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[Column] Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn: You Got Theme Park in My Sandbox

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Comments

  • aslan132aslan132 Tampa, FLPosts: 378Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    Not much about FFXIV:ARR is there?

    Should be a more general column, not specific to the game IMO as it is MUCH more about themepark vs. sandbox.

     

    FFXIV:ARR is definitely a themepark, as you said, unapologetically so.

    ARR is also giving a ton of different rides, and in a lot of ways, allowing you the player to choose which to ride and which to skip, as well as which to repeat to your heart's content in a way that is somewhat unique in the genre.

    Building a better park IMO - and that is EXACTLY what I want out of my MMORPG.

    Great character building, great graphics, cross platform play, excellent story, lots of group content both small and large scale, a full housing system, and the promise of a subscription fee with NO item mall or cash shop or freemium premium F2P B2P P2W or RMT.

    Excellent article. I know a huge thing on the net these days is to debate what sandbox means. And even with articles like this, I dont think the community will ever agree. But you do bring up good points and it should be enough to get anyone moving in the right general direction. 

     

    As for the quote above and the underlined specifically, thats not what FFXIV is at all. Let me preface before the hate and say I love the game. Im having fun in the betas, and if it werent for the subscription, my guild and I would be playing the game. It feels very much like FF, but as much as thats a positive, it is also a negative. It plays very much like a console game on rails. 

     

    While other games look to drive the industry forward, and try new things, this game is a step backward for the industry. This is very much your old school MMO, multiple hotbars, one button macroing, forced grouping, stand still to cast, and no dodge or action combat, etc. all bundled up with a sub fee.

     

    "allowing you the player to choose which to ride and which to skip" this part right here is especially false. The game very much forces you in one direction, with required grouping and dungeons, and quest hubs all run on rails. Want a mount? You have to join a faction, which means getting to a certain point in your story missions. Want to use the airships, again only after doing your story missions. Want to run dungeons, oh yea, you need access which is given by doing your story missions. Dont want to do dungeons? Too bad, they are forced within your story missions, and you cant progress in the game without them. Oh and the repeatable content, theres FATES (see Dynamic Events), most of which are death if you try to do them solo. But youll have plenty of time to do them, if you want to level other classes, its all grind, since the quests are not repeatable. 

     

    FFXIV:ARR is definitely a themepark, as you said, unapologetically so. This is the best way to describe the game. Its as themepark as themeparks come, right out of 2004. No game has done more handholding or guided rails in the last 5 years, even GW2 allowed you to choose if you wanted to do the story missions or not. Im not saying any of this is a bad thing. Many players want the old school MMO feel. Its whats been missing in their gaming, and why they hate on new MMOs so much. I hope the game is a huge success, and keeps all those gamers satisfied, so they wont need to hate on new games like ESO, or EQN, or ArcheAge, or games that try to do something different for the industry. 

  • ChrisboxChrisbox Monroe, NJPosts: 1,707Member Uncommon
    I can't wait to play FFXIV:ARR, thats all I know.  

    Played-Everything
    Playing-FFXIV:ARR

  • KaniverKaniver OREGONPosts: 103Member Uncommon

    Very thoughtful article and I agree it is one of the better I have ever seen on this site.

    You can just envision the term "Sandbox" becoming the new WOW. Copied by every wannabe MMO gaming concern to ad nauseam.

    The hot topic of the day has been EQN. I will give them credit for at least trying some new things. Everyone cries out for change the pounces on a game that seems to be trying to make some deep changes.

    As far as where FFXIV:ARR fits into all of this ...........I'm going to find out up close and personal.

  • HurricanePipHurricanePip Sommerille, MAPosts: 167Member

    Good article.  Really, theme parks are a time = reward design.  There is very little newness.  Once you solved a dungeon or raid boss game mechanic in WoW, it wasn't difficult to figure out how to solve the same game mechanic in Rift.

