Will Bold Statements Boost the Quality of FFXIV?

SE aims to repair FFXIV's reputation by pledging fixes and reaching out to players.

We waited with bated breath for Final Fantasy XIV to go live; but when the servers fired up, the game fell woefully short of our high expectations – and we let Square Enix know it.

We criticized the retainer system. We ripped apart the user interface. We flamed the server lag, the lack of a player search feature, the lack of quests and the behavior of monsters. The list of flaws went on and on. And we weren’t the only ones who got in on the flame fest. Bloggers and game reviewers got in on the action too.

On Friday, the folks at Square Enix responded.

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In one fell swoop, they restored much of the community’s faith in FFXIV by outlining exactly how they plan to improve the game between now and December. More importantly, they showed us that they’ve learned a thing or two about communication, and that swallowing a little pride can go a long, long ways.

Everything in FFXIV Director Nobuaki Komoto’s message gave us reason to believe in Square Enix as a viable MMO manager – and reason to believe FFXIV will be around for a very long time.

The market wards will be fixed and fitted with search functions, but in a way that preserves this unique approach to facilitating a player-based economy. Server lag will be addressed in a way nobody should notice. Notorious monsters will be added in guildleves and open areas. The cluttered user interface will be simplified. Seasonal events are on the way.

These are fixes to short-term problems that players desperately needed to hear. Obviously this game was released too early – no way anyone can deny that now – and players were correct when they called Final Fantasy XIV incomplete. The unfinished state of the game upon launch day gave players good reason to doubt the competence of Square Enix. We wondered whether the company had learned anything from missteps in Final Fantasy XI, or whether the development team genuinely cared about communicating with players outside of Japan. The bugs and inefficiencies reported throughout beta testing had made it to the game’s finished product. We couldn’t help but ask ourselves whether SE was listening to anything we said.

Which is why the extension of the 30-day free trial was so clutch. Although nobody typed the words “I’m sorry” into the update notes, this extension of free play is nothing short of an apology. And not only is Square Enix apologizing for the state of its game, but the company is acknowledging just how incomplete the game really was. This isn’t just lip service, folks; Square Enix is putting its money where its mouth is. It’s an unprecedented move by a gaming company that has long been accused of intentionally ignoring the needs of its most dedicated fans.

I’m excited by all of the upcoming revisions to Final Fantasy XIV, but I’m most excited by the olive branch – no, make that the olive tree – extended to us by Square Enix. I can’t help but feel that this wouldn’t have happened two or three years ago. Seems like SE has been skilling up its public relations team, doesn’t it? Silliness aside, continued communication from developers will help Final Fantasy XIV get the positive exposure the game needs to overcome its shaky start. Further down the road, improved communication from Square Enix will help keep FFXIV relevant for years to come.

Hopefully these announcements bring an end to the endless tsunami of FFXIV rage threads. Obviously, players, bloggers, reviewers and gaming journalists have every right to speak their piece about Square Enix and Final Fantasy XIV. Some of the flaws this game currently has are so glaring that I can't blame people for leaving Eorzea behind. Lately though I felt as if some critics were grasping at straws in an attempt to brand the game a failure.

Even before these fixes were announced, Final Fantasy XIV had a lot going for it. The game has incredibly unique questing and leveling systems, and the crafting and gathering systems appear ready-made to thwart RMT. The graphics and sound are amazing. I know I’m not the only gamer who was thrilled to be playing a state-of-the-art MMO that doesn’t require hours upon hours of free time to make any kind of progress.

Some players want to see these upcoming improvements be implemented before granting their trust to Square Enix. I’m going to give SE the benefit of the doubt and predict they will make the majority of these changes on schedule, and that anything not fixed as planned will be patched soon after. Never before has the development team been so bold about detailing version updates this far in advance. To me this indicates a change in the way Square Enix does business. Considering the large amount of money SE has already spent on FFXIV – and with the Playstation 3 launch looming -- I’m going to assume the company isn’t blowing smoke to temper early reactions toward the game. The company had better not be blowing smoke, or this game faces a real risk of going up in flames.

