Final Fantasy XIV: A New Hope?

While Chris "Pwyff" Tom is beyond excited about Final Fantasy XIV, he also understands that communication is key when it comes to making a better MMO.

I've played a lot of MMORPGs so, when I look back at my experiences, I like to think that I've become somewhat of a veteran of the genre. Side-scrolling MMOs, Turn-based MMOs, First Person Shooter MMOs, World of Warcraft MMOs and pretty much everything in between (and beyond). Interestingly enough, while I can say that I've played World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online, Vanguard, Perfect World and a multitude of others, there remains only two of the entire group that I would consider 'home.' While the first, Ragnarok Online, shouldn't come as much of a surprise to you (I seem to compare everything to this game), the second world I used to call home, and still do, even though I don't play anymore, is Vana'diel.

Final Fantasy XI remains as one of the best MMORPGs I've ever played, despite knowing and experiencing every possible form of frustration known to humankind. I suppose a comparison to most relationships can be used here, as there are some games, like World of Warcraft, that are just so polished - it's difficult to really find any flaws, but it's also difficult to really build a connection and call that IronForge Auction House your... home. Final Fantasy XI, however, when it's not getting you killed and deleveled because sneak likes to wear off every 10 seconds and when it's not giving you a critical break when you're trying to synth your first Haubergeon, has an incredible amount of personality. Maybe I should say that some of its appeal stems from these rage-inducing events, but I don't want to give anyone the impression that I really enjoy spending 3 hours up in sky just to get a crystal.

While I've moved on to 'greener' pastures, I honestly wish that the pastures of FFXI had been enough to satisfy me. Like most love-hate relationships, I soon craved a more stable affair; one that would reward me something for five hours of work (crystals don't count!). Ultimately it took me 5 years and two breaks to really sneak away from this game - the whole time wishing that I could have stayed.

Thus, with the announcement of Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix's brand new MMO - and no more PS2 limitations! -you can imagine my joy. Relationships, however, especially ones with a lot of history, take time to re-establish. Not only that, but if you run back into the arms of a former lover, it's probably best that you don't hope for the best, but instead, put forth your very best effort to ensure that this time, the relationship works. Thus, what can we expect from Square Enix this time around? Further, what do we want from Square Enix this time around?

What we know.

This game will be awesome.

OK, that's a little biased, but it's certainly something we can hope for. Elmer the Pointy, ZAM.com's new Final Fantasy XIV Content Manager, gave a ton of information yesterday on the game, but for those of you who are too lazy to check it out (you really should), allow me to summarize it for you:

Final Fantasy XIV promises to be an 'evolved' game of Final Fantasy XI. While we already know that it's the same team developing both (and has been for the past four or five years), Nobuako Komoto, the director for Final Fantasy XIV, points to the fact that they are looking to take everything they've learned from Final Fantasy XI and apply it in XIV. In this case, it doesn't mean implementing new features to cover old problems (Fields of Valour to amend the lack of experience-giving quests, Level Sync to help unloved Dark Knights get parties); no, this will be a game that, from the very beginning, has a wealth of experience and design knowledge behind it to make sure that FFXIV can offer everything FFXI offered (and more), but in a cohesive format that was designed to fit together from the very beginning.

While job classes, experience points and the combat system have not been elaborated upon just yet, users have already begun trying to guess at how they can evolve their characters throughout the game. One of the most prevalent theories, and one that has been supported by hints from the SE team, is that users will evolve based upon what weapon they use and that the typical 'job system' will be abolished in favour of more fluid character growth. Think about gaining weaponskills via skilling up your weapon, but now tie your abilities and stat growth to your skill level. That sounds like a decent guess at the new system.

No more PS2 limitations. This may not be a big deal to some, but to me, it's huge. While the PS2 wasn't a slouch in its processing capabilities, it's certainly frustrating to hear that some of the most basic additions (new hairstyles or character models) could not be implemented because of "PS2 limitations." Not only that, but with SE's unwavering devotion to their PS2 user-base (which is commendable), it really makes you wonder if certain aspects within the game are inhibiting Vana'diel because SE made it so, or if they can't 'upgrade' it because of PS2 limitations. With the beastly PS3 and high-end PCs being the chosen host for FFXIV, it's difficult to imagine a time when we'll be groaning about PS3 limitations.

A new world and familiar faces. While most players will recognize their friendly local Galka, Hume and Elvaan in the trailer, the SE team is quick to stress that this is to encourage familiarity, but nothing beyond that. One thing that struck me that most haven't seemed to notice is the fact that while the SE team has noted that they will be using very similar races so that FFXI players will be happy to 'reincarnate' their avatars, they have not stated that these familiar faces will be the only ones available in the world of Haiderin (that seems to be the best rendering of the Japanese title ハイデリ). Some people may scoff at my personal hope for the wildly improbable Moogle race, but one can hope. A Moogle with a great axe. Seriously, why has this not been done?

The rise of the casual! The fact that the SE team has acknowledged that they are 'aware' of casual-friendly games like World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online and Age of Conan tells me, beyond anything else, that they are definitely learning from their mistakes. I'll be honest when I admit that I adhere more to the Asian MMO standard - one that demands a lot of work for smaller gains, but I would be lying if I said that I look forward to farming gil for three weeks so that I can afford a single piece of armour. While I'm absolutely certain they won't sell out and go for the full-blown "you've killed a rat! Have a legendary item!" route, I will say that I believe the perfect balance of work to reward is to be found somewhere in between FFXI and World of Warcraft, which is precisely the area that SE seems to be aiming for.

