It’s always strange when you have a blog about MMOs and you sometimes want to write about complains you have about games that you quite like otherwise. Maybe I’m alone in this, but I feel as though if I criticize, I tarnish whatever current recommendation vibe I might be throwing out by playing a particular title.
I hope that’s not the case, that readers understand that no matter how much you enjoy a game, there are always things that bug you. And writing about experiences, both good and bad, are part of blogging — a yin-yang of honesty.
Last night I felt a little gripey, probably not helped by the onset of sickness, so I started compiling a list of six things that kind of bug me about FFXIV even as I’m having a great time. Don’t mind me as I vent!
(1) No housing for you!
It’s almost like this game is purposefully cruel by making low-level players go on a quest to check out the housing neighborhoods full of mansions that they won’t be able to afford for hundreds more hours. Hey, I’m glad FFXIV has housing at all, but it’s ridiculous how expensive and hard to obtain it is. Coming from WildStar and RIFT, which both make housing a great and affordable part of the early game experience, this feels elitist and poorly planned. And no, I don’t want my own free company room — I want my own little cottage, darn it.
(2) No port to Vesper Bay
As part of the main storyline, you’ll be visiting Vesper Bay and the HQ of the Seven Scions practically every third quest. You know what Vesper Bay doesn’t have? Any really quick way to port there. There’s no crystal shard, so you either have to take a boat over from Limsa Lominsa or port to Horizons and ride over from there. Over and over and over and over again. What were the devs thinking?
(3) Combat chocobos: great idea, half-hearted implementation
I turned 30 a couple of levels ago (finally!) and instantly went to go get the quest so I could turn my mount into a combat partner. I think it’s a really neat idea and it turns everyone into a pet class if so desired. But my excitement was soon tinged by disappointment when I realized that I couldn’t queue up for dungeons with the bird out as a pet (since the pet counts as a party member instead of a, y’know, pet for some stupid reason). Making me choose between queuing for party stuff and being able to level up my pet through combat is terrible design.
(4) Can’t pause levequests
Queuing up for dungeon or guildhest roulettes can take a little while as DPS, so naturally you want to be doing other things in the meanwhile. But FFXIV is particularly unforgiving when it comes to anything interfering with that. If I’m in a long cutscene and my queue comes up and then I run out the clock on that minute without ever seeing it? Tough luck for me; I have to re-queue. And if I’m working on a levequest and the queue pops? Then I have to decide whether I fail the levequest (since it’s timed and can’t pause progress) or kill the queue. I shouldn’t HAVE to decide or be punished for these things, especially when all I’m trying to do is group up in an MMO.
(5) Tonal shifts
The story so far is… adequate. Sometimes good, sometimes bland, but it’s keeping my attention and isn’t confusing. I’m not seeing this amazing narrative that some rave about, but hey, maybe that comes later. What I have seen, however, are some bizarre shifts in tone.
I guess part of the issue I have here is that Final Fantasy is somewhat culturally alien and not written for a western audience. But when it projects cuteness and whimsy and an assortment of world leaders who are either children or supermodels… then casually tosses in things like a disillusioned adventurer carrying around the head of her leader in a bag or mentioning that this girl over here was raped, I find myself doing mental whiplash. I’m not saying these things can’t be part of a story, but FFXIV does such a great job portraying a sunshiny world that I can’t quite buy into the characters telling me about all of the suffering, etc.
Again, coming from other MMOs that have learned to make in-game mail far more accessible, it’s annoying that FFXIV requires me to hunt down a delivery Moogle if I want to get my Amazon Prime packages. There are a lot of these little “old school” elements in the game that make me wonder sometimes if the devs have played MMOs over the past five years.