Rest assured, though, these aren’t the last problems FFXIV will face. The risk of playing an ever-evolving game is that errors, glitches and ill-conceived systems will always slip by the developers. Call it the MMO Circle of Life; mistakes will be made and people will complain. I have confidence Square Enix will address these mistakes, as they did most of the time in FFXI.

All that really matters is that Square Enix keeps talking to its players. On Friday we witnessed how far a few simple messages can go. Let’s hope the developers use their budding communication skills to remove all doubts from our minds that Final Fantasy XIV will grow and succeed.

As long as the developers keep talking -- and listening -- I have a feeling this game will be just fine.

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get over it i did
# Oct 19 2010 at 5:30 PM Rating: Decent
personally i like 14 i realize its still fresh out of the gate so of course there are issues. there are always issues in the beginning, now i didnt play 11 from the beginning so i cant say what kind of problems it had when the servers first went up but im sure it was lacking too. as long as SE follows up on its promises to make the game run smoother i see good things for 14. if ppl wanna whine and complain about lack of content then i say did you even try looking if you did and still arnt satisfied go back to 11 or wow till they add more.
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They clearly had a plan
# Oct 19 2010 at 2:06 PM Rating: Decent
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I don't see how most people have missed this. The game was released when it was for marketing and ONLY marketing reasons. The hype of the game was built, The "People" purchased, and now that you have already payed for the game, it's just a matter of time before they fix it. Just like ANY mmorpg when expansions are released, or big updates are implemented whether it be 1month or 3 years down the road. People ALWAYS re-activate or pick up that dusty box and reinstall just to try out the new content. And if the content is good enough they will stay.

Why did they release so soon? because Aion's 2.0 free expansion failed instantly, WoW cataclysm is right around the corner. And other smaller but games people could potentially go to were coming out soon. Which is why SE released it before all those other games, so that the people on the edge dying for a MMORPG would look to the new and fresh aka FFXIV. It's always about the money you really think SE after 10+ years will get it wrong now? come on...
They clearly had a plan
# Oct 20 2010 at 7:34 AM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Just like ANY mmorpg when expansions are released, or big updates are implemented whether it be 1month or 3 years down the road. People ALWAYS re-activate or pick up that dusty box and reinstall just to try out the new content. And if the content is good enough they will stay.


Ask Funcom if that worked for Age of Conan. Once people hit lv 20 and realized that there was now very little to do and all the voice acting went away, people left in droves. The number of people that returned over the years isn't anywhere near where it was in the first week, and the new game has tons more content, lots less bugs, and is a lot more fun to play.

Once you instill ill-will into players, you will never get them all back. Even if they do fix the bugs and add content, the majority of ex-players won't even hear about it because they've moved on.
You can all just leave. Honestly.
# Oct 18 2010 at 3:10 PM Rating: Default
2 posts
Seriously. FF11 was the best online game of any type I'd everplayed before they ruined it and made it too easy. I know I'm in the minority saying that, but if you have zero patience, they already made a game for you. It's World of Warcraft, and there's the door.

Bugs are one thing, but here are the things people complain about that makes me say "Find another game":

The User-Interface gripes:

This game was made for a console. So was FF11. People complained about taht interface, too. Get a gamepad or go ***** youselves. If you have a PS3 or X360, you already have the gamepad.

Needing a group:

This is why I loved FF11, and why I don't play WOW. If you are that hobbled to where you can't work with other living people, you have bigger problems that a buggy game, my friend. Read a self-help book.

Oh nevermind, no one's reading this anyway. Not wanting to read anything is one of you stupid gripes.
You can all just leave. Honestly.
# Oct 18 2010 at 4:32 PM Rating: Decent
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OdiumGeneris wrote:
Seriously. FF11 was the best online game of any type I'd everplayed before they ruined it and made it too easy. I know I'm in the minority saying that, but if you have zero patience, they already made a game for you. It's World of Warcraft, and there's the door.


