FFXIV impressions including endgame

Posted by Flappybat (71 posts) -

Impression from my experience of driving one class from 1-50 and doing some of the endgame.

Quests and Combat

There's nothing to sugar coat it, questing is bad. It's almost bad enough to put you off the game entirely. Without FATEs (public events), class quests and the better parts of main story to fall back on I wouldn't have played long enough to reach max level. The prime example is a quest chain leading in to a fight with the Primal Titan. This section falls into MMO stereotypes so strongly it starts to resemble the introduction to Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts, a section that parodies Rare's increasingly excessive use of collectibles. Without a hint of parody ARR sends the player on half a dozen meaningless fedex quests to prepare a banquet before the NPCs judge the player to be worthy of fighting Titan. The rest of the quests fare little better, constantly sending the player around the map to talk to NPCs despite even providing a lore reason for an ability to communicate at long distances. Side quests largely consists of moving to a location, fighting three monsters that spawn and returning to the quest giver. FATEs are better but struggle to match Guild Wars 2 and mostly consist of tank and spank bosses, AOE spamming regular mobs or collections.

Surprisingly for an MMO it's difficult to play with friends outside the endgame. Quests cannot be shared or replayed and story quests make heavy use of solo instances that require a player to leave a party to enter. The Chocobo companion also suffers from these limits as it is incompatible with instanced events and can't even be used at the same time as a duty finder queue. I saw a lot of players excited about the prospect of unlocking the companion at 30 and then rapidly gave up using it due to these limitations and it's glacial leveling speed.

When it comes to combat ARR comes off better but still doesn't shape up. GW2 set a new standard when it came to class abilities with interesting abilities that were fun to use. ARR's abilities are too flat, not a disaster but unsatisfying and unimaginative in comparison. The multiclass systems is a welcome change from other MMOs, changing class is as simple as equipping the right weapon. Like The Secret World you can spec in multiple classes on the same character, although you must be playing as that class to get XP for it. The system is well designed, letting you save gear load outs and giving you a special inventory with 25 spaces for each equipment slot as well as your regular 100 slot inventory. However the lack of replayable quests comes back to haunt you and even just your second class will require a lot of grinding FATEs for XP.

Dungeons are competent but have a lack of imagination outside the bosses. I didn't feel that they compared well to WoW as they take too long and outside of a few dungeons they pad the duration with trash without any interesting mechanics or providing a meaningful skill check. Cutscenes are a nice touch but prove a hassle when you have done a dungeon several times. Limit breaks make for an interesting change. Charged up through combat they can be saved for difficult spots, twice I've seen healers bring back a wipe by resurrecting most of the group with a level 3 LB.

I can't talk about dungeons without mentioning the issues with the dungeon finder. Without a group it's glacially slow for a DPS with queues of 30 minutes off peak, matching or taking longer than the instance itself. There's also an issue where at peak times a limited number of instance servers causes delays even with a group taking the DPS queue to a jaw dropping hour.

Graphics

Graphically ARR can produce some great screenshots but overall it's not on the level with GW2. There's an flatness to the look from an ever present lack of contrast. Characters have a very high minimum brightness which can make them look superimposed on the screen, the blackest shadow at midnight is barely any darker than standing in the bright glow of the moon. Characters and gear also suffer from a lack of skin detail and gear with low polycount, small textures and basic shaders. I'm not expecting every MMO to be TERA but I'd at least want them on par with Rift from two years ago, as it is ARR characters are only a notch above Everquest 2. It's testament to the ability of the art team that it's not actively noticeable. They have clearly worked for things to stand up to a pulled back camera.

There's an unfortunate lack of armor designs with multiple pieces recycled at different levels. You'll see lower level sets reused with some texture variations, depressingly the second token set is just your job armor with some minor changes. Feel hundreds of hours of dungeons pay off with a set that could be easily confused with the gear of a fresh 50!

Endgame

The endgame features four level 50 dungeons, three primal boss fights and the hardcore endgame instance Binding Coil of Bahamut. Every job will be given a set of blue quality, item level 50 job armor at level 45 to ease them into the end game. This is adequate for all the level 50 dungeons and the first primal. You also get a quest for a best in slot weapon although acquiring it is far from simple, the majority of your grinding will be without it.

There's a lack of suitable dungeons at 50 which causes a problem with grinding. Two of the dungeons, Castrum Meridianum and The Praetorium, are used for the story plot and drop no gear, none of the second tier of tokens as well as featuring a large amount of trash, cutscenes and minibosses that slow them down to 30+ minute slogs. Wanders Palace drops a poor amount of tokens for it's clear time and again none of the second token tier. The dungeon Adampor Keep drops ilevel 60 gear and the higher tier of gear tokens as well as being possible to clear in 15 minutes so prepare to grind it constantly. The three primals are single boss arena fights that drop a single weapon and a tiny amount of tokens, no reason to rerun them once you get their weapon. With a 1/9 chance of getting your job's weapon and then probably having to roll for it the grind is again stacked against you.

