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On Progression, difficulty, and differences in playstyle.

#1 Dec 09 2012 at 8:17 PM Rating: Decent
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Ridinger wrote:
This is a topic (group of topics rather) that I've thought quite a bit about.

It was alluded to earlier, but, if you make leveling quick and offer a level 20 dungeon, no one will do it, as the time spent getting a party together & fumbling through the dungeon in a PUG would have been better spent by getting to level 23 and opening up a new set of gear. I think this was one of the truly incredible things FFXI did. It was a completely different sort of gear treadmill.

SWTOR/GW2/WoW introduce an entirely new gear set every few levels, which outclasses your previous set completely. Also, if your leveling quick, why invest in +1 gear, when in 2 levels you can buy nq gear that's better?

This is what FFXI 'cured' by offering items throughout the leveling process that were difficult to obtain, but were certainly status symbols and allowed you to rock that item for months and in some cases, were elite till expansions came out. For example, in the early years, it wasn't uncommon to see lvl 60+ thiefs wearing a emporess hairpin/LLboots and macro in a rabbit charm. Same goes for a WAR/SAM etc. who ground out a pair of sniper rings @ 40. These were status symbols, that you could hang your hat on and be proud of .

By incoporating such items, you give reason to the leveling process. Heck, with expansions, FFXI put even more emphasis on this, with having to go back and get your lvl 50 swift belt. These were great things. Yes it was a pain sometimes, but the next time you leveled a characted to 50 and you had that waiting for you @ the 'ding', it was a great feeling. This is something that I feel all current MMO's lack. There's no attachment to your items, it's simply a place holder for the next 2 levels when the next generic piece of armour will be ready.As opposed to making you work a little harder, but getting a piece of armour that will stick with you for the next 20/30/40 levels (aka atleast in the early going of FFXI 1-6 months).

This was something that FFXI accidentally did sort of ok. They obviously didn't put a lot of forethought into equipment design, and even in expansions they created gear that was completely useless and a waste of development time. There were NMs that had Peacock Charms and then there were those that had useless drops. Then there were really cheap items that were great and really hard to acquire items that were worthless. As a whole, the item progression really had all indications of thoughtful design of someone who was bad at darts. It worked out ok because, like you say, these hard to get items were status symbols that were useful for a long time.

Had they emphasized more horizontal advancement, they could have not only made much better use of their content, but they could have done away with that annoying gear-swapping trend. The gear-swapping is an excellent example of horizontal advancement. There is no "best" piece of equipment for a slot usually... it depends on the ability that you're using. Let's say they shut down equipment swapping altogether (just for the sake of showing how it isn't necessary and you can still achieve the same effect). Now, they introduce a new piece of equipment, which we'll just call grids. Grids work the exact same way as the equipment grid in every MMO-- there are slots that you put stat-enhancing items into. You can switch grids at anytime in battle, significantly changing your attributes. Maybe you have a a grid for STR-based weaponskills, one for MP recovery, even an anti-poison grid.

The grids themselves can even be a type of vertical enhancement where you get better grids with more slots, or horizontal advancement.

The way I envisioned this, the drops you'd go after would be more like materia than always seeking new equipment. Too bad I understand they did something else with materia in XIV.
Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
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