I'm so sick of seeing charlatans post how FFXI was ruined and that autocratic policies are acceptable and the rest can suck it.

First - your 11 experience must be next to novice to say SE gimped it. Endgame gear drops have never been gimped. Even when they raised the drop rate on salvage pieces it was something like a jump of +1%. And now the new AF3 gear and magian trials in the mini expansions are equally uber-difficult to complete. Really, just STFU - Don't talk about SE making anything easy when you're sitting in the kiddy pool.

OdiumGeneris wrote:

The User-Interface gripes:

This game was made for a console. So was FF11. People complained about taht interface, too. Get a gamepad or go ***** youselves. If you have a PS3 or X360, you already have the gamepad.


Interface - it's released on pc - therefore the interface should work equally well for the pc. Arguing anything else is asinine. Welcome to the world of gaming in 2010.

OdiumGeneris wrote:

Needing a group:
This is why I loved FF11, and why I don't play WOW. If you are that hobbled to where you can't work with other living people, you have bigger problems that a buggy game, my friend. Read a self-help book.


As someone who equally likes the group play of 11 and has 4 jobs at level cap to prove it let me say it's not perfect.

Parties are great. Making them the only feasible way to level a job is not. In 11 you would need 2-3hours minimum to find a party and successfully grind out a worthy amount of exp to see progress. And now with Abyssea you're looking at a 5-6hr grind for exp/hr to hit the sweet spot. I therefore don't endorse it as an absolute.

Unlike you - others have jobs, lives, children and believe in exercise - being the egalitarian type I think designing a system that can accommodate multiple types of people makes a game stronger not weaker. But autocrats like yourself will always QQ about making things accessible to the masses when they prefer their empty hardcore lifestyle be rewarded by some virtual world. You need that right? Can't let the soccer moms up in your 85 shiiz.

OdiumGeneris wrote:

Oh nevermind, no one's reading this anyway. Not wanting to read anything is one of you stupid gripes.


"Not wanting to read is one of you [sp] stupid gripes." Yeah, you might want to read more yourself actually.
You can all just leave. Honestly.
# Oct 19 2010 at 8:41 PM Rating: Decent
39 posts
datta wrote:
OdiumGeneris wrote:
Seriously. FF11 was the best online game of any type I'd everplayed before they ruined it and made it too easy. I know I'm in the minority saying that, but if you have zero patience, they already made a game for you. It's World of Warcraft, and there's the door.


I'm so sick of seeing charlatans post how FFXI was ruined and that autocratic policies are acceptable and the rest can suck it.

First - your 11 experience must be next to novice to say SE gimped it. Endgame gear drops have never been gimped. Even when they raised the drop rate on salvage pieces it was something like a jump of +1%. And now the new AF3 gear and magian trials in the mini expansions are equally uber-difficult to complete. Really, just STFU - Don't talk about SE making anything easy when you're sitting in the kiddy pool.

OdiumGeneris wrote:

The User-Interface gripes:

This game was made for a console. So was FF11. People complained about taht interface, too. Get a gamepad or go ***** youselves. If you have a PS3 or X360, you already have the gamepad.


Interface - it's released on pc - therefore the interface should work equally well for the pc. Arguing anything else is asinine. Welcome to the world of gaming in 2010.

OdiumGeneris wrote:

Needing a group:
This is why I loved FF11, and why I don't play WOW. If you are that hobbled to where you can't work with other living people, you have bigger problems that a buggy game, my friend. Read a self-help book.


As someone who equally likes the group play of 11 and has 4 jobs at level cap to prove it let me say it's not perfect.

