My two weeks with FFXIV

Posted by Papirfisk (13 posts) -

Lately I have been seeing a lot of flak given to this game by people who might not know what they're talking about. That's why I decided to write down my experience with the first two weeks of Final Fantasy XIV.


Before reading any further I encourage you to see the following video. It pretty well explains the fatigue system FFXIV uses and how it is meant to give everyone a fair playingfield while still giving the "hardcore" something to do.

        

  
            

Now this system is not nearly as bad as it sounds. After playing this every day for the last two weeks, probably 4-5+ hours a day I have not yet felt the effects of the system. Although the quests are capped at a maximum of 16 every 48 hours (8 crafting and 8 fighting/gathering) I have never run out of things to do.


First off a few things I've seen people complain about:

No AH.

Yes, the state of the trading-system at the moment is completely broken. You could spend hours just looking through peoples bazaars without finding what you want. However help is coming. SE have said they are patching the "market-system" next week. This will probably not give players a full AH, but divide the market-zones into sections for specific items. By putting your retainer(bazaar-NPC) in a section meant for blacksmithing-items, you get a reduced tax on selling those items. They have also said they are "looking into a" a search-system for bazaars, effectively creating a variation of the AH.


The Teleport-system

This is probably the point where I disagree with the reviews I've seen the most. Teleporting to an outpost/city costs anima, usually 6 of them. You start with 100 and regenerate one every 4 hours. Now, after 16 days of play I am at 83 anima. This really shouldn't be a problem unless you don't walk anywhere or teleport between the cities every day, which is hardly necessary. A great way to concerve anima is also by teleporting as a group. 6 anima can take a whole party to a camp/city.


No explanations

There is no tutorial in this game, and it is not self-explanatory. If you want to play FFXIV you have to get used to listening to what the NPC's say and talking to fellow players. There are also some amazing Q&A's with the developers showing up at the official site, so playing windowed mode with my browser set to lodestone.finalfantasyxiv.com and ffxiv.zam.com has become a habit. There's also a lot of stuff hidden deep withing the menus, like repairing which is clunkier and harder than it should be. Which brings me to the next point


The Menus

Yep, they're slow, clunky and confusing. Although it doesn't really say anything, I feel there's a word for this kind of game-design: "japanese". It may sound stereotypical of me, but I can't see a western developer making a menu like this. Why can't I see the stats of my items while just hovering over them? Why can I only trade 4 items at a time? WHY CAN'T I SORT MY INVENTORY?! Havin gear, materials and all sorts of random stuff all scrambled about in my inventory really makes finding anything hard. Instead of just being able to see that I have 4 stacks of copper ore in under a second, I have to browse through my whole list to find them all. It may not sound like much, but when you have to browse through the entire list every time you need to check for an item. And although this whole post may seem like complaining, this (and the AH) is the only real thing I NEED fixed. I literally get a headache during long craftingsessions due to scanning my inventory every minute.



The stuff I love

Crafting

Sure, I can just buy gear off some random guy standing in the city. But crafting in this game is SO rewarding if you've got the time. I have at this moment made all my armor and weapons myself, excluding some cloth I've gotten from my clothcrafting GF. It may not be perfect, but damn it that spear is MINE! I mined the ore, I made it into nuggets, then ingots, then made the handle, shaft, tip, nails and the clasp and nailed it all together. It's weird how making that virtual thing gives such a sense of achievement.


The Story

First the real downer : not all mainquests are voiced. This is a real shame, but after spending some years with FFXI, nothing I grind on about after the initial dissapointment. The story so far has been catchy and I really want to know what happens further. All storyquest-moments are instanced so you won't be bothered by that Miqo'te player dancing in her undies.


The fighting

Some people don't like the fighting because it's slow. Some don't like it because you can't auto-attack. For me, it's perfect. Being able to mix and match classes to create my ultimate fighter, and having full control over what I'm doing is great. It's faster then FFXI, though still slower then WoW.

 

The Graphics 

FFXIV is a great-looking game...if you've got the computer to handle it. Personally I have, but if you don't, it's probably a good idea to wait for the PS3 version. It plays better with a pad anyway and by that time all these annoyances should be fixed.


      

TL;DR?

I like the game a lot, and although it has its faults, there's nothing a few patch can't fix. If you haven't gotten this game yet I'm guessing you probably won't. I just thought I'd give Giantbomb some of my experiences with an all too hated on game.


If there's anything you want to know or stuff you've heard feel free to ask.

