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Reader Comments (25)

Posted: Mar 6th 2010 4:08PM (Unverified) said

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The cake is a lie.

Posted: Mar 7th 2010 7:34AM (Unverified) said

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I KNEW it. When I read that part about the cake, I just KNEW there would be a comment like this. :P
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Posted: Mar 6th 2010 4:58PM (Unverified) said

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You're right. Square-Enix doesn't care about new users, because they figure any new people will probably be pushed into FFXIV, which is starting beta next week (also announced at VanaFest).

What they _did_, though, was breathe life into something they have only been using as a cash cow. And they did something which is going to break up a few of the problems with FFXI -- namely, the Bull of the Woods is no longer going to be, necessarily, the Bull of the Woods.

If you're at lower levels now, then Square-Enix, frankly, would rather see you migrate to FFXIV. If you search all the players on your server, then search again for the non-75s, the latter is

Posted: Mar 6th 2010 6:22PM (Unverified) said

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I read your post and have to say that while I agree with some of your sentiments I also completely disagree with a vast majority of them.

Honestly, the leveling process is a bit dated and difficult at this point. With server populations that used to hit upwards of 3500-4000 concurrent users down to anywhere from 750-2000 users it is difficult to go back and level. I recently restarted by subscription and hopped back on after hearing all the promise that Vanafest gave me. Only to see that my once proud server was half of what it was. They set forth to merge several lower population servers but honestly, they should have done more. If my server sits at an average of 1000 people then to me that is a low pop server. Their server farms can handle 4 times that. They should have merged more than they did.

I digress, everything else they did was not only in an effort to retain the old school players, but to regain those that have left them. We have all been talking about how sad the last 2 years of MMO releases have been. WoW is on a down cycle creatively and has begun to cater to the lowest common denominator. People like me have just been looking for a reason to go back to XI. While they probably have run a number of people off with this, they have also gained quite a few of my generation of XI player back. The generation who left during TAU. That truly believed that CoP was the golden era of the game.

It would have been nice to see SE make leveling even easier at lower levels where its difficult to level new jobs without a built in social group to help you. But they did what they set out to do. Make the game relevant to again, not only to its current players, but to those of us who were just looking for a reason to go back to a game we never stopped loving.

Posted: Mar 6th 2010 6:54PM (Unverified) said

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Funny, you do agree that FFXI should be made more accessible but then says that WoW is "catering to the lowest common denominator" for... being made more accessible.
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Posted: Mar 6th 2010 6:57PM wjowski said

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Quite frankly if FFXIV is anything like XI it's going to end up SE's biggest bomb since Spirits Within.

Posted: Mar 6th 2010 9:57PM myr said

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I don't get your logic there... FFXI, despite its flaws, is still very successful. Why would XIV bomb if it were similar?

Personally, I'm sick of all the new easymode MMOs coming out, and I know I'm not alone.
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Posted: Mar 6th 2010 10:15PM (Unverified) said

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I can't really speak for the original commenter, but maybe because a design that made for a "very successful" MMO released in 2002 will not make for an equally successful game in the 2010 market?
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Posted: Mar 7th 2010 12:52AM myr said

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It wasn't until 2009, after FFXIV's announcement, that XI started to see a huge drop in population, though. Until then (ie. in last year's market) it was successful. I'm pretty sure even with reduced population now it's still turning a profit, and thus successful.

I don't have a doubt in my mind that a lot of people are going to buy the game, then be sorely disappointed with it less than a month in (just like Aion, and just like FFXI's release, if you remember). Truth be told, a lot of people today are expecting instant gratification - something the MMO genre doesn't provide. I think I'm going to start calling it "fun over time"...

But it doesn't take the huge initial sales number of subscriptions to maintain an MMO's success. The only "major" game that's ever shut down in history is Tabula Rasa, and that was more out of NCSoft's conflict with Richard Garriot than profitability. All others that have shut down haven't exactly been mainstream.

I imagine that the initial sales of games gives companies enough income to pay off their server purchases and development costs, and everything maintained afterward is almost pure profit. All they have to do is maintain bandwidth and their skeleton update crews/community relations... and maybe replace a crashed hard drive in the server farm every once in a while. Sure, games like Warhammer, AoC, and Aion get a lot of bad press nowadays, and aren't considered very good games by many people, but they're all still relatively successful.
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Posted: Mar 6th 2010 7:09PM (Unverified) said

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I do say that. Just because I say XI should be made more accessible, does NOT mean I want it to become WoW.

XI needs to see some lower level changes to push people to go and level again. The best they could do is probably merge a few more servers so we see a more balanced server population across ALL time zones.

WoW has become entirely too accessible. They have made a LOT of changes since the Sunwell era began that has changed the game into hardly a challenge. First it began with the daily quest system. It only got worse with 10/25 and the 10/25 hard. The economy was taken out of the hands of the people and put into the hands of the NPCs.

So yeah, I do think WoW caters to the lowest. Its a game that took a turn to get bigger and more profitable rather than make the fun and CHALLENGING game it once was. Do I still play? Yes I do. I get on and do dailies and then I log out, because that is all that is left at the moment. Here's to hoping they can fix it.

At the very least Tanaka and Co. have breathed new life into XI. It could have used a little blowing on some broken bits that have been broken since 2004, but they have made the game interesting again and I applaud them for it.

Posted: Mar 6th 2010 7:52PM (Unverified) said

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Games change. Maybe there were aspects of WoW you liked before that aren't the same now. It happens.

For my part I do think most of the changes were for the better. Blizzard saw that less than 5% of the players had even seen the last tiers of raid content in the Burning Crusade. To some people that's just right (ppl that liked the bragging rights of being among the 5% or, more often, ppl that dreamed of being among them). But I don't think it's right to deny access to raiding content if you're not hardcore.

