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Why this game is hard to break into...Follow

#1 Sep 28 2010 at 7:10 PM Rating: Default
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I'm frustrated right now, so I apologize if a little bit slips into my post. I'll try my best not to let it happen in the interest of providing useful feedback. I realize that it is unrealistic to expect any of this to change, since it seems like it's been this way throughout the game's life, and with FFXIV pretty much out, it wouldn't pay to rewrite any part of FFXI, other than adding more content. That's fine, and I accept that, but I still want to give my opinion, feedback, and share the experience I've had so far. This is by no means a fiery "I quit" post and/or hate speech. I'm more than willing to give this game another chance, but I need some help understanding the why this game is so hard to start out in.

A little bit of history up until this point:
- I just bought the game yesterday, and spent all night updating the game. I heard its a notoriously long process, and took around 5 hours. That didn't bug me, because a.) I was expecting it, and b.) because I understand that MMO's have huge file sizes.

- The sign up process is long, compared to other MMO's where registering takes a few minutes tops. You sign-up for an account.. that's it, you're ready to play. I spent about a half-hour filling out all the PlayOnline forms.

- I got around to playing it this morning. Character creation went smoothly. I chose San d'Oria as my starting place.

Now, onto my gameplay experiences from the short span I've played. It concerns me that I already have so many gripes with it. I'm sure it gets better as you level, but its discouraging when you get stuck at such an early point.

- First, and foremost, there NEEDS to be a mini-map on screen. All that is provided is a compass that, for new players, can be hard to read because you don't know the layouts to begin with. Most Final Fantasy games have had a mini-map, and since worlds in MMO's tend to be a lot bigger than other games, I'm surprised this was done away with in FFXI. I'll continue to explain why this is so crucial as I go. Also, please consider auto-marking a person's map with their contacts.. I ended up spending a lot of time just trying find people I'm supposed to talk to. I found myself using Google to figure out where I needed to go.

- Secondly, there is no information given to new players about controls, and basic operations in the game itself. Having this information on your website is great and all, but there is no reason why there shouldn't be a pop-up message that displays this information when you first enter the world.

- The tutorial is really helpful at first, and does a good job of explaining some early game mechanics. However, it also exposes new players to the more frustrating aspects of combat VERY early on. Specifically at the part where she sends you to La Theine Plateau.

- This is where my \struggles began. See, she doesn't actually tell you that you're wasting your time making that trip if you don't spend time leveling up first. Not knowing that I would be thrust into such difficult mobs (even on the way there), I figured that the challenge would within the range of my character's capabilities at the time. She sends you there at level 4.

- Long story short, I died. And I kept on dying, because of all the orcs. Now, it was quite easy to figure out that you need to avoid these guys like the plague, however the game goes to great lengths to make this a very difficult task. First of all, their aggro range IS INSANE. They seem to be able to spot you from half a field away. This is not fun. I was fighting bunnies by the Westgate (trying to get back to level 5 from being dropped to level 3 throughout this mess) and still, one came up and two-shotted me. They don't even spawn there to my knowledge, let alone be high enough to do that much damage per hit ( I was level 4 at the time). I'm guessing it must have been one of the orcs that chased me all the way across the zone the previous time I died. Why in the world should monsters at low levels be able to do that? There is no way to possibly escape from getting killed by orcs that are chasing you at this level. You can't stop to throw a potion because of the cast time, your not going to have skills to mitigate with this threat, and you certainly don't have the time to check your map to find the zone's exit. That's why having a mini-map would be so incredibly helpful in running away, because that's what your going to be doing a lot in these early levels.

Now this may seem more like a rant than I wanted it to be, but to be honest, no game should ever be this difficult to get passed level 5. I understand that this MMO is about challenge, and I really want to enjoy that part, but not before I've gotten a chance to gain the tools I need to succeed.





#2 Sep 28 2010 at 8:13 PM Rating: Good
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While many of your complaints are valid, it's an 8 year old game and they are extremely unlikely to change most of those things at this point, especially considering hundreds of thousands of folks have gone way past level 5.

Part of the fun and adventure of not having a map on screen IS getting lost. Vana'diel is freaking huge, with over 300 zones, many of which are multiple stories tall, or are giant mazes.

There are control instructions in the guidebook if you purchase a physical copy of the game.

Best thing to do is level in Ronfaure to 15 or so. When stuff stops giving you experience points, its time to venture to La Theine. You can handle them around level 10-ish on most jobs.
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#3 Sep 29 2010 at 12:17 AM Rating: Decent
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FFXI was made before a lot of the streamlined MMO's, many of which you are accustomed holding your hand and putting the exact direction of what to do. FFXI isn't like that, and it will never be like that. It has a high learning curve, but once you get used to it, it's really a breeze. SE really puts the player out there to figure things out for themselves, and they kind of pride themselves on it.

You struggle and pain through so much learning experience, not by the instructions set before you by SE, but by trial and error. You'll learn how to eyeball agro range, which mobs are aggressive, how to handle your own hate, and a lot of other things that just come naturally when you put the time in.