   
#1 Posted by Papirfisk (13 posts) -

Lately I have been seeing a lot of flak given to this game by people who might not know what they're talking about. That's why I decided to write down my experience with the first two weeks of Final Fantasy XIV.


Before reading any further I encourage you to see the following video. It pretty well explains the fatigue system FFXIV uses and how it is meant to give everyone a fair playingfield while still giving the "hardcore" something to do.

        

  
            

Now this system is not nearly as bad as it sounds. After playing this every day for the last two weeks, probably 4-5+ hours a day I have not yet felt the effects of the system. Although the quests are capped at a maximum of 16 every 48 hours (8 crafting and 8 fighting/gathering) I have never run out of things to do.


First off a few things I've seen people complain about:

No AH.

Yes, the state of the trading-system at the moment is completely broken. You could spend hours just looking through peoples bazaars without finding what you want. However help is coming. SE have said they are patching the "market-system" next week. This will probably not give players a full AH, but divide the market-zones into sections for specific items. By putting your retainer(bazaar-NPC) in a section meant for blacksmithing-items, you get a reduced tax on selling those items. They have also said they are "looking into a" a search-system for bazaars, effectively creating a variation of the AH.


The Teleport-system

This is probably the point where I disagree with the reviews I've seen the most. Teleporting to an outpost/city costs anima, usually 6 of them. You start with 100 and regenerate one every 4 hours. Now, after 16 days of play I am at 83 anima. This really shouldn't be a problem unless you don't walk anywhere or teleport between the cities every day, which is hardly necessary. A great way to concerve anima is also by teleporting as a group. 6 anima can take a whole party to a camp/city.


No explanations

There is no tutorial in this game, and it is not self-explanatory. If you want to play FFXIV you have to get used to listening to what the NPC's say and talking to fellow players. There are also some amazing Q&A's with the developers showing up at the official site, so playing windowed mode with my browser set to lodestone.finalfantasyxiv.com and ffxiv.zam.com has become a habit. There's also a lot of stuff hidden deep withing the menus, like repairing which is clunkier and harder than it should be. Which brings me to the next point


The Menus

Yep, they're slow, clunky and confusing. Although it doesn't really say anything, I feel there's a word for this kind of game-design: "japanese". It may sound stereotypical of me, but I can't see a western developer making a menu like this. Why can't I see the stats of my items while just hovering over them? Why can I only trade 4 items at a time? WHY CAN'T I SORT MY INVENTORY?! Havin gear, materials and all sorts of random stuff all scrambled about in my inventory really makes finding anything hard. Instead of just being able to see that I have 4 stacks of copper ore in under a second, I have to browse through my whole list to find them all. It may not sound like much, but when you have to browse through the entire list every time you need to check for an item. And although this whole post may seem like complaining, this (and the AH) is the only real thing I NEED fixed. I literally get a headache during long craftingsessions due to scanning my inventory every minute.



The stuff I love

Crafting

Sure, I can just buy gear off some random guy standing in the city. But crafting in this game is SO rewarding if you've got the time. I have at this moment made all my armor and weapons myself, excluding some cloth I've gotten from my clothcrafting GF. It may not be perfect, but damn it that spear is MINE! I mined the ore, I made it into nuggets, then ingots, then made the handle, shaft, tip, nails and the clasp and nailed it all together. It's weird how making that virtual thing gives such a sense of achievement.


The Story

First the real downer : not all mainquests are voiced. This is a real shame, but after spending some years with FFXI, nothing I grind on about after the initial dissapointment. The story so far has been catchy and I really want to know what happens further. All storyquest-moments are instanced so you won't be bothered by that Miqo'te player dancing in her undies.


The fighting

Some people don't like the fighting because it's slow. Some don't like it because you can't auto-attack. For me, it's perfect. Being able to mix and match classes to create my ultimate fighter, and having full control over what I'm doing is great. It's faster then FFXI, though still slower then WoW.

 

The Graphics 

FFXIV is a great-looking game...if you've got the computer to handle it. Personally I have, but if you don't, it's probably a good idea to wait for the PS3 version. It plays better with a pad anyway and by that time all these annoyances should be fixed.


      

TL;DR?

I like the game a lot, and although it has its faults, there's nothing a few patch can't fix. If you haven't gotten this game yet I'm guessing you probably won't. I just thought I'd give Giantbomb some of my experiences with an all too hated on game.


