It makes me happy in an evil way when I think of all the slavering Final Fantasy fanpeople who find this page via some random suggestion or Google, only to get nothing but the above picture.  Not that I’m anti-Final Fantasy.  I love Final Fantasy.  So much so that I’ve spent insane chuncks of time helping out with playtest, design, and actual playtime in what I consider (humbly of course) to be the best PnP RPG available for it.

But to create an FF MMO you have to utilize LCD planning (lowest common denominator).   That is, you have to appeal to what the largest portion of your fanbase wants.  Unfortunately, I’m not the average Final Fantasy fan, and as a result, most of what gets included in the MMO’s (XI and now this one) is the parts of FF that I’m either not all that interested in, or just plain don’t like.

The “Armory System” is a great example.  The best Final Fantasy games have been the ones that allowed you to explore multiple classes and mix and match options  (FFV, FFVI, FF Tactics) or at least let you design your own main character (FFI).   (You know, like RPG’s are supposed to do.  But I digress.) On the surface, FFXIV lets you do that.  But it funnels and channels you into a system thats even more restrictive than your standard MMO.   In any other MMO, my mage can use a staff, a wand, a dagger, etc.  Here I can use (most of) those things, but they limit what types of magic I can use as a result.

Let’s recite one of the (my?) golden rules of game design:

Giving players less options is never a good thing.  It is a step backwards, not step forwards.

Don’t believe me?  Ask the makers of Alganon, Warhammer Online, Might & Magic IX , Dungeons & Dragons 4E, Warlords IV, Command & Conquer 4…


2 thoughts on “FFXIV Beta!

  1. I just gotta say that is an awesome pic. Never was interested in FF games until FFXIII with Lightning and her Gunblade. Haven’t played it though. Few games will I pay $50 for. Anyway, I totally agree that video game RPGs are too restrictive in character customization.

  2. The cynic in me says this is exactly what Square Enix was going for; that they don’t want massive numbers of “WoW-Tourists” (TM SynCaine) crashing the party (or servers, for that matter). Sure, the box sales would be nice, but the retention of players and not having to overextend for servers that would ultimately end up vacant (hello, AION!) might balance out. I think SE is banking on getting the current FFXI playerbase + a large portion of the ‘retired’ population (i.e. me) to come back to an improved version of the original. And it’s going to work, at least in my case. Regardless of all the negative press, I know going into it fully what to expect having played FFXI for years. I have a GamePad for my PC and I’ll be happy to use it – most of the complaints stem from the lack of a hardware mouse from what I’ve seen (which has apparently been discovered in the code, interestingly enough).

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