All in all, from the information given above, most MMO gamers can be certain that FFXIV will be more appealing to all audiences. It will be more intuitive, it will have faster game play, the graphics will be awe-inspiring, and Nobuo Uematsu is doing the music. Words can't express the happiness I felt when I heard that Nobuo Uematsu had signed on to do the music for FFXIV. To be honest, while this certainly does feel like a dream come true, I can speak from experience in saying that all things can be improved. In this way, the Final Fantasy XI community, and I as well, have our own worries about this game.

My Hopes And Aspirations For Final Fantasy XIV.

I was actually going to turn this into some kind of giant wishlist for my aspirations of playing a Moogle with a great axe, but I realize now that there are really only three issues that I would like to see addressed with FFXIV.

More communication.

I understand that the SE team has been trying harder to stay in contact with their communities and keep everyone informed, but I won't be the last person to say that there certainly could be more chatter. World of Warcraft has their indefatigable Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street patrolling the World of Warcraft forums day and night, chatting with the community and explaining development implementations. In fact, most MMORPGs have, at the very least, official forum GMs, designated by the parent company to talk to the players and learn what issues are plaguing the community. While I realize that SE is a Japan-based company and translation issues are only the beginning of our problems, I know I'm not the only one who hopes that the release of FFXIV heralds an age of more development transparency and a greater community connection from company to players.

PVP!

While I really do understand the reasons why Square Enix didn't want PVP in FFXI, the fact remains that sometimes it's just a lot of fun to release your tensions while whomping on other players. As a guy who used to participate in every Ballista possible (when there were enough people) as well as taking part in the Ballista Royale, you can be certain that I'll be pushing for some kind of PVP content that's actually supported by development. I understand that too much focus on PVP will detract attention from balancing for PVE, but on the other hand, PVP is one of the few things that can be enjoyed in the time span of thirty minutes to an hour and still have the player feeling like they did something fun with their short amount of time.

Make it feel like home again.

In reality, this is the number one thing I will be looking for in FFXIV, and if I find that feeling once more, I suspect that this will be the game for me. To be honest, if FFXIV is released and, upon entering the world of Haiderin I instantly recall that old feeling of coming home, I'm fairly certain that this time I'll be home for good.

P.S. If I could jump, that would be swell.
P.P.S. Moogles with great axes.

Christopher "Pwyff" Tom
Editor
Allakhazam.com

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Great minds drink the same potions.
# Jun 10 2009 at 10:41 PM Rating: Decent
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192 posts
Fantastic article, and I certainly feel you on the 'home' bit. Funny as it is, Ragnarok Online is the only MMO I really think of as home and return to time and time again as well, though I usually attribute that to a combination of nostalgia and the way I feel so intensely knowledgeable about the game. FFXI, though I gradually lost the will to press forward, was so greatly atmospheric that I really did feel like it was more a full experience than just another a grind-fest.

I'll agree with communication, surely. The community tends to be pretty knowledgeable when it comes to their game, and I trust the dev-team here is intelligent enough to sort out the vocal minority from ideas that actually are attuned to good game design theory. Nothing more annoying to me than reading "devoted" players outright demanding changes to the game that would benefit them yet make the game markedly less fun for every other playstyle, though.

I wrote a similar, and lengthy, post on a gaming blog I run with my friends, on apparently the same day this article went up. My 'wishlist' was also three parts long, but I focused on the pacing and atmosphere (which I feel is central to why FFXI feels like "home",) character customization (which I feel is incredibly important for increasing character attachment and giving players goals, as well as a huge issue for me), and briefly on the interface. Love to chat with you about this that and the other sometime.

PS. I would cry buckets of happy tears if I could be a Moogle, but I think we shouldn't hold our breaths on that just yet.
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# Jun 09 2009 at 2:35 PM Rating: Decent
2 posts
If this comes out I think FFXI is going to die; I really don't want it to die. =( haven't done everything in the game yet.
I miss FFXI too man..
# Jun 07 2009 at 12:19 PM Rating: Decent
8 posts
Wow this dude took the words right out of my mouth this whole article.. Especially with the whole sneak wearing off every 10 seoonds.. somtimes it felt like 5 seconds lol. I got tired of FFXI twice.. the last time it was a very sad way for me to end it.. I met some awesome people and I quit and moved onto socom 3 lol.. then WoW.. And the whole time during WoW I had FFXI urges till i finally quit WoW too.. Now Im eggin to play FFXI again.. its driving me nuts!

But yeah.. like they say "Home is where the heart is." and my heart is with FFXI lol.

PvP
# Jun 07 2009 at 2:30 AM Rating: Good
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I think PvP would be great for FF XIV if they did it similar to how Lineage II does it. I don't play personally but a friend of mine who does play it says if you attack someone your name turns orange meaning you triggered an unfriendly action on someone. At this point the person could either fight back or refuse. If he fights back after the fight both names return to white. If the person attacked refuses then the attackers name turns red making it ok for anyone to attack them with no penalty to the players attacking the person with the red name until ko'd in which case their name would return to white again as well.
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a new home
# Jun 06 2009 at 4:06 PM Rating: Excellent
As fun as I think it would be to party up with a great axe wielding moogle, I am definitely looking forward to carrying my character face/name over to FFXIV. I agree with your sentiment of Vana'diel feeling like home, which is why I have been in the game for so long, and continue to play. But a huge piece of that home feeling, is the attachment I have for my character, and the idea of her "moving" to the new world, will make it feel that much more like home as well.
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Much thx and a grateful bow
# Jun 06 2009 at 2:18 PM Rating: Good
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First off, huge appreciation for having this up and it seriously helped me flesh out a lot of the questions I had about the game. This was a truly wonderful article and aggressively pursued the questions that fans would have been burning to ask.

