No Excuse For The Incomplete
I played Final Fantasy XI for years, I ended up buying the PS2 hard drive and a copy of the PC version so I could always be on, and always have a way to farm. In FFXI I ended up being Red Mage, Black Mage, White Mage, Summonor, and a bit of the Ninja. So yes, I am very familiar with Squaresoft’s “focus” on the MMO genre.
I paid $79.99 plus 7% sales tax for the collector’s edition of Final Fantasy XIV. I was excited, I was pumped, and I was worried. After spending time in the beta, I could already sense things weren’t right. I was also surprised the game was still going to come out, despite all the angry posts from beta users who didn’t want it to come out as it did right now.
To put it bluntly, Final Fantasy XIV is the most incomplete game I have ever played. It’s a broken mess that shouldn’t be touched, and Square Enix should be ashamed for even releasing this game as they did. The game has a solid core idea, but everything from that point on is a completely screwed.
Let’s start with the positive. FFXIV let’s you be whatever class you want, at whatever time you want. Much like in FFXI but instead of having almost every class locked, FFXIV gives the user the ability to use pretty much all of them. The downside is that the classes are classes, and not the Jobs that Final Fantasy fans are familiar with. There’s no White Mages, Black Mages, Blue Mages, etc...but on the bright side, everyone is technically a Red Mage. You can mix and match abilities once you learn them from a different class, so you can pretty much be whoever you want to be.
Another positive are the graphics. I can play the game on a pretty high setting, and at times the game looks just as good as Final Fantasy XIII, for a MMO...this is the first time I’ve seen graphics and character detail so solid and nice. This also means you need to be able to fit the insane system requirements that Square Enix put in place.
The music is pretty solid. However, I just put on my own tunes so I’m not bothered with it. I can’t say much about the battle themes or the city themes, but from what I briefly heard, it’s alright.
Now, let’s talk about the real situation. This game is broken to all hell...and it’s not even a complete game.
The areas are barren, the battle system is a huge step back for MMOs, the interface is a joke, the crafting is horrible, the game lacks a lot of social interactions, no auction house, most areas are locked and will come in a later patch, and about half of the missing content will also come in another patch.
You are paying for an incomplete game. This needs to be known to the public. You are paying for potential. You are paying $14.99 a month for a game that isn’t ready, and “might” be ready in a few months down the line. That is what you’re paying for....and that is messed up.
Let’s talk areas, it’s copy-pasted over and over. You’ll notice this very quickly just by looking at the maps. Oh the maps? Can’t do crap with them, all those innovations that most MMOs post-2006 did with the maps are all voided here. The graphics while nice, look like complete crap in the farming areas.
The battle system tries to make use of the classic ATB, there’s no auto-attack and some people might like it. The problem is how the UI is used for it. It feels like a console game, and again, in the post WoW genre...no excuses. The game also caps your exp if you’re leveling too fast or too much, but I haven’t run into this problem.
The interface, as with the battle system, is made for the ground up for consoles. There’s a very good reason why developers shouldn't do this.
Crafting takes far too long, and isn’t simplified. It does all the wrong things that crafting would do in a MMO.
Sure the game has Linkshells, and whatnot. Maybe it’s due to people not buying the game, but there is this aura of a lack of strong community. It’s as if only the die-hard Square fans bought this game, and even they are having doubts.
Yes, there is no a single auction house. Square Enix allows you to make a mule to do your own selling but in 2010, there are no excuses for a lack of AH. One is coming though in the future.
The game isn’t finished. Pure and simple. I regret paying for the Collector’s Edition, and if I had the choice I would’ve just bought time cards to get back into World of Warcraft.
I don’t know who is at fault for this mistake of a game, but the rumors of Square Enix outsourcing the game to a Chinese developer would be the ideal choice. If that rumor is true, it’s okay ot forgive Square Enix just a bit.
As it stands, Final Fantasy XIV is the very game to show developers how not to make a MMO.