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Thank you all for your contribution to helping me decide! Indeed this was a discussion on personal preferences and that is exactly what I was trying to figure out: Will FFARR match up to my personal preferences. Major win guys! Much of your input did guide me to a decision!
I will be waiting for the next MMORPG that I am keeping my eyes on: EQNext and/or TESO. Perhaps either of those titles will finally break these World of Warcraft apron strings.
In the end it came down to explorability. Every time I got to the point of "Well gosh. Maybe I should give this a try" that nagging thought of invisible walls everywhere tugged at my heartstrings. Well, why don't I give this a try? In case you haven't been keeping up with this thread: For personal reasons that don't involve money but involve the breadwinner laying down the ground rules of "No more MMORPG wanderlust for you!" I can't say I blame him. He did get me the CE/lifetime subs or equivalent for 3 games the last 2 or so years (TSW, STO, and GW2) , resubbed my EvE Online for a few months until I remembered how I only ~wished~ I enjoyed that game, still subs AO (which we never play anymore), subs WoW, and reminds me of the CE of Skyrim that I have yet to beat (pfft...like anyone really beats Skyrim). So, he essentially has cut me off. If he got my FFXIV and I didn't stick to it more than a passing fancy (which he considers to be at least 1 year of casual gameplay) then it would only exacerbate the issue. Hey..I'm the kind of girl who can give two shrugs about jewelery but put Bioshock Infinite in my hands...~eyebrow wiggle~
So there it is. The crafting system looks like something I could really get into but would it hold my interest or would my MMORPG ADHD prevail. It isn't a risk I can take. I had to be sure.
Thank you all again and enjoy Eorzea!
Some disclaimers to get out of the way before you respond:
This is not a review. Its motivation is to reach out to current FFARR players. It looks like a review but should be considered as my personal opinions. I struggled with the decision of where to post and ended up here because I determined it would get flagged and moved here anyways.
I am well aware of the age disparity between both the games and to "inform" me of this fact only conjures up the meme involving Nicolas Cage making a specific expression. Thank you for not doing this.
If you are frothing at the mouth, please, spare yourself a report. I only wish to engage in civil interactions as I present my sincere perspective on my claim "FFARR from Polished" and also take my opinions of FFARR with a grain of salt because my knowledge is limited by the many reviews I watched and read along with my 16 hours of nonstop playing in OB. I am not here to bash FFARR, but offer my own perspective. I do wish the game a prosperous future though my intuition that has been tempered over the years stresses otherwise (at least outside of Japan).
I keep hearing that this game is the most polished game on the market. However, from what I've read and played during OB such claims are contradictory. High production quality; Non-grindy; Smooth performance; A clear artistic direction; Anti-exploitative gameplay; Engaging Lore; Innovative concepts; A healthy amount of choices in gaming preference and character design; Since venturing beyond EQ1 which I started launchday of 1999, these have been a few of my checkpoints to determining if I will have a positive experience in a new MMO. For instance, the size of the explorable world has not been an issue since EQ2 so it has been excluded.
In light of that, what I am seeking are counters and corrections that might offer me a better perspective beyond what I already know (or think I know) . Why don't I just go buy the game and decide on my own? Good question. Well, for personal reasons that,strangely enough, do not involve money. I have to know, before purchasing this game, to the best of my ability, that this game will keep me and I will not drop it in the matter of months to return to World of Warcraft. This is essential. It is a personal (perhaps selfish) quest and if you are looking to help me decide for or against playing FFARR then I would appreciate this very much. I am not seeking criticisms of how I present my case. As stated, these are opinions very personal to myself that should only be seen as a tool to help you examine some of my stronger preferences.
Here, I will compare my current MMORPG of choice with that of Final Fantasy XIV and I must warn you it is World of Warcraft. It is a game I have enjoyed for 9 years despite the constant search to replace it with such titles as EvE, DAoC, AoC, LotR EQ2, WHO, STO, GW, TSW, GW2....ect..ect. I choose WoW as the comparison because I am looking for a game that will have me engaged for the long term.
