By Papirfisk 16 Comments
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:
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.