Friday, October 1, 2010

Are we Being Caught in a Bad Romance?

     I was fortunate to be able to squeeze in some evening hours this week to really give FFXIV a chance to prove itself to me during the pre-order grace period. However, I feel let down and I am beginning to wonder if my own rose colored glasses are coming off regarding this game. Are we indeed being courted in a Bad Romance with FFXIV?

    Most of my experience is with the crafting system so far, and repeating guildleves this week with some independent grinding squeezed in on the side. At first, crafting was interesting, a fun game that held my attention and concentration as I strive to succeed in my endeavors, much like the courtship period in a new relationship. However, as the week wore on and I was taking 8 guildleves at a time to complete, I started to notice the tedious process of equipping the correct gear and going through 8 windows of confirmations was starting to wear on me, and that was before the crafting even starts! As a FFXI player I can put up with the lack of recipes available in game and no tutorials, but the UI and game response timing is just clunky at best. I found myself starting to get very sleepy when it came to my 4th or 5th crafting leve, sort of like a date that won't stop talking about themselves....

Other game mechanics this week started to grab my attention as well....and not in a good way. The issue of repairs came up this week after I was greeted with a yellow gear icon on my screen informing me of my damaged gear. I felt positive at first, given that this would allow me to possibly gain some crafting skillups while diligently immersing myself in my own character play. However, the petals were off the rose so to speak when I made my list of necessary repair materials and faced the daunting task of switching crafting jobs for all my gear while meticulously going through each piece. I finally gave in to the repair NPC after figuring it would take my whole evening of gameplay just to repair my gear. I felt this was a viable option at the time given my limited play, however I was dismayed to find my gear damaged again the next night.

Finally, I gave combat a good try this week and attempted to leve-link, which is basically joining up with a group of adventurers to share guildleves (or mooch off theirs). After abandoning the party search grouping window for its ultimate frustrating functioning, I was finally able to fumble through getting a party invite. Since Conjurer seemed like the best grouping class and I was eager to walk down memory lane with some healer abilities I pre-set my skills for buffs and heals. I was surprised to find that the UI had no scroll through ability with the controller to pre-select targets to heal, so I ended up spamming Cure (aoe) the whole fight and got almost no experience (probably thanks to the recent hotfix). Much like the awkward date you can't get out of, combat in FFXIV feels like waiting in a queue for something great to happen...and it never does. Spamming your buttons doesn't work and the server side lag is so bad you might see yourself casting that cure spell a good 15 seconds later (provided you are still alive). Melee classes seem to have it slightly easier with a more intuitive response time, but ranged classes and caster classes are left out of the action to watch and wait.

As I ex-FFXI player I felt I understood Square Enix and would learn to adapt to its style of finding your own way in the game. However, after I weeks worth of actual play I am wondering if the beautiful graphics and mesmerizing musical score are only their to serve as a a distraction for the many flaws they have let slip through their hands. Are we blinded by our loyalty to Square Enix and caught up in a bad romance of putting up with sub-par game performance in hopes of "change" in the future? Of course, its only been a couple weeks, and a few patches are already slated for the future to improve some much needed organization for their retainer system. However, the UI and combat system itself is the major flaw in this game. The reaction time to perform any action is slow and the numerous windows to perform any action feel like a time-sink in themselves.

The laundry list of basic functions to smooth out the game is long, and numerous communities have threads on players begging SE to improve their dream game. However, the reviews are starting to look grim and even a few weeks worth of patches will not be enough to quell the frustration of many. I myself am fighting to keep my rose-colored glasses on regarding this games potential, but I am starting to wonder whether this relationship with SE is starting to appear unhealthy....For right now FFXIV is like the hot boyfriend who on the outside looks really good and has us excited, but may end up abusing our feelings and leaving us disappointed.


