Daily Blogroll 12/14 — Take my game, PLEASE! edition

FFXIV opens with a fantastic character generator, shows you a wonderful cinematic that soon includes you and segues smoothly into the tutorial. You soon are dropped into a crowded inn with quest givers that you will come to know very well. They give out your “guildleves” — kill quests, and your “local leves” — crafting quests, and finally your “field leves” — harvesting quests. Your remaining days in FFXIV will consist of filling up on leves, going to the place they tell you to go, killing trash mobs, making items you won’t be able to keep, and whacking away at harvest nodes.

Once in a very, very long while, you will get to continue the story for a short time — and then it’s back to the leves, hoping for the next bit of the story. Or perhaps to rise high enough in level to see anything but the forest. In a game that almost begs for exploration, it keeps such things as the ferry to other cities, riding chocobos and even travel deep into the forest outside Gridania locked away.

FFXI had its issues — a lot of them — but for the most part, I had fun. Nothing stopped me from exploring (and dodging high level monsters). FFXIV, on the other hand, constantly teases with the fun stuff just over the next horizon. Except over the next horizon are more badgers, bees, animate fungus and so on to slaughter, mindlessly.

If a MMO player had to choose between FFXIV and WoW, I can’t think of anything that would compel them to choose FFXIV. They’d miss questing, an explorable world, any goals, dungeons, etc. They would gain a limited ability to mix and match class abilities to form a custom class of their own choosing, but then, with Rift coming out which goes crazy with customizability (and includes leveling by quests or rift chasing or PvP), it’s not easy by any means to build the case for the game.

Now they’re tossing the game’s director and producer, taking the game back to the workshop for a complete overhaul, and not charging for a subscription until sometime next spring. That puts it just after Rift’s launch, and just before SWTOR’s expected launch in April. I have no idea what they could possibly do to fix the game. It is SO BEAUTIFUL! I guess my only suggestion would be to put some of the fun stuff closer to the start of the game.

On to the blogroll.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 12/14 — Take my game, PLEASE! edition

Daily Blogroll 12/9 — Time Travel edition

A little later, we’ll be talking about a virtual world to a “Time Travel” theme, which will send customers through differently themed worlds. Like, “Now you’re in Roman World! Through that door is Dinosaur World! Take the trolley to Wild West World!”. I don’t know about you, but this seems more like a theme park than time travel. I think I’d keep waiting for the killer robots to spring out from behind the bushes.

What’s the CENTRAL ELEMENT of any time travel story? It’s the ability or at least desire to change the way things happen. Without that, it’s NOT time travel and it’s NOT a time travel story.

I know, I know — you’re going to point to Fred Hoyle’s 1966 novel “October the First is Too Late”* (of which a totally legal excerpt is here). I maintain that even Sir Fred never considered that book a time travel story, even though it was superficially about an Earth fractured in Time.

On to the games, I guess.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 12/9 — Time Travel edition