Better Late Than Never?

The highlight of FFXIV's first month was SE promising to fix the game.

 

The first month of Final Fantasy XIV came and went without much fanfare; or, at least, without much positive fanfare.
 
Ever since the game’s official launch – which Square Enix pulled off with no glaring setbacks – any positive reactions to the game have been largely drowned out by horrendous reviews, angry forum posters and gamers who remain on the fence about investing in this new MMO. In response to the criticism, Square Enix extended the game’s free-trial period for a month and promised to fix the most problematic aspects of the game by the year’s end.

Not exactly the way you imagined the first month of the new game would unfold, is it?

Discuss this on the ZAM forums!

Regardless of whether you love or hate Final Fantasy XIV, by now everyone can (and should) agree that this game was launched way too early. There’s no need to rehash all of the reasons here. Anyone who plays this game on a regular basis is well aware of its shortcomings. The difference is that while players such as myself find this game to be enjoyable even in its unfinished state, others are clearly not satisfied with their in-game experiences. Some have gone as far as to call the game “unplayable,” despite the fact that many people are happily playing.

Going forward, the real question is this: If you’re among those who are still on the fence about playing FFXIV, how much time are you willing to give Square Enix before finally deciding to take your business elsewhere?

If you’re one of those swing vote players, then I’d imagine a big part of your decision will rest upon what happens during the next two months. Most of the game’s biggest problems would be solved (or nearly solved) if Square Enix follows through on November and December version update plans. I don’t think the development team would have gone public with its update plans if there wasn’t a strong sense of confidence -- not optimism, but confidence -- that these fixes would be doable as pledged.

Then again, this is the same company that has still not finished the Wings of the Goddess expansion for Final Fantasy XI. For those of you unfamiliar with FFXI, the Wings of the Goddess expansion was launched in November 2007. Yes, you read that right -- three years later, it is still not complete.

What happens if Square Enix doesn’t get around to making the big fixes in November and December? What if only some of the fixes are made? What if everything planned is implemented, but the updates don’t adequately solve all the problems? For example, what if the menus are simplified, but the user interface remains slowed by server lag? If Square Enix asks for a deadline extension for its proposed fixes, how long are you willing to give SE the benefit of the doubt?

My guess is there are many people who have faith in Square Enix, but also many others whose patience is wearing thin. The game has already lost a sizable number of players, and others are likely withholding their purchases because of the negative reviews. However, a large percentage of those players could just be waiting to see what happens in November and December. I personally know several linkshell mates who are taking a wait-and-see approach before deciding their investment in this game.

Only time will tell if those fixes go far enough to satisfy the masses. I’m confident they will. I also believe many people sincerely want to enjoy this game, particularly those who played Final Fantasy XI. As long as most of the fixes work as intended, I feel most on-the-fence gamers will give Square Enix the benefit of the doubt. Square Enix could help its cause by going above and beyond the call of duty; introduce some new content ahead of schedule, or perhaps make some player-friendly adjustments to the item durability system. If I were a higher-up at Square Enix, I’d even consider extending the free trial for a second time. In short, I’d do whatever it takes to lose as few subscribers as possible.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again and again: Final Fantasy XIV has a lot going for it. Some of the criticism heaped on this game is undeserved or  skewed, depending on your background in gaming. For example, people who came to FFXIV from other MMOs may criticize the game for having slow travel times between camps and cities. Meanwhile, those who migrated from FFXI understand that the teleport system -- even with limited use of anima -- makes traveling far more easier than the early days of Vana’diel.

I was satisfied with my first month in FFXIV. I’ve never played an MMO at launch until now, so I’m not even going to touch the “all games are like this at launch” card. I’m simply having fun exploring, fighting and crafting. My time in the game isn’t spent grinding on any specific job; rather, I’ve been leveling three crafts and two battle jobs, and all are close to being equal in level. Thanks to the guildleve system, players can level crafts without investing tons of gil -- another thing that wasn’t easily possible in FFXI.

