Lots of MMO Noobs in FFXIV

FFXIV has a shocking number of unskilled players.  I don’t know a nicer way to say it.  Graev and I have noticed a severe lack of understanding of MMO group mechanics from people we group with in dungeons.  One dungeon in particular this evening had a caster DPS who would literally charge forward and start attacking anything he saw.  That same group had a tank in level 15 gear at level 34 in a level 33+ dungeon.  Some tanks don’t know how to pull aggro, or even understand they are tanks.

There are a few possible explanations.

Fate Grinders

One reason people might not understand how their class works, and why their gear sucks, is fate grinding.  Leveling is incredibly easy when you roll across the map with a group mashing hotkeys and slaying monsters.  The experience I gain in a week might take a fate grinder a day, but I gain a week of earning gear and learning my character and they get new abilities before they learn what their current ones do.

Final Fantasy is a single-player franchise

Aside from XI and XIV, Final Fantasy is a single-player franchise.  Maybe people are used to being the solo hero who can run in and just do whatever he or she wants.  I can’t blame them for not understanding the nuances of group play.


It’s obvious when someone is on a PS3 and not extremely comfortable with their controller.  They move slower, their reactions are slower, and they can’t type.  I have zero proof, but I think a lot of these sub-par group members are console gamers or at least people unfamiliar with MMOs.  I mean no offense — Graev is a console gamer and he does fine (He screams at the TV calling them out).  I think console gamers aren’t used to working in a team, or not having to care that one wrong move might wipe a group. It doesn’t even cross their mind.

Solving the issue isn’t simple, but there’s a really great feature in the game called Guildhests that might do the trick.  Guildhests are like tutorial dungeons that place a group in a situation where they have to overcome mechanics commonly found in dungeons.  There’s everything from DPS races to moving out of the fire.  If they were harder, they might be a way of teaching some of these people the basics.  Guildhests should absolutely be mandatory.  The game should prohibit the use of the dungeon finder until you complete your level’s Guildhests.

That leads to my last point… I guess this is one of the big downsides to the dungeon finder.  Normally I’d be able to evaluate how competent members of my group are before having to rely on their ability to perform their role.  The dungeon finder skips all of that and randomly pairs people together.  Gear checks could be implemented, but that’s just annoying.  I think the dungeon finder works for FFXIV, so I wouldn’t want to see it done away with either.

I think the Guildhests are a start, but patience will be a requirement when grouping with players I don’t know.  In the end, if someone is simply new to MMOs then I’m not upset.  I’m only bothered when they make it to level 35 and still don’t know their class.  Is that a failing of the game, or the player?

  • Honestly, I sort of see that as a positive. One problem every MMO community I’ve been apart of post WoW is the elitist mentality of even the worst players. Playing an MMO where a sizable chunk of the population is learning what an MMO is and just enjoying the experience rather then rocketing the the top to be elite raiders sounds like it’s worth a few wipes while people are learning.

  • I was doing those Guioldhests earlier, the instanced mini-encounters that are supposed to teach you the basics of group play – which I think is a great idea. I couldn’t believe how many groups I was in didn’t understand the basic concepts that were literally being plastered across their screen.

    The first one is supposed to teach you how to pull mobs towards your group. So I offer to pull since I was the only ranged DPS. What happens? Everyone ignores me, and tank just barrels right into the groups. I didn’t care too much because they were small 3-mob groups. Then the big boss at the end appears with two grooups of 3 flanking him. The Lalafell NPC clearly tells us to pull the smaller groups individually. So what happens? Tank barrels right into all 7+ mobs.

    It really makes me nervous about going into dungeon grooups.

    Now I know what it’s like to be an MMO newbie, and I think it’s great that FFXIV is attracting so many newcomers. Even better how the game tries to teach you the basic mechanics as you go along. The problem is though, it seems like a good chunk of these newbies just plain refuse to read or learn how these mechanics work. These are the same players who at later levels will be struggling and complaining about the game being too hard, or whinging when nobody wants to help them. I was trying to heal in fates earlier, until I noticed the guy that was losing so much health was a marauder in caster gear. I stopped healing him because I was just wasting MP, he died, and then immediately complained to me about it. I tried to explain to him how he was wasting my MP, and he didn’t take it to well.

