Well you wrote a long description of what you think is going on. I respect your opinion but disagree on many points. Mainly, you seem to still have quite a bit of affection for FFXI.
Now as for the game itself Im only level 11 hence the "first impressions" and not "full review" part.
Consider what happened within the first 11 levels of FFXI for comparison. I'll restrict it to the very beginning of FFXI when it launched to be fair.
You were solo. You did not group. Leveling my white mage in Ronfaure was so incredibly lonely. No one to interact with. Eventually, I saw someone shout in town about a linkshell and joined. Limited social interaction through the LS...but my battles were fought alone.
I ventured into La'Theine afterwards at around 10. Still, no one shouted often during this time. No one asked any questions. There were none to ask: you were doing nothing but leveling for the first 1 to ~12 levels of FFXI solo. Remember? Quests weren't a big deal until the rest of us figured out that they were great for reputation grinds. Then, guides appeared. In fact, FFXI could be purchased with a guide. Do you remember it? The (in)famous) Brady guide? While it had a lot of inaccurate information, I believe it covered some basic quests. I would tell with accuracy but I chucked mine about 3 months into the game.
Grouping began at around 12 for most people in Valkurm. Miserable times if you were not the right class. Thankfully, I got into quite a few parties because I was a healer. Little social interaction since we were playing with a lot of Japanese players at the time. You were in this area (possibly searching for a group for 2~4+ hours) until 18 or 20 when you took the long, painful, solo
walk to Jeuno.
You probably went into your early 20s without a subjob due to not being able to obtain the parts for the quest easily for your level.
This was in a game where solo play was highly discouraged. It was a very disorienting feeling, I recall.
In comparison, I see so
many shouts just about every minute in any starting area of FFXIV: ARR. There are so many questions people ask because, quite frankly, they don't hold your hand (as much as you may disagree) all the way through the storyline and quests. You have to utilize outside resources sometimes. Remember, FFXI didn't put as much emphasis on quests.
People are willing to group as your first guildhest begins at around 10-12 if you keep up with the main story. Party play in FFXIV is more friendly. So I have a player who decides to force disconnect on me. Oh no! I'm screwed. I have to go all the way back to Ul'dah and start shou...wait. We can just wait for the queue to fill someone else in. This is an intelligent way to handle party systems in MMOs.
Also, due to the possibility of traveling to different cities much earlier than you could in FFXI, people from all over Eorzea are able to join your Free Company. Mine currently has around 230 members. If you think there is no socialization, you simply haven't looked hard enough! Every second in the starting areas you should see shouts from people recruiting for their FCs. There are actually incentives to join FCs, after all. Right now, I have an EXP bonus buff on thanks to our FC rank increasing.
The world itself doesnt seem very alive, sure you see lots of people running around but with little to no interaction/communication they might as well be NPCs. I mean for example in FFXI you saw a shout every 10 secs, you were basically constantly reminded that you were playing with other people. On XIV i may see one shout every 5 minutes, and thats if Im lucky.
Walking through Ul'dah, I disagree. The world is vibrant. The NPC chatter as ambient sound in the background adds to the effect: that you are within a city that is overflowing with people.
Again, I don't know where you're sitting but shouts are quite frequent in the starting zones and even in the cities. If I need to know something, I simply shout in a city and receive 7 different respones in the next minute: 4 tells and 3 shouts in reply. The community is very friendly from what I see and willing to help. At least, that is the case on Midgard.
Also so far the equipment goes, it isnt very diverse. For example everything Ive seen so far says either +1 str +1 dex or +1 int +1 mnd and can be worn by all classes. Which means depending on if youre a melee or a mage, at your level EVERYONE is wearing the same thing. In XI there was like 3-5 different armor sets every 5 levels and instead of being restricted to just melee or mage, there were some only mnk/sam/nin could wear, other that wars could wear but thief could not, etc etc. So you might see every 3rd or 5th person wearing the same thing as you but it was more diverse at least, also some equipment gave stat increases, some gave no stat increase but more defense, other gave not as much stat increase, i.e depending on your job and duty you actually had a reason to individually look at each piece of equipment and determine which would be best for your situation.