I have not yet been to the Binding Coil of Bahamut as it's tuned for full ilevel 70. I'm not rocketing towards this quality of gear. It takes five Adampor Keep clears for the cheaper of the first tier of token gear and much, much more for the second tier with a miserly weekly cap that can be filled in just eight clears of Adampor Keep. It might be for the best that players can't clear the end game in a few weeks but a single viable dungeon was unnecessary.

There are some concerns about the economy. A trickle of gil comes to high level players through dungeon rewards but is no competition for repair costs. Similarly FATEs give an insignificant amount of gil, once a player has done all their quests they have no significant source of income outside of trading. With fresh money mainly coming from new characters it's not clear if endgame players will be able to reliably cover their 5k repair bills.

#1 Posted by Itwastuesday (924 posts) -

Repair cost is getting lowered in 2.1

#2 Posted by cloudymusic (1041 posts) -

Repair cost is getting lowered in 2.1

Repair cost (and Dark Matter cost) is actually getting lowered during tomorrow's maintenance. Even better!

Overall, it sounds like the game isn't your cup of tea, OP, which is fine. Many of the things that you take issue with and compare specifically against GW2 (recycled gear models, abilities, leveling experience) are things that I personally found to be worse in GW2. GW2 had me picking up upgrades that had literally the exact same gear model as what I was already wearing, the limited ability loadouts felt constraining, and I couldn't have been less interested in the world and lore. All of those things are handled better in ARR in my eyes, but it just comes down to personal preference, I guess.

#3 Edited by Flappybat (71 posts) -

That's true but GW2 did have nine end game armor sets! I'd also expect the much lower quality art of ARR to mean more variety.

I'm enjoying the end game a lot more than GW2 which had terrible dungeons. The progression is nice despite sticking you with a single viable dungeon.

#4 Posted by Seikenfreak (324 posts) -

Yea sounds like this isn't to your style. I went back to check out the visuals in GW2 again after having been in FFXIV and I think this has it beat for me. But they are two different visual styles as well. GW2 comes across as much more of like a western style fantasy kids book. Not saying its for children but its very bright and colorful with distinct shapes and designs and such. I really liked how it looked when I was first playing it but going back now I much prefer 14's more eastern style approach.

Also I didn't like any of the gear appearance in GW2 aside from two or three sets. FF14 does seem to recycle armor designs quite a bit but I do prefer it's the gear designs more. I like the more realistic looking stuff compared to a lot of MMOs big bulky exaggerated colorful armor with huge flaming weapons and glowing armor and such.

I played a Guardian to 80 in GW2 and I didn't like the combat very much. I didn't like that you pretty much got all your skills you'd need before level 20 or 30 so then you spend the rest of the game spamming the same couple skills. Didn't give a good sense of growth, becoming stronger and more versatile.

Again GW2 is different in it's own ways and it sounds like you prefer that kind of gameplay and art style. I'm not trying to call the game crap or anything as I could come up with a few things that I like better in that game than in 14.

#5 Edited by Karkarov (2939 posts) -

Sounds like you don't like MMO's OP. Most of the complaints you have can be leveled against almost every MMO ever made, including Vanilla WoW. My point isn't "Man they should have learned" my point is... this is how MMO's are. They always end up launching content light in some respects because they have no choice but to do so. Development costs, financial interests, investors, blah blah blah, the game has to get released sooner or later and the truth is the no lifer guy who is going to be at end game in 2 weeks is never going to sub your game more than 1-2 months anyway so screw him and expand end game later.

Focus on the gameplay, the presentation, what makes your MMO different, and the fundamental mechanics. That is what will keep people subbing. That's what FF:ARR is doing. They have very humble and realistic goals unlike most MMO devs, I will be very surprised if they don't achieve them.

As an aside you also do know you could get max in every craft skill, your class, and get the best in slot gear in every spot in GW2 in like.... one month flat right? Just saying. May not be wise ragging on a MMO for "lack of endgame" when GW2 a game you praise doesn't even have one.

#7 Posted by mintyice (160 posts) -

@keres: Do you have a source for this?

#8 Posted by Benny (1947 posts) -

It makes sense that their quests are boring when you think about what a "quest" will generally be in a Final Fantasy game. You either go from A to B, talk to people, or kill things. The rest of almost all Final Fantasy gameplay is story and combat (barring one time things like minigames or quick timey stuff and puzzles which are never more than 1% of a final fantasy game,) so having to stretch that out over hundreds of hours seems like the worst possible scenario for a specifically 'final fantasy' style game.

What little I recall of FFXI involved being in a group in a desert and staying in one single place so a guy could pull one monster at a time safely for hours (sub job mission perhaps?) I don't remember much of the early questing in that game so perhaps there it was a different story but it seems like they made the gameplay the thing that made the game take hours of your time, not going back and forth ticking boxes in quest logs like it seems you do in FFXIV.

