FFXIV Website elaborates on gameplay

They will always be TaruTaru to me.
They will always be Tarutaru to me.

The official FFXIV website has a lot more information to accompany the recent announcements.  Lore, Gameplay, and World info are starting to be fleshed out and there are a few interesting systems worth exploring.

Armoury System
Being able to switch back and forth between style of play seems like it has the potential to be something really great.  The little example of Leroy from the FFXIV website presents a day in the life of a character who started off soloing as a warrior-type, got a group and switched to a caster-type (his best Discipline), and then finished the day by switching to a gatherer then a crafter.  These four Disciplines (War, Magic, Land, Hand) seem to be the foundation of FFXIV’s archetype system.

The site alludes to further specialization being available.   I’m curious as to the depth of this specialization, and how much playing one Discipline over another can really give you an edge.  Allowing anyone to be anything seems like a great way to minimize the necessity of a community or breadth of diversity amongst players.   If your full group (let’s say 6 people) can be anything any time, then there would almost never be a need to go outside your little group.  Yet at the same time, this ability to play your character how you want and when you want sounds refreshing.  The key will be in the implementation and how the specialization works.  Afterall, this sounds an awful lot like Darkfall in theory.

I have high hopes for the Crafting and Gathering Disciplines.  I want a game to really emphasize the role a pure crafter can play in the world.  In Star Wars Galaxies it was not only fulfilling to spend all your time playing as a Crafter from a gameplay perspective, but it was useful to others and lucrative.  It was just as realized as any other ‘class’ or role out there.  That same type of emphasis can, and should, be in FFXIV if they’re going to make crafting a Discipline capable of specialization.

Out of all of this I just hope that the system will provide a fulfilling experience regardless of how I choose to play.  If I want to dabble in this and that then I hope I won’t be penalized by the game for not specializing.  If I specialize then I want that time invested (It should be a time investment) to mean that I am something special for having chosen to neglect the other Disciplines.   Unfortunately, this means I want the best of both worlds and I have yet to ever see that happen.   Therein lie the pitfalls of such a system.

Guildleves
Interesting approach to questing.  They’re taking the Discipline system and adapting quests to accommodate.  It appears to be a ‘choose your own adventure’ way of questing where you are given tasks by Guilds that must be completed, but given options on how to complete them accompanied by rewards reflecting your choice.  Perhaps it will function in such a way that if I’m a crafter and I want to craft the sword instead of taking the sword user approach and slaying the beast for it, then that is my option.  Combining Guildleves with members to make bigger and better adventures sounds like an acceptable way to turn solo questing into a group experience – by choice.  Sounds to me though like this will require instancing.  It might turn out innovative and work, or it might fall short.

Aetheryte
They’re stones that teleport you to different areas of the world.  Looks like WAR’s flightmaster system, Aion’s teleport system, and all those other sorts of instant travel.  I’m afraid that this could pose a great threat to that big open world feeling.  If the world is truncated into little regions accessible by Aetheryte then it will be a major let down.  Hopefully these are just used to gain access to a few places, or the source of instancing for Guildleves.  The cooldown between using them is hopefully a really, really long time.

LalaFell
I will always call them Tarutaru.

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  • I hope this isn’t final fantasy: age of instances.

    Lineage 2 has a teleport system but they actually did it correctly, and one of the few who ever have. L2 is one of the few games I have played that is actually an open world, as soon as you load the first screen there is 0 more loading, it is all 1 big world. This is totally lacking in games today, Age of Conan was terrible at making a real world. It felt like a few small maps connected together by an NPC. Warhammer’s layout is also terrible.

    What I want in a game:
    0 Instances
    No forced player factions like WoW/Warhammer
    FFA PvP

    I doubt FFXIV will deliver on the pvp front, but if it atleast gets the other 2 right I am already excited.

    Also I like their leveling system, seems like Oblivion and Darkfall, cast a spell to lvl it up, shoot a bow to lvl it up, etc.

  • “If I want to dabble in this and that then I hope I won’t be penalized by the game for not specializing. If I specialize then I want that time invested (It should be a time investment) to mean that I am something special for having chosen to neglect the other Disciplines. Unfortunately, this means I want the best of both worlds and I have yet to ever see that happen. Therein lie the pitfalls of such a system.”

    Is the issue the system or the player? As you yourself say, you want both, even knowing they are mutually exclusive. You either get rewarded for specializing (a skill system with a hard cap like UO), or you allow variety without penalty (DF). Both ‘work’, they just facilitate different styles of play. I think especially in a PvE game, you might as well make it as easy as you can for the players in terms of grouping, as the mobs won’t mind that you always bring a stacked team.

  • My point being, if they want their system to work for everyone (as they indicate) then we’re missing a piece of the puzzle, or they’ve discovered how to deliver the best of both worlds and just haven’t told us.

