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No MMO can Please Everyone

Victor Barreiro Jr. Posted:
Columns The Eorzea Prospect 0

Hey folks! Welcome back to another installment of Eorzea Reborn.

Most people come to MMORPG.com to discuss MMORPGs or RPGs and expect columnists to be more like experienced pundits who can devote themselves to a game for the purpose of reportage and analysis.

Sadly, my experiences lend themselves to my being a gaming generalist with an immense respect for games, people, and intellectual properties that I have provided me with good memories or fruitful discussions.

This leads me to the main discussion piece for today, which is a strange paraphrasing of a quote I read a long time ago: There is no MMO – not even FFXIV – that can please everyone all the time.

The impossibility of endless pleasure

In the previous Eorzea Reborn column, MMORPG.com commenter stalwart Wizardry had a few comments that I spent some time thinking about. Inasmuch as I disagreed with some of the things he said, I also agreed with some of his other discussion points.

This led me to remembering a quote, which Google tells me is from John Lydgate. There are variations, but the one I like reads more like, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

Wizardry spoke up by mentioning his displeasure with the battle and class systems of Final Fantasy XIV, in relation to Final Fantasy XI. My personal thought is that while Final Fantasy XI was revolutionary in the pre- and early-World of Warcraft eras, the combat and class system hamstrings itself in the current-day because of a lack of player-friendliness.

Wizardry, in responding to his comments, put out a point that stuck me as noteworthy. Basically, he is looking for something that improves on the combat and class system of FFXI, and then mentions that the focus on instancing and item levels are bad.

Personally, as someone who has the tendency to worry about offending others online and in real-life, I found myself agreeing with this sentiment – even if my agreement springs from entirely different reasons.

When writing FFXIV commentary, I usually study news reports, scour Reddit and the forums, and also play the game looking for tidbits of ideas that can become the basis for a good write-up.

One of the things that keeps me from enjoying FFXIV all of the time is that pressure to be good enough to do group content and, in some instances, the focus on improving gear just to continue the story.

While I am part of a great guild in-game, my time zone differences prevent me from being more than a social member of good standing most days.

I do not raid or PVP much as a result, and tend to meet all sorts of people when dungeon-running: mostly nice folks, but some unsavory bags of flesh as well.

In addition to the slowly-growing anxiety of performing adequately the focus on gear acquisition, I feel, adds to the toxicity in some people, as they might feel the need to be better than others via some other standard.

Now, these caveats – item levels and required instance grouping – are present in many major MMORPGs, but it’s one anxiety trigger I can sidestep by playing multiple games or focusing on other aspects of the same game.

It seems impossible, as a result, for one game to provide endless pleasure for every gamer, as every gamer’s capacity for enjoyment and threshold for stressors is different.

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains The Devil’s Advocate and The Secret World 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.