Will FFXIV Players Return?

Whether former FFXIV players will notice the recent update remains to be seen.

If a tree falls in the woods, but nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

The answer to this question may be relevant to Final Fantasy XIV, which underwent a significant overhaul during last week’s all-worlds maintenance. The version update was the first of two life-saving surgeries for the ailing MMO, which was roundly blasted by fan sites and the gaming media soon after launch day. The next major version update, which will focus on adding new content, is planned for December.

For two months, dissatisfied and angered gamers flooded the fan sites to voice their displeasure with the game. Other players simply left; some moved to the fence line, while others cancelled their subscriptions. Many said they would return once the game was improved.

Well, the improvements happened – but where is everyone?

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It’s hard to say whether the game’s consistent population has changed dramatically since the update. During the maintenance, Square Enix removed the feature that allowed players to see how many others were logged in at any given time. What I do know is that my mostly empty linkshell is still mostly empty. We have more than 20 members, most of which were Final Fantasy XI players who were rearing to go in Eorzea – and they’re not back yet.

Granted, I have just one linkshell, and I’m just one person. But the camps on my server don’t seem any fuller than they did a week ago, and I’m not seeing huge crowds of people around the guildleve counter either.

The forums are definitely more positive now than they’ve been since launch day. Our FFXI General Forum isn’t filled with rant threads and angry posts directed at Square Enix. Perhaps more importantly, the community’s response to the first large update has been overwhelmingly positive. There is definitely concern over how the update has affected party play, and the new UI has rough edges in need of polishing.

Still, the successful update hasn’t seemed to translate into more players, at least not to the degree that I expected – which is strange considering how many players claimed the UI was their top issue with the game.

Not even a week has passed since the update, but I can’t help but feel a slight sense of concern. The source of my concern is the tree-falling-in-the-woods dilemma. In terms of bringing players back to Final Fantasy XIV, did this massive update matter if nobody was around to experience it?

The December update could be another chance for Square Enix to entice jaded players back into the game. The update is supposed to focus on content which, in my opinion, is needed more than the improvements to the user interface. Don’t get me wrong, because I love the new user interface, but what good are better, smoother controls if there are still too few reasons to use them? Perhaps more players will return once they’re given more to do with their time in game.

Then again, maybe the December update won’t bring players back. When all is said and done, maybe the greatest contribution of this year's massive updates will be to keep more people from leaving.

After all, the Playstation 3 release -- which is right around the corner -- is certain to bring more players to the game. The game will be more full and polished by then. Perhaps most importantly, gaming magazines are likely to review FFXIV from the perspective of PS3 users. Assuming Square Enix continues to aggressively improve the game, the PS3 launch could be an opportunity for Final Fantasy XIV to garner some positive press. And that would be a great thing, but even glowing reviews in March may not bring back the players who have already left. If they're not back by the end of December, they'll be long gone by spring.

Until then, I'll keep logging in and checking my linkshell list. I'll hope to see my old FFXI friends, who were all so excited about playing FFXIV. If only they were logged in right now, they would understand why they should be playing this game.

But when the tree fell, they weren't around to hear it, and I'm not sure if they'll ever be back.


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#vthlogoing, Posted: Dec 02 2010 at 3:00 AM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) It's not Easy so all the wow kids are leaving thank god... i think what SE is doing is great 14 is great it brings a challenge to the mmo scene which most people can not handle. It's not a copy and paste WoW format game. The hard core SE fan's know better then to let SE go. We know the updates will come we know the game is still a month or so old. Rome wasn't built in a day and the few people left see the light at the end of the tunnel and we can't wait!
# Dec 02 2010 at 7:51 AM Rating: Excellent
7 posts
vthlogoing wrote:
It's not Easy so all the wow kids are leaving thank god... i think what SE is doing is great 14 is great it brings a challenge to the mmo scene which most people can not handle.

You can stop right about..... there.... thanks

FF14 is not difficult by any stretch of the imagination. Please do not confuse the amount of time in witch it takes to get things done with the level of difficulty. FF14 takes the most trivial tasks and makes them into projects. Just because it takes forever to sell items to an NPC doesn't mean it's difficult. Is navigating the awful UI suppose to be the meta game? Because it's hard? lol Please... Time≠skill ; RNG≠Skill. The only difficult thing in this game is finding the ambition to play it.

People did not leave because the game was too hard. People left because the shipped product was unfinished and lacking at best. There is no content currently and there is nothing to do besides grinding out job SP. Do not get me started on the market system.... And really... we can't alt+tab? What year is this?

FF14 is NOT hard. No one left because of said alleged difficulty.

If you are enjoying the game in its current form, that's great. Be mindful that not everyone is enjoying the game currently and have every right to feel disappointed and what not.

PS: People will come back for a month down the road just to check it out. The initial purchase has been made, getting back in to re evaluate things is a matter of a few clicks. Good things are coming, but, the game needs another 6 months to mature.

Edited, Dec 2nd 2010 8:57am by Lavacon
# Dec 02 2010 at 5:13 AM Rating: Good
11 posts
Good heavens! Why do people talk like that? =(
Give it a Chance
# Dec 02 2010 at 2:24 AM Rating: Default
30 posts
OK well! I started of being very positive towards this game. I still am :) I think personally for me the crafting is great!

The Cut scenes are Brilliant. That's what ff14 is all about, they have some amazing cs. I cant wait to get Rank 20 and see the others. I know they will be just as awesome.

