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I’ve had a “Review and reflect on every core Final Fantasy game” series of posts brewing in my head for awhile now, and I may actually get down to writing it, but in laying down the framework in my head, I realized that there’s only one in the series that I can honestly say I’ve never played, and that’s XI. Yesterday, massively.com’s Final Fantasy MMO column discussed Final Fantasy XI, and today I found myself posting a comment that was blog-entry-long, and blog-entry-worthy. Here it is, edited for context and additional thoughts.
My respect for FFXI has taken an uptick lately, as I’ve joined a lovely FFXIV free company full of former XI players. Ironically the FC name (“Absolute Virtue”) and tag (“Saint”) are an homage to one of the most notorious “never going to touch that” elements of XI that kept me away from it.
But I didn’t post just to get into that.
I wanted to try XI, once upon a time, and so I put out tentative feelers. Or I tried to. In my rather significant (at the time) gamer circle, meaning my LARP friends, I couldn’t find anyone who played the game. So I kept looking. While I was looking, my friends yanked me into WoW, where I had a happy home for years.
But even as I played WoW. I kept an ear to the ground for XI info. I’m a lifetime Final Fantasy fanatic, having “played them all” in an offline sense, and having cheered or cried (happily) through the credits of every core game in the series except II, III and XII (for my own reasons of taste). I would get a hint of XI here and there to the tunes of of “have group or fail” or “remember orc camps in EQ? Yeah that, times ten,” and these kept me away. Then I heard of “17 hour bosses with people taking shifts at the raid party’s computers,” and thought “um, that’s gotta be a myth.”
Then I cornered some FFXI fans at a party, and picked their brain. They were a married couple, and I still see the husband posting here and there on FF related stuff to this day.
They proudly confirmed every negative, second impression I had received of the game, and, being used to WoW’s level of accessibility, I couldn’t justify buying FFXI. I had recently been hired at a shift-changing job that wouldn’t allow me to enjoy a game demanding that kind of codependency, Final Fantasy or not. I could still enjoy WoW on this schedule, so I did.
For its time, I’m sure the codependency of XI seemed amazing for a world of people saying “oooh ahhh internet… those are other people… neeeato!” but you can’t call that future proofed. EverQuest was like that, but it has since adapted to a changing market where games are “sold one person at a time,” a much safer market. The people that love XI have played it for years, and are accustomed to it. Those same people often look down on other games that market to all styles of player. Despite what some might say, there is a harmless and massive market in MMORPGs for those that don’t always have the time to hook up with other players to simply wipe their backside. The support of solo or self-enabled group play needs to be there as an on-ramp to get people into the game, and as a justification for a monthly subscription when schedules just don’t line up for a time here and there.
It took me forever to find some people “in the club” of FFXI’s intended audience. Niche games are fine, and XI is one of those, no question, but those playing it have to taper their expectations to the reality of their game. If it’s lonely at the top (endgame), it will only get more so if the climb is made impassible to individual players. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: when one buys an MMORPG, they buy the game, they make a transaction with the developer, not the community. Having the community be not only involved, but essential in base leveling gameplay makes your game a niche in today’s market.
That’s why it took me so long to potentially get hooked. I couldn’t find someone in the niche, It took too long, and I moved on. By the time I found some people, I was already introduced to “you know… you don’t HAVE to play MMOs like that,” and it was too late for XI. Even as I moved on to other games, my lifestyle couldn’t justify such a codependent, “dated” game on the front of MMORPG ethics.
I wish all the fun in the world to those that play FFXI, but please realize, before you trash other games, that the number of people that could play your game, and support you and it in solidarity, is quite stifled by the game’s core design. I would have loved to be one of them, but the real world happened. Your game doesn’t align with “the real world” in many cases. I am one of those cases.
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I just followed FFXIV enthusiast and “unofficial translator” Reinheart Valentine (@reinheart) after another friend retweeted the beginning of a stream of tweets he began from a FFXIV developer (Yoshi-P) interview in japanese (from Famitsu and Dengeki) regarding 2.1. Here are most of the points, and some of my thoughts on said points.
Some twitter abbreviations in the quotes below have been expanded into long form:
-Bards are getting one of their skills moved to another job (details yet to be translated.). Ok, then.
-“jobs that couldn’t get enough DPS will be able to output as much as BLM’s can (after the bug fix)” Take what you will from that. I’m glad I’m focusing black mage for character-conceptual reasons, that’s all I have to say to that. ;)
-“Ultima Weapon Hard mode has story around Wandering Minstrel. Not much requirements to get into, so people should be able to try right away.” So that’s good news. I’m not a huge fan of all the hard encounters at the endgame, I’m glad they’re there for those that enjoy them!
