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FFXIV Duty Finder

Not even two weeks ago I published a post about dungeon finders being dangerous for the future of MMOs, and today I see a video published on the official FFXIV youtube channel introducing and explaining a feature called the “Duty Finder.”  The Duty Finder is FFXIV’s version of WoW dungeon finder with only a few alterations.

The themepark metaphor is really overused, but for me it’s spot on. When I go to Disneyland I want to experience the rides — they’re a huge part of my visit.  Yet at the same time, there’s a magic to the atmosphere and environment.  Traveling from one ‘world’ to the next while in Disneyland introduces new sites, sounds, smells, and even tastes if you can afford the food.  I feel like I am completely immersed in the magical experience Disney has cleverly crafted to give me that warm fuzzy feeling.  While I can definitely appreciate the tools to help facilitate getting on rides faster, there comes a point when the line is crossed and part of the magic is lost to convenience.

I hate how players can group across servers.  When I get matched with random people from other worlds, I can’t possibly form any meaningful relationships. I will never see those people again.  People have no obligation to behave or conduct themselves appropriately.  I used to care immensely about my reputation.  I remember accidentally wiping a group in EQ, and the wave of fear that came over me as I worried that my group would tell others.  Lucky for me, I had been a great member of this group and they shrugged it off.  on the other hand, I have hundreds of stories about bad group members and horrible people being blacklisted. When someone used to say, “I found a Monk named ‘name’ who wants to join”, people could say, “No way I grouped with him last night and he’s a real jerk” or “Yeah, she’s a fantastic person invite her.”

I’m worried that the FFXIV Duty Finder will promote a disconnected feeling, and a lack of socializing.  Players can stand around in towns conducting commerce and instantly be teleported to dungeons, so why would they go out into the world and ‘live’ in the adventure?  The world becomes an annoyance and a hindrance, something in the way and unnecessary when the bulk of the ‘content’ can be ‘run-through’ via something like the Duty Finder.  These tools of convenience meant to help players come together end up destroying — yes, destroying — a huge part of the world and ‘experience’.

Why not build tools that help players find each other?  I remember having nothing but a local chat channel to facilitate forming groups.  We used to split up and travel to major locations to find people.  Sometimes it would take hours to build the right group.  Then came the LFG tools which allowed players to tag themselves and leave a message.  These tools expanded, and quickly players could search for classes and roles.  I would rather see this type of tool expanded.

My fingers are crossed that FFXIV doesn’t become entirely about the Duty Finder like WoW has become centered around the dungeon and raid finders.  I think Eorzea deserves better than a cheap themepark experience.

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Comments

  1. bartillo says:

    posted this in the thread but:

    dungeon loot isnt as good as HQ crafted gear with materia socketed.

    So sure you got a looking for group tool for dungeons but you still have to go in the world for guildhests / leves, grand company leves, and crafting and gathering. And also to level all of the classes you need.

    Also ff14 devs have said they want all the end game content to be really hard, you def will not be pugging them from what it sounds like.

  2. If FFXIV becomes centered around this tool, players will become dependent upon it to find groups for content. This happened in WoW.

    When the Duty Finder becomes the only way players form groups, the content (and subsequently obtaining loot) will bend to the least common denominator.

    Also, let’s be clear — that’s not a LFG tool. That’s a dungeon finder.

    A LFG tool could let people flag themselves as looking for a dungeon, identify roles they want to play, and even facilitate the formation of groups. Finding and forming a group isn’t bad.

    A tool that teleports you instantly to a dungeon and back, across servers, and doesn’t even require you to speak the same language is something entirely different.

  3. @Keen I know what you mean about reputation Keen.

    See in vanilla WoW there was this ninjalooter player that I experienced first hand.
    But I am not the kind of guy to take that light.

    I warned my guildmates to never take him into a group.

    Now here is where the fun starts. Now all of a sudden many players become max lvl and in order to progress we went on big raids with other guilds.
    Guess who wanted to join. First another guild wanted to take him along.

    But I where like NO.. such and such is a damn ninjalooter and always has been. Its either him or me. He will not roll with the group or I am out.
    Guess what. He was out and begged in general chat that he changed.

    Reputation used to go a long way.
    We need that back. Away with cross realm grouping in pve or pvp.

  4. I know I’m in the minority here but I actually love dungeon finders. I’ve quit games because they had quests that went into dungeons but had no LFG/Finders.

    I value my playing time more as I got older and the novelty of being in a massive game online faded long ago. Spending 20 minutes plus begging for a group is neither social or something I want to spend my time doing. I also don’t really like to use an MMO like a chat room where I’m trying to make connections. I like the “aliveness” people bring to online worlds but that doesn’t mean I want to converse with xXNobzSlayerzXx about how his day in grade school went.

