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Unbeatable Bosses and Other Things to Fear in FFXIV

Reading through the recent edition of the Mog Log over at Massively, the topic of FFXI’s infamous 18 hour boss fight was brought up. This is the kind of thing that frightens people away from Final Fantasy MMOs, and rightfully so. 18 hours is too long for any boss; a single hour turns the fight into a grind. Between that and the extensive amount of grouping the game originally required, FFXIV has something to prove before many gamers will even give it a shot.

I’m among the masses that didn’t connect with XI; it was before my time. But, like I mentioned on this week’s Multiverse, I’ll be there for XIV on day one – proof unseen. A lot of times when I tell my MMO friends this they scoff and complain about how bad its predecessor was. You see comments about it all the time at Massively: it was a grind, forced grouping, etc., etc. I don’t think that’s going to happen this time, so I’d like to address a few people’s fears.

Unbeatable Bosses: In a way, I understand people being shocked at the seeing an 18-hour boss fight. The thing is, the boss itself wasn’t 18 hours. The guild attempted it for 18 hours and wiped excessively. At some point, I would have to think somebody would have, you know, wanted to stop for dinner or something, but, hey, loot is loot.

But, let’s talk for a minute about the role of an unbeatable boss. They are there, in effect, to be a glass ceiling. These bosses aren’t meant to be beaten at the time they’re released and, honestly, there aren’t very many of them anyways. Also, I would question just how unbeatable a boss really is and how long they stay that way. But, in the realm of raiding, I think a glass ceiling is a good thing. Most people will never attempt them, or give up quick, but, for those that do, they act as the utmost challenge.

Let me also raise a couple of questions. If a guild wipes 10 times on a boss, every night they try, every strategy they try, how much sense does the guild have for keeping at it? Is the problem the raid being too hard or the guild wanting an unattainable world first? Also, assuming that these raids are meant to become accessible over time, shouldn’t that make the satisfaction of finally downing them all the more worthwhile? Or are we just here for the quick gratification of a nightly loot drop?

Still, I see people’s concerns. At their core, these bosses are meant to be a temporary stopping block. If we’re in it for the challenge and not the loot, they are a persistent content option until expansions and patches outdate them.

Forced Grouping: I just don’t see this as a problem. To think that Square would release an MMO without looking at the last decade’s competition is ridiculous. FFXIV won’t be a repeat of XI’s quest system. That would be a shot to the foot for Square-Enix and I don’t see them doing that.

I think I taught this kid first grade once. Is it weird I want to roll one?

Beta reports also confirm that the game is open to being played however the player chooses. If you’d like to solo, great, take a solo guild leve. If you have a handful of friends, party leve. A guild, raid leve. Guild leve’s make up a big part of the questing system and are completely scalable. We also should remember that the game will support leveling solely as a gatherer or crafter. Both of those will primarily be solo experiences (gathering moreso than crafting) and represent the freedom Square is trying to provide.

Excessive Grind: This is a legitimate concern. From what I’ve read on FFXIVCore, there will be lots of repeatable quests, which should help temper any grind still in the game. Though, I think it’s important to note that no one is complaining about having to grind in the beta. That’s big. As an Eastern developed game, people are like watchdogs for this kind of cultural trapping. If no one’s complaining, I take it as a good sign.

Then again, this is a Final Fantasy game, first and foremost. The FF series pretty much makes you grind at some point. If you’re a fan of 7-9, you know what I mean. Then again, if you’re interested in this game, I’d assume you’re a fan of the wider library and know what to expect.

Still, don’t expect FFXI level grind here. Just like forced grouping, it would be silly to make a grind-centric MMO for the modern market. Foot-shot.

Lack of Jumping:

This. Freaking. Sucks. I’m not going to lie. I hate the fact that your avatar won’t be able to jump. I hated it in Guild Wars. I hated it in Dragon Age. And, I’m sure to hate it here too. I know, in practice it’s not a big deal. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to jump in some patch. Still, when I log into a game, one of the first things I try to do is jump. Not including it as an option represents a horrible lack of freedom. More importantly, it’s downright immersion breaking. Does the avatar have legs? Are there muscles in those legs? Then he should be able to jump like a pony. Just saying…

My Expectations:

I’ll be honest with you, gang. Excited as I may be for this game, I expect it to be a work in progress when it launches. Much like Fallen Earth, I predict that the game will be very rough around the edges — but, fans of the series will love it just the same. For me, I’m willing to stick it out and see what the game has to offer. There is so much that’s different about FFXIV, that it has my attention and has earned its box price. In time, the polish will come, as it does with every major MMO release.

I got into the Final Fantasy series back in the original Playstation days. It was Final Fantasy 8 and I was in love. I got me started down a long and wending path of RPGs. At the time, I didn’t mind grinding because I wanted to see just how the story would progress. If I can get that kind of experience online, in a persistent world, then I’ll be happy.

There’s a lot here to be excited about, we just have to let our old fears give way. FFXI IS NOT FFXIV.

Happy weekend, all.

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