-“Dungeon Hard Mode has different feeling as well, fogs, etc so as soon as you enter you can feel that it’s going ot be more challenging.” Of all the ways to make potentially PUGed content “harder,” incomplete maps are not really among my favourites.
-“YoshiP mentions every patch will have 2 Hard Mode dungeons and 1 completely new dungeon. Post expansion will have harder dungeon than BC.” Good to know.
-“Dungeon EXP increased by 150% from base EXP. On top of that you can put random roulette bonus + rest bonus. About 3x more than now.” More leveling options=good!
-“Once you place a furniture in your house, you can’t sell them on market.” Important to note, but “selling used stuff” is sort of outdated in MMORPGs anyway, so people shouldn’t expect it available.
-“YoshiP mentions the cost for housing is still not decided, they are still looking at the economy to decide carefully.” I could write an entire blog entry on my thoughts on this. Oh wait, I did!(http://omedon.tumblr.com/post/62798102598/personal-expression-is-not-a-goal) Seriously though, this is getting insulting, they don’t need to place housing to be this perfectly scaled money sink, it needs to be accessible, no questions, no hurtles, no bulls**t. Now, I want to say “calm down, this is probably talking about FC housing, and personal housing is still 6+ months away,” but so help me, if personal housing launches as a long term endgame monetary goal, I will explode.
Deep breaths, better news…
-Regarding the “Treasure Hunt” feature (more below): “When you try to open chest there is a trap spawning mobs. Can be soloed, however Grade 5 should have Party to win fight.” In the immortal words of Daniel Bryan: YES! YES! YES! Overworld, on demand, solo-to-group content can only mean one thing: A USE FOR CHOCOBOS! Most importantly, the 2-man-2-bird party I’ve wanted for so long! Now, here’s hoping it IS overworld and not instanced and duty based. If they’re smart, this will work like GW2’s guild content where you basically spawn your own FATE.
-“Beastmen daily quest - In patch 2.1 will have quest for 2 beastmen tribes, in future will have episodes for all tribes.” Very cool! Loving the soloable access to endgame/dungeon currencies that these dailies are reported to allow!
-“Treasure Hunt - Gatherer finds map, but only battle class can open since it spawns mob” When I commented to Reinheart how cool this potentially was for endgame gatherers, he remarked that “For fishing todays rep post mentioned they going to add new animations when catching some fish, wonder how that’s gonna be :D.” Clearly I must now level fishing!
-“YoshiP mentions they are going to have FFXIV up on Steam.” That should have an impact on the community, as there are some fanatic Steam people that will only play through steam. All new marketing fronts are good news!
-“Patch 2.2 will have about 1.5 times more than 2.1’s amount of story.” Wait, there’s more story coming? There’s story after the end credits? Please tell me that when I walked away from Minfilia with “NOPE, not doing hardmode anything,” I’m not leaving “story” on the table.
-In “I don’t really care, but it’s cool for those folks” news: “PvP will have rank - At 2.1 you can rank up to 30.” So, that’s a thing.
-“YoshiP mentions in 2.1 SMN’s Bane will increase.” So good for them!
-“Crystal Tower - Loot restriction is 1 item per week. Once you loot an item, you have to wait for it to reset to loot again.” I’m honestly looking forward to this content. I have my own thoughts on its place in the game, and will probably make a post about that eventually.
-“Primal Extreme Mode will also have same restriction as CT. 1 Loot per week. (Have to take down all 3 Primal Extreme Mode to get 1 item)” Important note for primal hunters.
-“Tomestone cap increase to 450 is not confirmed yet, could be lower/higher. They are still looking into it.” That’s good to note for those in the currency rat race.
-“Daily content resets at 0AM JST, Weekly content resets at 0AM Tuesday JST” Good to know.
-“Primal Extreme Mode - Aside from ilvl90 weapon reward, Primals drop chest which has high level accessories.” Sweet loot!
-“YoshiP says pay attention to Moggle Mog battles chat bubbles as they are fun to read, please look forward to it :p” Oh jeez, I’m afraid…
-“Moggle Mog battle difficulty is in between Garuda Hard Mode and Titan Hard Mode. If you can beat Garuda but can’t beat Titan, this is for you” I’m really glad they’re not just upticking the difficulty with every new addition to the “endgame.” There are many comfort zones, and many degrees of “give-a-damn,” and all deserve entertainment!
-“New dungeon Sirius will be the current hardest 4 player dungeon.” I’m also glad that they’re entertaining difficulty levels at all group sizes!
-“At live event before 2.2 they want to do Titan Hard Mode battle and Ultima Weapon Hard Mode challenge. And also says for example at 2.3 they want to do Leviathan HM and Ultima Weapon Extreme Mode.” Yay Leviathan!
-“For world tour, for Europe going to be too tight on schedule to go UK/France/Germany so they going to do in one country.” That’s fair, I guess.
