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Paragus Rants

Rants, reviews, and interviews from an MMO veteran and guild leader.

Author: Paragus1

Rant: The Final Fantasy XIV Debacle

Posted by Paragus1 Wednesday October 13 2010 at 10:19AM
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Rant:  The Final Fantasy XIV Debacle

It seems the latest hot topic lately seems to be swirling around Square-Enix's new "AAA" MMO release of Final Fantasy XIV.  I started blogging on this site over 3 years ago because I was utterly disgusted about the absurdity that we as MMO players have had to endure with some of the games that get released in unfinished states.  Here we are years later and we have another "AAA" hyped MMO that is the latest in a long line MMORPGs that was kicked out the door incomplete by a company that is either woefully out of touch or just plain lazy.


I've mentioned it several times and now I'll mention one last time:  I loved Final Fantasy 11.   I really think it was one of the best pure PvE MMOs ever released for a wide variety of reasons.   Sure FFXI had it's flaws, but when I stepped back and put the game into the context of when it came out I was more than willing to cut it slack considering it was released way back in 2003.   It was always one of those games I went back on several occasions when I had the itch, and the prospect of another installment in the form of FFXIV had me and a lot of my guild members interest to say the least.   We used to imagine what a newer updated version of FFXI would be like given all that has happened in the genre since 2003.   Much to our shock and horror, Square-Enix seems to have sealed themselves in some sort of time capsule completely oblivious to not only the advancements of the genre, but their own innovations from FFXI effectively turning their new product into a giant step backwards for themselves and the genre.


If you have been following any of the press coverage as of late surrounding FFXIV, you might have seen major credited review sites completely demolishing the game despite SE's plead for everyone to wait 3-4 weeks before reviewing.  Gamespot's 4.0, Gametrailer's 4.2, IGN's 5.5, and an ocean of negative player reviews seems to all confirm that FFXIV is a complete debacle of an MMO that is on a crash course to a bargain bin near you.  Frankly I am glad that these sites and players are not bending to SE's request for delaying reviews, they aren't delaying taking your money, and if they needed more time they should have delayed their product until it was ready.  Now I know the odd fanboi will try to argue otherwise, but the rest of us in the real world are sitting here left trying to wrap our minds around what the hell were they thinking when they made this game?

Why would you make a PC game with a control scheme built around using a gamepad?    Last time I checked most people operate their computers with a mouse and keyboard and every other MMO on dev on planet Earth seems to understand this.  I understand that the game may be ported to console's, but this is one corner they simply should not have cut.  This is one of those areas where you would have thought they would have learned after FFXI which had a notorious reputation for having one of the worst UI control schemes of all time.  Here we are seven years later and it is as if SE has been locked away and has never seen any other MMORPG released in recent years.  Every single task requires the maximum number of keystokes possible.   Opening the menu, cursoring around, then navigating through various submenus just to do the most trivial tasks is completely absurd.   It's like having to entering the old Konami code everytime you want to do something.  Did they really think this was the best way for users to interact or were they just lazy?   I can't imagine how anyone in the 2010 era of MMORPG gaming could look at this and think this is the best we could do, or even consider it an acceptable means of interaction.  When you factor this in with the fact the UI is slow, laggy, and unintuitive, the experience becomes even more annoying.


One the main contributions FFXI brought to mainstream MMO gaming was the introduction of the auction house system as a staple for online world economies.  That being said, why is there no auction house in FFXIV?  Whether they plan to add it later or not is irrelevent, it's a core feature to any game of this nature and they practically invented it.   It should be in the game, and it should be there at launch.   Given the hassle of interacting with the world through its atrocious UI, who really thought it would make more sense to have to rummage through masses of people selling their own wares?  Sadly it doesn't end with the missing auction houses.   There are Chocobo stables like FFXI, but no chocobo riding.   There are airship docks like FFXI, but you can't ride them.   Whether they come later or not doesn't matter, they should be in the game and ready to roll at launch.


