Six gripes I have with FFXIV right now

ppeves

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.

(6) Mail

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.

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10 thoughts on “Six gripes I have with FFXIV right now

  1. dibblethewrecker January 27, 2016 / 9:53 am

    “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”

    You should have played the original FFXIV!

  2. pkudude99 January 27, 2016 / 11:26 am

    1 — Agreed. I don’t actually care about housing, but I can completely agree that it could and should have been done better.

    2 — Agreed. The devs work it into the story as you approach 50 and give it as a lore reason and as a reason for the Scions to move to a location that actually has a crystal. Sorry for the minor spoiler there.

    3 — Agreed. A very common complaint — they’ve said they’re working on it to at least allow you to queue up, though you’d have to dismiss it before you could actually join the duty. That said… all the quests are balanced around you NOT having it, so I don’t find it onerous to just put it away while I’m queued up for something. I’ll admit to missing it — I’ve got mine leveled up pretty far so it does nice damage *and* heals me, which makes a lot of fights a lot easier, but I’ve learned also to not rely on always being able to have it.

    4 — Agreed. I’ve learned to just work around it. Not do a leve quest when queued up, or just accept that I will have to abandon it if the queue pops. I also stopped doing any story quests while queued up as well so that I wouldn’t risk losing my queue pop during a cutscene. A bit annoying, but easily worked around, IMO.

    5 — TBH, I’ve only once ever cared about story in any MMO — during the Greenshade zone in ESO. I was actually jonesing to do the next quest to find out what would happen. But not even SWTOR or TSW’s stories made me care. In FFXIV, it’s just been a hook to help keep a sense of progression in addition to leveling for me. Kinda nice to have it in there for “shared experience” with others playing I suppose, but otherwise nto a big deal to me. That said… I laughed my butt off during the “Hildabrand” stories that you can do after hitting level 50. I can’t say I “cared” about them, but they were funny.

    6 — Partially agree. I understand the argument for being able to open mail at any time for convenience — it’s a game, after all….. But, I also kinda like that mail is only to be found in certain locations. Makes the world feel slightly more realistic to me. I know… fantasy game, not realistic, but for that elusive “immersion” I feel like it needs some callbacks to reality. I have to check my mailbox in real life, so having to mundanely check my mailbox in the game is that slight hook that makes me not quite to need to suspend my disbelief so far.

  3. Syp January 27, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    Honestly, I should’ve added “no cosmetic system for you until level 50!” to the list as well. That’s more irritating than the mail.

  4. bhagpuss January 27, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    That list is just the tip of a very large iceberg as far as I remember. FFXIV has a lot of things going for it, from great design to intelligent writing to a fantastic bestiary but it has far more obstacles, awkwardnesses and sheer pains in the neck. I wouldn’t get so irritated every time I read about the game if it was a bad game to begin with – it just could be SO much better if it wasn’t run in such a blinkered, stubborn pedantic fashion by people who, as you so rightly observe, don’t seem to have played an MMO made in the last five years.

    Yes, it has been very successful and I’m sure Square are pretty pleased with themselves for turning disaster into profit. If they’d address the kind of ease-of-use and comfort issues you highlight, though, it could quite easily knock WoW off its perch.

  5. Palamah January 27, 2016 / 1:11 pm

    I pretty much agree with all of these points (maybe except housing, which I personally generally don’t care about). But, there’s one thing about FFXIV that I hate more than anything else – forced dungeon grouping in order to unlock unrelated content.

    As someone who usually can only play for less than an hour, and infrequently as well, being forced to wait in the dungeon finder for >15 minutes to find a group (or find enough guildies online at the odd hours I generally play at) generally means I don’t have enought time to complete one of FFXIV’s rather long dungeons just so I can move the story along and actually unlock more content!

    Don’t get me wrong, I happen to think that FFXIV dungeons are actually very well designed, and when I get in I usually have a good time. But, I don’t like that I become restricted in what I can do as a sub-50 just because I didn’t run a single dungeon once.

    This is a very odd thing to see in this day and age of MMOs, and it frequently means that I badly out-level the content by the time I can actually find time to do a dungeon – at one point I was 13 levels higher than the recommended dungeon level, just because I couldn’t find enough time to sit in a queue and complete the dungeon quest.

    Since I didn’t feel like I was progressing with the main quest (as fairly bland as the lower levels seem to be) and wasn’t unlocking content easily, this actually made me leave FFXIV for other games. Instilling a sense of character progression in your playerbase has to be a driving force in long-form games like MMOs after all, otherwise how do you convince your players to choose your game over the hundreds of others out there?