Yeah, I'm all for voice chat and a Moogle race as well, lol. They will undoubtedly push the Tarutaru race into obscurity as the new masters of the "huggable" universe xD
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This is my future FFXIV Character and this is his theme...at least that's the tentative plan. Yep. (Concept Art of Rasler by the legendary Akihiko Yoshida) I asked for the Qiqirn to be added in FFXIV since October 2009 and we now have them! Yessss!



Voice chat and Mouse input?
# Jun 06 2009 at 8:45 AM Rating: Good
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130 posts
Two things I'm wondering about for XIV...

Is voice chat going to be part of the new game and do we have to use a mouse. I tried WoW for about a week.... couldn't get over using the mouse as part of the GUI. I don't mind allowing it, but I like how it's not really required, as in FFXI.
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FFXIV Moogles
# Jun 06 2009 at 7:28 AM Rating: Good
2 posts
I'm with ya Pwyff, playable Moogles 4tw!
communication
# Jun 06 2009 at 7:15 AM Rating: Default
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3,416 posts
I don't understand why MMO players wish for more communication- getting feedback from the players is always important, but why should the developers Communicate with us? It is only the case in MMO games, but what makes them so special that there has to be interviews, blogs and forum posts made by developers? If you don't get any of those when waiting for some other game you'd like to play, do you go out and complain about it on the forums?

Seriously now, before you rate me down, think about it- what's the difference between a version update and a normal game? There isn't much difference. Think of it like this: if you don't like the version update (new game), you quit playing (don't buy the game). If the developers are so bad that they can't make a game you like, then you can tell your feedback by not playing it. If the devlopers are good, they can make a game you like, and there is no need for communication either way.
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SE:
Quote:
We really want to compete against World of Warcraft and for example the new Star Wars MMO.

communication
# Jun 06 2009 at 10:15 AM Rating: Excellent
I'll tell you why: where typically a standalone game requires almost zero communication between the consumer and the developer, an MMORPG is a constantly evolving, and developing, entity. When a user purchases an MMO, especially one that is based off of the subscription model, the user is not only 'purchasing' the game as-is, but he is INVESTING his TIME and his MONEY on the belief that this MMORPG will be worth purchasing and subscribing to for an indefinite period of time. When you have zero communication between the development team and the player, it ultimately becomes, on a month by month basis, a problem for the player who wants to know if he should keep playing or if the development team is pushing in a direction he does not like. Let's say for example:

Player: "If two people die against this boss, the instance crashes!"
SE: "..."
Player: "Will this be fixed soon? We cannot do any more PVE because of this!"
SE: "..."
Player: "Well then... I guess... I'll wait?"
SE: "..."
Player: "Or I'll just cancel my account."

Or to take another example, the whole entire 'debuff' fiasco of a few months back, where debuffs were wearing off too fast and they were too difficult to stick (I think? I can't remember). Now players get into an uproar because of two things:

1.) We don't know if it's deliberate and we don't know if that's what the development team is aiming for. Now thousands of players who find their Red Mages have been turned into refresh / healbots are wondering if this is the time to quit their class.
2.) With such little communication, nobody knows what's deliberately changed in the game and nobody knows what's just a glitch. End result is the playerbase just stops caring what IS deliberate and what IS a glitch, and you end up with fiascos like the item duplication glitch and subsequent bannings. I'm not saying that they're right for exploiting, but several players do report that they tried to report this glitch by GM avenues, but ultimately that failed. I'm inclined to believe that they did try.
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christopher "pwyff" tom
ctom@zam.com | @Pwyff
communication
# Jun 06 2009 at 11:15 AM Rating: Default
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3,416 posts
Quote:
I'll tell you why: where typically a standalone game requires almost zero communication between the consumer and the developer, an MMORPG is a constantly evolving, and developing, entity. When a user purchases an MMO, especially one that is based off of the subscription model, the user is not only 'purchasing' the game as-is, but he is INVESTING his TIME and his MONEY on the belief that this MMORPG will be worth purchasing and subscribing to for an indefinite period of time. When you have zero communication between the development team and the player, it ultimately becomes, on a month by month basis, a problem for the player who wants to know if he should keep playing or if the development team is pushing in a direction he does not like. Let's say for example:

Player: "If two people die against this boss, the instance crashes!"
SE: "..."
Player: "Will this be fixed soon? We cannot do any more PVE because of this!"
SE: "..."
Player: "Well then... I guess... I'll wait?"
SE: "..."
Player: "Or I'll just cancel my account."


When you purchase a standalone game, do you not invest your time and money on the belief that the game will be worth purchasing? The subscribing part is just like buying a sequel to the game you bought before - only that in the case of MMO's you're paying After you get the update (sequel). After update if you think that the game is still good enough, you keep playing, therefore paying to the company for the update you just received. If you don't like the update (sequel), you can cancel the subscription and therefore refuse to "purchase" it. In the end they're pretty much the same thing, but the execution is different.

The clear indication of where the dev team is pushing the game is looking at the version update, basically. Was it good, bad, buggy? If you don't like it you don't have to invest your time into playing anymore. The version updates are how SE communicate, there's no need for anything else as long as they're taking feedback. If the dev team is good, they can make changes that are approved by most of the players. If the team is bad, they make poor decisions and the update is bad, which shows that the dev team is taking the game into direction the player does not like. Your example is how it should be. The dev team made a poor version update, it's not worth to pay anymore, so I'll show my feedback by cancelling my subscription. Or if it doesn't bother you you can keep playing.