-“Crystal Tower: Ancient Labyrinth has 4 bosses.” I’m still intrigued by the whole “ancients” thing, and really hope, based on it being sort of a FFVII reference, that the Crystal Tower becomes a conduit for crossovers from other games in the series!
-“And in 2.2 they are planning to go one step further in ilvl past 90-95.” Bigger numbers!
Reinheart was nice enough to provide me with links to said interview(s)!
Wow, that’s a lot of info! In closing, I’d like to thank Reinheart for taking the time to translate this interview! Dear Square Enix: HIRE THIS GUY!
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Awhile ago I suggested that gil was way too powerful in FFXIV: it was tradable, hard to get on a new server, and could buy one’s way to “considerable” (for the time) endgame gear in the form of late game high quality craftables. Basically an RMT site’s dream come true.
Oh, how a few weeks can make such a difference!
So now we know that, as of 2.1, that very same HQ gear will get absolutely and purposely left in the dust by new PVE progression options, and now, understandably, people begin to question the time investment of crafting in general. As someone intending to eventually max out all classes, combat and non-combat, I was interested in Squeenix’s response to this.
And respond they did.
Long story short, their answer was, largely, housing and cosmetics, which is, in a word, brilliant. It does exactly what I suggested on this very blog: it disempowers the gil in the context of “game stats,” and that’s exactly what needs to happen to combat RMT in the arena of “game fairness.”
Now, I do have one finger-wagging warning for my friends in at Square Enix: do please remember that mostly everyone wants to look cool and customized, but not everyone wants to craft. Let invested and interested crafters help the world and the community to beautify themselves, but do not take the dark path toward “everyone needs to craft to get these benefits,” please and thank you very much.
If the gil becomes largely the currency of the “inter-player personal expression market,” I would think that an excellent place for it, and let stat advancement post level cap come from non-tradable, purely gameplay-earned currencies. Will it kill RMT? No, it will not, but making gil less attractive to the most impatient of gamers (those craving MORE POWER, RIGHT NOW) should theoretically take a bite out of it.
If this is the plan, I say “well played, Square Enix, well played!”
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You know what? There IS something positive I can write about! I don’t have any scathing criticisms today, today I am going to share the things I personally am most looking forward to about patch 2.1 and beyond in FFXIV, because I have the day off work, and have time to do so!
1) Enhanced Battlecraft Leve XP! I love battlecraft leves! I don’t like chasing FATEs! I like leveling on my time, at my pace, able to take a bathroom break when I feel like it! Battlecraft leves SHOULD be my dream content, but in comparison to using the allowances for gathering or triple turn-in crafting leves (seriously, that’s some mad XP!), unless you’re pushing your first combat class to 50 and can’t stand FATE tag-wars (*raises hand*), using leve allowances for battlecraft leves just hurts on the resource management front. Good news! As of 2.1, we’re getting a buff to battlecraft levequest XP, potentially in the form of that juicy armoury bonus, which plugs the hole of “why would you use a battlecraft leve on a secondary class” I just mentioned! I love whipping out the chocobo, cranking a battlecraft levequest a couple levels over my head and running it over for some “on my time” XP, and as of next patch, that gets a needed boost! Yay!
2) Enhanced dungeon XP! So apparently dungeons are ALSO getting a buff in XP, on top of all dungeons being thrown into a daily random pool for endgame players’ tomestones. The tomestone thing has pros and cons, but the XP buff is also sorely needed, as they, like FATEs, need to be attractive for replay value. Dungeons need to be attractive for the sake of players dependant on their completion for the core story AS WELL AS providing a duty-finder source of XP for people other than tanks and healers who can run guildhests all day for low-commitment, rapid fire shots of XP (a major reason I leveled paladin first and don’t consider it “my main class”). I have zero problem lobbying in an inn room while playing another game on another screen while queued for leveling content, but as a black mage, guildlhests have slowed to a crawl, and dungeons aren’t really worth it on an XP front as they currently stand. I’m greatly looking forward to increased usefulness for FFXIV’s dungeons… even if we’ll likely be dealing with downleveled 50’s GOGOGOing for tomestones.
3) Daily quests! My guess is that by the time I hit 50, I’ll want nothing to do with the endgame ratrace in instanced content, at least not as a sole option for progression, and so I am incredibly grateful for the idea of tomestones coming from daily quests likely to be hosted in those mysterious high level beastman hives about the world. Anything that lets me take out my Chocobo and get him some XP, (That’s a buff that’s freakin’ needed: chocobo XP rate, my gawd!) playing my favourite combat classes on my time gets two thumbs up from me!
