A warning: it's not finished.

#1 Edited by Kombat (2205 posts) -

Tomorrow is the standard launch date for Final Fantasy XIV, and so I'm sure anyone who cares about the game is super pumped to pick it up. I grabbed myself a copy of the game's limited edition last week and I've spent quite a bit of time with it since, so I'd like to push out this bit of a warning to everyone considering a dive into the vastness that is Eorzea tomorrow.
 
I'd like to preface the rest of this post  by saying that while I'm not enamored with Final Fantasy XIV as it is, I'm deeply in love with the game it can be down the road.  The problem is that the game simply isn't complete. You might have read in places that the PC release feels like something of a paid beta. It's true; it does. I don't doubt that Square considers the PlayStation 3 release of the game in March to be the real launch, and that they're using these 6 months to iron out the vast amounts of bugs and incomplete mechanics.
 
I've decided to make a laundry list of problems the game has here. But before that I'll simply say, hey, don't give up on the game. I'd say just wait for the PS3 version to come out, even if you only have a PC, and jump in after a myriad of fixes and a couple of content patches have been applied.
 
The Problems

  • The Market Ward - This system, as it stands, is a mess. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of retainers standing around and hawking wares with no outward indication of what they're selling. This means you have to go around to every last one of them and sift through piles of fecal matter to find whatever it is you're looking for. I'm going to be fair and make note that a patch to segregate the Ward into different areas for different item types is incoming.
  • The Map - Square have included a beautiful mapping system in Final Fantasy XIV, crafted with vibrant colors and exquisite detail. They seem so proud of this that they've decided not to splotch it up with minor things like showing the locations of your goddamn party members. This is the basics of the basics people. Fix this.
  • Travel - The visual aesthetic in the game is fantastic; one of the best I've seen. This makes running from place to place, despite the staggering size of the world, less of a chore for a while. But once you've done it a few times, you start wishing for something to accelerate the process, and there isn't anything. You can teleport instantly between aetheryte nodes, which is fantastic so long as you have the anima to do so, but anima regenerates at the rate of 1 point every four hours, and you need 4 points to teleport. Chocobos please.
  • Party EXP Bug - This is so game crippling, and I'm surprised some sort of hot fix hasn't already been applied to fix this. Currently you're only going to benefit from grouping if you're playing with a friend. Get a party of three people or more, and this bug rears its ugly head. Presently in these situations, experience points don't distribute properly, making large groups -- which are according to SE the way the game is meant to be played -- detrimental to your own gameplay.
 
What I Love
  • Vibrant World - SE have truly created a stunningly beautiful and story-rich world in Eorzea. If there can be only one reason I'd like to see all of the above issues fixed, it's to not see this world go to waste.
  • Intriguing Story - Like Final Fantasy XI, XIV has cutscene after cutscene embroidered into its storyline quests to help flesh out its world in a way the games like World of Warcraft have yet to accomplish.
  • Crafting - The crafting system is deep and almost a game in and of itself. There are oodles of materials to be gathered and transformed into useful gear, food, and components, and all of it is fairly rewarding to take part in.
  • The Armory System - Folks are up-in-arms about the Fatigue system, and I've included a semi-lengthy video that should help to alleviate any of those concerns. Either way, the armory system is pretty awesome. Being able to learn skills as a pugilist, and them apply those same abilities to my gladiator class, is pretty damn awesome. Changing classes at will on the battlefield is also pretty neat. 
 
I suggest taking a look at this video explanation of the game's Fatigue System if that thing has you worried. It's not nearly as bad as it seems, and is actually sort of cool.


#2 Posted by Devil240Z (3383 posts) -

So, I will probably end up waiting for the PS3 version. I was wondering how soloable the game is. I am not much of a MMO player but I like FF. I played a bunch of FF11 but doing parties and crap is too much of a pain for me to deal with. I just like to hop in from time to time and absorb the world of ff. 

#3 Posted by Demyx (3237 posts) -

Definitely gonna wait to see how the PS3 version turns out.

#4 Posted by WilliamRLBaker (4777 posts) -

I can see why Microsoft or Square didn't want this game on the 360, It would have been in QA for 8 years.

#5 Posted by Addfwyn (1931 posts) -

Worth noting that Square is already addressing the concerns over the market system at least, though they haven't discussed the other (perfectly relevant) issues.  The map thing seems really annoying, and as far as travel, I think they said there will be more forms of transportation added.  At least there's teleports readily available, if you played FFXI you had to walk EVERYWHERE.  Woe be it if you were from Windurst trying to get to Valkrum Dunes.  
 
I think this is pretty par for the course for MMOs though, they are always 'unfinished' upon launch.  You can't wait for an MMO to be 'done' before you launch, because if you did, even WoW wouldn't have launched yet.  But yes, hopefully this will be addressed in weeks to come.

#6 Posted by Gunharp (337 posts) -

@Kombat
 
Great post duder. I currently play the game and it really is hard to suggest to any one who is casually interested, and there is little coverage of the game. The market system in its current state totally reminds of EverQuest. I hope auction houses are never implemented. I really do like what this MMO is going for. A simple retainer database of some sort, that I could query for what is available in the city wardens would be killer. 
 
I agree with everything you have pointed out. To me the worst is the party exp bug and not being able to view your party members on the main map. As the mini-map is friggen poor.
 
