hiromichi tanaka « AstralCandy

The Future of XI and XIV

21 October 2011

I know it has been a terribly long time since I have last updated, and I deeply apologize. Things have been crazy. With my cousin visiting, going to PAX (I never did make my write up, did I?), and then changes here and there in my personal life… its been busy at best and downright crazy at its worst. During the time of being back in school since 2006, studying math after a ten year hiatus (hello rationa-wha the hell is that!?), and being sick here and there… I have managed to squeeze in time to play a little but not as often as before. But today’s entry isn’t so much as to talk about my adventures or lack there of, but to talk about my thoughts on the future of both games I have grown to love and hate.

First off…. Final Fantasy XI! I have actually deactivated my account for a few reasons:

a.) I wasn’t as interested thanks to the cooling off period from my cousin visiting
b.) I was more interested in games such as LoL, XIV, and WoW.
c.) The updates have been lack luster at best.

Since the last patch, I have found little to no reason to log on. Leveling to 95 seems like a chore, as does the prospect of obtaining the spells I had been so previously eager to learn. Then there is the road map that was released earlier this week; was it really something worthy enough to post? Maybe to show that, yes, they do have something planned and are working on something, but overall the reception the road map was given was lukewarm at best. Even I couldn’t help but look at it and go, “That’s it?” I know the game is aging and I know that the PS2 limitations are probably rearing its ugly head even more right now, but its frustrating that we aren’t given any hint of an expansion or something more meaty to sink our teeth into. No, not rehashed areas with an ugly filter on it or even just a few new places. Something bigger and more interesting that will make me go, “WOW! This is COOL~!”

FFXI feels dry and stagnant and I can’t help but feel like they are running out of really cool ideas to implement into the game. Reiokyu mentioned interesting battles with different usage of tactics, but that’s not enough for me. I want content. I want meat. I don’t just want different flavored potatoes! Which brings me to…

Final Fantasy XIV

Being a young MMO, it is understandable that it will probably be the opposite of FFXI. There are updates, there are changes, and they are coming… in a little over a year. Ok, so that was the catch. Though we can anticipate updates every so often (about 2 – 3 months apart from each other), it is still a long time to wait for every single update and promise to be delivered to us.

For this reason, I am siding with a lot of hesitant players. We are being asked to pay $12 for a subscription for a game that Yoshida himself has claimed that is only at 50% of its promise as of 1.19. He hopes that it will get even closer to 100% by a slight margin by the time 1.20 is released. But in these times? When I know money is tight for a LOT of people, it seems crazy to pay a monthly subscription of $12 for a partially finished game. It has and IS much better than its initial release, but even I am hesitant at times to really promote the game at its current state. I can get excited with the die hard fans, but for the players who feel spurned by SE and the initial release of XIV? I’m hesitant.

Not because I don’t believe in what Yoshi-P is doing or the progress that is being and WILL be made. I have seen it and played through it; I know it will happen and will meet and has a chance of exceeding expectations. However, I think the finicky players will be more critical of the game as it is and will still want that meat and potatoes I had mentioned I want from Final Fantasy XI. The meat and potatoes include key features that Yoshi-P himself has mentioned as well as the ability for people to adequately run the game on lower spec’ed PCs. There are also server issues that even make me cringe at times during my time playing the game.

Do I have hopes these players will return? Yes. Am I holding my breath on it? No. The updates and changes are massive and show that the only way to salvage the game is to do a near complete overhaul of many facets of the game, but a lot of people seem very set in their initial review of the game and very hesitant at best to be excited for the promises of 2.0. I am hoping that this will change by the time we come to the release of the PS3 and 2.0 release, because I would honestly like this underdog win.

Maybe because I am clearly taken by the charismatic and intelligent Yoshi-P, or maybe I am more of a XIV fangirl than I would like to admit. Whatever the reason and irregardless of the choices/thoughts my friends and acquaintances make of the game, I am hoping the best and brightest for XIV. It is coming out nicely onto its own and I believe that Yoshi-P and the XIV team is doing the best darn job they can to make sure that XIV lives up to expectations. Speaking to the community, taking their thoughts and suggestions (even as stupid as they are) into consideration, and showing exactly the progress they are making is leaps and bounds more than I would have ever expected from SquareEnix in the first place. While Final Fantasy XI seems like a sinking ship, Final Fantasy XIV seems more like the ship that is surviving the storm with the steadfast hand of its director, producer, and captain. Even if people think poorly of the game, they should at least give him and his team credit for trying so damn hard and doing what a lot of people thought impossible by delivering promises that never were to begin with.