That said, I’m completely aware that many people were not satisfied with their first month of FFXIV. In fact, “not satisfied“ may be a gross understatement. And even those who were satisfied have plenty of reason to doubt the future of this game. Like it or not, the early blunders of Square Enix could have a huge impact on the long-term health of this game. Yes, more people will subscribe at the Playstation 3 launch. Yes, Square Enix could pull off its upcoming fixes to perfection, bringing back many players who are currently sitting on the fences. The reviews are already out though and some damage can’t be undone. Square Enix has already lost players who will never come back.

Overall, the first month of FFXIV can’t be viewed as anything other than a failure, but I don’t think a single bad month will doom this game to mediocrity. Failure during the next two months would be significantly more devastating.

As we brace for the next two months of Final Fantasy XIV, it’s up to the players to decide whether "better late than never" is an acceptable answer from Square Enix. And if late turns into later, where will players draw the line?

Comments

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guides
# Nov 20 2010 at 7:02 PM Rating: Decent
1 post
I've reviewed 3 of the best selling guides for this game. If you want to read them please visit http://www.finalfantasy-guides.com
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Named Monsters
# Nov 05 2010 at 7:30 AM Rating: Decent
11 posts
Just found this - so looks like December for the release of Notorious Monsters

"Another significant addition planned for the December version update is the introduction of notorious monsters (NMs), which will appear in open areas and on guildleves (faction leves). Coming together with the notorious monsters will be a wide variety of new items and rewards, and future version updates will usher in all-new content centered around these formidable new enemies."
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FFXI/Bahamut/75Blm,75Thf,75Rdm,75Smn (Retired)
[img]http://sigs.enjin.com/sig-ffxiv/26402_322bd612e8d4f596.png[/img]

Named Monsters
# Nov 04 2010 at 5:17 PM Rating: Decent
11 posts
Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't SE state that they would be introducing Notorious Monsters by the end of November? or was it December?
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Japanese Translation
# Nov 04 2010 at 10:02 AM Rating: Decent
1 post
Hi Thayos,

I translated this article in Japanese.
http://www.ff14voice.jp/modules/bulletin/index.php?page=article&storyid=28
And this article has raised sympathy from many JP players. Thank you.

Today, Mr. Wada who is SE's president has announced FFXIV's first phase failure in their first-half results.

Some part of his announcement was affected by your article, I believe so.
better late then never
# Nov 04 2010 at 7:35 AM Rating: Decent
6 posts
ok yes ff11 might o fbeen a bad game when first released in japan i dont knwo i wasnt there or had much intrest in mmos since the us release was my very first mmo. but here is the thing from SE they have decades of exp in developing rpg's story, animations, contant , quests , blah blah . and this is NOT there first mmo they should have already gotte nthere feet wet from 11 and had more then a general idea of what should of been in the game from the very start .
the next mmo?
# Nov 03 2010 at 2:07 PM Rating: Decent
1 post
When SE announced the 30th September as the release date.
My 1st though were, isn't that too early?

While I was hopping that FFXIV would be the next generation MMO.
It can clearly be said that award is left to Tera or Blade and Soul.

FFXIV is more an evolution rather then a revolution.
Agreed
# Nov 03 2010 at 7:48 AM Rating: Decent
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246 posts
Yeah, I'm really hoping they do like they say they are. I'm really wanting FFXIV to succeed. I really don't want to have to go to another mmo. I played FFXI, was my first mmo and would like to continue with FFXIV. Not sure how much of a chance I'll give them. Really depends on the November update and how that goes. I just know that I'm not going to stick around for forever if they don't fix these issues. Just don't have infinite patience.

Btw, I really like all the previous posts ^__^
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Nothing will change, but everything....
# Nov 03 2010 at 4:49 AM Rating: Decent
7 posts
While reading your text, I nodded a few times and thought "Well he is reflecting my thoughts in some good way".
To be honest, I like this game (even with its bugs and issues it is having now). I wrote my evealuation of this game for amazon.com and gave it 4 Stars (it is a german text).