Parties are great. Making them the only feasible way to level a job is not. In 11 you would need 2-3hours minimum to find a party and successfully grind out a worthy amount of exp to see progress. And now with Abyssea you're looking at a 5-6hr grind for exp/hr to hit the sweet spot. I therefore don't endorse it as an absolute.

Unlike you - others have jobs, lives, children and believe in exercise - being the egalitarian type I think designing a system that can accommodate multiple types of people makes a game stronger not weaker. But autocrats like yourself will always QQ about making things accessible to the masses when they prefer their empty hardcore lifestyle be rewarded by some virtual world. You need that right? Can't let the soccer moms up in your 85 shiiz.

OdiumGeneris wrote:

Oh nevermind, no one's reading this anyway. Not wanting to read anything is one of you stupid gripes.


"Not wanting to read is one of you [sp] stupid gripes." Yeah, you might want to read more yourself actually.


.... lol
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# Oct 18 2010 at 1:21 AM Rating: Decent
5 posts
So far I enjoy the game enough to keep playing free haha. I really do hope that these promises turn into reality. It would really be a shame if they were only extending the trial for a month in order to hook you into the game with all the work you've already put in. It would be tougher to call it quits after leveling your jobs and crafts up to 30+ and I'm sure they know that. At the same time, no one wants to wait to develop their character as they don't want to be leaps and bounds behind everyone else. We will have to cross our fingers and hope that they make these improvements as they've said. If not, I hope we're all ****** enough to cut them off despite the hundreds of hours of wasted gameplay.
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Meh.
# Oct 17 2010 at 3:12 AM Rating: Decent
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Editorials are great and all, but negativity prevails enough on every other fansite I visit. ZAM use to be the oasis of sanity, positivity and real XIV news reporting. Until you return to that, I'll be visiting a lot less. I'll read blogs if I'm interested in "fix it or fail" personal opinion pieces.

I enjoy the game. So does my whole linkshell, and problems and issues aside, news can be delivered without the "Oh, we know everyone hates this game. Why are we all still hanging around and hoping?" undertone. A little positivity never hurt anyone.
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Meh.
# Oct 17 2010 at 12:50 PM Rating: Excellent
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Not really sure I get why you think Thayos is being negative here.
lol
# Oct 16 2010 at 7:35 PM Rating: Default
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608 posts
square still will ignore you cuz they make the game and you dont, they have a job to do like anyone who works. they can server you or not.

problem with ffxiv is people believe everything the read should be common sense seeing how every MMO's ever was a buggy, and alot of them people play mmo's after the game has been out for awhile and they had time to fix it. only free mmo's die, paid ones dont look a EQ1 still going 11 years later
lol
# Oct 18 2010 at 11:29 AM Rating: Decent
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Get your facts straight. This sort of generalization is unnecessary. APB, DDO, and LotR are all pay to play. APB is now closed, and DDO and LotR would have closed if they hadn't gone f2p.

Also, of course people will believe everything they read if everything they read says the exact same thing. This game was not ready for launch and it did not have enough content or usability to justify the sticker cost, which is why people are leaving. They're not leaving because they're quitters, they're leaving because they won't play a game of this poor quality.
nice, but...
# Oct 16 2010 at 5:48 PM Rating: Decent
8 posts
Nice writ, but there's a little detail that's off.

The extension of the trial period isn't by any means unprecedented. Square Enix themselves did exactly the same with the original Japanese launch of FFXI (which, by the way, was tons worse than that of FFXIV), and that's exactly why many saw this coming.

@Maarg: Sorry, but you're 100% off. There's a TON of difference between telling "it's alpha, it'll get better", "it's beta, it'll get better", and telling "we're going to do this, this, this and this" in a neat list of specific changes. "it'll get better" is subjective, and as such doesn't really hold any kind of compelling force.
A list of specific changes compels the developer to actually implement them.

