Thursday, September 16, 2010

First Impressions of Final Fantasy XIV from a FFXI player

     Final Fantasy XIV is now in open beta, and I'm happy to be a part of it.  It's a long awaited game for myself loving Final Fantasy XI, so I decided to give FFXIV an open mind.  However many things are upsetting, and some you would think would be easy to get over, but over time show their evil faces.  I joined the Selbina server thinking many FFXI players would be there, and be of help, perhaps that was half true.
This next section may contain Spoilers if anyone wants to play the game with a clear slate.
 Starting the game from the mindset of a FFXI player this is bascially the feel of starting a game:

     You start making your character and you are suprised how many options you're now given, however you notice most of the 'new' races are the old races with small modifications.  Like the Galka have no tails, and instead of 'tarutaru' there is another type of infant looking adult choice.  You let that slide seeing how most  Final Fantasys throw around names and terms, and then see how there are other choices for alliances - you have no idea what any of it means but think the stats help you, and choose according to those.  Then it hits ya... Classes.

     Who named the classes?!  It's the worst choices of names and starter jobs for anyone who wanted to pick their favorite class.  Basically the only guys you can be sure on are, Pulgist which you're pretty sure is Monk, and Archer which you're pretty sure is ranger.  But the other's are pretty out there, maybe the warrior is the one with the blade, but wait, does that marauder have a giant axe?! and look a lancer, lost his dragon.  Poor bloke.  Heavens forbid you want to be a mage, there are only two choices, and from their names you're not sure who's the blm and who's the whm... but you look at weapons and then decern from the staff/wand who is who.  But wait, there are non-combative classes / professions?!  Well you can start your character off as a fisherman, and have absolutely no way to try to defend yourself (but you don't know that yet, and you want a real class so you don't even consider the profession classes at this time, you'll regret doing that later.) So you pick the mage with the wand the THM (I'm not spelling it out, it's ugly).

     Glad that's over, then you choose a birthdate and a god, I guess these things align you with the overall clock time and have an effect on your luck and elemantal allignmants.  Then you pick a City, and choose the particular one for your situation.  I was an elf archer, so I choose the woodlands which reminded me of San d'oria. But we choose THM this time lets say mithra.  Then the serverlist and you're in... You take a breath to enjoy the moment as you are to embark into a journey once again ;)

     Cutscene starts, you find yourself in amazement of the new ingame graphics, character voices, and facial animations that were not in FFXI.  You start to see the detail and work into the lore they're putting into this... then you are randomly placed in the footsteps of a hero, being at the wrong place at the right time.  There is no explaination of how you got there, who owns the land, nor why you're soo ignorant to everything for have started his life wandering around... but you overlook this and are happy to see your first battle.  Then are Cutscened to town... This is where your first dose of FFXIV is...

     You're released into town, and you feel your lack of restrictions enpower you.  You stumble across some vital controls for a bit while you realise how to interact with objects.  You HAVE to open your menu.  No more clicking something then checking them from a genious submenu... There is no sub for the Big Menu... However you notice the menu options are about half as abundant, and about half as complex.  So you feel confident enough to walk out and kill something... You reach the gate, and what's this? You're teleported back to where you started... you see "You can not leave this instance..."

     Instance? I'm not as free as I first anticipated, but you see other players, but you stay and notice so you go back into town and teleport again!  Ahh trapped, ok you must talk to the NPCs to leave, got it, then you continue to the Cutscene inside the bar/hostle. You figure this is where you're let free, and sure enough you're givin your first mission to head somewhere and start seeing people load around you causing some significant lag.  This is it, you know it, and start heading to the marked place on your map.

    Somewhere about this time you try to communicate, only to find few if almost None of your previous commandlines work.  /cm is nolonger functional, it's /chatmode ... and basically the only other commandlines are emotes. 

     You get to the spot on map, and you see a crystal camp.  You walk on the way to the crystal camp, and you spot a mob! Hurray hurrah, my first kill... lets see Target, yep attack... attack.... ATTACK!!! WTF?!  It won't attack, hmm maybe this person comming my way from the distance will help me...  As you try to formuate a resonable request for help, the bloke comes by and kills your target creature... Ok so you walk to the new one, and same.. Can't attack...?
Here you're expected to learn how the system works.  Quests are given to you as cards, called Leves.  Unless you have a card and do a quest, you'll not be too assured EXP.  Kinda in the same way where you hit level 10 and then if you don't go to the dunes, you're probrobly skilling up or wasting time, or having fun.   However in FFXI you were given mobs to fight, and you were able to fight them. Not the case in FFXIV. 
Here you have to 'pre-order' your monsters, by iniating a quest.  For example, You can be out and find a mob that is truly out and on it's own and attackable.  You can kill these as they spawn, but you will encounter other mobs spawning, that are other people's mission mobs.  They aren't color coated to indicate they're quest mobs for somone, so you walk across the map to find the ONE monster who's spawned only to find out it's not attackable because it belongs to somone on a quest.  So only half the mobs you encounter you will ever be able to fight.  I don't mind being able to see other people's mobs as long as I can tell they're useless to attack.  Also other people's mobs are the same color as the mobs you attack so you can't tell the difference either...

     But you finally do get your own mob, and you attack it, but unlike FFXI there is no more auto attack system, every simple / advanced attack has to be done manually and somwhat like an active battle system of FFXII.  So you struggle a bit with timing your attacks and getting any magic off without canceling.  Defeat the foe, and then you're low on HP....  So rest right? Nope now you just put your weapon away and heal up.  This has been very improved you can now heal while walking, but at a slower pace.

     At the Crystal Camp you get your mission, see you have 30 mins to do it, so you get to it quickly and see how you need to kill the quest creature, and how other's can't attack them.  Thats about the first few hours right there...

    Then the next hours are spent figuring out what to do in storyline, and what you need to do to aquire more quest levels (cards) which is go back to the hostle and get them from the commisioner.

     There are many things you will miss from FFXI, but there are improvements to the system.  Does the good out weigh the bad?

Good things:
*Waay less zones, citys and the fighting areas are zoneless. ^^
*Shiney graphics
*Facial Animations
*Your Stat points can be allocated any way you like.
*IME support regardless of region.
*Windowed support (still crashes in fullscreen like FFXI tho)

Bad things:
*No previous Command lines...
*The jobs are few, and named poorly.
*The quest system seems of repetative nature.
*The lore of the land seems under developed.
*The time it takes to realize what to do after death is rediculous.
*Switching weapons switches your job, or so I hear, there is no easy way to switch jobs, so it's one step away from WoW.
*Friend's list is one way... Stalkers anyone?
*The blacklist doesn't work properly (perhaps because of beta) gil sellers in beta btw - Expect a Great economy, and by great I mean j/k.

I'm sure many things will change as it goes along, but the whole convention feels all messed up, and needs a lot of work.  When FFXI came out it felt like Final Fantasy.  This feels like Crystal Chronicals >_>

1 comment:

  1. Seriously, i've been playing Final Fantasy since Final Fantasy 1 and this game is shit compared to the first, oh sure the graphics are nice and shiny, but this is not final fantasy this is final shit, and by final shit i mean it's gonna be the final work's by square enix of final fantasy to kill the final fantasy franchise, remake the WHOLE game you guys, or this shit will eat itself a hole so big you'll never be able to crawl yourselves out of.

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