Final Fantasy Frustrations

ffxiv gear grindThere’s a lot about FFXIV that I like but as time goes on I seem to discover more and more things that are turning me off of the experience. I figured I’d share some brief thoughts on some of the game elements that are starting to bother me.

Dragoons & Jobs In General

I love the Dragoon job in FF Tactics games and other FF related titles but Dragoons in FFXIV are really disappointing. They may get three jump attacks but they are all on rather large cooldowns. The main damage one, which doesn’t even do that much damage, is around 40 seconds while the stun is around 90 and the AoE is something like 300 seconds. It’s frustrating that you only get to feel like a Dragoon only some of the time and not even to great effect. The stunning jump just seems completely worthless, too. It has a longer cooldown, does less damage, and takes WAY too much time between activation and execution to actually interrupt anything. I was also really disappointed when I learned that there were no breath attacks at all.  I started a Black Mage and I’m having a bit more fun because I feel more like a traditional Black Mage than I ever did a Dragoon.

The job system in general is just really disappointing. Once you actually unlock a job it is little more than a title and quest-line. You are still essentially just your base class except you get a ‘special’ ability every 5 levels. It pretty much makes the addition of more jobs rather unexciting. Like if they added Time Mage or something to Thaum then you are pretty much entirely the same as a Black Mage except you swap out 5 quest-line abilities. I don’t find the idea of that to be appealing at all. They either need to completely re-haul their class system, which they wont, or come up with some kind of advanced job system.

The Gear Treadmill

I remember early back in WoW, when Keen was running a raiding guild, that the entire endgame was an asinine process where you obtain gear in order to obtain better gear so than you can get EVEN BETTER gear and so on forever and ever. I remember him brushing me off and then quite some time later coming to the same realization like it was some kind of mind-blowing revelation.

Anyway, I feel like things are exactly the same in FFXIV. I had no idea going in that it was going to be another gear grind. I remember when I first learned about the token pieces you get from dungeon running and how you trade those in for better gear which gets you ready for the harder dungeons and blah blah blah. Keen was telling me all of this while I was mentally “Pulling-a-Ralphie” and thinking “Oooohhhh Ffffffffffuuuuuuuddddgggee…” Only I didn’t think ‘fudge.’ I tried to bring up to Keen that this was just another gear grind, which I thought we both hated, but for the time being he doesn’t seem to mind.

I just hate the idea of temporary gear that is essentially worthless since it’s just going to be discarded almost right away. They might as well just sell you rental suits of armor that you can later return when you no longer need and get part of your deposit back. Wait… Nobody steal that! I thought of it first!

  • I completely understand the disappointment in the Job system, I only played the beta but got up to level 30, and have played at a friend’s house pretty extensively, it’s something i thought would add so much depth and intrigue to the game, instead i find myself looking at other features and basically dismissing the job system at a failed attempt to do what i mentioned before.

    As far as the gear treadmill, i really don’t get the frustration over it all, if you’re playing a themepark MMO, that’s what there is, and frankly i enjoy it, though i do admit the entire purpose of enjoying it is to play along friends and do your role (Tank/Heal/Damage) to it’s utmost ability and continuing to see the challenges rise but your effectiveness of these roles because of newly obtained gear rise along with it is an addicting system.

    I’ve been saying it over and over, on so many blogs, forums, etc, but I think people get turned off from the treadmill because it’s been done to death, but a couple other reasons that aren’t brought up often.

    1) the last decade or so has been DOMINATED by themeparks, sandboxes have really went to the backburner (Though i foresee that trend completely reversing in the next few years, simply because that’s how it goes, it’s a seesaw effect)

    2) Raiding has a negative stigma attached it, and it’s all connected to the gear treadmill. Been trying to get my message about this one across for awhile now, really want to scream it off a rooftop, but more intimate and close knit groups really enhance player’s experiences and remove the bad stigma attached to “gear grinds” or “gear treadmills” What i mean by Intimate and close knit groups? I mean smaller scale content, I really think it’s the way that Themeparks have to (at least certain ones) start thinking and going towards. Future Themepark MMO’s need to remove the focus on raids (Though like i said it doesn’t have to be all, just a select few) and start focusing on hard endgame “raid esque” type difficulty dungeons, but simply for standard groups, such as 5 or 6 mans.

    The reason for this? Well A) it removes all the barriers “casuals” have against raiding, you can do it far more spontaneously, don’t have to set strict raid schedules, especially if you make them reset say twice a week rather than once. B) As i mentioned earlier, i believe everyone has far more fun when they have a small tight knit group, very intimate, rather than those handful of friends mixed into a raid of 20+, it essentially dilutes the experience. So Why not simply make a 3rd level of difficulty for dungeons above the generic “regular” and “Heroic” difficulties, one that feels Raid esque, in terms of boss strategies.

