Sunday, September 12, 2010

My thoughts on Final Fantasy XIV Beta. [Archived]

Note: I am more of a Final Fantasy fan than a MMO fan, so my thoughts will be more compared to FFXI and other FFs in the series rather than competing MMOs in the market. Keep that in mind. My thoughts: I think Final Fantasy XIV has potential, I really do. I pre-ordered the Collector's edition and I have no intention of stopping it (mainly because I'm already leading a linkshell that's going to be there from launch). In any case, from what I've played it has some good points and it has some that should have had more time. Good: The character creation is pretty amazing. I really like how they have improved over Final Fantasy XI in terms of character creation and variety. I do wish they added some new options though. Maybe a male Mi'quote would have been nice... The idea of non-fixed classes. Well, they're fixed by name only, but you can mix and match abilities and I like that over Final Fantasy XI and brings in a sense of character customization akin to Final Fantasy V and the later FFs in the series. The return of Nobuo Uematsu! The music in Final Fantasy XI and XIII were awful compared to some of the vibrant tracks in the other games in the series and I'm happy that the original composer behind the Final Fantasy series makes his return. Seamless transitions between areas in the same region. I really like how I can leave Gridania and go into the forest without any fadeouts or long loading times. It is definitely an improvement from FFXI, and I think XIII had seamless transitions as well, so this seems like it was an improvement over that, which makes sense. The cutscenes. The opening cutscenes of all three nations are pretty epic. I'm really looking forward to later scenes in the storyline which act this way, after an important boss fight or what have you. I am hopeful for some signature characters to look forward to (similar to Shantotto in XI) Papalymo(sp?), perhaps? Improvements to the battle system as a whole. I'm sorry to all the people who like auto attack, but I like this method much better. I learned a crap ton of abilities within XIV so I felt very active in the game choosing all of the commands. Call me old fashioned, but I really disliked the auto-attack feature in XI and XII, battles seemed really boring to me. The first 10 minutes of Final Fantasy XIV were better than the first 23 hours of Final Fantasy XIII. Neutral: I don't think this really qualifies as good or bad, but other people have mentioned this and I have to agree. There are some features that I know people who have had backgrounds from other MMOs would really like included with XIV and S-E wants to refrain from doing this to keep a balance with console gamers. I guess in a way, I can understand it because the Final Fantasy series is primarily a console game franchise and they do not want to upset what can potentially be their core market due to the astounding price of a computer to run this game. This isn't means to justify their actions for doing this, though. I believe they could have taken some more time to have the option available incase they would like to include features PC players want that can also be added to PS3 and Xbox 360 players in the future. Bad: The UI needs improvement. It's really clunky and laggy. I hope we can get some Japanese input on how XI was on release, but I think S-E is probably aware of the problems and they usually fix bad errors like these pretty quickly. The development team needs to be more vocal. Just mentioning of the surplus system and no responses for quite a while means that the game already got some bad publicity. Hiromichi Tanaka's infamous tweet didn't help any of that either. They need to hire translators for other countries anytime they make a public statement about a MMO. None of this "you foreign players don't understand anything" sort of crap. If you want players to play worldwide, you don't alienate and confuse them. That's my opinion, anyway. Server latency. I believe the alpha and first phase beta tests should have been longer and more open. I should not have to press an action key 20 times and get "This action could not be processed" x20. Very frustrating. Having to open the menu for certain actions. In XI you could just tab over to the target. You can keep the options in the menu for the heck of it if you want, but if I target a player, I should have some kind of menu that pops up where it's easier to invite them. Awkward controls on the gamepad. VERY awkward controls. Easier to access inventory. or the first 20 minutes of the game, I literally could not find the menu to use a Potion, that really kinda made me angry, :/ Final Final Thoughts: I plan on playing Final Fantasy XIV and I am hopeful that it will have a good launch despite how many people complain. The game has issues, sure, but all MMOs do. There's no excuse for some of the server latency going on, but they should have invited more serious testers rather than random people who just attend their fan festivals and be more open to "foreign" feedback. With XI, I didn't know what I was getting into, but XIV I do know what I'm getting into. If I end up not liking it, I can just stop playing and go back to XI. I really doubt it'll be the case once the game gets a little smoother over the months. I stopped playing the beta for a couple of weeks, and I went back on Friday to show a friend and can already see clear improvement with less lag on the server. But that can also come from the fact that all of the servers are still three-chocobo overcrowded. In any case, I hope to see you all in Eorzea, I'm definitely giving the game a chance, even if others will not.
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