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Rollo talks games. (And Pie)

Just another gamer pretending to know what he's talking about.

Author: Rollotamasi

FFXI, Almost everything I hate about MMO’s in one package.

Posted by Rollotamasi Tuesday June 10 2008 at 11:38AM
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If I were to try to make a list of things that I DON’T want in a MMO I could point at FFXI and say “Pretty much that”.  Totally group centric, harsh death penalty, travel is a absolute nightmare, game play was totally GRINDTASTIC.  The totally #&$$#@ up part is that it is by far, hands down, without a doubt my FAVORITE MMO I have ever played.   Kind of odd isn’t it?  There were so many things that I hated about FFXI  but it was the little things that made me not care. 

 

The music.  FFXI has the best music I have ever heard in a MMO.  I used to love arriving in Juno just to hear that music.  It is the only MMO music that I can still hear clearly in my head. I haven’t played FFXI in 4 years and I can still hum the toon and it still makes me tap my foot.  There is a reason the FF series is known for great music, FFXI is no exception.  In addition I can still hear the music from the Mithra zone.  The name escapes me at the moment.

 

Unique classes.  There are actually several things I loved about the classes in FFXI. One is that they were unique and the other is that they actually had clearly defined roles.  I’ll start with the latter.  I think this is something that is missing from today’s MMO’s.  Classes actually having a ROLE.  Seems like now days every class is a sword swinging, robe wearing, nuke casting, healing crack mage.  There was something oddly comforting about getting into a group in FFXI and KNOWING what I was supposed to do.  I played 2 classes.  Samurai and red mage.  When I played my red mage I knew my job was to keep refresh up on the casters,  help heal the tank if he got low and magic burst when I could.  While it seems simplistic there was something enjoyable about it.

 

Samurai, summoner, black mage.  While in retrospect this classes are really just run of the mill MMO classes they just FELT different in FFXI.  A black mage didn’t feel like just another wizard.  A samurai didn’t feel like just another damage dealer.  Because each class had a defined role they tended to feel unique.  Black mage was THE magic damage dealer.  Hands down, no questions asked.  It wasn’t like todays MMO’s where 8 classes fill the same role.

 

SLOW ass progression.  You might go 10 levels without getting a new ability.  But for some reason that made getting that new ability a lot more exciting.  I remember when I first got meditate on my samurai and refresh on my red mage.  It felt like I had actually accomplished something.  A feeling I have never gotten since (With exception of maybe eve when I got done training a long skill).  Now days it seems like you get a new ability or upgrade every level.  It just doesn’t have the same rewarding feeling.

 

Fishing.  Fishing in FFXI has to be the most repetitive mini game EVER created.  It basically boiled down to hitting a button and waiting.  Rinse, wash and repeat.  But for some reason I LOVED fishing.  I kept my account active for 4 months after I technically quit the game just to fish.  I used to love putting on my fishing gear and spending hours simply sitting on the Bastok bridge.   The only thing that could have made it better would have been if they put a cooler of miller high life in the game.  This is the type of side activity that today’s MMO’s really need to try to match.  Something else to do in game that is just plain “cool”.

 

If there is a gaming feeling that I have spent the last years trying to find again, It is FFXI.  It is the only game world that I can honestly describe as truly memorable.   From the races, to the zones, to the classes.  I loved this game.  I hope the next SE mmo doesn’t deviate to far from the formula.

The problem isn't AoC, It's todays design philosophy.

Posted by Rollotamasi Saturday June 7 2008 at 4:35PM
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I don’t consider myself a “throwback” type of gamer.  What I mean is that when I look at a game today I don’t judge it on games from the past.  “This game sucks because it doesn’t do things like XYZ game did”  That being said I think MMORPG’s have moved in a direction that is harmful to themselves.  I think there is a reason why games like Anarchy online, Everquest, FFXI and such have a fairly stable fan base and most newer games don’t. 

 

When WoW first came out I was playing FFXI.  Before FFXI I had been playing AO for about three years.  When I left AO for FFXI it was a HARD decision.  I actually put a lot of thought into it.  When I left FFXI for WoW I did the same.  I had a genuine attachment to my trader in AO and my samurai in FFXI.  I wasn’t attached to them simply because they were “cool” or fun to play.  I was attached to them because I had put a @#*$ load of time and effort into them.  They were like that 68 mustang in the garage that you spent years restoring.  Once you were finished you didn’t WANT to sell it.  Even if some new flashy model came out you still wanted the one you put all the time in effort into.    

 

A few years ago a MMO character was something to be proud of (In game). Being high lvl would get you a certain lvl of e-props because it took actual effort to get there.  Now days being high/max lvl means nothing because it takes a massive 2 weeks to get there.  There is no feeling of accomplishment where there is no effort.  Players don’t think twice about leaving a game because there is no attachment to their toon because it took no effort to get that toon to where it is.

 

Don’t get me wrong.  There is a reason that MMO’s have moved in this direction and the reason for the most part is legitimate.  As the gaming demographic has gotten older they have less time because of things like family and jobs and such.  It’s natural for the industry to move to a more accessible model. Hence the death of the 20 minute corpse run and the massive experience penalty for death.  But it is my opinion that the pendulum has swung TO far.

 

In games coming out in today’s market it is possible to reach max level in a few weeks.  There is no longer any accomplishment in capping out.  There is no accomplishment in getting a nice piece of gear because you lvl so fast it will be replaced in a day or two.  All of this leads to players becoming bored quickly and makes developers rush out more and more raid contend to try to keep their subscription numbers up. 

 

It’s not just that the gaming demographic has grown up.  That’s only about half the reason why design philosophy has changed.  The other problem is that the younger gamers are more impatient.  They have more of a instant gratification philosophy.  They tend not to see the journey and simply look at the finish line.  I spend a good amount of time reading the forums here on MMORPG.com and it never fails.  I see TONS of threads “How long to max lvl??!!?”. 

 

I read a AoC review thread a few days ago on these forums and the title was something like “Lvl 70 somethingoranother, My opinions on the game”.  And I just thought to myself ‘Dude… lvl 70….are you kidding…”.  It’s like walking into a high end steak house and ordering a 10oz kobe beef  sirloin medium rare and the second they put it on the table you just begin stuffing your face and finish it in 1 minute flat without even chewing.   Sure, Your not hungry any more but you could have just walked into burger kink and ordered a whooper and accomplished the same thing.

 

I guess at this point I am now speaking directly to game developers and the younger generation of PC gamers.  To the devs – The reason you are having to scramble to put out and expansion to your games ever 2 months is because they are too bloody EASY.  If you stop catering to the 14 year old twitch xbox owner that has a heart attack if they don’t kill something every 30 seconds then your games will have a LOT more longevity.  This will bring costs down for you as the dev because you don’t have to develop new content every week and it will give you happier customers because you have more time and funds to devote to things such as fixing bugs.

 

To the 14 year old twitch xbox owner that has a heart attack if they don’t kill something every 30 seconds- CALM THE (#*$ down.  Lay off the red bull and just try relaxing and enjoying a game for once. 

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