As for server population on Karnak I have no idea. When I go to get new levi's that hub is very crowded, the crafting allys are busy. Bearded rock is also busy. Skull valley the same. All in all, I find karnak server busy.

I cant wait for December updates, and I read somewhere that the christmas season that will be implemented will also be great :) I wonder what Santa will bring me in ff14 :) * winks *

Well that's my opinion so far, I am going to stick around and play ff14 This game deserves a chance.

# Dec 02 2010 at 1:40 AM Rating: Decent
9 posts
Game ist still not playable... simplay as this!

I know (well hope) once it may be worth spending countless hours but for now, even after the update, i cant see much changes.
There is still no Auction House and they wont ever include one.
The guildleve system still sucks
The crafting system is a total fail imo
same goes for the gather professions
The fatigue system still in place (no no no!!!)
Content where?
The world itself is boring as hell, not even close to the excitement ffxi had. Totally lack small goodies and pretty things like birds flying, grasshoppers and such - its just a dead world. booooring...

The whole game is a grey in grey on grey ground ... and after playing FFXI for more than 5 years i have no other choice but to quit FFXIV.
Its no problem, none of my friends playing anymore - all went back to wow (and i started it too.. nice so far). Even those people who previously were full of love for FFXIV ^^

...well then, i may check back in 2-3 years... hopefully it will still exist then ;)
The future will tell
# Dec 02 2010 at 12:04 AM Rating: Decent
25 posts
SE did a good job with the updates; so anyone reading these blogs, please come back. As with all MMORPGs, there are constant adjustments. Even after several years of play, FFXI was under constant tweaks. To think that this game would be perfect from the start is asinine. Furthermore, to think XIV would be XI2 would be even worse. SE seems to always go for individual games that are unique, even if some of the elements carry over. This game is no different.

I really agree with the PS3 assessment. Once it hits PS3, we'll see more people. I don't know if Xbox can handle it, but I know a lot of people who played XI seemed to play on Xbox. Consoles are much cheaper than PCs, so they'll definitely be able to get a wider audience. I just hope I can rank up enough jobs to keep ahead of the crowds of PS3ers for camps. Not sure when the first expansion is scheduled for, but I'll wager that will solidify any doubters that develop from then on.

Until then, I hope SE keeps the updates coming!

does it matter?
# Dec 01 2010 at 11:48 PM Rating: Default
219 posts
Return or not, does it matter?

You guys always missing the point here. FFXIV is a high end spec game, not many players can afford high end upgrade every time a game release.

The real challenge is to DRAW new players when they upgrade their system and ps3 users.

Forget about those is LOST, 100-200k does not matter when you have millions to come!
# Dec 01 2010 at 11:20 PM Rating: Good
6 posts
Players wont come back until they actually put in actual game content and fix SP for +30 rank parties which they screwed up with the new update!
no matter what...
# Dec 01 2010 at 11:09 PM Rating: Decent
1 post
Square has never really let me down before and i will continue to play ffxiv, as well as get my friends and family to play, my mother is still breathing down my neck for a buddy pass and my old computer so she can play and my friends are doing the same haha!
I really hope the December content patch = louder crash
# Dec 01 2010 at 10:47 PM Rating: Decent
131 posts
Same thing is happening in my LS, for the most part anyway. Still a decent amount of people, but everyone (myself included) seems to be leaning more towards the pessimistic side as far as updates go (especially after having fixed SP yet leaving SP differences between harder monsters so low).

I'm really hoping the December patch packs in a ton of content (story missions, extra activities, new leves, roaming NMs, leve NMs, a decent amount of new equipment for all classes, etc.) and hopefully the content isnt just for players rank 40 and above.

Enemy distribution still needs a little working on, since there are still incredibly tough monsters that dont get easier for quite awhile, right outside of early rank camp sites. And please S-E, use those dungeons for something other than possible story points.
I really hope the December content patch = louder crash
# Dec 03 2010 at 9:21 AM Rating: Good
21 posts
I hate to say it, but although the November patch was great, I think it was a little bit too late. I played from the regular release date up until I got frustrated and "rage quit" early November. During that time I still needed an MMO fix, so I went back to WoW to see what they did with their game getting ready for Cataclysm. That time I did spend away from FFXIV playing WoW turned me back on to playing WoW more than ever because of recent changes (along with many other people I would assume).

When the November patch came out I did log on for a few hours to check everything out, it was WAY better, and I would have continued playing if I had not become re-addicted to another MMO (that I really enjoy again) while FFXIV was being fixed. Now with the their December patch coming, which will bring this game to the standard it SHOULD have been when first released, they are going to have to do what they didn't want in the first place (hence the early released), compete with the release of Cataclysm.

Again, I hate to say it, but SE really sh*t the bed with their release date, and they are going to suffer for it. Most players are probably not going to come back because of it, even if they made FFXIV 10000x better. It's really too bad tho, this game had so much potential. It most definatly will survive, but it will have WAY less of a playerbase than it should have, and I think future content will suffer greatly because of it (less playerbase = less money = less quality in future content). My account is still going to get cancelled after the extended extended free play is up. It is possible I will come back when they release the first expansion pack, but as for now SE won't be getting a montly sub fee from me.

I really hope the December content patch = louder crash
# Dec 03 2010 at 3:07 PM Rating: Decent
30 posts
^ this is exactly what I'm afraid of :'(

Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
It's well known that MMORPG stands for "Many Men Online Role-Playing as Girls"
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