    The problem is that PvE content can never progress fast enough to provide a new challenge to the players that actually want a challenge.  Thus, the best players quit and the community becomes a bunch of time = reward players i.e. daily quests and face roll dungeons.

    Maybe an open world like Eve isn't for everyone, but maybe it should be.  Maybe there should be consequences for actions in an MMO.  It wouldn't naturally string along players to keep paying sub fees, but it may ... may at least promote a better, stronger playerbase.  It's not as great a business model, but in the end, may be a better game that provides more value to the players who really invest in it.

    If you don't worry about it, it's not a problem.

  • Guyjin37Guyjin37 OsakaPosts: 7Member
    Originally posted by aslan132

    While other games look to drive the industry forward, and try new things, this game is a step backward for the industry. This is very much your old school MMO, multiple hotbars, one button macroing, forced grouping, stand still to cast, and no dodge or action combat, etc. all bundled up with a sub fee.

     "allowing you the player to choose which to ride and which to skip" this part right here is especially false. The game very much forces you in one direction, with required grouping and dungeons, and quest hubs all run on rails. Want a mount? You have to join a faction, which means getting to a certain point in your story missions. Want to use the airships, again only after doing your story missions. Want to run dungeons, oh yea, you need access which is given by doing your story missions. Dont want to do dungeons? Too bad, they are forced within your story missions, and you cant progress in the game without them. Oh and the repeatable content, theres FATES (see Dynamic Events), most of which are death if you try to do them solo. But youll have plenty of time to do them, if you want to level other classes, its all grind, since the quests are not repeatable. 

     FFXIV:ARR is definitely a themepark, as you said, unapologetically so. This is the best way to describe the game. Its as themepark as themeparks come, right out of 2004. No game has done more handholding or guided rails in the last 5 years, even GW2 allowed you to choose if you wanted to do the story missions or not. Im not saying any of this is a bad thing. Many players want the old school MMO feel. Its whats been missing in their gaming, and why they hate on new MMOs so much. I hope the game is a huge success, and keeps all those gamers satisfied, so they wont need to hate on new games like ESO, or EQN, or ArcheAge, or games that try to do something different for the industry. 

    This game isn't quite the huge step back it's being made out to be.

    First you have to consider FFXIV’s intentional design: a cross-platform, story-driven theme park with choices.

    Cross-platform means there are sacrifices to be made so that one platform doesn’t have an avoidable advantage over the other.  PS3 users are by and large new to MMOs, so the first 20 levels of the main story quest line is essentially a tutorial where several key things (chocobos, factions, etc.) unlock slowly.  Got to ease those new players into the genre and their class roles and that means a couple forced dungeons.  Thankfully for veterans it's over pretty fast.

    Story-driven (this is Final Fantasy after all) means a central story to tell the narrative.  After some point you certainly aren’t forced to continue it, but some elements (certain battles perhaps) will require you to participate in the story.  This seems pretty fair considering it’s a Final Fantasy title.

    Theme park with choices?  Yep, you go through the main story (again, if you want to), choose a faction, choose your class (or hell, choose any of the classes on the same character—a fantastic feature glossed over by many), choose your gear, choose to make a house (player housing is looking rather sandboxy)…you can even, if you want, choose to simply be a crafter or gatherer for your main job.  The point is, yes it is a theme park deep down but it’s not this big step backwards; it’s not taking the genre back to the past.

    It’s just taken a lot of things that MMOs up until now have done and made them much better.  Not everybody wants 100% active combat nor sees it as the proper evolution of an MMO.  Not everybody wants to cast on the move or have to dodge attacks all the time like in action games.  That’s different and for some it’s great, but it has nothing to do with moving the industry forward.  If standing still once in a while makes this game old-school, that’s fine—but it certainly isn’t a stain on the direction of MMOs.

