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The Problematic Diadem

By Victor Barreiro Jr. on November 27, 2015 | Columns | Comments

The Problematic Diadem

Welcome back to another installment of Eorzea Reborn. This week, I actually wanted to talk about Exploration Missions, or what people commonly call the Diadem these days.

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I myself have been unable to participate in the Diadem due to some computer downtime and problems reinstalling the client, but I have been watching Reddit and the forums. The discontent regarding Diadem runs from the viewpoints of a lot of folks was quite noticeable.

Unfortunately, people seem to be unhappy with how the Diadem “rewards” a certain playstyle in pick-up groups or how it trivializes gearing if you look at how the right Diadem drop can provide Best-in-Slot gear.

Right before I finished conceptualizing this article, however, Square Enix introduced a hotfix to address certain concerns with the Diadem. Naoki Yoshida then went on the forums to talk about exploratory missions, asking players to be patient while they gathered additional data and made further adjustments.

What’s the fuss?

Too easy. Too grindy. Rude players. Pick-up Groups are all about min-maxing Diadem. EXPLORATION ISN’T FUN.

Based on what I’ve been seeing on Reddit and the forums, that was pretty much the fuss involved with Exploration.

Now, this is partly the fault of individuals playing the game, but it is also, sadly, by design. As Naoki Yosdhia pointed out in his hotfix post regarding Exploration Missions: “For the current system, our main focus is giving priority to player freedom, with these issues being resolved through communication within parties.”

Simply put, Exploration Missions are meant to allow players to make their own fun, preferably when people discuss what their plans are once they’re in the zone. Whether it’s by fighting or by gathering, Exploration is supposed to feel rewarding rather than taxing.
 

Unfortunately, some folks prefer to be overly objective-focused or reward-focused, and will get angry at outliers who want to try doing their own thing to experience the content on their own time. This focus on completing the objectives to maximize loot acquisition also makes Exploration grindy and less fun than it should be.

The Diadem is a symptom

This also lends to another concept: That the Diadem and exploration missions in general, while meant to be a new form of content, end up not appeasing a very vocal subset of individuals.

The same can be said of things like Hunts,  the activities at the Gold Saucer, and housing and decorations.

Exploration Missions, however – as a form of content that ties in somewhat to allow for gearing on PVE content – makes it quite similar to Hunts, in the sense that people are organizing to optimize the hell out of the content such as to make it less exciting than it could be.

Exploration, then is a symptom that shows one of the things that ail Eorzea: the optimization of “fun.” That’s a shame though, because it’d be nice to see the Diadem as a relaxing alternative to raiding for those who want to get better at doing things.

Can something be done?

Well, right now, no. I’m not sure there’s an effective remedy to the issue at the moment, short of patience and understanding.

I think one of the noticeable things that occurs in a situation where fun is optimized is that people start segregating themselves to find like-minded players. This also means people who aren’t “in the know” with regard to finding parties will have a harder time enjoying things like hunts or Exploration.

Moreover, since up to 9 parties of 8 can be in one Exploration instance at once, you’re likely going to find some friction regardless of whatever you do.

The inability to coordinate or the further expansion of FFXIV’s Exploration Mission featureswill likely be remedied to some extent by Square Enix once they’ve received more data and feedback regarding the usage of Exploration Missions and its features by players.

In the meantime, you’re welcome to discuss potential solutions for mitigating the stress of being in a bad Diadem pick-up group by ranting below or coming up with your own ideas.


Links:

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 (Rappler.com) as a technology reporter.
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