4) Stuff that’s coming with 2.2 and beyond! I need, absolutely need, details on the vanity/appearance control system coming apparently with 2.2. I say “apparently,” but I won’t hang around any longer than 2.2 if we don’t have ye olde appearance tab by then. If the appearance implementation (and I’m talking about gear here folks, not hair and tattoos) is as polished as the rest of the game, I’m pretty psyched for that. I also recently breathed a sigh of relief that all of the high numbers I’ve been hearing and fearing regarding housing prices were in regards to FC housing, which is totally fair, and so I am looking forward to personal housing implementation, with a tentative hope that hoarding my gil until then will allow me to grab a place to live for a reasonable price. Once FFXIV has personal housing and appearance control, it will be pretty much “complete” to me, and everything else is gravy. RIFT has set a high standard of personal expression, and if FFXIV is going to be hardline on what gear can and cannot be dyed, the least they can do is let us keep dyeable gear visible in every slot. I don’t even mind if they generally observe class barriers (unlike RIFT) with this feature, it just needs to be there, yesterday, and it’s coming, so I’m stoked!
5) Stuff hinted at before launch that I’m hoping to see down the road (ok just one thing really) : Two-man, two-chocobo “light party” content. Whether it’s dungeons, guildhests or something new, I really really want to see our battle chocobos turn some (not all) 4-man content into 2-man-2-bird content at some point. Social, team gaming starts at two people, and as someone who has a very close friend for a gaming and RPing partner, I’d love to have something to do with the “in character Mrs” that we can do on our time in a leveling-relevant fashion. The daily quests in those dangerous hives might be a good start, but honestly, a leveling option would be most welcome. Yes, I’m once again hoping FFXIV implements some of what RIFT has, but I really really liked how RIFT did chronicles, and I’d love to see a parallel in FFXIV!
In the meantime, I hit 50 on my botanist today, miner’s at 46, and next in line, and once I have those two classes to 50, I can re-stock my shard supply (without complaining that “I’m not getting any XP”) after getting all but two crafting classes to 30 (and the remaining in the 20’s) via “gather resources, make lots of lumber/ingots/ingredients/thread/leather via macros,” and then push my black mage (my true main class/job) forward in parallel with weaver and goldsmith!
I’ve got stuff to keep me busy, and it should hopefully last me just long enough that I’ll be done in time to say “ok… let me look and live my way now, I’m ready to look at the endgame.”
Also… I love the tools you get for finishing the level 50 disciple of the land quests! I might actually start to give a damn about fishing now!
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You know, it occurs to me that the only time I feel motivated to write about FFXIV is when I have criticisms. I guess that makes sense, as, when I’m totally happy with the game, I’m playing it, and no one wants to read a wall of “OMGFFXIVISAWESOME,” because, as fans, we know that. On the other hand, I am sick to death of internet whining about this or that game, particularly on FANsites that are supposed to be rallying points for enthusiasm and shared interest.
So today, out of love for the game, I’m going to offer some constructive criticism to FFXIV, and remind them of the market they are partaking in, as well as some solidarity and advice to those impacted by some recent decisions made in the game’s development and content.
First off, however, let me reaffirm that I’m not expecting FFXIV, or any game for that matter, to cater to me or my suggestions. People will either stay on board with that vision, or they won’t. FFXIV should stay the course on their core values and vision, and should not let the vocal minority swerve their game in a direction they don’t intend. That being said, I think there is, yet again, one more place they can improve their connection with today’s market:
In FFXIV, you seemingly aren’t a real person until you have a combat class to level 50.
Now, I don’t have a quote to cite or anything, but I believe Square Enix may actually see level 1-50 as one’s first combat class as “the tutorial.” 1-20 in the game is certainly the time “before you can relax” because of all the quality of life features that get unlocked by the core story (that’s another rant I’ve already covered), and so the first thing I tell anyone playing the game is “before you do any stopping to smell the roses, get to 20, and advance the story.” While the game does tell you, point blank, that you should focus your starting class all the way “for best results,” with a game intending to be a world to be savoured, expecting players to ride that bus to 50 before they can “relax” is just… well, it’s excessive, in my opinion.
Take the recent “Lightning Returns” crossover content: limited time, cosmetic rewards, starting within the first three months. Now, in pretty much any other current game, this would be a no-brainer to then add to that list “happens 100% in the newbie area, or newbie levels.”
The first step is level 12-16ish. Ok, that’s fair, that’s not far from the realm that even a devoted crafter has to get a combat class to. The second phase, however, is mid to late 20’s. Thaaaat’s kinda pushing it, in a world where the crafting and gathering games can be all-encompassing playstyles. The third phase, if my sources are correct, will be in the mid 40’s. That’s, in the context of today’s “accessibility sensitive” market, flat out nuts. Furthermore, the decision to put the vendors for some the veteran rewards in Mor Dhona just follows this messed up logic.