    I love newbies, they can be great fun to teach and play with – only if they’re willing to learn and listen. But we’ll see how things get as the game goes on. I might just end up only running dungeons with guildies, as usual.

  • So… you are upset with them because they are inefficient and don’t play the way you want them to? Sounds like you need to just find people who are more in tune with your play style. Both parties will probably benefit more from that. 😛

    Also, there are “roles” in this game? For me that’s another huge negative (it’s akin to “work” for me). Definitely steering clear now.

  • It’s not that they are inefficient, it is that they are not willing to learn or work with others. Why play an MMO if you’re going to ignore everyone around you?

  • I’ve been having better luck with people outside the dungeon finder yelling for parties. Tonight I found a group willing to use 2 Healers to take on Titan. None of us knew all of the mechanics to the fight, so we wiped a lot, but each of us was patient enough to learn through all those experiences. Heck, I even learned how to use and target my Limit Break during the encounter! All of us were MMO veterans, and we all Friend Listed each other after we felled Titan an hour or so later. I have had my share of parties that just kind of walk into a room and aggro everything, but A. I’m a darn good healer, and B. The experiences I’ve had either teaching these people or having fun with other veterans has been exactly what I’ve been looking for in an MMO.

  • The first time I died in beta 3 I was in a FATE somewhere near Gridania. Fighting the boss monster I was healing the only other character there, a tank, when more mobs spawned and jumped on me. I was trying to keep myself alive long enough for him (the character was male) to get them off me, but he did nothing. Worse at around that moment a few more characters wandered in and immediately focused on the boss and ignored the rapidly dying healer nearby (stood in plain sight in the middle of the room!). They didn’t even res me after the FATE was over when I asked in /say. One of the latecomers did come over and dance with my corpse a few times, how useful!

    This game certainly isn’t encouraging actual helpful, thoughtful group behaviour enough. The sad thing is based on the GW2 experience, you probably need to explicitly reward players’ characters for them to bother in far too many cases.

  • Really interesting observations, because in beta Yoshi-P posted a lengthy and detailed reply on the forums to complaints that he first 15 levels were far too easy with far too much hand-holding. The gist of that reply as I remember it was that he was expecting a large number of players for whom FFXIV would be their first MMO, players who wouldn’t know even the most basic mechanics which most players in beta would take completely for granted.

    I was puzzled at the time, wondering where all these MMO virgins would come from but from the unexpectedly high numbers of players and the way they are playing as described by Keen above, it looks as though Yoshi-P knew what he was doing, as indeed he seems to have done throughout the whole process.

    I’ve only done one true PUG so far, for the Afrit fight (I did the dungeons with a LS group of three plus a PUG tank and all three of our guest tanks were competent or better). The Afrit fight was a really memorable experience that gave strong positive affirmation to my withered affection for Pugging. I would have blogged about it had I had time and I still might. It took us five or six tries, we had no Healer (not sure how we even got let in to the instance) and no real tank because the supposed one we had couldn’t begin to take the damage without a real healer. We worked out a system of two Topaz pets tanking and two Arcanists healing them and patch healing the party if they had time, which didn’t happen often. Took us about half a dozen wipes to get the strategy down. No-one left and indeed I was first to call “Last Try”. We won on that one with five minutes left on the timer.

    In FATEs I’ve seen no co-operation of any kind between any, but neither have I seen any need for it. I’m only 22nd so maybe that changes later on but for now FATES seem to be a simple zerg and there are always plenty of bodies around to throw at them.

    If FFXIV really has introduced a whole new bunch of people to MMOs, though, that can only be a good thing. They’ll either like it and learn like we all did or they won’t and they’ll move on. I don’t see it as any knd of long-term problem, rather the opposite.

