Two forum mainstays, the White Knight and the Troll, discuss the state of Final Fantasy XIV in this editorial.
The White Knight - A self-appointed hero who tirelessly defends those in need. The slings and arrows of outrageous customer dissatisfaction shall not scar Square Enix while this stalwart figure is there to defend their actions.
The Troll - Enemy to all but himself, the contrarian Troll knows his opinion is all that matters. No point of view goes undulled by his grinding criticism while he is around.
Today, these two icons debate whether Final Fantasy XIV can survive -- in the face of its own players.
Where do you stand? Discuss in the ZAM Forums!
Disclaimer: This is a point-counterpoint editorial meant to open a discussion and not necessarily promote either view expressed by the characters within. Also, I realize it's an Ogre. FFXIV has no Trolls!
Final Fantasy XIV has had it rougher than almost any other title that came before it. It not only had the prestige of the Final Fantasy series to live up to, but eight years of Square Enix's previous MMO, Final Fantasy XI, to answer for. Players disenchanted by a perceived lack of communication or alleged bias towards Japanese players swore up and down that they would not be fooled by Square Enix again.
By releasing a new MMO, Square Enix essentially put their future in the hands of the players. As with FFXI, it would be a hard sell getting people to make the shift from single-player to an online world. They needed their existing players to vouch for them, but instead, the players lashed out.
After eight years of this imagined persecution at the hands of Square Enix, it was like a powder keg just waiting to burst. People immediately took to Amazon.com to rate down FFXIV, and gaming journalists seemed to take extra delight in highlighting each and every little flaw. In Japan, there were doctored photos depicting FFXIV's funeral, and constant charts of the declining playerbase made public to all. The supposed fanbase essentially killed the title before it could get off the ground.
Even despite the development team changes and free months, the harassment continues. FFXIV is now receiving "awards" like Most Disappointing Title. What's worse -- it has the most votes by far, but I would be surprised if even half of those people played past the beta.
When FFXI was released, it was completely different from the game we know today. It was even completely different from what North American players got in 2004. Why wasn't FFXIV afforded the same luxury of time to build up a solid MMO experience? Complaints abound that the developers didn't listen to the concerns of the players, but as Hiromichi Tanaka stated, they were focused on improving the core game before release and would tackle player concerns afterwards, you know, let the MMO evolve along with who players enjoy it.
Granted, there were issues with the game, such as the UI, but to say the game was "unplayable" is a complete exaggeration. Even FFXI continues to evolve to this day. But will FFXIV have that chance? It's hard to say. The players wanted it their way and they wanted it immediately. Now we all suffer the consequences with a game that may remain a shell of what it could have become.
With a new development team at the helm, it's time for people to move aside and let them work their magic. The game is free to play for the time being, so players have no right to complain. Updates are rolling in and Square Enix needs time to create the magical world they had planned for us from the start.
Hold on a second, you cannot simply place the blame on the players alone. The fact of the matter is FFXIV was released in a completely unplayable state. The players were on board from the very beginning trying to improve it -- to no avail. What happened to building the game with the players? From the alpha to the beta to the final version, it seemed the only major change was the snail's pace battle system. Even then, the developers shrugged it off as something they planned to change anyway.
And why shouldn't Square Enix account for the way they handled FFXI? If I'm going to jump into their new MMO, their track record with such titles is very important. All we saw before was "same old, same old" from the development team. If anything, FFXIV will be granted new life through our response to the game.
You don't have to go to the movies and buy a ticket to know a film is garbage. Square Enix took a gamble by rushing FFXIV out to beta other upcoming MMOs. They flubbed it, and now have to live with the image they have created for themselves. We can't even ride Chocobo or cruise on an airship; this is Final Fantasy?
Players shouldn't have to pay for an incomplete experience; that's what a beta is for. And to compare this MMO with FFXI -- that game was also made almost 10 years ago. Shouldn't a decade of experience have translated to a much better title? Even with the free months, FFXIV was not a game worth paying for at the time of release. I'm still not sure if it is now.
Yes, we have free months to enjoy, which means now is the time to complain more than ever. We were promised a hand in the creation of this game, but in the end, it was slapped away. Now that we broke their piggy bank, we finally have the attention of Square Enix. The game will be free until it's in a playable state, which means the feedback of the players will save this title.
The players may have exhibited some "tough love" during the release of FFXIV, but those tactics got us a new development team and a new direction for the game. It's time to steer this turd towards brighter horizons. We'll see how that turns out.