  • GravargGravarg Harker Heights, TXPosts: 3,332Member Uncommon

    I like themeparks, I like sandboxes.  imho they're two totally different genres to me.  Sometimes I want to get done creating a character an get plopped down into a world and the devs just simply say...."good luck".  Other times I like questing, achievement hunting, pet/mount collecting, and all the other things that come with a themepark.  It just depends on how good the game itself is, this is where most games fail.

     

    The problem with sandbox, is that 99.999999% of them are PvP full loot gankathons.  Which is fun for the first few days, but then it gets boring and old.  You won't have new players coming in to replenish the old, and the game will die off.  Players these days aren't like the players of old.  In olden days, you would walk by someone and see that they're getting killed by a monster.  You'd go over and help them out, as long as they weren't a criminal or something.  In today's game, you run over kill the monster, then kill the guy that has 5 health left, then loot both and be on your way.  The later has no place in a game that I want to play.

  • IllyssiaIllyssia LondonPosts: 1,524Member
    Originally posted by Guyjin37
    Originally posted by aslan132

    While other games look to drive the industry forward, and try new things, this game is a step backward for the industry. This is very much your old school MMO, multiple hotbars, one button macroing, forced grouping, stand still to cast, and no dodge or action combat, etc. all bundled up with a sub fee.

     "allowing you the player to choose which to ride and which to skip" this part right here is especially false. The game very much forces you in one direction, with required grouping and dungeons, and quest hubs all run on rails. Want a mount? You have to join a faction, which means getting to a certain point in your story missions. Want to use the airships, again only after doing your story missions. Want to run dungeons, oh yea, you need access which is given by doing your story missions. Dont want to do dungeons? Too bad, they are forced within your story missions, and you cant progress in the game without them. Oh and the repeatable content, theres FATES (see Dynamic Events), most of which are death if you try to do them solo. But youll have plenty of time to do them, if you want to level other classes, its all grind, since the quests are not repeatable. 

     FFXIV:ARR is definitely a themepark, as you said, unapologetically so. This is the best way to describe the game. Its as themepark as themeparks come, right out of 2004. No game has done more handholding or guided rails in the last 5 years, even GW2 allowed you to choose if you wanted to do the story missions or not. Im not saying any of this is a bad thing. Many players want the old school MMO feel. Its whats been missing in their gaming, and why they hate on new MMOs so much. I hope the game is a huge success, and keeps all those gamers satisfied, so they wont need to hate on new games like ESO, or EQN, or ArcheAge, or games that try to do something different for the industry. 

    This game isn't quite the huge step back it's being made out to be.

    First you have to consider FFXIV’s intentional design: a cross-platform, story-driven theme park with choices.

    Cross-platform means there are sacrifices to be made so that one platform doesn’t have an avoidable advantage over the other.  PS3 users are by and large new to MMOs, so the first 20 levels of the main story quest line is essentially a tutorial where several key things (chocobos, factions, etc.) unlock slowly.  Got to ease those new players into the genre and their class roles and that means a couple forced dungeons.  Thankfully for veterans it's over pretty fast.

    Story-driven (this is Final Fantasy after all) means a central story to tell the narrative.  After some point you certainly aren’t forced to continue it, but some elements (certain battles perhaps) will require you to participate in the story.  This seems pretty fair considering it’s a Final Fantasy title.

    Theme park with choices?  Yep, you go through the main story (again, if you want to), choose a faction, choose your class (or hell, choose any of the classes on the same character—a fantastic feature glossed over by many), choose your gear, choose to make a house (player housing is looking rather sandboxy)…you can even, if you want, choose to simply be a crafter or gatherer for your main job.  The point is, yes it is a theme park deep down but it’s not this big step backwards; it’s not taking the genre back to the past.

    It’s just taken a lot of things that MMOs up until now have done and made them much better.  Not everybody wants 100% active combat nor sees it as the proper evolution of an MMO.  Not everybody wants to cast on the move or have to dodge attacks all the time like in action games.  That’s different and for some it’s great, but it has nothing to do with moving the industry forward.  If standing still once in a while makes this game old-school, that’s fine—but it certainly isn’t a stain on the direction of MMOs.

