I really like Final Fantasy, although I haven’t enjoyed anything done with the franchise since I guess FFTactics. Hated 8, 9 was OK, didn’t like 10, 11, 12, or 13, didn’t like FFTA. I am basically the angry old woman yelling at kids to get off of her lawn, except about video games.
But anyway I haven’t played WoW in a long time and I was sick for a while and depressed, and depression leads me to wanting to scratch that MMO itch, so I jumped into the FFXIV beta. There was one bright point initially when I got to see a moogle chug a bottle of wine, but that was the only fun part of the game. I sat through an interminably long intro that engaged me not at all. The initial chunk of my playthrough was populated by quest-givers who would almost always set off a fucking cutscene when all I wanted to do was pick up the quest and move on, to explore, to kill something. When I finally did get to go murdering and exploring, two hours or so after I had started the god damn game (did we learn NOTHING from Xenosaga?), I found the world boring, the creature design inexplicable, and my active options (stone, heal) repetitive and uninteresting.
Another thing I couldn’t handle about this game is the language. What was wrong with the race-names of FF11? For all that I didn’t like that game either, at least the names were marginally sane. Hume, Elvaan, these things are gentle spins on words we have a frame of reference for. FF14’s races sound like someone grabbed a handful of Scrabble tiles and threw them on a table. Look, I’m as big a fan of ~crazy fantasy names~ as the next nerd who grew up reading literally every volume of fantasy she could possibly find, but here’s a rule I think is a good one to follow. When you come up with your ~crazy fantasy name~, say it out loud. Then say it out loud again. Does it sound okay? Is it hard to pronounce or understand? How the fuck do I even pronounce “Guildleve”?! Guild-leave? Guild-leh-vay? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??? Maybe these words make more sense to Japanese speakers? Maybe I do not understand the greatness of glorious Nippon? The point is, if you are building an MMO especially, you are expecting to have players who will at some point say these words to each other to refer to in-game events, and you want to have words that are comprehensible when said aloud. And I guess on that basis the race names are probably not as terrible as I make them out to be, but I don’t understand why you would take (some) of the names you used before and make them just that little bit more incomprehensible, and then change other names entirely when these races seem pretty damn close to what they were in the previous game. Maybe they’re not and this is just my ignorance of FF11 and 14 displaying itself, and somewhere on the internet someone is getting Really Mad about my lack of understanding re: races in the worlds of Wherever FF11 Took Place and Eorzea. Sorry, person.
The game has major quests that follow the main plotline of the game, and during those quests they shoehorn in their ?main? NPCs, who are obnoxiously over-characterized and unlikeable. HEY GUYS. HEY GUYS. DID YOU KNOW. THIS LITTLE DUDE WITH GLASSES IS REALLY INTO BEING INTELLECTUAL. AND HE’S GRUMPY. AND THIS CHICK WHO RUNS AROUND WITH HIM IS LIKE, HIS FOIL. SHE’S SO HAPPY AND ENERGETIC! SO GENKI! Fucking gag me. And every god damned cutscene is voice-acted. I can’t even click through the god damn dialogue to get past it. The voice-acting is competent but uninteresting for the most part, with an occasional tendency toward obnoxious. Oh, and let’s not forget my ?class-specific? quest-line. Every time I finished a Conjurer quest, this irritating girl shows up. The game – every time – made a point of explaining to me that she was naturally talented at healing but refused to learn the other parts of being a Conjurer. Every time, my quest giver reiterated his concern that, oh, no, her going out and practicing magic healing without the appropriate fundamentals could get her killed. And oh, no, if only someone could help her.
Thanks to a merciful God I stopped playing the beta before that questline – or any major one – resolved.
The NPCs were unlikeable, the storyline was boring, the gear upgrades looked like shit (and let’s be honest, MMOs are about looking pretty), my abilities were shit (hope you enjoy seeing a notification about how the enemy you are attacking is immune to petrify, every single time you attack), the world was ugly and boring, and I could not get into this game at all. MMO worlds are supposed to be places you want to escape to, to spend your free time in, and this was the precise antithesis of that for me.
Now plenty of people seem to enjoy FFXIV a great deal, and I wish them (you?) all joy of it. I’m glad that, given the time and effort that has allegedly gone into this game, something good comes out of it for someone.
But that someone isn’t me, and is unlikely to ever be me.
So I’ll go play some Guild Wars 2 instead.