FFXIV Impression: Wrap-Up

My 30 days have expired.

The highest my character reached was 25 Arcanist/13 Thaumaturge, with a smattering of other classes inbetween. I did have a few open days in which I could have pushed to unlock my first Job (Summoner at 30/15), but when you know you are not resubscribing to an MMO, you tend to lose (even more) interest in final pushes. Here is a random smattering of my wrap-up thoughts.

Invisible walls e’erywhere

I was genuinely surprised by the frequency and sheer brazenness of the invisible walls in FFXIV, especially coming from the (amazing, apparently) openness of GW2. While the minimap will generally indicate which areas are off-limits, sometimes it makes no rational sense. No swimming in your game? Fine, I can understand having oceans and lakes (invisibly) roped off. But sometimes you can wade into ankle-deep streams and sometimes you can’t. For example:

FFXIV_InvisibleWalls

That’s a damn-high vertical leap, by the way.

There is falling damage in the game – and flying eventually – so it is not as though every cliff-face is restricted. But some are. It’s generally one of those things I am hesitant to test lest I fall to my death, but when you actually bump off such a wall, I get an irrational urge to try finding the seams.

I suppose it didn’t bother me in FFX, so it shouldn’t bother me now… but it does.

Character Modeling

They are damn good.

FFXIV_Outfits

What a coincidental shot!

And I’m not even talking about just the culturally different tastes in women’s fantasy attire, I mean all the other incredibly intricate things FFXIV characters can do. The emote system is extremely thorough, to the point you can pantomime practically any conversation. The entire system is one of those “minor” things that you get used to after a while and later feel is lacking from every other game you play.

Tonal Whiplash

Speaking of cultural differences, I don’t even know what’s going on with quest text half the time. Are the writers trying to be funny? Edgy? Are there localization shenanigans afoot?

FFXIV_Sheep

Uh… huh.

FFXIV_DeadWhore

That must be very cold indeed, er, Hezzkhezl.

Maybe the game is simply a lot darker story-wise than its otherwise cheery facade would indicate, I dunno. Most of the early quests have you doing generic level 1 fantasy things like picking up apples or whatever. Then you get that, provided you accidentally stop spam-clicking your left mouse button near the quest givers.

I also enjoy the meta humor a bit…

FFXIV_Rotation

Just kidding, Ruin spam for days.

…but not so much when it only underlines the awful gameplay the class in question provides, e.g. Arcanist. “Sure, let me use Aetherflow and Energy Drain efficaciously… there we go. Now just got to wait 60 seconds for another go-around.” The Thaumaturge proves that the designers are not completely incompetent; if Aetherflow had a lower cooldown or having it up gave your DoTs a chance to proc a free Energy Drain or something, the class might actually have some redeeming feature.

Alas.

Waiting for things still sucks

FFXIV_WaitTime.jpg

It does.

This is not nearly anything as bad as what WoW got up to towards the end of my dungeon running career. Then again, I wasn’t actually forced to do any dungeons to continue the story up to the level cap either. But nevermind, I already griped about that.

Second Pass?

I have been pretty harsh on FFXIV thus far, but I do recognize that it largely follows the same MMORPG mold in which all the goodies are back-loaded into the endgame. Part of the point of my criticism though is that that sort of thing doesn’t work for me anymore. If you are in a period of your life where you can muscle through 30+ hours of unfun gameplay to “reach the good bits,” well… cherish it. There is nothing systemic about MMO design that forces a designer to build their games this way. If WoW came out now, I’d have the same criticism.

All that said, the original FFXIV plan was to play with a friend and check out the sights together. That plan got delayed by a necessary PC upgrade on his part, so when and if that happens, it’s entirely possible I will give FFXIV another month to turn things around. We’ll see then if my perception of the game changes, especially as a melee character.

Advertisements

Posted on February 18, 2016, in FFXIV, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Even if you’ve not greatly enjoyed the game thus far, it would be interesting to see you try for another month and maybe also play a different class sometime. It took me two attempts too before I got hooked, it’s true that FFXIV develops slowly but it’s worth it (imho). The story becomes very dark later on, with the type of heartache and serious topics (class warfare, racism, environmentalism) I’ve personally never encountered anywhere else.

    About fall damage: you can’t kill yourself with it. :) No matter how far you fall, you will always have 1 HP left, so it’s only gonna be an issue if there are also mobs below aggroing right away.

    I was always annoyed by the invisible walls myself, much like in Witcher 2. Then I read an article long time ago when ARR re-launched that explained the invisible walls to be remnants of the original game which had plenty more of them. They tried to remove a great deal for ARR apparently but were unable to do all of them.

    Like

  2. The story is indeed pretty dark in tone, but also somewhat unconvincing regarding morals. The main character slaughters people left and right for whatever reason comes up, and no evaluation is made of this. It is sort of hand-waved away in a few quests that suggest the character sometimes incapacitates enemies instead of killing them, but… I don’t know, pet peeve, I guess.

    I remember the dead whore’s crotch comparison. It certainly fits the tone of Lominsans, since they are mostly pirates who gave up on piracy. There are quite a few more examples of suggestive stuff like that, too. Also, Azuriel Prime is not an “amusing alias”, right?! (There’s an NPC that asks you that about your name)

    Regarding arcanist, at risk of sounding like a broken record, it has lots of “redeeming features”… at high levels. Both jobs that branch out from it are great and involved. They just suck big time at low levels.

    The queues are really unfortunate. Most of the time you have to queue up for something while you do some other solo stuff… and then have the DF pop at the most inconvenient time possible (when you just started a craft with expensive mats, in the middle of a cutscene, or in the 2 minutes you went afk after waiting 2 hours in the damn PvP queue). Or you could just queue as tank and forget about queues in pretty much everything but PvP and some old stuff.

    Fully agree on the last part. There is no reason other than tradition for MMO combat to be so boring at low level, and this is surely a detriment to the game. Accessible and entertaining should not be mutually exclusive.

    Hopefully you can give the game a second try and get through to the better parts.

    Like

    • My first character was Azuriel Inanage. ;)

      My eyebrow raise was not at the Lominsans – for whom it does indeed fit – but rather at the… “language”? Salty sea dogs, indeed. I’m trying to imagine a scenario in which that same line appears in WoW or Wildstar or whatever and seeing what happens press-wise. Then again, there’s probably examples of crazy lines in WoW that I’m forgetting about (nevermind the torture quests).

      Like

  3. The writing was one of the things I liked best about FFXIV. I thought it was a quirk of translation but I remember reading a thread about it on the beta forums in which someone linked to a source (interview, I think…) that explained that the text was originally written in English and then translated for the Japanese audience, not the other way around. There is certainly quite a lot of accurate, idiomatic English (not American) regional slang in there, which suggests a native speaker or at least someone who learned fluent English in the UK wrote some of the quests dialogs.

    Like

  4. The writing in particular is intended. No localization shenanigans at foot. At level 50 you also get some storylines that are VERY Japanese (in a “WTF Japan” kind of way). Also hilarious.

    Like

%d bloggers like this: