First Impressions of Final Fantasy

Don’t Bother with it.. No seriously. I’ve already purchased it because I was just after something new but I would not recommend it to anyone else after playing in the Beta this Weekend. Come release I’ll probably play it for a little while but I don’t see that being for very long, I’m likely to not even hit the cap.

Final Fantasy is the epitome of whats wrong with the MMO industry. It has this wonderful pretty coating, the character creation is nice, the graphical quality is rather high, the Environments are gorgeous, and the music is absolutely entrancing. There are even many great mechanics that you may not notice like housing, inn use, and even a fully fleshed out day and night with moon cycles that can affect certain in-game things but don’t be fooled as once you get past that you realise just how terrible and mind-numbing the entire experience is.

I am truly amazed that this is a reboot of a product that was somehow worse as even though it’s been in development again for many years its honestly like the last 5 years of mmo developments never happened. The combat is your basic hit trading, tank and spank style that WoW popularised many eons ago. There is no improvement to this.. none at all, in fact it feels like a downgrade to wow as at least they threw in a heap of skills for you to use. As a Conjurer I was using one skill to kill mobs for all ten levels, I could have used a couple more but they honestly weren’t needed. Just pew pew and watch for the occasional cast on the mobs or aoe. Maybe it’s exciting for a new mmo player, or even a fan of Final fantasy but to a mmo vet it is just boring… so very boring.

YAAAAAAAWN

YAAAAAAAWN

The Questing is the same you might get anywhere else but without any of the interesting iteration that may make it enjoyable. The way the quests are set up seem rather frustrating too as you will be having to constantly turn in quests at another area as well as changing the area where you pick up and complete quests only after a few quests. Jumping back and forth between zones does get rather tiring, there is a waypoint teleporting system that could make it easier but it is very badly planned and signed. I get what they were trying to do, having the zones contain different levels of monsters in particular areas means you have many higher level characters questing around the newbs to give help and advice.. it’s also nice to see some of the amazing armors they are wearing (and they do look nice). I even liked how I could take a peek rather easily at these higher level areas environments and monsters but it creates a very fragmented experience. If you’re creating a Themepark at least make it easy for people to find the rides.

Oh and the speech bubbles..wow. There is just so many of them all the time containing inconsequential bits of dialogue. I prefer a more streamlined experience where I can pick up quests and then just go about my business. I don’t want to be spending minutes picking these quests up. Now I’m not averse to quest dialogue and story, I will take my time to devour it all but only if it is interesting and most of what I read was not. Just give me a big wall of text and be done with it please as this is not meant to be a…. haha, I was about to say a console experience but it really is. I’ve played single player games on PC that have suffered from bad porting, now I’ve played an MMO that’s suffered as well.

The gathering, collection and interaction system in this game is god awful as well. It uses that old style select and click method but it is very unresponsive, it takes many clicks for it to respond.. or maybe that was just input lag. I thought a use key was pretty much an improvement to usability that is a standard to MMO’s now.. apparently not. Apparently they’ve been living under a rock for all these years and have neither heard or played many of the other MMO’s that have released and this is one mechanic where that is very obvious.
ffxiv

If I want active combat I’ll go to Tera. If I want a better questing experience I’ll play GW2. If I want interesting story I play (and wait) for TSW quests, and if I want a refined theme park experience I’ll play Rfit. Final Fantasy XIV adds absolutely nothing to the genre… it might have been good if it released many many years ago but now it looks and plays like a dinosaur. Now it can be ok. Getting into that rhythm of mindless killing again and ticking off everything in the checkbox is actually rather relaxing. I went from point to point to point, killing and collecting for hours but it wasn’t an enjoyable… it was more familiar and calming in its repetition. In this day and age that is not something that gives me hope for the games future though and being purty isn’t enough.

*Note* First impressions are exactly that. I may have missed many things and I haven’t even seen what end game amounts too, it may be awesomely amazing. What I expereinced was not.