Quote:
Or to take another example, the whole entire 'debuff' fiasco of a few months back, where debuffs were wearing off too fast and they were too difficult to stick (I think? I can't remember). Now players get into an uproar because of two things:

1.) We don't know if it's deliberate and we don't know if that's what the development team is aiming for. Now thousands of players who find their Red Mages have been turned into refresh / healbots are wondering if this is the time to quit their class.
2.) With such little communication, nobody knows what's deliberately changed in the game and nobody knows what's just a glitch. End result is the playerbase just stops caring what IS deliberate and what IS a glitch, and you end up with fiascos like the item duplication glitch and subsequent bannings. I'm not saying that they're right for exploiting, but several players do report that they tried to report this glitch by GM avenues, but ultimately that failed. I'm inclined to believe that they did try.


This can be fixed by version updates as well. When a version update comes up, the dev team tells us what was changed and what got added to the sequel of the game. Every major adjustment should be included in that list, because it is the way the company communicates. That's why there should not be any "ninja updates" and everything should be clearly stated. SE has had a rep of ninja patching things in update, and that is the only proper complaint about lack of communication that could be made really. Although it's been a long time since SE really made a ninja update, the playerbase remembers those times- and applies it to the enfeebling issue. What SE can do is not ninja patch anything (major at least) so that the playerbase doesn't even get any ideas that a glitch like this would be intended. Therefore if it's not in the version update notes, it's a glitch and will be fixed in the nearby or not so nearby future.

Edited, Jun 6th 2009 9:17pm by Hyanmen
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SE:
Quote:
We really want to compete against World of Warcraft and for example the new Star Wars MMO.

communication
# Jun 06 2009 at 11:38 AM Rating: Excellent
Once more I disagree because you seem to assume that updates come right on time with our monthly subscriptions. First of all, I'm guessing that the company will offer 3 month, 6 month and 1 year subscriptions. You subscribe on the basis that the game will remain consistent with the game that you're subscribing to, or that you believe that the game will certainly go in the direction that you want it to go.

You note that if they make sure to document all of their changes, that's their communication, but you couldn't be further from the truth. All we end up seeing are actions taken, but none of the reasons behind the action. If the company had to say "we did this and we did this BECAUSE" with every update, then that would be OK by me, but NOBODY has the time to do that.

Imagine, for example, if your girlfriend kicks you under the table while at dinner with your parents. Surprised, you look at her. She looks back at you.

"I kicked you," she says with a neutral face.

"I see that," you say, "but can you tell me why?"

"You heard what I just said. If you don't like it, break up with me," comes the reply.

OK, so from here we have two choices:

a.) Take it.
b.) Leave it.

While that's certainly a good way to end a relationship, it's definitely not so good at prolonging it. Now, for example, what if she says the following:

"I kicked you because you were about to say something incredibly stupid, and therefore I prevented that with my kick. In the future, if you do not believe that kicking is a viable method of stopping you from talking, perhaps tonight we will talk about other methods I may employ, like small electric shocks, or angry glares."

Look at that! Not only do you know why she did what she did, but she has indicated the direction in which her actions will evolve and it gives you the opportunity to take this precise moment to give her feedback on this precise action.

Now, if the company also relied upon 'feedback' when they put in their updates (every few months), then can you imagine the nightmare amounts of reading they would have to do?

"This sucks, fix it."
"I don't get why Red Mages have an A in debuffing when they're clearly made for nuking. Fix it."
"WHY CAN'T MONKS USE GREAT AXES."

Not only is your community feedback COMPLETELY unfocused as to the direction they want the game to go (and if you expect hundreds of thousands of strangers to suddenly cooperate in creating a single vision of the game, I feel for you), but they have NO idea what some of the intentions were behind the update, and therefore their feedback is almost moot in some cases. It turns out to personal likes and dislikes, and we have ultimately wasted our time and the developer's time.

How about a better scenario?

I am willing to pay up to $25 a month just to ensure that there will be someone who can explain decisions made by the company so that I too can focus my feedback to match the direction that the company wishes to go. Warriors are too dependent upon a single subjob?

"Why is this, SE?" I ask.

They respond, "Oh, we actually thought that Warriors have a wide variety of subjob choices. In our database polling, it seems like a fair amount of Warriors are subbing /SAM, while others are subbing /NIN, and occasionally we have /RNG. We think that's sort of diverse."

"But don't you see! /SAM is for people in strong merit parties and lower level grinding while /NIN must be used for everything else! It is not diversity, it is simply one subjob for one activity!"

"Oh," says SE, "I didn't think of it that way. Your point is that there is no diversity per activity for Warrior subjobs, and our stated company direction was that we wanted more diversity. In this regard we have eliminated a lot of useless chatter and have gotten (immediately) to the heart of the problem. Thank you, steps will be taken."

"Ahhh," I say, kicking up my feet in contentment, "In saying that, I am less frustrated with my Warrior class and will therefore continue to participate in the community to ensure that this game succeeds. I am happy with the direction we are going in and I am happy that their 'end vision' coincides with mine."

Then we go get Ceasars and drink until we die of tomato juice poisoning.
____________________________
christopher "pwyff" tom
ctom@zam.com | @Pwyff
communication
# Jun 06 2009 at 12:08 PM Rating: Default
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3,416 posts
Quote:
Once more I disagree because you seem to assume that updates come right on time with our monthly subscriptions. First of all, I'm guessing that the company will offer 3 month, 6 month and 1 year subscriptions. You subscribe on the basis that the game will remain consistent with the game that you're subscribing to, or that you believe that the game will certainly go in the direction that you want it to go.