The scaling system is my own tool that you can use or ignore. Please note, the rate is also determined by how strongly I feel for or against a feature (ex. Very passionate about anti-exploitable and less so with innovation)
World of Warcraft
High production quality: Yes. Few games have come close to (and even fewer matched) this 9 year old behemoth's production quality. Warhammer Online tried but failed due to their clunky, unresponsive combat. When you touch a button in World of Warcraft your screen lights up in response and everything just makes sense from the start.
Non-grindy: No. This problem was only exacerbated with the release of MoP but will hopfully be put under some control come 5.4. Despite the valid complaints of rep grinding, I myself, enjoyed the initial times I was presented a new daily which tied well to what was going in the the current plotline. The Klaxxi story was wonderfully crafted and their tie-in to Ahn'Qiraj and Azjol-Nerub was recognizable. Again, the lore made sense and it was enjoyable to watch it unfold. However, yes, it was grindy and a sign of limited resources in time to develop quests without the need for repetition.
Smooth performance: Yes. It's an old game with some visual updates that if set on ultra can make my FPS drop below 30 on my i5 760 2.8GHz Quad Core, GTX 560, 12 GB RAM Corsair Vengeance. It's an old engine and she's showing her age and limitations. However the production quality remains and when I hit those lagspikes my abilities still remain seamless and responsive to input.
A clear artistic direction: Yes...or should I say...eventually. I see the direction they're going in but when old collides with new it's a laughable mess that you just have to brush off and remind yourself that they are 25% through with new character models.
"One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong..."
Anti-exploitative gameplay: Yes. Blizzard is active in countering exploitative actions and features easy to use tools for players to report bots as well.
Engaging Lore: Yes. When we are being exposed to the ongoings of Azeroth it is enjoyable and logical (except for those meta-happy Draenei of course.) Rarely does the lore feel forced or over complicated.
Innovative concepts: Yes. Whether it had a positive or negative impact of the MMO community at large they are more often the pioneers of new MMO concepts: Instancing, LFR, LFG tool with auto sign up, (mostly) seamless world, quest tracking (even though, yes, it was a rip from a popular addon, they adopted it and refined it), gathering nodes, flight paths, intuitive and smart tradeskill interface, addon inclusion, and many variety of boss fight mechanics that were never seen before but are replicated in newer titles.
A healthy amount of choices in gaming preference and character design: Yes and No. Each class feels unique in playstyle and each race has their own small unique trait to add. The character design will hopefully be expanded upon when they release the new models with more choices such as body types and individual sections that include overlaying tattoos and scars. However, that is speculation.
Now to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
High production quality: Yes. However the long GCD makes what could be responsive combat feel clunky. To my knowledge this problem is lessened in some way with decreasing the GCD through points or skill unlocks of some sort. The other issue that makes a strike against this game are all the bloody invisible walls I ran into. If you peeked at my World of Warcraft achievements you would see that exploration is sort of 'my thing'. If I see a dock that goes into beautifully pristine waters I am going to try and dive in. FFARR crafted a beautiful world with borders that are placed in heart wrenching ways.
Non-grindy: No. FATEs camping. Oh yes, I have heard the notorious behavior and it is not fun Yoshida. In the recent interview on MMORPG.com he stated "for now, they are allowing players to have fun with it and that they are confident the issue will solve itself as the game matures." This has been the most niave and/or lazy response I have heard uttered by a game director ever. I am sure they are out there (Oh wait..Jennifer Hepler) but this is inexcusable. People are not having fun doing them. They are doing them because they feel they have to because others are doing them and they want to keep their edge and not fall behind. Do you have to do them? No. Should you defend Yoshida's decision based on this irrelevant question? No! That's madness!
“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?