This is still the case. My archer is capable of using INT and MND pieces from my THM. It's definitely not what I should be striving for. Later on, when you get into dungeons, you will find gear exactly as you had mentioned: designated for 2~3 classes only. Only those classes may roll 'need' on the gear to obtain it.
wearing the same thing in FFXI up until and even past 70 (at the time of release, I believe the cap was either 65 or 70). I think this may be an illusion you have placed on yourself.
Everyone was wearing bronze equipment (yes, even the subligar). Everyone had their bronze or onion sword...their ash staves....and their generic gear available from the NPCs. You wouldn't be using the AH at this time since you wouldn't have had the money at the start of launch. I certainly did not.
Everyone wore a vermillion cloak, scorpion harness, or hauberk at some point in the 50s. Everyone wore brigadine, gold hairpins, jujitsu gi (if you had the money to buy one), etc in the 40s. Ochiudo's were almost always seen on any class that could use them. All the models were generic and could not be changed. In fact, what was Vermillion cloak? Just a remodeled version of some of the lower level cloaks and special/ex items. How many colors did vermillion come in? One.
In 14, you have the ability to dye your clothes a different color. Also, I believe the NPC gives you the armor reward on certain quests as a randomized color. This prevents everyone from looking the same.
In fact, I would argue that there is more versatility, currently, in FFXIV armor. Yes, people have gotten the 'basic' quest armor but that is easily outclassed by the dungeon or vendor/market place armor which not everyone is capable of getting initially. Also, people quest in different starting areas. The items you get in different areas are not the same most of the time. That means, appearance-wise, they look different as well.
This becomes readily apparent as you approach the late teens and early 20s. Yes, they have reskinned one of the dalmaticas several times and the cloaks but at least we have the option to change their color and even disable certain pieces of gear if we do not want them visible, allowing for more customization.
I am not there yet but I have seen jobs in the 30s running around with what looks to be artifact armor. Just today I saw a whitemage (level 35) running around with red and white. Sound familiar? You see, we never had any customization that you speak of in FFXI until we got this unique armor in the 50s. Even then, everyone had it eventually and we looked the same regardless. What differentiated us was 'endgame' armor which did have unique models.
While we're on the subject of stats. Just about every class is all based on the same stat i.e str increases physical damage on ALL classes, theres no stat that increases dodge rate or critical hit rate, dex is only used for ranged attacks, etc etc so if youre a close ranged melee all you have to do is stack str and nothing else. Whereas in XI every job counted on different stats to maximize their potential, i.e thfs needed dex and agi, war damage was str, rng was agi, pld had vit etc etc.
This is inaccurate. Please read what each stat does on your character screen. There are more stats currently in FFXIV than there were (are) in FFXI. Most of them do multiple things (like determination). Not only that, but you may HEAVILY customize your character through which stats you choose when you level. Remember how FFXI handled leveling? Yes, your stats were auto-assigned.
If I want to put INT into my marauder, I most certainly can do so. Will I be the same as a marauder that is properly optimized? **** no. And 'properly' optimized will be different for everyone until the number crunching begins.
Now theres the story, so far nothings happened that makes me say "god i HAVE to see what happens next". Sure FFXI's story didnt get epic until CoP but the vanilla rank missions stories were at least INTERESTING enough that I was somewhat curious to carry on, and then at level 25 the dragon fight sealed the deal at the point i WANTED to see everything through to the end. It gave me the motivation I seeked. The last main story fight I did was against the voidsent black flying thing in Uldah when you get the crystal. I liked the fight mainly because it was "different" (as opposed to the random fetch quests and running around killing random enemies stuff i had been doing), it even had adds to deal with but I still wouldnt have called the experience great/epic maybe if they upped the difficulty and made it a party required fight I woulda had a LOT more fun. (we'll see if the level 15 dungeons are as good as everyone says).
I hate to tell you but the first few missions I did in FFXI bored the **** out of me. They were seemingly trivial tasks that didn't mean crap to us at the time. You need groundwork (a solid foundation) before you may begin the story. This is true for just about any game.
This is even more critical since this is the SECOND release of this game. The story is, you might say, the most important aspect besides the improved gameplay.
And let me tell you: the story is incredible. It isn't CoP just yet but it is on par with the 3 national missions from FFXI.They might even exceed those. This game has a ton of potential for storyline just as FFXI did. You will want to know more just like you did with the Shadow Lord.
I love FFXIV's unique personal story option.They can be extremely challenging based on what class you chose to play. I struggled a few times with the Ul'dah personal story on THM just because of the adds and having no way to heal myself until I could get to 10, get physick, and learn to heal myself as a cross class ability.
