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Paragus Rants

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

Author: Paragus1

Rant: FFXIV's "Fatigue System"

Posted by Paragus1 Tuesday August 31 2010 at 12:45PM
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Rant: FFXIV's "Fatigue System"

If there's one thing I've learned over the last few years when it comes to buying games, it's that preordering a game far in advance before the release can often be a bad idea.  You never know when those little surprises about your next game will get revealed in the weeks right before launch that will totally shatter your vision of the game.  Some of the greatest hits in this category include such things along the lines of "by the way, we are cutting some classes and capital cities", "by the way, we aren't using dedicated servers", and "by the way, you might be using your real name on our forums after launch".  Now it seems fans of FFXIV just found out that Square-Enix will be using a "Fatigue System" to limit the amount of exp players can earn over a set amount of time, which has given a lot of followers cause to cancel their preorders.

[Image: ffxiv.jpg]

Let me preface this by saying that I am a former FFXI player (75 Red Mage) who enjoyed the game immensely for what it was, a pure PvE focused game with a staggering amount of content despite its grindy nature.  I'd even go as far to say that FFXI was probably one of the best pure PvE MMO's I have ever played.  The fact that FFXI continues to sustain the population numbers it has for a game that old is a testament to the game's value.  I have no axe to grind against Square-Enix or the franchise in general because I completely understand the appeal of a game like this.  In this case though, I have to take issue with this system and how it fits into their game philosophy.

The philosophy has been stated as the following...

"First off, the main concept behind FFXIV is allowing those players with little time on their hands to play effectively, and game balance is based off of that. Furthermore, it is being designed to not give those with more time on their hands to play an unfair advantage. Because of that, systems such as Guardian's Favor (a bonus to Guildleves) have been implemented to make leveling in the short-term easier than leveling in the long-term."

[Image: ffxivretainersepl703.jpg]

Last time I checked, FFXIV is a pure PvE game like it's predecessor, so the question that begs to be asked is what exactly is the advantage to be gained in a pure PvE game?  If the game had a PvP element to it, I guess maybe there could be a case to be made about getting ROFL-stomped by power grinders, but I would actually argue that the game as a whole would be better off for a wide variety of reasons if they let players progress at their own speed.

1) Having a select group of players reach higher end areas ahead of others is a good thing.  If FFXIV's crafting system is anything like the crafting system in FFXI (or any other MMO), some recipes require items from higher end areas and monsters.  Having these items available helps a crafters economy flourish because it generates demand for goods.  On the other hand, having every crafter locked into the same part of the curve crafting the same exact items will be an absolute nightmare.

2) Ever play a new MMO right out of the gate on day one and experience leveling bottlenecks?  By limiting the speed at which players can progress, leveling and bottleneck situations run the risk of becoming far more likely.  Hell anyone who has played FFXI can still find some popular / mandatory leveling spots to be jammed with players fighting over camps of mobs. Since the overworld of FFXIV is not instanced to my knowledge, keeping the initial rush of players globbed together moving at same speed could make for a horrid experience.  Imagine if FFXI had this system and the entire server was stuck in the dunes fighting over every crab, only to have the situation repeat in Qufim and so on.

3) Let's say hypothetically I buy FFXIV and I play it for 2 weeks and decide to recommend it to some friends or guildmates.  They join the game 2 weeks after me looking forward to getting a chance to play the game with me.  Since the fatigue system places artificial shackles on the speed of progression, my friends will never ever catch up to my main unless I stop playing all together or switch my class.

The fact of the matter is people play all play at different speeds.  If you take a cross section of any group of people you will find some who have more time to commit to the game than others.  Why do we need the maker of the game to dictate to us how much time we are allowed to commit to progressing in a PvE game whose main purpose is progression.  It strikes me as some sort of RPG socialism with the redistribution of experience points to make a level playing field.  People who are willing to commit more time should be rewarded for doing so without the developer worried about someone's feelings getting hurt because they can't play enough.  I am fairly sure that everyone at this point understands the nature of MMORPGs, especially fans of FFXI which recognize the grindy nature of the game.  I can't imagine what this system will be like at the higher levels when the amount of exp needed to level up ramps up dramatically.  If it's anything like the leveling curve in FFXI, the fatigue system is going to give new meaning to the term "hell level".

All of this begs the real question: Why? I'm not talking about the nonsense given to us by the game director because it's not believable to me.  Don't tell me your trying to make things casual friendly in a game where people will need to find a group of six to kill a dodo bird, because it doesn't pass the smell test.  These have always been time intensive games where the real hurdle to progress should be the game's innate challenge and finding a group of people to tackle them, not big brother over your shoulder taxing your experience points to stop you from getting ahead.

I can only think of two possibilities off the top of my head to justify this type of constraint on progress.  The first possibility stems from a cultural difference between how the East and West view internet addiction.  The East has had a lot of issues in their culture with people spending too much time online and limiting that time for health reasons.  We have to remember that FFXI was the same game that had a warning when you logged-in reminding you not to forget your friends and family.

The second possibility is that since FFXIV is a pure PvE game at heart, one of the most important aspects to determine if the game succeeds or fails is the amount of content in the game at launch. When FFXI was released in the US, it already came packaged with the original game and the Zilart expansion included.  Perhaps the endgame content in FFXIV may be a bit light in the loafers and they are using the fatigue system as a mechanism to slow players down in an attempt to buy themselves some time to flesh out the high end content.

So where do you stand on this?  Maybe I am way off base on this, which is always a possibility, but this system has definitely been a factor in the purchasing decision process in various communities including some of my own guild members in a negative way, some of which are casual players.

