Title: The "brick wall" theory and Final Fantasy XIV.
Posted: December 11, 2010 (12:39 AM)
When it comes to MMORPGs, there's a little something that I like to call my "brick wall" theory: when the game you're playing simply isn't fun anymore. For some games, it takes a while. I played Final Fantasy XI for a year and a half before the brick wall was hit. Other games, not so much: I tried out World of Warcraft to appease the masses who told me to "just give it a chance!" I got bored of it before reaching Lv. 80, and once I was there, I found the only thing to do was to keep repeating "raids" where the enemies required no strategy outside of remembering the ONE SPECIAL THING they do. How thrilling. The brick wall hit me fairly fast.
Final Fantasy XIV's brick wall only took a month. By then, I had done literally every available quest... several times. Rather than giving you a huge world populated by characters that you talk to in order to get quests, FFXIV is happy to give you a huge world populated by people you'll never have to speak to, then giving your quests out from a counter in the middle of town. Also, you can only do 8 quests per 32 hours, and they're all of the "make these items and deliver them" type, or "kill these enemies" type. The latter type conveniently tells you exactly where you need to go and even highlights the monsters as a big red blip on your map. The game was fun though. Killing lots of enemies for quests wasn't so bad because the battle system was actually enjoyable... For a while. Eventually though, the newness of it wore off, and as I became more inclined to the intricacies of the battle system, fighting was starting to get dull too. And unfortunately, unless I wanted to spend my time in the game crafting items, there was nothing else to do. So, the brick wall hit fast, and I was content to play something else, yet I left my account active since Square Enix was constantly extending the initial free trial period. I've yet to pay a single cent in subscription fees.
Then, this morning, I got a lovely email. I'll paste it in its entirety for you guys, with my mad copy-paste skills:
Thank you for your continued interest in and support of FINAL FANTASY XIV.
While more than two months have passed since the official launch of FINAL FANTASY XIV service, we deeply regret that the game has yet to achieve the level of enjoyability that FINAL FANTASY fans have come to expect from the franchise, and for this we offer our sincerest of apologies.
After thorough deliberation on how to meet those expectations, it was decided that the most viable step was to approach improvements under new leadership and with a restructured team.
To realize this vision, and in doing so, provide our customers with a better game experience, we have assembled our companyís top talent and resources. Taking over the role of producer and director is Naoki Yoshida, a passionate individual for whom customer satisfaction has always taken top priority. Not only is he one of our Groupís most accomplished and experienced members, Naoki Yoshida is also a charismatic leader possessing the skill to bring together and effectively helm a team which encompasses a wide range of responsibilities. We also welcome several new leaders handpicked from other projects to work with the existing talent on FINAL FANTASY XIV.
We realize time is of the essence and are fully determined to provide our customers with quality service. It is because of this that we ask our customers to be patient until we are able to confidently present them with a concrete plan outlining FINAL FANTASY XIVís new direction. The free trial period will be extended until that time.
Regarding the PlayStation 3, it is not our wish to release a simple conversion of the Windows version in its current state, but rather an update that includes all the improvements we have planned. For that reason, we have made the difficult decision to delay the release of the PlayStation 3 version beyond the originally announced date of March 2011.
The FINAL FANTASY XIV team is working hard to bring our customers an unparalleled adventure, and we ask for your continued understanding and support as we march ever diligently towards that goal.
President and CEO, Yoichi Wada
The development and management teams would like to make an announcement regarding personnel changes.
[Organizational Changes to the Development Team]
To improve the service of FINAL FANTASY XIV, Square Enix has made the following changes to the development team:
Section Leader Changes
Shintaro Tamai (FINAL FANTASY X, Front Mission 5: Scars of the War)
Lead Game Designer
Nobuaki Komoto (FINAL FANTASY IX, FINAL FANTASY XI)
Lead Combat System Designer
Akihiko Matsui (FINAL FANTASY XI)
Yoshihisa Hashimoto (Next Generation Game Engine Development)
Hideyuki Kasuga (FINAL FANTASY XI, DIRGE OF CERBERUS -FINAL FANTASY VII-)
Senior Concept Artist
Akihiko Yoshida (FINAL FANTASY XII, Vagrant Story)
Hiroshi Takai (FINAL FANTASY XI, THE LAST REMNANT)
Lead UI Designer/Lead Web Designer
Hiroshi Minagawa (FINAL FANTASY XII, Vagrant Story)
These members will make up the development teamís new coreóa core dedicated to ensuring we achieve a level of enjoyability that will more than satisfy our customers. Under a schedule of more frequent version updates, the new leaders and their respective sections will strive for continued improvements to FINAL FANTASY XIV service operation and development.
[Extension of the Free Trial Period]
As stated above, the newly restructured teamís top priority is to bring about improvements to the gameís enjoyability, and therefore we have decided to extend the free trial period until we can provide a plan that outlines a level of enjoyment that will satisfy both us and our customers. When we are confident that we have reached that goal, we will notify our customers immediately.
[Future Version Updates]
At present, the development team is putting the finishing touches on the previously announced version update, which is still slated for release in mid-December. In addition, there is one more version update scheduled for release before yearís end. Details on the content and dates of these updates will be released in the near future.
[Delay of the PlayStation 3 Version Release]
Although the release date for the PlayStation 3 version of the game was previously announced as late March of 2011, we regret to inform that this date has been changed.