Dear FFXIV development people: ”Stop and smell the roses” is an important ethic for many MMORPGamers’ enjoyment paradigms. The crafting game can totally encompass a player’s interests and playtime in your world. Expecting everyone (you do want your cross-promotional, limited time, non-skillcheck event to be enjoyed by everyone, right?) to have a level capped combat class within the first three months is not very accessible, inclusive, or (yeah, I’ll say it) fair. These events are FATE powered. FATEs utilize level synch, and so are pretty much “level agnostic,” why would you impose on these very real players’ priorities in this way? Is it your intent that everyone “learn the game” through their 1-50 experience before they can rest on their laurels? Ok, but these are FATEs. They are inclusive by design, so policing “no, you must be good enough to do this” in FATEs is pointless and moot. I get the protective design of the “50 level tutorial” in regards to instanced progression content, but It’s misplaced in the context of FATE-powered (did I mention “limited time only?”) fun fluff like this. Smarten up.
Please, please, Squeenix, rethink this for future content. There is a player in my twitter circle whose main class is fisherman. That’s a viable playstyle, you put it there, and developed it well, to be a fun and viable timesink. Someone who loves your fishing game potentially hasn’t spent a moment as a combat class since hitting level 10. Please respect this in your limited time promotional content. There is no need to have these FATEs go any higher than 10th level, they aren’t a “bragging rights” thing, they are an “I was there” thing. You can be “there” as a level 10 combat class, and level 50 crafter/gatherer. Please reflect this in your design decisions going forward.
And to everyone laughing and saying “LOL you don’t have a 50 combat class yet,” just don’t bother. I’m not talking to you. Move on. I, personally, gunned Paladin (not the class/job I consider my “main”) to 50 because I suspected this might be happening, given how the story is placed as a “tutorial,” but that’s highly unprecedented in MMORPGs in today’s market, especially with a game like FFXIV, with so many directions to take one’s character that have nothing to do with killing things.
To everyone reading this that is impacted by the whole “I don’t have a 50 combat class, I can’t do this” angle, I recommend that, for the sake of your own fun, you play along while they seem thusly determined. Your other option, of course, is to unsubscribe, but if you’d rather stick around, take note here: they seem serious on the whole “finish the story (the 50 level tutorial) to be a real person,” front, as crazy as that seems, and until they say otherwise, you must assume that will be the message going forward. Lightning will be back in February, set a goal, get a combat class to 50, and you have this particular example handled.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to shake my head that I even have to suggest that.
Thank you for reading. :)
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ammiekatt asked: I wish you were on my server and that more people had the same mindset as you about FC's. I own a casual FC but people quit if no one is on for an hour or two and it gets annoying (especially considering I'm on a low population server so recruitment is zero to none). I hope you and your friend find your dream FC someday!! =^_^=
OMG! People leaving because the place isn’t inflatedly (it’s a word now) hopping makes me so mad! If ever FFXIV wises up and implements cross-shard FC’ing, I will totally look you up! :)
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NOTE: Since this post, I have indeed joined the lovely people of “Absolute Virtue,” but this post deserves to stay up, because I am quite proud of it. :)
This is a utility post designed both to vent concerns as well as put myself and my interests out there. It will probably be edited many times, and be linked as a shortcut to a set of details that will potentially be pertinent in a few places going forward. Because of the confirmation-required manner of FFXIV friend lists, anyone wishing to respond to it or to me may contact me here by leaving a comment, or by tracking me down on twitter, @omedon666 . If you truly wish to hunt me down in game, my character name is Vendricus Tempestbane.
In most MMORPGs we have played, my best friend and longtime RP partner and I form the game’s equivalent of a small, casual guild. We host our multi-game core posse in an environment of no logistical or gameplay expectations, with a laid back social atmosphere. We would have done that in FFXIV in a heartbeat, if not for a nagging point I’ve observed about FFXIV’s “guild” feature, “Free Companies” (FC’s):
By design, they cannot be very casual.
Because of the very existence of linkshells (FFXIV’s robust “create an invitation-only chat channel” feature), the niche of “social, casual guild” is potentially spoken for, and one can join many linkshells, so asking a FC to function like a linkshell seems like a request that’s rarely fulfilled, if ever. Add to that the incredibly alt-unfriendly nature of the game, the ability for a character to join only one FC, and the Final Fantasy MMO crowd’s notable lean toward community policing and a weight of player and FC reputation, as well as other hints here and there (the exorbitant price of guild housing forthcoming) and you have a situation where FCs seem to exist mainly as a gameplay relevant, committed relationship.
So that leads me to the core question of my posting here today: Could the potential FC that I’d join actually exist?