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19 thoughts on “First Impressions of Final Fantasy

  1. That’s so interesting! All the things you liked about FFXIV (the graphics, music, environment etc) I loved but all the things you hated I loved too! Almost every single thing you listed as a negative would be on my list of positives. I’m starved for a good old-school MMO experience with traditional questing and this offers just that.

    It’s funny you should hold up Rift as an example of a refined theme-park experience, too – I’ve been playing it again and trying to like it but I just can’t. It’s grim, gritty and dour, the quests are perfunctory and written with all the verve of a refrigerator manual and the UI is unspeakably annoying. Whereas the UI in FFXIV is an actual pleasure to use. I love the way you have to physically hand the quest items to the NPCs, for example – it’s so long since a game required that and it’s something I’ve always loved doing.

    Shame I hadn’t read your impressions before I wrote my own this morning or I would have done a whole comparison thing based on our very different reactions.

    • I am with you Bhag on wanting an old school MMO again. All of this action combat, instant gratification, and ‘PvP-first because we don’t feel like paying any attention to the evolution of boss design for the last decade’ focusing have really started to wear me down.

      That doesn’t mean we can’t pay attention to the refinements that have been made in the genre nor that we need to make it purposefully clunky and difficult for the sake of it.

      I haven’t played FFXIV yet, but I am still mildly curious, somewhat excited, and hesitantly optimistic.

      • I’m in the same boat as you two. The jury is out as to whether there are enough other folks like us to float this game at this time, however. I’m being cautious about getting too excited, but I’ve already pre-ordered and would be happy with just a functional western population sticking with it, if nothing else.

      • Action combat Woooo! Hey hey, don’t you be bad mouthing da PvP, more coordination and strategy than you think sometimes… Even in gw2.

        Action combat gas come with a price though, it has caused our games to become more simplistic but it’s not entirely to blame.

        I would like a more serious game as well: challenging, in depth, rewarding (in a sense of earning it), immersive. Final Fantasy might be the immersive but the others are still in question.

      • I just don’t understand why people dislike traditional MMO combat. My main issue with WoW is that after streamlining it so much, it became less fun.

        I think good ole hotkeys and cooldowns works great, especially if you add some more depth to it (bring threat back, don’t be afraid of non-healer, pure support classes, etc.).

      • There is nothing wrong with the traditional combat, I enjoyed Tera immensely even though it was hotkeys, cooldowns and animation locks. Even RIft was great. the difference between them and my experience with FF was amount of challenge. Nothing in the 15 levels i did required any thought, in all likelihood it gets better later on.

        That is a starter zone and expereince and a guildy is telling me you will have hotbars full of skills later on and the dungeons are ok but will the challenge be there. If I have to face tank 50 levels of mobs to get to the apparent good stuff I don’t think i could be bothered

        Perhaps I’m just spoilt by recent mmo’s

    • I would love an old school experience too and traditional questing doesn’t bother me either. I levelled rather happily in Tera, but it had a decent combat system which makes a huge difference for me. The mobs I have have some very basic mechanics although from what I read I never made it out if the starter zone sooo….

      It all just felt way too static, this might be because I’m a PvP addict which is a more active way to play. I’m not entirely against it and I’m guessing once you gain your secondary profession it becomes a lot more interesting.

      The aesthetic of rift is a bit of a turn off but the really did improve the whole leveling ride. There are a lot of different activities and with level scaling it offers a bit of replayability. Just like FF it isn’t for everyone though.

  2. Everything about it felt slow. Slow to get into questing, slow to get to the point when interacting with NPCS, slow to even hand in freakin’ gathering quests because of that silly drag and drop thing they’ve got happening. I’ll soldier on through the next beta weekends, but as of yet I am not going to buy the game for the reasons you mention. It makes me a sad panda 😦

    • It is just sooooo sloooow but in silly little ways that just annoy you. Things that should have been polished enough to give better useability.

      It makes me sad too as it does have many things I really like.

