Should I Buy: FFXIV Pt. 1 – Why You Should Wait

Update: As I usually do, I mirrored this post over at MMO Voices and have gotten some great responses and rebuttals to my points. I’m still very new to the game, myself, so take a look at some other points of view. Also, please note that I’m not saying the game is bad, unfinished, or not worth investigating if you’re interested. I’m having a great time. This is just to show both sides of the coin and is only my opinion (like everything else on this site :-))

Hey Gang,

As you know, I’ve been having fun in FFXIV lately and enjoying this very different take on the MMORPG. Still, if you’ve heard me on the Multiverse or MMOV podcast, I’ve also said that I didn’t think the game was ready for release. It’s come a long ways since beta but it still has its issues. The $50 box price is nothing to scoff at, so, in the interest of fairness, I wanted to show both sides of the game.

Over the next couple days, I’ll be posting a pair of posts showing why you may or may not want to buy the game. Since I’ve already talked it up, here are the reasons you may want to hold off:

  1. The game still has a ways to go. Reward distribution is a bit borked. I get that they’re trying to encourage players to trade but when Limsa Lominsa’s newbie leves give multiple loot rewards and Ul’dah’s give none there’s a problem. There are lots of small bugs that range from negligible to downright annoying. The launch build introduced a new one where you aren’t able to hit a mob because “the target is already engaged.” Meanwhile, it attacks you just fine.
  2. Chat is about non-existent. Maybe it’s because people are using gamepads. Maybe it’s just because chat is spammed with other player’s crafting messages. Or maybe it’s because there’s no intuitive way to communicate with the whole zone. Either way, most people aren’t talking. To get an answer to a question today, I had to explain to use /shout so I could hear them. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t make the game feel a bit lonely at times. Ironic because there are always people around.
  3. There are still no real quests. Pushing the leve timer down to 24 hours 36 hours is a good step but it’s not far enough. The game would really benefit from some traditional quests. If for nothing else, it would break up the monotony for people who don’t want to gather, craft, or grind. The game right now is 8 daily quests (albeit highly rewarding ones) and story missions every 10 levels. Thankfully, crafting and gathering are significantly more interesting, rewarding, and fun than in most other MMOs.
    1. There’s some discrepancy on the leve timers. 36 hours on battle leves is what I’ve been able to source, though several people in-guild have reported 24. Leaving it as 36 since that’s what’s out there, atm.
  4. Guilds — linkshells in the FF universe — are pretty much glorified chat channels. There is talk of introducing “companies” that will be significantly more important to gameplay but, right now, they don’t offer much other than a private channel.
  5. Performance is still clunky and laggy. Framerates are better than OB for most players but it still chugs along in cities. The UI is MUCH better than open beta but it’s still laggy in parts – namely when you’re initiating leves or assigning skills to the hotbar.
  6. Controls still seem obtuse and restrictive. Now, FFXI fans won’t be bothered and, admittedly, once you’re used to them they stop being a pain entirely. Still, coming from other MMOs, they’ll seem foreign and the inability to change most bindings will be frustrating. My advice: drop the mouse and get used to just using the keyboard. It will be annoying for a little bit but will get better. Not having to use the mouse is actually a bit nice, honestly.

There are lots of issues people are raising with the game but these are the ones I think are most important to start with.

Square has a proven track record of consistently adding content and addressing issues. In a few months, I’d imagine most, if not all, of the above issues will be fixed and we’ll have a decent content patch added.

Check back this week for the reasons why I think the game is worth buying.

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