That would be like paying for a sequel of a game before it is released for maybe a slightly cheaper price than normal. Sounds dumb, but if they want to take the risk then so be it. The risk is indeed same as if you bought Starcraft 2 before it came out, trusting that it will be good because Starcraft 1 was. Why would anyone do that?

Or by 3+6 month and 1 year subscriptions do you mean that the sequels take that long to come out? Then disregard what I said above.
Like I said, you get the sequel and pay 3 months for it. Then you get the next one, then another. The game will keep consistent for the time you subscribe to it, and if stops being consistent you can refuse to pay for the sequel and therefore not buying it. But if you pay for the sequel before it comes out, then see the above paragraph.

Quote:
You note that if they make sure to document all of their changes, that's their communication, but you couldn't be further from the truth. All we end up seeing are actions taken, but none of the reasons behind the action. If the company had to say "we did this and we did this BECAUSE" with every update, then that would be OK by me, but NOBODY has the time to do that.

Imagine, for example, if your girlfriend kicks you under the table while at dinner with your parents. Surprised, you look at her. She looks back at you.

"I kicked you," she says with a neutral face.

"I see that," you say, "but can you tell me why?"

"You heard what I just said. If you don't like it, break up with me," comes the reply.

OK, so from here we have two choices:

a.) Take it.
b.) Leave it.

While that's certainly a good way to end a relationship, it's definitely not so good at prolonging it. Now, for example, what if she says the following:

"I kicked you because you were about to say something incredibly stupid, and therefore I prevented that with my kick. In the future, if you do not believe that kicking is a viable method of stopping you from talking, perhaps tonight we will talk about other methods I may employ, like small electric shocks, or angry glares."

Look at that! Not only do you know why she did what she did, but she has indicated the direction in which her actions will evolve and it gives you the opportunity to take this precise moment to give her feedback on this precise action.


Why should we know the reasons? The game sucks; its not worth paying for. But if they tell us the reason, the game suddenly stops sucking? Do you often think like that when playing a single player RPG: "Man what a poor design choice.. if I only knew why they did it I could get over it" or do you just stop playing?

A simple thing makes you ask for the reasons: addiction. You don't want to cancel the subscription, because you can't let go of the game. You're not addicted to single player game (most of the time anyway), so you can just stop playing. Why are MMO's different in this regard?

Now when it comes to my girlfriend things get more complex obviously; it would be dumb to just "stop dating her" like you would stop playing a video game. The relationship between you and your game isn't anything like it is to your girlfriend.

Quote:
How about a better scenario?


Alright, let's say that you say that on a forum. SE takes it as a feedback, and looks into it. If they agree with you, they will take proper action and you will see the outcome in the sequel. If they don't agree with you, they won't take action. It will be the same thing. If they told you they're not going to look into it because they disagree, would you be less frustrated still or just as frustrated as before?

Edited, Jun 6th 2009 10:09pm by Hyanmen

Edited, Jun 6th 2009 10:49pm by Hyanmen
____________________________
SE:
Quote:
We really want to compete against World of Warcraft and for example the new Star Wars MMO.

communication
# Jun 06 2009 at 1:11 PM Rating: Excellent
1.) Without communicating with the parent company, players can only hope to guess at what sort of feedback said company is looking for. It's a waste of everyones time to guess precisely what's going on each others minds. Do you mean to say that the parent company doesn't need to communicate with its players, and the parent company will assign people to read all of the suggestions on the forums, picking and choosing which 'apply' to their vision, and which do not? Not only is this ridiculous for both parties involved, how much easier is it if they just assign a liason to speak to the community continually so as to optimize feedback.

2.) Would I be just as unhappy if the parent company said "that's not the direction we're looking to go in," rather than if they ignored me? No. I would be fine if the parent company said "that's not the direction we're looking to go in BECAUSE..." because then I would be able to see that they have a legitimate reason for shooting down my idea. If they ignored me, I would have no idea what this company is thinking and therefore my feedback would dwindle.If your friend punched you in the face and gave you no reason for it, do you equate that to them punching you in the face and telling you it's because you're a jerk? No, the first one you have no idea how to react but with the second one you can understand and make your decision.

This is the equivalent of going to an aerobics class and the teacher saying "OK, do some aerobics." You participate and you feel unsatisfied at the end of the day, so what do you do? You ask for specific activities, like lunges and jumping jacks, but she merely looks at you. The next day you have lunges, but no jumping jacks.

What do we do then? There has been an update to the course, but it's clear that she's picking and choosing from your suggestions. The next time you speak to her, do you compile a list of every grievance you have against the class, in hopes that she picks some of them up? You would LIKE to do this aerobics class, but you have no idea why she's doing what she's doing. Should you just stop going, or, in a better scenario, why not keep hoping that she'll finally open up to you so you can help to improve the class?

Ultimately it comes down to this:

Your suggestion of simply cancelling your subscription when things 'don't go your way' is the immature way of looking at things. For both parties involved, if communication is utilized, then people understand why the game is changing the way it is, and people feel that they can take an active role in ensuring that this game succeeds.

Your method is simply destructive:

The user says: "I don't like how Red Mages are a debuffing class. Please allow us to nuke just like Black Mages!"

SE says: "..."

The user says: "Well, until Red Mages are allowed to nuke just like Black Mages, I cancel my subscription!"

SE says: "..."

