has ultimately failed in almost every regard post 2005. One of the very few companies that still tailors (to some extent) to the hard cores is CCP. One of their upcoming MMO titles called "World of Darkness" will have perma-death for example. Everyone's definition of casual/hardcore varies and that isn't the point of this post.
The problem goes much deeper than grinding, or community, or the PR talk of having "challenging encounters" which almost has fallen flat post 2005. I think "One" of the main problems are the ingredients used in a MMORPG title: especially for 2012-2013 and beyond. Part I: Basic Ingredients
If you add all or most of the following ingredients
(especially for a large company having a team of 150-200-300 or more): 1A.
P2P model or 1B.
P2P model with cash shop. 2A.
EverQuest I/II/WoW clone or 2B.
Lineage I/II/Aion clone (Clone being defined here as taking 90% or more and making it virtually the same with subtle differences). Nothing wrong with having "some" familiarity, but you need to separate yourself from the pack unless you are an indie company. 3.
Going the theme park: extremely overused route [medieval fantasy or futuristic fantasy] MMO instead of going the sand box route. 4.
Generic endgame content. 5. (Optional)
Bring in maybe 1 brand new thing to the table (or a feature rarely used by other online games).
If you add all that up you will have a product that will most likely fail in the long run, especially if it follows a P2P model. It reeks of the been-there-done-that.
And the majority of the people leave these types of theme park MMO games in under 6 months (fatal for P2P companies that employ a large team) since it needs a considerable amount of revenue to keep them P2P. Hence the flavor-of-the-month. Notice I:
One of the key features FFXI had was that it had some elements of both a sandbox MMORPG and a theme park MMORPG. Notice II:
FFXIV had a few elements of a sand box but with barely any sand in it (let alone a working theme park). Notice III:
It may be possible that Yoshida abandons all of the sand box elements in the game and go with the theme park route solely. In my opinion if he does this for Version 2.0 then chances are that this would be a fatal step.
His view on theme park MMORPG games: http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/27142?p=390333#post390333 Notice IV:
A mostly complete list of sand box games. FFXI was listed as one down the thread. I would say that FFXI had some of both. Sand box games are extremely rare these days and one that is properly funded like ArcheAge is even more rare. http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/post/4626481#4626481 Notice V:
Understanding the basic elements of what makes a theme park and a sandbox game. Note that there are "purists" out there and some will never agree on what makes a game either a theme park or a sandbox game, although it is possible to have both elements. http://internetgames.about.com/od/mmorpgs/a/Mmorpgs-Sandbox-Vs-Themepark.htm Part II: Trends
At the moment there are over 550 MMORPG games and the vast majority fall under the fantasy role playing sub genre. For this game to stay P2P for a long time, it will need a good player base that sticks with the game. We all know that you don't need 12 million or 6 million or 3 million players to keep a business afloat. However, with that said, you do need a stable population that will not have a mass exodus after several months [especially after a major patch or overhaul] (something that plagues fantasy theme park MMORPG in recent years).
I am not sure if there will be enough NA/EU players to stay for the long haul. We already know the die-hard fans will... but what about everyone else? There is nothing wrong with a niche game, but if it becomes too niche
, it can and will become a problem from a business standpoint. MMORPG trends
have shown that games nowadays become F2P at a much rapid rate. Compare games that came out in 1996-2004 versus 2004-2009 versus 2009-present. It used to take games a decade (or more to go F2P) then it went down to 5 years, then 4, then 3 and now some taking under 3 years to go F2P such as Aion (again talking strictly about the NA/EU market). Edited, Apr 8th 2012 3:48am by AmbrosiaAmor