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Reader Comments (12)

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 12:42PM (Unverified) said

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The thing that killed FFXI for me was their policy of character and product license wipes after being away from the game for more than 90 days. I can only hope that they have changed their policy. In a world with so many MMOs to try out, and limited budget for subscriptions, it was a ridiculous policy. This was before the F2P model had emerged so trying something new usually meant competition for your subscription budget. So when I did decide to go back 6 months or so after leaving, I discovered that I had to rebuy the game and expansions plus I had to start all over again. I said no thanks. About a year ago I decided I missed it (really enjoyed it when I had played regularly) and that buying the game again wasn't so bad given base plus all expansions was $20; and I had been away for years so starting over wouldn't be too bad. But when I did try it out, the points you make in this article quickly lead me to abandon my second effort. I sure hope Square is going to be smarter about their retention policy in a world of limited resources and attention deficit disorders. Otherwise, I will stick to console Final Fantasy titles for my FF fix and just wait for Star Wars TOR for my next new MMO.

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 1:50PM (Unverified) said

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They havnt wiped player characters for years now, the games a great deal different than it was FIVE years ago.

Anybody returning now can simpyl reactivate their account, or failing that, give SE a call and ask them to do it for you.

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 1:52PM Tizmah said

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"They're going to quest a bit, get discouraged when they see the slog that's awaiting them, and then they will leave."

This is exactly what happened to me. I am all for a good challenge with a great accomplishment..but this quote put it best. It's simply a "slog". Maybe during the first two years of FFXI it didn't seem that bad..but it most definitely is now. I think it was.. solo from 1-10, go to the Dunes..get to 20...? Then head to Jueno and go to that one area where Chains of Promathia starts while also accomplishing some Rank missions for your city with the one dude who invited you to his social link shell...etc. Everytime I had to go do something..I always went UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHH..I quit after that.

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 1:54PM breezer said

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Making FFXI more approachable for new players has already been one of the main priorities for the devs for a while now. What they have to show for it is FoV, level syncs and to a lesser extent, Campaign. These things are great, but really only address the level grind and solo content.

As you implied, the level grind is nothing compared to the mission grind plus the countless other "requirements" new players need to catch up. Which leads me to why I always tell people who are interested in FFXI to not even bother: it can arguably take years to catch up. And while the content can be fun for some, most will find the sheer amount of work ahead of them daunting to insurmountable.

Couple that with the learning curve of the very unique UI, controls and all the other eccentricities of the game, and FFXI is not at all approachable for new players.

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 2:24PM (Unverified) said

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I completely agree. I recently returned to XI mostly because of the $20 "ultimate collection" and my excitement about XIV and while I've had some fun, it's a seriously outdated game and the huge progress barriers are at this point just ridiculous.

I managed to make it to rank 3, but that's as far as I'm going to get, even just getting rank 3 meant sending tells to random people hoping they were bored enough to help me, eventually I did find one, very helpful soul, but begging people to do what should be pretty simple missions is not fun and for brand new players? FFXI as it is, is simply not possible.

It's important to remember that FFXI was made *before* wow and it really really shows now, "back in the day" the massive mountain of time sinks/gil sinks/travel was acceptable and did bring the player base together, but MMO's have moved on, and so have players, I can't see how XI can survive the launch of XIV unless they do major surgery and SE is not known for that sort of action.

I have fond memories of my experience with XI but as it is now it's just too old.

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 3:55PM (Unverified) said

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I'm not sure what server you were playing on, or any of the other commenters, but I just started playing this game brand new a month or two ago, and I haven't had any of the troubles that are mentioned by the article or other people here. I don't play it hardcore or anything, usually getting on every night for a couple hours or more if I find myself a good party. I already have many subjobs unlocked (and that's the thing in this game that requires the most help I think, especially if you try to unlock them when you hit 30 fresh).

I never had any issues with high levels not wanting to help out with sub-job unlock items, or not wanting to come and help me one-shot the wyvern/dragon in the dragoon quest. I suppose that it just very heavily depends on what server you rolled or and/if you actually attempt to make friends instead of just randomly whispering/shouting for a party (and/or help) and then parting ways after the mission has been accomplished.

That's the problem I find in most MMOs actually. People don't actually try to keep up connection when they've found a good player/someone they like. It's simply, "Oh, got to the boss and killed him/Oh, got my last quest item, SEE YA!" *drop party*.

Anyway, hope you have a better time in other MMOs.

