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style="font-style: italic;">In WoW, you fought endless waves
of Trolls.  In FFXI and FFXIV, you get these little adorable
bastards that tend to fall on their own bombs.

Very few titles have launched to such
a spectacular failure
as Final Fantasy XIV.  You
had a game
that had three things going for it :

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A
predecessor with years of experience in
balance, content, and player base feedback and trends.

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A
large budget to create some of the finest
graphics and sound ever to come from an MMORPG

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A
legion of fans of the previous game that were
just begging to see the aging Final Fantasy XI be reborn, and would
throw money
at them to see it happen.

Do you know what anyone sees in that
game now?  Nothing. style="">  
Three months have passed since its release and those of us
who braved
the open beta and said “Things will be better on release guys. style="">  They can’t mess this
up!”…. yeah well, we
screwed up.   It’s
time for those of us
who convinced our friends to buy the game at launch to apologize if we
haven’t
already.  style=""> It says a lot when the
developer is willing to
axe the majority of the management staff. 
There are five main problems that doom FFXIV to even more
hatred than
Final Fantasy XI in its first years.

 

   
#1 – Inane
quest and XP systems punishing you for, you know, playing the game.
style="">

Let’s face it, people love quests. style="">  People love the direction
they provide, the
story they sometimes tell, and the juicy rewards of them in the end. style="">  What does FFXIV do here? style="">  Nothing. 
Spawn a pack of monsters, kill a few, call it a day. style="">  People always joked about
getting 10 bear
asses for a quest, well, that’s basically what every single combat
‘leve’ in
Final Fantasy XIV is. On top of that, they are highly limited to
several every
few days.  This is
silly.  Why would
you punish people for playing your game? 

The stupidity continues with the
fatigue system kicking in
if you level a class too quickly, cutting your XP rates drastically. style="">   Way back in the
early beta days of WoW, it
had Normal, Rested, and Tired experience levels, but the good folks at
Blizzard
said “Negative XP penalties?  We
want
people to play this more, not less!” and threw it out the window. style="">  The only reason I’d peg
the game for
including this is the following problem.

                style="font-weight: bold;"> style="font-weight: bold;">#2-
Style without Substance

You cannot deny the fact that this
game has stunning visual and audio
elements, but
that awe wears off quickly when  you’re
fighting the same monsters over and over again, doing the same quests
repeatedly, and suffering through archaic at best gameplay. style="">   One
of
the highlights of FFXI and MMORPGs in general are boss monsters, both
instanced
and rare world spawns.  These
were not in the game at all at launch
and
only recently were put in outside of the story, at a slow rate. style="">  What the hell? style=""> 

                style="font-weight: bold;"> style="font-weight: bold;">#3 –
The godawful interface.

Those of you that touched the game
know what I’m talking
about.  When your
character info is six
clicks away, when an attack doesn’t happen for a second after you push
the
button, when the interface is simply broken… welcome to FFXIV. style="">  They have acknowledged the
problem but it’s
hard to expect much after their first offering. 
Hell, it took five years for the official client to be
launched in a
window for FFXI, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up here, especially with a
console version
on the way.

I have to wonder if they actually
played their own game
here.  Fighting with
the interface is the
hardest part of getting into FFXI or FFXIV, and it just seems to be a
fetish
for them to make new players suffer as they attempt to equip
themselves, sort
loot, or allocate stats.  Even
if you get
used to it, compared to every other game on the market in the last 10
years it
is nothing more than a menial chore. 
I
can push one button in every other game and see my character’s stats
and
equipped items, and another key for my inventory to do something with
it.  style="">Scrap the whole interface, Square. 
I don’t care if you have to ‘WoW-ify’ it,
your interface is an abomination and the subject of many horror stories
for
children around the globe.

                style="font-weight: bold;"> style="font-weight: bold;">#4 – It’s
the most backwards, unintuitive game on the market.

A lot of us are sick of the WoW
handholding, WoW clones, WoW
influences, whatever you want to call it. 
This is the other end of the spectrum. 
This is the “Crap, I cannot interact with my surroundings
and the map
barely functions and these dodos are eating me alive, help” you’re on
your own
feeling.  And while
that may be the game
some of us are looking for, the market is not that accepting anymore
and people
can and have moved on to other offerings. 
It’s one thing to challenge the biggest MMO on the market
by releasing
your product against it, but it’s another thing entirely to brag about
your
product pre-launch and call out your place in the market alongside it
when this
is what you’ve got.

               
#5 – It’s
a step back from FFXI, one of the most polarizing MMORPGs already.

Perhaps the biggest offense of FFXIV
is that its predecessor
pretty much eclipses it in every way at this point. 
Easily from a content perspective, the races
are pretty much exactly the same, the community is much more
established and
optimistic, and the economy is stable. 
The latter is extremely important—the Retainer system of
holding and
bartering items is a pathetic excuse for an auction house and harkens
back to
the days of running to the ‘trade district’ of your MMORPG to do
business, such
as the tunnel in East Commonlands of Everquest (if you remember this,
you’re probably
feeling pretty old right now) 

Even the storyline has suffered by
comparison, which was one
of the few shining aspects of FFXI that kept people interested and made
the
game unique compared to the other poorly written and unimaginative
offerings on
the market.

What can be
done to
win anyone back, or at least not be a joke of the MMO community?

Now, FFXIV has done some good. style="">  Most importantly, they’ve
established that
they have botched the game.  This
is
extremely rare for any developer, and almost unheard of for a Japanese
developer.  Free
months are being handed out like candy
to everyone, and the game has officially gone free to play until
further notice
for current owners and prospective ones alike. 
They’ve done a complete personnel 
overhaul, bringing on a slew of FFXI veterans to attempt
to breathe life
into the game before it becomes a corpse. 
Square-Enix has realized their error and is actively
trying to salvage
their offering thankfully, but the damage has been done to the game’s
reputation, and my advice to them 
is
rather simple.

Remember that open beta you did, that
got everyone so
excited along with the benchmark, but was absolutely abysmal and a
chore to
play?  Fix the game
and issue another 10
day open trial for everyone to try out. 
Let everyone see what you’ve done and feel what FFXIV
really is supposed
to be about.  Hell, go free to play and eventually switch to a
VIP system like Turbine did with DDO and LotRO.  It seems to
be working great for them!

All is not lost for the online
version of the esteemed
franchise, but with these kind of changes happening, it's fair to say it's on life support and struggling to stay afloat.


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

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