Changes and new features have to be internally tested, tweaked and retested before they can go live. If you want things "here and now", then I'm afraid MMORPGs, or gaming in general, aren't for you.
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nice, but...
# Oct 18 2010 at 4:54 PM Rating: Default
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Abriel wrote:

@Maarg: Sorry, but you're 100% off..."it'll get better" is subjective, and as such doesn't really hold any kind of compelling force.


Actually Abriel - "you're 100% off" - to use your words. Don't conflate preference with conclusion.

Saying - I like 'x' is a subjective claim. Saying 'x' is better now than before is the conclusion of an argument and can be substantiated by objective facts (depending on the subject and this is one of them).

Therefore you may reject 'x' is better now than before but you would be doing so with little objectivity. Your preference to say 'x' is not better despite objective evidence to the contrary would make your choice irrational and biased.

nice, but...
# Oct 18 2010 at 11:43 AM Rating: Decent
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The point of my response, which you seemed to miss, was that players have been complaining about these issues months before the game was released, but they clearly did not have any intention of ever fixing them. Now that all the bad press is happening, they're trying to do something to stop the exodus. There is no excuse for waiting until December to play catch-up adding features that should have been obvious to add by release.

Very few developers are in the position SE is in as far as MMO development. The V-A-S-T majority of developers only ever create one MMO from scratch. Some succeed, some fail. SE is now creating their second MMO, but proving that they are not applying the lessons they should have learned from creating their first MMO. People expected more out of SE because of the position they are in and the experiences they should have learned, so when they released this game in this sorry of a state, people are right to be disappointed.

Edited, Oct 18th 2010 12:46pm by Maarg
It would make a ton of difference...
# Oct 16 2010 at 9:47 AM Rating: Decent
19 posts
The game is still fun with all the shortcomings and glitches that are clearly more irritating than a burden. But, with all these changes in place after the 30day free (apology)timeline, the targeting system is the main problem to me and would make a ton of difference if this was corrected 1st and foremost. I can patiently wait for the things this article mentioned but the targeting system can not wait.
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Here's the problem...
# Oct 16 2010 at 9:03 AM Rating: Excellent
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The problem I have with all this is it's just words. When these complaints came up in the alpha, they said "It's alpha, so it doesn't have everything the beta or release will have." Then the same issues came up in beta and they said, "It's the beta, so it doesn't have everything the release will have." Then when the release came and had the same problems, they said, "We'll fix it by December. Oh, and btw, here's a free month to play the gave you've been hating on even longer."

The problem we had with SE in FFXI is they didn't communicate their reasoning or direction with us in a way that made sense and that we agreed with. They told us nothing and they did little to resolve problems. Now, they're telling us something, but still doing little to resolve the problems. Instead they're making us wait until December to see if it gets fixed. How many people still stick around playing a broken game for another 2 months compared to the number of people who will instead quit then MAYBE consider starting back up in January (or more likely March when the PS3 release hits).
One can only hope...
# Oct 16 2010 at 6:17 AM Rating: Excellent
47 posts
I honestly hope they do fix this game I had such high hopes for it and a way to get away from World of Warcraft and back into Final Fantasy. XI was my first MMO and I wanted the same feel I had when playing that game and this game just didn't do it at least not yet. I cancelled my subscription to the game yesterday because I don't want to pay for something that I don't even want to log into because of lack of content and a crappy UI. I will probably redo my subscription once the PS3 version is released to see if by that time things are running alot better if not they have lost me as a customer at least for any MMO they develop.
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One can only hope...
# Oct 21 2010 at 1:18 PM Rating: Default
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ditto ^
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One can only hope...
# Oct 18 2010 at 6:24 AM Rating: Default
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You found a lack of content by level 9? Did you even look? Did you talk to your starting quest NPC, Baderon, Mother Whatever, etc and get the second set of 'story' quests?

Where you waiting for a moogle to fly up and tell you where the content was?
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One can only hope...
# Oct 18 2010 at 11:35 AM Rating: Decent
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So you honestly believe that one short questline every 5 levels is enough to justify the game having enough content for its price tag?
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