I hope the GiantBomb staff finds sometime to look at the game, probably will when it ships for PS3. I wish they were not so dismissive of  anything related to JRPG. I mean they give Madden or Ship Simulators Extreme some of their time but dish out anything related to 'JRPG'. We need @MattBodega more than ever!
 
@WilliamRLBaker said:

" I can see why Microsoft or Square didn't want this game on the 360, It would have been in QA for 8 years. "

As someone who works in QA for MGS, trust me that this is not the reason why. There are plenty of other reasons why this game is not being developed on the 360 right now, or possibly ever. Also you could have anything in QA for 8 years, who doesn't want to keep developing their game to make it as close to perfect as possible? FFXIV is actually pretty astonishing (in my opinion) that it has shipped so quickly.
#7 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

"Unfinished" seems like code for "bad". Incomplete implies they didn't get around to finishing something. If they left out quicktravel, its not because its not finished. Its because they chose to not make it. 

#8 Posted by Addfwyn (1931 posts) -
@ryanwho: Not necessarily, all MMOs are unfinished.  If publishers waited for every last feature of an MMO to be 'done' before they launched, they'd never launch.  It's a quality of an ever-evolving online game that they aren't finished.   
 
I suppose they are 'finished' when they release the last content update.  But then even games like FFXI that have been out for a VERY long time aren't finished yet.
#9 Posted by Shirogane (3578 posts) -

You forgot the horrible patcher... 
 
SE really isn't good at making patchers.
Online
#10 Edited by Tennmuerti (8123 posts) -
@Addfwyn:
Not finished is a BS excuse.
If you want to you can use it for every MMO ever.
Oh well please don't judge it too harshly it's not finished!
 
MMOs frequently live or die by their launches , if it is lacking features and broken a launch it will hemmorage subscribers.
So if it is not finished at launch thsat is their own fault. People will get into the game, see that shit is not working properly and leave.
What will these people think when leaving? That the game is bad.
#11 Posted by Wunder_ (1170 posts) -

This sounds rad. If Cataclysm doesn't turn out great, I can definitely see myself getting in on some of this come March, thanks for the heads up though, I'll definitely try and follow this more in-depth.

#12 Posted by MrCrushin (43 posts) -

Thanks for the information.  I'll be picking this up tonight, still a little leery about what I'm getting into.   But I did play FFXI for about 2 years from when it launched, so I have an itch to jump back into a similar game.

#13 Posted by Addfwyn (1931 posts) -
@Tennmuerti: That was exactly my point, EVERY MMO ever is unfinished at launch.  WoW had lots not implemented at launch too (*cough*spirit mechanics*cough), I think it's doing just fine these days.  Expecting every feature possible for the game to be implemented at launch simply means the game would never launch, WoW would still not be out today if they waited to implement every possible feature they could. 
 
Also, all things considered, the FFXIV launchday was really really smooth compared to recent MMO launches, being a day 1 subscriber to a large variety of MMOs and having experienced what it is often like.
#14 Posted by Nardak (496 posts) -
Thank you for posting this. Started playing this game yesterday and this was some of the stuff that I wondered about. 
 
Have an additional question. Is there anyway to figure out what is the next so called "main quest"? Or do I either have to click through the npc´s (there are lots of them)
or do I just have to google for a guide relating to the quest givers in-game.
 
In everquest the quest givers also didnt have any indication that they were quest givers. But that was in 1999. I was hoping that questing would be a bit easier in 2010.
#15 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

If I had 20 bucks for every time someone said "well this MMO isn't finished but it has potential man!" I'd be a millionaire. If I had 40$ for every time that was followed up by the MMO dying 8 months later, or still being a piece of shit, I'd be a billionaire. 
 
Point is: Some bugs might get fixed, but it will still probably be crap. At least statistics would say so, this is a SE game so maybe it has a big budget that will help or something, I don't know.

#16 Posted by Addfwyn (1931 posts) -
@Pinworm45: Then again, FFXI is still chugging along fine after all these years (including wow coming out during its lifespan) so it obviously caters to a big enough niche to survive, likely longer than 8 months.
#17 Posted by Silock (238 posts) -

I was actually really looking forward to this game, its a shame that it was rushed out the door and it also has some very bad design flaws that I don't think are fixable with a update. 

#18 Edited by FunExplosions (5407 posts) -
@Kombat:
 
The thing that made me quit XI was the pacing. I finally got my damn Chocobo, but then, to get the airship... I needed 20 more levels!? (or was it 30?) Holy shit. For the uninitiated... I was already at level 20 when I got my chocobo... which - prior to reaching 20 - is a game of basically running from point A to B... for a LONG ass time. And the chocobos are timed? What? 
 
Here's the way it should be. Everyone gets chocobos at level 1. They're unlimited. But they need to implement some "Your Chocobo doesn't want to go that way" feature to keep players from just running across the world at level 1. 
 
There. Problems solved. You now have 500,000 new subscribers, Square! 
 
Oh. I haven't read a whole lot about this game. Are the areas split up with loading screens like in XI? Or is it truly a gigantic open-world like in WoW?
#19 Edited by xyzygy (10008 posts) -
@FunExplosions: Speaking of the areas, There is a video out there about how SE reuses the same pieces of land and just scatters them across the field in different formations. Have you seen it? 
 
Edit: Here it is, I found it.
#20 Posted by FunExplosions (5407 posts) -
@xyzygy: No. The same pieces of land from XI? Or do they just copy and paste from their current development kit? Actually, you got a link to that video?

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