Well, yesterday I took the plunge and used PayPal to buy 2000 Crysta to pay for my FF XIV account with. For those playing along at home, that’s $20 worth. It still bugs me that if I cancel after that month I’ll have left-over credit, but it doesn’t bug me enough that I’m not going to play, and I’m more comfortable with buying Crysta via PayPal then I am with signing up my credit card to that ClickandBuy system. Plus this way if I get distracted and stop playing I won’t auto-renew since I won’t have enough Crysta.
The expected hate has arrived in spades and I’m trying my best to avoid it. A lot of it is coming for common garden variety trolls, but even thoughtful people seem unable to parse the idea that there are people who are genuinely enjoying FF XIV. People whose opinions I usually respect, like Justin Olivetti (you may know him as Sypster) are jumping on the anti-FFXIV bandwagon, saying I’m getting the feeling people are defending a really bad game in FF14 because it’s Final Fantasy — would they put up with this elsewhere? (via Twitter).
People said the same thing about LOTRO when it launched: that only reason people liked it was because they were Tolkien fans.
So these people (the trolls I mean) who don’t like the game take every opportunity they can to mock it or trash it, of course. It’s as if the existence of a game they don’t like offends them in some way.
Maybe FF XIV is a really bad game for Justin. That doesn’t mean it’s a really bad game for everyone. I’m having fun and it doesn’t have anything to do with it being Final Fantasy. I’ve finished exactly 1 FF game in my life (X) and I didn’t like FF XI much at all. What I do like about it is the freedom it gives you. You can be any class, and you can (slowly) respec at will; so far the only real limits have had to do with inventory capacity.
Does it have some horribly broken parts? Absolutely. Virtually every MMO launches with something broken. FF XIV maybe more than most games; if you’re looking for polish then give it some time before trying it. Actually I strongly urge almost everyone to wait until there’s a free trial to give it a shot anyway. Most modern MMO players aren’t going to like it because it is very different in a lot of ways.
But it also has something that’s pretty rare these days: a rich crafting system and player-driven economy. If you love your monsters to be loot piŮatas you’re going to be *miserable* in FF XIV. Virtually everything is player-crafted. Seriously. So if you want to made a grey leather item (a leathercrafter skill), you need grey leather, right? To make grey leather you combine a sheepskin (combat drop), some willow chips (carpentry, comes from a willow log obtained by a botanist) for tanning, and grey leather dye. To get grey leather dye (alchemy) you combine linseed oil with some slate-grey bugs (yech) that you may find while mining. You get the linseed oil by harvesting flax (botany).
If that process sounds appealing to you, then you might be a FF XIV candidate. This kind of stuff tickles the hell out of me. It’ll drive most casual MMO players batshit crazy. You can do all of those steps yourself if you want to level all the jobs, or you can trade/buy sub-components from other players. Some sub-components can be purchased from NPCs, but most of them can only be obtained via player-crafting. Sadly one of the horribly broken systems is buying and selling, so a lot of dealing is done the old fashioned way…by talking to other players *gasp!* There’s a first pass at a revamp of the bazaar system coming soon but I suspect they’re going to need more than one before they’re done.
If you aren’t interested in crafting, then again, this is probably not your game. There’s such a heavy emphasis on crafting that you’d be missing more than half the game if you didn’t partake.
Y’know what else is funny? Remember everyone screaming bloody hell about the fatigue system? No one who is playing is complaining about that now, because it’s almost impossible to hit the limits. Ditto insta-travel. The teleport system uses “anima” which regenerates over time, another fact people were freaked about before launch. Well it turns out you start with 100 anima and short ‘ports use 4, so you could do 25 short-distance teleports in a row before running out. I don’t know why you’d want to do that.
I don’t know if longer teleports cost more; I assume they do but I’m not sure how much. No one seems to be complaining that they’re running out of anima, though.
I’ve been playing with a controller lately, which is a godsend given that Minecraft borked my shoulder (I have an on-again, off-again problem with my left shoulder…maybe bursitis or something). It’s a very comfortable game to play.
Anyway, I played last night until about 2 am and was up at 8 am to play more; I can’t remember the last time an MMO hooked me like that. Today I finally did the big road trip to the other starting cities to tag the stones there so I can teleport around. There’s a ferry ride along the way that was just stunning (though I’m sure I’ll never take it again since it did take about 5 minutes). I don’t know if it’s always like this, but when I took it night had fallen and there was wild thunder and lightning storm; some of the best weather I’ve ever seen in a game. When Limsa Lominsa finally loomed out of the darkness looking like some ancient broken volcano, lightning forking down around it, it literally gave me chills.
So yeah, I love this game. I might hit a road block and lose interest next month, this afternoon or in two years. Who knows? But for now I’m enjoying myself and am contemplating a second account for two-boxing. I’m really looking forward to seeing what improvements and additions Square-Enix adds over the coming months and years.
Oh, one last thing…for all the hate, the game seems to be plenty populated. At least the Besaid server is. So I’m not the only one enjoying myself.