Two months later, SE implements a system for Red Mages to synergize their debuffs and their melee en- spells. Their nukes remain the same, but their melee debuffs indirectly help them nuke.

The user says: "Oh! That's cool! I will re-subscribe now, but I've lost two months of my time that I could have spent enjoying other aspects of the game."

Three months later the user comes back and suggests: "I love my Red Mage class, but you should totally implement this awesome Red Mage only nuke! I spent a week trying to design it!"

SE ignores him because he doesn't understand the concept of the Red Mage.

My method is constructive:

The user says: "I don't like how Red Mages are a debuffing class. Please allow us to nuke just like Black Mages!"

SE says: "Black Mages have a primary job directive to nuke. A Red Mage is more of a hybrid class. Black Mages would whine if you were just as good as them, but you also had heals, convert and refresh. To give Red Mages a little bit more personality, we are planning to overhaul the melee system for Red Mages to allow their en- spells to synergize with their debuffs and their nukes! Does that sound cool?"

The user says: "Oh! That's awesome, thanks a lot. Next time I have a complaint I will keep your 'vision' of the Red Mage in mind! Time to go get a cool sword!"

Three months later the user comes back and suggests: "I love my Red Mage class and I think that you should perhaps give more diversity in our melee capabilities. This way the Red Mage stays as a unique class (as you intended) but also feels like they're 'evolving' alongside the other classes."

SE says: "That's a great idea and we will consider it for our future development."

What I'm trying to say is this:

While no company certainly needs to communicate with its players, the indication of a good company is communication. Your most important resource is your customer, so what's wrong with communicating directly with your customers to build the best possible MMO together? Communication focuses feedback and keeps customers happy. Because feedback is focused and customers are happy, the company grows in profit and is able to implement more changes that customers suggest (because feedback is focused instead of Red Mages demanding BLM nukes).

Anywho, going to toddle out to eat - it's been a nice debate!
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communication
# Jun 06 2009 at 2:32 PM Rating: Default
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1) I don't think there's a reason to make it sound like such complicated process, really. The company is looking for feedback about the game, and players by posting their opinions in topics every day give feedback just like that.

For example, after ver. up. comes, there will be lots of topics for all kinds of things about the update: new events, job adjustments and such, where players tell their opinion about the additions. SE can simply look at that info and take action if necessary. This is why I don't think there is a need to optimize the feedback- players do it themselves. Especially if they don't like some things, there will be hot topics about the issues for sure.

2) That is if you think their reasons are legitimate- it is not guaranteed that you will agree with what they said; I might even go as far as to say that you will most likely heavily disagree with the devs, making things only worse. Most of the time when people have someone come up to them and disagree with their opinion, they won't just go and think "oh well, this guy is right I guess" but instead start an argument to prove the other guy that his opinion is the right one after all. Like we're doing right now ;)

In your aerobics example the teacher is bad at her job, which is- to teach(=serve). I don't agree that a game developers job is to serve us- their job is to create a game that we want to play. If they are bad at their job, they create a game that we hate.. would it be better with more communication? I don't think so, since the dev's would still be bad at what their job is..developing games. You don't hear anyone talking about games and saying "it's their job to have interviews, make blogposts and be active on the forums". Except in the case of MMO's, which I think are games still and don't suddenly create any new roles for the developer.

Although I kinda feel that the example is a bit bad.. to compare a developer and a teacher, since their jobs are different from the core, is kind of misleading in my opinion.

Quote:
Your suggestion of simply cancelling your subscription when things 'don't go your way' is the immature way of looking at things. For both parties involved, if communication is utilized, then people understand why the game is changing the way it is, and people feel that they can take an active role in ensuring that this game succeeds.


Not always there's a need to cancel the subscription, obviously. I am only assuming that the issue is so big that you cannot play anymore because of it.. Even if there's some flaws in the game but for the most part it's still a quality product, there's no need to cancel is there? And if the issue is so small that you can play, you can wait until the next sequel and see if it gets fixed. If it won't, that's the company's answer. if it does, good. Then you can make a new decision- to play or not because the issue is still there.

Now, in the example of my method the RDM assumes that if things don't change right now and right here, SE isn't agreeing with him. However if he waits until the next ver. up. he can see what the developer's answer is to his feedback. "Cool, they kind of listened although it's not exactly what I was hoping for." He can still play like in the example of your method, in either case he's not going to see the buff before the ver. up. rolls up.

Issues also come up when company promises things like this. What if they don't know yet, have something in mind but aren't quite sure yet.. what should their answer be? "We cannot answer to this question at this time." or "Yes, we have something planned to make rdm's more viable in meleeing. Nothing concrete has been decided as of yet however."

Players see the "rdm buff" and immediately assume that it's a promise. You could see a lot of forum posts about SE's "promises" that truly weren't anything of sorts, but that's how playerbase sees them. "Didn't they promise this and that years ago?" I think it's better to answer with the first choice, which would be same as saying nothing.

And if it the buff is ready to be implemented for the next update anyway, and SE could give an accurate answer.. is it that horrible to wait until the update comes? You would only get very short time info about the stuff getting an update.. So interveiw would be kind of pointless, the players will find out in month or two anyway. Can't they wait that long? Maybe the last sequel wasn't worth it to pay for after all in that case, or the ones before that even.

Quote:
While no company certainly needs to communicate with its players, the indication of a good company is communication. Your most important resource is your customer, so what's wrong with communicating directly with your customers to build the best possible MMO together? Communication focuses feedback and keeps customers happy. Because feedback is focused and customers are happy, the company grows in profit and is able to implement more changes that customers suggest (because feedback is focused instead of Red Mages demanding BLM nukes).


