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Why the zones again? Follow

#1 Jul 07 2013 at 4:31 AM Rating: Decent
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Ok, first off, don't kill me... if you don't agree, please state why. I'd really like to hear from you folks how you feel about this. This is just my opionion, which doesn't mean much because quite often I'm full of ****.

I enjoyed the new areas compared to the last ones. I had a great time traveling through Eorzea! I've been thinking though.. SE claimed that in order to make the zones more interesting and "add landmarks", they needed to go back to the zone system they had in FFXI. I thought "ok cool, as long as the areas improve!". . but then I had a thought as I was traversing through the landscape of ARR; it's no more unique or filled with landmarks than other successful MMOs. Smiley: eek

I know a lot of you hate World of Warcraft! Some of you even hate Rift! And a small group of you probably hate anything that isn't FFXI! I get it, I really do. FFXI was my first MMO too and it was a beautiful game that gave me memories no game could ever match. However, the need to go back to zones really feels like a cop-out to me at this point. Azeroth is a huge open world with beautiful landscapes and many, many towns and landmarks. You always know where you are just by seeing familiar vistas or monuments. Yet there are no zones. Same with Rift, no zones.

I think I took that SE jargon and ate it right up because I was so desperate for this game to survive. It's too late to turn back, the switch was made. Eorzea will never have an open world, and I'll just have to accept that. The reasoning behind it however, I will not accept at this time in history. There was no reason they were forced to destroy the open world to add flavor to the game. It was a really bad decision in my opinion.

And even with all the zones, we're still constantly plagued with invisible walls and no ability to swim through a creek or wade into the ocean and go for a dive. I'm not sure why SE made these decisions. Time constraints perhaps? Most likely. I know any development team in it's right mind would not choose to deprive their game of features implemented in MMOs almost 10 years ago.

This isn't a hate thread. I'm not trying to be a negative nanny goat. I just think it needs to be said that although SE has improved this game quite a bit, they've still come to some very silly conclusions that will baffle quite a few potential players.
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#2 Jul 07 2013 at 4:36 AM Rating: Good
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No idea as to why, but it works, i like the zones, remind me of XII, they are well designed, sure not all of them are unique and epic, but each one has it's own little thing going on, i have not explored the entire game yet, but for what i can see, it does feel a bit small, maybe they are withholding the majority of the zones until phase 4.
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#3 Jul 07 2013 at 4:44 AM Rating: Decent
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Ostia wrote:
No idea as to why, but it works, i like the zones, remind me of XII, they are well designed, sure not all of them are unique and epic, but each one has it's own little thing going on, i have not explored the entire game yet, but for what i can see, it does feel a bit small, maybe they are withholding the majority of the zones until phase 4.


I agree on the zones feeling unique and being well designed from an aesthetic standpoint, but I could also say that Grizzly Hills and Howling Fjord are both well designed too; and yet I can freely move between the two without zoning. I can also swim in their lakes and oceans and never, ever run in to an invisible wall. The same could be said of the transition from Ashenvale in to The Barrens.

I guess my point is, I don't see why it was necessary. I would take zones without batting an eye if the exploration of said zones was free and unrestricted, but it's not at all. I still feel claustrophobic and constantly reminded of how limited Eorzea is and unfortunately will most likely be in the foreseeable future.

*I'm not harking constantly on the battle system or boss mechanics because both of those issues can be addressed in a patch or two. The world design and the total absence of free exploration however will require a very big expansion if it is to ever change, and I have a bad feeling in my gut that it won't.

Edited, Jul 7th 2013 6:47am by Transmigration
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#4 Jul 07 2013 at 4:49 AM Rating: Excellent
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Rift and WoW aren't running on PS3s either, Transmigration. Not having to deal with console limitations is a big bonus for a zoneless world.

#5 Jul 07 2013 at 4:51 AM Rating: Good
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Ravashack wrote:
Rift and WoW aren't running on PS3s either, Transmigration. Not having to deal with console limitations is a big bonus for a zoneless world.



