What happened to Square-Enix?
There was a time when I purchased anything made by Squaresoft or Square-Enix, sight unseen, without reading reviews, without doing any research whatsoever because I had that much faith in them to make something I would enjoy playing. There were a couple bombs in the list of games I played (I'm looking at you FFX-2), but for the most part they never let me down.
Nowadays, I find myself disillusioned by the vast majority of their releases. The magic simply isn't there anymore. Some people might assume that it's because I'm older and more jaded, sporting higher expectations and the inability to play games for what they are, but the thing is... I still find magic in other titles, just not ones released by Square-Enix.
So what does this have to do with FFXIV?
It was to illustrate my history as a fanboy of Square and the FF series in general. You see, this is the set-up before the big fall, the point of this entire blog post.
I am no longer a Square-Enix fanboy, or even a fan in general. I cancelled my pre-order of FFXIV with the announcement of the 'fatigue' system. Square-Enix has decided to don the lemming suit and follow the casual gaming crew right off the metaphorical cliff.
If I could use a number to express my disgust at the entire 'casual' movement, it would create a singularity that would require quantum mathematics to state clearly. I can't escape it anymore, it's like a disease that has finally spread to a loved one. It hurts in a way, but it's better to pull the plug and remember them fondly, than sit there and watch them degenerate into a vapid husk of what they once were.
Reports on this 'fatigue' system state limits on experience gain. Essentially, the information we have now is that you only gain 100% experience for EIGHT HOURS A WEEK, before you see a dropoff and eventually no matter how many mobs you kill, items you craft, or quests you complete, you gain diddly caca nothing. Why is this? So welfare gamers raised on Farmville and Yahoo! Games can keep up with veteran players who live and breathe FInal Fantasy.
Now, of course, there's the usual caveat that the game isn't released yet, and what little information we have on the fatigue system might be poorly translated or inaccurate. That isn't the point at all. The point is, Square-Enix is now on the casual bandwagon. By even introducing this system in the first place, no matter how it works, they acknowledge that their target demographic no longer includes me, and I hear them loud and clear.
I could go on a further rant about why gaming is the only victim of this 'I should be able to' mentality. When do our other hobbies become casual? Can I casually play basketball? Can I find a gym somewhere that will automatically allow me to keep up with NBA players? Boy I hope so, I'd love to make the kind of money they do.
Can I casually play the piano? Is there a piano somewhere that will allow me to play as good as Mozart without practicing more than a half hour a day? Boy I hope so, I'd love to put out a few CDs and make some money.
Can I casually watch television? There must be a television that can allow me to watch a show for only 5 minutes and suddenly know as much as the fans of the show that have been watching for years. I hope so, I can't be bothered to actually follow a show.
I deserve it, because I don't have the time to pursue a hobby. I shouldn't have to put forth any effort. Everyone should simply hand me my entertainment on a silver platter and then, while they're at it, kiss my feet while erecting an altar in my honor.
Am I the only one who sees how ridiculous this all is? Is everybody else stuck in some alternate dimension where laziness is extolled as not only a virtue, but a right?
WHAT HAPPENED TO PRACTICING, COMPETING AND PUTTING IN EFFORT TO BECOME GOOD AT YOUR CHOSEN HOBBY?!
Casuals happened. Money grubbing happened.
When you mix the two, you're guaranteed a special concoction of mindless, dull crap, manufactured on opposite day, where effort and dedication is Satan incarnate, and the holy grail of laziness and ineptitude stands as a shining beacon to a group of people who should never have been allowed to influence the industry.
R.I.P. Final Fantasy XIV: 2005-2010