  3. Oh finally…someone listed all the negative, horrible aspects I hated in the beta so I don’t have to. the exposition chat windows crit me for 500k from the very start. quest design is so lazy, it boggles the mind they would dare this in 2013. overall functionality is slow and cluttery (“you sure you want to? really sure? hey, here’s a long list to scroll down, good luck”). as for combat – it is still slow and formulaic (also it did not appear to let you share mission mobs?). if doing “a bit better than before” was the goal they probably achieved that but RR feels and plays like an old game and is nowhere on par with current western titles. a shame.

    • Yes those chat bubble.. Give me nightmares. I can understand having them on a handhold or even for a console game but on a pc it’s rage inducing. Waste the time of a gamer and beware.

      It is weird that the mission mobs can’t be shared but at least it doesn’t matter if others help. They just have to die usually and doesn’t matter who tags them.

      I didn’t realise just how much of a difference this modern day functionality has but it’s really unsettling not having it here.

      • The chat bubbles and the quest interface are two of the things I particularly liked. I always read all quest text and NPC dialog on my first run through (and often on many subsequent runs) so I appreciate clear, good-sized text in a readable font on a plain background. Given how much quest text and NPC dialog developers put into almost all MMOs it’s surprising how poor many are at providing even two out of three of these essential basics. The FFXIV dialog windows let me proceed at a pace that suits me although from the comments above it obviously isn’t a pace that suits everyone. They probably should introduce one of those tl:dr buttons that some MMOs use so you can skip through the conversations and get to the bit that just tells you what you have to do, but really the fact that they haven’t done so suggests the game is more likely to go in a direction I find sympathy with. All the dialog I saw was well-worth taking the time to read, too.

        I like to have the fullest control over use of items in general and over inventory management in particular. I don’t like auto-looting or auto-sorting, I prefer to turn my own quest pages in my own time and I like to pick up and turn in my own quest items. I still like the original Everquest quest turn-in system, where you selected the item from your bag with the cursor and dragged it onto the NPC. That felt more like actually handing it in than any other system since, although it was prone to unfortunate mistakes. The current FFXIV version seems like a very good compromise between Everquest authenticity and necessary avoidance of wasted customer service time.

  4. My thoughts closely mirror those of Bhagpuss. Maybe I’ve given up hope for much innovation or just not as bothered by not adhering to the status quo. I quite enjoyed my time in beta and am looking forward to Phase 4. It feels very polished in the current state. It also “feels” like a Final Fantasy game which I like. I see the merging of console and PC games and MMOs in particular as a good thing.

    • It certainly does feel like a Final Fantasy game, to be honest though I’ve never really liked any of them (at all) and perhaps that is the problem.

      Innovation for the sake of innovation is never a good thing either, but being oblivious to the innovations that improve general functionality is just bad design.

      The merging can be a good thing but the experience needs to be tailored for each. Having a consolised control screen and menu system is extremely frustrating and will usually produce a certain amount of rage from pc gamers. Skyrim is a decent example of that. I’m guessing it would be the same if a console control scheme was ported to consoles… it just wouldn’t be as functional.

      I like the shared servers though as that is going to improve mmo’s dramatically. It is a huge market that the mmo genre has been missing out on.

  5. I’ve yet to see any port of an Asian MMO that fit the style of what a western audience wants. Some have degrees of success, but always with caveats.

    This might not be a port, but it is being developed by a Japanese studio – and they have different normative thinking. They are likely mentally comparing this to Perfect World and TERA and cheering on how it improves on things in that they dislike that we might never notice.

    That’s a guess. I could be totally wrong. But I do see a disconnect there. Western MMOs tend to not quite hit the mark with the Asian audience, and Asian MMOs tend to not quite hit the mark in the west.

    • I don;t really know if it is an issue in translation.. a lot of very actiony mmo’s are coming out of asia right now and in fact many of the asian mmo’s seem far more innovative. I think it had, and has more to do with the culture of the company. They produce very.. hmmm.. consistent games (read boring =p) with a certain style.

      In the past there hasn’t been much crossover of interest in the different demographics but I think that could change in the future.

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