Oh lord you're right. Well, that explains it. Looks as though PS2 limitations have turned in to PS3 limitations. That's a real bummer.
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#6 Jul 07 2013 at 5:05 AM Rating: Good
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I'm pretty sure the point was made that there won't be PS3 limitations?

At any rate - During my time in the beta, I didn't mind the zoned areas. I didn't even know it was one big open world. However, the way it works now, works. They aren't trying to reinvent anything, and maybe doing it this way was just the best method in establishing a better game. (Maybe it had a large role in making low performance machines more compatible with the game.)
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#7 Jul 07 2013 at 5:08 AM Rating: Good
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Stilivan wrote:
I'm pretty sure the point was made that there won't be PS3 limitations?

At any rate - During my time in the beta, I didn't mind the zoned areas. I didn't even know it was one big open world. However, the way it works now, works. They aren't trying to reinvent anything, and maybe doing it this way was just the best method in establishing a better game. (Maybe it had a large role in making low performance machines more compatible with the game.)


It seems that the general consensus is that it was for the greater good. As long as players enjoy it, I suppose it's alright.
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#8 Jul 07 2013 at 5:18 AM Rating: Excellent
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Lol I agree with Ostia.

The blue zone dots and the black transition screens are very reminiscent of ffxii.

Also loading times are short...

The only difference between WoW and ARR is that little transition piece between zones. Sure we won't be able to have flying mounts (which was pretty cool taking the griffon for the first time) and we can't swim but really its not that big of a deal to me.

I think if the trade off is varied locales and zones, or a large boring seemless world, we'd much rather have the more interesting world.

In the end I really don't feel constricted by the zones at all. And although I appreciated WoWs level design and even Rift's, FFXI was still very interesting with zones. I think its all in the presentation and how creative can you be without messing up the flow too much. I think in this case (ps3 limitations aside) Yoshi has done a commendable job.
#9 Jul 07 2013 at 6:37 AM Rating: Decent
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I'd like to know why the Mac always gets shafted by SE. Blizzard and a few other MMOs found a way to make a Mac version why can't SE and others. Apple has been gaining ground on the PCs at home. I personally know a few people who would pick the game up if there was a Mac version.

I know Bootcamp is an option, that's how I play, but not everyone wants Windows.
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#10 Jul 07 2013 at 6:49 AM Rating: Good
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I'm pretty sure the zones were broken up like that because it puts less strain on the graphics engine. Keep in mind, the graphics in XIV blow away those from WoW and Rift in terms of detail and texturing. Because of this, it is much harder on a graphics engine using an open world concept. That's a big part of the reason why 1.0 had such god awful lag when there were more than 5-10 players on screen. Yes, they are using a new graphics engine, but I still think a lot of the need for zone lines is just how intense the graphics are when compared to other mmos. At least that's the impression I got.
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#11 Jul 07 2013 at 6:51 AM Rating: Excellent
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Yea its a PS3 limitation. I dont mind the zones it makes the maps smaller and easier to navigate, as many have said the load times are really short.

The trade off right now is if they didnt add the zone markers than no ps3/ps4 players and less player to play with. I would rather have people playing the game than having a true open world and only be limited to PC versions.
#12 Jul 07 2013 at 7:00 AM Rating: Good
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The simple answer is probably because it's simpler. Simpler isn't necessarily bad, if it means developers have less debugging to worry about. I don't know anything about the technicalities behind this but I'm guessing that with no zoning, the game has to constantly load the textures of areas around where the players "might" be going. I remember in WoW when I had a computer that could barely run it, the game would freeze for a second every time I would turn around abruptly.

Simple may also mean more freedom for the artists designing the zones.
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#13 Jul 07 2013 at 7:03 AM Rating: Good
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silverhope wrote:
PS3 limitation


What exactly makes it a PS3 limitation? Perhaps not the greatest example, but Skyrim doesn't have zones when outside, and the game still looks great on PS3 (yes I know it's buggy but it has nothing to do with zoning, it's always been a save issue).
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#14 Jul 07 2013 at 7:12 AM Rating: Excellent
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PhoenixOmbre wrote:
silverhope wrote:
PS3 limitation


What exactly makes it a PS3 limitation? Perhaps not the greatest example, but Skyrim doesn't have zones when outside, and the game still looks great on PS3 (yes I know it's buggy but it has nothing to do with zoning, it's always been a save issue).


skyrim is a single player game toss thousands of people onto the server and im sure it would lag alot. Gotta remember this game was also made for lower specs pcs. Im talking 5+ years old and **** it looks good.

