I'm optimistic that it will rain tomorrow. I'm optimistic that people will starve to death tomorrow. Bad things will happen. It's not a matter of perspective, but prediction.
That's not optimism, or it's a very jaded view of it at best. At it's core, optimism is about interpreting events and situations with the best possible outcome, and I find it hard to believe that death and starvation are a best possible outcome in any situation. I think we both know that. At least, I hope we both do...
You're missing my point. You're attributing to optimism/pessimism what is merely an attempt at prediction/speculation. That suggests that FFXIV's success or failure has personal meaning to you. To me, it doesn't. I would like for it to succeed, but am not invested either way. If it fails, it won't bother me the least little bit. Ergo, it's not pessimism.
Optimism, btw, is not about predicting the best outcome to a situation. It is merely taking a positive (or even non-negative) point of view on the situation. For me, if FFXIV is an awful mess, my life will be completely unharmed, which is a positive point of view. It's a well-studied quality in the positive psychology movement, which incidentally is related to my own field of the study of play.
But if I had to bet, which I don't, then I would bet that it will be pretty average. That's not pessimism or optimism. That's just statistics (mediocrity is definitively the norm) informed by data.
That's not statistics either. Statistics are based on a probability of an outcome based on numbers/data. What data are you talking about? The game hasn't been released, it's not even in the 3rd stage of beta yet where 2/3 of the content is being added. Since there is really no current data, you can only make an uneducated guess. You're predictions are not based on facts. They are based on past opinions from yourself and possibly others you've found with a similar viewpoint as yourself. Even if it were the majority, it is not fact, and I think/hope you know it.
There is data about the game mechanics. It is not finalized, but it is within a finalized window. It will not deviate drastically from what we already know, which, if what we already know is rather similar to most other games (which it is), then we can consider it generic. That data about the game mechanics DOES convey a probability, whether you would like to acknowledge it or not. It does not paint a complete picture in any way--a generic game can even be a smashing success depending on excellent execution of the concept.
Statistical prediction does not require all the data to be complete--by definition, it is used when the data is incomplete. We have complete data on many other MMOs. But really, all I was saying is that statistically speaking, most things are very average--i.e., mediocre. You've seen a bell curve before? Roughly 65% of games are going to be mediocre by default. A 6/7 in game ratings is not to scale, afterall. Realistically, a 6/7 is a 5.
Gameplay isn't absolutely everything though, and mediocre gameplay can be redeemed by compelling narrative. That's why I concede that it could still be an okay game.
I'm sorry, is the narrative no longer part of the gameplay of a game? When did that happen? Last I checked, gameplay entails pretty much the entirety of the game. If we are going by the actual definition of the word, gameplay means the plot of a video game and the way in which it is played. If the two are separate, perhaps you should have used a different term or better defined the parameters of gameplay so that others would know what you are trying to infer.
Design-wise, the narrative is a distinct incentive structure that isn't considered a part of the gameplay for one simple reason: we use it to refer to the part of the game you don't PLAY. While gameplay should tie into the narrative to produce a cohesive experience, players watch or read story. They don't play it. So in that regard, no, narrative is not considered part of the gameplay. Gameplay refers specifically to the challenging interactive mechanisms of the game, whether they require reflexive or strategic problem solving.
Point being, it's a mistake to infer anything about my personality based on what is really a pretty dry and unfelt analysis on my part. This is just speculation to me, trying to improve my own abilities, and tease out any weaknesses.
I don't feel I'm trying to infer anything. You yourself pointed out that there have been very few games in recent memory that you have considered good. I'm not going to go digging through threads, but I distinctly remember you making that assessment when someone asked you that very question. Speculation is one thing, trying to pass it off as statistical proof is another.
Then you completely misunderstood the point I was making (or more likely, you don't understand statistics). Statistics are used for speculation. They predict things, but do not generally prove things.
Also, I only said that I hadn't played any good games in recent memory, but I don't play many games to begin with. I know that there are excellent games being made. Based on the information I have, I simply have no reason to believe that FFXIV will be excellent, or even very good. It could be, but that is not what I'm predicting.
Hopefully all of this will help you understand where I'm coming from a bit better. I'd rather not get into another blow-by-blow about it, at least.