    Can’t be done you say? Already has been, in Vanilla RIFT they had “mastermode” dungeons which were exactly as i just said a 3rd level of difficulty for pre-existing 5 mans, except this difficulty boosted the difficulty dramatically, and also unlocked new bosses, sometimes entire new wings to the dungeons making it feel like a totally new dungeon. Sadly TRION abandoned these, but more so because of bad implementation (I believe dungeons like this have to be either A) Alternate content for “casuals” instead of raiding or B) THE premiere endgame content, Trion failed at accomplishing either, instead they were just extra dungeons to complete, that had no dungeon finder option like every other dungeon had leaving virtually no one doing them.

  • I can understand Graev’s frustrations. I don’t personally enjoy gear treadmills or gear grinds (whichever they are called) but the grind in FFXIV is… manageable right now. If there’s too much vertical expansion, that’ll be a bit of a let down.

    I agree with you Joe about small group content. I think smaller dungeons with harder mechanics are the way to go. I don’t like mechanic-based fights with large groups. I like large groups fighting big bosses — but ones which can be ad hoc formed and defeated. (Almost like Behemoth and Odin).

  • wait, you play an MMO and you didn’t know it is gonna be a gear grind?What would be?I for one like very much that there is a gear progression and difficult content. What would you like to play for if not for gear that will unlock harder content? I am talking about pve. The game must have a grind, either for gear,skills,power… name it whatever you like…you need to progress your character, be stronger and feel stronger in order to kill more difficult enemies. Even if you see it from the RP side it still makes sense.

  • I understand what you are saying about the gear grind, it can become a chore.
    My question is what would the alternative be? I can’t say I’ve ever been involved with a MMO that has something else at end game.

    Side Note: That gear rental idea is pretty good…. You could make it a buff for X days on your current gear, or you could open it up for granting access to dungeons for a limited time(expendable keys)

  • Oh! or after you gather X amount of doohickeys you are allowed bonus stat points to the area of your choice… That way you get better, but it’s not tied to gear.
    Then you can repeat it over & over until whatever the “cap” is.

    Someone do this right away!!!

  • I don’t think it’s a gear grind YET, right now it’s a grind to get your good gear, but it really depends how fast it goes out of date and how badly you need “upgrades” for progression.

  • If you remove gear grind, what do you expect to do at max level in a theme park MMO? Also how is gear grind any different from level grind? I mean you get more levels to get even more levels. Is the issue here really about the fact that best gear requires raid but highest level can be gotten solo?

  • I just decided not to sub to FF, my first MMO was EQ back in 1999, and since then I have played over 20 MMOs, and beta tested probably close to 30 MMOs over that same time period. I played WoW almost steadily for 7 years too. I am a big fan of Square Enix, and FF, I tried and hated 1.0, and I even played 11 briefly. I had high hopes for XIV, and initially I loved the game. But over time things slowly started to frustrate me. I got my character to level 42, and the grind and lack of quests to do, and the fact that dungeons needed to be done to progress, a feature which at first I loved, I began to loathe.

    Most of my issues are with the lack of QoL mechanics in the game; if I can attack and dismount in WoW, a 9 year old MMO, then I should be able to do so in an MMO created in 2013, same thing with zoning, I have to dismount to zone? I can’t talk to a quest NPC mounted? Then dismount me. Maybe I’m use to being able to follow a quest progression on a path, winding through zones, and not have to run from zone to zone for most quests, I spent more time around from point A to point B then in any other MMO to date.

    I was a Dragoon, the leaps/jumps were so unique to me, in all of my years playing in an MMO, I had never run into a class like that before. But the jumps were useless, they lack power and they actually hurt your DPS unless you try to weave them into your rotation. Combat became predictable, repetitive and boring.

    And don’t get me started on the 2.5 sec global CD. Yoshi P can explain why he did it, and people can accept that, I tried, I can’t. I’m more of a twitch gamer, and I can’t stand spamming keys waiting for something to fire, I can’t imagine how many keyboards I’d break once PVP arrived.

    The world is beautiful, a truly realized FF MMO. I even bought the physical CE, I was so stoked, but here I am, a month into playing and I am so damn bored with this game. Maybe I’m just a jaded gamer. I expect more these days, and even though it is head and shoulders better then 1.0, I think I prefer 1.0, at least it tried to be different. The game is a grind, a gear grind, a Fate grind, a grind, grind……grind……and I don’t mind a grind if I’m having fun.