Since the release of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn’s Patch 2.3, quite a number of players have been wondering about what can be done with the Hunt system, a system which some say breeds bad behavior and a “me first” attitude.
I think, and this is probably me speaking in the minority again, that Naoki Yoshida has plans for the Hunt System that include improving it or expanding it into something that elicits goodwill rather than ill will. The problem is it’s not going to be an easy process to refine the system into something that makes such a thing possible.
Today, I’d like to go into a brief explanation of Patch 2.3’s hunt system, as well as my thoughts on why I think Hunts are the first step in something they might consider expanding in the future for the good of all.
Keeping People Safe
Lorewise, hunts were instituted by the Grand Companies of Eorzea to keep people safe. Higher level adventurers are tasked with defeating stronger-than average monsters in the game world so that adventurers and commonfolk can go about their day with more nibbles from perplexed squirrels rather than fatal beatings from an irate cyclops.
There’s a great starter guide on Reddit, but basically, participating in the hunt system is a matter of either unlocking the quest line for hunts at level 50, or otherwise simply roaming around specific areas looking for the right rare monster to spawn so people can kill it.
By killing the monster, players earn allied seals, which can be used to purchase goods, weapons, and armor.
You can also use these seals to buy upgrade items that increase your gear’s level to a higher tier. Such items for sale makes the hunting of rare monsters a fulfilling activity for organized groups.
The Behavioral Change
Because of 2.3, there’s been a behavioral shift from a subset of players. Those who want shiny new weapons and armor can use the hunt system to get their armor without learning detailed strategies to go through some parts of the group content.
By skipping some of the content or making that content easier because of better gear, some players feel it is worth their while to do this. The reasoning is that it’s a simpler matter to send in an excited mob of players at one monster than it is to learn the skills to defeat new dungeons and bosses.
The second part of this behavioral change aside from wanting to to capitalize on this catch-up gear buying system, so to speak, is that not everyone will be able to reap the rewards, and people will get angry when they don’t get what they want.
The behavioral change caused by hunts is (I feel) twofold and can be summed up in two sentences: “I can get what I want faster,” and “I am entitled to rewards, therefore missing out on them is a reasonable cause for anger.”
Sadly, this is likely the same reasoning people have when it came to Final Fantasy XI’s Notorious Monsters, a system I never really got to try myself.
If you’ll go back to the lore reasoning for the Hunts, it’s because people need protecting. If Square Enix really wanted to make it about becoming a killer of monsters, then more emphasis would have likely been placed on fame and glory, which is what the competitive spirit of frontlines is about.
As it stands, I think some folks have missed the point of Hunts: You’re culling monsters as a public service. While it’s not the most glorious job ever, you’re amply compensated for your time. As such, I don’t think Hunts are what some might be calling “broken.” Rather, they’re – for lore purposes mind you – meant to make you feel good about helping Eorzea’s people as a whole.
Of course, that also means that the developers have to take feedback into consideration when it comes to Hunts. Based on what I’ve seen in updates on the Lodestone, they’re planning on adjusting rewards for the solo-friendly marks that everyone can do without forcing ill will on others:
To quote: “We are currently looking into increasing the amount for Mark Bills. We're concerned that if we increase the rewards for elite marks it would cause even more people to focus on them, so to start out we are going to prioritize adjustments to daily marks.”
I think what we’ll see is that marks will keep getting incremental improvements and additions, and will eventually see its focus to be further pointed towards becoming of a service for Eorzeans that only the strong can do for those weaker than them.
I’m hoping they sell less gear and more vanity items that people can use, so that hunts become something that adds to the vibrancy of life in Eorzea, rather than becoming the new gear grind.
To end today’s article, I’m going to share with you a recent happening on my server, Gilgamesh (US). The Rough Trade Gaming Community – an LGBT friendly community of gamers – recently held their first Pixel Parade to celebrate another expanding of horizons: same-sex unions in Eorzea.
It was also in remembrance to one of their members, who died in the Calgary stabbings a month before the video occurred.
That said, I’ll see you next time, and remember: try to expand your horizons when you have the time. Cheers!
Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains the the Landmark/Everquest Next and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn columns for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler as a technology reporter. You can find more of his writings on Games and Geekery and on Twitter at @vbarreirojr.