If there's anything you want to know or stuff you've heard feel free to ask.

   
#2 Posted by Detrian (1126 posts) -

Why would you white knight such a shit game you bizarre man?

#3 Posted by KaosAngel (13764 posts) -

Patches won't fix this for a while. I got the CE like an idiot and I have no plans to go for another month.

This is a joke of a launch and it's sad that people defend it.

It's 2010, devs need to realize they can't do shit like this for a MMO.

Wada called FF14 a WoW killer, the only thing this kills is whatever respect I have for Square(soft). Fuck Enix and fuck Wada.

Nomura is the only hope left for Square.

#4 Edited by Papirfisk (13 posts) -
@KaosAngel:    It's weird, as I wrote this I didn't see it as defending it. It is indeed a very weird game with some weird design-decisions, though I don't really see what they can't fix with a patch here.  The AH, menu-lag and horrendous inventory/trading-system are the only really bad things about it at the moment in my opinion.  
 
  
Bu t maybe I just had low expectations after all the fuss about how awful people said the beta where. It is  definitely not a wow-killer, though all this pure hate people seems to have against it seems weird to me. Maybe that could have been avoided by just calling it something e
#5 Posted by TheRemedy (28 posts) -

Good to see you're enjoying the game despite it's flaws.

#6 Posted by AuthenticM (3803 posts) -

I wonder if they will release some kind of mega-patch or expansion for the PS3 release next year. Something that will completely revamp the interface and the inner-workings of the game. Who knows. I hope for SE that they take this seriously, or else this game is destined to fail.

#7 Posted by m1k3 (1338 posts) -

They really do need to fix how slow the menus transition from one another. When crafting for a levequest, you have to go through so many windows just to start crafting. 
 I also agree that there really needs to be some way to sort the inventory. its weird how in previous final fantasy's, you can always sort the inventory, but they dont have a single thing like that in ffxiv.

#8 Posted by Catolf (2653 posts) -
@Detrian said:
" Why would you white knight such a shit game you bizarre man? "
have you played it?
 
good to see someone enjoying the game. I'm waiting for the Ps3 version myself.
#9 Edited by Jeust (10858 posts) -

The fatigue system is an interesting idea, still casual players will get brutalized by the hardcore after a while.

#10 Posted by Shadow71 (194 posts) -

Sounds like the game really needs a core redesign more than a patch.

#11 Posted by mattymillhouse (8 posts) -

Thanks for the honest take.  My 2 bucks (because it's long). 

The bottom line: The game is beautiful, rewarding, and often utterly frustrating.  You've got to have patience to play this game.  It can be really, really slow.  And you've got to be willing to do some outside research to figure things out.  I've been playing for a few weeks, and will continue to play.  But it certainly has some problems. 
 
1) Crafting -- Often really, really frustrating.  The vast majority of my linkshell's complaints about FFXIV relate to the fact that sometimes, the game apparently just decides that you're going to fail every synth attempt.  
 
That frustration is due in part to the utter lack of knowledge regarding how crafting works.  Just in the last few days, SE finally -- Finally! -- gave an interview in which they generally described what the colors mean.  I'd been reading websites to figure out what the colors mean, and it turns out that the guesses were almost all wrong.  And these were well meaning people spending hours on trial and error.  
 
In addition, you can learn recipes from doing in game crafting quests.  But the game doesn't store the recipes anywhere.  So you have to either write them down with pen and paper outside the game, or more likely, do research on outside websites.  

Another problem with crafting is that the recipes involve a lot of cross-over between different types of crafting, and you generally can't craft gear for your character's level.  For example, let's say you're a blacksmith, and you want to upgrade your crafting tool.  The 2nd lowest level crafting tool is a level 7 hammer.  That's a level 11 recipe, although if you try to make it at level 11, you're going to fail the synth most of the time.  But the larger problem is that the recipe requires undyed canvas cloth.  Undyed canvas cloth is a level 21 weaver recipe.   (Of course, you'll still fail almost all the time at level 21.  You can apparently make them with greater than 50% success at around level *29*.)  And since there are no NPC vendors that sell undyed canvas cloth anywhere in the game, you have to buy it from another player or make it yourself.  So you've either got to become a level 29 weaver -- which requires weeks of crafting experience -- or you've got to endure the myriad problems with the game's economy.  (See below.)  Or you've got to use your level 1 gear well beyond level 7.
 