  • “If FFXIV really has introduced a whole new bunch of people to MMOs…”

    If it has introduced anyone, it’s western players. FFXI never got the global attention ARR now does, partly because it launched in a time pre-WoW when MMOs weren’t mainstream yet. but in Asia and Japan especially, it has always had a hardcore following who has moved on to ARR too. and those players do know how to play in groups – some of the most hardcore and disciplined group play I ever experienced was in FFXI with the JAP community. I’d be willing to bet that you won’t find the amount of noobs on ARR JAP servers as you find elsewhere.

    The people who are new to FF Online are mostly EU and NA players; and there’s indeed a fair amount there that only know FF as a console RPG franchise. it’s possible that they jump into ARR now without much MMO experience.

  • There are numerous studies PC gamers are smarter than Console gamers overall quick Google search proves it, and Just better at games alot of that is due to controls of course, i think its more of an age thing as-well console gamers will be on average younger than us

    i cant wait for “LFG PS3 people need not apply”
    i don’t agree with that at all.

  • I’m an MMO veteran however I usually shy from going into instances because of the elitist attitude most people take with regards to people who are still learning the system. I usually take a DPS role since my mistakes usually have a much less pronounced effect on the group’s ability to complete a dungeon.

    I mistakenly picked a Marauder in FFXIV (a tanking class).

    Since this is a new MMO I decided to go for it and do regular instances. I figured everyone would be a noob so I need not worry with learning. The game made it easier for me since you need to visit the instances to progress your main quest line. I have to say my experience up till now was extremely pleasant. I picked up the class really quickly. Unlike some MMOs I played in the past the game gives me all the tools I need to properly function as a tank. Its not a constant struggle to maintain aggro so I can just concentrate on adds and positioning. It was also quite liberating to be in a dungeon with me being the only one who completed it before. I have not come across anyone who I would consider a bad player to be totally honest. (Playing on Moogle EU). Everyone knew their role, and there were a couple of overzealous DPS and a slow reacting Healer. However we still managed to overcome all the challenges. It may be that the instances are too easy by MMO veteran standard. Or it could have been that I was lucky. Either way – I have not had so much fun playing instances with strangers since.. ..well I have NEVER had this much fun playing instances with strangers really.

  • So I did a search for “are pc gamers smarter than console gamers?” because I found the claim laughable. Couldn’t find 1 “study”. I did find a few articles in gaming centric websites where first person gaming controls were discussed. Low and behold they found that when playing FPSes someone using a keyboard/mouse had a huge advantage against someone with a controller! No talk of actual intelligence. No talk of being generically “better” at gaming.

    In case some people don’t realize it FF 14 isn’t an FPS. It’s a turn based system with a 2.5 second global cool down. The keyboard/mouse combo doesn’t hold much of an advantage there if any. It’s also dead simple to hook a keyboard up to a ps3 to communicate. I’m pretty confident stating that an experienced mmo player playing on a ps3 would be indescernable from a pc player.

    On thing interesting to note, some of these same “studies” claim that console gamers are more social. So based on that I guess I could claim all those people not listening and running ahead must be pc gamers because the ones staying back and listening are obviously on a console. I could but I won’t because its a ridiculous claim. Almost as ridiculous as saying they are less intelligent.

  • When I play WoW, I do it with a gamepad in a setup similar to how the FFXIV gamepad layout works. That’s a game that isn’t optimized in any way for a gamepad, and I always pull near top dps.

    That said, I wouldn’t do it in other roles. I was primarily a resto druid in TBC (arena) and Cata (RBG). Tank in Wotlk. Feral in Vanilla but for PVP.

    But in MoP, I wasn’t just fine but found the gamepad easier for Ret, Ele, and Feral for PVE. I found that neither warrior dps spec worked well.

    So if I was going to play FFXIV with the intention of using a gamepad, based on my past experience, I’d try to find a dps class with a small rotation – that way you negate the disadvantages of losing the keyboard, and can take advantage of the easier to use hotkeys, where 5-16 are much easier to reach.

  • It’s the Playstation crowd, we have a new generation of MMO players with access via a console. The only teamwork they know of is Call of Duty & Battlefield. We’re sure to have some growing pains!

  • Hey Keen,

    I know that now you are occupied with FF14 but I just thought you would like to know that Allods now has a subscription option without cash shop (!).
    Would love to see you try it out for a month or so.

