Have you ever experienced that feeling when you’re not THAT into the whole experience of something — a book, game, movie, etc. — but you press on because you want to see how it all turns out? That’s kind of me and FFXIV these days. That’s me and FFXIV most days, to be honest.
I know everyone and their game-playing grandma praises the Shadowbringers expansion as, like, the Best Final Fantasy Story Ever, but boy am I getting so tired of how honestly lame the MSQ is. I’m not feeling that charitable toward it, right now. Oh, the story is fine. Sometimes the story is very, very good. But how it’s told has me waving my arms and shouting, “This? This is what you all have been praising as the best narrative delivery system ever? I don’t get it. I don’t think I ever will!”
I guess I’m tired of the slow-as-molasses pacing, the Scions who are by and large nice, bland people without much in the way of depth, the fact that my character always comes off as a clueless Straight-A student being dragged around by this cast’s C-students, absolutely no real agency in dialogue choices, vile heroes that reveal tragic backstories and now we’re supposed to root for them, and the lack of explanation about how Lord Hien has TWO sets of X scars.
Again, it’s not all bad. But it’s not, say, SWTOR or Secret World by any stretch of the imagination. What probably bugs me the most is how little you actually *do* in any of the MSQ. I’m too lazy to make a pie chart to represent this, but about 40% of your average MSQ is “go to this place,” 35% is “watch this cutscene where your character does nothing other than nod,” 15% is “find the one glowy thing on the landscape to click on,” and 10% is battling a couple of landscape mobs, doing a duty, or running a dungeon.
That’s it. Rinse and repeat for hundreds of hours.
Yet I do want to see Shadowbringers. There are characters, just a few of them, I honestly like a whole lot. But I don’t have a lot of hope that the MSQ is going to become any more interesting in how it functions.