Square has created a fantastically wonderful game, that when you put in the effort, rewards you in due time. Running to Jeuno for the first time, getting that airship pass, beating CoP, all creates a feeling of satisfaction that all the subscribers of FFXI know too well.

We all enjoy(ed) this game and it's great the way it is. If you don't like the toughness of the game when first starting out, too bad. Either get used to it, or get out, because Square very rarely changes at all. They even said they are only focusing on higher level content since they did so much for players 1-74 already with the Level Sync, Fields of Valor, and other tidbits.

P.S. And the orc thing you mentioned was a stroke of bad luck. You caught agro range of a possibly higher level orc (Maybe ~9) and just died. Mobs will not chase you after you die.
#4 Sep 29 2010 at 1:15 AM Rating: Good
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Best thing to learn for playing FFXI: Patience.

This game wasn't originally designed for you to shoot through it. All the story lines and events they've added--it's more about experiencing the world of Vanadiel through the game than just a smash-em-up or raiding system.

I was a complete noob when I started and a complete stranger chunked some cures on me. We started chatting and he showed me a few of the basics and then invited me to his shell. I played with some of those people for years until they finally quit.

Make some friends to back you up. Even though partying isn't too common below level 10, people can still watch over you--give you buffs and cures and such to help you get accustomed to how everything works. There is a mentor system built in where you can (hopefully) find someone to help you if you don't have a shell yet. I still see the funky "M" shell here and there on Carbuncle, so there are still mentors out there.

You might want to check out your server's forum here if you need helping getting in a shell or something too.

Raist

#5 Sep 29 2010 at 10:35 AM Rating: Good
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Ironic as it seems, I had this feeling about XIV beta and that is a huge reason to why I didn't bother buying the game. SE still think that all you need is an opening movie and that the rest can be solved by shouting, sending tells, or searching google.

I don't know what is so hard, when many other MMOs even go overboard with how easy they are. (Welcome, please click me with the left mouse button!)
#6 Sep 30 2010 at 11:13 AM Rating: Excellent
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Maps:

You're right about that compass; in several years of playing, I have almost never even looked at it. I've never really found a minimap to be necessary, though. You've only had a day. You start memorizing the general layouts pretty quickly, so don't worry too much about that. Also, if you want to look at the map without having to go through all the menus, simply typing /map will bring it up.
As far as marking your contacts goes, there actually is an npc in every city that will mark the important npcs for you. It's not done a quest by quest basis, and, unfortunately, if you ever need help with a quest, the ingame sources will be useless to you; you'll have to look it up online*, but general use npcs, like the armor storage and a few others, can be marked. You can also but about a dozen or so of your own labeled markers on every map. In addition to this, if you are in a party, your party/alliance members will be marked on the map.

*This site, along with ffxiwiki have pretty good databases for quests and missions.

Controls:

Your game should have come with a little booklet, but who reads those anyways. It's just something you pick up as you go along, like getting used to the maps. This game has a huge learning curve.

Tutorials:

I have no experience with these.. I started my character years before they implemented them, but if they function as any other quest, I can see your frustration. This game really doesn't explain specific things to you. Keep in mind that just because you got the quest at level 4 does not mean you can do it. You probably want to be at least 10-15.

Orcs and other mayhem:

There are different types of aggro: sight, sound, true sight, true sound, magic, job ability, low hp, resting, and a combination. Orcs aggro by sight only, so you can run right behind them, and they will never aggro. You'll get a general feel for aggro ranges (like everything else) the more time you spend dodging it. You lose aggro after you die, so I'm not sure how you got aggro that last time. Perhaps it was just closer than you realized. It is not really hard to get past level 5; it sounds to me like you are just trying to bite off too much too quickly. If you weren't already, you should be using the fields of valor system to level up faster.

Edited, Sep 30th 2010 1:17pm by RizzoRazzle
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#7 Oct 01 2010 at 2:55 AM Rating: Decent
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In regards to Orc aggro, the one thing I've learned about them while spending 6 years in Davoi with them is that they have a much further aggro range during night, but are pretty blind during the day. Possibly the same holds true for other mobs. Just one of many curious things SE implemented in their game that separates it from the rest.

Also I auto run to check the map.
#8 Oct 01 2010 at 12:38 PM Rating: Decent
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Thanks for all the posts. I just needed to whine some before I was able to start enjoying the game (which I now love). It takes a while to get used to coming from the superhero mmo's (city of heroes and champions), which by there very nature, are not traditional mmo's. I had tried LOTRO for a bit, but soon left because I didn't have much time to play back then.. to bad I spent $30 on it, only to find out its free now. :/

But yeah, this game is a test of patience, which is in a way, kind of nice. Patience is not a attribute many people possess today, and to be able to learn it from a game is truly awesome.

I ended up deleting my Elvaan, and went with a Galka in Bastok. Monks are so much more durable than a thief. If anyone wants to join me on Phoenix, I'd love to find a few friends to party with.

Thanks again all, your opinions helped.
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