Virtually all the game's recipes have cross-over requirements.  Let's say you're a weaver, and you want to create the lowest level shirt that can be crafted, a hempen tabard.  It's suitable for a level 5 character, and it's a level 10 weaver recipe.  That's fairly close.  But the recipe also requires a bronze buckle (a level 15 armorer recipe); antelope sinew cord (a level 12 leatherworker recipe); taupe sheep leather dye (a level 5 alchemist recipe); willow chips (a level 8 carpenter recipe); undyed hempen cloth (a level 12 weaver recipe); and several other materials that must be put together to create the component parts first, then create the finished product.
 
And keep in mind that, even at higher levels, you're going to fail synth attempts a significant portion of the time.  You lose the materials used in failed synth attempts, so you're going to need to gather several copies of all of the necessary materials.  So you're going to have to kill several antelopes (level 25 to 55 mobs) to get antelope sinew.  You'll need several antelope sinews to make antelope sinew cord.  And you'll need several antelope sinew cords to make a hempen tabard front.  And you'll probably need at least a few hempen tabard fronts to make a hempen tabard.  
 
All this means that you're probably going to be well beyond level 5 before you can make a level 5 shirt.  Which is a shame, because it really is very rewarding to make your own gear.  But unless you're willing to wear severely under-leveled gear, you really can't do that at low to mid-levels.
 
2) The Economy -- Yep, it's bizarre and frustrating.  SE's explanation is that they're combating Gil sellers and/or they're letting the economy stabilize before Auction House deflation sets in.  I think both of those explanations are ridiculous.
 
Yes, you're making things more difficult for Gil sellers.  But you're also making things more difficult for all your other subscribers, too.  There is simply no way to go shopping for things you want with a reasonable time investment.
 
Another result of the "no AH" policy is that, anytime you enter a city or a camp, probably 1/3rd of the players are "ghosts."  They're logged into their accounts, but they're away from the computer, so that people can see them and browse through their individual bazaar.  People will intentionally plant themselves in the middle of high traffic areas so that more people will see them.  That increases area load times, and makes it more difficult to run through areas because there are people standing in the way, trying to get your attention with their lifeless bodies.  The server load would be much lighter if there was just an AH. 

3) Fighting -- Some good things here.  And some bad.  
 
The Battle Regimen is a neat concept.  In FFXI, if your party strung together a few special moves, you could increase damage to mobs through group "combos."  In FFXI, someone would just call it out, and then you'd perform your special move, and hope they chained together.  In Battle Regimen, you actually click on the Battle Regimen thingy, and queue up a move.  The system alerts the other players that you've got a move in the queue.  When everyone has their moves queued, someone clicks to start the Battle Regimen, and they automatically go in the sequence they were queued. (Note -- This isn't explained in the game.)
 
The problem is that when you queue up a move, you can't do anything until someone initiates the Battle Regimen.  You just stand there.  Which makes no sense at all.  So very, very few groups use the Battle Regimen at all, and you never use them on tougher mobs.  
 
The other problem is that there's no reliable way to select mobs to attack.  You can press "tab" to select things.  But "tab" will run through every party member, non-party member, nearby NPC, and mob.  It can take a while before randomly landing on the mob you want to hit.  The other option is to use your mouse to click on the mob itself.  But many mobs move around quickly, or they can be hiding behind other party members.  I've missed out on entire fights because I can't select the enemy I want to hit.  Which is just dumb. 
 
4) Teleporting -- I've got to disagree with you here.  You regenerate 6 anima in 24 hours.  Teleporting to another city costs 6 anima.  Teleporting *back* costs another 6.  That's 12 anima for the round trip.  That's 2 days worth of anima.  Or you can run, which probably takes 1 to 2 hours of doing nothing but running.
 
Similarly, you can run to a local camp, which takes 10 to 45 minutes, or you can use 4 anima for each leg of the round trip (8 anima total).   Again, that's more than 1 day's worth of anima.  So the game forces you to spend time needlessly running. 
 
When I log on, I want to play the game.  Running is boring.  Why make it difficult and/or impractical to play the game?  Plus, SE put a lot of time into crafting different zones.  I *want* the variety that comes with fighting in different zones.  The variety of different mobs, different landscapes, and different music is more fun.  But SE has made it impractical to get that variety.  Which is a shame.
 
5) The Story -- I simply haven't seen much of it yet.  My physical level is currently 23, but my highest level job is 13.  You get one story quest at level 1, one at level 10, one at level 15, and others at higher levels.  So I've experienced two story quests.  I like what I've seen so far, but I'd prefer to have experienced more by this point. 
 
