Skip to main content

FFXIV November Megapatch Mini-Pression

Final Fantasy XIV is attempting to recover the lost ground of its largely lackluster release by releasing a couple of hefty megapatches while extending the free trial a couple months.   Having given the November Megapatch a spin, I see it was mostly Graphical User Interface related.

The GUI is your portal into the game, and with its optimization the game feels much more accessible.  For example:
  • It now seems to present a lot more information up front rather than forcing you to go a screen or two further to find it.  
  • Many unnecessary pop-up confirmation prompts have been removed.
  • Customization is easier as well: I was able quickly reorganize the central GUI controls to feel more compact and present information where I wanted it. 
  • The GUI feels a lot quicker and more responsive in most places - there's still a necessity for server updates but the impact is greatly mitigated now.
  • You can actually autosort your inventory (and retainer's inventory) into categories now!
To play Final Fantasy XIV now, it feels very much as though a formidable barrier between me and the game has been obliterated.  However, the GUI is only skin deep.  I feel more keenly than ever now what is in the game is lacking, what turned me off from the game in the first place, is the content, or rather the lack thereof.

Right now, the whole of the player's available activities could be summed up like this:
  • Perform main quests at combat job rank 1, 10, 15, 20.  Different quests available for different cities of origin, but that requires starting new characters, and each character carries an expense of time and money.
  • As you earn combat job ranks through combat with monsters, you're going to need to upgrade your equipment.
    • You can craft your own equipment, which involves dabbling with the rather extensive player economy.  The greater bulk of existing content can be found here, as there's over 2500 things to craft, contrast against a rough guess of 75 different kinds of attackable mobs in the game (allowing for upgraded versions of the same mob) and it's clear that there's a ton more crafting content than adventuring content.
    • You can buy equipment from other players, which mostly comes from earning gil, which mostly comes from performing Guildleves or selling what you find.
  • Guildleves are likely to be your main activity.
    • You can do 8 "local" guildleves every 36 hours.  These involve crafting something.
    • You can do 8 "regional" guildleves every 36 hours.  These involve either collecting resources or defeating monsters.
    • Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of variety to the guildleves, and so you will be repeating this same task often.
  • Behests are started at the top of every real life hour in camps and up to 15 players (a full party in FFXIV) can participate.  This is basically a hunting guildleve involving a reasonably large number of mobs followed by a stronger "boss" encounter.
  • Outside of that, you can certainly just go out and hunt stuff, but there's no real context to it.
The main trouble is that the only genuinely interesting thing to do in Final Fantasy XIV is the main quests because this is the only part of the game that really tells a story.  The narrative contrast between this and the other activities is so great that these sub-activities feel like artificial and unnecessary toil.

Unfortunately, the pacing to reach the narrative content of the game is way off. It will take you many, many hours (perhaps days or weeks) to attain the necessary combat ranks to unlock the next main quest.  Each leg of the main quest itself can be resolved very quickly, in a matter of an hour or two.  So, for the most part, you're left with the activities in Final Fantasy XIV that leave it feeling like a story-barren grind.

The December mega-patch should help as it promises to introduce more quests (including "class" quests) and guildleves.  However, time will tell if this will really inject adequate soul into the game.


Popular posts from this blog

Resonant Induction Really Grinds My Gears... In A Good Way

From about 2pm yesterday until 8pm today, I've been dabbling with my latest custom mod mix for Minecraft 1.6.4, which is this time very much Universal Electricity focused.
Aside from the usual GUI enhancers and Somnia, the primary contenders in this mix were:
Calclavia Core - Of course: this is the base of the Universal Electricity system.Resonant Induction - This seems to be largely focused on increasingly more advanced methods of refining ores divided across 4 ages of technological progression.  It also includes some really cool things such as assembly lines.  I'll primarily be talking about just a few blocks out of this mod today.Atomic Science - A mod dedicated to generating more of those lovely universal electricity volts via the power of splitting the atom.  Build your own nuclear reactor!  Deal with nuclear meltdowns!  You maniac!ICBM - A mod dedicated to generating more destruction using those lovely universal electricity volts (and more than a little gunpowder), it cer…

Empyrion Vrs Space Engineers: A Different Kind Of Space Race

In my quest for more compelling virtual worlds, I have been watching Empyrion: Galactic Survival a lot this bizarro weekend, mostly via the Angry Joe Show twitch stream.  What I have concluded from my observations is Empyrion is following in Space Engineers' shadow, but it is nevertheless threatening the elder game due to a greater feature set (the modding scene notwithstanding).

Empyrion is made in Unity, whereas Space Engineers is built on a custom engine.  While this does put Empyrion at a disadvantage when it comes to conceptual flexibility, its developers nevertheless have a substantial advantage when it comes to adding features due to a savings of time spent that would have gone into developing their own engine.  Examples include:
Planets.  Empyrion already has planets and space to explore between them, whereas in Space Engineers planets are in the works but still awhile away (so you just have asteroid fields to scavenge).Enemies.  Space Engineers' survival mode boasts onl…

Greasing The Grind: Adding Lasting Appeal To Virtual World Sandboxes

Game design, being about entertainment, is not as much science as art.  We're coming up with interesting things that the human mind likes to chew on that "taste" good to it.  Different people find different things, "Fun," and a game designer is tasked with coming up with fun, appealing things.  As pertains to virtual world sandboxes, I identified three of them.

Challenge Appeal.

Dwarf Fortress and Fortresscraft Evolved have the same end game appeal preservation mechanic: wealth equals threat.  The more money your Dwarf Fortress is worth, the bigger the baddies who will come for you, including a bunch of snobby useless nobles who do nothing but push dwarves around and eat.  The more energy you make in Fortresscraft Evolved, the more and bigger bugs come to shut down your base.  Rimworld does something a little different based off of which AI Storyteller you choose, but it generally adds time to your wealth accumulation when deciding what kind of threats to throw a…