  1. Hi there! Found your blog through BG. I have (or had?) my own blog on blogspot, but doing it became really time consuming, so I hung it up for a while. Anyway... I like to randomly click on peoples links, and check out what others do with their creativity. I enjoyed your FFXIV posts (haven't checked out the other stuff yet) and share a lot of your opinions on the game. I was an avid XI player for many, many years. I think that game had me more addicted than any other.

    I have faith in SE for FFXIV. I know for a fact FFXI started out rather poorly, and suffered a ton of problems. I just had hoped they would have learned something from 9 years of development in that game.

    Ah well! I hope by the time the PS3 version launches things are bit more stable. I just wanted to leave you some feedback, as I know I liked getting it. (Which was rare!) Keep up the good work, and I'll continue to check out the blog :) My gladiator just unweakened, so back to the levequest!

  2. Sheebs*!
    First, wtf is Wutai, you should have come to hang out with us on Melmond. As regards to your blog post, you nailed it! I know I wanted to keep an open mind knowing this was not going to be an ffxi port, I just figured they would learn from their mistakes when releasing the game. Not that I have had a chance to experience the system I am not at all impressed.
    Obviously I'll stay and lvl and hope they fix things in a timely manner, but a lot of the problems were easily recognized ad avoidable.
    The way mobs con (especially when taking a second job through an area),Anima MP Regen and Favor points regen amazingly slow. The rank sysem, doesn't allow for you to even equip all your main job spells, how do you make room for a hybrid, and self point system that doesn't let you mix dow with dom.. was a nice attempt on their part, but it failed and they need to copy and pastesome of the better details from 11 over or do something drastic.
    P.S. give us airship chocobos and the epic storyline we deserve~

  3. @Peter- Thanks for the comment!! Yes, I do enjoy getting feedback immensely, otherwise sometimes it feels like are thoughts are hanging out there in the nether^^. I agree about the time consuming nature of blogging, but I feel like it pairs well with the dissertation research and maybe I can get some great opinions later!

    @Mquickz- You lil stalker taru lol. Thanks for the feedback on the post, I too am sharing many of your specific frustrations. I of course will give it its due time and give SE the chance to "polish" more, I only hope they don't take 7 years to do it :)

  4. I find it rather amusing that you used a similar metaphor for your experience with FFXIV as I did. There is a lot of truth for me in what you have said about the various aspects of this game. FFXIV seems just like a relationship. At first you're just in awe. Sure she has some flaws but they are so easily overlooked. Then something goes terribly wrong and all the flaws that you once overlooked with such ease, become glaringly obvious and just fuel the flames of resentment.

    There is so much potential for this game. There is so much that draws me to this game. Perhaps, just like a relationship, FFXIV and I just need a break.

    Very nice blog you have here. I'll keep checking in on it.

  5. Personally when I first stepped into the game in open beta it took me two days to decide whether it was the game for me. Everything thing seemed wrong from the controls to the UI. No jump wtf? A lot is different from what I'm used to and there are a lot of flaws.

    Now though having spent a large amount of time in game and getting used to the system they have created I kinda like it, I kinda really like it. I've learned how to work the system to great reward and the only problems I have are with the lag between menus, lag between actions, and the targeting. Both the lag and speed at which the UI responds I'm quite sure will get fixed sooner than later and as for targeting I feel I'm skilled enough to get by despite how bad it is.

    Anyways I just wanted to say I liked the metaphor.

  6. @Metal Man Dave- Thanks for the feedback, I love the point you made about something going terribly wrong and the flaws you once overlooked become impossible to ignore. I have to admit that is where I was at when I wrote this blog. Glad my post caught your eye^^

    @Doppimus- Thanks for the compliment on the metaphor. I find it refreshing that you are settling into the games mechanics and enjoying it. I have to admit that if the speed and lag were corrected I would have a lot more patience at times, and my own enjoyment would increase as well.

  7. Hey just wanted to say, that I really enjoyed reading the post. I felt the same way about the game, well just a little bit. I played the Beta just to get a feel and to participate to make the game better. So I decided to purchase the game.