Even the content is a massive step backwards.   FFXI was a world full of interesting and unique quests with little stories and interesting rewards that helped bring the game world to life.  Instead those are tossed away in exchange for mundane and repeatable "Kill some rats" type quests that have infected MMOs like a cancer.   I find it odd that this would be the only thing the devs would take away from newer games in the genre.  Aside from being an absolutely horrid way to mask an already dull grind, the decision to limit the number of these you can do every day or so makes it even more silly.

Final Fantasy XIV is the classic example of why we should rejoice if our highly anticipated MMO gets delayed, and at the same time it is the classic example of why we as gamer should not reward a company for pushing out blantently unfinished mediocrity.  The amount of patching needed to make this into an acceptable product is mind boggling, and only the most massochistic players or blind fanboi will probably be willing to endure playing this long enough for that dream to come to fruition.  Even if you are not a fan of the this game, it should make you recoil at the thought of what that next "AAA" MMO you are looking forward to playing could turn out regardless of the IP or what company is making it.

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition

Mister_White writes:

A-MOTHER-FUGGIN MEN! This garbage needs to be obliterated from the scene, quality is being substituted for quantity. So many things these days are being shoved down our throats, I'd rather pay 20 bucks more, for something with more quality, than 3 things that are cheaper but total garbage. Why is this concept totally lost on the dudes running the show at these game development companies.

Wed Oct 13 2010 1:05PM Report
SuperXero89 writes:

I generally agree with everything said above, but I can't help but believe the overall purpose of this article was to be a slam towards AAA MMORPGs.

In truth, we can't all be like Darkfall (Thank God).

Wed Oct 13 2010 1:50PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

This isn't a slam against all "AAA" MMOs, but more of a perspective of someone who played and enoyed FFXI looking at how Square has botched the sequel.   I completely understand the appeal of a game like FFXI and this.  Square has taken their flagship IP and butchered it by releasing (probably way too early) a mess of a game, charging people for it, then asking everyone to not review it while they count your money.

The point of bringing up the "AAA" tag is to highlight the fact that no matter what IP a game may be, no matter how big the developer is, or how much money they throw at it, the same mistakes keep getting made over and over again.  In Square's case they had the benefit of hindsight to see everything that's happened in the last seven years and thier own experience with FFXI, and demonstrated how oblivious they are to the basic standards of what people expect from an MMO released in 2010.

Wed Oct 13 2010 2:51PM Report
t0nyd writes:

 It is easy enough to look at Funcom and how they butchered the release of Age of Conan. SE is simply another Mythic in that they believe that they are above and beyond other crafters of MMO's. Its Final Fantasy, of course people will buy a half-assed, half finished MMO simply because of its name.

SE, welcome to reality, have a nice stay, and make sure to take your trash with you on your way out...

Thu Oct 14 2010 1:14PM Report
Zetsuei writes:

Brilliant write up. I agree with everything you said and more. The only problem with FFXIV is its developed by the Japanese, and they won't adapt to new features.

Why you cripple the PC version of the game so the PS3 version is good is horrid game design. I know they want both versions to be on equal ground, but when the ui is so horrendously made for the PC the PS3 actually makes it the better choice, and that in inself is stupid.

I hope more people give this game bad reviews. Don't get me wrong, I loved FFXI and had my hopes set on FFXIV. The only way to save XIV is if enough people make SE wake up and actually fix these things. The fanbois who don't see anything wrong with the game will ultimately cause the game to have a low population and a short lifespan.

Fri Oct 15 2010 12:15AM Report
rwmiller writes:

It is sometimes a tough choice for a developer to put out a product that is unfinished to the point they want it or to keep it in house and not generate any revenue.

Having said that I can't imagine that Squenix could release such an unfinished product. It is almost as if they had only worked on it for a few months instead of years. We are not talking about content or polish here but about core fundamental game designs and choices, ones that would have been put in place early on who's flaws would have been glaringly obvious.

I don't mind a challenge and I enjoy that you are not spoon fed in FFXIV but it is hard to tell if they are lazy, arrogant, indifferent or a combination of all of those and I am not willing to pay for such treatment. (That is what my wife is for).