Surely it would be a nice bonus, but as to why suddenly it has become "the norm" in MMO business and not in the game business in general baffles me. In the case of MMO's, players have the need to feel like the company cares about them..not by just making a good product, but with all these out-of-game things that don't even matter in the end. I do think that the addicted ones are those who demand for this kind of attention.. But if you're not addicted, you wouldn't care a single bit.. "oh bad game, moving on". Just like playing a single player game.

Well need to head to bed now, I'll reply tomorrow if you're still interested in continuing ;)
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SE:
Quote:
We really want to compete against World of Warcraft and for example the new Star Wars MMO.

bunnyhoppers..
# Jun 06 2009 at 5:42 AM Rating: Decent
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3,144 posts
Quote:
Bunny hopping is a plague that should not contaminate FFXIV.


i ******* hate bunnyhoppers in COD >.>
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75BLM 75PLD 75RDM 75WAR 75MNK 75NIN 75THF 75SAM 75BRD 75RNG 75DRK 75SMN, 75DRG 75DNC 75WHM 75COR 75BST 75BLU 75PUP 75SCH - # of summoner burns = 0

http://sizedd.freeforums.org/

Quote a few months before the mass salvage banning:
couerlmaster wrote:
And stfu with the banstick, this is hardly traceable and so widespread throughout the EG community there's nothing SE can do w/o banning half the EG community on every server


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0O8qb58bHY
Agree with no PvP
# Jun 06 2009 at 1:42 AM Rating: Decent
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1,112 posts
I am pleased square has decided not to place PvP in the game. One huge problem that WoW suffers from currently is trying to hit a balance for classes in both PvP and PvE, and normally a class that performs too well in one area will be cut back and thus be affected in the other. For those of you familiar with the game, take Ice Lance for instance. The developers have stated they're very keen on improving Ice Lance in some way that shatter combos can be used on bosses-- but they have to be very careful how they do it. Straight damage increase or GCD decrease will have dire effects in PvP as this spell is already a monster at cutting down players fast.

Effect: Ice Lance PvE is held back because of PvP.

Its this very effect I dont want to see in FFXIV. Dont get me wrong! I love PvP (try living out in 0.0 space in EVE and not liking PVP! :P) but it can entangle with PvE aspects of games and lets face it, we're looking at possibly the best PvE game for a long time. One of the reasons PvP in XI never took off was because job balance was horrendous of it-- can you imagine the stink if certain jobs got nerfed JUST because of how they perform in Brenner?
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when the soul is endangered it must become a Warrior.
FFXIV
# Jun 06 2009 at 12:00 AM Rating: Good
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437 posts
Whoooo Hoooo! Looking forward to this game!
HUMAN ONRY RAWR
# Jun 05 2009 at 10:01 PM Rating: Good
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632 posts
I hope for something out of the box that isn't ridiculously easy to reverse engineer and design exploits for. SE should learn from FFXI and make more secure code from the git-go. Playing against 20-30 computer programs defeats the purpose of online play. Or maybe I wish botters would realize by that point they're only defeating themselves.

Edited, Jun 6th 2009 2:02am by Chocotaku
____________________________
Square Enix wrote:

We have received reports that a popular third-party FINAL FANTASY XI website had been infecting customers with malicious software...

We suggest that our customers read up on precautionary measures they can take to ensure the safety of their information online.

Square Enix, a company who cares... about your money.
Reminescent ; ;
# Jun 05 2009 at 9:23 PM Rating: Excellent
3 posts
Like Pywff said, I enjoyed FFXI a lot because of the many experience imaginable... even the bad ones.

It is hard to move away from FFXI but I might just try out FFXIV to see if I like it or not. Chances are I most likely will, just the feeling of leaving FFXI bothers me. I mean back in the day when FFXI only had RoTZ and getting the airship pass was such a big thing for me. Getting the first level 52 BLM with so much work (when EXP was considered ridiculous back then and there weren't any exp bands) And just meeting the many others who played FFXI. Some of the people I have known since the time I set foot in FFXI are still here (just not quite so much.) I came back about 2 years ago only to meet new faces and begin that bond that I first started before ToAU begin being the De Facto to leveling after 54 and WoTG expansion pack being sold throughout. Finally got 75 last year as an unexpected job (PLD) and being able to get Sky and CoP regions. Now here we are ... so reminiscent hehe.

I would also like FFXIV to be more so in the middle instead of just a WoW copy. I don't want to be spoon fed ^^. But if I could avoid something like EQII that requires just as much or probably even more intensive action than FFXI ... I might not have time even with all the great stories in it. I want FFXIV to retain the qualities that FFXI has compared to the other MMOs. If it can happen, along with the new changes that will cater to the less intense players. I would gladly make the switchover.
Fantastic write up.
# Jun 05 2009 at 7:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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710 posts
Very well done, summed up exactly how I feel, right down to pumping my first in the air thinking of having someone like "Ghostcrawler" from the WoW forums for ffxi - it would be bliss...

Hopefully FFXIV will foster far more communication.
Agreed!
# Jun 05 2009 at 5:54 PM Rating: Decent
Scholar
29 posts
I for one, welcome our Great-Axe wielding Moogle Overlords.

So excited for this game!

Edited, Jun 5th 2009 6:56pm by topheru
keepsakes
# Jun 05 2009 at 2:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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3,144 posts
i think it would be neat that if in FF14 you could have picture frames in your mog house where you can upload pictures. (upload from your pol for PS3 users and from POL and windows directory on PC or something). These pics you could put in your new "mog house" and have a reminder of past times on your walls.