First off, before I start describing this ideal FC, let me get out there that I am on the Midgardsormr server, and am not interested in transferring at this time. I also come as part of a package deal with my best friend, who likes to play a healer, as well as the in-character spouse of my own character. We are both willing to entertain the idea of joining a FC to make new friends, and we refuse to be seperated on this front, as when we met in WoW, that was a reality we greatly disliked.
As I lay out my “demands” of the ideal FC for me, I realize that I will be narrowing the potential for the very organization to exist down to the eye of a needle, but the beauty of current MMORPGs is that they are designed to facilitate both the guilded and the unguilded, the casual and the hardcore, and so I feel no “need” to join a FC, so if I spend the rest of my FFXIV “career” unguilded, that’s perfectly fine with me, and the day that FFXIV makes that existence non-viable or un-fun for my subscription fee, I will probably leave the game. I am incredibly opinionated on the front that I am paying for my time as a player, not as a member of an over-arching codependent entity. In short, I see no reason to back down on my desires, as today’s games won’t mandate that. Thank goodness.
Still here? Good, that’s the first point in a potential FC recruitment officer’s favour. I generally don’t subscribe to the TL;DR generation, and if you don’t have time to look into a potential member or two, I don’t have time for your FC, which leads back to my first requirement: recruitment screening. In stating this, I of course reaffirm that I believe myself to be a good enough person to get into the FC that suits me. I haven’t always been, but I also haven’t always been as old as I am now either. I actually had to decline a very politely worded FC invite the other day, because it was for a FC that I’d also refused multiple blind spam invites from. No community that I want any part of will take someone in sight unseen, without getting to know the person’s alignment with the FC’s vision. I’m a low maintenance guy once I’m on board, but if your community doesn’t have enough identity to say “yeah, this person will/won’t fit with us,” before recruitment, then I don’t fit with you. Relating back to an earlier point, if I fit and my RP partner doesn’t, I’m cool with continuing to look for a FC that fits us both, but we generally have many (but not all) of the same tastes in community structure.
Speaking of low maintenance, that’s another requirement of mine. As you’ve likely guessed by now, I personally don’t play an “I need you guys” style, and in FFXIV, this is facilitated quite well. For example, I intend to master every craft skill, because the idea of asking others to provide components for my own goals is abhorrent to me… and so, as per the golden rule, I then expect, on a gameplay front, not to have very much demanded of me. This translates into many aspects of the game, from group content participation, to activity (kicking people out for inactivity, in a community of people formed carefully, is just such a turnoff), to “boosting,” to crafting components. Until one reaches the point where the duty finder isn’t assembling groups, technically, in FFXIV, we don’t truly need each other. Oh sure, the desire to work together may and hopefully will potentially grow with familiarity and time, but having a minimum codependency imposed upon me by my very membership in a guild/FC is against my idea of fun. The less we need each other, and the more we gravitate to want each other, the happier I am. Because of all of this, group content progression is toward the bottom of my priorities, but I am not completely closed to the concept, if camaraderie and comfort are established beforehand and along the way. As a related side note on this front, I am a multi-game experienced and, according to my friends that swear by me, skilled tank. My first job to 50, my “story mode” class, was paladin, but I am an incredibly picky, oldschool, methodical tank, and while I may offer to tank for friends, the option to refuse to tank must always, always be available to me. It’s generally much more appreciated to wait for me to offer than to ask me to tank. My favourite role is ranged, spell-based damage dealing, but again, I plan to learn them all to a degree. My least favourite role in a group setting is melee damage.
Conversely to the above logistical expectations (and here’s where I really narrow things down), when undergoing actual team gameplay undertakings, I expect a polite, if casual respect for the time of everyone involved. I’ve never been in a hardcore raiding guild, I have zero desire to ever join one, but I’ve been in “friendly guilds” where some of the membership use the “but we’re so friendly” distinction to play badly and not be asked to adapt. I won’t do that again. Don’t get me wrong, everyone learns, everyone should have the room to learn, to enjoy themselves, and to decide if they want to be there, but if you only enjoy your class because they have this really cool skill that you like to spam, and playing like that is gimping your teammates (based on an actual example I’ve experienced), that’s not ok, and the guild should not see that as ok, on the front of gameplay undertakings as a team. As I’ve said before in a related encounter: “the dragon doesn’t care how friendly we are,” though friendliness is a must among the community. Personal pet peeve: people that won’t even “get in to listen” in a team play guild voice chat. You don’t have to own a mic if you’re not leading, but I don’t type and fight at the same time, when the option exists not to. This is one point on which my best friend and I differ, by the way.
I’m a pretty reasonable, nice guy, but two social extremes I cannot stand in a community are gross, insensitive, hurtful immaturity, nor sterile, oppressive political correctness. There is a middle ground. If you disagree that there is a middle ground, well, we probably don’t belong playing together. In the guilds my friend and I form for our friends, the only real non-common-sense social rule we maintain for those new to our circle is that we expect adults only in the guild, not as a carte blanche to swear like sailors, but as a point of personal accountability. In short, I’d like to play and converse with you, not your parents. If things I say or do in guild voice chat will “get you in trouble” with someone listening, you do not meet this requirement.