     

    I actually think SE will do really well with ARR since it offers a quality theme park mmorpg to PC and PS3 owners at a time when WoW is in decline and all the F2P games have a B2W cash shop. There is a market still for MMOs that for a sub patch in more rides at a regular rate.  

  • scrittyscritty WorcesterPosts: 89Member

    I love sandbox games in principle. In practice though - once an "original" player base is established (and become a clique)  noobs are treated like lepers and (for the most part) driven from the game by these snobby idiots ganking, griefing and generally making life unpleasant for any new subscriber that isn't an instrant expert in the game, its play mechanics and lore.

    This is of course to the detriment of the game itself as the subscriber rate falls as one new sub after another is griefed out of the game by the (also dwindling) "original take up" clique who seem to just love "bullying" - (for bullying is what they are doing).

    Scritty

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,845Member Uncommon

    I love sandboxy games, but I have never wished for the death of themeparks.

    Quite simply, I don't believe that a "true sandbox" MMO will ever attract a mass audience. The majority of gamers are not RP'ers and don't have the patience to "live in a virtual world". Sandbox games rely on the efforts of the players to make them interesting, but most players are not interested in making an "effort", they want to be entertained ! For them, the "organised events" that make up themepark games are the ideal solution.

     

    That does NOT mean that themepark games need to be dull and repetative endgame gear grinds. EQNext is attempting to make a serious dent in the stodgy image of themeparks.

     

    Single-player games in the RPG/FPS genre are virtually all pure themeparks, yet can be enormously enjoyable. But we usually play through those and move on, very few of them have any long-term replayability. That does not men I'll stop playing and enjoying them.

     

    I love cheesecake.I have eaten countless slices of cheesecake in my life and will no doubt eat countless more before I die. FFXIV:ARR is MMO-cheesecake to me. I know what I'm going to get, and I know I'm going to love it :D

  • scrittyscritty WorcesterPosts: 89Member

    We are looking at sandbox from the perspective of the player. From the Devs POV they make even more sense. Once the initial toolset has been created, then their is less (not "none"  - but "less") emphasis on continually creating more content, much of it is done by the players.

    You don't need a massive markete to make a game like this a success - it's all about the ROI on your investment. If you can make a sandbox game for $10,000,000 and get just 100,000 subscribers payinbg $15 a month, you'll make back your initial investment inside months.

    What I think MAY be hard is FTP sandbox games - at least for a while. Innovation needs to be paid for, and often quite quickly. But then the sandbox crowd are really pretty hardcore.

    Look on the EvE forums and you'll see virtually no one EVER talk about taking the game F2P. Compare that with the Battlenet forums where a new thread about that pops up and has 5 pages almost every day "When will WoW go F2P..."

    In my experience that's a question most sandboxers just don't ask.

    Finally - indie single player games are going "sandbox" mad. From the venerable Dwarf Fortress we have had in the last 12 months or so Gnomoria, Kenshi, Folk Tales, Maia, Prison Architect and game slike Project Zomboid that straddle the middle line (and many more) -

    Steams "Green Light" is promoting about 30% of the products as single player sandbox games by any measure of the terms definition)

    There should be no argument here. People's enthusiasm to create the games and support them balanced with market forces will mean there are some sandboxes, a few of which will be very good. Probably no where near as many SB as there are Theme Parks - but it's not a competition. I prefer SB's but am really looking ofrward to FFXIV ARR (aftrer spending $80 on the Collectors version of the original game 3 years ago)

    Scritty

  • karmathkarmath Posts: 827Member Uncommon
    No FF game past or present has been a sandbox in any way, shape, or form.
  • itchmonitchmon west islip, NYPosts: 1,714Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by karmath
    No FF game past or present has been a sandbox in any way, shape, or form.

    that's true but their previous MMO, ff11, gave the players a lot more freedom than a traditional quest hub themepark (customization via sub {job} and to set path to level although the players instituted a sort of canonized path to level over time)

    RIP Ribbitribbitt you are missed, kid.