    I want it to work both ways. I want the people who do not want to specialize to be allowed to go without being pushed out of the meaningful content yet at the same time I would hope that those who specialize have some sort of benefit. Obviously the two would have to work in harmony. If one playstyle gains a benefit that exceeds the other, then a problem occurs. 9/10 the problem is on the side of those who specialize – it’s always better to be a pure sword user than someone who can use all weapons, for example.

  • One of the writeups I saw suggested that the teleportation would have some sort of side effects like radiation poisoning to deter overly frequent use. This is certainly a less artificial concept than the no-explanation cooldown restrictions on hearthstone equivalents in other games, though there’s an open question of what kind of restrictions you could use that would deter abuse without harming legitimate users.

    They’re making a big point of repeating how they intend to support players who will be playing for less than an hour a day. If you assume that the player has 60 minutes, you cannot expect them to continue paying for a game that makes them spend 30 of those minutes traveling, waiting for a teleportation debuff to expire, earning back some experience/cash cost, etc. Now you could address this problem by adding more amenities to quest hubs so that players do not need to travel so much, but I don’t know that the size of the seamless world matters very much if you design it so that players spend all of their time at one quest hub after another.

  • I just read through the new info on the FFIV site and I think it looks immensely promising.

    I’m waiting for info on the control system, though. While I managed to get accustomed to the FFXI controls after about a week of heavy concentration, Mrs Bhagpuss gave up after a day and wouldn’t touch the game again. I hope this time they go for somethign vaguely recognisable to non-console players.

  • The entire website just served to make we want to know more and get my hands on this game. The one thing that you did latch on to that makes me a little worried as well is the Aetherite transportation system. However, coming from an XI background, I immediately jumped to “oh this is the new crag teleport system”. Hopefully I am correct. I know the industry as a whole is moving towards the ease of transportation concept. I just think that ease of transportation tends to mean a world that seems smaller than it is.

    That and here’s to hoping that SE understands that a seemlessly integrated world is what we are craving. A world setup like the WoW is one thing, but at the very least give us what we had in XI not a series of zones where we never even know there are zone lines because transportation to each zone is so easy.

  • Sounds very original and appealing. The thing I hated about FFXI was the controls and camera – it made it impossible for me to play on the PC. Something so basic should have been addressed before the game was released and it’s strange that it wasn’t.

    Still, it sounds like FFXIV is going in a refreshing direction.

  • I’m excited about the travel system. I played FFXI for many, many years and one of the most time consuming parts of the game was the travel. That has been improved with various patches for the game, but it could take you half an hour or more to actually get to your destination. Yes, it made the world feel large, but sometimes it was pain in the butt – especially when you’re just trying to get to someplace to xp with your friends.

  • I try not to read too much about the features of a game before the beta begins because it’s so often just a huge “Wish List”.

    I wonder how many of the game’s features will be watered down or axed before the closed beta.

    (Who could blame me for being skeptical?)

  • While there was a lack of details of the armory/skill system, it do sound a bit like Ryzom’s system on the surface. Same split into four different paths, which also has further specialisations and accompanied items so support each role.

    In Ryzom you can advance as much as you like in all paths.

  • @john I sincerely hope you don’t get what you want in FFXIV. I hope FFXIV has instances. One of the annoying parts of FFXI was having to stand in line waiting for your turn in a BCNM fight.

    Also, I highly doubt it will have PVP in any significant fashion. FF is more of a PVE type of experience. They had a limited form of PVP in FFXI called “Conflict” but it was really more of a sporting match type of diversion.

    I like the transportation system too. Grouping in FFXI was a blast, but when it took half my playtime just to GET to the group, it grew old quick. Sure the world feels “immersive” and “large,” but ultimately this is still a game. If you really want to be immersed in a large zoneless seamless world, just go outside. Immersion doesn’t make for a fun game. (Why do people always want the world to be zoneless but don’t ask for other “realistic” features like “not being able to get back up when you fall in full plate mail” or “having to wait an hour while you strip off your armor so you can pee”?)

  • I can honestly say I am more excited about Final Fantasy than I have been about any game. It makes me sad that I will probably have to wait a year to play it. I hope WAR, MO and SW:TOR can entertain me through next year.

  • I’m extremely excited about FFXIV. FFXI may of not been perfect (far from it) but it definitely nailed that grand sense of adventure that every other MMO I’ve played since (WoW,WAR,AoC,Aion Beta) has not produced. I got lost in FFXI for hours at a time and it never felt so mechanical as the other aforementioned MMOs. The on character multiple Jos system was definitely a factor and i’m glad to see it’s returning. I just hope they don’t bring back 24 hour monster camping or any type of severe death penalties. I’m also hoping this game doesn’t turn into a casual cake walk like WoW, I like a challenge!