I should take a moment to disclaim that, yes, I mentioned “roleplaying” above, and no, I am not looking for a “roleplaying guild.” Roleplay, in the doctrine I follow, is a player-to-player choice, not a mandate for a guild to enforce. As a matter of fact, I gravitate away from most conventions that hold roleplaying guilds together, and I wish to assure any potential FC I/we may join that we do not intend to burden those around us with unwanted roleplaying, and yet, we’d encourage others to interact with us as they choose, in character or out. I have a linkshell I share with my RP partner specifically for roleplaying, and if we never speak another in-character word outside of this linkshell, we’re totally cool with that.
That’s good for an opening draft. Yes, I’m longwinded, but I wouldn’t type it out if I didn’t think it was worth knowing. As you can likely guess, I’m not expecting the FC for me to even exist, but if it does, I’d be ecstatic to talk to you and your leadership about possibly coming on board.
Thank you for reading, and particularly if it lands me some new friends, thank you for your time!
Post with 5 notes
This post has been brewing in my head for awhile, and may seem a bit ranty and anti-FFXIV, but allow me to once again disclaim that I am in love with the game, and it is only because I do love the game that I am so passionate about what direction I’d like to see it go in. At the end of the day, I believe Square Enix should follow their vision, not let the vocal minority lead them around by the nose, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get to hope for a certain direction, or that I have to keep playing if I’m unhappy.
That out of the way, I have to be very honest, that I truly, truly hope that FFXIV amends its perceived general stance on “personal expression features.”
What are “personal expression features?” I’m glad you asked!
Statistically, there is a uniform direction that both the mechanics and the steep, respectable protective design of FFXIV will rigidly send a player down. Jobs are a strong, strong enforcement of the idea that your right to play some weird, out there gladiator with a slew of DPS cross-class skills is not the ideal setup for when your performance will determine the success or failure of a dungeon group. On paper, leaving very little wiggle room for experimentation is a good idea, you should not be allowed to “mess around” with ill-equipping yourself (I’m a fan of automated gearscore gates, just saying) or using the wrong cross-class skills in group undertakings, because these take place on other peoples’ time. For FFXIV, this ethic works, in this context of logistical performance.
Off paper, in the realm of appearance, style and presentation, this rigidity is counter to character concept and personally invested individuality, and every piece of gear that can’t be dyed, the absence of an appearance tab, and the apparently “endgame expensive” price point of player housing all step on the player’s ability to be unique and special. I’m going to address these three points specifically, because they are all different angles of the same problem: The world of FFXIV is beautiful and worthy of immersion and passion… but it’s not more important than its heroic adventurer populace as individuals, to those individuals.
First off, let’s look at undyeable gear.
Seriously, what? You put a dye system in the game, and unnecessarily limit its application? Come on, Square Enix! The idea of dungeon drops and generic-graphic grand company gear being undyeable is just ridiculous, get past it, and fix this.
Let me now address the elephant in the room on this front: Artifact gear. The “uniform” of your job, your link to the rich history of the gameworld, and the biggest rallying point of the “immersion” crowd. Dyeing artifact gear is sacrilege to these folks, because you’re part of an established order and it’s a uniform and so on and so on. Let me just leave this here:
Why, what do we have here? They’re ALL dragoons, but… by Joe, they’re almost all different colours! I wonder how that can be!
Oh right! Those are main protagonists, of Final Fantasy V no less! They are individuals, and worthy of individuality for their importance to the story! They aren’t these guys:
These are dragoon units from Final Fantasy tactics: Identical, interchangeable, disposable (arguably), names often randomly chosen, no speaking lines. They aren’t meant to be creatively important, they are part of the rank and file (granted, elite rank and file) of the main protagonist’s army.
Oh, and that protagonist? He looks the same regardless of what job he is. Because he’s a protagonist, worthy of individuality.
See my point? The player in FFXIV is a unique, special case. You aren’t “black mage number 1006,” you are Lightning, you are Tidus, you are Bartz, you are Fran, you have your own look, your own style, and you are worthy of it, because you are special. Even when you wear the “uniform” of your job, you still have your own spin on it. Yes, there are characters that are defined by their uniform (Kain comes to mind), but whether or not the player is one of those should be their own choice!
Ok, so this is sort of bleeding over into my next point: the appearance tab, the wardrobe, whatever you want to call it, I’m talking about the feature that lets us keep the look we want regardless of gear upgrades.