I focussed on the most recent issues: the game can get boring if you do not find a group as you do not really have any other goal except the main story or your crafting jobs (and some other things as well).

I do have faith with SE fixing the games' most important aspects. The routine system for parties is currently good, but it can be way better. While I do get lots of SP in each battle while being in a pt, others (they are within the Lvl range) do get none or very few. They should distribute the SP evenly among the members and add a Bonus depending on the numbers of group members. Easy example:
a mob which is Level 20 (red to a Level 15 or 16 player) can get bashed good by a nice group of 5 players being within level 15-17. The mob will be blue then, since the color of the difficulty shows you how good your chances are to beat the enemies.
So let us say a red mob like this one would give 50 SP per successful hit (solo player) and 500 Experience (physical) once defeated. For each member in the pt the SP given with each hit will be increased by a certain amount (like 20 SP) and after this it will be devided by the number of players in the pt. Everyone would get the same amount of Routine for each hit. Healers could get additional SP by the numbers of HP they heal and Debuffers by the effectivity of their Debuffs.
It would be an idea easy as pie!

Same goes for Solo players: There are situations where you cannot find a pt or do not have time for them. Leves are a good idea to level up, but even with Guardians Aspect the amount of SP you get is pretty low (in higher levels) in relation to the SP you need for a Level up.
How about including an Empress Band or anything like that like you did in FF XI, which gives you a nice and decent bonus for a certain amount of time/exp. These rings/items can either by bought by Guildmarks or with shards/crystals or even Gil. It would help the economy as well!

aybe all my writings have already been included int he coming Update at the End of the month or December. I am neither flaming nor trolling, I am just having faith in SE to fix up some minor ditches to make a nice game (idea) even better.
Better late then never
# Nov 03 2010 at 1:30 AM Rating: Good
Scholar
30 posts
I really liked your post Thayos, very positive and thoughtful thinking.
I will also be giving this game a long chance to get sorted out.

I played the last ffx for 5 years, and loved it.I hope I get to spend the next 5 years playing XIV.

We have nothing to lose by giving this game a chance, after all two free months of playing time is great :)Would be nice if they extended it though. There is plenty to do and discover in the new XIV
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Better late then never
# Nov 03 2010 at 1:36 PM Rating: Decent
Scholar
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59 posts
People have addressed the "bugs" and "problems" with the game, but that is just scratching the surface. My largest disappointment is the current content in the game. There is literally nothing interesting to do, grinding, exploration and copy and pasted leves only get you interested for a short time.

There are not even bosses, named monsters, or anything to actually hunt and kill. There are no epic quests (that I have seen) that require grouping and doing things that are actually difficult. Where are the chocobos? Where are the airships? Where are new locations/cities like Ishgard and the other camps where we can possibly have side quests and more content? Why can't we purchase multiple retainers (if they want money, open it up already!) This stuff is simply "not done".

Yes, I think the UI is horrible, easily the worst UI I have ever seen developed, in any game, in the history of time. Yes, I think having a chat buffer of only 40-50 characters is the worst design decision I have ever seen. Yes, the lag in the game is terrible, making combat/crafting/selling/interacting with anything a pain in the ***, and very frustrating. The list of bugs can go on and on.

But when it comes right down to it, the lack of content, challenging content, is going to kill it for me. You can work through some of the bugs (yes, it is frustrating and needs to be addressed), but overall, the game just needs more stuff to hold people's attention. When you have people leaving before the trial period is even up, bored, and not enjoying themselves ... imagine how many are leaving when you have to pay to play it? Or when Cataclysm comes out, or any new MMO? People are going to leave in droves, and the only ones sticking around will be the fanbois that just want the game to succeed, only to watch it die out as their server population drops to 15.