#9 Edited by Flappybat (71 posts) -

@karkarov: I don't remember ever saying there is a lack of endgame. I also didn't ever say I liked GW2 endgame, in a post a couple above yours I point out GW2 having terrible dungeons. What I did say is that a big problem exists with only a single dungeon being viable causing a lot of grinding. That's not picky MMO player moaning the others are terrible because they are three minutes slower, everything is in favour of Adampor Keep:

  • Castrum Meridianum and The Praetorium take another 15 minutes longer to complete.
  • Castrum Meridianum and The Praetorium drop no gear.
  • The Wanderer’s Palace only drops item level 55, in comparison Adampor Keep drops ilevel 60 for every slot except weapon.
  • The Wanderer’s Palace gives around half the Tomestones of Philosophy of the three other dungeons.
  • Adampor Keep is the only dungeon to give Tomestones of Mythology.
#10 Posted by kagato (883 posts) -

I have been playing since the alpha of 1.0 and currently im only at lvl 40 on ARR but there are a couple of things i don't agree with but this could be down to a few things:

- The graphics are amoungst the best ive seen in an MMO, sure Tera does have a more colourful anime look to it but the sprites and backgrounds in FFXIV look slightly more realistic. Of course im ingnoring the Mogs and Cacataurs in that respect but the armor, weapons etc all look like something you could make in the real world, i personally prefer that look but that is just a personal preference.

- The story stuff i actually found to be really entertaining, i have been playing as THM and Black Mage and i couldnt wait to get to the next part of the story, the Scion storyline is also pretty great and the cut scenes generally look great but i agree, its annoying when you cant skip them (sometimes you can) when you have already watched them.

- The game dosent lack content as much as it holds a lot of it back, ive noticed some really weird bottlenecks in questing, you get a whole bunch of quests really early which then narrows down to just leves and the main story arc and then until you move on and get the next burst of quests there is nothing.

I say all this but i think most of the issues highlighted are less if you are part of a Free company, doing runs on some of the dungeons for gear etc has the added effect of boosting you sometimes without you even noticing, ive rarely had to grind outside of this.

#11 Edited by EXTomar (4442 posts) -

Have they announce a schedule on content updates? To sustain any type of end game it constantly needs new content where a 3 month schedule seems to be "about right".

#12 Posted by Zirilius (564 posts) -

@extomar said:

Have they announce a schedule on content updates? To sustain any type of end game it constantly needs new content where a 3 month schedule seems to be "about right".

There was this which was apparently taken from PAX

http://zantetsuken.net/news/final-fantasy-xivs-patch-future-2-1-2-2-and-beyond

Patch 2.1

  • Good King Moogle Mog will returning as a boss fight. More than likely he will be accessible through the duty finder. Please look forward to it.
  • A new difficulty for Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan fights will be added in this patch as well. They haven’t quite decided if they’ll call them hard, super, ultra, extreme, or any other awesome intense name. I can see it now. “Ifrit, for real this time”.
  • Two hard level dungeons and the Crystal Tower, a 24-man raid dungeon, will be added.
  • Also new Hildibrand quests and FATEs are being added. If you didn’t know, Hildibrand was a comic relief NPC from version 1.0. He has his own… unique sense of humor.
  • The Wolves Den, a 4v4 and 8v8 arena will be opening in this patch. You can travel to it by boat from Lower La Noscea, and to enter the arena you must use the Duty Finder.
  • And lastly, Mists, the La Noscea player housing region will be unlocked in 2.1. Houses are available to Free Companies and individual players for a monetary value.

Patch 2.2

  • New Primal fights will be introduced. Yoshida stated that they will be “ones that new players haven’t even imagined.”
  • Either Leviathan, Shiva or Ramuh will be in 2.2. It has yet to be revealed which one, but they all seem like fun fights and fun stories to flesh out!
  • Gilgamesh might make an appearance as a boss fight in either 2.2 or 2.3.
  • It is possible that Free Companies will have the ability to summon their own Primal (FATE?) battles in this patch. No concrete details have been announced though. If not 2.2 then possibly 2.3.

And Beyond!

  • Patch 2.3 is the target release for the Golden Saucer! The reason they haven’t revealed much about it is because they are currently busy working on it. They are hoping to have at least 3 mini games available before they release it into the game. Yoshida says perhaps a card game, a mini game, or a snowboarding game. I’d love to snowboard down Coerthas with my Lalafell!
  • It has also been confirmed that the first draft of the first expansion has been submitted! Obviously there is a lot of work to be done, but at least they are planning for the future!
#13 Edited by Karkarov (2939 posts) -

@zirilius: Thanks for the info, all of it sounds pretty cool. Looking forward to seeing what they do with player housing.

#14 Posted by emanc93 (6 posts) -

I just found the game incredibly dull and uninspired. It doesn't do anything new and feels really antiquated next to games like Guild Wars 2 or even WoW.

#15 Edited by kagato (883 posts) -

Sounds like a lot of good stuff on the way, mostly excited about the new primals and the player housing but i also saw mention of Chocobo breeding and racing making a return...would make sense for that to launch with the Golden Saucer stuff. Im having a total blast with the game, havent had this much fun since the launch of FFXI, sorry to hear you didnt enjoy it @emanc93 , maybe come back after 2.3 and see if you find it more to your liking.

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