    The only kind of MMO I don’t want to see a dungeon finder in is a sandox or a game with non instances dungeons.

  5. Jericho says:

    As long as they live up to the promise that endgame (level 50) dungeon and raid content will be challenging and progression based, I have no real issue with having a WoW style “theme park” style dungeon finder.

    That being said, I had been hoping that the “Duty Finder” would end up being more akin to what Aion’s LFG system became. Or what GW2LFG.com has been for Guild Wars 2. Where you were able to put together your group easily if you so chose, but still had to travel to the dungeon. Having the “Duty Finder” be cross realm is not a real issue for me after Guild Wars 2. Hopefully the game will evolve into something that creates a cross realm community and this will solve a number of issues you have with this. If it does not, it still leaves us with a Duty Finder created to only work on “leveling” and “pre50 story content”.

    If we find ourselves at 50 still being able to use the Duty Finder for the “progression” content the we will have a real issue. Looking For Raid is where WoW truly stuck the fork in itself for me. It had already become a one trick pony but when that pony because less of a horse and more of a Carrousel statue I had my fill.

    Also take note that they have stated that there are three types of things you can search for in the Duty Finder; Leveling Dungeons, Battlefields, and quests/guildleve/guildhest content. How the finder will work for the last bit is a real question. It won’t be cross realm. So how will this little bit work? Only this test will tell.

  6. I agree with Keen and I understand how LFG tools destroy communities and the game world BUT I feel more like Fergor…I am 31 years old and play MMOs 10+ years. I am really not in the mood to chat and try to make connections

    Back in the old days I was excited, I wanted to meet and talk to every person in my server..but now, I avoid communications. I think is because my game time has greatly reduced. I work a full job and have 3-4 hours to play and not every day. For me, usually the game ends at max level in many MMOs.In GW2 when I got max level I wanted to do some dungeons but as I said I am not very much into connections, or joining guilds, making new friends. For the first days I went out of a dungeon and waited there asking for groups..I did that for several days and then quit.

    I know you will ask, why I don’t play skyrim then? Because I want the world to feel alive..I want to feel that I play in a world where other players are too and generally MMORPGs quality are way better than single player RPGs, even if you see them as “single” player games.

    TL;DR I know these tools are bad for the community/game but I cannot go the other way around too..

  7. bartillo says:

    Just logged in and the Duty Finder is only for:

    Guildhests
    Dungeons (4 mans only)
    Trials (primal battles for instance)

    and i think the duty finder is awesome. why would you want to spam chat “LFG tank xx dungeon” for hours

  8. This is one thing Keen that I’m torn on, but despite me generally agreeing with you about MMO’s (What makes a quality one, what needs to be removed from the current generation ones etc) this is probably one thing i think is a necessary evil. It is now a industry norm, if you don’t have it, you’re criticized to no end for not being up to date, more importantly when i think of dungeon finder it makes me think of 2 dramatically different experiences. WoW where your description of people sitting in cities and waiting to be teleported was spot on, and my experience in RIFT. Which couldn’t of been any more different than my WoW experience, mainly because cities as a whole were never all that crowded because of the immense amount of “world activities” like events and what not, something that FFXIV will offer with their “FATEs” and because of this people did essentially what that tutorial video insinuated, they’d queue up and go off in the world doing whatever they wanted, i did it countless time in my time in RIFT, which was approximately a year all together.

    WoW never offered anything to do at the meantime outside of mindless questing, which was irrelevant once you were max level outside of your dailies, So i think we should be more concerned what games produce as essentially supplementary content, and provide the following items:

    A) Keep us out in the world
    B) Constantly stimulated and entertained
    C) Plethora of options

    I for one despised everyone sitting in Dalaran with real no reason to leave outside of going to Orgrimmar for an AH. Mainly because EVERYTHING in WoW was a queue, Battlegrounds, instances, LFR, arena etc. So i think as long as companies understand what a dungeon finder could do to your game, and how detrimental it can be to your community if you don’t offer the right content to partner with it and design their game around that, there’s no problem with it. Which is what RIFT did, and i expect FFXIV to do as well. I’ll never love the dungeon finder, it’s just as i said earlier a necessary evil in my eyes, especially in this day in age when the casual player, the most common player, is catered to. I used to hate that years ago, but now that I’m one of them, obviously my perspective has changed. Conveniences I’ll always welcome, just the other things like lack of accomplishment (because of them dumbing down games) is something I’ll always hate but that’s for another story.

  9. Argorius says:

    I find that putting in a cross realm dungeon finder is like skipping a few steps. Usually it seems that the game starts and people are pretty excited about playing and going to dungeons…the servers are full and the community is vibrant. It will be “easier” to form groups and head out to the dungeon – there is a small social investment and a reasonable return.