    Currently Playing EVE, DFUW

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.

    Dwight D Eisenhower

    My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.

    Henry Rollins

  • AkaisAkais Memphis, TNPosts: 274Member Common

    I'm looking forward to this game. I don't know if I would want it to be a sandbox as I live in a world that fits the description now. I play games to take a break from that world.

    I don't want the amount of playtime I do get to be spoiled by the massive amounts drama that is inherently found in sandbox games.

    That doesn't mean that when I do play I want to be solely relegated to the dev's limited ideas of what is fun either though.

    A healthy balance of opportunity, choice, risk, and reward needs to be struck to make for the most optimal experience.

    I don't know if FFXIV will strike that balance, but I remember that FFXI struck it better than most of it's counterparts in that generation of MMO's.

  • zaylinzaylin Olympia, WAPosts: 789Member
    Sandbox, themepark, hybrid, dont matter, i just want a game that is fun and engaging :)
  • TreespiderTreespider Lake stevens, WAPosts: 28Member

    Good article , but what happens when a Theme park game starts to take off the rails of there game , and then add the sandbox elements? FF11 new direction been slowly taking a lot rails off .  You now can play as  any monster in the game in new game mode ,  once they gets it done and they get the pvp going  it will feel sandbox. To new players.  They no longer are on rails just get to lv99 and go to open world events they now got , then go back to the theme park way.

    This is one the reason a lot the ff14 fans are happy what they got planned for ffXiV now since they been testing the ideas on ff11 lately.  There going all in ,.

  • h0tNstilettosh0tNstilettos Sedalia, MOPosts: 25Member
    Originally posted by aslan132
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    Not much about FFXIV:ARR is there?

    Should be a more general column, not specific to the game IMO as it is MUCH more about themepark vs. sandbox.

     

    FFXIV:ARR is definitely a themepark, as you said, unapologetically so.

    ARR is also giving a ton of different rides, and in a lot of ways, allowing you the player to choose which to ride and which to skip, as well as which to repeat to your heart's content in a way that is somewhat unique in the genre.

    Building a better park IMO - and that is EXACTLY what I want out of my MMORPG.

    Great character building, great graphics, cross platform play, excellent story, lots of group content both small and large scale, a full housing system, and the promise of a subscription fee with NO item mall or cash shop or freemium premium F2P B2P P2W or RMT.

    As for the quote above and the underlined specifically, thats not what FFXIV is at all. Let me preface before the hate and say I love the game. Im having fun in the betas, and if it werent for the subscription, my guild and I would be playing the game. It feels very much like FF, but as much as thats a positive, it is also a negative. It plays very much like a console game on rails. 

     

    While other games look to drive the industry forward, and try new things, this game is a step backward for the industry. This is very much your old school MMO, multiple hotbars, one button macroing, forced grouping, stand still to cast, and no dodge or action combat, etc. all bundled up with a sub fee.

     

    "allowing you the player to choose which to ride and which to skip" this part right here is especially false. The game very much forces you in one direction, with required grouping and dungeons, and quest hubs all run on rails. Want a mount? You have to join a faction, which means getting to a certain point in your story missions. Want to use the airships, again only after doing your story missions. Want to run dungeons, oh yea, you need access which is given by doing your story missions. Dont want to do dungeons? Too bad, they are forced within your story missions, and you cant progress in the game without them. Oh and the repeatable content, theres FATES (see Dynamic Events), most of which are death if you try to do them solo. But youll have plenty of time to do them, if you want to level other classes, its all grind, since the quests are not repeatable. 