The PlayStation 3 release will be delayed until we are confident that the game has reached the level of enjoyability and service befitting the FINAL FANTASY name for users on all supported platforms. We offer our sincerest apologies to any fans anticipating the PlayStation 3 release, and humbly ask for your continued patience and understanding as both the development team and Square Enix as a whole strive towards making FINAL FANTASY XIV a truly enjoyable and unforgettable adventure.
[New Development Team Policy]
I would like to take this opportunity to greet all of youóthose currently playing FINAL FANTASY XIV, those who have taken a respite from playing, and those awaiting the PlayStation 3 releaseóand offer a brief word by way of an introduction.
No doubt there are very few, if any, among you who have ever heard the name Naoki Yoshida. To be sure, I have never been in the fore on any of the titles I have worked on in the past. I am, however, honored and privileged to work alongside many talented and inspiring colleagues, and with their support have enjoyed making games for a number of years. I am aware that a great many people will think the responsibility of leading FINAL FANTASY XIV is far too large a task for someone so unknown. After all, even my very best may seem no more than a drop in the bucket when considering the sheer scope of FINAL FANTASY XIV. But working together with me are the very talented and very capable development and management teams, whose dedication and motivation are unwavering. I would like to ask you to please put to rest uncertainties that you may have.
Now, more than ever, myself, the development team, and Square Enix as a whole, are committed to furthering our efforts to provide a quality service.
Everything we do will be for our players and customers.
FINAL FANTASY XIV Producer/Director, Naoki Yoshida
First of all, I would like to apologize for our inability to fully satisfy our users with the initial release of FINAL FANTASY XIV. I take full responsibility for the gameís current situation, and have therefore made the decision to step down from my role as producer. A number of concerns that have been voiced by users, such as the design of the user interface, availability of tutorials and game content, and battle system functionality, represent key issues that must be addressed. While improvements are already well underway in many areas, we were unfortunately not able to incorporate player feedback as quickly as we would have liked. We are aware, however, that in many cases, addressing these issues will call for a reworking of game elements. As these changes are our first priority, they will be commanding our full attention and efforts. It is to that end that we have put a new organizational structure into place for the development team. Under this new system, FINAL FANTASY XIV will see changes and additions in line with the desires and expectations of players. Though no longer producer, I will be continuing to support the development team in other capacities, and personally hope that you will continue your adventures in the realm of Eorzea.
It sounds to me like Square Enix is finally working on fixing what's wrong with the game. As I had said in my review, it's got a good concept, but it definitely needs a lot of work before it's a truly thrilling experience.
Title: Re: The
Posted: December 11, 2010 (01:49 AM)
we deeply regret that the game has yet to achieve the level of enjoyability that FINAL FANTASY fans have come to expect from the franchise
Jebus...I wish I had a message like that for FF VIII. I love FF 3-7. Then it all went to hell for me. 8 sucked. 9 was okay, but little more. 10...I just must disagree with the general populace...I couldn't get into it. 11...online, fuck it. 12 was better than EmP says, but not as great as claimed by a lot of people. I'm interested in 13, as when I play it, it'll be interesting in if I like its linear point-to-point style or dislike it. 14...online, fuck it.
Title: Re: The
Posted: December 11, 2010 (02:28 AM)
The brick wall theory is the same as my Gamefaqs theory... when I'm looking at gamefaqs to see how much longer I have to endure a game for, I know it's no longer good.
Title: Re: The
Posted: December 11, 2010 (06:54 AM)
Honestly, in today's day and age it's sort of inexcusable to put out a game that is unfinished or so badly conceived that nobody but the hardcore fans of the series would play it. I recognise, and respect their want to make a MMO that is not "Just another WoW", but the problem is, with all the flak and lore-raping that WoW did to the Warcraft, at least their game works.
FFXIV is a failure, plain and simple, and it will take going, quite literally, from square one to make it a decent game. Honestly, FF as a series completely changed and failed with the newer generations. I loved FFX, personally, but it's not what made FF grand, and it's sort of sad, though the entire jrpg scene is becoming like this more and more, each day, putting more back to the visual presentation and cut scenes then to the actual game play and story line. FFXIV is just another drop in the sea, and honestly, I was interested in it. I was thinking of getting it, just after a few reviews, but the things I read from every single site did a complete turn for me as their customer, by releasing a game that should not have made an exit out of the beta stage, let alone in full production, but greed did it's part again. This crap didn't fly with me with Gothic 3, which you had to patch thoroughly just to make it playable, and it won't fly with this game. Screw Final Fantasy.
Title: Re: The
Posted: December 11, 2010 (04:21 PM)
Honestly, in today's day and age it's sort of inexcusable to put out a game that is unfinished
While I (mostly) agree with the rest of your post, this part is just plain wrong. Gamers these days are constantly hit with unfinished games, then charged more to download the missing content as DLC. Many games are very happy about this. Say what you will--positive OR negative--about Final Fantasy XIII, but one claim that it can make that other games these days can't is that you've never had to pay extra, patch bugs, or buy a different afro for Sazh.
Title: Re: The
Posted: December 12, 2010 (11:03 AM)
No, DLC is extra content. I have absolutely no problems with that if that's your cup of tea. However, NO gamer alive will be "satisfied" if a game is choppy, buggy, has parts of it missing(not for the intent of having plot holes filled with DLC, but just plain out left out due to shoddy play testing and programming, GTA IV for the PC had this program and it took a huge patch to rectify the situation, so the PC can be sort of safe with it, consoles, not so much), needs an alienware machine to make it even playable(Again, Gothic 3 for it's time comes to mind), is just plain non sensical in for any type of gamer to even pretend enjoying it and such.