Smooth performance: Yes. Ignoring the server issues that some are experiencing that I am semi-confident will get under control either by maintenance or player intervention, this game runs very well. In OB I had my settings at ultra and then some (1980x1020) and nay came a time that I dropped below 60 FPS despite my expectations. Even wading through a sea of people, the game kept being a champ through it all. This will eventually get a Yes vote should/when the servers stabilize.
A clear artistic direction: Yes. It looks like Final Fantasy. Though I cringe at some of the character customization options (namely the face tattoos), the designers have a very clear artistic direction and it appeals to and is understood by a lot of people.
Anti-exploitative gameplay: No. The FATEs camping is exploitative as surely everyone can agree that any sane game designer would never intend for you to experience their game in such a manner. AFK camping is exploiting the fact you won't get kicked and you won't have to suffer the login issues others are having and in doing so inflames those issues. It could be forgiven if change was on the horizon but any such hope is lost with these words:"The team is willing to look into an AFK kick or queue system, but as of this moment, they are devoting 100% of their efforts towards getting the aforementioned additional servers and server changes implemented this week." It doesn't take much though to realize the backwards method they are using. An AFK kick system should have been featured on day 1. It is an MMORPG standard and to neglect it is madness.
"Madness? Madness?! THIS IS FFARRTA!"
Engaging Lore: Yes. However it is inundated with forgettable names. That isn't the major problem though. There is very little tie in with most of the quests (the side quests) to the over arching plot. In The Secret World, when you do something, even a side mission, it tied in to the theme and/or current story of the area. The same quality can be found in World of Warcraft.
Innovative concepts: No. Final Fantasy XIV brings nothing new to the MMORPG genre so most of the desire to play this game is based on Final Fantasy IP loyalty which is understandable. It is what kept STO afloat until they worked some improvements into their game so perhaps FFARR will receive similar treatment from their developers and designers. For some, this is a refreshing step backwards into what they perceive to be old school (however much I disagree with those sentiments because there are so many new school elements to this game). Perhaps the slow GCD can be considered innovative as it does give the Final Fantasy combat feel but it ends up being more of a hindrance to my enjoyment than a boon to nostalgia. The class system in FFARR is similar in spirit to that of it's forebearer so as much as I want to count that as innovative, it is not. You might even say EvE has a multi class system that is naturally featured in their sandbox style of character progression. The takeaway from this is: Nothing feels new or innovating.
A healthy amount of choices in gaming preference and character design: Yes. The fact that I can choose anything in the begining and be something totally different ( at my choosing) just mere hours into the game and on the same character is an interesting prospect. It is something GW2 dipped their toes into with weapon swapping, seen in the form of SP spending in EvE Online, and a feature EQNext promises to deliver in spades. There are apparently a lot of professions to discover and unlock that might become an ALT+TAB-walkthrough-site-trainrail experience as the game matures. The character design process makes sense until you come to the point of tattoos and face paint. The fact you can't have both eye shadow and a splash of face paint is bothersome. Nor can you have eyeshadow and blush on at the same time. This one-or-another-but -not-both is a problem for me. Also, I found my self squinting when making a female as I was trying to see the difference between jaw 01 and jaw 02, jaw 03, ect...The colors you get to choose from will be the most outstanding way of identifying your character from others of the same gender/race other than armor. GW2 had a better character customization tool where you were able to choose body type along with height. Its major fault was the ability for players to make muscle-men-baby-faces...Are you guys seeing that in FFARR? The horror....
Though I've seen worse /shudder
In conclusion, I hope you built some insight into what I am searching for in an MMORPG. Perhaps I am chasing the Lochness Monster but if a game came close to my personal preferences then I would give it a go. I hope someone can (respectfully) dismantle my claims that strike FFARR in such a dim light and encourages me to try this game because my old NES knows better than anyone that I absolutely love Final Fantasy games. I am just not convinced that they translate well to the MMORPG expectations.
Thank you all for reading!