     

    FFXIV:ARR is definitely a themepark, as you said, unapologetically so. This is the best way to describe the game. Its as themepark as themeparks come, right out of 2004. No game has done more handholding or guided rails in the last 5 years, even GW2 allowed you to choose if you wanted to do the story missions or not. Im not saying any of this is a bad thing. Many players want the old school MMO feel. Its whats been missing in their gaming, and why they hate on new MMOs so much. I hope the game is a huge success, and keeps all those gamers satisfied, so they wont need to hate on new games like ESO, or EQN, or ArcheAge, or games that try to do something different for the industry. 

    Seriously? ARR is taking things that have been done before and innovating them to make them better, AND will be introducing things not done in MMORPGs before. AND even if it had not done anything innovative, it is still a really well designed MMORPG. To elaborate . . .

    Things that have been done before, but innovated in ARR . . .

    1. Crafting is actually interesting and more in depth in ARR, and have their own classes as a result.
    2. The player housing is very in depth in ARR rather than tacked on like it is in most MMOs.
    3. More class freedom with the armoury system. Your equipment determines your class, rather than your class dictating your equipment. This armoury system also allows freedom of class choices and even cross class abilities for unique combinations. This also almost eliminates the annoying inventory clutter issue found in most MMORPGs by giving players separate inventories for equipment and non-equipment and making them larger than most MMORPG's single inventory.
    4. Chocobo companions, which can fight with you with their own classes, equipment, and will include raising and breeding. It's the combination of these systems I'm getting at. This is a much better pet/companion system than your typical MMORPG, a little more involved.

    Things unique to ARR when compared to other MMORPGs . . .

    1. The Gold Saucer type amusement park, which will include numerous side games to keep players busy for those that want more to do outside mobs, quests, and dungeon runs. This has been confirmed by Yoshi.
    2. Chocobo races. This is still a rumor and not confirmed yet, but Yoshi has mentioned the desire to add such fan service things to ARR. Considering the amusement park has already been confirmed, and past FF amusement parks all had chocobo racing; there's a good chance chocobo racing will be a side activity for ARR's amusement park. It would be the first FF with an amusement park/casino to not have chocobo racing if they leave it out.

    [B]And some things coming that keep the game entertaining regardless of the fact they've been done before (and may have an innovative aspect to them compared to other MMORPGs, but unknown yet so I left these out of the innovated categories above) . . .[/B]

    1. PVP
    2. a collectable card game
    3. free company housing/quests
    4. achievements

    The game's strong points not mentioned above . . .

    1. A questing system loaded with layers of sub-questing systems, whether it be story quests, job quests, side quests, levequests, guildhests, grand company quests, etc
    2. A very dedicated developer/producer and team
    3. Logs for battle, crafting, and gathering, which is simply another nice layer of content
    4. Most of the story quests allow for soloing to max level and other side things, which is what many MMORPG players have complained about being lacking in other MMORPGs. The only downside is the occasional story dungeon/battle requiring a party. The point is the game still has more solo content than your typical MMORPG. Who knows in the future they might make 1 player versions of the story dungeons, though unlikely. I still give them credit for the amount of solo content.
    5. A very fluid game, with beautiful unique environments each drawn by hand rather than copy and pasted.
    6. Excellent music and atmosphere.
    7. Normal, Hard, and Extreme mode for the hardcore individuals
    8. Multi-platform
    9. FATE events

    To say ARR does nothing innovative is just plain blindness. Aside from innovation the game is already packing more layers of systems/content than any other MMORPG has before during a beta. So just think of post beta as the game builds up. I'm sure I missed some stuff. Point is the game does some innovative things/new approaches, but simply disguises it as a familiar formula since the formula is successful and they want some familiarity.

     
  • JDogg126JDogg126 Southeast, MIPosts: 44Member
    I am hoping that instanced content goes away as a design element in MMO's.  It ruins community completely.  Also no more easy mode LFG tools those ruin community too.  Competitive PVE is needed!  I'm hoping that EQ Next will have a "classic mode" server that has corpse recovery, no instances, and thus a great open world experience.
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