  • “I just hope they don’t bring back 24 hour monster camping or any type of severe death penalties. I’m also hoping this game doesn’t turn into a casual cake walk like WoW, I like a challenge!”

    lol way to contradict yourself.

    You’re part of the problem.

  • @Knqui You quoted me and then ended up making no sense. 24 hour monster camping or severe death penalties don’t make a game hard, they make it frustrating. There is a difference.

    What I’m referring to is the general difficulty of encounters. Sure the lowbie to mid “level” stuff shouldn’t make you want to smash your face into your keyboard, but the higher end stuff SHOULD be difficult. I always hated how almost everything in WoW was pretty much handed to you and if it was difficult, the casual crowd (the majority of the game’s population) would just bitch enough to get it nerfed to the ground. I’m all for casual friendly content, but I just think that the bigger encounters in the game should be hard.

  • Well, when you use the word casual as a bad thing, you’re automatically using the word hardcore as a good thing.

    What you’re saying is you want a game that has no competitive edge, no risk/reward factor and (I’ll admit I’m assuming this) no barrier to entry (grindy leveling).

    But you don’t want it to be easy.

    I guess I just see what you’re saying as a contradiction in terms, you don’t want everything handed to you on a silver platter, but you don’t want any competition and zero risk in your gaming.

    Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but that just sounds like you want a casual game to me.

  • Ive uninstalled WAR, AoC, EQ2 and Runes of magic

    Then i did it, i reinstalled Dark ages of Camelot !

    With the latest Ywain announcement of a 1 server for all (http://www.camelotherald.com/devblog/news_article.php?storyid=24) theres going to be a lot of action on that server.

    if there are 3k+ online at a time it will seem to be more populated than a normal server in the peak of Daoc’s glory.

    im looking forward for some BG fun.

    Thats it, farming Aurilite to make a proper start.

    ~Higgs

  • It’s a bit early to get excited about the armoury system methinks.

    It sounds almost exactly like FFXI’s system if you ask me. The only change being that you can probably swap classes at the drop of a hat by changing your main weapon.

    You’ll end up working on each class individually just like FFXI’s job system. Unfotunately that page doesn’t make any mention of dual-classing so this may be a step backwards for all we know.

    The only interesting thing to come out of that site is the mention of gathering as a “discipline”, alluding to something a little more substantial than clicking on nodes.. but who knows.

  • @Knqui

    I wasn’t trying to use the word casual as a derogatory term. I appologize if I came off that way, I have nothing against casual players (I myself am more casual than hardcore due to rl obligations).

    “I guess I just see what you’re saying as a contradiction in terms, you don’t want everything handed to you on a silver platter, but you don’t want any competition and zero risk in your gaming.”

    I never said I don’t want any risk or competition in FFXIV. I’m just saying that harsh death penalties are ridiculous and have no place in the current MMO space. Does that mean there shouldn’t be any penalties? Of course not! But losing exp and as a cause de-leveling is just dumb. WoW has a pretty good death penalty system, i’m hoping FFXIV has some sort of varitaion of this.

    Now let’s head on to 24 hour mob camping as I’m assuming this is what you’re refering to when you say “you don’t want any competition”. I personally find camping a mob for 3 hours with 1 min windows every half hour (with a 21-24 hour pop cycle) redonkulous. Why not make them poppable with some sort of ‘key item’? It still requires skill to beat the mob, why do we have to sit there for insane amounts of hours for the ‘chance’ to get the mob and then MAYBE (around 4% drop rates on most items) your item will drop. Screw that action! It’s just an archaic and poorly designed aspect of FFXI that I hope doesn’t return. I prefer competition in other areas such as PvP
    to whet my appetite.

    Anyways that’s just my opinion, I know some people actually love camping, I hope they stay in FFXI =P

    Oh and Keen; that’s such an awesome gif! I just finished watching First Contact for the 198798171987 time lol!

  • I know you criticize Aethyrite, but playing FFXI NOW, That “open world” feeling can get very stale, very quickly with how many times you have to traverse the huge environments in painfully slow fashion, it can take half an hour of just mindless running to get where you want to go… it’s not as fun as you think. And outposting (teleporting) Does not diminish this feeling.

  • @ Danath

    Indeed. I’m all for an expansive environment but when it’s time to get something done, like a mission, quest or whatever, why not have fast transport to said location? I see nothing wrong with that.

  • Knqui:

    Usually most of those NMs weren’t even a challenge. The only problem was the time spent, and it was a pain to kill a too weak mob hundreds of times for a 1% drop, if you even could get claim. It was boring, really, you wound up bringing a book or even logging off until the window was back up.

    As for this, well the armory system seems stupid to me so far. Crafting is pointless; I mean that why do you even need to change jobs to craft? Unless crafters also have secondary offensive or defensive abilities that let them fight or cast unique spells or abilities as well, its more inefficient than the old system of levelling crafting skills.