(PS: To the guy who went "UGGgH" to having to do something in an MMO, would you like a game where you just stand there and the longer you just stand there the more awesome stuff you get and you automatically gain levels? It's called "Progress Quest". Enjoy)

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 6:39PM (Unverified) said

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Regarding people who drop the party when they complete an objective, I think some of that is the nature of MMO design that encourages this. I haven't played FFXI, but I know from games like Aion and WoW, sometimes you have a whole bunch of quests in your log, and you just have that ONE group quest that you'd like to do and get back to what you're doing. Getting a group, dealing with loot sharing, working out tactics, deciding where to go next... if it isn't somebody you know well you're not really interested in a social event. Other people are slowing you down.

Some of that could be addressed by more simplicity to joining up in groups. If you're in an area, make it clear who else needs to complete your quest. Make it easier to talk to other players (I love native voice chat in games, like DDO). Set up the XP or loot systems to make grouping easier in every way, with automatic loot distribution and boosted rates for XP earnings. Design content so that players aren't stuck if they get an hour in and the cleric has to leave for an unspecified emergency.

If all else fails, there's nothing wrong with an MMO where all the players are playing alone in the same world. Seeing other players as you travel, bumping shoulders with them in the auction house, or chatting with them in town about the quests you just completed, these create a feeling of comradery just as easily, if not better, then an elite monster that mandates a tank and spank party to kill.

I'm looking forward to FFXIV.

-SirNiko
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Posted: Jan 30th 2010 4:28PM Ivasen said

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I did try to go back to FFXI awhile back, I had few problems leveling up and getting certain things.

I managed to get help from some Japanese players walking around the mines, I asked them if they would mind helping me get the Skull and they had agreed, afterward I gave them each a little bit of gil for helping me.

I got the Job unlocks from a friend I had just met through someone giving me a Linkshell randomly, I had got most of the jobs without help as a RDM but certain ones I did need help, I would most certainly need help if I were to be a Melee class without Pots and Sand.

Having a good shell with linkminded people helps a great deal.
Towards the end, the shell started to run into issues and people leaving while others just stayed to argue.

And thus my main problem began, I was stuck...at the limit break for me to continue to advance in levels.
Day after day, asking for help and none available or willing to, not even with offering to pay for services.

I ended playing because I hit a wall physically and I couldn't find anyone to help.

Posted: Jan 30th 2010 9:27PM DevilSei said

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Honestly, one thing I'd love to see, upon the release of FF XIV, is that XI goes the route of DDO in a way, becoming F2P.

As it stands, there is no way I'll pay to play that game, and my friend feels the same. Charge a box price for the game and that's it. Doing that would make me more than willing to play it, and I know a few friends who'd play as well if that was the case.

Posted: Jan 31st 2010 5:00AM Lionhearted said

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I'm not so sure that works. F2P is a tough road to go down -- and becoming a very crowded market. DDO's worked thus far, but with newer graphics. It also has a sizeable slice of that market now that would be tough to pry away.

That said, I'd advise Square to do something akin to SOE by offering a Station Pass. It'll keep people playing their old game, when they want to try the new -- and it may get people who try the new to also try the old. And it could get people buying a whole lot more boxes (or e-boxes, for that matter).

I'd actually offer anyone who goes from FFXI to the new FF MMO a free pass to the old game, just to keep them involved in it... and buying the boxes. Two games for the same or similar monthly price will at least allow people to keep playing without the games growing stale so fast. (I, for one, like to alternate between two games at any time -- MMO or otherwise.)
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Posted: Jan 30th 2010 10:25PM MewmewGrrl said

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Look at EverQuest, it's a party game too definitely. It's hard to do much of anything alone. And it's still going and getting updates, all these years later, despite their own sequel and other games Sony has made. If players are still there paying to play, it keeps getting attention. If players abandon it out of worry so there aren't enough people supporting it anymore to make putting programming power and salary into it, that's when the updates stop.

Posted: Jan 31st 2010 4:55AM Lionhearted said

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I played Everquest for about 5 years. And for 5 years, there was always worry about the "EQ killer." It was this game or that, and there was always one down the road that was going to wipe out all the servers... When EQ2 came out, though, people were crying out "this is it," as if SOE would completely give up on EQ. Turns out that, after its initial release, EQ's numbers not only weren't wiped out, but may have even been better than EQ2. It was all very silly. The people who like the game were, of course, going to still like it. Even today, the server populations are still fairly stable and new expansions are being made. I bet they'll continue to be made for a long time.

If a game proves itself, it's going to be around for a very long time. I've never played FFXI, but it's been out there for a while and proven itself. It's loyal fans will stay and more will trickle in about fast enough to keep up with those who trickle out. The new FF MMO may hurt FFXI's numbers a little bit, but those who love ffxi will go back and, if anything, some who play the new FF MMO after a while may give the old one a whirl once the new one grows stale (as always happens in MMOs).

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