  • A have a friend who plays on PS3 and he is very new to the MMO mechanics but he is picking them up pretty fast. He’s played a lot of XII which is where XIV seems to get most of its inspiration from. He’s playing a tank and I’ve offered a few suggestions to help him keep aggro and he’s learned very quickly. There will be bad players on both systems, PC and PS3 but I don’t think the PS3 players will be so bad that they’ll be shunned.

  • People realize that there are several MMOs currently available on the ps3 right? Dcuo and ffxi have been available on it for years.

    Technically ps3 users may have issues when too many things are going on or communication-wise if they dont have a keyboard but it’s not due to playing too much call of duty. There is also a segment of users who never played an mmo but that is across all platforms.

  • What are the queue times like for the duty finder? I only started last night so I haven’t used it yet. I’m still a bot on the fence about what to play. I started as an Archer but after reading a bit I’m thinking I may reroll tank. I’ve tanked in other games and enjoy it, and it kills the queue time issue and the worst of the “new player” issue (bad tank is worse than bad anything else) in one stroke.

    I’ve heard varying reports about the queue times. I understand dps will always wait longer, but if it’s 20 mins or so I’m not too bothered by it. If I’m waiting an hour or more just for the chance to join a group where we have a 50/50 chance at a tank that isn’t willing or able to perform the role then I can see that becoming very frustrating. Like some others I don’t mind new players who are learning, but it may still help to take matters into my own hands a bit.

  • From what I’ve heard most queues wait on healers. I play conjurer and my queues are always instant.

  • You’d be surprised how many players, even back in my FFXI days, managed to make it to max level without understanding their own class. I saw this a lot more after leveling was made easier and players just spammed their way to max by power leveling.

    Prior to that, when leveling 1 job/class took well over 8 months of group play, you saw far less terrible players. You knew almost every player on your server by reputation and only grouped with players you regarded highly. Players were forced to get better or face being ostracized by the community.

    Leveling is so fast today that no one really cares about learning their class until max level.

  • So you expect a 16 year old jumping into a mmorpg for the 1st time to be able to understand the genre like a 10 year vet?

    Give me a break Keen. I expect more from you than that. Here’s a thought: mentor, teach, and work to build a community that can create a successful mmorpg.

    I’m guessing you’ll take the easy route. A few posts following release, and then a g’bye post explaining how the game ultimately failed to captivate you. Which is fine. Just do me a favor: don’t include mmorpg noobs among the reasons you quit cuz that just makes you look like an arse.

  • Lol, try reading first Jim.

    Anyway back on topic, I’ve not had to much issue. Perhaps cus I’m s tank and control the flow. Fate grinders are noticeable tho.
    You also get a lot of new players to dungeons cus you are forced to do em for the story, such is good.
    BTW, tank queue times are instant past 20 and bout 5min before. Guessing a lot of early tanks struggle and change as early ranking is challenging at least for a gladiator

  • I definitely blame the game (more accurately, pretty much the whole genre these days), rather than the players. If you’re going to bait solo players to pay for the product by building it off of a single player franchise and making the early levels soloable, only to switch to group content with no preparation, that’s not the player’s fault. Automated group finders are the developer’s way of pushing this burden onto players like yourself who want to play MMO’s the old fashioned way.

    Then again, the alternative to making the group content more accessible to a wider chunk of the playerbase is that you have to make less group content because most of your players (and thus revenue) can’t play it. As long as players who prefer to group insist that their cost to play the game cannot exceed a $15 subscription with no cash shop, they are going to be outvoted by the wallets of the solo masses.