    They also really need to mention more about the martial arts. We have the way of the sword, and the way of magic, but those are too general to excite. A lot of FFXI’s classes wouldn’t fit easily under those terms: pet and support especially aren’t always magical based classes. I mean, I don’t want to get into it to find it not having many options to the actual gameplay of fighting.

    I’m really skeptical of SE, having played FFXI for so long.

  • Don’t forget, the whole purpose of a game is to /enjoy/. Good game developers make a game people enjoy; a lot of players getting frustrated means you missed something.

    All the best MMOs play carrot-on-a-stick. When you start out, things are super easy. Level! Level! Reward! LEVEL! Your first few hours you feel like an all-star, because it’s so easy and simple. “This game will be a piece of cake,” you think.

    Then, as you start getting to the point where you might get bored, they do two things: they increase the difficult (just a bit) and improve the rewards. The boredom is forgotten as you drool over the shininess, and you don’t notice that it took you just a little more work. Gold fever kicks in.

    This balance needs to be carefully maintained as you go. They need to keep the rewards improving to where each new one you see makes your eyes bug out just a little more. “Uber Platinum Sword of Unending Power is a cheap TRINKET compared to the Uber Uber Titanium Blade of Just a Little More Power!”

    The goal is to keep it to where the player thinks, “that only took me 2 minutes more than the last thing, and this is way better,” never noticing that all those 2-minute increments are adding up to a lot.

    I’ll be honest – I quit FFXI after several months without progression. NOT from a lack of dedication, but from a lack of opportunity. 10 hours of game play was often the time it took to find a group or two, and at least half of those would crash five minutes in, after three group deaths and a de-level.

    That’s not keeping the balance.

    I agree – de-levelling is a terrible way to go. Even just limiting it to ‘0xp toward next level’ would be enough, making it so you only regress to your last level-up. The point is, deaths in games happen if you’re being challenged sufficiently, and the penalty needs to be something that makes you want to avoid it, but avoids that feeling of having wasted a week.

    When you realize that the well-equipped tank you just invited has taken minutes to undo hours of work, do you blame the player? Yes. Do you also blame the game? I think you do. Unless you’re lucky enough to always play with the same people, you’re forced to gamble each time you form a group, and it doesn’t always pay off. The carrot is now a lot farther ahead of you, and you’re starting to realize you may never catch it.

    Back to the explanation of the game: guildleves and armory. These have a lot of potential, but I don’t believe many people truly understand “how”. (Let’s hope SE does.)

    The common concept is that of playing the way you want to play. Yes, you could try to do it all. Some people will – most won’t. This concept has an amazing potential to offer a distinctly tailored game for each player, regardless of play style, but ONLY if they are willing to maintain this distinction to the end. If the endgame is epic battles, the crafters and gatherers are going to be reduced to an off-time hobby.

    What SE needs to do is offer distinct paths for each discipline. Say you’re the type of player that just can’t handle the stress and precise timing of a boss fight. It’s too much, so you spend your time crafting. You spend the rest of your life… earning money. To what end? You remain an avatar sitting in front of the auction house, making stuff and reselling. Not very satisfying. But, what if (as a crafter) you had the option to set up shop somewhere? Hire lower level crafters to apprentice under you, respond to requests for item creation, develop a franchise… A person could spend their entire game experience never leaving the city, and still feel successful (and famous, too.)

    Did you hear about the guy who soloed epic-NM? Sounds vaguely familiar. But do you know Mr Elezaan over on Harbor Way? Sure do; he made my last three sets of armor.

    Who says cities even need to be limited in size? Instances are simple; it would be no problem to make “market” and “housing” districts that expand as people build buildings. (Heck, there could even be buildings that wood and stone crafters could make.)

    Even gathering. It’ll likely be dangerous to gather in some areas, right? But what if you set up a band – organize several other gatherers, hire some guards to protect you, and off you go. You’re now earning better rewards, rewarding those who protect you, and getting a small cut from the profits of those under you.

    Even guildleves fall into this same layout, as others have illustrated. (Even the above can work – if someone has a guildleve to obtain a sword, and you jump in as the creator, you can both benefit.)

    If SE gets away from the classic model of “end game = epic battles = epic rewards” and starts rewarding being good at what you do with something tailored to what you do… That focus will force concepts like “camping” and “delevelling” into the past, where they belong.

    If (and it’s a big if) SE makes a game that allows in more than just fighters, they can capture a whole unrealized aspect of the market, and make a world that feels vastly more “real” to all of its players.

    One cent on travelling: I’m fully on board with making a player travel to a new location on foot the first time. Force us out of our Mog Houses to see the world. After that, I’ve got better things to do with my time. If I only want to see the two cities I’ve set up shop in, let me.