I love this challenge and have not stopped feeling that challenge since level 3~5.
The quest are rather bland fetch quest variety with hardly any thought and rather dull. The exp they give is fine though, which on the subject of exp leveling seems rather "trivial" for example you need 11k to level, the quests you take give 2-3k.. 3-5 quests later youve gained a level, its almost TOO easy, lvling at level 10 to 11 seemed to take no longer than going from 1 to 2.. Sometimes i noticed the mobs I kill give about 100+ exp. Sometimes I have the urge to just run around killing them and getting chains til I level to keep things interesting, but doing that solo would be boring, now if a party wanted to do it Id be all for it. The other thing i kinda dont like about quests are the ones that require killing an enemy for lets say their skins. I liked it more in FFXI where you actually had to kill them until they actually dropped the number of skins you needed whereas here you automatically get the item on every kill and its not even a normal drop (i.e you would never get/see said item outside the quest).
The quests were rather bland in FFXI as well.
"Go fetch me some bat wings".
"Um..what are you doing with all those bat wings?"
I like that the leveling is easy in the beginning because right now it moves at a snails pace when trying to obtain the next level. But the best part is..is that you are given SO many options when you want to level. Guess what option you had in XI? Yeah: go form that Qufim party PT. You may spend 5 hours searching while getting no invites on your dragoon or dark knight and would not have been able to do much in that time frame. Right now, you can do quests at your own pace and level without the help of others. Is that too boring? There are guildhests that pair you with 3 other people to accomplish a simple goal (similar to a kindred seal/beastman seal battle). Want to change it up a bit? There are SIXTEEN
dungeons to choose from as you level up. Not only that, but the dungeons are very close together in level. As you level out of one dungeon, you are able to access another. And the dungeons are very impressive so far: each unique in both its plot, setting/environment, and objective!
Now lets talk about aggro and death. Getting aggro in this game is a joke, I can outrun everything thats aggroed me without even using sprint, whereas in FFXI if you got aggroed by something and not close to a zone it was almost guaranteed death so you actually HAD to be careful and wary of your surroundings. Also in the event you do die theres no real penalty for it so you dont really care (oh noes i have to repair. -yawn-) thus I have no problem testing my strength against something 2-4 levels higher than me (which sometimes leads in victory and other times death). In FFXI you would never try something that reckless (at least not at low levels).
You die and you are forced back to your home point. Depending on where you put it, it can be a big deal. Repair may seem lofty now but when you fight higher caliber enemies that actually pose a threat, you may notice. If you try going into a level 40+ area, you will die if you are around 10. You can outrun them on the chocobo but most of these mobs are not directly in your way or obscuring an objective so that you should never be around them at your level.
This is the only point where I will concede that you actually do have a point. So the penalty for death has been lessened. I think they've learned that dying often (many times due to someone else's carelessness) is not fun.
Now if I were to review this game, its not HORRIBLE but its not GREAT either. It may be better than 1.0 but Id never call it a must buy for any mmo lover
You wouldn't know, honestly. You have only done a day's worth of work on your character. This is why you didn't call it a review, remember? These are your first impressions which will most likely change if you decide to continue playing. Telling people that it isn't a must buy makes no sense if this is the logic you wish to abide by.
Now, before you call me a white knight, take a careful look at my signature. I've spent an enormous amount of time in FFXI. I cherish it and there will always be a special place for it in my heart just like Ragnarok. However, I realize that times change and that looking through my rose-tinted glasses just makes me seem archaic.
Perhaps some of these changes are for the better? Perhaps we will not have to deal with the lack of feedback from the development team for the first 2 years of gameplay. Perhaps they will actually listen to OUR concerns instead of doing things their way and telling everyone else to shove it.
Give the game a fair chance. If you still feel the same way, no one should get on your case about it. You can tell them you honestly tried it and didn't like it. At that point, it's a matter of personal preference. If they are mature, they will agree to disagree and you can move on to a game you really enjoy (or perhaps head back to FFXI).
Right now, people can dismiss your post based on some of the inaccuracies that I have pointed out. If you are able to eliminate those inaccuracies, you simply have an opinion. Your opinion is just as valid as any other. Edited, Aug 29th 2013 2:11pm by HitomeOfBismarck