  • The Guildhests are a really good introduction to the mechanics, and as he said, should probably be mandatory, at least the first few, also make them harder
    ie: the first one, make it so that if you do not split pull it instantly fails. Its a simple mechanic so having a high cost of failing it is not going to be bad
    Same with the poison posies, make the poison come out less often, but make it do massive damage if you spend more than..3? seconds in it.
    Its too late for such changes now, but I really love the idea behind them and hope that future MMO’s will take that idea

  • hi my first post here but long time reader .Wow was my first mmo I played from day of release prior to that I was a console player beginning with the nes I don’t like dungeons I found them stressful and as a tank a complete nightmare so I rolled a mage and did the occasional sheep but on the whole I play mmos to relax not to be shouted at and insulted or to have panic attacks. ARR forces you to do 3 dungeons to carry on your story line as a marauder I have done 2 today I just fire my axe and I think its called overpower to gain enmity im not really happy about it Im ok when im concentrating on mobs which I know I have taunted but Im pretty sure if anything gets more complicated then im going to struggle ive read up on the dungeon after tora tora apparently I have to guide a baddie over a bomb or something not looking forward to it

  • @Evalissa: “I’m only bothered when they make it to level 35 and still don’t know their class. ”

    I still remember trying to tank with my mage in WoW well towards endgame. I had no idea about aggro or “glass cannons”. Thankfully I was in a patient guild that taught me about the game’s mechanics, class roles, rotations, etc.

    It’s up to the community to teach players their roles. Keen knows this. All I wanted to point out was this blog felt like a goodbye post, which I’ll stand by.

  • @Jim: Like a goodbye post? I uh, don’t even see how you can think that. But I can’t see how you’d think a Mage is a tank, either.

    Like I said, if someone is new to MMOs then that’s totally fine. In FFXIV, however, it should be impossible to get level 35 and still not understand the game. There are too many tools to help.

  • Hi Steven, it can be hard to tank if your not familiar with standard boss mechanics, if your on our server look me up and I can help, or pm me on the forums here

  • I have no problems teaching new MMO players how to be better. I’ve been doing it a long time. In this game I’ve helped gladiators use their flash skill more to hold aggro better. Almost every dungeon I’ve been in I’ve had to remind DPS to use our limit. (DPS use Limit! is a phrase I’ve actually created a macro for)

  • Those claims ps3 players are bad is stupid and ignorant..im using a ps3 controller anddcurrently doing well in BC turn 4…nobody realised im on ps3

  • On one hand I can understand your frustration. An old co-worker of mine power-leveled a toon in WoW and then, at around 35 or 40, had to ask me about the basics of playing his character. That’s ridiculous.

    On the other hand, that’s the reason why I hardly ever grouped in WoW myself. It didn’t matter who I was playing with. I was always doing something wrong, playing my toon wrong, doing this and that wrong. The elitist attitude got very old. I tried hard to learn my character but mistakes will be made. It’s a GAME. I played for personal enjoyment and that kind of attitude takes the enjoyment out of it.

    If you group with someone and they don’t play the way you want them to, just move on. Like it or not, there will always be someone out there who has a different style or doesn’t know their toon the way you think they should, or just doesn’t have the time to learn or just wants to play their way for fun, etc etc.

    Just play and move on. Whining about it will do you no good. If you are that concerned about it, try to find more positive ways to help people learn what they need to know. As long as you look at it negatively, nothing will change. Be the change you want to see in the game.

  • I know this conversation is dead, but I’ve just started playing this on PS3. I understand my role as a tank, but the PS3 controller set up makes mob targetting a total nightmare and I’m often embarrassed at my performance in dungeons. It’s more frustrating that I know what needs to be done, but it probably looks like I have no clue sometimes to other players. At least I plugged my keyboard in so I can apologise.

  • i’m a PS3 player with 50 lvl DRG and LB is mind! its not easy but not that terrible with DPS role.
    but for Tanks or Healer, it’s another story. not recommended

  • are you guys new to MMO’s that happens in all of them once you hit max and find a group you raid with that stops being a problem. But its nothing new

  • I play with ps3 and im able to follow everyone i play with and i got a bluetooth keyboeard to write

  • Unskilled players is a unintended side effect of dumbing down mmo’s. In come the button mashing xbox live kids. WoW destroyed the genre, adapt or move out. Their are more of them than their are of us and businesses want that $$ more than they want to protect the integrity of a genre. It was amazing while it lasted. (im nauseated every time I have to come to terms w/ it)

  • my favorite anagram/analogy (w/e the term is) is comparing todays mmo to the wii. The wii was wildly successful due to how accessible they made it. Problem is, accessible means easy/dumbed down which utterly and completely alienated it from the serious gamers or people seeking a challenge.