6) The Community -- Easily the best MMORPG community I've experienced.  Friendly, helpful, and mature.  Definitely my favorite thing about the game.
 
That may be a function of the fact that this is often a difficult game.  It weeds out the less mature gamers, and people are more likely to be cooperative probably because it's absolutely necessary for everyone. 
 
Obviously, there are several problems with the game.  I understand that every MMO goes through a similar period of adjustment.  I've certainly enjoyed it enough that I plan to continue playing.  So I hope that SE listens to its community and makes the necessary improvements.
 
If anyone's interested, I'm on the Istory server.  My character's name is Vydarr Tyr, and I'm in the Rebirth linkshell.  Feel free to send me a PST in game.

#12 Posted by KaosAngel (13764 posts) -
@mattymillhouse said:
"  I understand that every MMO goes through a similar period of adjustment."
Explain WoW.   
 
I got WoW on launch and never had problems like this.  My biggest problem were the queue to get me into servers due to the high demand.  Also explain how WoW was able to pull off near perfect reviews in the first month. 
 
Square is fucking lazy.  No excuses.  Blizzard didn't fuck up like this, why did Square?
#13 Posted by mattymillhouse (8 posts) -

I guess I can't explain it, Kaos.  And I certainly don't mean to excuse some of SE's more boneheaded decisions.  I mean, not having an auction house is mind boggling.  And not having a sortable inventory is really annoying.  
 
But people forget that there were annoying things when WoW first started, too.  But it was several years ago, so people had lower expectations, and WoW has just had several years to iron those kinks out.   They've had several years of adjusting class strength, auction house and inventory functionality, etc.
 
I obviously would have preferred that SE incorporate and build on those improvements.  To a surprising extent, they didn't.  And I don't mean to minimize or excuse that.  I'm just hopeful that what we see now from FFXIV is not a finished product, but a work in progress. 

#14 Posted by Rockdalf (1293 posts) -
@KaosAngel said:
" @mattymillhouse said:
"  I understand that every MMO goes through a similar period of adjustment."
Explain WoW.    I got WoW on launch and never had problems like this.  My biggest problem were the queue to get me into servers due to the high demand.  Also explain how WoW was able to pull off near perfect reviews in the first month.  Square is fucking lazy.  No excuses.  Blizzard didn't fuck up like this, why did Square? "
Don't even try to use that as an argument.  Everyone knows WoW is the exception to the rule, and any comparison of quality about it to any other MMO is hardly valid.
#15 Posted by RiotBananas (3600 posts) -
@Rockdalf said:
" @KaosAngel said:
" @mattymillhouse said:
"  I understand that every MMO goes through a similar period of adjustment."
Explain WoW.    I got WoW on launch and never had problems like this.  My biggest problem were the queue to get me into servers due to the high demand.  Also explain how WoW was able to pull off near perfect reviews in the first month.  Square is fucking lazy.  No excuses.  Blizzard didn't fuck up like this, why did Square? "
Don't even try to use that as an argument.  Everyone knows WoW is the exception to the rule, and any comparison of quality about it to any other MMO is hardly valid. "
There's reason behind World of Warcraft being the only MMO worth playing, 5 years on.
#16 Posted by mazik765 (2316 posts) -
@Rockdalf said:
" Don't even try to use that as an argument.  Everyone knows WoW is the exception to the rule, and any comparison of quality about it to any other MMO is hardly valid. "
It's completely valid. But the troubles that most MMO's go through, the ones @mattymillhouse:  was talking about, are server based. Trouble coping with logins, tons of lag in high population areas and server crashes. These problems have been present at the launch of just about every MMO, WoW included. The problems present in FFXIV are not caused by hardware strain, but core gameplay design decisions. This is the most worrying part of it, because the designers I'm sure know of and have played WoW and other MMO's, saw all these commonly used features and thought 'nah, are way is better'. 
 
Honestly, I hope this game crashes and burns. Not because I hate FF or hate Japanese games, but some of the bigger Japanese developers seriously need to wake the hell up. Sometimes I feel like they are making games designed to be marketed to people from the late 90s.
 
@RiotBananas said:
" There's reason behind World of Warcraft being the only MMO worth playing, 5 years on. "
As someone who loves MMO's and has a very low tolerance for bad MMO's, I can ensure this is completely false. It's one of the best, yeah. But the only good one? Not even close.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.