Now, granted, this feature is forthcoming, so I won’t harp long on this because I’m not an impatient little whiner. Let me just say, however, that this feature is SO IMPORTANT. Myself and my posse playing FFXIV are clinging to the beauty of the world and the fun we are having in game always with an asterisk: the game will be WORLDS better when we never ever have to wear “X outfit that just happens to have better stats than the sexiness I’m upgrading from” again. Ever. For some, it’s the subligar and harness, for others it’s the “formless grandma robe” that my best friend hates seeing on her pretty elezen lady, but I have no problems admitting that my interest in the game is directly tied to how cool my character looks. When I upgrade to a suit of plate that encases my character’s carefully crafted face in an un-toggleable combo helm that’s attached to my chest piece, I honestly have a harder time motivating myself to play! We are waiting with baited breath for this wardrobe feature, and I really hope it’s put in sooner than later!
And before anyone says “but appearance tabs in other games empower those around me to tank in bikinis or make themselves look ridiculous just to troll people and shatter my immersion! My poor immersion! Will no one think of my paper thin immersion?”…
Finally we come to the big worrying point on the heap. Yoshida, Twelve bless his soul, keeps harping on how bloody expensive player housing is going to be. Now, maybe I’ve been spoiled by RIFT and LOTRO, but setting the price point for OWNING YOUR OWN HOME as an adventurer who saves the world in the “endgame, long term money goal” realm has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of in this game! Let me get off my chest the fun little bumper sticker phrase I keep rehashing whenever this topic comes up:
Personal expression is not a goal, it’s a vehicle.
Housing is an extension of personal expression, just as much as my character’s appearance is. If the ability to “look cool” or “have my own space” is given out reasonably, my time in the world is enhanced and I stick around longer, have more fun, enjoy “being my character,” and keep playing (and paying) happily. If these tools of “enjoying being my character” are placed on a high shelf, and I’m homeless and ugly for a long-term grind toward access… I may never get there, because I’ll potentially stop playing. Why? Because numbers and power and levels are all well and good as long term goals and short term progression alike, but if I can’t enjoy escaping into my character, who is an ugly, homeless hero-bum, I’ll never really get that far, because I’m here to play my character in your world, not prop up your world with my character. I’m not here to exist as “one of the have nots” on the front of non-logistical progression. Sure, I can deal with never clearing the lair of the god-eating dragon on ludricous mode, and not getting the sword of a thousand truths, but if I’m going to be a citizen of your world, I at least have to be able to look at my character in the mirror. My own mirror. In my house.
In summary, numbers, power, achievements, these are fair game for bragging rights, I am not entitled to these things, and I am not asking to be handed them without effort, these are in the realm of “work for it,” and I get that. Indeed, special armour that you can only get from the pit of insanity are also fair game for bragging rights… but “oh boy, I’m not a homeless bum wearing a statistically superior plaid paper bag” is not a fun goal. That needs to be a given. We’re heroes, dammit!
Give me the vehicle of personal expression, and I’ll be part of your world for a long time. Make individuality a “lofty goal,” and I’ll potentially go play one of the games that “get it” on this front. Like RIFT.
(incidentally, I myself am not, at this time, thinking of leaving FFXIV over any of these issues… but I could understand someone who did.)
Thank you for reading!
A couple years ago, when I went from being “a WoW player” to being “an MMORPG player,” I stopped reading the news site “WoW insider,” because WoW wasn’t an interest any more. I had become a nomadic “gamer without a game” for awhile, bouncing from LOTRO, to RIFT, to CoV (RIP) to The Secret World to GW2, and then back, more firmly, to RIFT for their F2P relaunch… to await FFXIV. During this nomadic period, WoW insider was quickly replaced by the more broadly covering massively.com, a good site with good writers, covering MMOs as a whole.
But now, I can’t call myself a general “MMO fan.” There’s so much in online gaming, both conceptually and in relation to community, that I have learned to despise. The worst thing to happen to anything can sometimes be its fandom, and “MMOs” as a general idea are not exempt.
So today, I update my “usual rounds” web browsing to remove the massively.com home page, and replace it with a devoted “FFXIV tag at massively.com” link… and unfollow them on Facebook and twitter. I do still follow “RIFT junkies,” because I will likely never consider myself “not a RIFT guy” ever again.
I am in the market for a news-heavy fan site, devoted to FFXIV, if anyone can recommend one that’s active in social media. I’m not a fan of opinionated commentary, I don’t want to be inundated with fun-sabotaging comment sections, but I’d like to keep up to date on patch notes, changes to the game, and all the important “FYI’s” that come with being truly and actively into an MMORPG. Part of me wishes that YouTube FFXIV guru “Mr. Happy” (Xehanort1227, look him up on YouTube!) maintained a text medium website for all his incredible insights!
If anyone can make such a website recommendation, leave me a note here, or find me on twitter: @omedon666
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