Phoenixombre really says it all.
PhoenixOmbre wrote:
The simple answer is probably because it's simpler. Simpler isn't necessarily bad, if it means developers have less debugging to worry about. I don't know anything about the technicalities behind this but I'm guessing that with no zoning, the game has to constantly load the textures of areas around where the players "might" be going. I remember in WoW when I had a computer that could barely run it, the game would freeze for a second every time I would turn around abruptly.

Simple may also mean more freedom for the artists designing the zones.
#15 Jul 07 2013 at 7:17 AM Rating: Good
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I'm not sure that the multiplayer is a big issue here. The PS3 version doesn't show other players very far, or many of them anyway. Remember the lalafell march? I was there, on PS3. It ran fine, no lag at all but I could only see a handful of them.

I think the servers are probably handling which other players the PS3 will load in memory, and it's probably a fixed limit. So the size of the zone, or lack of zones should have no impact.
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#16 Jul 07 2013 at 7:22 AM Rating: Good
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PhoenixOmbre wrote:
I'm not sure that the multiplayer is a big issue here. The PS3 version doesn't show other players very far, or many of them anyway. Remember the lalafell march? I was there, on PS3. It ran fine, no lag at all but I could only see a handful of them.

I think the servers are probably handling which other players the PS3 will load in memory, and it's probably a fixed limit. So the size of the zone, or lack of zones should have no impact.


hrmm i had no idea it had that kind of limit. How is that gonna work in big raids? The answer to the zones could just be because they wanted them. heh. Guess we could always ask on the forums for live letter and such and get a real answer.
#17 Jul 07 2013 at 7:31 AM Rating: Good
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It'll probably fine in big raids, because there's a limited amount of people in a single instance. I didn't want to make it sound as if the ps3 was showing only a handful of other players at a time, it's just not good at knowing to prioritize lalafels when there's a hundred of them walking in line Smiley: lol

I see plenty of people around. I don't know what the limit is but it seems high enough to me.

Edited, Jul 7th 2013 9:32am by PhoenixOmbre
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#18 Jul 07 2013 at 7:46 AM Rating: Decent
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I agree on the zones feeling unique and being well designed from an aesthetic standpoint, but I could also say that Grizzly Hills and Howling Fjord are both well designed too; and yet I can freely move between the two without zoning. I can also swim in their lakes and oceans and never, ever run in to an invisible wall. The same could be said of the transition from Ashenvale in to The Barrens.

I guess my point is, I don't see why it was necessary.

So. What texture resolution and mesh detail do Grizzly Hills and Howling Fjord have in comparison to the Black Shroud?
#19 Jul 07 2013 at 7:53 AM Rating: Good
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Not sure about Rift, but on the flip side, only a select few characters in WoW are allowed to quick travel at a world level, and no one gets a city level quick travel. I thought this was a great addition and made a good many of my other gripes disappear when I started adding up all the time watching quick flight animation in WoW.