    Once the game progresses, the player base spreads out, the content becomes a little more stale, it is harder to find players in your level range that are interested in running a dungeon…you already ran the dungeon on an Alt or even with your current character…things are not that interesting anymore and suddenly it becomes a pain. This may lead to a negative game play experience….it just sucks…but guess what, since it sucks anyway…why not throw in a dungeon finder at THAT point…sure, it isn’t ideal and it kind of ruins communities but since the experience already sucks…it can’t hurt anymore and actually becomes a positive tool because it remedies a bad situation.

    Once things get even worse…and even the dungeon finder isn’t that great anymore…let’s make it cross server…sure, it really ruins the community now but maybe it is better than having a bunch of frustrating players…

    What I am saying is that there may be a place for a dungeon finder feature in FF but it seems premature to add it at release…it “fixes” a non-existent problem…and carries with it some serious negative sides…they should have had it ready to go and release it at a point when it would have made sense…to me – you add a dungeon finder tool once you already gave up on part of the game…you don’t add it willy nilly just because you think it is more convenient and players will love it.

  10. @Argorius: I agree with you. Unfortunately, this generation of developers believes in catering to the least common denominator, and the least common denominator happens to be a large group of players. Ironically, that group is almost never successfully captured. The result? Take a look at the last 8 years of MMO releases.

  11. I agree with you in principle Keen. However, I recall the ugly flip side in FFXI where I would log in and spam chats for groups or run to dungeons and stand at entrances or run around inside looking for groups and it was sheer hell sometimes. Just knowing I would waste 1-2 hours getting a group sometimes was demotivating to log in especially in a game (ffxi) where soloing was near impossible.

    If I have to choose between the 2 i will choose group finder.

  12. @Romble: I know the feeling. Finding a group could take a long time, and sometimes you wouldn’t find one at all. I think that problem might have been exacerbated by the fact that fewer people played MMOs back then — FFXI even had a language barrier issue when I played.

    I agree that having to spam a channel for hours is a waste of time. I just don’t agree that the dungeon finder is the only alternative. I think the answer is in the middle. A tool that players can use to flag themselves as LFG, and an interface that will allow those players to find each other and coordinate the formation of groups without teleporting people instantly across the server sounds fine to me.

  13. So lets say I use the middle ground solution. I flag myself as LFG, wait about 10 minutes then go to the dungeon. Now I’m at the dungeon with 3 of the 5 people. We wait then one guy drops. Go into LFG again and get a replacement. Oh wait, he’s on the other side of the map. “AFK while I fly out there” and it’s a 20 minute wait.

    Now we start the instance and get to the first boss. We wipe twice and the tank leaves. We go back into LFG and get a replacement. Great! He’s only 5 minutes out. The rest of the run goes smoothly. At the end the group disbands. Nothing was ever spoken except maybe “Add” “Help” “Gratz”or “GG”.

    What did I gain in the above experience over a dungeon finder?

  14. Caldazar says:

    I actually think you go out in the world LESS without a dungeon finder. If there is no LFD you are forced to do one of two things: Sit in a main city spamming LFM Dungeon X or sit in the area of the dungeon, spamming the same line. If there is an LFD I can happily be in the queue while continuing doing things in the world (I do this often in wow, some quests while waiting for the queue to pop). I remember before LFD what a hassle it was in wow to get a group, and you were more bound to cities to get people for longer periods of time.

    The reason why so many people are sitting in the city in wow, doing nothing, is more because they have nothing left to do. Sitting in an area spamming a line for x time while waiting and hoping to get a group, let alone the huge annoyance if someone leaves and you have to go back to spamming chats, hoping to find someone willing to only do half of the dungeon is something that I do not want back in any game.

  15. If there is no LFD you are forced to do one of two things: Sit in a main city spamming LFM Dungeon X or sit in the area of the dungeon, spamming the same line.

    Isn’t that an easy thing to fix? Creating a LFG channel itself removes having to sit in a city. Even better, create a tool players can use to automatically contact people who have flagged themselves as LFG with certain skills and roles.

    Players sitting in cities with nothing to do is a direct result of the emphasis placed on the finder. All content is through the finder, and there isn’t a reason for players to do anything else. Sitting in a city waiting for the finder to do its thing is more rewarding than -anything- else. How sad is that?

  16. Caldazar says:

    That has nothing to do with the finder though. If you can be in a global LFG channel or use a flagging tool, that is basically the same except the lack of the moving part. LFG tool being around does not remove or create content. If there is no reason to go out in the world, that stays the same regardless of the tool used. If someone could flag themselves in the city and wait (Or premove to the correct location, depending if the flag themselves for one or many dungeons) that is exactly the same as LFG.

