To humor Ostia (in case he wasn't joking), I'll throw this out there.
Guild Wars 2 was the most fun I've ever had in an MMO over the course of the first few weeks. Beyond that initial honeymoon period, GW2 got old so fast that it's not even funny.
So, while the new version of ARR has yet to go live, I'm pretty dang confident in saying GW2 is an inferior game. The cash shop blocks off players from having the coolest looking weapons and armor, the battle system is gimmicky and mind-numbing, the auto-level synching is annoying and endgame is virtually non-existent. The storyline is wildly boring until very, very late. The dynamic quests are cool at first, until you realize it's the same-old stuff, just on timers. The lore in the game is spread really thin; it's hard to feel any real sense of attachment to the world around you.
An example of FFXIV's superiority: In GW2, dodging an attack just means hitting your dodge button. In FFXIV, you actually have to pay attention to your spacing, and move to the right position relative to your opponent in order to dodge an attack. It's not as flashy as a dodge roll, but requires more skill and engagement. Overall, GW2 was just not designed to require much engagement.
So, there you go. GW2 is one worse MMO on the market today.
I agree. GW2 was fun in the beginning, and had some really good moments, awesome ideas, and decent execution.
But I always felt I was playing "around" people and not "with" them.
GW2 had polish, but not that much depth. The exploration was externally motivated, and not internally. I want to explore FFXIV because of how interesting it is; not because it's giving me a reward.
GW2 was horribly written and the story was sub-ziggy.
ARR on the other had feels like the reverse of GW2. It may not be as "fun" initially as GW2, but it does everything else, like story, music, immersion, better than it. And that's why I play Final Fantasy games, and games in general. Because of atmosphere and story telling.
Role playing games, should be about playing a "role."
I'd argue that much like the graphics race, there's a gameplay race going on as well, when in actuality it's the feeling of retaining that fourth wall and experience
that needs to be addressed and coddled.
That is Final Fantasy's strength now, and in my limited time in beta, they're on to something.
Granted I don't know if that charm carries over to newbies but I think fans of the series really can feel it. Those that can't might want to get their pulse checked.
Lastly, and on topic, I don't care how many millions (or hundreds of thousands...or tens of thousands) play this game. I'd much rather see a solid fan-base, capable of sustaining the game for a long period of time, provided we get the content and support we pay for every month. I don't, and shouldn't have to care about how many millions of people play.
I'm sure SE has their numbers in order this time around know what it's going to take to keep players playing.
It's amazing really. SE is walking the fine line of retaining FF fans, appealing to people that have never played an MMO and the WoW subset. And so far I think Yoshi-P is a pretty good tightrope walker.