(being a developer) I was thinking last night that this might have had something to do with, from a memory management standpoint, that sounds like a nightmare. So yah, I concur that it's probably a PS3 limitation, and this is just one reason why, I'm sure there's more that will surface as the game goes wide release. I think that the "no limitations fro the PS3" mantra is more about graphical, as in the top PC setting will blow away the PS3, but there are still concessions to be made. Who knows, maybe this is the beginning of a new era in mmo development where the engine gets a makeover a few times, PS3 usage drops off and they upgrade...
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#20 Jul 07 2013 at 8:05 AM Rating: Decent
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I don't mind zones or the short loading screens. Some of FFXI zones were pretty big. Some of ARR zones should be bale to get bigger. Except for the outside edges of the map. SE could design future zones larger and with less invisible walls. TERA is open/seamless for the most part and it's closer to the tech spec of ARR. I haven't fiddled around with all the settings. But even on my pc and TW turboboost, It gets pretty laggy when you get around a bunch of other players.
#21 Jul 07 2013 at 8:09 AM Rating: Decent
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Rinsui wrote:
Quote:
I agree on the zones feeling unique and being well designed from an aesthetic standpoint, but I could also say that Grizzly Hills and Howling Fjord are both well designed too; and yet I can freely move between the two without zoning. I can also swim in their lakes and oceans and never, ever run in to an invisible wall. The same could be said of the transition from Ashenvale in to The Barrens.

I guess my point is, I don't see why it was necessary.

So. What texture resolution and mesh detail do Grizzly Hills and Howling Fjord have in comparison to the Black Shroud?



Seeing as how you don't work at SE, and aren't making a game for multi-platforms, costing your company tens if not a hundred million dollars, it would certainly make sense why you don't get it.

They chose zones because that is what allows the game to run as smoothly as it does while also have such beautiful graphics.
#22 Jul 07 2013 at 8:46 AM Rating: Excellent
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My favorite part of XIV with regards to Zoning is no more lost text when you change areas. It's so nice that you can keep chatting with your LS while moving around, I always hated that in XI.
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#23 Jul 07 2013 at 8:55 AM Rating: Default
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ClydesShadow wrote:
Rinsui wrote:
Quote:
I agree on the zones feeling unique and being well designed from an aesthetic standpoint, but I could also say that Grizzly Hills and Howling Fjord are both well designed too; and yet I can freely move between the two without zoning. I can also swim in their lakes and oceans and never, ever run in to an invisible wall. The same could be said of the transition from Ashenvale in to The Barrens.

I guess my point is, I don't see why it was necessary.

So. What texture resolution and mesh detail do Grizzly Hills and Howling Fjord have in comparison to the Black Shroud?



Seeing as how you don't work at SE, and aren't making a game for multi-platforms, costing your company tens if not a hundred million dollars, it would certainly make sense why you don't get it.

They chose zones because that is what allows the game to run as smoothly as it does while also have such beautiful graphics.


Source ?
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#24 Jul 07 2013 at 9:00 AM Rating: Excellent
I just looked on YouTube for videos of the two WoW zones mentioned by the OP... I think I found both of them, and they both look very similar, at least judging only from the youtube videos.

Months ago, I know Yoshi-P states that a big reason for zones was to make each area more unique, because zone lines remove the need to have landscape transitions. A good example of why this is problematic are the two WoW zones the OP discussed... sure, they are "different," but it's as if the developer was compelled to not make them be too different, or else walking from one directly into the next wouldn't have made sense.

I'd much rather have zone lines with the PS3 and PS4 crowds thrown in as added bonuses. :D
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#25 Jul 07 2013 at 9:06 AM Rating: Good
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Wint wrote:
My favorite part of XIV with regards to Zoning is no more lost text when you change areas. It's so nice that you can keep chatting with your LS while moving around, I always hated that in XI.


Yes! I hated that so much. I remember standing at the zone, waiting for a conversation to slow down so I can zone without losing part of it. So glad it's a thing of the past.

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#26 Jul 07 2013 at 9:12 AM Rating: Decent
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I'd prefer the gradual scenery change and larger areas tbh.

It always annoyed me I'd transition from La Theine lush greenery to Valkrum Dunes in one fell swoop in XI. ARR has been better in this regard, so far the connected areas feel like they make sense. But I'd prefer not having loading screens.

That said, we have the graphics engine we have now, so its unlikely to be modified to be able to swap textures and models on the fly like many modern open world games do now. I'm okay with it, I had just hoped we wouldn't be going back to zoned areas again in an MMO. Also, PS4 will have gobs of memory, so developers won't be quite as tied down once the PS3 generation games come to a close. It's possible this will be one of the last major MMO games to utilize zone mechanics for all but changing between the outer world and instances.
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