Sun Oct 17 2010 7:12AM Report
Master10K writes:

I really am surprised that gaming publishers still haven't learnt from past failures that forcing a developer to release an unfinished game, to the general public, will almost always end in failure. Like one of my favorite RPGs Vampire: Masquerade Bloodlines is a clear example of this...

Troika Games (now non-existent) were making an incredibly promising RPG, yet they had too many interesting ideas that the development process was taking longer than expected. Activision got impatient and forced the developers to release the game when it wasn't ready and to no surprise the game was so broken that it wouldn't even run (for most people) and had so many bugs that half a decade later the active community are still releasing patch after patch (about 50+ patches).

It's a shame that because of impatient publishers like Activision & Square Enix that these promising  games will become nothing but cult classics. Good thing that the developer of Guild Wars 2 (ArenaNet) is given room to breath, in order to finish their game "when it's ready".

Mon Oct 18 2010 9:19AM Report
Soultice writes:

I call it lazy!  SE did not want to design a UI for the PC and it has nothing to do with competition as this is all pve.  Personally I do not buy MMORPG's until I see them in action after they are released anymore. 

I am a big FF fan and did not buy this after and I am glad I held off.  We as consumers need to be more prudent and vote with our wallets.  And I think just about every MMORPG from AAA dev's have pretty much failed over and over in the last 4 to 5 years. 

Pre-ordering is a gamble at best anymore, so do not do it unless you weerre in closed beta and eve nthen you may get screwed.  Aion comes to mind now!!!!

I may get flamed for this but at least Blizzard delivers a pretty good product in my mind and I do not play WOW.

Mon Oct 18 2010 3:21PM Report
BelegStrongbow writes:

It is absolutely impossible to really disagree with anything you said.  I played the Beta,  for some reason I was intrigued at how different it was from everything.  I thought it was different in a good way but i was horribly wrong. I lost 70 bucs and I am kinda pissed.  After a few weeks its like a Chore logging in.  Its like going to work everyday toying with the horrendous User interface.  Every item is player made,  so you are forced to spend 2 hours looking through the market wards.

 

I am not joking.  2 Bloody hours opening every little market retainer and closing it.  which is a 4 keystroke process might I add.    

 

Honestly though,  I cannot ignore the main reasons I purchased the game.  Which i still feel are great features.   The Sand-boxy Class system,  the newer combat system.  The story quests are great.  just not enough of them.  And the User interface is impossible to get over.  So I understand why you did not even bother with listing any good points about the game,  because essentially nothing is good when u have the terrible user interface that interacts with anything that could be good.  

Mon Oct 18 2010 10:32PM Report
Shinami writes:

SE? Don't you mean Enix? 

 

Square-Enix original founder owns 6% of the company, Sony owns 8% of the company and Enix founder owns over 24%.

 

The first game FF game that Square-Enix actually worked on completely as Square Enix was Final Fantasy XII. Square-Enix became official on April, 2003, while FFX-2 Japanese version was released in March 2003. 

 

The thing is that while you have games like FFXII and FFXIII as full titles under SE, That is all really as far as FF games,.While In a 6 year period, Square Soft released FF7, FF8, FF9, FFX, FFX-2, FFXI, FFT, FFTA and some other FF related titles for handhelds....before the merger.

 

I am sorry, but unless the Square-Side of Square-Enix gets its head out of its ass and smartens up....Final Fantasy pretty much is dead to politics, and the fact that Square can't creatively have independence and freedom to make titles.

 

Sorry, but when SONY owns more of SQUARE than the FOUNDER of Square itself....you gotta question how things are...

 

If Square itself ever went independent again and made their own games without Enix, I would support them and look forward to good work...most of the FF games made by Square-Enix itself...games that they started from scratch have been misses...

 

FFXII was pretty good but was very different and changed the FF scheme of things...FFXIII was a failure in many ways...Famitsu - my ass! That game divided the fanbase. FF was doing so bad they started making titles derived from other FF titles (MADE BY SQUARE-SOFT and not SQUARE-ENIX mind you).....and those were mixed bags too.

Fri Oct 22 2010 2:58PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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