Putting a bookmark in Final Fantasy XIV

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Needs more beard.

After, what, three-and-a-half months, I think I’m ready to put a bookmark in Final Fantasy XIV. I’m not burned out on it, not really, but I feel as though I’ve gotten my fill of it and that I was getting close to playing out of obligation rather than desire. That always sets off a yellow warning light in my head, so I’d rather be proactive (and save a little money) than push forward.

It’s a shame, too, because I’m not in a bad place at all. I found an absolutely terrific guild that made me feel quite welcome and probably contributed greatly to any conflicted feelings that I’m having right now. I was also almost through 2.55 content, which meant that I could soon roll my Mechinist and head into Heavensward stuff. And it’s not as though I was hating the game — I wouldn’t have played it for this long of a stretch if I did.

But as someone noted recently, I’m a guy who’s almost always on the move with MMOs. Sometimes my stays are long, sometimes short, but when it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on.

ff2

I want this quote on my tombstone.

It’s not hard to identify why my roots in FFXIV started to retract and pull up from its soil. I was frustrated that it took so long to play a class that I should’ve had access to as early as the other jobs, especially considering that I’d have to level the Mechanist from 30 anyway. So there was mild resentment all the way through the 2.x stuff that I was doing this to be able to play what I wanted.

But far more than that was the story. Yes — that much-lauded story that FFXIV fans can’t seem to help but bring up every third sentence. I think there’s a lot of acclaim to be given to the narrative, to be fair. You really do get a deep sense of these characters, their motivations, their journeys. I didn’t like every one of them (ahem, Minfilia), but I often found myself entertained and even occasionally moved. FFXIV takes its time to tell the story it wants without rushing players through with bite-sized text boxes.

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However, a little urgency and focus is needed with this game’s tale, at least through what I encountered. It takes far, far too long to get going or for anything interesting to happen. And even when it does, it gets so horribly repetitive that I started making up a FFXIV cutscene drinking game in my free time. Take a drink for every stoic nod, every nod at a nod, every time a character clenches a fist under a chin, every time you are recalled to Rising Sands/Vesper Bay, every time a new primal threat is mentioned, every time all of the Scions crowd into the room for a meeting, every time a Lalafell does a starfish gesture with all limbs, etc.

By the time I got to where I left off in the game, I realized — and I am not exaggerating here — that I was spending maybe one minute of actual play time to every four or so of cutscenes. Cutscenes that never met an editor, but just ran on and on, dredging up past conversations, making you listen to characters slowly get to the point, and — worst of all — making you click on every. Single. Chat. Box. That. Pops. Up.

FFXIV, you need an option to progress through cutscenes without the player’s constant prompts, especially when the scenes are fully voiced. I can’t imagine having to do this in TSW or SWTOR.

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Why are kids in charge of cities and nations again? I mean, they’re cute and all, but they really should be in kindergarten instead.

With some judicious editing, the story could’ve been a lot tighter and far more interesting. Again, there’s some GREAT beats along the way, particularly when the game stops trying to enact a one-room play in Minfilia’s office. But I got so tired of just bouncing from cutscene to cutscene with little to do between other than travel from one place to another to prompt the next cutscene. I know this will sound hypocritical when applied to other MMOs, but I felt so much more on rails here than I normally do in theme park games with a main storyline.

A guildie and I were talking about how we didn’t necessarily feel like being part of the Scions, yet nobody deigned to ask our characters. We would certainly opt out if we could, but instead we’re being forced to do the bidding of all of these characters who keep rewarding us with unnecessary praise and hero worship.

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This was the single greatest tome that I ever got in this game. The eyes moved and everything.

I don’t want to end my current FFXIV run sounding like I am chewing on nothing but sour grapes. But I felt like I needed to explain why my interest, if not snapped, then eroded below the threshold of wanting to keep a subscription up. It was a good few months and an interesting journey all around.

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For now, I’ll impart to you this good advice: Stay away from strange beams shooting out of heroes’ hands.

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5 thoughts on “Putting a bookmark in Final Fantasy XIV

  1. bhagpuss April 7, 2016 / 2:03 pm

    Well, you lasted longer than i thought you would and certainly longer than I did. I would second most of those negatives although I could add a fair few more. By far the main reason for not sticking with FFXIV for me, though, is covered entirely by your telling comment : “I felt so much more on rails here than I normally do in theme park games with a main storyline.”

    I’ve spent a decade and a half using supposedly theme-park MMOs as my personal sandboxes and I did my best to do the same in FFXIV but boy, was it heavy going. Like you, I felt the game had very clear ideas on what I should be doing, when and with whom and it wasn’t very interested in my feelings or opinions on the matter. It is by some measure the most paternalistic MMO I have ever played.

    I think that’s why it’s been so successful. There is a huge demographic waiting for a beautiful, polished MMO that never leaves players in the slightest doubt of what they should be doing, where they should be going and how they should be playing. The job and gear system give an excellent illusion of freedom of choice while not actually providing any, which is a recipe for success in many forms of entertainment.

    I much prefer a less polished, more ramshackle affair that leaves plenty of room between the theme park rides for wandering off and getting lost.

  2. pkudude99 April 7, 2016 / 2:03 pm

    You gave it the college try. I’m glad you liked what you did and sorry to see you go. For me, after I got hooked in the late 20’s I enjoyed it. I’ve never been one to care much about story in any MMO (not even SWTOR or TSW) so while I did scan the text as I clicked past it, I still just clicked through most scenes as quickly as I could read the text, ignoring voices, so for me it didn’t feel like it went all that slowly. And when I did it all again on my daughter’s character I hit esc and simply skipped it all. Took no time at all;-)

    I can see why it would be frustrating to want to play MCN but have it be gated behind getting through the vanilla game and getting all the way through 2.55 and into 3.0. That wasn’t an issue for me since I went into 2.55 as it came out, but for a newcomer like you.. yeah, I’d be annoyed too, really.

    I hope to see you back at some point, but if not… glad you tried it out, and thanks for that dungeon run back in the day 😉

  3. SynCaine April 7, 2016 / 11:37 pm

    To me FFXIV is the most ‘RPG’ of any MMORPG. The MMO parts are the shared world, the dungeons, and being in a guild, while everything else is the RPG part. If an MMO is going to be a themepark, it might as well be a good one, and FFXIV does just that IMO.

    As for the story, I think a large part is knowing FF tropes and enjoying them. I love the series as a whole, so a lot of the stuff in the cut scenes is stuff I’d expect from a FF game, nodding included.

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