I expect there to be much more added by the PS3 release, which is a long ways off, but until then ... I think it's going to be a rough and boringly repetitive ride.
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Better late then never
# Nov 03 2010 at 4:57 PM Rating: Default
6 posts
see this is the crap i hate.... are you a lvl 50 yet? i would say no going out on a limb.. i would guess that you are closer to 10 than to 20... WHY DO YOU NEED END GAME CONTENT AND BOSSES WHEN YOU CANT EVEN DO IT YET??????????????? jesus Fin christ people.... level up all your jobs to 20, MIX AND MATCH ABILITIES...... LEARN THE GAME.... MASTER YOUR UNIQUE JOB...... and then 6months to a year from now YOU WILL GET YOUR ENDGAME CONTENT.... seriously STFU about endgame griping when you cant engage in it yet
Better late then never
# Nov 10 2010 at 1:49 PM Rating: Decent
30 posts
Given that WoW is the most obvious example... at lvl 20 you were able to do instances with bosses (I remember fighting some sort of three headed Hydra) after clawing through ruins filled with cultists and fending off a room wide invasion by mobs.

That was pretty fun. And it took your mind off the level grind. Sure, you leveled. But you did it in a party, you were given a quest to fill (and several option subquests) and a lot of lore was rounded out.

That's good level 20 content, not kill for hours and occasionally fill out a super brief leve quest that provides no lore, context or motivation beyond bonus SP.
Better late then never
# Nov 04 2010 at 10:30 AM Rating: Decent
Scholar
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59 posts
**** dude, you need to chill.

I wasn't talking about end game content, I am just talking about side content, quests, named mobs, NM's, or anything besides just leves and grinding. Not end game specifically. I have 4 jobs 20+, and one at 30+, and most of the rest are 10+, so you can take your "you noob" comments and capital letters elsewhere. Especially since I never once, mentioned end game content.

Once you play the game more, and level up a few jobs, you will see what I am trying to say. It gets kind of old just doing leves and grinding all the time. While I don't mind it, I would just like to see more side content, and other things to do, rather than just grind.

And the one thing that I like to do when grinding, is look for named/special mobs to kill for drops, or for even just the challenge. Right now, I don't feel like you are really rewarded with exploration. I also feel like you are not required, or rewarded much for grouping (except for an EXP/SP bonus).

I would just like more group focused content, and challenging content. It feels too much like "mindless grinding", and not enough strategy, teamwork and skill to pass most encounters.
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Better late then never
# Nov 03 2010 at 7:56 PM Rating: Excellent
Nidget wrote:
see this is the crap i hate.... are you a lvl 50 yet? i would say no going out on a limb.. i would guess that you are closer to 10 than to 20... WHY DO YOU NEED END GAME CONTENT AND BOSSES WHEN YOU CANT EVEN DO IT YET??????????????? jesus Fin christ people.... level up all your jobs to 20, MIX AND MATCH ABILITIES...... LEARN THE GAME.... MASTER YOUR UNIQUE JOB...... and then 6months to a year from now YOU WILL GET YOUR ENDGAME CONTENT.... seriously STFU about endgame griping when you cant engage in it yet


The person you responded to didn't say any thing about end game content. They said they are looking for any sort of content that is engaging and a break from the vanilla leveling grind.

It seems like you take it for granted that there can't be low level or mid level bosses, epic quests, etc, but I don't see why. Even FFXI had BCNMs, Artifact armor, subjob, advanced job, chocobo and airship quests. Wouldn't you like to see some of these cool side paths to explore in addition to the level grind?
Better late then never
# Nov 03 2010 at 10:09 PM Rating: Decent
13 posts
if i dont recall ffxi was a horrible game when it first came out as well. a majority of the advanced jobs, bcnms, ect. werent even introduced untill ike 2 or 3 years after the game came out. but yes some NM's or side quests aside from leve's would be very nice.
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Better late then never
# Nov 03 2010 at 6:16 PM Rating: Decent
13 posts
THANK YOU.
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