  6. pkudude99 January 27, 2016 / 3:02 pm

    FWIW, on the chocobo, after you get it to level 4 or 5 the amount of xp you get from your combat kills toward leveling it vs how much it needs is a pittance — you actually level it up with the challenge log. 2 challenges per week, 1st gives 5% of the xp it needs for a level, and the 2nd gives it another 10%, so the challenge logs give 15% a week, meaning… about 6 weeks per level on it.

    This can also be sped up by stabling it and feeding it a krakka root (though your 1st 10 feeds should be a sylkis bud to make that its “favorite food” so that you can give it a nice attack buff when you use it so it does more damage) and that gives it 1% xp and can be done every hour. Once you get the thing to level 10 it starts being a little less than 1% — currently I need 3 million xp for its next level and a training reward for it gives about 18,000 XP, so.. more than .5%, but definitely less than 1%. Anyway…. it feels like I get a level every 4-5 weeks on my ‘bo anymore. 16 down, 4 to go……

    And I completely agree that level-locking cosmetic gear behind level 50 is just plain dumb. Especially since after level 50 the gear tends to look quite nice so you don’t really want to glamour it anymore.

  7. Aywren January 27, 2016 / 4:08 pm

    I agree with many of these points, too. FFXIV housing was a big letdown for me when they finally revealed how they were going to release it. I remember writing a blog post about my displeasure. They keep saying changes are coming… but they really need to drop the prices of housing and separate housing between individuals and FCs. Like it always should have been.

    I have a lot of hope for changes to the chocobo system. It’s come a LONG way since launch. In the early days you couldn’t summon a mount without dismissing your chocobo first = running all over the place on foot for as long as you wanted your chocobo out. Then, they fixed that, but the only mount you could summon was your chocobo = all other mounts were useless as long as you wanted your chocobo out. Then they fixed that a few patches ago, so now you can ride any mount even when you have your chocobo summoned. That was an exciting day!

    They are making progress, so I hope the next thing they’ll tackle is letting us queue up with chocobos out. People are also asking to allow for chocobos in dungeons, but I don’t know how likely that is.

    Story ramps up significantly the further you get. Once you finish the original game’s Main Scenario Quests, there’s a period where in the first patch, it seems like the team didn’t know what in the world to do with story. But after that, it starts on a path that leads to Heavensward, which actually is very enjoyable.

    Mail doesn’t bother me much because I rarely get any. Since I tend to log out in towns for the bonus experience, I just check it before I head out to quest when I next log in.

    I also don’t get why cosmetics are locked to level 50. It was a feature introduced much further after launch, so maybe it was just easiest from a technology standpoint. Have no idea.

  8. iseu January 29, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    Yeah, I definitely agree on the tonal shifts point. It’s very jarring and fails at (what I assume is) the point of making the world feel more dangerous. I was hoping for a nice rivalry side story in one case, and instead get a semi-horror story. Which is very strange to me. The other similar complaint about the story is the feel of timing. It gets worse around lvl 50, the statement of urgency without any actual urgency. Quick there’s an emergency! Go there! Wait, Come back! We need you here because it’s too sensitive to tell you over link pearl: Get away from here! You don’t have time to talk about a decision, but you do have time to WALK all the way to the enemy base. I complain, but the story is fine if you ignore the …bizarre fake urgency.

    Also, as far as Vesper Bay is concerned: http://xivnomnom.tumblr.com/image/111061171282

  9. wolfyseyes January 29, 2016 / 9:48 pm

    The way this game does housing still remains an absolute sore spot for me. Nevermind that I can’t/won’t do the intense amount of grinding required to make crafting in this game profitable, the instancing of instances is the sort of maddening design idea that can only be described as Saturday morning cartoon villainy–not exactly a killer, but stupendously annoying.

  10. Chestnut (@ggchestnut) February 1, 2016 / 12:47 pm

    Having not reached level 50 yet, I feel you on the story tone. Some of it up to Haukke was interesting and enjoyable, but a lot of it felt fairly predictable: guy does something to screw place over, feels bad after, turns self in. Then, there’s one quest just before, I think, Garuda, that was tedious, and is a big reason why we’ve stepped back from the game some. The shift and the amount of time was kind of jarring! Having progressed farther past that, however, the story has started to get really good. I think it finally hit a stride and consistency at about level 45ish…

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