Hey, Yoshi-P, here is my $12 monthly fee! I’m looking forward to the ride you are going to deliver from here to the land of 2.0!

Changing the Game — A New Direction for Eorzea

02 January 2011

When Square-Enix announced changes to its staff almost a month ago, its former Director/Producer, Hiromichi Tanaka, had left a message that left some people wondering if the game would take a complete overhaul in the stead of Naoki Yoshida. In fact, Tanaka had clearly stated:

We are aware, however, that in many cases, addressing these issues will call for a reworking of game elements.

At the moment, I never gave this much thought. I knew some were worried and some were excited, but it didn’t seem to really hit me until the clock had hit 12:00 on January 1, 2011 and I received the e-mail on my phone. I took the poll not too long after that and was floored when I read the very last question:

Would you welcome changes to FINAL FANTASY XIV that would drastically alter the rules already set in Eorzea?

Now, I was stumped for all of a minute. I was really torn on how to answer the question. Part of me was getting used to how Eorzea was. Yes it was clunky and frustrating. I don’t make it hidden my disdain on the targeting and how utterly useless and awful I feel as a healer in the game. On the other hand, I have also grown used to several things. I realize I am one of the few people who like the Market Ward system, retainers, and the like. I have a disdain for Auction Houses, and I can’t imagine myself liking the game any better when one is finally implemented in the game. I LOVE the crafting in this game despite a good friend of mine making constant complaints of wanting something to similar to WoW. However, if I wanted something like that then I would be on WoW and not on XIV. Soloing has never been a problem and party play? I get that with friends easily and have thoroughly enjoyed playing with them, and once in awhile the random stranger.

I know there are many other problems with the game that can’t go unnoticed. When retail version came out, I was puzzled beyond belief as to why my friends and other people couldn’t understand simple mechanics of the game. If one had actually read the dialogues it seemed easy to figure what to do or where to go. Then there is the biggest problem of the UI; targeting makes me want to pull my hair out, sometimes my own keyboard doesn’t respond in the game (it works fine in other games), and even the way macros work is slow and very clunky.

There are other numerous quirks in the game I know that could be improved upon or changed entirely, and no matter how much I loved the game… it could not get any worse than what is already set. There is a community that needs to be brought closer together, there needs be a clearer and more defined focus, and the rough edges need to be smoothed out and polished. It is with that thought, I clicked yes.

Do I regret this? No. Does it make me any less of a fan of XIV? I know supposed “fans” would argue that I am not. I am, after all, listing things that need to be fixed in the game vs taking it in for what it is. However, I want to see this game do better. I want the PS3 players to come and want to stay in Eorzea vs. saying, “I’ll come back when it gets better” or saying they don’t want to come back at all. I also want to see this game do as well as XI; a MMO I’ve loved for many years and have many cherished memories from.

Am I scared of what the changes could entail? You bet I am! Even the poem left to us at the end of Yoshida’s letter has left me wondering what would be in store for us:

Ne’er till land consumes sun can sea bear moons,
Heavens spew crimson flame, hells seep black dooms.
Stray seeds quicken in ash’s grey embrace,
Valiant blades forged under the Twelve’s good grace.

- Seventh Verse of the Divine Chronicles
Mezaya Thousand Eyes

If it were references to the in game atmosphere, I am all for nuking the Black Shroud and restructuring the place from the ground up. But even the keywords left by Yoshida’s New Year’s message (fun, live, reboot, and rebuild) has left me and others wondering if a complete overhaul of the game is in Eorzea’s future despite what our last answer could be on the poll. Even if this were so, I am eagerly anticipating what the future will hold for Eorzea. At the moment the only place to go is up and I am hoping Yoshida and his new team will take great strides towards that path.