WoW is a hugely successful game. Most of the players are not hardcore, so it would be foolish for Blizzard to make the game only for the harcores.

But I have to disagree that the game is not challenging anymore. What part of it isn't challenging? The leveling game isn't (I don't know if it ever was), and is becoming easier still. For better or worse, the best of WoW is at the endgame, and Blizzard wants people to get there faster.

The raids are challenging unless you are really hardcore (see above about hardcores). I see lots of guilds (guilds, not PuGs) still struggling with Icecrown Citadel. I also saw lots of guilds struggling with Ulduar when it was the last tier of raid content. As for fun, I do think these 2 raids are very good. There was a boring raid in between (Trial of the Crusader), but ICC and Ulduar are among the best I've seen in the game (playing on & off since BC).

Unfortunately, Blizzard can't do much to fight player burnout. I know I'm almost done with it and don't know if I'll still be playing come Cataclysm, but I know it's not the game's fault.
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Posted: Mar 6th 2010 7:25PM lazymangaka said

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How does one walk through broken class? With shame, I would assume.

Posted: Mar 6th 2010 8:00PM Dblade said

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Irony is that most of the vets hated expanding the level cap any, because it would break the game. Most of the jobs have their job defining abilities at level 40, which means a 99 cap lets other jobs sub them. A white mage could sub red mage and have refresh and convert, and a samurai could access all the warrior abilities.

I don't think people realize that they made the game much easier over time already. I started at Ps2 launch, and soloing was near impossible even for beastmaster. The exp needed to cap levels was a lot more, and exp gain vastly sped up over time with TOAU. With WOTG exp got very fast since you could level sync to others levels. My first job took a year to cap, but corsair i capped in 2 months.

I also have to disagree. It's not hard to get your subjob items or an airship pass. All you need is one other player around level 40 and time spent for both. Even in a small linkshell you should be able to get the prereqs done: the problem especially now will be the content you need to be capped at level 75 to do, and COP. (COP was always a pain though, and if you think subjob items are bad, good luck doing those missions.)

Not much SE can do, really. Even if it gets easier to start, you are going to hit level 75 and have a ton of content to deal with. Same issues there, and last i heard a lot of people were just mercing it instead of making shells for it.

FFXI had a good run (and lolwjowski, it had more subscribers longer than EVE, LOTRO, and AION with a sustained peak of 500k subs) but its set-up would have had this happen anyways.

Posted: Mar 6th 2010 8:29PM wjowski said

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Loldblade, the MMO market was a very different place back when FFXI was released. If it'd been released today, it would've fallen flat on it's face.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2010 7:39AM Celeras said

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@Wjowski

You of course realize how asinine that statement is, when ffxi has HELD a higher subscription base than most anything released in the past few years despite being released in 2002?
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Posted: Mar 7th 2010 3:48PM wjowski said

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...You're missing the point. I'm saying that if FFXI had been released *today* with the market being as it is, it would have failed. My post had nothing to do with player retention.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2010 9:11PM (Unverified) said

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@Wjowski
"...You're missing the point. I'm saying that if FFXI had been released *today* with the market being as it is, it would have failed. My post had nothing to do with player retention."

That like saying if Everquest was released today it would have bombed, or if CS was released today its graphic would suck. The point is it was released in 2002, not today and still has a decent amount of people playing. I played for 5-6 years and left when they added the level sync and the FoV NMs because it just made it easy to level and get gear that was almost as good as super rare endgame gear. That and the add-ons gave gear that were just as good as the best endgame gear, kinda just made people who did less work end up with the same stats as people who spend time HNM camping, Dynamis, Limbus, and Sky farming.
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Posted: Mar 8th 2010 7:12AM (Unverified) said

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If FFXI released today instead of 2002 it wouldn't be the same game. What kind of logic is 'changing history' to make your point?

Square proved they can release a game relevant to the time it is released and keep it going for over 8 years.

If we use FFXI as an example of how well FFXIV has the potential to do then it makes more sense to lean towards the idea that FFXIV will be with us until 2018 at least.
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Posted: Mar 6th 2010 9:30PM (Unverified) said

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Good post. It is true that they have made the game easier/more accessible over the years but they've never removed the "group required progress barriers", or nerfed them in any way and even if they simply handed out exp for walking new players would still get stuck. I can only imagine how well this game could still be doing if they had ever dealt with this issue...

I recently tried to get back into the game and it was very obvious that their plan for years has been to cater to their lvl capped playerbase. That and the fact that they are now willing to throw whatever class balance they achieved out the window by raising the lvl cap massively, indicates to me that it's over, they don't really care anymore.

This is like when your kid begs for a huge banana split, and you get it for him, knowing he will eat himself sick and be crying about it later. That cake is only going to taste good for a very short time.


Posted: Mar 7th 2010 10:46AM Betel said

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I can't help but disagree with your post. There's a very very good reason why SE stopped catering to the low level players and is now only trying to keep the old vets playing- FFXIV. It makes so much sense.

SE aims for all the potential players for XI to wait for XIV. If SE were to focus on XI's lower level population's needs, it would be counter-productive. XIV Is the answer for the players who would like to try XI but can't due to it being too old and the mechanics too different from current trends. That would mean less content for those loyal customers who are still playing after all this time- the players that most likely are not going to shift to XIV once it comes out.

So I ask you- why would SE focus on players who are most likely to leave the game for XIV, instead of those who will most likely keep playing even after XIV comes out?

This move proves, that SE knows what they're doing. They don't put resources on wrong part of the population's needs. New players will have fun with XIV. Old players will have fun with XI. That's the way it's going to be, as sad that it might make you.

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