    Unfortunately due to blizzard, mmo’s are banking on the same phenomenon and to be fair, its generally working. Again at the contempt of people who cherished MMO’s and didn’t play it as a “game” but as a hobby. Its sad, truly.

    let the kids stick to their console games, leave the mmo’s alone. sigh

  • Ok felt I had to reply here as I am a console gamer.

    I am new to the MMORPG category of gaming and this console v pc is a joke and almost always instigated by pc elitists.

    I have a sch, pld, brd and blm as my main lvl 50 classes and even though the game is harder to play on ps3 I out play pc gamers 90% of the time. I almost solo healed garuda em when the other healer quit the df cause the dps were being hit by everything. I am always being commended by players especially my healing. I solo healed Ultima hm as well.

    Now in my fc we have about 80 members and only 5 or so ps3 users well 4 now as my son switched to pc as easier to play on. I am the one they ask to heal or tank etc and it’s the pc users that’s driving everyone nuts with there questions and stupidity. Oh look there’s a big red patch on the floor oh I am dead lol

  • Lmao!!!!! I know the post was old……but once that kid said he tried to tank with a Mage he lost all creditbility.

    And that’s the issue here…..,.how the hell did you think a Mage could tank? That’s basic knowledge. A cloth wearer doesn’t tank. This is old school knowledge where a Mage does more damage and has less hp. Table top dungeon and dragons knowledge.

    I play ffxiv and I can’t stand going into a dungeon as simple as WP and a tank doesn’t know his limits and pull every damn mob only to die seconds later. I don’t understand how you can’t pay attention as a tank to see an enemy run from your group and attack a healer.


    1. Aren’t paying attention to what you are tanking
    2. Aren’t paying attention to your groups health

    I don’t mind payers dying. But when you die to the same thing multiple times…..it baffles me. I’m afraid ffxiv will take the road the most mmos go and water down the game to please the casuals. Ffxiv was not a forgiving game. Experience loss when you die, long travels, and before they did level sync you really had to work to level. But they changed it…,and I quit once I seen how people were leveling a character from Valkyrie dunes then going to high end groups and sucking because they didn’t know their class. I like challenges and developers take that away to cater to the people who complain.

    So many people whine about Titan hard mode. But it really isn’t hard. Just need to pay attention. Know your surroundings…..(what those tanks I talked about earlier don’t do) and when you finally down him, it feels so much more rewarding.

    But when you have players who try to tank with a Mage……….just wow

  • I don’t think it has anything to do with console. As plenty of skilled players in my FC are on console and I even played console on xi. The issue is that xi and xiv are totally different games.

    Most casual head banging wow players wouldn’t touch ffxi because it’s “too hard”
    Xi forced you to play with people and overcome the unforgiving game. There was no tradechat, there was general chat….

    Instead there was linkshell, and linkshells members became close. Nothing like a guild In wow or rift, in xi you get a bad reputation and just like other communities it spread. People won’t group with you, people won’t induct you in their linkshell and in xi YOU need people.

    In xiv, they stripped all that away. You basically solo the game the entire time barely learning your class because of fates. And then you get to end game where you need people and you suck….then whine. Titan is example people hitting that wall cause they suck and they whine. You either get better at the game or you pay for a run and still suck. The ones that truly whine don’t farm so they can’t pay for it and they can’t get a group because of heir lack of skill. And this is why I hope SE doesn’t cater to those people. The game is already easy enough and I don’t want them taking away the challenges.

    They should never have taken out the group level grind from ffxi and ffxiv 1.0. You learned your class and you built your rep.

  • Tbf I have tanked sastasha boss as a healer cause the tank dced. Easy enough just keep spamming cure as high aggro so no one else gets aggro and you keep your own health up. Also tanked mobs on the praetorium etc when tanks too busy fighting over who will mt.

    Obviously anything that can actually hit then forget it. Even tried tanking skeletons on ky blm on the first boss in ct and lasted two hits lol