    I bought the Collectors edition the day it came out. I hopped on and started to play, but after a few hours of playing I got tired of it. After a few days had past I started to regret buying the game. I started to feel the same way about the game as you did. Did I just buy the game because of the title? Did I just get over hyped about the game? Am I being blinded from my loyalty to Square-Enix? Why is the game so... "crappy"? Is it just because it's new and no one knows how to "play"? I really started to beat myself up for purchasing the game and "wasting" 75$.

    Finally after finding some time on my hands, I decided to give it another go. This time I experienced something totally different. I actually started to get sucked in and really started to sink my teeth into the game. I started to feel like a pioneer, that would show the way to the rest of the gamers to follow. I felt that I could finally make a difference and impact they way people play the game. So I started to get excited about that feeling, and started to experiment with the game, to see what suited me the best and noted everything thing down. So that eventually I could post it on the internet when I am done. I started to see the potential the game could have and the community as well. Just thinking about it makes me excited :) Just imagine what kind of world FF:XIV could be. What kind of community we could have as gamers.

    In the end I think the game is great, well so far it is. Just as other people have said, this game does have great potential. I just found some of the stuff in the game quite annoying. Like you mentioned repairing gear. In one sitting for 2 hour (roughly) I had repaired my gear 3 different time. I didn't mind so much because I just had the NPC do it for like 125 gill(something around there). But I just couldn't beleive I had to repair my gear 3 different times in one sitting. On a side note though, I actually don't really experience any lag on the World that I am playing on (Rabanastre)and my speed is a 16mbps down and a 1mbps up. On another side note though, the leves (quests) really start to become quite bland after awhile. I feel that there really isn't a "point" to doing them, that there really isn't a "story-line".

    I really like the metaphor that you used. I felt the same way before I started to sink my teeth into the game. I look forward to continue to read your posts.


  8. Oh forgot to mention, really diggin the DP (Chobits). It's a good anime.

  9. @Mark- Thanks for commenting with your experience^^ I too am finding myself in your place as time goes on, some things are really sucking me in to want to play more. I am basically just playing to the strengths I enjoy in the game right now, like harvesting and crafting my own gear. The things that annoy me I am trying to avoid, hence why my conjurer is falling in level

  10. @Mithraprincess - LOL, I'm going to try to start crafting my own gear as well. It's quite hard to find gear for my guy. So I'm going to try Blacksmith, Goldsmith, Mining, and Leatherworking. My main class that I did choose was Pugilist. So I'll see how the crafting classes turn out. I also did want to try my hand at magic, but I think I'll start a new guy and try it out. Btw what world are you on? I might make the magic guy on it, so I have someone to play with. The rest of my friends are waiting for the PS3 version to come out. So I've been soloing the whole time.

  11. I play on the Wutai server, bouncing around between cities depending on anima...

  12. Alright, I think I'll make another guy on that world. I take it your character's name is "Sheeba Diabolos"? I'll probably be on tomorrow (10/5). Not to sound stalkerish, but it says your location is in Cali? If so, I'm an hour behind you. I live in Alaska. But I'll try to make my mage guy tonight and see how that goes.

  13. My playtime is wonky this week due to my BF taking this week off for vacation so he will be hogging the PC most likely lol. Will add you to friends list when you settle on your name etc.

  14. That's cool. I made my guy before I left for work today. His name is "Enma Oni". I started in "Ul'dah"

  15. I am novice player, but so far I am having some UI issues as well. When I engage with an enemy, sometimes I'm in the wrong mode (passive) and the bad guy gets a jump start on me, whozers. Other times, I feel like I'm running to the end of the world. I love to explore. Just the other day I visited Limsa Lominsa for the first time as a level 11 Pugilist. So far so good.
    Bishamelk Cantor is my title name on the Saronia sever. Look me up sometime. Take care.