    If waiting for a group is more rewarding than anything else, I do not think behavior would change if there is another tool, as the other content would be still the same. Taking wow as an example, non dungeon content does not become more interesting when the LFG vanishes. At most one could say that getting a group is such a hassle people give up, and I do not think that is the ideal solution either

    You seem to equalall content with dungeons, while dungeons are one of the things that are separately instanced.

  17. Teleporting people and grouping without any say of who is in your group are primary elements of the duty finder.

  18. Jericho says:

    After spending time this weekend with the Duty Finder, I can only hope we will see a post this week on how you felt about the entire experience Keen.

    I do agree that because of the Duty Finder there could end up being a “lobby” feel to the game. However, lets be honest about the type of game we are talking about here. This is Final Fantasy XIV this is not WoW. WoW is a game where the core of the game is experienced through Dungeons and Raids. Outside of this type of content we have Daily Quests, Gathering, Pet Battles and PvP (the last two of which have another “finder” queue system). WoW is a game where the game has been boiled down to having very little to do outside of what you can do with the Queuing systems. Final Fantasy XIV has other worthwhile activities to keep us busy while waiting for that queue. We are not limited to waiting for our queue in town because we can’t stand dailies and you can’t PvP while you wait for your dungeon queue to pop.

    The real issues with the Duty Finder boil down to 3 issues (1 of which really is a party/friendlist/dungeon mechanic issue that has little to do with the Duty Finder itself and more is just a problem with the mechanics of the game.)

    1) The Party Made Does Not Persist -
    The party the Duty Finder creates for a given Duty is disbanded on completion of the content. Often times (as is the case with Ifrit) a cutscene or need to speak to an NPC for reward will eliminate the opportunity to even say something simple like “good run, thanks!” Because those players are already gone.
    One of the good things about WoW’s LFD system is that the party will persist outside of the dungeon so you could continue on with your group if you felt that everyone was competent. At the very least you can have the opportunity to say thank you.

    2) You can’t enter instance outside of the DF -
    I am just going to give YoshiP the benefit of the doubt here and choose to believe that since the ENTIRE reason for this weekend’s test was to test the Duty Finder, removing all other manners to enter these instances besides the DF was a tactical choice for this test alone. However, part of me is still burned by all of the “its only a beta, they aren’t showing us everything” mentality that was so prevalent during the 1.0 alpha and beta tests.

    3) You must have a 1tank/1healer/2DD group to enter -
    Now a lot of people are telling me that they were able to enter with any party makeup they wanted to as long as they had a group of 4 preset to enter. Yet there is a lot of others saying they weren’t allowed to enter because they had multiple marauders or did not have a conjurer. Part of the fun that was endgame in FFXI was the ability to complete content in non traditional ways. Either doing an all summoner or black mage Fenrir or a solo Genbu kill by a Red Mage, anything was possible. I hope they let us experiment and play. Hell someone tried to kill Ifrit this weekend in pure starting gear and pulled it off (with real strategy and good play).

    All in all I was convinced at the usefulness that the DF brought this weekend. I can only hope that we will see improvements to the system. Most of the things that I believe that need to happen to make the system shine have more to do with the Dungeon, Party and Loot mechanics and have less to do with the actual DF itself.

  19. Your blog/post was spot on. Blame blizzard. They showed the rest of the mmo dev’s what kind of market share was possible if you open up the genre to kiddies and people that want to play an mmo like a console game. In the end, money always wins. It will never go back the way it was. Kiss accountability and community goodbye for good. MMO’s are on their way out. They are already actually saying F2P is the future. ROFLMAO

  20. I understand the concern with group finders and WoW has definitely overused it because their main attractions are dungeons (for leveling and gear) but i don’t see the duty finder in ffxiv becoming an issue…the dungeons are such a small part of the game play. Hunting logs and Fates were much easier to find and offer the same if not better rewards. It still remains to be seen how end game will implement the Duty finder.

  21. Chocobocharmer says:

    I think the haters are missing the big key to the duty finder and that’s the “role icons”. Notice there’s a tank, support, and two DD instead of GLD WHM LNC LNC slot? It may not seem like much, but that’ll be huge down the line when we start getting a lot more classes and there becomes jobs that aren’t as popular, but still capable.

    I played FFXI and FFXIV and I can tell you one of the most frustrating things in the world is getting a party for… well half the jobs! No love for bst, pup, blu, drg (for the longest time) etc.

    Not to mention the insane wait times to find a party!

    Reputation used to mean a lot in mmo’s, but that’s not going to go away! I’m sure you can still blacklist people from joining your group and like others have said there are always LS.

    As for across server groups, that sounds awesome. One of the biggest issues as we all know is running out of n00bs (sounds terrible, but we need fresh accounts to exp classes with).

  22. Chocobocharmer says:

    Also when I have to LFP/LFG or answer shouts in town I can’t be out enjoying the game and doing things like farming, gathering, and exping.