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TLDR: Was fun and ok to check out; not worth a sub - not even close; overall it's a weak post WoW clone with very weak content overall; not that anyone cares but I'm done; and I hope that you can find fun in this game that I just didn't see happening.
Let's summarize the FFXIV experience:
- weak story quest(s) (main and class)
- weak amount of other quests (that are all generic/simplistic/boring)
- battlecraft leves/hests are ultra boring
- fate grinding is the weakest/lamest content to ever exist in MMORPGs (no challenge, no danger, pure zerg (except for the very rare 1 offs that do a variety of KO attacks))
- hunting log is a neato idea but is mostly just another xp welfare giveaway
- instance bosses rock but instances are packed with tedious trash that diminish the dungeon experience
- gathering is mindless and tedious to the max - let's run in a circle tapping nodes for hours, shall we? this is compelling (the mechanics of gathering are actually cool - it's just the insane repetition that sucks)
- crafting system is cool enough but leveling crafting is monotonous tedium
- mobs don't drop loot (other than crafting junk) - all loot is thoroughly generic
- the list of quality of life problems (weakly implemented or lacking features common to most good MMORPGs) is huge (horrible bank interface, horrible inventory interface, no stats tooltip compare, no gear preview, no wardrobe/appearance control - those kinds of things that have been well documented)
- too much zoning/loading, small weak zones with zero exploration value
- too many loading screends for cutscenes
- not a seamless world in any way
- influence of outdated consoles impacts what should be a premium PC game too much
- horrible launch
- continued tech problems and an engine that can't handle the content (go do odin, for ex, svala)
- plague of gil spammers coupled with guilds selling content to losers (who probably buy gil to pay to have the game played for them)
- I despise the 2.5s GCD (more of a personal pref thing than a true problem, I guess)
Endgame consists of:
- grind out relic weapon - some marginally interesting encounters you'll do once (unless you stick around to alt and repeat)
- grinding/exploiting/speed running CM, which is one of the most feeble and lame excuses for a "raid" ever created (which is why people do it and not other content - easy tombstones). Boring. Waste of time. If this is your idea of good gaming...wow.
- grinding/speed running AK, which is miserable due to excessive amounts of boring trash mobs - but hey, at least it drops some gear!
- grind ifrit into dust to get your weapon you'll use for a few hours before you finish relic
- maybe, once in a great while, doing any of the other endgamish content even though they're not efficient - and that's all that really matters, isn't it? Being efficient, taking the easiest road to the fastest gear - must get yours - must win the race.
So basically - this is your idea of a good game. Blast thru leveling as fast as humanly possible via fate grinding - which takes zero effort and is boring as possible. This game all but discourages grouping and channels you towards 50 asap - yes, you must group for some instances for story...but duty finder discourages you actually meeting or grouping with people on YOUR server. Get to endgame and grind the same 2 pieces of content (CM/AK) - which are themselves boring to begin with and after dozens of times thru are beyond boring - and then you have the occasional single boss encounters that you usually grind too, making them equally unpleasant. This...this is a good and fun gaming experience?
For some, maybe good, for me, no. I expect grind at endgame - that's what endgame is about - but I just don't see the fun here - there's very little variety in content and it's all just basically a race to build a gear set - a race that's far too easily won (if you're willing to endure monumental boredom and tedium). Content is too simplistic, too repetitive, too boring. Even leveling alt classes is boring since the only real way to level is...to grind yet more fates. Kind of a shame since the class/cross class system is kind of a cool idea. I LOVE some of the boss fights in this game - most are very well done - but it's buried in the overwhelming suck of the rest of the game.
The only real "old school" aspect of FFXIV is that it's filled with monumental time sinks that aren't very fun.
Look around. How many people have relics with ease, full DL with ease, or are close - ie, they're about done with the game outside of that ONE real raid. And we're not even paying a sub yet. 2.1 (sometime this year) will bring some more content but the way this game is structured, people ONLY do the easiest content with the biggest payout. No lockouts and endless repition mean that there's no reason to do any other content than what is most efficient for the race.
I would even say most players suck. It's not their fault. They are basically good people. Many have a lot of MMORPG experience. But MMORPG design for the past several years has encouraged selfishness, solo, and me, me, me, such that even within a guild most people have no patience, won't wait for crafters, won't wait for others to group and just queue solo instead, and are so preoccupied with the race that nothing else really matters. I don't know how many times my guildies have already described everything they do during endgame as boring - yet they keep doing it. Not me...I'm not wasting any more time on this!
On a comedic side note, it amuses me that CM looks like something more out of SWTOR than anything remotely fantasy. It's somewhat appropriate. Because I think this game is going to follow the SWTOR pattern (hyped/big release, early player exodus) just even faster because the game plays faster and has even less stuff to do and lower quality stuff to do. I'm not a SWTOR fanboy and, lke many, only played it a few months but objectively, if you compare the two games side by side, SWTOR is superior in every way to FFXIV - better content, better leveling, better class designs, better PvP at launch (only because it HAD PvP at launch), better dungeons, better raids, better drops, better player econ, better crafting system (not as involved but at least you could make something that wasn't generic), less wonkily implemented crappy features (AH in SWTOR is amongst the worst but retainer system in FFXIV outdoes it for suck but at least some ultra basics like item tooltip comparisons where there!). Remember, people loved SWTOR at first too - then they turned on it like a freshly bitten zombie during zombie apocalypse.
Other side note: sure, there are SOME people who are casual, some who don't play that much, some who are lost like deer in the headlights, and who aren't crushing the game like an exercise. I actually have no desire to play that way but there isn't much else to this game unless you kind of just stand around. I took my time leveling. But, MMORPGs have never really been about casual, and when you look at the bulk of people playing this game, it's all about ME > NOW > VAPORIZE THE EASY > THROW TANTRUM IF ANYTHING HINDERS THE PROCESS. This just doesn't work for me - I find it to be very low quality gaming. The designer himself says endgame is the real game - and it shows since the leveling is very bland and generic - however, the endgame has even less to do and is pretty damn bland and generic too. So when does the real game finally show up? 2.1?
PS - I'm sad. I love MMORPGs and the design trends in MMORPGs kind of make me want to vomit. F2P is horrible. The endless catering to soloists is killing the genre (or mutating it into something very different from what it was originally - and I prefer the original style featuring challenge, grouping, community, longevity). TESO and EQN look to continue this. WildStar has CREDD (facilitated cheating). There's just nothing else on the horizon that isn't dookie by default.
May you find some fun in this game that I'm just not seeing or that just doesn't suit me!
PS - I usually find these kinds of posts to be stupid but here, I find myself making one. I think it's because I'm mostly just sad. I had high hopes for a game made by the company that made FFXI. That maybe it might be somewhat old school and have some challenge and focus on grouping that lead to strong community. But it's just more of the same post WoW clone garbage while being even more stripped and dumbed down.
No, you can't have my stuff. But thanks for asking.
Premium MMORPGs do not feature built-in cheating via cash for gold pay 2 win. PLAY to win or don't play.