That or allow you to get figurines of your characters for use in your new "mog house" as a furniture piece.

A little Tarutaru Xellith wearing my Samurai equipment in a WS pose to put on my desk! Imagine a little yourself on your desk just as a keepsake of past times.

To me I feel the biggest thing that will stop people wanting to move will be loyalty to their characters. All that time and effort spent - it would be nice to be able to take a small piece of that with you to a new world.

Thats just my opinion on the subject.
____________________________
75BLM 75PLD 75RDM 75WAR 75MNK 75NIN 75THF 75SAM 75BRD 75RNG 75DRK 75SMN, 75DRG 75DNC 75WHM 75COR 75BST 75BLU 75PUP 75SCH - # of summoner burns = 0

http://sizedd.freeforums.org/

Quote a few months before the mass salvage banning:
couerlmaster wrote:
And stfu with the banstick, this is hardly traceable and so widespread throughout the EG community there's nothing SE can do w/o banning half the EG community on every server


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0O8qb58bHY
Instancing.
# Jun 05 2009 at 2:46 PM Rating: Excellent
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3,599 posts
I just hope they implement a better Instancing system. None of this "Those kids stole our Dynamis".

All-in-all, I'm very much looking forward to this despite having 4 75's, 20 mil + in gil and 4+ years spent in FFXI.

A fresh slate instead of band-aids. Just please for the love of god create a better ranged accuracy formula and make range attackers not so gosh darn expensive!
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Very good written...
# Jun 05 2009 at 2:28 PM Rating: Excellent
Very good article, but:

1) No jump, but an ability to get through minor obstacles. Bunny hopping is a plague that should not contaminate FFXIV.

2) Keep PVP separated from the PVE entirely, people can be bad enough already in FFXI without corpse griefers.

3) No more extremely low drop rates.

4) No more hidden data for stats/gear and their effects

5) Notorious Monters can take a week to pop, but no 5 differnt windows with 1 hour between them, no random 21-24 hours anymore. Normal people never liked to do that.



And for the love of God. Create a system that doesnt allow people to bot Bosses, Notorious Monsters or whatever endgame thing.
Agreed/
# Jun 05 2009 at 1:25 PM Rating: Good
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348 posts
Great post. and i do agree, im 28 years old and have been playing mmo's fora long time, played most of them, and still play WoW sadly. But i can also say without a doubt, that FFXI was the best for many reasons. It sure is a love/hate relationship, and im sure id still be playing if i could. (lost my account info) it has what no game has i think. Theyre is no other game out there for me atleast that when i hear the music, i can actually get a bit teary and have so many memories come back to me.

From 14 hours straight to get sky access to getting rank 10 with a bunch of people. Things like that when your a huge fan of mmo's sticks with you. And all of my great memories from mmorpg's are all from FFXI. i have no doubt that this game will be fantasic in so many ways, from graphics to story lines to of course the music and the friends you can and will make. This will bring me back for sure and i cannot wait for it to come out. :)
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Agreed/
# Jun 05 2009 at 1:45 PM Rating: Good
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It was the wisdom of bringing back their uber music man himself Nobuo Uematsu that proved without a shadow of a doubt, this game was on the right track. Uematsu's music is what instantly reminds me of the old FF games and it's no surprise at all why Sony invested in Square on the PSX. I'm also impressed that while this will have the typical hardcore elements, SE has learned that some people have a life outside these games and limited playtime.

I'd to see PvP brought into FFXIV, but only in controlled situations. I don't want to get jumped walking out of town.

I think the some people might be worried that the PS3 might hold back the game in a few years. Maybe so, but despite all the PS2 limitations now, FFXI still looks pretty good considering. And the PS2 was the weakest console of it's generation too. Xbox and Gamecube smoked it. Now it's the reverse so here's hoping to pushing the limits of the PS3. AS for you Xbox players, sorry the Halobox is too problematic. My friend had to once again reinstall due to disc errors.
pvp
# Jun 05 2009 at 2:30 PM Rating: Good
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494 posts
If I had a character decked-out in gear from PvE, what then? I can wait for new content, help other people get their gear, or go roll face. Personally I'd rather roll face.

PvP has never been the focus of FFXI and it doesn't have to be in FFXIV either. However, I wouldn't mind seeing it expanded and given a bit more of a nod. A FFA PvP server wouldn't hurt either (ie Mordred in daoc, o yes).
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Sorlac - WoW
Sorr - WAR
Sorlac Aurora - EVE
Sorlac Sam/War & Nin/War - FFXI
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pvp
# Jun 09 2009 at 11:50 AM Rating: Good
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Sorlac wrote:
If I had a character decked-out in gear from PvE, what then? I can wait for new content, help other people get their gear, or go roll face. Personally I'd rather roll face.

PvP has never been the focus of FFXI and it doesn't have to be in FFXIV either. However, I wouldn't mind seeing it expanded and given a bit more of a nod. A FFA PvP server wouldn't hurt either (ie Mordred in daoc, o yes).



Personally I've always believed they should have implemented a PvP system similar to that of the short-lived fad of Plankration. Where players can actually sign up for at anytime for a battle-arena style fight. Placing items, gear or just plain bragging rights up for grabs.
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Arcadus of Asura

Warkupo wrote:

You know it's Final Samurai XI when we have an entire event dedicated to pretending to be the job class.



Awesome
# Jun 05 2009 at 1:15 PM Rating: Excellent
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23 posts
I absolutely loved this article, I found it very relate able. You hit the nail on the head. (Except for the moogle with GA's) XD
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