Co-Leader of Inquisition
daywalker27 writes:

Good article as always Paragus.

-Dayzd :)

Tue Aug 31 2010 3:57PM Report
dippitydodah writes:

Depends on how extreme the rewards/punishment of their system is, could be something as simple as the rested xp system that rewards the more casual leveler.   In practice it's nice to have but no where near makes the playing field even for people with tons of time to those who don't.   

It's all BS market hype until it's been tested.

Wed Sep 01 2010 6:58AM Report
Kaunt writes: @dippitydodah The devs have said full exp will only last about 8 hrs, and partial exp for 7 more, so after 15 hrs you cant gain any exp. Of course they can always change their mind before release, but that is what blogs like this are for. They have to learn somehow that their potential customers don't like this idea. Wed Sep 01 2010 11:05AM Report
Torpedo writes:

For sure it's a strange mechanic. Very strange that SE describe it as a system to "offer meaningful advancement for those with limited time to dedicate to playing", by penalizing those who can and want to advance quickly.


In a way though, I couldn't care less. I lost interest in FF 14 a while ago, because of the general design flaws, ranging from controls, combat mechanics, the shift away from party play off the top of the head right now. I'm sorry, but if the developers for a major MMO title released for the PC does not provide something simple as reassigning controls until open beta, I get frustrated to the point of cancelling a game purchase. Laziness or arrogance, I don't know.


Especially when they start out early beta with mirrored FF XI controls.. Then move the camera controls with no option of switching back.

Thu Sep 02 2010 6:32AM Report
Jacobin writes:

I agree that limiting exp in a pve game is pointless and pretty suspicious. As you mentioned, getting the hardcore players ahead actually helps casuals in pve games.


It just looks like another form of adding artifical grind to extend the life of a game.


This news, and the poor support for mouse and keyboard are why I will be passing on this title.

Fri Sep 03 2010 6:42AM Report
ProfRed writes:

I think it is a smart way to control an XP curve and reward casual players.  Every game has an XP curve where it requires X xp over Y time to reach Z level.  In games like Lineage and almost every other MMO that is simply all there is to it where XP curves can be insanely brutal making it impossible to feel any accomplishment when playing casually.

It is a smart way to control the curve with X xp over Y time to reach Z level and still reward casual players and not make it wehre the game is simply too fast for hardcore players.  To make a good curve for casual players would allow the hardcore to burn through the entire game in a month or two without taking any time to look around.

I am a fan of the system especially for the console version.  Promoting casual play is a great thing in MMO's these days in my opinion and I am all for creative systems like this.

Fri Sep 03 2010 3:05PM Report
BelegStrongbow writes:


I think we see Eye-to-Eye on these things.  We both played Aion, we both played FFXI.  

This whole new system gives a new meaning to the term GRIND.  FFXI was being played by me and my buddies for HOURS and HOURS on end, getting to each epic PvE raid and Mob Boss.  The only

The only

THE ONLY reason they are doing this is because they know they are not launching with enough content,  AION did the exact same thing,  They created this huge leveling slump so it is nearly impossible to reach end-game,  why? Because there is NO ENDGAME.  After a few patches they were so lax with lessening the grind on Aion players.  SE are forcing there players to stay in lower levels and LOG off  so that they have time to add end game content. 

Mark these words,  In 6 months- 1 Year they are gonna remove this fatigue system or nerf it.  

Thank you for the write-up Paragus,  theres a FFXIV division in my clan starting up and I will certainly be not attending now.

I actually been playing Darkfall alot more recently,  I set up new key-bindings scoring me a lot more kills.  But we still gotta get a 5v5 one of these days in LoL. 

Thu Sep 09 2010 9:59AM Report
Ruinal writes:

This issue and others are raising huge warning signs for me. I doubt I'll be touching this one, despite having tried pretty much every major mmo release since UO

Sat Sep 11 2010 9:21AM Report
BelegStrongbow writes:


Its actually an interesting system.  If I run out of my 8+ hours of Archer experience, I will just switch to a crafting job until it replenishes,  or stack it with another combat job for combined skills.  My buddy made a Gladiator with Cure and Lightning from conjurer,  it was pretty bad-a**.


Also I checked out the open beta and everything seems really polished for a beta, at least from what I am use too.  All of the gameplay and systems are completely different from most MMO's which makes it extremely refreshing,  everything from the combat, harvest and crafting to the Leve quests.  I played ff11 (75 samurai/dragoon), this is a HUGE upgrade from ff11.  

Sun Sep 19 2010 9:36PM Report
toddze writes:

I have always suspected that its really there to slow the players down because theres no end-game content (I looked at how ffxi was at launch to get this idea). On the flip side you also have to remember its 8 hours of actual combat, not running around, not standing around, you have to be swinging your sword, or pounding your anvil to accumulated fatige, with that factored in, only the people with massive ammounts of time, and the people who refuse to switch jobs will be effected. Me personally I have about 4 classes I want to level so it will not bother me at all.

Mon Sep 20 2010 1:21PM Report
BelegStrongbow writes:

its like 8 hours per class/job.    So if I have like 4 jobs I want to level which I think everyone does.   1 primary,  1 secondary, 1 gatherer and 1 crafter.  Thats like 32 hours a week of gametime, without exp penalty.  Seems pretty standard to me.  


I just see this as they are forcing players to play other jobs.  Which some people will dislike,  I know a few.

Wed Sep 22 2010 1:35PM Report
vaakoh writes:

I'm glad they improved this MMO so much. FFXIV: ARR is worlds apart from the original game.


<a href="">FFXIV Guide</a>

Fri Jan 31 2014 5:12PM Report writes:
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