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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.

10 comments

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  1. Victor Stillwater

    I read that too just now. It’s amazing what people will try sometimes.

    I’m more interested in the world and how it’ll play out upon release. I’m hoping it’ll be a smooth launch, but I’m preparing for the worst. 🙂

  2. Chris

    Me too! I couldn’t imagine sitting down for a single fight for more than an hour. I’m nervous about launch though because it just seems so quick. Tanaka’s tone sometimes is also a little concerning because it appears they’re more concerned about the long term picture. That’s good, in a way, but also really risky. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    1. Victor Stillwater

      It’s a gamble for sure, but I’m hoping it pays off. 🙂

      By the way, I’m in a guild now. If you’re interested in playing casually with friendly folk, visit this thread

      http://www.ffxivcore.com/topic/7565-the-star-onions-forums-live/

      Then follow the link to the forums, sign up, make an introductory or application post, and join me. 🙂

  3. Tramell

    You could have saved yourself the trouble and wrote “Unbeatable Bosses: Absolute Virtue”. They did address the forced group issues somewhat with WoTG expansion. with Fields of Valor and solo-able friendly content. I had my MMO breast-milk from the grind and no jumping so no opinion on that xD. I’m putting my faith in them and expect Square Enix to learn from ffxi and produce a worthy title.

  4. Jon

    Actually.. There were 2 18+ hour long fights attempted on the “end-game” boss of the time when they came out through sheer determination and foolishness. First was absolute virtue, second was the pandemonium warden, both of which were patched to make sure it didn’t happen again. But in a sense I liked knowing of something so ridiculously difficult. There are optional bosses like this in almost all final fantasy games. These ones weren’t meant to be 18 hours but it was hard enough if you weren’t prepared and had lost enough sense while fighting it to take that long. So basically I’d want to see a return of an unbeatable boss.. But without the design flaws they should have learned from in the last game.

  5. Cindy

    Hehhh I’m not convinced the 18 hour mythical bosses were actually supposed to last that long which is why there’s 2 hour cap now, you go over that and you’ll have to get a better strategy , better gear or just better. From what I understand the people who took that long did not know when to say quit. So you’ve got an open boss fight that can stretch out forever with an absurd amount of potions and class skills like convert which is cool because you can down a boss in a longer time then expected however because people are silly enough to actually sit there for 18 hours it’s bad game design. :/

    If you choose to be just a crafter and nothing but a crafter, you’ll still need to group once in a while to get to dangerous places, or so we’ve been told/hinted at.
    Often people soloability with playing by yourself, from what I understand so far about FFXIV the whole game is still built around people interacting with other people that even if you do level by yourself, or do crafting most of the time you are still playing with people, to barter, finish up a quest line offer your crafting services to people who need repairs on their armor ect.. Also grouping is still very much encouraged, but that’s encouraged not demanded. With the crystal teleporting thing and guild leves I’m expecting grouping to be as effortless as the good old days of Guild Wars, where you meet in one area and everyone is there for the same reason.
    A little bird told me that the guild leves scale, from solo to 8 man parties or so. 😀 Leves are a lot like dailies.
    What I know nothing of the actual story, but Tanaka says it’s there and huge.. Hee hee.

  6. motstandet

    From what I’ve read on FFXIVCore, there will be lots of repeatable quests, which should help temper any grind still in the game.
    These statements really irk me. How can you say killing mobs for hours with a party is more of a grind than doing the same quest for hours by yourself? The latter seems immensely more boring; and if WoW taught me anything, it is that very sentiment. A quest grind is still a grind. At least in FFXI you have people to talk to.

    1. Chris

      Fair enough, though I think most people consider questing less of a grind. The veil of context means a lot ot people. In the end, you’re doing about the same thing but at least quests direct you and try to provide some kind of narrative. I think the initial popularity of WoW (it became the quest-centric game it is because the players asked for it during testing) and the failure of Aion reinforce that feeling.

  7. sean

    Ffxi was an awesome game. It wasn’t a grind, you had to earn it and when you did you had a sense of accomplishment. Do we really wanna play a game were everyone has the best gear, everyone is a top level crafted, and everyone has more gil than they know what to do with. My impression so far with ffxiv is its to easy, everything is handed to you, I thought I was playing wow. Bring the mobs that need several alliances to defeat, including 18hr boss fight. Fyi, most clans never had anyone stay for 18hrs to fight. I remember starrting battle, leaving for work, coming home, and relieving someone from the same mob. Ah the memories, the friendships. You wont get that in ffxiv. Ive been playing for two weeks and haven’t spoken not a word to anyone. What a great mmo. With no interaction, but its really easy and its not ffxi and dumbed down so your average retard, cough, person can play and be winner too. My advice, make like ffxi and the people that want easy games, go buy a Nintendo Wii.

  8. Quincy Nieva

    I read that too just now. It’s amazing what people will try sometimes.

    I’m more interested in the world and how it’ll play out upon release. I’m hoping it’ll be a smooth launch, but I’m preparing for the worst. fun two player games for xbox one

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